Monthly Archives: March 2011

The Secret Life of Translators

Or: My Time. Has Finally Come.

I’ve paid my dues, people.

Over the years, I’ve translated some REALLY shitty movies. Imagine the worst movie you’ve ever seen and then take away all plot, all budgeting, all special effects, all artistic DIGNITY–now add a questionably attractive Japanese girl with ill-concealed acne scars and bad razor burn in her Bermuda area, exposed by her scanty latex bikini… Enter the dastardly villain (probably the best boy grip, shoved into a cardboard outfit–they cannot afford another actor). …She’s spent the first half of the movie throwing ill-choreographed punches in a seedy parking lot and now the villain’s going to show her where it’s at. This is the obligatory Torture Scene. The scene ALWAYS starts with Mr Clean Citrus Scented Cleaner, poured liberally over her tied up body, while the baddie cackles about how it’s a horrible other-worldly substance that will now cause her enormous pain–the girl screams, but won’t reveal whatever info. it is that he seeks. So he has no choice. He must untie her, throw her on the ground and spend the next five minutes grinding  his boot into her vulnerable, soft stomach. In the sound-booth, someone abuses the ‘tomatoes getting squished’ button without remorse, and the girl screams and screams.

(Close-up of boot getting ground into stomach.)
//squish, squish, squish//
-Tell me the code.
-Never will I betray my friends…. AGHGHGHGHGHGHG IT HURTS!!!
//squish, squish, squish//

Me, as I translate: Fuck. What IS this garbage? Who watches this?

I try to imagine the intended audience for a 100 min. straight-to-DVD film of this nature, but not even the lowest strata of unwashed otaku moldering in their gloomy, spunk-encrusted Lolicon-dungeons could possibly be interested in such crap. That’s how bad it is.

Move on to question two: Am I getting PAID enough to  do this? And… well. Yeah. So I trudge on. But yet I dream, that one day, I will get an assignment that speaks to ME. …And after a year and a half of softsoft-core, ninja girl shenanigans, pro-female wrestlers and shameless Power Ranger knock-offs, it does get a bit better.

No more live action, I move into anime series–little girls breaking into the world of acting–little girls selling newspaper and being cute–little girls donning princess tiaras and kicking ass for the Lord. And I LIKE little girls, I mean, they’re fun and all, still, not entirely my thing. But a translator-for-hire asks no questions. Like a spy working in an isolated cell, she receives her assignment handed down from way across the ocean, from a shadowy figure known to her only as—-

“Brady”.

But we’ve just wrapped up a series (little girls/princesses). A new season begins and I wonder, with a little trepidation, what story I will now be following for a 52 episode duration… It could be about professional golf, it could be about little girls and their grade-school dramas, but no, not this time, because God is smiling on me–I know now that he exists and is just and good because my newest show will be about….

...BOYS KISSING!

Wee!

(With a publishing house as a back-drop, no less!)
But I think after all this time… I’ve earned it >:P

In other news, today was my last session with W until (–) is born… =( I will miss going over there and chatting about art and drinking coffee–but we will have a chance to resume once I’ve recovered a bit… In the meantime, if you haven’t had a chance to see his drawings yet, here you go (this time, they are definitely big… =)

ZZZ – Insomniac 3.

Hanging out with (–) and drawing… Charcoal is so unforgiving… ><

Sleep... come to me....

A bad drawing of a good drawing–  But maybe someone will enjoy it anyway.
Contractions… contractions…. I wonder if (–) will stay in the womb until my mom gets here….zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

(Important addition: This drawing and color scheme is taken from Rod Luff’s online sketch-book! I am using it to try to improve my use of graphites, charcoal and color. (I really like how his pictures use these basic materials, instead of relying on heavy amounts of ink –which, while I love ink, I was before trying to deviate from–). If you don’t know him yet, check him out–beyond being a great artist, he just seems like a nice person in general…. My friend thinks I’m star-struck and she’s totally right!!! But he combines the ordinary with the SUPERNATURAL. <3 Ewan McGregor is my penis hero, but Rod Luff is my art hero.)

Don’t worry Paintblotch, I’m not going to try to draw like him–(he already beat me to the punch!!) and then.. I don’t have the discipline hahaha) just copying some of his pics to see if I can learn how he does some of his techniques =) But thanks for the warning… as embarrassing as it is to post bad sketches, I’m hoping that someone who knows what they’re doing -like you teehee- will see them and say–do x, y, z to make it better…. Thanks always for your help!!)

Akt Aktually

At this moment, the program InDesign and I are locked in a furious battle. Only one of us can win–(it will probably be InDesign), so I will retreat in the shadows for just a moment to lick my wounds…

I’m going to art class now. Partially inspired by Ws dedication to improving his more basic skills–partially because of paintblotch and Norberto’s camaraderie; I’ve attended a few sessions, but so far, there’s been no Kate Winslet lounging naked on a settee with a big-ass sapphire nestled between her full, womanly bosoms, nor a passionate, Model-T communion after I drew her. ::sigh::

Hollywood, why do you always lie to me!!??!!??
So you heard it here, people. Drawing nudos in art class is not sexy.
Getting drawn by people while you’re naked is not sexy. Oh, this world of illusions!

What ten bucks an hour gets me is the chance to draw a naked girl who looks like a scullery maid from the TV version of “Pride and Prejudice”– florid buttocks and all. Or a refugee from a de Sadean sex-nunnery. At any rate, I really hope I get the chance to work with a different model soon, but someone on the hiring board must have a thing for pinkish, gingerhair girls, because the other girl I’ve worked with looks like the cuter little sister to this chick….

On another note: Thanks to everyone who came to the sushi event yesterday (or didn’t come, but donated anyway–there were some of you, and I owe you sushi!!!!) We raised 220 euros, 5 english pounds and one us dollar. I was very worried I may give birth while making rolls, as (–) was super restless while we were grocery shopping. I had contractions, backache and everything, so I warned the guests that I may have to leave soon to deliver him (her?)… but no. I am still here. And (–) is still swimming within.

Maybe tomorrow! Fuck, it’s so soon!

aghghghghghghghghghghghghg!

But thanks everyone who came–it was fun and hopefully, we’ve made a tiny difference for some people in Japan ^_^. The money has been sent; about 25,000 yen.

Goodnight, froggies! Meta-tacos tomorrow!

zzz

I Am That I Am – Insomniac 2.

I am that I am - Ehyeh asher ehyeh

My attempts to engage with color continue…
The Moleskine is very good for curing an ink/crack addiction, because if you try to ink anything in it, the paper will explode in a firey shower of brains. (Actually, it just gets this kind of… festy marbled feel… anyway, it’s not pretty.) So, since I can’t use ink, I am forced to use pencil, charcoal, acrylic, and other thingies.

Flower and color-scheme STOLEN unabashedly from Mr. Luff–but I’m learning how to draw flowers and use colors, so hopefully he doesn’t mind a total noob stealing from him. Need a couple more years though until my smoke can even ATTEMPT to look as CREAMY and phosphorescent as his… //gnashes teeth jealously//
Acrylics provided by this woman!
Pose provided by Juno.
Inspired by Mucha and the waiting for (–).

Springtime for Hitler

-I’ll take Those Crazy Romans for 600, Alex.
-All right. In ancient Rome, first time rape offenders were punished in what way?
(buzzer)
-Mr. Turd Ferguson?
-What is ass fucked + whipped + peed on?
-I’m sorry, but that’s not correct…

It may not be a groundhog, but a friend of a friend has made a very important sighting–the first naked man to tan his junk in the English Garden (our Munich’s [ahem] BIGGER answer to New York’s Central Park….) Yes, he has been spotted, lying careless, legs spread, giving his nutsack an even and thorough browning from left to right. It’s official. Spring is here!!! ^-^b

Spring 春が来たぴょ~~~ん!

This pic is for my mom–she likes it when I draw flowers and nice things.

Speaking of moms… I have been waiting very breathlessly for her arrival in April, to see the birth of (–) when what should happen? A fucking VARICOSE VEIN rears it’s ugly purple head on her upper thigh. Now they have to operate, and who knows if she will be able to get on the plane in time– which means. She may not be here. When… I first hold the little cone-head and realize my mission for the next 18 years, alongside offering emotional and intellectual guidance is….

To not kill him (her?).

And there are some very freaky infant-diseases out there, with insidious names like ‘cradle-cap’, ‘diaper-burn’, ‘tennis-elbow’….. Luckily, I have some good female support here… The same support who has given careful thought to my nipple-health and baked me delicious food and taught me how the ancient Romans ACTUALLY punished their first time rape offenders:

It was by clapping the genitals between two stones.

Clap! =)

Die, der, das Tsunami

My quest was to draw a Japanese woman holding a dragonfly. I realize that some creative viewers may interpret a feral adolescent boy with weird nipples inexplicably wearing a negligee. (Not my intention, I promise.)

Anyway, dragonflies remind me of Japan… A lot of people are praying of late, but whenever I’ve tried that prayer bit in the past, not much seemed to come out of it (I could’ve been doing it wrong, I admit.)

So instead, we’ll be throwing a sushi-fundraiser night–if you are concerned about the people who’ve lost their homes oversees, if you like sushi, or if both of these apply to you, you’re welcome to come by the 26th of March– we’ll be making/serving sushi past seven and having a donation box out– Nobody will be keeping track of who gives how much, so just toss in whatever you can and at the end of the night, we’ll send the total to the Japanese Red Cross. Sushi provided by us; BYO drinks and hookers. ^-^b

This may be the last event we will host for a while since (–) is getting restless
in the womb, so I hope many people can come. If you’re not a person who will get invited through J-bert’s FB event, but you read this somehow, know me from somewhere,  live in Munich and want to drop by, you can respond here.

So sleepy. ZZZZZ.

 

Sometimes, there’s so much beauty in the world.

…I feel like I can’t take it. Like my heart’s going to cave in. (Ricky Fitts)
Or: Art Crisis

Should I kill myself? Should I paint a picture?

You know, there are times in your life, in everyone’s life I’m sure, when you wonder what you are good for. Are you only good for eating, and shitting, and buying things, and making a tiny bit of money, so you can eat and shit and buy some more things? Or is there something else? Anything?

You SUSPECT that maybe there is. You wonder if you could be of use to someone. You crave to be useful amidst strange compulsions.

Then someone comes along and you see them doing what you want to do, and it’s like your heart will fucking break in two, because they’re so good! And you think: That’s it! That is IT. But you don’t want to imitate them. You just want to be them.

Rod Luff. His stuff makes me want to die. In art form. Just like Bruce Benderson’s stuff makes me want to die in literary form. What Benderson did to my heart vis-a-vis writing, Luff does to me vis-a-vis art. So talented. So technically sound. Black and white. Color. Fuck it, anything. You know its considered passe to create ‘beautiful’ art, but the things he draws whisper to you:

Look. You can be beautiful without being boring. Contrary to what everyone says.

I look at his stuff and I want to crawl under a table, naked, until the rats come and carry me away to their philosopher king. It makes me think: Not only can you not draw well now. (Which I know.) But you will. Never. Be able. To draw well. EVER.

Maybe there is something out there you can be good at. But this is not it.
Game over? Try again?

And people say: Oh but it’s fine! Art is about having fun! If YOU’RE having fun, who cares what anyone else thinks about it? But you think. No. Masturbation. Art for yourself. No, no, no. I’m done. Done, done, done. I could take it if I’m not good NOW.. but not good EVER?

And then I remember my other god, Van Gogh. Van Gogh is someone whose paintings, on a whole, don’t excite me that much. But his ATTITUDE towards his own art, and his room for improvement; his DEDICATION, is so exemplary, I want the Church to canonize him and make him the patron saint of artists. If you’re an aspiring artist (not just visual, anything, writer, musician etc.) and you haven’t read his letters to his brother yet–they are so inspiring. Almost every other good artist I can think of has been drawing pictures starting in their mother’s womb, totally destroying any hope of older beginners, but Van Gogh was like:

Fuck it. I’m old. I’m starting to learn how to draw and paint anyway. I’m going to be great. And I don’t give a shit.

And he never gave up. Sure, he had a shitty life, and ended up cutting off his own ear, but he DID it. ::sigh:: I’ve dedicated this year to improving technically. Laying down the BONES. Not just fucking around drawing, but really trying to improve.

Rod Luff, if you ever read this, I want to move to Sydney and camp out on your sidewalk and make you coffee if you let me into your apartment, which you could do with minimal unease, because I’m totally not a psycho.

I swear.

PS: You’re wonderful.

PPS: I thought drawing a picture of one of my favorite saints communing naked in a forest would cheer me up, but there are so many things wrong in this picture, its like a perfect night-cap for being blue. Newton’s Little Known Fourth Law: You notice something’s wrong only the moment AFTER you’ve inked and it’s forever. Like a girl’s best friend. In Eminem’s words: It’s back to the lab again, yo.

St. Sebastian

Moleskine 1.

Standing in a field.

By now, W has drawn me from every angle–sitting, standing, lying down. The other day, he asked me if I planned on doing a self-portrait before the birth. Nah…. I said. But I guess I changed my mind.

I think (–) turned out really cute. ^-^

(But moof, my meaner readers are thinking… You don’t actually have a jaw-line! I KNOW. But when my pencil was there and I started to draw the weak chin… I just couldn’t, ok??!?)

This is the first in a Moleskine series, inspired by Paintblotch. The Moleskine paper  is so Christian. No matter how much you erase, it turns the other cheek. (Make a mark on my other paper and it is STAYING.)

Have a nice Monday, crocs.

Agraphobia

A new exhibit by Shari Pierce.

In Nathanial Hawthorne’s 19th century classic, Hestor Prynne is forced by her Puritan community to permanently wear a scarlet ‘A’ on her clothing, after she conceives a child out of wedlock and refuses to reveal the identity of the father. Though the story is set in the 1600s, the punishment of visual identification as an ‘adulteress’ could be viewed as quite modern: Punish not the body, but the SOUL.

Punishment – Then and Now

In the 20th century, Michel Foucault (philosopher genius/sado-masochist) set out to examine the shift of punishment over the centuries and what it has meant for society. A work far too complex to examine in one or ten blog entries, my friend Shari Pierce’s latest exhibition nonetheless made me consider again the core question raised in “Discipline and Punish”:

How much more humane ARE the modern punitive measures taken against criminals?

That the nature of criminal punishment has changed over the centuries is no question. 300 years ago, crimes such as murder, rape and theft were not only punished socially (the criminal was often put out for public viewing and ridicule) but corporeally. Offenders were flogged, whipped, branded, drawn and quartered, maimed, crucified– and the circumstances of their actions were moot. Nobody asked WHY the crime had been committed. Was the offender rich or poor, abused as a child or not? In his right mind or insane? The crime is what mattered strictly, the crowd was to see an example of what would happen if they behaved similarly, and the flesh of the criminal absorbed the ultimate brunt of punishment. Provided the sentence was not death, they were then free to go and resume their lives.

Somewhere in the late 18th century though, a shift started in Western nations that demanded humane treatment of the criminal’s body. Psychology began to play a role in determining guilt–the public became removed from the process and the idea of ‘revenge’ was purged. The media circus notwithstanding, the public today has no DIRECT contact with those on trial, and incarceration is deemed the most appropriate form of action. As my roommate described it the other night: The German legal system does not desire revenge against criminals–merely that they are put in a place where they cannot repeat their offense and where they may be rehabilitated and reintroduced into society. Arguably, the same motto could be applied to modern American penal justice.

Rehabilitation. Incarceration not as punishment, but as a preventative measure. Certainly never revenge.

While I am not familiar with the state of German prisons, American ones notoriously question the validity of that statement. Depending on the penitentiary, the idea of rehabilitation is a mockery–the criminal is locked away from ‘normal’ society and tossed into a sub-society rife with violence and rape. This is not the violence of a crowd who beat you black and blue in the stocks and then stormed on–or the agony felt from flogging that nevertheless ended once the wounds healed. This is what Foucault would call a punishment of the soul; a slow, steady deconstruction of a person’s humanity, over years or even a lifetime.

Our modern definition of ‘mercy’.

This system keeps the humiliation of the criminal out of sight and we are comforted by the idea of a society both safe and just. And if an offender is able to rehabilitate, they are theoretically able to rejoin society anonymously, without us having to see the stump of a lost finger or the whip-scars on the back. But what about the most reviled offenders–the rapists and child-molesters? Should they be allowed to rejoin society anonymously?

This is one aspect raised by the Agraphobia exhibit.

Agraphobia

Shari Pierce is a jewelry artist, but her pieces are not meant to be worn at your next dinner party. Her works focus not on jewelry as superficial decoration, but on its role as a universal form of communication, the symbols worn across all ages and societies to project our self-image, social status, even our political, religious or social views (think of crucifix necklaces or breast-cancer awareness ribbons.) We can argue that jewelry is never just about aesthetics or form and Shari’s work often takes that idea to the extreme. Her latest exhibition asks what it might be like to wear the picture of a known sex-offender around your neck.

Go into her exhibition and you’ll be surrounded by a ghostly parade of men (and a few women) whose pictures have been taken from internet sites listing known sex criminals. Opening night, we looked at the pictures wondering: Do these people look so sinister because we KNOW their crime? Of course, you think of perverts as walking around with glowing eyes or horns on their head (and her pictures played with that idea by defacing faces), but just as many were kept as ordinary photos. These are the guys and girls passing by you on the street.

As I am about to leave, I want to say goodbye to Shari and congratulate her on her opening night, but she’s in deep conversation with someone. I stand around, hoping to butt in for a quick goodbye, and decide not to: They seem to be arguing the MORALITY of this exhibition. “Is your problem with the exhibit,” Shari asks, “that the pictures are for sale?”

The Scarlet A Revisited

I leave saying nothing, but the question is a good one–and the lady she is having the conversation with is a German. What would be considered highly sensitive personal information here in Germany regarding past offenses is posted on public databases for many states back home–this fact is what makes Shari’s exhibition possible–and advocates would argue that making sex-offenders visually identifiable is a cautionary meassure that allows parents especially to take further care.

Unfortunately, what this form of punishment does not take into account is that the majority of sexual offenses, rapes and child molestations are not committed by strangers, but by family members or acquaintances close to the family. And that while some of these databases do categorize according to severity or risk, others make no differentiation between a child-rapist or two underage kids who had consensual sex with each other.

The internet is forever. Once that information is out there, it can never be wiped away and we can argue that this form of caution is just a modern reworking of the scarlet A; a new/old way of destroying the social life, ie, the soul of the criminal.

Are sex-offender databases necessary? Do they help keep people safe, or is it a measure that kills the possibility of rehabilitation? If you haven’t thought about it before, Agraphobia will probably make you think about it.

Check out Shari’s exhibit if you live in Munich: It’s open from March 12 to March 26th, in the Raum fuer Kunst (Room for Art) in Schwabing. Gabelsbergerst. 65. The u2 to Theresienst. will get you close. (In the basement, you can also see some of what I anyway consider her more traditional pieces… don’t miss them!)

Insomniac 1.

Last night, I could not sleeeeeeeeep, not forty winks and not even one, so I drew a picture, mateys…. It’s called Jonah in the Belly of the Whale.

This is what you feel like at four in the morning or in the belly of a whale.

 

I’m a little happy with it, because I got to draw sweat, and I really like doing that. And I think the high contrast is pretty cool….. but.

I was aiming for a PRETTY picture, with soft lines and soft values. Please see Hazel Ang’s ‘Butterfly Girl’ beautifully drawn, makes me a little sick … >:P

Yeah, so I also thought I’d try for a high detail, soft/bold sketched look…
PENCIL ONLY.

Obviously did not happen. I blame my paper (not my incompetence >:P) because it’s so fucking WHITE that you just keep adding a little black here, a little gray there and next thing you know, you take out your ink-pot thinking, ah hell, I’ll just INK the bitch and it’s all over. I’m addicted to ink and I’ve got to pry my lips off the crack pipe and go back to pencil. Stop trying to mask bad lines with huge swatches of black.

Anyway, sessions with W are continuing–they are also inspiring me–he draws so loose. I love his pencil work, really bold and even though it’s ‘messy’ it’s good messy (whereas when I try that, it looks shitty messy.) But he lent me a comb, so I could make some cool textures…=) He uses combs and various textured things under his paper to lay on some funky lines with thick graphite or charcoal pencils. Adds this industrial and structured feel to the scribbly, loose aura of the rest of the drawing.

And in other news! German is, albeit slowly, progressing! ::preens:: W and I have started to split the sessions into half-English (for him) and half-German (for me). It’s going very well; each time, I learn a few more words and it just feels GOOD to commune with an artist in German…

beduerfnis – urge, need
die Sprichtwort – saying, proverb
Es gibts ein Sprichtwort auf English – There is a saying in English…
fremden – stranger, foreigner
Fremdsprache – foreign language

Are some words I learned last time. If the spelling sucks, hey, I’m going one thing at a time!!!

Now it’s goodnight, sweet princes. =)