Saturday, January 31, 2015

30 Days of Fangirl-ism - Day 17: Favorite piece of art from your favorite fandom

After leaving the college scene a few years ago, I spent a couple of years working as a receptionist for a very large office in Anchorage. It was a lot of fun, and my coworkers came from all spectrum of life. One such coworker was a pretty popular Alaskan artist who did a series of Iditarod prints a few decades ago. ;) He's incredibly talented, and I love all of his work... so trying to pick a favorite is nearly impossible...

But "Visions" I've seen up close and it definitely ranks as one of my top favorites. If I had a cool grand I'd buy it.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

30 Days of Fangirl-ism - Day 16: A quote from one of your fandoms that you love

"You know, there's not a ton about my father that I remember that doesn't suck. But he used to tell me that there are no coincidences. Everything that happens, happens by design, and there's nothing we can do about it; forces greater than us conspire to make it happen. Fate, destiny, whatever you wanna called it, the point is... maybe we met for a reason. Maybe something good came from us being together." - Neal Cassidy 

I'm just gonna leave this here... and go in a corner and cry. I'll never be over the loss of this character. Never, ever, ever....

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Sons Of Liberty Night 3 - and so it concludes...

Three nights is not enough to encompass everything that the Sons of Liberty and the men of the Revolution were about, but the History did a bang up job hitting on the key parts. The men cast to play these iconic historical figures were spot on - they brought them to life in ways no history teacher ever could. Sure, the creative liberties taken were sometimes in drastic contrast to the men's true character, but overall it wasn't a bad series. It definitely did what it set out to do which was make the time period more interesting and therefore got people looking up the different events and people highlighted in each episode.

Those who had a better than high school grasp of history fell into two categories - those ticked that History dared mess with the history, and those that could pick out the [many] inaccuracies and still cheer on the characters. There's no way Paul Revere was at every American battle on the front-lines leading the charge, and yet I was still sitting on the edge of my seat cheering him on (and not just because I love the actor). The cast and crew did their very best to make history come alive and be more exciting than fussy men in wigs standing in straight lines conducting civilized war. This was a new kind of politics, and a new kind of warfare. And it all started with a few angry men wanting more for their future.

The conclusion really centered around the battle of Bunker Hill. This was a significant early battle in the Revolution, and one that solidified the rebels in their cause. The same can be said of History's fictional Sons of Liberty. The key moment, of course, is when Dr. Joseph Warren refuses to fall back with Revere and the others and instead charges ahead. Revere's last view of his friend alive is that of him shaking his head no before jumping over the barricade. If you knew US History you knew what was coming next - you just didn't know how.

If there was one huge flaw in the entire series, it was Warren's death in battle. The unbelievable happens. Thomas Gage spots him through all of the chaos and charges towards him (uphill on his horse, basically a perfect target for any number of bullets). Warren sees him coming and just basically allows the inevitable to happen. A British soldier shoots Warren in the leg, and Gage comes up to him and shoots him in the back of the head to make it look like Warren was running away. He dips his hand in Warren's blood and leaves the battle field. As he walks away he tells his men to mutilate the body.

This is in direct contrast to what actually happened to Warren on the hill, and I don't know why they did it this way other than to bring the Gage-Warren affair full circle and show how Thomas Gage was a ruthless villain. Okay, fine, but at the same time I think it took some of Warren's glory in death away from him. If they wanted people to feel heartache for his death they could've easily gone with the real story that Warren was a young widower with daughters whom he had to send away while he fought in the resistance. He essentially left them as orphans. There's angst aplenty in that story.

Still when the battle is over and the rebels begin to search the dead and find Warren, Revere's reaction had my heart in my throat. Revere and Warren were not portrayed as being super close in the miniseries, but history suggests the men knew each other well. Revere in the mini series is wounded in the battle, but falls to the ground as he looks upon his friend and brother's mutilated body. The horror evident on his face. A missive is also sent to Sam and John Adams in the Continental Congress meeting in Philidelphia. John announces to Congress of the battle and of Warren's death while Sam stares at the paper in disbelief and profound grief.

Sam leaves Congress feeling responsible for leaving Revere and Warren behind to fight his battle. He's tired of people dying for him and his cause. Half way down the road on his horse he looks up and realizes he can't give up and turns around. Meanwhile Gage returns home to his wife and shows her his bloodied hand telling her Warren's dead. She flies at him screaming "No" he throws her down on a couch and gets on top of her - he doesn't rape her, but the entire audience believed that's what was coming. He leaves her crying there and locks her in her room telling the servants not to let her go anywhere that she was "not feeling well."

After Bunker Hill the ball rolls at a faster pace down the hill, Congress votes to allow Washington to take troops to Massachusetts and off he goes. He meets Revere with some 6,000 men and Revere is all too happy to step aside and let the General take over. Revere is instantly Washington's right hand man - but when they realize that Gage is moving troops from Boston to take New York he dispatches Revere to Congress to warn Adams and Company that they're running out of time. They need to vote to unite and declare independence. This is one of the few times that Revere's story actually follows the actual history.

The rest is a fast paced find the guy to write the declaration, let's all vote, let's all sign... and then the last scene we have is of Washington commanding the rebel troops to charge... and the VERY LAST SHOT is Revere holding the newly sewn American Flag and running ahead with the men.

Overall a successful conclusion to this excellent series. I still say that Night 2 is my favorite episode (it was just the best written/edited of them all), but really from start to finish the action never really let up. I actually had fun seeing where history and fiction intersected. The cast was spot on and brought humor where they needed to, and yet were all totally into their roles. Michael Raymond-James was as badass as ever as Revere, Ryan Eggold as Dr. Joseph Warren was a compassionate man, Jason O'Mara totally transformed himself to become George Washington (voice, nose, composure), Ben Barnes was the perfect [fictitious] Sam Adams, Henry Thomas portrayed John Adams in the standard way, Emily Barrington held her own as Margaret Gage, Marton Csokas was part Thomas Gage part Alan Rickman and it worked, Kevin Ryan was a solid John Pitcairn, and Rafe Spall... what can I say? John Hancock has always been my least favorite Revolutionary hero to read about... and Spall not only made him interesting... he made me fall in love. He was so odd and yet so loveable.

And Dean Norris making a small appearance each night as Ben Franklin. I wasn't sold looking at pictures and all, but wow. I was pleasantly surprised, especially Night 3. It was such a small role, which was surprising how much talk there was about him joining the cast.

Norris plays the elder statesman in the classic way that most actors throughout history have. He's a womanizer, he's intelligent, and he doesn't give a $#*! what others think. He tells it like it is, and he's ready for action. He enjoys the youthful enthusiasm of the Adams boys, and pushes them forward towards action in securing their place in history.

I don't know much of Norris' work, but it was nice to see him in this role. He's definitely one of my favorite Ben Franklins. I wish he'd had a bigger part, but really if we're looking more at the Sons of Liberty and Boston, then it makes sense that he didn't factor into the show much until it was nearly over.

Now I'm in withdrawls. I invested a lot in waiting for this project to premiere, and invested a lot of emotion into the characters and the action as it unfolded. And now it's over. And I don't quite know what to do with myself now. If this doesn't come to DVD I'm going to be horribly disappointed. But! It reairs this Friday (January 30) - and, yes, I have the tv programmed already. And I will be recording it just in case (but you can bet if there's a DVD release I'll be first in line)!

I may gush about individual actors/performances in later blog posts. I really want to gush about MRJ and Ryan Eggold and Rafe Spall... we'll see. Life is starting to get busy.

30 Days of Fangirl-ism - Day 15: Favorite fandom collectible that you most cherish

My grandfather is downsizing, hoping to move into a Senior Residency closer to where we live, and so we've been getting a lot of his old stuff. One of the things that I've recently been given is one of the old cookie jars that sat in the kitchen my entire childhood. I'm not sure how old it is, but it's Donald Duck - my absolute FAVORITE Disney Character.

His paint has seen better days, and he's well loved and used, but I just love him. Not only because of it being Disney and Donald, but because of the memories of my grandparents' house... and the cookies... so many cookies... over the years.

So this is the collectible that I will always cherish. I absolutely love it. I'm never giving it up. Ever.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

30 Days of Fangirl-ism - Day 14: A group from one fandom you’d love to hang out with

Who doesn't want to be a part of Once Upon A Time's "Team 7" (or, more commonly known as the 7 Dwarfs). Either the ones on the show or the cast that plays them. I love their version of Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs on Once Upon A Time. And I know I'm not alone, so it's just a given that this is THE GROUP to hang out with.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Sons Of Liberty Night 2 - leaves little room to breathe!

I don't think I've ever been so thankful for commercials as I was tonight. The second night of History's Mini Series - "Sons of Liberty" - hit the ground running. For two hours I was on the edge of me seat - and dang it I KNOW WHAT HAPPENS! It's not like this is something we haven't been "spoiled" on - if you don't know what's coming next, then you either flunked US History... or never took it. But, seriously, while they do take major creative liberty the key points are still going to end the same (so, no, Mom... Margaret Gage will not kill her husband by the end of tomorrow's episode, sorry).

Tonight was all about what led up to the start of the war. John Adams has joined the fight - politically - Hancock is back in the game after Gage takes his home to use as his own, and Joseph Warren is a full fledged member. Paul Revere takes the reigns as being the major player in each and every rebellious act, and being a general smart ass (again, MRJ is typecast, and I love it). We see the end of Governor Hutchinson's reign, and meet the vicious General Thomas Gage. George Washington pushes for the Sons to take matters into their own hands while the Continental Congress argues what to do. Sam Adams is declared a traitor to the crown and must hang.

And it all starts because of a little incident in the Boston Harbor... you might have heard of it, the Boston Tea Party? The Sons dump tea in the harbor right in front of the British Marines. Paul Revere smiles as he begins the effort by sending the first load of cargo to the bottom of the harbor. While the first episode had very little of the blacksmith, tonight's episode has the war veteran front and center for most of the fighting. Revere brings a lot of swagger (and even a "boom", which if you're a fan of Michael Raymond-James that word has special meaning whenever he says it ha ha) and badassery to the show. If they wanted to do a spin off series on just Revere and his buddies I wouldn't mind. Actually, I wouldn't mind if this mini series turned into a regular series. It's that good.

Thomas Gage (Marton Csokas) is the baddest villain in Colonial America - he has to be, he represents good ol' King George. He's a vicious governor who uses fear of pain and death to keep the town of Boston in line. However, whenever he pushes - the Sons push back. When he realizes money will not woo Sam Adams to toe the line, he resorts to attacking men perceived to be Adams' fellow rebels. He does so in the town square and forces the townfolk to watch. Adams nearly charges in to stop the beating of one man but is stopped by his friend.

Revere and Warren are also in attendance and afterwards Revere warns Adams that gage had "fired a warning shot" and that he'd be gunning soon for the Sons. This becomes apparent when Gage takes over Hancock's home for his own residence, and then threatens John Adams with the loss of his livelihood should his cousin continue his plight. Instead of sending the two running back into loyalty to the crown, this is seen as the final straw and both the elder Adams and Hancock run to Sam to join up and support his cause in the ways they best could - Hancock supplies the funds, and John garners political support.

Gage is not alone in his return to the Colonies - he brings along his wife, who was born and raised in New Jersey. Margaret Gage (Emily Berrington) is well spoken, and confident in herself. Her husband is a brute who has affairs while she listens in, and demands she still be a wife in every single way to him. He physically as well as emotionally abuses her, and finally pushes her into action. (Meanwhile history shows that all of this is false and that the couple seemingly enjoyed one another and there is no proof of an abusive home.)

Margaret is horrified at her husband's heavy hand on the Colonials, and defies him by standing up for them. She meets Dr. Warren and strikes up a friendship. As her husband becomes more cruel to her, she allows their friendship to grow into a full on affair (again in direct contrast to what history has always shown). Margaret then decides that she wants to help Warren and his friends by funneling key information of her husbands plans to the Sons of Liberty. (This is based on the "conspiracy" in historian circles that suggest that Mrs. Gage was Warren's source within General Gage's inner circle.) She is the one who warns Joseph that Gage knew where Sam Adams and John Hancock were hiding in Lexington and had sent his army to arrest them. This in turn sends Warren to Paul Revere who then takes his famous Midnight Right to warn the men of what's to come.

Quite frankly the affair is the most off putting thing in the whole series. They show Thomas Gage having his affair first to somehow justify Margaret's actions - all the while promoting on their website and in promos that Dr. Joseph Warren in a man of integrity. They did not need to suggest an affair to bring in a reason for Margaret to trust Joseph Warren much less be his "spy". She was born and bred Colonial. She was more apt to be responsive to their cause even without being "in love" with one of the Sons. It was pointless. But the two of them are pretty and so it stands to reason that Hollywood would bring them together.

John Pitcairn (Kevin Ryan) is Thomas Gage's right hand man. He's happy to carry out whatever task he is given - including the beatings and executions. He's essential in every major British Military movement once he and Gage land in Boston. He is the one sent to bribe Sam Adams to stop the rebellion. He's the one sent to recover Adams and Hancock when it's apparent they are not backing down.

Another ruthless British military man, Ryan's portrayal of Pitcairn leaves little doubt that Bostonians would suffer under the new rule. He's loyal to his King and his General, and will go to any length to prove that loyalty. The episode ends with him telling his men to ready themselves to fire on the green in Lexington after his demands to the Minute Men to hand over Sam Adams and John Hancock are met with mockery. Adams and Hancock are seen riding away when a shot rings out. Depending on which historical account you follow either the Redcoats fired first, or the Militia did... though many historians now believe it was a gunshot heard in town that caused the Brits to fire into the Minute Men.

It will be interesting to see how much of a role Pitcairn has in the conclusion of the series.

Finally, lets talk about our introduction to America's future first president. George Washington, played by Jason OMara is as stoic as we all remember him from History class. The Adams boys with John Hancock meet the brooding man when they head to the Continental Congress to ask for help for Boston. They are met with scorn from the rest of the delegation, saying it was Boston's problem.

Washington knows better, he's worked with Gage before - and he hates him. Washington meets briefly with the men and tells them it's time for them to fight. That it's the only way to gain the upper hand. They have to continue to be a thorn in Gage's side. And maybe, just maybe, the tide will turn and the Colonies will rally together and push the crown aside.

I was very worried about how I would like Washington, and while his part was minimal (one scene) I am highly impressed with OMara's portrayal of Good Ol' George.

And now for the gushy fangirl part. I was disappointed last night with the lack of Paul Revere. With the way they were using the character to promote the show I was expecting a lot more. Well, I can see now why - the second episode is all Revere. Sure it's still the Sam Adams show, but Revere is front and center of all the action. He's the one that Adams sends to recruit men to join the cause and fight. He's the one that sets up the intelligence network. He's the one that takes joy in being a thorn in the side of the British.

I mean he really takes joy and pride in what he does. Kinda like the actor that plays him.

Seriously though, I was very nervous going into this series that I was going to get my hopes up on both the show and MRJ's role in particular. I'm not disappointed, though. I'm totally in love with the Bostonian accent, the swagger, and just the smart alec responses he gives. In a way it's a typical role for Michael, and yet it's completely new. Paul Revere fits him.

But the best part was the ride. It wasn't completely accurate, but it was perfect just the same. From when he encounters the British troops in the woods, to when he makes it to Adams and Hancock and proceeds to tell Sam to run. Sam then says he'll stand and fight and become a martyr if he has to and Paul screams back that the cause needs Sam Adams - that without him it ends. Hancock sees the British Sentries come down the street and says it's too late, and Paul rushes out to his horse and gets the Brits to follow him allowing Sam and John to escape.

Oh, and the BEST PART was when he said "the REDCOATS are coming" for weeks I've been whining that the promos have him saying "The British are coming"... I mean I get it, they aren't going for accuracy, but come on! And then BOOM! there it was. I freaked. I bounced. I totally nerded out. At least the family was entertained.

I know the real history of that night/morning, and yet I was still on the edge of my seat. That's some good pacing right there.

Overall, another successful episode. I know it's getting a lot of hate from history buffs (and uber political minded Tea Party folk) but it's FICTION people. Take a deep breath, let it out, and enjoy the ride.

30 Days of Fangirl-ism - Day 13: Another freebie

Since the prompt for today is "The best cosplayers of your fandom that you’ve seen; the ones you consider to be real-life versions of your favorite characters, OTP, etc." I've decided to do a freebie as I don't really follow anyone who does cosplay. It's a cool part of fandoms, sure, but just not my thing.

So I'm just going to sit here and gush about one of my favorite actors on one of my fravorite shows - Ryan Eggold as Tom Keen in The Blacklist. This comes from basically me watching and fangirling over him in Sons of Liberty where he plays the mild-mannered Bostonian Doctor, Joseph Warren. It just gave me more appreciation for an actor I've enjoyed watching over the last year play an incredibly complex and mysterious character.
gif by dirtyfootballangel on tumblr.
Tom Keen was introduced to us as Elizabeth Keen's somewhat nerdy, but overly adorable and adoring, husband. He is a teacher by day, and a double agent by night... but we didn't know that at first. We just thought he was Lizzie's hubby who got caught in an impossible situation (dude was attacked and nearly died!)... but all that changed as Red gives Lizzie a heads up that Tom is not who he appears to be. We spent all of Season 1 watching Liz deal with the emotions of trying to figure out who and what to believe. We spend ALL seasons trying to figure out just what and who Tom Keen is. I love and hate that last fact all at the same time.

I want to know, so badly, who Tom Keen is. WHAT IS HIS STORY?! We won't get any answers to that when The Blacklist returns Superbowl Sunday. But Tom will be back in the picture at some point in the second season, and I can't wait.  

Ryan Eggold is a great, nuanced actor. He can say more with a look than most actors say in an entire script. As Joseph Warren he's compassionate, quiet, and trustworthy with a moral center. As Tom Keen he plays both sides of the coin to a T... and I'm convinced that he truly loves Lizzie even when he tries to convince her he doesn't. There are so many layers to that onion, and Eggold plays each one as good if not better than the last. 

Like I said, I can't wait to see him come back to The Blacklist...

Sunday, January 25, 2015

30 Days of Fangirl-ism - Day 12: Your favorite fanartist or fanfiction writer

I don't read a lot of fanfiction - mainly because when I do it's normally either really good or really bad... and the really good stuff I just sit there and wonder why the tv show of movie its from couldn't "get it right" (like pretty much every AU writing involving Once Upon A Time's Neal Cassidy). However, once in a while someone is just worth following.

Lord Mesa [dot] com
And the most awesome someone doesn't write fanfiction, they draw mini comics of some of the most epic superheros... and they focus a lot on Arrow and The Flash from the CW. "Lord Mesa" is extremely talented. I love love LOVE their work.

The art typically gives a comical or emotional look at the series it portrays and in the case of the TV shows, it references the new episodes. The Arrow series is definitely my favorite. After the midseason finale they were really gutpunching the fans with their very emotional prints. I mean THIS ONE in particular had me nearly in the fetal position wanting to hide. I hadn't even THOUGHT about that part of the program until seeing the drawing. And then it was just DANG IT! WHY?! ha ha.

It definitely brightens my day to see the new art tweeted every other day or so. I wish I had the talent.

For fanfiction when I want to hate myself because I'm going to get all emo and angry because things didn't go my fav character's way - there are several tumblrs I go to. I don't have a tumblr, because I'm already online WAY TOO MUCH as it is... and because I really can't stand fandom wars (and I am always the fan of the guy most people hate it seems) so I think it's safer to just troll the blogs of my friends whom I know I can at least trust to be semi decent about how they conduct themselves on social media. And for the life of me I can't find the links, but they're there. I just reread one the other night about the aftermath of Quiet Minds and how Emma was handling it and OMG... why did we never get a scene like that? It's not like JMo couldn't do it, she seems to be able to easily bring real emotion to the whole "Neal is gone" theme.

Oh well, I'm getting loopy and fangirly so I should probably end this here. Ha ha.

Sons Of Liberty Night 1 - off to an explosive start

History's "Sons of Liberty" premiered tonight and started off running. Literally! The first few minutes were jam packed with action as Sam Adams is chased through the streets of Boston by the British. He's evading capture - there's a warrant out for his arrest for being a tax collector unwilling to collect taxes. There are riots happening in the streets at the same time, punches are thrown... and then it's off to the governor's mansion to do some real damage. Which all in turn gets the soldiers off Adams' back - for the night.

Make no mistake - this miniseries is NOT HISTORICALLY ACCURATE by any stretch of the imagination. History's big wigs came out with that warning several weeks ago. They do not count this among their documentaries, but as a way to show the excitement of the period and hopefully interest viewers in to reading up on what really happened and who these men truly were.

Still, if you aren't looking for a straight up history lesson, you will not be disappointed! I typically cannot get over blatant historical fallacies, but the way this story is told it's not a bother in the slightest. The cast is spot on in their roles. The action is fast paced and intriguing (edge of your seat) and the dialogue - while not accurate for the 1760s - keeps your interest. Each member brings another flavor to the show, and it melds into a very yummy and rich story.

Ben Barnes plays the most important role of Sam Adams, a disheartened tax collector. Adams refuses to force the kings taxes on his friends and fellow Bostonians, allowing them to pay only what they can so they can provide for their family members. This does not sit well with the governor, and he sends his goons after him. This just bolsters Adams and his followers to press against the crown even harder.

Barnes was definitely hired not just for his acting - which is spot on - but also to be the heartthrob. He's one of the better looking drunks, that's for sure. Sam Adams never looked so good, that's for sure. Barnes brings the right amount of rebel to the role, while being very much your classic Robin Hood. While most are pushing Sons of Liberty as a Colonial Ocean's 11, it definitely also is a Colonial Hood and Merry Men.

Adams is likeable, if a little bit annoying. We get to see why the others have joined the fight - but we really haven't seen what sent Adams to the edge. It most likely stems from watching his father go bankrupt and die from the stress, but that's only mentioned briefly and just doesn't seem like much of a catalyst.

Adams' closest friend, at least in the beginning, is Dr. Joseph Warren played by Ryan Eggold (The Blacklist). Warren is one of the more respected physicians in Boston, and is the moral compass of Sam Adams. He also sticks up for his friend, and helps him out of every jam with the British soldiers (warning Adams before hand that they're coming, and lying to them when they get there).

It's good to see Eggold in a role other than the one I know him as on The Blacklist, though I have to admit I'm waiting for him to turn into Mr. Hyde after his Dr. Jeckel routine tonight. It was nice to see a more tender, emotional role for Eggold, and he didn't disappoint. In one of the more dramatic scenes where a young boy is killed after Warren warns Adams that innocents would be hurt, Warren gives Adams a knowing look. An "I told you so" which then sets Adams on edge.

Warren did join up with the Sons of Liberty in the history books, and will eventually embrace the idea in this series. Especially once a certain Mrs. Margaret Gage comes into the picture. It'll be very interesting to see how his character goes from friend helping a friend to a patriot who would die for his country (not looking forward to THAT part of the story).

Quite possibly the most entertaining character in the series is Rafe Spall's John Hancock. I'm not sure what he's trying to portray in his character, but he's rather... flamboyant. He kinda comes off as a colonial Sheldon Cooper (Big Bang Theory) with the way his social norms as an upper class businessman and property owner get in the way of bonding with his compatriots. Hancock is thrust into the rebellion after the Governor goes back on his word to allow Hancock special liberties. The final straw is the Governer suggesting Hancock is no better than the rioters. He's not a British citizen - he's a Colonist. He's second class.

Hancock immediately seeks Adams out to tell him of a plan to boycott the Brits, and still make money. Adams, being against rich society, agrees only because it will fund his larger cause. The men create a smuggling ring and underground market for normal goods that the every man needed, but were being taxed out of affording (you know, things like food).

I was not prepared to like Spall as much as I do. I'm not familiar with his work, but I'm very interested in searching out his other roles. He's definitely a stand out in the series.

One role that, so far, sticks close enough to how history portrays him is John Adams played by Henry Thomas. The cousin of Sam Adams, John is more of a controlling older brother who has had it with his cousin than he is a friend and ally. While John Adams gets most of the credit for being a thorn in everyone's side during the rise of American revolution, Sam Adams did much of the groundwork. John followed the law to the letter, Sam was more free to pick and choose.

Henry Thomas - who most know as the child actor who played Elliot in Steven Spielberg's E.T. - was quite convincing. Next to the more animated Ben Barnes, it gave the elder Adams the maturity and coldness that was needed as he continually lectured his cousin on the finer points of right and wrong. The two clash and at one point John tells his wife to deny Sam access to their home (he charms her anyway so she relents).

The first night ended with the Boston Massacre, so the two will clash in the second episode as John Adams will be hired to defend the British officers who fired on the Colonials.

I would be remiss if I didn't give a shout out to Paul Revere (Michael Raymond-James). Though just in a few scenes, he's the original reason I was excited for the mini series. We meet Revere as a businessman willing to rent out some space to Adams and his crew as they built "lobster pots". It's obvious in the scene that they've not let Revere in on the secret, but he's not an idiot. He knows they're up to something, and he supports their overall cause telling Adams that they next time they go to trash the governor's house to let him know.

Raymond-James gives his normal swagger to the role (hello typecasting), as well as a strong Bostonian accent. Remember, this is a fictitious take on the history of the 1760s-70s. Revere is a selfmade man and is rough around the edges. He's a little less refined than the rest, so his more "Bostonian sound" seems appropriate.

Revere is seen in many of the scenes in the background backing up Sam Adams. He stops Adams from getting too close as the riot begins setting in motion the Boston Massacre, but runs off as the shooting starts. He turns back to watch in horror as Adams beats down one of the British soldiers who is wounded when the rioters return fire. No doubt as the series continues Revere's role will grow - to peak with his "Midnight Ride" (which was really early morning). The preview of what's to come again shows Raymond-James giving off his typical smart ass persona when questioned by British troops. He'll also get in on the fighting, which I'm looking forward to.

More Mikey Ray is always a good thing.

Overall, this series got off to a very exciting start and I'm loving it. That they're playing with accents (Colonials all have American accents, the King's Men all have British accents) and with history doesn't bother me half as much as I worried it would. If you're looking at it strictly as an action adventure movie and not as a history lesson you shouldn't be disappointed. There were quite a few surprises as the characters were introduced (seriously was not expecting to love John Hancock... and I had NO idea that Paul was going to have a Boston accent ha ha) but I have to say I'm impressed. And what's even more impressive is it's not Ryan or Michael that I'm most impressed with (granted they had small roles tonight). Ben Barnes is just wonderful, and Rafe Spall... yeah... I gotta find more of their work.

So now the countdown begins to night two. It promises to be even MORE exciting, if that's possible.


And, no I'm not excited... I AM FREAKING EXCITED!

If you aren't planning to watch this, then we can't be friends. Sorry, not sorry.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

30 Days of Fangirl-ism - Day 11: I'm cheating and using a freebie

The prompt for today was supposed to be: fan art, fan fiction, cover song, cosplay, etc. that you’ve made that you’re most proud of, however I don't do any of those... so I'm declaring this a freebie day for myself.

Today we lost a legend in one of my fandoms. The world of Figure Skating lost one of its brightest stars today when news spread that Canadian Figure Skater Toller Cranston was found dead in his home in Mexico from an apparent heart attack. Cranston was 65 years old. 

During the height of his competitive career, Toller made a name for himself as a flamboyant skater who didn't keep with the status quo. He thought outside of the box and often pushed the boundaries of what was deemed "appropriate" for competitive skating. A lot of the more exciting competitive programs of the 80s and 90s and even today are the result of his influence on the sport.

He was an interesting fellow, he and his outspoken opinions will be missed.

Friday, January 23, 2015

30 Days of Fangirl-ism - Day 10: Favorite scene/moment from a favorite fandom

Again, I won't choose a Neal centric scene from Once Upon A Time as I did that in a previous blog post. (Also amusing is I whined about Michael Raymond-James not giving details quick enough for his "new project" in that blog post - and this weekend said project is premiering on The History Channel. I am so excited, and I really truly hope that he is right that this project IS special and his career is blessed by it! He deserves it, great guy and actor.)

So I will choose to feature MRJ's Sons of Liberty costar to feature. Ryan Eggold as Tom Keen has been such an interesting persona in The Blacklist, and the scene that is one of my favorites from the series was the one where Lizzie confronts Tom and he goads her into making a crucial mistake. NBC is stupid and won't let people post clips on youtube, I wish they did because I'd love to just rewatch the fight sequence again. It was quick and fast and I remember being on the edge of my seat during the entire back and forth they had.

The relationship of Tom and Lizzie Keen is what keeps my interest in the show. Just who hired Tom when to do what where she's concerned. And, was it just a job? To me it seems Tom does love Lizzie and is torn by his "mission" (whatever it is) and how he's grown to care for her. Is it a healthy/safe relationship, heck no, so I don't see the show having them end up together, but I want to know who Tom Keen really is and what his whole story is.

And I doubt highly Lizzie or Tom is done with each other.

I'm dreaming of a white Iditarod

Dan Seavey with grandson Conway
at the Ceremonial Start of Iditarod 38.
...just like the ones I used to know. Where rivers are frozen, sleds aren't always broken, and the trail is covered with fresh snow!

I'm dreaming of a white Iditarod... with every day that passes by!

Okay, just be thankful that you didn't have to hear me sing that. Today South Central woke up to some rather happy snow accumulation - and it's still coming down!

This is exciting, but a little snow is just the start of what is needed to see some positive changes for the races of South Central. The Knik 200 posted on their website Wednesday that they would be moving the start of the race off of the lake and onto the Deshka airstrip. No doubt the snow is a welcome bonus as now trails will be covered for next week's start - as long as weather holds.

Things are still bleak down on the Kenai where the Tustumena 200 anxiously awaits the freezing temps that will hopefully solidify the trails over the waterways and they can use the snow to put in a decent trail. Until the snow accumulation started yesterday there was next to no snow on any part of the trail that starts in Kasilof and makes its way down to Homer and back. The race is set to kick off on Feb 21 - after rescheduling from the original date of Feb 7 - but without a firmly set trail there's no way that they will safely pull it off. Race officials will not make the decision to cancel until closer to race time - but they are keeping teams on the roster well informed of how things are going and what they are planning.

With 43 days until the Iditarod, the restart is still the biggest question - where will they host it? Tradition has always been South Central/MatSu - with one exception in 2003 when Chinook winds made a restart in Wasilla or Willow impossible and the race was run from Fairbanks. Officials are still talking of that being the posibility for Iditarod this year as well, but won't make that decision for at least another month.

There are also rumors that there isn't enough snow in the area to truck in for a Ceremonial Start in Anchorage - but if this weekend's snow sticks around those rumors should be easily laid to rest. It's 11 miles through Anchorage, I'm sure they can manage with little to no snow in spots.

So keep up the snow dances, prayers, sacrifices, whatever else you're doing folks. We've got a lot of winter left before race day!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

30 Days of Fangirl-ism: Day 9 – One Favorite Character

So I have to pick ONE favorite from ONE fandom. Oh geez. I'm torn... I do know I won't just rehash my overly fangirly posts from last year about Neal Cassidy. I gush about him (and his actor) far too much.

However, after rewatching the latest episode of Arrow today ("Left Behind") I think I'd hate myself if I didn't feature John Diggle. I've loved David Ramsey's character from the first moment he stepped on screen. He called Oliver on his crap, has a master hand on sarcasm, and he's freaking hot. Watching him develop into the Arrow's right hand man and Oliver's best friend has been one of my favorite parts about this show.

I love how Diggle is the moral center of the group. Sure, Felicity can also take credit for keeping Oliver on the straight and narrow, but Diggle understands exactly what Oliver is going through. Being a soldier during the war in Afghanistan has given Dig a perspective that can help decipher the grey areas of Oliver Queen's mission to save his city. While Diggle may not always agree with Oliver's course of action, he understands the overall goal... and so he sticks by him. Not just because he was hired to be the playboy billionaire's bodyguard, but because he believes in the former frat boy.

Watching Diggle come to grips with the loss of his friend this week in "Left Behind" broke my heart. I expected the mid-season finale to grip my heart - with Felicity finding out Oliver is dead... and the rest of the team as well. But I held it together. It wasn't as bad as I thought, until Diggle's scene with Laurel towards the end of the show. He was the rock for the team throughout the episode until Laurel asks him if he'll be back [without Oliver], and he said he didn't know. His life was so hyper focused on Oliver's goals and mission that he didn't know what to do with that gone. I couldn't handle it. Ramsey pulled that scene off to perfection. He is the master. Thanks a lot David - now I'm a mess all over again. (I really did used to be sane!)

gif by queensarrow on tumblr.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

30 Days of Fangirl-ism - Day 8 - Fandom you thought you wouldn’t get into but did

I have three of these, most of the shows that I get into they're because I've seen the promos and decided to check them out. These three were shows that I had no desire to watch the first go around even though a lot of my friends were.

All of my Disney friends seemed to be into this show when it started. I thought it looked completely hokey (and honestly it pretty much is), that the acting seemed more geared towards soap stars, and they were going to mess with my fairytales. Didn't care to watch. Then I was stuck in Montana while my dog was being put to sleep thousands of miles away in Alaska and I just needed something to get my mind off of it - so I put on Once Upon A Time. Besides the second season was in full swing and people were talking about how attractive Captain Hook was - and after seeing a few pictures I had to agree. But I wasn't going to jump into the story at the end of a second season. So I had to catch up.

Seriously Captain Guyliner is everything right with this
show. Even if I am a Nealfire fangirl, I can appreciate
the beauty that is Colin O'Donoghue.
And darn it - the pretty people won me over. The dialogue was horrible, incredibly cheesy (and I'm still not sure if the actors are just committed to the lines/story or if it's more of a Star Wars idea of "we know this is lame so let's just over do it to make it entertaining"). But I loved the twists to the classic tales - especially how Rumpelstiltskin was tied into every single one of them! The fact that they were in the modern world was also intriguing... and I LOVED the story of Rumple and Baelfire... especially when we figured out that Rumple was searching for him still. I wanted to know who Bae was in the "World Without Magic."

I didn't like season 2 as much though I DID love Captain Hook (aka Captain Guyliner). Who know that villain was so sexy?! We also got adult Baelfire in our lives, and all I could think was "why did Emma go for such an average looking guy?!" Ha ha. Boy have I changed my tune! Season 3 would find me falling more in love with Neal Cassidy (aka Adult Baelfire... aka Michael Raymond-James!) only to watch him die three episodes into the return from the winter hiatus. Still not over it, as well all know... and my interest had dropped significantly (one hot pirate is not enough).

I guess I'm kinda like Rumple's actor Robert Carlyle. The story of Rumple and Bae is why I got interested in the show, and without that storyline it's just not as much fun to watch. I wanted to stick with the show, but as the 4th season got closer the less desire I had. I didn't want to watch the nods to MRJ or the Neal character as it would make me sad all over again, and I couldn't get into the corny lines in the promos. I just wasn't feeling it.

And the more I read people getting excited the less I was interested. I'm somewhat more interested in the second half of the season - but even that with some of the "spoilers" we've been given as to who the guest stars are... I'm worried it'll just tick me off. So I'm content to not follow the show - for now - and hope for better things.

And no if they just brought Neal Cassidy back I don't think it'd make it better. As much as I selfishly want MRJ on my screen each week in that role that I love, I'm pretty sure it'd be a bad choice from a writing perspective.

Arrow was another show I just had no desire to watch. I didn't know what it was, honestly, so even though a lot of my friends were talking about it I didn't care to learn about it. Then my friend Aimee kept badgering me to give it a try. That I'd like it. That it was fun. That she wasn't expecting to like it but she loves it. All that good stuff.

So after getting over my OUAT craze and looking for something new I gave in. And I'm SO GLAD I did. Arrow is in no way like OUAT (other than it's fantasy) it's a superhero show - based on The Green Arrow comic series. It has better writing for the most part, the story is completely compelling and all characters are fleshed out and used well. They aren't forgotten when the new storyline comes along - they are all integrated. The creators have a clear vision for the show and how to get there. The cast is strong, and most episodes leave me an emotional wreck (I still blame OUAT/Michael Raymond-James for that. I was sane until "Quiet Minds").

Arrow is quite possibly my favorite series on TV right now (Blacklist comes close but I'm annoyed with their overly long hiatus at the moment).

When promos for Arrow's spin off series "The Flash" started, I was less than eager to watch. I just wasn't expecting it to be as good. Then the casting list emerged and I decided to give it a try just because of who plays Joe West (Jesse Martin - who was one of my favorite actors on Law & Order). The show started off a little rocky - it wasn't as good as Arrow's pilot - but I stuck with it and I'm so glad I did. It's a lot of fun. I really love Grant Gustin in the role of Barry Allen. He is the boy next door, perfect unsuspected hero.

And no one can cry like Grant can.

So there are my three shows that I was NEVER going to watch that I ended up getting hooked on.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

30 Days of Fangirl-ism - Day 7: OTP(s)

Oh dear, I should've read this meme more thoroughly before deciding to participate. I am not someone who ships a whole lot. I mean when it's something like "Snowing" on Once Upon A Time that's one thing - we all know that there's no way Disney'd let Adam and Eddie screw up THAT love story - but I normally don't ship characters until it's well established...

...or I get caught up in a past relationship that they tell that's over by the time the present day of the show happens (Oliver and Laurel in Season 1 of Arrow.... Emma and Neal, though I didn't like them originally)

But I do get on board with a few (and this probably means they're doomed).

For Arrow:

gif by sfelicitysmoak on tumblr
"Olicity" - I fought this hard. But this season I'm starting to really love Felicity and Oliver - I think because it's going at a natural pace... and because Oliver is less of a manwhore this season. It makes him much more likeable and deserving of someone as awesome as Felicity Smoak!

I also love Tommy and Laurel... too bad that didn't end happily. RIP Tommy Merlyn.

For The Flash:
gif by weslehgibbons on tumblr
"WestAllen" - Because I love the idea of the best friends being more than that. Because Iris and Barry are adorable. Because, because, because...

gif by greerdanvilles on tumblr
BROTP would be Barry and Joe - I ADORE their relationship. The episode that aired tonight gave me a lot of "feels" for this Father-Son like relationship. So I think it counts as a brotp.

For The Blacklist:

gif by fuckyeahtheblacklistedits on tumblr.
"The Keens" - as I said before I know they aren't going to end up together (latest interviews have the creators saying that they don't want to push a dangerous/unhealthy relationship, and I get that but...) but I love Lizzie and Tom together. Even though he was sent to ruin her life (and kill her!) I think he does love her and she does love him. It's a twist on "Mr. & Mrs. Smith"... and if THOSE assassins can make it, why can't the Keens?!

For Reign:
gif by sfelicitysmoak on tumblr
"Frary" is my favorite. I know I'm supposed to like Bash and Mary more, according to the fandom at least, but I like the royal duo. And I hate how the show is writing them into a split. It's lame! DON'T DO IT!

Bash & Kenna - they were thrown into a marriage neither one wanted by a demented king, but they are working through it. I love how Bash made an effort to court his wife and do right by her. Giving up his pining after his brother's wife. I know, it's complicated though.

For Once Upon A Time:

gif by shadownightfall on tumblr.
"CaptainFloor" - probably my favorite ship of all time. It was created as a fandom joke, and the show has embraced it. Colin falls better than anyone else on the show (except maybe Michael Raymond-James, who falls just standing still waiting to say his lines!)

BROTP definitely goes to "CaptainFire" aka MRJ and Colin - their characters may have been rivals, and their fans may go for blood when dealing with each other, but the two seem to genuinely care about each other. I love their friendship. Cracks me up! Wish MRJ was still on the show just so we get more BTS photos and vids of the two of them!

So there, I guess I do have a few ships! WHO KNEW?! ;)

Monday, January 19, 2015

30 Days of Fangirl-ism - Day 6: Song that brings fangirl tears to your eyes

This is hard as I don't really do the whole fanvids or anything, but for the longest time I've wanted to see someone use Miranda Lambert's song "Over You" for a Nealfire vid (which it would really be a Swanfire vid, but still). Because really I am sooooooo not over the Character Death... not sure I ever will be.

