Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Put on a Sweater / Jumper

Let's ogle Harry Kennedy in his stripey sweater!
February 17 is National Sweater Day in Canada and wherever else -- if you'd like to participate.  The idea is to turn down your thermostat by 3 degrees and put on a warm, funky sweater. It's a fun way to show your support for the environment by reducing energy use.  Sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) whose ultimate goal is to build a future where people live in harmony with nature.

 In honour of this day I'd like to take the opportunity to admire some sweater-wearing men. There is even a Facebook page called Stripey Sweaters with some awesome pictures of swoonworthy men in sweaters.

If you are in the British Isles you probably refer to these clothing items as "jumpers".  I thought that was a funny thing to call them until I thought about the word "sweater".  It is rather crude sounding isn't it? After all, until the latter part of the twentieth century women were not even supposed to "sweat".  My mother always said that women don't sweat, they glow! Does that mean we are radioactive?  Perhaps some athletic types might actually perspire but sweat? -- Never! And now here is actual scientific proof confirming my mother's old adage, which goes to show how mother's are always right!  Study: Men better than women at sweating during exercise

Colin Firth in a reindeer jumper (Bridget Jones' Diary)
Jumper ‘sweater’ (19th c.), incidentally, appears to have no etymological connection with jump. It was probably derived from an earlier dialectal jump or jup, which denoted a short coat for men or a sort of woman’s underbodice. This in turn was borrowed from French juppe, a variant of jupe ‘skirt’, whose ultimate source was Arabic jubbah, the name of a sort of loose outer garment. (quote from )

Martin Freeman as Watson wearing an Aran sweater
I could go into great detail about the different types of sweaters, (of which the Aran is one of my favourites, or the Fair Isle, which was very popular in the 1980s -- I even almost knitted one!), but as time is of the essence I will just say this... Regarding the difference between the words sweater and jumper -- here is what I have gathered in far too much time trolling the net:
Ben Barnes in a hoodie

A sweater is a term which describes many different types of knitted, long sleeved garments, intended to clothe the upperbody. Originally it was made of wool, but nowadays can be made out of many different types of knitted material.( ie. the hockey sweater which used to be wool, and now is also called a jersey.)
A jumper is a type of sweater which could also be called a pullover as it has no front opening so it can only be donned by pulling it over one's head. Fleece sweatshirts are also called jumpers in the UK.
Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

Avalon--This one's for you!

I almost forgot about this fabulous fanvid!

Fuzzy / by immadeofatoms

And now, I must stop -- because my brain is sweating from looking at pictures of  
Richard Armitage in a sweater!

As Phillip Durrant (wearing a cardigan) in Ordeal by Innocence (Richard Armitage Central Gallery)
Yes Ma -- I'm Sweating!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine Hearts are red not blue

By Infamous Hussy at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons
Valentine's Day shouldn't be something to shy away from. It's too bad that the focus is always on romantic love. There are so many kinds of love -- romantic love is only a small part of the picture. (Although it gets all the attention.) What about the love of a parent for a child, (and vice versa) or the love of a friend, or the love of mankind? We all share those kinds of love, even if we have never experienced romantic love. In fact, romantic love is so built up in our society, that we have unrealistic expectations about it.
So if the object of our desire doesn't measure up to some perfect ideal that Hollywood has convinced us we must have, or if the person isn't exactly like ourselves or isn't completely flawless, we might think they are not worthy of our time, let alone our affection.

Here are a few examples of different types of love.

In Despicable Me,  a cartoon from Universal studios, the main character is a super villain, full of evil plans to take over the world. His plan to steal a secret weapon using three adorable cookie selling orphan girls goes awry when his cold heart starts to thaw.  I love this scene where the villain (voiced by Steve Carrell) actually turns somewhat heroic in order to win a new unicorn for the youngest orphan after he had destroyed her favourite toy.

Despicable Me (2010)

Now if that's not love....LOL!

I have to admit that I will watch absolutely any movie with Dustin Hoffman in it. He hasn't disappointed me yet. In Rain Man, he plays an autistic man who has been institutionalized for most of his life.  Then his father dies and his brother, played by Tom Cruise discovers a brother he didn't know he had.  

Rain Man (1988)
This depiction of brotherly love takes quite awhile to develop as Raymond, (Hoffman's character) is quite difficult to manage, especially on this road trip. Charlie (played by Cruise) is very impatient and manipulative at first, but soon discovers, he can be patient and loving as well. Raymond also changes and it is heartwarming to watch these two very different brothers forge a loving relationship.

Now this movie is so UN-romantic it is a bit hard to take seriously at first.  This guy seems like the last type of person a woman would want to be in a relationship with, let alone father her child!  However, Seth Rogen gives us a perfect example of a guy who is much better than he seems.  Rather than try to review the movie myself, here is an excellent review on another blog.  Read review here.
Knocked Up (2007)
A very funny coming-of-age movie in the better-late-than-never department.

Love of self can be thought of as a selfish act, afterall, in our society there are far too many selfish individuals.  However, most women I know, who are in service-type careers, or are mothers or thoughtful daughters, sisters or friends often give willingly of themselves for others and find little time to do things just for themselves.
 A wise person knows that you need to take care of yourself first before you can be any use to others. So I was very proud of one of my sisters who, rather than bemoaning the fact that she was alone on her birthday, took herself out to a very nice restaurant, had a very nice meal with a glass of wine, and even had flowers delivered to her table! Rather than think (as some might) that it was a pathetic thing -- I think it was very positive and life affirming!  I was very proud of her!

Here are some of my favourite songs (with a love theme).

What About Love? / Heart
Ann Wilson (Heart) is a rock diva with a voice to rival the best male rockers. This video has the lyrics included so you can sing along with this power ballad from the 1980s.

This song could be one of my theme songs, as I am not very good at hiding my feelings. It is not such a bad thing to wear your heart on your sleeve! :)

I Can't Keep It In / Cat Stevens

This song is probably the most romantic of all my choices. It is also kind of sad as it deals with a love so strong that it transcends death.  But it is so soothing and entrancing that I totally love it!

Soul Meets Body / Death Cab for Cutie

Well, really Love IS all we need.  I can't get tired of this song!

All You Need is Love / The Beatles

Here is my Valentine to all you admirers of a certain bearded actor who is now in dwarf training in New Zealand!

Happy Valentines's Day

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Moorland Cottage?... on a walk to Hilltop Farm

Thanks to the Gaskell Blog which is hosting the Group Read of Moorland Cottage, I ordered a copy of Elizabeth Gaskell's short novel and am presently enjoying a visit to the countryside in Victorian England.
 The first chapter paints us a picture that reminded me very much of my trip to England's Lake District last July. According to the Gaskell blog Elizabeth Gaskell wrote this work while staying near Lake Windermere, so it is no wonder that my memories of the area kept popping up while I read her lyrical descriptions.

Most comfortable shoes ever!
 I did a lot more walking than I was used to when I was visiting England.  I had hoped to do so and thankfully had brought some comfortable walking shoes, but little did I know how grateful for them I would be.  
While staying at Lake Windermere I had expected to catch a bus to Hilltop Farm, but when I discovered I would have to wait at least an hour for the bus, I decided to walk. Uphill. For over an hour.

That may not sound like much to you heel-toe speedsters, you marathon trainers, you healthy go-getters, but to a couch potato who's bottom is usually firmly ensconced in front  of a television or computer, this little jaunt was an event of gargantuan proportions. Thankfully, we were fully able to appreciate  the beauty along the way due to the frequent rest stops. *Gasp!*
I didn't need to worry that my husband was being held up by my lack of physical fitness. He was suffering from a knee injury and wearing a knee brace to keep the swelling down, so he was even more eager to pause than I was.

 Here are Elizabeth Gaskell's directions to Moorland Cottage:

If you take the turn to the left, after you pass the lyke-gate at Combehurst Church, you will come to the wooden bridge over the brook
(Okay, so it's not a lyke-gate, but it's such a pretty picture! Can we pretend that there is a wooden bridge and a brook over there behind the hedge? hmmm?)

 Keep along the field-path which mounts higher and higher, and, in half a mile or so, you will be in a breezy upland field, almost large enough to be called a down, where sheep pasture on the short, fine, elastic turf.

  You look down on Combehurst and its beautiful church-spire.

(At least I think this was a church.) It doesn't have much of a spire though. I seem to remember it being more brown.  That is what inspired me to start singing "The Little Brown Church in the Vale". O come, come, come, come..... (Nevermind --- off on a tangent again!)

The path goes down a green abrupt descent; and in a basin, surrounded by the grassy hills, there stands a dwelling, which is neither cottage nor house, but something between the two in size. Nor yet is it a farm, though surrounded by living things.

Well, unfortunately I skipped a bit of her lovely description because I didn't have a corresponding picture. You can see a house in the distance behind the greenouse. This is my imaginary Moorland Cottage.
  At the time I took these pictures though, I was wondering if I were anywhere near Hilltop Farm (which was my ultimate destination).  I assumed it was at the top of a hill, (and I knew I was because the road sloped downhill after here) so it made sense that it must be very close.  When we stopped at the nearest pub and asked directions we discovered we had another 3 miles to go!!

I will be posting later about what we saw at Hilltop Farm, (and yes, it was worth the effort).  The only thing that would have made the walk even more worthwhile would be if I had seen a sight such as this:

He looks a bit surprised to see me!
photo courtesy of Richard Armitage Net
"Are you stalking me, Phylly?"
No! *Gasping* Honestly! It was a complete coincidence running into you like this!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Going Gaga for RA!

I guess I don't get out dancing much anymore, because until about a year and a half ago when I started watching fanvids for the first time, I had no idea about the pop sensation of  Lady Gaga! Then I saw Delicateblossom's Poker Face fanvid about Maid Marian and how she was playing Guy of Gisborne and I liked the video and song so much that I found myself googling Lady Gaga. I was a bit shocked I'll admit, by the overt  sexuality in her music videos, but I had to admire her style, her chutzpa, her clever lyrics, but mostly her vocal talent!

So I have once again gathered together some fanvids starring none other than my fave actor Richard Armitage (who else?!) this time set to Lady Gaga songs!

Poker Face / Delicateblossom

I really like this song, but especially the way it is used for this video. Maid Marian really does get very good at maintaining a "poker face".  She is playing the role of a lady who is "to the manor born", while secretly fighting injustice as "The Nightwatchman", aiding and abetting Robin Hood and his band of freedom fighters, and pretending to have a romantic relationship with Guy of Gisborne who is the enemy of her great love, Robin Hood.

Love Game / Princepessa55
Whew! Is it hot in here, or what? That driving rhythm and the suggestive lyrics mixed with pictures of you-know-who....well!  I just hope everyone here is over 18 (or just don't tell me!).

Alejandro / romana55
I wasn't crazy about this song (and I still don't really get it), but something about it just seems to work with Sarah Caulfield and Lucas North's relationship in series 8 of Spooks / M1-5. Maybe someone else can explain it to me?! :)
Annnnd....if this isn't seeing enough RA for you, here is a link to the Adult version of this video:

I Like it Rough / romana55

A homage to Guy of Gisborne in season 3 of Robin Hood.
Yes, the bad boy looks pretty rough all right, and yes! --I like it!

Beautiful Dirty Rich / Kitsunify

Well, we know who is beautiful here, and the Sheriff is definitely 'dirty rich'. This fun video shows the evil antics of the Sheriff and his erstwhile sidekick, the so-bad-he's-good Guy of Gisborne!

Telephone / mccpepper

Love this song! Lots of RA fans must agree because there are quite a few fanvids which use it. I thought this one best illustrates the lyrics of the song. It is a lot of fun to watch!

Have I missed any other good ones?  
Please let me know and I will update this selection.
Thanks very much to these talented vidders for sharing their work with us!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Heads Up!

If he could see his shadow he would want to paint it!
I've been especially sleepy lately. I would be quite happy to hibernate!  Over at Me + Richard Armitage blog, Servetus has a poll where we can vote for how we'd like to keep warm with our favourite RA character. If the choice had been there, I might have picked under the covers here with Monet!

Where I live I don't need a Groundhog to tell me that there will be six more weeks of winter. If there even was a groundhog in my neck of the woods, he would be very foolish to want to stick his head out of his nice warm hole in this climate.  There wasn't any blizzard raging outside, (it was a sunny day), but a wind straight out of the Arctic belied the thermometer's measure.

Here is a wonderful review of one of my favourite movies, that I would watch any time of the year but is especially relevant today.
Groundhog Day with Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell

So I hope wherever you are you can believe that spring is just around the corner.  We can look forward soon to some RA sightings if our friends from Downunder can help us out with that, please?  Right now in New Zealand the dwarves are just starting to come out of their Hobbit holes. :)

Happy Groundhog Day!
RA is more likely to meet up with a wombat than this critter!