Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
I hate to sound snarky, but on the one hand, this interview asks for it. It's too many hip elements all on the verge of being ironic-lame or ironic-cool -- a noise band, Pitchfork, homoerotic manga...
Pitchfork: With all that touring you've spent plenty of time abroad, is Tokyo still important for the band?
AM: It's really important, yeah, definitely, Tokyo is one of the craziest cities in the world, I mean, there are some neighborhoods where crazy, fucked-up things happen, stuff you wouldn't normally think about.
Pitchfork: Like what?
AM: It's not necessarily dangerous stuff like in other cities, but more deranged stuff here like fujoshi, you know that?
Pitchfork: No, what's that?
AM: [laughs] I think it translates as, "rotten girls." Let me see if I can explain...these girls take a regular comic book and subvert the storyline or plot into something homosexual. They pick out two male characters and rewrite their lines and even change their order of appearance in the story to make the male characters in the story fall in love with each other.
Pitchfork: And this is a hobby of some Japanese youth?
AM: Yeah, girls. They trade books with their friends or actually publish them DIY or via some indie press. It's kind of big, I'll go so far to say it's influential on the Japanese economy.
Pitchfork: [laughs] What?
AM: Yeah, like you know Masked Rider? It's like Power Rangers out here. The new version has all the male characters positioned in such a way just so it would appeal to these kinds of girls so they could subvert and, well, buy it, and further get it out there.It's like all these Visual Kei bands are a branch off of that. The band members dress themselves up to the extreme so [these] girls will like them, so they wear lots of make up or go for an allusive feminine image. It's so twisted, you have to see it for yourself. Because in Japan, compared to foreign countries [where] gays and lesbians can exist openly and freely, here it's so suppressed and so taboo that it comes out in the most twisted ways, and that's part of why it's so crazy living here. Now, it's like all these people are wasting their time day dreaming about twisted subversive things and it's really changing modern Japanese society. I'm telling you, man [laughs].
Pitchfork: I had no idea...
...On the other hand the hip elements in question are surprisingly naive and old-fashioned. "Fujoshi...deranged"? "I had no idea..."? Uh, it's called SLASH fiction in the US, and there's butt-loads of it, guys.
Friday, April 25, 2008
Things seem to pile up in pairs (I know they're supposed to come in "threes" but...).
I've just attended my first burial and something about it...mourning death is sad in general, but the physical act of burying someone is really frightening. Watching the remains of someone be taken away from you physically was much more symbolic than I had granted. But it's cathartic too. Like waving bye to someone in a train slowly accelerating from the platform.
And though on a totally different note, but still in light of how we honor the dead - news of Sean Bell's killers' aquittal is simply, BRAIN boggling.
This is as good an opportunity as any for me to re-recommend The Death Penalty in America. It's written by someone who is anti-capital punishment, but the book is pretty unbiased since it's mostly statistics. The most amazing data point he makes is that a large percentage of capital convictions are made on the murders of white women, though a disproportionate number of actual murders are committed against black men.
How do we value life?
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Let's start voting. Here are the entries for Dry T-Shirt Contest #1. Remember, the prize is a "Maine, I Wanna Live There Forever" or "Don't Seattle For Less" shirt, both printed in my boilerroo...I mean, Grade A facilities. Also, a 4-color bic pen.
Object: Best Acronym for DRUGS.
Did Reefer Until I Grooved with Steely Dan
Doped Regularly Until Gangrene Surfaced
Doped Regularly, Ultimately Gonads Shriveled
Driving Recklessly Under Gold Schlager
Damned Rand Upsets Grumpy Socialists
Don't Rape Underage Girls, Scumbag
Don't Rest Until Girl Submits
Don't Repent Unless God Says
Dangerous Response Urges Getting Stronger
Dancing Raining Umbrella Gene Sings
Dinosaurs Really Upset Giant Snowfall
Entrant G (close your eyes if you're under 18...now):
Delightful Rimjobs Using Giant Suppositories
Draconian Rules Urge us to import Great Shit
Dang Rolling papers Ugh Gimme the Scissors
Darling, Reach Under my G String
Delicious Regimen Underlying Gigantic Stupidity
Entrant I:Dude, R U Gonna Spew?
So now you write in telling me which Entrant's work you like best. I got my personal faves, but won't say anything till you do.
Rules on voting: Don't go voting on your own entry. Leave only one comment. And remember, if your comment is funnier than the entry, you might get something too.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Flatbush: What happens when you wear the same panties too long.
Park Slope: When you seat an Asian.
Flushing: (I don't need to explain that one)
Bushwick: (Not that this needs any explanation either but) this could be tampon string.
Woodside: Groin-Arrangement when you go to bed (i.e. under, between or above the legs).
"You know what would be really cool? If I looked like a three-headed dork."Now this guy. This guy deserves a post all to himself. Giant Robot's sojourn at the Javits Center (who I'm convinced has a special place in hell reserved for their after life. And I'm not talking about some fun hell of Woody Allen's devising but like the most horrifying J-horror film imaginable directed by Gasper Noe), revolved more or less around this guy. Most of us agreed he had done such a stunning job of growing into supreme dorkiness as to come full circle into Adonis-like proportions. I think it's his hair. I have a soft spot for grey curly mullets, as they remind me of the 16th century French court, which reminds me that there was a time when white people got away with anything...including grey curly mullets.
When we were setting up the booth, someone at some point said something witty (no, I can't be more vague), and he retorted in perfect "self-dialogue in mom's basement painting miniatures" timbre, "thass good. Not classic, but good." Which, I think, should be his motto.
Now, those of you who weren't able to make it to NYCC 2008, might have guessed there was a lot of Marvel/DC cosplaying, but you'll be crestfallen to hear I counted not one, but HALF of a Wolverine during the whole con.
I'll grant you he looks like Hugh Jackman. But as you might discern from the proportions of this photo, this Wolverine is a little short, his sideburns clearly glued on, his chest, a cotton-padded affair (not even polyurethane), and the agamantium claws? See for yourself. THEY'RE LITTLE NUBS! C'mon kid. I fear under all this is a 9 year old from Dayton who got lost on the way to a Jonas Brothers concert.
I know that's unfair...better a "cute" Wolverine than a walrus stuffing himself into a two-toned lycra sleeve posing as Batman. I imagine in some parallel universe Jaba the Hut 's twin sister is donning Princess Leia's gold slave bikini at Paduwon Comic-Con 2008LLA (Long Long Ago), and freaking out his brother right now.
Speaking of X-Men a la 21st century film franchise...This guy. Cyclops, but with eye-shield worn over his regular wire-frame glasses. Classic. Anyway, this guy had the best of the dorkiest introductory deliveries:
I'm about to ask you guys something you've probably never been asked before in your life. It's a favor...
Could you pin my jacket to my pants? They're falling down.
Candace obliged our young man. Later, I pinned the note from his mom with their address and emergency contact along with an inhaler, to his forehead.
Now here we go. Cosplay Crew. I love crews. Dorks are immune to ridicule when grouped in numbers, proving that with friends by your side, you don't even need to be from the same story series, or wear anything besides green paint and a wallet chain. It's not classic, but good.
I found that this year there were many more ladies in attendance, and I don't just mean walking around looking like this:
But finger dancing through bagged and boarded floppy comics, waiting in line for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle signage and well, just generally being dorky.
This was a pretty genius costume - living, walking, breathing, dancing Dance Dance Revolution. I'd hate to be the one who says "I told you so" when everyone tramples all over her though. I imagine the psychological damage of such metaphorical abuse will force of her a chrysallis so awesome...(fists raised to God) so awesome as to spin this mortal coil into such a massive frenzy as to ring pandemonium into the hearts of all man.
Basically, transforming into this:
I love this because from what I can tell it's a creature of her own making. Up close you could see the tits were some plastic shell-type thing painted over her 'stume. Notice the double-fleched arrow pointing at her Vijay. Her backside had a single-fleched arrow pointing out the Annals.
"Oh, my anus? Right here. Just follow the yellow arrow..." I call this, The Golden CompAss. [Note: I've just found out this is SpiderWoman. Thanks, Devlin, Wolk.]
Oh and looky here. It wouldn't be a proper "Dames of NYCC" post without a pic of Michelle. Here she's making sure Jeffrey Brown doesn't steal any of our plushies for his newborn.
Stay tuned for a much more tantalizing and unforgiving look at "Los Hombres De La Comic-Con" coming up...
Friday, April 18, 2008
Thursday, April 17, 2008
And that's pretty much what it felt like reading this news item:
Performance artist dons wedding gown and hitch-hikes through Eastern Europe as a statement of peace in regions of strife: the Balkans, rural Turkey, Israel. Somewhere along the way some nut job kidnaps, rapes, strangles, kills, then dumps her body in the woods, and uses her now stolen phone to call friends.
Each detail comes at you like that "how can we make this worse?" game. I mean what makes this really really disgusting, is his stealing her phone to call friends. It proves he's a pathological monster. Can you imagine? "Hey Tom. I got into kind of a mess. Need to shower, but I'll be there for kickoff...yeah...yeah bra. Save me a brewskie." Nothing like my cannibalistic pedophile with chlamiderrherpaids.
A new book out from Stonebridge about, well, Haruki Murakami. It's being called "a rather shameless promotional campaign" to get Murakami a Nobel nod.
But well, either way, isn't it something...to be such an international darling as to relinquish a domestic identity. It's like how Christopher Lambert still gets prime time interviews in France but is known only as Highlander in the US, and no one loves Japanese noise music as much as John Zorn.
Point is...I'm not sure how I feel about this title. Wild Haruki Chase? I guess it's appropriate enough -- it only makes some gimmicky sense in English (try it in Japanese. Sounds dumb). But if the book truly is the Japanese culturocracy's effort to get Nobel attention, I think using a gimmickey title was a mis-step. Those Swedes take things very seriously. The Japan Foundation (which sponsored the publication with Stonebridge Press) should have published this as a paper entitled "Haruki Murakami, On All The World's Injustices" or something like that.
Had I my druthers:
Hard Boiled Murakami Land: I Read Raymond Carver And All I Got Was This Japanese Knock-Off
Haruki's Got the Whole World, In His Hands
New Yorker Special Edition: I'd Do 'im
All Your Base Are Belong to Haruki Murakami
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Case in point: Dattchi Waifu (Dutch Wife)
This was a term I ran into while translating some dialogue, and though I'm familiar with "Dutch oven" (pulling the covers over the person you're sharing a bed with, right after you've farted), "Dutch Wife" rang no bells.
According to the Kenkyusha Online Dictionary, a "dutch wife" is a sex-doll/blow-up doll.
Hmph. Go figure. The poor Dutch, though. Can you imagine being the metaphorical reference to a fart-trick and a fake orifice?
Needless to say, "Dutch Wife" was not in "'English' in Japanese." Fat lot of good this book will do anyone, really. None of the terms in it were really "false friends," that is, except:
Now I've heard of a "skin flute," so I kind of assumed a "skin ship" was the female equivalent... But according to its definition, the editor suggests skinship might be a contraction of "skin" and "kinship," to mean physical contact between kin. I've never heard "skinship" in any Japanese context myself, so I'm going to keep pretending it's what I think it is.
Speaking of "skin ship"...Is it just me or does this book cover look like someone's looking out through a uterus at that woman in the center? It's a potentially significant abstract symbolism -- a woman watching herself through a birthing canal, suffering a sort of post partem breakdown.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
I started blogging thinking I'd make some real impressions on the world. I pictured myself doing more over-the-shoulder winking at my readers, more "looking over the top of my sunglasses" at you sexy thangs. But these days, if I'm ever looking over my shoulder, it's only to examine how fat my ass has gotten. And sexy thangs? Let's just say you don't need sunglasses where the sun don't shine...wait, that sounds like I'm looking up your anus. That's not what I meant...ohyouknowwhatimean.
So I've decided my blog has ED. And this Spring will be the wet towel workout it needs. I'm stepping out of my dark corner! I'm casting off my shame shroud! (The salt in my tears burned holes through it anyhow.)
I suppose I've said this before, and the promise/threat to do a blog makeover is a more consistent blog theme than anything I've done before, but enough! (Anne casts her hands out like she's in Showgirls) Enough of this false modesty!
You see, if I was faking blogasms before it was because I was saving myself for paying work, but surprise surprise, original writing pays shit, if you can get the work in the first place. I won't blame anyone for this. Just my own laziness and possible lack of any redeeming writing qualities. [I don't want to sell myself short either. I have been getting work. Just not any feedback.]
And all this doubt! No! No I say. The worst thing you can do to yourself as a writer is DOUBT. Writers, don't doubt yourselves. So that pop culture magazine doesn't want to publish your theory on Kanye West as the anti-Christ... I hear Reader's Digest is always hiring?
Anyway, I found myself running back into Comfort Corner, where translating and copy-editing paid so much better. Both are valid courses of work. However, I was taking my service assignments at the expense of creativity. "F___ creativity," I started saying.
That's right, I just said FUDGE. (Anne shakes head at image of herself doing Showgirls hands.)
Nothing sucks as much for the preternaturally bored as giving up creative pursuits, even if they end up being nothing more than a hobby. (Pulling in Showgirls hands into fists crossed at my heart) Don't ever give up.
So for starters, the new blog makeover will involve suffering you the injustice of more
Don't worry though. It's just love poems and folk songs...I mean uh, biting criticism of the status quo and a hilarious tell-all of the rough-and-tumble world of twenty-something singles in South Brooklyn...
OKOK, I know no one gets anything out of my writing...unless you're a jilted ex-boyfriend who discovers himself cleverly disguised as "the pedantic but curious musician." (But don't let that fool you either. I've just described half of New York.)
So what's in this for Number Two (i.e. you)?
I'll figure out an interesting reward scheme later, but let's keep it simple for now.
Enter to win an original Anne Ishii t-shirt design (one of the two below) and pen.
That reads "Maine/I wanna live there forever. I 'm going to learn how to fly (fish)!"
To celebrate the coming election, I thought it'd be great to recall the great elections of youths past. Our own class presidential campaigns from yonder single-digit ages. Didn't someone always have a clever acronym of their name? So here's The Contest:
Step 1. Send me your best acronym for the word: DRUGS. Here is an admittedly bad example:
Step 2. I'll post all entries in a week and we'll pick a winner. I don't care how we pick the winner at this point, as it may only be two entries.
Step 3. Winner can send me a shirt they want printed on, or get a randomly assigned old rag. I'll return the shirt with other goodies.
Step 4. Repeat at some point in near future.
Monday, April 7, 2008
In the midst of my mouth-half-open eyes-half-closed staring, I hear the cameraman say to the director:
This is what they call "the money shot" in the porn industry.
And my eyes popped open and I laughed a lung out.
I can't show you the actual shot, but it was basically...
Thursday, April 3, 2008
My favorite book during the 9th grade? Friggin' Joy Luck Club. I wanted to be Chinese so badly after reading that book. Now I'm so embarrassed I could die. Die eating opium filled dumplings...
In junior high, I actually read a book with a title like, "How to Make Friends." Secretly. In the library. During lunch. I'd pull it out of the stacks and surreptitiously gain knowledge -- e.g. "When making phone calls, always be the one to end it. This way the person on the other line will want to call you next time."
I'm so scared of being one of those people who has to admit they loved Million Little Pieces that to this day I won't read, or talk about having read anything selling really well. [Julia, that's the real reason I would never read Eat Pray Love.]
Conversely, I have at one point probably lied to you about having read more than ten pages of any of the following:
McSweeney's (though I find it convenient its founder's name sounds frighteningly like a certain racist epithet starting with the letter 'n,' since he's also a durogatory epithet.)
Ah! I feel cleansed. Washed through the holy waters of unembellished truthiness.
Even ironic anti-Al Gore/environmentalism asides took a few months to surface. (I'm talking about how last year any democrat who turned on the a/c had to preface with statements to the effect of "I don't care if Al Gore hates me for this but I'm turning on the a/c.")
Text message jargon. You say that phrase in any context, say it anywhere, just blurt it out Tourrette's style, or sarcastically spell out loud "lol" or "ttyl" and I guarantee, you will get at least one pair or rolling eyes.
Text message jargon is just acronyms, as most of us know, and I personally don't think it represents any sort of digital laziness. If anything acronymizers are proving how friggin' boring our diction is. We say the most predictable things, and our rote phrasing spreads faster than (insert slut celebrity of the moment)'s legs.
All that to say, you know the party's over when The Wall Street Journal has written something about it.
Still, I guest blogged over at Words Without Borders with my two cents on the subject as it was discussed at the Columbia U. grad student translation conference.
My big conclusion: The fact that translated works of high literature are read so fervently by translators who work with the original language, proves that translating is in fact an art. Translators can presumably opt to read the work in its original language, but they read the English to appreciate something other than the mere function of making it intelligible for Americans unfamiliar with the foreign language in question.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
As mentioned on several other blogs, including one blogger who was pitch-perfectly quoted, The NY Times has a funny piece about how someone's taste in books can be a "dealbreaker."
I'm just happy if people read at all, so I have no real dealbreakers, excepting the obvious (read: offensive)... I suppose though, that I'd run the other way if I saw Paul Reiser on their shelf. Books with close-ups of what should be their petite author photo used as the front cover are pretty much all dealbreakers, aren't they.
Another questionable genre of books is children's books. Yes, it is endearing if you meet a guy whose favorite book is "Harold and the Purple Crayon." Yes, a fondness for Dr. Seuss suggests an open-mind, possibly even an interesting past with psychotropic drugs. Yes, every good humored man should own "Everybody Farts." But what if it means they're just mentally retarded? (Can't know till you ask them to read it to you.)
Of course I jest, but all this neglects the whole phenomenon of dating people who ARE writers. More than any of these book, I think the supreme dealbreaker is finding copies of the one unique novel your date self-published with graduation money, curiously positioned in the bathroom or on a coffee table (i.e. where you are certainly going to find them and be forced to acknowledge).