Did I Say I Didn’t Like Tattoos?

Someone slap me ’cause I may actually be softening with respect to this art form:

RichardArmitage Tattoo

What did I say about the sexy back? Yep, I have never seen anyone who could make their backs look this good — tattoos or no.

Other than that, I would recognize that head, neck and ears anywhere.

I cannot believe I’ve said all of this.

Wishing I were still somewhat anonymous. Oy.

And how do you spell tattoo? tatoo? I’m honestly confused, and can you blame me after looking at this image? Oh, you’re not reading this; you’re still looking at the damn picture.

NF – Not Funny

Most of you who read my stuff know I love to laugh and can find plenty to laugh about no matter the situation. Yep, tragedy is often close to comedy. But sometimes the mirth is better left untapped. This is one of those times. Sane self is in charge and typing this post and painfully aware Neurofibromatosis is not funny, and if you read this entire post, you will know why. (I did try to make this piece funny in the interest of a good cause, but I just couldn’t do it. Catch me on the next post.)

I understand Richard Armitage has created a doodle for the NF Network’s Doodle4NF campaign on eBay which runs during part of NF Awareness month (May 7-17?). Bidding is now up to $1,625 as of this posting:

richard_armitage_doodleClick the image to see the ebay listing.

There are also several others associated with Hannibal who have submitted drawings including Bryan Fuller. It makes me wonder if someone working on the show has a friend or relative with Neurofibromatosis. Maybe someone has stated as much, and I missed it. Whatever the case, NF is a heinous disease but not one you hear about everyday. In fact, I knew nothing about it until a couple of months ago when our neighbors of sixteen years were telling us about their son grappling with it.

They were foster parents to him when he was an infant and eventually adopted him knowing he had severe medical issues. His birth mother tried to abort him on her own, and the impact of that made him severely mentally handicapped. But his adoptive parents didn’t know about the NF2 until recently when their son started to manifest symptoms. It turns out he inherited NF2 from his biological family (which I understand is how someone comes to have it), and a few weeks ago he had surgery to alleviate pressure around a cranial nerve. The surgery was merely a stopgap. He is currently fourteen years old but will have ongoing issues with this condition for the rest of his life, and I cried as his parents sat in my living room describing what he will be facing in future. You can read more about NF2 at the NF Network’s site. At the moment, I think I’ll start crying again to explain.

And whether you bid on the drawings, please consider giving to this organization. According to my neighbors, it has been a wealth of information and much needed support.

The Gift, or No Banshee Yet

Man, can I just say I have been busting my backside? I’ve been so busy I could barely look up. This is a good thing for my family and for my hip pocket. But it’s not so good for this blog. Every time I get ready to post something, a major issue comes up that I simply can’t ignore. Case in point was yesterday when I was going to rev up the old blog again, and I got a call from someone who was frantic about their site being hacked and now they’ve been blacklisted by Google. Do you know what people sometimes sound like when they’ve been blacklisted by Google? It’s like a cross between nails down a chalkboard and the sound of a banshee. (edit: to be clear, I had never seen this site until someone called me to clean it up).

If you’re not sure what a banshee sounds like, well, this may give some idea (yes, YouTube has everything):

Okay, so I’m not entirely sure if that’s how the mythical banshee would sound, but I loved the facial expressions, and when I’m talking to someone on the phone who is scared to death they may never be found online again, I wonder if their faces don’t look something like that.

Google and websites and search engine results are not really what I want to talk about but rather how I’ve been going down memory lane with my Richard Armitage fascination and reading through Natalie’s blog and remembering how I was commenting and commenting and commenting there and egged on by others expressing themselves until I finally became so overcome with the need to express myself at a gush that I started my own blog.

This seems to be a common phenomenon in RA fandom. So many of us have the need to express ourselves — even some of you lurkers who send me email and swear to me you will never comment publicly. A few of you took the plunge and have commented on blog, but whatever the case, you just couldn’t keep from expressing how you feel. This is the chief gift Richard Armitage has given to so many of us. I hope he knows that — knows that it has manifested in more than some who have published books or blogs.

Richard,

Contrary to how it may appear to some, I have no clue if you have ever read one of my fake fan letters, but I still have so much fun writing them and just expressing something zany or sincere. It is a great release, and that’s coming from someone who has a reputation for being a straight shooter in face to face interactions. Doesn’t matter. There is so much to everyone that you can’t pour it all out in personal interactions. Sometimes you just have to write and write and write, and it seems the more that happens, well, the more it happens, and can I say thanks for priming the pump on that. Yeah, I’m saying thanks for being a catalyst for my unleashing of thoughts that needed to get out — even if no one ever reads them but me. It’s been a wonderful therapy, and no, I’m not sure where I’m going to end this paragraph. In fact, I used to worry about crap like that and wouldn’t write anything unless I was reasonably sure it would be perfect. To hell with that. I mean that literally. That kind of thinking is from the pit of hell and paralyzes too many of us. Plus, I’ve been rethinking what I deemed perfect. Probably a discussion for somewhere other than this blog. Then again, maybe not. Whatever I write, I just want to explore something that keeps moving around in my head and wants to get out.

Onto the second paragraph.

Now the third. I keep saying I’m going to let go of this place, but I’m so undecided. At some point I will let go, but it won’t be until I can develop a voice as myself and not this insane persona I’ve allowed to take over. Who knows when that will be. I surely don’t, and I’ve stopped listening to others about when it should be. I’m just going to keep going and believe it will become clear when it’s time to stop — at least in this place, because I’m never going to stop.

Did I mention how much I appreciate your effect in this not only by exercising your craft but also the people you’ve drawn who have also inspired me? Read the first paragraph again, and maybe I’ll say some more another time. Scratch that. I will say some more another time.

Signed,
One of your crazy fans, who has thoroughly enjoyed being insane and the good friends it’s brought me

P.S. Do yourself a favor and read Nat’s blog. Even if you’ve read it before, do it again. It’s that good.

.

Certainly self-expression has exploded in the last 15+ years with the advent of blogs, YouTube, social media in general and of course the ease of publishing books. If I think about all of that, I could grouse about the crap that’s out there. But there is something in me that is not opposed to all the crap if it’s honest. Let it come out. Let people express who they are — even if it’s not to my taste. I don’t want gatekeepers to the public dialogue. And yes, if I’m being utterly candid, it allows me to express myself as well without feeling I’ve got to walk on water before I do it.

And now that I’m going down this road, let me also say that a few years ago someone wrote something that was not to my liking, and I said as much. Many times I’ve regretted my statements. Not because I don’t stand by most of what I said. I still feel the way I did in most respects; however, I don’t think my saying it was well done. None of that is to say that someone should not express a dissenting opinion. They certainly can, and for most of my life, I’ve not had a problem doing that when I felt it was warranted. In fact, I’ve been expressing my cussed opinion verbally since I was a little kid old enough to talk — saying very forthrightly what I think to my family and friends and sometimes strangers. But I like to think in my “old age” that I’ve learned that my opinion does not always need to be heard. That I’ve learned discretion. Yet that particular day was not my most discreet. If I could take it back, I would, because I have no need to set myself up as the arbiter of acceptable behavior. Again I say all of this not because I’ve changed my mind on much of what I said, but because it served no good purpose to say it.

But all of that aside, I’m glad I’ve written in this blog even when I’ve written something I wish I hadn’t, or my writing was just crap. It’s been a worthwhile pursuit. It’s changed me for the better, and you can’t know that unless you knew me beforehand which none of you did. You’ll just have to take my word for all of this.

In honor of those who grapple with expressing themselves, one of my favorite Richard Armitage characters:

johnstandring

Screencap courtesy of RichardArmitageCentral

note: I’m really trying to control the need to get on my soapbox about security on a site. Oh well, I guess if people keep having a cavalier attitude about their websites, I’ll keep making money. So on second thought, no complaints here. :D

Down Under Has It — The Lords of the North Winners

A little history before I tell you something about the two winners of The Lords of the North audio books. A few years ago I had a giveaway of this book, and after I announced the contest had begun, the BBC contacted me to ask me if I wanted some more books. I said, “Sure, just let me know how best to order them from you, because it has been a bit difficult.” The woman I spoke with said, “No, we’ll give them to you. Just tell us how many you want and where to send them.” You could have knocked me down with a feather, but I recovered long enough to ask for three books. I wish I had been more on the ball and asked for a dozen. :D I gave away two of the books and planned to give away the other but never got around to it until now.

In the meantime, I found a windfall of books and was able to obtain several others from a dealer for a decent price. I’ve been sitting on those for at least a year. But my friends, life has been chaos at my house, so yeah, this is the first opportunity I’ve really had to do this, and I say that because most of my posts are by the seat of my pants, but a giveaway has to be more planned out. Okay enough of this, onto the winners. (is that a comma splice? I’m never sure. Yes, I suck at grammar).

Because of so much interest in the audio book, I decided to award two winners. The first winner will receive the 10 CD set, and the second winner will receive a 1 CD set. Other copies i have will be awarded another time. Probably later this year.

Being my usual curious self, I wanted to know about these two winners, what there interest was in the book and about being fans of Richard Armitage.

The first winner is Carolyn:

A beautiful beach in Adelaide

A beautiful beach in Adelaide

I have tried everything to get this set and all to no avail – my life is now complete. The only thing to surpass this would be to meet RA, and with Adelaide being a bit of an Australian backwater I don’t hold much hope for this – still I didn’t expect to win this fabulous prize and look what happened!

I’m relatively new to the world of Richard Armitage, although, now that I’m going through a retrospective of his work I realise that I’ve seen him many times over the years as I’m a big fan of BBC drama.

My sister introduced me to him (metaphorically speaking) about 18 months ago and I’ve been in awe ever since of his talent, thoughtfulness, humility and not forgetting his stunning good looks. This ‘introduction’ came at difficult time for me and I found his hard work, good humour and determined attitude quite an inspiration, which encouraged me to take steps to get my own life back on track – a work in progress…

More of Adelaide

More of Adelaide

I think I’ve seen every you-tube compilation, and interview, and if I could, I would have seen him in London in the Crucible, however, I did the second best thing and saw him in the Old Vic Cinemalive, at two of the three screenings here in Adelaide last month. I continue to be amazed by the way he immerses himself in the character and his power in a live performance.

Between my sister and myself I believe we have every DVD he appears in and NOW every audio book. We’ve also seen his big screen movies whenever they are screened (usually more than once) and then get the DVD for the collection.

I’m also part way through the book ‘North & South’, I’ve finished ‘Urban Grimshaw and the Shed Crew’ and I’m waiting with bated breath for the cinema release. I can’t wait to see his portrayal of ‘Chop’.

Now that I will have this set, if there’s something of his I haven’t seen, read or heard it must be very well hidden!

Thank you, thank you, thank you

Carolyn, thank you so much for sharing that and for the lovely photos of Adelaide! Oh, and you do not live in a backwater. I do. LOL! And I just have a feeling you are going to meet up with Richard Armitage. That’s my gut talking to me, and it’s usually right! :D

The next winner is Bluebunny:

I am delighted to have found myself as one of the winners of the competition run by Frenz to have the audiobook The Lords Of The North by Bernard Cornwell read by Richard Armitage. This audiobook will be a valued and rare addition to my vast collection of Richard Armitage works. I wish to thank Frenz and the BBC for this competition. It goes to show that the BBC take notice of fan websites and are checking up on blogs. I am thrilled to have found a website that shares my interest in all things Armitage like this website.

How I came to be a Richard Armitage fan is quite simple, I saw a random episode of Robin Hood in 2009 and thought who is that guy playing Guy of Gisborne? I wasn’t hooked on RA at that moment in time but throughout 2009-2010 was keeping an eye out for what he was acting in every once in a while. From watching Spooks I was hooked on Lucas but actually fell in love with the whole Spooks series from start to finish. When he was cast in The Hobbit I was overjoyed because he was in my part of the world the Southern Hemisphere.

In 2012 I was quite randomly on holiday in New Zealand and was able to go to the Hobbit Premiere in Wellington. I saw Richard Armitage first hand in the flesh and was lucky enough to get an autograph from the man. Anyone who says he can’t get any better looking hasn’t seen him in person. Since Wellington I have become a huge Richard Armitage fan. I have most of Richard Armitage works but my collection is still not complete. I know for me being a RA fan makes me a happier person because the man is well just a man but he has a conscience and seems to be genuine. These days people like him don’t exist. Thanks again for the lovely competition.

Bluebunny, well said. His character is wonderful to observe, and I’m so glad you got to meet him! Maybe you can advise Carolyn? :D

To both of you, thank you so much for sharing, and please know it was my pleasure to give away these books. I hope you enjoy them immensely.

Digital Theatre, You Have Such Good Timing

If you haven’t heard, Digital Theatre has announced today that The Crucible will be available for download on March 17.

Dear Lovely Person at Digital Theatre who decided to make this announcement today,

This is a wonderful birthday present. Makes me forget for a while that my birthday was only a couple of months ago even though others who know me say that was a whole year ago. Whatever.

And Abby is also celebrating since it’s her birthday too.

Yeah, I’d say this day is getting off to a great start. Cheers!


the-dude-white-russian

Signed,
A crazy fan of some guy in The Crucible cast.

P.S. Thank you for not provoking me to use unsavory language.

SpReAd the Love Book Challenge 2015

This post is part of the SpReAd the Love movement started in the Richard Armitage fandom by JazzBaby1 and Obscura. It has included all sorts of giving with this time being an annual event of book giving in honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday. In that interest, I’ve decided to give some books to my “local” children’s hospital. I put local in quotes because the hospital is four hours from where I am, but I consider it my local children’s hospital, and it also holds a special place for SO and me.

During the weeks after SO received his transplant, he and I stayed at a hotel across the street from the children’s hospital and came to know many parents and grandparents of patients, also got to know their stories, and in some cases made some good friends. One of the recurring comments among these family members was the desire to not only see their children or grandchildren get well but also to see them smile and be lighthearted. When this challenge came around a couple of years ago, I knew immediately what I wanted to do, and this year I’m finally doing it! Later this month, we will be giving the hospital several copies of three of our favorite children’s books. Each of these has a hardcover and a library binding which hopefully means they will last awhile.

51HvVToj-GL

An autobiographical picture book celebrates dePaola’s childhood relationship with his grandfather–“We’re named after each other, Tommy. That’s why I want you to call me Tom instead of Grandpa.” Together they read the Sunday comics, share stories, or tend to the butcher section of Tom’s store. While the actual story line is minimal–Tommy gets in trouble for scaring classmates with a chicken-foot prank Tom taught him–the fans who cherish these reminiscences (adults as well as children) will welcome this skillful evocation of an all-important intergenerational bond. Touches of old-world humor and wisdom add sparkle to the tale, in which dePaola’s idiosyncratic, apple-cheeked characters are rendered in bright, sunny colors. The sepia-toned portraits, simulating pictures from a scrapbook, that adorn the jacket and title page enhance the book’s nostalgic tone. Ages 4-8.

_________________________________

Making-Inferences-Animals-Should-Definitely-Not-Wear-Clothing

 

Children definitely will not keep straight faces. — “Kirkus Reviews”
Ages 3-8.

 

 

 

 

 

_________________________________

Miss Nelson is Missing

 

Miss Nelson can’t control her crazy classroom because she’s just too nice. But when she disappears, her replacement is the hard-as-nails, detention-loving, recess-canceling, homework-overloading substitute teacher Viola Swamp! With the Big Test approaching, the kids suddenly realize how much they miss Miss Nelson and they’ll do anything — including hiring a private eye — to solve the mystery of her disappearance and bring her back. Ages 4-8.

_________________________________

If you would like to join the Challenge, there is more information here.

Monday was Bernard Cornwell’s Birthday

Yep, I know it was Cornwell’s birthday ’cause he’s my friend on Facebook, and FB reminded me. No, I don’t know how old he is. We’re not that close. And since I don’t get on Facebook much, I missed the notice earlier, but today I saw it, and now I’m going to deal with a loose end.

I’ve got some audio books the BBC sent me in order to give them away. In particular, The Lords of the North as read by Richard Armitage.

9574797

This is one of the best reads by Richard Armitage, but I’m not sure it’s for everyone. Nah, you’ll like it if you’re an RA fan and especially if you’re nuts about his voice. You may also become a Bernward Cornwell fan. I speak from experience. Oh sure, I started off with a rabid need to have this book simply because Richard Armitage narrated it. About Cornwell I knew very little. And it was a helluva feat to track down my first copy of this book, and I spent — I’m not telling you how much money I spent to acquire my copy — a chunk. When I was done listening to it, I knew i had to read the first two books in Cornwell’s Warrior Chronicles aka Saxon Stories. Yep, that’s right LOTN is the third book in that series. I’ve now read six of the books, and Cornwell just published the eighth book, The Empty Throne.. I’ve gone on to read some of his Sharpe Series as well.

If you would like to win this audio book, just make a reply on this post between now and the end of the day on March 4th. Be sure to include your email address in the email field of the comment, and that way I can contact you if you win. Winner will be chosen randomly from the comments. I’ll announce the winner on Friday, March 6.

Please note: if you have never commented on this blog, your comment will be moderated, which means it may not show up immediately. As to the deadline, it will be the time you actually make the comment that counts toward it and not when it’s been approved to show up publicly in the comment section of the blog. Because I always like to give people every available opportunity, the deadline is the last possible time on March 4, 2015 which means midnight GMT-12 (aka Baker Island Time — a place about 3,000_ west of Hawaii; how much more fair can I make that? :D ) When you make your comment, you must include your email address in the email field. For your own privacy, please do not put it in the body of your comment. That is not necessary. Also, “Likes” are not the equivalent of a comment. They never have been, but I’m making that clear in this note. You must make an actual comment.

All of that aside, good luck!

Additional note: I also have a few extra copies of some of the Heyer audio books. I’ll give those away this year too.

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