Dentist redux, and giant kangaroos

I had my return visit with the dentist first thing this morning. He fixed up the chipped filling that he’d noticed on Tuesday. The past few times I’ve had work done, the anaesthetic took a long time to work and he ended up putting a second needle in, but today thankfully it worked pretty quickly and I didn’t need a second needle. Which meant it wore off after only about 4 hours, compared to last time where my mouth was still numb for something like 6 or 7 hours afterwards.

In conversation, I mentioned to my dentist that I was selling photographic prints, and I could get one made for his waiting room if he wanted. He said he was actually thinking of renovating the waiting room, and looked at my photography website on the computer screen, and said he liked Australian landscapes. So if I don’t hear from him soon I’ll follow up and see if I can get one of my prints in his waiting room, with some of my business cards on the desk.

In other photography news, a few days ago the producer of PBS Eons contacted me to ask for permission to use one of my photos in their latest episode. Since these episodes get 0.5 to 2 million views on YouTube, I gave them permission, and the episode came out today. You can watch it on YouTube here, or with the embedded version below:

My photo is the one used to show the drawing of the giant kangaroo Procoptodon goliah, from about 4:42 onwards.

And while on videos, in other news a friend of mine is working on designing original games that will be included in the new VR board game platform Hands on Deck, currently under development. His original game Neapolitan is planned for inclusion in the first release, and can be seen in this video (the first game shown).

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Some photos from my weekend trip

This morning I processed several of the photos I took on my weekend trip to Mudgee. Most of them are of birds.

Here’s a face-off between an Australian raven and a magpie-lark:

Australian raven vs Magpie-lark

A black swan:

Black swan

A red-browed finch:

Red-browed finch

And I think the shot of the trip, a crested pigeon:

Crested pigeon

This afternoon I worked on some Darths & Droids comics, both writing and assembling. I also took Scully out to the park to play with other dogs for a bit. Thankfully the rain eased off this morning – we got a lot of rain over the past three days, making this the wettest July in Sydney for the past eight years, according to tonight’s news.

New content today:

Back to work after the weekend away…

Scully was so exhausted after our weekend trip that she basically slept all evening and solidly all through the night – which was good because that meant my wife and I got a good night’s sleep too.

Monday dawned cold and wet. It’s been raining heavily here in Sydney, and there are several flooding incidents around the city and the surrounding region. The rain hasn’t let up all day, and we’re in for more overnight and tomorrow.

After doing some grocery shopping in the morning, I spent most of the day assembling Irregular Webcomic! strips and then writing annotations for them, to complete this latest batch of comics. After doing that I had a bit of time to go through photos I took on the weekend trip. I’ve identified all the birds I took photos of, and am quite amazed that I got photos of three new species I hadn’t photographed before, so that’s pretty good!

New content today:

Exploring Hunters Hill

It was a rainy, grey Saturday morning. Weather forecasters are telling us that an east coast low pressure system is developing, and we’ll be experiencing heavy rain and gale force winds on Monday and Tuesday, and it seems to be ramping up towards that already. There wasn’t a lot of rain today though – just some showers interspersed with long breaks.

We decided to go out and find a new bakery to have lunch at today. I checked Google Maps for somewhere not too far away, and find a likely looking spot about 10 minutes drive away. My wife and I went with Scully and managed to get an outside table at Stoneground Bakery in the suburb of Hunters Hill. It seems like a nice bakery and we also bought a loaf of sourdough bread to take home and have with dinner tonight.

After eating, we decided to take a walk around a few of the back streets to give Scully some exercise and loop back the long way to the car. We passed a few interesting places on the way:

St Kevin's. Hunters Hill walk

This is St Kevin’s, an old sandstone cottage, now being used as a solicitor’s office. It’s listed on the NSW heritage register as a significant historical building. Hunters Hill was one of the earliest areas of Sydney to be settled by the wealthier free settlers in the colony, and there are a lot of old houses in the area.

St Joseph's. Hunters Hill walk

This was actually originally a school, known as “Toronto”, but it’s now been converted into the St Jospeh’s Aged Care facility.

Hunters Hill walk

Down the hill from here is Tarban Creek, which flows under the Tarban Creek Bridge (visible in this photo) into Sydney Harbour. The creek is rather wide at this point! You can also see how grey the weather was today.

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Recovery day

My sore legs were recovering from yesterday’s 5k run, so I didn’t end up doing very much particularly active today.

I did go out for the weekly grocery shop, but even that was low key, as our shopping list literally had only 4 items on it (crackers, Weet Bix breakfast cereal, arborio rice, and eggs) – although we never list staples that we buy every week, such as milk, bread, yoghurt, fruit, vegetables, and some prepared vegetarian foods. I basically browse the fruit and vegetable section and decide what strikes my fancy to cook/eat during the week and just grab some things. Today I got: kipfler potatoes, a red onion (those two to make potato salad), cherry tomatoes, a cauliflower, half a butternut pumpkin, a bunch of broccolini, several apples, an orange, a pomegranate, and three bananas. I also got some chick pea burger patties, and falafels.

I took Scully out briefly before lunch, but otherwise spent the day goofing off and making a couple of new Darths & Droids comics. Oh, and I processed a bunch of old photos from a trip to Thailand in 2005 that I took on 35mm film and scanned a while ago. This is Wat Phra Singh in Chiang Mai:

Wat Phra Singh

Tonight for dinner, my wife and I went out to one of our favourite restaurants, a local seafood place that does really nice fish dishes. It’s the first time we’ve been there since the restaurants closed for COVID restrictions a few months ago. Being winter, I had my favourite winter warmer dish – the snapper pie. Mmmm…

New content today:

Stitches are out

I had my appointment this morning to inspect my healing hand and have the stitches out. I went to the hospital for 08:15 and was seen to after a short wait. First a hand physiotherapist saw me and removed the bandage. He checked the fingers for sensation and range of motion, and that the wound had closed properly.

Next a doctor saw me and inspected the wound. She determined the stitches could e taken out. She also told me to begin a program of massaging and exercising the hand as often as possible, to break up the scar tissues and adhesions and improve the range of movement. She said to massage it firmly, even though it hurts, as much as I can stand before it gets too painful.

I took this opportunity to ask her, “So, can I play the piano now?”

She said, “Yes.”

I said, “Great! I couldn’t play before.”

She completely ignored that and turned the conversation to something else. She may have been trying to suppress an eyeroll.

Now… sure, she’s a hand doctor, and she’s probably heard people attempt that joke a hundred or more times, but for me it’s (hopefully) the only chance I’ll ever get to use that joke in my whole life. The least she can do is politely pretend to laugh. Heck, if I was training hand doctors, reacting to that joke would be part of the bedside manner that they’d have to nail to pass their final exams.

After the doctor, a younger guy took over and removed the stitches carefully with tweezers and a scalpel. It was a bit tricky with a few of them, as the knot was embedded under a protruding fold of skin, but he got there in the end. It turned out I had a total of twelve stitches, not the ten that I’d heard stated on the day of the operation. He also gave me advice on how to massage the hand and stretch it to improve the mobility and strength over the next few weeks, advising again to do as much as possible within my pain threshold.

I was out of the hospital by just after 9 o’clock. To celebrate having the bandages off, I had a pie on the way home. 😄

At home, I worked on converting another of my Sydney photo walks to a web page, and this was a very long one. I also added a lot of historical research. This should be an interesting one because it illustrates the walk most of the way from where I live to the Sydney Opera House.

And I’ve also been studiously massaging my hand muscles to reduce the scar tissue. It hurts like hell when I’m doing it, and takes several minutes to calm down afterwards. But already I can see an improvement in the range of motion, so that’s positive. Now to keep it up for the next few weeks…

New content today:

Blurry days

The last several days are starting to blur together in a melange of restricted left hand mobility, taking Scully for walks, and mostly working on Darths & Droids. We’ve done a lot of story planning in the past week, and I’ve written thousands of words of notes. Today I switched to actually writing scripts for comics and assembling comics, which are needed for the next week or so of publication.

I also spent a bit of time updating one of the old Sydney walks I did with a couple of new photos of an historical building. I only learnt about this building while doing research for the photos that I had taken earlier, and I decided I had to go back and find it and get some photos. It’s an old stable that was part of a 19th century estate – you can read the history and see the photos here (scroll down near the bottom for the “Valetta” stables).

Valetta stables, Artarmon

My hand has been giving me some pain today, and last night while trying to sleep. I keep trying to do little tasks using my left hand, and end up with some sort of muscle twitch that aches for a while. I have to keep reminding myself that I don’t have full movement or strength in it yet.

New content today:

Photographic archaeology

Monday! Today I discovered an old folder full of animal photos from a visit to the zoo back in 2009, and it had a bunch of photos of birds that I hadn’t recorded in my bird photos database. So to scratch the itch of completionism, I ended up spending much of the day processing the bird photos I hadn’t done before, posting them on Flickr, identifying the species, and doing some coding work to make it easier to enter them into my database.

Nicobar pigeon

I also went for another longish walk, and along the way I passed an electronics shop, so I went in to buy some parts to make a small LED light to attach to Scully’s collar when going out for walks at night. Because she’s black, and some of the streets around us a dimly lit, it’s almost impossible to see her in some places where we walk after sunset, which is much more often in winter than in summer. There are commercial dog lights you can buy, but most are too bulky and heavy for Scully. I bought s smaller one last year, but it was so badly constructed that it fell to pieces the first time I tried to turn it on! I returned it for a refund.

Anyway, I figured I could make one myself, so with a bit of assistance at the electronics shop I got a selection of LEDs of different brightness, some resistors, a battery holder for a CR2032 button battery, one of those batteries, and a micro PCB switch. I’ll borrow a soldering iron off one of my friends and make myself a super-light and cheap light to attach to Scully.

New content today:

Star Wars day

More Darths & Droids plotting today. I watched some more of The Force Awakens and came up with a question about one of the scenes in the film that is not particularly well explained. In discussion with co-writers, we wrote over 2000 words of story notes to explain this one scene in the film – maybe 5 seconds or so long.

I also converted another Imgur album of a suburban walking photo essay to a web page hosted on my site. I enhanced it with some additional research into historic buildings that I’d photographed along the way, learning a lot of interesting stuff about them.

New content today:

Seriously knuckling down

I’ve been very busy and productive today! Yay!

I started with some stretching and core strength exercises, to get the blood pumping and work on some of the neglected muscles and things that haven’t been pushed lately, to avoid things like back strains and so on.

Then I got stuck into some ISO standards work. I let the documents and ballots build up for a few weeks and then clear them all out at once. I had to download and read a bunch of documents, and then vote on various proposals, and write up some comments documents for various drafts of proposed photographic standards, collating comments from other members of the Australian expert committee (which I chair). This took all morning and I didn’t finish until after lunch, but it cleared away a big chunk of my to-do list that was slowly getting more urgent.

To wind down from that, I did a bunch of photo uploading and writing a web page for a new Sydney photo walk that I did on Tuesday. This included doing research on places like this:

Pallister House

This is Pallister House, which is a significant heritage building – so much so that it even has its own Wikipedia page. It was fascinating learning the history of this place and writing it up for my photo essay.

I also finished up the database additions for the bird photos I took yesterday. My bird photos database is on this web page, but it’s not fully populated with historical photos taken before last year, so a lot of the birds show no entries. But if you click something like Superb fairywren you can see all the photos I’ve taken of this species since last year. Adding older photos is another task on my to-do list…

Oh, and I updated the news blog on my professional photo site with a news post and some sample photos from my bird expedition yesterday.

Tomorrow night is fortnightly board games night with my friends. To prepare for another virtual gathering (due to COVID restrictions on physical gatherings), we bought Asmodee’s Humble Bundle of board games on Steam, and I spent some time installing those and playing tutorial versions to learn the rules.

And… hmm, I feel like I’ve done even more than that. It’s definitely been a full day.

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