So…tomorrow is my day off. I get to rest my bleeding feet for a bit. But I’m not completely off the hook. I have to drive out to pick up our travel trailer and take it to the folk who service it so that they can fix the leak in the water tank and put on a new awning. We reeeeeeeeeeeeeally didn’t like camping without an awning. I thought we wouldn’t miss it that much, but we did. We decided not to replace it with the Fiamma and have opted to get a Dometic brand awning.
|Our Casita, sans awning.|
But I don’t care for these flat, uninteresting characters. There’s nothing about them that inspires me. I want some depth to the people who move through the movies I watch; even the villains need to be human.
For this reason, my two favorite movie villains both appeared in great movies in the same year, 2007.
And I’ll list them now in the order that they impress me.
First is Daniel Plainview from the absolutely brilliant Paul Thomas Anderson film, THERE WILL BE BLOOD. Plainview is just an amazing character all around. Tough, self-sufficient, driven, manipulative, intelligent, physically imposing, and utterly evil. This is a villain a person can admire. He does not whine and he does not deviate from his mission.
Plainview, as portrayed by Daniel Day Lewis, is just one of the best character studies I have ever seen on the screen. We see his strengths and his weaknesses. Why Lewis chose to do what appears to be an imitation of the voice of John Huston (or Clint Eastwood’s version of John Huston), I can’t say. But it works. It was perfect.
|The best villains are the ones who are human.|
When the film is mentioned it usually is in the context of recounting the “I drink your milkshake” scene. But that is, to my way of thinking, one of the greatest scenes of both revenge and self-destruction I’ve ever witnessed in a movie.
And so, number one on my short list of movie villains is Daniel Plainview from THERE WILL BE BLOOD.
|A smile from something that is not human.|
And the quality doesn’t get any higher than titles from the late EC Comics. At its head was William C. Gaines, whose mission it obviously must have been to publish the finest art in comics at that time. The names of the men and women he employed to work for him have become legend. So I look for EC books to add to my collection when I can find them at the right price.
So it was this week. The latest old comics to arrive as Casa Smith.
|CRIME SUSPENSTORIES #2. Back in my youth, I had an extensive EC collection. But most of those were horror and science-fiction titles. I never had many copies of this title, and most of those were later issues.|
|CRIME SUSPENSTORIES #5. A great, dramatic cover from Johnny Craig.|
|Another image of high drama from Craig. When the Silver Age rolled around, he worked for a time at Marvel Comics, mainly as an inker.|
The train cars are mostly open and you can just wander about them to see what rail travel was like back in the old days.
Later that same day we drove over into West Virginia to take a look at a town we’d been through years ago: Marlinton. They have a much smaller museum in their downtown area. Both have cabooses to view. But the ones in Clifton Forge have been completely restored, while the single caboose in Marlinton has only had the outside repainted while the interior is rather decayed. I suspect they’re waiting for funds to fix it completely for viewing.
|The little restored rail depot in Marlinton, WV. Very nice!|
|Caboose and two rail cars. Nicely restored on the outside.|
|But the interior of the caboose is a wreck.|
|It does look as if they may be starting interior restoration. It’s a nice car.|
It’s a National Forest site and the trail system there is excellent. The hike up the gorge to the main waterfalls is extremely well maintained and engineered so just about anyone can make the journey. The little canyon is sometimes very narrow and almost every step of the journey is beside a waterfall or cascade or cataract of some kind.
We also made use of the picnic area at the parking lot. It was nice to sit in the shade beside the rushing creek and enjoy a meal.
|Attention to detail in the infrastructure.|
|We begin the hike! Poison ivy everywhere off trail! It was ALL OVER THE PLACE!|
|The trail was great! Plenty of bridges for stream crossings and an extremely mild grade. Pretty much anyone who can walk can hike to see all of the waterfalls.|
|One of the first waterfalls.|
|Just a reminder that you are in a gorge.|
|Plenty of bridges and hand rails.|
|A vaguely naughty mushroom that Carole saw.|
|On the way out there were kids using this waterfall as a slide.|
|This is pretty much the nicest waterfall in the canyon. It’s also at the terminus of the trail.|
|This huge stone ramp leads to the top of the waterfall.|
|We decided to take a different trail back to the starting point. Instead of going back down the gorge, it climbs to the ridge and follows that.|
|A nice view near the top of the ridge. Most of the nearby summits are in the 3,000-foot range.|
|Carole snapped this one of me in front of the furnace.|
|A parting shot of the furnace complex as we walked on.|
|The National Forest sign to mark the roadside parking lot and access to the furnace and the trail system.|
Musings on genre writing, waterfall wandering, and peak bagging in the South’s wilderness areas.