Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Bye Bye Septembre Blues: Tuesday, September 30th!

Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. -Elie Wiesel, writer, Nobel laureate (b. 1928) 

Regarding Susan Sontag

On Photography, "Notes on Camp," Illness as Metaphor, Against Interpretation—Susan Sontag’s contributions to the intellectual zeitgeist of the 1960s, 70s and 80s is beyond reproach for its seriousness of purpose and wide-ranging influence. And while it might seem that that very seriousness would make Sontag less than happy with Nancy Kates’ intimate portrait of the writer—a portrait that delves into Sontag’s personal life as much as it surveys her critical and literary accomplishments—even the famously analytical intellectual would be hard-pressed not to see the value in transforming an icon into a human being, made of flesh and blood, dealing with the same quotidian concerns and problems as the rest of us. Kates does this marvellously well, with the result being that Sontag comes into sharp focus, perhaps for the first time.

"Documentaries about well-known public figures can often feel like glorified infomercials. But this portrait of the influential writer and public intellectual somehow manages to do justice to both the breadth of her work (with passages from her writing read by Patricia Clarkson) as well as the ins and outs of her personal life, including her long-term lesbian relationships at a time when homosexuality was still seen as problematic even among the liberal intelligentsia. That director Nancy Kates manages to hit so many important pivot points in Sontag’s life and career in a cinematically engaging way feels like a small miracle."—Bilge Ebiri, Vulture.com

Deadpan, tragicomic, hypnotizing… The Owners is one of those films that gives your brain a workout as you search for the best adjectives with which to describe it. Kazakh director Adilkhan Yerzhanov brings us a truly original vision with this lyrical revenge drama about three siblings who plan to move into their late mother’s cottage outside of the city of Almaty. But things aren’t so simple; the house turns out to be occupied by the threatening Zhuba, a stubborn, alcoholic squatter. What ensues is an absurd, increasingly violent ownership dispute. Shooting in a diorama style akin to the work of Wes Anderson, Yerzhanov creates a fully lived-in world. It’s an immersive comic universe you will not want to leave, even if it can get a little unpleasant…

Contributing to The Owners’ odd tone is the juxtaposition of dry humour with the lush landscapes, shot with gorgeous, painterly cinematography. Peel away the stylish surface and you just might find a scathing critique of a struggling bureaucratic society where possession is no laughing matter. Regardless of the adjective one settles on, one thing is certain: this marks the arrival of an exciting new filmmaking talent.

"Kafka meets Kaurismäki… [This] is a caustic critique of small-town corruption and croneyism in contemporary Kazakhstan. It is also poetic, surreal and visually arresting."—Stephen Dalton, Hollywood Reporter

Hi Pat, Thanks for your entertaining message and the good news about Sarge's improvement. The trivia night sounds fun. What's entailed (besides an encyclopaedic knowledge of everything ? Dermot is your man on ANYTHING sports related - it's amazing how many details he remembers. The painted silos are fantastic!! I haven't had a close look yet but will soon.

I'm glad that you wintering plans for fitness are working out - looks like you are growing your beard for added warmth - don't you have heating down there in False Creek? Nice arm band. Is Sarge still wearing his from the hospital? They really are testaments to fortitude and strength. See you soon. Thanks. Hi to the lovely Corinne. Sara

Hi Sara! Great that you and Dermot can join us for Trivia Night! We've bought a table so all we need is your encyclopaedic knowledge. There will be a cash bar during the evening and some light snacks, I believe. Also a Silent Auction, as the event is a fund raiser, so if you want to bid on anything, you can certainly do so. Other than that, we just want to have an enjoyable evening, made even more fun by defeating Clan Sutherland!

Evening will be at the Scottish Cultural Centre, 8886 Hudson. Not sure what time everything begins but I'll let you know as soon as I've confirmed with Chloë. I assume around 7:00 pm +/-. Before I forget, will Jake be joining us?  Just let me know.

With respect to my beard, the "Lovely" Corinne calls me "Mountain Man"! No Sarge, isn't wearing his wrist band. He could hardly hardly wait to snip it off as soon as he was discharged! I continue to wear mine as a badge of honour!!!

Silos are grand! Glad you liked snap. Saw them again today as I walked back over Granville Bridge after my VIFF shift today. Saw
Regarding Susan Sontag as it was the first first screened this morning. Simply fabulous documentary which provided quite amazing insights, both positive and negative, into her life, both emotional and intellectual, as well as the times she lived though and influenced. Next was The Owners', a rather dark tale of "small-town corruption and croneyism in contemporary Kazakhstan." Most interesting to me as this is a part of the world that I know next to nothing about so culturally it was a truly fascinating film to watch.

Once home I changed into my cycling gear. It was such a glorious day, albeit incredibly windy, (Walking over the bridge was like being in a wind tunnel!), that I wanted to take advantage of sun and dry weather before rain returns. Had not been to Stanley Park since the Whistler GranFondo, so was happy to do my regular three loop circuit, on the road, before heading back home. English Bay was a sea of whitecaps on way to park but not quite as angry by the time I returned. Stats for ride:


Not sure what your plans are for Saturday but weather allowing, perhaps we could try to arrange a ride. Anyway, let me know what you think. Cheers, Patrizzio!
Pics: More of silos from Sunday!
P, As you might have guessed I was invited to stay with Jane and we had a wonderful evening. I appreciate your willingness to accommodate my tentative - speculative Tom cat ways. Also, as always, the generous hospitality of the Islay Inn.

I am on the ferry home now and realize I am packing your key. I return Sunday and will return it with outstanding fees. Hope your final shifts at VIFF are fun and I look forward to hearing about the films. W

P, we are good to stay at the Beavers. They are away. So unless you want to stay with Mike we have a place. I assume we should take sleeping bags
Hi Purloiner of Keys and Prowler of Alleys! Glad things worked out for you with Jane. Be pleased to meet her at some point. Cora Lee can hardly wait!!! Will you be bunking with Jane, again, on Sunday, or at The Islay Inn? Just let me know.

Great about Portland. I will send a message to Marilyn/Michaelo to see what might work best for them and then we can decide. Hope to have time for more messaging tomorrow
. Not sure what your plans are for Sunday but let me know if bridge is of interest or a possibility. Cheers, Patrizzio!

Pics: TC before heading out to prowl! Guess his sense of smell is so acute that 

he doesn't need to open his eyes!

Greetings from the Eurostar on my way from Brussels (where I have been working) to London, Currently Andre is driving back alone to London so we should both arrive there sometime this evening. He has "stuff" he wants to bring back to Chabeuil from Canada, London and Paris so it was his choice!

Frank has confirmed that he will join us all on the 15th. We can call to discuss timing once we arrive in Vancouver next week. Getting excited about the trip - a break from the day to day chores of running both my homes and work will be really nice. Also very much looking forward to seeing you both on the 15th and catching up with all your news. Cheers, Rosemary XXX  

Very much enjoyed my twins and family in Arizona and am very happy to be home. I missed my friends here and look forward to a catch up lv. Joanne. 

My dear friend Bionicus, what will ye ever do if there are no more bottles for ye to score? Yours truly, SCUAWAS P.S. I hope you have a high enough handicap on all those bikes to offset your non-natural parts...

Chloe Alexis Dunn via The Huffington Post Patrick James Dunn this is for you.

There's A Right And A Wrong Way To Organize Your Fridge

Time for some great deals on dress shirts, sports shirts, silk shirts, sweaters, suits, sports jackets, outerwear, pants and much more from Leo Chevalier, Viyella, San Dino, Sotta Sopra, Cohen, Pier 91, Cavori

Where:  FX Building, 222 - 1951 Glen Drive, Vancouver, BC
- Sunday, October 5 - 12:00 to 3:00 pm,  
(the gate will be closed on Sunday, so please call my cell - 604-220-8494 - so I can let you in)
- Monday, Oct 6 to Thursday, Oct 9 - 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Hope to see you there.



Monday, 29 September 2014

Soggy Start-of-the-Week Blues: Monday, September 29th!

There are two possible outcomes: If the result confirms the hypothesis, then you've made a measurement. If the result is contrary to the hypothesis, then you've made a discovery. -Enrico Fermi, physicist and Nobel laureate (1901-1954) 

Hi I haven't heard from you for awhile and I am hoping there is nothing wrong. How is Sarge? I didn't hear from Michelle when I emailed her so I wasn't sure if everything was ok.

Are you travelling? I am so busy with Celtic Colours, yoga and life! The weather has been amazing so I am running, playing tennis, doing yoga and a little biking. 

Cheesy Cauliflower Patties!
I biked from Cheticamp to Margaree a few weeks ago. The wind was incredible causing me to bike on a slant. I was pushed into the ditch once. However, I persevered and arrived at the lunch site last!. Oh well, what can I say! Let me know how everyone is feeling. Take care Rhoda 

Hi Celtic Ski, aka Cheticamp/Margaree Last Ditch Biker! Great to hear that all goes well in spite of gale force winds and your rather busy, busy life! Thanks for inquiring about Sarge. Am very pleased to report that he is doing extremely well. Sorry I've not been in touch sooner but have been very busy since last week as my VIFF shifts started on Thursday.

I didn't have a VIFF shift today so after I dropped Cora Lee off at AL's Thrift Store, at noon, I ran a few errands, (To Go-Green, taking in recyclables and then to BC Liquor Store on Cambie/8th for six bottles, (all of stock!), of Domaine de Babio, 2010, 15%, $20, from Minervois, a great region not all that far from where I was staying last September. Unfortunately, didn't have time to taste there then so am making up for it now! Such an incredible wine, I think, that I then drove to Dunbar to pick up 10 more bottles! Cleared out shelf here as well! On Thursday, I will be taking The Cornwallians to YVR so I plan to stop at Marpole branch of BCLC and collect what might be still there. 10 more bottles according to web site, as of this writing. 10 bottles at Park Royal in West Van, as well, but not sure I'll get there.), and then back home to cellar my haul.

Once everything was safely stored I walked over to FCCC, (In the pouring rain! It just pelted, all morning, and then right up until 4:00 pm.), and spent two hours on one for the new elliptical machines that were just brought in this past Tuesday. Am starting to get used to this particular machine and must say I do enjoy the work-out. Plan to vary this with swimming at Aquatic Centre just over Burrard Bridge, whenever rain curtails cycling.

Back home to tidy place and vacuum for Cora Lee as she was hosting her Book Club that evening. A bit of supper before The Sisterhood arrived and then I was  banished to our bedroom. Indeed, am there, as I scribe, but I don't mind at all as I'm listening to Tim Tamashiro's Tonic on CBC Radio 2, one of my favourite programs.

So that's all the news that fit to print, Ski. Three more shift with VIFF and then I'm free to pick and choose what I'd like to see, if I can get in with my Volunteer Pass. Pretty likely during the day. This coming Monday Claire and Greg, from Brisbane arrive, for a week, so the social merry-go-round starts again. Fondestos and Cheers, Patrizzio!

Pics: Friday evening with some of Clan Sutherland and their relatives from Scotland/Cornwall and Canada; moussaka; Derek/Viv; Flamin'; scullions; Rhona; silos; Patrizzio, wearing a Campagnolo hat, (Please note blue GranFondo wristband, Dear Reader! Drives Coriandre nuts that I'm still wearing it, three weeks after event!!!), presented to me by Vittorino, one of our Book Club members, and Whirlygig!

So... we should strip you for those parts and re-sell them - or those rare metals - on the black market... Interesting thought... Yes, do come and stay here next year! We have plans for you, my friend! From Ms. She-Can-Unpick-As-Well-As-Stitch

Dear SCUAWAS! Great to hear that you are so versatile, predatory and Machiavellian! Might need to re-evaluate trip back east in light of latest "sewing" developments!  Cheers, "Don't-Drop-A-Stitch" Dunn!

Patrick, I have two phone numbers for you that were on Corinne’s card that she gave me. Are these mobiles that we can text if we need to contact you? They look more like land lines to me.

We have been contemplating how we can get a ‘meaty shiraz’ into Canada via the US. I am not sure whether it will be best take it in our checked in luggage, as liquids will be a problem in hand luggage with the heightened security. Further investigation on-going!! What an outrage that geo-politics may get in the way of a good drink!! Cheers Claire

Hi Geo-Political/Meaty Shiraz People! Great to hear that all goes well in spite of problem with muleage! I suggest you pack any wine you see fit to bring in your checked baggage. That is what I have always done and have never had any problem with breakage. I usually wrap bottles in a number of layers of bubble wrap, if I have some, or else a piece of soft clothing, enclose everything in a number of plastic bags and then place parcels in the "middle" of bag, separated from each other and away from either side/top/bottom of case.

Phone numbers are correct. First is our home number, other is Cora Lee's mobile. Best to call my cell or Sarge's mobile. Not sure but he might come to YVR with me to collect you. At any rate, once you clear Customs and collect your baggage, walk outside the terminal itself, to cross road. Go to your left after you leave cross-walk, (Don't go straight ahead into Parking Lot!), to wait under an overhang and that is where you will be collected. 

From past experience, (and I have much, believe me!), it will probably take about an hour, once you land, to find your way outside. If Sarge comes with me I'll let him off at International Arrivals so he'll meet you inside terminal, just outside restricted area you will leave after passing through Customs. I'll "circle" until I hear from him or else I can park, without having to pay exorbitant fees, about two minutes away, and will await his call, if needs be. Will check arrival time before leaving for YVR to make sure flight is on time, etc., to coordinate my/our arrival at airport to coincide with your miraculous appearance, bearing gifts aplenty!!! Once you are safely ensconced in The Annexe, the social merry-go-round starts again. Fondestos and Cheers, Patrizzio!

Hi Janet! Trust all goes well with you. On another matter, we have a table at Aunt Leah's Trivia night on October 18th and we were wondering if you'd like to join our "team". Should be fun. We were away last year so need to give Sarge and Company a run for their money! Cheers, Patrizzio!


Sunday, 28 September 2014

VIFF/NRBC Blues: Sunday, September 28th!

Language is as real, as tangible, in our lives as streets, pipelines, telephone switchboards, microwaves, radioactivity, cloning laboratories, nuclear power stations. -Adrienne Rich, writer (1929-2012)

Hi league of inexplicable gentlemen, I will attend tonight's gathering but will be late coming from work so please do not hold up the anticipated lively discussion of Decoded for my sake Best, VL

It seems that we, as Patdunnism dictates, should impart to Shirley, Jon Artano and Vittorio (aka victor chang) the secret to not having to work on a Sunday evening. Or for that matter, on Sunday period. Just a thought from the organic peanut gallery. --Kurt

[Marvin Angelo Mercado Tried to keep up with the locals boogie boarding, ended up being tossed by 15 foot swell and separating my shoulder]

Dear Never-on-time-Vittorio and Dyspeptic Peanut Galleroid! Don't kid yourself, Vittorino, NRBC regulares won't be twiddling their thumbs waiting for Godot or you, for that matter! As for Nanaimo's version of Jimmy Carter, not all of us have a hard working wife to take care of our every need, financial or otherwise, so please do not belittle those who must struggle to make ends meet while you swill imported vodka and stuff yourself with caviar. In this vein, that will be 40 rubles for the NRBC Piglet, 100 for the Islay Inn Malt Cabinet Replenishment Fund, Comrade Kurtoshenko! Na zdorovie, Patruska!

Hi Gents, Unfortunately my mother passed away yesterday in Iran, so I will not be able to come to our club. Hopefully next time. Moe

Dear Moe: Please accept sincere condolences to you and your family on the death of your Mother. Please know that we grieve with you and for you in this difficult time. Corinne and Patrick. Thank you for kindness. Moe Thank you Connie and Patrick for your sympathy and kindness. Moe

Hi Sylvia and Ray! Sorry I've not replied sooner but have been very busy this past week as my VIFF shifts started on Thursday. Must away as I need to get ready for Book Club. Not sure about weather tomorrow but perhaps we could go for a ride if that suits. I'll give you a call in the morning. Cheers, Patrizzio!

Sunday my VIFF shift wasn't until 1:30 pm so we had a lazy sleep-in and then pottered around. I cleaned up a bit and tried to catch up on email while Cora Lee was working on a grant proposal for Heartwood. Left home at 1:15 pm and Coriandre dropped me off at Pacific Cinémathèque and then continued on to VPL. SHe had a shift at Word-on-the-Street and it was a simply fabulously sunny, warm day so absolutely poifect for the event.

For my part I was, once again, able to watch two more films. First, Miraculum, (Canada),
"Daniel Grou (10½) directs this riveting ensemble piece—featuring stellar acting and interlocking lives—from a captivating screenplay by screenwriter and actor Gabriel Sabourin. Grou (aka PodZ) is undeniably an actor’s director, with a capacity for telling stories in a unique way that really allows his cast to shine. In this, his fourth feature film, we follow the tangled destinies of three couples who are each undergoing some sort of existential crisis. Then, fate intervenes in the form of a plane crash that’s left behind one apparently miraculous survivor. Just one of the highlights here is Xavier Dolan (who also directed Mommy and starred in Elephant Song, both at VIFF 2014) playing against type as a buttoned-down, tightly wound Jehovah’s Witness. Elsewhere, Julien Poulin and Louise Turcot are casino employees with an array of secrets, Robin Aubert is a high-powered man with gambling issues and Anne Dorval plays his perpetually plastered wife. Add screenwriter Sabourin as a (literally) tortured drug mule and Marilyn Castonguay as a nurse whose struggle with the decision to provide a life-saving transfusion provokes a crisis of faith and you have the stuff of great cinema." Couldn't have said it better myself!

Next was Sorrow and Joy, "Nil Malmros draws on an incident from his own life—due to an array of tragic circumstances, his wife killed their baby—to forge an intense, empathetic and bracingly intelligent drama. “Like almost all of Malmros’s films, Sorrow and Joy is rooted in an episode from his own life… One doesn’t need to know this to find Sorrow and Joy gut-wrenching and edifying, but it is worth pointing out because a few disparaging commentators judged the story improbable and difficult to believe. (That said, it’s a matter of how it’s told that counts, not whether an event actually took place or not.) In any case, the film is not strictly autobiographical but instead uses the filmmaker’s experiences as a basis for something more essential. Malmros relates the story in a straightforward manner without any adornment whatsoever. The images have a sober, self-effacing beauty, the acting is subdued, and the fatal deed itself is never shown. The murder was the result of small misunderstandings and vanities, slightly off-key tones of voice, misinterpreted glances, and accidentally inflicted emotional wounds. Nobody here had ever had any bad intentions, and if in the end a child is dead, other lives need to carry on. To do so, one must understand what has happened, and look at oneself as if at a stranger, and with goodness and forgiveness. Sorrow and Joy is a deeply Protestant melodrama about grace—a small miracle in today’s cinema.”—Olaf Möller, Film Comment. Given the unthinkable circumstance at the heart of this film it is simply remarkable that one comes to understand what happened, and why, and still continue to care and support everyone drawn into this terrible event. Heart-breaking in the extreme, of course, but what a truly amazing treatment of infanticide. To make sense of the senseless and then be able to carry on through the power of unqualified love and belief in essential goodness.

My shift was over after this film but I stayed on to help with next screening as I wanted to see Exit: "In this subtly beautiful Taiwanese urban drama, the superb actress Chen Shiang-chyi plays Lingzi, a woman whose romantic imagination strains against the boundaries of a downwardly mobile working woman’s life. Lingzi, 45, a laid-off garment worker, encounters an injured, almost comatose man, Mr. Chang, lying next to her mother-in-law in hospital. She seizes the opportunity to transform her own life, one tender, anonymous touch at a time.
"Distressed by Mr. Chang’s continuous moans, Ling finally goes to wet his parched lips; she spills some water, and when she wipes it off, Chang relaxes and stops crying. The speechless younger man intrigues her, and gently wiping his attractive torso makes her feel both useful and sensual; soon she looks forward to hospital visits… Anchoring everything is Chen’s full-bodied performance, which is first kept tightly wound, her strained features conveying Ling’s emotional weariness; the summer heat further contributes to the sense of a woman worn down by everything around her. When she does start to smile, it’s as if a window has opened just a crack, and her slightly looser physicality briefly reconnects with the attractive, fun-loving woman she was forced to lock away inside.”—Jay Weissberg, Variety The Director, Chienn Hsiang was there as well and answered a number of questions asked by the audience so that added much to my understanding of some of the issues the film raised. For example, there is an actual social phenomenon in Taiwan that sees many, many men leave their families to pursue the dream of "making it" in China. (Canadians, read the Alberta Oil Patch!) This, in fact, was true of the father of one of our ESL boarders. Often, usually, this has quite negative repercussions for the "abandoned" families, particularly the wives. Understood/imagined infidelity, economic hardship are but two cruel facts that are visited on the women left to survive, emotionally/financially, as best they can. Again, another difficult, difficult topic but tackled with amazing sensitivity and insight.

Walked back to The Islay Inn over the Granville Bridge and the vistas I enjoyed literlly took my breath away. Vancouver at its mountains, the ocean and Fairview Slopes, at better than their best. Also, quite enjoyed one of the latest public art works here in town: "
The Vancouver Biennale has transformed a Granville Island industrial landmark into a gigantic work of public art! OSGEMEOS, [Os Gêmeos (Portuguese for The Twins; born 1974 in São Paulo, Brazil as Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo) are graffiti artists and identical twin brothers.], created a monumental, 360-degree, 23-metre tall (75 ft) mural, the biggest public mural of their career and their first in Canada. The mural, which measures a colourful 7,200 square meters (23,500 sq feet), was created on the six gigantic silos that are part of the Ocean Cement manufacturing and distribution plant on Vancouver’s Granville Island, alongside the world-famous Public Market, Emily Carr University, and boat docks that attract 10.5-million visitors per year.

Dear Patruska: I am greatly offended by your comment that, “not all of us have a hard working wife to take care of our every need, financial or otherwise, so please do not belittle those who must struggle to make ends meet while you swill imported vodka and stuff yourself with caviar.”

In fact, your perception of me and how I live and how I view others is very offensive and so, so foreign to me. To suggest that I would even belittle (your words) someone who works for a living is an insane proposition. Why would you even go there? FUCK YOU, PAT, AND STUFF YOUR IMPORTED CAVIER AND VODKA UP YOUR ARSE! I am truly sad that you have become such a jerk. --Kurt

Beware of Mr Rathfelder! Dear Kurtnikov! Wow! Guess I must have hit, inadvertently, a rather raw nerve, to say the least. As a friend of mine used to say: "You'd have to run over my leg with a truck to have me react that way!" And yet another friend was wont to say, "If they can't take a joke, fuck 'em!" Somewhat bemused but also, like you, saddened by your vitriolic response. Your bid. Patrizzio!

Back home in time to get ready for my Book Club. Lads started to arrive around 7:00 pm and we had loads of fun catching up on each other's lives as we'd not met since before Easter, holidays, etc., intervening. Even managed to talk about the book, Mai Jia’s Decoded, "a novel about the intricacies of cryptography, set largely in the chaos of the decades leading to the Cultural Revolution", while tasting gin and grappa from Long Table Disitillery, at the foot of Hornby, as wellas all sorts of other potables! Cora Lee came home about 10:00 pm, just as lads were about to set off. She had been visiting with her friend Robyn, and her friends. Whirlygig was staying overnight so we had a few snorts of malt to help us de-brief the meeting! Bed around 11:30 pm when Giggster started yawning. Way past his Galiano bedtime!!! 

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Camel Valley/Edibles Blues: Saturday, September 27th!

Sunset in Maui!
Hi Pat, I am reading a book by James Holland on the true story of The Dambusters and recalled that Annie's brother was a member - what was her maiden name as he has included a list of all flight crew at the beginning of the book?

Tina and I climbed up to the ruins of the Chateau in Valhain this morning - fantastic view over the village and lake. Also climbed up to the statue of the Virgin Mary on the adjacent crag - not sure if you saw them when you were here. 

Wailea golf course was beautiful!
Had lunch the other day at the L'Auberge Du Presbytere in Valhain - fabulous food, venue and view. Regards, A somewhat more relaxed Trevor

Hi TNT: Perhaps you shouldn't be reading such an "incendiary" book, Trev, given your "explosive" state! However, pleased to learn that you are not on high alert anymore, just relaxing with wonderful walks in and around Vailhan. Must admit that i didn't even know about Chateau or statue of Virgin Mary. I'm sure the panorama was wonderful, as you mentioned. Delighted you enjoyed your meal at L'Auberge. We certainly did! I gather your stay will be drawing to a close in but a few days. Home then or somewhere else?

My Uncle's name was Walter Daniel, (from Danilevitch, changed by my Grandfather, Adam!), but he came to 617 Squadron after the raids on the dams. Most certainly why he survived war. He was, however, credited with dropping one of the bombs that finally sank the Tirpitz:

"On 12 November 1944, British Lancaster bombers equipped with 12,000-pound "Tallboy" bombs scored two direct hits and a near miss which caused the ship to capsize rapidly. A deck fire spread to the ammunition magazine for one of the main battery turrets, which caused a large explosion. Figures for the number of men killed in the attack range from 950 to 1,204. Between 1948 and 1957 the wreck was broken up by a joint Norwegian and German salvage operation."
 Walter met one of the survivors at a "reunion" organized by various 617 alumni in Norway, in the late '80's, if I recall correctly. His pilot, Willy Tait, was then Wing Commander, and we visited with him and his family, in Cyprus, during the '50's, as he had stayed in the RAF and was posted there for a number of years. Subsequently, Mom and I visited with them in London, in 2003.  

I can remember my cousins and I, listening, raptly, to Uncle Walter telling us about those years, at our grandparent's home in Rivers, Manitoba. Walter knew George Durston, Dusty's brother, before he was shot down over Germany. Again, he was older and had joined up earlier. As I'm sure you know, the losses were simply appalling at the outset of the conflict.

Much appreciated sleep-in until almost 9:00 am and then up to scribe for a bit before putting away last night's dishes and tidying up place. Had a delicious brunch of overlefts. Cora Lee was going downtown to shop at Costco so she dropped me off, en route. Absolutley gorgeous day after the wet weather of past little while. Slightly annoying as perfect riding weather, of course, and yet I would be inside for better part of day! My VIFF shift was from 1:30 pm until 6:15 pm, so that was that!

[Marvin is getting old so thought I would ensure he had a good party before its too late!!!! We are going to be in Hawaii for his actually birthday so we will do it the day after we get back.]

Nevertheless I saw two more wonderful films. First, Journey to the West:
"A small miracle of a movie, Tsai Ming-liang’s insanely slow, fantastically gorgeous mid-length film is one of his most beautiful. For 56 non-action-packed minutes we watch Tsai’s acteur fetiche Lee Kang-sheng, head shaved and dressed in red crimson monk-like robes, walk as slowly as possible through various urban spaces in and near Marseilles, France. This film is the fifth in a series of Tsai’s "slow walking" films, pitting Lee’s otherworldly near-still movement against various (until now mostly Asian) environments.

Here in France, Tsai has for the first time given Lee a near-companion: the spectacular French dancer/actor Denis Lavant (Les Amants du Pont Neuf, Holy Motors), who is introduced in a confrontationally monumental close-up, and whose solipsistic world gradually meshes with Lee’s quasi-monk, until finally, the two seem joined in an unearthly space and time of their own creating.
If this sounds daunting, don’t worry. Journey to the West is by far Tsai’s most playful film in years, as we, the viewers, are challenged to play games with the screen. Sometimes we wait for Lee’s monk to inevitably creep into the scene, at other times we start scanning the vast public spaces, playing a Where’s Waldo game to spot the monk. And sometimes one might even find oneself transported by the ecstatic play of light and space: cinema at its purest." Absolutely fascinating to see passersby, going about their daily activities, pay little or no attention, to the monk, or else comment derisively, often, about him.  Certainly a remarkable exploration of the nature of reality and our particular, ego-centric, biased understanding of it!

Next was La Sapienza: "Cinema is the place where the materiality of the world and the sacred, the visible and the invisible meet." So says French-American auteur Eugène Green (Le pont des Arts), a master of baroque mannerism, who indeed explores this very act of "meeting" in his latest triumph, La Sapienza. The protagonist, Alexandre Schmidt, is a revered architect questioning the value of his work. He sets off with his equally disillusioned wife on a trip to Italy to get their groove back. 

Along the way, they strike up an unlikely relationship with a teenaged brother and sister. At first reluctant, Alexandre eventually settles into a mentor-like role for the brother, who turns out to be an aspiring architect himself. At the heart of the film is an exploration of the architecture of Francesco Borromini, whose crowning achievements in Turin and Rome are Alexandre’s destinations on this existential excursion. The title translates as "sapience," an ancient concept of wisdom, and the film is a tribute to the quest for knowledge in a complicated world. As the film reaches its epiphanic conclusion, Green movingly reconciles the visible with the invisible, articulating that intangible exchange between the old and the new, between art and our lives.

"A work that’s both weighted with scholarly inquiry and an undercurrent of poignancy unlike anything else… By searching for ‘what lies beyond beauty,’ Alexandre unearths the compassion that has been dormant in his life for so long. The movie illustrates his evolving thought process through equally vivid words and images.”—Eric Kohn, Indiewire

I was completely mesmerized by the film. The fact that it was so slow-paced and in both French and Italian, meant that I could actually follow much, with my smattering of both languages, of the dialogue without having to rely on subtitles. A very, very moving exploration of love and life, both in a marriage and between student and teacher, siblings and complete strangers.  
Since we have reservations for Edibles, on GI, for 8:00 pm, I left a tad early, (15 minutes), as I'd stayed later last two shifts. Not a big deal, either way, but we planned to have a drink at The Islay Inn before strolling over to restaurant. G/D brought a bottle of 2013 Camel Valley, (winery we visited last August, when in Cornwall.), Bacchus, [A white wine grape that was created by viticulturalist Peter Morio at the Geilweilerhof Institute for Grape Breeding in the Palatinate in 1933. He crossed a Silvaner x Riesling cross with Müller-Thurgau.], 12%, a lovely dry wine we'd enjoyed many times over the course of our stay. 

Cora Lee was working away on a report when I arrived home. I did a bit more tidying up and then had a quick shower. Changed for dinner, I spoke to Derek, through patio window at Annexe to let them know we were ready to have them cove over. Bacchus was a delicious, a citrus-soaked beauty with a distinctive, fruit-filled bouquet and a lingering, tart finish. We savoured our glasses and chatted about the coming week. Just before 8:00 pm we strolled over to GI. Lovely evening but their is a noticeable coolness in the air so Summer is definitely over, Fall is now here!

Meal at Edibles was a delicious affair and since place wasn't overly busy it was relatively quiet, quiet enough for us to be able to talk to each other!

 Fondestos and Cheers, Patrizzio!

Last evening with some of Clan Sutherland and their relatives from Scotland/Cornwall and Canada!

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.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Waiting for August Blues: Thursday, September 25th!

No battle is ever won, he said. They are not even fought. The field only reveals to man his own folly and despair, and victory is an illusion of philosophers and fools. -William Faulkner, novelist (1897-1962) 

Waiting for August

Burdened with the role of stand-in mother at the tender age of 15, Georgina Halmac dwells sardine-can fashion with a handful of energetic rugrats—her five younger siblings—in a social-housing condo on the outskirts of Bacau, Romania. In this gracefully told family portrait, only daytime soaps on a boxy television with shaky reception offer a sliver of escape from the seemingly endless household chores. “God, I’m not having any children,” Georgina amusingly reflects, as she ponders her life of stultifying domesticity. 

Mustard-Shallot Vinaigrette
Harsh economic realities have forced Georgina’s single-parent mother Liliana to go abroad to Italy as a migrant worker. Her loving presence looms—she checks in by phone and occasionally sends a duffle bag crammed with treats— yet she is forced to remain always in the background. Mostly the kids are left up to their own devices…
Teodora Ana Mihai’s astute, award-winning observational documentary is doubly remarkable when you realize it is her first feature. Her compassionate humanism may remind Kore-eda Hirokazu fans of the courageousness of the abandoned children in Nobody Knows (VIFF 04). While stories of immigration and financial hardship can dip into dreariness, Waiting for August avoids such pitfalls by encapsulating, with unmistakable verve and immediacy, both the fragility and bouyant resiliency of children.

[I Don't: A Contrarian History of Marriage, Susan Squire Bloomsbury, 2008
"For nearly a thousand years, an Englishman sick of his wife could slip a halter around her neck, lead her to market -- the cattle market -- and sell her to the highest bidder, often with her willing participation. This informal route to divorce for the lower classes lasted, amazingly, until at least 1887... a drunken husband sells his wife in the opening chapter of Thomas Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886), much to the astonishment of contemporary critics. Oblivious to the informal unlawful marriage and divorce customs of the less literate brethren ('wife-sale' dates back to c. 1073), they could not imagine such a thing happening on British soil in the nineteenth century, even though popular broadsides depicting the practice were still being produced and widely circulated during that same century."]

Chloe Alexis Dunn via Aunt Leah's Independent Lifeskills Society If you were thinking of donating why not do it while this matching is happening!! Aunt Leah's Place Foster youth and young mothers in the Lower Mainland need your help today!

Been very busy this past week as my VIFF shifts started today. Saw three films First was Waiting for August. Second, from Chile, To Kill a Man: "Beautifully wrought and meticulously controlled, Alejandro Fernández Almendras’ tense drama follows a bullied man as he wrestles with the moral implications of revenge." Was able to watch both screenings during my shift as I'm an usher! Both extremely powerful.

[He looks happy J That's so great!!! But stressful, don't want him running into a burning building!! As his Mom, I plan to get to each fire ahead of Alex and his fire truck and put out the fire so he stays safe as his aunt i'm right behind you but ahead of him We are so proud of Alex. What is the next step? Is it the EMT? Love Nana I believe so…xoxo Oy Vey, already yet!]
Walked back to foot of Hornby to take Aquabus to GI and then home. Ragin' Bull was over to help me set up a new external hard disk for back-up purposes. After that Sarge came upstairs and we played bridge, with Coriandre until she had to leave for a meeting, shortly after 5;00 pm. Sarge was off to watch his team curl so Branko very kindly dropped me off at SFU Downtown, another venue for VIFF. 

I had arranged to meet Ruth, in from Squamish, and her sister, Deb, there, at 6:30 pm, to see Of Horses and Men: "An impromptu tryst between two horses—with a humiliated owner caught in the middle—serves as the catalyst for further dark comedy in this celebration of equine grandeur and human eccentricity. Each centred around a different horse, six peculiar vignettes (or are they rural legends?) contained here are crafted with uncommon skill, each leading us down a different twisted path to the devastating punchline that awaits us at the end. As you watch an alcoholic ride his steed into the sea in hopes of scoring more drink from a passing freighter or a man tearing a page from the The Empire Strikes Back’s screenplay in order to survive, you can’t help but wonder how one sleepy village can possibly contain so many uproarious shocks. Every bit as rugged, otherworldly and striking as its Icelandic backdrop, Benedikt Erlingsson’s dryly humorous, highly decorated debut asserts that our vain attempts to tame nature are folly of the highest order." 

A simply stunning work and the sort of "gem" one discovers more by serendipity than anything else! This is what makes VIFF such an exciting event. I'm always astounded, each year, by such incredible films I'd no idea even existed.

Ruth popped me back home before driving home to Squamish. She came in for a brief visit with Cora Lee before she had to go. School started back this past Monday, (Teachers had been on strike since the end of lat June!), and she had to work next morning. Whirlygig, in from Galiano, was to have joined us for dinner but he never showed up and we, (Ragin' came back for late supper as well.), were all a tad concerned about his whereabouts. His brother, Carlos The Jackal, of GranFondo fame, had not heard from him either. Giorgio "waltzed in" around 10:30 pm, smiling broadly/grinning sheepishly. It turned out that the had had a "date" that evening and was embarrassed to tell us about it as they had met on the Net! Anyway, we toasted his great good fortune with a few snorts of malt before we said goodnight to one another.  Did you ever find George on Thursday night. Wayne

Pat, Sylvia and I are very pleased that Wayne seems to have made such a good recovery in a short space of time. To travel to Seattle and back suggests he's well on his way to doing all the things he likes again.
The weather has made the gym workouts more appealing of late and I'm glad you are able to use indoor bikes and elliptical trainers as well as some swimming once you have time. I see you are also involved in the Film Festival again, so that will keep you busy also.
I'm gradually building up my tutoring hours. Rather a slow start with the teachers' problems and schools haven't really got going properly at this point as I gather that classes were poorly organized and many students haven't yet got the courses they want. I spoke with Ted recently about taking the Math 12 course and he gave me some good advice. Ray 
Wayne Sutherland It is hard to believe that it was a month today since I went in to cardiac arrest. I have been home from the hospital three weeks as of tomorrow and have been feeling better every day since. The hardest things are not doing or lifting anything that I am not suppose to. I start to get some freedoms back as of next Monday. My mom has been here looking after me since I got home and she will be going back to Nova Scotia this Sunday so I will be lonely and will need to look after myself. I would like to thank everyone for all the prayers and best wishes. Love you all. Wayne
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!

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).