Time with Scully

Today, being Saturday, my wife wanted to work on her sewing projects. Scully (our dog) likes to occasionally come up and request to curl up on people’s laps, but my wife being busy at the sewing machine and moving to cut fabric wasn’t able to offer a stable lap. So Scully settled for second best and came up to me, as I was working on making some new Darths & Droids comics. So she ended up curled up and fell asleep on my lap for an hour or two.

At lunch time my wife had an appointment up the street, so I took Scully for a long walk, doing a big loop that takes us past the good bakery, and down to Oyster Cove on Sydney Harbour.

Oyster Cove Scully

There’s a nice little park here that Scully likes. And it’s good for bird spotting. I recorded twelve species here in eBird today: Australian Brushturkey, Rock Dove (Feral Pigeon), Masked Lapwing, Silver Gull, Little Black Cormorant, White-faced Heron, Australian White Ibis, Rainbow Lorikeet, Noisy Miner, Australian Magpie, Pied Currawong, Welcome Swallow. And there’s a good view.

Oyster Cove Scully

On the way back we walk through a bushland area where there are some walking tracks. Normally we go one way, but Scully always looks interested in going the other way at an intersection, so today I just let her go that way and I followed. It’s a different route with a steep climb at the end, and leads to a street which we walk down a lot, so once there she knew where we were again. It was very interesting watching her following the track, and stopping every so often as if to try to figure out where she was, and then start walking again.

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Comics & Pizza

Today was knuckling down to the business of assembling Irregular Webcomic! strips out of all the photos I took yesterday. I had 24 strips to make, and powered through them starting as soon as my wife left for work in the morning, and finishing a bit after lunch. That’s a really fast pace, as I was pushing myself to complete the task before having to go pick up Scully for the afternoon.

As it turned out, Scully stayed at work for longer because not one, but two of my wife’s workmates also brought their dogs in today, so there were three of them at the office!

Workplace Wellbeing Officers on duty

That’s Scully, Ted, and Leo, from left to right. They played hard in the office all day, and Scully was dead tired by the time I got her home. Which is good!

For dinner tonight I made pizza. This time I tried about 1/4 wholemeal flour in the dough, as requested by my wife. It made the dough tougher to knead, but the final result turned out pretty well.

Tomorrow… is a special day and I have some very cool stuff planned. Which you’ll hear about tomorrow.

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Scully’s birthday!

More things held over from yesterday:

It was Scully’s 3rd birthday!

Scully's 3rd birthday

I spent some time with her running around on the grass and through bushwalking tracks on Georges Head, which overlooks Sydney Harbour.

Scully's 3rd birthday

She also had an evening play date with her poodle friend Luna next door (while I was at games night). And she got a new lizard soft toy to play with.

Oh, my wife made the bandana! She’s been getting into sewing dog bandanas, as I mentioned earlier to sell on my market stall, and has now just opened up an Etsy store. If you have a know a dog, check it out!

Changing topics, I remember an amusing moment from our game of Legacy of Dragonholt last night. At one point our adventuring party went into the bakery in the village of Dragonholt. The baker was described as a very muscular dwarf. One guy said, “How does a baker get muscles?” Both me and the other guy who got me into sourdough baking answered, “Kneading bread!!”

Today I didn’t do much other than writing new Darths & Droids comics. Oh, I fixed the door handle of our front door, which had become a bit loose. It just needed the cover plates taken off and some screws tightened. And, we went to dinner at a local place that specialises in salmon dishes, which was very nice.

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Multitasking Friday

So many things:

  • Took Scully for a long walk this morning to distract her from the fact that my wife was going to work without her. She gets upset if my wife leaves home and leaves her behind – but is okay if I take her out for a walk, and get back home and my wife isn’t here.
  • A bit later I took Scully to doggie daycare, which was the reason why my wife didn’t take her to work like usual.
  • Got home and started working on some comics.
  • Realised I was supposed to do the grocery shopping today! Raced off to the supermarket.
  • Had some sushi for lunch. Since I was out at the shops at lunch time now.
  • Worked some more on comics.
  • Went to pick up Scully from daycare.
  • Went out for dinner to the local pizza place with wife and Scully
  • Now doing inter-calary fortnightly games night online with the guys. We’re playing Draftosaurus.

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Grooming and crepes

Scully went in for a haircut and groom today. She was getting a bit shaggy, as she does in the last week or two before her next grooming appointment. Being a poodle, her hair doesn’t shed, it just grows longer like human hair, so it’s necessary to have it cut every so often. The dog groomer washes her first and gets her nice and clean, then trims her coat. Now she’s all soft and velvety. We just have a basic puppy cut, which is basically the same length all over, not one of those fancy-shmancy French poodle type cuts.

During the day I wrote some comics for the next batch of Irregular Webcomic! strips that I’ll be making next week.

And tonight for dinner I went out with my wife and Scully to a French creperie a couple of suburbs over. It’s run by some guys who emigrated from France and decided they missed good crepes so much that they should start a restaurant. And the crepes are very good indeed, accompanied by imported French cider. Tonight I tried the peri peri chicken galette – which is no doubt not very traditional, but I felt like it. Most of the rest of the menu is probably more traditionally French.

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Long weekend day 2

The heatwave has really hit today. Yesterday was hot, but today was hotter, and also more humid. Fortunately near the coast we had a sea breeze keeping things somewhat cool, and the CBD registered only 34°C, but some outer suburbs reached above 40°C. Over in South Australia Adelaide city reached 43°C and some suburbs got as high as 45°C.

So mostly today we rested indoors, trying to keep Scully from wanting to go outside too much. She has a weird thing she does when she goes outside in very hot weather. As soon as she leaves the shade and enters the sunlight, she lies down on the ground. I’m not sure if she likes sunbaking, or if it’s just suddenly all too much and all she can think to do is collapse. She doesn’t lie in the sun in cooler weather.

My wife and I made three more attempts at Codenames Duet Vatican City in our ongoing campaign. The first two games ended quickly as we picked assassins in early turns. But the third game was a nailbiter, and we got down to sudden death time with only one spy left to guess, and I had a clue, but it was very loose, because she’d had to indicate three words with her final clue. Unfortunately I chose the wrong word, and we lost by the closest margin possible. We shall have to give it another go another day.

We also watched the Doctor Who special “Twice Upon a Time” – the one which ends Peter Capaldi’s tenure as The Doctor and begins Jodie Whitaker’s. Yes, we’re a few seasons behind still – this is the first time we’ve watched up to this point.

And… for dinner I made potato salad. With purple potatoes. The local supermarket recently renovated a bit and now they have fancy potatoes, so I thought I’d try the purples one. They taste… just like potatoes. But they do look cool!

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Dog day day

Today Scully spent the whole day in doggie daycare. I took her over a bit after 8am, and my wife and I picked her up just after 5pm. She really enjoys playing with all the other dogs there, and it’s good socialisation for her. And she loves the staff too. She’s always so excited when we arrive, leaping about and running up to the staff.

And when she gets home she’s super tired and basically just goes into an evening nap straight away. So you can tell she’s been super active all day.

I spent most of the day doing some coding, for a quiz thing I wanted to run with some friends. So there’s not too much to say about most of the day.

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Dog party!

Today was the Christmas party organised by the regulars at Scully’s dog park.

Dog Christmas party

Here’s Scully with Scout, and the table of goodies in the background. Surprisingly, almost none of the dogs tried to jump on the table and eat all the food!

Dog Christmas party

Here are just some of the dogs at the park. There were maybe 25 all together.

Apart from that it was mostly another comic production day, and then dinner out with my wife at a local Indian restaurant, before joining my friends online for a virtual games night, playing some things on Board Game Arena.

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First heatwave of … spring

Today was all about the weather. Specifically, the heat. The forecast for Sydney today was 36°C.

Actual top temperature was 40.8°C in the city, up to 43°C in some suburbs. (There is a reading fo 47.2°C in one location, but that seems odd and I’m not sure I believe it’s correct.) A handful of towns in western New South Wales broke their hottest November day records.

Tomorrow is expected to be even hotter, and tonight’s minimum temperature isn’t expected to go below 24°C in the city, and 27°C in some suburbs, which are expected to set their highest November minimum temperatures. And t’s still November, not even summer yet. And it’s been declared a full strength La Niña year – which is supposed to mean cooler and wetter conditions in eastern Australia. I’m not sure what to expect from the next El Niño, when we get hotter and drier climate conditions.

The one saving grace today was that it was low humidity. This heat is caused by a huge hot air mass over the central Australian deserts, being brought to the east coast by westerly winds, so it’s very dry. Parts of central Australia were getting temperatures around 47°C yesterday and today. These temperatures also bring dry lightning, which is a danger for setting bushfires. This time last year those immense bushfires were already going, and Sydney was already choking on thick smoke for several days in a row. We haven’t had any big fires yet this season.

There is a cool change on the way, expected to blow up from the south tomorrow around 5pm. They’re saying at that time temperatures will drop 20 degrees or more in less than an hour, from about 40°C to 20°C. I’ll be looking forward to it.

I spent most of the day holed up inside with the air conditioning on. I had to brave the heat a few times to take Scully out.

About 11 o’clock my wife decided she wanted to walk up to the shops to pick up something from the tailor. A few minutes after she left, Scully indicated she wanted to go out. I grabbed the little pile of stuff we have by the door, consisting of a small pouch with doggie poop bags and some dried chicken treats, a leash, and a small ring with just the minimal two basic keys needed to enter our apartment. I shut the door behind me, went to put the pouch and the keys into my pocket… and I noticed the keys weren’t there. My wife had taken the small set of keys to the shops with her, instead of her normal keys!

I had to take Scully out, into the daytime heat. Then after she toileted we came back and stopped at the front door for a minute. I figured my wife would only be about 20 minutes, so we’d just have to wait. I hadn’t even brought my phone or wallet – I had nothing but the poop bags.

After a few minutes I decided it was too hot and at least I could buzz a neighbour on the intercom to let us into the building. The first one I tried – immediately next door where Scully’s friend Luna lives – they weren’t home. I was going to try another neighbour when some people approached. They were visiting another neighbour on our floor, so when they buzzed to get in, I followed. I sat in the relatively cool foyer with Scully. She was a bit mystified as to why we weren’t going home, and I gave her a few of the chicken treats while we waited.

Fortunately my wife had not decided to stop at a cafe and have a coffee and a slice of cake or whatever, but returned home pretty quickly. She arrived after we’d been waiting in the lobby maybe 10 minutes.

This afternoon we watched the final episode of The Queen’s Gambit. Excellent show, we really enjoyed it, and it was a fitting ending. It’s weird to think of a fictional universe in which Dudley Dursley grows up and sleeps with Beth Harmon. (I didn’t realise the same actor appeared in both roles until a friend mentioned it yesterday.)

New content today:

Gumming up the work

I had my second last Ethics class for the year today. About half the students were missing as they were attending an orientation day at a local high school, where they’ll be starting in Year 7 next year at the end of the summer holidays around the end of January. So it was a more manageable number of kids, but unfortunately the two main disruptors were still there, and I needed to assert control very firmly a few times.

And then near the end of the lesson, I noticed one of them was chewing gum! This was a serious offence when I was in school, and I assumed it’s still so now. I made him wrap it in paper so it wouldn’t stick to anything and then discard it. And I told him I’d be reporting this to his regular classroom teacher, which I did right after the lesson finished. The teacher assured me he’d take action to deal with this infraction.

It’s sad when the end of a school year comes and I know I’ll never see that class of kids again, but honestly this year has contained the worst couple of students I’ve seen in four years of teaching this course, and I won’t miss those ones. I look forward to having a new class next year, and from reports from the Year 5 teachers I think it should be a much better behaved group.

The rest of the day I worked on comics, which is kind of boring to report because I don’t want to reveal anything ahead of publication, and I spend quite a few days doing this.

In the afternoon I took Scully for a walk down to Berry Island, which isn’t really an island any more – it’s joined to the harbour shore by a low isthmus of grass that is a nice park to let dogs run around on. It’s a nice spot, by the water, with views of the city across the harbour, and a short enough but decent walk from home. Walking uphill back home is a good stretch of the legs, both for me and Scully. And the good thing is we don’t need to cross any streets, and the traffic is very light, so I can let Scully walk off-lead almost all the way home.

Looks like the Irregular Webcomic! cron job worked fine tonight, on a Wednesday. Let’s see if it fails again on Tuesday next week.

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