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Some days I just feel like a dunderhead. Yesterday, I realized my ATM card was missing from my wallet. I just got my new one a few weeks ago, and I had had to go in and update my info at Amazon, iTunes and other places. I used it to pay some bills by phone. Where it is now, I haven’t a clue.

Now, I know the card is here in the house. Very likely in this bedroom which has sort of been Command Central for me since the Day that Dare Not Speak Its Name aka Angie’s Adventures in Ditch-Jumping in a Crown Victoria.

I can only sit up in a chair for limited periods of time without discomfort so I sit here on the bed to watch TV, read, use my laptop and the phone.
I have not left this house and my wallet has not left this room since I got the new card.
It should be here. It’s got to be here. And yet Benny and I spent the better part of a morning yesterday turning the room over trying to find said card.

Have I ever mentioned I have a lot of books? And magazines?
And stuff in general? Arrgggggh. And it’s been piling up worse than ever over the last few months.
I did as much as my back/tailbone would allow me to do. Judging by the pain and spasms that woke me after only three hours of sleep last night, it was too much.

And we never found the card in spite of all our efforts. We did fill up a garbage bag with stuff I didn’t want or need, however, so some good came of it.

I am holding out for a day or two before cancelling it, because I just know once I do, it will turn up. That is the kind of luck I have, ladies.

I was cussing myself out yesterday because there are days when I am so much the Absent-Minded Blogger it is maddening. It is not that I am empty-headed; quite the contrary. There seems to be too much going on up there some days. Call them Blonde Moments; call them Peri-Menopausal Moments. They simply happen much too often.

Is it a system overload? Could be. Might have something to do with averaging only three hours of sleep a night. Some people do just fine on that; I am not one of them.

Lucas, baby, I can truly empathize. And I am sure I don’t look nearly as fetching as you when I am struggling with insomnia.
Of course, it’s possible looking at you and your brethren– Portah, Guy, Thornton, Deeming, Mulligan and the rest—is keeping me awake.

And I can’t get you out of my head . . .

Absent-minded in Alabama or Insomnia strikes again.

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Not that I think Richard Armitage actually NEEDs any sprucing up, but it did pop into my email today and some of his characters have undergone transformations . . .

Spruce: (verb) to make neat or dapper (often followed by up); to make oneself spruce (usually followed by up).(adjective) Trim in dress or appearance; neat, smart, dapper.

Before his wedding to Carol, Yorkshire farmhand John Standring traded in his crop of unruly curls and coveralls for a haircut and a new suit. He looked very spruce.

Sprucing Up Armitage: TAE Word for the Day

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The unexpected pleasure of "Guy of Gisborne" smiling. Irresistible.

From an early RH interview for the Beeb. There's the necklace again. Love the way he tilts his head and the sweetness in his smile.

My gosh, but doesn't he look baby-faced and sweet here? And there's another necklace for you, Judit. It's hard for me to believe this is the same guy who played the sometimes stern and temperamental Thornton.

Our shy boy's reaction when John Rhys-Davies informs the cast women all over the world will be chasing the dwarfs once the movie hits the screen. Judging by my own reaction to what i have seen of Thorin, RA better start getting ready NOW for the onslaught.

Wow! I go away for a lo-o-o-ng winter’s nap and see thing have been busy (oh, tell the truth, fedoralady. Once you finally succumbed to Morpheus, it might have taken an orchestra on the doorstep playing the 1812 Overture to wake you).

More than 10,000 views since I began this blog late on the evening of February 2. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Obviously, I could not have done it without you all. Onward and upward!

And for you deserving ladies, more Armitage goodness. And for Laurie, the video she requested, “He’s So Shy.”
Don’t we just love it when he’s being his shy, sweet, modest self?
It’s as if we are all felines and he’s our catnip. We just can’t get enough (but that’s another video . . .)

10,034 and counting . . . and more Armitage yummmm.

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NY Ink tattoo artist/model Megan Massacre at work.

