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.

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.


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.




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.

First Time Movember

Reblogged from Matt on Not-WordPress

I had never heard of this fundraiser, but I really like the idea. Men need a great campaign like the pink ribbon done for breast cancer.

Maybe it’s not too late for Richard Armitage to participate. HINT. Or maybe he can do it next year. Whatever happens, I’m tucking this away for future use, or someone’s future use. Yeah, I’m going to shave the date. ;p


Automattic is participating in Movember for the first time this year, and so to join I shaved for the first time in the better part of a decade. (Before and after pictured above.) For those not familiar with it, you shave clean on November first and grow and groom a mostache (no beard, goatee, etc) through the course of the month, and when people comment on how ridiculous you look you encourage them to donate to Movember which is a non-profit which has raise over $500 million and funded over 800 programs in 21 countries. (Wow!)

the rest here

In the meantime:

Matt, you look cute no matter if you have a beard or not.

A fan who knows two intelligent and beautiful young women who either one would make a great wife, and you would have a fabulous mother-in-law ;-)

Dragon*Con Awaits

[Click on the Dragon*Con logo to access TORn’s GoFundMe page. It’s an easy and safe way to donate.]

Before all of you think I’ve gone off the deep end, I have to tell you I enjoy the bunch at TORn and have a special fondness for MrCere (aka Larry Curtis). :D So yeah, if I can help Larry and the others out, I will.

Here’s the scoop from the TORn staff: thought it would be fun to send a group of staffers on a cross-country road trip (see the map) from Los Angeles, California to Atlanta, Georgia meeting fans along the way, supporting the official Tolkien track while we are there, and delivering a series of Hobbit panels at DRAGON*CON 2012. Then we want to make a short documentary film of the entire experience to share free online! The entire trip will be live streamed so the “company of drivers” can interact with fans 24 hours a day. With gas (or petrol) prices reaching new heights, we need your help to make this a success!

Dare I say the route looks like a ring? LOL! Ought to be interesting to watch. I know I will be.

Even if some of you don’t get to watch this adventure, the TORn staff has been so good to bring us news about ‘The Hobbit’ and our guy, Richard, and they’re going to continue. That’s right. Richard’s days on ‘The Hobbit’ set are not done! And Larry may have some more reports to make. I can spare him a few dollars. I hope you can too. Anything as little as $1 or as great as, well, you call it. Maybe one of you wants to sponsor next year’s trip. Yeah, I like to think big. :D

Is This Normal?

My sane self keeps rearing its ugly head. It’s been in control for almost two weeks now and has prompted me to organize my basement. I always said if I was organizing the basement, I didn’t have enough to do. Actually, it’s more serious than that. With the fires that have been raging around me (some way too close for comfort), it dawned on my slow self that if a fire hit, I needed to be ready.

Not being one bit funny now. I’ve actually been participating in efforts designed to help those who have been devastated by the fires. Some of it is to provide places to stay even a few hours away as I am. And it’s been painful to hear of their loss. I can do no less than help them any way possible.

Perhaps you can help as well — with your finances if not with your time and other resources. Red Cross is always a good choice for helping, but the Salvation Army has been consistently on the ground in this situation, and there are other groups helping. I’ll send along information if you’re interested.

And thank you for anything you can do including your prayers.

Timeout for Colorado

Note for new readers: I occasionally take timeout from the fun to acknowledge something serious occurring.

I live in the glorious state of Colorado. I love it here where my children have grown and where SO and I have made wonderful friends. Today, many of those friends are in some sort of shelter after being evacuated from their homes over the last few days. The evacuation is occurring up and down the I-25 corridor but mostly west of the Colorado Springs area at the moment. 32,000 people have been evacuated.

[photo near Manitou Springs, Colorado]

We are sending help and certainly sending prayers.

And the rest of the state is tense about what new fires may come due to the very dry conditions all over. I live to the west of Colorado Springs, and usually the river here is cresting about this time, and it’s not unusual for it to threaten to overflow its banks. But this year, I can walk in the river with the water up to my knees, and only in a few cases above my knees. The wheat crop here, which is usually significant, doesn’t exist. Farmers are plowing under what they had planted. Ranchers who hay in August are in the middle getting what little crop they have harvested now. I can’t tell you how odd it is to see haying in June. Lawns and decorative foliage are also looking pretty brittle which is certainly of little importance unless it feeds a fire.

Last evening we had a dry storm (clouds threatening rain but only giving lightening). I stood on my front porch and watched the dark clouds do nothing but create fear they would spark a blaze. And the interminable waiting for some relief has created a tension in town that I’ve never experienced even in the worst winter weather. Everyone feels helpless, and yet this is nothing to what our neighbors to the east are experiencing and again, we hope to help. But maybe some of you can help as well. This is all happening so quickly, I only have this info about helping so far. I will keep you posted, and thanks for anything you can do.

What a Night!

A report from a local in New Zealand:

I travelled to Wellington to see Ian McKellen’s one man show in support of a theatre in Christchurch which miraculously survived the big quake but the 10,000 after shocks has left the building needing a lot of expensive repair. My sister lives in Wellington so I was staying with her and she was coming to the show with me. There were rumours that the cast of the Hobbit would attend but I tried not to get my hopes up.

We arrived at the theatre and positioned ourselves on the stairs so we could see who was arriving. First we saw Martin Freeman and shortly thereafter Richard Armitage. He had a quiet demeanour and although he greeted some friends was left alone by the people in the lobby. He has a bit more hair on top, dark, and the beard is as we have seen before, perhaps a bit bushier. I think he was wearing the Spooks series 8 jacket – the one with leather trim along the raised collar. He was also wearing a thick black long sleeved Tshirt and black jeans. He took his seat a few rows back from the rest of the cast which seemed to include most of the kiwis, and Aidan Turner, Billy Connolly, James Nesbitt and Luke Evans. I was in the circle and couldn’t actually see him from my seat.

The show started and it was a magical show. It was definitely an audience who knew their Shakespeare and of course NZers are as fond of Sir Ian as he is of NZ. The first half of the show began with a passage from The Hobbit, and then he talked about JRR Tolkein and previous Hobbit productions, and wielded his sword which is very large and very beautiful. He then admitted that there are 2 versions of the sword, an aluminum one for fighting and a heavier one for ceremonial occasions. The audience was then invited to ask him any questions they liked, and it was a very merry story telling session until intermission.

Spotted RA again (it is helpful that he is tall) but he did not stay in the lobby long.There were a lot of people in the lobby, and I was feeling rather shy myself, so didn’t approach him.

The 2nd half of the show was all about Shakespeare with soliloquies from a number of plays. The audience loved it and there were some spellbinding moments.

AND THEN he invited the Hobbit cast on stage. I’m sure you can guess who waited at the back of the queue as they all climbed the stairs to the stage, and there was quite a number. RA was holding a collection bucket, as were other cast members and I started to get a nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach. Members of the audience were then also invited on stage and Ian gave them some instructions we could not hear. What he was telling them to do was to fall down as if dead at a particular point in the next speech, which is what they all did. I took a video with my pretty poor camera which is now on You Tube. The One Ring Site has one with better audio, and the bows at the end, but mine has lightly more RA:

And then the show ended. We headed out to the lobby, and there were members of the cast with buckets collecting but no sign of RA. Luke Evans, James Nesbitt and Aidan Turner I spotted, but where was RA? After a bit of waiting we decided he must still be in the theatre stalls area, and headed in there. There was a large queue waiting to talk to Martin Freeman but only about half a dozen talking to RA. He was chatting to an expat English family while they all took photos with him. And then it was my turn. Summoning my courage I asked him if he would sign my book, a copy of The Hobbit of course. He said “Good book” and I said I had thought I should read it before the film came out. He asked me my name, and then said he would also put his character’s name after his signature in the book (being an unassuming chap he thought I wouldn’t already know-as if!). I asked if he had enjoyed his time in NZ, and he said he loved New Zealand. I said that I really enjoyed his performances and he said “oh bless you”. I then asked how much longer he would be Thorin and he said about a month. At this point (and yes, I did make a donation in the bucket while all this was going on) I was too shy to ask for a photo, but I was so thrilled to have had a short conversation with him that it felt like an imposition to ask him for a photo as well as the autograph. I wished him good luck with the rest of the filming, and moved on.

I think he may be very tired as they near the end of filming as he was very still. There was not an ounce of “movie star” in his manner. I wouldn’t say he was shy, but certainly not someone to push himself forward.


Thank you NZfan!

I feel the urge to start making grand pronouncements about this wonderful fellow we’ve all decided to follow, but I’ll try to refrain for now. Maybe our friend in New Zealand will be so kind as to fill us in on some things if we ask nicely. :D