More calm before the storm?

So they told us that we’d get heavy rain today. It hasn’t rained a drop, and was sunny most of the day. There was some dramatic cloud building up late this afternoon, but as of mid-evening still not a drop of rain. Supposedly we’re still in for heavy rain and strong winds tomorrow… but I’ll believe it when I see it. It was cold though.

This was the view over the city about 4:30pm.

Incoming storm

This morning I walked up to the shops to buy a couple of things. I needed to get some batteries because the ones for the remote in our air conditioner died and we couldn’t turn the heat on or off without raiding the DVD remote for batteries – and then couldn’t control the DVD player without switching them back. And since I was going to the shops anyway, I thought I’d get some chocolate sprinkles that I want for a dessert. However when I was up there I completely forgot to get the chocolate sprinkles.

And then later in the morning I took Scully out for a walk, and I went the other direction to the other nearby shops, where there’s a small supermarket. While there, I popped in to get the chocolate sprinkles… and they had ten different varieties of cake sprinkles… all colours and flavours, but no chocolate! So in two trips to two different supermarkets I didn’t manage to get them.

I also failed to get another thing I wanted from the Japanese grocery store. I wanted ramen noodles so I could make myself some ramen for lunch. But they only had udon and somen noodles, which are thicker and thinner respectively. I made do with somen, but honestly I find them too thin. But I did use them to make a pseudo-ramen for lunch:

Home made ramen

I even made a soft-boiled egg to put in. It turned out pretty good. And for dinner I roasted some kipfler potato slices and pumpkin chunks and a clove of garlic, before putting them on a pizza.

Potato and pumpkin pizza

This afternoon I worked a bit on a new tagging system for Square Root of Minus Garfield (plus other mezzacotta comics). I made a database table and populated it with tags and descriptions. This is a project that’s been on my to-do list for ages, and I though it wouldn’t be too difficult or time consuming, and I have a volunteer on the forums who wants to go through and tag all the comics, so that makes it a good opportunity to get it done.

New content today:

The calm before the storm

That storm is forecast to hit Sydney tomorrow, but today dawned beautiful and clear. It’s clouded in and there are odd showers now, but it should intensify overnight.

Most of the morning I spent doing housecleaning and various other chores. Then I spent some time writing up a review of the sausage roll I had at the bakery yesterday, and editing and uploading a bunch of photos from my old trip to Thailand. Here’s a seafood stall in the Anusarn Night Market in Chiang Mai:

Chiang Mai night market

This evening my wife and I started back into watching Doctor Who. We’ve bought all the boxed sets of the recent series, but fell out of watching them some time ago, so now we’re a few seasons behind. We decided it was time to get stuck into them, and so tonight we watched the season 9 Christmas special: Last Christmas. Wow, it was really good. Definitely looking forward to watching the rest of the series.

New content today:

Friday/Saturday combined update

I missed Friday’s post due to being busy in the evening. I went out for dinner with my wife and Scully to a local Mexican place. Nowhere near as good as Mexican food in California, alas, but it’s passably good. But the place was busy and we were the only ones sitting outside in the cold winter night (since Scully was with us), and the service ended up being a little slow, so we took longer than expected. And then when I got home, my fortnightly board games night with friends was already underway, so I dived straight into that, and didn’t get time to write a blog post.

Saturday morning was housework time – cleaning the bathroom and the shower, and vacuuming and stuff. It was cold today, we only reached 17°C, and there was a slight breeze which made it feel colder. But still not as cold as it sometimes can get in Sydney – in fact I’d say we haven’t had a seriously cold day yet this winter.

I saw the first magnolia flowers a few days ago, but only took a photo today.

Winter magnolia

This isn’t a lone earlybird bloom either. There were several on the same tree, and more on another couple of magnolia trees that I passed today. I pay attention to when the magnolia flowers first appear every winter, and have been noticing that they are consistently getting earlier every year. This year is just ridiculously early. The first photo I have of magnolias last year was from 10 July, so this year they’re a week earlier again. A few years ago, they wouldn’t appear until August, and years before that, late August or even September.

The TV news tonight had a story on the dry, mild winter we’ve been having, saying that it could be a precursor to another horrible fire season like we had last summer. It’s all a bit depressing really.

On the positive side… I did some tax accounting and ticked off a few tasks that I needed to do with respect to recording deductions and stuff like that. The new tax year just started here in Australia, so I have the 2019-2020 tax return to do soon. Fun fun fun.

New content today:

Scully blech

I didn’t sleep well last night, due to Scully getting up at 2am and being sick. Fortunately I grabbed her in time and took her to a wooden floor so she didn’t vomit on the carpet. She hadn’t eaten any dinner either, so it was all just stomach fluid. Something must have upset her tummy yesterday, putting her off her food, and then causing the vomiting.

I didn’t really get back to sleep properly after that. But fortunately by morning she had her appetite back and seemed bright and cheerful all day today. Hopefully she’s got it out of her system. My wife and I took her for a nice long walk, doing our usual Sunday morning loop, which we’ve skipped for a few weeks because it’s been raining a fair bit lately. Today was dry, but overcast and very cold, quite possibly the coldest day of the year so far.

I just looked it up… close. Sydney recorded a maximum of 15.4°C today, but we had a maximum of just 15.1°C on 2 June. Today was actually the second coldest day of the year so far.

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:

A very rainy day

Yesterday was very windy, today was very rainy. It’s been raining more or less all day, and has become steady and heavy during the afternoon and into the evening. It was light this morning, and I took the chance to take Scully for a walk up the street to the shops and back.

Last night when I took her out for pre-bedtime toilet, I was fortunate enough to see a meteor! I was only outside with her for a few minutes, but I habitually look up to observe the stars while outside and waiting for Scully to toilet. At the moment Scorpius is high in the sky around 10pm when I go out, and I’ve been observing it slowly climbing higher each night for several weeks as the stars wheel about the sky slightly faster than the sun. It’s one of my favourite constellations, with the instantly recognisable claws and spiralling tail, with the red heart of Antares at the centre. It’s beautiful, and it makes having to go out into the cold autumn/winter nights a bit more bearable.

Anyway, last night I looked up, as usual, to take in Scorpius above, and as I was looking, there was a brief flash and streak of white light, running across Scorpius from roughly north-east to south-west. I’ve seen meteors before and know what they look like (and I have a degree in astrophysics), and this was definitely one. So, cool!

Today I spent a lot of time going through Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, not quite frame by frame, but at least shot by shot, transcribing a list of scenes and shots for reference during story planning for Darths & Droids. I didn’t get through the whole film… I got through a bit less than an hour of it. But I noted several things relevant to our story, and had a big discussion with my co-writers via online chat, which led to some significant ideas and plotting notes. It was a day very well spent on the creative front. Now I just need to repeat that much productivity again, to complete a full scene by scene breakdown of the whole film. (I’d previously done the first 20 minutes or so prior to starting work on writing for the film.)

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:

Drizzly Saturday outing

Cold and wet weather has blown into Sydney. But my wife and I wanted to go out for a bit, just to get out of the house. We drove to the other side of the harbour to one of our favourite bakeries to get some lunch, and eat in the park a few blocks walk away, while Scully ran around and explored the grass.

I got a chicken pie and a Mexican beef pie, and a vanilla slice for a sweet treat. Check out the stickiness of the icing:

Vanilla slice, Drummoyne Bakehouse

This afternoon I did a bunch of story plotting and note writing for Darths & Droids. And a bunch of housework. I didn’t really get a whole lot done as it’s been a bit of a blah day, and I’ve felt a bit tired.

New content today:

Autumnal

It was cold today. Positively autumnal. The forecast for the next week has temperatures hovering a degree either side of 20°C, which is cool for Sydney, but not quite wintery. I fear yesterday’s 27°C was indeed the last of the truly warm weather until spring.

Today was a random melange of walking Scully, housecleaning, making some Darths & Droids comics, and cooking dinner. I made an “autumn risotto” – with hazelnuts and mushrooms (shiitake, oyster, and king oyster). I was originally just going to make mushroom, but was inspired to throw in some hazelnuts by the fact that my wife was watching a cooking show while I was cooking, and the chef on there made something with hazelnuts. I overheard it and immediately thought, “Yes! That’d go great with mushrooms!” and so tossed some in. And it indeed turned out great – the crunch of the nuts adds a lot to what is typically quite a mushy dish.

New content today:

Howling wind

This Saturday evening I’m sitting inside, happy not to be outdoors as the wind howls outside. The forecast was for high winds today, and it was right. It was warm in the middle of the day, but blustery. Now it’s cooled down a lot and the wind has picked up even more. I can hear trees bending and rustling.

I spent a lot of time today trying to compile an old program that a friend of mine wrote some years ago. He tried to help me in an online chat, but we’re still stuck at sorting out some library dependencies. Ugh… this is why I hate programming.

The other thing I did was make a couple of new Darths & Droids strips. I’d hoped to get more done, but got stuck in that mire of compiling code.

New content today: