Scully games

It’s been a bit of a write-off of a week, with my wife working from home and Scully being home too, which means a lot of distractions throughout the day.

Scully has this game that she and I play every evening before we retire for the night. She’s a small poodle, and although we initially vowed she wouldn’t sleep on the bed with us, nowadays she does. She’s good, staying at the foot of the bed, and honestly it’s better than our previous arrangement where she slept in a crate next to the bed, and would scratch to get out at first light, waking us up before we were ready. Now she sleeps as long as we do.

Anyway, normal procedure is that Scully gets tired in the evening, and around 9pm or so she actually gets up and wanders into the bedroom and sits to wait to be lifted into the bed. (We don’t let her jump on or off anything – she’s trained to sit to ask permission to be lifted up.) So we pop her on the bed and she snoozes for a bit until we’re ready to go to bed.

Now, on the bed we have a plush toy puppy that she likes – it’s been one of her favourite toys since she was a puppy herself. But when she falls asleep, it’s usually a little bit away from the puppy. When I come in, before going to bed myself, I take her downstairs to the grass for a final toilet. Scully can hear me getting her lead and my keys ready, and when I go into the bedroom and move to put the lead on her, she will often make a sudden lunge for her puppy and clamp it in her jaws, so that when I lift her up to take her out, she has the puppy firmly gripped in her mouth.

Every evening I try to circumvent this by stealth, surprise, or quick action, and she tries to get past me and get the puppy. She wins most of the time, but sometimes I manage to get her up into my arms before she can reach the puppy. And every evening my wife watches this battle of wits and laughs every time Scully beats me.

Anyway, today I did a large grocery shop – the first shopping I’ve done in 8 days. I bought a lot of food… honestly I think the amount of food I bought could probably last me and my wife for well over a week. I guess we’ll see.

Later this afternoon I took a walk for some exercise. Passing through a nearby park, I saw that the children’s play equipment had all been taped off.

Playground closed due to COVID-19

A sign said that the playground equipment was closed until further notice due to COVD-19.

Playground closed due to COVID-19

Times they are a-changin’.

New content today:

Proof writing

I spent most of today writing the next entry for 100 Proofs That The Earth is a Globe. I’ve almost finished it, but I won’t be able to post it tonight, so it’ll go up tomorrow.

The other big news is that today is Scully’s second birthday!

Scully's 2nd birthday

She got a cool new toy from Luna (the poodle next door) – a combo plush/rubber duck, and she had fun all day chewing it into little pieces…

I also did a big grocery shop today. We’re converting from 3 or 4 shops a week to try and stick to just one, as part of social distancing to avoid spreading/catching coronavirus. The supermarket was not busy, but they were still out of toilet paper and flour. I would like to get some breadmaking flour, to try some bread baking at home, but oh well. Maybe next time. We have plenty of everything else we need.

New content today:

Up for the sunrise

Scully woke us up early again, this time at 04:00. Normally she just sleeps through the night until we get up, but not the past few nights. She didn’t sneeze, but was a bit congested. I took her outside for a toilet, which took ages, and got in a bit after 04:30. Scully and my wife went back to sleep, but now I was wide awake again.

I decided to make the most of it and do another sunrise photography session.

Poodle rock

This time I went to North Curl Curl, where there is an ocean pool on a rock shelf, just east of the surf life saving club.

North Curl Curl pool, dawn

I got there well before sunrise, and there was a thin crescent moon in the sky, above where the sun would appear. And yes, as the above photo shows, there is a large rock in the middle of the swimming pool.

Division of water

The pool is separated from the ocean by a concrete wall. The tide was approaching high for the day, and at this time occasional waves crash over the wall and into the pool. The above photo is a long exposure, and the dark patch in the pool on the left is a swimmer.

Heron breakfast time

A white-faced heron flew onto the rock shelf next to the pool, and as I watched it fished a small crab out of the water to eat. I wasn’t quick enough to a get a photo of it eating the crab.

Three worlds

A few minutes later the sun appeared on the horizon and climbed up into the sky. It goes from dark to light really quickly in Sydney.

Dawn laps

Just a few minutes later I had the camera off the tripod and was taking hand-held shots of swimmers in the pool.

Morning swim class

And not long after that about 50 kids arrived for some sort of swimming class. They all did a few laps of the pool and then ran off again.

With the sunrise done, I headed home to process the photos. This was interrupted only by taking Scully to the vet to have her congestion looked at. We have some medication to give her to get her feeling 100% again. Hopefully tonight she’ll sleep through… and I can get a decent night’s sleep.

