Dramatis persona*

helenhead Helen Chick

I've always wanted a bumper sticker that said "I'm a female, LDS/Mormon, Scout leading, geocaching, piano-playing, bicycling, mathematics educator with a PhD in maths ... and I VOTE"!

I think this makes me a minority group of cardinality 1!

* Since there's only one of me and "personae" is plural (I think), I've gone with dramatis persona.
December 2017
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A Bushwalker’s Prayer

I wrote this poem back in August 1990, but it came to my brother’s attention a day or two ago via a time capsule (long story). He set the poem with one of his amazing photos of Russell Falls. We both have a soft spot for waterfalls.

Crepuscular rays over Carlton Beach

As I was leaving a friend’s place this evening, I noticed some interesting cloud and light effects, and so I popped down to Carlton Beach. Here, the late afternoon sun was producing a magical set of crepuscular rays through some  amazing cloud formations out over Frederick Henry Bay.

12 of 12, November 2017 (and Midlands 2017-#6N)

After a busy morning and early afternoon, in which there were things of interest but my mind was a bit too preoccupied for taking photos, I headed northwards with a work colleague/friend of mine for meetings that we have over the next couple of days. Today was one of those bright spring days, and the extended daylight hours made it nice to be driving in the evening.

At my friend’s house—knowing I wasn’t sure whether or not it would be easy to get my 12 photos for the day before it ended—I took a photo of her lovely rose bush, and some of the sunlit grass in her self-confessed overgrown front yard.

As we sped northward I needed to stop at one point to make a phone call, and so found a place to pull over and took some photos as I chatted on the phone. As you can see by the length of my rather silly shadow, it was definitely evening time. 

Many of the fields through the midlands contain piles of small boulders, accumulated as the farmers clear their paddocks of them.

After stopping for dinner in Campbell Town, the sun finally hit the western horizon. My friend took the first photo below out the car window as we drove, because there was no safe place to stop … but our speed and the camera’s wide angle setting don’t capture what we both found particularly attractive. Fortunately, we eventually found a place to pull over, because I really wanted to capture the sun-fire burning on the edges of the clouds.

Once in Launceston, I still had a few steps to go to get to my daily goal of 10000, so I took some night shots along the river, including the silos near Stillwater restaurant, and the Customs House building. 

[The “12 of 12” project involves taking 12 photos on the 12th of the month. This provides the opportunity to get snapshots of the spectrum of life’s experiences, from the boring to the exciting … depending on what happens on each particular 12th. I have been doing this since 2009; this is the 99th 12 of 12, which makes the next on the 100th, which does add a little pressure to the occasion.]

Moods of the Mountain #94

There were some dramatic clouds over the mountain this afternoon, with misty showers almost obscuring its silhouette.

The full “Moods of the Mountain” collection is here.

Midlands 2017-#5S

There were some rather spectacular cloud formations as I headed back from a work trip to Launceston today. I stopped at Perth to get a few shots.

Views from Cape Deslacs

I decided to go a little further afield for this afternoon’s walk, and headed along Clifton Beach to Cape Deslacs, a place I don’t think I’ve visited before today. I didn’t have time for a great deal of exploration, but the views were quite spectacular.

12 of 12, October 2017

Today was a mix of work and labour and beaches.

The first beach was actually visited only by satellite image, as the kayaking company with whom I had done my Bathurst Harbour trip had posted a Google maps satellite view of Hobart city which revealed their kayaks in amongst the Hobart docks, during one of their half-day trips. I wondered if they might also show up in the wilds of Bathurst Harbour. Those who know me well understand that I am all too easily sidetracked and ridiculously dogged in the pursuit of the trivial, although it did not take me all that long to find what I was looking for.  Here is a photograph of my computer screen, showing 6 kayaks on Balmoral Beach; if you want to explore Google maps yourself, here is the link (and you can also see just how isolated the area is): https://www.google.com.au/maps/@-43.3454971,146.0666078,585m/data=!3m1!1e3. This brought back quite a few memories; we had lunch at this beach on our trip, although we came ashore at the western end. [I’m not sure how much skill or luck was involved in finding the kayaks in amongst the vast expanse of Bathurst Harbour, but I am someone who has, on more than one occasion, located planes flying over suburbs on their way in to land, in order to write an article about how to use maths to find the plane’s height above the ground. Here is an example (correct as at 12 October 2017): the plane should be at top mid-left; its shadow—useful for determining height—is slightly to its right and nearer the bottom.]

After doing some proper work (as opposed to pafnutying*) I came home, and it rained on my loungeroom window while I was doing some more work.

In the early evening I visited a friend’s place to do a bit of work in her vegie garden while she’s away. We’ve both become quite enthused about this garden, as she has wanted to have one for quite some time and I’ve got caught up in the satisfaction of helping to build it and watching things grow. There are potatoes … although the beeeeans came first, provoking much excitement and the exaggerated pronunciation of their name.

The bracken ferns keep wanting to grow where they are not wanted (i.e., everywhere), however. This one is doomed, next time I see it.

We enclosed the whole area in bird netting, tall enough that we can stand up inside and still wield a pick. The birds can’t get in although the mosquitoes can.

I quite like the native plant known as sagg, although this specimen is a bit hacked, and is about to meet an even more drastic fate.

It’s fine in its place, but this is not its place. Bye.

After doing battle with the sagg, I went for a walk along the nearby beach just after sunset. It was windy and the light was fading but there were still some lovely effects.

The lighter coloured sand in the photo below is actually being blown towards me.

* pafnuty (v.) – to pursue tangential matters with hobby-like zeal. Introduced by the mathematician Philip J Davis in his delightful book The Thread which describes Davis’s whimsical search for the origins of the Russian mathematician Pafnuty Lvovich Tchebychev’s first name.

[The “12 of 12” project involves taking 12 photos on the 12th of the month. This provides the opportunity to get snapshots of the spectrum of life’s experiences, from the boring to the exciting … depending on what happens on each particular 12th. I have been doing this since 2009; this is the 98th 12 of 12.]

Mists on the mountain

It was a lovely spring afternoon, and I felt the need for some mountain wandering. I had to dodge the madding crowds at the summit, but once I started to head south across the plateau people were few and far between.

From the city below the skies had seemed clear but for a cloud draped across the front of the mountain, and it was this cloud that drifted up and across the rocky terrain, hiding and then revealing the striking dolerite formations that make it look like a crazed Neolithic society had gone on a menhir-planting frenzy.

At times the mist was thick enough to obscure the nearby outcrops, but at other times it would clear and I could see snow on the distant peaks of the mountains of the south-west (which I totally failed to include in any of the photos I took).

I love all of the mountain’s varied terrain and vegetation, but I have to admit that the summit’s alien landscape of low shrubs, small tarns, and densely scattered boulders is one of my favourite parts.

And as I made my way back to the summit car park, a drift of cloud shifted shape enough to reveal the top of the transmission tower while obscuring its base, making the structure appear even more rocket-like than usual.

Saltwater River

It’s school holiday time and although the school holidays don’t correspond with uni breaks, I was able to take a day of annual leave and, with a friend and her two children, headed down to the Tasman Peninsula. They’d never visited Remarkable Cave before, which gave me an opportunity to take another photo of this amazing feature … and of the tumbled rocks on the floor of the cove.

We then continued on to the convict ruins at Saltwater River, which were even more atmospheric than usual in the gloomy dampness. I love the haunted isolation of the place, with the warm sandstone softening the abandoned emptiness of the crumbling ruins.

We continued on to Lime Bay, where my friend managed to catch me in a good photographic moment.

Despite the dull weather, it was an enjoyable day. It’s always nice to share favourite places with friends.

Midlands 2017-#4S

It’s felt a bit strange having so few trips northward this year, after the many visits of last year and the year before. Yesterday I headed up to give a talk for the maths association, and this morning I visited with one of my PhD students.

I’ve been wanting to take a shot like these two for quite some time, and realised that if I left it too much further into spring then I would miss the opportunity. I like the second shot better than the first, but it doesn’t completely make sense unless you’ve seen the first.