Fun with Translations
Wednesday, November 30, 2005 - 5:00 PM
There's been a sudden increase in translation buzz lately, much of it
from me. The
Russian translation is ongoing - the guy's up to chapter 8. He
says he's stalling for a while, though: real life commitments and all
that. Жаль, says I, but I understand. There's rumblings of
German and Spanish versions getting started soon - in fact, this
afternoon I decided I'd start up a thread for the Spanish one to go
forward on. I took my story's title - "The Murloc is Lonely" -
over to an
online translator to see what I could find.
After playing around with different synonyms for "Lonely", I
discovered something that all first-year Spanish students know: "to be"
can be "ser", or "estar". And, apparently, entire
books have been written on the difference between them. Great - I
can't even get my title translated.
It took me some time (and some help from Rhy herself, who still
hasn't read her scenes yet, punk!) to figure out, but it turns out that
principle difference between ser and estar is the idea
of inherentness. Are you describing a temporary condition
of something (estar)? Or are you describing an inherent
attribute (ser)? The Murloc is lonely: but is he lonely in
passing? Or is it truly part of who he is? And all of a
sudden, the verb To Be - the most common verb in any language on the
face of the planet - had given me a deep philosophical question about a
character in my story. Cool, at least to me.
(To tell you the truth, I actually answered that question months
Anyway, translation stuff hither and thither - hopefully the Spanish
one will be starting up on my forums some time soon. Once it's
well under way, I'm gonna set up an international section on the
Murloc page and link 'em all. You
Tuesday, November 29, 2005 - 7:30 PM
There’s a saying in the world of European
History that you haven’t really exerted yourself on the world stage until
you’ve invaded Poland. The reason is
that everyone’s done it – Russia, Germany, the Greeks (probably), hell, even France went through
there once – and the reason for that
is that Poland is really flat and it’s really easy to get from one side of it
to the other. I always sort of thought
that in modern-day warfare, with high-tech precision strikes and airplanes
nuclear weapons and all, Poland’s big disadvantages would become kind of
But, according to some papers recently released by Poland’s
newly-elected, conservative government (funny
story about that), the Warsaw Pact nations had a pretty good idea of what
a cold war nuclear holocaust across Eurasia would look like – with Poland, of
course, getting “all but wiped off the face of the Earth”.
The current defense minister, Radek Sikorsky, called seeing the included map for the first time a “personally
shattering experience”. Sorry, Poland, but looks like no matter how
much the science of human warfare advances, they’ll always find a way to
include you guys at ground zero.
Incidentally, I got this amusing
nuclear tidbit off of a cool site that a friend of a friend is developing – www.commontimes.org:
an “interactive news site where you select the top stories and share your
views about the day's events.” It
seems like it’s going in a Google
News direction, but – so far, anyway – it’s got more cool stuff
and less boring stuff. Anyway, go
check it out, they have news links and some numbers I don’t understand.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - 10:45 PM
It's half an hour to midnight and I should have been in bed two hours
ago, but here I am and so here's a barely-early Happy Thanks Giving from
all of us here at AlbatrosBits.com (that's me)! I'm celebrating it
- surprise - at home with my parents, helping them out some more.
They're all moved now, and living in a construction zone. The farm
house interior is coming together, and I'm helping my dad sheetrock the
new barn. Crazy stuff.
It's also the one-year anniversary of World of Warcraft debuting - woo
for Blizzard, their awesome game, and the millions of dollars it's raked
in for them. To celebrate, they released a
test patch and put up a
Year One community timeline, including Captain Placeholder, the Rise
of the Living Dead folks, and, hey look, me! Someone even did
their homework about when this whole story shindig got started.
I'm honestly honored to be up there in the WoW community with heavy
hitters like Leeroy Jenkins and face-melting. Thanks for the nod,
Friday, November 18, 2005 - 10:40 AM
So I had a long, fairly intricate review planned of Serenity, back when
I saw it. I thought it was a really great movie - had loads of
plot, snappy dialogue, great characters, awesome space battles,
basically everything that all the browncoat crazies have been saying
(SPOILERS. YOU'VE BEEN
Then I borrowed my friend's Firefly DVDs, and started cranking through
the episodes. More of a good thing: the characters, the
interactions, the symbolism, the music, the... the characters...
basically, I loved the characters. (Some of you may remember me
saying this recently.)
Of course, when the series ended prematurely after fifteen episodes, all
I had to continue with was the movie. The movie, which KILLED
WASH. Wash rules. Wash is the heart of the ship. The
movie, which ends the second most intriguing mystery in the entire
series - Book, and what he is - without so much as a hint of an
answer. Nothin. He just dies, and that's it.
And after finishing Firefly, that last episode, where the bounty hunter
gets his comeuppance and River gets a smile from the captain, and then -
suddenly - some time has passed and some things we don't know about have
happened, and "Serenity" is splashing across the big screen and some
black samurai dude is shoving a sword into a bureaucrat - and I hated
the movie. Really hated it. Didn't ever want to see it
Then, yesterday, Scott Kurtz over at
posted his own review. He's been into Firefly for a lot longer
than I have, and he sees things that I didn't. And he figured it
out. The movie feels like it does because that's it. That's
the last chapter, the end of Serenity's story. He got to tell the
first couple pages of his first chapter - on TV - and then, when someone
said here's a hundred million dollars go make a movie, he skipped
everything, his whole plan, his whole story, and gave us the ending,
because he wasn't sure he'd ever be able to make it again.
Scott's diagnosis really feels right to me. It explains some
really ridiculous things about the movie - the Irish gangster guy,
introduced in the first episode of the TV series, turns out to be
identical twins. Mal knows this, but we sure didn't see it coming.
(We should have - Joss cast one half of a pair of identical twins in the
role.) Why Inara and Mal are acting like ex-boyfriend and
-girlfriend, when they were just starting to figure out that they liked
each other. Why Book is suddenly off the ship, with no
explanation. Why Wash dies.
It's a great ending to what I'm certain is a great story. It sure
would have been nice to see the rest of it, though. Hopefully some
day we will.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - 2:00 PM
Let's say, hypothetically, that you've got two countries that hate each
other, glaring the glares of the nuclear-armed at each other across a
enormous - an emerging superpower, some might say - and claims that
the other is merely a rogue province that will one day be
other is tiny, democratic and capitalist, and has made quite a name
for itself what with the
selling things thing and all.
Now let's say you've got a third
country, we'll call it "The
Only Remaining Superpower." Country numbers 3 and 1 are sort
of wary of each other - due (partly) to the whole freedom and capitalism
thing - but it's very much in the economic (et al.) interest of both to
stay friends. So in general, we in country three try not to do
anything STUPID, and PISS country one off. Like, for example, if
our leader were to go country 1 and say, hey, that country you claim to
be yours, but we spend billions each year protecting from you - you
know, that thing we don't talk about so much because it pisses us both
should be more like them.
Maybe you had to be there
NOT Story... =(
Saturday, November 12, 2005 - 9:30 PM
I've been wary of making posts, mostly due to the unavoidable
disappointment it will draw when it's not a story post. This isn't a
story post, unfortunately - that's still in the hands of my Mystery Guest
Author, a very busy person. This post is just a quick hello, I'm still
alive, and a pointer to the following cure for boredom.
Matt Boyd, over at MacHall,
recently happened to pointed me to a daily (or almost) epic fantasy webcomic,
written by one floppy-haired "Mookie" (who is wont to post pictures
of himself passed out whenever he's too tired to do a comic). Since a)
I enjoyed it, and b) there is some genre overlap between his story and mine,
I thought I'd post it to give you guys something to read while "The
Murloc is Lonely" is on hold.
It's called "
Dominic Deegan - Oracle
for Hire", and it's a great strip – Mookie updates reliably (awkward
face), and does great epic, twisting, dimension-spanning storylines, with a
healthy dose of melodrama
thrown in for good measure. (There's also an abundance of really bad
puns, but they're in context and par for the course.) Mookie's got a
super-solid sense of humanity: his world is the kind where good guys and bad
guys alike have complex moralities, and he’s not afraid to tackle some pretty
issues, too – jaw-dropping at least for those of us from the
suburbs. The strip doesn’t exactly take
itself seriously, though, and, predictably, my favorite character is the cat.
Being as my line of work doesn’t involve psychic artifacts, I thankfully
haven’t had to have this conversation with Ajax yet.
Have a look, kill some time, get down tonight.