More rain, more teaching

We had another 30 mm of rain overnight, and some heavy showers during today. More expected tomorrow, of course.

This morning was face-to-face ethics teaching at the school. Against about 7 or 8 of the kids in my class were absent. Apparently COVID is raging through schools and infecting kids everywhere. Four of my friends have had it run through their families now, all apparently being brought home from school. We started a new topic today, about challenging authority.

Besides my online classes this evening, I worked mostly on Darths & Droids writing and comics today.

New content today:

Rain and the city

Yep, the rain is back. We had a few moderate showers throughout the day, but nothing really heavy. Tomorrow is supposed to be heavier, and then more heavy rain on Sunday.

The city looks nicer in the rain though, with the lights streaking across the wet roads and footpaths. I went in to the university a little later today as I had to look after Scully all day and then drop her at my wife’s work late, before heading in on the train. Rather than have a nice dinner somewhere near the university I grabbed some Vietnamese rice paper rolls from a take-away near the station.

The lecture tonight was the class I put together for data presentation, so mostly my material and exercises. I think it went pretty well! It was raining lightly on the way home, but I got a train quickly, so that wasn’t too bad.

New content today:

Speaking of misbehaviour…

I had my first serious behavioural issue with students in one of my online classes today. After almost a year of teaching online, the students have generally been incredibly well behaved. But today I had three who started goading each other in the Zoom text chat. I told them multiple times to stop it, but it continued, and eventually I had to disable the text chat when they started calling each other stupid.

It was very unpleasant at the time and not having had to deal with anything like this before it made me a bit flustered. After the class I wrote messages to all the parents. Two of them have replied so far, very apologetically, and saying they had had a serious talk with their child. SO hopefully it won’t happen again. But next time if anything seems to be bubbling up, I’ll just close the chat earlier, now that Ive had this experience.

It was rather upsetting, and dealing with it took up much of my morning. I went for my usual run to clear my head and get into a better mood.

This evening was week 4 of the Data Engineering course, and this time we went for about 2.5 hours instead of the 2 hours of the previous three weeks. The class is scheduled from 6-9pm. but the lecturer feels the students get a bit tired after 2 hours, so doesn’t want to fill up the full 3 hours.

But at least tonight the trains were kinder. We caught a train as soon as we arrived at the station near the university, and it went straight through to both our stations ( I assume it continued on to the lecturer’s station as promised). So I got home a lot quicker than last week.

New content today:

Flat out comics day

I had the last two classes on my current ethics topic of inventions this morning – an hour earlier thanks to the USA going off daylight saving time, and most of the students in these classes being in the US. Although one student in Taiwan had to switch to the other class to maintain the same time in his zone.

After that I spent much of today doing comics work. I wrote 5 new strips for Irregular Webcomic! and photographed, assembled, and wrote annotations for them. This is a smaller batch than I usually do and would have liked, but I didn’t have time to do a full batch to last multiple weeks, so next week I’m going to have to do it all again.

I also ended up spending a significant amount of time dealing with administrative overhead on Outschool, answering requests and questions from parents. Again daylight saving time is causing issues, because when Australia goes off it in April it had caused all my classes to be listed an hour later, and a parent noticed. So I had to go through and cancel all the April classes and relist them again an hour earlier (my time), so they’re the same time for everybody overseas.

And now it’s late and bedtime, and I still haven’t really relaxed or unwound from a full busy day.

New content today:

Data presentation done

I ticked off a big task today. I completed the lecture and tutorial material for week 5 of the data engineering course, on data visualisation and presentation. I uploaded all the stuff to the university server so the lecturer could grab it and put it into shape for the lecture in two weeks’ time. This task off my plate means I’ll have more time for other things like making comics in the next week or so.

Straight after completing that, i set off for the university for tonight’s lecture, which was on designing an experiment. The trains were favourable this time, and I had time for a leisurely early dinner. I again went to Spice Alley, and this time tried a Japanese place, getting tonkotsu ramen.

Kyo-to Ramen & Sushi

Unfortunately the ramen wasn’t as spectacular as the decor – the food was quite disappointing. But I made up for it with a spectacular dessert from a place around the corner.

Black Forest dessert

They had a range of amazing looking desserts, but I can never go past anything labelled as Black Forest. It had cherry brownie in the bottom, with cream, crumble, cherry jelly, and fancy decorative flowers. It was delicious.

Then it was across the road to the university for the lecture. The modern glass building is where the lecture is held, up on the 7th floor.


The class went well. I got to stand up and talk to the class about potential projects they could do for their assessment tasks.

After the class I made my way home on the trains. But the train I caught stopped and terminated at North Sydney, a few stations before my stop, and then something was obviously wrong because the announcements said the next train wouldn’t arrive for another 25 minutes. Which is about the time it takes me to walk home from that station… So I ended up walking the rest of the way home.

New content today:

… and presenting data

Today I worked more on the slides and material for Data Engineering, on visualising data. I spent some time making a cool illustration of how not to make a graph:

A bad graph

Hopefully some of your eyes are bleeding just looking at that graph.

Tonight we’re playing online board games, and concentrating on Castles of Burgundy, a new game that one of your group has been urging us to try for some time.

New content today:

Engineering data 2

It seems this intense rain weather system is very unpredictable. We were bracing for very heavy rain today, potentially the worst so far, but it turned out nowhere near as bad as yesterday.

Still, what rain there was, and flash flooding, interrupted train services. I had to travel into the university this evening for lecture 2 of the Data Engineering course. I could leave a bit earlier since there wasn’t the ISO meeting this week, and I did so, planning a leisurely dinner at a nice Asian place in the “Spice Alley” food laneway near the uni. But I ended up waiting 40 minutes at the station for a train – about 6 or 7 trains in a row were cancelled. And of course by the time a train finally showed up, it was full of people – meaning I had to cram on in what seemed like a ridiculously dangerous proximity given COVID.

I got to the university too late for a sit down meal, and wasted time tried to find a sushi place where I could just grab a take-away bento box, but in vain. In the end I ended up in the university food court, where half the places were closed for the evening already, and I chowed down a chicken schnitzel on a tortilla quickly before heading to the lecture room.

The lecture went well, and I had to wander around the room during the tutorial exercises and answer questions form students. It was pretty easy today but will get more complex as the course progresses.

New content today:

A bit of a busy day, more rain

Let’s see. It’s virtually bed time and I’ve been too busy to get to this today. I got up, had breakfast, went for my run. I finally managed to clock another time below 12 minutes today, which was good.

I had two ethics classes, finishing up the topic of genetic engineering. Then I worked on the next topic, which is the ethics of humour. I wanted to get that knocked off today so I wouldn’t have to do it tomorrow to an even harder deadline. Then I worked on making a new lesson for the girl who I’m teaching science, who I haven’t seen for a month. She’s been busy, but had time for a new lesson today. I did one on DNA and genetics. And I also had an extension class going through written homework for one of the ethics students.

For dinner I made potato pancakes, and my wife suggested serving them with a fried egg on top, which sounded good so i did that. It was a really good combo. A quick and easy dinner, because I’d been so busy that I didn’t want to cook anything complicated. Oh, I also made a sourdough loaf today.

I planned to start up new Irregular Webcomic! strips today, but when the new strip didn’t update at the expected time I realised that I hadn’t assembled the strips from the photos yet! So I spent the evening after dinner making new comics and uploading them. I only have two done, and need to photograph new ones in time for Wednesday, but I think I can manage that… maybe…

New content today:

Super busy week: Thursday

Today it was an online ethics class at 9am, then my daily run, then another class at 11am. I had to do my run in between because I wouldn’t have another good chance to do it today. Unfortunately, it was pouring rain at the time. I recorded a rather poor time, but at least I didn’t break my streak.

I took Scully for a short walk while I got some lunch. The rain had stopped by then, but it was incredibly humid, and even though we were just walking I was again dripping with sweat by the time we got home.

There were three technical sessions in the ISO standards meeting today, but I had to skip out on the third one in order to head into town and the University of Technology. Unfortunately the trains in Sydney have been disrupted all week by a contentious combination of industrial action and government petulance, so trains were running to a much reduced schedule. And of course it was pouring rain again.

I managed to get into the city in time, and stopped off to have a quick dish of beef rendang and roti at Spice Alley, a string of Asian eateries near the university. Then it was over to the uni and the lecture. The class was pretty full, without close to 100 students. It was easy going this week though, being just the introductory lecture, with no real tutorial exercise work for the students. They have until next week to get Matlab installed and running, so next week we can start doing exercises during the 3-hour class.

We ended a little early tonight, and then I made my way home on the train again. In the rain again. It was weird being on trains again, with large numbers of people. That’s the most crowded I’ve been with people for close to two years, and honestly it felt really weird. Everyone had masks on, so hopefully there’s not too much risk of getting COVID.

New content today:

Super busy week: Monday

This is going to be a hectic week. I have the ISO standards meeting starting tomorrow, but today had plenty going too.

I got up, had breakfast, went for my daily run. I had to wipe the sweat off and cool down quickly enough to take my first online ethics class, followed immediately by class number two. Then there was no break before I went out with my wife and Scully. My wife was running errand while I took Scully on a walk and to get myself some lunch. This was the most relaxing part of the day, as I sat and enjoyed a chicken pie, followed by a Nutella slice, from the Naremburn bakery that I’ve grown to really like.

After lunch it was straight into another class, a follow-up extension class on the patriotism topic. This one was moved from its usual timeslot on Wednesday, because of the the ISO meeting falling on top of that slot on Wednesday. And I had a second one of those extension classes at 6pm. In between I worked on writing a new Darths & Droids comic, which is in fact for tomorrow’s publication, because I’m so behind on making those at the moment. And afterwards there was follow-up work marking the kid’s homework and adding suggestions for a few web pages on English grammar for him to read up on.

For dinner I just did a quick dish of pre-made potato gnocchi from the supermarket and pesto. After dinner I made the comic strip and iterated through some comments by my friends. Oh, and did my post-run stretches that I hadn’t had time to do this morning before my first class!

Phew!! And the week is just going to get busier from here.

New content today: