catslash: (Doctor implode - credit discordanticons)
( Apr. 20th, 2009 04:57 pm)
A few random WTFs.

* Fresh from 0-16, Detroit Lions adopts [sic] a fiercer logo.

*facepalm* Yes. Because. The logo. That was the problem. Superbowl next year for sure!

* I am so sick of my Shakespeare professor. You know what? I do not believe that every single syllable of every single play Shakespeare ever wrote has eighteen different meanings. I just don't. I think some of it is exactly what it looks like on the surface, and some of it BUT NOT ALL OF IT is a lot more complex, just like any other quality work of entertainment. Okay?

* I've been playing this great game called Human Age for well over a year now, possibly pushing two. I'm not sure. It's one of those very low-key game that only requires a few minutes of play every day, and I'm completely addicted and I love it. It's got a quirky sense of humor, which is compounded by the fact that it's a French game translated imperfectly into English - the translations are clear and always coherent, but some of the word choices add an extra layer of entertainment.

Anyway. In the Second Age, you can end up with a pet snake, whose venom you can harvest and sell. The game practically insists that you do this. When you do, it knocks off seventy-five percent of your snake's health (the game doesn't allow you to do it until the snake is over seventy-five percent, so you won't kill it), which then leads to text guilt-tripping you about your unhealthy snake. IT IS A VICIOUS CYCLE.

And yes, I named my snake Grahame.

* A word of RP advice: Be aware of the headache you are taking on if you choose to play a character that is meant primarily as a metaphorical construct. Because when you start treating the character as a character and trying to create something cohesive and playable, it turns out to be IMPOSSIBLE and you end up with stupid questions like, "If he thinks all religious figures tell one hundred percent of the truth one hundred percent of the time, and the Bishop of Digne says the silver was a gift, why the fuck does he think Valjean stole it anyway?" And you CANNOT ANSWER THEM and you end up hoping an awful lot of shit just never comes up in-game. Thanks, Victor Hugo.

Why couldn't I have picked Marius instead?
catslash: (what the shit Fantine? - credit 10little)
( Mar. 17th, 2009 05:57 pm)
So mostly, the "random" feature on MP3 players is random only to a point, randomly playing the same twenty-five songs over and over regardless of how many actual songs you have.

Every once in a very great while, though, it will really make my day. It did the other day, when I was walking home, by first cuing up "Bad Horse Letter" from Dr Horrible, which is short enough for me to post the (almost) full lyrics:

He rides across the nation
The thoroughbred of sin
He got the application
You just sent in

It needs evaluation
So let the games begin
A heinous crime, a show of force
A murder would be nice of course

Bad Horse
Bad Horse
Bad Horse
He’s Bad

The Evil League of Evil
Is watching so beware
The grade that you receive
Will be your last we swear

So make the Bad Horse gleeful
Or he’ll make you his mare . . .

Get/You’re saddled up
There’s no recourse
It’s Hi-Ho Silver
Signed Bad Horse

There was that moment of silence between songs. Then:

Javert: Listen, my friends, I have done as I said
I have been to their lines
I have counted each man
I will tell what I can.

Cue me, staggering along the sidewalk outside a hospital, giggling helplessly to myself.


(Random aside: Thanks to the Les Mis blooper reel, I nearly typed "I have been to their homes/I have watered their plants," which is, as far as I'm concerned, an infinitely superior interpretation.)
catslash: (bunny - credit kadath on JF)
( Nov. 3rd, 2008 10:41 pm)
SO YOU GUYS. Tomorrow we get to do the ONLY thing that makes me feel like a citizen of the United States, as opposed to someone who happened to be born here. I shall not waste your pixels exhorting you to vote, because as far as I can tell, I am not friends with people who don't vote. I assume that the only people on my friendslist who are not voting tomorrow (or who have not already voted absentee) are the people who live in other countries, and I consider that to be an acceptable excuse. If, for some reason, I am incorrect, and you do live in the States and have no intention of voting, then you should feel LAME. I have voted every year since I turned eighteen. Now you should feel LAMER.