Lucas's many tattoos told the story of his time in a Russian prison and his own personal inspirations.

(Lucas North screencap–RANet; all others courtesy of TLC)

One thing I have never had any desire to do is get inked (as in tattooed). And yet I find myself fascinated with one of several reality shows which focus on tattoo artists and their clients. NY Ink is a spinoff of Miami Ink and focuses on the Wooster Street Social Club, a tattoo business in the Big Apple.

It’s not the lives and loves and families of the artists that intrigue me, although some of the personal stuff is interesting enough; it’s the work they produce. I admire and respect skilled artisans, craftsmen and artists working in their chosen field and I have to say, these guys (and girl) can create some pretty impressive works of art.

As Ami James, the owner of the business and an experienced tattoo artist, tells his friend and apprentice Billy, it takes lots of time and practice and paying of your dues to become top-notch in the profession. In other words, you’ve got to draw lots and lots of roses (the most popular image chosen for a tattoo, it seems) before you can tackle the intricate and more interesting portrait or script quote or some other subject.

Along with the artistry brought to the table by those who ink others for a living, it’s the client’s reasons for getting the tattoos that capture my interest. It may be to immortalize a lost friend or family member or beloved pet; an opportunity to mark a new chapter in their lives, or a way to promote their band, business or other enterprise as a sort of walking billboard. Some of the stories are quite touching; others funny or just plain odd.

What does all this have to do with RA? The character of Lucas North, of course, and his fascinating assortment of Russian prison tats, which led me to first do tattoo research. But it’s also about acknowledging talented people investing the time and effort and dedication to pursue their dreams and perfect their craft. People who care about and take pride in “getting the details right”.

Remind you of anyone you know?

Tattoo You: Richard Armitage and artists in ink

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There he goes, feigning sleep once more and making us swoon.

Never left someone else pack for you, even if he looks like this.

Anyone for fork porn?

Mammonism: (noun) the greedy pursuit of riches.
(screencaps-Richard Armitage Central)

The TAE Word for the Day is brought to you by that sexy, seductive bad boy, John Mulligan. John, the product of a broken home who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks, appears to have made a smashing success of himself in the real estate business.

However, the truth is John is engaging in some very unlauful activities to help support his lavish lifestyle. It seems Johnnie Mulligan is engaging in mammonism and doesn’t care about those he might hurt along the way.

Mulligan may be an amoral criminal and liar who is immersed in mammonism, but I gotta say–he is one delicious bad boy.

Mammonism and Mulligan: TAE Word for the Day

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When the subject of RA’s hair came up on another blog entry (specifically, what is his natural color?), it popped into my mind that perhaps I should add a post featuring some of the many shades of Armitage, from medium brown, to dark brown to black. Which is your favorite, or do you find him equally dishy no matter what the hue of his hair? Do tell.

Is this Richard's natural color these days? The little flecks of gray are endearing to me.

Richard on GM TV with his "Lucas Black" hiair.

The bearded beauty at The Hobbit press conference. Not his natural color, but getting closer.

Richard in the interview extra on the "Frozen" video. Love those smiles.

The boy from next door. Richard as Ian in Ultimate Force with (we think) his natural hair color.

Shades of Armitage: which hair color (s) do you like the best?

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Yummm. Photo courtesy of RANet

I was very tired when I drafted this post this morning, or should I say, yesterday morning; so tired I didn’t managed to get it published. So here it is . . .

I have been sneezing my head off, sniffling quite a bit and coughing. Allergies or have I caught Spouse’s cold?
Not sure, but I am going to curl up with fuzzy Puddie Cat with her V-8 engine purr and try to catch some ZZZZs.
But I shall not neglect you, my darlings.

Here is one of my favorite shots of Lucas in Action Man Mode. I wonder–does he hold his hands in such a manner when he runs in order to deliver a karate chop to anyone who gets in the way? Or possibly to fend off any crazed fangurls who get too close? Does it somehow increase his speed? He certainly looks focused and determined to catch the bad guy/defuse the bomb/rescue his fellow agent.

I always felt safer when Lucas and Ros, kitted out in their cool denim and leather, were out taking care of business. Yes, even though I am not British and they technically don’t exist–the world seemed in better order with the Dynamic Duo in action.

But I know what your attention is drawn to. The Prize Thighs. So muscular they are straining the material of his black jeans. Poetry in motion, ladies and gentlemen.

Lucas,you can come speeding to my rescue any old time you like. (I know the whole Bateman thing was just a very bad dream and you are still alive and well and as hot and heroic as ever.)

Lucas in Action Man Mode: Poetry in Motion

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It’s been suggested that John Porter looked too good to be an SAS soldier turned agent for MI6. And they are probably right. However, this does not stop me from loving how he rocks his various outfits and disguises. For example, John Porter with that gazelle-like neck of his looks swell with it swathed in a scarf.

And when he wraps it around his head, hiding everything but his eyes, he looks like the masculine equivalent of a harem girl. All we can see are those those eyes–keen, intense, beautiful. You just long to know what else is under the fabric.

So here’s to you, Portah. Brave, heroic, resourceful, dangerous–and a guy who looks swell in scarves. (Screencaps courtesy of RANet and Richard Armitage Central Gallery.)

John Portah looks swell in scarves

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The smouldering, come-hither stare from those kohl-lined bedroom eyes. The long, lean, muscular body and all that black leather. That little patch of bare flesh revealed. The trouser laces. I don’t think this character was meant for the pre-adolescent lads. No, indeed. TPTB weren’t complete idiots; they had themselves a talented and gorgeous actor who came with his own army of adoring fans. Sir Guy might be the bad guy. But he’d also be the sexy bad guy.
Oh, they just didn’t know how sexy–and how Richard Armitage would transform the evil henchman into one of the most beloved characters on British telly. And the drop-dead sexiest, too. *sigh*

Who do you suppose TPTB were hoping to appeal to when they had Richard pose for this photo to promote Robin Hood's first series?

The pose that launched a thousand thuds . . . and some Guyday Friday vids

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Richard is incandescent in the role of Claude Monet in The Impressionists. With lovely locations, stunning cinematography, a strong cast and Mr. A’s ability to capture the passion and intensity of a true artist, it is a feast for the eyes and the soul.

This post includes two slideshow vids I made from this series.

First Impressions covers his early career while Lights and Shadows deals with a tumultuous part of Monet’s life that had its bright and dark moments. The quotes featured are from Monet himself and the music features the amazing Yo-Yo Ma.

Monet: Portrait of an Artist

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Nikolia's prison tattoos front and back. Look familiar?

"Know thy self." Lucas's Gnothi Seauton tattoo seems to be a fan favorite.

Lucas preparing to clean up in the MI5 washroom as Harry Pierce enters in Ep1, S7.

Lucas North’s tattoos. Souvenirs of his eight years in a Russian hellhole. Symbols that told a story. I have never cared much for tattoos, but I found Lucas’s ink fascinating, part of the mystery of the character.

Watching the 2007 movie Eastern Promises this afternoon, I was reminded of Lucas’s tattoos. Viggo Mortensen’s character, Nikolia, plays a driver for members of the Russian mob based in London. it’s an excellent film, violent but with some complex characterizations–everyone is not what they initially appear to be–and it held my attention firmly throughout (and not just because of the intense knife fight in a sauna between a naked Nikolai and two thugs.). Nikolai’s body is covered in tattoos. As one of the characters says, “If you don’t have the tattoos (in a Russian prison), you don’t exist.”
The stars and onion domes we saw on Lucas’s body could be seen on Nikolia’s body. Both of these man had endured horrors most of us can only imagine.

For Lucas, the tattoos covering his flesh were part of the price he had to pay to survive those eight long years of torture and deprivation. I had a lot of respect for that character. No one goes through something like that without it taking a toll mentally, physically, emotionally.

Richard brought this flawed and damaged hero to life in a way that deeply moved me. I am sure becoming Lucas also took a certain toll on him. I am thankful for the complexity, intelligence and integrity he brought to the table. Thank you, Richard. Your Lucas will always be a hero for me.

Lucas North: ‘Know Thyself’ To Stay Alive

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Richard as Thorin Oakenshield in the upcoming Peter Jackson project “The Hobbit.”
The polar opposite of the smouldering Sir Guy. Sweet, sunny, funny Harry Kennedy.
This was the character that first captivated my attention. Are you surprised?

 I have played around with the idea of having my own blog for a while. So here it is: a very non-techie writer’s foray into the 21st century. I am starting this site after being inspired by the blogs I read regularly; blogs tied together by one thing. Or should I say by one man–Richard Armitage, the actor.

Richard was recently named “One to Watch” by MTV. For me, he earned that title when I saw him as Guy of Gisborne in the BBC’s 2006 re-tooling of “Robin Hood.”

Frankly, I found  their vision of Robin Hood for a new generation a smug, arrogant, self-glorifying, petulant creature who in no way impressed me as a hero. On the other hand, the smouldering henchman, the sheriff of Nottingham’s right-hand man, did make an impression on me.

 Initially, it was the looks that got my attention–tall, broad-shouldered with long, long legs and everything encased in black leather. Dark hair that flopped fetchingly over his brow, amazing blue eyes fringed in thick lashes and lined with kohl, a distinctive aquiline nose and the best smirks I had ever witnessed.

Slinking through the castle corridors like a great black cat, snarling at the populace defying the sheriff’s orders, he was one big bad handsome man indeed.

Ah, but beneath all that masculine beauty was something else: talent.

Whilst the good looks first got my attention, it was the incredible talent of this actor that hooked me; his ability to express so much with a mere flicker of an eyelid, a raised brow, the curl of a lip. He was good, this one. I was definitely intrigued.

I began to seek out more of his work. I saw him in quick succession as John Thornton in North & South, Harry Kennedy in the Vicar of Dibley and John Standring in Sparkhouse. And I was completely and utterly blown away. How was the same actor who brought us the Sultan of Swagger, Sir Guy, able to also play so convincingly a shy and awkward Yorkshire farmhand, a proud Victorian mill owner and a sweetheart of an accountant who experiences love at first sight?

He wasn’t just good. He was great, a veritable chameleon onscreen. And that voice! Deep, earthy, warm. Aural chocolate. Yum.

 I had discovered a detailed and nuanced character actor inhabiting a leading man’s face and body. I became a fan in a way I never have been for any other actor, buying every DVD I could obtain of his work, visiting sites devoted to RA, trying to learn as much as I could about this particular British actor.

I have been writing about RA for several years, posting occasional essays at my Live Journal blog. In December 2008, I posted my first piece of fan fiction inspired by Richard’s incredible performance as Lucas North in Spooks. That ficlet was well-received enough to encourage me to continue.

Now I have multiple multi-chapter fanfics under my belt. A few months ago, I stumbled–and I do mean stumbled–into making slideshow fanvids. Did I mention this behavior can become addictive?

Closing in on 120 fanvids, I can certify it can. And it all comes down to Richard Armitage, and the effect he has on me. An effect that has been experienced by lots of other fans. The Armitage Effect is powerful, even life-changing; it’s mysterious and amazing.  Why Richard Armitage, why this one particular British actor over all others?

I am not completely sure. For me, he’s magic. Life-affirming. A creative muse. He’s led me to do things I probably would have never done otherwise.

Like starting this blog. Every entry won’t be about RA, but most will. Oddly enough, so many “roads” in my life of late seem to lead in one way or another to Richard Armitage. Am I obsessed? Yeah, I think so.

But in a good way.

Why Richard Armitage?