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Recap Thursday: Fetish

Because a certain segment of the fandom really enjoys The Beard, I wrote this story for the The Man in June 2013.  This was quite the stretch for me since I’m in the Anti-Beard Brigade.  Enjoy.

*****

The man knew it was wrong the moment he saw the three women, but he couldn’t help it.  He’d spotted them as he left the studio, tired from a long day on the set.  From the sudden intense whispering and shy smiles his way, he knew they were fans.  Ordinarily, he felt pleased and a little gratified to meet fans, making small talk, scrawling autographs and posing for pictures.  But this promised something more – naughty. A thrill of anticipation rushed through him as he approached.

He scanned their faces, judging who could be The One.  The slight blonde, standing behind the two older women, didn’t seem a likely prospect.  She smiled and eyed him in a polite detached manner, lacking the “fan” aura.   She likely accompanied her friends to the studio just to observe.  The youngest of the trio looked ready to burst with excitement, shoulders scrunched in tension, hands clasped in front of her tightly, and the widest smile he’d ever seen.  He would have been able to see her shining eyes but she could barely look him in the eye. No, she wasn’t “it.”

As he turned to the oldest of the trio, his heart sped up.  The tall brunette stood nearly eye to eye with him. She regarded him in a more subdued fashion with a crooked uncertain grin and cocked head.  The eyes gave her away: they darted from his and away. Ordinarily, he’d think she was stealing sneaky glimpses of his mouth, but he knew that wasn’t it.  It was the BEARD.

He reached up reflexively to touch it.  This was the beard’s second stretch for his character.  After four weeks, it had grown in but hadn’t reached it’s full potential.  Commentators on Alia’s blog called it “the baby beard.”  He smirked.  When the itchiness of the growth subsided, he quite liked the surprising silkiness of it.  He also liked another thing: the fans touching it.  That discovery occurred when a fan had asked to touch it on a dare.  He’d posed in amusement for the photo but had been secretly shocked by one thing; the frisson of tension he’d felt the second her fingers stroked his face.  It was as if another part of himself had leaned forward figuratively to luxuriate in her touch.  It had felt so – sensual.  He hadn’t regarded himself as a particular tactile person in this touchy-feely business, so he’d been caught out by the fleeting intense surge of pleasure.  Friends did not produce the same effect; the touch of a fan seemed somehow thrilling and – forbidden, yes, deliciously forbidden.

His hand’s motion quickly drew her eyes.  Her top lip sucked at the bottom.   Surely news of the earlier fan had gotten out; she wanted to touch his beard too.  Her eyes darted back to his questioningly.  His smile widened as that naughty part of him tempted her by leaning forward.  She took the bait.

“Would you like to?” He leaned tantalizingly close, marveling how he could invade her personal space like this.  Who was he and what was he doing?

“May I?”  She didn’t seem to mind.

Her hand seemed to move in slow motion as it rose from her side. The anticipation stretched as she came closer and closer and then – just the barest, lightest touch. His eyes fluttered closed as her fingers left a trail of subtle sensation across his cheek and along the jawline.  He slowly exhaled breath he’d not realized he’d been holding and he shuddered lightly.  Delicious.  Simply delicious. The hand fell away suddenly.  His eyes opened.  Good grief, had she noticed?  She smiled, thanked him, and glanced in amazement at her friends.  No, she’d probably remembered she’d been stroking the beard of a stranger.  She’d been too enthralled in her own experience do notice his.   He collected himself and posed for the group photo, pretty sure that his eyes possessed a bit more twinkle.  He sent them off with a nod and smile.

He turned away, heading for his bike. Tonight, he would relive the moment over and over.  Maybe Alia would write a post about it – beard stroking by strangers as pleasure.  He reached the bike and stopped in his tracks.  Good grief. What was fandom doing to him?

He had a fetish.

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I haven’t figured out how to embed Keke Palmer’s dumb tweet and Richard Armitage’s dumber retweet of it into my blog.  But then I’m too annoyed to work on it.  If you really want to see it, look here and here.   Here’s my imaginary message to his retweet:

Dear Rich,

What in the hell is wrong with you?  I know defenders will say “but he’s British!” and therefore doesn’t know but you’ve been in this country long enough.  Keke Palmer might think she’s hip and edgy using the N word but being black doesn’t make it any more acceptable.  It’s a derogatory term and no supposed “re-appropriating” of the word makes it any more palatable no matter the spelling.  It’s still a derogatory racist slave epithet and will always be one.  This is an ongoing big bone of contention in the African American community.  Personally I think it’s a hallmark of colossal ignorance.

And you, my white friend, don’t get to use it, retweet it or anything else.  Don’t add to the confusion and perpetuate the ignorance.

No Love,

Judiang

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Still recovering from my birthday festivities (I’m old!) but I wanted to say thank you all so much for the good wishes. They are really appreciated.

I know what you guys come here for so here’s a little something for your efforts.

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My Name is Geek

Pong, the first video game I ever saw. It was captivating.

Yes, I’m a geek from way back.  It started with a fascination of all things electronic beginning with my oldest brother’s reel to reel tape recorder. (Yes, I’m really dating myself.)   We all crowded around the first cassette tape deck recording silly voices and bad but funny singing.  No more bulky unspooling reels.

The golden age of arcades began.  It’s funny now but Pong was captivating back in the day.  Games changed to blazing color with the advent of color televisions.  Pac-Man debuted in 1980.  Video games entered its first golden age.  Soon I heard about the astonishing idea of playing games on monitors – at home instead of arcades! 

With breakthroughs in technology, these games entered my home and rested on a table next to a small television that we bought just for gaming.  Two televisions in the house!  That was incredible.  I could now play Bowling and Golf on a relatively compact home console (we sadly opted for Intellivision instead of Atari 2600 in the gaming wars.  However we chose VHS over Betamax in the videotape format war, so we scored there.)   Gaming continued to evolve as I grew up and away from it.  Life got in the way. 

Legend of Zelda. This was state of the art console gaming circa 1990.

Around 1991, my older brother introduced me to a new home console, the Nintendo NES and an amazing new game, The Legend of Zelda.  Instead of performing inane tasks like like chasing balls across a screen, I could follow a high-fantasy adventure story-line and solve puzzles in addition to fighting the usual baddies.  But I didn’t rush out and buy a Nintendo console. I’d fallen head over heels for another emerging high tech – personal computing.  In 1984, my parents gave me an IBM PCjr. (Yes, I again backed the wrong horse; others had gone over to Radio Shack’s TRS-80.)  In college, it was still the day of Fortran, punch cards and mainframes that were perpetually “down” and I was unable to complete my computing assignments.  This dissuaded me from a career in computer science.  The idea that I could now sit down and finagle programs on my own time blew my mind.  But I quickly learned that the PCjr wasn’t a “real” computer (by today’s standards), and cast it aside.  More adulting happened.   But Dear Reader, you know what happened next.  It was the early 1990’s.  I discovered THE INTERNET.  The World Wide Web opened to the public and I wanted in it.  

Thus began one of the most expensive hobbies outside of car collecting.

The PC that started it all for me – the Packard Bell 386.

Developers released software for word processing, data-basing, rudimentary graphics, as well as access to the internet through Compuserve, Prodigy, and AOL.  I ran out and purchased a Packard Bell 386 (fondly known as Packard Hell) with a 120MB hard drive and 2MB RAM, and a 5.25 and 3.5 floppy drives.   I cruised the internet at a snail’s pace on a 24 baud modem. It was heaven.  When the 386 reached the end of it’s usefulness, I chucked it for the faster 486.  It too reached it’s upgrade cap (which occurred roughly every two years) so out it went.  Because it cost less to buy the parts than buy a complete computer, I started building my own.  On and on the cycle went of upgrading components and building or buying new computers.  I’ve happily remained on this wheel for over 25 years.  Since manufacturers have miniaturized chips so much and the speed of components have far exceeded the needs of the average user other than a gamer, graphics artist or architect, the turnover time for new computers is much longer. 

But I told you I was a gamer, right? 

The Nintendo Switch Zelda: BotW Edition. Because you can never spend too much money.

For the last month I’ve become enamored over a home console again, the brand spanking new Nintendo Switch and it’s pilot game, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.  Yes, I’ve come full circle.  No, I don’t own it yet.  I’ve been watching other gamers play it on TwitchTV.  Yes, a gamer watching other people game is a thing.  Don’t laugh.  This looks awesome.  You can play it on a television then “switch” instantly to a portable hand held device without missing a step in the game.  Its manufacturer suggested price is $300 but retailers have hiked the price to over $400.  The game is $70.  So this new wave in gaming high tech is expensive which gives me pause. 

But it’s still my latest shiney.

The geek in me is still strong.

 

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I’m not sure whether everybody has seen Amazon’s Echo.  This device connects to an artificial intelligence server named Alexa, a kind of competition for iPhone’s Siri. (I have one.)  With the appropriate equipment, Alexa turns lights on and off, wakes you up and puts you to bed, answers questions, and walks the dog.  Well, not exactly but that doesn’t mean that Amazon hasn’t been thinking about your four-legged friends.  Enter Petlexa – for your pet.   What could possibly go wrong?

Enjoy.  In the meantime, I’ll enjoy my birthday with a day of lazing followed by culinary overindulgence at a location known only to friends.  Ta ta!

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Foolish Friday: Sensual

Richard Armitage as Francis Dolarhyde displaying the latest in skintight briefs. From the series Hannibal.

Hello class.  How’s your week been?  Did you enjoy last week’s nose study?  Well, we wouldn’t be at out objectifying best if we didn’t examine other…erm…areas. For science, you know.  During my blogging absence, I continue to track Richard Armitage’s roles, including that of Dolarhyde in Hannibal.  Luckily or not (your mileage may vary), I was already watching the show.  In preparing for class, I came across an article describing the character as “sensual and empathetic,” not words I would have used. 

But what’s important is that RA was “half undressed most of the time.”  No I’m not criticizing his acting; it was quite good.  However the character proved quite intense and violent which made viewing a bit daunting.  Hence, I enjoyed the time he was on screen clad in nothing but nice tight black briefs. 

This isn’t the greatest screen shot but RA here still appears as fit as he was as Guy 10 years ago, but let’s be sure.  Shall we?  Perky pecs? Check. Chiseled abs? Oh yes.  Waxed chest? Yes please.  Long finely muscled arms? Mmm hmm.  Looks slightly heavier than the lean Guy days but perfectly acceptable. 

But wait – is that a slight burgeoning love handle?  Personally I think the briefs are so tight that they are cutting him in just a tad at the waist.  The verdict?  I think RA still looks pretty fine at his age, or for any age.

What do you think class?

 

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This post hails back to March 2012 at the height of my Guy of Gisborne fascination.  Written for Fanstravaganza 3, an annual Richard Armitage fan appreciation fest, this madcap farce featured me, my psyche trio (mischievous id Jodi, nanny superego Jada, and enigmatic ego Quiet One), Patty the Pomeranian, Winston the black pug of depression, and my therapist Dr. G.   And let’s not forget Guy of Gisborne as played by Richard Armitage in Robin Hood. 

Be sure to read first parts 1 and 2 linked below to get the full picture of our heroine’s situation.

*****

We last left off here and here with our intrepid heroine not getting her money’s worth in therapy.  But her fantasy figure certainly is.

A Big City

7:45PM

I gaze at my watch again.  Has it only been 45 minutes?  Have we slipped into a crack in the space/time continuum?  Surely it must be next week.  On the upside,  Guy has covered a lot of ground but the session ends in five minutes.  What could possibly go wrong?

Guy sits slumped in his chair, his fingers still caught in his long hair – correction, much longer hair.  It falls in waves to his shoulders, obscuring his perfect profile.  His black leather has changed for the designer Italianate variety.  He’s ready for the cover of Medieval GQ.   Oh dear.  I have a bad feeling about this.

Jada makes an observation. “Dr. G. seems to be putting him through changes.”

Jodi licks her lips. “I’ve always liked this version best.”

Quiet One … is quiet.

Winston and Patty paw through my copy of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, (Fourth Edition), chuffing and apparently arguing with each other.  Clever pooches.

I glance curiously at Dr. G. as she scribbles notes in earnest.   She has pulled books off the shelf behind her, including her own DSM manual.  Her eyes have a strange light, the kind I get when I think about “peaches.”

Jada eyes the manual.  “She’s probably thinking about how many diagnoses she can cram into her medical journal article,  plus her best seller and a slot on Oprah’s new network.”

Jodi ogles Guy as he turns his glamorous face to the therapist.  “She’s probably thinking about the ethical question of treating and shagging a fantasy figure at the same time.”

Quiet One snerks.

Dr. G. stops scribbling.  “Let me get this straight, Guy.  You craved the love of your mother, hated your father, and eschewed love and security for status and power.  Despite your childhood experience, you accidentally abandoned your baby in pursuit of that in the fear that your lady love would find out?”

Guy’s lovely brows furrow in confusion.  “Aye, er… nay… er… aye?”

Jada interjects.  “Well, it’s a little bit more complicated that…”

Jodi adds gleefully. “Yes, don’t forget about the love/hate relationship with Vasey.  Oh, the Freudian  implications there!”

Quiet One actually nods.

Winston and Patty rip pages out of the DSM manual.  They have an impressive pile.

Dr. G. sighs.  “Vasey?”

Guy looks away grimly.  “The Sheriff of Nottingham.  He was my liege lord since I was made a knight.  I was duty bound to carry out his orders.   He promised me return of my family lands, status and power that was taken from us when King Richard took the throne.  His ways … were not always well received.”

Jada nods.  “Guy was the black knight.”

Jodi elucidates further.  “Guy was the sadistic, lying, cheating, hand chopping, murdering black knight.”

Is Quiet One holding her breath?

Guy flicks his hair and snaps defensively.  “I only chopped off one hand, killed a few.  My sins were middling as far as black knights go.”

Jada ponders this.  “Yes, he does have a point.  He was fairly average.”

Jodi scoffs. “Average?  He couldn’t shoot an arrow straight, lost every fight with Robin Hood and was a lousy swordsman!”

Quiet One is … yes, that was sporfle.

I almost sporfle as well.  Jodi, as usual, makes a point;  Guy was not only pretty, he was a pretty bad black knight.  Who knew?

Guy jumps to his feet, shaking in impressive manly umbrage.  “I did the best I could, you accursed… id! I did not wish to do it at all! I could not get away from Vasey.  At least Marian could see the best in me.”

Jada clears her throat uncomfortably.

Jodi harrumphs.  “And look what happened there…”

Quiet One heaves a long sigh.

Winston and Patty pause in their page ripping.

I gaze anxiously at my watch.  “It’s time, session is over!  Let’s go!”

Everybody ignores me.

Dr. G. can’t help herself.  “So what happened with Marian?”

Guy’s lovely features scrunch heartbreakingly, sapphire eyes welling with tears.

Jada begins hesitantly.  “Well… there was an unfortunate knifing…”

Jodi puts it out there. “He ran her through with his sword.”

Quiet One is … very quiet.

I hold my breath.

Guy erupts in a rage, hair flying gorgeously as he shakes his head.  “It was an accident! I did not mean to do it.  I would never harm her!”

Dr. G. leaps to her feet cooing.  “Of course, now calm yourself.”

Guy continues in his angst. “It was truly an accident!  But such words that came from her mouth … she said she would rather die than marry me, that she would marry Hood!  I wanted to stop those words.  I had my sword like thus -”  He whips out the broadsword.  ” – and reached for her like thus -… GOD’S BLOOD … !”

We all gasp, including surprised Dr. G. with the sword sticking out of her.

She stares up into Guy’s face.  “I – I think … I know … what your problem is.”

We all lean in close.

She gasps out.  ” You – You … You’re a fuck-up.”  *THUD*

To say there is a long silence is an understatement.

Jada states the obvious.  “This isn’t good.”

Jodi considers the remark. ” It sure isn’t!  Is “fuck-up” even in the DSM manual?”

Winston and Patty gape and shake their heads.

I’m beyond words.  On the downside I have a dead therapist on my hands.  On the upside, I won’t have to worry about the bill.  It’s always best to think positive.

Guy stares in angst at his sword, probably wondering how it got there, too. His magnificent shoulders droop in resignation. “I am cursed! I have killed another innocent maid.  This cannot stand.  I must throw myself upon the mercy of your law.”

Jada is ever pragmatic. “Point that thing elsewhere, Guy.  Actually, you’re not real.  None of us are.  So only Judi can go to prison.”

Jodi grins saucily. “Exactly! So you’ll have to resort to getting blindingly drunk and indulging in wild forgetful sex every night again.”

Guy flinches.  “I remember not.”

Jodi winks.  “It hasn’t been written.  Yet.”

Jada finishes her assessment. “And Patty will be ripped from the bosum of her rescue forever home and thrown back into the clutches of foster care.”

Patty yelps and faints.  Winston whines at her.

I’m feeling a bit faint myself.  I could see it now: The new Twinkie defense! – woman says therapist killed by fantasy figure, only eyewitness is traumatized dog, news at 11.

Quiet One speaks, astounding us all.  “Look, if Guy isn’t real, then neither is the sword.  See, there is no wound at all.  I think she’s just suffered something like a psychic shock.  It’s going to be okay!”

We gawp at Quiet One for a second as the realization sinks in.  Much relieved backslapping ensues.

I am exhausted.  “Well, we’d better get out of here before she wakes up.  Hopefully she won’t remember a thing.”  Or I’ll need a new therapist.

Suddenly a male voice booms. “It looks like I have arrived just in time!”

We look around before finally looking down.  There stands a small, stocky, but very attractive fit figure with long flowing gray streaked locks and full beard, regal blue robes and a fur cloak. Blue eyes regard us imperiously.

Guy eyes the interloper, sensing competition.  “Who is this?”

The figure pulls himself up to full height.  He barely reaches Guy’s elbow.  “I am Thorin Oakenshield, King of Erebor, and King Under the Mountain.”  He turns to me and inclines his head.  “I am at your service, madam.”

Jada smiles.  “Ohhhh, it’s the Hobbit dwarf!  Are we moving on already, Judi?”

Jodi stoops, pinches Thorin’s cheek, and coos.  “He is sooo cute!  Wait until we get him some sexy time with that elven model.”

Thorin blushes and sputters. “We don’t do such things with elves!”

Jodi winks and strokes his beard. “Oh, but you’ll like what this elf does.”

Quiet One laughs.

Guy turns charmingly red in the face.  “You are forsaking me for a … a… a HOBBIT DWARF?”

I quickly try to smooth this over.  “I’m not forsaking you -”

Thorin interrupts.  “She promised to write me tales in which I regain my kingdom and riches.”

All eyes turn to me.

I shrug helplessly.  Oh dear.  I wonder if I’ll survive the next session.

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The Sound of Silence

Hearing aids circa 1990

Back in the Jurassic Age, I was a lawyer.  Courtrooms could be cavernous, swallowing up sound, so I plunked down money for state of the art hearing aids.  That meant that they were molded in one piece and fit in the ear.  I could control the volume on the piece and didn’t need a little black box that hung around the neck or fit in a pocket.  I loved them until I realized they magnified all the noises I could already hear and nothing else.  They drove me crazy.  Into a drawer they went and years later, out with the trash.

So 27 years after my first failed experience, I decided to try again.   Although I’ve been hearing impaired since birth (mostly deaf in the right, partially in the left), what remains has been gradually disappearing.   Friends told me that I heard less.  I found myself growing quieter and quieter in noisy social situations.  I’d become so accustomed to the sound of silence that I didn’t realize how bad things were until the audiology test.  To my dismay, the spikes and lines dipped much lower and the good ear had lost a great deal of word comprehension in noisy environments.  Literature lying around warned that increasing deafness carried a higher risk of dementia.  So I bought more state of the art digital hearing aids, fully programmable, and geared to amplifying the sounds I need.  My geeky soul was thrilled.  The audiologist stated he wouldn’t program the devices to full capacity so that the wall of noise wouldn’t knock me over. Instead he would increase the volume over a 45 day trial period which would allow my brain to adjust.  Even so, the variety and loudness of sounds have been startling.    Literally.  I’ve jumped at every odd noise since beginning this post.  Is the strangely loud washing really breaking down?  I have clue.

The new high tech. Starkey Halo 2 hearing aid

Naturally my high tech gear has not come without glitches.  The devices should be programmable with my iPhone allowing me to take calls and listen to music – that is if the damn phone will see them.  One hour with the audiologist and  two and half hours with Apple troubleshooting have yielded no fully functioning hearing aids.  There’s another audiological appointment on Friday. Apple swears they are working on their end, and I’m about to bring Starkey, the manufacturer, into this.  Needless to say, these iPhone friendly devices will be returned if they aren’t iPhone friendly soon.

All of this reminds me of another type of deafness which leaves people isolated in their personal bubble of silence.  Simon and Garfunkel sang about it in Sound of Silence.

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Courtesy of that hotel shoot. Please let me know which one so I can give credit.

 

 

 

So I combed through Pinterest of all places looking for photos and found another one from The Infamous Shoot.  It’s another example of what should have been a stunning picture.  Not that it’s bad, but RA appears either too lit up or wears too much make up.  As it stands, this is one of the better photos from that shoot.

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Guy demonstrates to Marian how semi-nudity is integral to the story, Courtesty of richardarmitagenet.com

 

The constant weather changes have been wrecking havoc with me.  So I’m just leaving a photo of this guy.  You know that guy?  It’s this guy. Right here.

 

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