Lightning fast comic writing

Today I had one task I really wanted to complete: Write a new batch of Irregular Webcomic! strips. The current batch runs out this week, so I wanted to be able to photograph a new batch tomorrow morning – which meant writing the whole lot today. Normally it takes me at least a couple of days, sometimes more, to write a batch, as it can be slow work sometimes, with writer’s block and not being able to think of jokes at will. But today I powered through it and … I’ve just finished the batch now, at almost 10pm.

In between I had three ethics classes to teach, Scully to take for walks a few times, dinner to cook, and some sourdough bread to make. Phew.

New content today:

Market without being at market

As mentioned yesterday, today I helped my wife organise her market stall to sell dog bandanas. We got up early and drove over to the market with all the stuff we needed. It’s a bit hectic setting up there, as there is very restricted car access near the market, so you have to queue up for a bit and wait for a car/van to leave before being ushered into the tiny parking area to unload your stuff and get out again as quickly as possible.

We did this and I drove back home with Scully, leaving my wife to handle the stall by herself until the market closed at 3pm, when we did the whole thing in reverse to pack up and head home.

So I had much of the day to myself (and Scully). I spent it writing the rest of that batch of Irregular Webcomic! that I began yesterday. It’s now complete and I can do the photography probably on Tuesday morning when I don’t have any ethics classes.

Speaking of which, I had three more tonight: two of the 10-12 age group, and one class of the new 13-15 group, which had three of the most mature students from the previous class who transferred into it for this year. I think my favourite classes are actually on Sunday evenings, as these classes all have great groups of kids in them.

My wife sold some bandanas and was happy with what she achieved, so that was good. She has a different market booked in a few weeks to see how it goes in a different suburb as well.

New content today:

An anniversary

It’s New Year’s Eve, 2022.

On New Year’s Eve, 2002, I posted this on my web site:

the first Irregular Webcomic! strip

Which makes today the 20th anniversary of Irregular Webcomic!

Who ever thought that I’d still be posting comics under the same banner twenty years later? I didn’t, and in fact I had no idea that the anniversary was today, until a reader told me about it earlier today. So I didn’t have anything special planned to celebrate.

But New Year’s Eve is kind of a celebration anyway. My wife and I had our traditional wine and cheese snacks after dinner. And we noticed Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore was newly available on Netflix, so we watched that just now while waiting for midnight to roll around.

See you in 2023!

New content today:

Navigating car navigation

I got up early this morning to take the car in for its annual service. I took Scully, and after dropping off the car we walked home. The goal was to get home after my wife left for work, so that Scully wouldn’t notice her leaving. We managed it, barely, as I spotted my wife leaving and walking down the street as we approached, but fortunately Scully didn’t see her and go running after her.

At home I had just enough time to eat breakfast before my ISO Photography Standards meeting. We discussed depth cameras and organising experiments for them to measure various performance statistics such as depth accuracy, resolution, noise, and so on.

After that I photographed the new batch of Irregular Webcomic! strips. That took me until about 11:30, at which point the car service place rang up and told me the car was ready to pick up. I had lunch at home, and then took Scully for a walk back to the car place. We drove home via the bakery at Naremburn, where I picked up a half dozen fruit mince tarts. Last year we had tarts from this bakery and they were the best ones from all of the places around that we sampled.

On the drive home, I checked the GPS navigation in the car, for which I’d asked them to update the maps. The GPS location seemed to be working, but the maps layer was completely absent. I called them up when I got home, and they said to bring the car back in fr them to look at it. So I had to drive back to the service centre. I waited while they fiddled with it. They tried redownloading the maps into the SD card and reinstalling in the car, and that worked.

I came home again, and spent some time editing photos from my trip to Europe in June. I got to the ones where we did a boat tour along the canals of ‘s-Hertogenbosch. There’s a historical canal that runs through the city centre, and passes underneath several houses.

Binnendieze canal tour

One of the houses had a glass floor and we could look up into the house!

Binnendieze canal tour

Tonight is games night with my friends. It’s a face-to-face fortnight, but we all agreed to do online games this week, since one of the guys has COVID, and another has fears of exposure/symptoms. I just won a game of 7 Wonders, which is something quite rare, so I’m feeling good about the night so far.

