Mango season approacheth

This morning when I picked up the groceries I noticed that several varieties of mangoes are now available. I saw some in the last few weeks, but it was only the earliest variety and they were expensive. But now several types are in the supermarket and the prices have come down a bit, so I decided to grab a couple of them. I like Kensington Pride and Calypso mangoes, but they are better later in the season, so I got R2E2 mangoes. These are a very large variety, with a milder flavour and smooth creamy flesh.

My first ethics class today is normally at 3pm, but currently there’s only one student, and her parent contacted me a couple of days ago asking if it would be possible to reschedule the class to the morning, for today only. She’s in Japan, so the local time was 1pm normally, but we agreed to move the class to 8am Japan time, or 10am for me. When we connected on Zoom, it was obvious that she’d only recently woken up, being a bit sleepy and yawning.

Tonight is online board games night with my friends. We’ve played games of Just One, Incan Gold, and are now into Ticket to Ride.

New content today:

An unconventional dessert

There wasn’t much exciting about today. Possibly the best thing is that the wind has calmed down after the past few days and today was warm and sunny. It’s starting to feel like spring properly now, rather than the tail end of winter. Cicadas are out droning in the trees, the jacarandas are in full bloom, and the smell of freshly cut grass is in the air as people tend to their patches.

I spent time today building up a bit of a buffer for Darths & Droids, writing and constructing a few comics. I went up to the local shops with my wife and Scully, and had a chicken burger for lunch. That was my main meal for the day, as tonight I had three classes in a row from 6-9pm, so I just had a light dinner of fried eggs on toast at 5:30 before starting.

And now, after the classes are done, I’m having an unusual dessert: sourdough toast, topped with honey, peanut butter, cinnamon, and sliced dates. My wife suggested the dates, and I figured why the heck not? It was pretty good!

New content today:

Photography Standards meeting day 3

I was up at 4am for the third morning in a row for my ISO standards meeting. We had another technical session on camera pixel specifications, which is a new addition to camera definitions that was raised at the previous meeting. After that we did the administrative stuff of recording action items and resolutions and so on. The meeting finished around 10am, leaving me the rest of the day.

I was pretty tired though, so didn’t get a lot done. I went for a walk with my wife and Scully for lunch at the bakery, where I had a mushroom pie, followed by a lemon meringue tart.

For dinner tonight I made potato, rosemary, and feta pizza, with pesto sauce rather than tomato.

Potato, rosemary, feta pizza

New content today:

A little bit of a lazy day

I feel like I didn’t do much today. Apart from the three online ethics classes, and taking Scully for a couple of walks, and doing a 2.5k run, and baking a sourdough loaf, and cooking calzones for dinner. I guess all that took up a lot of time and left me with little to do much else.

For some reason, despite buying an orange every single week in the grocery shopping to cut up and combine with a chopped apple* in a kind of minimal fruit salad, which I then use to top my muesli for breakfast every day… this week I somehow failed to buy an orange. So today when taking Scully out for her second walk I popped into the nearest supermarket and grabbed an orange, and also some spinach to use in the calzones.

How could I not buy an orange in the weekly shopping? Maybe I’m losing it… Anyway, this morning for breakfast I chopped up a banana, and had apple and banana instead of apple and orange.

* Granny Smith, of course. Is there any other type of apple?

New content today:

Experiments in Asian cooking

Today I spent the morning writing the new lesson for this week’s round of online ethics classes. It’s on the topic of ageing, and I use the story of Logan’s Run to introduce it. We explore a bunch of questions around the disadvantages and advantages of getting older, and ponder whether the life experience that older people have is relevant for the modern, rapidly changing world. I ran the first three lessons this evening, and it seemed to go okay, but I was unfortunately a bit distracted and tired so I felt it a little bit of a struggle to make it through. (One lesson I had to deal with an urgent parent inquiry about the next lesson, while trying to multitask and teach the current lesson at the same time.)

For dinner tonight I tried another variation of the vege patties and salad that I’ve been doing the past few weeks. I started with chick pea patties, and then tried lentil patties. Today I decided to change again and make corn fritters. I had two ears of fresh corn, which I removed the kernels from and combined with red capsicum and onion (and egg and flour) to make fritters. I decided the tahini sauce I’d been making wasn’t as good a match for this, so I tried making some Vietnamese nuoc cham. But my wife being vegetarian, I didn’t want to use the traditional fish sauce, so when I popped into the supermarket to grab some limes and lemongrass, I looked at the condiments aisle and selected teriyaki sauce as a potential substitute. (Turns out I should have looked at Wikipedia, as it actually says that vegetarians use so sauce instead of fish sauce – I could have just done that!)

Anyway, a friend of mine with cooking experience suggested omitting the sugar, as teriyaki is sweet already. So I did, and actually it turned out all right. It wasn’t really the same sort of taste as nuoc cham, but it was perfectly fine as a topping for the fritters and a salad.

New content today:

Approaching The Last Jedi

The mornings are getting warmer, so I did a 2.5k run first thing, right after breakfast, before the day got too hot. Also, the jacaranda trees are coming into flower. Right on cue, as we slide into November, the peak flowering season for these beautiful trees.

Most of today I spent working on Darths & Droids comics. We’re almost at the end of The Force Awakens, and we’ve started planning ahead into The Last Jedi in the past week. I wrote all of the strips up to the end of the first sequel movie, and made a couple of them. In the coming week I’ll start thinking about how we kick off the next movie. After the usual three-strip intermission, of course.

Instead of going on a big walk for lunch, my wife wanted to work on her sewing until mid-afternoon, so we went out then for afternoon tea, to the nice bakery. I tried a Paris-Brest, which honestly I was not familiar with as a type of pastry. It appears it’s a traditional French pastry, but it must not be very popular/common here in Australia, because I’ve never encountered one before. It was pretty nice, though I think I prefer the banoffee tart. (I’m also reminded of the first time I encountered “banoffee” as a thing – it was in England in 2009. I saw a “banoffee pie” on the dessert menu at a restaurant and had to ask what that meant, as I’d never seen it before. It’s since made it over to Australia and is one of my favourite things.)

This evening I had two more of my Monster topic ethics classes. In the second class, the four kids were very interested in the idea that monster stories are created to reflect fears that people have about the real world, and were having some really deep discussion about the idea.

New content today:

Games night, and a very special lunch

Friday was online board games night with my friends, so I didn’t have time to write a blog entry. I took Scully for the usual couple of walks, had two ethics classes, and completed another week of Irregular Webcomic! strips assembled from the photos I took a couple of weeks ago.

For games we played Fruit Picking, Can’t Stop Express, Point Salad, CuBirds, Kingdomino, Just One, Stella: Dixit Universe, 7 Wonders. I managed to win the games of Fruit Picking and Kingdomino. Which is better than I usually do!

Today we dropped off Scully at doggie daycare and my wife and I went into the city for a super special lunch, to celebrate a major wedding anniversary. We went to Nel, a very fancy restaurant. It’s a fixed degustation menu – you just show up and they serve you – there’s no choice of different dishes, though they do cater to dietary requirements, so we forewarned them that my wife is vegetarian, and I don’t eat anything with coffee or tea in it.

The current menu is “A Night on Broadway”, inspired by Broadway musicals. Each dish was named after a song or feature from a stage musical. Here’s what we had:

The Book of Jesus Christ

The Book of Jesus Christ. A sweet potato tuille wth smoked eel cream. (My wife had a vegetarian cream.)

Is This Your Wand?

Is This Your Wand? Cheese and onion eclair with mushroom tapenade.

Frosty's Diner

Frosty’s Diner. Beef brisket croquette with burger sauce, tomato water and basil oil shots. (Wife had a cheese croquette.) This was really good. The croquette was tender and juicy, and chasing it down with the tomato/basil shot was amazing – very flavourful.

Hakuna Matata

Hakuna Matata. Pineapple glazed brioche with beef fat butter. (Wife had plain butter.)


Masquerade. Kingfish tartare with native plum jam, macadamia cream, apple and cucumber sauce, freeze dried rose petals. (Wife had smoked tofu tartare with the same toppings.)

French Revolution

French Revolution. Cheese soufflé with cauliflower soup.

Please Sir, I Want Some More

Please Sir, Can I Have Some More? Pan fried salmon on tomato pearl barley porridge, pecorino, chives, black onion. This was really good. (Wife had marinated eggplant replacing the fish.)

Don't Cry for Me, Argentina

Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina. Seared Murray cod, charred onion, mushroom, beef au jus, coriander parsley mojo verde. Reading the menu, I assumed this course would be beef, as it came in the right place, and that’s what Argentine is famous for, so I was surprised to get fish again. It was delicious. When I got home, I saw on the restaurant’s Instagram that this dish is indeed supposed to be beef, but it is cooked with coffee – so my dietary requirement kicked in and they replaced the beef with fish. (Wife had confit carrot instead of the beef/fish.)

Wicked Witch's Hat

Wicked Witch’s Hat. Pistachio daquoise, lime sorbet, passionfruit mousse, apple tuille. This was a really amazing dessert. It looks just like a witch’s hat! lots of good flavours and different textures.

Milk and Kibble

Milk and Kibble. Toasted barley gelato, milk and dark chocolate pearls, sugar crisp, warm chocolate milk.


L’Amour: Petit-fours of chocolate, raspberry sauce, vanilla cream.

It was an amazing lunch. We spent 2.5 hours there, and had a really lovely time. On the way home we popped into a few shops to look at some things we wanted to check out. I bought the 6th and final volume of Peter Ackroyd’s History of England, finishing of this history series that I started reading several years ago.

Back home, I spent the rest of the afternoon working hard at housecleaning. I vacuumed, and then I did a task I’ve been putting off for months – sweeping and washing the balcony. It still had autumn leaves on it! And lots of spider webs and dust. I swept it all up and then washed the tiles down with soapy water before rinsing it off. Much better now. I really should clean it every week, but it gets nasty during winter.

New content yesterday:

New content today:

New Thai food

This morning I had my face-to-face ethics class at the school. We moved on from the last topic about Fatalism, and now we’re discussing Determinism – the idea that everything is cause and effect, and that our decisions are caused by events including our upbringing, our emotional state, and other circumstances, such that we don’t really have a choice. It’s a tricky topic to discuss, particularly with kids. But they were engrossed in it! For the first half of the lesson they were all listening rapt to the dialogue and discussion, and I could see they were thinking about the issues in ways they’d never considered before. It devolved a little when we got to the point of demonstrating reflex actions (that we have no control over), by tapping under our kneecaps, when of course all the kids tried to do it and chaos ensued. They didn’t fully calm back down after that, but it was still a really good lesson.

For lunch today I went on a walk with my wife (her day off) and Scully to our favourite bakery. Except I decided to try a new place – there’s a Thai restaurant there that I’ve never tried before. I got a green curry chicken, and it was pretty good, but very filling as they didn’t offer any sort of lunch special, so I got a big serve of curry, and rice in a separate container, rather than what was designed as a single meal of curry and rice together in one container. So while good, I don’t know if I’ll get lunch there again.

Tonight it was three more Monster classes. One kid arrived on Zoom while I was wearing my skull mask, and he looked at me and immediately disconnected! It turned out he was having Internet issues, as he later sent me a message saying so, but for a few minutes I thought I’d scared him off.

The other news is that the weather has turned hot. Monday felt like winter still, but today it got up to 28.3°C, and I heard cicadas singing in the trees. Full on summer. I don’t think we had a proper spring at all.

New content today:

Groceries, banoffee, sausages

I picked up our grocery order this morning, after a bit of a sleep in following last night’s games night. We ended up playing Codenames and Sketchful, and a good time was had by all.

After lunch at home, I went for a walk with my wife and Scully to the Naremburn bakery. I had one of their banoffee tarts as a treat – they’re really good. I’d been craving one the last two times I went, but they rotate their baking selections every day so you can never be guaranteed that anything is there.

One the way home I popped into another supermarket that we walk past to grab some vegetarian sausages to go with our plans for some salad for dinner. I tried a new brand called MEaty, and they were pretty good.

In between, mostly I worked on writing a new batch of Irregular Webcomic! strips. I’m hoping to photograph them tomorrow, but I’ll need to finish off some writing before I can get to that. We’ll see how we go…

New content today:

A brewery lunch

So we ended up with a bit over 50 mm of rain overnight. Less than the forecast warning, but still quite a bit. It eased of a bit after dawn and the rest of the day was overcast and chilly but dry.

We went for a walk to get some lunch and exercise Scully. We ended up at the Flat Rock Brewery Cafe, which we’ve been thinking we should try for a meal one day. So today we sat down and had some lunch there. I had the chicken parmagiana and one of their New England pale ales. I would have tried another beer, but I had classes to teach in the afternoon, so limited it to one. It was pretty nice there and my wife enjoyed her meal too, so we’ll think about going back again some time.

Besides two ethics classes, I also had a science class with the girl from England. I did one on tectonic plates, earthquakes, and volcanoes, being our first taste of Earth sciences. I think next time I might do weather.

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