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.
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12 of 12, November 2014

This month the 12th began nearly two hours before I went to bed for the night of the 11th. I got back from a trip to Launceston, set up my computer, and it decided to have what looked like a terminal meltdown (this may have had something to do with the fact that it almost never gets turned off, and I usually have at least five heavy duty applications running, each with an average of a dozen documents/tabs open). For lots of reasons this was not a good thing. Eventually I managed to get it to start without having to restore it from a three-day old back-up, which was a great relief, so I went off to a meeting and a rehearsal, got home, and set up the computer ready to mark the last few assignments and … and experienced a “blue screen of death” moment (which I thought was a PC thing, not a Mac thing). I got it started again, only to find that this time Outlook wanted to have a hissy fit requiring its database to be rebuilt. And when you have 20000 emails in your Inbox—and, in fact, the entire database appears to be 20GB—this is not a 5 minute job. In the wee smalls of the morning I left it to it, while the last few assignments remained unmarked.


On the real 12th, when I got up not many hours later, I went into work (where the database rebuild continued), completed a couple of urgent tasks (but not the assignments, despite the fact that the results deadline had arrived (but fortunately this was a so-early-it-is-silly internal deadline)), picked up the uni car and four passengers, and headed up to Tarraleah for a Faculty writing retreat.

Tarraleah is an isolated village that was built in the 1930s or so while the nearby hydro-electric schemes were being built. Most of the houses are now gone, but a few facilities remain including a set of larger houses which have been restored. These, together with a lodge and a reconfigured schoolhouse, now form an accommodation complex. It was an ideal place for a writing retreat, but I totally failed to take any photos of that aspect of the day since I was too tired to explain 12 of 12 and ask people if they were happy to be in photos (!), and I was supposed to be writing (and getting those last assignments done!). The photo below is of the penstocks and pipes that take the water plunging down to the power station on the banks of the Derwent below.IF

It was spring, and the swallows were out and about portending summer. I caught this one on a wire (I’ll confess the photo has been cropped and enlarged; the bird was smaller in the original shot).


In the evening, having taken very few photos during the day, I went for an evening walk around sunset. This is the late kookaburra catching the worm (and the tree is catching the glow of the setting sun).


Despite the red glow evident on the tree in the photo above, the sunset was not especially spectacular. There were some nice wispy clouds and silhouettes, but it fizzled somewhat.


My stroll took me past the massive pipes that take water to the power station. They are about 1.5m (5′) in diameter. I don’t know why they have odd paint patches on them. There are actually two pipes running in parallel here; the second is hidden by the one you can see.


Valves (I assume) on top of the pipes. I hadn’t noticed the faucet on the one on the left. There can be something abstractly artistic about industrial engineering.


The two towers. The road goes ever on and on. (This is the road out of Tarraleah, with the two surge towers associated with the pipes.)


Highland bull. I can’t tell what he’s looking at … and I don’t know if he can either. There is a herd of these guys, gals, and infants in the paddocks backing onto Tarraleah.


Power poles silhouetted by the late evening light.


Cupressus macrocarpa trees (?) on the edge of the Tarraleah golf course.


By the time I got back into the centre of town (which makes it sound bigger than it is) it was dusk, and so photographing the fountain involved a short time exposure.


(The “12 of 12” project involves taking 12 photos on the 12th of the month. This provides the opportunity to get snapshots of different aspects of your life. I have been doing this every month for over five years.)

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