Unexpected Treasures

Perhaps little known fact:  Obscura LOVES a deal!   Just for the record:  I am not cheap. (yes SIL…I’m talking to you)  I am frugal, and there is a difference.  I will pay for top quality goods, but I worked in retail for years, and Obscura does not pay retail except as a last resort.  (note to self:  reading Caesar results in referring to oneself in the 3rd person repeatedly – avoid in future.)  My adoration for the fantastically frugal find often leads me to thrift shops.  This weekend, MiniMe was in the in the market for a new Columbia fleece.  Unlike her brother, she notices labels, and in our area, Columbia is a desirable logo for 4th grade outerwear.

Retail price:  $36

Retail price: $36

 

Thus, I considered it a gonga deal when I found one, basically in new condition, at a local thrift shop for the bargain price of $3.50…and it was even the right color and fit perfectly:  SCORE!!  Little did I know that the real treasure was waiting to be found.

When MiniMe stuck her hands in the pockets to perform a smart pivot turn and show me the back, she found something. Returning to front, she held out a many folded piece of white paper.  I unfolded it to find the most extraordinary document.  After a cursory glance, MiniMe wandered off to find my mother and commence negotiations on a few things she had her eye one (we affectionately call her Monty Hall since she always wants to make a deal.)  

I stuck the letter in my pocket to read later.  What at first glance was a note written between besties turned out to be one of the most moving things I’ve read in a long time…full of the effortlessly sage-like wisdom of twelve year olds.  I give you, “Bunnies Laws”:

I don't know Brensley, Anna or Siera personally

I don’t know Brensley, Anna or Sierra personally…to my great regret!

Written at the shocking hour of 3:43 am early in what I presume to be the summer vacation between 7th and 8th grade, I about died laughing at the first line on what appears to be a friendship pact between a group of peri-adolescents – a girl code.  Apart from stipulating the guidelines of relationships with the much coveted Ryan, a couple of things really stood out to me:

4.  If Ryan breaks one of our adorable hearts another person (Anna or Brensley) may go out with him to get payback 😉  (well Sierra, I guess we now know who’ll be asking who about dating Ryan post breakup!)

5.  We all must stay friends, no matter what.

6.  Stay true to yourself

8.  Stick up for each other if the person gets picked on

9.  Consult each other if you hear something from another person

The bits about Ryan are adorable in the extreme, but the sentiment in the middle is powerful.  These are girls who in 2012 were embarking on a really huge transitional phase in their lives and attempting to weather the storm together.  As much as they all seem to desire Ryan, it’s clear that their mutual friendship means more to them than Ryan or any other external source that threatens to undermine it openly or otherwise.  It’s an affirmation of sisterhood…that they are more a like than they are different, and that they should cherish their common bond above all.

Today these girls are sophomores in high school…amid constantly shifting sands.  I wondered a lot of things after I found this document.  Showbiz Son is a sophomore in high school.  I wonder if he knows these girls?  I wonder if he knows the sought after Ryan?  (I know for sure that he is NOT Ryan 😉  )  Most of all I wonder if they were able to maintain the bonds articulated in their pact…especially to “Stay true to yourself” and “stay friends, no matter what.”

As the Armitageworld is once again embroiled in the Mini-Storm of the Moment, I wonder if things would ever go down differently if we could all employ the wisdom of the Bunnies Law a little more often.

I Need A Hero: John Porter Fic Recommendations

It’s an honor to have Recovery listed among the works of so many great fanfic writers! If you love John Porter, you’re in for a treat!

The Armitage Authors Network

The first time I watched Strike Back I wasn’t really expecting to like it. While I like things like 24 and The Unit I’m kind of particular and I went into it expecting just a regular shoot-’em-up. Wow, was I wrong. I loved the way Richard Armitage developed John Porter into a hero I could truly root for as he struggled to reconnect with his family and who he could have been before the tragedy that cost him everything. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you feel about later seasons), Porter didn’t survive the transition to American television but he thankfully lives on in fan works. Here are some of my favorites. As always, Dreamer Fiction requires membership to view fics while An Archive of Our Own and Wattpad don’t.

johnporter

Recovery by Obscura4now, in which John Porter meets Original Female Character in a pub. Link will take you to An Archive of Our Own but…

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Stop taunting me Digital Theatre

PLEASE?!?!!?

PLEASE?!?!!?

I get it.  There are massive licensing issues that prevent public cinema screenings of the Digital Theatre release of The Crucible starring Richard Armitage.  I really do get it, and I have been trying to be extra, extra patient.  But desperate times lead to desperate measures…To channel my impatience, I’ve begun to craft a plan by which I will can almost replicate a cinema experience privately.  I’ve spotted out a familiar space:

Yes, that *is* a baptismal font...

Yes, that *is* a baptismal font…it sometimes pays off to chair the Technology Team!

It’s not quite as big as an actual movie screen, but it is definitely about 20 times the size of my biggest TV screen.  Even better, our new, 5000 lumens projector is due to be installed any day…if you look closely, you can see it hiding in boxes at the bottom center of the image.  If I can get my minions...um…I mean my fellow committee members in line, we should have the CAT 6 wiring pulled to establish a nice, steady and secure Ethernet connection.  We also have a recent sound upgrade which will give me surround sound.

I even have one of these!!  (I can also lay my hands on cinema like boxes of Goobers and Snowcaps!)

I even have one of these!! (I can also lay my hands on cinema like boxes of Goobers and Snowcaps!)

Looks like I’m pretty much set, but it seems like something is still missing…now what was it?  Oh, that’s right….I still need the #%$@* main event!  If I were a betting person, I’d guess North America won’t see a digital download until the cinema screenings run their course…April?  May?  Who can say?  Until then though…

A girl can dream...and photo edit! Photo Source

A girl can dream…and photo edit!
Photo Source

I’ll keep the popcorn popper on standby…anybody with me?  (BYOS – bring your own sweater…it’s kinda frosty in there after hours!)

Oh FUNK it!

When Richard Armitage is eventually interviewed vis a vis his role in Hannibal, I hope someone asks him about his Francis Dolarhyde/The Tooth Fairy playlist…I would love to know what he listens to in order to channel into that kind of darkness.  Music can have an enormous impact on mood, so to offset the curtain of darkness playlist, I’m going crib from my pard Jazzy and suggest a short alternative that is a massive upper for me…headphones at the ready everyone???

Sorry...got tired of tinkering with the headphones, but you get the picture... Original Photo:  Robert Ascroft

Sorry…got tired of tinkering with the headphones, but you get the picture…
Original Photo: Robert Ascroft

Lately, I dread getting into the car for the morning kid dropping run.  My children have effectively commandeered the car audio and isolated two stations of Top 40 hits and inane morning DJ chatter as supreme – let’s just say, not my preferred fare.  This morning I got in the car to find ShowBiz son already buckled in with the radio blaring.  When I turned it down to the less than ear bleeding level he said:

“Mooooom!!  That’s my JAM!! (I cannot, under pain of death, remember the song, but there was nothing Jammin’ about it!)   

We had a volume control skirmish for the duration of the track during which I established that the driver ALWAYS has the last say in car radio related policies…for instance, two engagement ring commercials later when the opening notes of MY jam thumped softly, I said:  “Now *this* can be loud!” and cranked the volume and commenced the car seat boogie….(with the added bonus of the opportunity to hear “Moooom!  Stop seat dancing in front of my school!!” as I drop him off.  🙂  )

Give it a listen…I defy you to sit still 🙂  I am not a huge fan of Bruno Mars, but I do like his funk chops.  (He leads the vocals and played the drums on the recording of the song.)  The first time I heard it reminded me distinctly of a song that first planted the funk seed in my dark little headbanging/alternative rock soul.

Morris Day and The Time circa 1984

Morris Day and The Time circa 1984

The first time I heard Jungle Love was in the context of the film Purple Rain,  a rock music drama released in 1984 centered around the particular talents of Prince.  Morris Day and Time played a musical role as the rivals of the new kid (Prince) named “The Kid” for top billing in a Minneapolis nightclub.  The film is sort of forgettable (sorry Prince fans…the music was great…the acting???), the funkalicious goodness of Jungle Love stuck with me.  It sprouted up in college when I followed a band on the leading edge of the local funk-rock fusion scene and the when the funk beat and horns merged together with the heavy metal guitar virtuosity of Nuno Bettencourt and the band Extreme in the early 1990’s in a darker, yet no less funktastic product:

My mood lightening recommendation…start by Getting the funk out and fall in Jungle Love on the way to Uptown Funk.  

(I can’t believe I might have missed the funktacular little gem that is Uptown Funk had my kids not forced me to sit through Taylor Swift and Jason Derulo everyday!)

In the words of George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic:

We want the funk!  Bring us the funk!

Go get your funk on Armitageworld!!

😀

HANNIBAL AD PORTAS Richard Armitage!

That's Hannibal Barca of 2nd Punic War fame...There is a pretty nice Hannibal docudrama starring the fabulous Alexander Siddig whom Armitage fans might recognize as baddie Zahir Sharq from Strikeback

That’s Hannibal Barca of 2nd Punic War fame…There is a pretty nice Hannibal docudrama starring the fabulous Alexander Siddig (handy Armitage connection:  fans might recognize Siddig as baddie Zahir Sharq from Strikeback: Afghanistan)

HANNIBAL AD PORTAS!!….Hannibal is at the gates!!  This was a cry that struck fear into the hearts of the Romans when the Carthaginian general did the unthinkable:  He crossed the Alps and invaded Roman Italy!!  For fifteen years, from 218 – 203 BC Hannibal, his army and his famous war elephants maruaded around Italy, rarely enticing the Romans into open battle, but causing mayhem and panic nonetheless.  Hannibal became a boogeyman and the phrase HANNIBAL AD PORTAS sent a generation of Roman children running for the shelter of their beds.

I thought it quite apropos in light of the recent news that Richard Armitage will join the season three cast of the NBC drama Hannibal.  In this case, the drama centers around the serial killer Hannibal Lecter, a character featured in a series of novels by Thomas Harris, and most recently adapted into a television series by Bryan Fuller et al.  That Richard Armitage would play the role of Francis Dolarhyde aka The Tooth Fairy, a vicious serial killer, caused something of a stir throughout Armitageworld, including many reactions that ranged from ambivalence to downright aversion.  HANNIBAL AD PORTAS!! indeed.

My personal reaction was neither ambivalent or averse.  I was intrigued.  Excited even.   I love the exhilarating adrenaline rush that being scared produces.  Some people ski Double Black Diamonds (seriously dude, one word: avalanche.), I watch scary movies.  I don’t tend to like gory films, although I’ve seen the “classics”  (Halloween, Friday the Thirteenth, A Nightmare on Elm Street, etc).  Rather, I love the buildup of creepy, edge of your seat ghost stories like The Sixth Sense or Stir of Echoes (Which is why I was totally pulling for the rumor about Richard Armitage in The Mystery of Casa Matusita to be true…IMDb lists the film as “In Development” so who knows?).  I also thoroughly enjoyed The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Hannibal (2001) and The Red Dragon (2002).  There is some violence and some gore in all of them, but it is used as a plot device, not the entire plot. (Although I grant you…the bit with Ray Liotta and the brain in Hannibal was truly disturbing.)  I have not watched Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal as yet, but not because I have any underlying issue with the content…I’ve made my way through Dexter and The Walking Dead with little trouble. Truthfully, I just don’t like watching episode by episode network television anymore (Damn you Netflix and your whole series streaming!  You’ve ruined me for week to week network programming!!).  Richard Armitage taking on the role of a quiet guy/serial killer?  I’m all in.

Then I learned that many of my fellow fans…some of whom I know very well…were expressing varying degrees of ambivalence and aversion to the series and the role.  I’ve been thinking a lot about this over the past week.  I wondered why the thought of this role, that bothers others so much, only intrigues me.  I’m not a violent person by nature.  My husband, who grew up in West Philadelphia, laughs at me because I have never, EVER hit someone with the intention of hurting them.  Goofing around with a sock in the arm?  Sure.  Punching someone in the face?  Never.  (Upon instruction, he informed me once that if I ever actually made a fist and hit someone I’d only break my thumb since I tucked it inside my fingers…thanks dear!)  You’d be correct if you calculated that I’ve also never shot, stabbed, sliced or dismembered anyone either.  I diligently teach my children, “we do not hit” (or shoot, stab or dismember) as a means of conflict resolution.  I have not been the victim of violent crime (neither though, I hazard to guess have the majority of people averse to the Hannibal role been affected directly by a serial killer).  My sort of detachment puzzled me.

Upon reflection, I suppose that part of my lack of sensitivity comes from the material I study.  Violence was a regular, ingrained component of the ancient world.  With none of the notions of sanctity of life that came with the spread of Judaeo-Christian traditions, life was precarious…frequently at the whim of one or another invading army, marauding barbarian or anyone more powerful whose way one stepped into.  Horrible death was all in a day’s reality for many in the ancient world.

As I thought more about it, I realized that there might even be a reason closer to home that fictional content like Hannibal doesn’t strike me as awful as it might others.  In the summer of 1991 I had just graduated from college and was living in Milwaukee.  In July of that year, Jeffrey Dahmer was arrested.  I, along with the rest of Milwaukee…later the nation, watched in mute horror as the full magnitude of Dahmer’s depravity was revealed.  A serial murderer with a predilection for necrophilia, dismemberment and cannibalism, Jeff Dahmer had been living and hunting among us for decades.

Jeffrey Dahmer at his trial in 1992

Jeffrey Dahmer at his trial in 1992

Looking at pictures of him today still turns my stomach, but if one didn’t know who he was, what he’d done, there is nothing superficial that says “cannibalistic serial killer.”  He looked pretty much like any other thirty year old guy hitting the bar scene on a Saturday night.  In fact, there is every possibility that my path crossed with Dahmer’s on any number of occasions from 1990-91 since his favorite “hunting ground” happened to be very near the neighborhood in which my friends and I hung out.   Being female, we were never in any danger from Dahmer, whose victims were exclusively young men, but the reality of it all is chilling nonetheless.  I frequently passed his apartment building when I decided not to take the freeway to my bestie’s house, completely oblivious to what was going on inside of it.

The scene of his crimes has long since been demolished…the lot is maintained as “vacant greenspace” by a private developer.  Jeffrey Dahmer is long since dead…sentenced to life in prison, he was beaten to death by another inmate in 1994.  Even though all of the physical evidence of his crimes has been cleaned away, the impact of them remains.  What I learned from the whole thing, perhaps what has somewhat desensitized me to fictional accounts of such events, is that true horror lives and walks undetected among us every single day.  Maybe a fifth row seat for the real thing makes television incarnations played by actors less troubling to me somehow?  I don’t really know.

Essentially, when it comes to Hannibal, each person must decide for his or herself what personal tolerance is.  Watch or don’t watch…it is totally up to the individual, and not a reflection of the depth of commitment to the career of Richard Armitage or a measure of the quality of one’s fandom.   This seems a simple thing, yet I was dismayed to see that once again rancor emerged in discussions of the role and people’s views of it.

Over the course of my 2-1/2 years in Armitageworld, I have seen this wide divide open again and again.  The topic doesn’t really seem to matter.  Don’t get me wrong.  I have nothing against energetic discussions of both sides of a subject.  On the contrary, diverse opinions and lively debate are qualities of a vital community.  What would we talk about if we all agreed about everything?   I guess my basic point is that it is neither a moral failing to appear in or to enjoy a show like Hannibal, nor is it a triumph of virtue to abhor it, and it serves absolutely no purpose to rip one another apart via social media on this or any other topic.

Come this summer I’ll be watching Richard Armitage in Hannibal…maybe I’ll see you at the watercooler!

“si vis amari ama”

 (if you wish to be loved, love)

….Seneca

I can’t even tell you…

how relieved I am that Richard Armitage has hit the 100,000 Twitter follower milestone…

twitter 100k

and without any assistance from me.  

 

 

It’s not that I didn’t think it would happen, or that I didn’t want it to happen, but I’ve drawn a line in the sand about joining Twitter.

As much as I’ve enjoyed (second hand) things like bacon beards and thespian therapeutics…

early twitter pics

or the crowning of new royalty…

The King Under the Mountain is dead.  Long live the Selfie King!

The King Under the Mountain is dead. Long live the Selfie King!

I have been loath to give ground on my self imposed Twitter ban – even for Richard Armitage goodies.  However, I was a little concerned about the follower count.  I mean after 2013 when I never found time to vote – EVEN ONCE – in the Anglophenia Fan Favorite Poll and this happened:

.9%  ArgHHHH!!  I'm so sorry I didn't vote!

.9% ArgHHHH!! I’m so sorry I didn’t vote!

I didn’t want to be the holdout standing between Richard Armitage and 100K followers in the Twitterverse.  I needn’t have worried…since rolling over the milestone mark this weekend, @RCArmitage has gained an extra K of Tweeps.

What a relief – my Twitter chastity is safe!!

Thinking lots about socks…

I am very thankful for my socks today!

SpReAd The Love

Back in December in response to rockin’ socks being sported by you know who,

Yes, him. Yes, him.

I threw out a call for us all to signal boost charities that donate socks, or to donate socks ourselves to local charities.  I threw in a nifty sock tree graphic, and then replaced it with a more decorated one a few days later.  Then December caught up with me and then December got away from me!

Now it’s January, and it is bitterly cold.  Not cold enough if you ask MiniMe, since it needs to be -35° F with the windchill factor in order for school to be delayed and her to sleep in.  Today the windchill factor was only –26° F, so off to school they went.  To put that kind of cold into perspective, in this weather, exposed human flesh can freeze in as little as 15-20 minutes.  It’s not…

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