Asymptotes, Sine Waves, Bell Curves & Beverly D'Angelo - AgainSunday, December 26, 2010
Asymptotes, Sine Waves, Bell Curves & Beverly D'Angelo
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Not too long ago I had a Vancouver choreographer of note in my studio and I asked the choreographer how things were. The reply was startling and dismaying, "I had my moment years back."
In the early 60s I studied mathematics and statistics and learned about curves. I have since then come to the conclusion that just about anything related to human nature and human relationships can be defined by three curves.
2. bell curve
3. sine wave curve
I wrote about the sine wave here and about asymptotes here.
Of the asymptote I would like to write further. Lucy will not take away the football so that Charlie Brown will not fall when the asymptote finally (inexorably?) hits the X or Y axis. My wife Rosemary will stop worrying when all our problems, our children's problems, our granddaughter's problems, our cat's problems, etc are solved. And that will happen, in the best of all possible worlds when that asymptote nudges that X or Y axis as it nears mathematical infinity.
Around 1980 the careers of Sissy Spacek ( a sine wave with its ups and downs) got in phase with Beverly D'Angelo's career sine wave (with its ups and downs). For that brief moment in time both would shine in that beautiful 1980 film, Coal Miner's Daughter and then both actresses would go their way and out of phase.
If one were to investigate D'Angelo's career one would guess that Coal Miner's Daughter was not the high point of her career (the top of a statistical bell curve) but her role in 1983's National Lampoon Vacation.
By the time I photographed her in 1988 when she had come to Vancouver to publicize the film Cold Squad with Martin Sheen her moment and her position in that bell curve (over that top hump) was gone.
Can our lives possibly be so depressingly mathematical?
Back in January 17, 2008 I wrote the above blog on my understanding of the relationship that mathematical curves have with human existence and behaviour.
This past July I received a Blogger surprise that has kept my interest in statistical curves alive. For the almost five years that I have had my blog I have avoided attaching counters to it so that I could find out how many people “visit” it. It has really been a case of pure fear that my vanity would be compromised by low ratings. I felt it much more comfortable not to know.
This all changed when Blogger attached to my blog (without me asking) something called Stats. From them I found out that by the end of July I had had 57, 075 visits. It peaked at 64, 249 by the end of October and my rating today is 47,030.
These Blogger stats reveal other stuff, even including what kind of operating systems and web browsers these viewers use and from which countries they are doing their viewing. The stats reveal where the searches come from. A lot of this information is scary in nature as you begin to understand how much of web search is mostly web image search and how much of it is related to pornography, young children, nude dancers and that sort of stuff.
A perennial search to my blog is Tamara Taggart. One of the reasons is that I photographed Taggart with her husband for Vancouver Magazine some years ago. They posed for me (clothed) in bed. But my blog was called Tamara Taggart in Bed!
For reasons that escape me another popular search is Rosa ‘Blanc Double de Coubert’. This is a magnificent white hybrid rugosa that came into cultivation in the 19th century. English botanical iron lady, Gertrude Jekyll defined this rose’s whit the whitest white in the garden. I have written several times about this rose (very fragrant it is) that grown in part shade near my kitchen door. I have posted several scans of the blooms and explained that it is one of the first roses to bloom in spring. The fact is that if you search for this rose in Google my blogs are very high up in the search. Aren’t other people writing about this rose?
I have discovered that most (or at least many) visits are all accidental. It might involve looking for Wham-O slingshots (I wrote about one that I owned) or simply searching for stuff on Arthur Erickson. I have no way of knowing how many of those visits may be from “repeat offenders”.
Statistics have also been on my mind this year because of Rosemary’s health problems (more or less solved) and those of mine (not quite resolved). I have noticed that I could draw a parabolic statistical curve of our visits to doctors, medical labs and X-ray clinics this year. Such a curve would indicate that 2011 will take us to those places with ever more frequency. This curve reminds me of the little curves that I would observe on the early computer diagnostic of my VW beetle in Mexico. The graph given to me would show four similar almost straight parabolas of equal length. As soon as our VW was not quite so new one of the lines, or even two would taper off or be shorter. This meant that our car was losing compression on a couple of cylinders. This meant that the closed system that a car engine represented was subject to the law of thermodynamics called entropy:
The tendency for all matter and energy in the universe to evolve toward a state of inert uniformity. Inevitable and steady deterioration of a system or society.
That VW graph told me that my car would soon not be under warranty and I would have to pay for expensive ring jobs, etc.
That WV graph and my frequent visits to doctors remind me that my body, much like that of a car is no longer under warranty and I can now expect slipping clutches, oil leaks, break jobs and, inevitably, engine failure!
But it is not all statistical doom and gloom that I might be able to predict for my immediate future. I had a chat with the owner of a local photo lab (a really good one) and I was told that with labs disappearing across Canada (including Vancouver’s formerly excellent George King Photo) business was looking good here in Vancouver. The lab was getting film sent from as far as Nova Scotia and even the US. With fewer players, those who play will get the work.
Similarly this December has been my busiest in recent memory. The work has not come from magazines or newspapers but from law firms (who no longer want amateur digital camera portraits of their principals and associates, and from people requesting I take pictures with a big camera and that I use film and print the results in my darkroom.
I certainly do not see a comeback for film. I simply see me surfacing for one more (third?) gasp for air. Who knows I just might remain on the surface and prove my personal statistics all wrong?
A similar argument could have been made by the one time diminishing (aren't they all gone?) French polishers when their craft was hit by the invention of hard resin varnishes or the polyurithane Varathane.