Rules of Engagement or Man, I Miss This Place

I certainly have great affection for Richard Armitage, which is still a bit weird to me. Not because it’s weird to have great fondness for someone well-known who you don’t know. I’ve had several celebrities whom I think of fondly. Jack Lemmon was the first one. He did so many wonderful pieces. I remember the first time I saw Some Like It Hot. I was smitten with Jack Lemmon. I think I was about 11 years old at the time. I was a fan for life. But I have to confess, I never stared dreamily at Jack Lemmon’s eyes. It wasn’t that kind of relationship. You know what I’m sayin’.

But back to Richard Armitage and this place which can still have me examining my navel. I used to wish that weren’t so, that I could just move on and not wonder how and why I’m even here. But I don’t do that any longer. I’m here (maybe not as much recently), and I’m fine with the continual examination of why I’m here. The day I stop asking myself what’s motivating me or what’s motivating others is the day I don’t want to be around. Motivation is huge to me. Yep, that’s right, I do wonder what drives people. It’s an obsession with me. I admit it! Why do people (including myself) do what they do? I have had that question in my mind since I was old enough to remember anything. My parents used to complain about my incessant questions about everything but most of all my wondering aloud continually at why someone did something or didn’t do something.

SO has said on more than one occasion that I question everything that moves, and if it doesn’t, I kick it until it does. He’s right. I know he’s right, but is that so wrong? SO’s answer was that I needed to be writing about it instead of talking about it. I resisted that because hey, I’m a math person. I’m a techie. I’m a bean counter type. We don’t write. That was the goofy thinking that infested my head. I was also raised by a writer. She won awards for it, and she didn’t think I could write (or so I thought), and therefore, I didn’t think I could write. I was encouraged to do math, because she wasn’t that great in math and was elated that I was.

But there’s something about being a writer that I’ve discovered. It took me a while to figure it out because I was so entrenched in my stupid slot of STEM person. And it’s this — if you’re a writer, you cannot help it. You are going to write. You are going to delve and ponder and discuss. You cannot help it. It’s who you are. You are driven to do this no matter that you adamantly refused to ever, ever, ever associate the word writer with yourself.

So where was Richard Armitage in all of that? He’s the catalyst, man. SO was a little concerned about my Richard Armitage obsession until he realized Richard Armitage was instrumental in getting me to write. And man, am I writing. I’ve been writing and writing and at some point I stopped calling it a memoir for my kids. Oh, I am still writing for that reason as well, but I’ve gone way beyond that. I now want to publish something dammit. We’ll see if I can pull it off, but that’s my goal. And it’s my goal because I am a storyteller. I’ve been doing that for years. When I worked for a large corporation and traveled around to speak to customers or employees, one of my greatest strengths was not just my technical knowledge, but that I could engage the audience with my storytelling. Sadly, it doesn’t matter how technical someone may be. If they can’t talk, they won’t be heard. Truth be told I used to want to think my success at that company was due to my great technical ability. That wasn’t the case. Oh, I do have good skills (not great but good). I’m also a realist and know it was my ability to communicate that allowed me to move up so quickly. That simple. I just got confused with all the technical stuff. But I’ve figured it out now. It was my engagement with the audience and my ability to convince someone to follow what I was saying that made me successful.

Maybe I can do that with fiction. No, scratch that. I plan to do that with fiction.

Bold words? Certainly, but then the timid are the ones who are not in the arena, and the arena (whatever it may be) is where you find the fun.

Should I write a letter to Richard? Nah, I’ll save it for another day. I’m crunched for time this morning.

How ’bout a picture:

Phew. A great screencap of Richard. I snagged this from Twitter, but it’s from Larygo.tumblr. Whoever that is, you, or whoever, did a great job enhancing it. Thank you!

Photo of Jack Lemmon from the movie “Some Like It Hot”, directed by Billy Wilder. Jack Lemmon as ‘Daphne’. Initial theatrical release March 29, 1959. Screen capture. © 1959 Ashton Productions. Credit: © 1959 Ashton Prod. / Flickr / Courtesy Pikturz. Image intended only for use to help promote the film, in an editorial, non-commercial context.

Richard, I Got It Wrong

Richard,

My humble apologies on misunderstanding your “stress.” I know now that you were just being your kind self. I was in a hurry and not paying attention as I should have been. But I do hope the squabbling that goes on does not distress you too much ’cause man, it’s just a drain. That’s why I stay away from it.

I also want to share a quick personal story. My SO is a vicar, and he’s a great guy too. It’s sad I have to qualify that, but I feel that I do. He is a gentleman, very sincere and kind. But it’s funny that when he gets up on a Sunday morning and says something to encourage others to be hopeful and kind even in the face of adversity, that by no later than Wednesday, he is being tested on what he said. Never fails.

I find it interesting that you said your piece yesterday about bullying and a day later you may have to deal with bullying in a way you may have never imagined. The only other thing I will say about that is I do pray for you at times. Cheesy as that sounds, I do. And I pray for wisdom for you as you possibly will deal with bullies of another sort than most of this fandom are privy to on a regular basis.

Thanks for all you do and hang in there.

Signed,
A Very Sincere Fan

P.S. I enjoyed the interview on Cybersmile, but I hope you know I’m not one of those who has a pseudonym so I can say nasty things. I just didn’t want to answer questions from family and friends as I went along. Anyway, nastiness has never been my intent. And hopefully I have never done anything but encourage. That’s ultimately my aim — especially with my diary which has a great ending.

I’ve always loved this picture:

ra17

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.

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

Did You Get Your Love Poems Yet?

Richard Armitage Classic Love Poems

Are you one of those fans who could listen to Richard Armitage read the phone book? Well, he’s done something much better. He has a little gift for us at Valentine’s. He’s recited 15 classic love poems, and they’re free.

If you’re one of those who is not sure about Richard’s voice work, a little taste:

So what are you waiting for? Oh, you don’t have an Audible account? No big deal unless you’re like a friend of mine who will not give up her name and email unless it’s life and death. Yeah, she’s paranoid. Frankly, I don’t blame her. But I understand she relented for this. :D

For those who downloaded and you’re like me and want to know exactly where certain poems are located, here you go:

00:00 1st Chapter – How Do I Love Thee? by Elizabeth Barret Browning

01:22 2nd Chapter – Sonnet 116 by Shakespeare

02:23 3rd Chapter – Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe

04:20 4th Chapter – To Be One With Each Other by George Eliot

04:47 5th Chapter – Maud by Alfred Lord Tennyson

08:15 6th Chapter – To His Coy Mistress by Andrew Marvell

10:34 7th Chapter – Bright Star by John Keats

11:41 8th Chapter – Love’s Philosophy by Percy Bysshe Shelley

12:33 9th Chapter – 1st Corinthians 13:4-8 by the Apostle Paul

13:30 10th Chapter – Meeting at Night by Robert Browning

14:19 11th Chapter – The Dream by Edna St. Vincent Millay

15:24 12th Chapter – The Passionate Shepherd to His Love by Christopher Marlowe

16:48 13th Chapter – I Carry Your Heart by e e cummings

18:08 14th Chapter – She Walks in Beauty by Lord Byron

19:21 15th Chapter – Give All to Love by Ralph Waldo Emerson

note: times are at “normal” speed and are approximate.


Richard,

Thank you for the Valentine’s gift. Your voice is my favorite aspect of your talent. I have adored it from my first introduction to your work, but I never thought to hear you recite something like this:

I’m enjoying all of the poems, but that one is especially appreciated, and I’m certain there are others who feel the same.

Thank you again,
A sometimes crazy fan

P.S. Love the video explaining how you see poetry. And love.

Dorktastic Returns

So Richard Armitage went to China for The Hobbit premiere, and it’s been well covered, but I’ve got to add my two.

We’ve been treated to an array of photos of this caliber:

RichardArmitage by Sarah Dunn

…courtesy of Sarah Dunn and her Leica, and all designed to make us go, “Oooh, Baby!” and I do at times. Yeah, I sometimes think, “Wow…”

But mostly I think, “You’ve come a long way from this, Baby:”
e8531f5a-1

or maybe not:

Dorktastic Richard in ChinaScreencap from this video of Richard thanking the Chinese fans

Richard,

It’s a secure and happy man who lets his dorktastic out in public. I love that you can still do that and the publicists be damned. No offense to your publicist.

And now that you’re proficient with a selfie stick:

54b303c945dec3545ae0f8b17bee9ddd
…you just needed one other thing for your China trip — a GoPro attached to that panda hat. And if you ever get a dog, he can wear one too.

Signed,
One of your crazy fans

P.S. Sometimes I feel for you in having a lot of your existence, including some of your childhood, trotted out for all to see. But the panda hat overrode any feelings of protection I may feel. :D

For those who have never seen Richard Armitage at a red carpet event, you have no idea how good he is with a camera phone. Oh, man, the dude can take a shot. And it makes sense; otherwise, he would have to wait for a nervous fan to fumble around.

I wonder when he decided to start taking selfies. It wasn’t in 2007 when he went to the BAFTAs (scroll down for the videos), but then the selfie didn’t really come into its own until the advent of the iPhone which was less than two years old at the time.

Going the Distance — Part 1

Richard Armitage ep1 StrikeBack
It’s interesting to review old posts and realize the fundamental impetus and tone of this blog is the same. I still feel as I did when I wrote this post in 2010 with only a few changes. One of them is I can no longer keep up with the press on Richard Armitage. Part of that is due to my situation and part of it is due to there being so much more. This a good thing for him in more ways than one. LOL! (unfortunately, I have never kicked the LOL habit. Every time I’ve tried, something I’ve said in jest was misconstrued as serious). The other thing that’s changed is I almost feel like Richard Armitage is an old friend. Before anyone starts becoming worried about my having descended into the depths of some serious CW, remember this often happens when we like a particular entertainer over a long period of time. Can you say Tom Hanks? Sure you can. Okay, so there’s the odd person out there who doesn’t like Tom, and no, I’m not fully comparing Richard Armitage to Tom Hanks although I do think Rich could be more of an everyman than he is currently. But I’m not going to chase that rabbit today.

Perhaps the only other thing that’s changed is I regret a few more things than I did in that linked piece above. I mourn any part I have ever played in quenching the spirit of community. The only salve to my conscience is that anything I have done was not done to create a divide. That’s not my style. Oh, I’m not about keeping peace at the cost of my principles, but I do not thrive on conflict. Not afraid of it either, but I don’t go out looking for it. Somehow that doesn’t matter, ’cause in fandom it tends to find those who manifest themselves very overtly in cyber world. Yep, this just goes with the territory. I also mourn the loss of some friendships. Thankfully, that’s been minimal, but I still feel the loss. A post coming next or soon on these things and some other fallout in fandom. It is not a rant but hopefully some encouragement.

So why am I posting this? I have definitely changed during the time I’ve been running this site but not as much as I thought. It’s true I don’t drool as much these days, but how long can someone drool? Whatever the case with fans, obviously, I just couldn’t keep that up. Occasional drooling is all I’m good for these days, and that should take nothing away from Richard Armitage. He is a fine actor from whom I believe we have not seen his best work.

And that’s why I’m hanging around. One of the reasons anyway. I’m waiting for the day he is again in a fine role — meaning one worthy of his talent.

Forgotten this?

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, probably not since I can’t seem to let that tweet die. John Obert got it, and I’m still basking in that and realize that we still ain’t seen nothing yet. And it may well come from behind the camera when we do.

In the meantime, it’s been fun going some of the distance with Richard Armitage. I’ve never watched an actor’s career so closely and doubt I ever will again. This is an anomaly for me, and I’d like to keep it that way. :D

And speaking of going the distance, I’m going to brag about something, and if you hate it when I talk about my kids, stop reading now. LOL!

I’ve talked about all of my children on this blog including my youngest who is underage but being the least mentioned and not pictured. My older kids have pictures of themselves plastered all over the Net, so it would be pointless to try to keep their photos under wraps. They’re part of that generation who doesn’t think about those things as being a problem. At such time as my youngest reaches majority, she can do the same, but while she’s underage, no way I’m going to put her photo out to be easily snagged.

Onto the bragging.

When I started this blog, I had been a fan of Richard Armitage for over two years, and my son was nearing the end of his junior year of high school and already getting heavily recruited by college athletic directors and coaches. It was quite the learning curve for our family, and I remember SO telling our son, “If you get a scholarship, consider it a job, because they will be paying for your education or most of it.” Mercenary as that sounds, that’s a reality, and it’s good to let a kid know so they don’t go into a college sport with idealistic visions of coaches being their friends. They’re employers first and foremost.

Son is now a senior in college, and he’s done his job and then some. He’s busted his backside with a work ethic that most people only dream about, and it has served him well. He has a GPA hovering around 3.75 and he is an All-American athlete not once but three times with the last time being last November.

2014 CDZ AllAmerican

For those not familiar, this is a very small group of college athletes in the U.S. Thousands and thousands compete every year, but only a handful in each sport make All-American. The ones who do are at the top of their game, which means they are not only talented but have worked incredibly hard. Just thinking about the training is enough to wear me out. My son trains 48 weeks out of the year. He takes off two weeks after the fall season and two weeks after the spring season. The rest of the time he’s eating a rigid diet, only drinks water, runs 12-15 miles most days, lifts weights, does calisthenics and plyometrics, and oh heck, I don’t know what all. And there are lots of athletes who do this and never make All-American. Some of it is also due to luck. They can’t get sick on the wrong day or have an off day at the wrong time.

But the little bit of luck aside, I’m proud of my son, and I don’t mind talking about it here. He’s done a helluva thing, and it needs to be talked about and talked about, and thankfully, SO and I are not the only ones who will, but we still have to stifle ourselves because we stink with pride about what this boy has done.

Yes, I have a segue to Richard Armitage. It’s coming in the second part of this post.