Friday, 26 September 2014

Whirlygig Back-in-the-Saddle Blues: Friday, September 26th!

In a world of fugitives, the person taking the opposite direction will appear to run away. -T.S. Eliot, poet (1888-1965) 

The ongoing crisis in Ukraine makes Sergei Loznitsa’s (My Joy) achievements in Maidan doubly relevant, but it is the auteur’s artistry that makes it terrifically engaging as well. Eschewing talking heads and voiceover in favour of the intense immediacy conveyed purely by static cameras and mics perfectly placed to capture the activity in the protest camps in Kiev’s Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square), Loznitsa’s steadfast presence allows events to build to a visceral climax. 
From the beginning of the protest in December 2013, when the mood was almost celebratory, until the grim final days this past February (100 people were killed and another 100 "disappeared"), the protest’s narrative arc is conveyed with utmost power. The protesters—and Loznitsa and his fellow cameramen Serhiy Stetsenko and Mykhailo Yelchev—remained defiant to the end; Loznitsa’s decision to close his film with a beautiful Ukrainian folk song adds yet another level of emotion to an already deeply moving experience. In the end, of course, the revolution succeeded and Viktor Yanukovych was sent running into the arms of his Russian supporters…

"This stunning, epic-scaled film harkens back to the heroic, journalistic roots of documentary-making and yet feels ineffably modern and formally daring… An audacious yet utterly logical synthesis of concerns and themes that have preoccupied Loznitsa in both his documentaries and features throughout his career, it may be the best movie so far from the Ukraine’s most talented working filmmaker."—Leslie Felperin, Hollywood Reporter

“The world’s whole economic engine now is increasingly based on mathematics and science. From Genentech to Google to Goldman Sachs, math and science is becoming king."—Jim Simons

A broad ranging and hard-hitting discussion of the importance (and regular misuse) of mathematics in our lives, How I Came to Hate Maths is also very much about why we should love math and care that its power is used well. This captivating documentary builds its several arguments on significant recent data, as well as the inspired testimonials of gifted teachers, mathematicians and kvetching children. Director Olivier Peyon moves tactfully from lively discussions about how teaching "new math" created bewilderment instead of creativity right along to the present-day high anxiety underpinning mathematics-fuelled exchange-traded derivatives, risk (mis)management and financial collapse.

There is a wonderful section at a convention of higher mathematicians. Their exuberance and conviviality is captured in these words: "Mathematics is the largest manufacturer of concepts in the world. In the 20th century the field of mathematics exploded. In 1900, research mathematicians numbered around 150 in the world. Today there are 80,000! And they each produce about one theorem a year. It’s just full of overflowing, abundant activity. It’s essential to bring attention to this movement."
Marvin Angelo Mercado View from our patio in Maui

Dear all, I will be unavailable to join this weekends festivities. Dear Citizen Dermot and other running dog non-readers: Until an "excuse" is submitted, and then vetted by de facto Comrade Secretary, Galiano Giggster, $5 for "no show" for NRBC Piglet, three bottles of Stoli and two silver borscht spoons! Cheers, NRBC Fine Polizei! working Dear Laconic Drone Dermot! Now you will be able to afford a $10 fine, four bottles of expensive malt and a platinum spoon! Cheers, Chancellor of the NRBC Exchequer! 

Corey asked me to send this along. As the top and sweater were a gift from you two.

Hi Kids! A dedicated follower of fashion is Avery! Quite a stunning ad for an apple a day! Last evening with some of Clan Sutherland and their relatives from Scotland/Cornwall and Canada! Cheers, Yves!

Hi Patrick, so sorry for the delay in responding. I thought Dave had responded and he's been very busy with harvest and thought I had responded! But in fact your revised itinerary - arriving here on the 28th or the 29th of October- would be perfect. If, as you say, your arrival would be late on the 28th, then the 29th would be better for us. Our adjacent guest house has two bedrooms, one bath, and extra futon sofas in the main living area - so plenty of space for three "bachelors." There is also a large kitchen and you are welcome to bring food and cook in if you'd prefer - especially of course helpful for breakfast and lunch! Only downside is sharing one bathroom - but I'm sure you'll manage!

Himiko or Pimiko
["Japan appears to have been a matriarchal or, at least, a matrilineal society. The mythical founding deity of the imperial clan was the Sun Goddess, and the ruler was a woman, Pimiku. Until the late-eighth century the imperial throne was frequently occupied by female members of the imperial family. This practice persisted even after the samurai class became dominant and imposed a stringent masculine orientation in society. Even in the Tokugawa period (1603 to1868 AD) two of the occupants of the imperial throne were women."

Japan: A Short History (Short Histories)
Mikiso Hane, Oneworld Publications, 2000]

Sorry to hear that Corinne won't make this trip - but if I were her, I wouldn't want to travel with three michief makers either :-)!

Just let us know your arrival date when you've finalized your plans. No urgency here as no one else will be use the guest quarters that week.

Pat PS Send me some background on Glasgow and Whirlygig before arrival (including their aliases). 

This morning Giggster dropped me off at Pacific Cinémathèque. (He was returning to Galiano for weekend but will be back on Sunday afternoon for or Book Club.) During my shift I was, once again, able to watch two more films.First, Maidan. Very moving/disturbing/illuminating to see a recent, critical social/political movement unfold, from its relatively "quiet" beginnings to the turmoil, chaos and violence of the final months.

How I Came to Hate Maths, was a pure delight. A very compelling, understandable analysis of the role mathematics plays in our lives and the direction the discipline seems to to be taking. Walk/Aquabus back home to get ready for dinner that evening. Krissy, Gayle's/Derek's daughter was cooking for about twelve of us. We had invited Flamin', Sarge and his Mom, Vivacious Viv, to come up for a drink beforehand. Other guests started to arrive around 6:30 pm. Rhona, mutual friend of K's/C's, was along, with her fiancée, Laurie, and his parents, Marilyn and David, visiting from Scotland. We'd not met the parents before so we were delighted to do so. Lovely couple and I told them we would be knocking on their door in Elgin, sometime soon!

Krissy had done much of the food prep at the kitchen she uses for her food truck, Pig-on-the-Street, but she and Chloë still had plenty to do before we could eat. Nothing to worry about as Rhona had prepared some dynamite fresh figs, wrapped in Prosciutto and Cambozola, along with various dips and crackers. The Old Foggies sipped and visited while The Kids created mountains of dishes to be done and when main courses, (moussaka and roasted spuds), were just about ready, Derek made a large Greek salad. Meal was boisterous, near riotous, with three wine glasses being broken over the course of the sitting! Dessert was a more than scrumptious gluten-free, raspberry/blueberry topped cake from Gayle's kitchen! More red wine and malt, for those who so desired, as we let our feast digest.

Chloë drove Krissy and Laurie's parents home, while Mark and Laurie rode back, (zig-zagging, I'm sure!), on their bikes. Final bit of clean-up/loading dishwasher and putting away overlefts and then we four settled in for another dram, chatting amicably until just after 1:00 am. Although G/D have been here for almost two weeks we've not had many opportunities to just sit and talk.

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