Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Books of Summer

Here is some of what I have been reading this summer. My choice of at least three of these has been influenced by my interest in the actor Richard Armitage.

Can you guess which three?

The books are clockwise from the top left: 1. One Step Behind, by Henning Mankell.
2. Claude and Camille, by Stephanie Cowell.  3. Worlds of Ink and Shadow, by Lena Coakley
4. The Last Kingdom, by Bernard Cornwell.  5. Urban Grimshaw and the Shed Crew, by Bernard Hare.  6. The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood.  7. Anybody Out There, by Marian Keyes.

At least one of these books should be an easy guess for any Richard Armitage fans. The other 2 will be easier for longtime fans to guess.

So, I am finally getting around to posting here on my long neglected blog as today is Armitage Day (otherwise known as Richard Armitage's birthday).  Although I haven't been as devoted to devouring all available information about him (as I may have been a few years ago), I still follow his career.  You can sometimes find me reading a few blogs, possibly making a comment when I am able to, and also sometimes I will be on Facebook or Twitter.

I was very pleased when someone posted a link to his film "Brain on Fire" on Youtube.  I enjoyed watching that film and learning about what that poor girl and her family had to endure.  Richard's role was a small one, but it was nice to see him in a father role.  I haven't had the opportunity to watch his television role in Berlin Station, except for the first episode which I was not overly impressed with.  I think it was because his character wasn't developed much.  I am sure it gets better with further watching.  I guess I was expecting something more like Spooks (MI-5) which I loved!

The other series I was excited to watch was Castlevania.  Thanks again to the fandom for the heads up about this series.  I probably wouldn't have thought to watch it otherwise, as it is a Manga cartoon based on a video game about Dracula and vampire hunters (not my usual thing!).  But I absolutely loved it!  And even better, I tricked my husband into watching it too!  (So I watched it twice!)  I could tell he was impressed because he actually asked me to put on the next episodes, even after he figured out that you-know-who's voice was in it.

Oh yes, and I finally caught that tiny but memorable role as King Oleron in Alice Through the Looking Glass as that movie made it to Netflix too.
To the creator of this GIF - If this is your work, please let me know and I will give you credit.

Richard Armitage, you still rule!

Happy Armitage Day!

Monday, August 22, 2016

It's that Time again!

I know... I know!  I have been a very bad blogger!  My last post was a year ago!  That's right, last Armitage Day.  So I guess I am now down to an annual post.

I haven't lost my interest in our dear Mr. Armitage.  It was just that I couldn't keep up with the intensity of it and well, there were other interests too...  Not other actors!  Oh no, I am still a one-man woman.

There is the wonder of Netfix though.  For the last several summers I have spent a lot of it binge watching whole seasons of certain shows.  Last summer it was Gilmore Girls.  The summer before it was Wallander (the Swedish series) - more about that soon (I hope!).  The previous summer it was Life on Mars (the English series - no, not the American one, sorry!).  This summer it was, and is... Doctor Who!  I have just started watching Matt Smith's version of the Doctor, and while I do miss David Tennant, I am still enjoying the show very much.

I first started watching Doctor Who many moons ago as a youngster when this guy was the Doctor.
Tom Baker - the Doctor from 1974-1981
 I was curious when they resurrected the series in 2005 with Christopher Eccleston.  I watched the first couple of episodes and enjoyed it, but somehow I lost track of it and never bothered about it again until the winter before last when I caught a Christmas special on cable tv - probably a rerun because it had Matt Smith in it then.  It was quite enthralling, and there was another episode after that, then another, and on until around 3:00 in the morning I finally decided I needed to go to bed!  Good thing this was during the Christmas holidays!  So I caught the Who bug, you might say.  But I didn't really do anything about it, until I Doctor Who showed up on Netflix.   I think the original episodes were on first.  I did try to watch the earliest ones -  but couldn't get past the really amateur special effects.  Then finally the new episodes showed up!  I was savouring them at first, but then I got worried that Netflix might discontinue them before I could finish with them (like they did with MI-5). I still haven't seen all of season 6 (or was it 5?).  Anyway, hence the summer binge watching!

As always, I would love it if my latest obsession could merge with my main one.  If that would be so, my dream would come true and I would see something like this:
Not sure who to credit for this, if it is yours, please let me know! 

From Tumblr: 
  Ahh!  He is wearing the MI-5 blue suit... Yes!

I found this picture a couple of years ago and I have been waiting to share it.
Once again I wish I knew who created it.

I was pleased to discover someone has actually created a fanvid with Richard inserted into the show.
How did I miss seeing this for so long?

Link to Youtube

I hope all the fandom has a wonderful time this Armitage Day

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Singin' in the RAin

Has it been raining much where you are?  This summer my little area of the world has had twice as much rain as usual.  So I might as well grab my umbrella and enjoy it! 

Singing in the Rain is a great song.  I sing it a lot.  Maybe not every time it rains, but definitely if I am in a happy mood!


Richard Armitage and Gene Kelly have something in common. Their birthdays are one day and 59 years apart. Richard Armitage's is Aug. 22, 1971 and Gene Kelly's is Aug. 23, 1912.

Gene Kelly started his entertainment career as a dancer, as did Richard Armitage.
Kelly's energetic and masculine style helped to revolutionize the movie musicals in the 1940s and 50s.  Although Mr. Armitage gave up his dance career to concentrate on acting, his graceful manner of movement is  evident in every role he plays.

 Gene Kelly dances in mid air while Richard Armitage attains air while running 

Although I would dearly love to see Richard Armitage sing and dance, we at least got to see him wet in last summer's tornado moviefest Into the Storm.

photo courtesy of RichardArmitagenet.com

Today it is once again Armitage Day in fandom of Richard Armitage.  I woiuld like to take this opportunity to wish Mr. Armitage a very happy 44th birthday.  May he delight us with his performances for many more years to come.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

10 Resolutions

I have always shied away from New Year's Resolutions.  In fact, you might say my only resolution was to not make any resolutions!  But this year I feel differently.  I have come to the important decision that my status quo is not working to my advantage.  I need to treat myself differently.

It should be no surprise as to what has inspired this radical thought.  Fans of Richard Armitage have no doubt already read this quote in an interview with DaMan magazine.

Simple words, which at once resonated with me as a clear path that was eminently doable with immediate positive results guaranteed.

1. Read More.
This one may seem surprising as I am reading all the time.  But I am not reading what I should be reading.  I have piles of books and magazines which I ignore in favour of the long line up of emails and Facebook posts which grab most of my attention.  I am reading some articles online but it is more of a free for all, than a desired choice.  I feel like I need to get some control over the chaos that is my online experience so that I have more time to delve into my backlog of reading material.
Really, I should admit that I am mostly distracted by my online games.  I have been addicted to The Sims for a couple of years now, and just lately a fashion game called Covet.  I do enjoy playing Song Pop, that one is not an addiction but a real joy and learning experience.
Then there is the old stand by Solitaire, and even BeJewelled.  Must. Stop. Playing. Games.!  Big waste of time! (Except for Song Pop!)

2. Dream More.
Yes. Of course.  Just time to sit and think. Plan for the future. See what could be - then make it happen.
But also, literally - dream more.  Just go to bed and sleep, perchance to dream!
I have a nasty habit of staying up too late and depriving myself of sleep which is getting harder to deal with the older I get.  I have blogged about this problem before in this post: It's Half-past Phylly's Bedtime. (Jan.2011)

3. Smile More.
Here's one I don't think I have a problem with.  I do smile a lot.  And I do like to smile at people for no particular reason.  Most people do smile back too.  That always makes it worthwhile.
But I learned a couple of ocasions when smiling works when people can't even see your smile.

I've been at my new school for a whole year now, and I was getting ribbed for not changing the phone message from the previous librarian's voice mail message. The phone was giving me issues and I couldn't figure it out, and then I was just too busy to think about it.  But finally I decided it had to be changed, and I got the secretary's help to figure it out.  So there I was trying to record my message, and of course, I hated the sound of my voice.  Then I remembered that someone had suggested to smile while saying your message.  And what a difference it made!  Truly amazing!

Here is my other instance:
Awhile ago I was posing for a new driving licence photo.  You are not supposed to smile. That usually means a disappointing photo.  But the very kind lady at the Ministry of Transportation office luckily had some time on her hands, and a critical eye.  She said, that wasn't so good, let's try again.  When the next try just looked sad, she told me that even though I couldn't smile, I should think happy thoughts and try smiling in my head.  Thinking her a bit silly, I did as directed and when presented with the photographic evidence I was astounded!  A huge difference!

So even thinking about smiling is a very good thing.  (Plus it makes us better looking!) Win win!

4. Eat Less.
This should go without saying but it is definitely a big one for me.  I have always had a very healthy appetite.  In my family wasting food was a huge sin.  But my mother also controlled our portions meticulously so the only time we were allowed to over-indulge were holiday times and vacation trips.
I was not an overweight child, but as soon as I got away from "the nest" it was open season on all kinds of previously unavailable goodies.  Needless to say, I packed on the pounds steadily until today even I cannot deny that my weight has had adverse effects on my health.
This holiday season began with my husband and son coming down with a nasty stomach flu.  I didn't get it right away but when it did strike it was a doozy.  I thought I was getting better, but then it struck again!  I only started feeling human the other day.  So what did I do?  Let's just say it seemed like I was trying to consume all the yummy goodness I had been unable to stomach for a week, but all in one day!  So tonight I missed going out for a New Year's Eve party because of more nasty stomach issues (the opposite of before).  As I tried to describe it to my husband, it felt like I was trying to pass a reindeer - antlers first!

5. Complain Less.
Another toughie.  Complaining is kind of fun actually.  And useful sometimes too.  But nobody wants to hear it.  So I will just try to remain positive about it.  Hmmm... just complain for positive reasons?  How about entertainment purposes?  That should be allowable!

6. Frown Less.
Yes!  Because who wants frown lines? Really!  That is something I could complain about!  But I will not....

And I must add my own to this list:

7.  Sing more!  (Try and stop me!)
8.  Write more.  (Not making any promises...)
9.  Move more. (And now I must get up from this computer chair and do something more     productive...)
10. Appreciate more. (Thank you dear readers.  I hope you have a fabulous new year!)

Happy New Year 2015!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Herding cats!

Why is it that I find the background of this picture so fascinating?

Well, of course I love the main part of the picture!  It's a SELFIE by none other than Richard-freaking-Armitage!!

But those cats on the wall in the background?  I can't help thinking....  Is it a hidden message?
Is he playing cat and mouse with us?  That ginger cat folk art painting looks very familiar to me.  Does it have any other significance?  Could it be sort of a visual apologia to all us cat-loving RA fans for his infamous dog preferential statement? Does he even look remorseful?

Let's look at those background items more closely...

#1 is very familiar, in fact I thought I once had this same picture as a ceramic tile that I used as a trivet until it broke.  But after searching google images for quite some time I have not been able to find out anything about it.  But I did find a picture of my old trivet (and it wasn't the same at all!).  If anyone has any information about this cat painting - I would be very interested!

I did however, find plenty of other very interesting pictures of orange tabby cats. My favourites were the ones inserted into famous paintings over at Fatcatart blog -- especially (because of my fondness for Monet paintings) this one:

#2 appears to be a Felix the Cat clock.

Here is a still from the animated film Felix the Cat in Hollywood (1923)

#3 (The Hidden picture) is the real problem.
Luckily, I was able to find this picture of the same room where the picture is visible.
Note the Felix the Cat clock has moved.  In this picture it is just over the girl's shoulder. 
The little figurine between the cat painting and the now visible blue matted photo looks like a cat playing a musical instrument.
From Soundtrack's' Facebook Page

The photo of the figurine is very blurry but it does appear to be a cat playing a bass violin, or could it be -- a cello?  Hmmm... Curious and curiouser...RA fans know that Richard has been known to play the cello.

The above photo on the right is more of a mystery. It appears to be a handsome man playing an instrument which I have come to believe is called a Vibraphone.  My first impression of the blurry picture was that it was of Elvis (the King) but since my research didn't turn up any evidence that Elvis ever played a vibraphone, I had to look for other options. The best looking vibraphone player I could find was this man Tito Puente, otherwise known as the Mambo King.
Even though RA is also known by his Hobbit film character's nickname of the King Under the Mountain, I knew I was grasping at straws here...  I really didn't think his hairline looked correct, and besides where was the cat reference?!!  I was going to go with the fact that Jazz musicians are also known as Hepcats... but I wasn't fooling myself.  So I kept looking for another good looking vibraphone player.

Finally I came up with this man, Terry Gibbs.

His hairline looked spot on, and when I researched his music 
this album fairly sprang up and dug its claws into me!

There's that orange cat again!
Even more strange... this album was released the year I was born (1961). 
I have no idea what all this means but it seems that somebody around here must be some crazy cat!

Before you give up on me have a listen to the cool vibes of
 Terry Gibbs and Buddy DeFranco playing 

That orange kitty has found someone to love!
Manip from Richard Armitage with Cats Tumblr

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


I first heard Lynn Miles perform at a local music festival this summer.  I completely feel in love with her talents and was amazed that I had never heard of her before.  Apparently she has been writing and recording songs for over 25 years!

I always buy some CDs from new performers every year when I attend the festival, but over the years as my festival collection has grown I have become more picky in my selections.  This year, as soon as I heard her, I had to have her CDs.  One song in particular, stuck with me and my husband both.  It was a beautiful, but mournful song called "Black Flowers".  It spoke to us particularly because we are from a mining town and it is about a woman grieving her husband who has been killed in a mining accident.

Even though I loved this song at the first listen, it didn't really hit home to me until the night my mother died.  It was just a couple of days ago, but already it seems so long ago.  I stumbled home late Saturday night after leaving her death bed, feeling stunned, feeling somehow numb, actually not feeling -- at least not what I thought I should be feeling.  Then the words to Black Flowers started to echo in my head and I needed to play that song.  So I lay in bed with my iPad playing the song over and over because it made me cry and I needed to cry.

I have never before understood the ancient practice of using professional mourners, usually female who would participate in funeral rites by loud expressions of grief, sometimes even of a musical nature.  I have always found it easy to cry for others, but somehow not for myself.  My father passed away 12 years ago at the age of 90 and now my mother reached the end of her life at 97.  I feel their loss, but it is not a painful one.  Perhaps if I did not believe that they went to a better place I would be more upset.

Lynn Miles' voice is tender and achingly sad. The song reaches a keening climax that is breathtaking. I am in awe and I am grateful for her gift of song which is my grief therapy.