inter alia: “For the beauty of the earth…”

Many of you may be aware  that Servetus and I grew up in practically the same place…only a few miles apart as the crow flies in fact.  As it turns out, we both participated in the same youth musical organization, our part-time high school jobs were only a few city blocks from each other – the probability that we crossed paths at the only Taco Bell in the area after work is pretty high – yet we never met, until Armitageworld that is.  Life is funny that way…things happen that you never expect.   One night this summer, when we had met for drinks at a local watering hole, Servetus remarked about the physical beauty of our home state.  Both the bartender and I “pshawed” the notion, to which Servetus replied, “You only say that because you see it everyday.”  Since that day, I’ve reflected several times on her words and realized that she was right, it is beautiful here…especially so right now as the season shifts from summer to autumn and the verdant green landscape transforms to a patchwork quilt of deep gold, burgundy, red and orange.  All of the following images were shot within six city blocks of my house (my neighbors are right now wondering what my issue is…)

The park at the bottom of my street, trees just beginning to change colors

The park at the bottom of my street, trees just beginning to change colors

Just a peek at the river through the trees..

Just a peek at the river through the trees..

A view upriver... (I'm choosing to ignore the guy next to me blabbing on his bluetooth and harshing my nature vibe...

A view upriver… (I’m choosing to ignore the guy next to me blabbing on his bluetooth and harshing my nature vibe…)

Autumn landscaping abounds with hardy mums , cornstalks and pumpkins (before any horticulturists chime in, I know that's a gourd, just play along will you?)

Autumn landscaping abounds with hardy mums , cornstalks and pumpkins (before any horticulturists chime in, I know that’s a gourd, just play along will you?)

If the trees changing colors and hay bale dioramas weren’t evidence enough, this next image reflects a sure sign of the season in these parts:

first casualty of homecoming week...

first casualty of homecoming week…

Homecoming is a fall tradition in all of the local school districts marked by a week of celebration in the schools, especially the senior high school, culminating in a parade and football game on Friday evening.  The idea is that alumni return to support their alma mater (see, I can work Latin in anywhere!)  A time honored tradition of homecoming is “decorating” the trees of chosen houses with streamers of toilet paper.  I suppose that this is technically considered vandalism, but I think the local police mostly look the other way (informal interview with confidential 16 year old informant reveals that as long as the perpetrators are not in possession of eggs, a blind eye is turned.)  Our house was hit a few years ago…the decorators underestimated the size of the one tree in our yard…a roughly 50′ spruce…and did not know that my husband is a night owl – he interrupted  them in the act, they fled and left us 6 months supply of toilet paper – score!

But I digress.  The point I was getting around to,  was that it is often the case that we miss beautiful things that are staring us right in the face.  We are distracted by a million things from stopping to “smell the roses” from time to time.  Beauty is all around us…whether it is a sweeping autumn landscape or the smile of a child, we just need to see it.  I hope that wherever in the world Richard Armitage is today, he is able to enjoy a moment of beauty, big or small.  I’m going to try harder to notice the beauty around me…I hope you will too Armitageworld.

apple tree

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et alia: So you want to write RAcy fanfiction? Sexy vs Plotty…

As I was fighting my way through the latest chapters of my first long fan fiction, Recovery I realized that it is much harder to write a coherent, interesting plot, than it is to piece together a series of sexy vignettes.

Just look at all the diagrams and schematics that go into plot writing..

Just look at all the diagrams and schematics that go into plot writing..

When I first started thinking about how to write a fan fiction that would incorporate elements of John Porter’s life as an SAS operative with the life that I had created for him, it was actually my husband who gave me a number of interesting avenues to follow about mercenaries and proprietary military technology.  I really enjoyed laying out this plot, unfolding it slowly, introducing twists here and there to keep it interesting, but it takes a lot more time and mental energy to keep it all straight, not to mention research.  A look at my browser history will find info on Blackwater operations, automatic weapons, fiber optic cabling, Syrian insurgents, British fleet movements, fatal knife wounds, etc….an uninformed eye might seriously question what type of mischief I’m up to!  In a summer when I had difficulty carving out an hour or two here and there to write at all, it often took me two or more weeks to piece together a 2000-3000 word chapter.  One RA friend and reader remarked that the majority of people reading on DreamerFiction probably don’t care all that much about plot…although I doubt I’m completely alone in enjoying a number of longer fics with developed plot lines, looking at the readership of the story, it’s pretty clear that the chapters with “sexy times” are read (or re-read) a lot more often.

Recovery is now at a point where much of the plot has been resolved (I still have a few surprises up my sleeve though), and some RAcy chapters have resumed.   What kind of research do I need to do to write these?  Well…there’s this

John Porter (Richard Armitage) in a moment of rest Source:  www.richardarmitagenet.com

John Porter (Richard Armitage) Strikback S1E4
Source: http://www.richardarmitagenet.com

Or this…

A rare-ish John Porter smile..Strikeback S1E4 Source:  www.richardarmitagenet.com (my crop)

A rare-ish John Porter smile..Strikeback S1E4
Source: http://www.richardarmitagenet.com (my crop)

A quick double check of this for variety…

cosmosutra

and then a little more of this…or maybe a lot of this…

and most definitely this…

John Porter and Katie Dartmouth...S1 E2 Source:  www.richardarmitagenet.com

John Porter and Katie Dartmouth…S1 E2
Source: http://www.richardarmitagenet.com

A little John Porter-style inspiRAtion and I am off and running…2000 word of steamy scene written, edited and posted in less time than it took to figure out the difference between a Tech-9 and a 45.

I wouldn’t have written this story any differently, but I have to admit, sexy does win out over plotty in certain instances.  🙂

Richard Armitage’s current ‘do: Aesthetically Alexandrine

So you didn’t really expect me to let the BAFTA Tea pix to go unanswered did you?  If I thought Richard Armitage’s tease of nape curls at the Wellington premiere of World’s End were reminiscent of Alexander the Great’s famous waves, his most recent appearance with a full head of luscious, long waves is the coiffure of the conqueror

Roman period Alexander portrait Compare to profile from BAFTA Tea in LA (Getty Images)

Roman period Alexander portrait
Compare to Richard Armitage profile from BAFTA Tea in LA (available at Getty Images)

Over the years, there have been several screen incarnations of Alexander the Great which have been memorable – not necessarily for the intended reasons.   Richard Burton starred as Alexander in the 1956 release, Alexander the Great:

 Those curls are not quite right...

Those curls are not quite right…

This film was released in the heydey of the sword and sandal epics and it is ambitious in it’s scope – staying relatively true history, but (and I love “old” movies) it is deadly dull in spots and rife with hyperbole in others.  I used it in a class once…once.  (Incidently, Burton was only 31 when he played Alexander, pictured above – I would have guessed he was older, but he packed a lot of living into those years I think)

There was a rather marked revival of films set in antiquity after the success of Gladiator (2000), so I guess it was time for a new version of Alexander’s story…enter Oliver Stone with Alexander in 2004.  It looked good on paper…all star cast including Val Kilmer, Jared Leto, Angelina Jolie, Anthony Hopkins as an elderly Ptolemy and Colin Farrell as Alexander.

Closer, but still not right...

Closer, but still not right…

I was skeptical…not so much about Farrell, I think he really nailed the destructive self indulgence that plagued Alexander, but more with Jolie, cast as Alexander’s scheming mother Olympias (even though she is only a year older than Farrell)  I could have lived with a very young looking mother (my almost grown son has a very youthful mother 😉  ) but the weird accent for Jolie, the flashbacks, the excruciating soliloquies…ughh – Alexander was famed for being a leader who inspired men to follow him against all odds – Not this Alexander.  And…he hair was nowhere near curly enough!

I know I’m kind of belaboring this point, but I would really love someone to make a film about Alexander that successfully blends the actual history with film artistry.   Just keepin’ it classical!  Although….I am rather curious to see what Richard Armitage would look like as a blonde.  🙂

The Richard Armitage classical connection my brain just made…aka: I should really go home now!

Τήρης…Teres:  A dynasty of kings in the Greek region of Thrace during the fifth century B.C.

Thracian Coin of Teres I Source:  www.icollector.com

Thracian Coin of Teres I
Source: http://www.icollector.com

Teres:   one of the group of scapulohumeral muscles illustrated in vivid detail on John Porter (Richard Armitage):

That is all…I’m going home now 🙂

Messengers, watchers, spooks: Lucas North and Hermes

I was thinking about how I might connect Richard Armitage’s portrayal of MI-5 agent Lucas North to the pantheon of Greek gods.  I did a little Lucas North word association and one deity in particular came to mind.  I had just started a web search and lo and behold, I came across this…

What the heck…I’ll give it a try.  I answered the questions for myself and the quiz generated a response of Thetis – Sea nymph, daughter of Nereus, shape shifter, mother of Achilles – OK, I’ll take that.  I already had an inkling of what would happen if I answered the questions “as” Lucas North, and sure enough, the quiz generated this result:

As I suspected...

As I suspected…

Hermes was a second generation Olympian god – the son of Zeus and yet another of his extramarital affairs.  This time Zeus carried out a stealth courtship of Maia, the daughter of the Titan Atlas (of holding up the earth on his shoulders fame).  The Homeric Hymn to Hermes has this to say about the affair:

Muse, sing of Hermes, the son of Zeus and Maia, lord of Cyllene and Arcadia rich in flocks, the luck-bringing messenger of the immortals whom Maia bare, the rich-tressed nymph, when she was joined in love with Zeus,     [5]   —a shy goddess, for she avoided the company of the blessed gods, and lived within a deep, shady cave. There the son of Cronos used to lie with the rich-tressed nymph, unseen by deathless gods and mortal men, at dead of night while sweet sleep should hold white-armed Hera fast.  (Source:  http://www.perseus.tufts.edu)

The bolded section tells us the principal occupation of Hermes among the other Olympians…he was the messenger.  As such, he’s often seen wearing a winged hat or sandals and described as “fleet footed” or some other such epithet.

The FTD Floral logo makes much more sense now...

The FTD Floral logo makes much more sense now…

In addition to his duties as messenger, usually flitting about on some or another errand for Zeus, Hermes also had a reputation for being clever and sly, a trickster from birth…rather like the Norse Loki in that respect.

Ooops, sorry!  Got distracted for a minute there... Source:  www.fanpop.com

Ooops, sorry! Got distracted for a minute there…
Source: http://www.fanpop.com

Where was I?  Loki…tricksters…Hermes – Right!  So Hermes was a sneaky little deity from the cradle.  One of his most memorable myths happens when he was only hours old and snuck away from his mother to steal the cattle sacred to his elder half brother, the mighty Apollo.

Baby Hermes and the Cattle of Apollo Source:  http://wps.ablongman.com/wps/media/objects/13623/13950481/images8/Fig8.2.jpg

Baby Hermes being chastised by his mother for stealing his brother’s toys. “Who? Me?”
Source: wps.ablongman.com

In addition to being the furtive messenger of the gods, Hermes was also the patron deity of thieves and travelers – both groups who benefitted from an ability to come and go largely unseen.

We’ve also previously encountered Hermes in his role as psychopompos, or the leader of souls as they cross between the world of the living and that of the dead.  He is one of the few Greek deities who frequently acts on behalf of humankind in the regular course of his activities, not simply because it suited his purposes in the moment.

Hermes is a bit of an enigma…he belongs to the Olympian pantheon, yet he often seems to exist on the fringe of it, in fact he is strongly associated with the concept of boundaries and transitions.  To skirt the boundary between worlds, his cunning and alacrity served him well.

Lucas North is arguably the most enigmatic of the characters that Richard Armitage has inhabited to date.  It’s probably the reason I haven’t touched on him yet – he is so many different things at one time, he’s hard to classify.  Many people have discussed the complexities of this character and Richard Armitage’s portrayal of him, but every time I think I have a handle on him, I see something new.

The similarities between Lucas and Hermes are numerous…both are messengers, whether literal, who can forget Lucas as the leather clad messenger in Spooks 8.5?

What the man does with gloves... Source: Spooks 8.5 (Servetus' cap)

What the man does with gloves…
Source: Spooks 8.5 (Servetus’ cap)

Or figurative…Lucas’ whole existence as an operative makes him a messenger of something to someone, somewhere at sometime.

The sly, covert nature of Lucas’ job is a clear source of comparison, but so is the fact that Lucas, like Hermes has a foot in two worlds.  He is constantly making adjustments to fit in better here or there.

Lucas explains his tattoos to Harry in Spooks 7.1 Source:  www.richardarmitagenet.com (my crop)

Lucas explains his tattoos to Harry in Spooks 7.1
Source: http://www.richardarmitagenet.com (my crop)

It’s not only the demands of his profession, but the splinters within him that keep Lucas from fully being part of any one world, but rather ever hovering along the edges, never quite fitting in anywhere no matter how he tries.

Lucas North, always on the fringe... Source:  www.richardarmitagenet.com (my crop)

Lucas North, always on the fringe…
Source: http://www.richardarmitagenet.com (my crop)

At least Hermes had the winged sandals to make his hovering a bit easier.

OT: I had planned to post today, but…

I’m just too tired.  Instead of the Richard Armitage related post I was planning, the execution of which would require me to sit up (!), I thought I’d show you what I was up to that made me so tired.

I do a little catering from time to time for an exclusive clientele – that’s what I call the hand full of friends and family I’ve catered for ;). A few bridal and baby showers, some luncheons and even two weddings.  Today I was feeding my mother’s ecumenical group at their annual state assembly meeting.  I got this paying gig after being pressed into service for the local chapter’s “May Friendship Day” lunch.  (My mother makes the 19th century British navy look benign when it comes to coerced labor.).

The "gig getting" plate...

The “gig getting” plate…

When I got the word on the per person budget for the event, I gave the board an entree choice of baked ziti or taco lasagna (for that budget, piece work like individual lettuce cups, etc., was off the table.).   Of the two, they chose a meatless taco “lasagna” which I served with tossed green salad full of fresh veggies and lime vinaigrette.

Garnished with home made guacamole and pico de gallo

Garnished with home made guacamole and pico de gallo

The menu went over very well (thank goodness, or I’d never hear the end of it from my mom 🙂 ). A couple of people asked me why I don’t do this for a living….in truth?

image

Because the lioness in this picture looks energetic compared to me right now!