Foolish Friday: Sharing RA with the World

Welcome back to Foolish Friday, class!  I know it’s been gone a long time, but it’s taken me this long to remember what I did on Fridays.  But thanks to Bare-ChestedGate,  my memory jogged and we can return to our regularly scheduled objectifying. Yes!

I just read that Richard Armitage has topped 70,000 followers on Weibo.  In my eminently prepared style, I have no idea what Weibo is but assume it’s popular with non-English speakers. This got me to feeling slightly wistful that our RA has truly been discovered by the world; he’s no longer the obscure actor known only by the UK and its allies (unless that 70,000 are the same people on Twitter).  We can no longer think of him as our little secret (well, except me).  Our boy has burst forth from his cocoon and stands ready to fly away.  That bit of overwrought prose had me looking through photos of the younger RA, when he was happy to get a small part.  Thankfully, the younger RA offered prime objectifying material.  Let’s have a look class.

This is Himself as Lee Preston in Cold Feet.  While it’s not that picture, this rarely posted shot has a lot to offer.  Notice the laid back youthfulness on the cusp of a man in his prime.  The smoothness of the chest and abs contrasting with the hairiness of the forearms and reminding us that he waxes.  The firmness of the jawline.  Although people joke about speedos, I developed a new appreciation with his.  Must have been the color.

Need to run and continue production work.  Your homework is to find other aspects in this picture that the world needs to know.  I know you can do it.

Richard Armitage as Lee in Cold Feet.

Richard Armitage as Lee in Cold Feet. Courtesy richardarmitagenet.com

 

Interlude XLVI: Objectify Guy

We’re now ramping up production on Phantom of the Opera.  Fifty-two talents each with four costume changes.  The sets need erecting.  Mary Ellen and Ellen are stressed to the max, the seamstress hasn’t arrived, and I’m flailing around taking notes and plugging up holes popping up left and right.  And it isn’t even rehearsal week yet.   Good grief.

It’s so crazy a gal could use some objectifying, so why not my favorite go-to – Guy of Gisborne. Hey, had it not been for this bad load of pretty, I wouldn’t have discovered Richard Armitage.

Enjoy.

Guy demonstrates to Marian how semi-nudity is integral to the story, Courtesty of richardarmitagenet.com

Guy demonstrates to Marian how semi-nudity is integral to the story, Courtesy of richardarmitagenet.com

Repost: The Genesis of Perving

[There was a recent to-do on Facebook that publication of half nude pictures of Richard Armitage from The Crucible were allegedly “objectifying” and “disrespectful.”  It wasn’t the first time the complaints arose and won’t be the last, although critics seem to assume their protests have never before been heard.  Four years ago, I wrote this piece about objectification after some fans complained, among a list of other things that supposedly didn’t honor him.  It elicited such a nice discussion and so many hits that it would be nice to start a new dialogue.]

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A anthropology student alerted me to the following tweet posted on allthingsrarmitage:

“Callipygian is a word coined by the ancient Greeks (‘kallipygos’) that means ‘having beautiful buttocks.” This picture was associated with that reference:

ultimate force arse shot

A nice example of beautiful buttocks.   Courtesy RichardArmitageNet.com

This screen capture is of course Richard Armitage in Ultimate Force.  Ancient Greeks would say he is quite callipygian.  Now this type of talk in the modern age raises protests of objectification.  My question is: why does that have to be so?

Ancient antiquity has always depicted nude image and statues of the human form.

nudes

(l) Greek male nude (r) Replica of nude male wrestlers. Both quite nude. Courtesy of Greek Museum Authority

The human form has always been considered a source of nature beauty, sculpted and painted for ages.  It’s certainly safe to say that because artists could not take actual human being and freeze them in time, they froze them through other media.  The following picture of Michelangelo’s “David,” sculpted circa 1501, is considered a masterpiece:

michelangelo david

Michelangelo’s “David.” Courtesy of Galleria dell’Accademia, Florence

Millions of tourists flock to see this statue.  Nobody would say (other than the must repressed prurient type) that it’s improper to admire and even study this work of art.  People would certainly say “David” is callipygian even though it’s an idealized medieval depiction of a human male.  Nobody could convincingly argue that Michelangelo objectified the human form unless they believe that all nudity is inappropriate.  Since that’s not my premise, I won’t answer that argument since it takes us down the road of morality and personal taste which I’m not discussing here.

So why do fans become uncomfortable when viewing this picture?  It caused quite a stir when first published:

RA as Lucas festooned in tatoos

Richard Armitage as Lucas festooned in tattoos. Would you say this form isn’t view-worthy? Courtesy RichardArmitageNet.com

I observe similar lines and muscles depicted in the idealized statues.  If fact, the real human form is more beautiful because it shows the real flawed form, not simply an idealization.  Does viewing his form suddenly become objectification because he’s a living man?  Is it improper to also say he’s callipygian here?  I argue no.

Sexual objectification arises when a person is viewed as an sexual object or only as one. I have yet to find any fan forum where RA’s artistry and personality isn’t also discussed in detail.  He is not seen solely as an object of lust.  However, it’s self-delusional to say that he shouldn’t be viewed as the sexy man he is.  Human beings are sexual creatures; this is how we have the drive to reproduce our species (or not, as the case may be).  We are hard-wired to perv each other. We sexually objectify each other to a degree on an instinctual level.  We view the human form as desirable and have since probably cave man times.   This form has been frankly depicted since antiquity.  The fact that the modern media makes it possible to photograph the human form in real time doesn’t change anything.

I’m always amused when women protest the loudest that men should not be objectified because it implies a hypocrisy in protesting against female objectification.  I have problems with female objectification only to the extent that it’s used for exploitation.  When that’s not the case, I have no issue if Halle Berry’s fans consider her the epitome of beauty.  Conversely I have no problem with male objectification and feel no shame and admiring male beauty. Is RA being exploited?  He is a grown man who made informed choices to appear in roles requiring undress.  I don’t believe it’s for us to question his judgment as to whether that undress was integral to the story or gratuitous.  I’m comfortable respecting his decisions as to whether he considers himself exploited or not. I can safely assume he would not take a role he deemed exploitative. Even if he did, it was still his decision.  So, I feel free to say that RA’s is callipygian in particular and gorgeous in general without any need to justify.

Here’s an absolutely callipygian screen cap:

Between the Sheets

Richard Armitage as Paul in Between the Sheets. Callipygian, no? My screen cap.

RA arse shot

Very callipygian. Yes? Richard Armitage as Lucas North. Donated artistic screen cap.

 

What, no? Does it really make a difference that this is a screen cap of a real man playing a fictional role in a fictional series?  What if RA decided to pose nude as himself?  I don’t think this picture is less worthy of being admired than if a sculptor made an approved marble statue of his bum or his body and placed it in a museum.  As a straight sexual female, I will admire his body no matter what form it took.

I’m amused every time the objectification issue arises.  When the above tatted picture surfaced, fans drooled but always rushed to add they also admired RA’s work and personality lest they be accused of objectification, although this was understood by everybody.  I find all this protestation unnecessary.  It’s time to drop that veil of political correctness and just be honest as fans.  We like to look up RA’s form because it’s beautiful and desirable.

Just say so.  Period. We understand the rest.

 

 

Surreal Saturday: Not Even Your Barbie Redux

Since the fan-sphere has been talking about Hannibal, I thought I’d repost these truly surreal tableau.  Definitely not the Barbie you remember!

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Blame Didion.  She started this on her website.   I’ve been searching high and low for something truly surreal, and she gets it in one.  Just *had* to Google this.  It turns out to be inspired by artist Mariel Clayton.  When she photographs Barbie and family, she envisions something a bit…er… different.  (Click all the links in all the articles to see the catalog. Some aren’t even gory or kinky.)

This is so macabre and delightfully twisted, I just had to share.  I’m having a great time dreaming up theories for the evil deeds.

“Play nice with daddy!”

 

“Evian, not Perrier, mommy!”

Thanks Didion.

 

OT: My Guy David Tennant

Of course you all know that Richard Armitage is just the bit on the side.  David Tennant is my main attraction.  I discovered him in 2006 when he played the lead in Doctor Who.  I didn’t even like him for three whole episodes and then it dawned that this man could really act.  He went on to become the most popular Doctor ever (which takes some doing) and beloved enough to be called “a national treasure.”  I crossed the pond to see his acclaimed “Hamlet,” and popular “Much Ado About Nothing” where I confirmed that DT really is a special talent.  (These shows are available for digital download; you should really watch.)  His latest popular series is “Broadchurch.”  Coworkers and fans like remark that he’s a genuinely nice caring person.  I observed the same thing especially when he dealt with his small fans.  (He was solicitous of me when I got pushed into a barricade by a rambunctious crowd, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.)  The man is simply a peach.  *Squee* *Cough*D

Anyway, DT received a Special Recognition Award at the National Television Awards.  He’s always been popular at the NTA’s; why not give him another?  Amazingly they managed to keep it a total secret from him.  So here is the presentation and his acceptance speech.

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Interlude XLV: No Rest for the Busy

We’ve almost finished building the scenery for The Snow Queen production this weekend.  More work tomorrow.  Sleep seems like a good idea.

Apropos of nothing, I was searching for one of my favorite pics of Guy tied up (how many times does that happen anyway) and came across this one.  Kind of looks like a scene from Season 4 –  The Sir Guy of Gisborne Show.  Televised after the family hour time slot, naturally. Really late.   Really really late.

Guy nightmareep6_0013

Guy is either having a bad nightmare or a lovely time. Courtesy richardarmitagenet.com

 

4th Blogiversary: I Went to London Town…

dominoes[The 4th anniversary of my “accidental” blog passed on December 28th.  It was a very change filled interesting year to say the least.  Surprising of all was how Real Life and fandom collided in such an unexpected way.  I wrote this piece several months ago, thinking I would use it to conclude a series about The Crucible.  However in a way it summarizes the mishmash of thoughts inspired over the past year. It’s a good time to share it now.]

I spent last night with a friend discussing how a series of events have been clicking into place, one after other, like dominoes falling, hitting the next one and the next, cascading down the line as they needed to.  She suggested that the dominoes may always have been there, waiting for the right angle for me to see them – pointing the way to what I needed.  I’d bought the tickets to see The Crucible on September 10th and 11th, knowing I’d probably not be able to go.  For months, I said I’d go only if A, B, and C happened – in order by September 5th.   As time went on, chances grew slimmer and slimmer.  But then amazing things happened.

I thought it started in June with a friend rushing over to help sort my financial mess.  Click.  All caused by my illness and subsequent retirement.  Click click.  Calling the realtor I’d consulted the year before who immediately leaped in the cash breach of fixing up the condo. Click. Rousing out of my inertia to whip the place into shape (no small feat). Click.  Signing the listing agreement and going live in 12 days. Click.  Finding a seller in just 11 days.  Click.  Being housed and supported by incredible friends pending the move and closing.  Click.  Weathering a bumpy process but finally closing on September 5th. Click. Booking a flight, room and flying to London in three days flat.  Click. Moving about town despite being in physically bad shape. Click.

All to see a play right?

Wrong.

Picture or it didn't happen.  Richard Armitage and me.  92nd ST Y, NYC.

Picture or it didn’t happen. Richard Armitage and me. 92nd ST Y, NYC.

That wasn’t the big domino.  To explain I’ll have to back up – to my childhood.  Amidst all the dysfunctional drama, I came away feeling like I didn’t matter, as if I were invisible.  Of course as an adult (and with lots of therapy), I understood it wasn’t true but the realization never sank past a superficial level.  That critical inner voice always whispered otherwise; and I had to keep correcting that tape again and again.  This explains why I was so disconcerted at the Proust cast party when Richard Armitage kept watching me and Zan.  After all, how could my crush display any curiosity towards me? I felt – naked – in my glaring visibility. His glances said: I see you.  Who are you?  Subconsciously, it confused me that he would think I mattered enough to inspire curiosity.

After the party, the inner voice returned, brushing the episode aside: he just wondered what the hell both of us were doing there. Who was I after all.  Running up to London, I half-feared he might remember me.  He’d seen me long enough at the party. What if he knew I was *gasp* a fan? (After all, if your crush remembers you’re a fan, it’s hard to really deny it, ya know?). Oh no, they said. He meets hundreds of people. You’re good.  So part of me wanted to be safe in my perceived invisibility.  Seems a bit ridiculous, but this is what I told myself.

During the first two stage doors, he was still too emotionally enmeshed in his role to interact fully with the fans. A veil existed between him and us.  He kept his head down, uttered thanks somewhat robot-like, and scrawled his autograph.  However after the last performance, he dropped the character and was fully present. I observed him animatedly replying to fans but not speaking first.

I expected maybe a fleeting eye contact and a signature.  Instead, he glanced at me fleetingly, look down, began to write, looked back up at me and said: hello.  And waited for me to answer.

I’m sure that inner voice died of shock.  Surely in that moment, my mind was a void.  I thought nothing, heard nothing, and saw only two blue eyes staring at me, judiang in the flesh dressed in a black coat standing on a small sidewalk outside a London theater, recognized, awaiting a simple reply. I see you. I remember you.  Hi there.  I reflexively answered hello back. And it was over.  I turned to my grinning London friend.  “Why didn’t you tell me he’d recognize me?” I exclaimed.  “Because, I knew he would,” she answered, as if to say: why not – you needed that to happen.

So me, the anti-fangurl, went to London and what I unwittingly got from the crush himself was – inarguable validation.  It’s pretty hard to think I’m invisible and don’t matter when the crush somehow remembers me months later, does a double-take and speaks first.  I haven’t heard that particular inner voice since. Click.

Don’t forget, my friend said, that couldn’t have happened had not been for the Proust party.  Click.

So after years of therapy, I learned a final lesson in accepting my value as a person.  And it makes it easier to accept others’ good estimation and opinion of me.

Click.

Dr. G.  was ecstatic.

 

Interlude XLIV: Man at Work

Sadly at the home under the weather today.  The upside is that I can concentrate on writing.  Since my 4th blogversary passed December 28th, I may have something to share tomorrow.

What’s not to love about this pic of Richard Armitage?  There’s the longer hair, the long side burns, the stubble, the profile, the smile -did I mention the LONGER HAIR? (Call me old school, but he looks better with some hair to soften the angular face.)  Most of all, he’s at work, showing us a bit of the magic.

Enjoy.

Richard Armitage reading Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: A Novel. Courtesy of A.J. Hartley

Richard Armitage reading Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: A Novel. Courtesy of A.J. Hartley

Serene Sunday: Kyrie

I’m behind in writing again.  While looking for the Catholic hymn “Kyrie,” I came upon this song “Kyrie Eleison” by Mr. Mister.  “Kyrie, eleison” (or “Lord, have mercy”) is a liturgical response of the people to intentions mentioned in the Prayer of the Faithful.  Mr. Mister used the phrase for this 1985 hit.  Even though I’m no longer Christian, it’s spiritual message somehow strikes a chord.

Kýrie, eléison
Kýrie, eléison
Kýrie

The wind blows hard against this mountainside
Across the sea into my soul
It reaches into where I cannot hide
Setting my feet upon the road

My heart is old, it holds my memories
My body burns a gem-like flame
Somewhere between the soul and soft machine
Is where I find myself again

Kýrie, eléison
Down the road that I must travel
Kýrie, eléison
Through the darkness of the night

Kýrie, eléison
Where I’m going, will you follow?
Kýrie, eléison
On a highway in the light

When I was young, I thought of growing old
Of what my life would mean to me
Would I have followed down my chosen road
Or only wished what I could be

Kýrie, eléison
Down the road that I must travel
Kýrie, eléison
Through the darkness of the night

Kýrie, eléison
Where I’m going, will you follow?
Kýrie, eléison
On a highway in the light

Whoa, oh, oh
Whoa, oh, oh
Whoa, oh, oh
Whoa, oh, oh

Kýrie, eléison
Down the road that I must travel
Kýrie, eléison
Through the darkness of the night

Kýrie, eléison
Where I’m going, will you follow?
Kýrie, eléison
On a highway in the light

Kýrie, eléison
Down the road that I must travel (will you follow?)
Kýrie, eléison
Through the darkness of the night

Kýrie, eléison
Where I’m going, will you follow? (will you follow)
Kýrie, eléison
On a highway in the light

Kýrie, eléison
Down the road that I must travel (yeah)
Kýrie, eléison
Through the darkness of the night

Kýrie, eléison
Where I’m going, will you follow? (will you follow?)
Kýrie, eléison
On a highway in the light

Kýrie, eléison
Down the road that I must travel (will you follow?)
Kýrie, eléison
Through the darkness of the night

Kýrie, eléison
Where I’m going, will you follow? (will you follow)

Enjoy.

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Kyrie Eleison, which means “Lord, have mercy”

The Great Driving Experiment

A western suburb. 12:15PM

The car’s engine hums smoothly.  I nervously clutch the gear, ready to shift into “Reverse” and take a deep breath.

Jodi, my psyche id, grumbles from the back seat. “Did you turn on the heat? It’s still cold in here.”

I pause to fiddle with the controls. “It’ll take time for the engine to warm up.”

Jada, my superego, clears her throat from the passenger side. “How can you be cold? You’re an id.”

Jodi pouts. “Still get cold. I notice we’re all bundled in coats just like Judi’s.”

Quiet One, my ego now called Julie, snickers in the back. “We are Judi.  Just don’t make her more nervous than she already is.”

Jodi sighs.  “I know she hasn’t driven in 20 years!  She just needs to relax and forget that she’s maneuvering two tons of steel out onto the road with other moving tons of steel and reach the movie theater.”

I shrink a little. “Right.”

Julie elbows Jodi.  “Ready when you are.”

Jada clears her throat again.

I shift gears, back out of the space and start making laps around the building ring road to familiarize myself with the controls.

Jada beams. “You’re doing well!”

Jodi leans forward points over my shoulder.  “OMG!”

I nearly stamp on the brakes, looking for an oncoming diesel. “What? WHAT?”

Her surprisingly manicured finger points more. “The windshield is fogging up!”

Can a psyche fog windows?  I was pretty sure I’d stopped breathing.  Pulling over near the meadow, I fiddle some more.  The window defogs.

Jada frowns.  “It’s sunny out.  You should put on some shades.”

Now suddenly aware of the sun, I squint. “Don’t have them with me…”

Jodi tuts.  “We should go back for them.”

I add, frustration rising, “… because I can’t find them!” I stare pointedly in the rear view mirror back at Jodi.

Julie intercedes. “Another time maybe?  We should be getting to the theater.”

I nod nervously, head to the main road and stop at the light.

Jodi sits back and chirps brightly. “Let’s kick it.  I can taste that popcorn now.”

Jada frowns.  “If we’re heading just across this street, shouldn’t we be in the middle lane?”

Uh oh. I peer at the chalky road where salt has whited out the lines. “I think we are.”  It looks like the middle.

The left turn light flashes.  A car behind me honks.

Jodi yelps. “OMG, we’re in the wrong lane!  What will we do?”

I grit my teeth. Can I murder myself – just a little piece?  Was she always this excitable? “There’s nothing I can do.”

Julie suddenly speaks.  “It’s okay.  We’re straddling the line just a little. Just shoot across when you can.”

The light turns green.  I cross the road and head onto the mall’s ring road.

Jada nods encouragingly.  “Nice right turn.”

Jodi is ever helpful.  “Look out, stop sign!”

I grip the wheel.  “I can see the stop signs!”

She’s relentless. “And watch out for that woman walking to that car…”

“She’s forty feet away!”

Jodi takes umbrage. “Well, you don’t have to yell.  You know gals, Judi seems way too stressed.  Say, you’re passing up parking spaces….”

I park in a wide open area and shut off the engine, sagging in relief.   Julie gives me a quiet nod of approval.  “You done good.”

Jada pats my hand and smiles.

Jodi cheers. “Told you we would get here alright.  We’re a team. Now we can see the movie and drive back home.”

I groan, then follow my posse into the cold.

The Importance of Being Richard Armitage

Richard Armitage from DaMan Magazine

Richard Armitage from DaMan Magazine

Richard Armitage sits at a curious place in his career.  Usually leading actors his age have already been cast in sensitive dramas and romances apparently reserved for the twenty and thirty-something talent.  These actors have already enjoyed the benefits (or pitfalls) of being an international A-lister.  By the early middle-age, caster directors start funneling them into action hero roles in preparation for the slide into secondary character roles. But RA has been a late bloomer in his career; he didn’t breakout on the UK scene until his early 30’s with North & South and was not a recognizable name until Spooks.  The Hobbit trilogy shot him onto the international scene as a potential regular A-lister in his early forties. Casting lightning struck.

Despite what has seemed to be a phenomenal stroke of good luck, let’s not forget that despite RA’s statements implying that he’s not really plotting his career but going where offers take him, he’s still an actor with an actor’s ambitions -he’s plotting his career. (Notice the willingness to do extra Hobbit PR, careful coaching, moving to the US, hiring a dresser, etc.).  He has never been the demure, shy, unambitious, starving artiste some fans have fantasized him to be.

The question now becomes: can he garner a spot in the top tier and buck the trend of middle-age stall out by rising, not falling, in status?  It remains to be seen.  While RA received favorable reviews for The Hobbit, these films still unfortunately don’t enjoy the same critical acclaim in film circles, as evidenced by the anticipated Oscar snub.  However, it did upgrade him from the so called “TV actor” and afforded him more parts from which to choose.  Whatever direction he jumped would have an enormous impact on the future of his career.

Casting lightning struck again when he acted in The Crucible to great reviews under the direction of renown Yael Farber.  This gave him more status and visibility on the international stage. His career is primed for what? More stage work? Films?  Today, it was announced that RA will play a serial killer in NBC’s  Hannibal.  While this was a return to TV, an American show provides high public visibility on the way to the holy grail – an A-list film career.  So, he’s coming full circle again, but with higher stakes.

Back when he was rarely seen and did very little between filming the Hobbit movies, I wondered if he had failed to strike while the iron was hot and that his PR people had fallen down on the job.  Clearly, that’s not been the case.  He and his people have been very carefully and methodically planning and waiting for The Next Big Move instead of taking the first thing to come along.  He’s proving quite adept at the waiting game.  I watch his career now with great interest indeed.  If he continues to play his cards right, he could be touted as The Next Big Thing.

I can see the headline now: 40 Is the New 30.

Now I’ve Gone and Done It

honda fitI’m the excited owner of a new car.  Since I still don’t have my new driving glasses, the dealership kindly drove me and Red (yes, she has a name) home.  She’s now resting comfortably in tenants’ parking awaiting her first foray across to the mall to see Selma at the newly reopened, super fancy AMC Theater.  My friends and I went to dinner to celebrate and I’m beyond stuffed, tired too.  The suburban metamorphosis continues.

For certain inquiring minds:

Brand: 2015 Honda Fit

Color: Red, red, red.  Really red.

iPhone/USB/Bluetooth connectivity;  YES

Audio connectivity:  YES

GPS: No

Will talk more tomorrow.

 

The Allure of Freedom vs the Power of Crazy

Anxiety+GirlAs you already know, I’ve transplanted from the city with its public transportation and no car to the middle of suburbia with its endless malls and no car.  In fact, I reside across the street from a major mall.  But like most of these developments, the mall covers literally acres.  I can’t, say, walk from here to the cinema, or Target, or any of other stores and restaurants.  I need a car.  Did I mention I sold my last car in 1996 and haven’t driven in 20 years?

I learned to drive at age 26.  Prior to that time, my poor vision and lazy eye stopped short of the legal requirements.  Then with a good eye doctor who gradually changed my prescription glasses over time, my vision improved to 20/40.  Overjoyed, I took a driving course and got my license.  But that happiness bubble burst when I started sharing the road with all the other guy.  Let’s face it, city driving can be harrowing.   Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t a bad driver.  But city driving required such defensive maneuvering that I developed anxiety.  By this I mean I was anxious – not panic stricken).  So  I stopped driving.   Then I became engaged and a bought car in anticipation of living in a new house in the burbs.  When things went south, I took the car back to the city where I drove it seldom.  Why did I need it?  Public transportation and taxis took me anywhere I needed to go.  I sold the car (but kept the license).

Flash forward to now with friends driving me around.  They haven’t seemed to mind but we all know I could benefit from more freedom to get myself around – like across the street to the mall.  So where does the anxiety enter?  Over the years, I’ve had two types of anxiety dreams: the first has me forgetting to attend classes until finals; the other has me driving, sometimes well, sometimes badly.  I’d awake glad I didn’t even own a car.  Everybody with whom I talked have reassured me that suburban driving is much easier and less stressful, especially if I venture out between 10AM and 4PM.  I could refresh my skills by driving around parking lots and going short distances.  My confidence would grow; the anxiety would lessen, and everything would work out.  And with eye surgeries, my vision has improved even more.  I want to believe them.

The allure of freedom bested anxiety today.  My friend (who is knowledgeable about car buying and leasing) and I went to a car dealership, asked questions and started crunching numbers. (I drove a little but my friend took it out on the major road).  After extensive back and forth,  I got the best deal for my financial situation.  The salesman expects me back tomorrow to finalize the deal.  I feel anxious and little fearful.  But buying a car will force me to deal with the anxiety issue and get out on my own.  As with other things that have happened to me over the past six months, a strange feeling of karma came into play during the talks, as if a way had been cleared for me to have this car.  Even my friend remarked on the strange unexpected turn of things in my favor.  I’m not the mystical sort, but even it gave me pause.

Wish me luck.

Monday Musings: Richard Armitage and Twitter

RA twitter

When Richard Armitage popped onto the Twitter scene August 22nd, his birthday no less, fandom collectively swooned.   Most couldn’t believe he’d gone and done it, despite statements that he “didn’t understand [Twitter].”  Some welcomed him, happy to have him onboard, curious about  what he would say, and grateful to have any perceived interaction with him.  Naysayers dreaded what could happen, fretting that he would lose his aura of mystery, that the more rabid fans would bother him, that he would be able to see and track the ongoings-on meant for fan eyes only.

In the almost five months, since RA started Twitter, fandom has – essentially remained the same.  We did not band together behind our crush to become one big happy peaceful family.  With such a diverse lot, that could never happen.  He still retains his mystery. His selfies, jokes, and charity pitches are at the heart no different from those he messaged frequently in years past and reveal no more than what he wants to show us.  Do we really know more than he’s a dorky guy with a quirky sense of humor, a taste for philanthropy and extreme sport, and a busy work schedule?  Not really.  As for the rabid fans – every fandom has them.  They troll his timeline and I’m sure he’s been warned to ignore them as he did when they contacted his agent.   Does he see the fandom machinations?  I’m sure his people have always kept a finger on the collective pulse; after all, we are the foundation of his livelihood.  They have to notice whatever is posted to his timeline.  But do they notice every fan spat and upheaval?  I’ve always assumed even before Twitter that the answer is: probably but that he and his people have found it unwise and unproductive to become involved.

It’s been suggested that RA’s presence is harmful to fandom because Armitage Protection  Mode types have come down harder on fans perceived to be disrespectful, offensive or somehow injurious to RA and thus hurt fandom creativity – a type of rally around Dear Leader attitude.  While it’s true that some policing fans have seized the opportunity to supposedly get others in line, it’s important to remember that just because RA’s mode of contact has changed, the option to push back has not.  There’s no need for a fan to tolerate browbeating just because “RA is in the house.”  The same is true for what I call “The Happy Police.”  These fans twist RA’s words to “be positive” and “lighthearted” to mean anything not in a fluffy happy vein is verboten because Dear Leader has allegedly spoken.  I don’t believe that fandom as a consequence loses it’s ability to think and speak critically because RA joined Twitter.  (That’s not to say that if RA himself said “Judiang, you’re out of bounds,”  I wouldn’t back down (or leave).  It is his fandom after all, not mine.)   We still have our voices and will continue to have them.  Nothing has really changed.  Only the medium has.

So RA reached 100,000 followers today; fandom goes on.

By the way, I’m still waiting for the rest of the story to come true.  You never know.

 

Serene Sunday: Jingle Bells

I know you’re thinking, “Judiang, Christmas is OVER!”  But wait – Jingle Bells is not a holiday song.  There’s nothing in it about Christmas.  It describes fun while dashing through the snow in a one horse open sleigh with an iffy horse.  According to my pal Wiki, James Lord Pierpont published the song in 1857 as “One Horse Open Sleigh.”  Over the years, it came to be associated with Christmas.  However, this is a winter ditty to be enjoyed all season especially with snow on the ground.  Here are the original 1857 lyrics; nobody knows when the modern verses were introduced.

Dashing thro’ the snow,
In a one-horse open sleigh,
O’er the hills we go,
Laughing all the way;
Bells on bobtail ring,
Making spirits bright,
Oh what sport to ride and sing
A sleighing song tonight.

|: chorus 😐
Jingle bells, jingle bells,
Jingle all the way;
Oh! what joy it is to ride
In a one-horse open sleigh.

A day or two ago
I tho’t I’d take a ride
And soon Miss Fannie Bright
Was seated by my side.
The horse was lean and lank
Misfortune seemed his lot
He got into a drifted bank
And we—we got upsot.
|: chorus 😐

A day or two ago,
The story I must tell
I went out on the snow
And on my back I fell;
A gent was riding by
In a one-horse open sleigh,
He laughed as there I sprawling lie,
But quickly drove away,
|: chorus 😐

Now the ground is white
Go it while you’re young,
Take the girls tonight
And sing this sleighing song;
Just get a bob-tailed bay
Two forty is his speed
Hitch him to an open sleigh
And crack, you’ll take the lead.
|: chorus 😐

I’ve been fascinated by the idea of taking a sleigh ride since childhood.  City folk don’t do sleigh rides down State Street (unless there’s a Great Blizzard).  I’ve been been on a sleigh or I even a sled for that matter.  So, take my love of snow, a sleigh, and add very warm clothes and it should be heaven, right?  I suggested this to my suburban friends who looked at me blankly, then sighed as if to say, “where do city folk get these ideas?”  They didn’t nix the idea, so I’m hopeful.

Here’s a jazzy rendition by Michael Buble.  Enjoy.

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Surreal Saturday: Blogging Is Non-Habit Forming

clockSo I just missed the deadline for yesterday’s post.  Ordinarily I write for the next day but this time, I’ve been leaving things until the night of that day’s post.  Oddly since retiring, I’ve not fallen into a routine.  Before, I fit my life into the limited free available after work.  Blogging didn’t pose such a big problem; a three hour post-dinner deadline always loomed.  Now with all the time in the world – you’d think I would write reams.  That’s not been the case.  After 25 years working, it’s hilarious to develop time management problems in retirement.  This goes back to an issue I touched on last year.  I spent my time always reacting to negative motivation on the job (i.e., work deadlines, micromanaging etc).   Now I have to be proactive; all the impetus must come from within.  But that’s one of the problems with/recovering from depression – finding the mysterious self-motivation.

Then I wonder about other people with illnesses who seem to have no problem in the respect.  People like Stephen Fry who acts, produces, lectures, hosts, blogs, geeks, writes, advocates and seemingly has his fingers in every UK entertainment pie despite being bi-polar.  Closer to home, The Bloggess, Jenny Lawson writes books and a hilarious bawdy off-kilter blog even with depressive and anxiety disorders.  Both of these people manage to regiment their time quite well.  Are they juggling many balls to stay ahead of their illnesses, or is The Secret keeping busy and productive with many things.

Maybe I’m suffering from too much time on my hands.

Since you made it this far, here’s a treat – a man who doesn’t have enough time on his hands.  I’d love to ask him about time management.

Enjoy.

 

Richard Armitage photo by Robert Ashcroft

Richard Armitage photo by Robert Ashcroft

 

Interlude XLII: What Me, Volunteer?

There’s no polished piece tonight.  I spent most of the day with my friend Mary shlepping from store to store purchasing materials for an upcoming high school production of The Snow Queen. The costumer had a hacked credit card, and although she’s the musical director Mary had to leap into the breach.  Where do I come in?  I’m now her volunteer assistant and she’s over the moon at the prospect of putting me to work.  But before I can actually interact with the kids, I must sift through hours of paperwork for background checking, online training, and what I exasperatingly call “Chester the Molester” instruction so that I know of, am vigilant about, and don’t run afoul concerning inappropriate interactions with minors.  Becoming a volunteer sadly isn’t the same these days. This prep school is quite posh and quite large, so they have a lot to protect by dotting all “i’s” and crossing all “t’s.”  I must be squeaky clean.  All this must be done pronto, naturally.  Mary wants me in place for the next production, Phantom of the Opera, one of my favorite musicals.

So I leave you with my latest Richard Armitage favorite that he recently tweeted.  I think it’s the cold and lovely snow that really pulls me in.  Would I lie?

Enjoy.

RA skiing

 

Hey There!

me inagural ballNo, I didn’t miss a day, Dear Reader.  The site was offline for 24 hours due to a certain slippage of the mind regarding an annual renewal.  As I’ve been reminded, that means a post today.  Wracked my brain all day, I did, but nothing percolated to the surface.  So I’ll resort to my usual fallback – pictures!

No, this one isn’t one of that guy I kept meeting last year whathisname.  When I came across it in a drawer, I did a double-take.  Who is that babe she?  That’s me, circa January 1993, attending an inaugural ball.  I usually hate my photos; they make me look old, fatter and wrinkly unattractive but this one is hoochiemama exceptional.  My cousin, who did the hair and makeup, had a lot to do with the presentation.   The funny thing is I’d gained weight over the holidays and thought I was fat at the time.  What???  If only I had yesterday’s youth and today’s common sense and confidence.  I’d have been positively ferocious gotten anything I wanted.

Clearly I can’t go back 22 years and recapture all that even with a face and body lifts, hair dye and Weight Watchers and I wouldn’t.  I like the older, wiser, more assured me better thanks to years of expensive therapy.  Still, a little poundage tweaking will be good for my health and knees.  So up this goes on my refrigerator to remind me not to open the door.