tealin: (4addict)
2017-06-20 01:41 pm

Radio Roundup

In advance of my trip to Annecy, I've been listening to francophone radio more or less solidly since March, trying to improve my comprehension. Now that I'm back in the linguistic brothel where English was born, it's time to do some catching up – and oh, what a lot there is to choose from!

FACTUAL
The Reith Lectures: Hilary Mantel - Author of Wolf Hall and A Place of Greater Safety speaks fascinatingly about historical fiction, our relationship with the past, how and why we resurrect the dead in stories, and many other things very close to my heart.
Away with the Fairies - An exploration of the journey the Little People have made in popular culture, from uncanny threat to sparkly friends.

FICTIONAL
Golden Hill - An excellent jape set in colonial New York. Only available until the wee hours, UK time, so if you're reading this on June 20th, give it a listen while you can – it's a very good story, very well read!
I, Claudius - A radio adaptation of the famous historical novel. I've only caught half of one episode so far, but it's very good, so will be catching up on the rest as an antidote to the news. If you think man's inhumanity to man is a recent thing, well, you don't know much about the Romans...
A Place of Greater Safety - Hilary Mantel's novel of the French Revolution, and a salient cautionary tale for passionate idealists on either side of the political spectrum. This production I know for a fact is fabulous, as it was so good the first time I recorded it and listened over and over. Highly recommended.
Hard Times - I never got into this novel when I tried reading it, but the exploration of heartless pragmatism vs anything else is appealing, so I hope the radio adaptation is a way in to the Industrial Revolutionary fable.
Nineteen Ninety-Eight - A spoof of Orwell's 1984, but when the main character Edward Wilson goes in pursuit of Truth and ends up founding a Movement, and it stars David Threlfall (my favourite Iago) and Hugh Laurie (Hugh Laurie), there's reason enough to listen right there.

FUNNY
Double Acts - John Finnemore's series of droll two-character dramas is back! As always, anything he writes is worth listening to – these aren't as laugh-out-loud funny as Cabin Pressure or Souvenir Programme, but are great little character pieces, and have such range.
Saturday Night Fry - Stephen Fry, Hugh Laure, Jim Broadbent and guests are silly on the wireless – and SO YOUNG.
The Burkiss Way - Vintage barmy sketch comedy
The Harpoon - Slightly more recent barmy sketch comedy, spoofing much less recent and generally non-comedic kids' magazines.
The Consultants - Contemporary barmy sketch comedy
John Finnemore, Apparently - Contemporary barmy sketch comedy by a certain eponymous gentleman, airing Thursday
Talking and Not Talking - Contemporary barmy sketch comedy, with a little more gender balance
On the Town With the League of Gentlemen - Barmiest of all comedy, the radio series that preceded the TV series that launched the careers of Mark Gatiss, Reece Shearsmith, and Steve Pemberton.


And now my laptop's overheating, so I will leave it there! Enjoy!
tealin: (Default)
2017-06-20 11:12 am
Entry tags:

Annecy

I've been wanting to get to the animation festival at Annecy since 2012 when Paperman premiered there, but every year there's been some reason why I can't make it. This year, I made a pact with a friend to book accommodation early so we would have to go, and luckily that paid off. I just returned last night from a week's worth of animation nerdery, architectural beauty, and cheese (so much cheese), and while more will probably be written, here's a quick rundown of a few things I learned:
  • The French for 'screening' is séance, a fact I shall treasure forever
  • Just because it's in the mountains and by a lake doesn't mean it won't get really, swelteringly, paralyzingly hot
  • Annecy is not, as I had been led to believe, a small town. This impression came from people who live in LA, in comparison to which pretty much anything smaller than London is small town.
  • However hot Annecy gets, Lyon gets much hotter. I must never go to Lyon.
  • Buy your bread before noon
  • Unexpected vocabulary differences between French and Québecois: myrtille for bleuet, parking for stationnement
  • There are astonishingly few places that will sell you a coffee and a pastry and a place to sit down for an hour or so
  • On the other hand, the springwater standpipes everywhere are pretty great

All in all it was a fabulous experience – I don't think I've ever been to a film festival before, nevermind an animated film festival, so was expecting something more along the lines of a comics convention. Something about all coming together to share the experience of films, rather than buy and sell each other's products – and reconnecting with so many people I knew from so many different places – gave it a lovely sort of family reunion atmosphere. An assortment of 'in group' experiences helped that too: shared exasperation for the heat, queuing for screenings (séances!), and little Annecy rituals like throwing paper airplanes at the screen while waiting for the show to start and making fish-popping noises in the darkness between shorts in a programme, but a major one was that everyone had the same song stuck in their head, because this little film played before every event:


There you go, now you're part of the family.
tealin: (stress)
2017-05-31 11:06 am
Entry tags:

Chores, a Step-by-Step Process

  1. Decide to clean the kitchen (It needs doing, and my brain doesn't really get up to speed until noon, so might as well.)
  2. Think: It'd be better to listen to some Francophone radio than my usual lineup of kitchen-cleaning CBC podcasts
  3. Fight crashy crashy iTunes to find/download a few new episodes of Aujourd'hui l'histoire
  4. Give up on crashy crashy iTunes and finally update it
  5. Update goes unresponsive
  6. Restart computer
  7. Run update again
  8. Meanwhile, finally get around to removing a bunch of programmes from running on startup
  9. Restart again when prompted by iTunes
  10. Download those episodes at last without crashing
  11. Plug in iPod, find it's chock full of podcasts from three years ago
  12. Hunt down, delete/uncheck existing podcasts
  13. Sync with new French podcasts (baladodiffusion)
  14. An hour later, finally start cleaning the kitchen.

My mum likes to call her mother tongue 'kitchen French' – amazing the lengths one has to go to, in this modern world, even to acquire that!
tealin: (Default)
2017-05-30 04:56 pm
Entry tags:

Prairie Winter



My childhood was peppered with road trips across the Canadian prairie visiting family – the smell of mosquito repellent was the smell of Canada to me until I went to college, and still evokes fond memories of whizzing past grain elevators, finding interesting bugs in the splatter of grasshoppers on the windshield, sitting around the fire pit after a 10pm sunset, etc. etc. The only time I'd visited in the winter was one rather miserable Christmas, in which Edmonton was basking in sweater weather while Victoria – balmy retirement capital of Canada – got three feet of snow. But prior to visiting I'd been filled with horror stories about the prairie winter, mainly of the barefoot-in-the-snow-uphill-both-ways variety, which was probably a big reason why we only visited in summer.

I had planned my big Turtle Island* trip for February because I knew I'd be visiting LA, and that's one of the least unpleasant months to be there (and one I don't mind missing in Cambridge). As it afforded me the chance to get a taste of RealWinterTM at last, I booked a few days with my aunt and uncle in Calgary. And ohh my gosh, did it get me – I only had a couple days to enjoy it as I was unfortunately bedbound for some time with a stomach bug, but for months afterwards I found myself fantasizing about the taste of the frosty wind and how everything just sparkled. In off moments, I still find myself trying to strategise when would be best to make a return trip.

*A name used by several First Nations for the landmass of North America. As it is a) their continent and b) a way cooler name than "North America", I have taken to using it, forgetting that most other people didn't grow up listening to the Turtle Island String Quartet on Prairie Home Companion and therefore are probably deeply confused by my doing so.
tealin: (Default)
2017-05-09 02:13 pm
Entry tags:

Stupid-Simple Salubrious Snacks

Here are a couple things that are so quick and easy to make you'd think they were bad for you:


'CAN'T BE BOTHERED' LUNCH PEAS

A bunch of frozen peas
A ball of fresh mozzarella
Colman's mint sauce*

Stick at least a cup of frozen peas in the microwave for no more than two minutes, stir, then one minute at a time, stirring between, until they are hot and bright green. Once they start turning olive-colour they're overcooked.

Whilst microwaving, cut up your mozarella into cubes. If you're only making a side portion of peas, half a ball will do.

Put the mozarella in with the peas, add a nice dollop of mint sauce, and stir. LUNCH: SORTED. I can generally get this made and eaten and dishes washed in 15 minutes; good healthy filling lunch for busy days.

*I am not usually a name-brand type person, but Colman's is noticeably better than the Sainsbury's own brand, so I will fork over for it


NEED DESSERT CAN'T GET PASTRY

1 kiwifruit
3-4 ginger biscuits
plain yoghurt

Cut your kiwi in bite-size pieces into a bowl, then break up your ginger nuts and add those. Pour as much yoghurt over as you think makes a nice balance between liquid and solid. Let sit for a minute or so to soften up the biscuit pieces, stir, and snaffle.
tealin: (Default)
2017-05-06 06:47 am

The Sea Ice Incident

Good morning! It is FREE COMIC BOOK DAY! And you loyal followers of my old-fashioned blog get first dibs!

You may need to manually enter "0" in the price field to make it work, but I tried it last night and it does. You are of course welcome to put some other number if you are moved to do so, but may I venture, that is entirely against the spirit of Free Comic Book Day.

>>> GET IT HERE!! <<<
tealin: (Default)
2017-05-05 09:22 pm
Entry tags:

Free Comic Book Day -1



Everything's all lined up to go ... watch this space! Or one of my alternate spaces, it's up to you!

Now pardon me, but I'm putting Sarah Slean's "Perfect Sky" on loop ...
tealin: (Default)
2017-04-27 06:04 pm
Entry tags:

Free Comic Book Day



You can also keep your weather eye here, of course. Like I'm not going to talk about it here.
tealin: (terranova)
2017-04-26 03:41 pm

The Circle Game

[looks up from piles of black-and-white photos, archival documents, notes scribbled in the margins of books, logic puzzles attempting to place fragments of evidence in a timeline, recollections of academics, collections of academics, disconnected letters, maps, newspaper clippings, webs of causality all leading to tragic consequences, inventories, mysteriously missing accelerants, problematic personalities, suppressed suggestions of betrayal, suspicious deaths, and the conflict between idealistic pursuit of knowledge and self-interested ambition]

You know, sometimes I think about all the mental gymnastics I did over Lemony Snicket in the early 2000s, and wonder when I'll ever find a practical application for those skills.
tealin: (Default)
2017-04-25 11:00 am

Free Comic Book Day



It's coming ...
tealin: (CBC)
2017-04-24 06:26 pm
Entry tags:

Radio-Canada

J'ecoute le rap Aeroplan encore?! C'est possible?
tealin: (Default)
2017-04-19 09:28 pm
Entry tags:

Confirmation Bias

If you look for proof of something, you're likely to find it.

Pay close attention to what you're looking to prove. Why do you want it to be true? Will proof of it affect you for better or for worse?
tealin: (Default)
2017-04-19 10:33 am
Entry tags:

Pampasbrød

As I'm sure I have stated with enthusiasm here before, one of the highlights of my teaching in Denmark is this particular type of bread they have at the local supermarket bakery. I found it by accident the first time, and ever since, the first thing I do when I get into town is go buy some bread and butter and stuff myself on it, and the last thing I do is get a loaf or two and freeze them so they'd survive the trip in my luggage, and I can have that wonderful pampasbrød for a couple weeks back in England.

The last time I went, they'd stopped making the loaf – it was available in baguette and bun form, but the texture of those is quite different and neither really captured the joy of the original. Luckily, I'd saved the ingredients list – one of the reasons I started learning how to make bread was to recreate this at home – and while it doesn't list proportions, I hope at some point my experience in baking (such as it is) and memory of the Real Thing might combine to get me at least most of the way there.

The little ingredients tag has been floating around my room for long enough, so in my lifelong fight with little bits of paper, I'm copying out the ingredients list here for future reference. If you like baking and want to give it a go, by all means feel free to do so! If pampasbrød could spread around the world, that might be one small counter to all the awfulness these days.

PAMPASBRØD INGREDIENSER: )
tealin: (Default)
2017-04-13 05:16 pm
Entry tags:

Patreon Soft Launch

Well, someone's been busy today ...

I've set up a Patreon account, mainly to have some backup income between freelance gigs, but the psychological benefit of having real live strangers paying to see me make progress is a big, big thing, a really big thing, like a massive thing.

I'm planning an official release/announcement day in May, but as you lot have been my loyal community for longer than anyone, I thought I should let you have a first look and have your say:

TEALIN ON PATREON

What do you think of the tiers? Am I being too generous or not enough? What sort of content would you be interested in, if you were a subscriber?

Coming from a background of Can't Afford It, I feel rather ambivalent about charging anything for my web presence – 14-year-old me would have felt so excluded if one of my favourite artists suddenly went behind a paywall, and I've never quite got past being 14. However, if I'm going to devote serious time to something that is paying me nothing now and might never do so in a meaningful way, it helps to have an income stream that allows me to focus on it, rather than take time out to earn rent and groceries. And I can assuage my conscience by letting the free platforms (here and Tumblr, principally) be like second-run theatres, so the modern analogues of 14-year-old me won't miss out on too much in the big picture.

As you can see in the rewards, I'm also opening some online shops, though they don't have anything in them yet. If you have ever bought any merchandise from online type arty people, on places like Society6, RedBubble, InPrint, etc., what are your thoughts on that? Which of those sites is nicest from a buyer perspective? Any ideas for things you'd like to see from me?
tealin: (Default)
2017-04-11 12:32 pm
Entry tags:

Bushy and Tao



My sister and I grew up without any extended family nearby, but we had these two cats who kind of filled that role in a funny way. We both remember them more as family members than pets, and like to call them our gay uncles.* I sometimes wonder if I've got cat faces mapped onto the part of my brain which is supposed to read human faces – at least, I have a much easier time relating to cats than people, generally; the role these two played in our emotional lives probably has a lot to do with that.

A friend has recently lost her childhood pet, who was also more than a pet to her, which got me thinking about the place these cats have in my life, and decided it was finally time to draw them as the people they were to us, inside. RIP Bushy and Tao; I'm glad we got to know you.

*They weren't actually gay – they were both neutered (if anything, one of them was a towel-sexual) – but they were bachelors living together with some affection, which makes them gay in the eyes of the Internet.
tealin: (4addict)
2017-04-08 09:03 pm
Entry tags:

Radio Roundup

As you may have noticed from previous posts, I'm back on the French-language radio these days. However, I have been busy with the sort of work that needs a side serving of radio to get done, and there are only so many Montreal traffic reports one can stomach in a day, so occasionally I dip back into familiar territory. The list below contains some shows I've listened to, and some I would like to listen to if I find the time, but there's no reason I can't forward them to you. Enjoy!

FACTUAL
Be Like the Fox - A parallel history of Medici-era Florence and the famous Machiavelli, ostensibly giving insight into his great work of political cynicism The Prince. It's also interesting to consider re: Cassio in Othello, if this was the baggage that came with being a Florentine...
Subversion: West - Russia's alleged and actual interference in British and American politics. East is vice versa.
The Origins of the American Dream - A social history of the US, specifically trying to find the origins of the notion now labelled "The American Dream." It's not what you might think.
Lent Talks - A series of essays on the theme of Destiny, from a variety of thinkers.
AL Kennedy's Migraine - It's a well-known fact that all the best and coolest people suffer migraines. AL Kennedy is one of them, and she spends half an hour here looking into them, almost literally.
CBC Ideas - As always, it's all good – you can throw a dart at that webpage and whatever you listen to will satisfy – but I'd like to draw particular attention to the Ireland 1916 episode, which is three parts awesome, from the on-site walk-through with an Irish historian, to discussions of modern Ireland, to the fiery gay senator who doesn't give a flying flip what anyone thinks.

FICTIONAL
Revelation - A serial killer with a fixation on Revelation is on the loose in Tudor London.
King Solomon's Mines - Rider Haggard doing what he does, i.e. swashbuckling Imperial adventure, high stakes, stuffy Victorians letting rip, I say, wot wot. I get the impression the producers of the radio play tried really hard to, um, 'update' some of the biases in the text, but ... well, you'll hear what I'm talking about.
Journey to the Centre of the Earth - A new adaptation of the Jules Verne book, which is a good fun romp through geology and imagination, even if it makes you question yet again how Disney could have got Atlantis wrong ...
The Importance of Being Earnest - Oscar Wilde's famous comedy of manners gets an all-star radio treatment to celebrate its hundredth anniversary (rerun from 1995)
Falco: Shadows in Bronze - Anton Lesser playing a historical detective, again, this time in ancient Rome rather than alternate-history Germany.
David Copperfield - in 10 parts. I haven't listened yet, but it's been getting heaps of praise on Twitter, and my radio canary is in it, so it must be good.


FUNNY
A Normal Life - Henry Normal's new show, with poems silly and serious, linked with heartfelt prose, about life, his autistic son, arguments (or lack thereof), churches, Brian Cox, and other things.
A Trespasser's Guide to the Classics - What happens when minor characters get hold of classic works of literature?
The Unbelievable Truth - Radio Balderdash is back, kicking things off with a long ramble about sheep from John Finnemore (always a good way to start).
The Now Show - Radio 4's Friday night topical comedies are always worth listening to, but this is a particularly good episode of The Now Show. Just thought I should point it out.
tealin: (introspect)
2017-04-06 10:50 pm
Entry tags:

Metaphysics II

You can build a new heart
And a new house
Gonna take some time, but
When you come out
So much of everything will be waiting for you.


I've had those lines running through my head for four days now, so ... OK, maybe her new album does have something to tell me.
tealin: (actually)
2017-04-04 07:22 pm
Entry tags:

Foot in the Door

Someone on Tumblr asked me about how to get your foot in the door in the animation industry, getting your portfolio looked at, and whether these days jobs have to come to you more than you going in search of them. I thought I'd copy my response here, as Tumblr is so frustratingly ephemeral ...



What follows is entirely my two cents and based solely on personal experience, which is limited and somewhat unusual. But I give it anyway, just in case it’s helpful.

I have had the pleasure, in at least two of my jobs, to end up friends with the person who takes the portfolios, and the cold calls from prospective job applicants. Based on that, I don’t believe studios have ever been enthusiastic to look at portfolios out of the blue, or take cold callers seriously, at least not in the 17 years I’ve known them. When portfolios came in, they’d go straight in the Portfolio File, which was only delved into when there was a job opening that couldn’t be filled by a past employee or a recommendation. Cold callers, having nothing to show for themselves over the phone, got even less consideration (email is better; you can attach images). Between years of school, I turned up at studios in town in person to ask about interning, and got politely turned away; at one of them the receptionist all but laughed in my face. So yes, it’s like that, but it’s not a new thing. It probably isn’t helped these days by the increased volume of art school grads, but it’s not new.

So, what advice do I have? Again, this is highly subjective and based on limited personal experience, but:

1. Don’t be annoying. A respectful attitude gets noticed: you are taking up a busy person’s time and attention, and if you can signal that you’re aware of this and grateful for the moment they can spend on you (and only make it a moment) they are less likely to brush you off. They may, still, but you’re lowering it from a guarantee to a probability.

Points 2 to 5 below... )

I’ve had art online for 18 years and never once has someone offered me a (real) job purely through that: every job has come through personal contacts and past work. I know the story is different for other people, but that is how it’s been for me. I feel that nowadays there’s this expectation that if you just keep feeding your blog with the sort of art that gets likes, you’ll get ‘discovered’, but that’s not the way it is. Maybe some Hollywood starlets really did get ‘discovered’ waiting tables at Schwab’s, too, but that’s generally not how it goes. The first job is the hardest one to get, but it can be done, eventually, if you put in the shoe leather.