Dawtrina.com: The Online Home of Hal C F Astell

Welcome!

Just in case you don't recognise the name, you may know me instead as Henry, Fan, Poe, Poetry, Albert, Intrigued, Dawtrina, Chewy, Twin, English or Halberto. All these, and no doubt many others, are li'l ol' me. However even though I've lived in Arizona since 2004, I am not yet Hank Chuck Frank. I am, however, a 110 year old Venezuelan woman on Facebook. I figure that if they want to data mine me, they should have fun doing so.

There's a lot of information available here at dawtrina.com so I created a site map to help you around. Otherwise just browse, explore and enjoy. If you want to search, just google 'site:dawtrina.com whatever', where 'whatever' is, well, whatever.

Please e-mail me if you find any problems.

(Auto)Biography and Family History

I come from an interesting family. Honest. Here are some biographical pages to prove it.

One of the most interesting Astells was my paternal grandfather, who in 1944 ran a key mission behind enemy lines in Greece. Here's an article I wrote about him called Norman F Astell and the Raiding Support Regiment.

Work and Web Design

I'm an IT engineer based in Phoenix, AZ. I've been in full time employment since 2004, so after a decade I've finally got round to unlinking my curriculum vitae (or resume). Instead, here's a list of what I've been doing in fandom.

Back in England, I ran my own company called Dawtrina Technology Ltd from 1999 to 2004, when I hopped the pond. Here is my portfolio of sites created. These are antiques in tech years, dating back to the turn of the century but I felt that they were rather spiffing at the time. Now that I'm revisiting this site and setting up a few others for the first time in years, I'm finding that I'm undoing a lot of what I used to do and going for the simple approach where what you see is what you came to see.

Writing

IT is what pays the bills, but what I am is a writer. Here's an index page to my writing.

While I'd scribbled around for years, I started writing in an organised fashion in 2001 with a project called The Million Word March. I've written short stories and poems, some of which have been published and one of which has been put to music. I wrote a travelogue of my first tour of North America, back in 1999.

I started blogging in 2002 at Captain's Blog but quickly ran out of steam. I tried again in 2003 with The Poe Station Blog but didn't update that often enough either. The blog that took was when I started reviewing films in 2006 at Capsule Reviews, which outgrew itself in a year and became Apocalypse Later, which I still update frequently even after eight years and three million words. It's been my main writing project since 2007. As Apocalypse Later is restricted to film reviews, I also set up Apocalypse Later Now! to cover other writing that doesn't fall under that umbrella.

Apocalypse Later expanded into print in 2013 when I published two books about film, Huh? An A-Z of Why Classic American Bad Movies Were Made and Velvet Glove Cast in Iron: The Films of Tura Satana. I'm working hard to achieve a quarterly book publication schedule by 2016.

My books are available for purchase in dollars from Amazon.com, in pounds from Amazon.co.uk and in euros from the various European Amazon sites. They're also available from the usual other online outlets like Barnes & Noble. Signed copies can be purchased from Dog-Eared Pages used bookstore in Phoenix.

When not writing for myself, I'm a staff reviewer at The Nameless Zine, an online zine run by the Western Science Fiction Association (WesternSFA), where I review books and mainstream movies. I've also written about Arizona events for an independent newspaper, The WOD, and I cover film festivals for Nerdvana, the online blog of the East Valley Tribune

Culture

I'm delving more and more deeply into culture as the years go by, and also I'm getting more and more involved in the fight to preserve it. Here's an index page to Hal and Dee at the Movies, an index page to The Musical Box and an index page to The Last Page Bookshop. These are my film, music and literature sites respectively.

While I have some background in fandom, I've gradually immersed myself more and more since I moved to the States. I've worked enough film festivals, film challenges and conventions in a variety of roles to put my fandom resume together. I also co-founded and co-run a steampunk group, the Arizona Penny Dreadfuls.

Photo Galleries

I came late to photography but have quickly amassed a substantial quantity of pictures that help to make some sense of my life. I keep them here where I can find them. Here is my personal photo album.

Information Sources

I believe strongly in freedom of information and am accordingly making available online a number of information sources and other material for free perusal or download.

Here's a collection of online books and articles about the Yorkshire village of Barkisland and my major article about the Raiding Support Regiment. Here are some e-books I created for free download.

Odds

I've been playing with technology for thirty years. Here's a list of software that I have found really useful over the years. Here's a page of solutions to odd little problems I've come across.

For those wondering why my site is called what it is, I wrote an article to explain what Dawtrina means.


Copyright (c) 1998-now, Hal C F Astell | e-mail Hal C F Astell

This site contains no ads and only standard code. It should work seamlessly with the Lynx text browser. Over time I will be working through it to strip out all the crap I thought was cool in 1998, like animated gifs, JavaScript and iframes. There shouldn't be much but there might be some. Please forgive me. I was young enough at the time to still know everything.