Fitness day!

Today I met my friend to play golf at the Par 3 Pitch and Putt course. My relative handicap was reduced down to 15 after I won last time with 16. (We play match play with jackpotting of halved holes.) But today I was really on fire, and my friend was struggling a bit, and I ended up trouncing him 14 points to 4. Without the handicap, my total score for 18 holes was only 3 strokes higher than his. So next time we play, my handicap will go down again.

I also managed the only birdie of the day, with a monster putt – it was in the range 15-20 metres long, and curved a good metre and a half to the right as it rolled along the green. So I’m pretty happy with that.

On the way home I stopped off at my favourite pie shops for lunch, having a pepper steak pie and a chicken/asparagus/corn one. Normally I go for more exotic flavours – they do a really nice butter chicken and a good Thai curry chicken pie – but I decided to try things I wouldn’t normally get today, and they were good.

I rested a bit at home, and then took off for this week’s 5k run! My goal was to beat last week’s 28:05, and today I managed 27:52. Let me tell you, it’s a real struggle in those middle laps to keep going. Fortunately I didn’t miscount laps like last week, so didn’t have to pick up and run another lap when I thought I’d finished!

Back at home I made potato salad for dinner, to go with some vegetarian sausages. I do love a good potato salad.

New content today:

Full metal golf x2

My golfing friend invited me to play today at a new course: North Ryde Golf Club. We planned to play the first 9 holes and then decide if we wanted to continue with the second 9.

Hole 2, North Ryde Golf Club

It’s a nice course, with a few lakes. Being a large green area with water in the middle of urban Sydney, it seems to attract a lot of birds. In this photo (above), which is from the 2nd hole tee, you can see a group of Australian wood ducks.

Hole 3, North Ryde Golf Club

Hole 3 (above) is a nice short one. The course was busy, and we often had to wait for groups in front of us to move on before we played our shots. After completing the front 9, we decided to continue on and play the back 9. As soon as we teed off on hole 10, it started raining. Steady but not too heavy. We pressed on.

But after a few holes, my friend said his back was starting to ache, so he pulled the plug and left, but I decided to continue and finish the complete round. I was playing behind a group of four who were pretty slow, but there was no point playing through them as they were being held up by at least two other groups ahead of them. So I went into zen mode and just relaxed and enjoyed being outdoors on this chilly, rainy winter’s day.

Hole 17, North Ryde Golf Club

The rain eventually eased off and I approached the end of the round (hole 17 above). I actually joined up with the group of four for the last hole, and it turned out they were middle-aged beginners as well. They all teed off on the short par 3, hitting their balls in various skewy places. Then I stepped up and cracked my ball straight onto the green! My first putt almost went in too – it was a good 5 metres long, and it curled around the lip of the hole but didn’t fall in, instead continuing another metre or two (requiring another two putts for a bogey, alas).

Overall, I had a good time, getting some exercise, and also spotting all the birds on the course. I saw: Australian magpie, Australian raven, Australian white ibis, Australian wood duck, Dusky moorhen, Magpie-lark, Rainbow lorikeet, Sulphur-crested cockatoo, Welcome swallow, White-faced heron.

With travel time, I was out of the house over five hours. Throw in cooking dinner and walking Scully and that was pretty much the day.

New content today:

Full metal golf

I returned to the local 9-hole golf course today for my first game on a normal length course since cutting my hand. (After playing the par-3 pitch and putt course last week.) And I actually went really well. The hand was fine, and I took a bit more care hitting with the driver off the tee, and I ended up scoring my best ever round on that course: 55 strokes for the 9 holes. So that was good!

I spent most of the rest of the day writing annotations for the latest batch of Irregular Webcomic! strips. I spent a good four hours on one of them, ending up with 2300 words, 5 footnotes, 6 equations, a graph, and a diagram. Hopefully it’s both informative and amusing!

I also made some banana “ice cream”, by blending a couple of overripe bananas and a big spoon of peanut butter, and sticking the resulting mush into the freezer. I’m about to try some to see how it turned out…

Mmm, it’s good. And Scully likes it too!

New content today:

Improving my handicap

This morning I played golf for the first time since injuring my hand. I met a friend for a round at the “par 3 pitch and putt” course we’ve played several times. Last time we played match play with me having a relative handicap of 17, and I won, so this time we reduced my handicap to 16. It was a tight contest, and my friend could have tied the round and forced us into a play-off hole by winning the 18th, but we halved the hole, and so I ended up on slightly more points, winning again. Next time we’ll reduce my handicap another stroke to 15.

My putting wasn’t great, but I made up for it with some good tee shots. One tee shot landed on the green and rolled gently past the hole, maybe 10 centimetres away, although it didn’t stop until a couple of metres past the hole – but it had been darn close to going in.

And the good news is that my left hand held up well. I was able to play all the strokes with as much strength as I wanted, without any problem or pain.

Tonight I have to stay up until 2am, because I have an online meeting for ISO photography standards. This meeting was scheduled for New York City this week, but obviously with the COVID-19 situation I’m not able to travel there, nor are most of the other delegates. ISO is holding all meetings virtually at the moment, currently until at least the end of September. Which means it affects our next meeting as well, which was scheduled for Tampere in Finland in September. The meeting after that I am actually supposed to be hosting right here in Sydney, in February, but it remains to be seen whether that will go ahead face-to-face or virtually.

Anyway, because this week’s meeting is notionally hosted in New York City, the agenda schedule is on New York time. Normally it would be 9-5, which corresponds to 11pm to 7am for me – just about maximally awful. Especially given I am not in any way a night owl – I work best in the morning and start getting too tired to do much of anything by about 9pm. But fortunately the organiser decided that the meetings could be compressed into 9-12 New York time, meaning 11pm to 2am for me. Which is better (both for me and the numerous Japanese delegates), but it means we have to extend into an extra day, so I have these hours Tuesday, Wednesday Thursday, and Friday night (normally the meeting would go over just three days).

So… honestly I’m not looking forward to having to concentrate on highly technical content in an online meeting lasting until 2am, four nights in a row. But I’m just going to have to knuckle down and power through it, and hopefully catch up on sleep on the weekend.

New content today:

Winter walking

My wife had stuff to do this morning and asked me to take Scully on a nice long walk to keep her occupied. I walked down to Greenwich Baths – basically this walk that I did a photo essay on a few weeks ago, although with some extra pieces and a minor changes. It was chilly, as the weather has turned quite wintry here in the past week.

And I was surprised when we got to the baths to see an old lady, must have been in her 80s, getting ready to go swimming in the water of the harbour! As I watched, rugged up in my rugby jersey and a jacket over the top, she descended the ramp into the water and proceeded to swim laps. I’m don’t know how she even got in there, as the baths are fenced off and closed during the winter months – either she sneaked past the fence somehow, or she has some sort of secret way to get a key.

Back home, I worked on another photo essay, converting into a web page – a shortish one I did of a round I played at a local golf course. Maybe not as exciting as all the cool historical architecture I’ve bee learning about in the other walks I’ve been doing.

My wife is getting into cooking with me unable to do so (easily) because of my bandaged hand. Today she made pesto pasta with asparagus, pine nuts, and parmesan cheese for dinner, and it was really good. I should get her to cook more often! 😄

New content today:

Long slog

So yesterday I intended to write at least three Darths & Droids strips, and got zero done. Rinse, repeat. I did however, get some story planning done, and discuss some plot points with fellow writers. So that wasn’t a total loss.

What did I get done today? Hmm. Oh that’s right, I played golf this morning with a friend, at the pitch ‘n’ putt course (all holes par 3). After last time I lost badly with a matchplay/skins handicap of 16, my friend granted me an increase to 17. But today I played a lot better, and ended up winning 12-6. So next time we play there I’ll go back down to a handicap of 16. My total round for 18 holes was 79 strokes, which was 2 better than my previous record of 81. So I was pretty pleased with that!

I didn’t get home until after lunch, so that’s where half my day went. I spent some time dealing with housework stuff – we had to buy a new vacuum cleaner because our old one broke the other day, and I had some unboxing and then discarding of packaging and the old vacuum cleaner to do.

And there was some Scully walking… in the rain, as the weather closed in a bit after lunch. Walking a dog in nice weather is fine, but having to do it in inclement, cold weather is a bit of a chore.

This evening I’m playing some Codenames online with some friends. My team-mate just clued “LINUS 2” and I guessed the words PUMPKIN and VAN (from the grid of 25 words), and got them correct. And both of our opponents were absolutely mystified as to how I managed to guess the correct words!

New content today:

Good and lousy

I went to play some golf this morning at nearest local 9-hole course. It was early and the grass was very dewy. I had a pretty good putting day, and even sank a short chip onto the green, but my driving really let me down on many holes. I did manage to score one par, with a tee shot landing just off the green, followed by a short chip, and then sinking a putt of a little under 2 metres, so that was satisfying.

At home I baked a loaf of bread, which turned out very nice. And while the oven was hot I thought I’d try an experiment and see if the old pre-made puff pastry we’ve had sitting in the freezer for ages would be able to be rolled up and baked into something resembling a croissant. Bakers out there are probably laughing at me already, but wait until you see this photo…

"Rustic" croissants

I generously call them “rustic” croissants. Actually they weren’t too bad, with either butter or strawberry jam, although it really was more like “puff pastry with butter/jam” than a croissant.

And my wife was laughing so hard at them, and asked if she could send the photo to her nephew, who is currently working overseas in Paris. She said that the first thing he sees when he wakes up this morning (in the Paris time zone) will be her message containing delicious looking croissants! It’ll make his mouth water and he’ll have to dash out to buy some freshly baked croissants from a Parisian boulangerie to try and satisfy his sudden craving!

Yeah…

Experimenting with cooking is fun!

New content today:

Bad parring

We have a good method of making cheap chew toys for Scully. I buy a bunch of 100% cotton rope from the hardware store, cut it into lengths, and tie knots to stop it fraying. Scully loves playing tug-o-war with these ropes, and chewing them.

Scully's old play rope

A couple of days ago when I went past the hardware store I bought a new batch of rope. When I got it home I took the wrapper off… and oops!

Scully's new play rope

We couldn’t get it off her for a while! And just for fun here’s another photo fo Scully, from yesterday.

Scully with flowers

This morning I went to play golf with my friend, at the “pitch and putt” course where I first learnt to play. We did a rematch of the golf “skins” game we did a couple of weeks ago. Since I won that one with a handicap of 18, he suggested reducing my handicap to 16 for today. This meant that for the hardest 16 holes I only had to equal his score to win the hole, but for the two easiest hole I actually had to beat his score to win the hole. I thought he was still being generous after last time, but today I played poorly, and he won easily, 12 points to 6.

Here’s my best tee shot of the day.

My tee shot

Unfortunately I took two putts to sink it from there. Contrast my friend’s best tee shot of the day:

Andrew's tee shot

That’s my ball at the bottom. His ball is less than a forearm’s length from the hole. But that wasn’t the best shot we saw today. Another guy playing a hole near us scored a hole in one! I saw part of this shot, and the ball rolling on the green, but didn’t see it fall in the hole. However there was no mistaking it when people nearby exclaimed loudly and the man himself celebrated, and took a photo of the ball in the hole. So that was pretty cool.

New content today:

Cauliflower Bomb!

This morning I went to play a round of golf at the local course. I enjoyed the time outside and getting some exercise, but my round was poor, scoring my equal worst total for the 9 holes. So let’s forget that and move on.

Speaking of high scores, I spent some time calculating my score in the Goldfish Draft Magic: the Gathering tournament that I mentioned yesterday. I needed a spreadsheet to keep track, and ended up with a score of 7.8×10144, as best I can estimate. That’s nowhere near the winning score, alas, as at least three of the other players have been mentioning that their scores require Knuth’s up-arrow notation to write down succinctly.

Tonight for dinner I cooked a thing taken from a TV recipe that my wife saw the other day. It’s a roast miso-seasoned cauliflower, with a bunch of toppings an garnishes. The recipe is here (although it doesn’t list the ingredients for the cashew cream, which is 2/3 cup cashews, 1 tbsp maple syrup, and 1 tsp apple cider vinegar).

Miso Cauliflower Bomb

It wasn’t hard to make, and it was delicious! I’ll definitely be cooking this again.

New content today:

Birdie Num Num

This morning I had a virtual meeting via Zoom for Standards Australia on photography standards. This is the follow-up to the international meeting I had in February, where I report back to the Australian experts on what happened and the progress of the various standards the international committee is working on. Normally we meet face-to-face, but this is the first online meeting of the Aus group under coronavirus restrictions. It went smoothly enough, except that my wife is also working from home at the same time, on the phone a lot, and our place isn’t large. I had to use the bedroom as my virtual office.

Unrelated good news: Scully is definitely on the mend from her illness. She’s eating more and is more active rather than lethargic.

And in other good news, I needed some exercise after my meeting this morning, so I played a round of golf after lunch. The course was busy, and I had a slow pair of what looked like a father and son, about 10 years old, ahead of me. So I had a bit of waiting at each tee for them to clear the fairway ahead of me. And then another pair came up behind me – a girl about 12 years old and (presumably) her brother, maybe 9 or 10 years. I saw their father drop them off at the car park, but COVID restrictions here limit golf groups to a maximum of two people, so the kids were playing by themselves. And they were good! Better golfers than me.

So anyway, they came up behind me as I was waiting to tee off at hole 3. I decided to let them go ahead of me, because I didn’t want the pressure of people coming up behind. I told them that they were better players than I was. After we all finished hole 3, the kids teed off on hole 4 (after a bit of a wait for the father/son pair ahead of them). This is the intimidating hole I’ve posted before:

Hole 4, par 3

You have to hit your tee shot over the creek. I’ve lost a fair few golf balls in there. Anyway, the kids hit immaculate tee shots, the boy landing just off the green and the girl landing on the green. I think they both two-putted for pars. The tee for the next hole was still occupied, so they sat to wait on a bench, facing back towards hole 3, and me at the tee. So they were watching me play.

I hit the tee shot sweetly and it sailed high in the air… bounced right on the green, and rolled to a stop about 2.5 metres from the hole. Not bad! I walked over to the green and lined up the putt… and sank it! I scored a birdie! Only my second one ever, after last week’s. As I walked off the green to my golf bag, the girl called out, “Well done!”

I could have played it cool and suave, but I actually replied excitedly that that was the first birdie I’d ever scored on this course.

But how cool is it to have a stranger watch something you’re doing and spontaneously burst out with a genuine, “Well done!”?

New content today: