Saturday, April 7, 2012

"Knowledge Is A Weapon. I Intend to be Formidably Armed." -- Terry Goodkind

That's Mt. Roriama, in Venezuela, also known as the world tallest "flat" mountain, lol, whatever that means. All I know is, it looks pretty cool with the clouds all snug up to it like that. It actually looks quite cool without the clouds as well...

Here, check it out...

That... is cool. A bunch of waterfalls... Wonder where that water flows from? But I don't wonder strongly enough to actually want to go Google it and find out!

Yeah, I know, today is an A-to-Z Day, right. Pictures of Mt. Roriama don't really fit into the letter G at all. Sorry. I just had to post them! I gotta be me, man! I gotta be me!!!1!

OK, fine, we'll segue into tonight's G entries... tonight, I am a G-Man...

(By the way... Wifey is laughing uproariously in the other room with the kids. It's a wonderful sound.)

OK, now we're off...

Favorite Movies (G):

Ghostbusters (1984): Tonight's Bill Murray double feature starts with Ghostbusters, which is one of the great comedy scripts of all time. Honestly, I don't feel that the film is aging very well. Yes, there are an overwhelming number of quotable lines of dialog in this film, from just about every character, major and minor... but the strong occultish overtones have always been somewhat unpalatable to me... so I have a sort of love/hate relationship with this film. So many wonderful moments, so many great comedic performances... but for the most part, it is a film that works best for me in my memory, rather than in repeated watchings. I can't recall who I sat down and watched it with, but it was this person's first time... and I was almost embarrassed by the demonic scenes in it. Bah, anyway, the abundance of great humor ensures it holds a spot on my Favorites list, even if I don't/won't re-watch it much...

Groundhog Day (1993): The second film in tonight's double-feature is another one of the great comedy scripts of all time... and THIS one I can watch endlessly. Not nearly as quotable, but just as full of great moments. This might be my favorite Bill Murray performance... you know, most of his roles are pretty similar... he has certain looks and mannerisms that are common in all of his movies (plus, he has to sing in every movie! Why, Bill! You have an awful voice! Just stop already!)

Now that I think on it, his performance in The Man Who Knew Too Little might rank up there with this one... but that's for "M Day" and not today! Sheesh, Dave, keep it together! Also, Meatballs, Caddyshack, What About Bob, The Royal Tenenbaums, Scrooged, Rushmore, Tootsie... man, Bill has been in some classics. He's also been in some turds, but, hey, you can't win them all... But that's for M-Day!

Today is G-Day, and that means...

Favorite Actors (G):

Mel Gibson: Look, I know the guy is a loon, alright? I get that. Still, there's no denying the man is a world-class actor. Monday, for "H-Day", I will wax eloquent and long-winded about (perhaps) my favorite movie of all time, Hamlet (the one starring Mel Gibson, not that steaming Ken Brannagh turd), in which Gibson gives an acting clinic of the highest caliber. But he's also owned the lead roles of many great (and not-so-great) movies, both comedy and drama. Other than Braveheart, he's been snubbed at the Oscars... but I think he's great, going all the way back to Gallipoli (1981). Sure, he's had his share of turds as well, I'm not saying he's perfect... but he produced The Passion of the Christ, which was a cinematic achievement (in brutality, if nothing else). In any case, for his role in Hamlet alone, he shall always have a place at my table, should he ever drop by for dinner unannounced some night... (there's no alcohol in the house, so it should be fine...)

Favorite Skateboarder (G):

Mark "The Gonz" Gonzales: This guy... man, how to describe him? Back in the eighties, in the early days of street skating, this guy was the man. He was so creative, and unique, in his style, appearance and persona, he was great fun to watch and read about. He was like the anti-Pete Eldridge - just sloppy and goofy-looking and ragdoll and sketchy... he didn't skate pretty, but he was fearless. And he was also a pioneer, not just inventing tricks, but helping to invent an entire genre. Back in the day, people either skated pools, or did "free-style" tricks in a flat space. Gonz helped take things to the streets - to curbs, banks, benches, sets of stairs, ledges, handrails... around-the-city stuff that everyone has done for the past two decades... Gonz and a couple others opened the door for all that. But I think what stands out most for me was his strongly weird, creative, artistic nature. Good memories.

This first clip may seem tame, by today's standards... but trust me, back in 1991, this was amazing...

There's a funny story behind this next clip. Mark had his eye on this spot at a carwash, which had this long, narrow rooftop that could be ollied off of and into a crazy-steep embankment. He kept trying to summon the nerve to try it. He could ride along the top of the embankment and dive down it, but he couldn't quite find the steel to try to dive in from the roof. On the night he went with some friends to film him trying to do it, another great skateboarder of the time (John Cardiel) was with him, and ended up trying - and completing - it first, which was awesome, but a bummer to Gonz... when Gonz tried to do it right afterwards, he fell and slid about 8 feet on his chin in the street... OUCH.

Not sure if he ever tried it after that. Once someone else does it first, what's the point, eh?

Some book stuff, and I'm out... it is the weekend, you know! Places to go, people to see!

Favorite Books (G):

Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield (1998): Surprise surprise! Yes, not only is this book on my Favorite Books list, it stands perched at the very tippy-top! The story of the only survivor of the famous last stand of the Spartans against the Persian hordes at the pass at Thermopylae. I wrote a gushing review of the book here, in case you want to read about how much I love this book... let me just say, if I was still single, I'd marry this book in a heartbeat! And we would live happily ever after, I'm sure.

Favorite Book Characters (G):

I've got two characters by the great Joe Abercrombie. The first is a former sword-master and hero who somehow survives two long years in the hands of enemy torturers, only to emerge as a savagely crippled, wrecked mess of a person... and land a job back home in the Office of the Inquisition, tasked with using his special intimate knowledge of torture to extract information from people for King and Country. His weird name is Sand dan Glokta, and he is a remarkable character. As a reader, you at once pity and admire him. And in spite of it all, the man is brilliant and funny, and reading about his travails in The First Law series is fascinating (though often grimace-inducing).

The other character is a large bull of a man who is also a master swordsman - and an unstoppable beast on the battlefield - but is saddled with a squeaky falsetto voice that makes him a mockery off the battlefield. He's absolutely saturated with self-pity, and longs with a burning passion to be on the battlefield, which is the only place he feels alive, unstoppable, godlike even. His name is Bremer dan Gorst, and reading about his exploits on the battlefield in The Heroes makes me so glad that I know how to read, lol... and so glad that Joe Abercrombie decided to take up writing in the first place.

Seriously, the characters he creates are just terrific, across the board. I can't say enough good things about the man and the books he's written. And I am champing at the bit to get Red Country this fall, and catch up with one of my other favorite characters - the dreaded Bloody-Nine himself. Bring it on, my friend!

Odds & Ends (G):

Favorite Songs: Get Right With Me (Depeche Mode), Gifted Response (Matt Redman).


Well, that, as they say, is that. Not sure whether I'll take Sunday off from blogging or not... I mean, it is going to be Easter and all... still, I have lost of other goodies I'd like to share, that aren't related to a specific letter... maybe I'll just save it all until May.

In any case, I'll be back on Monday with some great H material.

Until then, adios for now.

Dave the Gone


Rebecca said...

Crazy skateboard vid. I love how the cars whizzing by on the street don't have any bearing on the equation of skating down the embankment.

No Game of Thrones?

And why isn't a flat-top mountain just called a plateau?

Have a great Easter Dave!

Rory L. Aronsky said...

Looks like a great mountain from which to hit a few golf balls.

David Wagner said...

Reb: I thought I'd save GRRM for "M Day" and "S Day" (for Song of Ice and Fire), and cover the whole series rather than mention each individual book... though I suppose it wouldn't have hurt to add A Game of Thrones as an Honorable Mention...

Rory: Not sure if the people way down below would be able to hear you shout "FORE!" :D

logankstewart said...

You know my feelings of Bremer. Don't get what you see in him. I echo Glokta, though. And what do you mean "catch up with... the Bloody-Nine?" Is this just a fleeting hope or has Abercrombie revealed something that I've missed?!

Pretty cool mountain view.

David Wagner said...

Logan: "His name is Logen Ninefingers. And he’s back for one more adventure… Joe Abercrombie is the most successful genre novelist of his generation, with a remarkable, cynical and powerful voice cutting through the clich├ęs of the fantasy genre to create something compelling and exceptionally commercial. A Red Country is his most powerful novel yet."

In the Gollancz Fall catalog... saw this on A Dribble of Ink last week...

Abbie Josephsen said...

that is a very awesome plateau/mountain! good post dave :) still need to read gates of fire... I probably should compile a list for summer reading. No school this summer!! woot woot!!! :)

Ethan Fowler said...


Dianna Fielding said...

Cool "G" post! I love Ghostbusters, haha. And that mountain was great. :)

Good luck with the challenge!

Dianna Fielding