the mortal enemy of videogames

It’s very nice not being tuned in to anything.


Thanks for sharing, that’s interesting to know! Here in Germany people are notoriously protective of their personal information, including photos, which is reflected in quite strict laws about what you can do with that sort of stuff. (i.e. basically nothing without explicit written consent) I think we can agree that the answer is “It’s probably illegal but even if it wasn’t it is in severely bad taste”.

All that reminds me that I finished the first Earthsea book earlier last month and still wanted to write my thoughts down. Probably should’ve done that sooner but hey.


If this encourages you at all, I’d love to read your thoughts on Earthsea!


I went to my local rooftop pool/bar for gays and attractive girls today and because I was on my own I decided to bring along my copy of Infinite Jest.

A cute boy in a speedo came up to me and started chatting me up about David Foster Wallace and if I’d read him before. Turns out he’s also reading Infinite Jest. I saw the same boy later on and caught that the book that he brought to the pool was Slouching Towards Bethlehem and so I was like… holy crap I need to make this man my wife expeditiously. So I went over and chatted him up about Joan Didion for a bit

Anyway, he asked me out :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: :heart_eyes: :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: :heart_eyes: :heart_eyes: :heart_eyes: :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: :heart_eyes: :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: :heart_eyes:

David Foster Wallace is good!!

(yes, he was white :pensive:)



hero :saluting_face:


What a rollercoaster of a post


That’s the experience of being a 25-year-old teenage girl!!!

(I am none of those things)


the english version of Los lanzallamas is so fucking bad. I try not to be too hard on it because I sympathize with the general principle of amateur translating Arlt (obviously) but this is just like an inept ego trip. Should never have been published. In the first chapter you’ve got “amiga” over-literally and incorrectly translated as “girlfriend”, basic punctuation errors, and the translator inserting a totally invented “commentator’s note” which is a real problem because the text of the novel uses meta-textual commentator’s notes as part of the structure. To put it another way, this would be like a translator just adding their own footnote in a translation of infinite jest like it was native to the original text. Bad thing to do

this is an example of the general quality


‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ Bajo la visera del sombrero verde, el rostro de Hipólita, bañado por el resplendor solar, apareció más fino y enérgico que una mascarilla de cobre. Sus ojos examinaban irónicamente el rostro romboidal del Astrólogo, aunque se sentía dominada por él.
‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ Aquel hombre no “era tan fácil” como supusiera en un principio. Y la mirada de él fija, burlona, duramente inmóvil sobre sus ojos, le revisaba las intenciones “pero con indiferencia”. El Astrólogo, sentándose a la orilla de un cantero, dijo:
‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ —Si quiere acompañarme…
‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ Apartando de las hierbas una rama seca, Hipólita se sentó. El Astrólogo continuó:
‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ —Iba de decir que posiblemente, lo cual es un error…usted viene a extorsionarme, ¿no es así? Usted la esposa de Ergueta. Necesita dinero y pensó en mí, como antes pensó en Erdosain y después pensará en el diablo. Muy bien.
‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ Hipólita se sintió sobrecogida por una peqeña vergüenza. La sorprendían con las manos en la masa. El Astrólogo cortó una margarita silvestre y, despaciosamente, comenzó a desprender los pétalos, al tiempo que decía: — Sí, no, sí, no, sí, no, sí, no, sí, no, sí, no… ya ve, hasta la margarita dice que no… —y sin apartar los ojos del pistolo amarillo, continuó—. Pensó en mi porque necesitaba dinero. ¡Eh! ¿no es así? —la miró a hurtadillas, y arrancando otra margarita, continuó—. Todo en la vida es así.
‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ Hipólita mirababa encuriosada aquel rostro romboidal y cetrino, pensando al mismo tiempo: “Sin duda alguna mis piernas están bien formadas.”

Riley translation:

Yellow = I dont think so, tim

‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ Underneath the visor of her green hat the features of Hipólita’s face, bathed in sweat from having been in the intense sun, seemed finer and more energetic than a copper engraving. Her eyes ironically examined the rhomboidal face of the Astrologer, even as she felt he now had the upper hand. To begin with this man wasn’t ‘as easy’ as she supposed. And looking hard at her with his harsh, mocking motionless eyes…she found herself indifferently revising her intentions. The Astrologer, now sitting near the edge of the flowerbed, said:
‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ “If you’d like to join me…”
‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ Finding a dry stalk of grass, Hipólita sat down next to him. The Astrologer continued:
‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ “I was going to say that possibly, I may be wrong…you’ve come to blackmail me, am I right? You are Ergueta’s wife. You need some money and thought I, as before you though that Erdosain, and later on you’ll think that devil. Very well…”
‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ Hipólita felt a little embarassed, as if she had been caught out. The Astrologer plucked a wild daisy and slowly began to strip it of its petals, all the while saying:
‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ “Yes, no, yes, no, yes, no, yes, no, yes, no, yes, no…
do you see I have made the daisy say no…,” and without removing his gaze from the yellow pistil he continued: “That is how life goes.”
‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ Hipólita looked incuriously at that rhomboidal, olive tinted face, the Astrologer in the meantime thinking. ‘Without a doubt some women have very nice legs.’

  • “Underneath” - should be “beneath” or “below”. Why add a syllable and also why use a word no one would naturally use in this case. Also, “features” is an unneeded insertion from the translator: the text is just “rostro” (face) which does the job fine, and it’s also what Arlt actually wrote.

  • “bathed in…” - a weird and inaccurate invention. The original text is simply something like “bathed in the sun’s brilliance”. Translator makes her sweaty, then has to invent solar conditions to explain her sweatiness.

  • “finer and more energetic…” - I think “fino” would more accurately be translated as “delicate” when it comes to describing the appearance of someone’s face. But odder here is the “copper engraving” which I can’t figure out. I think it’s just describing like a copper or verdigris mask, like a venetian or dramatic mask. I think this is misleading and inventing words the original doesnt imply.

  • “even as she felt he now…” - An accurate and imo better translation would be something like, “though she felt herself dominated [or controlled] by him.” It’s a simple sequence of words to translate, but Riley messes with the order and tense and changes the simpler and more powerful “dominar” into a weak colloquialism. Arlt doesnt use a colloquialism, so why add it here?

  • “To begin with…” Again, the translator is over-complicating a simple statement. Also doesn’t translate “aquel” correctly and doesn’t include the full quotation." Basic mistakes. It should be (imo) “That man ‘wasn’t as easy’ as she first supposed.”

  • “and looking at her with…” This sentence is a little more challenging to untangle, but the syntax is wrong, which is maybe why the translator adds an ellipses I guess, but then he totally omits the quotation and elects instead to ascribe “pero con indiferencia” directly to the character, with the problem there being that that is quoted by Arlt for a reason, and it’s because as far as I can tell it’s a direct quote from Tristana by Benito Pérez Galdós. I admit I don’t know the significance of the quote, but I think a responsible and actually dedicated translator would do that work rather than just changing the text because he didn’t get what Arlt was saying. Messed up! Takes two seconds to consider this. Why would Hipólita who is now feeling intimidated by the Astrologer, now flip to “indifference”. Doesnt line up. You have to account for the actual words in the original text and not just skip what doesnt make sense to you come on dude

  • “now sitting” - there’s no “now” here as far as I can see. Why complicate this?

  • “if you’d like” - maybe a little persnickety, but I think given that this is in the usted, and the verb is “acompañarse” I think it would be more accurate to just use “accompany” bc the Astrologer is being a little fancy here imo. This speaks to a subsequent issue where the translation doesn’t recognize the character going into polite manipulator mode so everything is rendered choppy and flat.

  • “Finding a dry stalk” - just an inaccurate translation for no reason. Should be “pulling a dry branch from the foliage, Hipólita sat.” Don’t see why the translator omits part of the first clause, and why he added a “next to him” that’s not there.

  • “I was going to say…” - The first part of this statement doesnt quite scan in English, and it also doesn’t capture the Astrologer’s preamble, which is meant to be ingratiating/controlling. So he’s implying that Hipólita is trying to shake him down for money by saying that’s not what he’s saying. So “I was about to say that possibly, which would be wrong…you’ve come to extort me, is that so?” maybe something more like that, but that’s I think kind of a judgement call. However, after this point, the translation is seriously off. It’s either a series of typos, or the translator doesn’t understand the phrase “pensar en” (to think about). So the rest of this dialogue should be: “You need money and thought about me, like before that you thought of Erdosain and you’ll think of the devil after.” The translated version just doesn’t make sense “you’ll think that devil.” ?? In my imo, in this passage the Astrologer is putting on a show of being polite while being manipulative. I don’t think the translator is picking up on this, so in general this exchange seems disjointed.

  • “Hipólita felt…” - inaccurate translation again. “sobrecogida” just means like startled or overwhelmed, in this case by being sussed out by The Astrologer. I guess she is indeed “caught out”, but that’s not what Arlt writes and again this is complicating a simple sentence with an inserted conjunction that the original is efficient enough not to require. BECAUSE Arlt has then writes: " La sorprendían con las manos en la masa", literally “she was surprised with her hands in the masa” which of course we can translate a number of ways into an equivalent English phrase like “caught with her hand in the cookie jar” or “caught red-handed” maybe, or even just left as “caught with her hands in the masa” because it’s easy enough to understand as is. But This sentence is totally omitted from the translation. Genuinely can’t think of a reason why. The English reader just gets less information and less color, and rendered clumsily.

  • “All the while…” ‘al tiempo’ is just saying ‘while’ no need to make more out of this

  • “do you see…” Inaccurate again. Should be “you see, even the daisy says no”. There’s no “do” in the original, the translator adds an ellipses in place of a comma (Arlt does not need any help in this department), and I don’t know where he’s getting that the Astrologer is claiming to have made the daisy end on “no”

  • “And without removing…” - Another serious problem following this sentence - the translator has again totally omitted a section of the original text: “Pensó en mi porque necesitaba dinero. ¡Eh! ¿no es así? —la miró a hurtadillas, y arrancando otra margarita, continuó—” which is something like: “You thought of me because you needed money, eh! Am I wrong? —He gave her a sly look, and pulling up another daisy, continued—”

  • “That is how…” - Literally “everything in life is like that.” Needlessly inaccurate imo. Just not really saying the same thing

  • “Hipólita looked…” - An odd sentence in the original but even so, some real mistakes. I don’t think “encuriosada” means “incurious”, I would take it to mean the opposite. “Cetrino” doesnt mean “olive” in the way we would describe someone’s skin as olive in English. I think instead here it ought to mean like yellowy as an unhealthy way. “sallow” seems like the most common definition. And the thought about legs belongs to Hipólita I believe. She’s basically thinking, “I definitely have nice legs” and the translator fails to register that the ‘alguna’ is part of the phrase ‘sin duda alguna’ = literally, ‘without any doubt’, which is where he seems to pull the erroneous ‘some women’ from. The next para not included here has Hipólita look down at her legs and describe them, so this statement only seems like a nonsequiter for the moment, if anyone’s wondering

To be fair to Riley, I think Arlt does present some unusual challenges. He has an idiosyncratic approach to punctuation and throws in quotations that sometimes refer to something external and sometimes seem to just indicate a character’s interior considerations, he uses Argentine slang from 1930, etc and these things seem to have understandably given the translator some trouble. I certainly may have made my own mistakes above But I just don’t see the “20 years” of work alluded to in the introduction and translator’s note. There are real, basic errors that should have been caught and corrected. And moreover, I think the translator doesn’t pay attention to the variance in tone and technique Arlt employs throughout the text. He picks up on all the hard-boildisms and terse violence, which hey I agree those are striking, marquee features, but it’s all very one-note throughout which flattens the text and does it disservice, imho. It also feeds the distorted view that Arlt was a careless or “bad writer”. I don’t see follow the translator’s reasoning that a flawed, careless translation is some kind of homage; that’s just self-serving and lazy. This isn’t a comic book. Bums me out. “Stop getting Bond wrong!” - Alan Partridge


we went over this translator’s issues describing what happened to the The Astrologer’s balls some time ago itt, but I thought a more detailed look at the work might be of interest


not much to add wrt the translation as i’m unable to look at each suggestion atm, but in general i feel like the person could have asked any competent spanish speaker for feedback and addressed these issues. is it too naive of me to think this is caused by the usual laziness towards accurate renditions of LATAM cultural products or is it just a result of Arlt being a quote unquote minor author?

somewhat unrelated but i dont fully understand why los siete locos and lanzallamas are published as separate books. i know very little about the publishing world and its rules tho.

don’t know why only Los siete locos was translated alone. Maybe grants funding only one book and nothing materialized for the second. Nick Caistor and Naomi Lindstrom are actively publishing, and Lindstrom is still teaching at UT so maybe she’ll respond to an email if asked.

As for what happened with the version in question: the book’s in the public domain, so anyone can translate it and publish it privately, which looks to be what happened. There seems to be some speculation that “larry riley” is a pseudonym for the novelist Rick Harsch, who wrote the introduction for this book and shows up on whatever site to get defensive when the translation gets trashed in a user review. Don’t know what’s true, but I think it’s annoying that there’s this obfuscation about it because it seems like a bit of an ego trip, and also dodges accountability. And that latter part is kind of galling because it’s as you say: having a native speaker look it over would reveal the need for heavy corrections, and even more damning: if I (Advanced B2.2 level, Instituto Cervantes) can pick it apart like this then wtf man

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Finished up True Grit today. That is one fine book. If I were writing my top 25 today it’d be on there. Anyone read anything else by Charles Portis that they’d recommend?


The only thing I’ve read by Portis is Norwood, which is probably not going to stack up to True Grit, but it’s an easy read and very funny. Just a shaggy dog story about this guy trying to get back the $70 that his friend owes him and all these goofy twists and turns that happen along the way. I sometimes insult people by referring to them as a “functionary” and I do it just because of this book. Not gonna change your life, but it’s a fun read.


Hey my book came a month early. I of course started another, way too long book thinking that this one wouldn’t arrive until August


looks like we got a book club going hehe




Good god, No thank you.

But I can’t wait to watch the new vaatividya explaining Don Quixote


absolute state of the modern author: what can we learn from video games


Any Vollman heads in the building? Starting Europe Central, about fifty pages in. I’m so annoyed at myself, I always say I want a short book and then end up with a thousand page postmodern thing instead. At least they’re usually funny.