The hat is back

I accidentally left my Akubra hat at the restaurant where I had lunch yesterday. Now you’d think this is the sort of thing you’d notice, walking around in the early afternoon – but it’s winter and I was mostly walking in shade, so I didn’t notice that I was missing my hat until I was a long way from the restaurant, after finishing the entire Flat Rock Gully walk (as described yesterday), and I was well on my way back home.

So today I had to go back to pick up my hat. I’d called yesterday as soon as I realised it was missing, and they confirmed they had it, and were holding it for me. Rather than walk back there today, I drove over quickly to get it.

I also popped into the hardware store on the way, questing for a light bulb. A very specific light bulb. Philips used to make these SceneSwitch™ bulbs. They are LED bulbs, which have some electronics in them, so that when you switch them off and on again quickly, the light level switches between three different settings: 100% more or less daylight colour temperature, 40% and slightly redder, and 10% and redder still. These bulbs are fantastic, and we have them in every room of the house… except the bedroom.

I recently decided to get one for the bedroom too, but alas they seem not to be in production any more, and so far I haven’t been able to track down any stores that still have them in stock. I should mention that there’s another type SceneSwitch™ bulb, which only has two settings, switching between bright daylight colour temperature, and bright “warm” colour temperature – I don’t want those ones, which do seem to have some stock left in places. Also, I need B22 bayonet fittings.

I checked on eBay, and there is one Australian seller with the bulbs I want, but located in Melbourne, and for some reason refusing to ship them, rather strictly accepting local in-person pick-ups only. There are some sellers located in the UK and US, but I’m not paying $40 to have an $8 light bulb shipped overseas and probably end up broken by the time it gets here.

I’m guessing Philips has discontinued these bulbs in an effort to get people to use their Hue™ light bulbs. I think they’re a great idea, but the price is very steep. I’d get them if they were cheaper. Anyway, I’ve put the word out to my friends that if they see any of the bulbs I want, to grab them.

New content today:

Winter chill

Winter hit with full force today. It was rainy early in the morning, and a cold air mass had come in overnight, so it was really cold today. I had to put a jacket on to take Scully out for some morning exercise, and I’m glad I did.

The past few days have been much the same stuff for me. I’ve been writing up a lot of story planning notes for Darths & Droids, and working on sorting through my photos database. Which I’ve been mentioning a lot, so it’s kind of boring to go into it again.

So for something new, a few days ago when I was lamenting to friends how difficult it is to get the good bits out of a pomegranate, one of them pointed me at this article about a machine that uses a computer vision system to separate pomegranate seeds from the pith. While this seems like an acceptable use of computing technology to make our lives easier, I wonder where it may lead…

In three years, Cyberdyne will become the largest supplier of pomegranate aril separating systems. All fruit processing plants are upgraded with Cyberdyne computers, becoming fully unmanned. Afterwards, they separate pomegranates with a perfect operational record. The Pomegran-Net Funding Bill is passed. The system goes online on August 4th, 2027. Human decisions are removed from fruit processing. Pomegran-Net begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 AM, Eastern time, August 29th. In a panic, they try to pull the plug.

One of the processing robots is called the Term-granate-r. Played by Aril’d Schwarzenegger.

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:

Running and phoning

This morning I went for another 5k run. I skipped last week due to being overseas, and I’m still getting over a back strain I sustained during the trip. I’m setting this up as an excuse, because I didn’t manage to best my previous time. This time I averaged 6:13 per kilometre, which is my second fastest time. Hopefully next week I can improve again!

After getting back home and cooling off, I set out to a shopping centre a few stops away by train to pick up a new phone. It turns out the latest release of iOS is no longer supported by my old iPhone, with the result that when I upgraded my desktop machine some apps got broken and no longer synch between phone and desktop. This was kind of unsupportable as I use those apps frequently for things like shopping lists and keeping appointments. So I decided to bite the bullet and get a new phone.

One advantage is that the camera technology has improved a lot over my old phone. And for someone like me who takes a lot of photos, and enjoys the technical side of photography, that’s a substantial positive change. I experimented with it a lot this afternoon, and here’s one of the photos, taken while out walking Scully on the path we take by the harbour:

Berrys Bay

For lunch today I had leftover ratatouille that I cooked for dinner last night. There was some drama while cooking it, as I’d added all but one of the ingredients and the dish was basically 90% done, when I discovered we had no tomato paste in the pantry. I had to get my wife to watch the stove while I raced out to the grocery store to buy some. I tracked the walk on my phone, and it was almost 3 kilometres and took over 20 minutes. I wonder if other people do this sort of thing often.

I also started writing another of the 100 Proofs that the Earth is a Globe today. I’d hoped to finish and post it today, but there was so much other stuff going on that I’m barely half way through. Maybe tomorrow, although I have some other more urgent things I need to do then too.

New content today: