Wanderlust Impressions: Overall, a VOD Situation

Aliona Savchenko,Bruno Massot

(These two took my breath away!)

Ah, Wanderlust. I so much wanted to love it. I was predisposed to be favorable toward it,  as I frequently do enjoy this light genre and I adore RA narrations, but I have to admit I was a tiny bit disappointed. The writing/story just wasn’t strong enough. It took me a lot longer to listen to this one than the average 7 to 8 hour audiobook. This was partly due to my own distractions, as I spent time watching Winter Olympics the past several days while doing kitchen and laundry tasks, rather than immersed in the book. But there have been other Olympics when I kept an eye on the TV while listening to a better book, so I can only conclude that my inordinate interest in Olympic commentary reflects my general lack of connection to the story. SPOILERS below….

 

The plot was on the weak side. More specifically, the romantic conflict was feeble. I love the genre, so it isn’t about the fact that it has a Happily-Ever-After or is, plotwise, ultimately predictable. That is the just the way of the genre, and if that doesn’t float one’s boat, it’s going to be hard for any romance novel to please. But I appreciate a love story and the feel-good ending as much as the next romance reader. And it’s not that I require an overly large heaping of angst in my romance reading, but I do value a solid romantic conflict, and it wasn’t really to be found here. That Joy and Griffin initially cannot act on their mutual attraction because they are working together, with Griffin hired by Joy’s company as an on-the-job translator, certainly didn’t tug at my heartstrings. This leaves the “time-limit” on their relationship as the major romantic conflict, and it had potential to be quite interesting.

Griffin’s bucket list, written by his dying brother, means he intends to leave Paris for Indonesia in a few short months, to realize the dream of running a marathon there… and after that, he’s destined to go on travelling the world. The problem is, his heart obviously isn’t in it, which means my heart wasn’t really in it, in terms of the romantic conflict. I didn’t feel that Griffin actually had a case of wanderlust, and therefore, there wasn’t actually a believable conflict. (The concept of wanderlust as a romantic conflict was much better explored in Truth or Beard by Penny Reid- Lauren Blakely’s solution for it was, to me, kind of a cop out.) But in absence of a great romantic conflict, a character-driven romance can still be wonderful.

Protective footwearThe characters, then, also weren’t strong enough. It isn’t going well when I find myself eye-rolling during the story. This happened a number of times for me in Wanderlust, and I won’t list all the eye-rollers here. But bear with me while I bitch for a minute, because the heroine, Joy, really lost my respect when she opted to wear flip flops to her first day of work. I mean, flip-flops are unprofessional in most work settings that aren’t the pool or the beach, and especially day 1 on the job! But even if she’s the most casual new laboratory supervisor ever… well, any lab I’ve been a part of (and I totally manned the chem lab supply room and was a student assistant in more than one on-campus biochem research lab for extra spending money as an undergrad), it was a pretty firm rule that everyone in the lab wears impermeable, closed-footed shoes. Perforated shoes, sandals, cloth shoes and for fuck’s sake flip flops? All a no-go. Safety first, Joy! Safety. First.

And then she had a problem when she asked a fellow co-worker for a particular dilution of peach-essence while mixing a new fragrance. The dilution was lost in translation and she wasted her afternoon concocting a mixture that was way too strong. Couldn’t this have been written numerically, just a quick jotted 1:8 or 1:whatever to be sure there wasn’t confusion? Use your numbers, Joy. Use. Your. Numbers.

But enough about Joy. You get the idea. I didn’t buy that she was very bright at all, much less the brilliant new star of the show at the fragrance company. Was her part performed well? Grace Grant gets a B- from me. She did a nice job conveying that Joy is a bubbly, positive type of person, but I really wasn’t digging her British accent for Griffin. Perhaps if I hadn’t had Richard’s voice with which to compare and contrast, I wouldn’t have become so bent out of shape about it, but I just didn’t like it when she narrated his dialogue. I found I liked Griffin during Griffin’s chapters, but wasn’t able to hang onto my affection for him during Joy’s chapters. I frequently found myself wishing this had been a male-only POV, and then we could have Richard reading all the chapters. Dual narration isn’t usually a problem for me, though, so I have to think that Grace Grant is getting the short end of the stick here. I just wanted Richard reading all the chapters. Period.

So on to Richard Armitage as Griffin. He gets an A- from me. Part of this may not be his fault. I was frequently distracted from what he was saying because I was wondering in my head what he thought about the lines he was narrating. For years I used to read romance novels at home, but my audiobook selections (always cd’s from the library) would be from other genres. There was a time when romance audiobooks were few and far between, and male narrators were rare. When I did eventually decide to try a few audio versions of romance novels, I found I had a problem becoming distracted wondering what male narrators “thought” of the material they were covering. For years, romance novels were sort of a guilty secret to some extent- my family and significant others might know I read them, but I didn’t like to read them in public where I’d feel judged for my reading choices. All this to say, I had this preconception that romance novels were mainly read by women and in privacy, so it was strange to imagine a guy reading the story, and I couldn’t help but wonder what the male narrator’s reactions were. Was he laughing at this stuff, making fun of his listeners after hours, rolling his eyes at us? Eventually, as more and more romance novels became available on audio, and male narrators became popular for dual POV and even entire novels, I got over this problem, and now I rarely worry about what the male narrator is thinking. That is, until THIS particular narrator embarked on his first steamy novel. LOL

No TitsSo, RA in the steamy sections- decent, but my own head got in the way of things, and to be perfectly honest, I’ve heard better. There were moments in the narrative where Armitage would lower his voice into a suggestive tone as Griffin contemplates his desire for Joy, but in the actual encounters, I felt he wasn’t 100% invested, at least in the descriptive paragraphs. The writing of the sex scenes was only so-so, but I thought he could have done a little better. The dialogue was narrated far more sexily than the descriptive sections, with a lower register and occasional breathless quality that I liked. Dialogue in general is really a strength for Armitage; it shines and elevates the writing every time.  But the writing itself was just generic fare for sex scenes, and also, certain words or phrases can always annoy me. Tits is one of those words. If I hear “tits”, it throws me right out of the moment. I never want to hear Richard Armitage say “tits” again in this life.

So, RA’s narration of the steamy scenes gets about a B+, and his dialogue gets an A. That dialogue rating should have been an A+, as I really liked the French (I’d definitely love to hear many more lines from him in French), and I thought most of the emotional sections, especially the flashback conversations with Griffin’s dying brother, were narrated flawlessly. But there was one area of dialogue that irritated me. His mother was supposed to be French, and that is the reason Griffin was so fluent in French… so why did his conversations with his mother not reflect a French accent on her part? I actually kind of liked the voice he gave the mother, this voice for an older British lady, as initially it made me wonder if this was an impression of the way Armitage’s own mother might sound on the telephone. Imagining that felt like a small insight into Armitage himself. But then I remembered that Griffin’s mother was French, and I wondered whether Armitage had forgotten that detail, and why the Audible director didn’t ask him to try a different voice? Can The Armitage do no wrong, or was nobody really paying attention to minor plot points? LOL

pink doorAs for the story itself, it wasn’t horrible or completely idiotic, but it just didn’t quite live up to what I hoped it could be. I really enjoyed the picture that Lauren Blakely painted of Paris- I’ve never visited the city, but this book inspired an interest in me to see the colorful doors with quirky knockers, the flowers and gardens with hidden angels and sundials, etc. That was well-done, and the author’s love of Paris shined through. And there were a few funny/quirky details that I also enjoyed here and there, such as Griffin’s friend Christian being the naked guy doing handstands to entertain the canal tours in Copenhagan. And I enjoyed some humorous moments- when Joy has a “proposition” for Griffin, and misunderstanding her intention, he becomes overly eager at the prospect. I couldn’t help but chuckle at Armitage’s delivery as Griffin comes on strongly with a little under-the-table fondling in a restaurant, which leaves her breathless, but grinds to a halt when she explains that the proposition involves her wishing to hire him to teach her French. And I was happily entertained by the flirty name game between “Archie” and “Judy” in the beginning… the way Armitage says the name Judy was rather fan-freaking adorable.

VODSo I didn’t feel that I had wasted my time by listening to Wanderlust. I basically enjoyed the Griffin-narrated chapters in much the same way that I enjoyed Richard’s role in Vicar of Dibley- it was lighthearted fun, with a few annoyances, but pleasurable simply for the novelty of the situation. VOD or Wanderlust will never be my favorite performances, but they were memorable and brought more smiles than eye-rolls.

My personal review: Overall: B-

Richard Armitage’s Narration: A-

Grace Grant’s Narration: B-

Lauren Blakely’s Story: C (I feel a little bit bad about this, as in the author interview at the end, she came across a pretty sweet person and she was really excited about this story!)

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

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!

 

Once Again Pondering The Beard…

hip richie

This is how I’d Love, Love, Love to see a young Kenneth. *fans self*

Yeah wow… back in fangirl mode… just like that! So with Richard’s upcoming role as Kenneth in the off-Broadway Roundabout Theatre Company production of Love, Love, Love… we know that the script begins in 1967 or thereabout, with Kenneth as a young 20-something, and progresses through several acts as the character ages into a baby boomer with adult children of his own.

So I’m wondering if the beard will be absent, since it seems like maybe he’d look a little younger without it in the early act? And pondering his 1960’s look, I’m sure the costume will have a hippie vibe, but will he wear a wig of some kind for that younger, long-haired Sixties look?

I kind of hope he won’t have the beard… not in any way a beard hater, but just that his Proctor character had a beard, and as I was lucky enough to see him in the flesh (and found Himself-Bearded very mouth-watering, I might add!)… well, I’d really rather have a closer look at his clean-shaven lips, this time. #fangirlconsiderations

mouth

Yes, I need to see this up a little closer.

Like this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

scruffyOr his slightly scruffy and stubbled lips… I’m not really picky.

 

 

 

 

 

 

beard problem

My favorite stage door photo… yeah, I could probably work myself up to seeing this again.

But if the character of Kenneth DOES have a beard… well… that’s a problem I guess I’d love to have.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

anson mount

Dayum

Speaking of beards, and scruff, and long hair, and hot men with blue-grey eyes, I disappeared into one of those “show-holes” the past few weeks watching the AMC series Hell On Wheels, a drama series following the building of the transcontinental railroad. I confess, I have been Seriously Distracted by this series- not only is it an interesting time period, with clashing cultures between Union and ex-Confederate soldiers, freedmen (former slaves), Native Americans, and later in the series, Chinese immigrants… it’s a really good story with characters I love and hate and love to hate… and, well, there’s Cullen Bohannon, played by the seriously gorgeous and basically entirely heavenly Anson Mount. Take a look.

 

 

Cullen Bohannon

Am I right?

And as Cullen Bohannon? Ye gods.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Er, anyway… that was a little off topic. But just to, you know, emphasize that I DO like a man in a beard. But back to Richard Armitage.

tumblr_niqldzjJ7l1rpkcfuo1_500

I. Would. Die. (Happily)

Top hope for Love, Love, Love? I have to say it would look something like this… longer hair, a little scruffy, and no beard. Is it too much to wish for?

Finally!! Confirmation on Love, Love, Love!!

FinallyAfter weeks of depression over the events in the news together with NO NEWS on Love, Love, Love… it’s confirmed! Best thing I’ve heard in a while! More info here, courtesy of Richard himself on twitter.

To be honest, while a lot of people have been applauding RA’s recent bout of political tweeting, it’s made me uneasy. Not because I have different views (or any view, really) on Brexit, but because I’ve personally always liked the fact that RA is not constantly spouting political views, which historically I have found very aggravating and obnoxious with other actors.

My fear, I guess, is that as politics heat up in the U.S. in the upcoming presidential election, RA may very well indeed start championing a particularly corrupt candidate which will no doubt be very off-putting for me. Grrrrh. I can only hope that by the time December rolls around and I’m off to New York City, I’ll have come to terms with whatever outcome of the election (nothing good will come of it no matter what happens, I fear!) and I’ll have learned to ignore him and/or un-followed his tweets.

It’s still a day to celebrate!

Richard Armitage, White-Shirted

2016b

I mean, who wouldn’t sit up and take notice?

It has been rather a long stretch since I posted anything remotely related to Richard Armitage. (In fact, you might almost wonder whether I was no longer preoccupiedwitharmitage!) And that’s a fair question, because if I’m honest, I do find it hard to be half so obsessive about the man when Nothing Much Is Happening. For all those who waited it out while he was off filming The Hobbit: kudos to you! I’m having a hard time of it with not much news on the Armitage front.

Have I lost interest entirely? Apparently not. But I do have to say it was an enormous relief the other day when Richard Armitage, White-Shirted, filming in the Canary Islands for Berlin Station, came across my radar.

So yes! Inspired! Finally!

I do believe I became quite breathless when first I saw the image above.

 

 

probablynotwhite

OK, so maybe it’s not absolutely a white shirt… but dayum. The man still has it.

And who could blame me? =)

 

With all the talk about how much Daniel reminds us all of Lucas North, I couldn’t help but think he also bears a bit of a resemblance to a different operative… one John Porter… in the image above.

 

Mmmmm hmmmm.

 

 

 

 

 

2016a

Aw, an eyebrow furrow! I’ve missed that!

This look really does it for me. There is just something about a man in a casual white button-down shirt.

 

With heavy stubble as a nice contrast.

 

(Perry even thought it was a beard from a distance!)

 

 

 

 

wet hair

Whew. The stubble, the knowing look in his eyes, the barest hint of a smile. And add wet hair into the mix? Stunning.

Yes, I think we can all agree that this man has always rocked the white shirt and heavy stubble.

*Excuse me while I dash water on myself*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2016c

He looks pensive about something here. Inner conflict?

I confess… this type of shirt on a handsome man does make me want to unbutton it.

Hubby, I hope you’re not reading this… but if you are… take notes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

younger

Here’s a young one. Where has all his chest hair gone?

Yes, a white button-down shirt is just begging to be opened further.

Down to where one might stumble across a little chest hair, maybe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

shirt open

No, seriously! I know he has chest hair!

Or a belly button.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

withdarkjeans

I wonder… why are you sitting on your hands?

We’d better get you buttoned back up, sir.

Before we all collapse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

open_collar1

Wasn’t there a great hashtag for this on tumblr? Something along the lines of #acollarsituation ?

Maybe we should even add a coat.

I don’t believe I would have survived this look without that coat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

thekiss

Because I never tire of seeing this one moment.

I’m still not sure how Margaret was able to actually stand up and walk after this.

And the man was wearing his waistcoat.

 

 

 

 

esquire

Because… dayum.

And finally, well… there can’t be a compilation of Richard Armitage, White-Shirted that didn’t include this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In fact, I think it never hurts to revisit this type of White Shirt Situation.

 

Or maybe it does hurt. But it hurts so good! =)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Richard Armitage Achieved The Impossible, Or: I Loved David Copperfield

RA narrating DC

Richard Armitage in narration mode.

Yes, so as a huge fan of Richard Armitage, and a huge fan of audiobooks, I was pretty underwhelmed with excitement when the news first broke that Richard was to narrate the Charles Dickens classic David Copperfield. In fact, I expressed my frustration with the choice of material in a spoof in which I suggested that I had previously read the novel, but couldn’t remember much about it. I know I read Great Expectations all the way through, and disliked it intensely, and at the time I wrote the spoof, I really did think I’d also read DC, but now that I really have, it’s clear to me that instead at some point I must have been assigned to read some excerpts… probably in high school English, which is why some of the story seemed familiar to me. However, after the first several hours, I was certain that I had never read the entire book!

There. That paragraph has been in my drafts folder for WEEKS. Why!? I really did love David Copperfield– the narration was superb and it was the best storyline from Dickens that I’ve encountered to date, definitely kept me engaged and eager for more. It took me about 3 weeks to listen all the way through, starting almost as soon as it was released. Which means it’s been about a month since I finished it, and have nothing but good things to say… but I’ve been struggling, really struggling, with motivation to blog lately. And damned if I haven’t forgotten most of what I thought I’d write about.

So let’s see… if I had to pick a favorite characterization (meaning, Richard’s voicing of the character rather than Dickens’ descriptions here) I would have to go with one of the villains. I loved his Edward Murdstone voice- so low, and darkly sinister, and controlled. I particularly loved it when he’d reprimand his sister, the way he’d say “Jane Murdstone” with such careful, vicious enunciation when she’d interrupt him. Fabulous! I hated and dreaded that character to the fullest degree. But then there was also the villain of the latter part of the novel, Uriah Heep. Oh, what a weird, “writhing” and undulating voice Richard created for this character when in the throes of his overwrought humility! I would have loved to see what kind of neck and mouth contortions Richard might have used to achieve such strange tones! (When I try to re-create them I become almost lantern-jawed in the effort!)

Really, there was not one voice that he chose from an enormous cast of characters that was not consistently and instantly recognizable! Another thing I’m pretty sure I wanted to mention was his ability to deliver humorous content- makes me so wish to see him take on if not a comedy, then a somewhat comedic role. I was surprised at the number of times I smiled and even snorted out a laugh. Something about his delivery of Betsy Trotwood’s eccentricities, in particular her war on donkeys! And the ups and downs in the life of Wilkins Micawber… very entertaining… especially the heights of passion achieved when Wilkins Micawber finally blew his gasket over Uriah Heep’s embezzlements.

I was definitely leery when we learned it was to be 36+ hours, but by the time I’d been through about a 3rd of it (the average length of most of my audiobook material), I was fully involved and just grateful to have all that time of sublime narration out in front of me. I think RA himself suggested that he’d been the one to choose this book to narrate, and at the time I couldn’t imagine why, but now I understand. It’s a massive undertaking, but I thought, an outstanding achievement. Bravo! The Audible Editors were spot on to include this one in their list of February selections (and I’ve since listened to several of their list, and enjoyed this one the most!)

Who would have ever thought that the best audiobook of 2016 to date would be a Charles Frickin’ Dickens? LOL

All I have to say is… when is the next one?