Sunday, April 1, 2012

"Change In All Things Is Sweet." -- Aristotle

Into the Abyss!

OK, this is my first post in the A To Z Challenge! I went back and forth about what to do each day, as far as theme... I have decided to simply extrapolate on what I normally do, which is -- everybody say it with me -- TALK ABOUT ME!!! Woohooo! So I've assembled a lengthy list of my "favorite" things, and then alphabetized each category, and will pull from them each day, provided I have content for each letter... you know, Favorite Books/Movies/Actors/Songs/Games/Etc.

I briefly considered simply coming up with a crass synonym for "passing wind" each day (trust me, I can think of one for each letter, easy), but then you would lose what little respect you have left for me, and I would die a lonely, broken (though self-satisfied and amused) man, steeped in shame and ignominy.

Here we go!

Favorite Movies (A):

Aliens (1986): Talk about intense, this was the first (and only) movie I ever had to pause and walk away from for a half-hour before coming back to finish watching it. It came out when I was still in high school (1986), but I didn't see it until it came out on VHS. It got 7 Academy Award Nominations, including a Best Actress nod for Sigourney Weaver (a landmark nomination, considering the genre). Entertainment Weekly has rated it the second best action movie of all time (behind Die Hard). As for me, it marks the only time I will mention Bill Paxton for his acting... his turn as Hudson, as well as Michael Biehn's turn as Hicks, stood out as highlights for me. Ironically, they were both also in Tombstone, another movie on my Favorites List (actually, Die Hard is on the list as well...) High tension, extremely quotable.

Amadeus (1984):  Nominated for 11 Academy Awards -- and winning 8 -- this is one of my all-time Faves. Both lead actors were nominated for Best Actor. As much as I enjoyed F. Murray Abraham's performance as Salieri (for which he won the Oscar), I enjoyed Tom Hulce's amazing performance as Mozart even more. Such an unhinged, explosive performance, I enjoy it every time I watch it. Oddly, neither of them have done much of note since. Oh, they've been busy (Abraham more-so than Hulce), but nothing anywhere near the caliber or acclaim of Amadeus. Emotionally draining, but rewarding.

All About Eve (1950): Absolutely love this script. The dialog is incredible, as are the performances from the entire cast. In fact, among the 14 Academy Award Nominations it received (winning 8), there are no less than 5 nominations for the actors/actresses. The only actor/actress that won was George Sanders for his memorable turn as Addison DeWitt. They could make a movie about all the behind the scenes drama that went on as the film was made. Like a real soap opera. Absolutely love Bette Davis' performance as aging stage actress Margo Channing in this film. Also featured an unknown Marilyn Monroe. Great story, even better writing.

[Honorable Mention: The Abyss (1989)]

Favorite Songs (A):

All The Heavens, by Third Day:

[Honorable Mentions: All I Can Say by David Crowder 
Amsterdam by Coldplay
And Your Praise Goes On, by Chris Rice]

Favorite Bands (A):

Alter Bridge: These guys basically used to be Creed (a band which I hesitatingly admit that I also like a lot), and they have some terrific music - several examples of which will be making appearances on the appropriate days this month. Honestly, I never even heard of Creed or Alter Bridge until after the controversy surrounding their split... from what I understand (which isn't much, honestly, because I don't really care), many people soured on the band after the controversy erupted. Thankfully I missed all of it, and can merely enjoy their music. 

Here is Before Tomorrow Comes, for your listening pleasure!!!

[Honorable Mention: Angels & Airwaves]

People I'd Like To Meet (A): 

Kurt Angle: Yes, Kurt Angle is a pro wrestler. He was a legitimate champion amateur wrestler before becoming a Sports Entertainer... in fact, he won the Olympic Gold Medal in 1996 in the Altanta summer games. He is an incredible athlete - you should see him move in the ring. There's a huge difference between wrestlers raised in and groomed for sports entertainment, and those that come from amateur wrestling backgrounds. His athleticism is a joy to watch, he's ultra-tough and ultra-competitive, and thus his matches are different, and a lot of fun to watch. I'm not anywhere near as into pro wrestling as I used to be, but I'll watch a Kurt Angle match any time.

[Honorable Mention: Scott Adams (creator of Dilbert)]

Favorite Authors (A): 

Joe Abercrombie: Surprise! One of my very favorite authors of any genre, Abercrombie is first of all engaging, and also equal parts gritty, funny, brutal, and most importantly entertaining. His style agrees with me (perhaps) more than any other author. I feel like I've been turned loose when I read him. It's hard to explain - I just fall right in and go, go, go. Extremely satisfying characters, action, story and dialog. What I love about his work is that at any time, he could sneak in a line of dialog or description that will just make me bust up laughing. Great books, and hopefully many more to come. I put him right up there with Steven Pressfield as my very favorite authors. If you enjoy fantasy writing with an edge, and can handle liberal amounts of violence and hard language, pick up these books and feast, my friend. Those are the times, indeed.

Favorite Book Characters (A):

Ametheus (from Second Sight, by Greg Hamerton): Though Ametheus is alluded to in The Riddler's Gift, he doesn't really make his appearance until Second Sight. He's a sorcerer who is pure chaos in bodily form. Even though he stands against the Gyre of Wizards, and is poised to bring about the end of the whole world that Greg Hamerton has so thoroughly and fascinatingly created, it would be inaccurate to call him "evil." I think that's a bit of a cop-out. He is what he is, whatever label you want to put on it. His personality, being steeped in chaos, is fractured into pieces, each piece pulling Ametheus in a different direction. His power is such that, among other things, he can restructure the world, swapping around great swaths of land and sky, so that it's like a giant patchwork quilt, and has laced the entire realm (save Eyri) with wildfyre, to prohibit anyone else (especially the Gyre of Wizards that oppose him) from using magic. Truly a multi-layered, fascinating and (in a sense) sympathetic character, I highly recommend both The Riddler's Gift and Second Sight so you can get to know him yourself.

[Honorable Mention: Arlen from The Warded Man by Peter Brett]


I think I'll leave it at that for now. I had other categories, but I think post length is getting to be an issue. Not sure if I'll keep up this approach to my alphabet posts or not - I guess that depends on the feedback I get. If you just skimmed it and thought it overmuch and/or overdone, let me know, and I'll just pick one or two things per day/letter, and clump the rest into a single end paragraph.

Adios for now.

Dave the Absorbed, Addled and Ambivalent


Rebecca said...

This post is amazing, but maybe a bit excessive! I don't know how you can keep it up this whole month. I know why they encourage people to have short posts this month. I only have gone through about 12 blogs so far and my brain is already spinning. Very impressive though. Looking forward to discovering the rest of the alphabet with you.

Anonymous said...

Third Day is my all-time favorite. I have all their albums. Good Call.

I now have a list on my desktop of "Books to Read." I appreciate people of like-mindedness taking the time to weed out the baddies. My whimsical side won, I put in a reserve for Heroes at the library :)

I'm curious about "Aliens," as the Title alone drove me away. Once again, I'll now push past genre-comfort zone and give it a whirl. Bette Davis was a genius. I've seen all her movies, sometimes made my skin crawl, but certain characters call for that.

Looking forward to "B"

Beth A.

deathwriter said...

Wow! What a post! I saw in your profile that you are a bit socially anxious. Me too. It's part of my a post, so stop on by.

Donna Brown said...

Great post - I'm not sure I have the memory to recall so many favourite things over a month but I certainly think you're going to have some very very interesting posts!

Have a great month!

M.J. Fifield said...

Amadeus is one of my all time favorite movies.

I think I only known one Alter Bridge song (Save Me) but I liked it enough to put it on my iPod.

M.J. Fifield
My Pet Blog

Man O' Clay said...

Quite a post. If you have to, you could always fall back on the breaking wind boys and I would at least have a chuckle!

David Wagner said...

Reb: It's not that hard, actually... it must look more impressive than it is. Nothing's easier for me than talking about stuff I really like. Tracking down the appropriate artwork is the only time-consuming part... but I'm comfortable in Photoshop, so it's all good. We'll see.

Beth: My "To Be REad" List is an unwieldy beast, but I love it so... still, I keep getting drawn back to books I've read and enjoyed, rather than trying only new things. I think I want to find time this spring to re-read The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man's Fear again... Let me know what you think of the movie Aliens... fasten your seatbelt for that one...

Death: I'll definitely drop by yours after writing these comments. Thanks for dropping in.

Donna: When you're hooked on all forms of entertainment like I am, it's relatively easy to accumulate large lists of Favorites... we'll see if I can carry it through the month, or if I burn out... I am an easily-distracted sort of fellow...

MJ: Alter Bridge has some great stuff - if you've got time to kill, nose around on YouTube and give some of their songs a listen.

MOC: I suppose I could edit "air biscuit" into today's post... and "butt-whistle" into tomorrows...

Konstanz Silverbow said...

It's wonderful to get to know you! When doing my interview for the A to Z blog, it took me THREE WEEKS to come up with answers to the questions I was asked. I honestly don't think I could talk about myself for a month but it sure will be fun to read your posts. Good luck!

Konstanz Silverbow
A to Z Co-host

PencilGirl said...

Hello! :)
Awesome idea to talk about all of your favourites for each letter of the alphabet. Although I will admit I skimmed a little. :P
Actually, pretty much everything on your list is unfamiliar territory for me. So it became an overdose of new stuff. Except for Aliens, Amadeus and Creed, I don't think I'd ever even heard of the rest. Might have heard about Kurt Angle, but dunno for sure. (My brother watches wrestling, I don't.) I have heard/read about Aliens and Amadeus though I've never seen them. I've heard one song by Creed and totally love it. I'm gonna go check out a few new songs today.. :)
I liked All the Heavens, but I don't think AlterBridge is quite my thing.
Anyway, I loved the way you write. It's totally fun. Will definitely be back for more, and maybe even pick up a few new favourites.. :D
Happy A-Zing! :)

Gwen said...

Joe Abercrombie sounds like an author I should go check out. I love edgy fantasy.

nita said...

I love Amadeus! And your song choices are pretty good, too. I also like the little note at the end describing you with the day's letter :)

logankstewart said...

"All the Heavens" is such a killer song. And look at all these comments... I might have to try this A to Z thing out, too.

Great post. All your Abercrombie loving is making me wanna re-read some stuff, especially Best Served Cold, just to see if I like it any better now.

Abbie Josephsen said...

Good first post Dave :) You really like those Hamerton books! I should check them out this summer when I have time to do leisurely things :)

Anonymous said...

Wow, your post are amazing and full of so much content. I love the photos and extras you have added. This has to be one of the most intensive A to Z offerings. I look forward my daily visit!