Listing things to write

Several times in the past weeks I’ve sat down to write my daily blog entry and thought, “There was a thing I wanted to write about today, but what was it?” And I’ve been unable to remember what it was. So I’ve started writing down brief notes to remind myself. Let’s see how we go today…

I’m overdue for a haircut. I’ve avoided going for the past few weeks because of the current COVID outbreak here in Sydney, but now it’s getting long enough that I think I really need to get a haircut soon. The NSW Government has ordered mandatory wearing of masks in places specifically including hairdressers and beauty salons. At first I thought okay, I can just go to the barber and wear a mask… but then today I realised that there’s no way they can cut my hair normally with a mask on, as the barber trims sideburns and around the ears and stuff where the mask straps are. So I don’t know how that works. (Some searching now reveals on the NSW Government site that “You may also remove your mask for the proper provision of goods or services, for example, if you are having a facial or beard trim.” So I suppose that applies.)

Secondly, I had my first ever peanut butter and jelly sandwich today. In the USA food package that I received the other day was a jar of Smucker’s Goober Grape PB&J. Peanut butter and jelly is a very American food. We don’t really have “jelly” like in the US here in Australia, so it’s actually not easy to replicate the effect, except by using jam, which usually has at least small chunks of fruit in it. Indeed, to most Australians, the very idea of mixing peanut butter with jam/jelly sounds disgusting, so it’s not something that most of us would try to experiment with, either. So yeah, I’ve never had it before. I do enjoy making a sandwich with peanut butter, honey, and cinnamon, so I’m not averse to mixing PB with something sweet. And I like jam. But I still approached this PB&J with a bit of trepidation.

PB&J prep

I took some photos of the preparation. I’m guessing that traditionally in the US PB&J is probably made with plain white bread, but I never buy plain white bread – I always get wholemeal or something with lots of seeds in it. But today the only bread I had was my home-made sourdough. So I spread the PB&J on a slice of sourdough.

The verdict: Well, it was mostly PB since the top of the jar seems to have a lower proportion of jelly in it than further down. It tasted fine, PB with a bit of sweetness mixed in, not disgusting at all. I’m interested to see how it goes when I get further down the jar, where the jelly ratio looks higher. I expect it’ll be perfectly fine, even yummy.

In market news today, I received an email from Kirribilli Markets, where I’m supposed to have a stall this Sunday. I thought it might be notice of cancellation due to COVID, but no. It said that they’d been informed that the current railway sleeper replacement work being done on the Harbour Bridge was behind schedule, so instead of finishing this Friday, it would extend over the weekend. Which means no trains running to the station where the markets are located. They figured this would reduce shopper turnout enough that they felt the need to postpone the market for a week, moving it to Sunday 17 January. At first I thought this would conflict with my other market, which is on the third Sunday of each month, but then I realised that that market had already cancelled for January. So there’s no conflict – it just means this weekend’s market is moved to a week later.

Workwise today I had planned to complete all of the Irregular Webcomic! annotation writing by lunchtime, and then move on to writing new Darths & Droids strips. As it turns out, I had so many distractions that I still haven’t completed the IWC annotations, and probably won’t until tomorrow. I try to schedule a certain amount of “worklike” stuff each day, but it’s often amazing how long it ends up taking.

And I reached a milestone in my Italian practice today. I’ve been using Duolingo every day for a practice session for 183 days, more than half a year as of today. I’ve had longer streaks before, but I was interrupted by travel towards the end of 2019 and took a while to get restarted. But I’m pleased to have made it six full months of practice again.

Oh, and finally I got a photo of some rainbow lorikeets while taking Scully for a walk today.

Rainbow lorikeets

New content today:

A big storm

Rather than just light rain today, we had a full on summer thunderstorm.

storm

That was the rain radar image at one point. It was spectacularly heavy rain and intense lightning and thunder. The thunder just kept rumbling and more lightning would add more thunder before the previous peal had died away, so it was continuous rumbling thunder for several minutes at one point. Before the storm (which hit about 4 pm) it was very warm and humid – very tropical feeling weather.

I spent the morning shooting photos for Irregular Webcomic! My wife was back at the office for work, so I had time alone to spread the Lego boxes all over the floor and generally make a mess, before cleaning it all up in time for her to come home. So she doesn’t know about the mess… except she reads this blog so now she does!

Also today I received a package in the mail, all the way from the USA. I did a food swap with a friend in the US, and they sent me a bunch of American foods, while I sent them a bunch of Australian stuff.

American food care package

Some of these things I’ve had before and know I like, while some will be a new experience, including the Twinkies, Goldfish Crackers, stuffed marshmallows, Goober Peanut Butter and Jelly. And I told them I like hot sauces, so I got a cool selection of new ones to try! It’ll take me a while to get through all of this stuff.

New content today:

Photo batches x2

First cab off the rank this morning was photographing a new batch of Irregular Webcomic! strips. I finished writing them on the weekend, but was busy with golf yesterday morning, so I didn’t get started then. I like to do them as soon as my wife leaves for work with Scully, so I have the house to myself, because it makes a big mess on the floor with all my Lego boxes laid out all over the place. If I start by 9 o’clock, I can be done just before lunchtime, then have a nice lunch to wind down.

This batch is big enough to take me beyond Christmas – wow, that’s not far away now is it? I just need to assemble the photos into the strips and write annotations over the next few days.

The other photographic thing that happened today is I got delivery of a new batch of greeting cards, printed with selections of my wildlife photos. I’ve added one of the new card images to Etsy already. I’ll add the second new card to my Etsy shop in a day or two. I also restocked on my cards for the sea lion photo, which were sold out after the market I did a couple of weeks ago.

And in other good news, my comics just updated, and it looks like the mysterious Tuesday cron job failure for Irregular Webcomic! has not occurred this week. It’s updated correctly! I had implemented a logging function on the cron job, so now if it does fail again I can diagnose it a bit and see exactly what part of the chain is failing. But hopefully now that I’ve done that I won’t need it. 😀

Oh, and look at this Sith car I spotted!

Sith car

New content today:

Getting stuck into that comics batch

That’s pretty much what I did today: Worked on the next batch of Irregular Webcomic! strips.

I started with the photography first thing in the morning after breakfast. That took me up to close to lunch time, when I took a break to go out for a walk and get a tandoori chicken pie for lunch. After lunch I started work on assembling the comics in Photoshop. I’m about halfway through that task.

I did take another break to take Scully to the park for some exercise and play with other dogs. While there I noticed some construction/drilling work being done at two sites in the dog park. The regulars told me that this was the beginning of exploratory drilling for construction of the new Western Harbour Tunnel road project, which was approved just a few weeks ago.

The new harbour tunnel will pass directly below the dog park, and there’ll be construction sites and stuff interfering with the park for the next six years. We may even lose part of the dog park permanently – that’s not clear yet.

The annoying thing is that Sydney’s road infrastructure is being expanded at a rapid rate in a misguided effort to “reduce congestion” – when adding roads merely induces demand to the point where congestion is just as bad as before. All the city planners and traffic planners know this, but the NSW Government keeps building more roads anyway, because the drivers/voters demand it. Ugh.

New content today:

Back to the comics grind

It’s Monday, the day after my weekend trip, and that means back to work – making comics! I had to compete writing a new batch of Irregular Webcomic! today, in preparation for photographing tomorrow morning.

Apart from that, I did a large grocery shop, since we were out of a lot of things and the shopping list was pretty full.

And I went through some more of the photos from the weekend trip. Here’s that floodwater that stopped us driving further along the road that was cut off:

Gerringong Creek flooded

An artistic shot of the suspension bridge over the creek:

Gerringong Creek suspension bridge

And a pied currawong:

Pied currawong

New content today:

Busy busy Monday

The start of a new working week! I had a lot of chores and tasks I wanted to get done today. First cab off the rank was a 5k run. The weather was a lot cooler than last week, which I think helped, and I felt a bit more at ease through the last few laps than last week, and ran a better time of 27:32, so that’s good. Although I’m beginning to think the 26:32 I ran a few weeks ago might have been a GPS glitch that credited me with more distance in a shorter time somehow, as I haven’t been able to break 27 minutes since.

I had some errands to run, visiting the post office to mail some things that somebody bought from me, and then a tailor to drop off a jacket for alteration. I got a new lightweight cotton jacket on the trip to the city a week or so ago, and it’s good, but the breast pocket is weirdly sideways – it opens on the side rather than the top, and I feel that as soon as I put anything in there it will just fall out unless I button the flap over it, which is just annoying and not normally something I do with pockets. So I put it in to be altered by removing the flap, stitching up the side, and unstitching the top, to turn it into a normal pocket. I don’t quite understand how any clothing designer could thing a pocket that opens on the side and not the top is a good idea. I had to wait about 15 minutes in the tailor’s shop because there was a woman in there ahead of me, having a dress altered, and she was wearing it and making lots of little adjustments and the tailor was putting pins in all over the place, and it honestly took about 15 minutes until they were done and I was served.

I spent the afternoon writing Irregular Webcomic! annotations to fully finish off that batch I started working on last week. And picked up Scully from my wife’s work and took her to a nearby park (not our usual dog park, which is a short drive away) for some ball chasing. There was a woman there with a boy about 6 or 7 years old, and he was keen to throw the ball and have Scully chase it, so I let him do that a bit.

The conversation with my friends about the definition of a game slopped over into today, with someone suggesting the following:

I’m imagining a pastime in which people take turns drawing cards with activities named on each card, such as Monopoly, Settlers of Catan, or Snakes and Ladders [or maybe even soccer, or crossword puzzles], and then attempt to refine an evolving definition of “game” such that there are more cards in front of that person meeting that definition than anyone else. This proceeds until someone draws a card named “This Pastime” at which point the pastime ends, and either the current definition of “game” encompasses the pastime itself, in which case someone may win, or else the definition does not encompass the pastime, in which case the people were not playing a game after all, it was merely a pastime.

New content today:

Comic photos day

It was a busy day today. First thing off the agenda was the weekly grocery shop. Normally it’s a short drive up to the supermarket, but today there was some sort of traffic blockage on the street I normally take. I could see police lights flashing, and the traffic at a standstill. So I turned off into a back street and took a roundabout route, which took me several minutes longer, but probably faster than waiting to get through the blockage.

When I got home, I started doing photography for the batch of Irregular Webcomic! strips that I finished writing yesterday. I got about halfway through and then took a break for lunch. I walked up to the oval and ran a 1k, and managed my fastest time, a second faster than previously, at 4:25.

I grabbed some lunch on the way home, and then finished off photographing the comics. Then it was time to go pick up Scully from my wife’s office, and bring her home. Then shortly after that my wife came home, and we went out for dinner at the local pizza place.

Oh, I forgot to post a photo I took yesterday of the cool change hitting after the hot day:

Cold change

New content today:

Comic writing day

Not much to report today. I spent most of the day writing a new batch of Irregular Webcomic! scripts. I powered through plenty of scripts, and I should be ready to take photos for them tomorrow.

The other notable thing about today was the weather. It was very warm, getting up to 31.7°C in Sydney, which is unusually warm for September, to say the least, although a couple of degrees short of the all-time record for the month. But the heat lasted until pretty much 4pm, when I was at the dog park with Scully. We were standing there in the still warmth, and then suddenly a strong gust of wind blew in across the harbour, and the temperature dropped from “this is quite warm” to “oh! I wish I was wearing something warmer!” in a matter of a few seconds. It was the most remarkable and sudden change of conditions I’ve seen. By the time we left the dog park a few minutes later, it was so chilly that I really was regretting wearing only a T-shirt and shorts. Tomorrow is forecast to reach a maximum of only 20°C.

New content today:

Huge annotation day

I spent basically all day today working on Irregular Webcomic! annotations. I just finished now, after 9pm. Most of it was one annotation, that I started writing yesterday. I finished it off today, and made a couple of diagrams to illustrate it. It ended up being over 5000 words long. Which is a lot of technical, researched writing to do in a single day, believe me.

I’m exhausted…

New content today:

Double cold weekend

Sunday dawned cold and windy, much as yesterday, although today we managed a degree higher, with 17°C being the maximum temperature in Sydney. Again I stayed indoors for most of the day, only venturing out with my wife and Scully for a bit of afternoon play and exercise in a nearby park. They also visited my mother-in-law for morning tea, leaving me at home to deal with constructing the final few Irregular Webcomic! strips from the current batch, and launch into writing annotations for them.

Oh, but if you were worried about me freezing to death in this horrid 16-17°C Antarctic cold, don’t despair. The forecast for the coming week has our Sydney winter temperatures back up to a comfortable 26°C.

I’m currently in the middle of writing an annotation for one, which requires a considerable amount of work and research. I’ve written 1900 words so far, and am not even really close to being finished. I’ll have to leave it until tomorrow.

Last night to relax during the evening I watch the 1986 movie Labyrinth, for the first time ever. I feel like I was catching up on a bit of my childhood that I somehow missed at the time. It was exactly the sort of movie I would have watched and enjoyed as a child, except for some reason I never did see it at the time. Although in a modern sense the film is very dated and not very sophisticated, I enjoyed watching it – perhaps more for the sense that it made me feel like a kid again than for its own intrinsic quality.

New content today: