A pretty wet Sunday

It rained most of today. The forecast was up to 30 mm, but in the end we haven’t received that much, more like 10 mm. Although the day’s not over yet. So we didn’t go on a long walk with Scully, and she got slightly stir crazy this afternoon, but nothing to worry about.

Mostly I worked on writing a particularly difficult strip for Darths & Droids, discussing alternatives, consistency with previously published material, and things we needed to get done as part of our planned storyline. It took a lot of hacking and redrafting before we achieved something we were happy with. Sometimes strips just flow, but sometimes they take a lot of hard hammering into shape.

Not too much else to report…. not much happens on a rainy day.

New content today:

And that may be the end of summer…

After yesterday’s warmth (barely above 30°C for the first time in almost a year), we had storms and a cold change overnight. Today was chilly and wet. When I took Scully for a walk at lunch I almost felt like I needed a jacket, although by the time we got home I’d warmed up.

I did my first ethics class today for older kids on the topic of “How to rig an election”. We went through some gerrymandering as a sort of interactive game, and then I showed them some real electoral districts in the USA to see what they thought of them. It was really fun and I think the kids enjoyed it and learnt a lot about the sort of sneaky tricks that politicians get up to. I want to post some of the diagrams that I use in the class here and walk through them, but it’s already late this evening and I don’t have time, so I’ll try to do it maybe tomorrow.

This afternoon I caught up on work for ISO Photography standards. I need to clear out my mailbox of documents and scan through them from time to time, and also keep up to date with meeting news, as our next meeting is coming up in Tokyo in February. I’m not planning to travel there, so I need to be on top of the agenda scheduling to make sure I can attend the most important stuff by Zoom, in between all my other things.

New content today:


Sydney finally hit 30°C today, for the first time since 20 February last year. It’s been a very unusually cool year, but we finally seem to be getting some decent warm weather, albeit already halfway through summer.

I braved the heat to take Scully out for a lunch walk and get some fish & chips. She was completely pooped by the time we got home! I put ice cubes in her water bowl and she lapped it up greedily.

Tonight we’re having a storm front move through, which will cool things down considerably for tomorrow.

I don’t have too much else to report today. I made a Darths & Droids comic, and taught three ethics classes tonight. Oh, that’s right – I spent time making some extra slides to present to the kids during the class, to explain the differences between user-pays and socialised health care, which I was having some trouble getting across to the kids verbally yesterday. I think they helped a lot.

New content today:

Rainy rainy day

Today was very rainy and even colder than yesterday – max 20.4°C. I even had to wear a jacket when taking Scully out for a walk.

This morning I picked up my grocery order. Unfortunately there was a missing item when I got home. This has happened to me a few times since I started ordering groceries online. The supermarket has a nice website interface for reporting a missing item, and they simply refund you the price without needing any further verification. Which is nice, but I’ve now had to do it enough times that I’m starting to get worried that the supermarket will think I’m taking advantage of it and blackball me from claiming missing item refunds. Hopefully it’s something that happens enough to many people that they know my instances are within statistical likelihood bounds.

I had more ethics classes today, and tonight is online games night.

New content today:

Ethics for older kids

Today I had my first class of online ethics for older kids (ages 13-15). I just had one student, and it was a kid I’d taught earlier in the 10-12 class. He’d stopped taking lessons several months back, but I contacted his mother to let her know that I had a new class for more mature kids and thought he’d be a good fit, and she signed him up.

The first lesson is on “Crime and Punishment”. We talked a bit about crime and why people commit crimes, and then concentrated on the idea of punishment. Why do we punish criminals? Do we as a society need to punish crime? What punishments are fair/unfair? Should criminals be given a chance to rehabilitate, or to live a life after serving punishment without prejudice? And so on. He really enjoyed it I think, exercising his brain on more difficult questions and ideas than I’ve done in previous classes. So I think it went really well!

The other main thing about today was the weather took a turn for the colder and wetter. It was very wintery, with a top temperature of only 22°C, also accompanied by wind and showers. Didn’t stop me going for a 2.5k run though!

New content today:

Lunch in the city

Today was cold. Really cold for December in Sydney. The temperature didn’t even reach 20°C – it topped out at 19.9°C. It was also windy, and there were a few drizzly showers, so it felt even colder – the maximum “apparent temperature” was only 14.7°C. Don’t forget it’s summer here. We’re supposed to be having days over 30°C at this time of year. Today actually felt like the middle of winter.

Despite this, we had to venture out to the city for a birthday lunch for my brother-in-law. We took Scully in on the ferry. Here’s a shot I took as the ferry approached Circular Quay:

Rainy December ferry trip

We disembarked and walked south through the streets to lunch. We passed through Martin Place, the central square in Sydney, where the city’s giant Christmas tree is:

Martin Place Christmas Tree

Before heading to lunch we stopped off at Hyde Park so Scully could run on the grass a bit and do a toilet.

