Wet Saturday, pizza, Root

It was a cold, wet day today. It’s astonishing how just a week or two ago it was still hot like the end of summer, and now the weather has turned downright chilly. I managed to find a window around 9am to go for a short run, 2.5k. I want to ease back into it a little since my back is still a tiny bit tender after pulling it a week ago. I might try for 5k tomorrow, but we’ll see.

My wife and I played a game of Root this afternoon, this time using all four factions for the first time, with robot versions of the Marquisate and the Eyrie, while she played the Alliance and I played the Vagabond. I’d been introducing new elements of the game to her slowly so she can get used to them, and this is the first time we included the Vagabond. The robot factions did pretty well and controlled a lot of the board until late in the game, but we both overtook them and my wife managed to race to victory.

I also spent some time building the next stage of the D&D Lego set. First, here’s a photo of the enormous box!

Lego D&D set

Inside are a couple of dozen numbered bags full of pieces, which are constructed in order. Here’s the first stage of construction, a tavern, showing the outside with a dwarven adventurer:

Lego D&D set: Stage 1

Stage 2 added more to the upper parts of the walls, the tavern sign, and a wizard character:

Lego D&D set: Stage 2

Today I completed stage 3, which is the upper floor of the tavern, where there’s a comfy looking bed:

Lego D&D set: Stage 3

But oh no! It’s a mimic!!!

Lego D&D set: Stage 3a

I’ll try to do stage 4 tomorrow.

Tonight for dinner I made pizza – our usual with pumpkin and walnuts and chilli. We had some left over sour cream from Mexican meals in the past week, so I added some of that and a bit more chilli oil onto the cut slices after it was cooked. Very nice!

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Sending more cards overseas

Besides 5 ethics classes today, I spent some time selling more Magic: the Gathering cards. I made 4 new sales, and sent three packages off in the mail. The other was this evening, so I’ll send it tomorrow.

The only other thing worth comment today was a brief but intense thunderstorm that passed over the city mid-afternoon. There was intense rain and some extremely loud thunder where I am for a few minutes, before it cleared away and became sunny again.

My wife made minestrone for dinner using the left over vegetable soup from last night. We’ve moved from summer dishes to soups again on the nights when I have classes, as the weather cools down towards winter. The quilt has gone back on the bed already, and slippers have come out of storage.

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A hit of winter!

Showers were forecast today, but I wasn’t prepared for what actually happened. A strong cold front hit early in the afternoon, bringing rain and cold winds. The temperature dropped to around 13°C, which is like a very cold winter day for Sydney. It’s definitely the coldest weather we’ve had all year, since last winter. Tomorrow is supposed to be cool and windy, but thankfully Thursday will start to warm up a bit more again, as that’s the day I have slated for the trip into the mountains with the American visitor.

I had an easy morning, spending time stretching out my back to aid recovery. It really stiffens up overnight, but loosens up again during the day. Overall it’s better than yesterday, so that’s good. I worked on some Darths & Droids comics, and made some sourdough. Actually, it was unusual because the dough turned out a lot softer and stickier than usual. In hindsight, I may have measured out 100 grams less of flour than usual, but I’m not sure. The bread turned out nice though.

Tonight I had three ethics classes, migrated from Thursday for this week only. Fewer students than normal showed up, as expected, so I had to refund a few of them. The new topic is School. Talking to school-aged kids about school, and what’s good and bad about it and stuff like that is very interesting!

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Jigsaw puzzle done!

After neglecting it during the week. we put in a concerted effort today and finished off the 1000-piece Renoir jigsaw puzzle.

Jigsaw complete!

We woke up to a sunny morning, after a night of very heavy rain. The rain gauge at Sydney’s main weather station broke overnight, so we don’t have a reading for the 24 hour period, but nearby gauges registered 145 mm at Sydney Airport and 160 mm at the suburb of Canterbury. I heard the rain hammering down in the middle of the night, but it had stopped by the time I got up and the sun had come out. But there was evidence in the garage basement where much of the floor was still wet, and there were water-transported trails of sand everywhere. Part of it must have flooded like it has on other heavy rain occasions (though I don’t think as bad as those ones).

Heading out for a 5k run after breakfast, I passed a couple of small toppled trees and fallen branches. The streets looked the worse for wear, with lots of twigs and leaf litter, and torrents of water still rushing in all the gutters.

Another consequence of the weather was to completely change my plans for the week ahead. I mentioned yesterday that I was planning to take my American visitor friend up to the Blue Mountains on Tuesday. The plan was to do the Grand Canyon Track walk near Blackheath, and then go see some of the other sights depending how much time we had. But because of the weather, the National Parks and Wildlife Service has closed all of the Blue Mountains valley walking tracks until Thursday morning. They need time to check them for landslides, rockfalls, tree falls, and general safety.

This means we can’t do that walk on Tuesday. I was really looking forward to it, and my visitor is a keen hiker, and this may be his only chance in a lifetime to do these Blue Mountains walking tracks. So I shuffled my ethics classes from Thursday, moving some to Tuesday and some to Wednesday, and so I can have Thursday free to take him up to the mountains then instead of Tuesday. The other good thing about this is that the weather forecast for Thursday is dry, whereas Tuesday may have a few showers, so it should be a better day for it anyway. Now we just have to hope they don’t find anything dangerous that causes the track to be closed for longer.

For dinner tonight I made vegetable fajitas. Onions, garlic, carrot, zucchini, broccolini, cauliflower. And I tried a new ingredient, frying up strips of haloumi to add to the fajitas. The added salty crunch was good!

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The Kickstarter that keeps on giving

Back in 2015 I backed a Kickstarter for a copy of the roleplaying game Delta Green. I got the book many years ago, but they keep on issuing new digital rewards for backers. I got another one yesterday – this is about the 20th or 30th PDF adventure/expansion that I’ve received for this project. And the announcement email said they’re still working on four more titles that I should receive in the future! This is not stuff that was promised and they’re late in delivering – it’s all bonus rewards that I never expected to get in the first place. Definitely a publisher that looks after its customers.

Oh, the other main news is all about the weather. We had 111 mm of rain overnight, and today’s forecast was upgraded from another 100 mm to 200 mm! The morning was steady rain, a little heavy at times, but nothing too bad. It increased in the afternoon and is expected to get very heavy overnight, until late tomorrow morning.

Board games night is at a friend’s place, but I decided not to go tonight. A combination of the traffic and heavy rain, and wanting to get some things done at home. I needed to complete next week’s ethics class topic plan early, because on Tuesday I’m planning to have a day out in the mountains with an Internet acquaintance who is visiting Sydney from the USA. He actually arrived late yesterday, just in time for this glorious stormy welcome.

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Sydney putting on the weather for a visitor

I have an online acquaintance who is currently visiting Australia for the first time. He began his trip in Melbourne last week, and spent the last four days driving along the scenic coastal route to Sydney, taking his time to enjoy the sights. He hauled into Sydney this afternoon… just in time for the start of one of our epic weather events.

The forecast is for almost 200mm of rain over the next 48 hours, with some thunderstorms and high winds thrown in for good measure. The Nepean/Hawkesbury River system that marks the western and northern boundaries of Sydney has had a “minor to major” flood warning issued. The ran started at lunch time today and was light during the afternoon, but it’s getting pretty heavy now in the evening.

This morning I had two ethics classes, and thenI tried to beat the incoming rain and send another package off at the post office. I managed to get as far as halfway home via the pie shop, where I grabbed some lunch. I took shelter on some covered seating at a nearby park to eat with Scully while we watched the rain come down. It lightened up a bit and we didn’t get too wet on the way home.

In the afternoon I did some comics stuff and prepped for this evening’s three further ethics classes. Oh, I also added a new class time on Monday nights to cater to a couple of students who needed to move from existing classes for scheduling reasons. I’m getting a bit saturated with classes, but felt I could handle one more for two long-time students.

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Weather forecast got it wrong

Yep, the Bureau of Meteorology got today’s forecast very wrong. It was supposed to be hot and sunny, 29°C. It briefly reached 25°C and hovered closer to 20°C for most of the day, under grey skies and some heavy rain.

I took Scully for a bit of a drive at lunch time, and we got caught out by the rain. I had to find a seat under shelter to eat after getting a couple of pies from the Allambie Pies shop. Scully’s not keen on rain, so she didn’t want to run around in it at the park there.

No progress on the jigsaw puzzle today, as I said I wouldn’t work on it while my wife was out at work. And then when she got home, I went for a 5k run, and then when I got home from that she went out to a Zumba aerobics class. And she brought home a copy of The Barbie Movie from the library to watch, so she’s watching that this evening.

I worked on my ethics class for this week, on the topic of Persuasion. I point out that persuading people is attempting to change their minds about something, and explore the ethics of when that’s okay, and when it’s not okay. And how people persuade others, what methods do they use, and are some methods more effective, or more ethical, than others.

And I spent some time tidying up a bunch of loose ends and tasks that needed to get done. Nothing particularly interesting or noteworthy – just mundane chores.

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Enjoying the cooler weather

Oh, it’s so nice after the summer. It rained heavily overnight and was nice and cool today, with a few light showers. Also I noticed for the first time the ginkgo trees outside are just starting to turn yellow in a few of the leaves, the first real sign of autumn. They’re beautiful in mid-autumn when all the leaves are bright butter yellow. (Before they fall off and make a mess everywhere.)

I spent some time photographing piles of Magic: the Gathering cards before packing them for mailing this week. But mostly I worked on writing new Darths & Droids comics and making them up, trying to get a bit ahead of the publishing schedule. I also did some housework – getting the quilt out of storage and putting it back on the bed, since the nights are cooling down enough that a single sheet might not be warm enough soon. And I cleaned the bathroom and shower, and made some sourdough bread.

My wife spent some time today doing a one-day indigo dyeing course. She came home with about ten bits of cloth all died in different interesting patterns. She’s going to hem some and turn them into scarves. She said it as really fun to do. Next weekend she’s doing another class, on felt making.

Finally, if you want a puzzle challenge, try to work out the name of this restaurant this recently opened near me, from this logo.

Mystery restaurant name logo

Mystery restaurant name logo

I walked past it the other day and couldn’t figure it out until I went up and looked at one of the menus, which had the name written in a normal font. I’ll post the answer tomorrow.

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And so into autumn…

Friday was the first day of autumn, and thank goodness we have some cooler weather to look forward to soon. Friday was actually cooler than Thursday, but still plenty warm and very humid. I had four ethics classes during the day and I took Scully on a couple of short walks.

The Confession topic with the older kids is very interesting. It’s mostly about confession for things like crimes, breaking parental rules, or embarrassing secrets. But I touch on Catholic confession as a ritual of the church, describe it, and ask the kids what they think of it. The first two classes I had with this topic the kids all agreed that it is a useful thing to confess your misdeeds/sins and then have to show repentance and think about them, as it makes you more mindful of doing bad things and can make you a better person. But in Friday’s class I asked the same question and both of the kids in the class said it was rubbish, that it’s basically a get-out-of-jail-free card with God, you just get forgiven and go do bad things again without consequence.

Friday evening was online games night with my friends. We played a bunch of the usual suspect board games. My wife went out for dinner with some of her friends, so I had leftover fried rice from the night before, and I went up with Scully to the fish & chip shop to buy some fresh prawns to add to it.

Friday night was oppressive. The overnight minimum temperature was about 25°C, with humidity in the 90s, and a “feels like” temperature close to 30°C. By the time I got up and went for my 5k run, it was basically the same, and it was awful to run in – breathing felt like inhaling hot soup.

Today I stayed inside with the air conditioning and worked on writing a new batch of Irregular Webcomic! scripts. I managed to get that done, but will have to photograph it tomorrow or Monday.

For dinner we all went out for a short drive to Lane Cove shops and found a Mexican place there. The food was good, but a bit expensive. We were sitting next to a grassy area where lots of kids were playing, and there was a DJ playing music on a small stage. It was kind of fun, but a little noisy with everything happening.

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Last day of summer heat

29 February, leap year day! Also the last day of summer, and Sydney really turned it on for the occasion. We reached over 40°C in some suburbs, although nearer the coast it was thankfully a few degrees cooler. I took Scully for a walk in the morning before it got too hot, but it was hot and humid enough to be uncomfortable. At lunch I just took her out briefly and kept our short walk in the shade of the trees. We went out at the same time as our new neighbour with their dog Sophie, and the two dogs are getting along pretty well, keen to see each other and wagging tails in a friendly manner. They seem to want to play, but so far the neighbours have always kept Sophie on a lead. We let Scully off in the park across the street sometimes so she can play with other dogs, but the neighbours might not be confident enough to do that.

I had 5 ethics classes today, 4 with the younger groups and one on the new Confession topic with older kids. That went well, and generated some very interesting discussion.

For dinner I made fried rice. And I spent a bit of time in the afternoon trying to write new Irregular Webcomic! strips, but I was struggling to come up with ideas and it didn’t go very well. Also perhaps because it was such a warm day and even with the air conditioning on it made me feel a bit lethargic.

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