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Well that sucks!

Saturday night….8:49pm…husband zonked on the couch…clear path to the big TV…silent SQUEE!  It’s time for The Hannibal finale!!!!   Change the station to NBC…and find..

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The halftime report for the Packer-Eagles game (39-14 Eagles)

HALFTIME!?!?!?  What the what?!  It’s elev…no, ten minutes to the Great Red Dragon!!!   %}~>#*~|~?>><|}%#{]}#!!!!!

#imjustgoingtobed

 

I’m so excited!!!!

…and surprisingly, it has very little to do with Richard Armitage,

happy-cartoon-smiling-frog-jumping-excited-vector-91000038

but I still can’t hide it (apologies for the obvious Pointer Sisters nod).  

Some of you may remember that way back, I’d wondered if anyone might be interested in coming along if I were to arrange a tour to Greece.  Well, TWO YEARS LATER!!  I’m elated to report that I am organizing an upcoming tour through my university that I’m also offering up to all of my friends.  Have a look at one of my new hobbies…brochure writing:

greece 2

greece 1

We’ll spend September 9 – 18th, 2016  (September 8 is a travel day for those coming from the US) beginning in Athens and then traveling to a variety of places around the large peninsula of the Peloponnese…The Island of Pelops.  History, archaeology, culture, cuisine and more.  September is a fabulous time to be in Greece…the temperature is milder than the summer, but the water is still warm, the summer crowds have tapered and the pace is leisurely.  This tour is being marketed toward our Alumni and non traditional adult student population, and I’ve designed it to have a more leisurely pace than the cultural marathon I take the traditional students on :)  For those who are interested, but not originating from the US, you can arrange your own airfare and meet me in Athens.  (I can provide the cost for the land portion of the tour only)

If anyone is interested in joining in, let me know via the contact form below, and I can share more of the details… (just overwrite my info with yours in the boxes…I’m not sure why it came up like that…)

The past year or so has been incredibly challenging (I’ve tried to spare you all the bulk of the gory details along the way) so this trip has become something of a lifeline…I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to it, or how pleased I am at the prospect of perhaps meeting some of my Armitageworld friends at the same time…A good times double dip!

acropolis

Καλό ταξίδι Armitageworld!!

Richard Armitage isn’t the only Leo-Virgo Cusper in Obscuraville…

Ten years ago today,  I was confined to a bed with a pitocin drip in an attempt to jump start labor.  Dramatic from the womb, Mini Me was born at 9:21 PM on August 24, 2005…5 weeks ahead of schedule.

That *was* a Hello Kitty cake...

That *was* a Hello Kitty cake…

My little cusper has all of the fiery flair of a Leo, yet it is often tempered the by earthy practicality of a Virgo.  She constantly fills up whatever space she is in by either demanding attention outright, or with singing and dancing that is impossible to ignore…

diva erin

She has been a diva since birth, but she is also incredibly kind and compassionate.  When she was six, she ran a stand for Toys for Tots at our church festival to collect money for toy donations.  Last year she worked as a peer mediator for her fourth grade class.  Yesterday, when we asked her where she wanted to go for her birthday dinner, she picked a local favorite Mexican restaurant rather than her favorite steakhouse because she wanted to make sure that her ShowBiz brother could find something to eat.

She is my greatest challenge and a source of never ending delight.

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For all that you are and all that you will be I wish you the happiest of birthdays my very own Mini Me!!

(we LOVE pink!!)

It’s like Armitageworld New Year!!

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I haven’t forgotten to celebrate the Community Calendar…it has simply kept itself clear in anticipation of the big birthday!

From all of us here at Ancient Armitage,

party boys

Χρόνια Πολλά!

Felicem diem natalem!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

(and BTW…thanks to everyone who pretended not to notice that I was slightly premature with the celebration of the Birthday Suit…I swear – I thought it was the 22nd yesterday!!)

A brief Richard Armitage vestment retrospective…

Over the years, Richard Armitage has worn a whole lot of suits.  As today, August 22nd marks a new year for him personally, I thought we might take a brief tour of some suit highlights.

spy suit

Spy Suits

I'm so sorry suit

WHY? Suits

three piece suits

Three piece suits and

OH MY! Suits

OH MY! Suits.

rented suits

Rented Suits

plaid suits

Styled Suits

purple suits

Perhaps Plum-o-phile suits…

But today especially, I’d like to point out an especially stunning suit – the oldest one he has…

birthday suit edit

His BIRTHDAY SUIT!!  It’s 44 years old today and looks great on him!!!

Happy Birthday Richard Armitage  :)

**On this momentous occasion, I’d also like to mention that hell may well be freezing over…you can now find me on Twitter – @AncientArmitage

ὅ παῖς καλός: Power and Pathos (and a sprinkle of Richard Armitage)

If you’ve been scrolling around the neighborhood of late, you’d be hard pressed to miss mentions of how Richard Armitage is knocking it out of the park as Francis Dolarhyde on NBC’s Hannibal.  I don’t really have more to add to the general Hannibal discussion, but I will be tapping on a few Hannibal images hereinnothing gory, but there is quite likely to be quite a bit of skin. (Tattooed or otherwise…)

Before I get to the main event though, I thought I might also revisit an issue that I brought up way back when in the infancy of Ancient Armitage…artistic nudity.  In this link to my 3rd blog post, I pointed out that nudity figures heavily in the art of the ancient world, that it will appear here frequently, and that is that.  I think at this point, I can openly point to a fact that I was thinking at the time…namely, artistic nudity on the part of Richard Armitage is also fair game for discussion.

Back in the day (I’m trying that out…it’s a favorite of my students…I’m not sold) there were heated discussions about how it was disrespectful or voyeuristic or objectifying or whatever pejorative adjective fit the tone of the day to comment at any length (or at all) on Richard Armitage’s on screen nudity.  I haven’t seen much of this since some poo-pooing about a few comments made about the shirtless bit in The Crucible, but given the amount of nudity in his portrayal of Francis Dolarhyde, I think it is safe to say once and for all, that Richard Armitage is not particularly bothered by appearing nude on screen…perhaps apart from a desire to look his best…and he is very well aware that everyone can see him.  That is…he accepts and embraces that in some roles, his body, with or without clothing, is a potent part of his art form.  We’re not talking about personal pictures taken with a long lens through the blinds of his home…we’re talking about displays which are part of a larger context of public performances…ie he knows he’s nude, he knows people are watching.  Moreover, as a performer, he *hopes* people are watching.

By incorporating it as an artistic element, his body, how it looks, how it moves, how it evokes, is as much a part of his performance as his voice or his facial expressions, and as such is open for discussion as far as I’m concerned.  Although it certainly happens from time to time, and I’m not convinced that this is earth shattering in any way, discussions on the topic are not by definition prurient, disrespectful, objectifying, voyeuristic or whatever.  So there you have it.  If discussions that possibly touch on Richard Armitage au naturel are not your thing, that’s fine too…

Close the window and carry on...

Close the window and carry on…

Now that the preamble is on the books, let’s get to the good stuff!

You can see it yourself: J. Paul Getty Museum in LA from July 28 - November 1 National Gallery of Art - DC from December 13, 2015 - March 20, 2016

You can see it yourself:
J. Paul Getty Museum in LA from July 28 – November 1
National Gallery of Art – DC from December 13, 2015 – March 20, 2016

I was scrolling through the image gallery of this incredible exhibit…(I’ve mentioned that ancient bronzes are really rare right?  This exhibit has a good percentage of those currently extant…including a fave of mine.) when I came across a bronze I’d never seen before…

The Vienna or Ephesos Apoxyomenos (scraper) Source

The Vienna or Ephesos Apoxyomenos (scraper)
Source

Isn’t he spectacular?   If you look closely, you can see even more amazingly, that he’s been painstakingly reconstructed from the hundreds of tiny pieces that he was found in at Ephesus, Turkey in 1896.  He is of a type of sculpture known as an Apoxyomenos or scraper….a nude athlete who is in the act of scraping the dirt and sweat from his body using an implement called a strigil (lost from his hands)  At 193 cm (6’3″) he is described as being slightly over life size in ancient terms.  I could not help but notice that he is pretty much exactly life size in comparison to a certain nearly naked someone.

Hannibal S3 "The Woman Clothed by the Sun" Source

Hannibal S3 “The Woman Clothed by the Sun”
Source

I love how he’s even nicely positioned himself in almost the same way as the Apoxyomenos…it makes 1:1 comparisons ever so much easier!  (Thanks to jholland for having just the right screen cap for me to borrow!!)  Broad shoulders, defined deltoids and biceps, sculpted pectorals, taut, but not quite six-pack abdomen, lean waist, long, long, lean legs, more heavily muscled at the thigh than the calf…(I cannot speak to the bits covered by cloth here…)  It’s a striking physical similarity.  Francis Dolarhyde, as written by Tom Harris and portrayed by Richard Armitage is a fitness buff…a man who pushes the physical limitations of his body to build its strength and power.  The art historical discussions of the Apoxymenos have identified his body as most similar to that of an ancient boxer…another powerful physique.

As striking as the comparisons of physicality between the two are, that isn’t what first drew my attention.  In fact, the image from the exhibit catalog that first caught my eye was a detail of the head

This chin down, eyes down pose is one that has hit me in the feels before…what is he thinking about?

Chin up Francis... Source

Chin up Francis…
Source

This is also a position that Richard Armitage uses to great effect in both print and film media.  It silently communicates pensiveness, contemplation, perhaps hesitance?  There are scenes, especially those with Reba in E10 where this pose is used with heart wrenching success.  All in all, I find a whole lot to compare between these two works of art.

Still don’t see it?

side by side

How about now?

ὅ παῖς καλός!

 

inter alia: Postcards from the coast…

Well, here I am back safe, and mostly sound from my family trip to Oregon.  This certainly isn’t a travel blog, but every time I travel, it seems relevant (and usually comical) to reflect on the experience.   This was a trip that I was unexpectedly ambivalent about taking.   Usually, I’m counting down the days until these family reunion trips…for the most part, I like my extended family – they are smart, articulate and undeniably quirky (seems to be a genetic marker…)  The lead up to this trip was different somehow…mitigating factors maybe.  Had I not already been committed, I might have simply bowed out and stayed home, but that wouldn’t have made me happy either, so I’m glad I swallowed my misgivings and got on board.

There were a whole lot of firsts on this trip.  While the rest of my family has gathered in the Pacific Northwest previously, I was in Greece on excavation that year and could not attend, so this was my first time visiting that landscape – it did not disappoint.  One thing that did disappoint was that ShowBiz Son wouldn’t be sharing the experience.  For the first time since he’s been on the planet, he did not attend due to prior commitments (which fell through only after we had already booked and he had firmly decided that he was no way going…upside?  Petsitter.)  It’s too bad really – he would love coastal Oregon since the weather, cool and misty, is his favorite forecast.

Mini Me was also a first time air traveler on this trip – we’ve road-tripped them all in the past decade since she arrived on the scene.  (and even before…she was a “stowaway” for the July 2005 assemblage in Dodgeville, WI)

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Apart from a death grip on my hand during takeoff and exasperation that her Kindle was not compatible with the plane’s inflight streaming service, she did great.  (Her airport wandering is another story!)  Truthfully, my mother constantly tapping me from the other side for help with her crossword was far worse…can’t you see I am watching THOR woman!?   Speaking of my mother, this trip also marked the first time that I have recently traveled by air with my approaching elderly parents.  My mom and dad are veteran travelers, but since my mother had both hips replaced five years ago, they have traveled exclusively on the ground…and for good reason.

While she is mostly ambulatory, my mom can’t walk long distances quickly, or without tremendous pain.  It didn’t seem like a major obstacle – I’ve seen wheelchairs and motorized carts buzzing around American airports for decades, but I got my first personal taste of how shockingly able-ist air travel is this trip.  Theoretically, there are accommodations made for passengers needing wheelchair conveyance…and from the check-in counter, we found this to be mostly true.  The airline personnel called for a wheelchair and it arrived within ten or so minutes to pick her up.  We all lined up to follow behind to find that we would get also get the fast track through the TSA Security check…no need to drag out the liquids, etc.  The story was a bit different upon arrival at our destination though.

As it turns out, we didn’t do enough research or apparently ask the right question of the original desk agent in Chicago.  What we were supposed to have done was to arrange this all in advance by calling a airline reservation agent – fair enough.  Our bad.  However, once he learned that we hadn’t done this, given that she needed a chair to get to the gate, and she would certainly need one back from the gate at her destination, would it have killed the guy in Chicago to 1. Call ahead to his colleagues in Portland to arrange this or 2. tell us that we should do it while we waited for our plane?  Evidently the thought did not occur…and so we had significant clusterduckage on our return flight as well.

It certainly didn’t occur to me while I was wrangling my parents and my daughter through security and then several gate changes (weather, weather, weather) and then through the food court, considering that no one had eaten since breakfast and there would be no food service on the flight.  As the recently designated trip coordinator,  two things occurred to me here as well,

  1.  my mother and daughter need to be fed a regular intervals to ensure optimal behavior
    1. a.  I’m going to need to carry snacks!
  2. I may need to start pinning a note on my dad’s shirt…”If found please call 555-555-5555″

Don’t get me wrong – I adore my parents.  They have been a never ending source of love and support for me.  I simply had not recognize that they have definitely slowed down a few steps and we need to leave room for that in the future.  On the plus side, the experience has made me aware of some of the challenges I might face next year as I plan to take an alumni group on a tour of Greece…lead time, lead time, lead time.

After a couple of customary room sharing hiccups and a hearty brunch where my mom kvetched about the prices and my dad eulogized the mustard, we got on the road in the late morning to head to the coast.  Did I mention that I was also the designated driver for the trip?  Indeed.  That was great fun trying to find the hotel the night before.  The narrated navigation wasn’t working on my phone and Oregon has a hands free cell phone law.  Handing it to my mother to read the turn by turn directions was futile as well..”It turned off…how do I turn it back on?!”  *face palm*   Once we purchased a paper map (and a bottle of ibuprofen for me) my mother was an excellent navigator from the back seat…if only she was a less aggressive back seat driver!  The drive was fine until we worked our way into the curvy, sun dappled road over the mountains to the coast.  It was like a scene from a National Lampoon film…MiniMe was getting green from the curves, Grandma needed a restroom, and Obscura needed an espresso because the sunlight through the trees was putting me to sleep at the wheel.  Only Grandpa was stoic – he saves it up.  After a visit to the filthiest McDonald’s in the lower 48 states (they were also out of soft serve which sent my mother back to her seat grumbling like a toddler)  we were on the road again…yours truly considerably revived from sipping on iced coffee  (Say what you will about McDonalds…and this one left a lot to be desired…but they always have a bathroom and some kind of caffeinated beverage on hand.).  

The final leg of journey offered some truly spectacular natural vistas…the coast here abuts almost right up to the mountains so there are incredible views…

Sheer rock faces on one side of the road

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and the Pacific coast on the other

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Gorgeous.  The view from the hotel didn’t disappoint either.  My mom had said that for budget’s sake, she hadn’t reserved a “seaside” suite.

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The view from the balcony disagreed…turns out this is a “seaview” suite as a apposed to a “seaside” suite which is only a few steps down to the actual beach.  Not a problem from where I was standing.  I could hear the surf, and we had an excellent view of Haystack Rock in the distance.  Cannon Beach is a really beautiful place, and the Pacific is just massive.  I’ve been to the Pacific Coast in Southern California, but here it just seemed so much…I don’t know…More.

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From the misty expansiveness of the beach even at high tide,

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to the burst of color in the lush hydrangea bushes that were lovingly tended all over the property.  It was a fantastic setting…I have to tip my hat to my cousin…she picked a great location!

The reunion itself progressed pretty much as they all do…smiling greetings as people trickled in (we arrived a day early, so we were the unofficial welcome wagon)  far too much food…(I think my west coast cousins may not need to buy groceries for awhile thanks to the leftovers) lots of laughter and only a few tears.

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I inadvertently contributed to laughter, and tears from laughter when during a beach side bonfire,  I stood up, promptly tripped over the very same log I’d been sitting on and face planted into the soft sand.  I would like to assure you that alcohol was not involved…I have a certain gift for magnificent falls.  This little ding was the repercussion…that and the fact that this tumble reminded my cousin of the infamous Swing Strip of 1982 and the Otter Slide of 1984…timeless tales of Obscura taking spectacular spills.  I told you it was a gift!

Happy Sunday ArmitageWorld!!

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