Tangent — Have Hanx Writer, Will?


For the last couple of days I’ve been reading up on an iPad app that was prompted by Tom Hanks. He wanted it to mimic a typewriter, so he approached some app developers to build one. It does sound and act very much like a typewriter but a little too much for my taste. Perhaps the sensory attributes of this app will provoke someone’s creativity. I don’t know, but after trying it out, I’m hard pressed to think I would use it much to aid in my drafting.

The sound and feel of a typewriter never did help in spurring my thoughts. I never needed any help with that. My head has always been crammed with them and racing with them at that. The typewriter did nothing but create frustration for me. Perhaps not as frustrating as pencil and paper, but still a level of frustration that was a big, fat turn off. I turned to a cassette recorder to get out my thoughts, and many remained in that format until I discovered something life changing — word processing software.

When at the age of 20 I had the privilege to use what was then a newfangled machine called a word processor, I felt I had made an exodus out of the land of blank pages. The racing thoughts that had always been a curse became a blessing overnight. And I have no desire to move back to Egypt however majestic the ruins may look. They are only for visiting and not dwelling in, which is what I suspect will be the reaction of many to Hanx Writer. A fun thing to experience and observe, but I doubt anyone serious about writing will want to live there for long.

More thoughts on the Hanx writer from a recently discovered writer whom I’ve come to really enjoy and appreciate his cleverness:

Tom’s typewriter – thanks Hanks but no
by David Hewson

Tom Hanks loves typewriters. So much that he’s put his name to an app for the iPad that recreates his beloved machine. Hanx Writer is yours for free though there are in-app options including a ‘Writer’s Block’ bundle whatever that is.

I spent the first twenty five years of my life using a typewriter every working day… and quite a few when I wasn’t supposed to be working too. I wrote my first unpublished book on one of the things. Never again.

Each to their own. Some people still love typewriters and paper. Some enjoy writing out their work longhand (and then handing it over to someone to type into a computer I imagine).

Not me. Here are my reasons.

read them here

During all of my reading on this app, I also read Tom Hanks has or had a collection of near 2,000 typewriters.

And now I know where Nora Ephron came up with one of the quirks for Frank Navasky.

Diary of an RA Fan — Part 808 The Wayward Lover

August 11, 2014


Entry — Sunday, August 10, 2014:

_______ sent me another song. Every few days she sends one and wants my take on it. Most of them have been great, some good and some okay. But whatever the performance, the sum of her writing is fantastic. Yeah, I’m biased. I can’t help it, but I’m far from alone in that assessment.

She was always a writer and has been successful at it for quite sometime. At barely 20 she went to NYC and landed a good writing job of a few hours a week which more than paid her rent. But writing for someone else was never going to satisfy her. She’s always working on something else, and then she picked up her guitar again and started writing songs. Now SO and I have quite a few on our phones which we can’t stop listening to. They are all rough cuts with all kinds of extraneous noises like her roommate’s hair dryer in the background. I don’t care. They are well written, and some of them I believe could gain something significant.

For the last couple of weeks, part of one song has been on my mind waking up and going to sleep. I have literally gotten up singing it. This prompted me to listen to the whole thing again this evening. It’s about expectations, identity and the desire for acceptance. Despite this song being written for others reasons, I began to see it as something from Richard Armitage and concerning his relationship to us fans. I imagined him singing this song to us and using all sorts of pronouns and of course sincerely but with an occasional sarcastic tone. It made me laugh and think about what may or may not be real.

The lyrics and copyright info, and if you don’t listen to anything else, listen from 3:40 on.

Maybe these thoughts were also brought on by Lee Pace’s interview in May. Maybe it was reviewing Richard’s interview in the Telegraph and the Sunday Times. Or maybe it’s because SO and I live a public life and have for quite a few years. A lot of our moves are watched, and if either of us look at someone the wrong way or reveal something about ourselves the public isn’t ready to see, it can cause some consternation on the public’s part. I don’t worry about this most of the time when I go into public, because some people are going to think what they want to think no matter what SO or I do. But occasionally something comes back to us that we supposedly said or did, and I’m dumbfounded and feel bad that someone read into our expressions and was hurt by them. Obviously, I’ve read in all kinds of things about Richard Armitage during the life of my blog, and I still wonder what he really thinks, and if I should write what I think about that. I don’t wonder this as often as I did when I first started writing. But that song made me wonder, and that in itself makes it a really good song.


Candid shot of the musician in Central Park

Candid shot of Richard by Gundi (and I’m wondering if Gundi is a fan who has shared this photo with us via RichardArmitageNet.com or not and if I’m violating copyright. Someone raise your hand if you know the answer. Thanks!)

edit: I have riddled this post with typos, and now I see RichardArmiteneNet.com. ROFLOL!! It will be fixed by the time someone reads this comment. Sorry about that, Ali. I flat did not see that. Oy


Reblogged from the Snapshots blog by YouMuttonMeCrazy.

May was wasted on me, where writing is concerned. Experiences and work, on the other hand weren’t in short supply.

I find myself sitting on the couch again, the boobtube threatening to suck me in. You work, do something social and when you get home you are tired. Writing seems a daunting task. Weekend comes and you are faced with more social obligations, some of them in spectacular places, some of them too good to forget but too packed to remember in any detail. Yeah, May was a write-off but June can still be saved. Setting myself some writing projects is the name of the game. Break free from May, into June.

The first time I experience freedom was when I asked if my mom would give me a lift to my friend’s house and she replied with a casual, “Take your bike.” I suddenly realised I could go places on my own. Of course there were limits, don’t go across the main roads and stuff like that. Naturally I still had to let them know where I was going, but I was free.

the rest here

I hope you read all of this piece.

And I hope the author doesn’t feel compelled to thank me for posting. I don’t need that. I just like the writing and hope he keeps at it. That’s thanks enough.

Anonymity, April Challenge, and Richard Armitage

A2Z-BADGE-0002014-small_zps8300775cThis is my first post for the 2014 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. Therefore, some people who are not Richard Armitage fans will be dropping by to check me out. This post is for them.

Hello! and welcome to my fun place. Mostly this is a humorous site, and occasionally I pontificate about various subjects. You thought it was all about some chap named Richard Armitage? That’s some of it. And right about now if you are wondering who in the heck is Richard Armitage? He is this guy:

Thorin Oakenshield from The Hobbit; you can get a thumbnail of his work here.


Richard is a muse, if you will. He and more so his fans prompted me to enter the blogosphere as a writer who documents something other than vacation pictures and an occasional rant about current events. That’s mostly what I did before I entered this space, and I did it with my real identity. It was not fun. I was inhibited and unimaginative and so careful about my words that it would have taken aeons to develop a voice and certainly to be interesting. The specter of screwing up was the biggest obstacle, and so I removed that by throwing off the shackles of my identity and flying free with my thoughts. And yes, I do some fangirling, but I’ll try to keep that at a minimum during this month. No promises about Sunday.

See you tomorrow.

And Then It Continued

First part of the story here.

Today is the anniversary of Janine‘s initial encounter with John Thornton, and now the rest of her story:

Days passed. The letter became a being, existing with an accusatory bent. I was determined not to mail it.

My birthday arrived. I took the day off from work, and as I wandered about my favorite coastal town in the peace of being alone with the sea and sun, I was able to breathe. At dinner, I sat on the wharf with a copy of ‘North and South’ in my hands and read the first chapters of the story that had somehow brought such change into my life.

That night I copied the letter onto some stationery and found an address for Richard. It felt right. So what if I was a blathering idiot in my prose to him? I had written what I felt. I mailed it.

Nope. It didn’t help.

My family went away for a few days. I stayed home with the pets and the vegetable garden. And the entire DVD set of Robin Hood. I watched the first two series over again.

Work and the family returned. I kept hurtling toward something. It felt like that.

And one day my access to one of the unofficial RA sites went AWOL. I couldn’t figure it out and being denied access for some random reason was a most cruel joke.

I contacted the owner. It was my first contact with someone over Richard. I felt odd. Who did this? Not me. Not ever. Not practical, no-nonsense me.

We never did figure out why I couldn’t connect. But I had made a personal connection with someone who was kind, smart and didn’t treat me like I was a nutjob because I was reading interviews and looking up information about an actor.

That exchange launched me into the land of Twitter and contact of an instanteous nature with other admirers of Richard Armitage. One by one I found or was found. And I started twittering away, finding myself swept up into another crazed frenzy.

There were moments I actually felt giddy.

And it was there that I had my first exhilirating exchange with the writer of this blog, Frenz. I’d read a lot of her posts over the months since discovering Richard. I liked her voice as a writer. I appreciated her self-deprecation. And suddenly here we were in some sort of DM Twitterfest that lasted more than two hours.

She was relentless in her questions to me but also in revealing pieces of herself. It was a unique exchange that did many things that night. But the important one is that it forced me to yet another level of awareness about myself.

Three months and two days after writing that letter to Richard, I was writing a letter to me.

The next day, it took about nine hours with a few breaks, for the first time in my life, I sat there and let my heart — my battered, suppressed heart — rage.

Because once upon a time, I had imagination. I had that joy in creating. I had that feeling anything was possible.

What happened?

What happened.


I held nothing back. I was brutally honest as I typed, admitting my failures. Admitting other people’s failures to me. From childhood to adulthood I roamed.

I didn’t edit. I just typed. I cried. There were moments I thought I might break.

So I cried some more.

I could feel myself emerge as I neared the end. And as I typed the final few sentences, I was sobbing. I thought I could paraphrase what I was writing to Frenz but I cannot, so here it is, raw and unedited.

As I have been writing this for about 8 hours, I have been hurtling toward the end not knowing what to say. But it hit me a little while back.
I think you asked why Richard – was it just last night?
I didn’t think I had an answer. I find I do. At this moment in time, after just giving you the abbreviated version of my life, I do have an answer that makes sense.
He dares.
But me, surrounded by all that you have just read, I do not. Not really. And I want to. I want to break free and dare. Truly dare.
I need to. I need to believe I could play Thorin, that I am finally good enough. I need to have those doubts and slay them.
In my case, I need to believe I can build my own business and be a success. That I have learned in 25 years of working and 45 years of living that I am good enough to have something of my own. That I can have a dream I can fulfill. I know I have the skills. Because in this very moment I have realized that I have always put my dreams aside. Always. Always. I admit it. Finally.
And I am crying so hard I can barely see.
I need a champion. That would be Richard. The man who dared. Who is inspiring me to dare. Who gives me hope that nice people do achieve great things through hard work and because they dare.
For a while now, I have been thinking this: Richard makes me want things I can never have.
So negative. But how could I not be because he does make me yearn for so much more than what I have in my existence. I couldn’t see past the negative because it was so massive.
And now, because I have said this I need to think differently.
Richard makes me want things I will dare to have.

I can safely admit that since I had that moment at the end of last October, everything has changed.

I now have a world full of people who share at least one commonality: an admiration for Richard Armitage. And it turns out we share so much more. Of course we do. I have slowly gotten to know person after person, and I am in a world so rich with possibility because of them that my heart nearly bursts some days from the sheer joy in being alive.

I have done silly things. I have done fun things. I have done serious things. I expect to keep repeating this pattern for some time.

In return I have been given the gift of friendship. When I am troubled – again, life doesn’t happen in a vacuum – a tidal wave of support flows over then buoys me so I won’t flounder. Well, at least not for long.

Frenz asked, quite some time ago, if I would write about inspiration and Richard.

In the end, it was never about Richard Armitage. Not at all.

He is the catalyst.

I am my inspiration.

Because I dare.

Yes, you, do, Janine, and we all love it.

And me, relentless? I’m a pussycat. :D

Screencap courtesy of Gallicka.com

What Just Happened?


Janine‘s account of Richard Armitage hitting her world:

Sometimes life hands you something you didn’t know you needed.

Or even were looking for.

Richard Armitage. It is a name that a year ago I would have said, “Who, the politician guy?” and Googled him to check. The actor’s name would have meant nothing. Now? I do not know enough words to express all that I feel for the actor guy. I still would need to Google the politician.

What I have been pondering and mulling this past year is simple — and complicated. Why Richard? Why me? What just happened?

Mid-March of 2012 found me with the Netflix DVD of ‘North and South.’ It had been in my queue for probably two years, but I never made a move to watch it. While the story sounded slightly depressing, it was there because it was Elizabeth Gaskell. A drought in British period dramas brought it to my house. I hate to say that my viewing of this was with “the family.” That is never a good idea with period pieces, which do not hold the attention of a large portion of the inmates.

But I remember the first moment I saw Richard on screen. And while I know this is not true, there was complete silence, at least in my head.

I don’t remember coherent thoughts. It was more a wordless recognition. Just … there.


The voice hit me next. It was so much to process that it was only later when my head said, “Chocolate.” And for me, it wasn’t just any kind, but this particular mocha buttercream I make for the yule log each year: rich, a little sweet, smooth as silk.

Since the show was divided over two discs, I had to wait an entire week to get the second half.

I know.

By the time I got to the kiss to end all kisses in the history of romance, not to mention the future into all of eternity or any parallel universe, I was attempting to remain sensible. This was assisted by the presence of “the family.” After they toddled off to bed, I replayed that scene a shocking number of times.


Somehow I was able to stop myself, only to go to the DVD extras to watch the man who played John Thornton masterfully and with such nuance.

Awkward. Uncomfortable. Stumbling over his words a bit. This was the man who just made John Thornton tear a hole in the space-time continuum?

I found him endearing. Sincere. Real. And when he started to discuss the responsibility of playing his character, he said a few fateful words that stopped me short. He talked about his character living for 150 years on the page.

Ah. Imagination. Richard Armitage had imagination.

I am not sure how the craziness played out over the next few weeks. It is a bit of a blur. I decided to watch his work chronologically if I could find it. That meant “Robin Hood” was up next (what? a bad boy? conflicted? smirking?). I found myself overwhelmed by the sheer volume of content on the Internet: fan sites, blogs and everything in between. I darted about when I had time, hearing echoes of my own reactions wherever I went.

Did I say echoes? I meant the keening cry of a siren’s call. I was Odysseus floating on a sea called denial.

Around June I was starting to question my sanity. What was I doing? I felt an incredible need to watch this man work, crafting characters where Richard disappeared. He was a chameleon, shifting in and out of roles where he looked remarkably different from himself, and it wasn’t due to makeup or prosthetics.

Eclipsing that need, however, was a desire to understand his motivation. Almost daily I was looking up interviews, scattered at first, but then starting with the earliest and moving ahead, wanting to see how he grew and changed in those years between ‘North and South’ and now.

It was those interviews and commentaries — along with the letters to his fans — that brought me to the conclusion that this was a decent guy with a wicked sense of humor, a man who embodied a lot of my ideals. Much of the time, I felt as if he reflected me: staying in the background, giving praise but not comfortable getting it, working hard to do the job not just well but excellently, living honorably. The list only grew.

It all made me admire him more.

None of this happened in a vacuum. Life was swirling madly about just like always. Family was crazy, work actually went to an even crazier place in May, June and July, and I was working on my own web-based garden site that I launched in December 2011. There was a dog to keep entertained, a vegetable garden to tend, summer projects to start, friends to visit …. The list was always endless. The majority of my entertainment was watching shows with Richard in them.

In July I started to examine what I was doing. Why? That is forever the question I ask. Who, what, where, when and even the how are just facts. It’s the why that tells the story. Why Richard? Why me? Why all of this here and now and in such an intensity that, I now admit, frightened me?

I needed to write something. Anything. It took a form of a letter to Richard in my head. It morphed and changed. Edited, rewritten and edited again. Then Comic-Con happened. In nearly real time, I saw Richard giving interviews and being wholly charming. There was a twinkle in his eyes that his beard only emphasized. He was articulate and again earnest in his unmistakable love for what he was doing.

Warner Bros. Pictures And Legendary Pictures Preview - "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"  - Comic-Con International 2012

At that point, the urge to write was overwhelming. I write. It’s what I do. It’s the place where I can be honest to myself about everything. And why I was denying myself that was because it was important. I knew in my soul it was important. Either I couldn’t admit to the why or I didn’t know the answer myself yet.

Eleven days later, after a long day taking care of my grandmother who had cataract surgery early that morning, I wrote. Longhand. And wrote and wrote. Several hours later I had a letter to Richard. I tucked it away and actually believed that had done it, that I would wake up the next morning and be able to let this go.


It only intensified.

More tomorrow.

Screencaps courtesy of RichardArmitageNet

It’s Today and Tomorrow Comes Later

Yes, I’m finally updating this saga, and started to do it in the wee hours of the morning — at least for most of my readers. But if you haven’t been following along, the first part is here. And if you don’t want to follow along, no worries. Come back when I return to the regularly scheduled snark.

SO and I followed the doctor’s instructions and began the odyssey into the world of kidney disease. But just as we were getting started, the insurance company we had been paying for years decided to cancel our health insurance. They gave us a few months notice, and this was after they had been paid an average of around $2,000 a month for almost 10 years. Yeah, do the math on that. You may ask why that much. SO is type 1 diabetic and we are self-employed, which meant the bill was for a hellacious amount of coverage (and with a high deductible), but then when we needed it most, gone. Even now I want to call those that run the insurance company some foul names, but I believe it’s wrong to hold a grudge. It also steals my energy to do so.

Nevertheless, the insurance company took advantage, and we should have known we weren’t insuring against catastrophe. On some level as business people and realists, we knew insurance companies are gamblers and gamblers have the ability to call the game if it’s not going their way. But we got comfortable in what we were doing. We loved concentrating on the town and its people and not worrying about something coming to bite us on the backside. At one point before this happened, we had talked about self-insuring because we had the means, but we thought it was too risky. I could cry about that now; I just see no point. We have learned a hard lesson and now we try to apply what we’ve learned and move on. But make no mistake we’re aware of others who do not have the means and are still paying for what insurance companies and the healthcare industry in general did to them. I don’t know what I’m going to do about that, but I’m going to do something — government intervention or no government intervention (no, I don’t want to get political). This experience has made a reformer of me, but mostly, as a Christian, I cannot simply let this lie.

But I didn’t always feel that way. When this first happened, I wanted to become terrified and roll into a ball. I knew that although SO made an income and we had savings, it was potentially not enough to handle the coming debt of kidney disease. And since no one would hire SO and give him insurance benefits, I needed to find employment or we might eventually be left destitute. What I hadn’t considered was age discrimination. I wasn’t a stranger to discrimination as I had received some when I was younger and working in a “man’s profession,” but it was still not in my nature to look for it. I have to be hit over the head with it before I realize it’s happening. It began to hit me over the head repeatedly as I went to look for a job. No matter where I went or how well I did in interviews, no matter the power clothes or hip hairstyle I wore, or how much people liked me, or how well I passed any tests I was given, or how much I was willing to relocate, no one wanted to hire me. Along the way I kept re-educating myself about the process of getting a job, and I learned a lot more than I had known. I had certainly let most of my network dry up, and eventually I had to accept that maybe there was an issue with my being 50 years old. Ouch.

I’m not sure I can fully describe the pain of fighting the notion people are looking at you like you’re a non-entity, something to be dismissed. It took over a year for the reality to sink in. When it did, I was way past terrified and a big part of me wanted to say, “F*ck it” and be depressed. Can I think that and say that as a Christian? Can I have that attitude as someone who believes in Christ, the Redeemer of all? I sure can, but that’s not what the Lord wanted and had prepared me to do. Plus, He reminded me I know about depression and how it can suck you down in a pit and keep you there. I had learned that from growing up in an extended family where depression became so prevalent the running joke is the family crest is three men in straightjackets. I also learned it from my own life threatening bouts with it. Frankly, I could write a book about its debilitating effects, and in fact, I am. But I digress.

The unscalable wall of no job and no benefits, and therefore no way to easily deal with SO becoming sicker, was not moving. Something had to be done. But what? An employer was not on the horizon, and I could not see starting another business. Not a successful one anyway. I know how hard that is. It’s like being pregnant, giving birth and then rearing the child, which takes a lot of time and heart, and if you don’t attend to it as such, it will wither and die. The thought of taking that on while soldiering through what SO was dealing with and would eventually be dealing with could short circuit my brain. But the thought kept coming back. And of course I felt guilty at times about this place. Here we are in a major life crisis, and I’m blogging about some obscure British actor (a good looking, obscure British actor), but some bloke I didn’t know, and I was painting myself as a goofball in the process? What?!!

And just to be clear, SO is not a eunuch, was definitely skeptical of this place, and said to me rather pointedly on one occasion, “What are you doing? What wonderful energy are you expending? Is it worth it? You decide, but I want to ask you another question.” I arched a brow at him but said nothing, and then he went on, “How would you feel if I started blogging all the time about some good looking actress?” I looked him right in the eye and said, “I wouldn’t like it.” I almost quit blogging, but at that point, it was not about Richard Armitage, and really, it never was.

This post was supposed to be more about SO and turned out to be more about me. These posts were originally in two parts, but I’ve been thinking, and now I’m not sure how long this will run. This has happened a few times, and I’m well aware it has created some loose ends lying around here. I’ll get to them before I’m done. My anal nature will ensure that! But with this series, I’m going to keep going until I’m satisfied. Sort of like this blog — which was supposed to last two months. :D