New content today:

Rain and more rain

It rained a lot today. I sent much of the day drawing comics at home, heading out at lunch to get some fish & chips. Although it’s only a 10 minute walk and I carried an umbrella, I was pretty wet by the time I got home.

The comic I was drawing is now complete, and I’ll be publishing it tomorrow – but for now it’s a surprise.

This afternoon I took Scully to the dog park, despite the rain. This time I wore a raincoat with hood, rather than use an umbrella. Scully had her doggy raincoat on. She doesn’t like the rain. She ran after the tennis ball a few times, but then decided she was wet enough and simply turned and walked back to the car. I had to coax her over to the park with some treats, but she really wasn’t into it.

Only a couple of the regulars at the dog park showed up in the rain, and they took a short walk before heading off, since the rain was moderately heavy. It was then that I realised that even though I was fairly dry under my raincoat, the coat itself was dripping wet… and I’d have to climb into the car to drive home. I decided to take it off and toss it into the boot before dashing into the car myself without the wet coat on. By which time Scully (in the passenger seat) had shaken the water off her and coated the interior of the car in spray…

New content today:

Writing and bagging

Saturday, so there was a bit of housework today. And then I got stuck into packaging the greeting cards I’ve had printed, ready for selling at the market stall in March.

Greeting cards

This was the first batch of cards I had printed. The company I used had a website upload form for the images. It said it accepted image files and PDF files, and recommended PDF for anything with text. I used JPEGs for the front photos, and I made a PDF file for the back of the cards, showing my name and website info. But for some reason the back didn’t get printed! So I spent time today hand writing the photo subject, my name, and URL on the back of each card before bagging them with envelopes in sealable cellophane bags. It took a few hours, and I could tell I haven’t done that much handwriting in a long time by the way my wrist hurt by the end of it…

Bagging greeting cards

The other notable thing about today was the weather. We had a forecast of 150-200 mm of rain… but the morning was fine, and the sun even came out. The rain didn’t start until just a few minutes before midday. There were some heavy spurts, but generally it seems to have been less than expected – we’ve only had 26 mm so far (up to 9 pm). It may be heavy in the next few hours. Tomorrow we’re forecast to have another 150-200 mm. Wollongong, 100 km south of Sydney is forecast to have 200-300 mm of rain tomorrow.

I took Scully out for a walk mid-afternoon during a dry spell. The clouds were pretty dramatic.

Storm clouds over Sydney

We went down to Manns Point, which is a short drive from home. There’s a boat ramp here, and a guy was fishing nearby. Then there’s a short walk along the shore to Greenwich Baths. We managed to get a bit of a walk and play in before the rain returned.

Scully and the incoming storm

Unfortunately it returned sooner than I expected, and a lot heavier. We had to race back to the car and climb in, dripping wet, before heading home.

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:

Taking care of business, part 2

(Oh, haha, I see I’ve already used that as a post title…)

Today was dedicated to steps along the road to getting myself set up with a photography sales business. I set up my website a while ago, and now I’m implementing a bunch of stuff necessary to start selling prints. Today I got a monitor colour calibration tool and properly calibrated my monitor, then I prepared a few selected photos in Photoshop files with all the required colour profile settings, ready to send to the printing lab to have them printed on art quality paper. The next stage is to send them off and have a few test prints made. Then I’ll be ready to start selling and shipping them to people.

The other thing is that the printer I’m using can put my photos on their website, with the handful of art photographers that they work with, and start selling online off their website. I’ll also be adding a shop on my own website, to collect orders through my own advertising.

And another thing I did was to register for an Australian Business Number. This is required for all the dull business/tax things that I need to start keeping track of, and filing with the government.

To calibrate my monitor I needed to pick up the tool from the city, and then I realised I needed a calibration print from the printer, so I walked over there to get one. It was a fair walk, and I passed some interesting things along the way:

Mortuary Station

Regent Street Station, formerly known as Mortuary Station, a now disused railway station that used to be the stop where bodies were loaded to be transported to Rookwood Cemetery, in Sydney’s west.

Codenames Blue Spy

Some cool street art. It reminded me of one of the blue spy cards in Codenames.

Austin of England

“Austin of England” car, circa 1951. Showing the typical mud-spattered look that many Sydney cars now sport, due to the combination of dust storms and rainstorms, and water restrictions that make it more difficult to wash cars.

Ravenswood, 1896

Ravenswood, a Federation style building from 1896.

By the time I got home I was very warm and sweaty, from the humid heat that has settled over Sydney in the past couple of weeks. But it was an exciting day for another reason! Today was Scully’s first day on the job as a Delta Therapy Dog!

Delta Dog

Here she is in uniform, ready to go to work at Royal North Shore Hospital. My wife is her official Delta handler, and they both had to pass training and evaluation to qualify for this role. They’re doing patient visits in the orthopaedics ward at the hospital, to help cheer the patients up and improve their recovery. I’m extremely proud of both of them – when I first heard of this program I didn’t think it was a serious possibility for them to qualify for it. But I’m very happy they did!

New content today:

Unexpected golf

When I got up this morning, I opened some windows… and immediately closed them again. Smoke had descended on Sydney again, from the ongoing bushfires. It wasn’t as bad as it has been, but certainly bad enough to avoid opening any windows and avoid going outdoors if possible.

But then I got a message… A guy from Houston who had posted on a forum asking about golf in Sydney a few weeks ago – and I had responded with some info – had just touched down here at 06:30 , and wanted to hook up for a game. This morning.

I told him I needed to be home by 2:30 pm, so we’d have to tee off no later than about 10 am to give me us time to play and me to get home. A few frantic messages later, we had a 09:44 tee off time booked at Moore Park Golf Club… and I had to leave almost right away to get there in time. Fortunately by the time I got there a storm had moved in and some rain had cleared the sky out a bit, so it wasn’t so smoky by the time we started playing. It rained on us a bit during the first few holes, but then cleared to a muggy overcast.

Moore Park is a longer course than I’ve ever played – it has four par 5 holes, and I’d never played a par 5 hole before. Our visitor was much more at home, and played the course a lot more competently than I did. However, I did manage to par the par 3 fifth hole:

Hole 5, Moore Park

And I scored two single bogeys, on par 3 and 4 holes. So I was happy with that, although my score on several other holes really blew out. Here’s the 17th hole, a par 4 on which I scored 8.

Hole 17, Moore Park

We finished the round in good time, and I made it home a bit before 2pm, so that was good. My wife had an appointment at a nearby hospital and I had to look after Scully. The appointment was a positive one – it was her orientation as a Delta therapy dog owner, prior to her first patient visit with Scully, which is on next Tuesday! While my wife was out, I took Scully to the dog park for a run around and a walk along the shore.

And then this evening we all went for dinner at a Thai restaurant that we like, a short drive away. They have outdoor tables, so we can take Scully. I was really hungry after the golf, and not having time for a proper lunch!

New content today:

Retrieving my sunglasses

This morning I walked over to the golf course to pick up my lost sunglasses. It’s a fair walk, and very hilly – it took me almost exactly an hour to walk there and back. Here’s a view looking down one of the hills.

Downhill and the city

Scully was doing a lot better today, after yesterday’s sickness. I took her to the dog park down by the water this afternoon and we had a walk with the other dogs and owners there. She had a good run around and has her appetite back.

Oh, and I updated the Irregular Webcomic! poll question. From Christmas decorations to… mint…

New content today:

Losing my sunglasses

Scully woke up early this morning, around 5:30, and wanted to go outside, so I had to take her downstairs. I got to see the pre-dawn light suffuse the sky. It’s amazing seeing actual clouds and sky – we’ve been under a smoky haze for so long that it really felt unusual.

Being up so early, I decided to head out early for some golf at the local course. I started well today, but dropped off in the last few holes, scoring 58, one shot worse than my best so far for the 9 hole course. My first tee shot was awesome though – so much so that I took a photo of where my ball landed:

Tee shot landing position, hole 1

When I got back to the car, I realised I’d lost my sunglasses somewhere along the course. I phoned up later and the clubhouse said they had my glasses, so I’ll have to go back and pick them up tomorrow.

At home, I spent some time researching e-commerce solutions for my new photography website. I’m planning to sell framed prints, canvas prints, and other things with some of my photos on them. So having an online shop seems like a good move! I’m thinking of going with WooCommerce, since it’s open source and free to use, as opposed to something like Shopify, which charges a monthly fee plus a percentage of your sales. I don’t expect my volume to be very big, so I want to avoid monthly fees if I can!

This afternoon I got a message from my wife that Scully had been sick at work, vomiting a couple of times, the first being a weird red-brown colour, and had been lethargic all day. We were concerned enough that we booked a visit to the vet this evening. By then Scully had perked up considerably, and the vet was happy with the examination, deciding it most likely wasn’t anything serious, and Scully just had a reaction to something and would recover naturally. She does seem a lot more back to her normal self now, so that’s good.

New content today: