Happy at the New Year

After Christmas celebrations Honeybuns returned to more southern and less snowy climes and there was much rejoicing.

We went to see the gingerbread houses at the Museum of Architecure but eventually ended up in the exhibition on architecture in Barcelona. We noted that just as for modern art, fashionable architects can't just present a neat idea, but have to surround it with grandiose and pompous verbiage. (Possibly they think computer scientists insist on presenting simple ideas with lots of impenetrable jargon, but that's a completely different matter.)

The sub-exhibition on Antoni Gaudí and his work on Sagrada Familia was much centred around his geometrical inventions, both enabling simpler construction methods (so why has it taken so long to build the place then?) and allowing a lighter structure, both in terms of mass and photons.

This would have been an excellent opportunity for some interactive exhibits, letting the audience play around with generatrices and see for themselves how they form various surfaces as they are moved along given paths. I strongly suspect the general audience probably isn't conversant with terms like “hyperbolic paraboloid”. The exhibition catalogue did contain a bit more explanation, but then again, should you have to shell out another 250 SEK just to get the labels under the exhibits explained? So, a good math teaching opportunity wasted.

On New Years' Eve we dressed up in our finest and prepared a candle-lit dinner for two (garlic mushrooms on toast, saffron fusilli with herb-and-lemon sauce and wild strawberry cider), Honeybuns musingly noting that the pleasantness of a festive evening apparently is unrelated to its alcohol content.

Honeybuns and I
Long shutter time and short self-timer makes for fuzzy pictures.

After dinner we changed out of our finery and bundled up in ski pants, scarves and thumb gloves to brave the elements at Skansen where Jan Malmsjö read Nyårsklockan as tradition requires. The fireworks were very beautiful and not too loud from where we were standing.

The huge crowd then moved back into the city, and we had to zigzag to avoid drunk revellers, smashed champagne bottles and thrown firecrackers. SL was running all available busses and trams to move people and even the underground trains out to the suburbs were running at rush-hour frequency to my great relief, especially considering the puke pools on the platform.

We were home again around 02:00 and finished off the night with saffron buns and aurora glögg. The latter was a pleasant surprise, the spices were just a subtle addition to a smooth blackcurrant flavour with a hint of bilberry.

When we woke up again, the sun shone in through the bedroom window.


thnidu said...

I was enjoying this post, and even more as I tripped over "Nyårsklockan" -- seeing it at first as beginning with [nj] -- and then analyzed it. "New Year's Clock" -- OK. Then I clicked on it. Hee hee! (clock, cloche...)

So this poem, in translation I suppose, is a traditional New Year's Eve reading in Sweden? A fine idea! (Except for the last line...)

kai said...

”Nyårsklockan” is specifically read on Skansen on New Year's Eve by a prominent actor and has so been for over a hundred years. The bits about the coming of Christ are normally not read and I noted that Jan Malmsjö also has rewritten a few stanzas to deplore “meaningless street violence”, which admittedly are in spirit, but to me jarred a bit against the rest.