Monday, July 30, 2012

It's your move

My Dad taught me how to play chess.  I'm not sure how or when he learned how to play, but we did have a copy of Bobby Fischer's book which he referred to quite often.  So I am thinking that the chess craze begun by Fischer's popularity as a chess god in the 1970s probably led to his renewed interest.

Not long ago I noticed this documentary on Netflix and I was immediately interested.

It didn't disappoint.  I was riveted from beginning to end, watching how this genius of logic and strategy became the most celebrated chess player on the globe for a brief shining moment and then self-destructed like a time bomb.  This biopic is a personality study of Fischer's mind over the matter of his behavior.  It not only answers the question I had - whatever happened to Bobby Fischer?, but it puts his story directly in the context of the historical times and what real impact that had on his life.

Not long after viewing that documentary I came across this subtitled French film on Netfix called Queen to Play, and it was completely charming!  It's about a quiet, unassuming woman (beautifully played by Sandrine Bonnaire) working as a maid in a picturesque village who witnesses a sensual couple enjoying a chess game and decides she wants to learn to play.  When her husband shows no interest in playing, she finds a tutor (played by Kevin Kline) and soon develops into a very skillful player.  Her talent for chess gives her the confidence to improve herself in other ways which has repercussions for her whole family.

This next screencap is from the movie Cairo Time which I just watched the other day on Netflix.  It is such a beautiful film, I am going to have to give it some more blog love soon.  It doesn't really have anything to do with chess, other than the male lead, played by the excellent Alexander Siddig likes to play the game in his coffeehouse.
It would be difficult to concentrate while playing such a romantically handsome man.

The movie Two Weeks Notice features an amusing conversation about women between Hugh Grant's character and his chauffeur while playing chess. As I was unable to embed it, you can watch the clip Here.

Dorian Missick as Tony the chauffeur explains his theory

While it had never occurred to me to play this next particular variation of the game, I will admit it could make things very interesting with the right partner. This just might qualify as one of the most awkwardly uncomfortable scenes ever (for good reason).

Two Weeks Notice (2002)

This next scene has got to be the sexiest chess game on film!

Scene from original movie The Thomas Crowne Affair (1968)
with Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway

The scene following this one is even hotter. You can click on it at the end of this video if you dare!

I am pretty sure this next scene is why so many young students at our elementary school became interested in this ancient game.

The Harry Potter gang plays chess.

I love the '70s Rock group Kansas but I wasn't aware of this song until Cassia deWarren posted it on Facebook:
Play the Game Tonight / Kansas

Well, I had no idea that this next song was from a concept album which lead to the 1986 musical by Tim Rice and the male members of ABBA aptly entitled Chess . I kind of lost touch with the music scene sometime after Boy George and The Culture Club appeared on the scene. I remember hearing this song but as this was the year my first child was born I was much more immersed in baby culture than anything else!
One Night in Bangkok / Murray Head (1986)

The Arbiter is another song from this musical.  How nice that potomusicfan4ever made a fanvid which highlights the Sheriff of Nottingham from the BBC's Robin Hood.  Of course you will also see Robin Hood, Marian and my personal favourite - Guy of Gisborne!

Yes, that wicked Sheriff of Nottingham played poor Guy of Gisborne like a pawn.

But what a wonderful pawn he was!

Awhile ago, when I was still researching this post, Judiang's blog, Confessions of a Watcher had a "Surreal Saturday" post on chess with an interesting video by a fun vidder she got me hooked on, by the name of DeStorm.  If you haven't already read it, her post is definitely worth checking out.  We bloggers definitely have a lot more in common than just a certain actor with the initials RA.
There is no end to styles of chess pieces and boards, but this is one I would love to own!

Chess pieces modeled after the Robin Hood legend
When I began writing this post this next item was news.  Although I may be repeating some information previously published in others' blog posts, I would be remiss in not mentioning this exciting book!
This debut historical fiction is by Australian fantasy author Prue Batten.
Prue Batten of Mesmered's Blog has a new book about GoG which has been released in Ebook format and is almost ready for paperback publication. The title is Gisborne: Book of Pawns. It is a total departure from canon as there is no Sheriff of Nottingham, Robin Hood or Maid Marian!  I enjoyed this portrayal of Guy of Gisborne which follows closely what fans of Richard Armitage have come to believe as his true character.
It's been available as an e-book since the first week of March 2012 when I downloaded it from Chapters/Indigo for my Kobo Ereader, it is also available as a Kindle Ebook from  I can't wait until it is released in book format.

Here is a review by Maria Grazia of Fly High!

I also am eagerly awaiting a sequel! Have you seen any of these movies?  Do you play chess?   Have you read Prue's book yet?

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Eye Wonder

There has been so much to see and hear since Richard Armitage appeared at Comic-Con in San Diego, California with director Peter Jackson and fellow castmates Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis, and Elijiah Wood.

I have not had access to my computer lately in order to make any postings about what's been going on, as I have been entertaining visiting family at my home away from home at the lake.  Luckily I have been able to keep up to date with my Iphone, or I would be really out of it!  While I have been ogling the latest pictures and becoming more dismayed about the fur flying in the fandom, I have tried to make a few comments on the various blogs out there.  If I missed yours, I'm sorry, I did try a few times on several blogs and for whatever reason I wasn't able to get my comment through.  

What I noticed right away about Comic-Con was the rather "eye catching" logo.  It reminded me of something.  Can you guess what it was?  It shouldn't be hard if you are a frequent visitor to this blog!  If not, I will give you a hint...

I am a eye-lover.  And lately the eyes that most transfix me belong to the British actor that I blather on about on this blog.  (I think we know to whom I am referring.)  Just in case you don't see the resemblance, I will provide the picture proof.  It was while I was watching Richard Armitage being interviewed while sitting in front of a mural of logos that I first noticed it...

Okay, not so much this picture.  But wait... there's more...

His eyes are pretty intense as Ricky Deeming in the George Gently series

Bill Chatford has the evil eye in Malice Aforethought.

Philip Durrant has something to hide in Ordeal by Innocence

 In Moving On the charmer John Mulligan shows his true self as his mask slips off in the last scene.

 Ian Macalwain is too serious for his own good in Ultimate Force

 Not convinced yet?  I have much more examples!

Percy Courtney is a bad egg in Miss Marie Lloyd

Heinz Kruger is a Nazi spy in Captain America

Lucas North loses direction in Spooks / MI-5 series 9

Guy of Gisborne is a baddie in guyliner in Robin Hood

Let us not forget the champion brooder John Thornton in North and South

John Porter is tough as nails in Strike Back

Thorin Oakenshield is burning for revenge in The Hobbit

I was unable to discover the background history to the Comic-Con logo, such as who created it andn when and especially whose eye it represents?  If anyone out there knows, I would be interested in finding out.  In the meantime, if you agree that the eye looks like it belongs to one of these chaRActers, please vote in the following poll.

UPDATE: (next day)
Sorry for the frustration, but it appears that the following poll from Polldaddy is not working properly.  If you are able to vote please do, but if not, I hope you won't mind leaving your choice in a comment.  If I ever get it working properly I will try to update the poll. 
(If I can! Any advice would be appreciated.)

UPDATE to the previous update...
If you can change your browser to IE (Internet Explorer) the poll works in that one (but not Firefox or Google Chrome) - Go figure!

Monday, July 16, 2012

My second dReAm

Last night I had my second dream about Richard Armitage.  It was a bit more focused than the tiny scene in my previous dream, and probably influenced by some of the unrest in the fandom lately as well as some feelings of paranoia from my recent reading of The Hunger Games series.

Sarah Smart played Carol
RA looked like Spooks8 Lucas
In my dream, I wasn't myself (at least I didn't look like myself - I believe I may have looked somewhat like Carol in Sparkhouse, [wishful thinking indeed!]).  I don't remember how it came to be, but I seemed to be showing Richard around the capital city of my country, Ottawa, Ontario Canada.  (This is quite odd as I live very far away and have only visited there twice in my life!).  Anyway, I remember we were at a scenic spot and I was pointing out the Parliament buildings, which he seemed interested in visiting.  

As he was talking, I suddenly realized he wasn't using his normal speaking voice, with his mellifluous British accent, but I suppose was trying out a North American accent.  I noticed finally when he started to slip up and his natural voice kept slipping through.   I said something encouraging like, 'don't worry you are doing really great,' but he became very embarrassed and decided to hurry back to his hotel.  I followed along trying to find out what was wrong and hoping to help.  When we arrived at the hotel, suddenly it wasn't a hotel anymore but something like a Rest Home, which was filled with little old ladies who were treating him very carefully and making a point of keeping me from him in a rather aggressive way.

I awoke feeling quite sad, disappointed and confused.   I would be interested in anyone's thoughts as to what this dream means.  I could guess myself, but I'd rather hear other people's ideas.

Here is a lovely video by FedoraLady, just to make me feel better.

Dreamer: Richard Armitage / by Fedoralady

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Spooks comic

It's Alternate Reality time again folks!  This time I'm trying to rewrite a bit of Spooks.  Hey! It couldn't hurt!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

What floats your boat?

Several of my friends are now the proud owners of a pontoon boat, and I have luckily been invited to spend a lovely day of fishing on one for Canada Day.  The forecast is for sunny skies and 28 degrees Celsius (or about 82 degrees Fahrenheit for the non metric types), which is just about perfect!  I am not very good at fishing, but I will enjoy being out on the lake in the company of very enjoyable friends!

I must admit to a small case of boat envy!  Even though we have lived so close to so many lakes forever, we only finally bought a small skiff a couple of years ago.  It's good enough to take a couple of people fishing but the motor is not powerful enough for waterskiing.  Plus we bought it second hand from a fishing camp so it is really nothing to look at! 

Oh well, maybe some day we'll be able to keep up with the Jones's and buy a party boat!  But if I'm going to dream, I hope it comes with a captain who just might look something like this....

Graphic art by my dear anonymous friend!