I Made It to R

A-to-Z Reflection [2014]

Obviously, April’s Blogging A to Z is over for the year, and I made it further than I ever have. Kind of fitting I ended on R. I did have other posts ready for the remaining letters, but as I said in my last post, I got busy. Those were such good letters too! I’ll have to use them at some point in the near future. Maybe the next post. :D

As for that photo above, I’m not sure I can officially use it. I haven’t read the rules that closely. If I can’t, they can ask me to remove it, and I will. But in the meantime, my reflection of the event is that there were a few communications that could have been done better (but no biggie). Mostly, it was fun to be held to the challenge; however, the best part was discovering new writers and maybe rediscovering some I already knew. Speaking of which, if you haven’t checked out the series on the Philippines done by Morrighan’s Muse, it’s definitely worth looking at. And I’m still in love with this blog even if the author may think I’m a complete nutter. This dude has something, and I hope he keeps cranking it out.

An Audience with Richard Armitage

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A Guest Post by @peppgrad (aka Lori H)

I have been a “well-wisher” of Richard Armitage since the first season of Robin Hood when my BFF called me and told me to “Watch Robin Hood but forget the Robin Hood guy, check out the actor who’s playing Guy of Gisborne.” Wow. I soon discovered, after watching his prior work, that he was more than just a pretty face. After seeing the work he has accomplished since then, he confirmed in my mind that he is an underrated actor with great range. Let us face it; there are many handsome men in Hollywood who cannot act. Richard is a handsome man who can act!

When I discovered he was going to be at WonderCon on Saturday, April 19, 2014, at the Anaheim Convention Center, I could not believe it. Anaheim, CA, is practically at my back door. I have been to WonderCon there before and been inside the Arena where the Into the Storm (ITS) panel was to be held early on Saturday. He was going to be on my home turf!

Here was another chance to see Richard up close and perhaps even an opportunity for an autograph and picture at a signing. However, in checking the WonderCon schedule and announcements, it became clear the ITS panel would not be doing any signings afterwards. That was disappointing. Three times in the past, I have been within twelve feet of Richard without any opportunity to even say how much I liked his work, much less get a posed picture or an autograph. There was either intense security or just people crowding rudely in between. It was getting pretty frustrating. Especially since all I wanted was even a brief moment to say hello to an actor I admire. He seemed, from all accounts I had read, to be a nice guy.

Anyway, my BFF and I picked up our badges and headed over to the line to get inside the Arena for the panel. Once we were able to get in and be seated, and the panel started, my BFF started taking pictures. I knew at least that I would get copies of the photos she had taken.

As I was sitting there, I decided I was going to go up to the microphone when they opened it for questions (we were seated fairly close to it) and ask Richard a question. At least I would get to speak to him and get an answer! When I saw the first person heading to the mic, I told my friend, “I’m going to the mic to ask Richard a question. I don’t know what I’m going to ask but I’ll think of something intelligent to ask before I get there!”

And there, my friends, was where my adventure REALLY began!

The first three people at the mic all asked questions of Richard. It quickly became clear, and quite humorous, that Richard was going to get the majority of the questions. The fourth person, the one directly in front of me, asked a question she said anyone could answer. When my turn came, I was told I would be the last question.

I had worn my Thorin Oakenshield t-shirt that day. When they put my picture up on the big screen behind the panel, and everyone saw my t-shirt, there was a lot of laughter; Richard obviously was getting the final question, too! I quickly told Steven Quale, the director, thank you for making the movie; I thought it would be really good. Then I said what everybody already knew, “But my question is for Richard.” I asked him if he had written a bio for this character as he had done for his prior characters. I mentioned I had read that he wrote character bios.

As he started to answer, I stepped to the right of the mic about six feet. I was still in the lit area. I suddenly realized he must be able to see me because he quit looking in the direction of the mic and turned his gaze on me where I was now standing! I almost could not focus on what he was saying because I thought, “It is true. He does listen and speaks directly to the person who asks him the question!” It seemed for a second as though no one was in the room but me and him. He answered my question, stating he did indeed create a bio for Gary as his wife had died and left him with two sons so he felt there needed to be more story there. In addition, he mentioned he had met with an American high school teacher to get an understanding of what the job was as well as the Mid-Western culture. In my own mind, it seemed as though he liked the question but that could be just wishful thinking!

As they wrapped up the panel onstage, I had a quick thought. In the past, I had been in the back area of the Convention Center and Arena. I was sure I knew where they would drive out if we could get near there. I told my BFF, “Let’s leave and go outside. I want to go around to the back and see if there is any way to meet Richard.” She was all for it and we quickly left and made our way around to the gate which was wide open. There was a guard there but a couple was walking out in costume, a couple more people were milling around so I said, “Just keep walking in like you know where you’re going.” No one stopped us. I knew it was a long shot to meet Richard but I had to try.

At the first corner, I looked left and there were three black Mercedes down at the end with a couple of men in suits who turned out to be drivers. Some men appeared to be neither security nor drivers and were probably press or industry. We casually began to stroll down that way. We were about a third of the way down when I saw a security guy approaching. I thought “Uh-oh, we’ve been busted.” However, he was incredibly nice. He politely told us to wait where we were and stand to the side; he didn’t want us to get run over. I told him, don’t worry, we don’t want to get run over either! He laughed, said thanks and walked back toward the cars.

We stood there for a few minutes chatting with each other when I looked back at the Mercedes to see Richard standing with his back to us, and I could see the ponytail! In a split second, he turned around and he and a driver got in one of the Mercedes and began heading our way. The windows in the back were so darkly tinted that you could not see in. My BFF said, “Let’s wave just to let him know we’re here to support him.”

As the car came near us, it rolled to a stop. The rear driver’s side window rolled down and there was Richard!

I have no idea whether he recognized me from my asking a question inside the Arena, whether he saw my Thorin Oakenshield t-shirt and my friend’s Hobbit:DoS t-shirt, whether he stopped because we waved or what the reason was that he stopped. I was, as the British say, “Gobsmacked.” I looked around and there was no one else near us. No one else had come to the back. It was just Richard and us (and the driver).

Richard was sitting on the passenger side in the back but quickly scooted over a little, and put his hand out first to shake our hands. We exchanged the “nice to meet yous.” He has, as you know, an amazing voice. He also has a great handshake. Firm, but he was not squeezing too hard. I could not believe I was shaking hands with Richard Armitage! And that he offered to shake hands first! (I had this quick thought at that moment when my hand was in Richard’s that made me laugh quite hard later on. It was a line from “The Big Bang Theory” when Penny gives Sheldon a napkin from the Cheesecake Factory that Leonard Nimoy has wiped his mouth on. Sheldon cries out, “I have a napkin with Leonard Nimoy’s DNA on it. Do you know what this means? I can clone him!”).

My friend told Richard we were big fans of his and he thanked us. I quickly took the opportunity to ask if he would sign a couple of autographs for us. He smiled and said in that smooth voice, “Of course.” Through all of this, I was trying to be as calm and polite as possible. So was my BFF, I could tell. He signed the WonderCon programs for us: Lori, love, Richard Armitage. He signed the same (except for the name of course) for my BFF.

I asked him, as he handed her program back to her, how much longer did he have on the shoot for Urban and the Shed Crew. He told me he had two weeks left. He mentioned he was headed straight to the airport to catch a plane back. I also briefly made some mention about The Crucible (sorry, can’t remember what it was) and he answered back. I noticed during this conversation, he had removed the tie he was wearing earlier and opened his shirt collar but still had on his black leather Diesel jacket.

Realizing we had already had several minutes of his time without ANY interruption, I quickly asked him if he would be kind enough to pose for a picture for us before he had to leave. He said he would be happy to and leaned forward so he was leaning on the edge of the door. (We did not want to be demanding and ask him to get out of the car and pose with each of us since we knew now he had to catch a flight. I thought that would be rather rude and inconsiderate of his time).

However, my BFF had not changed the focus on her camera since she pulled it out earlier when he was down at the end with the Mercedes and looked through it to see down there. Therefore, being a little nervous when she took the picture, it was not in focus. When she checked it, she exclaimed “Oh no, I didn’t change the focus from earlier. All I got was your nose.” He started laughing and told her she could take another picture. This time she got a good picture! At some point, we may share this picture. For the moment though, only we have this private picture of our almost private time with Richard. (Darn driver, LOL!).

We thanked him again for stopping, that it was very nice of him to do that. He looked happy. We wished him a good flight home as he moved back over to the passenger side seat in the back. Then the handsome prince’s driver took him away in his horseless carriage.

As soon as his car turned the corner, my BFF and I high-fived each other! We could contain it no longer! We could not believe we had just had an “audience” with Richard Armitage, uninterrupted, for almost five minutes. Finally, after being so close so many times without meeting him, I met him!

I have to make a comment here about “celebrities.” I have lived all of my life in Southern California within about 25 miles of Los Angeles. I have encountered numerous rock stars, singers, actors, politicians, etc. over the years. Some I wanted to see and some I just encountered some place. Sometimes I just told them I liked their work, sometimes I just ignored them, some I asked to take pictures of, and some I asked for autographs. I have always been polite. I can say some of them were nice, some were jerks and one had a publicist (!) who haughtily told me when I asked her if I could get an autograph from her singer/actor client that “Mr. So-and-So doesn’t do autographs.”

However, Richard Armitage is possibly the nicest public personality I have ever met! How many actors will stop their car to speak several minutes with just two “well-wishers?” He could easily have driven past us with the windows rolled up. Alternatively, he could have just rolled down his window and waved, shouting out the “Sorry, have to go catch a plane” excuse. Instead, he stopped, shook hands, answered questions, signed autographs, posed for a couple of pictures and thanked us for being his fans!

Richard Armitage is as nice and polite as people who have met him say he is. (His mum should be proud.) By the way, he is also criminally handsome in person. If you are fans of his stubble, he was definitely sporting it that morning.

From the start of the ITS panel to the ending outside with Richard being driven away in a black Mercedes, it was an amazing time. I think every year on April 19 my friend and I are going to watch The Hobbit trilogy to remind ourselves of OUR adventure.

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Note from Frenz: they relented about the picture :D Also, for those who have never been to a fan driven Con, it is entirely the norm for fans to be all over the place including where the stars of the event come and go. The famous who attend know this, and for the most part are gracious. RA especially so in my experience.

Prequel? Are You Insane?!

One more post before I breakout additional WonderCon photos, which you may be sick of looking at, but I’m not yet.

I’m chuckling at the wealth of commentary I could and probably will make on the last few blog pieces of Servetus. She raises very interesting points as per usual and one in particular I cannot pass up! But for now, this post is in response to the video clip of one of Richard Armitage’s interviews at WonderCon:

I hope you watched that video. There doesn’t seem to be anything snarky in it. He seems serious.

And before I could even form a reaction to that realization, YouTube did it for me:

FireShot Screen Capture #326 - 'Are Hobbit Spin-Offs Possible - Richard Armitage Interview - Won - YouTube' - www.youtube.comwatchv=e-jPH48jUwA

These are actual suggestions on the sidebar of that video. Okay, yeah, so it doesn’t say much for my YouTube watching, but I thought “Kicked in the head by a train” was apropos as a reaction to the idea of a prequel. Or are you so in the bag for Thorin that you don’t see it that way? More Thorin is good huh? No, let me rephrase that. Even more Thorin is good huh?

If Richard Armitage or someone who really gets him writes a prequel, then yeah, I’d love it. Otherwise, I’m afraid it would be more of the fare primarily geared for fanboys.

So I guess those additional Hobbit titles floated over at TORn may have been serious as well. ;-)

In light of this latest development, I’ve got a title for the prequels — The Hobbit: Land Before Smaug Part (insert #).

Ohmygosh, Smartass May Be in Trouble

Nah, it’s here to stay even if the intelligentsia has been concerned that snark is ruining the intellectual integrity of our culture:

David Foster Wallace was right: Irony is ruining our culture

David Foster Wallace long ago warned about the cultural snark that now defines popular culture. It’s time to listen

Matt Ashby and Brendan Carroll

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Percy Shelley famously wrote that “poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.” For Shelley, great art had the potential to make a new world through the depth of its vision and the properties of its creation. Today, Shelley would be laughed out of the room. Lazy cynicism has replaced thoughtful conviction as the mark of an educated worldview. Indeed, cynicism saturates popular culture, and it has afflicted contemporary art by way of postmodernism and irony. Perhaps no recent figure dealt with this problem more explicitly than David Foster Wallace. One of his central artistic projects remains a vital question for artists today: How does art progress from irony and cynicism to something sincere and redeeming?

Read the rest here

(emphasis mine)

An excellent question, and I would attempt to answer it, but it’s not really appropriate for this blog. But I will say this. When man frames an argument, it almost always seems limited.

And I started to title this “Introspection is a Bitch,” but I couldn’t work an ‘O’ into it. I guess I could have said “Introspection is One Heck of a Bitch,” or “Ohmygosh, Introspection is a Bitch.” Wait. That actually sounds good. Oh well, it’s done now. I guess I just didn’t have enough conviction to nail it.

Yes, I put the Richard Armitage tag on this. If you’re wondering why, it’s because I’m imagining him with a do-rag on his head, which means he might look something like this.

No, that’s not Richard Armitage. It’s an actor in musical theater named Michael Gruber, who was also in Cats.

More WonderCon tomorrow. The file Heather sent me really was ginormous.

Not About to Freak Out

Okay, so I skipped a few days in my A to Z blogging. So what. It seems I never got on the official A to Z board, so I don’t think they give a damn what I’m doing.

Do you want the truth of why I haven’t blogged in the last few days or a nice story?

Okay, a nice story it is!

I woke up on Thursday morning last week, and not only did I realize my income tax return was as close to zero as I’ve ever gotten it ($12.00) — yeah, that’s where I don’t have to pay, and the damn government doesn’t get to keep much of my money interest free — but I also made a trip down to the local convenience store where I purchased a lottery ticket. I have not done that in, oh never mind, I just haven’t done it in a long time. Last time I did it, I bought five tickets, and when none of them were winners, I stuck them above the radio in my car where they stayed for about three years so I wouldn’t be so stupid to pay a voluntary tax ever again.

Ever again came the other day and there I was buying a ticket, but this time I got lucky. Yeah, that’s right. I won some money. How much? Enough that I can do whatever I want now. I may even go to London to watch a performance of Richard Armitage in The Crucible. I’m sure he’ll be thrilled by that. And the good news is that I can buy like two weeks or maybe even a month’s worth of tickets in case he happens to get sick for a few nights while I’m there. Wait. That doesn’t sound quite right. Don’t tell SO I said that or that I just can’t stop looking at this:

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click for the big version

Rich,

I know you’re smiling just thinking about my coming to London. Yeah, c’mon, I know it. :D

But I have some bad news. I really didn’t win anything, and I haven’t been around because I’ve been sick as a dog. I’m not sure how sick dogs can get, but it must be bad ’cause this has been a real ass kicker.

Maybe I’ll be fit by the time Comic-Con rolls around — if you’re going. If you’re not, then I might get sick again.

Enough of my bellyachin’, I hope WonderCon was a kick for you. If that picture is any indication, it was. Oh wait. I happened to see a video that I may razz you about later. I think a few bloggers have already, but I may need to weigh in as well. :D

Signed,
A crazy fan who is not crazy about the flu.

P.S. I hope sometime in the near future I can smile like you.

P.P.S. I’ll bet the Crinkle Zone has wet their pants over this photo.

Candid shot courtesy of Heather (that girl needs a website. :D).

Missed Opportunities?

I’m not sure why it is, but I still get a tingle down my spine when I hear about this new movie the Spooks franchise is filming in New Zealand. This shouldn’t be the case when I consider what happened with the series. Whoever ran pr for that notoriously got it wrong. They could not keep things in the bag. Sure we didn’t know about Lisa Faulkner getting fried, and the series rode on the reverberations of that event for a long time. But it was the end of any real surprises as many of their remaining moves were telegraphed and primarily via promotional spots.

So I come to The Greater Good, and I can’t help but wonder if they will get the promotion right. I hope so, and if anyone who has any clout with that show is reading this post (fat chance, but I’m optimistic still), would you please put the fear of God in the guy who is doing the marketing, so the greater good of this movie as a thriller can be preserved?

I feel myself wanting to really launch into a rant about Spooks, but I’ve done that already. As for Richard Armitage, I hate how that show went down for him. The possibilities were so much better than the reality. Maybe I will go on a rant after all but not today.

Other than that, will this franchise sneak someone in from the past? If so, whom will it be? And don’t ever think it can’t be someone dead. They resurrected Tom didn’t they? Plus, there can always be a flashback.

I know I’m like a dog with a bone on this subject, but something in me won’t let it go. Maybe because Richard Armitage can’t seem to let it go.

Thank you to Ali at RichardArmitageNet.com for reminding me of which interview Richard talked about Spooks and to the the ladies at RichardArmitageCentral who are so faithful to create transcripts of RA’s interviews!

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This is one of my favorite scenes from Spooks S9. So much there to work with. Aargh!
Screencap courtesy of RichardArmitageNet.Com

Living the Horror? Matusita House or Bust? Or what rumors can do

Excuse me I should have said Casa Matusita o busto.

house of matusitaIs Richard Armitage going to be in a film about a notorious haunted house in Peru? We’ll see. And yes, this post is in part for the three of you who haven’t heard that rumor, but I’m not really going to talk much about it today (at least that’s the plan right now). Rather I’m going to wax on about navigating Richard Armitage rumors of work.

Before I get started, no, I’m not concerned about his casting in House of Matusita conflicting with Comic-Con. He would be much closer to San Diego, and his schedule will be much more flexible if he’s not doing live theater.

If this is your first time to live through a rumor of a potential movie lead for Richard or rumor of any kind of work, a little something to remember. In over six years of keeping tabs on our guy’s career, I have not seen one rumor of work pan out if it went beyond several days without being confirmed. Yep, you read that right. Everything that fans have gotten wind of him possibly doing, was already a done deal or he was in the middle of doing it, and it was confirmed quickly. Certainly, there were no trial balloons that went on and on and perpetrated by the parties involved. And if I’m wrong in how I’m remembering this, generally, legitimate work has been confirmed quickly. So yeah, if this rumor and the one about The Crucible is not confirmed before the end of this week and certainly by next week, I’m consigning them to the trash heap.

While I’m at it, I’ll tell you about my first experience with RA’s possible casting as a lead in a movie. It has been almost five years ago. I had joined Twitter and not because of Richard Armitage at all. But lo and behold, a couple of week later, I read a tweet about him being cast in a movie and from the director, Mike Ogden. Obviously, it didn’t become a job for Richard, but that announcement did a lot to get me acclimated to Twitter, and for that I’m thankful.

There was something else I became accustomed to from this experience, and an event I consider more significant — an up close and personal introduction to online crowd funding for something other than a charity. Mike made an appeal to fans to fund the movie. At first, I was put off by this and thought it was not well done when Richard Armitage wasn’t confirmed, and maybe the timing wasn’t great. Mostly I thought it was trying to engage people who many didn’t seem to be accustomed to investing in vehicles like this and were being asked to give money without a real prospectus, if you will, being provided.

But I’m no longer offended and haven’t been in a long time. A lot has changed in five years, and lots of people tap online crowd funding these days and for lots of reasons and such things as a prospectus are laughable to bring up, because non-charitable crowd funding projects are designed to appeal to vanity — name on the credits, paraphernalia from the movie that no one else but funders can claim — and not to someone’s potential to get a monetary return on investment. Anyway, it’s pretty much mainstream now as a possible source of cash and not a faux pas as it seemed in 2009.

Something else came out of that experience, but I’ll talk about that tomorrow or maybe Tuesday since that is the day for ‘M’ and I’m jumping ahead today to post about ‘L’. Yeah, I’m still with this A to Z Challenge. Can you believe it? Neither can I.