Haruki Murakami and the Art of Japanese Translations: “The Japanese language acquires much of its beauty and strength from indirectness—or what English-speakers call vagueness, obscurity, or implied meaning. . . . Alternatively, English is often lauded for its specificity. Henry James advised novelists to find the figure in the carpet, implying that details and accuracy were tantamount to literary expression. Is it possible that Japanese and English are two languages so far apart that translators can only reinvent their voices by creating entirely new works?”
15 Ways to Improve Winnipeg: From my first newspaper, U of W’s Uniter, a very well-done and thought-provoking special issue.
How your grammar skills affect your salary: “On the face of it, my zero tolerance approach to grammar errors might seem a little unfair. After all, grammar has nothing to do with job performance, or creativity, or intelligence, right? Wrong. If it takes someone more than 20 years to notice how to properly use “it’s,” then that’s not a learning curve I’m comfortable with.” Food for thought.
Explosions and the Meaning of the Boston Marathon: “A New York Marathon shirt means someone got lucky in a race lottery. A Boston Marathon shirt means they’ve run fast. The finish line today was one of the saddest, most terrible athletic scenes ever. But in an ordinary year it’s extraordinary. Well-trained amateurs from all over the world: sweating, straining, slowing, sprinting.”
Canada Vs. USSR in Nintendo’s Ice Hockey: Damn it, Canada, I mean, what the hell!?
Interview Tips for When Someone Asks, “What Questions Do You Have For Us?”: Really some deceptively good questions.
Douglas Adams is still the king of comic science fiction: “[I]t makes you wonder why, 12 years after his death, no one has been able to supplant him from that throne.”
Who Will Be the Next Douglas Adams? Hopefully, Nobody: “Nor am I particularly concerned about taking science fiction’s humor crown from Adams; that’s like trying to take the melodic pop crown from Lennon/McCartney. You can try, but they’re just going to call you ‘Beatlesque.’”
Dinosaur Comics: “Alex Trebek announces his retirement from Jeopardy. . . Of COURSE the show ends with Trebek. It was always to end with Trebek.”
This Plastic Printing Pen Lets You Draw in 3D: How is it that we had 3D printers without first creating 3D pens? At least somebody’s filled in the gap.
More, More, More — How Do You Like It?: “The industry’s arms race with itself simply is not sustainable. Yet here’s Sony, blithely promising to build a bigger gun. They’d better watch out—the recoil’s a bitch.”
To make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe (Dinosaur Comics): “Okay, so we start with a superheated and dense force-unified space–”
The dystopian future of casual games: personalized, targeted pricing and mechanics: “This sort of thing is already happening in retail. Where you are could determine how much an item you view online costs. ‘A Wall Street Journal investigation found that the Staples Inc. website displays different prices to people after estimating their locations. . . If rival stores were within 20 miles or so, Staples.com usually showed a discounted price.’”
Now Writers Can Drown Their Sorrows With Their Own Sorrows: Writer’s Tears Irish Whiskey. Learn what tragedy is, in liquid, alcoholic form.
I’m Mentally Ill, I Love Violent Video Games, And They’ve Never Made Me Feel Like Killing Anyone: “If we want to look at why Adam Lanza walked into an elementary school and opened fire on a bunch of children and adults, it’s not video games we need to be looking at. We need to ask who was paying attention to him, and had anyone noticed something was wrong with him emotionally would the mental health care he probably needed have been both accessible and affordable?”
The Ten Essential Genre Films of 2012: There are a few here I’ve missed. Time for a rental or two, mayhaps.
Art History Through Sci-Fi Coloured Glasses: Nothing to add.
The Offer on Old Man’s War: A Ten-Year Retrospective: “Patrick making an offer on Old Man’s War quite literally changed my life, and almost entirely for the better. The eight novels I have written since are because of that offer and everything that’s resulted from it. . . . Professionally, I have become who I wanted to be when I grew up. It’s amazing.”
Beautifully Geeky Book Sculptures: I wish I were a librarian so I could blow the budget on some of these. (For display purposes only — cannot be checked out.)
The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe: Howard Andrew Jones: His newest book comes out today, and my review will probably run this Saturday. A pretty interesting new writer you may want to check out.
In fact, one of my earliest interests in journalism (as opposed to fiction writing, an earlier predilection) was my high school subscription to the Official US Playstation Magazine while I was in high school. It occurred to me that these guys (and the odd girl) were having a lot of fun. I had visions of 12-hour gaming sessions followed by marathon feats of writing just under deadline. I would have loved an internship at that magazine office.
I don’t game as much as I used to, simply because it’s too much of a time-suck and I have trouble fitting it in. But I’ll always be a gamer, old-school, eighties style (though I keep up with the industry and don’t just play on NES emulators all the time). And I still take the odd review title, which you’ll have seen if you check in here regularly. So allow me to share some of the stuff I’ve been playing in some of the cracks in my work schedule these days.
Growlanser IV for the PSP, part of a series but very much a stand-alone from what I can tell. A very tough, deep, and rewarding tactical RPG. I put it down after I did my review a couple months ago, and picked it back up this weekend when I didn’t feel like reading or doing anything resembling work during my downtime.
Kingdom Rush, which I very nearly beat tonight, narrowly failing to take down the final boss at the end of a grueling final level. It’s a tower defense deal in the vein of Crystal Defenders, one of the best I’ve played (I’ve played quite a bit in the genre over the last couple years since I’ve discovered it), and it’s free to play online (with optional premium content). I saw it recommended elsewhere and have had a few late nights with it since starting it a few weeks ago.
Older titles: I picked up a cheap copy of Metroid: Other M back in the summer, started playing it one day, and haven’t gotten back to it for a few months. But I think I’ll find time over Christmas for a proper playthrough. I also have picked up Mirror’s Edge a couple times recently, just to play a level or two for fun, on a regular story mode playthrough. No OCDing over time trials or anything like that. Just enjoying the atmosphere and narrative.
This game really does need a sequel. I suspect it may end up like Beyond Good & Evil. We’ll wait 10 years before we see anything because it’s a little too smart to bring in the big bucks like some of the juggernaut, by-the-numbers franchises. So long as it’s worth the wait.