Portraiture

The man fought the annoying self-consciousness while the photographer reset up his gear quickly. As the assistant pointed the lights at the huge shiny steel door, the man presumed that was his mark. He strode across the black marble floor and stood. Giving his arms a slight shake, he tried to relax. He thought he ought to appreciate the richness of the dark blue suit and crisp black shirt. They screamed expensive and felt it too. But mostly he felt like a dressed up doll in a stiff frock, scared to put a crease in anything, and very self-conscious.

His agent had setup this personal photo shoot, stating his new image overhaul required the expertise of a renowned photographer. The man knew nothing about photography but if the amount of high tech gear and number of assistants signified the best, then this man was one of them. Assistants turned the klieg and box lights in his direction. The man squinted. He never enjoyed taking pictures at any time. It was alright for PR productions; he could inhabit a character and forget the cameras. But for these personal photo shoots, it was an endurance test. He simply wasn’t a person to put himself forward in personal photos. Some of the past photographers had simply pointed a lens and expected him to do something. He never understood what they wanted him to reveal in a glance. He was just – him. They would call out directions: “smile,” “turn your head this way,” “smoulder,” and he would go through the motions not knowing if he gave them what they wanted or if the whole thing resulted in a disaster. They’d never said it was a disaster naturally, but a cursory glance at his flat doll figure in the stills told him the story. No, he wasn’t a fan of these photo shoots. How long was it anyway?

He shifted awkwardly, feeling suddenly the weight of his arms and hands. His hands- he never knew what to so with his hands. The hot lights beat down. A droplet slid between his shoulder blades. Oh please don’t let him sweat these posh duds, thought the man. Give some direction, anything to take my mind off this thing. He caught the eye of the photographer who cocked his head and picked up a digital camera with a long tether to a laptop.

The photographer stood and regarded him. “That’s a good spot. Stay there.”

The man nodded, happy for any direction.

The photographer continued to regard him, a quizzical crease in his brow. “Look, let’s try something different. Think about a scenario: you’re at a friend’s party standing with a group of people. A woman you’ve seen but never met is across the room. Your nemesis approaches her. Show me how you feel.”

The man blinked. A scenario – yes, he could do scenarios.

As he visualized, the lights and cameras and gear faded away. He heard music, laughter and bustle of conversation around him. He smiled at a sad joke before catching sight of her. She was here, across the room. She looked ravishing in a dark frock, matching her swept back hair. Her hesitant glances around the room told him that she didn’t know many people here. Her eyes alighted on him and flittered away. Maybe he should go introduce himself. Her eyes flickered back. No, wait he shouldn’t seem too over-eager, like a wolf pouncing on the first lamb in the door. He should be casual like, yeah. Sliding his left hand into the pocket of his trousers and crossing one foot over the other, he casually leaned back against the wall. Her eyes moved back and watched him. He lifted his chin and smiled charmingly. Shall I come over?

Suddenly a real wolf loomed at her elbow. The man knew the actor. He was a douchebag and unprofessional to boot. The woman smiled up at the actor and kissed his cheek. Oh, she knew him! The actor seemed a bit touchy feely, lightly caressing her arm, her elbow. The man felt conflicted, torn between staying put or trying to claim the ravishing woman and getting rid of the tosser pawing her. He glowered. He smouldered.

“Fabulous,” whispered the photographer.

 

[Thanks to Guylty for the inspiration here.]

 

Serene Sunday: Largo al Factotum

I’ve just made the mistake of drinking a strong latte with my meds; saying LOUD HEAD BANGING MUSIC fits my mood is an understatement.  However, that’s not “serene.”  Hold on, let me play some Mozart.  Ahhh.  Okay, where was I?

As a child when I bothered to rise early on Saturdays to watch cartoons, I watched old Warner Bros. features such as Bugs Bunny and Woody Woodpecker.  The show’s creators played concertos from operas during the long scenes.  I started humming along to the cool music, not knowing that it was the old fogy, classical variety that made me yawn and fall asleep any other time.  Advertising agencies also cashed in on the concept, disguising classical songs as pop tunes.

Here is one of my earliest memories, Woody Woodpecker singing “Largo al factotum” from Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville.”

Enjoy.

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This and That: CHAT!

chatclientI’ve been reveling in the good feeling so much lately, it’s hard to write seriously.  I’ve not been keeping up with whathisname; as a result, The Man has been up to something but I’m not sure what. Maaaybe.  BWAHAHAHA!  Additional ideas in the comments would be helpful too.  Also, I planned a dissection of Richard Armitage 3.0 since December but so much time has elapsed that I’ll cut to the chase and issue the Report Card.  Yes, it’s actually going to get done.  Will I give great marks?  Well, wait and see.

A friend suggested that it’s time restart the chat room, Armitage World.  I started it in June 2011 during the first wave of fans. Now since the Hobbit, there’s been another wave of new fans, blogs and tumblrs.  Armitage World is an IRC chat (old fashioned I know) where people can come at any time to get to know each other and form real friendships.  I’ve met several lovely people in Real Life through the chatroom.  The process is very simple: click on “chat” in the sidebar to the right.  Create a name and click OK.  Presto, you’ll in the chat.  I will be there most evenings from 7:30PM CDT onwards.  However, if chat is empty when you arrive, just sit tight, and somebody will appear.  I urge the European contingent to use the room also.  The room is open to all RA fandom.  The rules are geared to embrace the most users: no racist, sexist, or homophobic comments; no spamming; and no advertising.  Chatters should be 18 and older; topics can get raunchy, so remember that the last 20 lines stay on the screen.  I’m also looking around for a more modern program but lets get the party started!  (I hear there’s another chatroom operating too, but it’s nice to have different options).

 

 

Life Is Good; or, What’s Happening To Me???

Happy PillsRemember when you’re in a particular mood, everything you see and hear reinforces that mood?  I’m in an extended version of that.  I take five medications to keep myself even keel.  For two years as the number of pills rose and fell, I groused that I had to take even one.  Eventually, as the number crept up, I became resigned to the idea of ingesting medication cocktails, something which horrified me since my job dealt with mainly failed therapeutic and pharmaceutical attempts to gain “normalcy.”  I referred sarcastically to them as my “Happy Pills” because they weren’t actually making me happy.  The idea of being upbeat and happy was as alien and weird as my perky friend chirped when my backpack was stolen in London: “well, we’ve never been to a British police station before!”  (No, I didn’t smack her).  However as the depression receded, I realized that the little compressed rolls of chemicals really were my happy pills.  Now I’m horrified not at the number but at the niggling fear that I might have forgotten to take them.  (That’s usually just a momentary fear of relapse).

happyThis has been the lock screen on my iPhone. I found the smiley faces in an app program and edited the words.  The old me would have found the picture corny and nauseating overkill; adding the words would have been inconceivable.  Now both the picture and words have meaning.  Each pill says that I need and must not forget them; if they fail, then there will be other pills to take their place.  They aren’t a cure or a panacea; only a means by which I can live life fully.  The words remind me to live that life and appreciate it, no matter how small the activity.  So each morning when I wake feeling contented and exhilarated, I revel that feeling.  If my new sheets feels especially soft, I roll around in them.  When I opened the blinds finally and washed the bedroom windows after three years, I felt pride in the accomplishment instead of fixating on the dirt and the cobweb.  (Yikes!)  When completing a task, I congratulate myself.  When speaking to a neighbor, I smile.  When petting Patty, cheer that she’s happy, healthy and groomed.  I concentrate on the positive side of things.  So I understand my friend a little better now.  While I might not bounce to the police station, I do stay “GOOD morning” to people and mean it. ***

*** Don’t worry.  I’ve got a gallon of Snarky Pills on the side too.  I’ll take one tomorrow.   SHHHH!

 

Monday, Monday: Update

updateAs some of you who follow me on Twitter and Facebook may have noticed, I’ve been socializing my heart out this summer.  Reconnecting with the world has been a bit scary but fun: scary because I always feel a little trepidation that there might be awkwardness or resentment after letting so much time lapse; fun because I discover the fear is all in my mind and the relationships pick up as if we chatted last month.  Summer is half over and I still have two trips and four get-togethers to go, not counting the usual treks to the burbs.  It’s funny. While depressed, I felt all alone and couldn’t remember knowing anybody hardly.  Now, I realize my social web is much broader than I recalled.  Mental illness truly is a hideous liar.

As you might have guessed, my mood has been rock solid stable for two months and counting.  It seems Dr. G. and I have found the Holy Grail, otherwise known as the right medication cocktail.  I’m chuffed.  Patty, my little Pomeranian is too.  She’s been happy and talkative (which may or may not be a good thing).  At least she’s enjoying all the attention she’s getting from visitors.

There’s been another development.  Once the depression receded, I realized my vision had worsened.  Thinking I simply needed new glasses, I visited the optometrist, who alarmingly sent me to the ophthalmologist. It turns out that my cataracts (at my age!) had accelerated; vision in my good eye has worsened to the point that I need the thing removed.   The first surgery is scheduled for late October.  If all goes well, the second surgery on the left eye occurs about a month later.  They will implant corrective lenses so that I might not need thick glasses for the first time in my life.  So, there may be a silver lining in yet another dark cloud this year.

2013 has been a hell of a year and it’s only July.

Serene Sunday: You’ve Got A Friend

My two best pals visited for a week.  For a change of pace, I suggested an overnighter in Galena, a scenic historical village in northwest Illinois. It was home of President U.S. Grant and has buildings dating back to the 1820’s although following a fire in 1856, most are pre-civil war.  For the American Midwest, this is pretty old town.  My friends navigated and drove while I lounged in the back seat. They probably thought I was sleeping.   I did- a bit; but mostly I pondered the joys of true friendship.  For 17 years, they have stuck by me through thick and thin, weathered my depression and whiplash mood swings, and come running whenever I cried for help.  I didn’t gush my gratitude, but I certainly felt happy and thankful for their presence in my life.  Love you gals.

The cost of the room and assorted purchases – $$$

The cost of friendship – priceless

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Surreal Saturday: Star Spangled Pants

I’m a few weeks late but at least it’s the same month.  Felicia Day, actress and resident internet geek, actually shows off her violin virtuoso skills with the US national anthem, Star Spangled Banner. Written by Francis Scott Key during the War of 1812, it’s essentially a war song that’s also hard to sing. Why Congress decided to make it the country’s national anthem in 1931 escapes me.  Day puts her special kitschy spin on it to make the wretched piece bearable.

Star-Spangled Pride Pants

Link to REGULAR FLOG EPISODE FOR THIS WEEK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWaxZH6f608 Starring: Felicia Day & Tom Lenk Featuring: Brit Weisman as Pride Pants Directed by: Sean Becker Executive Producers: Sheri Bryant, Felicia Day, Kim Evey, Sean Becker Associate Producer: Brit Weisman Camera: Hisonni Johnson Sound: Jonathan Hong, Leonardo Nasca Production Assistant: Ricardo Ramos Hair/Makeup: Kim Graczyk Edited By: Sean Becker Post Sound: Jonathan Hong Special Thanks: GoPotato Studio Email: theflog@geekandsundry.com Twitter: @GeekandSundry www.geekandsundry.com

Now here is a tune that ought to be the national anthem, America, the Beautiful.  Our pal Wiki says the the music, borrowed from a hymn, and the lyrics evolved to be first published in 1910. The self-explanatory title is more befitting a rousing, positive, patriotic song than a tune about rockets, bullets and war.  This is my favorite version, by the legendary Ray Charles.

Ray Charles – America,The Beautiful (LIVE) HD

The Miami Lighthouse for the Blind James L.Knight Center in Miami,Florida,1999 Composer : Samuel A. Ward , Katharine Lee Bates Lyrics : Oh beautiful, for heroes proved, In liberating strife, Who more than self, their country loved, And mercy more than life, I’m singing about United This America,sweet America, may God thy gold refine, Till all success be nobleness And every gain devined.

Have a great Saturday.

Oh Guy, You’re So Fine

I’m baaaack.  There’s real life news to report but I’ll talk about me next week.  Today is Guy Day.

Every time I think that my Richard Armitage crush as moved away from 00gling blatant objectification visual admiration, Guy Day Friday rolls around and I find myself pawing through my stash. Then Guy jump starts the admiration all over again.  Take a look at some of these lovely lovely pictures:

What’s a fan gurl to do? I suspect the visual images of Guy fascinate me because of the amazing masculine and feminine mix in Richard Armitage’s features during his mid- thirties at height of his looks, IMHO.  Just a change in lighting or angle of the head accentuated one over the other. But that’s a whole ‘nother post.  Let’s just admire for now.

Still More Beardy Horde

One of my pals (INSTIGATOR!) sent this graphic:

Save the beard

The Graphic of Utter Bollocks

It’s posted by Save the Beard in the Love for the Beard group on Facebook.  Apparently there’s a beard and mustache competition in August.  I hear people travel to these contests, even abroad. Interesting concept.  The beard phenomenon is trending now; at the past Oscars, every other movie star wore one. Sheesh. It’s not a good time for a lukewarm beard person like myself. Even the fandom’s beardy horde continues to expand.  Don’t get me wrong; I’ve nothing against beard. A well groomed small beard looks distinguished on the average man.  I just think they do nothing for good-looking men, and in fact, take away a little something.

Before you start sniggering, Richard Armitage is the ONLY good looking man I’ve ever seen to be the exception to the rule.  He’s got the perfect beard facial line and his square jaw and round chin make a great platform for a baby beard.  (Baby as in just grown in, not teenage straggle.)   So yes, I confess that the man rocks a baby beard.  When it becomes too hirsute and unkempt like during the Captain America premiere, then the rule kicks back in again.

See, I can be reasonable.  Some.

Here, have some pretty.

There's a beard?

There’s a beard? Courtesy of RichardArmitageNet.com

 

The Ride

Big City

1:11PM

I sit staring out the windshield as the bus trundles down South Boul Mich, musing to myself that Dr. G. will be happy to mark one more week of mood stability.  Back-to-back good progress reports feels so unusual and satisfying.  I breathe deeply and let out a happy sigh.

Quiet One, my personality ego, sighs suddenly beside me.

I startle and whisper furiously. “Wha??? What are you doing here? You’re not supposed to be out in public!”

She turns an amused smile towards me. “You know I’m a figment of your imagination.  Just think to me.”

Jodi, my id, pipes up in the seat behind me. “Try not moving your lips.”

Jada, my superego, beside her, murmurs. “I told you not to startle her.”

My Pomeranian Patty pops her head out of my capacious bag and grins.   I don’t recall packing her.

The lady across the aisle throws me a curious glance. I clamp my mouth shut and think-whisper. “It’s just that you all never come out in public.. ”

Quiet One glances out the window at the passing greenery. “I wanted to talk to you.”

Jodi leans forward and whispers in my ear. “She’s coming out.”

I blink.  This is total news to me.  “WHAT?”

Quiet One turns and glares at her.  “Didn’t you promise to not eavesdrop and zip it?”

Jada tuts.

Patty shakes her head.

Jodi slumps in her seat, arms akimbo.

Quiet One continues. “Judi, we need to talk about you and me – our relationship.”

I tense slightly.  Did we have relationship problems?  I don’t really know because my ego is an enigma to me. I can’t recall much of our past together and well – she’s so damn quiet.  She resembles a younger, thinner, wiser, smarter version of the ideal me.  Her image seems to brighten or flatten according to my mood like a lights on a dimmer switch.  Apparently, today my mood is fabulous because Quiet One looks vibrant in a bright orange tropical sundress and Jackie O. sunglasses.  I notice the other two wear sundresses as well, but not as loudly as Quiet One.  I look down at my white capri pants and t-shirt.  Apparently my personality trio is going places. Even Patty has a bright green wee scarf around her neck.  Need to step up my game.

I clear my throat. “So, what do you want to talk about?”

She pauses briefly.  “I want to tell you about me – who I am.”

I perk up.  “Oh, I know who you are. You’re my “ego.”” After all, if the other two were id and superego, by process of elimination, what’s left.

Jodi pipes up again.  “Judi’s sooo Freudian, isn’t she?”

Jada elbows her silent.

Quiet One sighs.

Patty chuffs.

Quiet One demurs. “Nope.  I’m not part of that Freudian psycho-sexual dynamic. I’m more than your sense of self – I’m something higher.  I embody the sense there’s something more outside of yourself, bridge the gap between the isolation within and the greater focus without.  I kept you going when during the worst, because somehow you knew things could get better – would get better.  That was me. I embody your aspirations, passions, striving – I’m your higher self.”

She glances back at her compadres. “It doesn’t mean I’m better than you two, just that I’m another interpretation of a different aspect.”

Jodi nods. “Very Jungian, you know.”

Jada nods. “Exactly.”

Patty stares at Quiet, clearly impressed.

I stare too. All I can say is: “Wow.”  My mind is a whirl. I can a thousand questions if only I can formulate them.

Quiet One continues. “So, since we’re getting to know each other again, I think I need a real name.”

Jodi practically bounces in her seat. “Oh, this will be fun!  Well, we all have four lettered names and use all the vowels except “e” and “i” in the first syllable.”

Jada frowns. “What does that leave? “Jidi?” “Jedie.”

Jodi thinks. “Jedi?”

Quiet One objects. “Nothing resembling Jedi. Jodi will make Star Wars jokes the rest of my existence.”

Jodi turns a toothy grin to her.

Patty smiles.

We’re all silent as the bus slides past the lunching crowd on the steps of the Art Institute.

I interject. “Don’t like “Jill.”

The two throw out more. “”Jillie?””

Quiet One turns to me and smiles brightly. “Julie.  My name is Julie. The closest thing to you Judi in more ways than one.”

The bus arrives at our stop.

Julie winks, rises and heads for the door. “Time to tell Dr. G.”