Operation #RAXmas Is Friday, November 28 … Shhh, It’s a Surprise for RA!

RAXmas Gets Under Way at 9 PM UK Time on Friday, November 28! Support RA's Charities though Just Giving...

RAXmas Gets Under Way at 9 PM UK Time on Friday, November 28! Support RA’s Charities though Just Giving…

This message is from a few members of the Facebook page ‘Richard’s Rascals – The Armitage Effect,’ who have have come up with an idea for a special surprise Christmas present for Richard Armitage. We agree that it’s a super idea, and hope they  make it an annual tradition.

Here’s the scoop from Mel Brown and Linden Tree, who you can reach here:

Richard has said in interviews that he’d rather his well-wishers give to charity rather than buy him gifts. So, for those fans who would like to participate, we’d love them to join us from Friday November 28th (9pm UK time) and send a flurry of donations to Richard’s chosen charities through Just Giving. We would then love for people to post a message on Twitter (for those who have an account).

As well as supporting some wonderful organisations, it will also be a way to spread goodwill around the internet, and show our respect and admiration of Richard en masse in a way that we think will be very meaningful.

As fans we love to celebrate him, and what better way than by giving him what he wants – to help those less fortunate.

Here is an outline of our suggestion:

1. From 9pm UK time on Friday 28th (not before), head to JustGiving and select one (or more!) of Richard’s chosen charities.


2. Make a donation and leave a message that includes #RAXmas, your location and your Twitter handle (if you have one). You can choose to donate anonymously and still leave a message. Please choose the option to hide the amount of your donation, as we want to avoid any sense of competition or anxiety over donation amounts.

3. We would then love for people to post a message on Twitter (for those who have an account). Write a message with #RAXmas, #JustGiving and your location, plus any message and/or image you wish. You may choose to include the charity’s number. Feel free to use our Christmas tree image.

Eg: For #RAXmas I’ve just donated to #charityname via #JustGiving. London.

4. Feel free to favourite and retweet others’ messages if you can, to have the best chance of him seeing them.

5. Everyone is of course absolutely welcome to make multiple donations and send additional messages. The more activity #RAXmas gets, the more potential interest we generate.

** Note for non-UK residents. If for some reason you are unable to donate through Just Giving, we encourage you to try the individual charities’ websites. If this still does not work, we ask that you consider selecting a charity in your home country that supports the same cause as one of Richard’s, and still write a Twitter message using #RAXmas to let us know who you’ve given to. We are confident that this gesture will still be very much appreciated by him. <NOTE FROM RA US: I’m in the US and have given through Just Giving a number of times and have never had a problem.>

Thank you all for reading, and we really hope you’ll be able to take part in #RAXmas. For any further information please contact me or Linden Tree directly via the @RAXmas FB group (although it’s classified as “closed,” it’s inclusive!).

The RA Rascals.

Remember, 9pm UK time, Fri 28th, and keep it a Twitter secret til then.

RAXmas

#NS10: Support YoungMinds, RA Tweets in His Selfie

To support Young Minds, you may go to RA’s Just Giving page here https://www.justgiving.com/Richard-Armitage13, and also send a note of thanks to RA and YM for all they do OR you may go directly to Young Minds’ donation page here: http://www.youngminds.org.uk/support_our_work/donate.

To support YoungMinds, you may go to RA’s Just Giving page here https://www.justgiving.com/Richard-Armitage13, and also send a note of thanks to RA and YM for all they do. OR you may go directly to YoungMinds’ donation page here: http://www.youngminds.org.uk/support_our_work/donate.

Today’s North & South 10th Anniversary Celebration launched with a BIG BANG as RA tweeted twice about the anniversary. In the first (see below) he displayed his usual RA humor. But in the second (above) he used the opportunity to reach out to his audience and request our support for one of his chosen charities, YoungMinds:

To support Young Minds, you may go to RA’s Just Giving page here https://www.justgiving.com/Richard-Armitage13, and also send a note of thanks to RA and YM for all they do OR you may go directly to Young Minds’ donation page here: http://www.youngminds.org.uk/support_our_work/donate.

To support YoungMinds, you may go to RA’s Just Giving page here https://www.justgiving.com/Richard-Armitage13, and also send a note of thanks to RA and YM for all they do OR you may go directly to YoungMinds’ donation page here: http://www.youngminds.org.uk/support_our_work/donate.

What exactly is the organization RA is asking you to support? “YoungMinds is the UK’s leading charity committed to improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people. Driven by their experiences we campaign, research and influence policy and practice.” A perfectly wonderful charity that certainly deserves our support. If the links in the photo captions don’t work, here they are again:

To donate to YoungMinds, you may go to:

  1.  RA’s Just Giving page here https://www.justgiving.com/Richard-Armitage13, and also send a note of thanks to RA and YM for all they do
  2. Or you may go directly to Young Minds’ donation page here: http://www.youngminds.org.uk/support_our_work/donate

#NS10 Continues…

Of course, the #NS10 celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the premiere of North & South on the BBC continues through December 7 (the series aired Nov. 14-Dec.5.

Let’s see if we can create TREND on Twitter and FB,
by adding #NS10 on ALL your posts about the anniversary.

Here are the basics for joining in this celebration:

1. Watch N&S, beginning this weekend…
2. Take a photo: a selfie, or your TV screen, the DVD cover, even pick a photo of your favorite character (in costume!): be creative (but PG-13!)… Like this:

Via Chrissy: Chrissy Lampard‎  Ozzy wonders what Thornton's got that he hasn't ... #NS10 from chilly CT

Via Chrissy Lampard‎:
Ozzy wonders what Thornton’s got that he hasn’t … #NS10 from chilly CT

"Happy 10th North and South! #NS10  Who's my fave character? Guess!  Ok it's Higgins." Amy in Nashville TN.

“Happy 10th North and South! #NS10 – then an icon of of top hats and a straw hat – Who’s my fave character? Guess! – smiling, if smug, icon – Ok it’s Higgins.”
Amy in Nashville TN.

3. Tell us where you live, the characters you love AND be sure to add #NS10 (so we can track all responses and compile them)…
4. POST IT EVERYWHERE YOU USE SOCIAL MEDIA, and on the event’s FB (http://bit.ly/NS10th) and Twitter (NS10 @NandS10th) pages!

Since the series ran from November 14 through December 5, we’ll be keeping the pages open for photos through December 7 (and perhaps longer)

Discussions are already under way on the FB page (http://bit.ly/NS10th) and on the Twitter page (NS10 @NandS10th), so join in now!

Finally – saving the most fun for last – here is RA’s first tweet, with that RA sense of humor.

And then there's the RA sense of humor, which never fails!

And then there’s the RA sense of humor, which never fails!

I LOVE him in those hats! Every time I watch the show, I think: “THAT man can WEAR a hat!” Examples:

THIS man can WEAR a HAT! (Exhibit 1)

THIS man can WEAR a HAT! (Exhibit 1)

THIS man can WEAR a HAT! (Exhibit 2)

THIS man can WEAR a HAT! (Exhibit 2)

Concluding evidence: THIS man can WEAR a HAT! (Exhibit 3). CASE CLOSED!

Concluding evidence: THIS man can WEAR a HAT! (Exhibit 3).
CASE CLOSED!

And, again, there’s Ozzy:

Via Chrissy: Chrissy Lampard‎  Ozzy wonders what Thornton's got that he hasn't ... #NS10 from chilly CT

Then there’s Chrissy Lampard‎’s Ozzy, 
who wonders what Thornton’s got that he hasn’t … #NS10 from chilly CT

 

#NS10: Join this interactive, fan-based celebration of North & South’s 10th Anniversary, Beginning This Weekend!

Relive your favorite moments of North & South on its 10th Anniversary.  (Daniela Denby-Ashe as Margaret Thornton.)

Relive your favorite moments of North & South on its 10th Anniversary.
(Daniela Denby-Ashe as Margaret Thornton.)

CELEBRATE THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF NORTH & SOUTH WITH ALL THE FANS OF THE SERIES!
The weekend of Nov. 14 marks the 10th anniversary of the BBC series North & South, and we are planning a fan-based, online, global celebration.

The celebration is designed to include fans of the entire cast: Richard Armitage,  Daniela Denby-Ashe, Brendan Coyle, Tim Pigott-Smith, Sinéad Cusack, Lesley Manville, Anna Maxwell Martin, Jo Joyner, Pauline Quirke, Brian Protheroe, Rupert Evans, John Light, William Houston, and all others involved (even that slimy eel Slickson)!

It’s SO easy to be a part of the‪#‎NS10‬ online event:

1. Watch N&S, beginning this weekend…
2. Take a photo: a selfie, or your TV screen, the DVD cover, even pick a photo of your favorite character (in costume!): be creative (but PG-13!)…
3. Tell us where you live, the characters you love AND be sure to add #NS10 (so we can track all responses and compile them)…
4. POST IT EVERYWHERE YOU USE SOCIAL MEDIA, and on the event’s FB (http://bit.ly/NS10th) and Twitter (NS10 @NandS10th) pages!

Since the series ran from November 14 through December 5, we’ll be keeping the pages open for photos through December 7 (and perhaps longer)

Discussions are already under way on the FB page (http://bit.ly/NS10th) and on the Twitter page (NS10 @NandS10th), so join in now!

Here are some of our favorite characters and moments…

Becoming friends: Thornton and Higgins share a very good stew.

Becoming friends: Thornton and Higgins share a very good stew.

That'll be no charge, ma'am.

That’ll be no charge, ma’am.

The amazing Anna Maxwell Martin as Bessy Higgins: such a lovely portrayal of a strong spirit!

The amazing Anna Maxwell Martin as Bessy Higgins: such a lovely portrayal of a strong spirit!

Sorry, but if I were Mrs. Hale (Lesley Manville), I'd be distraught, too.  DEAD PIGS right outside her windows?  (Also pictured: Pauline Quirke as Dixon, Daniela Denby-Ashe as Margaret,  and Tim Pigott-Smith as Mr. Hale.)

Sorry, but if I were Mrs. Hale (Lesley Manville), I’d be distraught, too.
DEAD PIGS right outside her windows?
(Also pictured: Pauline Quirke as Dixon, Daniela Denby-Ashe as Margaret,
and Tim Pigott-Smith as Mr. Hale.)

What would we do with a basket?

What would we do with a basket?

Mother and son understand each other utterly... until Miss Hale arrives.

Mother and son understand each other utterly… until Miss Hale arrives.

The Thorntons prepare for a party.  (Richard Armitage as John, Sinéad Cusack as Hannah, and Jo Joyner as Fanny.)

The Thorntons prepare for a party.
(Richard Armitage as John, Sinéad Cusack as Hannah, and Jo Joyner as Fanny.)

Don't cross Higgins!

Don’t cross Higgins!

Boucher's last moments.

Boucher’s last moments.

Little Tommy Boucher (Spencer Wild), such an endearing character!

Little Tommy Boucher (Spencer Wild), such an endearing character!

The look before The Kiss.

The look before The Kiss.

 

Beginning This Friday, Nov. 14: #NS10 – Series Fans Will Celebrate The 10th Anniversary of North & South’s Premiere!

Don't be left out in the cold!  Celebrate the 10th Anniversary of North & South, Beginning Friday, November 14!

Don’t be left out in the cold!
Celebrate the 10th Anniversary of North & South, Beginning Friday, November 14!

CELEBRATE THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF NORTH & SOUTH WITH ALL THE FANS OF THE SERIES!
The weekend of Nov. 14 marks the 10th anniversary of the BBC series North & South, and we are planning a fan-based, online GLOBAL celebration.

The celebration is designed to include fans of the entire cast: Richard Armitage,  Daniela Denby-Ashe, Brendan Coyle, Tim Pigott-Smith, Sinéad Cusack, Lesley Manville, Anna Maxwell Martin, Jo Joyner, Pauline Quirke, Brian Protheroe, Rupert Evans, John Light, William Houston, and all others involved (even that slimy eel Slickson)!

We’re keeping it flexible and simple:

  1. Beginning the weekend of Friday, November 14 through Sunday, November 16, watch N&S. (Because the series originally ran through December 5, we’ll continue the celebration through the weekend of  Dec. 5, 2014.)
  2. While you watch, take a selfie. (And shy people: if you, like me, aren’t comfortable with a selfie that includes your face, you can still celebrate with us. My selfie, for example, will probably going to be of  my legs stretched out on the coffee table in front of the TV!). Have fun, be creative… but keep it clean!
  3. Post your photo on Twitter, your Facebook page, Tumblr, on the NS10 Facebook site (link below)… everywhere using the ‪#‎NS10‬ (withnospaces) hashtag*!
  4. Important note: When you post your selfie with the #NS10 hashtag, include your location to demonstrate the global appeal of North & South, and the actor(s) you follow to demonstrate the series’ lasting impact. 

*The #NS10 hashtag will help us compile all of these into one place, either on the special N&S FB page (link below) or on a blog.

SO:

  1. Watch N&S between Nov. 14 and Dec. 7.
  2. Take a selfie.
  3. Post your selfie with the #NS10 hashtag EVERYWHERE you use social media!
  4. On your post, include where you live and which characters/actors you like.

And that’s it!

So get ready to make a good, strong pot of stew; sit back; and enjoy the series that has entranced so many for 10 years with Margaret and Mr. Thornton, Higgins and Bessy, Fanny and Hannah, Mr and Mrs. Hale and Dixon… the entire marvelous cast!

Brendan Coyle (Nicholas Higgins) with Richard Armitage (John Thornton) in North & South. (Premiere date: November 14, 2004.)

Brendan Coyle (Nicholas Higgins) with Richard Armitage (John Thornton) in North & South. (Premiere date: November 14, 2004.)

 

Questions, concerns, ideas????
CONTACTS:
The Facebook page: http://bit.ly/NS10th
Twitter: NS10 @NandS10th
Email: ns10thanniversary at gmail.com

And to round things out, let’s take a look at some of the actors/characters that brought this series to life (billing per IMDb):

Daniela Denby-Ashe  as Margaret Hale

Daniela Denby-Ashe as Margaret Hale

 

Richard Armitage as  John Thornton

Richard Armitage as  John Thornton

Tim Pigott-Smith as  Richard Hale

Tim Pigott-Smith as Richard Hale

Sinéad Cusack as  Hannah Thornton

Sinéad Cusack as  Hannah Thornton

Brendan Coyle as Nicholas Higgins

Brendan Coyle as Nicholas Higgins

 

Anna Maxwell Martin as Bessy Higgins

Anna Maxwell Martin as Bessy Higgins

Lesley Manville as Maria Hale

Lesley Manville as Maria Hale

Jo Joyner as Fanny Thornton

Jo Joyner as Fanny Thornton

Pauline Quirke as Dixon

Pauline Quirke as Dixon

Brian Protheroe as Mr. Bell

Brian Protheroe as Mr. Bell

Rupert Evans as Frederick Hale

Rupert Evans as Frederick Hale

John Light as Henry Lennox

John Light as Henry Lennox

William Houston as John Boucher

William Houston as John Boucher

Mr. Thornton and Margaret...

Mr. Thornton and Margaret…

 #NS10!

Beginning Friday, Nov. 14: #NS10 – Series Fans Will Celebrate The 10th Anniversary of North & South’s Premiere!

Don't be left out in the cold!  Celebrate the 10th Anniversary of North & South, Beginning Friday, November 14!

Don’t be left out in the cold!
Celebrate the 10th Anniversary of North & South, Beginning Friday, November 14!

CELEBRATE THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF NORTH & SOUTH WITH ALL THE FANS OF THE SERIES!
The weekend of Nov. 14 marks the 10th anniversary of the BBC series North & South, and we are planning a fan-based, online GLOBAL celebration.

The celebration is designed to include fans of the entire cast: Richard Armitage,  Daniela Denby-Ashe, Brendan Coyle, Tim Pigott-Smith, Sinéad Cusack, Lesley Manville, Anna Maxwell Martin, Jo Joyner, Pauline Quirke, Brian Protheroe, Rupert Evans, John Light, William Houston, and all others involved (even that slimy eel Slickson)!

We’re keeping it flexible and simple:

  1. Beginning the weekend of Friday, November 14 through Sunday, November 16, watch N&S. (Because the series originally ran through December 5, we’ll continue the celebration through the weekend of  Dec. 5, 2014.)
  2. While you watch, take a selfie: you and your favorite scene or character, maybe? Be creative and have fun (but keep it clean, please)! (Thanks to Tara Jarrett for the terrific “Selfie-While-Watching” idea!) And shy people: if you, like me, aren’t comfortable with a selfie that includes your face, you can still celebrate with us. My selfie, for example, will probably going to be of  my legs stretched out on the coffee table in front of the TV!).
  3. Post your photo on Twitter, your Facebook page, Tumblr, on the NS10 Facebook site (link below)… everywhere using the ‪#‎NS10‬ (withnospaces) hashtag*!
  4. Important note: When you post your selfie with the #NS10 hashtag, include your location to demonstrate the global appeal of North & South, and the actor(s) you follow to demonstrate the series’ lasting impact. 

*The #NS10 hashtag will help us compile all of these into one place, either on the special N&S FB page (link below) or on a blog.

And that’s it!

So get ready to make a good, strong pot of stew; sit back; and enjoy the series that has entranced so many for 10 years with Margaret and Mr. Thornton, Higgins and Bessy, Fanny and Hannah, Mr and Mrs. Hale and Dixon… the entire marvelous cast!

Brendan Coyle (Nicholas Higgins) with Richard Armitage (John Thornton) in North & South. (Premiere date: November 14, 2004.)

Brendan Coyle (Nicholas Higgins) with Richard Armitage (John Thornton) in North & South. (Premiere date: November 14, 2004.)

Questions, concerns, ideas????
CONTACTS:
The Facebook page: http://bit.ly/NS10th
Twitter: NS10 @NandS10th
Email: ns10thanniversary at gmail.com

And to round things out, let’s take a look at some of the actors/characters that brought this series to life (billing per IMDb):

Daniela Denby-Ashe  as Margaret Hale

Daniela Denby-Ashe as Margaret Hale

Richard Armitage as  John Thornton

Richard Armitage as  John Thornton

Tim Pigott-Smith as  Richard Hale

Tim Pigott-Smith as Richard Hale

Sinéad Cusack as  Hannah Thornton

Sinéad Cusack as  Hannah Thornton

Brendan Coyle as Nicholas Higgins

Brendan Coyle as Nicholas Higgins

Anna Maxwell Martin as Bessy Higgins

Anna Maxwell Martin as Bessy Higgins

Lesley Manville as Maria Hale

Lesley Manville as Maria Hale

Jo Joyner as Fanny Thornton

Jo Joyner as Fanny Thornton

Pauline Quirke as Dixon

Pauline Quirke as Dixon

Brian Protheroe as Mr. Bell

Brian Protheroe as Mr. Bell

Rupert Evans as Frederick Hale

Rupert Evans as Frederick Hale

John Light as Henry Lennox

John Light as Henry Lennox

William Houston as John Boucher

William Houston as John Boucher

Mr. Thornton and Margaret...

Mr. Thornton and Margaret…

 

Please Join #NS10 – A Fan-Based 10th Anniversary Celebration of the Premiere of North & South AND a Read-Along of the Book!

Daniela Denby-Ashe (Margaret Hale) and Richard Armitage (John Thornton) in North & South. (Premiere date: November 14, 2004.)

Daniela Denby-Ashe (Margaret Hale) and Richard Armitage (John Thornton) in North & South. (Premiere date: November 14, 2004.)

CELEBRATE THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF NORTH & SOUTH WITH US! The weekend of Nov. 14 marks the 10th anniversary of the BBC series North & South, and we are planning a fan-based, online GLOBAL celebration.

Thanks to Tara Jarrett for the terrific “Selfie-While-Watching” idea!

First:
The Facebook page for the initiative is here: http://bit.ly/NS10th
FB event page: http://bit.ly/NS10EVENTPAGE
Twitter Account: Twitter: NS10 @NandS10th
Email account: ns10thanniversary at gmail.com

Here’s how you can get involved:

  1. During the weekend of November 14, watch N&S and take a selfie of you watching (Shy people: if you, like me, are shy about taking a selfie that includes your face, don’t be concerned. My selfie is going to be of my TV with my legs stretched out on the coffee table in front of my sofa!).
  2. Post your photo on Twitter, your Facebook page, Tumblr, on the NS10 Facebook site (link above)… everywhere!
  3. On your selfie post, include your location to demonstrate the global appeal of North & South, and the actor(s) you follow to demonstrate its lasting impact.
  4. Also, remember to add the ‪#‎NS10‬ (withnospaces) hashtag to your posts so we can compile all of these into one place, either on the special N&S page (link above) or on a blog.

We are eager to get the fans of the other stars involved in this celebration as well! We’d love your help in reaching out to everyone who loves this film!  We need your help with research:  We need to get in touch with the FAN groups of the N&S actors, and you can help us track them down!

Will you help? As of Sunday, October 26, we’ve managed to at least contact the actors’ representatives, and some of the actors directly, but we hope you can help us. We believe fan group information may be gathered  via the internet: FB, Twitter, Tumblr, blogs, etc. But that doesn’t mean the reps will pass along the info to the principals, much less the fans. SO, if you know fans or fan groups of any of the cast, please help us!

Here’s the cast:

Daniela Denby-Ashe – Margaret Hale
Richard Armitage – John Thornton (we have some contacts here <smile>)
Tim Pigott-Smith – Richard Hale
Sinéad Cusack- Hannah Thornton
Brendan Coyle – Nicholas Higgins (we’ve made some contact here)
Anna Maxwell Martin – Bessy Higgins
Lesley Manville – Maria Hale
Jo Joyner – Fanny Thornton
Pauline Quirke – Dixon
Brian Protheroe – Mr. Bell
Rupert Evans – Frederick Hale
John Light – Henry Lennox
William Houston – John Boucher

Tracking down as many as possible of these actors’ fan groups is crucial to the event’s success.

If you are a member of a fan group, and/or can help us reach out to them, please reply to ns10thanniversary at gmail.com
or comment on the FB page: http://bit.ly/NS10th

north-south-35-copy

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!
Another  part of the 10th Anniversary celebration of North & South, Author Trudy Brasure will be one of the moderators of a read-along of Elizabeth Gaskell’s book on Goodreads.com!

A group there for fans of N&S has welcomed our anniversary plans for reading Gaskell’s book. Discussion threads for every three chapters of the book have already been established, and discussion comments there have already been active. You are welcome to add your questions and comments to the group read there at any time.  Details: If you’re not already a Goodreads member, you may log in using your FB account, or create a separate account. Trudy also says that you may lurk and read all the comments without joining the site, but if you wish to ask questions or make comments, you will need to join the site and the group …it’s very easy! Here’s the link: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/120502-north-south

Cheers to you all and we look forward to seeing photos from N&S fans from all over the world the weekend of November 14… or as long as people want to participate!

Brendan Coyle (Nicholas Higgins) with Richard Armitage (John Thornton) in North & South. (Premiere date: November 14, 2004.)

Brendan Coyle (Nicholas Higgins) with Richard Armitage (John Thornton) in North & South. (Premiere date: November 14, 2004.)

You may also follow Richard Armitage US
on FacebookTwitter and Tumblr.

A Few Pointers on Twitter

Richard Armitage US:

Terrific advice!

Originally posted on RAFrenzy:

twitter-logo
For those who have just joined Twitter or have been on and still don’t know how to navigate it effectively, here are some basics to remember:

  • Tweets are what you and others post on Twitter.
  • Profile page (aka “Me”) is where you find your tweets and retweets. If you want to make a tweet sticky (keep it at the top of your tweets on your profile page), you can “pin” the tweet. This is under “more” on the individual tweet. This is not widely available on mobile. Bummer.
  • Your timeline is the tweets that scroll when you are on your Twitter home page. It’s also known as the home feed. It is populated with tweets and retweets from those you follow as well as the occasional (let’s hope it stays occasional) promoted tweet thrown in by Twitter. Conversely, people who follow you will have your tweets/retweets in their timelines.
  • Retweets

View original 1,227 more words

Of Shifting Sands and Undertows…

1

You know that singular feeling of standing on the beach as the waves come in, just enough to cover your feet? As the wave goes back out to sea, it creates a sensation of the earth literally shifting beneath your feet. While it can be disconcerting, depending on the pull of the wave, it’s not unpleasant.

Then there’s another kind of wave entirely. The kind of wave looks normal, but when you step into it, it sucks at your feet like death, jerking them out from under you pulling you under with sudden and terrifying power. An undertow is treacherous, unexpected and all too often undetectable… until it has you. As you become more familiar with the shore, the pattern of the waves and the weather, you can sometimes sense an undertow, but that doesn’t mean you can avoid it.

tricky tide Depression is my undertow. Like many Americans – 0ne of 10, 80 percent who are un-diagnosed or untreated, according to Heathline –  I never know when I awaken, what kind of day it will be. It’s never a solid-ground day.

If it’s a gentle shifting sand day, I can usually accomplish a few tasks – grocery shopping, talking with a friend on the phone, maybe even cooking a meal – but I still have to be careful to pace myself.gentle shifting

If it’s an undertow day – and it is, more often than not – I can know it before I even I swing my legs over the side of the bed and my toes touch the floor. Even as I lie there, prone on my mattress, I can feel the weight of the day, the force of the pull drawing me under. On those days, I do my best to accomplish two things: feed my cats and – eventually – write something on Facebook so my friends who worry about me know I’m still here. In the past, I was able to accomplish the former; not always the latter. The Richard Armitage US Facebook page I manage has changed that. Many days, the only reason I leave my bed is to find out what our members are talking about, or which posts are getting the most/best/worst/ reactions.

Undertow day

I’m not trudging along this beach alone and unaided. In fact, for the last seven years – since my clinical depression was finally diagnosed – I’ve worked with several doctors, therapists and countless medications. While my sessions with my doctors make me feel less like a freak, the meds they’ve prescribed have had a negligible or short-lived impact. I also have friends – thank you, Diane – who listen and empathize and, ultimately, have helped me keep my head above the deadly waves.

It’s a struggle.

Today is a shifting sand day, so I fed the cats and read for a bit. These thoughts about my depression have been swirling around in my head for a while. So, since it’s a day I can write a little, I’m trying to put them down to share. If you suffer from this illness, maybe knowing that someone else has these thoughts and these struggles will help you feel less alone. Or maybe you can show this to someone who loves you, but doesn’t understand the disease.

Today is a day that I might even be able to post bon mots on Facebook, which is where I can pretend to be well. I can log on, keep up with close friends and the interesting people I know, share a couple of interesting news items, make pithy – sometimes even witty or funny – comments, and log off. No emotional energy or capital required. On most shifting sand days, I can be a pretty good pretender…lots of people with depression are skilled actors, and would rather put on a cheerful face than see that dread “You have so much. What’s wrong with you?” expression in others’ eyes.

5 on undertow days

On undertow days, I still try to log on. I do this because if I don’t, my phone will be ringing within a day or so from friends who demand a response to ensure that I’m all right. On undertow days, I try to avoid status updates since “Today my depression is overwhelming” isn’t exactly the kind of pretend-positive personality I’m trying to project. Instead, I find something interesting from NPR or on the web from the New York Times or The Hollywood Reporter, or new photos of Richard Armitage to share. My introductory comments don’t require what would be obviously false cheeriness. I can be as dark as I want based on the gravity of the item.

On any day and every day, though, I avoid real people as much as possible. Email and Facebook are my guards. I find that personal interactions require far too much emotional and physical energy, and usually the undertow has me in its paralyzing embrace for days afterward.

This is why my friends and acquaintances learn that I’ll often agree that it would be lovely to get together for lunch or a movie, or a reunion of beloved colleagues, but then I rarely speak of it again, and never show up at the parties. This is a major change for me, considering my former profession, a change made solely as a self-protective measure; I worked  in special events, media and community relations, and was very involved community and neighborhood life. But at one point, I realized that these activities were doing me more harm than good. With the first whisper of disagreement or conflict, I heard the waves rising and could tell that the undertow was already tugging at my legs. Isolation, I’ve found,  protects me from that particular trigger.

So is this it? Is this how I’ll spend the rest of my life? I truly can’t imagine another 20-30 years of this kind of existence. Instead, on shifting-sand days, I continue to hope that the next medication will be the one that gives me daily shifting sands (of course, I’m realistic enough to not to expect solid ground).  We have found one med that helps with my panic attacks, so I’m hopeful that we’ll find one someday that works with the undertow.

1 Morning View South2

Depression unpredictable, but daily possibility and frequent presence of that dark, insistent undertow is no way to live. So I will pray that each of us finds the meds and counselor that will deliver those gentle eddies, and diminish, perhaps even eliminate, the suffocating darkness.

Last undertow

All photos taken by RA US at Edisto Island, South Carolina.

 

INTO THE STORM: Richard Armitage US Review

Richard Armitage is Vice-Principal, Math Teacher, Football Coach, Dad and Hero in "Into the Storm"

Richard Armitage is Vice-Principal, Math Teacher, Football Coach, Dad and  Crisis-Hero in “Into the Storm”

I will begin with a confession: since it was announced that Richard Armitage would star in what I came to call the “Unnamed Into the Black Tornado Storm Sky Project 4, 5, 6(?),” I planned to see it only because it featured RA as its leading man. You see, I am not really a disaster film fan. But I should’ve trusted RA because I’ve never been so wrong in all my life. Brief explanation: Like most of us who follow RA’s career, I’d been reading about Into the Storm for, roughly, three years. It seemed to start out as a small, found-footage-intertwined-with-human-stories film. Then we started seeing photos like this one. (Tweeted by that [formerly tricky] Into the Storm Producer Todd Garner!)

Hmmm, looking pretty disastery here, Mr. G.

Hmmm, looking pretty disastery here, Mr. G.

Then the bits and pieces of video started coming out, and they were full-on disaster clips. But Mr. G. promised he would supply “the power of the human spirit” that RA mentioned at CinemaCon.* The second trailer delivered. Still it was a monster movie, those tornadoes clearly being both monster and star. And I’m not a monster movie person. But, accompanied by a gleeful group of Richard Armitage US members, I was brave enough to attend a preview screening in Atlanta, thanks to Mr. G (who turns out to be a fun tweeter and fine man), and the generosity of Warner Brothers Pictures. I want to say that any connection – albeit slim – or gratitude for their kindness has no effect on this review. Nor is my assessment affected by my respect and affection for Richard Armitage overall. Believe it or not, the film was so engrossing, and the ensemble of actors and their characters so strong, I actually forgot to focus on Gary Fuller. The film takes just the right amount of time establishing its human characters: a rather brusque man, Gary Fuller, has an awkward and uncomfortable relationship with his two sons. The backstory is that there was a divorce and then the mom died, so the boys have come to live with Dad. But Dad – for a vice-principal of a high school – doesn’t really seem to know how to communicate with teenagers. (I kept reminding  myself that he’s also a football coach and so is used to having his orders – never suggestions – followed.) The sons are beautifully realized by Max Deacon as serious and shy Donnie, and an initially cheeky Nathan Kress, as younger son Trey. Donnie’s secret crush Kaitlyn – a smart, environmentally conscious young woman – portrayed by Alycia Debnam Carey rounds out the dynamic of the family relationships.

"Did you hear that? "Max and Kaitlyn.

“Did you hear that?” Max and Kaitlyn.

Younger Fuller son Trey (Nathan Kress) is a natural videographer.

Younger Fuller son Trey (Nathan Kress) is a natural videographer.

And then we have the Storm-Chasers, Matt Walsh as Pete, who has to get that shot before losing his backers, Sarah Wayne  Callies as Allison, a scientist, and a smart, strong female character; Arlen Escarpeta as Daryl, a dedicated storm chaser with a heart; and Jeremy Sumpter as Jacob, a newbie  storm-chaser-shooter who’s uncertain about his latest career choice.

Pete (Matt Walsh), Trey (Nathan Kress, Gary (RA) and Allison (Sarah Wayne Callies) take stock after the first wave of storms.

Pete (Matt Walsh), Trey (Nathan Kress, Gary (RA) and Allison (Sarah Wayne Callies) take stock after the first wave of storms.

And that’s the cast… OH! Except the wild cards: Reevis and Donk, wanna-be YouTube stars. Since the second trailer debuted, to me, Reevis has been the “Dude! M’arm hairs” guy and Donk has been his sidekick. From that trailer, I swore if anything happened to “Dude,” I’d never recover. Played, respectively (if not respectably), by Jon Reep and Kyle Davis, these two guys provide much-needed comic relief. (Hey, I’m Southern, and was not offended in the least, just don’t call them hillbillies or rednecks… these kinds of guys are just about everywhere in the US.)  And if their Flaming Pool of Death gag and its aftermath doesn’t make you laugh out loud, I worry for you.

Donk (Kyle Davis) survives the Flaming Pool of Death he and Reevis (Jon Reep) set up to launch their YouTube stardom!

Donk (Kyle Davis) survives the Flaming Pool of Death he and Reevis (Jon Reep) set up to launch their YouTube stardom!

So that’s the – forgive me – calm before the storm(s). You’ve all seen samples of that video. Helicopters crashing into buildings, planes swept up in funnels, a tornado bearing right down on our people and, of course, the fire funnels. But there is so much more. And all of it is breathtaking. The storms and their destructive power are stunning and relentless and horrifying, and – with the theater sound – is about as real as you can get to a tornado without actually being in one (and I have).

One tornado approaches... there are more.

One tornado approaches… there are more.

And while this nasty fella makes his way toward our heroes… our YouTube stars chuck their beer cans to record it while Storm-Chaser Daryl gets a money shot. nathan-kress-into-storm-stills-16 All this said, honestly,  I have to see this film again, and perhaps several times; in fact, I’ll be at the theater with friends on Opening Day, August 8. There is SO much going on, I found it difficult to focus… even on RA. Plus, it was SO much more than I expected: more believable storms, more heartbreak, more humanity, more beauty, more power, more character development. In fact, the ensemble is amazing. Standouts are Max Deacon, whose American accent is flawless and seems effortless, and his character is both poignant and brave. I expected Nathan Kress to turn in a solid performance, and he did. Matt Walsh’s Pete is simply fascinating to watch… in every scene. Sarah Wayne Callies is a welcome note of sanity and humanity in the chaos. Jon Reep and Kyle Davis are unforgettable. And then there’s RA. As the head of what appears to be a rigidly structured household, he is hardly sympathetic in the beginning. His first scene with Donnie breaks my heart. And he spends much of the film yelling over the wind; he has few quiet moments. (An aside: how I long to see RA in a role that allows him to speak quietly, using that voice and all its nuance.) Yes, there is a character arc, but in his case, I longed for more. And that’s not RA’s fault, but the production’s or the script’s. Still, it’s a solid performance – especially considering his water phobia and having a truck dropped in the street just 10 meters in front of him. He delivers what the director and script called for, but I think much of Gary’s humanity was the result of RA’s suggestions, and Director Steven Quale’s openness to collaboration.

The Fuller Family have gone Into the Storm.

The Fuller Family have gone Into the Storm.

AMENDMENT: I had said after my first screening that I thought that the epilogue with some of the characters updating their status felt tacked on and simplistic. But I’ll say no more about that here. I have thoughts, but don’t want to give anything that might resemble a content spoiler. On SECOND viewing, I want to make it VERY clear that the the ultimate final scenes were very satisfying! You’ll see what I mean when you see the film.

And, I have to say, there is just one detail continues to bug me: what happened to all those dozens of other school buses filled with students and others at the school’s storm shelter?  This is the last school bus we see,  and it’s just the one Gary and his crew were in… It is a puzzlement.

Gary, his abandoned school bus, Donnie,  Kaitlyn, Trey and Allison... where's everyone else?

Gary, his abandoned school bus, Donnie, Kaitlyn, Trey and Allison… where’s everyone else?

That side,  it’s a wild ride with interesting characters, monster storms and a super cast. Terrific for a summer movie. Congrats, everyone.  As RA says:

I'm really proud of the film and I hope people enjoy it... and there's always room for a good disaster movie.

“I’m really proud of the film and I hope people enjoy it… and there’s always room for a good disaster movie.” ~ RA to RA US Special Correspondent Sara Alize Cross

Finally, one last shot of the entire cast at the premiere… Didn’t I tell you that Jon and Kyle are unforgettable?

L-R) Jon Reep, Todd Garner, Max Deacon, Matt Walsh, Arlen Escarpeta, Sarah Wayne Callies, Nathan Kress, RA (behind Nathan), Alycia Debnam Carey, Steven Quale, Kyle Davis and Jeremy Sumpter.

L-R) Jon Reep, Todd Garner, Max Deacon, Matt Walsh, Arlen Escarpeta, Sarah Wayne Callies, Nathan Kress, RA (behind Nathan), Alycia Debnam Carey, Steven Quale, Kyle Davis and Jeremy Sumpter.

Please let me know your thoughts about the film… and I may have a whole ‘nother reaction after seeing it a second (and third and fourth, infinity) time. 

Our Black Carpet interviews with dome of the cast – RA, Matt, Max and Arlen – Are all here in one sweet clip! The Richard Armitage US/Sarah Alize Cross team and their roles: Interviewed by: Sara Alize Cross; Shot by: S. Iturri Sosa, Rachael Levy, Adam Smith Sound by: Lana T. Yang

You may also follow Richard Armitage US on FacebookTwitter and Tumblr.

 * “The power of nature is both terrifying and awe-inspiring, but what is more inspiring than that is the power of the human spirit.” ` Richard Armitage, CinemaCon, March 2014.

 

RA US & RA: Together At Last! (Kinda)… OR, RA US Crew Captures RA as he Goes “Into the Storm”

Good questions from these well-wishers!

Good questions from these well-wishers!

Okay, no more teases! Here is RA US Special Correspondent – I love the faux pretension of that title – Sara Alize Cross and her magnificent team at the very end of the Into the Storm premiere press line catching a few moments with our beloved RA… LOVE Iturri’s tight shots!
The Richard Armitage US/Sarah Alize Cross team and their roles:
Interviewed by: Sara Alize Cross;
Shot by: S. Iturri Sosa, Rachael Levy, Adam Smith
Sound by: Lana T. Yang

Thank you to Sara and her team for doing a spectacular job. Thanks to Richard Armitage, Matt Walsh, Max Deacon and Arlen Escarpeta for finding us at the very end of the press line. And a very heartfelt thank you to Into the Storm Producer Todd Garner and Warner Brothers Pictures for making this happen!

Don’t forget! Richard Armitage Central was there, and Julie did a great report for them. And so did AbbyMUSTANG! – for Richard Armitage Net! And WHO can forget our favorite RA reporter, our beloved Marlise Boland of The Anglophile Channel? Go to The Anglophile Channel for all of her reports! But first, you have to check out RA and Marlise!

Here are some stills from that magical night:

Hmm... Killer high heels and still he looks down. Seems our beloved Marlise Boland of The Anglophile Channel is the woman who can look at RA eye-to-eye.

Hmm… Killer high heels and still he looks down. Seems our beloved Marlise Boland of The Anglophile Channel is the woman who can look at RA eye-to-eye.

Well-wisher reporters are FUN!

Well-wisher reporters are FUN!

The man himself... simply beautiful!

The man himself… simply beautiful!

You may also follow Richard Armitage US
on FacebookTwitter and Tumblr.

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