Happy owner of the first copy of @apelad’s book to make it to Australia*.
*I have no idea if that’s true.
If you want a picture of the future, imagine yourself saying “Excuse me” just a bit too quietly to be heard, squeezing awkwardly past the person in your way then finishing up with a “Thank you,” again just a bit too quietly to be heard — forever.
Dad, look what I found at school!
She reaches into her bag and pulls out a pile of old screws and rusty nails.
My school must be really old.
"You can’t play with things like this. It’s dangerous".
She fixes me with a stare.
I’m not playing. I’m collecting.
From Roland Kelts, a great look at the difficulties of translating Murakami.
Still, I can’t help but wonder if the translation of literature, where the strengths and even personality of the original are embedded in the language, is futile, however heroic. “When you read Haruki Murakami, you’re reading me, at least ninety-five per cent of the time,” Jay Rubin, one of Murakami’s longtime translators, told me in Tokyo last month, explaining what he says to American readers, most of whom prefer to believe otherwise.
Working on my own, much more modest, project last year made me hair-pullingly aware of the hard choices and compromises involved in any translation. Even with a comparatively straightforward text, it felt sometimes like I was trying to cook a curry using only the ingredients for spaghetti bolognese.
By way of retaliation, Harvey tore off the breast pocket of Irv’s shirt. Irv then ripped off Harvey’s. Before the two of them were through, they were both drenched, and their shirts hung down from their belts like hula skirts. Harvey then grabbed the water cooler bottle under one arm, climbed to the top of his desk, took hold of the overhead sprinkler pipe with his free hand, and started swinging from it like an ape.
From Irv Spence’s Cartoon Diary. May 26, 1944
Laugh-Out-Loud Cats #2271 (by Ape Lad)
Years ago, just after I arrived in Japan, I bought a book of Japanese proverbs. I only really learned one, ato no matsuri. Literally translated it means “after the festival” and is used to say that something or someone is too late.
It stuck. I ended up using it all the time - even when a simple “too late” would have been more appropriate. It’s not a common phrase, either. Everyone understands it, but I think I’ve heard it from a mouth other than mine just once in fifteen years.
I caught myself saying it again tonight. I wish I could break the habit, but I guess the horse has bolted.
Geoff Barnes, in his wonderful primer on teaching your children the art of cursing:
Practically, and perhaps ironically, this likely amounts to a whole lot of restraint when it comes to your own cursing around your kids. Focus on promoting rarity, excellence, context, and play.
My daughters, despite being ten and twelve, don’t get swearing. They know there are bad words that dad says while driving but, mainly because Japanese doesn’t really have curse words the way English does, the whole concept is still completely foreign to them. The most interest they’ve shown has been to ask why people say “Jesus Christ” all the time.
The closest either of them has come to swearing has been when warning me not to. Once, after I braked suddenly to avoid hitting a text-cycling fool swerving all over the road, my youngest piped up from the back seat:
Dad, don’t say fa!
On the train this morning I noticed that most of the passengers were women. I panicked, thinking that I had indadvertedly got on the female‑only car. It was a few moments before I realised that I no longer lived in a country that had (needed?) such things.
My wife and I are apparently going to start getting in shape from May 1. My daughter whipped up this handy How To Stretch poster for us.
One of the developers of Forecast wrote up some of the lessons they learned from making their app. It’s pretty good, the last hint especially:
Tap things twice. Swipe at things that shouldn’t be swiped. Touch things that shouldn’t be touched. Mush it and squeeze it and scrape it. Do it when you’re lying in bed, in the bathroom, walking down the street. Over, and over, and over again.
So many apps, both native and web, seem designed to be used in just the right way and woe be to any sloppy tappers or inadvertent swipers.
One of the most infuriating examples of this for me is TweetBot, an otherwise excellent app.
This is the behaviour that drives me crazy: when you tap on a link in a tweet it opens in the built-in browser; when you tap and hold on a link it pops up a menu from which you can choose to, among other things, open the link in Safari or send it to Pinboard. This would by great if my idea of a tap wasn’t TweetBot’s idea of a tap and hold. I am forever tapping links expecting them to open but getting the menu instead.
So app developers, please mush, squeeze, scrape your apps - and make sure a tap and hold requires actual holding.
Kevin is just too unrelentingly nasty. So nasty that he doesn’t seem human. So nasty that it is difficult to believe, in spite of the tremendous performances, that the story is real.
Last night I wasted five minutes shaking my head at iA Writer’s haughty “we know what is good for you” disdain for preferences. I then spent two hours hacking around with FoldingText’s mostly undocumented, completely unsupported theme system.
This is not a joke, but it may be funny.
Last week in science, my daughter’s class conducted an experiment. They had to measure how quickly a piece of chocolate melted in their mouths. They measured three situations: when the chocolate was simply held in the mouth, when it was held and agitated, and when it was chewed.
This week they did the same experiment but with sugar tablets. The teacher counted down, “Three, two, one, GO!” And they popped the tablets into their mouths.
My daughter can’t tell me whether the teacher burst out laughing before the first kid spat out the super sour lemon candy they had been tricked into eating or whether she held on for a few more seconds. She says, though, that she kept hers in until her face turned red and tears came to her eyes.
"Not crying tears, but tears like when you do a big yawn."