Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I don't normally bitch about books...

I love books like I love pie. A slice o' pie + a book = joy. When it comes right down to it, I like most of the books that I read - or at least, I don't dislike them so much that I feel the need to bitch about it. There's really only one book that even comes to mind right now that plucks my last nerve whenever I think of it: Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame. But that's another post, which I may or may not write.

Today I'm going to bitch about a different book, which I just finished reading. It's a book that, again, I don't necessarily dislike, but it just bothers me to a point where I really need to unleash the irritation it caused me.

The Vicomte of Bragellone, by Alexandre Dumas, is not a terrible novel. It is, in point of fact, the first volume (of three) of the third book in the Three Musketeers series; the Wiki sums it up much better than I can:

It appeared first in serial form between 1847 and 1850. In the English translations the 268 chapters of this large volume are usually subdivided into three, but sometimes four or even five individual books. In three-volume English editions, the three volumes are titled "The Vicomte de Bragelonne", "Louise de la Vallière", and "The Man in the Iron Mask."

The Vicomte of Bragelonne, in the context of the novel, is Raoul, the son of Athos. He's present in a chapter or two at the beginning of the novel, is referred to a handful of times again in succeeding chapters, and finally begins to fully appear as a character in the last quarter or so of the book. The rest of the book is about the adventures of D'Artagnan, whom I'll admit I do love to read about.

I know it's silly, but it irritates me that it's called The Vicomte of Bragelonne, as though the novel is about this young man, and the reader will see interesting character development, when in reality D'Artagnan monopolizes the story. I felt a little betrayed. Why Bragelonne, after all? Why not something referring to the restoration of Charles II, which takes up a good half the narrative or more, and sets in motion the events which actually do bring Raoul into the spotlight?

Obviously, my ire is directed more towards those translators and/or editors who ages ago decided it would be a good idea to dupe the reader a bit. Or perhaps I need a bit more of a history lesson with respect to this particular issue... I don't know. I just know that when I start reading Louise de la Valliere, I'd better see plenty of that timid girl that Raoul seems to love so desperately, or I'll be cranky. And I'll probably make another ranty post about it.

On a slightly different, but greatly less crochety note, after having read The Three Musketeers, Twenty Years After, and Vicomte of Bragelonne, I have to say that I'm a little amazed at how much of a big deal was made of Porthos' size in the second two books as opposed to the first. I don't recall descriptions of Porthos in The Three Musketeers giving me the impression that he was superhumanly strong... Perhaps a bit of a bigger man, I suppose, but not the Hercules he was made out to be in the following books. Perhaps it was the translation, but it threw me for a loop. This is why I think I'll always prefer The Count of Monte Cristo.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Find a fucking way to afford it!!

So, I returned from the doctor's appointment today and checked the tweets I missed while I was making the D_O face (I may have mentioned my Twitter addiction...) And linked in two different tweets was this article from EW.com: Futurama getting new voices for Fry, Leela, Bender, and Others.

Did I say article? I meant obscenity.

To sum up:

Fox released a statement saying "We love the Futurama voice performers and absolutely wanted to use them, but unfortunately, we could not meet their salary demands. While replacing these talented actors will be difficult, the show must go on. We are confident that we will find terrific new performers to give voice to Matt and David's brilliantly subversive characters."
Seriously. Obscenity. That whole quote needs a black bar over it.

I know I probably come across as a pretty rabid fan right now, but I do think something like this is a big deal. As terrible as it is to inflate an actor's ego, the choices they make for the characters are as important as those made by the writers, directors, and everyone else involved in any type of performance. Everything matters, and I've been given to understand that quality voice acting is actually pretty hard to come by. Ever seen a bad anime dub? God-damn right you have!

Like Family Guy before it, there was enough fan/public interest in Futurama that it was granted a resurrection, first in the form of direct-to-DVD films, and now the promise of new seasons. Firefly was able to get its Serenity almost certainly for the same reasons. But would anyone have gone to see Serenity without Nathan Fillion, Summer Glau, and all the others? Would Family Guy have eight seasons if there were no Seth MacFarlaine or Alex Borstein behind their characters? Hell, I'm not even much of a Family Guy fan, but I'll admit that I like what Mila Kunis does with Meg a lot more than what Lacey Chabert did in the first season. There's a difference, and it matters.

The long and the short of it is simply that FOX can look at these talented people who voiced some of our favorite characters two ways: an expense, or an investment. And I won't lie, I don't think internet petitions ever really work, but I do think this is something the nerdlinger fans ought to get up in arms about. Because for something like this, the original voice actors are sure to prove worth every penny.

Here's another good article from Forces of Geek.com.
According to no less than cast members John DiMaggio, Phil LaMarr, and Maurice LaMarche on their Facebook pages, a casting notice has gone out to replace actors DiMaggio, LaMarche, Billy West and Katy Sagal.


Nevertheless, any attempt to recast these talented folks should be the first indicator that the new season is poorly executed and just a cheap attempt to push out product.

Friday, July 10, 2009

A Little This 'n That

Another catch-all blog post, because I'm bored and easily distracted.

  • Is it just me, or does Alexandre Dumas get more boring with each book? The Three Musketeers was fun, The Count of Monte Christo was excellent, Twenty Years After was good enough but took me for-fucking-ever to read, and The Vicomte of Bragelonne is damnably hard to get into. If I make it all the way to (and through) The Man in the Iron Mask, I think I'll deserve a huge fucking pat on the back. All things considered, though, he's it's not as bad as Hugo and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. I've never wanted to stab a book so badly in my entire life...
  • I tried the Bacon Cheesy Potato Burrito from Taco Bell today, because I saw a commercial for it last weekend and declared "I must have that!" Verdict: they put sour cream on it, which is what I blame on the... unpleasantness in the bathroom that ensued; normally, all my taco-related products are without sour cream and I never have such difficulties. Otherwise, it was bacony.
  • My boyfriend's mother asked me if I wanted to go clothes shopping with her last weekend, because my birthday is coming up. I felt bad saying no, but clothes shopping is fucking painful for me. Socks don't fit, because my feet are too small - the heels invariably end up above my ankles. Pants don't fit, because my legs are too short. Even petite sizes are too long. Bras and shirts definitely don't fit, because my tits are bigger than my head. The only thing I can safely buy is skirts (which I never wear) and underwear. Body fail!
  • Whenever Kevin Smith tweets about the amazing sex he has with his wife, and Wil Wheaton tweets about the amazing geeky things his wife says, itgives me hope for the American marriage, which Time.com seems to think is on the brink of fail. But what do I know about the American marriage? I was divorced at the age of 21. Actually, I probably know more about the American marriage than most.
  • I may be growing addicted to websites like Texts From Last Night and Not Always Right. Each site makes me both glad and regretful that my life isn't more interesting. But it's seriously addicting to just read through the archives.
  • I have a doctor's appointment next week; I finally get to talk to someone about the headaches I get every day! I'll be very disappointed if the doc suggests I see a chiropractor. It's hard to take the profession seriously when a chiro gave your ex-husband a stroke through a botched adjustment. Also, I wonder what expression the doc will have when he or she gives me my breast exam; I strongly suspect the dressing gown will surprisingly downplay how big they actually are, and am hoping for a look of shocked horror. Morbid? Me?
To wrap things up, here are some photos from last weekend, when we went home to SD to visit friends and fam.

World's Largest Pheasant, standing proud and tall in Huron, SD. Outstanding...

We bought fireworks here. Apparently that's a ride that hasn't worked in 30 years or more. If you look closely (or embiggen the photo by clicking on it) you can see a blue swastika painted on the side of one of the cars.

Fireworks and beer ALWAYS go together!
We dropped a smoke bomb in a puddle.