tealin: (terranova)
[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: (writing)
Some fandoms are pretty universally popular, and some are so niche they barely qualify as fandoms at all. Snicket fandom falls somewhere in between. Some people are passionate fans, but quite a few dislike the books or 'don't get' them; it's interesting to figure out what it is in a person that clicks with A Series of Unfortunate Events; who ends up liking them and who not.

After much mental chewing on my own small sample group, the best conclusion I've reached on the subject is this: You are more likely to enjoy Lemony Snicket if you are aware of the darker side of life – not necessarily accepting of the darkness, but accepting the awareness of it. If you haven't suffered loss, or been uprooted, or been disappointed in someone you were counting on, or simply prefer not to think about depressing things like these, you are more likely not to 'get' these books and wonder why anyone does. But if you know that, at any moment, your life might be turned upside down and everything you take for granted – even abstract things like kindness, truth, and justice – cast into doubt, you are more likely to look at these maudlin tales of misfortune and have something in you say 'yes, that's how it is.' Overblown and dressed up in a silly costume, yes, but with a kernel of truth, around which the absurdity and poignancy and tongue-in-cheek narration are built up like layers on a gobstopper.

What We 'Get' About Them )

Now we find ourselves in a world where, on an abstract level, these ridiculous tales are suddenly not so far off the mark. This series was written mainly during the G.W. Bush administration, when the culture wars were already well underway, and the idea of educated, cultured urban sophisticates being locked in life-or-death conflict with ignorant and crude but more ruthless people was an entertaining hyperbole of the contemporary climate. Now we've had a US election where those wishing to stick it to 'the elites' have won, and similar forces are in the ascendency across the Eurocentric world. Last week I flicked between the Netflix series and Twitter, with its steady stream of outrage at the smash-and-grab first week of the Trump administration, contingency plans to save libraries, and this classic: “America is a tire fire. The resistance is led by Teen Vogue, Badlands National Park, and the Merriam-Webster dictionary.” ... and I thought, good grief, the ridiculous is now.

We Are All The Baudelaires )

It's not too hard to find a modern parallel for Count Olaf, the egotistical entertainer who will get what he wants by any means necessary, or for those who hitch a ride on his ambition. But is that where we should be looking? )



CODA

This popped up from my favourite singer/songwriter today, which seemed relevant:

There is a kind of elegant, uncomfortable wisdom to these times too, no? We are shocked and horrified by the uncovering of hidden hatred, but dormant love and generosity and courage are also coming out of hiding. I think we are all in some version of “hiding", more or less, and in this world it’s becoming harder and harder to hide. Maybe that’s a good thing?
tealin: (catharsis)
This is the exact moment I knew I was in big trouble:






On one hand, I don't know how I'd've gotten through last week without this show ... on the other I can literally (literally!) feel the dopamine coursing through my veins when I'm watching it, which ... is a little alarming?

Back on the first hand, it's good to have something to take the stress off and bring on the happy, even if it's a neurochemical kind of happy (though, what isn't?). But on the other hand again, maybe actual coping strategies are of more long-term value than hitting the escapism again? But then, on a foot, this is, in a bizarre way, helping me process things? (More on that later.)

Other foot as yet unclaimed by a rhetorical standpoint. Stay tuned.
tealin: (catharsis)
For a few minutes, let's escape to a completely fictional universe where kind, noble, intelligent people are pressed by conviction and circumstance to make a stand against violent, greedy, ignorant ones.

I've been a fan of Lemony Snicket most of my adult life, but never imagined his books would help me parse current events. How lucky we are the Netflix adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events should come along just when it should be so bafflingly relevant.

A Little Background )

I wasn't immediately excited when I heard Netflix was going to do a serial adaptation of the books. The 2004 movie got some things right, but some more important things wrong, and having worked in high-profile mainstream entertainment in the meantime, I didn't believe they'd be allowed to film the books in a manner faithful to both story and tone. Too indefinable! Too idiosyncratic! Too intelligentsia! But when the first promotional material for the show came out, they seemed to know exactly what they were doing – more came out and I lost hope again – then at last I semi-reluctantly gave the first episode a try, and within ten minutes was completely sold on it and reverted to the giddy early-twenty-something who ran around Vancouver taking blurry black-and-white photos and cracking up at apparently random things.

I'm not going to go into a point-by-point of likes and dislikes, as that will take all afternoon, and the only person interested in it is me. Instead, here are some general statements from an avowed fan and someone far more familiar with the audiobooks than any adult ought to be: Items. )

If this series has been your introduction to Lemony Snicket, then sleep easy – it's been a good one. If you like it, you'll probably like the books. Might I also heartily recommend the audiobooks, for long car journeys, or non-word-related workdays, or just a bit of company as you unwind from a day of fighting injustice and bad taste in your off-the-grid safehouse far up in the mountains. You can probably find a few of them at a local public library. Support your library!
tealin: (catharsis)


Things I am doing to distract myself from how badly I want to watch The Miserable Mill:

1. Drawing something else entirely
2. Drawing about that exactly
3. Writing this blog post
4. Going to bed

You guys, this is a problem.

I mean there's only that book left and then the current series is over! And there won't be any more for me to move on to, at least not immediately!

But that also means that, if they get a next series (please please), that series will contain – breathe – The Ersatz Elevator AND The Vile Village.


OMG



This has been Snicket faff. There will be a more considered post at the conclusion of the series. Tealin is in full cognizance that 'going to bed' is laughable in her current state and means that purely in the abstract.
tealin: (Default)
Well I was going to write about how 7/7 and Radio 4 are permanently intertwangled in my life, but then the trailer for Netflix's adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events crossed my radar and all bets were off:



THIS is how you do it, ladies and gentlemen. Hats off to whoever made this trailer, I now trust that you Get It. Don't let me down.
tealin: (think)
It was with great pleasure I discovered that a favourite author of mine was to revisit a favourite series of mine and write four new books which were purportedly to shed some light on favourite characters of mine, who are more or less in the background of the original series. If I could have any fanfiction in the world, I have maintained, I would have VFD fanfiction,* about the older generation, their traumas and tragedies and spurious research before, during, and after the schism ... And here it was to be, from the author himself!

Adding to the thrill was the return of Snicket weather ...


A Series of Unfortunate Events has always been an autumnal thing for me. I fell in love with it one fall, running to and from the library at lunch hour devouring audiobook after audiobook. The books that came out after I got into it always dropped in October, so yellow leaves on wet pavement became emblematic of rushing to the bookstore on laydown day to pick up the new one. It won't be Snicket weather in LA for a couple months yet, but I got a taste of it a few weeks ago when visiting my old haunts, and the seasonal appetite returned.

Because of my former ritual, when the new book was announced, I promised myself that even though there was no bookstore within walking distance and the pavement would almost certainly not be wet, I would at least walk into a bricks-and-mortar bookshop and buy a dead tree edition of the book, for old time's sake. This I did not do on laydown day (see above re: walkability) but did manage on Saturday. As of approximately 4 P.M. Sunday 28 October 2012, I have finished All the Wrong Questions: Who Could That Be At This Hour?

I suppose the most succinct (if unfair) way I could sum the book up is: Well, it's not the fanfic I would have written. Verbose but Frivolous Dispatch )

Interestingly, a word which here means "only of interest to the author of this blog post," had I picked up and read the book the day it came out, I would have missed something which amused me. I have long been of the opinion that "the city," as mentioned in this world, is rather heavily based on San Francisco (rationale can be supplied upon request). Just yesterday I caught a radio piece which introduced me to the fact (or rumour?) that San Francisco is underrun by a network of secret tunnels, which play something of an important role in The Ersatz Elevator, and make a reappearance in All the Wrong Questions. I dug a very little bit and found an article which, read through the right lens, is a Snicket story. Amusement survives.

I close with one question; I don't know if it's the wrong one or the right one, but I'm pretty sure it is at least a unique one: When did Lemony Snicket start liking coffee? Because he turned me on to macchiatos (not the Starbucks kind) and I could not be more grateful.

*So far the most satisfying VFD fic I have found is How Would the Snicket Characters Eat a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup?", which is just as deep as the title implies, but ... Jacques ... A certain author of my acquaintance keeps telling me the thing about fanfic is, if you don't see what you like (or like what you see) you write it yourself, but HOW many projects do I have on the go these days? Or rather, not on the go, because there are too many to focus on one?
tealin: (Default)
I wanted to do the page-a-day sketchbook thing again this year but I know I do not and will not have time for that. I've decided, instead, to post a drawing a day, and if I don't get a new one done then I will have to dig up an old one that I have never scanned before. There aren't very many of those so this could get quite entertaining the further back I have to go.

Drawing #1 was easy: this was my doodle page on my desk for months, then I took it home with the intention of scanning it but it ended up getting kicked around my bedroom floor for an equal amount of time. Please disregard the dead Mickey, that was for an animation assignment (no joke).

Dr Georgina Orwell and Madame Lulu )

ISIHAC LIVES AGAIN - This is FAR too joyous news for Ash Wednesday!
tealin: (Default)
The Miserable Mill is sort of the forgotten Snicket book ... it's referenced very infrequently, later in the series; it's far enough along that the formula starts getting a little tired and it's the last one before the introduction of the VFD mystery so it doesn't stick in people's minds. I have a bit of a soft spot for it, though, because it was my introduction to the series, it has the best song, and it's just so goofy.*


I've always had a very clear image of Dr Georgina Orwell in my head, but whenever I try focusing on her she turns into one of my designs where I can't think of anything original so I just throw together a bunch of features that I've used a hundred times before. Frustrating. I gave her an actual try this weekend and might be getting somewhere ... maybe ... or maybe I'm just throwing together a different selection of features than I normally do.

Spurious Optometrist )

*Evidence:
Now that they were standing at the gate, the children could see why the letters looked rough and slimy: they were made out of wads and wads of chewed-up gum, just stuck on the gate in the shapes of letters. Other than a sign I saw once that said "Beware" in letters made of dead monkeys, the "Lucky Smells Lumbermill" sign was the most disgusting sign on earth ...

The moral of 'The Three Bears,' for instance, is 'Never break into someone else's house." The moral of "Snow White" is "Never eat apples." The moral of World War One is "Never assassinate Archduke Ferdinand."
tealin: (nerd)
Hey, Internet! Guess what's finally on iTunes? Betcha can't guess!

Dr Horrible's Sing-Along Blog Soundtrack!

Professional sound quality! Crystal-clear stereo! No sound effects!* Official song titles! Individually packaged tracks that you can put on repeat!**

I live in the hope that perhaps, some glorious day soon, the nerds will unite and dethrone the album that is currently #1, which appears to be some sort of 'urban music.' So I do my part by spreading awareness. Be aware.

In celebration I was going to draw 'a shiny new Australia' but FAILED. This is probably the fault of one of two things: 1. The grinding of the mental transmission as my brain tried to switch fandom gears at full speed 2. It's actually really hard.

In return, here is a visual approximation of listening to the Snicket audio books As Read By The Author )

*Definitely cool re: such songs as 'A Man's Gotta Do...' but the second Bad Horse song kinda loses something without the whinny and the gunshot.
**Not that I would ever recommend doing such a thing. Or do so myself.
tealin: (Default)
This drawing was first conceived several years ago, when the Unauthorized Autobiography made it clear that Hector had been a member of VFD and almost certainly knew Jacques. This added a whole new psychological layer to the scene in the Town Hall of the Village of Fowl Devotees. Surely he would have recognized Jacques? They practically grew up together, if we are to believe the image of pre-schism VFD as some sort of intrepid mobile underground boarding school. His skittishness lands the Baudelaires in prison but he at least tries, in his ineffectual way, to help them after that, and we can kind of forgive him because his heart's in the right place; the fact that Hector doesn't do a thing to help an old friend and colleague, when he is in sole possession of knowledge that can attest to his innocence, 'gives him rather a darker edge,' as [livejournal.com profile] octaveleap succinctly phrased it.

So, here is a little sequence illustrating the scene with this character background in mind. Since it's written from the Baudelaires' point of view, all we know of Hector's reaction is that when they look back to him for support he 'continued to sit in his folding chair with his eyes cast downward.' Doesn't say anything about his expression or what might be going through his mind ...

The following image is both large and depressing. I am not just saying that to be 'in character.' Not funny at all. You have been warned. )
tealin: (Default)
While listening to The Vile Village, I remembered a drawing that hadn't made it to Photobucket and therefore was not included in the most recent update of my site. In looking for it I discovered a few more stragglers, so they're up on The Snicket Page now, along with some snippets of media that felt like they belonged. They're also behind the cut. )

I also discovered that the most Snickety minute in cinema is now on YouTube. I should warn you, over the course of the clip, three people get shot, two of them in a war setting, so if you have no stomach for such things, turn away now. The scene I'm talking about is at 3:44. Things being how they are, I don't know how long this clip will be up ...
tealin: (Default)
I promised [livejournal.com profile] octaveleap a drawing in return for sending me the sheet music to her utterly sublime "Waltz for Lemony and Beatrice."

That was three years ago.



I'm sorry! I'm a horrible person! Groveling and gnashing of teeth!
tealin: (catharsis)
Why is it ... why is it ... that whenever I go to get a Snicket audiobook from the library, they always have The Vile Village? Of all thirteen books in the series, the seventh is the only one that's consistently available.

Good thing it's my favourite!

There are crows, crows, crows in the trees ...
Saying crow things to me as they please.
tealin: (Default)
Does anyone have some recommendations for some good Snicket fanfic? I'm looking especially for something heavy on the VFD, with lots of intrigue and not so much kissing (though if the kissing is really important to the story I may be able to stomach it), and little things like plot structure, pacing, and keeping relatively close to canon in characters if not necessarily story points – so AU is cool, as long as it's true to the tone and characters.* In other words, anything goes plot-wise, but if they mess up Lemony or Jacques in any way, they're right out.

I would investigate on my own but I know the vast jungles of fanfic there are out there in cyberspace and I have neither the time nor the figurative stomach to hack through the bad stuff, so starting with something that comes highly recommended, I thought, would at least set me on my way ...

*Especially if it was written pre-Grim Grotto or by someone who wasn't too crazy about the last few books in the series. I am particular, aren't I?

11:39 pm
Having stumbled haltingly into the verges of the jungle, I realized that what I was looking for is basically VFD As Told By Joss Whedon. So, amending my parameters to include the possible: I would like something written by someone with a mental age over 18 that has a solid dramatic core and is not centred around a pairing. Does such a thing exist?
tealin: (Default)
Last night my family went to see A Christmas Carol in Orem, somewhat of a tradition dating from the years when either one of us or someone we knew would be in it, though this has become less frequent in recent years. It was quite different but still good, albeit the Relic of Childhood factor might have influenced my opinion of it slightly. Apparently the Glendale theatre still uses the old script and the old voiceover narration done by a guy who had a wonderful deep gravelly voice from living through a gas attack in WWI. I'll have to check that out next year, assuming I'm down there, which is looking more and more likely by the day.

There was some art up in the lobby that was quite nice ... I don't know who did it but a member of the family who runs the theatre is a professional illustrator. Not far from the theatre is the library with magnificent stained-glass windows by local artists, and I hardly need mention this is the city of Brett Helquist's youth. What is up with the artists in Utah? They have a fairly distinct style, probably influenced a lot by the illustration program at BYU, but they're really good. Really solid drawings, appealing style, good handling of colour for clarity and depth and emotion ... I have my theories but it is definitely a phenomenon, whatever the causes are.

Speaking of Helquist, and segueing to his most famous project, between the highway and the theatre we passed Timpanogos Regional Hospital – it was half-finished, one wing being fully operational and the other iron girders, work lights, and plastic sheeting. It was MOST AMUSING. Unfortunately, it was nighttime, so I couldn't demand we pull over to take a picture. It's pretty hilarious, though; if any Snicket fans are in the audience I highly recommend a visit.
tealin: (Default)
... I know of a movie, for instance, called The Happy Elf, which tells the story of a teensy-weensy little man who scurries around the North Pole having all sorts of adorable adventures, and you can see at once why you should probably watch The Happy Elf and wriggle over all the lovely things that happened to this imaginary creature in a made-up place, instead of reading this blog ...

As far as I know, it is for real. The question is ... does it contain any coded messages?
tealin: (Default)
If you have read The Beatrice Letters ... that's a root beer float on the counter.

If you haven't ... it's still a root beer float, but that probably doesn't mean anything to you.

I drew this under the influence of Thomas Newman, so any bittersweet sobs it may elicit are not my responsibility.



Track 13 of the Road to Perdition soundtrack ('The Farm'), to be specific.
tealin: (Default)
Continuing with my Assignment ... I've done a little more work on the boards but I'm not patient enough to wait till it's all done before I put it up, so here are the first two scenes:

1 2 3
4 5

1. [no dialogue]
2. Get
3. back!
4. This knife
5. is very sharp!

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