Shop is launched!

Well today is a big day. I finished configuring my photo site shop and linked it up, so now it’s fully publicly visible.

In other news, I went on another expedition to the hardware store to get a couple of small wooden crates to use as display boxes for the matted photo prints I’ve been working on. They’re a perfect size, and I got some black acrylic paint to make them black to match the colour scheme of the rest of the market stall.

For lunch I had the prettiest bowl of food I’ve eaten for some time:

Açai colour

And the rest of the afternoon I spent preparing for an ISO Photography Standards meeting, which begins tomorrow. It was scheduled for Yokohama, but I wasn’t applying on attending in person, choosing to participate by web conference instead. But with the coronavirus outbreak, the meeting has been converted to a full virtual meeting, with many of the participants attending only virtually. This followed the cancellation of the annual CP+ Camera Show, the largest camera show in Japan, which is what the standards meeting was scheduled around – normally attendees go to the camera show as well. Our next meeting is scheduled for New York City in June, but it may end up being affected by coronavirus as well, depending how the situation develops over the next few months.

So anyway, I’ll be busy with photography standards work for the next three days, and won’t have time for much else.

New content today:

Matting photos…

Saturday began with a round of housework: cleaning the bathroom, vacuuming, refilling the damp absorbers in the wardrobes, cleaning up the kitchen, etc, etc. Then I got stuck into matting photos for my market stall. It’s astonishing how much work is going in to preparing for this. With a few well-earned breaks, by the end of the day I’d matted 40 prints. Only 60 to go…

This evening was a family dinner, for my mother-in-law’s birthday. We went to my wife’s and my favourite pizza place, and had a good time. The owner came out to chat with us for a bit – it’s that sort of place. We noticed his wife wasn’t working tonight, and he said that she’d been laid up with a sore ankle. Hopefully she’ll be better soon.

New content today:

Craft day: greeting card display

I mentioned yesterday that I bought some cardboard to make greeting card displays for my market stall. Today I got crafty and made the displays.

First I had to design what they would look like and how to assemble them.

Greeting card display: part 0

Don’t let anyone try to convince you that you won’t use trigonometry after leaving school. I also had to do coordinate geometry and solve a pair of simultaneous equations, as you can see. My design consists of a rectangular sheet of cardboard, scored and bent into a step-like shape, with extending tabs to slot into triangular side supports on either side. The whole staircase is angled at an angle of θ = arctan(1/4), to provide gently angled steps where the cards can sit and lean back without falling over. The whole stand has four tiers, wide enough to display two landscape format cards side by side.

The step section was the easiest, although I discovered that I needed to score the card a lot deeper than I first thought to get it to fold comfortably.

Greeting card display: part 1

The triangular parts were trickier. I had to cut a triangle and then cut slots for the tabs at the angle θ. Fortunately the new cutting mat I bought yesterday made this easy, because I could place the triangle on it at the right angle, and then rule lines using the grid as a guide.

Greeting card display: part 3

And here’s the completed stand, with some of my cards:

Greeting card display: part 4

It worked really well! And it holds together without any tape or glue, which means I can disassemble it for easy transport as flat pieces. Making one of these took me all morning, and I took a break to go get some lunch up the street at a local fried chicken place.

After lunch… I made a second stand! And that was essentially an eight-hour work day, right there. I did have a bit of time at the end to start matting 30×20 cm prints of some of my photos.

Matting photos

You can’t see it in these photos, but these are really high quality prints on super fine museum quality art paper (Canson Rag Photographique, for those who know their art papers). And the matting really makes the photos look amazing (if I do say so myself). I’ve matted only ten or so prints – I have 90 or so to go. That’ll probably be another half day of work there.

It was a busy and exhausting day! I’ve put a lot of time, effort, and investment into getting ready for this market stall, and gearing up to launch my photography sales. Now I have to see first if I can recoup my investment, and hopefully make some sort of profit.

New content today:

More about yesterday

The other thing I did yesterday was take a trip into the city to pick up a bunch of things. My large photo prints for my market stall were ready, so I went to the printer to pick those up.

I took a walk from Redfern train station to the printer, then from there continued on towards the University of Technology, Sydney, where I was meeting with an old colleague to pick up some games. He started a small game shop business after departing our former employer, but alas competition from large retailers able to cut prices has driven him out of business, and he’s discounting all his remaining stock. So I helped out and picked up the Star Wars: The Edge of the Empire and Force and Destiny roleplaying game books. I would have grabbed Age of Rebellion as well, but he didn’t have that title.

Along the way I stopped to take photos of various things. Around UTS there’s a lovely string of old Art Deco pubs:

The Old Clare

From UTS I walked down Broadway into the centre of the city, passing more Art Deco:

The Great Southern Hotel

Sydney has a lot of Art Deco architecture if you know where to look for it, or if you just keep your eyes open as you walk around. It’s possibly my favourite architectural style, so I always have an eye open for it. There’s also this weird Googie sign at the Agincourt Hotel in Broadway:

Agincourt Hotel sign

Sydney really has an awesome mish-mash of architectural styles. My walk was towards a game shop in the heart of town, where I had a book on order to pick up. When almost there, I passed some more Art Deco:

The Civic

At the game shop I picked up my copy of Original Adventures Reincarnated #3: Expedition to the Barrier Peaks. I have the first two books in this series, and they’re amazingly cool retrospectives on the original D&D adventures as well as modern updates and expansions. So I’m very keen to start reading this one.

With this huge haul of stuff, I returned home, where I had a quick lunch before leaving for Dick Hunstead’s remembrance function, which I described in my previous entry.

Today, Saturday, I haven’t done much! Some shopping, some housework, a little bit of doing more tasks to get ready for my market day. I took Scully for a run in the park, and then when we got home I gave her a bath, solo. Normally my wife and I cooperate to give Scully a bath, but today I did it for the first time as a solo job.

This evening we went out for dinner to Balmain, a suburb on the southern side of the Harbour, necessitating a drive over the Bridge. We had pizza at a place we hadn’t been to before, and it was amazingly good. We had to sit outside because of Scully, and initially chose a table close to the street, under the sky.

This seemed fine for a while, until the clouds grew very dark and lightning pierced the sky. I checked the weather radar and saw a huge storm front crossing the city, so we hurriedly moved to a table closer to the building, under the awning. As it turned out, the heaviest rain missed us, but we got a moderate burst lasting 20 minutes or so.

Rainy Darling

New content today:

Busywork

I did a bunch of small odd jobs around the house today. One was drilling some holes to mount a kitchen gadget on the wall of the kitchen. I’ve been putting this off for a while because I hate drilling into brick – it’s really hard without a hammer drill, and I don’t want to buy a hammer drill for a couple of holes. I took my time, letting the drill bit cool down between roughly 30-second drilling sessions. It eventually made holes deep enough and I screwed the gadget to the wall, clearing off some benchtop space that’s been occupied for several weeks.

I did some ISO Standards work on a photography standard that requires reading and commenting on. I did a bunch of configuration for my photography web shop. I did some prep work for my school science visit on Monday.

I went for a walk and saw some more storm damaged trees. Over by the creek not far away from my place, two enormous trees, about 30-40 metres tall, had fallen over.

Storm damaged trees

These were huge trees, but fortunately they fell in the middle of a park, away from any houses or power lines.

Oh, a snippet of chat conversation I had with friends today:

SI: Can they get any genes from the bones or is that just Jurassic Park nonsense?

Me: No, DNA doesn’t survive that long.

SI: Oh even in the movie it was inside a mosquito in amber or something I think?

Me: Yeah. It’d still decay in there. Google says DNA base pair bonds have a half life of 520 years. So after 1000 years you only have a quarter of the genome left. After roughly a million years you only have a handful of intact bonds left – not enough to work with.

DMc: What if the DNA has been travelling at relativistic speeds though?

Me: Well yes, samples extracted from dinosaurs who travelled at 0.9999c to a distant star and back should be fine.

DMc: Cool, my startup idea is still feasible.

New content today:

Portfoliating

Not much to report today. I basically spent the whole day processing photos from the original camera RAW files into final images at several print resolutions, to build myself a portfolio of image files ready to print. This is in preparation to launch my photo print web shop.

Apart from that, it was very rainy today. Very rainy. It started at 10pm last night, and by 5pm this evening we’d had 140 mm. It’s since stopped, but tomorrow we are forecast to have even more than that.

It’s good, because we’re still technically in a severe drought, and it’s put out several of the bushfires that were still burning around the state. A lot of rain has fallen in Sydney’s dam catchment area too, which should hopefully see our water storage levels go up from around 42% to somewhere near 70%, according to the water authorities.

New content today:

Setting up shop

Today I mostly worked on setting up my photo shop site. It’s still a little away form going public, but I got a lot of the gruntwork done today, setting up sizes and framing and finishing options, and crunching numbers to calculate prices. Oh, and figuring out costs for smallish (A4 or so) matted prints that I can sell face to face at the market. I’ve been doing a lot of spreadsheets lately.

In the background I ripped the DVDs of Star Wars Episodes VII and VIII, in preparation for starting work on them for Darths & Droids. And while doing that had some ideas for plot points which I jotted down.

Apart from that, it was mostly a day of cleaning up the house, scanning a pile of documents that I needed to get through and throw out, taking Scully for a walk, and cooking dinner.

Oh! I almost forgot. While at the dog park, I spotted a greater crested tern! You don’t see these in the city a lot.

One good tern deserves another

New content today:

Ethics kickoff morning tea

The new school year has begun after the summer holidays, and the kids are getting stuck into new classes. This means a new group of kids for me when my Primary Ethics classes begin. The school needs a couple of weeks to get the kids settled into new routines before they start the scripture/ethics classes, so my first day with the new Year 6 group will be 19 February, two weeks from today.

This morning we had a morning tea to meet the new teachers and for our coordinator to give us any relevant news. We met in a cafe near the school, and had a group of 7 present, with a couple of others who were’t able to make it today. Besides the coordinator, there are two women returning from last year, one woman transferring from another school where she taught ethics last year, and two new men starting this year.

One of the main issues we have this year is the fire that burnt down the school hall a couple of weeks ago. The hall was the venue for non-scripture, the kids who do neither scripture nor ethics classes, and there were a lot of kids in there, who now need to find somewhere else to sit and be supervised. Which puts pressure on the limited classroom space. So our coordinator told us that we may end up having some of our ethics classes outdoors. Which will be challenging if it happens that way.

I walked to the cafe and back, nearly 9 km of walking, and we spent 1.5 hours chatting there, so this ended up eating up the entire morning and I didn’t get home until after midday. This afternoon I’ve been making spreadsheets of costs and pricing figures for my nascent photography business, as well as recording invoices and taxes and stuff. Fortunately the accounting is fairly simple and I think I can handle it with nothing more complex than a spreadsheet.

This evening for dinner I cooked something I’ve never cooked before: Brussels sprouts. I bought some the other – the first time in my life I’ve ever bought them. I used to hate them as a kid, and thought they were disgusting. But a few weeks ago my wife and I went to a restaurant and one of the recommended side dishes was fried Brussels sprouts, with salt and chilli. I’m always keen to try something new, so we ordered them… and they were delicious! So I decided to see if I could emulate them.

I made vegetarian sausages, mashed potato, and I fried the sprouts, cut in half, in some olive oil with a pinch of salt, fresh sliced garlic, and some dried chilli flakes. And wow, it turned out really good! So easy to make.

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:

Setting up web shop

Today was a heavy day of working on the nascent web shop for my photography site, and ordering prints of photos for sale stock for the market stall I mentioned yesterday. I formatted four photos for printing in a large size, and placed an order with the printer, choosing some different paper types to test out how they look when printed large. They should take about a week to be ready for me to pick them up, and then I’ll order some more to have enough stock for the market stall in March.

And the other thing I spent a lot of time on today was installing WooCommerce, which is a web shop package, with catalogue, inventory, shopping cart, credit card and PayPal payment handling, and a bunch of other features that are useful for running an online shop. There’s a lot of configuration needed and I’m still figuring out how it all works, but hopefully soon I’ll have some catalogue pages ready for people to browse and buy prints.

Phew!

New content today: