Linnet Has Sent A Richard Armitage Locket Shrine!!

locket shrine 3I’ve received a lovely, lovely surprise! And I must say, it really couldn’t have come at a more fortuitous moment, as I was up to my ears in tax documents trying to get everything together for the accountant, which is never any fun, and it was the last thing in the world I expected when they brought the mail in. In fact, I studiously ignored the mail for a couple of hours, not in the mood for any more bills. Imagine my surprise when I finally cleared some space on my desk, and reached for the stack of mail to go through and make sure there weren’t any last-minute “Important Tax Document” envelopes to be added to the file box I was compiling… and there on the top of the stack was a padded envelope! What a huge boost to my spirits!

locket shrine 2It contained the first Linnet Moss Richard Armitage Locket Shrine (so honored to be in possession of the first!) and it is a completely unique and beautiful gift. This is the coolest thing! The locket opens up, and little tiny charms can be interchanged to create a whole different look. In the photo, you can see how tiny they are in comparison to a ball point pen! She included two larger photos, one of John Proctor and one of myself with RA at the Stage Door, and on the back side of these, she’s put a screencap of my preoccupiedwitharmitage blog tag cloud. If you remove one of these larger photos, you can insert a variety of the smaller charms and gems, including a faceted Peridot gemstone (RA’s birthstone). She’s miniaturized the “Iconic Man” edit that Guylty and I worked on recently, as well as a black and white version of Proctor, then an eye photo (love, love, love!! My personal fave!) and another facial front-shot in color. There’s an itty-bitty Hobbit book (inside cover of which shows RA as Thorin) which is just incredibly adorable, as well as an “Arkenstone” and a filigree gold clasp. Just one piece of gold, to appease the dragon-sickness!

Linnet is a talented jewelry artist and has shared details about how she constructed the locket shrine, along with better pictures and tips for anyone who might be interested in creating their own, over at her blog. It contains a little bit of me, a little bit of Linnet, and several little bits of the beautiful man who has inspired our fandom.

I absolutely adore it, Linnet, and will treasure it! Thank you!

Blog Introspection Challenge #7 – The Most Commented Post

Swisher Collage

Swisher Twinkle Stars, still a bedtime favorite for Mommy and Daughter alike. Though, our reasons differ somewhat…

Continuing the Blog Introspection Challenge issued by Guylty brings me to Question #7: Which post has the most comments?

The answer, at 59 comments (though probably half of those were mine), is my Swisher Armitage: A Man For All Ages post from October 2014. In this post, I shared how my daughter, aged 3 at the time, was a proud member of the Armitage Army: CBeebies Division, her startling reason for joining the fandom, and her reaction when it was suggested that her beloved “Swisher” (Richard) was the same “mean man” in the scowling poster of John Proctor in The Crucible.

KellyDS and Tree both re-blogged it, and apparently many readers enjoyed it. Jollytr said “I’m pretty sure my heart just exploded with happiness and twinkle stars” and Guylty hinted that she had all the materials necessary for a CBeebies shrine… maybe I need to see how such a shrine is to be commissioned, now that I know the importance of this post in my blog stats.

Swisher Twinkle Stars also accumulated the 2nd highest number of likes, at 20, behind Another Onion Article?, my spoof about Proctor’s Bare Chest in Act 2. That spoof garnered 22 likes and 50 comments, making it the second most-commented-upon post to date.

I Mean To Please You, JHolland

redbuds

Redbud trees… so beautiful. We have too many to count on our land.

You remember when John Proctor announces to Elizabeth that he means to buy John Jacobs’ heifer if the crop is good? I think an affectionate husband enjoys bringing home an offering to please his wife. On or about the first week of April every year, when the redbud trees are first blooming, if we’ve had a nice rain followed by a couple of warm days, mine goes hunting for my favorite delicacy… the morel mushroom!

 

 

RosieMorel1

Rosie must have been underfoot on the morel hunt. I spy two of the little gems….

For years now, Hubby has been braving the ticks and the chiggers to tromp around in the wooded areas near our home to find morels, and in the tradition of every sensible morel hunter, he’s quite secretive about his haunts. Whenever he finds fresh ones, Hubby offers them to me, and we have quite the amazing hors d’oeurves that evening. Whenever he finds over-ripe or bug-ridden ones, he collects those, too, and tosses them in the wooded area on our property, hoping that eventually, some fungal spores will create the mycelium of morel goodness on our land.

Today, I received this image in a text message from Hubby…. knowing that he’s unlikely to have taken our cat along on a wild mushroom outing… I realized with joy that his efforts have finally proven fruitful and we must have our own little morel patch of deliciousness right on our land!! This does, indeed, please me. =)

 

spring

Yes, John… and so is Oklahoma. Though I’d rather have a patch of morels than a heifer…

That is all.

The Download Experience #TheCrucibleOnScreen

It’s been a bit of a doozy. But not really an unexpected doozy. I’d feared that the DT website would completely crash, but unlike some of my more sensible sisters, I still had to jump in and purchase The Crucible on day 1. In fact, even though it was announced that the long-awaited download would become available at 8AM in my time zone, I found myself *just checking* the DT website at 7am when I stepped out of the shower. It appeared to have the option to purchase, so I purchased it, there in my bathrobe, and started the download.

Now, I suspected that the HD download at home was going to take at least 24 hours, because Much Ado About Nothing over the weekend took 26 hours, and that was presumably not occurring during an Armitage Army Onslaught. The joys of rural country living! I had higher hopes for my download #2 out of 3 at work, since I have a much faster connection there in town, so I started it as soon as I booted up my computer and installed the desktop player at 8am yesterday. The work download kicked off pretty fast, and got up to over 50% after one hour, but I can only assume that the whole world soon came online and joined the queue, because it got really slow after that and was only at 72% by the time I left work. Got home and had a whopping 23% on the home computer. LOL. Way to go, Armitage Followers!

followers

Yes, John. Your Followers. Anyway, this morning the home computer was still slowly chugging at about 45% when I left for work, but the work computer was all finished and ready for me. I then downloaded the Conversation, and that took only about 20 minutes. I had a slow morning and ended up watching the Conversation after my surgical procedures were done, and at 11:45am, just as I was about to shut my office door and break early for lunch, the office manager arrived and said we had a walk-in. Actually, it was an elderly client who had a 2pm appointment but didn’t want to drive in the rain later, so she just decided to come on in and get her appointment done during the doc’s lunch. $#!+&@#*($!!

So, with a heavy heart, I went and did my two annual exams and the assorted “oh, by the way, can you do this and this and this as long as we’re here, and I have a question or two about the stray cat I feed” until it was 12:45pm and my lunch was basically over. The one good thing was I had nothing until the 2pm appointment, and that was now finished, so I went back to the office, grabbed my protein shake, closed the door, and sat down for Act 1.

The HD quality was fantastic- much better than the quality Hubby and I had streamed at the college a couple of weeks ago. I was just able to finish Act 1 and do a few of my Richarding rituals over at the forum, when afternoon appointments started up again, but I left work a bit early and came home just in time to see the home download was at 99%. I had an early dinner, the kids being on spring break and off fishing with Hubby and G-Pa, and by the time I finished eating, the download was finally finished, after a whopping 34 hours!

Interestingly, the HD quality was noticeably different at home. There were fractional glitches in the soundtrack and occasional hiccups in the visuals as well. Not at all as good as the work computer had been, and not even as good as the streaming at the college had been. Not sure why this should be the case, but I figure the DT support team is a bit overwhelmed at the moment, so I decided to let that slide for now. I soldiered on, a bit annoyed but still emotionally invested and just glad to have quiet time with John Proctor. Or, not always all that quiet, as John will shout from time to time. Amazing timing, as just as the lights went out on Elizabeth at the finale, I heard stomping feet on the front porch, and the children were home with their exuberance and exaggerated fish stories.

All in all, not a bad day. I’m planning to write about my views on Proctor’s decision in Act 4 at some point, but I think I’ll watch it at least once more before I try to compose my feelings.

Getting Giffy With It

Mischief

I’ve… ah… been making a few GIFs…

Oh There Are Others

Ah… yes.

Um, once I started, I couldn’t seem to stop!

What

I said I couldn’t stop!

They’re almost becoming….

Necessities

Yes. Something like that….

Yeah, so I downloaded this cool tool. It’s called the “Giffing Tool” and if you don’t want the free one (with watermarks), you pay. But you just pay what you want to pay. I didn’t see if they would accept $0, but paid a nominal fee via PayPal, and now I’m getting Giffy. Once it downloads and you save it to your folder, you can use it to basically crop out any area on your monitor. I’ve tried YouTube (Crucible Trailer), Netflix (North and South, Robinhood and Vicar of Dibley), and even a DVD (Strike Back). It works on all of them! Allows you to add text, turn it greyscale, or lighten it.

Pretty easy, once I got the hang of it….

Finally

Well, yeah. The first one took about an hour. But each successive GIF got faster after that!

I feel like I’ve entered a new phase of my PreoccupationWithArmitage….

I’ve entered the GIF zone. =)

 

 

First Impressions- The Crucible On Screen with Hubby

THE CRUCIBLE

Richard Armitage as John Proctor. How I’ve missed this character.

Despite yesterday’s exhilarating announcement that Digital Theatre would be making The Crucible available for worldwide download in little over a week, my PreoccupationWithArmitage did not allow me to sensibly cancel today’s afternoon date plans with Hubby. No, the Hubby had dutifully made the effort to troubleshoot the streaming of the Digital Theatre Plus academic/educational opportunity available to us through his faculty status at the college, and we had childcare arrangements in place long before. I did offer him an “out” when he enquired about the remarkable nature of my deviation from the normal morning routine yesterday, as I’d leapt out of bed like a kid on Christmas and happy-danced my way across the bedroom… I did not conceal the source of my joy, no, I did not. To his credit, he knows me well enough to have proceeded to make his arrangements yesterday at the college, projecting that the announcement would dim my enthusiasm for the planned classroom date not at all! (Love him!!)

classroomdate

Hubby getting us set up in the classroom. =)

So this afternoon, we took ourselves off to the classroom, and we watched together. I gave him a bit of background on my experience of the live production, mentioning the aspects that I predicted could not be experienced in the DT film, such as the incense, the ominous low reverberations of sound, the way that the theatre had been draped to conceal the ornate décor… but I didn’t give him my impressions of the characters, the theme, or the actors. Obviously he knew I was heavily invested in the program, but I left it at that. Being a bass player, Hubby was naturally most interested in my description of the low-end sound resonance, postulating that the notes may have been, in bass player’s parlance, somewhere in the 30 Hz, low B (bodyshaker) frequency. Trust an engineering prof to be concerned with these details! Lol

SD3

Inserted simply because it’s gorgeous. I took the pic on the right at the stage door, and I’m rather attached to it.

I’d seen it three times in London, and I have to say, I thought the screen version was extraordinarily well-done. I can’t say that I had exactly the same level of exhilaration while watching it onscreen that I experienced when I was just a few feet from the action, in the presence of the most charismatic performer I’ve ever had the pleasure of observing, but I did feel the same level of awe at the performances by the entire ensemble, and felt the same physiological reactions (goosebumps, chills, tachycardia, light-headedness, and tears) at various points in the performance, which says a lot. It was powerful, and just as devastating as I’d remembered. My initial impressions remained the same, with the stand-outs in the cast of characters (aside from John Proctor) being the roles of Rebecca Nurse, Reverend Hale, Abigail Williams, Mary Warren, and Elizabeth Proctor. I guess I’m still processing it, and may have more to say after a few more viewings.

greekRA

Yeah, I can see where Hubby is coming from. In that Act 4 costume, and given the intensity on his face, I could see the a bit of the Greek tragic hero, as well…

As for Hubby, he didn’t have a lot to add. He said he thought it was really good. He especially complimented Natalie Gavin’s performance as Mary Warren, loving how her eyes would bulge and her face would turn red. At one point, in Act 4, as John Proctor gives Elizabeth his fierce stare, and tells her to “Give them no tear! Tears pleasure them!” Hubby commented that he thought Richard Armitage would make a good Greek. (This is in reference to the speculation that Armitage might collaborate with Yael in some sort of Greek Tragedy in the future, which I’ve floated past him before!) This was the only time during the entire viewing that he made a comment. Afterward, he said he enjoyed it, went so far as to recommend it to a colleague as we exited the building, and thanked me for spending the afternoon with him! He thought the entire ensemble was strong, reassured me that he was never bored, that he thought it was powerful, and I noticed he was pensive afterward. After a quiet few miles on the drive home, we did discuss the context in which the play was written by Miller, the House Un-American Activities Committee, and how that kind of absolute authority paired with general paranoia and hysteria was deeply disturbing. It turns out that Hubby hadn’t really known where the play was going. He didn’t remember if he’d ever been required to read it, and said that if so, it hadn’t made much of an impression on him. When I asked if it had made an impression on him now, he said, “Oh yeah.”

posterboys

My idea of a perfect afternoon…

I can’t wait to read the impressions of the many who will see it for the first time in the weeks to come. I loved it. I was entirely immersed, once again. What a way to spend the afternoon… my favorite actor for over three hours, with my favorite person. I’m deeply content tonight.

Limerick: In Honor of #TheCrucibleOnScreen

It was 6:00 AM when the alarm clock sounded
I yawned, checked my phone, and was instantly astounded!
“The Old Vic’s The Crucible – coming soon”
Right there in my inbox, and I was over the moon!
The announcement we’ve longed for… I finally found it!

I’ve never jumped out of my bed quite so fast…
Or danced into the bathroom… Hubby aghast!
I simply must explode
Into limerick mode
To celebrate this news at long last!

It’s coming! It’s coming! On March Seventeen…
The Crucible! John Proctor! The wash basin scene!
Just kidding, #onlyjoking
(I know that’s provoking)
I’m just overwhelmed to soon see this onscreen!

The news is everywhere now, on social media galore
Facebook and Twitter; Forums, Blogs and more
Is Digital Theatre prepared
Will servers crash when it’s aired?
Has an entire Army ever downloaded before?

I’d like to thank Digital Theatre and The Old Vic
For making it possible, with simply a click
For thousands to experience
Yael and Richard’s brilliance
And for providing me with such a fine morning kick!

Richard Armitage as John Proctor is well worth the wait…
My pleasure is heartfelt, and will not abate.
What a Day! What a Friday! We’ve waited so long!
I feel like dancing, singing, and ringing a gong…
Even knowing, as I do, that this play… devastates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reflections on Recent Fandom Drama

shoulder

Richard Armitage as John Proctor, shirtless, The Crucible official poster, Old Vic Theatre, London, 2014

 

The post that caused recent uproar:

“Folks, as the creator of this page, I had and *have* a vision: to 1) celebrate RA’s *performance* in The Crucible, and 2) to show respect for Yael Farber’s astonishing production of Arthur Miller’s masterpiece (staged at The Old Vic in the summer of 2014).
PLEASE, respect these two things.
The play is not about a shirtless RA, shots which occur for brief moments in a 3.5 hour-play
Rather, The Crucible is a play about hysteria, mob-thought and mob-violence against good, innocent people, and it is about integrity.
So, these bare-chested shots of RA seen elsewhere will have to wait until after the download has been released in the States, and most of us have seen the entire play, and registered its powerful and timely message.”

And her comment under the post:

“… What can I say? I’m a theater purist. I like a shirtless RA as much as the next person, but it seems a shame that these “beefcake” screen-grabs are the first to make the rounds. I have a home-school subscription to Digital Theatre Plus (sharing with small groups of local students, and a teacher or parent, through screenings in my living room). The Crucible is one of those plays that so powerful and so stunning – especially this production – and Miller includes so many heart-breaking, beautiful, terrible, horrifying, and/or poignant moments that I’m just sad to see these shots come out before those…” Richard Armitage US, Facebook, ‘Richard Armitage in THE CRUCIBLE’ Appreciation Page

Hmmm.

Maybe she didn’t intend to sound condescending, but what I felt, upon reading this, was this: Those of you who have shared, stared at, discussed, enjoyed, or drooled over the screencaps of shirtless John Proctor have completely failed to not only admire RA’s critically acclaimed performance in the role, but even to comprehend or appreciate the important themes in Miller’s work. So shame on you.

I also didn’t quite understand, from this post, whether she meant that after the download has been released, will we, the oglers, then be allowed to appreciate, share, stare at, discuss, enjoy, and drool over the screencaps of shirtless John Proctor? After we’ve contemplated the deeper, disturbing messages, that is? How long should we spend on our contemplation before it is ok to appreciate the shirtless Proctor? Or should that be never? Perhaps that scene should, in fact, be cut. Maybe it was a mistake on Yael Farber’s part to add such a distraction into the mix.

The truth is, I 100% agree with her assessment that the production was stunning, heartbreaking, beautiful, terrifying and all the rest. Indeed, I was not myself for a couple of months after I saw The Crucible performed three times. I was profoundly moved by the play, devastated even, and couldn’t get any part of it out of my head. I couldn’t get involved in a new book, I had little interest in TV or movies, and those deep themes and disturbing subject matter haunted me. The fact that I can now look upon John Proctor’s form in the firelight, and appreciate the rough, masculine elegance of a farmer, washing, does not reflect poorly on my understanding of The Crucible, or in any way diminish its powerful message. On the contrary, the moment I saw the images, I was taken back to those moments, in London, when I watched him, in all his vulnerability, perform this scene. I experienced that intimacy, and the shaky, light-headed, breathless feelings that it effected in me, anew.

Yes, he’s powerfully attractive. Yes, my ovaries combusted. So, apparently, did Abigail Williams’ ovaries, at some point. John Proctor was (to his ultimate shame and regret) a sexual creature. Ironically, the washing scene was actually one of the least sexually charged moments, in terms of on-stage chemistry. This scene did allow the audience a chance to appreciate John Proctor’s form, and his appeal, yes. But it also set the stage for the Act 2, in which we see John Proctor’s reality in the privacy of his own home. He puts the shirt back on, you see. He is vulnerable, and alone, as he washes. When his wife enters the room, with coldness and a hint of accusation in her tone, he puts the shirt back on, and with it, the weight of his struggling marriage.

At any rate, I don’t have a problem with Richard Armitage US controlling what is posted on a page she created. It is her prerogative whether or not she allows images of shirtless John Proctor to be ogled, discussed, admired on her page. However, I do think she might reflect on her own words a bit. She states that the purpose of her page is:

1) to respect RA’s ” *performance* “: Huh. I must say that I did admire his performance in that scene… he embodied the exhausted, hard-working, lonely farmer completely, from his posture, to his facial expressions, to the little noises he made as he washed… and yes, I did also admire his form… what’s not to love? Is the fact that he took his shirt off a problem here? Can he not perform as well without his shirt? Enlighten me!

2) and also to respect “Yael Farber’s astonishing production of Arthur Miller’s masterpiece”: So… was Yael Farber somehow not involved with or aware of the inclusion of the wash basin scene- did her vision for the production not include the audience’s inevitable appreciation for the stripped-down farmer? Was there no purpose, from Yael Farber’s perspective, for that scene? Should looking at the screencaps of that scene therefore diminish our respect for Yael’s work?

In other words, why should our appreciation of and discussion of the shirtless scene be automatically disrespectful, or somehow minimize the impact of the production as a whole? It honestly makes very little sense to me. I agree, The Crucible is not just about a shirtless RA. But is the admiration of a shirtless John Proctor really disrespectful, or indicative of a failure to appreciate Miller’s themes, or the ensemble’s performance? Is it necessary to prescribe for other fans what facets of The Crucible are acceptable to appreciate, and in what order we should appreciate them?

I say no.

Damn. Another Spontaneous Ovarian Combustion…

Remember the absolute excitement when the very first tweets came rolling in when The Crucible premiered? I’ll never forget this Tweet: https://mobile.twitter.com/claireanatomy/status/480451141701210114

Clearly, that was of great interest! I remember sending a PM of that tweet to my cousin, with words along the lines of “Fanning myself! OMG!”

armitage8

Richard Armitage as John Proctor. Infamous wash-basin scene, Act 2, The Crucible, 2014 Old Vic Theatre. Photos found at rachelduncandoughnuts.tumblr.com

And the scene did not disappoint, especially from the first row, when it happened 2 feet in front of me. I remember my heart rate was elevated, and I felt flushed and light-headed.

Happened again this morning when I came across these photos. Damn him. I can hardly type when I look at these.