April 2010


So I'm not sure if I mentioned this before, but I'm taking French classes at the New School every Wednesday night with my friend Andrea. The last time I took French was in 2005 at Santa Monica College. I loved taking French. It's a language that I've always wanted to learn how to speak fluently, but unfortunately I could not find the time to continue taking French classes while I was doing my coursework for grad school. Heureusement...now that I'm mainly working and researching for my dissertation, I find that I actually have more time on my hands, which is why I decided to finally go back and resume learning French.

I'm always a little thrown off when people ask me WHY I'm taking French. I mean... have you seriously not noticed that I'm a bit of a Francophile? I've been a Francophile for over a decade... I had my RETAINERS colored like the FRENCH FLAG.

But whatever, I get that some people are just asking out of curiosity or to keep the conversation going but I'm still baffled that me saying "I just want to learn it" is not always a good enough answer. I mean... since when was wanting to learn a new language not a good enough reason?

I guess people just want to know why I chose French of all languages, which is odd considering a) my comic is called "C'est la Vie" b) I openly love France c) I'm marrying a Frenchman and d) A good amount of Egyptological scholarship is in French. I dunno guys, it seems pretty clear to me.

Interestingly, I find that when I tell people I'm learning French because my fiancé is French it somehow seems to confuse or offend (!) them more. I'm confronted with "But Edouard speaks English" or my personal favorite, "You're learning just for HIM??" I dunno, call me old fashioned but I think it's nice when someone takes interest in their significant other's culture. Edouard went to Obon festival with me last summer and no one gave him grief about it!

So yeah, I admit it. Edouard has become an additional reason why I want to learn French. Sue me.

Finally, thanks to everyone who swung by the MoCCA Art Fest this weekend! It was a blast.

Cinematic inking adventures: Les Poupées russes, which is the sequel to L'Auberge espagnole. Les Poupées russes is a bit darker than L'Auberge espagnole but is a good reflection, I think, of what it's like to be approaching 30. I'm not that fond of the main character, Xavier, because he's a bit of a self centered jerk but he's likeable enough to make you want to root for him from time to time.

Other films from the past year: Remains of the Day (I really liked it though some people would argue that it's too slow), Au Revoir Les Enfants (I love this movie but it's really really depressing), The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (another really depressing WWII film), Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father (the most depressing documentary I've ever seen. It seems to have a very powerful affect on a lot of people, however-myself included), Casablanca.



Yesterday's comic started some debate on the GoComics.com page. The debate had nothing to do with the storyline, nor was it the usual deconstruction of the comic and comics in general by a certain GoComics.com reader... this time the debate was centered around Monsieur Smokey; namely, his origins and his role in the comic strip. There were suggestions that Monsieur Smokey was inspired by other comic sidekicks and that he fulfilled the same role as Dogbert from Dilbert or Snoopy in Charlie Brown and that maybe his character design is inspired by Eeyore from Disney's Winnie the Pooh. I know last week I told you all about Barthes's Death of the Author but all of these suggestions about Monsieur Smokey are so off base that I have to come in and say something.

Monsieur Smokey is based off a stuffed bunny that I have had since I was 6 years old. She has come with me everywhere and I am very protective of her. Most people probably look at her and think she's a ratty old stuffed bunny that smells bad but I look at her and see a sentient being. Of course I know she's all fluff and not real, but I have invested so much love and time and conversation with her that she might as well be real to me. Smokey has been a wonderful companion for over 20 years and because of this, I knew that any person who mocked Smokey and my relationship with her was not worth my time. She is that important to me.

Smokey is very different from Monsieur Smokey though. For one, she's a girl. Secondly, she's very innocent and playful. Very much like Monsieur Smokey, however, she gets very jealous of other rabbits and sometimes humans. Initially, she did not trust Edouard, who I think in turn was naturally wary of Smokey at first, but they have come to have a great father-daughter like relationship.

Anyway, I decided to make Smokey a boy in the comic because for some reason it seemed to make more sense to me at the time. Originally, the comic was only Monsieur Smokey and Mona and I think I felt like the comic would be better if there was some "male perspective."

So that's the story behind Monsieur Smokey. Feel free to question me further.

Cinematic adventures while inking CLV: Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog- so funny and it's great to see Neil Patrick Harris in this. I wish it were longer so that it could be on Broadway. Un baiser s’il vous plaît (Shall We Kiss?)- described as a French "romantic comedy" though I personally found it to be completely depressing. I didn't like it. I thought the primary characters were completely unlikeable and pompous.

Movies seen earlier in the year while inking comics: The Science of Sleep- a good French romantic film that features a lot of stop motion animation; Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind- a film that I never got to see when it came out. I see why everyone loves it. The storytelling is really good in it; Falling Down- a story about a man's nervous breakdown in Los Angeles. I had luke warm feelings about it but Michael Douglas did a good job and I like movies set in my home city.



So I'll be at ArtFest this weekend at table F-37 from 2-5 pm on Saturday and Sunday. It's at the 69th Regiment Armory (68 Lexington Avenue NY NY- b/w 26th and 25th Streets). Weekend passes are 15 dollars while Sat and Sun day only passes are 10. Come by and say hi! My table is doing "sketch specials"- everything is under a dollar!

This week in the movies: The Importance of Being Earnest (Rupert Everett and Colin Firth)- you can never go wrong with Oscar Wilde. Lo, a very strange romance-horror type film. A somewhat predictable end but interesting to watch. Le Placard (The Closet)- a French comedy about a man who is fired for being too boring and dull. He decides to pretend he is gay, with his neighbor's assistance, in order to keep his job. While the premise may seem really dumb and I'm sure an American version of this would be terrible, don't let that keep you from watching it. I also got to learn a lot of French slang.

Also, people apparently tell Edouard that he looks like Rupert Everett. I see some resemblance, I suppose, but I think he looks way more like French indie actor, Louis Garrel.



Well right when you think you're going to have time to do stuff for yourself these deadlines start popping up left and right. First was my financial aid application for my school then it's been various wedding planning stuff and right now it's making sure I have my Met fellowship proposal and dissertation proposals written. Both need to be done by the end of the week.

I have to write the Met a new fellowship proposal because they have renewed my fellowship for next year. This is great because I don't have to worry about money for another year and because I get to take advantage of their wonderful staff cafeteria.

Career wise everything is going well but I wish I had more time for my comic. One of the things I've been meaning to do is to customize CLV's twitter page, which I have not officially announced yet b/c I want to wait until it's set up nicely. Oh well, I'll force myself to find the time soon.


This week I finished up Fried Green Tomatoes. I'm glad I rewatched it as an adult because as a kid I definitely missed the very strong lesbian overtones of the movie. I just thought it was a girly story about b.f.f.'s. Boy was I off. Right now I'm in the middle of watching One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. So far, so good. It's weird to see Jack Nicholson and Christopher Lloyd so young.

Other movies I saw while doing comics this year: My Family (Coppola's "immigrant saga" of three generations of the Sanchez family in Los Angeles), Peggy Sue Got Married (a pretty good time travel movie by Coppola), Rachel Getting Married (dark, emotional drama about a girl who is allowed out of rehab for her sister's wedding. Anne Hathaway does a really good job), I've Loved You So Long (a dark, brooding French movie about estranged sisters), Hors de Prix ("Priceless" in English- a really funny movie with Audrey Tautou. I think my parents would like it), Happenstance (an ok movie with Audrey Tatou- it's about chance, coincidence, and romance), Paris Je T'aime (vignettes by different directors- all tell a love story about Paris. I really recommend this movie. WAY better than its sequel, New York, I Love You), He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not (to me, a so-so drama about an erotomaniac- played by Audrey Tatou- but I have to give the movie credit for a really good set up and climax). The list goes on...