Also, my school has given us the entire day off. Voting is important to USM, and they are not going to be the excuse for why any of us students didn't do it! I love it. For the first time, I don't have to squeeze voting in around something else. In 2004, I had to leave work to be able to do it. Tomorrow, I'll just wander across the street (my polling place is across the street! How cool is THAT?) and probably stand in line and have a VOTING LINE PARTY and then vote. And then spend the rest of the day going "AUGH SUSPENSE" but. One thing at a time.

In conclusion, I bring you geeky YouTube. I'm sure every interested party has already seen this video, which is the Obama campaign "performing" "One Day More" from Les Mis, but it is stamped with today's date in the beginning, so the timing is finally correct. So I'm posting it anyway.

catslash: (dumbern hell - icon credit thatssorad)
( Oct. 29th, 2008 04:18 pm)
HELP. I have finished Les Miserables (and cried on the bus in so doing, which at least looks slightly less ridiculous than crying over an audiobook, which I have also done on a bus and probably makes me look like I am crazy). AND NOW I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH MY LIFE. I have, according to the shipment date on Amazon, been reading this fucker since September thirtieth. I have never in my life spent a MONTH reading one book before. I feel vaguely as though I've braved a gauntlet or something. And it didn't help that the last chapter GOT ON MY NERVES, like, you! Valjean! Quit being a damn martyr and suck it up! You! Marius! You are a passive-aggressive twat! You! Cosette! Do you actually have any operating brain cells in that lovely head of yours?

I mean, I know I'm bringing in a more modern-day mindset on this one, but Valjean's decision-making process when it comes to his conscience - tends not to sit well with me. I bought it when he turned himself in to save Champmathieu at the expense of Montreuil-sur-mer's well-being, because there was no good choice to be made there and Valjean himself was in a daze for much of it, but telling Marius of his past was purely selfish. All it did was put Marius in the position of having to lie to Cosette. Honesty to help someone else is good. Honesty that hurts someone else so you can have the relief of telling the truth is crappy. Especially when you make me cry for you anyway when you do it, you jerk.

Marius didn't annoy me quite so much, because he is a DORK and he will never escape his innate dorkness and I cannot help but be fond of that. I especially enjoyed how he somehow came to the conclusion that Valjean, the ex-convict, ratted out M Madeleine for being an ex-convict, and then stole his money? Somehow? I mean. I appreciate that, at this juncture in the narrative, it is difficult for Marius to imagine that Valjean could be a particularly good or selfless person, but I love how he came up with the only scenario that could possibly be more convoluted than what actually happened.

And I'm not even dealing with Cosette. That is my approach to female characters in pre-twentieth century literature in general, because they tend to be, oh, thinly written? So I accept it when they suck, as they so frequently do, and I ignore them. Cultural context and yadda and there's no point to getting worked up, really. But I just could not quite overlook that she was so wrapped up in being married that her father slipped her mind. I suppose if I thought about it I could hammer it into something that makes sense, but I don't WANT to think about it. It HURTS my BRAIN. What the fuck is wrong with her?


Anyway. Now I can't quite decide what to do next. I want to read at least parts of it over again, and I have to go back and read Waterloo, because I kind of, um, lost my patience and skipped half of it. But also I think I need to read something slightly less taxing. Which is EVERYTHING EVER PUBLISHED, so. Any recommendations? Funny is good, please. Depressing is bad.
catslash: (this could be a little more sonic - cred)
( Oct. 27th, 2008 01:44 am)
There are many things I could be doing right now, with various levels of productiveness and importance. But, I spent the evening rewatching a few episodes of Doctor Who's series four, so instead I wrote an incomprehensible drabble.

This is a Doctor Who/Les Miserables crossover, and will make no sense if you haven't seen DW 4x11, "Turn Left." For that matter, it might not make sense even if you have.

Marius draws breath to tell of the Jondrettes, and falters. )
catslash: (Sarah Jane: pure awesome)
( Oct. 22nd, 2008 12:37 pm)
The Sarah Jane Adventures!

. . . okay, first let's get the obligatory Les Mis geekery out of the way. Look, it's not my fault if it keeps popping up everywhere. (You should see me in English 245, where we are currently studying poetry. "This poem is about Valjean! This essay is about Marius being a tremendous dork!") Clyde's birthday is June fifth, which is the day the 1832 revolution began.

(Geeky real life birthday coincidence: My little brother was born on March twenty-fifth, which is the day Sauron fell. When he is old enough, I will explain this to him, and he will probably look at me funny.)


2x05, The Secrets of the Stars )
catslash: (what the shit Fantine? - credit 10little)
( Oct. 22nd, 2008 12:05 am)
I have been generally unproductive today, to a generally depressing degree, so I decided that, if nothing else, I would at least get the Les Mis ficbit I keep mentioning typed up. (I'm also working slowly but steadily on the kiss challenge meme! If you haven't gotten an answer from me, don't worry, I'm getting there.) So here it is. It has officially been upgraded from "terrible" to "mediocre." At least, in my opinion, but then I'm sick of freaking looking at it.

This is Valjean/Javert, a strong PG-13 or so, and strictly musicalverse because - say it with me now - book!Javert remembered to bring backup. See, I told you that wasn't as random for me to fixate on as it seemed.

I am warning you, Javert/There is nothing I won't dare )

I would love some concrit on this. I have lost any and all perspective I might once have had on its actual quality and could really use some outside advice.
catslash: (Kenny)
( Oct. 21st, 2008 11:27 am)
YOU GUYS. [ profile] comme_un_buddha drew me a Javert the Telekinetic Supercop comic. Look!

Betsey, you are the best. ♥ ♥ ♥
catslash: (what the shit Fantine? - credit 10little)
( Oct. 21st, 2008 12:06 am)
I cannot remember a time in my life when I was not reading this book. And I will never be done.

And at this rate, I'm never going to get the slightly-less-horrible-than-before slash typed up, either.

I also appear to be collecting recordings of the musical, but since I have displayed a tendency to do that anyway (I already have, if you count movie soundtracks, three versions of Evita and two of Sweeney Todd), this is almost comforting in its familiarity. Even if the musical itself is becoming increasingly amusing as I get further along in the book. And musical!Javert is LAME, you guys, I still can't get over him trying arrest Valjean without backup when the whole thing with Valjean being ridiculously strong is how Javert recognized him in the first place. Book!Javert is all, "Amateur, get out of my way and quit making me look bad." It's not quite as random a detail for me to obsess over as it sounds, I swear.

I have this whole thing about how pretty much every major male character in the book is totally pure and chaste and virginal and all that stuff you usually find with female characters in older novels, and blah blah social issues blah blah, and how these days it just translates into making every last one of them look as gay as the day is long (especially Marius, ironically enough, since he's the only one of them who HAS a girlfriend), but that will have to wait until I have the brain for posting. Every last word of this post has been like pulling teeth. I just can't focus. So you've got that to look forward to, unless I forget. :D
catslash: (Hamlet - credit cionaudha)
( Oct. 15th, 2008 06:00 pm)
I am STILL reading Les Miserables. I'm nearly seven hundred pages in, which is a little over halfway through. I've been reading for about a week and a half, and I'm just going to go right ahead and toot my own horn here - it is extremely unusual for it to take me so long to read as much as I've read. I don't spend as much time reading as I used to, but I can still blow through a five-hundred page novel in a couple days if I've got the time and motivation to do it. But there's no blowing through Les Mis. There just isn't. It constantly requires me to slow down, to go back, sometimes because I'm not sure I read something right, sometimes because Hugo's sentences tend to involve about sixteen commas when he's really worked up, and sometimes just because I particularly liked something and want to read it again. It doesn't require the level of attention that, say, Shakespeare needs, but it's not just a book, either. It's eating my brain and I keep talking about it because I need to process it somehow. It's exhausting and exciting, and I know how this sounds, but I kind of understand why people call it life-changing. This is not a casual reading experience.

Of course, because I am me, I also have to point out that it is completely ridiculous. When last we met, I was gleefully expounding upon Valjean's daring escape from the courtroom following his confession via the simple expedient of walking out while people stared at him slack-jawed. Since then, he has scaled a fifteen-foot wall with his bare hands and almost been buried alive. And those are only a couple of the highlights. I don't want to give EVERYTHING away.

But let us not forget Javert! His superpowers are even cooler. Check it out:

Thenardier took hold of the pistol and aimed it at Javert. Javert, who was only three feet away, looked him steadily in the eye and merely said: "Don't shoot, please! You'll miss."

Thenardier pulled the trigger. He missed.

"What did I tell you!" said Javert.

Sure, Valjean is alarmingly strong and can climb walls with his bare hands, but Javert can dodge bullets from three feet away without moving. RIDICULOUS. I may be a little bit in love with Victor Hugo for so brazenly putting that in there, without any explanation whatsoever.

And of course, heightening the COMPLETE INSANITY of the plot are the constant digressions, where Hugo is mostly quite seriously discussing his philosophical beliefs or offering a detailed history lesson. The section following Javert the Supercop, for example, is thirty pages about a revolution in 1830 that didn't quite happen. Valjean's exploits in wall-climbing and near-death by burial are broken up by twenty pages of history on a (fictional, but only because Hugo decided not to use a real one for fear of causing offense) convent, followed by another ten on the evils of convents. The total clash between crazed melodrama and Srs Bzns just makes everything so much more amazing. Yes, they complement each other thematically as well, and the digressions always provide background and color that, even if they don't directly relate to the plot, still support and flesh out the story. But. Also hilarity. And I'm pretty sure Hugo is in on the joke.

I love this book so hard.
catslash: (fried gold - credit londonpie (??))
( Oct. 11th, 2008 11:35 pm)
I just finished watching a movie called Taken, which is out in the UK right now but apparently not scheduled to open in the States until next year. I watched it partly because it has Liam Neeson. I still have a soft spot for him from back in the days when I thought Qui-Gon Jinn was the best thing ever. I think I still have my Qui-Gon doll somewhere. (You know, in retrospect, the fact that I kept going for the fatherly characters and ignoring the ostensibly hot younger male characters should have been A HUGE FUCKING CLUE. But I digress.) Also, yes, Liam was in the Les Mis movie from 1998, part of which I watched this morning. I will probably get back to it. And then bitch about it. So I was in kind of a Liam-y mood.

But most of the reason? This trailer. This is an awesome trailer. I don't usually pay much attention to the quality of trailers themselves, but this one got me.

In reality, the movie kinda sucks. It's offensive on about twenty different levels and there is no actual logic to the plot and while I did watch the whole thing through (because "JEAN VALJEAN FUCKS EVERYONE'S SHIT UP" actually works eerily well as a plot summary: just pretend the kidnapped girl is Cosette. It's set in Paris! And he runs from the police!), I can't bring myself to recommend it.

I recommend the hell out of that trailer, though. Just pretend it's a story all by itself. I just watched it again, and now I'm all pissed at the movie for not living up to it. AND I'm pissed at it for not being based on a book that I bet would have been awesome, so I could at least have read that.
catslash: (yes! wait . . . - credit I have no idea)
( Oct. 9th, 2008 05:58 pm)
One of the things I am constantly encountering, in reading Les Miserables (look, reading a twelve hundred page novel is a very consuming thing, so it merits lots of posts), is discovering that Hugo's version of events frequently makes far more sense than the musical's. I keep going, "Ohh, that's why that happens!"

. . . of course, this is not always the case. Les Mis is, at heart, a melodrama that relies a lot on coincidence and dramatic events for the plot to run smoothly. Hugo takes the time to explain things (OH GOD, does he ever take the time to explain things) which helps a LOT in making everything believeable in the context of the story, but sometimes I just end up giggling anyway.

Take, for example, Valjean's confession of his identity and subsequent arrest/not arrest, depending on the version we're talking about.

In the musical, Valjean confesses to a courtroom that happens to contain Javert, which apparently was thought to make for simpler storytelling, or something. (Believe me, I understand that the musical's writers had to streamline a lot of the plot to make it work, and they did a great job with it. That does not mean that every decision they made makes sense.) Then he flees the building and runs . . . directly to Fantine's sickroom, which is an interesting choice given that he has to know that Javert is in hot pursuit and knows all about Fantine.

It works out, though, because apparently Javert thought that attempting to apprehend a man he knows to be almost inhumanly strong without bringing any reinforcement would be a great idea! So Valjean tries to reason with him, but then just knocks him out and goes on his merry way. Nice policework, Javert.

In the novel, Javert has left the courtroom before Valjean arrives, which means it takes time for him to hear about the confession, which means that Valjean (who, Hugo establishes, is in something of a state of shock, anyway) visiting Fantine makes more sense, because he's got the time to do it. Or at least it's logical for him to think he does. And when Javert does show up at the hospital, he has the sense to bring backup with him, so his attempt to arrest Valjean is successful and no one gets knocked out.

However. It also causes the following scenario to play out:

Valjean, at the courtroom: ". . . and so, as you can see, I am irrefutably Jean Valjean, the dangerous convict and recidivist."
Everyone else: *stares*
Valjean: "Yup, Jean Valjean, that's me. The whole kindly mayor thing is a total fabrication and I am the bad guy."
Everyone else: *stares* "W. T. F."
Valjean: "So, uh, whenever you want to get around to arresting me, I'm available."
Everyone else, including all members of the court empowered to make arrests: *stares*
Valjean: ". . . right. Okay. I'll, uh, be back in Montreuil-sur-mer, then. You know. For whenever you're ready to make the arrest."
Everyone else: *stares*
Valjean: *leaves*
Javert, from the next town over: "Am I the only person in this entire godforsaken novel who knows how to do my job?"

This makes more sense when you're reading it, since Hugo spends a lot of time playing up how "Monsieur le maire Madeleine" is a much-loved and worshipped pillar of the regional community, but then afterwards it's like, "Wait, did they really all just stand there and look at him?" And then I find myself thinking, "Man, Javert should have been there," and then the musical goes, "Nope, that wouldn't have worked either." And then I give up trying to make sense of a story that at one point relies on Valjean's ability to scale a sheer fifteen-foot wall and go on with my life.
catslash: (long day)
( Oct. 9th, 2008 12:40 am)
Things that combine poorly:

* Reading Les Miserables, which may be a story of redemption, but it is also a story of the seriously shitty and terrifying things people will do to each other;

* Attending a talk from a prospective Senator (Go Tom Allen!) during which he addresses exciting things like the economy, which scares me, and the energy situation, which is just depressing;

* Being on the bus and looking out to see a line of people outside the soup kitchen, waiting for it to open.

Any one, or maybe even two, of these things? Fine. It is grim, but I will deal. All three of them working together in my brain to cast a BLACK SHADOW OF WOE? I am not so good with that.

Luckily, after a few truly dismal, despairing seconds, I realized that my MP3 player was helpfully contributing by playing the most depressing song from The Fix's soundtrack, and I just had to laugh at the overkill. I mean, it was either that or pitch myself under the wheels of the bus.

Uh. In the interest of lightening this entry up a little, a question: When you guys read books that take place in other countries, do you find yourself going around trying to pronounce every non-English word you see with that language's accent, even when you know it's a completely different language? EVERYTHING IS FRENCH RIGHT NOW. Also, I usually default to Spanish pronunciation, so when I came across the name "Austin Castillejo" IN Les Mis I very nearly had an aneurysm from the resulting conflict in the language center of my brain.
catslash: (not mad)
( Oct. 5th, 2008 11:26 am)
Oh my god, I haven't posted in almost two weeks. How did that happen??


Things I have done in the past two weeks:

* Written two awesome papers and one crappy one.

* Accurately pegged a fellow classmate as nineteen based entirely on his world-weary disdain for the vast majority of society. I told him he reminded me of a cross between Chuck Bass (world-weary disdain etc) and Dan Humphrey (sense of intellectual superiority). I have a good feeling about his future self, though. He does, after all, have the taste and intelligence to dislike The Catcher in the Rye when he could just as easily go in the opposite direction and identify with it. *shudder*

* Spent two hundred bucks at Amazon on my textbook for the semester. The most expensive one was a bit over fifty bucks. And I didn't even buy them used. Let's hear it for a) being an English major (no expensive math or science textbooks!) and b) having budget-conscious professors!

* Part of that order was the latest translation of Les Miserables. You guys, I have finally found a translated novel that I can enjoy reading. I am very wary of translations. So often something goes wrong and the book ends up feeling detached, like instead of reading the story, I am reading about the story. This is a really good one, though; the translator, Julie Rose, has updated some of the language and used idioms to make it more accessible and genuine, but has still kept the feel of a novel that takes place in early-ish nineteenth century France. I don't know much about translation, or about Les Mis, but the quotes on the book jacket tell me that she has given the novel "the captivating tone Hugo would have struck for his own contemporaries." This makes a lot of sense to me. Older novels can be such dry going for modern readers, but they wouldn't have been back when they were published, would they? (I mean, unless they sucked.) So, anyway, I'm enjoying the book a lot, and I know I have Julie Rose as well as Victor Hugo to thank for that. You can be reading the most amazing book in the world, but if the translation is crap, you'll never know it.

* TV! Gossip Girl and Supernatural and Dexter and House and The Sarah Jane Adventures! I should probably get back in gear and start writing post-ep reactions again. And maybe I can even keep them below the epic length that my Doctor Who series four ones tends to reach.

OH I HAVE A VERY IMPORTANT QUESTION. Ugly Betty people! I got irritated and disillusioned with the show last year for starting to rely too much on easy jokes and contrived, cheap crap. I made it through the entirety of season two and decided not to continue for season three, but - the episode blurbs are making me curious. So, has it gotten better? It is anywhere near the standard of awesome that the first season set? Or should I just let it go?

* Ridiculous things in Milliways that I won't specify here because the five people on my flist who care are fellow Milliwaysers and already know. For the most part. But trust me, they are ridiculous. (The things. Not the people.)

* Whiling away boring lectures by writing terrible Les Mis slash. I think I might be able to turn it into something that doesn't suck, but right now, I would not show it to another human being.

So! That's what I've been doing. Uh. I will try not to let another two weeks pass before my next post. :D?
catslash: (not mad)
( Sep. 15th, 2008 07:20 pm)
MY BRAIN. Is a muddle. Here is what my day has contained.

* The Torchwood audio play. Yes, yes, I know I have very loudly quit Torchwood, but I have a weakness for audio stuff. And I knew it would be hilarious. And I was not wrong. I'm going to have to listen to it again soon. CANDYFLOSS.

* As per a deal I made with [ profile] maggiesox, I am listening to Les Miserables in its entirety, start to finish, for the first time. Ever. I know quite a few of the songs, because we sang a medley in chorus when I was in eighth grade (mmm, uplifting) and I was still young enough then so that I now, eleven years later, still know every word. I even bought the Broadway soundtrack at that time, but being young and free of any sort of taste in music, I didn't really care much about any of the songs I didn't already know.

So. I mentioned that in Maggie's presence, and a deal was brokered: I would listen to Les Miz if she would finally listen to The Fix. I am holding up my end of the bargain, which is not exactly a chore, because I am of course enjoying it immensely.

And I just HAPPEN to have the recording with Philip Quast as Javert. Quast also plays my favorite character in The Fix, one Grahame Chandler. Total coincidence, really!

* And then there is the paper on Hamlet. We're reading Hamlet in my literary-analysis-or-whatever-the-hell-it's-called class, and had to do a "close reading" of a selection, which basically means "write at least three pages on ten to fifteen lines." I picked one of Claudius's, because I have a weakness for sympathetic villains. (See above in re: Grahame Chandler. Also, I bet we can all guess who is going to be my favorite Les Miz character.) (Incidentally, I believe Philip Quast could play an excellent Claudius. Grahame practically IS Claudius, just with polio and being in love with his nephew instead of his sister-in-law.) (See what I mean about my brain being a muddle?) Plus, it happens to contain one of my favorite selections in the play: "Do it, England/For like the Hectic in my Blood he rages/And thou must cure me." Grahame is so not the only one with a thing for his nephew.

(And yes, I managed three pages out of eleven lines effortlessly. I talk too much. If you had not noticed this, then hi, I'm Cathryn, nice to meet you.)

Also, somewhere in all that, during my play analysis class, was some brief discussion of Augustus Wilson's The Piano Lesson, which I saw last year for my Intro to Theatre class and you should totally go see it if there is a production in your area, because it's pretty awesome.

But anyway. Torchwood and Les Miz and Hamlet and too many parallels with The Fix in both casting and theme and if I DON'T have seriously strange dreams tonight, I will be very disappointed in my brain.


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