Scully in Hyde Park

We also stopped off at a game shop to buy a copy of the second edition of Camel Up, that I’d ordered from them a couple of weeks ago.

While we were in there, a woman and her daughter, about 12 years old, came in and the mother was asking the staff for assistance with buying some Magic: the Gathering cards for the daughter, who wanted to start playing the game with her friends. The staff gave some advice about various decks they could buy. After the staff had finished the mother and daughter browsed around a bit and I approached and said I’d overheard that the girl wanted to start playing Magic, and I said I had an old collection with hundreds of old common cards that weren’t worth my while trying to sell, so I could let her have them for free. The woman was extremely grateful and I gave her my email address so she can contact me to arrange to pick them up some time. I was happy to help, especially for a young girl who wants to get into the game.

We had lunch at a French place, sitting outside because of Scully. Although we were under an awning, the drizzle got us a bit wet, and it was very cold in the wind. The food was good – I had a burger and chips, and then waffles and hot chocolate for dessert, which were both really good.

After lunch we walked back to Circular Quay to catch the ferry home again. Scully had a fun day out, walking through the city and riding the ferry. This evening she’s completely exhausted!

New content today:

Dentist day

Yes, today was a trip to the dentist. A regular clean and check-up. I mentioned an issue I’ve been having with food getting stuck between two molars, and the hygienist had a look and said, “Oh, yeah, one of your fillings is chipped.” The dentist had a look and said he’d have to fix the filling. So I’m booked to go back on Monday morning next week to have that done.

Before the appointment this morning I did a 2.5k run. And afterwards I took a walk with my wife and Scully to the Italian bakery, where I spoilt myself with a slice of their delicious ricotta cheesecake, as a reward for going to the dentist.

It was chilly today. The weather is truly bizarre at the moment. It should be hot in December, being summer here, but it was only 24°C in Sydney today, and it felt colder because of the wind. Tomorrow is forecast to be cooler and a lot windier. There’s been snow in the Snowy Mountains, which is extremely unusual at this time of year. There was a news story tonight saying this has been the coldest first two weeks of December ever recorded. And the next week’s forecast is 22°C almost every day, dropping to 21°C on Sunday. It’s really really weird. I wonder if it will warm up for Christmas. It really doesn’t feel like Christmas unless it’s approaching 40°C.

New content today:

A warm, stormy Sunday

The Bureau of Meteorology forecast 28°C and late afternoon thunderstorms today, and they were pretty spot on. It was warm and humid, though very cloudy all day, with odd patches of sun poking through occasionally. And then multiple lines of intense thunderstorms came through from the west in the early evening. I was in the middle of teaching a Zoom class when the first one hit, and I had to interrupt and tell the kids to wait half a minute while I raced around the house closing the windows to avoid rain coming in. The thunder was pretty intense too.

And coincidentally I taught my science class on weather tonight too, while it was storming outside.

The other main thing I did today was finish off assembling and writing annotations for that latest batch of Irregular Webcomic! strips.

New content today:

Power line clearing

After two morning online classes, I went out for a short walk with Scully around midday. We passed a work crew still clearing off the tree branch that had fallen onto the power lines during the high winds yesterday.

Power line clearing

Power line clearing

The wind was very strong again today. Checking the weather records, it was even stronger than yesterday. It was absolutely miserable being outside on the short excursions that I took to give Scully some outdoor time, and I rushed home and indoors again as fast as possible. Fortunately the forecast is for milder conditions tomorrow.

This afternoon I worked on assembling some Irregular Webcomic! strips from the photos I took last week. And did two more online classes. I have four now on Mondays, so it’s pretty busy. I finished up the topic on Generalisation, which I think turned out to be a pretty good one.

New content today:

Final marking of projects

More image processing marking today…

I powered through the second half of the student report sand videos and assigned marks for them all. Then I had to spend a half hour or so pasting all my comments and entering the marks into the university’s grading system. Although the students work in teams and I only had 7 teams to mark, I have to paste all the comments individually into each student from each team, so it’s a huge amount of copy-pasting. Then I mailed the professor to say I’d done, and to pass on some comments for specific students that he may want to investigate further to adjust marks if he deems it necessary.

I finished all this… about 9:30pm, following my two usual Sunday evening ethics classes. So it’s been an exhausting day.

Oh, it was also very windy today. Gusts reached 85 km/h in Sydney. I had the windows open for fresh air, but closed them halfway through the day because it was so tiring listening to the wind. I went out for a 2.5k run at 6pm, and I saw this:

Fallen branch in high wind

The wind had broken a branch off a huge liquidambar tree, and the branch had fallen onto the power lines. The leafy end of the branch is tangled in the power lines as you can see, while the bottom end is on the ground. I kept my distance and reported it to the electrical grid authority, who dispatched an emergency response crew right away to deal with it.

New content today: