Getting back up to speed

I was up to 2am last night, with my ISO Photography Standards meeting, as explained yesterday. The meeting chair kept things moving and was meticulous with keeping discussion to time, so we didn’t go late, and the meeting ended as scheduled at 2am Sydney time (midday in New York City). By the time I brushed my teeth and otherwise prepared for bed it was about 20 minute past – an incredibly late night for me.

I woke this morning around 7am, since one late night isn’t enough to trigger a change of morning rising habit, so I didn’t get a normal night’s sleep. So now as late evening approaches, I’m pretty tired already…. but have to stay up again and participate in technical discussion until 2am all over again. I just have to keep the finish line of Friday night in mind.

Today I worked on a new batch of Irregular Webcomic! strips – the first new ones I’ve been able to make since I injured my hand. I didn’t have time to write a normal full batch of 20 strips (4 weeks worth), only managing to write 10 before I decided I had to go ahead and start photographing and assembling, because I need new strips ready for tomorrow night’s update when the guest strips sent by Chris Burke run out.

Normally I take the photos when my wife and Scully are out of the house, because it involves a big mess all over the living room floor as I lay out all my Lego boxes. However with my wife working from home at the moment due to COVID-19, it’s difficult to find such times. Fortunately today was Scully’s 6-weekly grooming appointment at the dog groomer. So I dropped her off and then rushed through taking the Lego photos while she at least was out of the house.

The dog groomer moved premises recently, and this was the first time we’d been to the new premises. It’s really nice, in a more modern building (the move was because the previous building is going to be demolished for redevelopment), with more space for the all the dogs in daycare. Scully was a bit nervous at first because she didn’t know what this new place was about, but as soon as she recognised the groomer she was happy.

Now, to kill another hour or so and then try to stay alert through three hours of technical standards work…

New content today:

Fortnightly games night

It’s the Friday of our fortnightly board games night, and I am currently in the middle of a game of Bärenpark as I type this up, via Tabletop Simulator as we hold it virtually during COVID lockdown.

This morning I did a weekly grocery shop. I’ve scaled down the shopping list after realising that I was buying too much food for us to eat in a week, so it was a smaller shop than it has been the last few weeks. After that I spent the rest of the morning photographing the new batch of Irregular Webcomic! comics that I finished writing last night, which took up until lunch time.

This afternoon I went out with my wife and Scully to check out the new premises of her doggy daycare and grooming place, which is moving this weekend. It’s near a kitchen supply shop, and I went in to buy a new kitchen knife. Turned out they had a huge sale on knife sets, so I ended up getting a set of 6 knives and matching knife block. I’m quite excited, as we’ve only ever had cheap knives before, and now I feel like a proper chef with a fancy set of knives.

New content today:

Comic batching

Today was a writing day, churning out scripts for a new batch of Irregular Webcomic. I actually started this earlier in the week, but my plan was to do the photography on Friday morning, and I realised this morning that I was less than halfway to having a batch written and ready to photograph. So I had to knuckle down and bet funny and write stuff today. I just finished the batch a few minutes ago, after 8pm.

In between I went for a walk, made a loaf of banana bread, and cooked a dinner of vegetarian sausages, garlic mashed potatoes, and crispy fried Brussels sprouts with miso, garlic, and chilli. It’s about as unhealthy as you can get for a vegetarian meal! But it was delicious.

Oh… it’s getting cool enough at night that Scully has started wearing pyjamas…

Scully with pyjamas

New content today:

Knuckle down Sunday

I need to get a new batch of Irregular Webcomic! photographed and started assembly before Friday this week, since that’s when my buffer runs out. My plan is to photograph on Monday, to give me time to start assembling comics and writing annotations before Friday. That timetable requires me to have a batch of 20+ comic scripts ready to shoot on Monday morning. Which required me to write 20 comic scripts… today.

Normally I take 2-4 days to write a batch of comics. It’s not easy work – you can’t just sit down and be funny and reel off script after script. It doesn’t work like that. There’s writer’s block, distractions, workshopping various possibilities, writing joke attempts and determining if they’re not funny enough, and even sometimes doing actual research involving web searches, reading Wikipedia pages or other websites. On average, I’m lucky if I can write 6 or 7 strips in one day.

Today I chained myself to the desk, threw on some music, and blasted out some comics. I started before 9am, and now, just after 7pm as I write this, I have written 23 new strips, which is a slightly larger batch than normal. (I was inspired for one theme and write some extra strips.)

Phew!

And now I’m going to relax and watch some TV.

New content today:

COVID effects

Australia reached 200 confirmed cases of COVID-19 today, and the precautions and responses have begun to affect me. Firstly, this morning I received email from the organisers of That Great Market, where I was to have me second stall tomorrow, selling my photography prints. They have decided to cancel the market, citing both the virus precautions and also forecast bad weather, with wind and rain that would make the outdoors stalls tricky.

A knock-on effect of this is that I had booked a car hire to transport my goods to the stall (since my own car isn’t large enough). So I had to cancel the car hire, less than 24 hours before pick-up. According to the hire terms, that means zero refund – I still pay the full rental amount. So rather than making some money at the market stall to cover costs and make some profit, I’ve now had an expense with no chance to recover the outlay. The market stall booking fee is being rolled over to a later market, although honestly I can’t see next month’s one going ahead either at this point.

Next, I decided I should cancel Monday’s visit to Brookvale school. I should have gone to talk to kids about science, and run the Science Club, but for the safety of both myself and all the kids in the school I decided it’s probably better not to go ahead.

That meant I didn’t need to spend today preparing for the visit, and I used to time to finish off making the last batch of Irregular Webcomic strips that I photographed on Monday. I still need to write all the annotations, which I’ll do over the next couple of days.

For dinner tonight my wife and I went (with Scully) to a new pizza place we hadn’t tried before, 10 minutes drive from home. It’s a small place in a tiny cluster of shops surrounded by houses, and it was bustling with local business. It was good, and inexpensive, and the owner came out to have a chat with us as we ate. Our sort of place! We’ll definitely go back again.

New content today:

Ethics and comics

This morning was my weekly Ethics class, teaching Year 6 children at a nearby school. With the weather better than last week, I walked to the school, taking the chance to be out in the fresh air. This is only my third week with this new class, and I have 21 names to try to remember. I wondered if any might be away, with parents perhaps starting to worry about coronavirus and keeping them out of school, but I actually had more kids than the previous two classes, with only 1 away today.

Once they’d arrived after the morning bell, I tried to remember as many names as I could as I handed out nametag stickers again. I managed to remember most of them, but still have a few to go. Hopefully by next week I’ll have them all down.

We discussed fairness in society today, with several examples of potential new school rules regarding who would and would not be allowed to do various activities. We had a very good discussion and most of the kids were participating well, but this year I have a couple of boys who think it’s funny to be disruptive, and they’re playing off each other, so it’s much worse than just one troublemaker. I’ve been pretty strict with them so they get the message that I’m not to be messed with. Hopefully it will get better as the year goes on.

Back home, all I did the rest of the day was work on assembling Irregular Webcomic strips from the photos I took on Monday. I got most of them done, but still have a few to finish off. And that was the day!

New content today:

Comic production accelerated

It was rainy again this morning. I used the time to finish off writing the batch of Irregular Webcomic strips that I started yesterday. I decided that if I could finish writing by 10 am, I might have enough time before lunch to photograph them all as well.

It was tight, but I managed to knock out the last few jokes just in time, and then I faced the challenge of shooting 20 new strips in just over two hours. Normally I’d take longer than that, so I raced through it. It wasn’t helped by the fact that I had to run down to the garage to dig out some specialised Lego pieces to use for some of the strips – twice.

I store most of my Lego bricks in plastic tubs and storage drawers in the garage. I only have up in the house the minifigures and a small selection of commonly used set pieces. So I often need to run down to find more esoteric pieces when doing a shoot. Despite having to do this twice, I managed to finish the last photo right on the 12:00 exactly. I spent a few minutes packing up, and then decided to go for a walk to treat myself to a nice lunch at the Cuban place up the street.

The rain sputtered out in the afternoon, leaving a sky punctuated by clouds. I took Scully to the park for some exercise, and to enjoy the view.

Passing showers

New content today:

No-photo Sunday

I woke up a bit before the 05:30 alarm this morning – I always wake up just before whenever I set an alarm, it’s a weird sense that I have. My plan was to head to the beach before sunrise and take some photos.

But I could hear heavy rain falling outside. I quickly checked the rain radar on my phone, and saw that multiple rain bands were blowing up from the south, and it was likely to be raining for a few more hours. So I decided to abandon photography plans, turned over, and went back to sleep.

We (me, my wife, and Scully) all slept until after 8 o’clock! We haven’t had a good lie-in for ages, and I think we all got good value out of the extra hours of sleep. And it was still raining when we got up, so it looks like abandoning the photo expedition was the right call.

My wife took Scully out for a couple of trips today – to the city to check out The Rocks Market, and then to her mother’s place to visit. This gave me some time to concentrate on writing a new batch of Irregular Webcomic strips. The goal was to write four weeks worth (20+ strips) in one day, but that’s very ambitious given how long it takes to come up with each joke. I didn’t make it in the end, but I got close. Hopefully I can polish off the last few tomorrow morning and then get stuck into photographing them.

New content today: