Illustration | design

Tiny Tea Dispatch #033


Plant life

photo of a small jalapeño plant in a black flower pot sitting on a wooden chair, taken in bird's eye view. We see part of the wooden back of the chair and can see a red brick wall through its spokes

We’re doing the requisite work to get the somewhat neglected back-garden of our new home back in shape. One of the things I want to add, is a small green house so I can grow peppers in a less … ‘improvised’ way. I started to germinate a small batch of plants in march, 7 of which survived being transplanted into these small pots and are now enjoying the sun and warmth on our porch. It does the job, but a green house would be a bit less inconvenient.

# Reading #

2 books laying on a wooden surface, the left one is called Magnetics and the right one is called Terugkeer naar Atlantis by Hubert Lampo

_A few books I picked up just before getting Covid (and incidentally, the last time I went anywhere for more than an hour or so). They lay yet unread on my side-table._ Both books are related, in the sense that they both deal with the mixing of realities or bringing elements from one reality into the other. Most of Hubert Lampo’s books are magic realist writings (see also the work of Borges or Márquez), where elements from dreams and the fantastical are introduced into the ‘real’ world. This is related to surrealism in a superficial way, with both mixing the ‘real’ with unreal, but the setting and purpose are very different. In surrealism, the world isn’t our reality but a dreamlike state. It’s imagery is built on various theories and writings about the Unconscious. The ‘Magnetics’ book, is about the works of Belgian painter Michaël Borremans. His paintings and drawings, I’ve seen described elsewhere as ‘surreal’ but they seem more ‘magic realist’ to me. They’re photo-realistic paintings, most often with human subjects and ‘normal’ items in it, but there’s something ‘off’ about it. Some elements do remind me of surrealist painters, like Magritte (eg. the [mixing of different scales]( & perspective or some [strange juxtapositions of title & subject]( but mostly they display a rather unsaturated version of reality, where weird shit is happening and nobody seems very surprised. If I had to compare it to something more contemporary, it would be the films of David Lynch. If you have the chance to see his work, I’d highly recommend checking it out.

# Photography#

I haven’t made that many ‘good’ photo’s since last month. Mostly I’ve been testing out some modifications and tinkering instead. But these 2 came out nicely. First one is a shot of Boo’s little cousin staring at a lama through a fence (very existential) and the one below, is a glitched photo of Ziggy, our corgi. When trying to read the photos from my Game Boy Camera, something went wrong and they all came out deformed. Some stitching and colorizing later, this was the result. Pretty cool, right?

# Retro corner #

One of my recent Game Boy game purchases, was a game with a broken rumble-motor. For those who don’t know what that is, some Game Boy Color (and Advance) games used to come with a little motor which could make the cart (and the entire game boy) vibrate during the game. For example, a pinball game would activate the rumble when the ball hits certain elements of the pinball machine, to emulate a real one. In this case, it was a race game. Replacing these is fairly straightforward, the cart is easily disassembled and there’s just 2 wires to desolder. Finding small rumble motors took a bit of looking around, as more modern ones, which are used in phones for example, are button-shaped and those don’t fit. Besides this game, I’ve managed to reacquire almost all the Game Boy games I used to own but gave away years ago. The one I’m missing, is Mega Man III, which goes for a stupid amount of money. Mind you, it’s affordable, it’s just not what I want to spend on that.

# Made #

I shared some pictures of my photo-taking gear before, but I’m really proud of this thing. On the one hand, the black Game Boy Pocket is just about the perfect device to use the Camera on. Not too small, not too big, very light. I added a rechargeable battery to it, a ‘modern’ LCD screen (so you have a backlit image) and a switch to have ‘stand-by’ mode. This basically turns the screen off when the game is on, so the battery doesn’t drain too fast. Black & yellow buttons for a Batman 1989 look. The other part, is the black Camera. Normally, these came in a handful of colours but I had a black one 3D-printed, from a 3D-scan someone shared on the Game Boy Camera Discord.

Meanwhile, I’m also writing another Game Boy game. I have 2 of these projects, in various stadia of development but I’m making more progress with this one. Best I can describe it (without spoiling anything), is that it’s a kind of simulator.

# Closing thoughts #

Last time, I mentioned an encounter ending with an ambulance. Looking back, there’s a bit too much of other folk’s personal matters in it, so I’m going to stick to the highlights. Suffice it to say that a while back, Boo and I encountered a situation where we felt we had to call emergency services for someone. As things went on, it became pretty clear that we were dealing with a false alarm though. But not before an ambulance was sent out. I don’t know how it is where you live, but for a moment there, we thought we’d get stuck with a bill or a fine for calling emergency services without reason (sending an ambulance isn’t cheap). I mean, I’m glad nobody got injured but that’s not what you’d expect for playing good Samaritan. As it turned out, there was quite a lot going on with this person and we weren’t even the first people getting roped into calling an ambulance. Luckily, they did turn out to be physically fine and a few people from their circle came to help out and explain things so we got out of everyone’s way. I think we can safely say, we’re now fully integrated in the new neighbourhood. People know our dog’s name, we know how to get from point A to point B, and we’ve met an eclectic cast of neighbourhood residents. Another short and mostly retro-driven dispatch this time. I haven’t really kept up with my notes on what’s been happening in April. A bit too tired and preoccupied with work and the house at the moment. Boo and I are going to an exhibit about ‘Le Petit Prince’ in Brussels soon, so I might talk a bit about that next time. Hope things are okay on your end. Any nice exhibits you’ve seen lately? Let me know, I’m curious. See you next time!