Sunday, July 10, 2011

Don't be Hostile to a Hostel

This snappy little caption was made for Martha. My goal was to make something that was simple in execution, yet still touched a few buttons. Oftentimes Martha asks about things that I put in the captions, that tend to be foreign to someone not from America. Mostly pop culture references, but idioms, old sayings, and the like tend to go over her head. It isn't her fault, it is probably mine that I use so many things as short cuts in my elaboration to stories.

I mean, if my friends and I are playing a fighting game on the Xbox 360, and someone gets completely beaten, they are "Drago'd" aka what happened to Apollo Creed in Rocky IV. We drop a lot of dialog from Kevin Smith movies, and have own own verbal shorthand. The more obscure the better, but when trying to make captions that people will want to read, I have to remember to be as inclusive as I can. If anything, I want them to feel that they are in on the situation and what is going on behind it.

The "No! Not the bore worms!" is a dreadful line reading from the Flash Gordon movie. When I was younger, if any of my friends got an over the top punishment (like grounding for a week or no phone, or whatever) we would cry out, "NO! Not the bore worms!" Another quote we'd use a lot was "KAHN!!! from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn as screamed out loud by William Shatner. We'd convert it into "COOOOOORN!" or what ever fit the mood.

So anyway, that is why I try to be opaque but give some guidance on how to view any caption I make. I noticed this more when I had posted some captions to TF Media, Since they didn't have a clue as to WHY Jennifer liked bondage and blowjobs, or that Bren loved revenge stories, or who the hell Dee was and why was she so mean to everyone else. When I am making captions for Haven people (which is 99 percent of what I make) I can often shortcut what is said because "Hey, its for Caitlyn, and everyone reading it already knows what she likes, blah blah blah". One of my goals is to try to make them a little less "insider knowledge" and make them a bit more universal without losing the familiarity for the person that I am creating it for.

If I can create a good balance between the two, then I will have done what I wanted to, and to the best of my ability. I hope that within the context, they won't miss anything TOO important.

Originally, I had the last line being "and then jilling herself to sleep." but when I had Jennifer proof it for me to make sure it was understood, she said, "what is jilling?" I thought that was a relatively common term for female masturbation, the equivalent to "jacking off" but I guess its a regional thing, sort of like how a a sandwich on a long bun can be called: a sub, a torpedo, a grinder, a poor boy, a hoagie, etc ... I just went with the most common way to say what I meant.

DISCUSSION QUESTION: Have you ever had an issue with a regional way of getting your point across, whether in a caption, or even just trying to communicate with someone from another area, state, or country? Not so much that it was a total different language. Everyone was speaking the same native tongue but in a much different fashion.

For instance, I always took Hostels to be more of a European thing, and most people in the U.S. didn't know much about them until the horror movie with the same name came out a few years ago.

Also, how much should a caption for someone be tailored exactly towards the recipient and how much should it be more universal?


  1. I'm sure I've heard of jilling off once before, but it was only the once! so I didn't remember it when you brought it back up. actually, I think you were the one that said it the first time as well. And I never heard of calling a big sandwich a poor boy. But I have heard it called a hero Sandwich.

    I've never had any problems with my captions alienating any one that I know of. Possibly i have, but never to the degree that you are describing.

    I'm a little shocked that you would have to explain why a cap for me involves blowjobs or bondage, or a cap for bren involves revenge. I could make a cap about any of those subjects and not give it to anyone and people would just get it. They are widely known kinks and fetishes I thought.

    But I have had some trouble in a one on one conversation. Mostly with Martha, but I've had to ask what this or that means as well. Thank god for the urban dictionary! I've known plenty of people from over seas, but normally I don't have a problem chatting with them. I've even role played with them in and out of YIM chat. ^_^

    I'm not sure how to answer the last question though. Since I never had a problem with my normal captions and always try to tailor them towards that person anyway.

    now there are some in jokes here and there, and those can be head scratches for those that aren't in on the joke. But again, if I ever do something like that, I'm doing it because I know that person likes that sort of thing and I will just explain it if I post that to my blog later on.

  2. Uhmmm certainly obscure jokes could be funny if the receiver is on the joke as Jennifer says, I don't have that problem as Martha even if I'm spanish from Europe! "giggle"
    As I tend to fall in the category of "all knowing international" person well not so much but still i'm a big fan of some americans productions, like series, movies and some of your way life as we in Spain are little by little induced into your own way but with some changes of our own to make it the spanish way of life yet!

    I always wondered if jokes from here would make sense to you as I can think you won't caught them as they also fall in culture and related directly to living persons...

    For example:

    There are two politicians in our country that fall into the category easy joke.

    This guy called Jordi Pujol is a politician that resembles a living Yoda "giggle"

    And this one called Ibarretxe also a politician is often called Mr or Sr. Spock as he has a huge resemblance to Leonard Nimoy in the series

    And another figure called Torrente a fictional character played by Santiago Seguro that makes the resemblance of the old macho spanish guy exagerated to no end with all the dirty jokes and funny comments that deal with politics, way of life, etc.

    And other jokes introduced into a cap hopefully could be:

    The modern Lollipop (not the old one) was invented by a spanish business man and the name we gave him in here is Chupa chups so I could introduce something funny about the Chupa Chups being invented around 1958 and if I wouldn't explain it to you, you wouldn't caught that one... ^-^
    But of course you Americans are always way ahead of everyone and you will tell me that, that sort candy was already made, well no not like the Chupa chups as it's comercialized everywhere and nowadays "giggle"
    Hugs and Kisses Alectra

  3. @ Jennifer

    Well, I not sure how it came up, but it was just more of a "ummm, why was that such a big deal for so-and-so?" where they weren't understanding the interplay of the characters due to them all being Haven people.

    You pretty much got what i meant, with regards to in-jokes. My question is whether we should concentrate on doing so with the recipient or try to make it universal so that everyone gets it.

    I think we should try to do a bit of both, but not focus it too much on one side of the coin.

  4. Ahoy,

    first I wanted to say, we currently plan our little trip over there in November, and just look at ... that's where we boooked something for Washington and New York. It was the first thing we looked for since HOTELS were out of our price limit, especially in New York. There are many there and the prices are really cheap.
    So hostel is a nice detail in the cap that makes it more realistic to me since I'm really going to visit one in November. :) I have always loved cap most that use as many facts of my real life as possible. Sounds weird, but that's what makes a cap personal for me. Being the CEO of a company becomming a secretary isn't nearly as much fun since I don't own a company and I'm not old enough to be a CEO. But I digress :-P

    I guess I can't say much to your original question. I mean I have difficulties getting things across since I sometimes try to elaborate a complicated situation or so with my bad and limited English.
    I always try to ask what references, idioms or single words I don't know mean and usually it helps. You don't have to work that much more just to make me a cap Dee. With a bit help here and here I always get them ;)


  5. I was thinking about this recently when I did a caption for the Haven Quarterly and used a couple of British expressions. I wouldn't be worried if I was doing it for a British person but I did because the audience is, I assume, predominantly American.

    I try to fit the caption to the person as much as possible and if they are going to get the reference that you put in then its worth it even if it might be a bit too obscure for everyone else. I also always try to add familiar names and places if I can for example I'll use Spanish if capping Alectra.