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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Moods of the Mountain #93

Snow-covered mountain shortly after sunrise.

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

Midlands 2017-#3S

I had a passenger in the car for this week’s overnight trip to Launceston for a meeting, and that always makes me a little more reluctant to stop for a photo (even though this particular passenger knows about my Midlands-photographic habits). On the way back, however, we stopped just on sunset and I took a photo of the landmark conical hill that marks this section of the highway. One day I might remember to do a sequence of shots, showing how the view of it changes as you head south.

12 of 12, September 2017

A miscellaneous day, a dearth of ideas, and a feeling of being caught in chaos led to my desperate plan for this month’s 12 of 12: I could make “mess” my theme. I had a lot of it, all I had to do was to try and make it artistic.

I was not surprised that on the weekend the Scouts had managed to let some food “catch” on the bottom of one of the big pots. Oh joy.

There was also a big pot of left overs, now distributed to friends, family and freezer, but I haven’t yet washed up the serving spoon.

The day involved a load of washing.

I haven’t yet packed away some of the caching paraphernalia I retrieved from my recent trip to Victoria; this is the now-dried-out-but-previously-disgustingly-soggy log book from my damaged cache on Mt Charlie.

Also waiting further attention is my pair of bushwalking boots. They need a little bit of sole-cleansing, and then some leather treatment.

My garden needs work; this pile of twitch (an annoying weed) has at least been removed from the driveway bed.

These are useful for mess (although a few people who know me well will report that I hardly ever use the front one since my weekly rubbish pile is small enough to fit in a bread bag and so I usually sneak it into one of the neighbour’s bins).

Remember that comment about the garden needing work? I cleared this vegie bed of grass over summer. Sigh.

Lounge-room floor detritus, which is mostly Scout stuff.

And this Star-Wars-opening-credits-like-pile-of-text is associated with providing feedback on a PhD student’s work.

For some reason there is a pile of dilapidated sisal rope under the coffee table in the loungeroom. It has been there for far too long.

And then there’s the garage. Some of it is organised non-mess, but a lot is not.

I suppose I can take comfort in the fact that I felt I had run out of mess by the time I had taken 12 photos (although in my heart of hearts I know that I really haven’t!).

[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 since 2009 and this is the 97th such entry. It was also one of the duller ones.]

Cooking camp

It’s always crazy trying to get organised for Scout camps, in amongst the chaos of other everyday commitments, but once I get there I find them quite restorative (especially if the weather is good, and you can pack the tents away dry!).

This weekend we took over 20 of our kids to camp (there were some comings and goings with sport and sickness), which allowed us to do lots of cooking in patrols and get a whole bunch of badgework done as well as have some fun. It was great to watch the Scouts working in teams on various things, without much adult intervention, and amusing to see them getting up to their usual crazy antics. And because of where we were we could make some fires (something that is harder for kids to experience these days).

And it was great to see kids’ satisfaction with achieving new things and finishing off some badges (we had a stack to give out on the following Wednesday night, which was nice).

Oh, and we could pack the tents away dry!

[I took many much better photos, but it’s just easier to use photos where you can’t identify the kids unless you know them really well.]

Aurora regrets

The signs were good for a big aurora event on Friday night, but the day had brought a big snow dump and lots of showers and a full moon was also forecast. My evening plans actually involved a weekend troop Scout camp, and that was my main focus during a hectic day: I’d been able to get the missing groceries we needed, I was reasonably confident we had enough tents and gear … but I’m afraid that taking my good big camera just didn’t even cross my mind. When I got to camp I was just glad that we could set up without getting too damp and without freezing off our fingers.

Later in the evening, as the kids were settling, I glanced skyward and noticed a green glow to the south. Having visible colour for us at our latitude of 42° means that it is a big aurora event, and in the following days there were lots of fabulous photos posted to Facebook. As for me, I just grabbed my little camera, cranked up the ISO to 3200 (as high as it goes, but it means the quality isn’t great) and gave it the longest exposure I could (one second, which is not long enough), and did the best I could using a tree stump for a tripod.

Not fantastic, but definitely an aurora.

One day I’ll be in the right place at the right time with the right equipment and the right freedom to sit up all night taking photos. But I can still enjoy things for what they are when they happen.

Moods of the Mountain #92

Winter is always an exciting time for the mountain’s moods, as weather patterns race across kunanyi, snow falls and melts, sunrises (especially) and sunsets are at more accessible times, and so on. Here are some photos from late August and early September.

A rather cloudy August 23—and some good timing—allowed me to capture the summit peeking out cheekily.

In the early morning of August 28, there was a gentle misty drift of cloud draped over the summit ridge that lingered through sunrise and into the day.

I love the dappled effects of the cloud shadows on the 31 August.

On September 4 the morning sun and moist air provided a mountain rainbow.

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

Ironic spam comments

I always glance through the spam filter’s collection of comments before deleting. There have been some interesting ironies (and I admit that I have used this sort of spam as fuel for a blog entry before):

Nice post. Waitin’ for a sequel! 🙂
Ironically this was associated with the Lake Waikaremoana Day 4 post, which was followed — as it happens — by Lake Waikaremoana Day 5!

Is it simply me or does it give the impression like some of these comments appear like they are written by brain dead folks? 🙂
The answer to that is, simply, “Yes.”

Your own post is wonderful for me personally. It’s a piece of content.
“It’s a piece of content”?! Well, duh, yes. Still, this could have been worse; it could have said it’s a piece of something decidedly less innocuous.

I would like to express some thanks to the writer just for rescuing me from this type of scenario. Right after browsing through the world-wide-web and coming across recommendations which are not helpful, I thought my life was well over. Being alive without the presence of approaches to the issues you’ve resolved by means of your main report is a critical case, and the ones which may have badly damaged my career if I hadn’t encountered your site. Your primary ability and kindness in playing with every item was vital. I am not sure what I would’ve done if I had not come across such a step like this. I can at this moment look forward to my future. Thanks for your time so much for your high quality and results-oriented help. I will not hesitate to propose the sites to anyone who ought to have guidance about this subject matter.
Good to know I saved someone’s life today, and with my 12 of 12 post for January no less. I’m so glad that my account of wandering around Lake Waikareiti was so helpful to this person’s future.

Heklo just wante tto give youu a quick heads up. Thhe tdxt inn yoyr arricle seeem too be runnin offf the screern iin Chrome. I’m nott sre if thi is a formattig ssue orr something too do with interne browser compwtibility bbut I figured I’d post tto let yoou know.
And I’d just like to give you a quick heads up about the fact that the text in your article has far worse issues than mine.

The other day, while I was at work, my cousin stole my iphone and tested to see if it can survive a 40 foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My apple ipad is now broken and she has 83 views. I know this is entirely off topic but I had to share it with someone!
Yes, entirely off topic (and never mind the fact that the iphone apparently transmogrified into an ipad), but I hope you feel better for sharing.

of course like your web site however you have to check the spelling on quite a
few of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling problems and I to
find it very troublesome to tell the truth on the other hand
I will surely come back again.
Amazingly, there are no spelling errors in this comment, which is unusual in spam that complains about spelling. Its punctuation and the quality of editing, on the other hand, I find to be very troublesome, to tell the truth.

I do enjoy the manner in which you have presented this specific situation and it does indeed present me some fodder for thought. On the other hand, from what I have witnessed, I only wish as other opinions stack on that people keep on point and not start on a tirade involving some other news of the day. Still, thank you for this excellent piece and though I can not concur with this in totality, I regard the perspective.
“Fodder for thought”? So now I have cows posting comments to my page. And, what’s more, it’s an opinionated cow.

Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point. You obviously know what youre talking about, why throw away your intelligence on just posting videos to your blog when you could be giving us something informative to read?
There were no videos in the post on which you commented. And there was quite a lot of writing. And there were even apostrophes in the right places. I can’t speak for its level of “informative” (one person’s informative is another’s drivel), but it was readable. This complaint is in contrast to the following whinge, posted in response to one of my Bathurst Harbour posts which was full of photos:
Have you ever thought about including a little bit more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is valuable and all. Nevertheless imagine if you added some great photos or video clips to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with images and videos, this blog could definitely be one of the best in its niche. Great blog!

They aren’t all complaints, though …

Can I just say what a relief to find somebody who truly knows what theyre talking about on the internet. You positively know how you can carry an issue to gentle and make it important. Extra individuals must read this and perceive this side of the story. I cant imagine youre no more standard because you undoubtedly have the gift.
I have the gift. I truly know what I am talking about. At last someone recognises my brilliance. (And I think it is safe to say that my knowledge of what I am talking about far exceeds this commenter, who seems to have issues with the meanings of some words.)

And, finally, there’s this (though I am not sure if it is ironic, and I have not included the web-links which usually come with this type):

Daq eiyhdkva jekf kfhefkey d fhhd aaheh eehuw adf eyriehdefg. Oriquwrud ekd fdkfjhad hf kjd hka hkeh. Igqoietuqo oe kaefoe eoeouu vfhhkha feeyeh dfhf ffhskaf
To which I can only say: Fqre gkad erogubzn.

Moods of the Mountain #91

Snow and Bridgewater Jerry on a chilly winter’s morning.

The following day — at a similar time — some of the snow had melted and a bank of cloud was scudding southward across the summit.

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

12 of 12, August 2017

It’s a rather scrappy 12 of 12 this month: it was a cold and wet day, I kept forgetting to take photos, and when I did take them they were pretty ordinary shots (actually, “ordinary” overstates how good they were; they were lousy, and I only included them in order to make sure that I had 12 photos).

As suggested above, winter has hit and the mountain had received a good dumping of snow overnight, as can be seen in this shot which is coloured pink by some left over sunrise light.

During the morning I managed a soup swap: I’d made a big batch of pumpkin/vegetable soup and had planned to take some to Mum and Dad (as well as to another friend), but when I rang Mum and Dad it turned out that Mum had made a big batch of lamb and vegie alphabet soup and she’d planned to give some to me, and so we swapped our soups. (I had Mum’s at lunchtime with my friend (who also got some of my pumpkin soup) and then had my pumpkin soup for dinner/supper.)

The mountain was worth another photo a little later in the morning as the clouds lifted a little and the colour changed.

The sun streamed through my kitchen window and lit up one of the proteas my friend had given me, and I managed this truly artistic fuzzy shot.

Just before lunch I picked up some timber and guttering from a hardware store; it had to be lashed to the roof of the car. Lucky I’m a Scout leader and know knotty things.

While at my friend’s place for lunch I spotted a couple of kookaburras in her yard and managed to take some ordinary photos of them in the rain.

It might be winter, but the early wattle is in bloom, heralding spring.

In the afternoon we had a session at the pool with the Scouts so they could earn water safety badges. I’d like to be able to claim that the photo is blurred deliberately to protect the identities of my Scouts, but, no, it is completely due to ineptitude.

I’d realised by late afternoon that I might not actually end up with 12 photos by the end of the day, so I took this one on the way back to my car. It’s good isn’t it?! (No.)

Late in the evening I got stuck into making dessert for Sunday’s family dinner, since it was my turn this week. Yes, that is a lot of brown sugar.

Eventually all that brown sugar turns into two caramel tarts. (And then, 20 hours later, the two caramel tarts turn into nearly-empty aluminium pie tins (and three small left over pieces).

[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 since 2009 and this is the 96th such entry.]

Moods of the Mountain #90

Today there was a lovely winter sunrise over the mountain. The sun, which was rising behind me, first lit up the clouds.

Five minutes later it set the mountain aglow.

And if you look closely at this zoomed in shot, you can just make out some residual snow dusting the rocks as the rocks of the Organ Pipes exchange their normal sombre blue-grey hue for a lairy orange-pink.

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