New content today:

A quick late night post

This morning I finished writing a new batch of Irregular Webcomic! strips, and then got stuck into photographing them. I had to do this today as my current batch ran out tonight. SO I also had to assemble some new comics to queue up for the remainder of the week.

I finished photographing by lunchtime, when I went out to drive over to my wife’s work and pick up Scully, who she’d taken in to work this morning (it’s nice to have a dog-friendly office!). I took Scully a couple of suburbs away to a French patisserie to get some lunch, before coming home.

This afternoon I assembled some comics and started working on some new Darths & Droids stuff as well. I took Scully for a walk and popped into the supermarket to grab some salad leave and falafels for a quick and easy dinner, before my three ethics classes tonight. These were on the new topic of generalisation, which is actually a retread of the second topic I did, a couple of years ago when I began running these classes. None of the same students are still doing the class, so it’s a good chance to reuse some material.

New content today:

European travel diary and photo updating

Today I worked on finishing off that batch of Irregular Webcomic! strips I started writing yesterday. I completed the writing by lunch time and then spent a few hours this afternoon photographing the strips. I still need to assemble the strips and write annotations, but I’ll do that over the next few days.

I also spent some time doing a task I should have done months ago: formatting my travel diary from my trip to Germany and the Netherlands in June and uploading it to my website. Ive added just a few photos to one of the days. I still have to go through all the photos from that trip and process and upload selected ones.

I did find a problem looking through them briefly today: I forgot to change the time on my SLR camera while overseas. So all the photos were timestamped with the incorrect time, saying I took daylight photos in the middle of the night (which it was back in Sydney). Fortunately I have exiftool! This is a neat little command line script that can edit image files, including camera RAW files, and update the EXIF tags which record things like the time the photos was taken. So I went through my folders of photos from the trip and adjusted all the “DateTimeOriginal” fields by the correct number of hours.

Now I just need to format my diary for the trip we took to Orange last month! Oh, and do all that photo processing stuff.

Also this weekend I fit in a couple of 2.5k runs. Oh, and the weather has been warming up the past few days. We broke 25°C on Friday, for the first time since back in May. It’s starting to feel like spring, finally – much later than usual. We know this summer is predicted to be very wet again, with the third La Niña in a row, so it’s likely to be cooler than normal too. Locals are thoroughly sick of it, but also in dread of when it’s over and El Niño returns, bringing scorching hot summers and fire weather.

New content today:

Rainfall record broken!

It’s been raining heavily here all day, and as of 1:10pm, Sydney officially broke therecord for wettest year in recorded history. The previous record was 2194 mm, set in 1950. The 1:10pm reading sent 2022’s total to 2199.8 mm (so the previous reading, at 1pm, would have been at least 5.8 mm less).

Here’s Scully after a 5 minute jaunt outside to do her toileting on the grass.

Scully after a walk in the rain

In other news, I did my income tax return today. (Australia files on fiscal years, so this is the for the July 2021-June 2022 year, and tax returns are due by the end of October.) My return was a bit complicated this year, because of income from various non-traditional-employment sources including Outschool teaching, selling print copies of my Irregular Webcomic! books, and selling photo art prints and greeting cards at market stalls and by Etsy, combined with all the various deductions for those things.

Overall it took me about 20 minutes to enter all the info and lodge the form online. It used to take quite a bit longer, but Australia streamlined its tax return system a few years ago. Now if you just have a regular job with a registered employer, you can basically be done in under 5 minutes.

One thing doing this reminded me about is setting up a sale on those Irregular Webcomic! books. After the Kickstarters, I had a couple of hundred extra copies printed, because they’re much cheaper in bulk, so I could sell them online. But after a couple of years the printing and distribution company (which is based in the USA) started charging me storage fees for the unsold books, so that’s been eating into my profits every year since. So I figured I should reduce the price and move them on sale. If this doesn’t reduce the stock enough, I’m going to have get them to just discard the remainder, as I don’t want to be paying fees in perpetuity for books I can’t sell (and shipping them all to me in Australia to store myself would be stupidly expensive). So… buy some books! They’ll make great gifts. 🙂

I also finished off my slides for the photography science presentation I’ll be doing for the university students. The lecturer decided it would be better if I do it on 17 October instead of 10, since the student’s first assignment is due this coming week, and they’ll probably have lots of questions and pay less attention to the lecture, whereas the week after they should be more attentive.

New content today:

A day of assembling comics

Today I spent time making comics out of the photos I took yesterday. I only made five, and wrote annotations for them, as I had some other things to do. So there’s still a whole lot more to assemble, but that five will last for the coming week.

Last night at board games night, we played three games of Werewords, then a new game called Fantastic Factories.

This is a tableau building game where you roll dice, collect resources (energy and ingots), and use them to build various factories and industrial things that allow you to cascade into producing more resources and other stuff, and also collect points. In the building phase, everyone rolls their handful of dice simultaneously, and decides how to spend them – each die can be used to draw an extra card, or rolls form 1-3 can be used to gain energy, while rolls from 4-6 can be used to gain ingots. The thing is that you gain energy equal to the die roll (so 1-3 for each die), but for ingots you gain just 1, no matter what number is showing on the die.

Two of us got this wrong (since it was our first game). One friend of mine was taking 4-6 ingots for each die, and so gaining a huge advantage. My mistake was the exact opposite: taking only 1 energy for each die showing 1-3, rather than 1-3 energy. So I was handicapping myself. (It was possible to do this because everyone plays their dice rolls at the same time, so nobody is really watching what anyone else is doing to check on them.) Another player made a different rules error. In the end we joked that the winner would be the only person who didn’t realise they’d been playing illegally the whole time. But you kind of expect this thing on a first learning game. It was fun, and will be worth another play, now that we all know the rules!

After that we played an old favourite: Ra. We played this a lot back in the day, when we all used to work at the same company. Unfortunately, I had an utterly shambolic game. It’s an auction game played over 3 rounds, scoring points for collecting sets of various tiles that you win in the auctions. You start with 10 points (since it’s possible, though unlikely, to score negative points in a round), and then normally you’d expect to score around 5-15 additional points per round. In the first round I scored 2. In the second round I scored -2. That’s right: minus two. In the last round I scored 9 points, but I finished squarely in last place with a total of 19, behind people with total scores ranging from the 30s to 50s. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a bad game of that! Lucky I play for the social interaction!

New content today:

A day of photographing comics

This morning, after picking up groceries form the supermarket, I spent time photographing the batch of Irregular Webcomic! strips that I’d written yesterday. That took me past lunch time.

Then this afternoon I had another two classes of the Art topic. At the beginning of one, when I said today’s topic was art, a kid asked if we were going to talk about comics. I had to say no, but I’d put it on my topic planning list and see if I can come up with a lesson about comics. I’m not sure off the top of my head if I can fill a lesson with that, but maybe…

Tonight is face-to-face board games night. I have time to write this before I go because we’re starting an hour later than usual at the request of tonight’s host. So I don’t have any reports on what games we played yet. I’m planning on going to the Thai place near where I used to work to pick up some dinner on the way, since it’s only a couple of blocks away from the host’s house. I’ll be taking Scully tonight too, so everyone can see her.

New content today:

A day of writing comics

My break from producing new Irregular Webcomic! strips is almost over… so I got stuck into writing a new batch of comics today. I just finished, in the middle of the evening – phew! That’s actually faster than a lot of other times, when it can take two or three days to write a batch of scripts. Tomorrow I’ll try to photograph them all and then have the weekend to assemble them.

Apart from that I didn’t do much else. I took Scully for a walk at lunch time and got some fish & chips to eat. We went down to the ferry wharf to enjoy the waterfront a bit while I ate.

Oh, I’m finally organising a date to play the 1980s “kids with bikes” roleplaying game adventure that I’ve written. I’ve recruited several of my friends, and we’ve decided to do it twice, in two separate sessions with different players. One group will play face-to-face at a games night which I’ll be hosting at my place, and then a week later the other group will play online using Zoom. After both groups have played the adventure, they can compare notes and see how they fared compared to each other. I’ve been sitting on this adventure for a long time, so I’m very keen to finally run it.

New content today: