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:

Completing the batch

Today I finished off the batch of Irregular Webcomic! strips that I began working on on Saturday. I had to assemble the second half of the strips using the photos I took yesterday, and then write all of the annotations. I finally finished it off, and will be able to do something else tomorrow. Phew.

Doing some sums, it took me four full days of work – call it eight hours a day, to do 22 strips. So counting the writing, photography, assembly into a comic strip, and writing the annotations, it takes roughly an average of 32/22 = 1.45 hours, let’s call it one and a half hours to produce each comic, from start to finish.

New content today:

Your regular irregularity

Today was full on Irregular Webcomic! production day. I started at 08:00 am, photographing the batch of comics that I wrote over the weekend. That took me up to about 11:0, when I broke to get some lunch and buy some groceries up the street.

I went to the ramen place I discovered a couple of weeks ago. Tonkotsu ramen was again the only option, and I gladly forked over my $12 in cash for a bowl of this rich and delicious concoction. It was wonderful, even despite the hot day and the 90%+ humidity. I left sweating, and took refuge in the supermarket for a while to cool down and grab some shopping.

Back home, I started assembling comics, and have gotten about halfway through. I’ll finish them off tomorrow, hopefully, and then start writing annotations and queueing them up in the database for publication.

And late in the afternoon I took Scully down to the dog park for some running around and playing with other dogs. We normally take a walk along the harbour shore, and sometimes some fo the other dogs go down to the water for a splash around. Scully isn’t too keen on going in the water, so I’ve never gone down there before, but today I decided to try following the others. She got her paws wet, but that was plenty for her – she stood around at the water’s edge while the other dogs went for a swim.

Scully at Berrys Bay

New content today:

Comics and commerce

It was another hot, humid day here in Sydney. I spent most of the day at home, only going out a couple of times to let Scully get some exercise.

The main thing I did today was finish writing a new batch of Irregular Webcomic! strips. These are now ready for photographing tomorrow. I also spent a bit of time working on configuring the online shop for my photography prints. I’ve got a Square Reader payment processing gadget that Bluetooths to my phone, for processing credit cards while at the market stall, so I was setting that up and testing it out. And fiddling with the configurations and product details in WooCommerce on my website. I need to start thinking of exactly how the prints will be available (sizes, finishes, framing, etc), and how much to charge for them, given the production costs and a reasonable profit.

New content today:

Heat returns

Saturday, and the current heatwave has hit Sydney. It was a hot, humid, and lethargic day. Temperatures got up to 46.8°C in western Sydney, but thankfully only a maximum of 34.8°C near the coast, with the “cool” sea breeze. But this heatwave is different to the last few we’ve had over the past couple of months, in that the humidity is sky high, so it feels a lot more oppressive.

The bushfires have flared up again with this new round of high temperatures, and there’s significant danger that suburbs of Canberra will come under direct threat in the next day or so.

I spent the day writing a new batch of Irregular Webcomic!, for photographing some time in the coming week. As well as some housework, shopping, and doing family stuff. Nothing too exciting.

New content today:

Back to running

Wanting to get back into a regular exercise routine, this morning I took off for a 5k run. I jogged up to the local sports oval and then did the 9 laps that total to 5 km. Previously I’ve run partial laps and walked the remainder, but this time I jogged through the first 6 laps without dropping back to a walk. That was about all I could manage and I took some walking breaks during the next 3 laps. My time was about the same as previously – I think because the first 6 laps were at a slower jog than I would run partial laps, and it all evened out in the end.

Back home I finished off writing the annotations for the latest batch of Irregular Webcomic! While doing that I found a bug in the database updating code I use to add the comics and annotations, so I had to spend some time debugging that and checking that it works okay, which chewed up a bit of time.

I wanted to start writing a new Proof the Earth is a Globe, but ran out of time, so I’ll get onto that tomorrow.

New content today:

Taking a breath, and it’s smoky

The weather was much cooler today, thankfully. The bushfire situation, while still bad, at least wasn’t terrible today. So it was a bit of a breather, before the next round of heatwave conditions hits. But cooler weather in Sydney is brought by a southerly wind, and south is where most of the fires are, so the air quality here deteriorated today, and reached well into the highest “hazardous” level this afternoon. It’s been a lot worse a few weeks ago, but it was noticeable and nasty, and my throat is sore this evening.

I spent most of the day making Irregular Webcomic! strips, in between monitoring the news and watching some cricket on TV. I should finish this batch tomorrow.

New content today:

Back to work

It’s the 2nd of January, and back to work for many people. My wife went back to her office, and I spent the whole morning taking photos for the new batch of Irregular Webcomic! that I’ve been writing over the past few days.

I didn’t finish until a bit after midday, by which time I was hungry for lunch. I didn’t want to eat the last of the bread in the house, since then my wife would have nothing to eat when she arrived home from work. So I went for a walk up to the local fish & chip shop… only to find it still closed for the holidays. And the cafe next door was closed too. It’s only a tiny cluster of shops, and there was nowhere else to get lunch, so I had to walk over to the next suburb. There’s a pie shop there that I like, and I figured I’d get a pie.

But when I got there, that too was closed! But nearby was a supermarket, so I went in there and bought some supplies: falafels and flatbread, and some milk. Then I walked back home – I did 4 km by the time I got back home, almost an hour after I’d left, and I still hadn’t eaten lunch!

This afternoon I assembled a few of the comics, while keeping an eye on news. My aunt is doing fine at Lake Conjola, she was able to send messages out today. But the road is still blocked by fires and she can’t leave. She says she has enough food and water. Hopefully some time tomorrow the roads will open and she can get out before Saturday, which is forecast to be another stupidly hot and windy day, with dangerous conditions basically all the way south down the coast from Sydney to Victoria. Everywhere along there has been advised to evacuate today, and thousands of people are streaming out of the area – except in the region around Lake Conjola, where there remains no open road.

New content today: