Back to Reality

I’m back home after a relaxing weekend, having survived with no limited.  Well, except for those 5 hours at hotspots on Saturday and my phone the rest of the time.  It was an interesting experiment but if I return later in the summer, I plan to bribe her folks to reconnect.  Yes, I’m sad.

My guru also fixed my WordPress problem which took all of 5 minutes of tinkering on my server.  It was so simply, even I could have done it, if I knew how to work php, SQL, and databases.  Thinks have changed a lot in the 15+ years since I learned HTML.   A whole world opened before me.

Speaking of world and server, I got to thinking about the live chat we did on the Christchurch Rise Up site.  People seemed to enjoy the experience of talking in real time.  Could I set up something like that on my server for the community I asked?   Yes, yes, I could said my guru.

So what do you think?  If there is a demand for it, I could tinker about and set up a chat room, or several, we all could access depending on what we doing.  We could have weekly get-togethers, celebrations, a place for blog discussions, whatever sounds feasible.  It will be an interesting experiment.

Let me know in the comments below.

In the meantime: shiney!

RA promo shot; Courtesy




Christchurch Addendum

Just learned via carrier pigeon about RA’s surprise message this morning. Access is slow here but I’m sure it’s being discussed at length on other blogs. It was lovely of him to acknowledge us. Although our aim was to help the people of Christchurch, I’m sure he’s proud of us indeed.

This is a good time to pause and take pride in our community. I’m impressed with the speed, time, and generosity this community showed in banding together for this worthy cause. Congrats to all who contributed. Congrats to RAFrenz and company who kept the Twitter feeds flying. Congrats to Calexora for the cello challenge. Lastly, congrats to Servetus, who initiated the informal fan challenge and without whom we wouldn’t have known about the telethon in the first place.

Serene Sunday: Amazing Grace

Good Morning!

Ideally I should be nursing a hangover from painting the town red last night. I also should be secretly smiling about an interesting dream featuring a certain actor. Most likely neither of these have occurred and I’m being rushed to the local wi-fi hotspot for critical internet therapy. Since you’re probably in a more serene frame of mind, Dear Reader, I offer today’s spiritual song.

Amazing Grace has been recorded by scores of artists since was composed in 1779. It’s a simple but powerful song that’s easy to sing a capella or with an entire choir and orchestra. I’ve preferred many versions over the years but recently fell over this rendition by 7 year old Rhema Marvanne. Her voice lends a sweetness to the song. I’m sure she will go far.

Here is a beautiful version by Nana Mouskouri:

Here is a slow gospel version by Mahalia Jackson who was known to connect with the emotion of a song:

Surreal Saturday

Good Morning.

If you’re reading this, WordPress is actually being cooperative and scheduling posts while I transverse the wilds of Ohio.  Since the 3rd sequel to the Pirates of the Carribean debuts, I decided to share this video by comic group The Lonely Island.  We get to see singer Michael Bolton (remember him?) like we never imagined. Or maybe want to.

Have a good laugh and enjoy.

To The Wilds of Ohio

Well, it’s the wilds to me; I’m a city gal, born and bred.  I enjoy staying in the country with almost unbroken vistas of corn and wheat fields, blue skies, and fresh air except when the fragrant aroma of cow manure blows my way.  I’m told pig and skunk is even worse.  I’ll take their word for it.

As I drag out the suitcase, this song always pops into my head.  The words are bittersweet and nothing to do with me, but my mind playing it.  I suppose the line “I’m leaving on jet plane.  I don’t know when I’ll be back again” offers the fantasy of what it would be like to have the freedom not to return.

I wonder what the Power Ball lottery jackpot is now.


Roughing It

I was working on the next post when I realized it wouldn’t be ready for prime time before I leave for the long holiday weekend on Friday.  For the past 15 years I meet with two buddies (who I met in a fandom online) at cabin located in forest preserve on a man-made lake.  It’s a cozy little place with a 3-season from which we can observe nature on 3 sides without getting eaten alive by the bugs. It has the creature comforts like electricity, cable and internet.  However this year there won’t be cable and therefore no internet.

You might find this funny, but the idea of no internet is daunting.  I can do without a telephone. I don’t have to turn on the TV.  I can leave the microwave. But no internet? We are hard core geeks who think nothing of arriving for a visit and the first thing we do is plug in the laptops to check email.  We’ve been known to chat together online while sitting in the same house.  I’ve not a clue how we will survive this.  The friend with cabin (who happens to be my computer guru) promises we can retreat to some local wi-fi hot spots if the shakes get top bad and troubleshoot my WordPress problems.  She also reminded me the cabin isn’t completely in a dead zone; I will be able to get 3G access on my iPhone  if I perch like a crane on the dock with my arm stretched perpendicular to the 3rd tree on the left.  Or something like that.   I could weep.

She added my relaxation will be supplemented with reading real books with pages, talking (face to face!), playing board and card games, and going to the movies.  It’s new-fangled way of old social interaction.  It will be like the days when we had no air conditioning, only one TV with four channels, snail mail, and no McDonald’s.    My childhood is flashing before my eyes. This will be like, you know, before civilization.

But if she tells me there will be no electricity, I’m walking 40 miles upstream one way to the airport.

I hope everybody has a peaceful, restful weekend.  Here is somebody else in restful repose:

Richard Armitage in 2004 promotion shoot; Courtesy

Why RA?: A Preface

As an offshoot of yesterday’s entry, I’ve been composing in my head several posts about stages of fandom and where I fit in that spectrum. Due to the wonky reply problem, I received an email that clarified for me the levels and transitions happening in ArmitageWorld.  It also reminded me this blog was created to talk about my experiences in fandom in general in order to specifically discuss the burning question of several other blogs like Servetus’s and Frenz’s: why this particular fascination with this particular actor and should they be concerned? The short answer may startle and therefore probably isn’t helpful.  The long answer might enlighten but I need to take the reader through where I’ve been before explaining what I see now.

I have a partial draft composed in January when I first started the blog.  I’m finding it difficult to put my fandom experiences to paper because I’ve never done it before, and discussing the dynamics isn’t something fans usually like to dwell upon. It feels all at once terribly personal and slightly surreal.  Things can be misinterpreted and misunderstood in the telling.  So posts on this topic will require a great deal more thought and time than previous entries.  My approach might not be as erudite, but I’ll give it my best shot.

Meanwhile here is a screencap of RA playing Monet who was fortunate enough to acquire fans in his lifetime.

Monet before he got the squirrel thing going

RA as Claude Monet, The Impressionists, Courtesy


The Case of the Missing Comment Box

As you might have noticed, and I aren’t getting along.  There are cosmetic formatting issues but the biggest problem has been it keeps globally closing comments to all my posts.  Ticky boxes check and uncheck all by themselves.  Subscriptions even disappears for awhile. After wracking my brain all month, it turns out the problem is not WordPress but my internet host.  Something they are doing on their end is affecting my WordPress database, so every time they reset the servers, things go haywire.  They are also known for not being terribly responsive to users.

Happily I found a Magical Fix but it involves real programming geekery.  I’m visiting my guru this weekend and she will Take Care of It (TM).  I will also look for another internet host for the blog. 

In the meantime, I will manually check each day that the comments section is open.  I just reopened them for the last post which is all I can seem to affect at the moment.  The contact page does work, so if you encounter problems,  you can notify there.  If you have subscribed in the past, please do so again.  Or you can use a RSS feed, or bookmark this.

Please bear with me.  This will be resolved one way or another.

Richard Who?

Wait! In case you read my earlier post and decided I need medication pronto, WordPress says I need catchy titles to tantalize my audience.  It’s right here on the can!

I’ve observed a curious phenomenon going around ArmitageWorld these past few weeks.  Writers have been enthusing how much Richard Armitage has affected their lives.  Through his work, they’ve tapped into a higher level of creativity and its output.  Comments have chimed in to agree. This sentiment is not unusual, after all we are fans. Enthusing about out object of affection is what we do. The curious part is I seem be like a tiny island in this ocean of effusiveness.

Don’t get me wrong; I like the guy.  He’s talented, intelligent, gorgeous and seems a genuinely nice bloke.  I enjoy his work and look forward to future projects.  I’ve seen almost all his roles – once.  Listened to most of his audios -once.  I might journey across the pond to see him onstage – maybe twice.  It’s as if I soak it all in, visually and aurally and then I’m sated. My mind has recorded and cataloged it.  I have no impulse to watch his stuff repeatedly from start to finish.  Oh, I will watch a favorite scene again for screen-caps or discussion but you won’t find me sitting through an entire episode of Robin Hood.  Having said all that, I admit to revisiting both his TV and print interviews more because I find RA the man much more interesting.  As hinted by the title of my blog, “The Watcher”  I like to observe people and unravel their mystery.  As Servetus has blogged on identity (the cite which I can’t find), we can never really know what is behind a celebrity veneer besides what they want us to see.  My observations tell me RA has still waters that run quite deep. But that’s another post.

Anyway, I’ve have pondering the creativity issue. I’m unsure why RA hasn’t affected me as much as others.  It could be the nature of my personality. It could be my longevity in fandom and a sense of having been there done that.  It could be a certain jadedness creeping in.  However, I do know that his fan community has had a bigger impact on me.  Servetus’s fascinating blog introduced me to a community of mature, intelligent, educated, thoughtful women and it’s through their creativity that I feel inspired to write again.  I suppose in a sense, RA while a captivating man, is not real to me.  He exists in another closed snow globe world where I can watch the flakes fall for a while, before moving on to something else.  It’s his fans with whom I feel connected. Although we may not be acquainted in real life, we share the same thoughts, concerns, woes, livelihoods, and workaday lives.  Because I can identify, I feel more motivated by the fanfic, videos, artistry and blogs. I think, “if she can do it, I can do it.”  While RA is easy on the mind, as it were, I think we don’t give ourselves as fans enough credit for the level of enthusiasm and creativity we inspire in each other.

Or am I missing something here?

Rest assured I do like me some pretty, repeatedly.  So I leave you with a lovely one tweeted today by

A work of art

Richard Armitage shows that dancer's physique; Spooks S9; Courtesy,

Time After Time

As you know, I’ve been entertaining my buddy Real Life and her tag-along friend Writer’s Block for the past few weeks. They keep dropping in unexpectedly at the most inopportune times. While waiting for them to leave, I’ve been musing about Time.

When I was kid, time dragged as I counted the days until Christmas, summer vacation, big events, and shows on television.  I was in hurry to do things, to grow up so I could participate in the magical world of adults. Right.   When I wrote the first check on my mortgage and contemplated my shrinking paycheck, I wondered what the hurry was.  Then time sped up and moved along side me and I seemed to have all the time in the world to pursue my dreams and aspirations.  If something didn’t work out, there was always next week, or next month or next year.  Then time jogged a bit faster, almost outpacing me when I perceived some goals were not going to be met at a self-imposed deadline.

Now I look around and think, “where has time gone?” as if I’d just blinked and the graying hair and sag to the jawline suddenly appeared.  My mind resets itself to a youthful image while I sleep and I’m surprised every morning.  Time is no longer behind or alongside but slightly ahead.  I’m moving through the middle of middle-age.  As the effects of aging begin to show, I become more conscious of my mortality and wonder what happens next.  I’m aware it’s simply another transition in life’s cycle, something I need to consider and prepare for so that I can progress gracefully. Luckily I don’t feel any pressure in aging other than my own imaginings; my job and relationships are not impacted by it.

As an older fan, it’s been interesting observing Richard Armitage who is beginning middle age.  After the Hobbit press conference, some fans wondered why he mentioned being middle aged. Some explained he was selling himself to the public as old enough to play Thorin. That may be, but he said it before in an earlier interview.  Another actor I like, David Tennant, repeated the same thing enough that he sounded a bit fixated.  Their profession is youth-oriented, even obsessed and they must be keenly aware their days as leading man material are numbered even at 40.  Life’s cycles seem accelerated in a business based on whether the people who hire you think the public will watch you.  Time is not kind.  Child actors have a difficult time transitioning to adult roles. Leading actors get shunted to character roles before hopefully not getting lost in the obscurity of old age.

So when relatively young men like RA and DT bang on about middle age (amusingly from my vantage point), I wonder if they’re also pondering, looking in the mirror and reminding themselves that yes, time is marching on and they must plan accordingly.

Richard Armitage at Hobbit press conference, Courtesy

Serene Sunday

The tech troubles with formatting are still unresolved but I can manually include a reply box for each post.  So, no more procrastinating.   It’s warm, it’s Spring (I think), it’s Sunday and a good time to get things rolling again.

In keeping with posting spiritual songs on Sunday, I choose one by one of my favorite gospel singers, Mahalia Jackson.  A friend told me I have an “old soul” but I really enjoy old time music.  Ms. Jackson had an amazing dynamo voice. I loved to listen to her as a child.  While her diction was mushy at times, it didn’t matter because the power of her voice was enough.

While I’ll head down to the lakeside, enjoy things Down by the Riverside.

For A Good Cause

ArmitageWorld has been doing a bit of fund-raising to assist a celebrity fundraising effort in Christchurch.  Information for Rise Up Christchurch: Te Kotahitanga is here.  It’s a 12 hour telethon that will be broadcast internationally both in NZ and via the internet.

Servetus kicked things off in the blogsphere by offering to donate $1 (USD) for each comment on her post by a unique commentator / IP address up to the first 100 comments. After that 0.25 USD (twenty-five cents) per comment up to a maximum total donation by me of USD 200. (That would be 500 unique commentators / IP addresses.)  RAFrenzy offered to match up to $200 and anonymous commenter offered to match her.  Calexora is also donating and issued a challenge of her own that is shaping up quite interestingly.  Others have notified her they also will be contributing personal donations.

Servetus reported,

…now a comment on my blog earns $3 US for Christchurch if you’re one of the first hundred commentators, and $0.75 US if you’re one of the next four hundred.

Our current UNOFFICIAL comment count (taken at 01:36, May 20th in UTC +2) is: SEVENTY-FIVE COMMENTS FROM UNIQUE IP ADDRESSES. That’s $225 already.

So the next twenty-five unique commentors earn $3 each! And everyone after that just adds to the total.

Can I say that I am really excited about this? Given the synergy here — I was doubtful when I issued the challenge in the first place that we could really make 500 unique commentators — that would be well past a record for this blog — I am hopeful that we will meet the challenges already in place, which will generate $600.

I’d like to see her make that goal.  If you see this post and have not already visited Servetus’s post, won’t you stop by there now and comment?  Just a simple something like “hello!” will convert to money to support a worthy cause helping the people of Christchurch.  I’ll even put my money where my mouth is and donate.

It’s all win-win.

RA with British High Commissioner (Source: UKinNewZealand)

Technical Difficulties

Not tryin’ to be funny but WordPress is having technical difficulties.  It’s come to my attention that the ability to reply to any of my posts has vanished.  I’ll trouble shoot and then beg my guru for intervention if it’s not resolved soon.

Please standby.

EDIT: I updated WordPress two days ago and it hasn’t been playing nice since.  Comments seem to have defaulted to none and must be manually allowed for each post.  Hence previous post comments are closed is which really annoying. Time for my guru.

The Other Dog

Winston Churchill had a black dog

His name was written on it

It followed him around from town to town

It’d bring him down

Took him for a good long ride

Took him for a good look around

Reg Mombassa: Black dog

Winston Churchill frequently referred to struggling with his “black dog,” his metaphor for depression, in his case as bipolar disorder.  He had a remarkable and accomplished life like other depressives such as Abraham Lincoln and Tolstoy.  There are many people walking around with mood disorders and don’t even realize it. I believe everybody knows somebody who’s consistently talked about “feeling blue,” “down,” or “blah.”  Old timers said they were “feeling poorly,” “took to their bed,”  or “went away for a rest.”   Still there’s a stigma attached to publicly acknowledging the condition.  Fortunately people like Churchill did mention it because he was prescient enough realize that at times it’s better to recognize the elephant in the room before people drew worse conclusions.  So he referred to his black dog.

Like Churchill, I should acknowledge on this blog that I’ve had my own black dog since childhood.  I picture him as a black bull dog in honor of Churchill; he’s unnamed because he’s not welcome.  He can stay away for long periods then sudden spring out of nowhere nipping at my heels, or sitting on my chest licking my face.  He seems as small as a chihuahua when he plays nice or big as that proverbial elephant when he’s a bastard.  He exudes a clinging miasma that saps my energy and causes as clinicians state, “deficiencies of concentration, persistence and pace.”  He’s not menacing; he’s simply annoying.

Several months ago, I spotted him bouncing outside the fence, as it were, until he grew big enough to jump it and give chase.  Last month, he tackled me and attached himself like Velcro.  During these times, all of my energy is focused on keeping the paychecks coming.  Everything else falls by the wayside. I hoped blogging would help keep focus but dragging the black dog around required too much energy, hence the withdrawal from blog-verse.  Finally he’s shrunk to teacup size, small enough to punt out the door.  Hopefully he’ll stay preoccupied elsewhere while I pick up where things dropped and clear up an accumulating To Do List.  It’s daunting and frustrating, but something I accept and work through.

I realize I missed an important email (damn, sorry!) and many posts.  Although I’ve not been commenting on blogs and emails as I would have liked, I have been reading and thinking about them all.  Please don’t think you’re being ignored.

Hope to get back to regular scheduled programming shortly, and to show my good faith, here’s a shiney:

2004 promo, courtesy