Monday, April 30, 2012

"Every Obnoxious Act Is A Cry For Help." -- Zig Ziglar

OK, ladies and gentlemen, we have reached the end of the A-to-Z Challenge! Woohoo!

And as a treat for you all (I use the term 'treat' loosely, lol), I have undertaken to create a new Z-Themed Wagnervana Episode for you.

Click it to read it better - it's in 2 parts... I'll have a little Q&A with the artist afterwards...

Q&A with David Wagner (interview by Dave Wagner):

Dave: OK, David, so my first question is, are you in fact insane?

David: Certifiable. It says so on my resume.

Dave: Excellent, we'll get along just fine then. OK, I have a few questions about your Wagnervana comic strip. Why do you make new strips so infrequently?

David: Because they are a butt-load of work, and I'm normally way too lazy to contemplate such a thing.

Dave: A side note; is it burdensome to carry around a nose that size?

David: No, not at all. We go on adventures together all the time.

Dave: Excellent. OK, so about the quality of the artwork in your strips... why do you have such a hard time drawing faces the same in each panel? I mean, look at Vye for example! He looks different each time he appears! Plus, his proportions vary wildly.

David: Yeah, well, I was born in the back of a truck.

Dave: Ah, I see now. Thank you. Moving on, is there any particular reason you wanted to make Nic Cage your new neighbor?

David: I thought it would be funny.

Dave: Is it because you're so tired right now that you thought it would be funny?

David: Yes. I think I'm even hallucinating right now. Are you my mother?

Dave: No. A final question and I'll let you get some sleep. Do you honestly think anyone else will find this latest strip amusing at all?

David: No clue. All I can do after finally finishing a strip is post it and hope for the best. I've had pretty good luck so far with people liking them. If not, at least my mother still loves me. You are my mother, right?

Dave: And that's all the time we have for tonight. Thank you, David, for the interview. Might I suggest a nap, a breath mint and professional psychiatric help. Good night.

David: Good night. Zzzzzzzzz.........

Saturday, April 28, 2012

"When It Was Over, It Was Not Really Over, and That Was the Trouble." -- Frank Yerby

Ah, we arrive at the day loved by philosophers and 4-year-olds worldwide.... Y Day! I've been asking myself that question all day today...

Honestly, I'm running on fumes here, both in content and enthusiasm. I have a couple of Y songs, and a Book character for Z Day, but that's about it. I think I'll knock them both out today, fire off a few stats, and then work on my Z Day surprise... yeah, this old dog has a Z Trick or two up his sleeve....

Favorite Songs: 
You Cause As Much Sorrow by Sinead O'Connor 
You Can Rise by Becker, Dente and Ashton.

Favorite Book Characters: 
Zarost from The Riddler's Gift by Greg Hamerton.

So the stats run-down is as follows: 16 Games, 36 Movies, 17 Actors, 13 Performances, 30 People I'd Like To Meet, 15 Bands/Singers, 66 Songs, 19 Books (counting series volumes), 7 Authors, 21 Book Characters, 28 Movie Characters, 6 TV Characters, 6 Comics, and 9 Websites/Blogs.

I suppose I could try, now that I'm at the end, to come up with my Very Favorite in each category, but really, who gives a crap, right? These lists are semi-subjective anyway... I'm sure if I did this again in a year, the list would be different... not completely, of course, but in part at least. Bigger at the very least, as I gave more focused thought to it. Still, it was a fun personal journey, as boring as that sounds. I'm glad I did it, but I'm also glad it's over.

I could try and get all clever on you, and riff on "Why" for a while, or fire off a poem, but I've pulled too many consecutive 2am bedtimes in a row this month, and my brain feels like that half-gallon ice cream container you have in the back of your freezer... a little bit left at the bottom, all iced-over and forgotten. Gonna regroup and get on my Z-Day surprise. I hope it's as good in reality as it is in my head at the moment...

What the heck, here's a poem for you anyway, in departing...

Thanks again to everyone that popped in all month and dropped all those tasty comments.

See you Monday.

Dave the Yawn

Friday, April 27, 2012

"When You Use Words, You're Able To Keep Your Mind Alive." -- Gao Xingjian

Hello, all. Aren't you sick o' me yet? Sick of having to hear about my favorites all the time? Are you glad the A-to-Z Challenge is nearing its conclusion? It's been fun for me, I won't lie. I hope you've at least got some sort of entertainment out of it as well.

Today is X Day, and I know I said I'd have something different for you today... I did wrack my brain, trying to come up with something, but in the end, I decided that I'd make X Day a day to discuss some of my Least Favorites... sort of turn the theme on its head and look at things from the opposite angle.

Of course, that presented certain unforeseen problems... I mean, if I'm reading a book or watching a movie that sucks, I'll stop watching it. If I hear a song that sucks, I won't listen to it again. If I read a character in a book that sucks, he/she simply evaporates from my brainpan and I don't retain the info. I make little-to-no room in my brainpan for crappy stuff. That means if they get mentioned here, they are especially worthy of it... so bad I remember them, that sort of thing...

So in order to make the list for today's post, I set myself certain parameters... including...

Least Favorite Movie: I had to have seen the whole film, and the film has to have been partially well-received or liked by others. I couldn't pick a widely-reviled film.
Least Favorite Actor/Actress: I had to have seen this person in several roles that flat out were awful, thus demonstrating  a marked lack of talent. Plus, he/she had to have a widely-recognized name.
Least Favorite Movie/TV Performance: I had to have actually seen the entire movie.
Least Favorite Movie Character: I had to have seen and otherwise liked the film.
Least Favorite Author/Book: I had to have finished the book.
Least Favorite Band/Singer: Widely recognizable, unique sound, otherwise-popular.

So let's start, eh?

Least Favorite Movie:

Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace (1999): This category had many possibilities, but fortunately, the ultimate choice for Least Favorite was easy. The whole trilogy is a mess, from concept to finish, but the Phantom Menace was so shockingly bad -- after such unprecedented hype -- that it amazes me to this day. The characters were so shallow as to be non-existent. The plot incomprehensibly dull. The acting laughably horrid, thanks in part to the most inane dialog ever set to page, and the most lackluster direction possible. Plus, Jar Jar Binks. Words cannot adequately describe what a monumental turd this film is. Simon Cowell and I give it a big thumbs down.

[Honorable Mentions: Speed (1994); Twister (1996); Team America: World Police (2004); Jurassic Park 3 (2001); The Godfather Part 3 (1990); Gran Torino (2008)]

Least Favorite Actor:
(I had to have seen several different roles)

Nicolas Cage: For a man who's been acting in movies for over 30 years, Nic has a remarkable percentage of near-unwatchable turds among them. Granted, given enough attempts, even a lousy actor can stumble into a good role/film, and Cage has a couple of those -- plus, shockingly, he has a Best Actor Oscar for Leaving Las Vegas (which I admittedly have not seen) -- but for the most part, it never ceases to surprise me that he keeps cranking out film after film after film... Usually, as a viewer, when I see him I run the other way.

Bill Paxton: This guy annoys me to no end. When he's playing roles where his purpose is to annoy the viewer to no end, he's tolerable (Aliens, True Lies... uh... Weird Science perhaps?) He was the weak link in Tombstone, Apollo 13 and Titanic, he reigned over Twister as the King of Awful Acting, limped his way through A Simple Plan... look, I'm sure he's a great guy in real life and all, but why o why is he on screen in any capacity? I haven't seen the polygamy HBO series that he stars in (Big Love), but it ran for 5 seasons (so far?) , so he must be doing something right.

[Honorable Mentions: Robin Williams, William H Macy, David Caruso, Jack Black, Diane Keaton]

Least Favorite Movie Performance:

Kenneth Branagh as Hamlet in Hamlet (1996): This movie is soooo full of awful, I hardly know where to begin. The casting alone could be used to teach a course in How Not To Cast A Movie. Absolutely laughable, from the lead role on down... many of the actors and actresses are top notch in and of themselves, but in the roles they are near-universally WRONG. The exceptions being a Nicholas Ferrell as a tolerable Horatio and Rufus Sewell as a strong Fortinbras. But Branagh's performance in the lead role was infuriatingly bad - I could blame the director, but he directed it himself. I forced myself to watch the entire thing, based upon the faulty assumption that a man who produced such a great Henry V would have to do Hamlet justice. He did not. Zefirelli's Hamlet (with Mel Gibson) is so far better as to leave it in the dust completely. Shame on you, Kenneth. Simon and I give you a thorough thumbs down.

[Honorable Mentions: Hayden Christensen in the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy
William Shatner in every Star Trek episode and film
Richard Dreyfuss' voice as narrator in Stand By Me (1986)]

Least Favorite Movie Character:
(In a movie I otherwise really liked)

Ruby Rhod (Chris Tucker in The Fifth Element (1997)): This character was mildly amusing for about the first 4 minutes - then he became tedious, then annoying, then infuriating. Good thing the film itself is so awesome.

Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt in Inglourious Basterds (2009)): Way too corny and over-the-top for me. Grating, unpalatable. Watchable, but only barely. Christoph Waltz is the main (only?) reason to watch the movie.

[Honorable Mentions: Darla from Finding Nemo (2003)]

Least Favorite TV Character:

Lt. Horatio Caine (David Caruso in CSI: Miami): OMG, my wife loves this guy -- LOVES him. He's such an insufferable d-bag, I honestly have no idea if it's the way the character is written, or if it is what Caruso brings to the role, as the actor. Whatever mad concoction resulted in this role, it is literally painful for me to watch it. He is so awful, so corny, like those clueless guys that think they're cool but don't realize they are complete dorks. And man, is he popular! I think he must really connect with a certain type of person... for me? I only watch it with my wife so I can marvel at how thoroughly, almost jaw-droppingly ridiculous the character is. Wow. Simon? Yep, a big thumbs down. Sorry, Horatio.

[Honorable Mention: Every person in a reality show, period.]

Least Favorite Band/Singer:

Beastie Boys: Again, there are admittedly a lot of lame, mediocre bands out there. For this category, the band/singer had to have a distinct sound, be widely-known and I had to have heard a wide selection of their music. This one is easy. The Beastie Boys have been around since forever, and for reasons unknown to me are considered pioneers and legends in the world of rap music. They are, without doubt in my mind, the worst rappers, worst lyric writers, worst musicians, and have the worst "sound" of any group or singer I've been exposed to. And they still get a TON of playtime on the local San Diego stations! I don't get it! Whiney voices, repetitive shallow lyrics, they say their own names about 50 times in every single song (in case we forget who they are, I guess), and they come across as just miserable people in general. They wouldn't get past Simon on America's Got Talent. What say you, Simon?

[Honorable Mentions: Red Hot Chili Peppers]

Least Favorite Book:
(That I finished reading)

Looking For Calvin & Hobbes by Nevin Martell (2009): Gads, I was so hyped to get this book when it was annouced, being a huge C&H fan. I was dying to hear from the creator Bill Watterson, and find out about the creation and history of the strip. Well, Watterson (a well-known recluse) had nothing to do with the book -- in spite of his name being great big on the cover, with Martell's name nice and small... the writing is grade-school level, repetitive, and about 50% filler/fluff. Very disappointing.

The Night Angel Trilogy (by Brent Weeks): I have to admit that the first book in the series is readable. He has some good ideas, and the character Durzo Blint is interesting. The rest of the characters (including Kylar, the MC) are weak, the magic system a mess, and the story inconsistent. And that's the best book of the three. It goes way downhill after that. Way too many characters with little to distinguish them from one another; way too many weird story decisions; flashes of remarkably lame dialog. Disappointing. I have, however, decide to give Weeks another shot. I am currently reading The Black Prism.

[Honorable Mention: The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub (1984)]

Odds and Ends:

Least Favorite Songs: Revolution #9 (The Beatles, White Album)
Least Favorite Games: RAGE by id Software (2010)
Least Favorite Book Characters: Craster (in the Song of Fire and Ice series by GRRMartin)
People I Would Not Like To Meet: Barney Frank (US Rep (D) Mass)

OK, well, that will have to be it for X-Day. I'm sure that with more time to think on it, the list could be expanded and refined, but I didn't have the time to really chew on it. I don't particularly like to dwell on negative stuff in any case.

If you'd like to take me to task for any of my choices, by all means, lets turn the comments section into a hotbed for wild-eyed debate. Lemme have it!

Adios for Now

Dave the X

Thursday, April 26, 2012

"I Was Trying To Daydream, But My Mind Kept Wandering." -- Steven Wright

Wow, they're walking on the edge of a white world! Why would wise wanderers want to wager their well-being on such a wild... uh... welativewy-wisky twek... uh... without... wealizing... um...

O, forget it.

Hey, guess what letter we're featuring today?! :D

Nope! I decided to start over with A! Back to the starting line with you all! MUAHAHAHA!!!!

OK, fine, we're doing W today. Which is coincidental, seeing as how it's W Day and all... we're going to start with Favorite Last Names... gee, I wonder which one I'll pick..? :P

Favorite Actors (W):

Denzel Washington: There are few people who hold the screen as well as Denzel. He's soooo smoooooth and powerful on screen. My fave, of course, being his Oscar-winning performance in Training Day (2001), which is a really good movie full of great performances (in spite of the rather gaping plot holes, lol). I also loved him in Devil With A Blue Dress (1995), where he played with Don Cheadle in a sort of noir-pseudo-detective story. His filmography is impressive indeed, including Cry Freedom, Glory, Malcolm X, Philadelphia, Crimson Tide, Remember the Titans, The Book of Eli and many, many others.

Bruce Willis: One of my 3 favorite Bruce's (along with Campbell and Lee), Bruce Willis can match Denzel in the Impressive Filmography category, for certain. Literally dozens of high-caliber movies - a few of my faves pictured in the montage above. While Denzel may be the more skilled of the two, Bruce is still enjoyable, although his range is rather limited. He plays the same type of character in just about all of his roles - which is fine with me. He does it well. I also liked Unbreakable, Fifth Element, The Whole Nine Yards, The Kid, Armageddon, The Last Boy Scout and others.

Favorite Movie Performances (W):

Forest Whitaker in The Last King of Scotland (2006): Career-defining, Oscar-winning performance by Forest Whitaker portraying Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. Very powerful -- not sure I'd recommend it to just anyone. The movie will leave it's mark on you, for certain. Someday, I will watch it again. But not yet.

Kristen Wiig in Ghost Town (2008): A very funny movie to begin with. Ricky Gervais I'm torn about. I think he's a genuinely funny individual, but really, if it's possible to be too cynical/sarcastic/offensive, I think perhaps he's crossed into that realm. I certainly wouldn't want to know him in person. HOWEVER, we're not talking about Ricky here, we're talking about the show-stealer, Kristin Wiig. Really, it's a bit part (she plays a surgeon), but she is so quirky and funny, her comedic timing is spot-on. It's a joy to watch - definitely a reason to rent it if you haven't yet.

Speaking of people I'd like to meet...

People I'd Like To Meet (W):

Damien Walters: What healthy red-blooded American male could possibly watch Damien Walters do his thing, and not wish he could do that mad tumbling as well? I'd like to meet him just so I could shake his hand and say, "Dang, dude, you are insane. Love it." Good stuff.

[Honorable Mention: Steven Wright (comedian)
Bill Waterson (Cartoonist (Calvin & Hobbes))]

Favorite Books (W):

With the Old Breed, by Eugene B. Sledge (1981): My good friend Dave-O loaned me this book a few years back and it floored me. It's a boots-on-the-ground account of a Marine (Sledge) who fought in two of the most incredibly-taxing battles in the Pacific theater on WW2 - Peleliu and Okinawa. It's a first-hand account, no holds barred, and an incredible read. It is so visceral and detailed that it was used (in part) as the basis for the HBO series The Pacific (2010). I've always had a big interest in World War 2 in general, so the subject matter would have likely hit me hard regardless. But it is really well written to boot. I think I'll re-read it soon and write a legitimate review.

Favorite Songs (W):

When I'm Gone by Eminem: He has some truly great songs, and also some absolute trash. Guess which category I think this falls under? Maybe it's his obvious strong love for and devotion to his daughter Haley that has established such a connection for me, since I can relate x3.

[Honorable Mentions: We Will Find Our Way, by John Elefante
The Wind, by CeCe Winans]

Odds & Ends (W):
- Favorite Book Characters: Whirrun of Bligh (The Heroes, by Joe Abercrombie)
- Favorite Movie Characters: Wolverine (Hugh Jackman in X-Men)
- Favorite Webcomics: White Ninja, Wagnervana

OK, I guess that's it for W Day. Got something a little different planned for tomorrow, for X-Day.

Adios for now, eh!

Dave the Wagner

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

[Sorry. The Blog Post Title Was Stolen]

"Wow, they really did a number on this place. What a mess." Detective Wills removed his police cap and ran his fingers through his hair, looking around the blog.

Dave stood next to him, obviously under distress, thinly-veiled anguish in his eyes. He began to pace.

"They trashed the place, all right." Dave leaned up against the blogroom wall, sighing. Detective Wills took out his notepad.

"OK, Dave, tell me again what happened here."

"Well, I was coming in to prepare today's V-Day post, so that I could share more of my favorites with my fans..."

"Wait a second," Detective Wills said, writing notes, frowning. "V-Day? What is that, exactly?"

"Well, every day this month, I've been making posts for the A-to-Z Challenge, and sharing my favorite stuff. You know, books, music, movies, games, that sort of thing. Each day is a new letter, and today was V Day."

"I see." Detective Wills arched an eyebrow and shrugged, as though he didn't get it, but didn't want to dwell on it. He looked around the entryway. "So, what did you have in here?"

Dave motioned into the lobby area. "In here was the opening photo. I usually have a nice landscapey shot that I open each blog post with. Something nice to set the tone for the visit."

"Gotcha," the detective replied. "Any idea why someone would want to steal that?"

"Nope. They left this photo in its place."

"A snowboarding sloth?" Detective Wills leaned in close. "Pretty good photoshop job. I'll have the lab guys look at it. See if they can find any prints."

Dave glanced at it, smiling. He dropped the smile when he noticed the detective looking at him.

"What sort of message do you think they were trying to send you by leaving this?"

Dave just frowned and shook his head. "No clue." He sighed and plunged his hands into his pockets.

They moved on into the main blog room. "Well, in here was my bit about my favorite movies that started with V. Now they're gone."

"What were they?"

"I'm sorry?" Dave shuffled his feet.

"I said, what were they? Your favorite movies that start with V?"

"Oh... I dunno... I'd have to check my Favorites List. But they, uh... they took the lists as well."

Detective Wills paused, looking up at Dave. "You don't remember?"

"I'm under a lot of stress, okay? I've never been burglarized before!"

"Mmhmm..." Detective Wills made more notes. "And so they left this in it's place?"

"A bag of marshmallows, labeled 'ghost poop'?"

"Yeah, I know. Weird, huh?" Dave's eyes strayed up to the ceiling, then around the room.

"Weird is a good word for it, I'd say." The detective made some more notes. "OK, what are some of your other missing items?"

Dave moved through the main blogroom and into one of the side rooms. "Well, in here, I had some of the music-related items. The acoustics are better in here."

"So you had video links in here then?"

"Yeah. But those are gone also."

Detective Wills walked up to a video embed. "But they left a video in here. This isn't one of yours?"

"Hmm..." the detective watched it a second time. "You know, this clip looks familiar. Haven't I seen it on your blog before?"

Dave cleared his throat. "Um, well... yeah... they, uh... must have found it in my archive and... uh... dropped it in here on the way out..."

"I see. But they took all of your music clips?"


"Of all of your favorite songs that start with V..."

"Yep, all of them." Dave smiled, nodding.

"And can you name any of those songs for me?" Detective Wills stood poised to write on his pad, an eyebrow arched.

"Yeah, sure... there was... uh... there was vvvvv.... umm... one was called... vvvvvv..."

"You know what, Dave?" The detective said, pocketing his notepad and stepping closer. "I'm starting to think you're not telling me the whole truth here."

"No, I am! I'm completely being honest here! All my V Day content was stolen by criminals! Hardened criminal blog burglars, out to destroy my post for the day!" Dave paced dramatically. "All my V Day content, gone! Poof! Into thin air!"

Detective Wills crossed his arms and frowned.

"Like, over here, in this other room! Come in here!" Dave said, crossing the room to another smaller room. "In here I had a bit on my favorite book characters that started with V. Liiiiikkkeee..... VIN! Vin, from Mistborn! Yeah, she was featured today I think! In fact, I'm pretty sure of it!"

Detective Wills followed slowly, watching Dave. "And...?"

"And now, it's gone, and instead, this is here..."

"A cat..?"

"Yes!" Dave smiled triumphantly. "A cat, with some dude holding a little hand-drawn partial face and batman logo in front of it. Funny, right? The cat looks like Batman!"

"Hilarious," the detective said, deadpanned.

"I know, right?" Dave looked at it, smiling. "Now this is something I definitely would put up in a blog post of mine."

"But not on V Day."

"Right, not on--" Dave turned and looked at the detective. "I mean..."

"Mr. Wagner, I have a theory. Tell me if I'm wrong. There was no burglary. You didn't have anything to post for V Day, did you..."

"I did! And it was all stolen and, and, and..." Dave's shoulders slumped under the steady glare of Detective Wills. "I... um..."

"Making a false robbery claim is a punishable offense, Mr. Wagner. I could take you in right now if I wanted to."

Dave glanced around nervously, eyeing the front door. "Look, I'm sorry. I was confused. I hadn't had my coffee for the day yet. My stomach hurt. I stubbed my toe. My wife had yelled at me. I was upset..."

"It's a good thing I'm a fan of your blog, Dave. I'm going to let you go with a warning. Next time, just be honest with your fans and tell them you don't have anything to post. They'll understand. I'm sure they'll survive without a Daily Dose of Dave... and they just might respect you more for your honesty."

Detective Wills turned and headed for the door. Over his shoulder he said, "Now, do you have anything for W Day?"

"Oh, yes, sir. Plenty for W Day." Dave sighed, looking around the blog room. "Thank you, sir."

Detective Wills nodded and left.

Dave checked his watch, rubbed his neck and chuckled. "Now X-Day, on the other hand.... MUAHAHAHAH!!!!!" His evil laugh echoed through the empty blog room as the Imperial March music from Star Wars began to play.

Fade to black, roll end credits.

Dave the Villain

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Angelfall by Susan Ee: A Book Review

Pulled at random from my Kindle Stash, I don't quite recall where I heard about Angelfall by Susan Ee at -- if it was from a book blog or from Amazon itself, under "recommendations" -- but I grabbed it back in January and filed it away for future reading. Well, the future is now, apparently! I read this recently, over the course of two days, and here... ladies and gentlemen... is my review...

The genre is Post-Apoc Urban Fantasy, I suppose, with a marked supernatural element. Written in the first person present tense ("I pull on my favorite boots... I also slip sharpened steak knives into Paige's wheelchair pocket."), usually I balk at this type of style, but it is done well here. I usually prefer third-person so that more than one POV can be written, broadening the scope of the story and character development, but in this case, FPP works out well enough.

The story is told from the perspective of Penryn, who is a "resourceful teen" along the lines of Katniss in The Hunger Games. Penryn also has a younger sister, Paige, who is wheel-chair bound, due to an accident she had at age two, caused by their schizophrenic mother. The father bailed on them a year or two before, leaving the three of them to fend for themselves, and not long after that, the world slipped into devastation, as an army of angels invades the earth, laying waste to the cities of the world and killing billions of folks, and then setting up shop on the earth, to hold it, awaiting further instructions from Heaven. God has had enough of our nonsense, apparently, and has sent His crew to knock us down a few notches.

So it's a post-apoc survivalist story on one level.

From the outset, Penryn, Paige and their nutty mom are trying to relocate from their home to a place that might provide better protection and food, and so they try to make a run for it through their neighborhood, avoiding the angels patrolling above, and the random street gangs patrolling the ground. They are outside when a group of angels appear, chasing and fighting one of their own. After they defeat the angel they are chasing, they cut off his wings and leave him to die. Before leaving, one of the huge warrior angels spots Penryn and her sister. It decides to swoop down and grab Paige on the way out, flying off with her. Distraught, Penryn decides the only way she'd be able to rescue her sister is to try to prevent the defeated angel laying in the street before her from dying, so he can tell her where Paige was taken.

So it becomes a quest/buddy/travel story as well.

The story is an easy, fast read, and the characters are somewhat shallow (except for Penryn) but well-enough-drawn. There are many unexpected surprises, as far as who the angels are, what they are really up to, and what their weaknesses might be, as well as surprises about the angel Penryn saves and teams up with, as far as who he is, what his particular beliefs are, and what he plans to do now that he has been "kicked out" by his peers. Perhaps you've never given much thought to angelic politics before, so you might enjoy this.

There is a lot of action, but very little offensive language, and no adult nonsense - I wouldn't be surprised if the author has a Christian background. There are a couple plot holes, and some predictable turns of events, but for the most part, it was a great read. I'm tempted to include more detail, but I wouldn't want to spoil it for you, should you wish to read it yourself. You can grab it for $1.99 for your Kindle, should you wish.

Technically, it is "Book One" in a proposed series, but it works well as a stand-alone, with all of the more immediate story elements resolving themselves well. A couple of the Big Picture story elements are left for future volumes. I'll likely read the next in the series when the time comes. Oddly, there is another series called "Angelfall" by a different author (an S.E. Foulk) that has nothing to do with the book I've reviewed. That may cause confusion should you try and track this book down.

Summary: 4/5 An enjoyable, quick read, somewhat limited because of the first-person POV, but well worth a read if you like survival/post-apoc/supernatural/angelic stuff. It gets a bit creepy toward the end, but resolves itself well.

"It's Sometimes Shocking To Find Out What People Really Believe In." -- Tracey Ullman



--for best results, layer on the pepperoni in a strict geometric pattern. This will ensure the flavor is---


--kuna matada.... what a wonderful phrase... hakun---


--ithout a doubt, the worst President since William Henry Harrison, who only served for a month before dying of pneum--


--then who's on first? Yes. I mean the fellow's name. Who. The guy on first! Who. The first basema--


--él acaba de farted un total de 14 veces, que es un nuevo récord--


--elcome to tonight's blog post! Yes, we're nearing the end of our journey through the alphabet for the A-to-Z Challenge. It's been a wild ride this month - I've dumped more nonsense on you than any ten other blogs put together! Not bragging, mind you... it's more an admission of guilt, as far as the rather strong suggestion of the A-to-Z Staff to keep the daily posts brief. Yeah, well, sorry, "brief" isn't in my vocabulary. It is in my wardrobe, however...

So today is "U-Day". No, we won't be talking about one of Saddam's sons. I don't do politics. Instead, we have a pair of items for you from my Favorite's List, beginning with you. I mean, beginning with U. Not that you aren't a favorite of mine, you are. I just meant.... oh, you know what I meant!

Favorite Games (U):

Unreal Tournament (1999): It would be a mortal sin if I left this game off of my Favorite's List, since, in all likelihood, as much as I've dumped hundreds of hours into any number of different games over the years, I probably played UT more than the rest of the games combined. UT was a First Person Shooter game, and the first one I ever played online. And play I did! Hours a day, every day (including Sundays), for 2+ years... I mean, but I had an excuse!

I was a clan captain for an online Capture the Flag team called XTS. I helmed the team for almost three years, until UT2K3 came out, after which time the team sort of dissolved, since many players wanted to shift to the newer game, many wanted to stay with the older one, and many just wanted to move on, happy to have accumulated some great memories, but eager to evolve. I joined XTS when it was still a brand new clan - it was started by 4 friends up in the Oregon area, and they joined the EO league and asked the league president to help them find new members so they could field a big enough team to actually get some 6v6 matches going. I was one of those new members. Shortly after our first match (in which we got destroyed), the former XTS captain realized that running the clan was going to be more involved than he'd hoped, and asked me to take over. We ended up becoming a dominant force in the league... we were never the best, but that was never my goal with the team. I wanted to make sure every member enjoyed himself as much as possible, and got equal play time, regardless of skill level. Sure, I could have only played our best players during matches, but that would have meant some people would need to sit the bench. I did enough bench-sitting during my Little League Baseball years to know what that felt like, so I strictly enforced the "If You Can Show Up, You Get Equal Play Time" rule. No primadonas or stars or first stringers.

I called myself DaveTurd, lol. My thinking was, if I played like crap, at least I was aptly named... but if I beat you, then there's the added humiliation bonus of being beaten by a guy named "turd". It was a win-win. My brother John joined the team as well, and he took the name JohnTurd. John ended up becoming one of the best players in the entire league. Eventually, my "real life" friends Joe and Matt joined up, and they took the Turd name as well. It was great - we were the Turds, and became a well-known entity in the league.

I had a big stash of screen shots, text, art files, and other nonsense that I was looking for in prep for tonight's post, but I can't find it. All I could find were some custom sigs I made for a bunch of the players on our team and others, so when we posted in the league forums, we could have a little piece of art at the bottom of each post, as a "signature". Here are a few I created for myself... (click to enlarge)

Anyway, I had a ton of fun, and played more hours of CTF than I'd care to admit. This may sound lame, but I haven't felt such a sense of community and camaraderie since. Sure, there was also some drama, both on the team and in the league, some of which I was the cause of, but by and large, it was a very enjoyable time of my life, which I'll always look back on fondly.

Favorite Bands/Singers (U):

U2: Probably the biggest band in the world; my fanship (fanhood? fanishness?) is actually relatively limited, but it is intense. I first heard of them in the mid eighties, about the time of Unforgettable Fire, and I was hooked, up to and including Rattle and Hum, at which time my interest kind of petered out, since they were getting "too big". Isn't that weird? How retro-hipster of me, eh? And at such a young age, too! But right in the middle of that period was The Joshua Tree, which is a perfect album, in my opinion. Like most good music, it brings back strong memories of a certain time of my life. Any song on that album will instantly transport me back in time. Of course, the songs are also terrific in and of themselves, but I think what they represent means as much to me as anything else.

I lost interest with the release of Achtung Baby in 1991, and didn't keep up with them until 2000, with the album All That You Can't Leave Behind, which has some great tracks on it as well, including Beautiful Day, Elevation, Kite and In A Little While.

Never went to any of their concerts. Not a fan of concerts to begin with, so no surprises there. Though I hear their concerts are always great. 


So that's it. I covered everything from UT to U2, all in one post! Aren't you lucky you tuned in today? Not sure what I'll do tomorrow, since I have exactly nothing listed under the letter V, in all of my Favorites Lists... in any case, thanks for joinin---


-- oming up next, more of our Justin Bieber Retrospectiv--


--and in International News, a suicide bomber detonated himself in a crowded marke--



Sunday, April 22, 2012

"By Blood A King, In Heart A Clown." -- Alfred Lord Tennyson

I suppose I should have waited for "V Day" to post the volcano pic, but I found it today and thought, "Wow! I need to use that tonight!" Yeah, that's me, I jump the gun like that sometimes. Click the pic and look at it bigger... Nice. Wonder where that phrase came from, "jump the gun"? Too lazy to Google it... yep, that's me, Mr. Lazy. Except, I suppose, when it comes to cranking out A-to-Z blog posts that have waaaay too much content in them. Yep, that's me, a poor judge of proper limits.

[EDIT: Duh... the saying came from track-n-field! Doh!]

I am grateful that you dropped by to skim today's post, however! Yep, that's me, Mr. Grateful. Taking a look at what remains of my Favorites List, looks like today ("T Day") and "W Day" will be the only days with a glut of content. The rest have either 1 or zero items... so, start the month with a bang, end with a fizzle. Yep, that's me, Mr. Fizzle...

Well, I have a lot of random stuff saved up from recent web lurkings, so I'm sure I'll find stuff to post... and find a creative way to make it work with the letter of the day.

And now, the letter of the day!

Favorite Movies (T):

Tombstone (1993): Terrific western with a huge ensemble cast. Eminently watchable and quotable, in spite of Bill Paxton being in it! Val Kilmer's performance as Doc Holliday steals the show upon first viewing, but repeated viewings will reveal that he was actually overdoing it half the time, and the more subtle performances by other cast members begin to really shine, especially Kurt Russell's turn as Wyatt Earp. Michael Biehn was great as Johnny Ringo, and Sam Elliott is ALWAYS awesome. Cameos by Billy Bob Thornton, Charlton Heston, Billy Zane and others help to round out the film.

Twenty-One Grams (2003): I went on at length about this film back on "D Day", so I won't rehash this here, except to say you'd be hard pressed to find a group of more powerful performances in any film, any genre, than Benicio del Toro, Naomi Watts and Sean Penn in this movie.

Favorite Games (T):

Torchlight (2009): Torchlight is an Action-RPG that was released during the interminable wait for Diablo 3 - and filled in so well that many think it will be hard for D3 to beat when it is released next month (after a decade-long development/wait!). I'm a big fan of Torchlight. It's light-hearted and beautiful (in a cartoony way) and surprisingly deep, gameplay-wise. Basically, you create a character, explore dungeons, kill baddies, get loot, rinse, repeat. Sounds boring, but trust me, when it's done right it is both addicting and satisfying.

Titan Quest (2006): This is another great Action-RPG that I spent several hundred hours playing. It incorporated Greek mythology, Egyptian mythology, as well as Oriental influences. What I loved the most about it was the wide array of character-types I could create, and the wonderful sets of armor and special weapons I could collect. A very well-made game, which I still occasionally will dust off and play. Good times. Just ask Dry or Bob (if they ever pop back in here). They were experts as well. We used to hang out in the IGN TQ forums together and give advice and answer questions to/for all the noobs that floated through.

[Honorable Mention: Total Annihilation (1997)]

Favorite Bands (T):

Third Day: If you've heard of Third Day, it's pretty much a lock that they're one of your faves as well. If you've never heard of them, you've got some terrific music waiting for you to discover. Third Day is a Christian band that's sort of a country-rock hybrid that I find very enjoyable to listen to. And they write some great lyrics and worship music as well. Highly recommended.

Favorite Songs (T):

[Honorable Mentions: This Is Your Life, by Switchfoot
This Is Your Time, by Michael W Smith
Too Many Times, by Michael W Smith
Toxicity, by System of a Down]

Odds & Ends (T):

Favorite Movie Characters: The Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger)

Speaking of Diablo 3, it was the Free Beta Weekend April 20-22, so I got to take the game for a spin... trust me, you likely have no idea how long I've been waiting for this game... the verdict? It's very good - basically, it's what I expected, nothing more. So on the one hand, that's great... on the other hand, a bit disappointing... will I still buy the full game next month, when it's released? Probably. If you get it too, let me know and we'll save the world via co-op...

In my post-Abercrombie let-down, having finished my re-read of the First Law Series (so, so good). Currently reading a surprisingly good book by an author named Susan Ee (yes, that's right), called Angelfall. It's sort of a supernatural urban fantasy survival story, only the apocalypse was caused by angels this time, instead of zombies or nukes or viruses. I'm about a quarter of the way through it. If it holds the current level of writing, I'll write a review for sure.

So you have that to look forward to. Yep, that's me, Mr. Book Reviewer...

Adios for now. I hope your week is a great one.

Dave the Turd

Saturday, April 21, 2012

"My Life Needs Editing." -- Mort Sahl

That opening picture is a bit deceiving... I've long wanted to use it because there's so much about it that I love. But it gives off a strong, gloomy, Gothic vibe that I felt would always be a real downer way to start off a post, so I've held it back. But I believe that today, on "S Day", you're all strong enough to handle it! To appreciate the shot and move on, forward into all the other cool S Day stuff I have for ya today...

Be strong! Don't make me regret my decision, or my faith in you!

Ahh, good, that's right... good, I feel your strength... the Force is strong with this one... The Emperor has been waiting for you... my son...


Me: Join me, and I will complete your training.... with our combined strength, we can end this destructive conflict and bring order to the Galaxy!

You: Dad, can I have a new car?

Me: Sure!

[We drive off into the sunset, happy music plays, roll end credits]

There. A happy ending, while still leaving things open for a T Day Sequel...

Favorite Movies (S):

Saving Private Ryan (1998): Five Academy Awards and 6 additional nomination, this film -- especially the first 20 minutes of D Day assault -- was a wake-up call for me (and countless others) on the horrors of war from the front line. More than any other war movie I had seen before it. I read an account by WW2 historian Steven Ambrose, where he recounted the day he was given an advanced screening of the film... after the incredible D Day assault at the beginning of the film, he had to tell the guy on the projector to stop the film, and he laid down and wept for a long while before finally being ready to continue watching. Every year since I've owned this film on DVD, on June 6th I sit down with my girls and we watch that opening scene, just so I can be sure they'll know what happened, to men not much older than they are. What people went through in order to get done what needed to be done. And the Last Stand climax at the end of the film was so well done, the tightness in my chest from watching it lasted well after the movie had ended. How this film lost the Best Picture award to Shakespeare In Love that year, I have no idea.

Singing In The Rain (1952): Some movies need no elaboration. A classic. Movie magic at its finest. So funny, and so fun to watch.

Star Wars (1977): Another film that needs no introduction or elaboration. It actually won more Oscars than the rest of these S Films combined, but certainly not for the acting, lol. The music, however, was so well done, it is instantly recognizable to this day. How they managed to get John Williams to score a low-budget sci-fi Flash Gordon homage like this, I have no idea, but it is amazing music.

Snatch (2000): I've mentioned this film in previous posts, so I won't go on too long about it here. Quirky, elaborate heist story involving bare-knuckle boxing, jewelry fencing, Russian gangsters, gypsies, botched robberies and a gigantic diamond, with memorable characters/performances all over the place. Not for the easily-offended (Wifey made it about 3 minutes into it before leaving the room, lol).

Favorite Games (S):

Skyrim (2011): A huge, beautiful open-world adventure game where you can explore, do quests, fight dragons, and live out your hero fantasies to your heart's content. Play however you wish -- heavy armor and a pair of swords; light armor, stealthy, with daggers; lurk in the shadows with a bow and poisoned arrows; dressed up in a wizard's robe, carrying a staff and wielding magicks... or just pick a town, hang out and craft things to sell, or cook, or mine ore, or test your pickpocketing skills... It's your call. You can be a good guy or bad guy. While there is a Main Quest Line you can beat, technically, there is no end to the game, or the things you can do. Good stuff.

[Honorable Mentions: Scrabble, Serious Sam: the Second Encounter]

Favorite Bands/Singers (S):

Switchfoot: Yet another band I was way behind the times on. They were many albums into their career before I'd even heard of them, so I had a lot of catching up to do. Lucky for me they had a lot of great music waiting for me. The earlier stuff was (and still is) too "high school angst" for me - that was a lifetime ago for me, so I can't connect with it. But their later stuff includes some of my favorite songs ever, including Dare You To Move, This Is Your Life, Meant To Live, Living Is Simple, The Blues, The Fatal Wound and tons of others. A good, solid sound and craftsmanship, with strong lyrics.

Favorite Songs (S):

Something About You by Mercy Me: Love the energy and the sound, though the lyrics are a bit trite.

[Honorable MentionsSatellite by Shaun Groves
Seeing You by Matt Redman
Shameless by Billy Joel
Shine On Us by Phillips, Craig & Dean
Stories of Old by Depeche Mode]

People I'd Like To Meet (S):

Jon Stewart: I went back and forth for quite sometime, in trying to determine who I thought the funniest person on earth was, between Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. I think I've decided that ultimately, it doesn't matter - they're both so fun to watch, I don't really have to pick. Stewart is such an incredible entertainer. He's smart, and his timing and delivery are a joy to behold. I don't always agree with him, politically, but that's to be expected I suppose. His rant on Trump/Palin eating pizza in New York last June was one of the best bits ever.

[Honorable Mentions: Michael Savage (radio host/genius); 
Charles Schulz (cartoonist/genius); 
Jerry Seinfeld (comedian/genius)]

Favorite Authors (S):

Brandon Sanderson: Terrific, prolific fantasy author who has, I'm sure, published more in the past decade than any other author - more than some authors do in a career. If it was generic fluff, that wouldn't be much of an accomplishment, but the quality level of his storytelling is top notch, across the board. If he keeps this level of productivity up indefinitely, the future certainly bodes well for fantasy readers. Plus, he's a lumbering white nerd like me, so I can relate!

Favorite Books (S):

Second Sight by Greg Hamerton: The concluding volume in a terrific, thought-provoking fantasy tale by Greg Hamerton. Read my reviews here and here.

The Song of Ice and Fire: George Martin is on top of the world right now. If you haven't read any of his SOIAF series yet, grab A Game of Thrones and see what you think. Sprawling, wonderfully-crafted epic fantasy tale.

Odds & Ends (S):

Favorite Book Characters: Strong Belwas (A Storm of Swords by GRRM)
Favorite Movie Characters: Lt. Spears (Matthew Settle in Band of Brothers); Spike (Rhys Ifans in Notting Hill); Cpt. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp in POTC: COTBP)
Favorite TV Characters: Sawyer (Josh Holloway on LOST)
Favorite Blogs/Websites: Steam

Well, I'd say that's plenty to get you through the weekend. I'll take Sunday off, I'm sure, and be back on Monday for "T Day".

Adios for now,

Dave the Silly, Sappy and Sudsy

Friday, April 20, 2012

"Life is One Grand, Sweet Song, So Start the Music!" -- Ronald Reagan

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Before I bring out our featured guest speaker, I'd like to pass on a quick note from the kitchen staff. Apparently, the advertised rib-eye steaks that were on the menu for tonight's dinner show were inadvertently consumed by a huge, unruly walrus earlier this afternoon. It seems one of the dishwashers on staff was under the false impression that today was Bring A Walrus To Work Day, and so he came to work with Dreadnought, his walrus, in tow. Turns out it was a practical joke played by a few coworkers. Ladies and gentlemen, the joke appears to be on you, since instead of rib-eyes, we will be serving peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches tonight. Thank you for understanding.

And now, without furth-- yes, a question in the back? Yes, sir, you in the taupe tux and stylish fez...? What "day" is it today? Well, it is "R Day," as it said on the marquee outside. And on your ticket stub, for that matter. Yes, that's right, R Day. It does sound like pig Latin, true... anything else, sir? My fly is open? Unlikely, sir, but nice try.

OK, good, good. Now, without further ado, may I introduce tonight's guest speaker. Dave the Goof!

[Dave enters to polite applause]

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen! Thank you!

OK, who threw that?! Seriously? Who? Disgusting. Man, I hope that doesn't leave a stain. How anyone was able to sneak a cat turd in through security is beyond me...

Anyways, thank you and welcome to all (except the turd-flinger... you know who you are!). We've got a great show for you tonight, for "R Day". And by "great", I mean, stuff I find interesting, and will foist upon you, confident that you will find them the same, by sheer force of my own overwhelmingly charming personality. So sit back, grab half of that PB&J on the plate before you, and enjoy the show.

Favorite Movies (R):

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981): Dang, was this really released in 1981? Sheesh, I was only 11! What's that all about? Anyway, not much I can tell you about this film that you don't already know. Represents the pinnacle of action movie making, in my opinion. Although I watched it with my daughters last year, and they were so bored with it, they left the room. So I grounded them for a month, and passed wind on their iPhones. That'll learn 'em. Indy for President!

Raising Arizona (1987): The only film on my Favorite's list with Nicolas Cage in it. Surrounded by great actors/actresses (Holly Hunter, John Goodman, Trey Wilson), I guess Cage can be stomached. Actually, he really owns the role of H.I. McDunnough very well. And the film was helmed by the Coen Brothers, so that's a huge plus. Quirky, absurd, hilarious, great dialog, memorable characters, fun plot... love it.

Favorite Movie Characters (R):

Steve Martin as Rigby Reardon in Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982): Another great combination of talent - Steve Martin and Rob Reiner. This is a comedy spoof/homage to old black-and-white Noir detective films, which cleverly incorporates scenes from other famous detective movies into the story. So Martin gets to act alongside Bogart, Cagney, Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Bette Davis and many other Hollywood heavyweights, all while layering on his trademark goofy comedy. Very clever, funny and well done. Yeah, the plot is rather ridiculous, but with the laughs coming so quickly, it's easily for me to overlook plot weaknesses. I believe I like this role better than any other Steve Martin role I've seen (including The Jerk).

Favorite Authors (R):

Patrick Rothfuss: It's hard for me to believe I thought I had nothing for "N Day" a few days back... how I could overlook The Name of the Wind as a Favorite Book, I have no idea. It was right there, on my list and everything, under N! Sheesh! I'm a tool! Anyway, true, Pat has written only two novels thus far, but man, are they good. Very good. The Name of the Wind has hung out in the Top 5, as far as favorite books I've read, since I first enjoyed it a few years back. It will be a mainstay on my Biennial Reread List as well, as long as I draw breath. Wonderful characters, wonderfully written, and a wonderful beard... what more should a fantasy fan need?

Favorite Songs (R):

Running To Standstill by U2: This is from, perhaps, the best album of all time, Joshua Tree.

[Honorable Mentions: Redeemer, by Nicole C Mullen]

Favorite Bands/Singers (R):

Matt Redman: The sheer number of amazing songs that Matt Redman has penned over the past 20 years is almost overwhelming. Dozens of terrific, memorable songs, each one I think, "yeah, that's probably my favorite", until I hear the next and think the same thing. Of all of his albums, I think Facedown is the best one - and it was recorded live. I'm so glad God has someone like Matt that loves Him - I wish I could claim that level of love and worship, but I'm not there yet. I think very few are. Maybe Misty Edwards and a handful of others, that's it...  Anyway, great stuff.

Odds & Ends (R):

Favorite Books: The Riddler's Gift by Greg Hamerton
People I'd Like To Meet: Brian Regan (comedian)
Favorite Movie Performances: Mark Ruffalo as Detective Fanning in Collateral (2004)
Favorite Games: C&C: Red Alert
Favorite Blogs: Rememorandom (Logan for President!)

OK, ladies and gentlemen, that is all for tonight. I trust you enjoyed the show. If not, you can take it up with Dreadnought, our new Complaints Manager...

Be sure to come back tomorrow, so we can gouge you again for tickets to the "S Day" show!

Adios for now,

Dave the Rugged, Ridiculous and Rug-Burned

Thursday, April 19, 2012

"He That Hath No Cross Deserves No Crown." -- Francis Quarles

That pic is supposed to be in Norway somewhere... nice. But I find that bridge in the background rather oddly placed. Looks like it connects to the rooftop of that building there... no doubt an optical illusion of some kind. Anyway, the colors are nice.

Quick post today for Q Day. I thought I could come up with a bunch of cute, quirky little Q-related items, or write a piece of fiction or a poem, or think of something... but my brain is just elsewhere at the moment. I'd elaborate upon it, but I'm sure it would just come across as a long-winded whine, and I can't risk my stellar, sterling reputation by doing such a thing... I mean, if you lose much more respect for me, you won't buy any more Dave Merchandise in the Dave Store! Then what will I do with all those whoopie cushions with my face on them? I still have boxes full in my warehouse, next to the crates of the Dave's Greatest Belches CDs...

So I'll just drop a Favorite Q in here and then see what's what...

Favorite Movie Characters (Q):

Robert Shaw as Quint in Jaws (1975): Robert Shaw's performance in this film made the movie. Sure, Scheider and Dreyfuss held their own, but without crusty old Captain Quint, the movie would have been pretty flat. Lots of great lines/moments involving Quint, but other than his rather gory death scene, his most memorable scene is probably the speech he gives on the boat, where he describes the sinking of the Indianapolis...

Robert Shaw delivered some terrific performances through the years, including many war films, and even appearing in a Bond film (From Russia With Love) and with Redford and Newman in The Sting. He was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 1967 for his performance in A Man for All Seasons (a film also featuring Paul Scofield, John Hurt and Orson Wells), a great movie if you have the patience of Job...

That's really the only Q I have for tonight. Shall I risk insulting you by adding filler?

I think not. If you're disappointed, you have my apologies... tomorrow is R Day. I'll make it up to you then...

Dave the Quiescent

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

"I Don't Want To Die Without A Few Scars." -- Chuck Palahniuk

Ah, nice supercell, eh? HDR is a two-edged sword, though... it's easy to overdo the effect. This one skirts the edge, but ultimately, the levels are acceptable and the lines are nice.

Blah blah blah, sorry...

OK, so today is "P Day" in this month's alphabet slog, so I shall wade through my Favorite P's for you, for what it's worth. Sorry, no Mr. Popper's Penguins, or Pippi Longstocking or Punjabi warriors today. No pound cake, Perry Como, politics or poop. No pickles, The Punisher, peanut butter or Porsche 911s. Sorry, this is not your fave list, it's mine! (It is odd that you would have "poop" on your favorite's list though...)

Favorite Movies (P):

Yes, today I reveal my hopeless romantic side... 3 out of the 4 entries are mushy love stories, for the most part... plus, Pirates....

Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (2003): The only good movie in the POTC series - and it's better than good, it's awesome. It got 5 Oscar nominations (one for Depp, the rest for visuals/sound/makeup), without winning any. I think it should have been nominated for the script, which was wonderful. I'm a big fan of great dialog - mix it with great acting, and I'm a happy man. Lots of great lines delivered by two particularly awesome actors (Depp & Rush). Fun movie. First time I saw it, I must have smiled for a full hour after leaving the theater. My face hurt, but it was worth it. Definitely a fave.

Persuasion (1995) and Pride & Prejudice (1995): I group these together because they're both Jane Austen stories, both came out in 1995, both are BBC productions and they're both terrific. Plus, I'd like to see a cage match between Captain Wentworth and Mr. Darcy. Admittedly, I've never read anything of Austen's before, so I know not how the films compare, but each of these films are thoroughly watchable to me. Granted, there aren't very many explosions, Nazi invasions, profanity-laced rants or car crashes, but hey, you can't have everything...

The Princess Bride (1987): Gee, let me go into great detail as to why this movie is awesome and why you should see it! On second thought, you write it for me, and I'll agree with it.

Favorite Performances (P):

Matthew Perry in The Whole Nine Yards (2000): This performance was so funny, I contemplated adding Matthew Perry as a Favorite Actor entry... but then I realized I can't recall seeing anything else with him in it. I never watched an episode of Friends, and I can't recall another film he's been in that I've seen... but in The Whole Nine Yards, he plays a random dude in a lousy marriage who finds out his new neighbor (Bruce Willis) is a notorious hit man in witness protection, and his wife convinces him to go to Chicago and rat him out to the mobster that Willis used to work for. Hilarity ensues. It really is a great script, very funny. A little off-color in places, but a solid effort. Bottom line, Perry's timing and physical humor are top notch, in my not-so-humble opinion.

What the heck; here's the trailer...

Favorite Authors (P):

Steven Pressfield: I love Pressfield's historical stuff. Gates of Fire is my favorite book of all time, and I've also greatly enjoyed the other two of his books that I posted up there next to his face. He has many other books, including a couple books on the craft of writing/creating in general, on getting past creative blocks, and getting done what you need to, as a writer/artist of any kind. The War of Art and Do The Work are invaluable resources. The Warrior Ethos is another non-fiction work well worth reading. Pressfield is world-class.

[Honorable Mention: KJ Parker.]

Favorite Songs (P):

Prayer by Petra: A little sappy-sounding, but brings back great memories for me.

[Honorable Mentions: Pity For A Dime, by Creed
Pressure, by Billy Joel
Pure Light, by Matt Redman]

I'm out of steam tonight, sorry. I need Sleep. I know what you're thinking... "Dave, it's only midnight! The night is young!" Well, sorry, I am spent... Going to file the rest of the P's under Odds & Ends...

Odds & Ends:
Favorite Comics: Peanuts by Charles Schulz
Favorite Games: Portal & Portal 2
Favorite Bands: Petra
Favorite Book Characters: Polynikes from Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield
Favorite Movie Characters: Paikea from Whale Rider (2002, Keisha Castle-Hughes); Gus Portokalos from My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002, Michael Constantine)

I wish I had something witty to say here at the end, but I have nothing... I most humbly beg your forgiveness...


Dave the Penitent