tealin: (catharsis)
No spoilers this time. I was working through this episode so maybe didn't pay close enough attention to think much about anything, but I'm inclined to think I got the better end of the deal this way.

Breakups are always a handy device for drama – shouting, weeping, the tragedy of what might have been – but what doesn't get dramatised so often are the relationships that end with both parties basically going 'Yeah, you know what, we probably would both be happier going our own way.' I don't know if that's a happy ending, but it's a peaceful one, and best for all concerned. That's how I feel, anyway. 'Leave them wanting more' can be a bit overrated.

We got the Shipping Forecast and another completely gratuitous aviation callout, so, you know, not a total loss.

It's been a real slice. We'll always have series 1. ♥


Jan. 12th, 2017 08:42 pm
tealin: (CBC)
I'm in the middle of an unexpected but short bout of freelance animation. I love animating, and for the most part it pairs symbiotically with my love of radio. Unfortunately there's one stage in the animation process where you have to concentrate really hard and scribble the movement down; when I'm doing this rough pass I don't have any brain cells left over to process what the radio is trying to tell me, so I can't listen then. But I find it had to stay focused without something on in the background, so I'm once again streaming Radio-Canada (francophone CBC) in yet another attempt to improve my French comprehension.

I can't really say how well I'm doing in achieving that aim – yesterday was pretty good but today was just so much babble again – but it's all right because they have great taste in music, the news is so much nicer when you can barely understand it, and whenever Donald Trump speaks, someone in a calm voice starts talking over him in French. I do get amusing little tidbits, though, between Montreal traffic reports and interviews about artisan cheese in the Ottawa valley.
  • the French for 'witch hunt' is chasse aux sorcières which is WAY cooler.
  • it's not 'Aryan' it's aerien which means 'aerial', calm down.
  • there's always a really interesting discussion at about 9-9.30am local time, but I can't understand enough to look up the programme on the website.
  • London, England, is Londres as it is in Continental French, but London, Ontario is still London, just in a French accent.
  • the programme titles I can understand are often puns in some way; I assume the ones I think aren't puns are just puns I don't get.
  • the further away from Montreal someone is calling, the more twang there is in their accent
  • I can understand either the words people are saying, or the overall topic under discussion, but not, it seems, both
  • I seem to have conditioned myself into feeling worky in the auditory presence of French; this was pretty funny when a French song came on the music in a restaurant...

But even that got to require too much brainpower, so now I'm listening to this and getting REALLY EXCITED about not having any time at all to finish my analyses. Sigh. Back to work.
tealin: (Default)
Last year I had the joy and privilege to work on Ethel & Ernest, an animated adaptation of Raymond Briggs' graphic novel about his parents. It is exactly the sort of animated film that would never get made Stateside, and exactly the sort of film I always wished I could work on, so you can imagine how chuffed I was to be a part of it.

It was animated, for the most part, by freelancers across Europe (mainly in the UK, but some elsewhere), and so the scenes were divided up in a way I've never experienced on another animated film: we each got a sequence, in whole or in part. My first sequence was the Christmas decoration scene, which takes place in the middle of the war, when young Raymond has been evacuated to the countryside.

Something else I've never experienced before was, whenever there was a question about how something should be interpreted, the director would reach over and say "Let's check the book..." No surer way to a girl's heart.

Here's the book:

And here's my sequence:

If you're in the UK, or have a way around geolocking, you can watch Ethel & Ernest on the iPlayer until January 26th or so; the rest of the world can get a Region 2 DVD from such online retailers as they wish (e.g. Amazon) – if you have VLC Player it'll play multi-region DVDs.

Of course you know what this means ... I am a content provider for the BBC! \o/
tealin: (Default)
Well, it's the start of another workweek, and if I know anything (I do), one of the best opiates on the planet is excellent radio!

I haven't been able to do much listening over the holidays, but there were some really outstanding things you ought to catch before they expire:

CHRISTMASSY - If you want to hold onto that holiday feeling just a little bit longer
John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme Christmas Special - The new series started on December 27th, which called for a great pile of brightly wrapped Christmas sketches. And a song.
Some Hay in a Manger - A playful and surprisingly sweet retelling of the Nativity, from the point of view of Mary's donkey and one of the Wise Men's camels. Brought to you by the Warhorses of Letters team, proving cultural divides are only what you make of them.

NEW YEARSY - If you're still writing '2016' you are still in the New Year
Dead Ringers: Alternate 2016 - Imagine if things had gone differently at almost every occasion ...
Topsy Turvy Radio 4 - On January 7th (which is not, actually, Twelfth Night, but close enough), John Finnemore invaded Radio 4 continuity and there was much silliness.
The New World - A series of documentaries taking stock of where we are, on a number of topics, as we face 2017. Maybe not the most cheerful listening, but interesting, and probably important, even if you've elected to spend this year under a rock.

JUST GENERALLY SORT OF STUFF - But still really good, otherwise I wouldn't go through the trouble!
Time Spanner - I was lucky enough to be at the recording of this pilot, and was worried the final broadcast version wouldn't be as great as it was in person, but somehow radio magic happened and it's even better! In it you will find other dimensions, time travel, angels, a self-storage facility, a dropped call, and a robot, but that's beside the point: more importantly it's got that balance of silliness and heart that sets the special things apart.
Cabin Pressure: Abu Dhabi - Radio 4 Extra is rerunning the whole series from the start, so if you've wanted to know what the big deal is, or would like to revisit for fun, jump on this crazy train! Episodes Boston and Cremona are also currently available.
Desolation Jests - Picking your favourite comedy shows for your post-apocalyptic bunker is a notion close to my heart, and now they've made a show out of it, only it's all made up. Still funny, though! Oh, 11pm comedy slot, where would we be without you ...
John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme - The rest of the new series is not holiday-themed, but is just as funny. And new! We should be so lucky.
tealin: (writing)
Well, why not make it a thing this series.

I'm going to try to be short, because I have to get back to work. (Hah! Short.)

Immediate Impressions of the Just-Aired Episode of Sherlock, Series 4 )

Back to francophone radio for me now; have fun out there, fandom.
tealin: (Default)
Completely unscientifically produced, from the data sets Confirmation Bias and Previous Experience.

United Kingdom, eastern portions
Chilly, then frigid, snow beginning around the 11th and lasting about a week, then clear and windy. Gradual warming with occasional snow turning to rain, until spring-like temperatures return around the 26/27th.

Vancouver and the South Coast of BC
Cold and snowy to start, then an unseasonably dry warm spell beginning around the 10th, with the return of an arctic high pressure system around the 18th and heavy snow the weekend of 25/26th.

Southern Alberta, western portions
Typical winter weather until the end of the month when a Chinook should see temperatures rise by 30°C

Los Angeles, California
A return to expected winter patterns early, with a building high pressure system that should bring in hot sunshine for the second half of the month. Possible storms late.

(In other words, I've booked my plane tickets.)

(And I'm genuinely curious to see to what extent this holds true. The Southern Alberta forecast directly contradicts the Farmer's Almanac.)
tealin: (Default)
Frank Debenham was junior geologist on the Terra Nova expedition, under fellow Aussie T. Griffith Taylor; as such, needing to be where the rocks were (so, not on the Barrier or the Polar Plateau), and suffering a couple of badly-timed knee injuries, he wasn’t included on the major journeys of the Expedition and therefore tends to get left out of Expedition narratives. This is understandable but unfair, as it’s in his diary that many of the amusing character anecdotes are recorded, he was official photographer the second year so the pictorial record owes a lot to him, and it’s thanks to Deb’s vision and curatorship that we have SPRI, which makes understanding and retelling the Scott story so much more possible. In a way I suppose he’s the Horatio of the Scott Expedition – not part of the action, and easily overlooked, but a good, stable, supportive guy to have around, and keeper of the flame.

After struggling so to get a decent take on Crean, I’ve budgeted myself a full week for each person’s preliminary design pass. While I acknowledge there were mitigating circumstances with Bill, I was still concerned that my pace with him was a negative indication of things to come, so it was a great surprise to find that Deb turned up almost immediately I sat down to draw him, and I filled five good pages in two days.

Deluge of Debs )

The part of me that likes a good story suggested that my ease in drawing him was because he was so happy for someone to be paying attention to him that he was as cooperative as he could be ... but I rather suspect it’s because he looks enough like a Disney prince that he ‘fits well under the fingers,’ as string players like to say.
tealin: (think)
Dr. Edward Adrian 'Bill' Wilson is, in my humble estimation, the most wonderful person ever to have lived; he is, for certain, my one great hero, and needless to mention my favourite person on the Terra Nova Expedition.*

Drawing him has proven surprisingly difficult. )

Next on the list is Deb – I've tried him out before but he needs a proper systematic approach – and then maybe Gran; I'll come back to Bill and see if I've shaken off any of my intimidation.

*The others wouldn't mind me saying this; he was all their favourite, too.
tealin: (Default)
Just watched 'The Six Thatchers' – first reactions –
Super Spoilery Sherlock Somethings )

And that's the point at which my recollection expires ...

Lest you think I am being too critical, I did really enjoy watching it, which to be perfectly honest I was not expecting to do. It's a nice feeling, that buzzing of the fannish nerve; I thought it might be a thing of the past. There have been so many media disappointments, and it seems prohibitively difficult to carry a franchise on this long without dropping the ball somehow, especially when it's got an enormous and very vocal fandom which is tempting and/or rewarding to pander to (or mess with). They've walked a very narrow line with this show and so far done it remarkably successfully ... we'll see if it lasts the whole series!
tealin: (Default)
Well here we are, at the end of another year, and what a year! As well as all other commonly held notions that it set out to shatter, it also disproved the idea that perception of time slows down to fit in more stimuli (e.g. why a long weekend of travel feels equivalent to weeks of sticking to your normal routine). This year was a non-stop news barrage, and my own life was filled with all sorts of things, yet it feels like just a few months ago that I was watching the last light of 2015 fade from the sky.

I have formerly been in the habit of writing a year-end blog post, but I didn't really know where to start with this one – it's pointless going over what made it a remarkable year because you were all there, too, and everyone is doing that anyway, no use adding to the pile.

In looking back over my own personal 2016 I realised that a common thread was starting things and not finishing them. This has always been something of a theme for me, but 2016 brought it to the fore, as I opened more and bigger boxes this year than in years past and none of them have been fully unpacked; some hardly started. Current ongoing business includes:
  • Ireland travel journal
  • Scotland travel journal
  • Academic article (going on two years now)
  • Something like a semi-official relationship with SPRI, only just begun
  • Lots and lots of information gathering with no synthesis or organisation
  • The Mini Big Project which took up most of the summer, which needs revisions before I can share it
  • So many thinky blog posts I've started in my head
... and that's just what I can think of right this minute. I will try to finish these before I open anything new in 2017, but who can say how successful that will be ...

On identifying that aspect of my 2016, though, I found that it could be applied to 2016 globally. It's been an awful year in lots of ways, but – hate to break it to you – lots of those ways are in fact just opening boxes of more awfulness, that will have to be unpacked and sorted in the years to come. A hurricane can sweep through in a day, but it takes years to recover, and the recovery can be harder than weathering the storm in the first place. We've had a lot of shocks this year, but the hard work is yet to come, and will require a lot from all of us.

If this notorious pessimist has any hope for the course of things to come, it's that finally the passionate, fierce, intelligent, interconnected rising generation has something to fight for and against – when things were going their way, they turned their energy on each other, but there's nothing like the unifying power of a common enemy to rally and motivate the troops. There's a lot of potential out there. Every so often humanity is tested on its progress: this appears to be one of those times. I'm no great fan of humanity, but I hope we pass.
tealin: (catharsis)
I made this three years ago – almost exactly, though I don't remember the precise date. It's finally time to leave it by the side of the road, lest I drag it through another year. 2016 may have been cosmically crappy, but 2013 was far more horrible on a personal level. Glad to dump the last of it, and leave it in a year that won't notice one extra turd.

The Rest... )

It was a very important thing to have happened, and I think I've processed it enough that I've refined it almost entirely into positives – there's a lingering emotional distrust, but let's be honest, that's always been there. Maybe it's just been reinforced a little. I don't know what to do with kindness, it's confusing.

The only lasting bitterness I have regarding this episode is that the parcel in which I sent this sketchbook home, to join the rest of my stuff in my parents' basement, before I moved to the UK, got lost in the mail. As my sketchbooks double as journals, and free me from having to remember my life at all, I feel like I've lost a whole six months – a pivotal six months – and will never get it back. I scanned all the drawings before I sent it, but there's a lot of writing that's gone forever. USPS!!!


Dec. 22nd, 2016 02:03 pm
tealin: (Default)
Today I have:
  • got up before 6 to defrost the freezer
  • made pumpkin pie (to bring to Christmas dinner, not just for fun)
  • plus little side pies involving custard which I also made, while defrosting
  • washed all the dishes
  • had a nap
  • tidied my room again
  • ate lunch and read another chapter of my book
  • made redcurrant/lemon/ginger compote (using up old redcurrants from the freezer, not just for fun)
  • done ABSOLUTELY NO WORK AGAIN (it is now 2pm)

I keep thinking 'just have to do this thing, then I won't have to do the thing anymore and can concentrate on work...' but every day there is a new thing. This wouldn't be a problem if it were work for someone else, but somehow I can't justify taking time on my own stuff when there is anything else to do –? Why is this so hard? Shouldn't it be the other way around? Surely this is what I want to do, not be a housewife ...
tealin: (faci-glee)
Is it wrong to be more excited about Christmas Eve than Christmas?

I am starting to think The Thing about 2016 is that we're seeing a fundamental breakdown of reality.


Dec. 19th, 2016 03:52 pm
tealin: (Default)
There are few things I dislike doing more than shoe shopping. Those who have attempted doing this with me will testify to the nightmare of a picky toddler I become when confronted with the need to clothe my feet and to do so from the selection available at retail outlets. It doesn't help that my feet are shaped like seal flippers and need extra space in any pair of shoes for arch support and cushioning inserts. On top of that I am ridiculously picky, and pretty much any pair of shoes I am presented with will have something wrong with them, such as:
  • useless buckles/tassels/studs/doodads stuck on
  • '80s spaceman puffy bits
  • honking great stomping soles
  • no discernible soles at all
  • wrong material for soles (too cheap, hard and/or slippy)
  • useless zips that compromise watertightness
  • stupid great heel seriously how do you stand in that nevermind walk
  • sparkles and/or metallic and/or shiny materials
Add a preference for real leather and some basic standards of construction, and a reluctance to spend more than a week's pay on basic footwear, and you begin to see the problem.

The sharp fall in the value of the pound this year is expected to hit consumer prices in early 2017, so I figured I'd better buckle up (so to speak) and do some shoe shopping before I regretted it. After some reconnoitering, week before last, I have managed to fill the gaps in my inventory, and now have the full complement of acceptable and practical footwear:
  • black boots
  • brown boots (wrong shade of brown, but I can do something about that, unlike items in the list above)
  • black Oxfords
  • brown Oxfords
  • hiking boots, light (inherited from an ex-housemate)
  • hiking boots, heavy (double as winter boots)
  • sandals
How anyone could possibly need more shoes than that is beyond me – and the trouble of acquiring them; how can you stand it?
tealin: (Default)
I can't deny I've had a rather odd life, in a number of ways. One of those ways is that, for the most part, I've lived in places where I am outside the dominant culture, and often in places with a dominant institution to which I do not belong.

It's certainly no different here in Cambridge – I love being surrounded by the University, and being able to take advantage of the opportunities and activities that arise from a high percentage of nerds in the population, but with no academic history of my own, or tangible connection to the institution, I'm once more on the outside looking in ... though, as I like to say, I like the view into these windows better than any others I've been on the outside of. It isn't often an issue, and the actual University people I've met have gone to great lengths not to be as exclusive as my brain is determined to believe the University is, but it does make for the occasional peculiar experience.

One of these happened just the other day, as news broke of an enormous donation of rare antique books to Trinity College Library. Old books, cool! History, cool! Hey wait a minute – don't I go to church with that guy?

Turns out the Sunday morning background character I have unofficially named Gosh He Looks Like Lupin* is in fact the librarian at one of the largest and most prestigious collections in the world. Golly.

*Not so much in the photo in that link, but in person, it's a little uncanny

Sunday Update: You'll never guess who was a bit of a celebrity at coffee and biscuits this morning!
tealin: (Default)
Here is something I wrote in a dream last night:

While Rebecca made another attempt at the snack car, John looked at his notepad in despair. In the hope of turning this transcontinental rail journey into a bestselling travel memoir, he had decided to keep a list of all the amusing things that had happened to them, but here they were halfway through Texas and he'd only got this:
  • Both found our respective gendered toilets occupied when we tried to go at the same time
tealin: (4addict)
I haven't been listening to the radio at all, this past fortnight, but if I had, these are the shows I might recommend to wile away the gift-wrapping or drown out "Jingle Bell Rock."

A Father For My Son - A dramatic look at the dramatic life of the dramatic wife of Captain Scott. Kathleen Bruce was a sculptress and New Woman and a very interesting character in her own right.
Small Gods - Dramatisation of Terry Pratchett's story about a Great God who tried to manifest in 'his' desert theocracy. Capital stuff.
M.R. James: Echoes From the Abbey - Every Christmas, Cambridge medievalist M.R. James would invite friends over for a ghost story, so it's only appropriate the BBC should be rerunning a series of them.
Casino Royale - A reading of the first James Bond novel. It is, of course, a bit of silly fun, but Alex Jennings always delivers a good reading.
Metamorphosis - Benedict Cumberbatch reads Franz Kafka's famous tale about a man who turns into a bug.

Cabin Pressure: Zurich, part 1 - If you missed the excellent two-part closure of this most excellent series, you are in luck, as it's being rerun; Part 2 is next week. If you haven't heard the series yet, I cannot recommend enough that you listen to the rest of it before the finale. You won't regret it.
The Atkinson People: George Dupont - One in a series of spoof biographical sketches by Rowan Atkinson, this looks at an influential French philosopher. Warning: this show may permanently affect your perception of the Dordogne.
I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue - The Antidote to Panel Games has now become more or less The Model For Panel Games, which is only right and just given that it's still brilliant after decades in the chair.
Heresy - Speaking of panels, this one has varying degrees of experts challenging received wisdom for a laugh.
Armando Iannucci's Charm Offensive - In the mid-2000s there were three series of this show, apparently intended to fill the gap that arises between News Quiz and Now Show series in the summer. In true Iannucci fashion, what happened was a brilliant and surreal half-hour riff on reality, which manages somehow to be just as topical as it was at the time, in different and sometimes unsettling ways.
The Harpoon - Radio send-up of the genre of Boy's Own magazines. Think Tintin crossed with sketch comedy.
Thom Tuck Goes Straight to DVD - Excellent one-man show juxtaposing personal memoir with direct-to-video franchises. All episodes are worth a listen, but not available for much longer, so give it a spin soon if you're at all inclined.

Cat Women of the Moon - Examining the role of women in science fiction, both as subjects and creators, from a 1915 story about an all-female society to the speculative fiction of today.
Lady Curzon and a Pineapple - Shows like this fascinating look at the history of the pineapple in Western culture are why we love Radio 4.
The Mark Steel Lecture: Muhammad Ali - An interesting and humourous look at the life of someone much more influential than a mere sportsman.
Blowing in the Wind: Bob Dylan's Spiritual Journey - Not having listened to this, I can only guess it does what it says on the tin.
The Life Scientific: Richard Morris - As I've been learning a lot about how memory works recently, this episode exploring neuroscience would be particularly interesting.
The Curious Cases of Rutherford & Fry - If you're on the run and can only take your science in bite-sized portions, this series looks at everyday scientific mysteries in 10 minutes or less.
tealin: (think)
I think I've figured it out:

Bill Wilson is basically Professor Lupin, if Professor Lupin
  • was real
  • wasn't a werewolf
  • didn't have jerkwad friends
  • didn't die a pointless offscreen death but rather one that was the ultimate consummation of his amazing and inspiring character arc
Bet Cherry wishes he'd thought of that one.
tealin: (4addict)
Well, it's been an unsettling two weeks, and while there are fights to be fought and civilisations to be saved, sometimes you just need to curl up in a dark corner with some aural opiates and get away from it all. That is what I'm here for, ladies and gentlemen!

First up is a very special rerun:

This utterly transporting sound/prose/music collage took me completely by surprise when it aired in 2012; remarkably it hasn't been repeated until now – or, that is, last week; I was too busy wallowing post-election to catch it when it aired, so you only have three weeks to listen instead of the usual month. I highly recommend you do, though, as this is pretty much the epitome of what radio is capable of as an artistic medium; even if you're not super into polar stuff, it'll carry you away for three quarters of an hour.

Over Sea, Under Stone - I had a minor obsession with this book in grade 6, which instilled a love of British folklore and Deep Time. It takes itself refreshingly seriously for old-school YA adventure; the peril is real and the fantasy woven into the reality very plausibly. I hope we get The Dark Is Rising for Christmas ...
Watership Down - Speaking of formative childhood reading, I can trace nearly everything in my life back to my dad reading this to me when I was 5. Nice to hear it done seriously in a new production from one of my favourite radio directors.
Open Country: Watership Down - A few years ago, the BBC sent their rambling correspondent to the location of the above book, for an audio exploration – consider it a DVD extra.
The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde's story of the perennially fresh-faced dissolute Mr Gray and his dark secret, very capably dramatised. The elder Henry character makes me wonder if it's an allusion, because –
Old Harry's Game - uses an old nickname for Old Nick to title the everlastingly entertaining sitcom starring Satan. Yes.
Listen Against - Radio 4 gets lost in its own navel and finds some amusingly-shaped lint
The Skivers - Barmy sketch comedy, you know how I like these things
Ray Bradbury stories - A series of readings of Ray Bradbury's short sci-fi stories; there are roughly three per episode so you can load up on a whole bunch of brilliance.
The People's Post - A narrative history of the post office. If you, like me, have found Going Postal an adequate prerequisite for current events, this may be of especial interest.
Denmark Hill - Alan Bennett's retelling of Hamlet, set in a modern London suburb
John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme - You know it's good.
Saki - Three hours devoted to the Edwardian short story writer who had a rather sardonic view of his society.

The Now Show - Punt and Dennis have the unenviable task of making all this dire news funny. Which they do! Never mind the undercurrent of despair. 'S fine. Everything's fine.
The Unbelievable Truth - This panel game is always worth a listen, but this particular episode has John Finnemore telling a load of fibs about Donald Trump. If you'd rather not hear that name, you can select another episode.
Rich Hall's (US Election) Breakdown - US comedian Rich Hall recorded a topical comedy show in the States for airing in the run-up to the election on Radio 4; this is the post-election episode.


Nov. 18th, 2016 03:48 pm
tealin: (Default)
I've been making sketches all year, and sometimes I remember to scan them, but somehow getting them up onto The Internet is just that one step too far.

Well, I've just got through most of my summer ones on Tumblr, so here they are in one massive post.

D'Arry's )

Catsitting )

King's Parade )

Back at The Mill )

Punts and Punters )

Trinity Street )


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