Recovery Saturday

The ISO Photography Standards meeting concluded late last night. I’ve now spent the past 4 nights staying up until 2am (really a bit later, since I need to brush my teeth and get ready for bed after that), and waking up some time between 7 and 8 am, so I’m really surviving on limited sleep. So today was a relax and recover day, punctuated only by necessary housework.

I spent some time writing new Irregular Webcomic! strips. I’m now ready to photograph the remainder of the batch I began during the week.

That was about it really. It’s now just after 8pm and I’m ready for bed…

New content today:

3 nights down, 1 to go

The Thursday night of my ISO standards meeting was a little tougher , because I was a bit more tired, but also a bit easier in that the technical discussion was on topics closer to my ow expertise and interests than the previous night, so it was easier to pay attention and not drift off. I slept from 2:15 to about 8:30, so barely over 6 hours, which is about what I’ve had the past three nights.

This morning I did a big grocery shop, took Scully for a walk.

The final night of the meeting is about to begin, and I’m prepared with some chocolate peanut butter cake to boost my blood sugar levels for the next few hours.

Tonight is actually fortnightly board games night with my friends, and we’re still meeting virtually for that. So I’ve been able to stay up playing games until the ISO meeting begins at 11pm.

New content today:

2 nights down, 2 to go

I was up again until 2am last night, attending the ISO Photography Standards meeting being held virtually with delegates all around the world. I managed okay, staying alert for all of the technical discussions and contributing some comments. Which I hope were coherent and insightful.

So that’s two nights down, and tonight and Friday to go. I woke up this morning when my wife got up, and didn’t really manage to sleep in at all, so it was only about 5 hours sleep. I can manage on that for a few days, but it’ll all catch up with like a ton of bricks at some point. I just hope I can last to the end of the meeting first.

I’ve taken it a bit easy today, at least mentally. I went for a couple of walks to get some sunlight and fresh air, and I’ve spent a bit of time trying to write more comic scripts.

For lunch today I walked to the local fish & chip shop, and looking at their menu I decided to go fully retro and order stuff I haven’t had for years. I got a fish cake and a battered sav, plus some potato scallops. They even had Chiko rolls on the menu, but I didn’t opt for one of those. The potato scallops were excellent, but I understand why I haven’t bothered with fish cakes or battered savs for many years. I enjoyed it in a “this is nostalgic” sort of sense, but not so much in a culinary sense. Ah well.

New content today:

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:

Improving my handicap

This morning I played golf for the first time since injuring my hand. I met a friend for a round at the “par 3 pitch and putt” course we’ve played several times. Last time we played match play with me having a relative handicap of 17, and I won, so this time we reduced my handicap to 16. It was a tight contest, and my friend could have tied the round and forced us into a play-off hole by winning the 18th, but we halved the hole, and so I ended up on slightly more points, winning again. Next time we’ll reduce my handicap another stroke to 15.

My putting wasn’t great, but I made up for it with some good tee shots. One tee shot landed on the green and rolled gently past the hole, maybe 10 centimetres away, although it didn’t stop until a couple of metres past the hole – but it had been darn close to going in.

And the good news is that my left hand held up well. I was able to play all the strokes with as much strength as I wanted, without any problem or pain.

Tonight I have to stay up until 2am, because I have an online meeting for ISO photography standards. This meeting was scheduled for New York City this week, but obviously with the COVID-19 situation I’m not able to travel there, nor are most of the other delegates. ISO is holding all meetings virtually at the moment, currently until at least the end of September. Which means it affects our next meeting as well, which was scheduled for Tampere in Finland in September. The meeting after that I am actually supposed to be hosting right here in Sydney, in February, but it remains to be seen whether that will go ahead face-to-face or virtually.

Anyway, because this week’s meeting is notionally hosted in New York City, the agenda schedule is on New York time. Normally it would be 9-5, which corresponds to 11pm to 7am for me – just about maximally awful. Especially given I am not in any way a night owl – I work best in the morning and start getting too tired to do much of anything by about 9pm. But fortunately the organiser decided that the meetings could be compressed into 9-12 New York time, meaning 11pm to 2am for me. Which is better (both for me and the numerous Japanese delegates), but it means we have to extend into an extra day, so I have these hours Tuesday, Wednesday Thursday, and Friday night (normally the meeting would go over just three days).

So… honestly I’m not looking forward to having to concentrate on highly technical content in an online meeting lasting until 2am, four nights in a row. But I’m just going to have to knuckle down and power through it, and hopefully catch up on sleep on the weekend.

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.

New content today:

Puzzle archives

Today I completed the work I began yesterday with those old computer files. It was to put on my website a mirrored archive of the old CiSRA Puzzle Competition that I ran with some friends of mine from 2007 to 2013 at our old employer. After the company shut down last year (and we all lost our jobs), the original website vanished. There’s a copy on archive.org, but nowhere else. I decided some time ago to host a mirror myself, but haven’t sat down to do the work to reformat the links and make an index page until now. But now it’s done! Another task I can tick off my long to-do list.

I’ve also been doing some administrative work related to ISO photography standards. I’ve probably mentioned that we have a planned meeting to be hosted in Sydney in February next year, and as the chair of the Australian photography standards committee, it’s my job to keep that on track. But of course with the COVID-19 restrictions on meetings and international travel, ISO is currently running all standards meetings virtually – currently until at least the end of August, but that could easily be extended. So it’s not clear at all if the Sydney meeting will go ahead as a physical meeting, or a virtual meeting, or perhaps a physical meeting with some delegates unable to attend due to travel restrictions in their countries. So today I had a bit of back and forth emailing to the international conveners and Standards Australia, to raise the issues and ensure that there are no problems that may arise that we need to deal with now. (It’d be nice if I got paid for any of this work…!)

Oh, and Scully got a wash and trim at the dog groomer today. She’s looking neat and tidy, but with her fur trimmed short and the nights getting colder here, she definitely needs the pyjamas I showed a few days ago.

New content today:

A bit of travel

I’ve hardly driven anywhere since the coronavirus lockdown began – mainly just to the supermarket for food. But today I had a work-related reason – I needed to return a monitor colour calibrator I borrowed to the owner, who needed to use it for his own work. I drove out to his place at Baulkham Hills, and my wife suggested I take Scully for a drive, and maybe walk her around out there for change of scenery.

So we did that, and I ended up spending a couple of hours out there. Enough to stop in for lunch at a bakery, and get more samples for my food blog. And while typing that up I found an old one from last year that I hadn’t blogged yet, and typed that up too.

This afternoon I also did some work for photography standards stuff, downloading documents and voting on a whole slew of ballots to reconfirm ISO standards that are up for their 5-yearly systematic review cycle. And… hmmm, some other bookkeeping stuff related to bills and tax deductions and stuff like that. Fascinating blog material, I’m afraid.

New content today:

Birdie Num Num

This morning I had a virtual meeting via Zoom for Standards Australia on photography standards. This is the follow-up to the international meeting I had in February, where I report back to the Australian experts on what happened and the progress of the various standards the international committee is working on. Normally we meet face-to-face, but this is the first online meeting of the Aus group under coronavirus restrictions. It went smoothly enough, except that my wife is also working from home at the same time, on the phone a lot, and our place isn’t large. I had to use the bedroom as my virtual office.

Unrelated good news: Scully is definitely on the mend from her illness. She’s eating more and is more active rather than lethargic.

And in other good news, I needed some exercise after my meeting this morning, so I played a round of golf after lunch. The course was busy, and I had a slow pair of what looked like a father and son, about 10 years old, ahead of me. So I had a bit of waiting at each tee for them to clear the fairway ahead of me. And then another pair came up behind me – a girl about 12 years old and (presumably) her brother, maybe 9 or 10 years. I saw their father drop them off at the car park, but COVID restrictions here limit golf groups to a maximum of two people, so the kids were playing by themselves. And they were good! Better golfers than me.

So anyway, they came up behind me as I was waiting to tee off at hole 3. I decided to let them go ahead of me, because I didn’t want the pressure of people coming up behind. I told them that they were better players than I was. After we all finished hole 3, the kids teed off on hole 4 (after a bit of a wait for the father/son pair ahead of them). This is the intimidating hole I’ve posted before:

Hole 4, par 3

You have to hit your tee shot over the creek. I’ve lost a fair few golf balls in there. Anyway, the kids hit immaculate tee shots, the boy landing just off the green and the girl landing on the green. I think they both two-putted for pars. The tee for the next hole was still occupied, so they sat to wait on a bench, facing back towards hole 3, and me at the tee. So they were watching me play.

I hit the tee shot sweetly and it sailed high in the air… bounced right on the green, and rolled to a stop about 2.5 metres from the hole. Not bad! I walked over to the green and lined up the putt… and sank it! I scored a birdie! Only my second one ever, after last week’s. As I walked off the green to my golf bag, the girl called out, “Well done!”

I could have played it cool and suave, but I actually replied excitedly that that was the first birdie I’d ever scored on this course.

But how cool is it to have a stranger watch something you’re doing and spontaneously burst out with a genuine, “Well done!”?

New content today:

Report writing

I had some boring work and work-like tasks today. Firstly I had to contact the gas company about our latest gas bill, which arrived yesterday. Normally the bills are around $100, but this one was almost $800. I checked previous bills, which listed the meter readings for our gas hot water meter.

  • Third previous bill: start 3874.04, end 3969.92, units used: 95.88
  • Second previous bill: start 3969.92, end 4175.98, units used: 206.06
  • Previous bill: start 170, end 198.22, units used: 28.22
  • This bill: start 171, end 4480.96, units used: 4309.96

🤔

It took me a little while to get through the phone menu system and talk to a person at the gas company. I explained there was an error in the bill, and asked them to look at the hot water meter readings for the past four bills. The woman on the other end put me on hold for a minute, then came back. “Oh yes, I can see what the problem is! We’ll cancel your bill, correct the error, and issue a new bill.” So hopefully the replacement bill will be correct. It may be slightly larger than normal since we were most likely undercharged in the last bill, although not by a huge amount.

The next bureaucracy I had to deal with was registering for the Australian Government’s announced coronavirus financial aid, which I believe covers me because I’ve previously registered as a self-employed person and I’m losing income due to my market stalls being cancelled. There are some eligibility criteria to be worked through, but I think I should be eligible. The main thing was registering an “intent to claim” as soon as possible, so that payments can be backdated once the whole procedure (which could take weeks given the load on Australia’s welfare system) is worked through. I tried to do this yesterday, but the phone line just hung up on me when I rang. Today they released an online registration portal, and I managed to use that okay.

And then I got stuck into some really juicy work – writing my report on the ISO photography standards meeting ostensibly held in Yokohama that I attended by videoconference last month. I have to submit a report to Standards Australia, summarising all the key technical discussions and items of interest to the Australian photographic community. One main one is that we’re planning to host a meeting in February 2021 in Sydney. Assuming we’re back to physical meetings by then…

The next scheduled meeting is in New York City in June, but that’s already been converted to another virtual online meeting. I was planning to travel to New York in June for this meeting, but that’s now not going to happen. Instead I’ll have to stay awake for a 9am-6pm meeting held in New York’s time zone – which equates to 11pm to 8am in Sydney. As someone who is decidedly not a night owl, that is pretty much the absolute worst possible timing for me. Roughly 10:30pm to 6:30am is my normal sleep cycle. So it’ll be pretty rough.

Anyway, I trawled through my meeting notes, the offical minutes, and all of the presentations given during the Yokohama meeting, and assembled my report, which took up most of the rest of the day.

New content today: