Daily Prompt: Ripped Into the Headline*

Write about something that happened over the weekend as thought it’s the top story on your local paper.

Photographers, artists, poets show us something from your WEEKEND.

It began innocently enough in the M household.  “June Gloom” was in full force and the family ate a late breakfast of eggs and sausage washed down with coffee, though for the toddler, it was a glass of chocolate almond milk, which had been recommended as a replacement for regular milk due to certain food sensitivities.

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The ‘festivities’ began shortly after the dishes were put away and everyone settled in for a relaxing Sunday.  First Mr. M turned on the television set after Little M announced that he wanted “MI5” to play on the screen.  And so Season 8, episode 7 of MI5/Spooks began.  Halfway through the episode, as Lucas North berated and bullied a young 17-year old who had infiltrated a Hindu sect,  Mr. M was observed shouting and grumbling back at Mr. North, admonishing him about being “too hard on the kid.”

This was followed by the finale episode of Season 8 of the same show in question.  Mr. M, exhausted from his one-sided exchange with Mr. North (who wasn’t available for comment), was unable to follow the storyline as Mr. North “lost it” after CIA operative and Nightingale co-conspirator (and erstwhile bed-mate), Sarah Caulfield, lost her life.  Mr. M was actually observed drifting off to sleep on the sofa despite the tense musical score and a building exploding onscreen.

However, when the end credits rolled, Mr. M was heard saying that he would review the episode at a later time after he’d finished processing Mr. North’s “misplaced anger issues.”  Mrs. M suggested that maybe Mr. North was simply grieving the death of someone he loved though Mr. M admitted that he was not a fan of Miss Caulfield’s “frozen face.”

“Lucas North,” he aded, “I have no problem with.  He channels anger very well.”

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After a very late lunch, Little M announced that he wanted to watch “The Hobbit” on the screen and this request was promptly acknowledged.  Almost towards the end of the movie, Little M was later observed to appear distressed as Mr. Thorin Oakenshield took a beating from the white orc Azog.  Little M was heard saying again and again, “Poor Richard-baby” even after “the angry birds” took the beaten up Mr. Oakenshield on top of a crag.

All this, to the horror of Mrs. M, who quickly denied ever teaching Little M to say such a thing as “poor Richard-baby,” however she suspects that Mr. M might be involved in this conspiracy.  She also added that Little M “was simply sympathizing in Rich-, I mean, Thorin’s plight.”

Mr. Oakenshield was not available for comment.

Fortunately for this loving family, June Gloom finally lifted and they all turned off the television set, but only after Little M requested Mrs. M to sing the song “Misty Mountains” by Neil Finn as the end credits of “The Hobbit” rolled.  They then went outside of the house to enjoy some much-deserved pool time and raking of the yard before Mr. M indulged in another viewing of Strike Back with Mr. John Porter.

Apparently, it was just another Richard Armitage day in this unsuspecting household, though Mr. M was overheard saying that he was not a fan of Mr. Armitage.

Mr. Armitage, however, was unavailable for comment.

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*My apologies to non-Richard Armitage fans out there.

Daily Prompt

Daily Prompt: The Social Network

Do you feel like you “get” social media, or do you just use it because that’s where all your friends and family are?

Being a Gemini, I’m all about communication.  I majored in Communication and I just love being able to communicate my thoughts and ideas as long as there’s someone willing to listen.

But when it’s two in the morning and my mind is still racing with thoughts and ideas and your boyfriend, after a marathon of sex and all he wants to do is sleep and all I want to do is talk, asks me, “Do you ever sleep?” then that’s when I realized that I needed an outlet other than what real life could give me.

Apparently there wasn’t enough communicating in real life as much as I would have wanted.  With or without sex.

So years and years ago, I mastered Myspace and Friendster, then came Facebook – only with Facebook I realized that I was about to get to know the very people I was so happy to leave behind in high school and barely remembered.

Only now, they were back and Facebook was THE platform to be in.

Then there is Twitter –  and for almost two to three years, I had a Twitter account for my massage therapist persona – only to realize that if there’s a massage therapist on Twitter, it doesn’t mean that she’ll be talking about massage because she’s probably busy massaging some client or getting her real life business going.  So there really wasn’t a lot of time socializing.

And after two years of watching all this unfold on my timeline, all condensed in 160 characters, I realized that tweeting as a massage therapist boiled down to one word:  boring.

Hell, I’d rather hang out with my FB friends, the same ones I couldn’t have cared less back in high school.

So last October, I finally started a Twitter account for fun.  At first it was just about writing – I got myself a pretty simple twitter name, Morrighansmuse – but then I found that if I followed just writers, all I was ever going to get on my timeline were tips about writing or sales pitches about their books and again, it bordered on that one word again – boring.

What’s social media without the “social” part of it?

And so I decided to seek out people who shared something that I was interested in at the time.  I typed in ‘yarn’ and ‘knitting’ and even ‘spinning wool’ but I already knew most of these people from another online social media platform, Ravelry.

Why the hell would I need Twitter to talk about yarn – and worse, condense it into 160 characters?  Twitter obviously does not understand knitters – because we can talk and talk and talk, even while we knit.  So Twitter is mostly a secondary media platform and I really did not want to talk yarn on Twitter.

So I tried another search.  At that time, I had just discovered Richard Armitage through BBC North & South, and so I typed his name in the search box and found the Armitage Army – the Twitter contingent.  Apparently there are many other contingents out there – IMDB, C19, the Real Armitage Army…the list goes on and on.

What’s interesting about social media, as I’m discovering now that I tweet and blog more for fun than I used to in the past, is that I’m actually having more fun doing it.  And in doing it, I actually have learned so much more about it while having fun.

Social media has finally become what it says – social media.

These days, I don’t just tweet with other people about Mr. Armitage.  I’ve met people who do art, who write exquisitely with vintage fountain pens, who create beautiful works of fairies and unicorns and dragons, who do their best to practice kindness each and everyday (though there are those who do their darnedest to do just the opposite) and who make me laugh or smile every time I’m online.

I’ve also finally learned how to use Twitter and master the 160 word limit and practice tact when others forget the meaning of the word – for even online, it’s important to still be polite.

And most of all, when hubby now asks me at three in the morning, “do you ever sleep?” I can simply turn on my iPad and socialize in the virtual world.

But one thing that surprised me the most about all this media socializing is this – as much as social media is all about communication in virtual networks and communities, where ideas are transmitted primarily through keystrokes and mouse clicks, it’s brought me back to the simple forms of communicating, back when computers were gigantic and the postman’s arrival was a main event for most people.

I’m actually getting real honest-to-g*d snail mail.

And that is quite awesome!

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Behind The Scenes

I always want to see how movies are made. That’s just me.

I still remember seeing my first “behind the scenes” or BTS footage from Ronin, a movie that starred Robert de Niro, Jean Nero, Sean Bean (he dies), Natasha McElhone and Stellan Skarsgard and I was hooked from then on. If you’ve never seen this gem of an action movie – it’s got one of the best, if not the best, chase scenes ever filmed – definitely check it out!

Original scene from the movie

Tribute to John Frankenheimer fan vid of the same chase scene

(Can I just say I took driving lessons from this movie – down to the bare-knuckled grip on the steering wheel! And the looks of fear on the actors are actually real as heck!)

Alright – where was I? I can’t believe how excited I got embedding those Ronin videos got me – guess it’s been awhile! Now back to the regularly schedule programming!

Anyway, I majored in journalism while in college, with a minor in film and so I’ve had my share of being behind the camera, which I love more than being in front of it. Working as an independent massage therapist in the last fifteen years got me jobs in movie studios and sets, and also during post-production work – settings that often were as varied as giving massages at the offices of producers and directors to set installations such as a “crack” house complete with their peeling wallpaper and boarded up windows and doors.

On location, it meant giving massages inside the actors’ trailers in between takes and to avoid rub-on transfers where their tattoos were painstakingly applied (you get quite creative) although most of the time the actor would just tell me to do what I needed to do. Make-up would touch it up later anyway.

So being on set was like seeing BTS footage, without having to buy the DVD.

For what I really like about BTS footage is that it shows us how the cast and crew really are when the cameras aren’t rolling, when there is no director to yell “Action” or “that’s a wrap!”. I love to see the electricians laying down the miles of wire, or the carpenters and painters doing their last minute touch ups to the set that even when viewed off-screen, look so real to the naked eye. No CGI needed.

These are the people who really make a movie happen. For every actor you see onscreen, there are probably at least about twenty people who’ve made his appearance onscreen possible, and to me, that’s what makes BTS footage so special. It’s the truth behind the illusion that we see, that even when I’ve bought the truth onscreen – hook, line, and sinker – there’s always that part of me who wants to see the man behind the curtain.

And speaking of BTS footage, my favorite has always been those featured on the Lord of the Rings full box set. It’s amazing how almost eight years later, I still remember every single one of those scenes – behind the scenes, that is – in addition to the movie scenes.

As of today, I’ve got a new favorite that ranks up there with LOTR and Ronin. And though it’s quite interesting to see how the mood of The Hobbit is quite different from that of LOTR, I’m definitely liking what I see so far.

Part 1

Part 2

This one is the footage that came with The Hobbit DVD from Best Buy. I got mine through Amazon so I get the footage that Peter Jackson already released last year. But that’s okay.

There’s still the extended boxed set coming up, and I’m definitely getting that when it comes out.

HOWEVER, not everyone is a fan of Behind the Scenes footage – like my hubby. He has become such a fan of Strike Back (Season 1) – at first, because of Andrew Lincoln (hubby is a HUGE The Walking Dead fan) – and then, begrudgingly, of Richard Armitage who is really good in it as John Porter, the SAS man with a conscience.

Hubby says that Strike Back is the perfect balance of an action series. Not too much action, not too much drama. Just right. Serious stuff. He can watch it again and again.

Then I showed him this:

Imagine you're sitting in a helicopter...
Imagine you’re sitting in a helicopter…

To say that hubby was quite disappointed is an understatement. “You just ruined the illusion for me!” He said.

Because that’s what movies really are, aren’t they? Perfectly crafted illusions.

Just don’t show the man behind the curtain. Or the platform with a piece of wood painted green made to look like the helicopter door…

But then I don’t know what hubby is complaining about. What door? All I see are…beautiful biceps. Yes, those are beautiful biceps you’ve got there, Mr. Armitage.

I’m Not In Control…

Sometimes the words fail me

Ray Bradbury was one of my favorite writers and I loved his work ethic and his childlike enthusiasm in entertaining the muse simply by writing and writing and writing till the muse grew tired.

And as for my muse, well, he still keeps me going even long after I stop writing, and for that I’m grateful.  It’s also cheap entertainment.

Northbound Train

I’ve recently discovered a gem of a period drama called “North and South” on BBC while browsing through fan videos on Youtube featuring, well, period dramas.  It’s a guilty pleasure of mine to see clips of movies I’ve yet to see like “Becoming Jane” and “Wives and Daughters” or even movies that I have seen, like “Pride and Prejudice” with Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen.

It was actually during this time a few years ago that I first discovered fan videos of Matthew that led me to other pieces of his work like “Spooks/MI5” and “Little Dorrit”.

And so about two months ago, I found myself looking for the dance scene from “Becoming Jane” where a sad-looking Anne Hathaway dances with some sad-looking bloke, and then her face lights up when James McAvoy dances right next to her (honestly, if James McAvoy started dancing next to me, and then with me, my face would light up, too – hubby be damned).

Then I clicked on a ‘related video’ entitled “North and South train ending” and was so riveted by the exchange between a magnificent man named John Thornton and a beautiful woman named Margaret Hale that their kiss at the end totally took my breath away. Really.

That same evening, I watched all four hours of the BBC drama on Youtube, even though North & South was actually on my Netflix queue already, and lucky for me, I got to see the unedited US version, which I much prefer anyway.

The next evening, I told hubby all about it and he proceeded to watch it on Youtube (on the big screen this time as we have Youtube streaming on our Blu-ray player) till about one in the morning.  The next morning, he told me that he had gotten only to the part of the train scene when they kissed and he couldn’t find the rest of it.

“I didn’t get to see them going back to the mill and all that,” he said.  I had the unfortunate job of informing him that what he had seen was actually the end of the mini-series, and after hearing that, he was quite disappointed, poor chap.

But I was quite happy he liked it.  He’s a union type of man and loved the parts of the cotton gin and the mill and how it showed real people with real jobs and real problems.

Anyway, I digress.  What I’m trying to say is that my return to writing again has been prompted by this character named John Thornton, and while I am not tackling any sequels to Elizabeth Gaskell’s “North and South” (which, by the way, is a wonderful book!), it’s the characterization of the actor, Richard Armitage, that’s to blame for my return to my pen, or in this case, to my keyboard, to write out the stories that have been populating inside my head for years.

And for that, Mr. Armitage, I am eternally grateful.  Writing, after all, has kept me out of trouble since high school (after that unfortunate incident with the floating papers that made its way into the hands of a single, ultra religious and conservative teacher that led to me being taken to the guidance counselor and to the principal, who proceeded to remove me from drama club and personally dropped me off at the writers club, thank you very much!) and at present as well.

I’ve probably seen this mini-series about three times now to fully understand the story and even though I’ve read the book as well (the comic strip incorporates Gaskell’s words with the final caption) I still cry when I see this ending.  When she takes his hand, her index finger slipping around his and then she brings his hand to her lips, yes, I cry every fricking time it’s ridiculous.