Getting back up to speed

I was up to 2am last night, with my ISO Photography Standards meeting, as explained yesterday. The meeting chair kept things moving and was meticulous with keeping discussion to time, so we didn’t go late, and the meeting ended as scheduled at 2am Sydney time (midday in New York City). By the time I brushed my teeth and otherwise prepared for bed it was about 20 minute past – an incredibly late night for me.

I woke this morning around 7am, since one late night isn’t enough to trigger a change of morning rising habit, so I didn’t get a normal night’s sleep. So now as late evening approaches, I’m pretty tired already…. but have to stay up again and participate in technical discussion until 2am all over again. I just have to keep the finish line of Friday night in mind.

Today I worked on a new batch of Irregular Webcomic! strips – the first new ones I’ve been able to make since I injured my hand. I didn’t have time to write a normal full batch of 20 strips (4 weeks worth), only managing to write 10 before I decided I had to go ahead and start photographing and assembling, because I need new strips ready for tomorrow night’s update when the guest strips sent by Chris Burke run out.

Normally I take the photos when my wife and Scully are out of the house, because it involves a big mess all over the living room floor as I lay out all my Lego boxes. However with my wife working from home at the moment due to COVID-19, it’s difficult to find such times. Fortunately today was Scully’s 6-weekly grooming appointment at the dog groomer. So I dropped her off and then rushed through taking the Lego photos while she at least was out of the house.

The dog groomer moved premises recently, and this was the first time we’d been to the new premises. It’s really nice, in a more modern building (the move was because the previous building is going to be demolished for redevelopment), with more space for the all the dogs in daycare. Scully was a bit nervous at first because she didn’t know what this new place was about, but as soon as she recognised the groomer she was happy.

Now, to kill another hour or so and then try to stay alert through three hours of technical standards work…

New content today:

Getting back to normal

Yesterday I tested my hand with driving by taking Scully to the dog park, with my wife in the passenger seat in case I decided I couldn’t continue with my injured hand and she had to take over. But it was okay, just a tiny bit sore.

So today I drove out by myself to the supermarket to do a weekly shopping. My wife’s been doing small grocery shops a few times a week while I’ve been incapacitated, and we figure with COVID still possibly out there it’s good to restrict it back down to one big weekly shop. I managed fine, although I tried not to carry the heaviest bags of stuff in my recovering hand.

Also today I modified the bicycle light that I’d bought to attach to Scully during night time walks. I put about 5 layers of masking tape over it, but the lights still shone through pretty brightly. So I peeled that off and used two layers of grey electrical insulation tape. Even through two layers of that, you could see the lights, but they were suitably dimmed. So we tried it out tonight went we walked up the street for dinner at a local Greek restaurant. It worked really well! You could see Scully nicely, even in the darkest shadows on dark streets.

And I completed the second last conversion of Imgur album to web page for another of my Sydney walking photo essays: The Coal Loader and Balls Head.

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:

Evil plots

Sunday morning saw another sleep in. I slept with my bandaged hand tucked under the quilt for the first time – it felt a bit weird but was okay. Better than resting my arm on top where it was cold all night the last few nights. The fingers are getting more flexible and stronger, and I can now type with two hands, although only using one finger on my left hand.

My wife and I went for another big walk with Scully this morning, though not as long as yesterday.

Scully on Berrys Bay

Well, that photo is actually from yesterday, but it’s nice so I thought I’d share it today.

This afternoon I spent dedicated to brainstorming and plotting more Darths & Droids story material, with some of my co-writers. We wrote almost 2000 more words of story notes, and now have a significantly better plan for how the story progresses through Episodes 7 and 8.

My wife cooked dinner again tonight. Pea soup, with fried halloumi as a vegetarian substitute for ham/bacon. It was delicious… and I’m not just saying that because I didn’t have to do any of the work. 🙂

New content today:

A very windy day

The weather continues to be wintry here, with cold, overcast, and very strong winds today. I took Scully for a walk and it was a bit blowy. We recorded wind gusts up to 46 km/h today.

Blowin' in the wind

I spent a lot fo time today uploading photos and writing web pages for some of my Sydney walks, as part of the process of transferring from Imgur albums to pages hosted on my own site. I also expanded the commentary a lot, doing some research into various buildings that I’d taken photos of. In particular, this walk through Greenwich (the Sydney suburb) ended up having a lot of new historical details added.

Tonight for dinner I made a vegetable quiche. I make quiches a lot, but generally just with one vegetable, like chunks of pumpkin, or chopped spinach. A friend made some quiches recently with a variety of roasted vegetables, so I thought I’d fancy it up a bit. Here’s what I did:

  1. Chopped potato, butternut pumpkin (squash for the Americans), onion, broccolini. Spread on baking tray, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with rosemary. Baked 210°C for about 25 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile got some pre-made shortcrust pastry and put it in a pie dish. Placed it in the same oven after about 10 minutes, to blind bake for about 15 minutes.
  3. Placed vegetables in pastry shell, added chunks of feta, light sprinkle of salt, then poured over 3 eggs beaten with a bit of milk.
  4. Reduced oven to 190°C and bake 25 minutes.
  5. Yum!

Vege quiche 2

New content today:

More mission

Sunday morning walk time with my wife and Scully… we did what has become our routine walk around a loop that leads past a bakery and then down by the water where Scully chases a tennis ball on the grass. I’ve lost a few tennis balls over the years, accidentally throwing them into drains and stuff. Today I lost Scully’s ball by accidentally rolling it down a hill, onto the wharf, and through a tiny gap in the wooden barrier… plop! Into the harbour! So after that Scully was expecting me to throw the ball some more, but I couldn’t.

My wife suggested we always carry a spare ball. But that just means that inevitably one day I’ll lose two balls in one outing.

I wrote some more Darths & Droids stuff today – both background plotting info, and a new comic.

Oh, and I did a quick sketch response to the latest xkcd comic (2307):

continuum or binary

New content today:

Bad parring

We have a good method of making cheap chew toys for Scully. I buy a bunch of 100% cotton rope from the hardware store, cut it into lengths, and tie knots to stop it fraying. Scully loves playing tug-o-war with these ropes, and chewing them.

Scully's old play rope

A couple of days ago when I went past the hardware store I bought a new batch of rope. When I got it home I took the wrapper off… and oops!

Scully's new play rope

We couldn’t get it off her for a while! And just for fun here’s another photo fo Scully, from yesterday.

Scully with flowers

This morning I went to play golf with my friend, at the “pitch and putt” course where I first learnt to play. We did a rematch of the golf “skins” game we did a couple of weeks ago. Since I won that one with a handicap of 18, he suggested reducing my handicap to 16 for today. This meant that for the hardest 16 holes I only had to equal his score to win the hole, but for the two easiest hole I actually had to beat his score to win the hole. I thought he was still being generous after last time, but today I played poorly, and he won easily, 12 points to 6.

Here’s my best tee shot of the day.

My tee shot

Unfortunately I took two putts to sink it from there. Contrast my friend’s best tee shot of the day:

Andrew's tee shot

That’s my ball at the bottom. His ball is less than a forearm’s length from the hole. But that wasn’t the best shot we saw today. Another guy playing a hole near us scored a hole in one! I saw part of this shot, and the ball rolling on the green, but didn’t see it fall in the hole. However there was no mistaking it when people nearby exclaimed loudly and the man himself celebrated, and took a photo of the ball in the hole. So that was pretty cool.

New content today:

Escape tech problems

My wife had some technical issues with her work-from-home this morning. Her work laptop simply wouldn’t boot up, and hung even when restarted in all of the various safe modes. So she ended up spending most of the morning on remoter tech support over the phone, trying various things to get to a point where should even begin working. This is very frustrating, both for her and also for me since I’m in the same house hearing it all going on.

Around 10am I went for a long walk to clear my head (alas my wife didn’t have that option). I took Scully with me. She’s feeling much better now after her illness last week.

Scully near Greenwich Baths

Here she is hanging out near Greenwich Baths, which is a good solid 3 and a bit km walk (about 2 miles) from home. That’s a really long walk for her and she was dog tired when we got home. 😄

This afternoon I made crème brûlée to use up some leftover cream I had in the fridge.

Crème brûlée

It’s actually not difficult to make. The custard turned out pretty well. The recipe says to refrigerate overnight before adding the sugar and flaming it to melt it, but I was impatient and decided to blowtorch some brown sugar on top tonight.

Crème brûlée torching

Unfortunately the sugar was a bit lumpy… and caught on fire. After extinguishing the sugar and letting it solidify, it actually turned out fine. The whole thing was delicious, although the sugar didn’t make a nice even crust on top. I think tomorrow I’ll try white sugar, and make sure the layer is even before torching it.

New content today:

More Pirates!

Firstly, Scully is feeling much better today. Her appetite is definitely back, thanks to the barbecue chicken the vet suggested we try giving to her. She seems to like it a lot better than the plain boiled chicken we’d been trying. She’s also active and behaving like normal too. So hopefully she’s well on the road to recovery.

We went for a bit of a walk this morning, a big loop that we commonly do, up and down some hills, through a big park, and then back along the waterfront. Here’s Scully at the marina.

Scully at the marina

She has several interesting bandanas. I think she has a bigger wardrobe than I do!

This afternoon my wife and I played Extraordinary Adventures: Pirates! again. This time she’d got the hang of it and the game was much closer. We both ended up on 37 points, and I had to check the rulebook for the tie-breaker condition. And using that… she won!

The other main thing I did today was cooking. I made another loaf of bread using the “sourdough light rye” bread mix packet, and it turned out great again. Scully’s vet had also suggested we try white fish if the barbecue chicken didn’t work, so I’d bought a fillet of barramundi yesterday. Given she liked the chicken, I now had a piece of fish to spare. I don’t normally cook with meat or fish since my wife is vegetarian, but now I had to think of something. I decided to make myself a Thai green curry with fish pieces, broccoli, and green peas, with some jasmine rice. And oh my goodness it turned out delicious. (I also made my wife a vegetable omelette for her dinner.)

New content today:

Scully’s Diary, Day 6 of Operation Nom Nom Nom

its working!! iTs just like the other Puppers said in their wee-mails… i sniffed up this idea last week and decidded to try it out. On mOnday i just didnt eat anything, and also vomited for good measure. 🤮 On Tusday I did it again. 🤮🤮 Teh vomit was all likwid that time, aWesome!

On Wensday my hoomans took me to the Bad Place, and the peeple there stuck needles in me and poked me in the tummy. but i held firm. i was sooooo hungry when i got home, and they gave me boiled chikkin insted ov kibble – wich they nevah normally do!! – so i gave in and ated some. bUtt i remembered teh plan & vomited it all up agan an our later! 🤮 So proud of myself

i ated a tiny bit on Thusday and Friday… just enough to stave off starvation, but not enuff to please my humans. If i culd just hold out a bit longer, i knew theyd crack. i also hadn’t done a poop since Munday night, and on Thusday i did a big watery one! 💩 Haha!

i was begining to weeken and wunder if this was all worth it, and I should just eat the chicken. But i staid strong and rilly turnd it on this mornig (Satarday). i got the humans up at 5 oclok and made lyke i wanted to go outside for a poop, and then didnt do anything but snif the grass for haff an our!! HAAHAA! ANd then ten minits after i got inside i did it agaiN! and then again!! 6 tymes!

and then they tryed to feed me boyled chikin and i just turned my nose up at it. They took me to the Bad Place again… and the Evil nEedle Lady poked me again and gave me a tablet, YUk!

But then my hyoomans picked me up and talked all srsly to the nEedle Lady and then took me home… and then they gave me BARBECURE CHICKIN 🍗🍗

SCORE 🎉🎊🍗😋

i ate it ALL. SO GOOD. htey were just so hapy to see me eeting anything!! HAHAA! and then tonite tey gave me moAR BABECUE CHIKKIN. tis is so Awedsome. i might not even throw up tonigte!! tummy so full…

Scully 🐾

ps.. Hooman #2 wantd me to put this heer:

New content today: