Merry Christmas Eve

Home

8:30PM

I lie back on the couch patting my stuffed belly and gazing contentedly at my two chums, Elsa and Trinalin.   Santa Trinalin passes out the presents from under the twinkling tree.  Fake embers glow not too unconvincingly in the fireplace.  O Holy Night plays from speakers on the mantle.  Patty lies on the rug, watching us fling wrapping about.  A scrap falls across her nose.

Elsa hums to the music. “Have we heard this before?”

I shoot her a look.  “Maybe…”

I open a packet containing a collector’s edition of Rolling Stone’s magazine with Thorin on the cover.  Entertainment Weekly with Thorin.  The Hobbit storybook – more Thorin.  I sense a pattern and smirk at Trina.

Trinalin grins.  “It’s so good to feed your fandom for once, Judi.”

I feel a slight cringe and am not sure why.  They both know that I blog and about whom. What’s the problem? My inner trio, id Jodi, supergo Jada, and ego Quiet One, all chuckle.

Jada sighs and rolls her eyes.

Jodi whispers. “Fangurrrrrrrrrrl.”

Quiet One giggles.

Elsa seems to read my mind, smiling knowingly.

The playlist offers up a another version of O Holy Night.  Uh oh.

Trina smirks. “I’m pretty sure we’ve heard this before.”

I blithely ignore her.  More wrapping paper flies.  It’s a 5 inch Thorin action figure.  My 50+ year old self is ridiculously pleased.  I rip him out of the packaging and play with his little Orcrist and dagger.

Jada inspects it.  “Oh, all his parts move!”

Jodi guffaws. “All?  Are you sure? He’s kind of small. Is he fully functional?”

Quiet One giggles.  “Hey, his cloak moves too.”

I can’t help myself.  I’m 9 years old again, playing with my Skipper dolly.  I furtively lift the cloak and peer under.

Trina catches me and laughs.  BUSTED.  She snaps my picture and tweets it.  Me and my little Thorin doll.  Sigh.

O Holy Night dials up a third time.  Damnit.

Both Elsa and Trina pounce. “So, got any other Christmas music or what?”

I protest.  “Look, I only had about 36 versions when I checked.  Last year.”

Jodi is ever observant.  “Say, we’re missing Rudolph in here.”

Jada nods. “Yes, you haven’t had him sing this year.”

Quiet One chuckles.

I fetch Rudolph from the den.  He’s an animated red-nosed reindeer that sings tunes from the beloved Christmas special from my childhood.  I activate the singing by squeezing his ear.

Rudolph suddenly sings in a deep baritone. “Are you going to laugh at my nose too?”

We all blink at the not so childlike sounding little reindeer.  His batteries have run down.

Trina shrugs.  “Well, guess his balls have dropped.”

I gape at Trina.  “What! You’ve just ruined my childhood!”

Everybody bursts into laughter.

***

Merry Christmas Eve, all.

Here is an excerpt from the special.  Enjoy.

 

No Title

No Description

Interlude XXXIX – It’s A Man’s World

Just returned from seeing Sky Fall with Daniel Craig.  His body is hot and he cleans up nice but I wanted a bit of pretty.  Let’s see if this is adequate.

Hmm, I’m not complaining.

Enjoy.

Richard Armitage notices a blimp of fangurls passing over.

Richard Armitage ponders whether to pose nude for the centerfold.  Courtesy of Fault Magazine Issue 13

Richard Armitage decides that the chains are too much.  Courtesy of Fault Magazine, Issue 13

Richard Armitage decides that the chains are too much. Courtesy of Fault Magazine, Issue 13

 

 

Interlude XXXVIII – Putting on the Ritz

…Well, actually Claridge’s.

Guests are arriving here for the weekend.  They want to see… The Hobbit.   I meet up with a fellow fan next weekend.  She wants to see…The Hobbit.  Did I mention I’ve seen it twice already?  ARRRRRRGH!  While I deal with this Hobbit glut, think about this: the age of bagginshield fan fic has dawned.

I’ll leave you to figure that out, along with this picture taken at Claridge’s hotel in London.

Enjoy.

Richard awaits his tea and crumpettes. Courtesy of Tumblr.

Richard awaits his tea and crumpettes. Courtesy of Natylyra on Tumblr.

60 Seconds with Richard Armitage

I love this promo with Martin Freeman asking Richard Armitage short questions.  RA is relaxed, jokey and appealing. It’s longer than 60 seconds, but that’s okay.

 

MAX 60 Seconds: Richard Armitage (The Hobbit) (Cinemax)

Subscribe to Cinemax: http://itsh.bo/10r1tmj Cinemax on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cinemax Cinemax on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Cinemax Cinemax Official Site: http://itsh.bo/HPPXB4 Cinemax Go: http://itsh.bo/10qx3k5 Check out other HBO Channels HBO: http://www.youtube.com/hbo Game of Thrones: http://www.youtube.com/GameofThrones True Blood: http://www.youtube.com/trueblood HBO Sports: http://www.youtube.com/HBOsports Real Time with Bill Maher: http://www.youtube.com/RealTime HBO Documentary Films: http://www.youtube.com/HBODocs Cinemax: http://www.youtube.com/Cinemax HBO Latino: http://www.youtube.com/HBOLatino MAX 60 Seconds: Richard Armitage (The Hobbit) (Cinemax) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLIK-DREmJA

 

A few observations:

  • Aha! I knew he had enough vanity not to let himself go to pot.  My shallow fangurl is SO relieved.
  • I’m stricken he won’t get on Twitter.  Well, there goes that fantasy.
  • I miss the flowing locks, too (a la Guy).   Get back to growing that hair!
  • So he and his horse (a female?!) had a flowing locks thing together.
  • “Where’s my stylist?”  Yup, we always knew that.
  • Hmmm, yeah. Don’t try jokes.  Just smile for the camera, luv.
  • He’s also contradicted everything he’s said before, but hey, who’s paying attention?  😉

 

I’m still looking for creative writing ideas for Christmas week.  What story would you love for me to write?  This is your chance!

Oh! Here’s 60 Seconds with Martin Freeman.  Love how RA corrects, with a shift of the eyes, about “milky ‘foot’ substance” flying into a woman’s mouth. Whatever were you thinking, RA?  MF: “My publicist is having a coronary.”  Plus at the end MF: “I wonder how long my career will last. What a shame it’s over just as it’s beginning.”

MAX 60 Seconds: Martin Freeman (The Hobbit)

Subscribe to Cinemax: http://itsh.bo/10r1tmj Cinemax on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cinemax Cinemax on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Cinemax Cinemax Official Site: http://itsh.bo/HPPXB4 Cinemax Go: http://itsh.bo/10qx3k5 Check out other HBO Channels HBO: http://www.youtube.com/hbo Game of Thrones: http://www.youtube.com/GameofThrones True Blood: http://www.youtube.com/trueblood HBO Sports: http://www.youtube.com/HBOsports Real Time with Bill Maher: http://www.youtube.com/RealTime HBO Documentary Films: http://www.youtube.com/HBODocs Cinemax: http://www.youtube.com/Cinemax HBO Latino: http://www.youtube.com/HBOLatino MAX 60 Seconds: Martin Freeman (The Hobbit) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNZCSGcU1MA

 

 

RA Break Day

This is another mental health day.  Still have a review of The Hobbit movie itself and RA’s report card to go before I’m done with the whole thing.  I still haven’t started any writing for Christmas week, so I’ll toss it to you Dear Reader:

What would you like me to write?

Anyway, I painstakingly searched through the amazing stash at RichardArmitageNet.com for you people and came upon this one.  What really tickles my funny bone are the expressions on the fans’ faces… after I looked up.

Priceless.

Behold, the power of RA

Behold, the power of The Armitage

 

Review of RA and Thorin; or Oh Thorin, You Fine Bastard

Thorin12I’m not a Tolkien fan, having never read any of his books.  I saw all of the LotR trilogy  enjoyed them, then promptly forgot them, except for Gollum and his precious. I wouldn’t have been particularly interested in seeing The Hobbit were it not for Richard Armitage being cast as Thorin.    So my knowledge of the story is either forgotten or nonexistent.   As for RA, I’ve made no bones about not being an avid fangurl.  But I wanted  him to do well and was thrilled for him that he’d snagged this major role.  Also, I attended with a friend who didn’t know RA from Adam. Truth be told, I would have felt mortified had she turned to me and said, “So that was your boy? He sucked.”

So yes, I hoped he didn’t fall on his face.  That was the extent of my expectations of him.

That’s also the extent of my objective fan bona fides.  Okay, now for RA and Thorin.

Knowing next to nothing about Thorin, I was prepared to embrace this dispossessed king.  I knew he might have some issues over the situation, but this Thorin is a total prick.  He is prideful, ego-driven, stubborn, obsessed, bastard – the poster child for grudge carrying.  Even the flashbacks showing Smaug toasting Erebor, Thranduil the Elvenking turning his back, and Azog beheading his grandfather didn’t adequately explain his highly antagonistic attitude towards Bilbo and need to insult him every chance he got.  Aside from marveling his noble and commanding warrior badassery, I felt little reason to care, other than he is the good guy.  By the end, I wouldn’t have been surprised had Bilbo acknowledged Thorin’s thanks by telling him where he could go.  RA gives a solid performance as a solid asshole.  But wait, this is a children’s movie.  Other fan reviewers raved and cried.  Hmm.

Clearly I was missing something.  So, I went back for a second viewing in a closer seat.  All became clear. Literally.  I was too nearsighted to see RA’s eyes during the first showing.  This time, Thorin is still a bastard, but such a good-looking one.  That always helps, it really, really, really does. (But you know I’m shallow).  More importantly, seeing his eyes makes him more human dwarven; they signal more depth and emotion underneath the gruff exterior.  This makes Thorin more palatable to me, but he is still not admirable as a character.  The big scene in which he loses his mind and marches out of the burning tree to take on Azog AND his warg,  leaving his group to die, qualifies him for a major beatdown later.  Or at least a good right hook.  There’s also the strong indication that his quest is more motivated by personal vengeance and the need to redeem himself in his own eyes as an heir of Durin than an altruistic reclamation for his people.  As he tells Balin, “*I* have no choice.”  He’s hell-bound to proceed with the mission no matter what and feels no qualms about leading a paltry band of 14 to do what an entire army of dwarves could not.  Again, having never read Tolkien, I assume honor and vengeance is the dwarven creed, so maybe his behavior is understandable.  While Thorin is not a particularly likeable character, there’s an indication that might change as the journey continues.  However, considering that he’s already half unhinged, I’m not sure how he will avoid the dragon sickness and its greed.

[EDIT: Thanks to our Mujer Tropical, I have a better understanding of Thorin.  Facing his destiny and fears is certainly admirable, so I revise that part.  However, I still have difficulty with his likeability, mainly because it take a little more time to understand such a character without some outside source (the books, Mujer Tropical).  Unlike Sir Ian with Gandalf, RA was given precious little time to convey Thorin’s complexities.]

RA delivers a solid performance as Thorin, considering he was quite hampered by the prosthetic forehead.  He had to dispense with the repertoire of micro-expressions for which he’s known.  RA reported he had to overreact scenes with his eyes and jaw in order to signal emotions to the audience.  He managed successfully, giving Thorin more depth than he would have had ordinarily.  Instead of being a bastard on a quest, he’s an interesting bastard with potential on a quest.  RA uses his low- baritone effectively, lending a commanding voice to his fine visage.  His characterization is mostly Thorin, although I detected Thornton in two lines, and Guy of Gisborne in a few  eye and head movements.  His fight scenes are excellent with his dancer’s spins and graceful choreography.  He did well with the material he had.  I can find no fault with his acting.  Most of my issues concern problems with the script and overall editing.

More about that later.

 

Serene Sunday: Welcome Christmas (Fah Who Foraze, Dah Who Doraze)

I’m recovering from ho ho ho-ing at a Christmas party.  Elevate your minds Dear Readers!   So I want to share my recuperation by highlighting one of my favorite fun holiday cartoons, How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  Based on Dr. Seuss’s book of the same name and narrated by Boris Karloff, this was an annual holiday staple 1966 to 1987 before the rights were bought by Turner Broadcasting that now shows it several times during the holiday season.  Yes, I’ve seriously aged myself.

The ending always causes a lump in my throat.  Every year.   Turner Broadcasting appears to pull clips showing too much of of the special, but I found two videos piecing most of it together.  Be sure to watch both.

This delightful special taught children the real meaning of the holiday season.

Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store.

Maybe Christmas, perhaps, is a little bit more.

The Grinch Ending (Original 1966)

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! 1966 Original Ending The Grinch Realizes Christmas Doesn’t Come From a Store. Maybe Christmas Perhaps Means a Little Bit More. Merry Christmas Everyone 🙂 Share

 

Christmas will always be,

Just as long as we have we.

Welcome Christmas while we stand,

Heart to heart, hand in hand.”

CBS 12/83 – The Grinch (ending)

Dr. Seuss ending with two commercial spots and CBS V-O announcer, Christmas 1983.

 

Bet you didn’t know there was a full version of Welcome Christmas by the Who Village Choir?

Enjoy.

No Title

No Description

 

 

Surreal Saturday: Richard Sings!

I’m still pondering my review of The Hobbit and Richard Armitage’s performance, but first had to check that asylum invitations in Europe were still good.  They are.  Whew.   So, I shall tread foolishly on. Erm, here, have a picture.

Richard Armitage gets his black on.  Courtesy of Helsingin Sanomat

Richard Armitage gets his black on. Courtesy of Helsingin Sanomat

Yes, there’s nothing surreal about this post, but RA obliged a Finnish interviewer by singing a few bars of Lonely Mountain, a miracle in itself.  It’s the only time we’ve actually heard him singing literally a capella.  You get a better sense on the timber of his voice.  Here is the full interview including James Nesbitt an Aidan Turner.

See what I do for you people?

“That’s first thing in the morning, with a hangover.”

Twas the Night before The Hobbit

rahobbitgiftbombforcharitynov2612gratianal2…And this intrepid reporter barely stirs.  No, I’m not sending up the poem, although that’s not a bad idea.  Anyway I’m supposed to be resting, remember?  So accompanied by my furry shadow Patty, I’ve breakfasted; napped; lunched; napped; checked Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr (welcome back!), news (The Hobbit was shut out of the Golden Globes and SAG nominations) and viewed loads of RA videos, pics, and squeed over Francois, tux some more.  Napped.

So now I’m officially awake and heading out soon to the midnight show of The Hobbit accompanied by my friend, a retired film critic/film historian.  I’ll ask her to critique a certain British actor for me.  This should be interesting.

I felt a little trepidation earlier that not being a Tolkien fan might negatively affect my enjoyment of the movie.  But Traxy (TheSqueee) put my mind to rest with a certain observation.  Now I’m gung-ho and ready to go, finally, after two years.

Hopefully I’ll have a review ready tomorrow.

***

Did you enjoy The Hobbit tour?  Want to congratulate RA in his biggest film role debut?  Show your appreciation by gift bombing his Justgiving page!  Show him and the world you care.

You know you want to.

 

The Hobbit Blitz Ends or, Everybody Take a Breather

Thorin-3D-PosterFinally, the Great Worldwide The Hobbit Tour Megablitz Spectacular (except in the US, we sucked) is over.   I think.  Now those of us who haven’t seen it can swarm to the theaters to take in the cutting edge of event cinema: HFR 3D.   I’m curious about the format, even though I basically have monovision.  I’m also curious to know if and how RA has expanded his acting repertoire.

It turns out that I get to see the film twice; the December 14th midnight showing when I will simply enjoy the experience, and at the IMAX with a gift ticket courtesy of Anderson Cooper, when I’ll view with a critical eye.  That counts as two reviews I suppose.

Now, I make a show of being jaded and blase on the blog, but I’m becoming a bit excited about the whole thing.  This is my first midnight show for anything.  Covering the tour, attending the Anderson Cooper taping of the cast, and watching and reading about the experiences and feelings of fellow fans has been a real kick.  It’s also created a higher expectation than I would have had ordinarily.  Hopefully, the film will be everything the PR blitz has promised.

We shall see.

 

Richard Armitage: A Star Is Born – I Love You, Francois

Stylist Ilaria Urbinati has outdone herself.  She’s not yet tweeted the particulars regarding RA’s tuxedo at the London Royal Premiere, but I’m in love.  Look at the perfect cut.  How the collar lies just so.  The gorgeous bow tie sits perfectly at his throat.  The crisp while pleated shirt.   Just… perfection.

Here he is, my new love – Francois.

More sharp pics of this gorgeous suit as they become available.

EDIT: Francois is “a black Ermenegildo Zegna tuxedo. His tux features all the elements a modern man needs, a single button, shawl collar with a satin finish, slim fit, and exceptional Zegna tailoring” reported from the “Because I’m FABULOUS” blog.  Another Zegna, like George.  Siiiiigh.

My new love, Francois, accompanied by that bloke Richard Armitage.  He gets around. Courtesy of MashaNeronova on Twitter

My new love, Francois the tux, accompanied by that bloke Richard Armitage. He gets around. Courtesy of MashaNeronova on Twitter

Back up, baby.  Let’s see the shoes.  Erm, Rich, just relax the hands luv.

Full length view of Francois. Courtesy of

Full length view of Francois. Courtesy of MashaNeronova on Twitter

Ohhhh my.  What I can I say?  Simply stunning, eh?

 My love Francois, accompanied by that Armitage bloke.  Courtesy of Tim Whitby

In case you wanted a close up of that bloke. Courtesy of Tim Whitby

 

 

Richard Armitage: A Star Is Born – Liveblogging the Royal Premiere

Live streaming of the London Royal premiere has started.  Livestreams are here and here.  The Leicester Square webcam is here.  Time stated is my time.

11:15AM:  Streaming starts!  Looks like they transplanted the stage set from NZ.  And coming is Andy Serkis.  It looks quite cold but Andy looks psyched.  He’s traveling the green carpet sans coat with his wife and kids.  His wife wears a backless dress.  Must be freezing!  Lots and lots and lots of security.  Lots.  Older couple walking down.  Nobody knows who they are.  The commentator is…er… not commenting.

11:26AM: Martin Freeman arrives.  He’s cleaned up again! Imagine that.  No fool him.  He’s in a coat and gloves.  No need to catch pneumonia.  Closely following is Sir Ian McKellen also looking dapper.

11:29AM  Cate Blanchett arrives wearing a white backless…something…. gown.  It looks like a snug ripped sheet.  A dwarf has arrived.  He gets no name and no introduction.  Sorry Adam Brown.

11:32AM: The rotten commentator interviews Stephen Hunter about Bombur.  Stephen cleans up nice in a tux as well.  He described Bombur as mostly ginger. “Ginger’s going to be back in. I’m sure of it.”

11:37AM:  James Nesbitt is already on the scene and doling out autographs.  The photographers emerge.  Wait, there is our man Richard Armitage in a fabulous tux and —!  And they cut away to an interview with Adam Brown.  WTF???  Saw him for only a hot second ladies.

Wait… he’s looking FABULOUS.  And there’s Sir Ian again.  Did I mention how much I love Sir Ian?  Now an interview with Graham McTavish looking dashing.  His Dwalin is a Hell’s Angel with axes.

11:45AM:  And here is Sylvester McCoy, Rhadaghast.  Nobody wants to know about him.  Okaaay, he’s cleaned up in a nice matching tux.

11:50AM:  Another shot of RA who is standing around with his PR woman, not signing autographs.  Now Sir Peter Jackson is on the scene.  He dressed up, matches and everything!  There’s the boy band, McFly

11:55AM: Cate Blanchett shivers her way through an interview.  She’s so cold she mentioned going back in a TARDIS.  Poor thing.  “Peter is exactly the same, except he’s wearing shoes.”

11:57AM:  Andy is STILL working the crowd.  He seems to thrive on this.  Sir Ian is up next for the interview.  Ian to the commentator: “Are you done?”

12:03PM: Martin Freeman gets a reception at the interview.  Left the shades but kept on the gloves.  His hair is brushed back just so.  And he’s being his usual self sans the F bombs.  Congrats Martin.

A view of The Tux, Francoise.  Screencap courtesy of meandrichardarmitage.wordpress.com

A view of The Tux, Francois. Screencap courtesy of meandrichardarmitage.wordpress.com

12:06PM: RICHARD! Cheers for him.  He dreamed he got lost and couldn’t find his way to the cinema.  he looks happy and psyched.  Love the tux. Love the tie, rests at his neckline just so.  Lovely white shirt with mini pleats.  Looks like he got a hair cut (why!!!).  He wore formula 41 vests to cool them down, and were zipped into a cooling tent to keep the smell away.  Cute, Rich. Servetus just capped the hell out of this interview here.

12:11PM:  Aidan Turner and Dean O’Gorman, the double act, come up next.  I think they enjoy being the Bobsey Twins. Very jokey, completing each other’s thoughts.  Oh and yes, they clean up quite nicely too.

12:15PM:  A girl group in some wild fluttering costumes. Who are they?  What are they?  No clue.  Anyway, here is Andy for a chat.  Impersonation of Gollum in 3…2…1…. “Hello world!”

12:19PM:  James Nesbitt comes up flashing his dimples, chatting about Bofur.  He’s looking dashing, but as wonderfully as RA.  Naturally.

12:21PM: Sir Peter is looking uncharacteristically put together.  Haven’t seen his feet, but they might be matching dress shoes.

12:32PM: Finally group shots on the stage/set.  RA has the unfortunate knack for somehow standing in the back.  Sigh.  Cate rushes over for more autographs despite the fact she’s clearly freezing.  What a lady.

12:45PM:  HRH the Duke of Cambridge arrives.  Hey, Prince William!   Heh, didn’t even acknowledge the crowd.  Sounds like his official announcer calling off the dignitaries in a receiving line.  Didn’t realize how tall Prince William is.  Wow, this next guy in line looks nervous enough to pass out.  Sheesh, they are bringing out the bosses of very media studio and cinema and Prince William makes small talk with all of them.

1:01PM: The prince finally meets RA.  A head bow.  And my lip reading absolutely failed me.  Sorry all.  But he looked cool and collected.  And his mother behind him is lovely.

RA meets Prince William with his mother looking on. Courtesy of MorrighansMuse

RA meets Prince William with his mother looking on. Courtesy of MorrighansMuse

1:15PM:  Children present Wills with his 3D glasses.  They are ready to rock and roll!

 

Richard Armitage: A Star Is Born – Pre-blogging the London Royal Premiere

No rest for this intrepid reporter.  Live streaming of the London Royal premiere will start in 20 minutes.  Livestreams are here and here.  The Leicester Square webcam is here.  His fantastic stylist reported on Twiter at @ilariaurbinati that RA come *dressed* for the occasion in a tux.  Naturally.

Here’s a cap from one of yesterday’s interviews.  I suppose the outfit deserves a name…

Richard Armitage anticipates the circus question.  Not sure of origin.  Let me know if you do.

Richard Armitage anticipates the circus question. Not sure of origin. Let me know if you do.

Richard Armitage: A Star is Born – London Calls A Mental Health Break

I must have talked it up on Sunday.  A particular Real Life problem reared it’s ugly head.  Now I have to lick my wounds, rage, and do whatever I need to so I can think, regroup, and plot the next course of action.  After all, there’s the upcoming holidays to enjoy.  And I still need to finish the blitz coverage.  And the report card.  And stockpile some posts.  Yup, still tubthumping.

Meanwhile RA news has been surprisingly sparse with two things: firstly, a few interviews rehashing what RA has said since NZ.  Some pictures from the Q&A at the London Apple store have trickled in.  This one of my favorite casual outfits for him.  Stylish yet comfortable, don’t you think?

Richard Armitage learns his role ended on the cutting room floor.  Courtesy of http://sketchlavie.tumblr.com

Richard Armitage learns his role ended on the cutting room floor. Courtesy of http://sketchlavie.tumblr.com

Then there was the London press conference.  Information is just now coming in.  Richard Armitage Central has posted a video containing the RA part.  He broke out another suit, tie with an earlier seen tie and a new shirt.  Will have to sleep on this combination, render an opinion in the morning, and decide whether it’s worthy of a name.  What do you think?

Richard Armitage thinks about his secret Twitter account at the Hobbit London press conference. Courtesy of richardarmitagecentral.co.uk

Richard Armitage thinks about his secret Twitter account at the Hobbit London press conference. Courtesy of richardarmitagecentral.co.uk

 

Fantasia

The man grinned foolishly.

He lie in his own bed, for once, staring at the ceiling.  The publicity tour for his long project had taken him around the world and back home finally, on its last leg.  He’s conquered his thing with the Red Carpet and schmoozed with so many media types, that he was surprised he wasn’t sprouting gibberish.  He felt beyond exhaustion but the moment his head hit the pillow, he was suddenly wide awake.  Oddly, he didn’t want to think about all the incredible experiences he’d just encountered, but something else.

No, he needed some much needed rest.  Tomorrow started early; he needed to finish the AM program circuit without bags hanging under his eyes.  He had no time to humor himself.  Turning unto his side, he burrowed into the pillow and willed himself to count sheep.  The sheep morphed to ponies that morphed to dwarves that changes to – his eyes snapped open.

Damnit.  He could practically hear the laptop calling him.  He calculated fuzzily that he hadn’t been online in over a week.  Was that too much time?  He flopped onto his back.  He had no way of knowing.  He’d have to check.

***

The man sat at the laptop, sipping a glass of wine, neither of which was a good idea.  He paused to reflect.  He’d always wanted a place to let it all hang out, to be as chatty or reticent as he wanted, to discuss his fears and desires, to be creative, to nurture that geeky, creative side of himself.  He’d always fancied himself something of a writer.  His character biographies he created for his roles no doubt signaled a frustrated novelist. He’d written other stories never mentioned to a soul, stories containing characters woven completely from his vivid imagination.  No ideal outlet existed to share his fiction, and the demands of his day job limited any full time pursuit.   Ironically, his own fandom was that sort of place.  He’d checked his Twitter hashtag and found fans discussing creative projects and events happening on the blogs, forums and tumblrs.  They piqued his curiosity.  He’d imagined that if he were a fan, he would join a community like this.  He’d imagined also what kind of fan he’d be here.

Smiling, he went immediately to a blog called, “And So It Goes” written by Alia.  Alia was a 40 something educated, literary woman who’d emerged in fandom a month ago.  She was intelligent, erudite, reserved,and still reticent in disclosing facts about herself.  She was also funny, a bit naughty and had the knack of getting facts straight about him and squelching rumors.  She’d recently revealed herself to be a talented writer with a vivid imagination, having posted a few of her short stories to good receptions.  He really liked Alia; she was exactly how he pictured himself.  Scrolling down to the comments section on her latest story, he observed that she had picked up quite a few new commentators.  Taking another swig of wine, he leaned eagerly forward to read.

***

The man smirked at the new signs as the large group of cheering fans held them aloft for him to read. Thank heavens they were talking to him now.  He pulled out the ever-ready Sharpie, and scrawled his signature.  He nodded and winked at a few for good measure , provoking bigger smiles if that were possible.  Sending the last off, he entered the building and ducked into an alcove.  Good, nobody could see.  He pulled out the iPhone and tapped open his Twitter account, but paused for a second to think.  Chuckling, he tapped open his secret Twitter account: @Alia.  “OMG, I just met The Man!,” Alia tweeted.  He thought and added, “he winked at me!”  Maybe she might blog about it later; he’d have to finesse that.  Or maybe something for Tumblr?

He grinned fiendishly.  This was all manner of wrong.  He was being terrible, awful – diabolical, practically.

But he was having such fun!

 

A Respite and Reflections

I’m enjoying one those rare evenings when nothing urgently presses at the moment.  The Christmas tree is up and decorated, but needs some TLC from the local hardware store.  One holiday party is over.  I need to shake people down for their gift lists but that’s another day.  And there’s nothing to report from The Great Hobbit Tour blitz, thank goodness.  Now that I can hear myself think, a few thoughts have jumped out at me.

It’s been great without Winston, my black dog of depression.  He’s been MIA since May and counting.  Last year at this, I could barely get through the holidays.  Grudgingly, I threw up the tree, decorated slap-dash, and dragged myself to two parties I found a mental ordeal.  This year, the tree got the full treatment as I sang carols before rushing off to a holiday party.  My weekends are quickly filling up this month.  Old friends are reconnecting.

As soon as Winston fled, I met with external Real Life problems that I can’t do anything about right now, but they kept me on edge and wobbly.  The only thing I can do, instead of waiting for the problems to resolve, is to put them in a box, push them to the back of my mind and get on with it.  So, I’ve reemerged once again, flying to NYC for the day, blogging the Hobbit tour, chattering on Twitter (sorry Facebook), and reconnecting with people in real life and online.  Yeah, I’m tubthumping – I get knocked down, but I get up again.  I’m still gathering my mental resources.  It’s slow going, but considering how far I’ve come, I can’t complain.  Baby steps, baby steps.

It feels good to feel good.

As an older fan, I still have some reflections on the NYC trip.  I also haven’t forgotten about RA’s report card; I’ve decided to expand the critique to include the entire tour.  Then I will answer this question: Has RA overtaken my crush on David Tennant?  Wouldn’t you like to know?  Hmmm?

***

 

Give RA that warm and fuzzy feeling.  Congratulate him and show your appreciation by gift bombing his Justgiving page!  Show him and the world you care.

You know you want to.

Richard Armitage: A Star Is Born – Serene Sunday Edition – Ave Maria

Richard Armitage thinks about his holiday gift list at the NYC premiere. Courtesy of richardarmitagenet.com

Another day when this intrepid reporter can do Real Life stuff.  The Christmas season is in full swing and I’ve done nothing.  Sure, I played Pissy Elf for friends over Thanksgiving weekend, helping them decorate FOUR trees, but I’ve done nothing at home. So, my own tree rises like the Sphinx today, come hell or high water.

As you may know, I start obsessively playing holiday music in the middle of November.  Doesn’t everybody?  But with The Hobbit tour blitz and wall-to-wall RA coverage, I’ve not even blogged a single holiday song yet.  Oi!

Anyway, every time a certain song plays in my list, I starting thinking. (This might not always be a good thing, but bear with me).  I begin visualizing a certain person singing a certain song.  No, not O Holy Night, but Ave Maria, the Bach-Gunod version.  How did you guess?

I’ve heard this song performed by many tenors, but not other voice types I can recall.  However, because of the low, slow, tranquil movement of the music, I believe it can be done by other singers, such as a baritone, like say… RA.  See how I segued to Serene Sunday there?

Think about it, Dear Reader, having heard him sing Lonely Mountain, don’t you think he could do Ave Maria?  It requires more crooning than hitting very high notes; I think he could do it.  Playing in the background is Ave Maria sung by Perry Como.  He was a tenor who crooned most of his pieces.  Gaze at the picture (hard work, I know), and imagine RA’s lower register, singing it.

Would it work?

Have a serene Sunday.

 

[audio:https://jagrant.com/watcher/Audios/AveMaria.mp3]

 

***

NOT SO FAST!

Got that warm fuzzy feeling yet?  Keeping up with The Hobbit tour? Want to congratulate RA? Show your appreciation by gift bombing his Justgiving page!  Show him and the world you care.

You know you want to.

 

Richard Armitage: A Star Is Born – Anderson Live Edition

7:00PM

Home

Voices murmur.  The living room remains devoid of holiday decorations.  I remain in the den, feverishly tapping away on my laptop, dreaming of Francois the tuxedo.  Patty the Pom pecks away before the fireplace on her Dogtop, writing her memoirs.

Jodi stares at Jada in disbelief.  “Are you serious???”

Jada nods primly.

Quiet One shrugs, munching on the popcorn.

Fangurl bustles about setting up.

Jodi shakes hear.  “Really? So Thorin doesn’t get it on with Galadriel in the movie?

Jada sighs in exasperation.  “I said, no!”

Jodi frowns. “So what’s the point of an elven model if she doesn’t do THE sexy dwarf?!”

Quiet One snickers.

Fangurl calls out brightly.  “JUDI!  C’mon, I’ve had these memories set up for days!”

I drag in from the den.  There’s just been too much to do.  There’s the Christmas shopping and socializing to complete, not to mention coverage of this insane Hobbit tour blitz.  I sink onto the sofa, glancing curiously at Patty’s Dogtop.  She snaps it shut. Well.  I finally notice the wide screen memory screen.  All faces look at me expectantly.  Oh we’re doing this live?  Fiiiine.

I clear my throat. “Hello Dear Reader.  Welcome to my coverage of the Anderson Live taping I attended Tuesday during my whirlwind 12 hour trip to NYC.  Unfortunately I got only about 3 hours of sleep before, so my recollection of the taping has been a little hazy.  However, Inner Fangurl remembers, and she’s offered to help narrate, as long as she can co-host.”

Fangurl cheers.  “I’m FREEEEEEEEEE!”

I narrow my eyes at her. “Now, we agreed…”

Fangurl smiles sweetly. “Okaaaay.   Hey, ‘sup posse!”

I clear my throat again.  It’s so dry.  “Joining us in the peanut gallery is my personality trio: id, superego, and ego, Jodi, Jada, and Quiet One. You’ve met them in past blog posts.   Oh, and my Pomeranian Patty.”

Jodi waves.  “We got Sexy back!”

Jadi sighs at Jodi and nods.

Quiet One smiles, flashing a peace sign.

Patty looks up from texting on her iDog long enough to cock her head cutely and smile.

I’m starting to think better of this, but there’s no help for now.  “Fangurl has cued my memories, so let’s get started. Roll it.”

Fangurl sallies forth.  “Ah, here is where Judi’s moaning in her sleep.  I can’t believe she-”

I sit up sharply.  “Nobody needs to see that!  Fast forward!”

Fangurl works the remote.  “Ah, here’s where she camped at the wrong gate.  I -”

I grit my teeth.  “Hey, I made the flight!  Cut to the chase, will ya?”

The scene of the crime: CBS studios NYC at the Anderson Live door.

“Ahem, Dear Reader.  As you probably learned from our own Zan, I drew her into the insane idea of running off to NYC to see the Hobbit cast taped for Anderson Cooper Live.  (She blogged about it here and here.)  After wild texting, we met outside the CBS studios. Also there was another fan from Twitter, Luv.   Eventually the line queued down the block.  We met AwkwardCeleb, RA Central and others.  See, there we are taking pictures and enjoying the fun seeing each other on the flesh.  Oh, some even asked to take pictures with me. Imagine!”

Jodi laughs. “You’re infamous!”

Fangurl snorts. “Yeah, you’d think she was a real fan or something…”

I cut my eyes at her. “Anyway, as you can see, we queued for over two hours but it was a lovely cool day.  Eventually the staff came out with a cameraman and asked us to scream, cheer and hold up our signs.”

Fangurl interjects.  “And you didn’t want to do it!”

I blush.  “I didn’t know I’d have to fangurl!  On national television!”

Fangurl waves a hand.  “Well, I made her get that sign out.  It was so COOL!  *I* thought RA would get a kick out of it.”

I mutter.  “I thought only they were going to see it.”

The peanut gallery laughs.

The infamous sign in which I spell Sir Ian’s name wrong!

Fangurl waves me away again. “Anyway, let’s get through this.  We went through a security gauntlet and they ushered into like an audience green room-”

Jodi smiles. “Big, beefy, burly security guards too!”

Jada adds. “Except the room wasn’t green.  And made us sign a release to be on television.”

I remember this. “Yeah, my favorite was the part that said “you can’t sue us even if we edit you to look like a fool.”

Quiet One nods.

Patty chuffs in alarm.

Fangurl surges on.  “FINALLY, they took us to the studio and and sat us with Luv who was ushered in early because of her cane. We sat right there on the right in FRONT!”

Jodi nods. “On the soft seats.”

The set of Anderson Live where RA would shortly rest his posterior, far right.

I sigh.  “We were behind the cameras but they moved most of the time.  But we weren’t close enough for me to see RA well with my near-sighted self.”

Fangurl trills.  “That’s okay.  I had no problem.  So listen up.  They had two dance contests for the audience for free t-shirts. The first one was to Gangham Style. The second was to Sexy Back!  Zan and I loved that!”

I nod. “Yeah, I recall that.  Good thing I didn’t volunteer-.”

Jodi pipes up.  “*I* would have!”

Jada sniffs. “We don’t do that.”

Quiet One nods her head to the beat.

Patty rises and shakes her booty.  Some dog.

Fangurl continues. “Then the warm up lady gave us instructions on how to be a good audience- mainly act like over heated gerbils without scratching, wiggling and talking during the segments.  Then they brought out Anderson Cooper.  Such a funny guy.”

I frown.  Things starts to get fuzzy here.

Fangurl laughs. “See there, you did quite well.  I know you were zoning out there, girlfriend.  They had the camera on us for the longest time.  We’re going to be on TV!!!!  They did the segments about [CENSORED] and [CENSORED] and that crazy woman who [CENSORED], but the [CENSORED] was pretty cool!  Don’t know what we’re going to do with it, but you clung to it all the way home. Good job!”

The peanut gallery nods and applauds.

I smile uncertainly.

Fangurl is suddenly all aflutter. ” And then.. and THEN… it s time for the Hobbit cast.  And the audience went WILD!  Ohhh, look at the surprise on your face as Sir Ian McKellen and Martin Freeman came out of the entry right next to us. PRICELESS! Look, Sir Ian looked at you!”

I smirk.  “He probably was surprised by the surprised look on my face.”

Fangurl practically shakes with delight. “Coop interviewed just the two of them for two segments and then it was time for RIIIIIIICHARD!  Zan got all hot.  Oh my!”

I close my eyes, groaning.

Fangurl points at my memory. “THERE HE IS!  THERE HE IS!  He is talllll and soooo slender too! OMG, he is more gorgeous in person. We were so close!   SQUEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!”

I facepalm.

The peanut gallery giggles and hoots.

Fangurl waves her arms about as if to take flight. “And then he sat his gorgeous arse down next to Andy Serkis – did I mention he came out too? – and then Sir Ian chattered and Martin said something and Richard listened and smiled and nodded.  SQUEEEE!  And then AwkwardCeleb asked him [CENSORED] and the audience laughed and [CENSORED], so he said [CENSORED] and the audience roared!  And the voice. THE VOICE!!!  Then Coop said we were getting [CENSORED] and the audience just about died!”

I nod.  “Yeah, that woke me up.  The [CENSORED] is pretty cool, I must say.”

Fangurl sags.  “And then it was all over and he exited stage right.”

I think hard.  “Yeah, Zan was fanning herself and Luv went off to get the elevator down.   My knee bothered me, but I opted to take the stairs anyway.”

Fangurl nods significantly.  “Yeeeees, we took the stairs. When we reached the sttreet, Luv ran over asking GUESS WHO she ran into in the elevator?  Richard Armitage. Enclosed.  IN.  AN.  ELEVATOR.”

Jodi yips.  “Oh Lordy!”

Jada sighs.  “She was tired.”

Quiet One shakes her head.

Patty shakes her head.

I whine.  “I was so tiiiiiiiiiired.  I wasn’t thinking!”

Fangurl presses.  “And THEN we stood on the Fatal Side of the door.”

I sputter. “But Andy Serkis ran over to us, signed autographs and posed for pictures.  I could practically touch him-”

Fangurl laughs.  “Yeah, and he blocked our view of Richard on the Other Side who posed very briefly before being whisked away.”

Jodi gasps. “Ohhhhhh.”

Jada sighs again.

Quiet One laughs. “Did you get anything with Andy Serkis?”

Patty glances my way warily.

I frown at the demanding bunch.  “You try fangurling on 3 hours of sleep and see how you do!”

Jodi snickers. “I thought you didn’t fangurl…”

I snap my mouth shut.  Shit.  “I meant.. I was there reporting.  For all the fangurls.”

They giggle and snort.

I jump to my feet. “It’s true!  I was there reporting, for the fans, enjoying the camaraderie and the joy of meeting people, and being part of something!”

They all smile.

I blink.  “And I had a fantastic time meeting Zan finally and putting a face to the name.”

They all nod and quirk eyebrows.  “Aaaaaand?”

I huff.  “And that’s all there is to it!”

I flounce off.

Fangurl calls after me.  “SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!”

They all fall out laughing.

Sometimes, I really get on my nerves.