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.
March 2019
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12 of 12, September 2018

[I’m writing this up more than four months after the event, and I pretty much have no recollection of this day or why I took some of the photos. You may take some of the descriptions with a grain of salt.]

A friend and her family stayed at my place overnight because one of her children was playing in a rock band challenge. The lounge room turned into a spare bedroom.

At work I needed to solve/design some problems for a maths competition paper I was writing.

In the evening I had Scouts.

Some of the Scouts needed to finish planning a hike that they wanted to do.

I think we may also have done some cooking on Trangias (or else this is just a random photo of a Trangia!).

And others of the kids did “crate-stacking”, which involves building a tower of crates while simultaneously climbing it (safely suspended from a harness and rope attached to a ceiling beam).

My car is full of junk: gardening tools from helping in my friend’s garden, tarpaulin for no reason that I recall, and big tennis ball because it is flat and needs to be replaced for Scouts.

Vegemite toast for supper (and notes to self on my portable To Do list).

Straightening a cupboard door that had become lopsided and wasn’t closing properly (and feeling pleased with myself for figuring out how to do it!).

As was the case in May, I am still reading a chapter from the Anne of Green Gables series over the phone to a friend of mine in the evenings, but now we are up to the fifth book (Anne’s House of Dreams).

I did not read aloud the chapter of a thesis from one of my students.

And then I caught up with the latest episode of Anh’s Brush with Fame, in which comedian and artist Anh Do interviews and paints a famous Australian.

And that’s 12. [The “12 of 12” project involves taking 12 photos on the 12th of the month, thus providing the opportunity to get snapshots of different aspects of your life. This is the 109th instalment since 2009.]

Another drive with the APs

Circumstances had curtailed my earlier-in-the-year plans to take my APs on a trip away, but I still had plenty of accumulated leave … just no capacity to actually take some of it in a nice big block. However, I could arrange to escape for a day, and so I duly did, and took my folks for a drive to the upper reaches of the Derwent River.

We stopped at the rather impressive Repulse Dam, which had a lot of water thundering over it.

The nearby countryside was quite interesting too, with rolling hills and hidden valleys, skeletal trees and grazing cattle, and dramatic rocky outcrops. I was surprised to see some of these places, because they’re not all that far from home and yet I don’t think I’ve visited before today.

Beach studies

Today I went for a stroll along Red Ochre Beach (near Dodges Ferry) with a friend and her family. There are lots of interesting textures and patterns, and so I took some photos.

The sandstone cliffs are eroding and the layers were highlighted in the later afternoon light.

Enjoy this one, geologists:

A collection of ramshackle boat sheds adorn the shoreline.

The first photo below shows Red Ochre Beach itself, and, from there, there are views across to Seven Mile Beach (in the second photo).

I love these neon water effects.

Snowy mountain summit

We’ve had a statistics educator from New Zealand visiting us at work and, in addition to work-related conversations, it is always nice to show guests the local scenery. With snow on the mountain and the summit road open we decided to chance a trip to the top in the hope of obtaining spectacular views of Hobart. It was a bit too cloudy for that, but there were still some lovely snow and mist effects amongst the snow gums and boulders that characterise the mountain’s landscape. 

It was nicely atmospheric … and just a smidge cool.

Moods of the Mountain #101

Dark distant clouds and nearer fluffier clouds, together with a light dusting of snow, are lit up dramatically by the early morning sun.

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

Moods of the Mountain #100

If you have seen all the “Moods of the Mountain” posts prior to this one, you can now proudly claim that you have seen at least 100 different moods of my favourite massif.

In the first shot of the day, clouds partly shroud a snow-covered mountain at 7:45am.

Two hours later and there’s a hint of a rainbow and even more of the summit is obscured.

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

12 of 12, August 2018

The second day of Scoutfest just happened to be the 12th, and so I had to take 12 photos.

I probably should warn you about the first one. I had a toothache … so I took a photo of the offending area, as you do. It’s the very back tooth. It was not a happy tooth. [Some weeks, and some expensive root canal work later, I no longer have a toothache.]

When I got up in the morning I spent a bit of time setting up a navigation challenge, which allowed me to explore the Carnacoo campsite a little more. This is the outdoor chapel.

There were some pretty colours brightening up the bush …

… and bursting forth around the buildings.

Breakfast was welcome, and then it was time for some formal sessions/discussions. The photos suggest that there weren’t a huge number of leaders in attendance — and there weren’t — but there was a good collection of people from around the state and it was nice to catch up with new and old acquaintances.

Later in the morning the groups got to try the navigation course I’d constructed … and it seemed to go well.

After lunch it was time to pack up, clean up and head off.

Odometer at the beginning of the drive home …

a photo on the way home …

and slightly blurry odometer when I arrived home (feeling a little blurry myself after the three-hour drive!).

[The “12 of 12” project involves taking 12 photos on the 12th of the month. This is the 108th edition since I started in 2009.]

Scout leaders exploring their artistic sides

Today I found myself at Carnacoo, a campsite north of Launceston, for Scoutfest which is a leaders’ training/renewal/fun weekend. It was good to meet different Scout leaders from around the state, and exchange ideas. We divided ourselves up into patrols on the Saturday and selected our own goals for the day. Our group decided to head up to Narawntapu National Park, and do some creative artwork. My efforts in this regard seem to have become lost, but I did have some fun taking photos of things that appealed to me. Here are some of them.

We walked into the rocky coastline at the eastern end of Badger Beach.

There were lots of interesting textures in the rocks (we tried to sketch some of these, but we were instructed not to look at the paper as we did so … which turned out about as well as you’d expect!)

The light conditions were both tricky and interesting, with shadows, clouds, and sunlit water.

The photo below got the black and white treatment.

There was an interesting bit of driftwood (I tried sketching this too … but the photo is more interesting).

And on our way back to camp we stopped at the site of an early settlement, where I failed to take any photos of ruins or historical things, but there were some interesting wattle seed pods. 

Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion Temple) and Ryoanji

On my last morning — where, according to one sign, it was 40°C — I managed a couple of excursions before my flight homeward. My first port of call, and priority for the morning, was the Kinkaku-ji Temple (officially called Rokuon-ji), site of the famous golden temple. The highlight of the trip is actually the first vantage point on the edge of the lake, looking across to the gold-coloured pavilion on the other side. It’s a great view … you just have to dodge all the tourists getting in each other’s way trying to take photographs.

As you can see from the photos, the gardens are quite lovely, and provided some welcome shade as I wandered around the area.

I decided I had enough time and energy to visit another nearby site: the Ryoanji Temple, with its famed white pebble and rock “island” Zen garden. This was quite intriguing, but actually less spectacular than I had imagined (the site is only 25m x 10m, and rectangular, despite the misleading curves produced by doing a panorama in the first photo below).

Inside the adjacent building there were murals on the walls.

A curious feature of many of the sites I have visited is the presence of water-filled red fire-buckets, since so many of the structures are made of wood.

The rest of the gardens were beautiful, and the trees gave lovely framed views of the lake, so it was a nice way to end the trip before heading out to the airport and the long trip home.

12 of 12, July 2018

This particular conference, occurring every four years, seems to be very consistent with its dates, since I have a “12 of 12” record dating from Flagstaff, Arizona in 2014 and from Ljulbljana, Slovenia in 2010 (which, scarily, also indicates that I have been “12 of 12”-ing for over 8 years!). Today was a routine conference day, and so you get to see routine conference things … in a Japanese location.

So, to begin: Here is my hotel. Not exactly an architectural masterpiece, but perfectly functional.

The day started off with a plenary keynote address, but I’ve arrived early and so you don’t see the fact that the hall was reasonably full once things got underway.

Lunch is provided at these conferences, and most days we’ve had interesting Japanese lunches in fancy boxes. Today we got Western fusion (not totally successful!).

In the afternoon one of my friends presented a session with a colleague of hers, about young children doing statistical investigations.

My own session was the last paper at the end of the day.

If you’re lucky—and I was—you have people attend your session who are interested in what you are saying, and so you get to have a good conversation afterwards.

I needed some more breakfast cereal for the last couple of days of my visit. Fortunately I managed to figure out that one of these packages would serve as something vaguely resembling breakfast cereal. (I tend to “do my own” breakfast when travelling if it isn’t included in the accommodation cost, as it gets quite expensive eating out).

The cereal was obtained from a supermarket inside this big shopping complex.

It was summer in northern-hemisphere Japan, and it had been hot and humid in Kyoto all week.

In the evening I attended the conference dinner, which involved good company, some geisha dancing and Japanese music/songs, and not enough food (unfortunately).