So! How do you like my new Something About Love blog header for 2013?:
I have been working on this new blog header most of the afternoon and evening–selecting my final Richard Armitage portrait and role images (from the wonderful resources at www.RichardArmitageNet.com). The far left larger portrait of Richard Armitage attributed to the photographer Theo Kingma in NYC in December is stunning! The Orcrist sword image is courtesy of www.TheOneRing.net (TORN)–it is part of the “Precious Collection” that may be purchased from United Cutlery via a link on the TORN web site. And my Gratiana Lovelace profile image and gravatar of Renoir’s “At the Concert” (circa 1880) is courtesy of … my piano room–I have a lovely print of it that was given to me as a gift years ago. I’m sure that the frame the print is in is worth more than the print for any would be burglars out there. Ha! But for more about this delightful Renoir painting, please visit http://impressionism.kimbellart.org/exhibit/saints
So, back to my new 2013 blog header. It includes images that illustrate a sampling of the broad spectrum of the artistic range of the exquisitely talented British actor Richard Armitage’s varied character portrayals (across the top)–and some images of the man at events or interviews (at left and anchoring the bottom half of the header).
For new visitors to my blog who might wonder, why does Richard Armitage (often colloquially referred to as RA) figure so prominently in my blog header when my blog title doesn’t have his name in it? Well the man is a master storyteller and a chameleon of an actor who inhabits his roles so thoroughly that his audiences find themselves immersed in his stories involving heartache or happiness, loyalty or betrayal, honor or criminality, hope or anguish, revenge or compassion, etc.–often in complex combinations. So, Richard Armitage has become my own unofficial muse for my own writing and storytelling tales of romance and intrigue. More about RA as muse for my stories further down in this essay.
Richard Armtiage’s current role of portraying Thorin Oakenshield in “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” is riveting and so subtly nuanced that I have seen the film three times already (3D, 2D, and 3D HFR)–discerning new insights into character and plot from RA and all of the actors under Sir Peter Jackson’s masterful direction with each viewing experience–and I will probably see the film again next month. I hope they come out with the dvd soon. Ha! But I really love seeing the film in the theatre–the image clarity in 3D HFR (48fps) really makes you feel like you are in scene and you could reach out and touch the actors it looks so stunningly vivid!
Blog Header Richard Armitage Quiz:
But first, I thought it might be fun for those who are already avowed admirers of Richard Armitage–or even those who aren’t–to test their knowledge and see if they can identify and describe the context of the character images’ scenes. That’s right, I know that you know who these characters are and what tv programs or movies they are from. So you have to step up and test your RA knowledge on the context of the images and share your guesses by commenting to this post. I know you can do it! I am rooting for you. The person who gets the most RA character scenes described correctly wins. What do you win? Bragging rights mostly. Ha! Actually, I will create a unique Richard Armitage wallpaper in your honor from your suggestions of a favorite RA image and/or RA project dialogue quotes, etc. So, more work for me! Ah, toiling away working on images of Richard Armitage. It’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it. Ha!
Richard Armitage as Gratiana’s Muse:
As many of you know, my blog is about love and romance and such. I write stories and essays and poems, and create graphics and videos as well. Richard Armitage is my unofficial muse for all of it. I say “unofficial” because I have no connection with Mr. Armitage and I’m sure that he doesn’t know I exist. Ha! So despite the spike in my blog viewership the last couple of weeks with all of the “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” film release mania (such fun!)–and people seem to be reading all of my Hobbit related essays that I wrote this past year (bless them!)–I am a storyteller at heart. And since Richard Armitage is so prolific and varied a theatrical artist, I can usually find nearly the exact emotion I would like to illustrate for my characters in my stories from a screen cap of him in one of his varied roles. Snap!
Some Gratiana Story Stats for those who like numbers:
Here are the story logos for my original stories and original fan fiction adaptation stories that I have written since I began my blog–and to which my blog visitors return to time and again. Thank you! I have placed some of my blog’s story stats under each story logo to give you an idea of their continuing popularity (for which I am very grateful). Here are viewer stats for my completed stories in the order that I serialized them–with their initial post date noted (they may be found under “Gratiana’s Story Links” in my sidebar at right):
So what did I learn from looking at these story stats? Some people–you know who you are, Ha!–like to read the end of the story first. Oh and a long rock star tressed, black leather clad and muscular Richard Armitage portraying Sir Guy of Gisborne is fan fiction gold. Are we superficial? Certainly not! That word didn’t exist in the Middle Ages. Ha! In general, fan fiction original stories–there is an oxymoron in there somewhere, ha!–probably appeals because readers like the characters to begin with and are interested in seeing them in new stories. However, I hope that my readers will also take the time to read some of my original stories, too.
The links to my stories can be found in my sidebar at right under “Gratiana’s Story Links”–several of these stories are also serialized on my Wattpad site that I just opened up last fall. And I hope to serialize even more of my stories here and on my Wattpad site in 2013–especially my Lucas North fan fiction, my third Guy of Gisborne tale, and other of my original stories. I have been serializing two stories at a time–posting both here on my blog and on my Wattpad site. Having them synchronized is easier for me timewise. So Monday story posts will usually see the next chapters for my original stories. Whereas Friday story posts tend to be related to my adapted fan fiction original stories.
That leaves Wild Card Wednesdays and Fun Day Sundays for me to write other kinds of posts. These can be essays about RA characters and stories. Or even–gasp!–non RA stories and essays. And I also have several essays that I have written about my observations about romance and/or life–from my experiences that I published. I certainly would never tell someone how to live their life. But if my sharing what worked or didn’t work for me helps anyone else, I am glad to write about some aspects of my life. I also create graphics and videos that I also share here on my blog. Finally, I also created an imaginary poetry spouting rodent called Melissa the Melissa who is my partner in edam/crime. Ha! Her poems and essays to date are also found in my sidebar under “Melissa the Mouse: Poems, Ponderings, and Provolone”. She and I both like alliteration. Snap!
I usually try to “rest” and not post on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays–except when I am particularly inspired or there is a lot of Richard Armitage news to be had that I feel that I want to weigh in on. Oops! You will notice that this post is on a Tuesday. So, this post gets to count for my Wednesday post this week. The reason that I am trying to keep my posting frequency down to two to four times a week is that my eye issues–corneal abrasions–that started challenging me more last Fall have not improved. And sometimes it is a real struggle to try to write a post or the next installment of a story when my eyes are doing double vision. Would you believe that I even tried putting on my Hobbit 3D glasses to see if that might correct the problem? Giggles! Well, it was worth a shot. The main thing I need to do is rest my eyes more–that is not easy to do for an avid writer like me (I have over 70 stories completed or in progress at this point, itching to be serialized on my blog here). Let alone, my real life job at a university is very vision intensive. So, if some weeks you only get two story posts out of me, you know why–they are easier on my eyes since I tend to start serializing stories here on my blog after I have them mostly written.
And the ultimate stat was that since I began this blog in August 2011, it has had 122, 681 views–of which, 107,471 views occurred in 2012. And my biggest month of views came this past month with 22,422 views–I call it, “The Hobbit Effect”. As I mentioned earlier, people are reading my Hobbit related essays that I wrote over the past year every day.
I could not close this post without thanking all of my visitors–and especially my faithful commenters. I appreciate your support and encouragement. And a very special thank you to Fabi who collaborated on several guest post fun RA quizzes last Spring–she did the research on the RA info and I formatted it and provided suitable graphics, snap!–such as Post #143 RA Character Quotes Trivia Game, Post #170 RA Careers & Interviews Trivia Quiz, and Post #194 RA Character Quotes Quiz.
Finally, our little family had an ending and a beginning this year when our beloved doggie Sophie was diagnosed with rare bone cancer of the upper jaw and then she died two months later in my arms after surgery gave us a bit more time with her (left in photo at right) that we are very grateful for. We were blessed to have our younger 4 year old doggie Max (right in photo at right) at the time. But after all three of us moped around for 6 weeks missing Sophie terribly, we knew that we had to fill the void. And that is when we welcomed then 4 month old beagle Heidi (left) into our home–her piddling and chewing alone kept us distracted. Ha! I should say she keeps us distracted–because she does not confine herself to chewing her toys–the picture of Heidi chewing her toys (left) gave us a false sense of security. Ha! But though Max is now the alpha doggie, he has yet to exercise that prerogative very often. Usually he is quite tolerant of Heidi’s energetic playfulness as she pounces on him, nips at him, and puts her head in his mouth (I really can’t fathom what Heidi thinks she is doing, Ha! It’s not like he is going to regurgitate food for her like a bird would). Of course, the irony is that Max is now the good doggie who minds us and doesn’t chew up stuff or make messes–anymore. Ha! My husband joked that we should get a third doggie and then maybe Heidi would become a good doggie like Max did. But that’s a Puppy Ponzi Scheme if ever there was one–the older doggies behave, but the newest doggie doesn’t, a vicious cycle. Ha! And I have to tell you, one husband and two doggies are my limit. Ha!
My hopes for 2013?
To get back to swimming again now that my health is improving–fingers crossed. Somehow heal my eyes by resting them more–while still writing my stories. And, organize the house and start paring down–I have hit the point in my life when having stuff no longer appeals if it has to use shelf space. I want to make a moving clips RA fan video–I just have to learn how to convert the files for production, I can do the editing and splicing already. And oh yeah, I have to get the wi-fi hooked up so that my hubby can use his computer on the internet, too. Just a few things on my to do list. Ha!
How about you? What is on your wish list for 2013?
P.S. I made this Happy New Year 2013 graphic this morning and wanted to share it with you: