Giffing #Castlevania, or: I’m Sweet on Trevor Belmont

Castlevania… I’d never heard of it, either as a game or as a Netflix series, until enterprising fandom members began speculating that Richard Armitage was connected. I was immediately intrigued because it was coming soon on a platform that caters to my binge-watching tendencies so nicely, and of course because if there is one quality about Richard Armitage that never changes for me, it is his ability to captivate me with his voice. On the down-side, I’m just not that into the whole vampire/monster genre, I’ve never caught any kind of anime bug, and I’ve sure as hell never been any kind of gamer. Although, as a side note, I DO play Slither.io, and I admit it tickled me pink to see a worm called “Trevor Belmont” on the leader board yesterday… prior to this I’d have figured Trevor Belmont was some player’s actual name! So yay! A fellow Slither.io player, and one good enough to get onto the leader boards, has probably watched Castlevania and probably digs Trevor, too!

So while it was no surprise that Richard Armitage nailed the voice role, and that I enjoyed every moment of his dialogue… it was really an unexpected pleasure to actually find myself caught up in the story to the point that I binged all available episodes last Friday evening, then went back for a second helping the next day. Not only that, but I plan to subject Hubby to the first episode and if he likes it, I’ll go it a third time. Actually, I’ll probably go it a third time whether Hubby likes it or not! And without a doubt, I was left wanting more. [Spoilers follow]

More of Trevor Belmont, with his wide shoulders, scruffy jaw and emo hair. Trevor Belmont, with his acerbic wit and laissez-faire approach to Wallachia’s doom and destruction. Have I ever said how much I appreciate the quintessential, unwilling antihero archetype?

I just love this guy. Pretty much everything about him, and from the moment he delivered his one word of dialogue at the end of episode 1.

He’s just a bad ass. And damned if he’s not easy on the eyes.

 

 

In the beginning of Episode 2, Trevor is sloshed with drink, but manages to stumble into a tavern-fight after his family crest is identified by several belligerent villagers.

I loved the humor in this scene, as the aforementioned bad-ass takes a heavy beating (and a couple of kicks to the testicles) before he sobers up enough to fight.

 

 

Have I mentioned how much I loved his tattered cloak? It totally embodies Trevor’s outcast, shabby nobility.

I confess I was concerned for the cloak when Trevor ascended the sewage shaft in pursuit of his breakfast. And I was sorry to see him shed the cloak when the time came for our reluctant warrior to step up to the plate and commit to his mission.

 

Which took him a while. It seems Trevor Belmont, while mildly curious about the town’s defenses, was rather unenthusiastically stirred to step in to preserve the life of an Elder of the Speakers from a pair of bloodthirsty priests.

After doing his one good deed for the day, however, we learn he entered Gresit genuinely only interested in his breakfast, and hoped to lose his sobriety soon after.

 

Trevor Belmont has resigned himself to life as a loner. The last living son of the House of Belmont, he seems to enjoy his own company well enough.

He constantly talks aloud to himself, and I confess, I adore his internal dialogue, and how he stumbles, swaggers and swashbuckles through the world, muttering salty, sardonic commentary for his own diversion along the way.

 

 

But Belmont does have mad skills, when he bestirs himself. We have our first real taste of Belmont in monster-combat when he encounters a Cyclops in the subterranean vaults. (He can’t seem to shake that inconvenient soft spot for the Speakers, and in an effort to nudge them out of Gresit before they come under attack, he offers to fetch the probably dead missing grandchild of the Elder, who disappeared while searching for a sleeping savior under the city.)

 

Turns out, his assumption was wrong… that grandchild wasn’t a dead boy, but a young woman, Sypha, and the death of the Cyclops restored her to her family.

That’s all done, then… after telling the Speakers that the Bishop is “Beyond insane, over the top and into new lands of just snake-fuckingly crazy” (one of my favorite lines!), Trevor Belmont is ready to casually, and callously, move on.

 

But not before we see a few sparks fly between Trevor and Sypha. I’m hoping there might be a romantic angle between these two, in the future. I’d really love to see Trevor Belmont become twisted up over a scholar.

Who’d have thought I’d be shipping animated characters so readily? LOL

 

And when it becomes clear the Speakers have no intention of leaving, Belmont finally decides to throw in his lot to defend them. Or the city. He’s not completely clear on his plan, but he hides the Speakers and confronts the priests, with the town mob behind them.

Off comes the tattered cloak, and we have our first real look at Trevor Belmont as noble warlord.

 

When Trevor finds himself surrounded by the mob, Sypha reveals herself as an elemental mage, protecting him with a ring of fire from her position on a rooftop, and earning an admiring look from Belmont.

Who just seems to get sexier every time I look at him.

 

 

And now, Trevor Belmont takes command. The hordes of Hell are descending as night falls on the town, and Belmont begins issuing orders, all business.

I have to hand it to him… Richard Armitage does “battle commander” so very forcefully well.

 

After the ground collapses, Trevor and Sypha fall together through several levels and waken a sleeping, shirtless vampire. Sypha sees the savior of Speaker prophesy, but Trevor’s cynicism shines. He stalks about and casts aspersions (“Tell that to your floating vampire Jesus!”), then gladly rises to the vampire’s challenge.

 

 

Possibly my favorite moment: Alucard, son of Dracula, having separated Belmont from whip and sword, pins him down with neck exposed, and asks if he has a last prayer. “Dear God, please don’t let the vampire’s guts ruin my good tunic.” This. This final little piece of snark, as Alucard discovers a dagger in his torso… if I wasn’t already half in love with Trevor Belmont, this would have sealed the deal.

A cooler mind prevails, ultimately, as Sypha steps in before the vampire and the hunter can simultaneously end one another.

Season 1 ends with the trio of vampire savior, hunter and scholar entering a wary accord, their mutual goal to destroy Dracula before Dracula destroys Wallachia.

 

My biggest complaint? Season 1 was far too short! Like a lovely appetizer, but now we must wait for the main course to be served.

I, for one, can hardly wait.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JHolland: An Update

So the verdict is in, and my neurologist has diagnosed me with Multiple Sclerosis. This is considered to be an immune-mediated disease, in which my own immune system essentially does irreparable damage to nerves in the central nervous system, causing demyelination of neurons which alters and inhibits neural transmission. The most commonly diagnosed form is called Relapsing/Remitting MS, which is what Dad has, and in most cases eventually, over 10-15 years, progresses to Secondary Progressive MS. In my case, the initial diagnosis was Secondary Progressive MS, meaning I likely cannot expect to ever return to normal for periods of time, only have ups, downs and plateaus that never leave me feeling 100% my former self, but may wax and wane and generally worsen over time. He did say that if I can tolerate the prescribed Copaxone, a 3 times weekly injection that mimics a protein in myelin, thereby allowing the immune system to “attack” the injection rather than the actual myelin in nerve sheaths, it is unlikely that I will progress to severe disability/wheelchair status.

Of course, I am still waiting on approval from the insurance company to actually start the injection, but the great news is that my symptoms, after worsening quite scarily all last week to the point where I could not carry a laundry basket a distance of 50 feet without stopping to sit down, and had to lean against walls, tabletops and countertops when standing more than 5-10 minutes… have now lessened to the point where I have very normal strength and energy and only mild numbness and tingling in my right hand, foot and knee! I really want to start that injection, like, yesterday, with hopes that it will forestall a repeat of last week!

Flowers from Guylty… I already ate the chocolates, and the wine is forthcoming, so those aren’t pictured here. =)

In fact, yesterday I managed to perform an ovariohysterectomy/spay and was able to find the uterus using my right hand- last week the prickling sensation and numbness overwhelmed all other sensory input and I’d never have been able to find the ovarian horn (without making a bigger incision and locating it by visualizing it rather than feeling for it). And that is if I could even manage to stay upright for long enough to do the surgery. So things are, indeed, looking up.

I want to thank all of you for your messages of love and support, and for the flood of prayers and good vibes that you sent my way. I never realized what a boost and a comfort it could be. I’ve also received a number of emails off-blog offering tips and support and love and morale-boosting.

The lovely Guylty, who knows me well, sent a gorgeous bouquet of flowers, a box of chocolates and a generous wine voucher! This came when I was at my lowest point, and almost nothing other than this particular combination could have cheered me.

Care package from Linnet Moss… another delicious treat, in more ways than one! =)

Then this week, another package arrived from Linnet, who took the time to create a one-of-a-kind “Dr. Armitage Prescribes” box… complete with humorous kitty cats and swoon-worthy Richard images… and a delicious array of Sugarfina candies! That Dr. Armitage was spot-on, and I have to say that as appealing as Dr. Hottie the neurologist is… he can’t hold a candle to this guy!

 

 

 

The Walking Dad and My Young Love… a smile-inducing duo if I’ve ever seen one!

Little Sister, who is full of pure love and my most constant source of hugs.

Meanwhile, I am actively doing everything I can to really supply my body with healthy food packed with vitamins and antioxidants- tons of fruits, vegetables and weird stuff like Kombucha and seaweed and on and on… I have to make a life change and do everything I can so I can stick around and be actively involved for these three… they are everything to me, and they need me.

I have so many reasons to be thankful, so many blessings in my life. And all of YOU are definitely among them. (((HUGS)))

 

 

 

Preoccupied Elsewhere… In Case I Appear to Disappear

My last post was on Valentine’s Day, and while it was a Happy Day, and felt like maybe a step back into a more regular blogging role, I regret to say that it was the same day that my life may have changed forever. It can really happen overnight, and it is eye-opening. I’ll share a little here, because as distant as we may be, I do know that I have amazing friends amongst the fandom, and I could really use your prayers, positive thoughts, well-wishes. But if I don’t spend a lot of time on responses, please know that my life was busy as of 2 weeks ago, and now it’s complicated in ways I can’t fully comprehend. Or, I may just be emotional, overwhelmed or otherwise unable to formulate words.

So Feb 14. In the morning I did a surgery and felt my right hand numb/tingling almost as if the hand fell asleep afterward. It occasionally happens if my hand gets fatigued or maybe my surgical glove is too tight, but goes away after 20 minutes. That day, it never went away. Later in the day, same pin/needles feeling in my right foot. Still later, an area on my right thigh. Fast forward through the days to Sunday, by which time I’ve seen my primary care family medicine doctor and had baseline bloodwork (all normal) and ordered an MRI of the brain for Monday… the entire right side of my body, torso, limbs, side of head, ear, but fortunately not the face, all numb/tingling and easily fatigued. Still have decent motor function and coordination, not falling, still actually able to type and give injections, and even do simple surgeries, but not able to lift even 10 lb Roxie into the car using the right arm, and by 1 week later, Tues 2/21, the idea of chopping 2 stalks of celery, 1/2 onion and some Polish sausages to fix a simple dinner was a tear-inducing and impossible ordeal after a long day at work.

I’m fortunate that Hubby’s cousin is a well-loved oncologist here in town, and is an amazing advocate, calling in advance to smooth the way and see that I’m squeezed in for whatever testing is required and getting in with a great neurologist who was fully booked and also about to be leaving on vacation. I saw him Thursday with my initial MRI results and while he’s leaning toward a diagnosis of a rapid/fairly aggressive form of Multiple Sclerosis, apparently it’s generally a diagnosis of exclusion, so while he’s on vacation, I’m having a lot more tests and we’ll reconvene to go over the results next Monday.

Yesterday I had several tests including a pretty unpleasant lumbar puncture to collect cerebrospinal fluid for analysis, 21 large tubes of blood drawn for more advanced testing of autoimmune and other obscure disorders, an IV catheter placed for a daily infusion of a whopping 1000mg steroid at the hospital once daily for 5 days (thankfully, all this is outpatient), and I’ve had to be on my back for 24 hours following the lumbar puncture. I also had an echocardiogram in there somewhere… all kind of a blur. Monday afternoon I’ll have a bigger and better MRI of the brain plus entire spinal cord which may take several hours of holding still. Then we wait and see what we have.

My dad has MS, diagnosed when he was 55 years old, and apparently, while not directly heritable, it can tend to run in families. There are other possibilities, but the initial MRI showed several areas of demyelination in my brain. Thankfully, doesn’t look like a tumor. The biggest concern so far is that one of the lesions is in the brainstem, and that is one of the worst locations, and the reason for the big gun steroids to try to slow the really rapid progression and salvage my right hand because it is absolutely necessary to my profession. I will not be a successful veterinarian without full use and sensation in my right hand. The leg being numb, I can work with. The hand… whole different story. The steroid injection has improved me dramatically, so I have high hopes that 4 more of those and I’ll be feeling pretty fantastic. Literally already feel about 50% better after the first injection. (also buzzed… up typing energetically at 5am on a Saturday!!) LOL

I have a wonderful Hubby and a lot of local family support. I’d rather this happened to me than to my husband or my children or anyone else, but it is really, really scary. So Mr. Armitage is firmly on the back burner while we wait to see what happens. But please do keep our family in your thoughts and prayers. I’ll try to update when I know more

— J

 

 

Happy Valentine’s Day 2017… #CelebRAteLove Contribution, with Short Limerick =)

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Thorin bearing a Valentine’s bouquet… my office. That’s not too shabby!

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!! And a special shout-out to Guylty for the impetus to make something, anything happen on this poor, sad blog! So! While my preoccupationwitharmitage was definitely rejuvenated after my wonderful trip to NYC, a Stage Door Runner event, and 4 performances of Love, Love, Love… it didn’t really translate into a whole lot more blogging on my part. And I really wish that wasn’t the case. Life is just busy right now, and the lovely Richard Armitage has a lot of competition for my time and energy.

I’m elbows deep in another quilt, the kids have a ton of extracurricular activities, the veterinary business is going gangbusters, and it’s just about time to start gathering material for the accountant. But I did have the energy to set up a little office photo shoot… since I knew everyone would probably appreciate Thorin bearing Valentine’s flowers!

He does look rather manfully romantic, there in front of a little collection of Armitage memorabilia, the dog curled up at his feet…

 

 

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Introducing Roxie, our small dog-like animal.

Oh yeah, and speaking of that dog curled up at Thorin’s feet… I don’t know that I have ever formally introduced my new child, Roxie! Our sweet little Girlfriend did pass away late last spring, and it wasn’t long before we were fortunate enough to welcome Roxie, a 2-year-old rescued Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, into the fold. She’s pretty stinking cute, and has provided all kinds of entertainment and pure, loyal affection. This dog is my shadow. She could probably fill up a blog post, or even a blog of her own with all her antics, but since I’m on the subject, I’ll give you her short story… she was purchased as a puppy by an elderly man with cancer, and after he passed away, she spent several days alone with his body. Needless to say, we work on separation anxiety issues! She was then sold to a family who loved her, but their 60lb boxer was terrified of her 10lb ferocious self, so she went to the Cavalier Rescue organization. Aside from her separation anxiety, she also had bilateral luxated patellas (knee-caps out of socket) since puppyhood, which caused her to spend her entire life completely unable to bend her hind legs. She now has both her knees repaired and fully functioning, and a family that absolutely adores her, not to mention a mom who doesn’t put up with any bullshit terrorizing other animals. She goes back and forth to the clinic with me, tries to steal into the exam rooms to accompany me, enjoys greeting clients in the lobby, believes she has been wrongfully banned from the sterile surgery suite, and absolutely loves the kids. And their socks. And their dirty underwear. I love her so much!

 

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Hubby playing Bass while I sew. We barely fit in the craft room!

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My three kids!

And since it’s the holiday of love, and Roxie had a photo op, I would be remiss if I didn’t include the other Valentines in my life… Hubby, My Young Love, and his adorable Little Sister. They bring laughter, smiles and all kinds of good feels on a daily basis. So blessed!

 

 

 

 

 

v4But back to my Valentine’s collaboRAtion… my office sports a little bit of memoRAbilia, as you can see. Several magnets on my mini-fridge, several framed photos that were gifted to me, a lovely Francis Dolarhyde shrine, subtle Richarding tree ornaments, post-cards, and mementos from my trip to Greece. Not to mention my very own, life-sized, always amorous Thorin Oakenshield.

 

 

 

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A Valentine’s Care Package from Guylty!

Naturally, after I had already taken my photo, yet more Valentine’s goodness arrived in a package from Ireland! Guylty, you’re amazing! Thornton’s Fabulous Fudge, a cucumber face mask (can’t wait to surprise the kids with my green face!), a heart-shaped candle holder, lotion and an unusually sexy post-card all bundled together in a clever handmade zipper bag which is a total shout-out (to the discerning, in-the-know eye) to Mr. A….  Gah! I LOVE IT! I The interior is lined with water-proof vinyl, really nice, and the exterior sports custom fabric… peaches, roses, chess piece kings, red dragon symbols, vinyl records (is that a nod to young Kenneth?) and of course, that unmistakable silhouette (with nape curls!). Thank you!!

 

v8And finally, although this came a little early for Valentine’s Day, for me it was truly inspiring.

Richard Armitage, filming Ocean’s Eight.

*fans self*

Seriously, if I saw him walking down the street, I’d admire from a distance. I really would.

But if I saw him walking Borzois down the street… I make no promises.

I mean, I’ve always had a major attraction to sighthounds.

And, Dayum.

The HOTNESS!

I want some.

If this can’t make me wax poetic, nothing can. Well worth a little ode…

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Dabbled in Erotica, Or: A Commemorative “Celebration of Greece” Quilt for Obscura

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Boxer At Rest, 2016. (We’d had windy day after windy day that week… this was the best I could do!)

As you may know, Hubby and I were fortunate enough to travel to Greece in September on a wonderful tour led by our own lovely Obscura, and after the tour, I spent yet another fun-filled week in her company, along with several other like-minded ladies, dubbed AHA (Armitage Hellenic Association). When we returned, having been gone for a stretch of 19 days (officially my longest vacation ever!), I hit the ground running at work, with so much catching-up to do, that I never found the time to blog about it. Oh, and I was also feverishly working on another quilting project. =)

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Richard Armitage as John Proctor (2014), and detail of head (Boxer at Rest). Look at those muscular necks!

I wanted to create a commemorative “thank you” quilt for Obscura, celebrating our time together in Greece. I thought about a theme that involved stunt-driving, but ultimately I got my inspiration from this post on Obscura’s blog, Ancient Armitage, where she discussed her appreciation for the art of the Hellenistic period (323 BC – 30 BC) and its evocative, emotional impact on her. Naturally, she compared one of her favorite examples of that era, Boxer at Rest, with our (also quite sexily gorgeous) Richard Armitage. Obscura’s post was written prior to 2014, when John Proctor came into fruition, but I couldn’t help but notice a striking similarity between The Boxer and our favorite Puritan farmer, myself!

Perfect, then! Of course, no such fabric celebrating the brawny male nudity beauty of the famous Greek sculpture existed, so using several HD images of Boxer at Rest, I created the fabric myself using my favorite design-your-own fabric site, Spoonflower.com. Once I had a nice layout celebrating some of the best bits, I ordered 5 panels of the Boxer fabric, and with Hubby’s help, I also created a background fabric for the back of the quilt using a kaleidoscopic repeat of a small area of the Boxer’s beard. For this quilt, which I hoped to get out by Christmas, I needed blocks that would be fast and simple, so I chose to do a pattern called a “Four Patch Posie“, where 4 repeats of squares cut from the fabric are put together into  kaleidoscope blocks to create interesting new patterns. Because one such block contained a 4-way kaleidoscopic view of the, ah, genitalia, Mom dubbed this quilt “The Porn Quilt.” LOL

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What I had failed to predict ahead of time was that, while the panels themselves are really beautiful representations of a splendid, ancient work of art, my efforts at erotica blocks were destined to turn out alarmingly drab, having nothing but tones of black and bronze. Too dark! Too dull! Not at all feminine, and just completely unappealing! Whoops. Looking at just the blocks together on the design wall, I was dreadfully disappointed, and just about scrapped the whole project, but later I decided maybe I could brighten it up by adding a more colorful fabric in the sashing between the blocks and in the border.

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That did improve the overall appearance, and, well, if Obscura isn’t crazy about the front, then at least I think she will appreciate the back of the quilt, which shows the very alluring Boxer in all his glory. I chose a Greek-themed overall pattern for the quilting stitches, and after a few missteps trying to embroider a label for Obscura, Mom and I managed to get it quilted the weekend after Thanksgiving. Then, while I was off gallivanting in New York City, my long-suffering Mom was kind enough to do the binding for me. (Thanks, Mom!) She’d probably kill me if she knew I posted her picture, but the last step was to obtain pictures of the finished product, and we had a terrible time of it fighting gusts of wind!

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I had a bit of a scare after finally shipping it off, when I heard not a word from Obscura for over 2 weeks. Because the quilt is really a bit on the weird side, and I myself had moments of extreme doubt as to whether it was attractive enough to gift to its intended recipient, I was a little paranoid that maybe Obscura was struggling with the awkwardness of receiving a well-intentioned but fugly-as-hell quilt, so hadn’t gotten up the resolve to respond in any way… but then there were the holidays and a mention of an ER visit, so I thought maybe she just hadn’t had any time to respond. When I finally located my shipping receipt and tracked the package the other day, it turned out it had reached her general vicinity but hadn’t been confirmed as delivered, so next I worried that the package was lost or that some other unsuspecting person may have received a porn quilt! LOL! Finally, I just had to contact Obscura, who had to schlep off to the Post Office and track down my dubious offering. =)

I had a lot of laughs, Obscura, while making you this “Porn Quilt”… between enduring Mom’s ribbing about the nudity, my initial dismay when I saw the blocks looking all kinds of blah on the design wall, my multiple really craptastic efforts at making the label, and even while persevering against the gusting wind when I was ready for final photographs before wiping my hands of it shipping it off! Maybe not quite as many laughs as we had together during our goat bell misadventures and our many trips across the Corinth Canal… but close! Enjoy!

Post-Christmas Bling Has Arrived!

ornament-2I have received my winnings! A trio of tasteful and highly discreet little fandom Christmas ornaments that I was so lucky to have won on Day 8 of the 12 Days of Christmas raffles held by the lovely Guylty over the past couple of weeks… as a matter of fact, that raffle was actually on my birthday… though Guylty didn’t know it and neither could the random picker protocol… how about that?!?

ornament-1These would definitely look wonderful on the Christmas tree, adjacent to our weird and wonderful assortment of blown glass ornaments, sparkly poinsettias and random kid creations, but I couldn’t bear to stash them away with the other Christmas decorations that may or may not be taken down this weekend (that’s laughable, actually… normally our Christmas decorations stay up for months after Christmas…) so I decided to decorate my little artificial bonsai tree in my office instead. It looks great with a touch of bling!

They are beautiful, Guylty! You are a crafter extraordinaire! And I also loved the Christmas postcard… how I’d love to catch that man under a mistletoe… *snickers*… it would be mistletoe all through the house, I’m afraid! But I digress… Love how subtle the reference to Richard is… just a sparkly little “R” to pay homage. (*Coughs* If I didn’t already have a 4ft Thorin cut out and multiple photos and magnets of Mr. Armitage, nobody entering my office would even know!) LOL.

Wishing Everyone a Happy New Year! Hope your holidays have been as blessed as mine have been. (((Hugs)))!

 

 

 

GIFFING Richard Armitage… Yahoo TV Interview GOLD!

yahoo1Was anyone else just completely charmed by the playfully expressive and cheerful Richard Armitage we saw on the Yahoo TV video the other day?

I did enjoy the verbal content, to be sure… but it was really the sight of Mr. Armitage in his sexy leather jacket, with collar askew and hair just a bit disheveled that really made an impression…

 

 

 

 

yahoo2He’s adorable! Yet I couldn’t help but giggle at the gifs as they emerged.

I really have to say that, while his answers were intelligent and showed no indication of a loss of mental acuity, he looks, well, just a bit tipsy at times.

 

 

yahoo3No, thank you, Mr. Armitage. For brightening my day with your demonstrative eyebrows, your forehead crinkles, and your bright eyes. 

 

 

 

yahoo4Just… too cute for words.

 

 

What’s in that drink, anyway? *snickers*

 

 

yahoo5Awwwww. Such an attentive listener.

 

 

But it’s the start of the answer that makes me giggle out loud. OMG.

 

 

 

 

yahoo6Great question, Paris. Who knew he’d self-identify as House of Slytherin?

 

And with such a charming and conspiratorial air. =)

 

 

 

 

 

yahoo7Yep. He’s a-Slither’N.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

yahoo8I think I may have missed his answer. I was a little preoccupied with the four lovely thumb strokes.

And that neck.

Oh, God. With all of him.

 

 

yahoo9But these facial expressions! Seriously, this interview hit paydirt! Here we have kissable lips, wild astonishment, manly arm-crossing, then a brief flash of tongue… Hot Damn!

Ovarian overload. Seriously.

 

 

yahoo10How engaged was he? I literally want to just… jump him. In a good way.

 

Oh, don’t look so shocked, Mr. Armitage.  LOL

 

 

yahoo11And finally, could we please present him with colorful wheels of live stream fortune on a regular basis?

 

Because that’s just Richard Armitage GOLD.

An Excursion to NYC for Love, Love, Love

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My badge was on display!

Hello! I’ve had an absolutely lovely trip to NYC and thought I’d share some of my impressions on Love, Love, Love and provide a report on my fangirling adventures as well.  In case anyone was wondering, given the paucity of bloggerly motivation and posting in recent months, I can really assure you with 100% confidence that my deep and abiding admiration for, and, well, overwhelming attraction to Richard Armitage really hasn’t gone anywhere, though I suppose my general level of “active” preoccupationwitharmitage does wax and wane. So first off, apologies that I’ve become a really sorry-ass excuse for a blogger in recent months!  But even when I’m experiencing that loss of motivation to post, you can believe that the moment something like an announcement (or strong suspicion/well-supported supposition/wild-ass guess) about a live performance series occurs, I’ll be all over it, researching the theatre and ways to get tickets and checking my calendar. Simply based on my experience of the man’s onstage capabilities in The Crucible, I was willing to buy advanced tickets to Love, Love, Love– a play about a topic that didn’t seem interesting, by a playwright I’d never heard of, and before there was any solid intel beyond some Twitter follows and a response RA made to a fan’s tweet that hinted the name of the play. And I’d do it all again in a New York minute!

Okay! That’s out of the way. Now I’ll begin my recollection of my fan-diddily-damn-tastic trip to New York City! And let me just say that the Love, Love, Love I experienced was not just the title of the play… I also rather fell for the city (a huge surprise for me!), reignited my devotion to RA, but most importantly, I was downright blown away by the laughter, camaraderie and chance to make hopefully lasting connections with other fans. Richard Armitage was lovely, and he thoroughly delivered onstage, but in some ways he was more like icing on the cake.

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Flying into LaGuardia

Many months ago, before there was even a definitive confirmation of Richard Armitage’s involvement in Love, Love, Love, I became a Roundabout Theatre donor a couple of days before the advance tickets were to become available so as to have a shot at some great seats. As a donor, I was able to score front-row seats in both orchestra and mezzanine sections at a reduced price for myself and for fellow blogger Hariclea, who likewise was eager to have premium tickets even if none of us were entirely certain at the time that Richard was, well, involved! Hariclea and I planned to room together and have a long-awaited meet-up, but unfortunately In Hari’s case, the uncertainty about the trip was even more outrageous, and even up until the very morning she flew out, the feasibility of the trip was doubtful due to bureaucratic factors completely out of her control. In the several days leading up to the trip, as it looked less and less likely that Hari was going to make it, she and the well-connected Guylty reached out to several lovely local fandom members, including Armitagebesotted, NycPat, and DaphneHS, not only to offer to gift them with tickets, but to try to arrange for some friendly faces on my behalf, since it looked as if I’d be “solo” in The Big City. I still get emotional thinking about these marvelous ladies and their warm response.

As it happened, I awoke at 4am last Friday to wonderful news, a last-minute, powerfully exhilarated email from Hariclea stating that she was on her way to the airport after all!!!! I flew into NYC likewise in great spirits, with plans to meet Armitagebesotted and DaphneHS at a pub just across the street from the theatre for dinner before the show. Hariclea was supposed to be there as well, but ran into some horrendous traffic en route from the airport and wound up meeting the three of us at the theatre instead. It was really an entertaining chat before the show, where we exchanged our Armitage-initiation stories and the NYC contingent (veterans by now of the whole routine) mapped out exactly where and how I should reach the front of the Stage Door queue, etc.

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Entrance to the Laura Pels Theatre

For the Friday (Dec. 2) performance, I wanted to basically Watch The Play. I had not previously read the script, and I have (even now) avoided reports and blogs about the material to prevent spoilers and also to avoid clouding my own interpretation and impressions with the interpretations and impressions of others. I basically knew the general outline of the play, that it followed Kenneth and Sandra in 3 acts at 3 different times in their lives, and that there would be some sort of theme and conflict involving their generation (the baby boomers) and that of their children (my generation as well, the Gen-Xers). To that purpose, I got a front row mezzanine seat for Friday night, not really wanting to have the distRAction of Richard Armitage up close. And this was an effective scheme… I was actually surprised at how well it worked, because I really didn’t pay disproportionate attention to RA’s Kenneth, and found myself almost unable to look away from Amy Ryan’s Sandra whenever she was onstage. [SPOILERS below!!!]

I was surprised at how hilarious I found the play. I didn’t go in expecting a comedy, but discovered that it was very sharply satiric and I was genuinely laughing throughout the play, perhaps a bit less in the 3rd Act, but even then there were moments of dark humor that were laugh-out-loud funny for me. Richard Armitage, as it turns out, has excellent comedic timing, and there were moments even without any dialogue that really had me giggling. I went in really curious about why Armitage chose this particular role, and now having seen it, I have to wonder if the opportunity to “chase comedy” was a factor. The play was not a light comedy, but it did have its share of farcical elements and exaggerated characters, Sandra especially, and it was entirely different fare from anything I’ve seen Richard do to date.

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Act 1. Kenneth, Sandra and Henry. Though Kenneth’s hair was MUCH nicer than this. I’m to understand that early in the run he sported this god-awful wig, but his hair had grown out enough by now that the wig was (thankfully) unnecessary. (Source: Roundabout Theatre Company)

Despite his weaknesses, I did rather adore Kenneth as a character. In Act 1, Richard was able to almost bound about the stage with the sort of loose-jointed energy and enthusiasm of a great big, eager puppy, and I found him quite endearing as the 19 year-old Kenneth. I liked that he did show hesitation (and later, at least a fleeting remorse) when Sandra came on to him, though he wasn’t at all capable of eluding temptation. And I bought in to the idea that he was so young, and thought RA did a great job capturing that essence of youth in many ways, from the voice which occasionally broke high, to the way he slouched and lounged on the couch, to the fawning adoration on his face as he stayed glued to Sandra from the moment she entered the room. He also behaved like a typical youth, surreptitiously kicking stuff under the couch during the tidying session, making sure he affected a pose as carefree and worldly as possible while awaiting Sandra’s entrance, and adopting an exaggerated pout when he let her know that his brother had told him to make himself scarce and use a bucket to piss in, if need be, while Sandra was in the apartment. Well done, Mr. Armitage! This youthfulness was different from anything I’ve seen him do, and really refreshing and probably something we’re unlikely to revisit as fans. What other role would require him to play the 19 year-old ever again?

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Act 2. Amy Ryan stole the show. (Source: Roundabout Theatre Company)

While Kenneth was my favorite in Act 1, I felt that Act 2 really belonged to Amy Ryan and her portrayal of a once again wildly self-indulgent and inebriated Sandra. That “pterodactyl screech” of hers got me every time, and she was so absolutely over-the-top awful as a mother! Both parents were clearly out-of-touch with the children and had trouble keeping up with their parental duty to know the basics (their daughter’s age, which instrument she played, where she was in her schooling… all funny moments that also called for a sympathetic cringe), but it was Sandra who was the most cruelly indifferent to her children’s feelings. The truly hot-in-dad-pants Kenneth was at least “companionable” in his oblivion, but Sandra showed no remorse whatsoever that she’d forgotten to attend Rose’s concert, took alarming pleasure in informing her daughter of her boyfriend’s flirtations, and was so wildly inappropriate at the birthday celebration that I actually gasped out loud during the cake scene. Here it should also be said that Zoe Kazan brought her A-game (in both of her Acts, really) and I literally made sympathetic little noises on her behalf even as I winced and laughed my way through Act 2. Aside from the pterodactyl screech, I especially adored the long moments of silence as the clock ticked down to midnight, and father and 14 year-old son sat smoking across from one another at the table… it was so surreal, and I loved how the audience just snickered all the way through it, then guffawed as Rose entered the room and reacted to the illicit recreations at her horrible party!

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Act 3. Kenneth and Sandra, retirees. (Source: Roundabout Theatre Company)

Act 3 was very unsettling in many ways, and I thought all participants were again excellent. Here again the comedy was an uncomfortable type of comedy, as it became clear that Ben Rosenfield’s adult Jamie was not only completely disconnected from interpersonal relationships, but seemed to be verging on mental incapacity. Drugs, alcohol, trauma-of-youth or a some combination of these made him really a sad figure, though still quite funny in his mannerisms, repetitions and random interjections. Richard’s retired/senior citizen Kenneth was well done. I liked his intonation as he mused about the quality of the wine, and he definitely moved about the stage with a believable (though subtle) stiffness and hesitation while seating himself and rising, a nice contrast to the springing movements of his character in Act 1. (He was still pretty spry for an old guy… and really just as hot… don’t fear the salt and pepper hair, Mr. Armitage… you wore it well!) Once again he showed that amiable obliviousness in his failure to recognize that something was very “off” about Jamie. Truthfully, he reminded me in this sense of my own father, who is as affable as anyone you’ll ever meet, very loveable, but entirely incapable of confronting problematic behaviors on the part of any family member. Sandra, as usual, commanded the stage the moment she entered, captivating me as she did in every act with her high-flown extravagance and egocentrism. One thing I did conclude, on evidence of Kenneth’s similar reaction to Sandra (almost mesmerized from the moment she entered) which occurred in every act, was that he did love and admire this woman, despite her faults. Not perhaps the kind of love that embraces the hard work and mutual selflessness that keeps a marriage intact for the long run, but some kind of love nevertheless. In many ways they were well-suited as a couple, and had they not had children whose lives they clearly damaged, had they been free to pursue their reckless course without those children, I almost could have applauded them.

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Act 3. Rose and Jamie, adults. (Source: Roundabout Theatre Company)

I think Rose as a character deserves a paragraph of her own for Act 3. I did sympathize with her to an extent, but couldn’t help feeling that she became very off-putting when, at the age of 37, she essentially blamed every poor choice she ever made on her parents, and demanded they buy her a house. What?!?! Just buy her a house outright, as if a house would somehow make her into a happy person, which is an unreasonable expectation in and of itself. As I discussed with Hariclea after the play, at some point one has to take responsibility for one’s own decisions. It would be like me, looking at my student loans (which will likely take another couple of decades to pay off), and castigating my parents for not insisting that I choose medical school rather than veterinary school, for a similar investment of time and money but quadruple the salary! I chose instead to follow my dream, and if I’m not as well-off as my parents were at this stage, well- my life to live! Rose was absolutely right that they were shitty, narcissistic parents and I’m sure that both children really were never the same after that fateful birthday party… no doubt whatsoever. We discover in Act 3 that Rose was so distraught by the events of the evening that she actually attempted suicide moments after she turned 16. However, the irritated-at-Rose part of me begs to point out that her actions, while coming from a very valid state of emotional devastation, had to have ALSO contributed to Jamie’s trauma of the evening and her own observation that he was “never the same”… this is borne out by his strong agitation when it finally dawned on Jamie, in Act 3, that Rose’s feelings were hurt by the discovery that brother and father had made a trip into London for a musical, and hadn’t ever thought to call her while they were in town. This was possibly the most alert moment of Act 3 for Jamie, and it was an acute distress when he realized that she was upset. He settled down again and wandered out to sunbathe, but later, when the family was gathered and shouting, he burst back on the scene in a state of incoherent panic.

I was somewhat surprised to learn at the celebrity series Q&A (on Sunday) that Richard sympathized with Rose to the extent that he, Richard, would have bought her the house. Taking care of the down payment, co-signing the loan, some sort of compromise… yes, why not? Or helping her in another way, maybe paying for her to go back to college for a more useful degree or enter a trade school to set her on a new career path… this also would have appeased me, as it would still require Rose to take some responsibility for her future prospects. But to just buy a house outright, out of a guilty conscience? I’m not sure I agree with this and again, I’m not sure a house alone would turn her life around.

It was also interesting in Act 3 that for the first time, Sandra rather than Kenneth seemed to have qualms about pursuing a purely selfish path in retirement. She seemed to be momentarily considering whether she could afford to buy Rose the house after Rose and Jamie left the room, though she dismissed it almost immediately. Then Kenneth essentially suggested he sell his lovely home, Sandra abandon her ailing husband, and the two of them go gallivanting around the globe together, leaving the hapless Jamie and hopeless Rose to struggle on without them! All along it had been Kenneth who seemed to have some modicum of proper parental feelings, even if he was ineffectual at following through or reigning her in, but in Act 3, she was (at least fleetingly) more cognizant of the children’s predicament than he was. Whether Kenneth and Sandra ultimately decide to up and go is left to the viewer to interpret, and my personal feeling is that neither of them would really leave comfortable homes behind permanently. I suspect that Sandra would probably have a torrid affair with Kenneth, perhaps run off on a nice, long, adulterous vacation, but ultimately not spend a happily-ever-after with him.

A few more impressions… I really liked the wardrobe choices and set designs. Needless to say, Armitage was appealing whether half-dressed, business-dressed or in funeral-wear, and Sandra’s wardrobe was also great at conveying her love of style and “fabulousness” in each era. In Act 3 it was awkward seeing the dowdy, well-worn funeral garb that Rose was wearing compared to the glitter and diamonds of her mother. As to the set designs, Act 1 (in Henry’s flat) showed a low-ceiling, grimy walls and boring, unattractive furniture with little to no décor. Act 2 (in Kenneth and Sandra’s home in Reading) did not have a ceiling, but the height of the ceiling was suggested by taller walls, that it was a multi-story abode was shown by a staircase in the hall, and the room boasted modern artwork and furniture that appeared to be teak, all of which could have belonged in my own parent’s home at the time. Act 3 had yet higher walls, giving the impression of quite loftily high ceilings, glass doors and windows leading onto what one imagines to be a beautifully manicured/landscaped estate with mature roses in bloom, and the furniture and décor on the interior was quite high-end and tasteful.

The entire cast, I felt, really delivered in their roles. Alex Hurt as Kenneth’s rather stodgy brother Henry was a little less memorable, but I think it’s supposed to be that way. The world, after all, simply revolves around Kenneth and Sandra, doesn’t it? Richard Armitage and Amy Ryan were fantastic on keeping their characters cohesively “themselves” through 3 different time frames, and Zoe Kazan and Ben Rosenfield were really well-cast and broadcast their characters’ vulnerability (the fragility of youth in Act 2, and the vulnerability of two separately damaged adults in Act 3).  Every one of them had excellent comedic timing and projected emotions and impressions so forcibly. One could almost taste Henry’s vexation, Kenneth’s exuberant idealism and lifelong devotion to recreation, Sandra’s marvelous self-absorbtion, Rose’s mortification and fury, and Jamie’s ultimate detachment from reality.

After the play was over, I booked it on out of there and, thanks to prior friendly tutelage, queued up right near the front of the Stage Door, the first of our group of 4 to arrive. I loved the buzzing excitement and anticipation, though I hadn’t yet had enough time to process my impressions of the play and probably didn’t contribute very intelligently to discussions other than those of the most superficial nature (like how nicely tailored Kenneth’s pants appeared, particularly from the rear, and other observations along those lines!) Although I knew that theoretically Armitage may or may not appear on any given night, I admit it was a quite a let-down when he failed to appear that Friday evening for reasons unknown. I did see a very good-looking figure of a man wearing a beanie exit the theatre, and had a fleeting thought that he had celebrity-level good looks, and later learned that was Sebastian Stan of Marvel fame. Pretty sure I’d rather have seen Armitage flash past, and we did loiter a bit, wondering if he might come out a side garage-door style exit, but no dice.

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We bounced back quickly, though.  Armitagebesotted, DaphneHS and I were wide awake and rather buzzed from the couple of hours spent in the presence of Richard Armitage. Hariclea was understandably exhausted from her transatlantic travels and the preceding stress and uncertainty, but nevertheless agreed to pop over to Times Square to see the sights…The City at Night. This would most certainly not have happened had I been on my own- I’d have been far too intimidated to venture off alone at such a late hour! But Besotted and Daphne made for wonderful tour guides and it was fantastic to have the perspective of locals and be given insights that would never have occurred to me. Fascinating to hear about the history of Times Square and the transition from what was once a theatre district to more of a red light district, with half the businesses topless bars, to the far more family-oriented and commercialized version that exists today. Looking around at the brightly digitized billboards on every building, I would have thought it was “just the New York Way” – but Besotted said no, that the signs were actually legislated and required to meet certain criteria as to size, moving images, color! Her knowledge of the area and the history of the streets and buildings was so interesting and enjoyable. As it was late and Hari, especially, was knackered, we said our goodbyes, and Daphne arranged to come for us in the morning for yet more sightseeing before the matinée.

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Back at the hotel, Hariclea pretty much fell straight to sleep as by then she’d been at least 24 hours without it, and while I was also quite tired, I experienced the same euphoric insomnia I’d had after attending The Crucible in 2014… too wired and energized and filled with thoughts about the play, the Armitage, all of it. The following morning, Daphne arrived and off we went again. She escorted us around Rockefeller Center, where we ogled the famous Christmas tree, watched the ice-skating, lit a candle inside the stunning St. Patrick’s cathedral, went along window-gaping on 5th Avenue, saw the now rather infamous Trump Tower, and sat for awhile on a sunny bench, enjoying crisp weather and late fall color in the surprisingly large and beautiful Central Park.

Then it was time for the Saturday Dec. 3 matinée, and I was in the front row, center section for this one. Now having familiarity with the play, I allowed myself the pleasure of really studying Armitage, and I’m pretty sure that for this (and for all the performances) I sat with a stupid grin on my face the entire time. It’s easy to tell the regular theatre-goers from the Armitagers. Some patrons’ heads move naturally back and forth as dialogue is exchanged, while others heads move in whatever direction Kenneth is moving! I chatted with Hariclea, Daphne and others of our ilk during intermissions. It was really amusing to discover that every one of us blessed with this near-stage proximity had noticed that famous left nipple make itself apparent through the sheer fabric of his shirt when the alarmingly attractive senior citizen Kenneth removed his jacket in Act 3, for instance. =) I also found myself clinically obsessing over a particular area of Armitage anatomy (it’s not the one you might think) every time the man made certain gestures, and this continued through subsequent performances until my conclusion as to the nature of the incongruity was drawn.

One of the reasons we’d selected this weekend for attendance was the fact that there was to be a Celebrity Series Q&A session after the matinée, but I was again to be profoundly disappointed, especially in light of having that front row center seat for the event, when all the cast except for Richard appeared. Prior to the Q&A, I did see a short man, in profile, waiting briefly for admission at the entrance to the backstage area, but he disappeared before I could be sure of his identity. I thought it looked rather like Leland Orser of Berlin Station, but never saw any mention of this by anyone else including Orser. However at the time I wondered if Richard skipped the Q&A in favor of catching up with a friend…

I don’t remember too much about that Q&A except for that Hariclea had the first question and it was a good one, but I keep having a mental block as to what the question was! Too much interference from other events of the weekend, no doubt! I was surprised at the difference in persona of Amy Ryan, who was fairly quiet and laid back, in contrast to her wildly commanding stage presence. Zoe Kazan, who was undoubtedly marvelous in her performance, was sort of strangely eating a cup of oatmeal and seemed less than excited to be there. She made the mistake of saying “MacBeth” aloud, which is apparently a huge superstitious taboo in theatre-world, and was made to run offstage and cleanse herself somehow, then ask for permission to return, lest that evening’s performance be doomed. LOL

We three went off to dinner at a nearby Brazilian restaurant and enjoyed reliving the performance and speculating about whether that evening, the last realistic opportunity for a Stage Door Runner event, would prove fruitful. We also continued our conversations comparing and contrasting our daily routines, as its hard for me to imagine what life is like living in that enormous city and equally strange for them to imagine having 10 acres of land and all sorts of animals! The more time we spent together, the more I really wanted to celebrate how amazing it is to truly befriend and connect with women of so many different cultures and lifestyles through our shared admiration of this one actor.

The Saturday Dec. 3 evening performance went off without a hitch, probably a relief for the cast after the forbidden utterance by Kazan earlier that afternoon! Hari and I had adjacent seats for this one, on the left side front row, where we did have a really nice sprawled-leg view of an interesting hip wiggle by youthful Kenneth, and also a high-flying robe at one point that really gave a nice view of that muscular lower back! Daphne was across on the right side that evening but she also appreciated that flash of back, and commented immediately upon it at the first intermission. (You can see we were all quite comfortable ogling, and reminiscing upon our ogling, by this time!) I was by now quite sure of the little anatomical anomaly I had noticed, and in this performance I was also rather taken by the expressiveness of the young Kenneth’s feet and toes!

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My newly autographed fan art!

When it was over, I made haste for the Stage Door once again, and it really wasn’t long before Himself arrived. I was right near the front of the line again, and this time I was determined to remember what I said to Richard Armitage because I cannot recall at all what I might have said to him in London. So I held out my metallic print of the Iconic Richard Armitage that Guylty and I had months ago collaborated upon, and I said, “Richard, I really enjoyed the play!” I was looking at his face, and as I can only surmise that it was NOT the utter brilliance of my conversation that gave him a momentary pause, maybe it was the one-of-its-kind autograph item that caused him to briefly glance up from his signature and straight into my eyes, completely electrifying me with that flash of blue, and he smiled and said thank you, before moving on to Hariclea beside me! I was dazzled for a few moments and by then he was halfway down the line, but I belatedly remembered to turn on my phone and snap a quick picture of his posterior for posterity. =) Then I got myself in gear and hustled down and tried for some other photos but none were worth a damn because he was in full-on Stage Door motion and moving far too fast.

 

 

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Daphne, who really had devoted her entire day to us already, now offered to take us back to Rockefeller Center to view the enormous Christmas tree at night, and I gladly set off with her while Hariclea opted to wait for us in the comfortable lobby of the Hotel. The crowds near the skating rink and the tree were mind-bogglingly dense, and I had a giggle when I overheard a woman ask a food cart operator where she could find the big Christmas tree, and we were literally standing right in front of it. The man raised an eyebrow and kind of pointed backwards over his shoulder with a wry expression as the woman gasped in embarrassment. Ah, New York City and these little moments. I could relate, though. It’s a lot to take in. *snickers*… On our way back, we caught a really cool laser light show along the side of Saks 5th Avenue, then headed back to the hotel lobby where we reviewed our Stage Door Photos, giggled and fangirled together until 1 am!

Daphne was truly so, so generous with her time. Sunday morning she arrived again, on very little sleep I’m sure, as we all found it hard to come down from the high of the previous evening, and escorted us via subway ride to the World Trade Center Memorial. This was such a moving, haunting monument, and the many people gathered there were very somber, as was fitting. I had read about the concept of the Memorial- the huge square pools built upon the footprints of the towers and flowing downward in a waterfall, a vertically negative space where once the towers had stood… but seeing it in person brought tears to my eyes and made swallowing painful as I contemplated the magnitude and read name after name etched around the perimeters. Afterward we stood at the foot of Freedom Tower and gazed upward, then walked through the mall located inside the architecturally stunning Oculus, sharing our stories of where we were and what we were doing on September 11, 2001.

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Yum!

When we returned to the theatre district, we stopped briefly to contribute our wishes to the confetti that will be released on New Years over Times Square, then we met NycPat and friends, who had arranged for a really delicious lunch/brunch at a French restaurant (I had a crepe with duck confit filling that pretty much blew my mind!) and there we discussed a plethora of topics, including the NYC theatre scene, various stage door experiences with different actors, Richard Armitage, the cost of living in NYC, and of course Pat and I did also exchange pet rescue stories. Once again it was so delightful having the opportunity to put faces to names, and I was once again struck by how fun, warm and welcoming the NYC contingent of Armitage peeps have proven to be.

On the way into the theatre, the security guard joked to Daphne that she ought to bring a different purse next time so he could have something new to look at during the bag check. Then one of the ushers waved Hariclea in without giving her the usual spiel about the number of intermissions, saying she already knew the drill! I was thankfully more anonymous and in possession of a front row, right side seat for this final Sunday matinée, and I really kept my eyes shamelessly glued to Kenneth for the duration… it was my last opportunity to thoroughly study Mr. Armitage (until the next play, at any rate!) This performance was subtly different in Acts 2 and 3, something we all noticed and later commented upon. Kenneth was much more forcibly angry with Sandra during Act 2, and far more menacing when he confronted her with his suspicions of adultery. And Armitage brought the passion out again in Act 3 at the end, where the chemistry and attraction between Kenneth and Sandra really radiated in the final moments… *fans self*… I was in no doubt where they were headed (the bedroom!!!) as the lights went down.

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Illicit Celebrity Series photo op, titled “The Thumb”

Richard came out first for the Celebrity Series Q&A and I felt that he was the most “interactive” with the audience… although initially, he seemed distracted. Hmmmmm. He actually had to ask an audience member to repeat her question once! I also was a little distracted after I had to endure an embarrassing tap on the shoulder from the usher at one point when I tried to capture some little photos and an ill-advised video. *coughs* But on the bright side, one of my photos had a really fine thumb shot! Anyway, Hari asked the first question, as she had done the day before, and was a bit mortified when the host recognized her and proudly proclaimed it! Then to make matters worse, Hari’s question received rather a flippant brush-off from Zoe Kazan, and I really wished that Richard had taken the question instead.

Afterwards, Hariclea had to catch a plane, so we went back to collect her baggage and shared some final giggles about how we three had all noticed Richard Armitage’s left nipple during his final bow, and how we all managed to get some unsettling attention during our fangirling activities that afternoon. After a slightly tearful goodbye to Hari, Daphne had Christmas shopping errands to run in Bryant Park, where there was a really nice outdoor market, and I went along and wound up buying all sorts of little gifts for the family. We took a spin through Grand Central Station,  then had dinner and more laughter as we reviewed stolen photos and aborted video footage, and shared another really engaging conversation.

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Flight home Monday morning… Until Next Time!!

Wow, was this ever long! Nada for 2 months and then some 5000+ words! As you can probably tell from my excited ramblings, I absolutely loved the city, I loved the play, I loved Richard in the play, and most of all, I loved sharing the entire experience. It was one of the most wonderful weekends of my life, and I’m so thankful, and so blessed, to have partaken of it with friends.

DeRAnged Tendencies Alive and Well… in Greece!

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I have my Badge on display, Guylty! Overlooking Athens…

It’s been a crazy-wonderful several days, and my internal clock is certainly out-of-whack, because here I am wide awake at an unholy hour of dawn listening to the rain outside our hotel in Nafplion, Greece! This is almost like a second honeymoon for Hubby and me… our first vacation together without the kids, which means in over 8 years… and we are loving every minute of it! Which is kind of funny when I think that no kind of second honeymoon would have been planned if it weren’t for Richard Armitage… because we’re along for the ride with several other Armitagers and lead by Obscura on this amazing tour of Athens and the Peloponnese in southern Greece. Who says my Armitaging can’t benefit Hubby?

It’s all a bit of a blur now… the preparations for the trip… the detailed schedules I worked out for the grandparents, who are sharing custody of the kids and have accepted the gauntlet of keeping them fed, bathed, dressed, schooled and busy with after-school activities. Packing the kids, packing ourselves. Arranging for a relief veterinarian, duck-sitter, bills to be paid and payroll to be handled from across the globe… vacation is a lot of work! And I didn’t have to do any of the nitty-gritty planning for the tour itself, so hats off to Obscura who has made all the arrangements for our transit, schedule, dining, accommodations… =)

So last Wednesday night, after our last full day of work, we’d had a good-bye dinner with the kids, deposited them with my parents, dropped the pets off at the clinic, and done our last-minute packing. It was 11:30pm, and my alarm was set for 4:00am, giving me 4 1/2 hours of potential sleep… when BOOM, I finally looked at a Twitter notification from Richard Armitage and was astonished to see that the first 2 episodes of Berlin Station were available right then! Of course, I knew that I was going to be traveling across the globe in a few short hours… but could I resist clicking the link? Of course I couldn’t.

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Daniel Miller Screencap… looking as sexy as ever. Of course I got no sleep!

Just a few minutes of watching, I told myself. I’m too excited about Greece to fall asleep immediately anyway… 2 hours later I was not only too excited about Greece to fall asleep, but I had discovered that Berlin Station is entirely binge-watchable! Wow! Talk about a shocking opener! My internal dialogue was something like… “There he is! He’s so pretty… he’s so pretty… oh, man, he looks great in this… he’s so pretty… he’s so…. WHAT!?! Shitfuck! No! No way!”

Suffice it to say that I got exactly zero sleep after watching Berlin Station… something I knew I should regret, but now I’m hearing that people are no longer able to watch it, so I’m patting my deRAnged self on the back for having had no self-control or common sense whatsoever! LOL! I was hoping to revisit those episodes a number of times… because I don’t feel that with all the excitement and exhaustion that I really absorbed all that was available to absorb… but at least I’m not furious that I missed my chance entirely!

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Selfie with Hubby at the Acropolis! A dream come true for both of us. =)

Well, my alarm clock is about to go off and I’m looking forward to another full day with this guy (who is the only man on the tour other than our driver, Leonidas, and our amazing foodie local guide, George!) He’s having a blast, even being fully outnumbered!

Until next time, then… Cheers!

 

Giffing Berlin Station, or… PreoccupiedOnceAgain?

Confession: I have not been overly PreoccupiedWithArmitage for months. Now, that’s not to say that I didn’t jump in and arrange to see Love, Love, Love before Love, Love, Love was even guaranteed… or that I didn’t immediately follow Richard when he made the jumps to Instagram and Facebook… and it’s not to say that I don’t still keep tabs on the Richarding world… but as anyone checking the blog this summer can attest, I just haven’t had any bloggerly motivation. Granted, it’s been a busy summer at work and I continue to spend much of my free time in the quilting room… but I really haven’t wanted or needed to express myself here in this space for quite some time.  I have hopes, at least, that my flagging fandom energy will be revived shortly, between Berlin Station airing in a couple of months, and Richard’s performances off Broadway starting even sooner than that!

 

BS interview hands

There is some nice thumb action here.

Today I got around to watching the new promotional material for Berlin Station, and I was struck with what has become, lately, an unusual urge: to have a closer look and really study the man himself, and the man as Daniel Miller’s character. I really liked what I saw, and decided to put some of it on continuous loop… but sadly, it had been so long since I used my Giffing Tool, that I opened it up, captured some Richard… and then couldn’t remember even the first thing about how to edit it! After fumbling around for several fruitless minutes, I resorted to YouTube to relearn the giffing process… and I hope you enjoy the results. =)

 

 

BS calculations

So yeah… I experienced my first *ooof* after many months of no *ooofs* right here.

So the first thing that really made me sit up and take notice while watching the promotional footage was this shot. I absolutely love everything about it. I love the collar of his coat- he looks like a proper spy, here. I love the shadow of his cheek and jawline as he turns, and while I’m at it, I love the length of that sideburn! But what struck me the most was the moment of calculation on his face, the small furrow in his brow as he processes something, and seems to draw his breath, blinking. Moments like these are what I love most about Richard’s acting.

 

 

BS lips

And when I replayed it, damned if another *ooof* didn’t magically happen!

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Because the opening footage was actually rather breathtaking as well. Oh, how the light just barley glimmers on that fantastic mouth. And his nose, in all its profile glory, is also thrown into beautiful relief by the lighting. Last but not least… we have the briefest glimpse of Daniel’s downcast eye for a quick, but thorough, eyelashgasm.

 

 

BS blink

And the eyelashgasms keep coming…

BS danial turns

I like how the light briefly illuminates the tendons in his elegant hand.

And a couple more… because once I got started, it was hard to stop giffing.

 

 

 

BS climbI almost mistook this for Francis Dolarhyde. Maybe it’s the black gloves, or the fact that he’s rising out of a crouch as he steps onto the rooftop. Or maybe just the focused, almost sinister determination on his face.

 

 

BS paranoiaAnd that impression (along with another eyelashgasm) was only reinforced here. Because he seems to be skulking in a corridor, and he has a touch of paranoia in his eyes.

 

 

BS shrug and smileBut right here… this is no Francis Dolarhyde. More of a Lucas North vibe… a strong and charming one. I LOVE the little  quirk of his head as he shrugs. And I hope we’ll see more of those slightly conspiratorial smiles. Dayum.

 

 

BS smile1Speaking of smiles… here’s a bit of a lopsided smile as he hands her his ID. It was dark, so I lightened it to better see that dimple in action. Though I hate that the giffing tool only has one setting for the lightening effect.

 

 

BS startledAnd another one that I lightened. Just to see the smile again, and have a closer look at the funny startled face when Daniel is grabbed. Giffing is really rewarding sometimes.

 

 

BS crouchingAnd here was another rewarding moment. I guess I didn’t expect Daniel Miller to crouch behind another person’s back when shit starts to go down! But I suppose we were told he was more of an analyst. LOL

 

 

 

BS bike riderMake that a bike-riding analyst.

 

 

 

BS stridingStride 1But he certainly has some mojo in this shot. There’s that characteristic manly stride that I love so well. Reminds me just a bit of Thornton. With different sideburns, of course. But the stern intensity is there.

 

 

 

And that about wraps up my post for August! I really did enjoy getting back into the swing of actively Richarding… and we can hope that there is plenty more to come!