Archive for ‘January, 2012’
Whilst Learning the French I have found it helpful to watch the same ten movies over and over and over again until I sorta dope out the language in them. These are not necessarily good movies — some of them are quite bad. But that’s not exactly the point, now is it? Here’s the main ones:
- La Grande Vadrouille
: brilliant film, there should be more like it. It’s the French equivalent of the Great Escape, a 60s caper film about some English and American soldiers who get shot down in German-occupied Paris during WWII. All the characters speak their own languages and nobody else’s, so the movie is a mishmash of French, English, and German, tossed back and forth until you actually understand something.
- La Diner du Cons
: this movie is all about mispronounciation, puns, and bad French accents (they spend a lot of time making fun of Belgians), so it’s great — teaches about pronounciation and idiom.
- Banlieu 13
: This is an idiotic film that has taught me a lot of French. It’s Luc-Besson-as-Michael-Bay in a fairly ridiculous dark future parkour action movie. The subtitling is great, because it’s clearly someone who speaks good French and bad English.
: a completely amazing film about slapstick social justice by the people who made Amelie. Unfortunately the subtitles tell you “what they meant” instead of what they said. Jeunet is more or less my favorite director.
- Maison Close
: a six-hour miniseries about life in a brothel during the Paris Commune. I think. It’s definitely Paris and 1871 and all these people are wearing military uniforms; why would you do a movie like that and not have it be about the Commune? Tremendously complex and confusing, I’ve watched it twice and still don’t know more than a couple of the characters’ names. It does not help that I do not have English subtitles for it.
- Le Roi et Le Oiseaux
: animated children’s movie from the early eighties, a visual delight, extremely easy to understand. The sort of thing you’d see on TV on a Saturday morning if you were a French kid. I really like this one.
: this film is comforting and familiar and engrossingly cute. It’s also very, very carefully colored, which I find to be fruit for endless speculation. Possibly the greenest movie ever. I mean, there are a lot of green movies, but when this movie uses green it’s the greenest. Oh, and the dialogue is pretty simple, and narration illustrated by hilarious cutscenes is very easy to translate.
- La Revolucion Francaise
: It’s like a Masterpiece Theater story, but in French. Four hours long, completely incomprehensible. I know the revolution well enough to spot a couple of the main characters — it’s amusing how the film gravitates towards the ones who were of striking appearance in life (Robespierre, Saint-Just) and minimizes the ones of legendary ugliness (Mirabeau, Danton, Marat). I have learned a whole lot of not much from this one but I’ll keep trying.
Greetings and welcome to the new year!
The first thing I’m doing this year is efficientizificating my workflow a bit and taking stock of where things stand. Since September I’ve started doing a (top secret wink wink) daily project and copublishing an entire magazine, so I don’t feel the need to take this blog daily right now. Besides, making it go daily just meant rerunning a bunch of old strips that were actually available elsewhere on the website — until I have time to actually make that work, I’m dropping the idea completely.
I wonder whether I should keep posting Cloudhopper weekly, or as I finish the pages. It seems the response was a lot more alive when I posted them as I finished them, but I don’t know if that’s a response to the changing manners of the internet. I certainly produced them faster when I posted them as I went. So I think I may go back to that. Yeah, I think I just talked myself into it.
I haven’t been blogging as much lately for two reasons: Facebook, and Gewel. There are just a lot more people over at Facebook, so we only come here for the more detailed pieces, the essays and cartoons and what-not. Plus I have somebody to talk to most moments of most days, which is something I haven’t experienced in my life since childhood. Gewel really reminds me of my childhood best friend sometimes, the way we sit around and read and draw and share what we’re thinking effortlessly with each other.
I can’t keep a set of headphones, for some reason. They all go out. The speakers and headphone jack don’t work on my computer any more, either. Right now I’m writing to the hum of the central heating. Winter in Texas, for all that means. Mornings are a good time to write around here, evenings are to draw or paint. In the afternoons we have violins, drum sets, guitars, and day jobs. It’s a wild time here on Bohemian Cove, we’re doing our best and it’s going pretty good.
Blog comment spam is a major problem here, and it’s creepy, because most of it is quite complimentary. I have to scan all these compliments to see which ones are genuine, it makes me distrust the whole thing, quite annoying.
Here are some pictures from recent days:
Rocky in Florida.
Esther and her daughter.
After watching an art instructional video by some fellow named Villpu I have become obsessed with drawing cubes. It’s a great exercise, because you can instantly tell if it’s correct or not. It really practices your eye, your hand, and your sense of space. I colored this very briefly in photoshop BTW.
This is what life looked like on Christmas. From here on out I am a big fan of holidays in Florida.
Barton Springs on some December evening.
This is the painting Gewel and I did for Alix and Paul’s wedding. I’m afraid this is the best photo we have of the final version, someday I hope to take and post better ones. We put something like a hundred and ten hours into this painting. Really wish we’d remembered to take a picture at the end.
The moon over downtown Austin.
Where Rocksalt is born.
Darlin’ an’ son in Florida doin’ their thing.
Gewel and Esther sit together at sunset.
Me at my sister’s wedding.
Our whiteboard on the refrigerator at home.
Another whiteboard cartoon.