Monday, July 18, 2011

Good morning!

I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world.  This makes it hard to plan the day. 
~Elwyn Brooks White

Do you find it hard to get up in the morning?  I certainly do!  Perhaps (in my case) it might be because I stay up too late blogging and such!  But if I wasn't doing this, there would be something else that would captivate me past a normal bedtime hour.  I remember when cross-stitching was my obsession of choice.  I would tell myself, 'I will just finish this colour, then I'll go to bed.'  But after I finished that colour I would see another even more lovely colour that I just had to finish!  I also used to stay up very late when I was into cake decorating, for myself and others.  So I can't blame this latest obsession for my refusal to go to bed at a decent time.  It's just something I do!

But mornings are truly a beautiful time of day.  If I could live without sleep I would spend more time admiring the morning light.  So here is my musical tribute to morning, along with some purely gratuitous pictures of Richard Armitage.  That will surely wake up my senses!

Morning Mood / Grieg

As John Porter in Strike Back

I seem to do my best napping after I press my snooze button. 
But nevermind me ... look at how the morning light shines on his gorgeous face!

Cherokee Morning Song

We need some faster music to get us going!

59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy) / Simon and Garfunkle

As Claude Monet in The Impressionists arising to capture the morning light on canvas.

That's better!  Now we're finally ready to get out of bed.

Good morning Starshine / Oliver

Are you alert yet?  Perhaps some coffee might help? 
As Lucas North aka John Bateman in Spooks /MI-5

How about in your own special mug?
Lots more stuff like this here.

This is sure to wake you up!

Goodmorning from The Beatles

The following Canadian band is the one that Howard Shore used to belong to in the 1970s.  Please see Calexora's interesting post where she actually met him at the Governor General's Awards Ceremony.  I have been a big fan of this band since before I ever heard of Mr. Shore.  But now that I know he is scoring The Hobbit, it makes me even more interested!

 One Fine Morning  / Lighthouse

And in case the music is not enough to wake you up, how about some more coffee?

As Faboamanto tells us, Coffee Fixes Everything 
(especially when we can look at pictures of Richard Armitage drinking it!)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Add glasses and stir...

... my heart, that is!

Sometimes we fans like to wonder, what the real Richard Armitage is really like.  Could he possibly be a geek?  This could be a problem for some (not that it really matters since most of us have a snowball's chance in hell of actually meeting him)!  But for me, his perceived geekiness (if that is a word) would not be a turn off at all!  The opposite would in fact, be true!

An article from The Times Online (April 13, 2005) hints at his geekiness. Richard says of his childhood,“I was quite solitary. I would be up in my room reading books so I developed a vivid imagination.”   Hey! That's just what I was doing too! Is it any wonder I feel an affinity to him?

This article from the UK online journal The Telegraph says that women actually find intelligent men very sexy.  That's not really a surprise is it? Even Marilyn Monroe was noted for preferring men of notable intellect. Before being romantically linked with the Kennedy brothers she was married to playwright Arthur Miller.

Here is a Canadian singer who likes smart and funny men.
(She's pretty funny herself!)

Intellectual Boys / Coco Love Alcorn

And now for our mutual delight, here are some pictures of some of my previous celebrity crushes sporting spectacles.

I know I'm dating myself, but I was at an impressionable age when The Waltons graced the Sunday night TV schedule. I fell hard for this character, the sweet, good-hearted big brother and soon-to-be writer.
Richard Thomas as John-Boy Walton

Yeah, I know he looked better sans glasses and wearing the big hat, but look at the stubble, hmmm? And hey! Aren't those John-Boy's glasses?
Harrison Ford as Prof. Indiana Jones

Okay, not so much this guy. As far as Elvises go, I actually prefer Elvis Stojko!
Elvis Costello as himself!
But Diana Krall obviously thinks he's cute!

Elvis with wife Diana Krall

Dr. Who anyone?  This guy has a HUGE fan club!

David Tennant

I have to admit, I am rather fond of this guy.
And his glasses are pretty cool too!
Patrick Dempsey

Lookin' good!
Robert Downey, Jr.

Brooding expression -- check!  Open shirt collar -- check!
Colin Firth in A Single Man

Okay now, there should be no argument here!
Even the Vicar of Dibley is hot for this guy!
Johnny Depp

Now here's what I'm talking about! 

Richard Armitage as villain Heinz Kruger in Captain America
Richard Armitage in Spooks/MI-5 Episode 8.6

Oh yeah!
He's number one with me and The Vicar.
Richard Armitage in The Vicar of Dibley

Geek or Nerd?
The definitive answer!
Diagram is from the blog Great White Snark

I am grateful to see this discussion laid out so nicely in a diagram.   My opinion was basically the same as this person's but I never could have explained it so precisely. So now I can see that I am in fact a geek! However, that puts me in company with any fan who is obsessing over Richard Armitage -- we are all Geeks! :)  So, no wonder we all like him, since perhaps he is too?  I submit that his obsession is his talent for immersing himself in whatever role he is currently playing. Because that is in fact, exactly what started me noticing him in the first place! (Besides his looks, I mean... and his charm, and humble sweetness... but I digress!)

This online magazine proudly calls itself Nerd Reactor and as it specializes in "Geek Culture news". Well, lookee here -- it's an article about Richard Armitage in The Hobbit!  Pardon me while I "geek out" about this for a minute! (Squee!)  There... I'm back!  It's just so nice to see other people (besides us obsessed bloggers) writing about him.  And yes, I realize that article is old news now.  I've been obsessing over this post for so long, but now I just have to get it out there!

But, I'm not through just yet...

How about Sunglasses? 

Yeah, this guy has been a fave for many years now!  
Just couldn't leave him out!
Robert Redford

Who else looks good in shades?  
Oh, probably lots of guys.  But this post is getting too long -- even I'm getting bored!  
Let's get to the real point shall we?  

Richard Armitage in Strike Back
Ah! That's better!

I love the quality of the light in these shots!


Latest picture of Richard wearing cool sunglasses at the July 19th
LA Premiere of Captain America
Check out this post about his sunglasses at Jonia's Cut blog 
photo courtesy of Richard Armitage Net (dot) com

Sunglasses are definitely more cool than regular specs.
But wearing them at night?  Sounds kind of dorky to me! :)

Sunglasses at Night / Corey Hart

Don't miss the Literal version of this video. It's pretty good for a laugh! ;)

Here is another Canadian singer listing what she wants in a lover.  I'm pretty sure the person she is describing would be pretty geeky (somewhat like herself). 

 21 Things I Want in a Lover / Alanis Morissette

Some of these qualities do remind me of Richard Armitage.
Could she be a secret fan?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Flies in the face of reality

I love where I live, especially in the summer!  But there is one undeniable cross we have to bear in order to enjoy summers in Canada's abundant forest lands.  I hate to even admit it, but here goes...THE BUGS!!  They are such a holy terror!  Some years it is not as bad, usually the black flies are not so bothersome if you don't go too far away from the water into the thick bush.  But the mosquitoes will come out at dawn and sunset and sometimes even between those times.  Early summer has the "no-see-ums"  (because you really can't see them -- they can even get through the wider mesh screens!) also called sand flies. These have been particularly bad this year.  Then just when you think it's safe by the water, along come the horse flies (or deer flies as we call them where I live).  They just love their meat slightly damp and their bites hurt like the dickens! 

The Black Fly Song / by Wade Hemsworth (animation by the National Film Board of Canada)

All this talk about flies reminds me of that frightening sci-fi movie The Fly directed by David Cronenberg starring the always exceptional Jeff Goldblum.  It's about a science experiment gone wrong where Goldblum's genes get mixed up with those of a housefly when it inadvertently enters his teleportation machine during a test run.
This shot where Goldblum is starting to notice his gradual transformation is one of the less disgusting pictures I could have shown you.  Of course this was a remake of the original movie starring horror movie great Vincent Price.  The original version is a classic, but only true film buffs would really enjoy it. Modern audiences are used to much better special effects than were available when it was made in 1958.  
Cronenberg's version is a compelling story, which is well acted and riveting from beginning to end.  The special effects (those of Goldblum's transformation from human to fly/human) are very believable.  Perhaps too much so, for those without a strong stomach!

actor Sharlto Copley in District 9
Recently, my son introduced me to a newer film with a "bug" theme.  It was not a film I would have chosen otherwise, but I'll watch almost anything with company.  I found District 9 to be a very disturbing but insightful vision of the way human society treats those who are different from themselves.   The story is that an alien spaceship was stranded right above the city of Johannesburg, South Africa and the rescued aliens (bug-like creatures called "Prawns") were collected in a cordoned off area of the city.  The treatment of the Prawns reminds us of apartheid which is still a very recent memory and also the Warsaw Ghetto during WWII.  Eventually, as the population of aliens has grown over time, the company that manages them (like prison guards) decides the population must be moved.  The leader of this group, is a very unlikeable person and we cannot admire how he treats the Prawns. His character changes radically, when he is infected by a fluid the aliens have been developing to fix their spaceship.  This infection begins to change him from a human into a Prawn.  Once again, the special effects are very good (and gross!), but the real star of this movie is the story itself.  It leaves much to think about long after the film is over.
Trivia tidbits:
1. Fans of The Hobbit will be interested to know that in Cronenberg's The Fly (1986) -- the musical score was composed by Howard Shore who also composed music for Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings and is now working on the music for The Hobbit.
2. Peter Jackson was the producer for the movie District 9 (2009).

I shouldn't say I hate all flies. There are a few types that have the Phylly's Faves stamp of approval.  I love Dragonflies, for instance.  Indeed, they seem to like me too.  I'll never forget one time I was fishing on the lake and a dragonfly zoomed in front of my face and hovered there for several seconds.  We stared at each other in startled surprise, me at it's bug eyes and who knows what so fascinated it about me.  I finally brushed it away, but it came back to hover again just millimeters from my nose to the hilarity of my boat mates!  Perhaps we knew each other in a past life?  Heaven knows!  But since then I've felt more spiritually connected to these insectile creatures.  Then there was the summer (not long ago) when very few bugs were around.  We sat on the deck after a long leisurely supper, savouring a glass of wine and awaiting a glorious sunset.  When it occurred to me that at this time of day, we would usually be inundated with hordes of flying, biting nuisances and we were not, I took a look around and noticed instead there were quite a few dragonflies buzzing past the deck.  Then I stood up and there in the grass, as far as I could see, were legions of dragonflies, awaiting the signal for takeoff or perhaps dozing, their fairy wings twinkling in the rays of the late afternoon sun.  It was simply magical!  It was a summer to remember -- the summer of the dragonflies!

Here is another summer insect that doesn't "bug" me
Fireflies / by Owlcity

Here is Rick Ocasek of The Cars being a bug in the music video for their song "You Might Think".

Other than that one scene this video isn't really about insects, but the singer's stalkerish behavior in this video is more than merely annoying.  However, at the time it was made, this was just a light-hearted musical romp!

You Might Think / The Cars

I can only hope that Richard Armitage's army of fans don't start to "bug" him.  A fellow blogger Bccmee brilliantly captured this sound byte from his movie Frozen, I really hope he doesn't want to say this to us:
Get a life audio only by bccmee
What a nice way of saying -- BUG OFF!

I would hope that his fans would be more like dragonflies to keep the real pests at bay, or fireflies who might shed light in the darkest night.  But perhaps I am a real pest for showing you one last image.  Because I do like heros and also dragonflies and Mr. Armitage, this can't help but appeal to me!

Friday, July 1, 2011

My Canada

Canada Flag Cake (see recipe here)
July 1st in Canada is a day for most Canadians to celebrate the birth of our country.  If you are lucky enough to have the day off, it's a time of street parties, barbeques, festivals, music, swimming or boating, and usually a few bottles of beer if you like that sort of thing.  Beer and Fireworks, not really a good combination actually!

Here is Ian & Sylvia Tyson singing Un Canadien Errant.  This French Canadian song was written from the point of view of a french canadian farmer living in exile in the United States because of the 1837 Rebellion.  He watches a river which flows to his homeland and imagines it greeting his friends back home.  This song is so sad and heartfelt that even before I knew the meaning of the  words, it could bring me to tears.

I picked this version of the song for one reason because Ian and Sylvia are icons of Canadian music (and I do like their sound very much), and for another because I think it is great that musical artists whose roots are from the Prairies can relate to a song from Quebec.  It shows how much this song means to all Canadians --especially those who may be away from home.

Unfortunately July 1st doesn't evoke a happy celebration in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.  This day is an official day of mourning for the sad losses of the Newfoundland Regiment during the First World War.  At that time, Newfoundland had not yet joined the Dominion of Canada and was still a colony of Great Britain. One of the bloodiest battles of The Somme was the Battle of Beaumont Hammel, which was fought on July 1st, 1916.  The Newfoundland Regiment was all but wiped out. "Of the 780 men who went forward only about 110 survived unscathed, of whom only sixty eight were available for roll call the following day." (Veteran Affairs Canada)

Newfoundland and Labrador joined the Dominion of Canada on March 31st, 1949.

Luckily Newfoundlanders are the best partyers in all of Canada.  So we can forgive them if they need to take a day off now and then! ;)  Seriously I love Newfoundlanders!  I am proud to say that I have even kissed the cod so I have been made an honourary Newfoundlander.

Canada Is / Roger Whittaker
My friend Teena reminded me of this song.  I do love Roger Whittaker and this video shows quite a lot of Canadian scenery.  My husband and I and our children have travelled to every province in the country (all except for the Territories).

One of my favourite things to do in the summer is to visit a music festival. I have been to the Winnipeg Folk Festival twice and enjoyed it very much.  But now that there are some festivals a bit closer to home, I enjoy the smaller crowds in my own neck of the woods.

Murray McLauchlan with The McGarrigle Sisters singing Wade Hemsworth's The Shining Birch Tree at the Winnipeg Folk Festival (1992).  Can you get more Canadian than that?

A Molson Canadian beer commercial that plays with almost every Canadian stereotype there is!

Just in case you forgot (like it or not) that Canada is still a Constitutional Monarchy....
Here are the young Royals who are visiting Canada right now!
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are greeted by Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird upon their arrival in Ottawa on Thursday, June 30, 2011. (Frank Gunn / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
John Baird is Foreign Affairs Minister? Seriously? (Sorry, no political ranting today...but really!?)  Even William seems surprised!

And in the "If wishes could come true" department.... here is my favourite actor dressed as a Mountie for Canada Day.  (Thanks to my graphically talented "friend who shall not be named"!)

Hot damn! He looks good in red. :)

Happy Canada Day, eh?