Once I realized it would work for a Neal Cassidy tribute I can't not think of him when I hear it. I used to be normal, I used to not care about character deaths. Once Upon a Time and Michael Raymond-James ruined my sanity!

This picture breaks my heart every single time.
He should not be off the show. :'(

Alaska's winter weather causing problems farther North

The "other thousand mile sled dog race" known as The Yukon Quest issued a press release today giving a trail update and possible alternate route for part of the race next month. With three weeks until the start, Quest trail officials have reported that the river is unfrozen near Whitehorse.

This winter has seen unseasonably warm temperatures in most of Alaska - causing problems for many of the sport's big races. The Tustumena 200 has postponed their race to Feb 21 in hopes that the Kenai Peninsula would see freezing temps and snow. So far all the Kenai's seen in a dusting of snow and lots of freezing rain. Trails are non existent at this point with many Peninsula mushers heading north for training when not running along the beaches with their four wheelers as a sled.

The Copper Basin 300 ran without a hitch, and no big changes to the route were reportedly made. The Kusko 300 ran mainly on river ice and asked spectators not to park on the river as they'd done in years past. Again, no problems were had by the teams, and Pete Kaiser brought the win back home to Bethel. The Northern Lights 300 is planning to kick off this weekend - with reports of overflow and open water.

With three weeks till show time the Quest is not making any plans to change course at this time. Stating in their press release: "There are still three weeks until the start of the race, and a lot can change. Trail crews are out on both sides of the border and we will have a more comprehensive trail report available next week." Crews are working on alternate routes should conditions worsen.

There are 26 teams ready and waiting for the race, four of which are champions.

And while I'm on the subject of sled dog races and the Northern Lights 300 - GOOD LUCK JODI BAILEY and Dew Claw Kennel! She's an amazing musher and person. I just love her!
Jodi Bailey at the finish of the 2012 Tustumena 200.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

30 Days of Fangirl-ism - Day 5: Fandom Secret

I don't really know what this means. I don't really have secrets where my fandom is concerned... I mean even when I think I'm keeping a secret someone calls me out.

It's pretty well known I try very hard not to "ship" characters - unless they are for sure a done deal (like "Snowing" on Once Upon A Time. Somehow I don't see Disney allowing the writers to break up Prince Charming and Snow White). I don't ship Emma with Captain Hook (though in Season 2 I saw it coming. Sorry Swanfire, I'm a bad fan of Neal's I know). I didn't ship Oliver with Felicity for the longest time (I always wait to ship someone after they die... case in point Emma and Neal... Tommy and Laurel... ha ha).

Oh, wait, there I said it - I don't ship Swanfire but I do. If I HAD to choose a ship in OUAT for Emma it'd be Emma and Neal. Mainly because that's what Neal wanted - but also because I find JMo and MRJ's chemistry very natural and real. Not just their romantic chemistry - but just in general. They seem to have an ease about them and they were believable in their "we have a history" attitude they brought to the storyline.
And we all thought he wanted to get her drunk. Ha!
 Whereas while JMo and Colin seem to have a great friendship and work well together - I don't feel that they are as believable as an actual couple (and seriously the "Colifer" stuff needs to stop. I'd lose ALL respect for Colin if he was in any way cheating with her-or anyone for that matter). I don't mean to sound offensive, I just feel that what, admittedly, little I've seen from this season (and the season 3 finale) feels awkward. All of the kisses seem very... I don't know... just not... organic? It's more like "okay this is where we're supposed to kiss" and they do. But when you go back and watch "Tallahassee" JMo and MRJ have their moments feel spontaneous and in the moment. Incredibly natural/organic.

I know, I know, I'm incredibly biased because really MRJ could read the phonebook right now and I'd be all fangirly... but I've always felt that while Hook was definitely the more attractive guy - Emma connects better with Neal.

So I *guess* that can be my secret? I kinda feel like Emma in the Echo Cave telling Neal she loved him but she wished he was dead (seriously WHY hasn't she felt guilty for saying that now that he really is gone?!).
I hate hugs, but I LOVE how he hugs. I want an MRJ/Neal hug.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

30 Days of Fangirl-ism - Day 4: Fandom Crush(es)

The prompt asks for the "first, current, or favorite crush"... I think I'll do all three of those, because I'm a fangirl and a nerd and a dork... ha ha

First Fandom Crush

 Since I included Figure Skating in my list of fandoms earlier this week, I should probably count Scott Hamilton as my first crush. I was four and after seeing him skate live I was hooked. I used to tell people I was going to marry him. He was in his early 30s (late 20s?) and I was four. But I didn't care. He was my hero and I loved him.

gif by dreaming-inpepperland on tumblr.
I don't remember having another crush until I was 8 or 9 when I crushed hard for Han Solo. Harrison Ford was the first actor I really studied their career and wanted to see all of his movies. Han Solo was my hero. I wanted to be Han! ha ha!

Current Fandom Crush
I'm a big fan of "CaptainFire" my two fav
actors on Once Upon A Time!
Ooo, this is hard. I'm not sure if I should say Neal Cassidy (Michael Raymond-James) who I love more than I should (especially since they killed him!)... or if I should choose Captain Hook (Colin O'Donoghue) because, seriously, how can you not crush hard on those gorgeous pirate guyliner eyes?!... or Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell) another character who was killed off his show but was so loveable that I'm hoping beyond hope that the theories are true and that he's back on the show.
Seriously Colin Donnell is just so adorable.
So can I just pick all three, because, really... why not?

Favorite Crush

Yup, this is why I fangirl.
Okay so I should've just done Captain Hook and Tommy Merlyn for the last one... but this is definitely my favorite and current crush. Neal Cassidy/Michael Raymond James from Once Upon A Time. Oh. My. Word. I can't even understand WHY this is or HOW it happened, but I truly love the character. I love the complex character, the pain that he has... the guilt. I wish he could've had a happy ending. He deserved one after everything he went through. I mean if Regina can get her happy ending (and, trust me, she will) I don't understand why they thought it was okay that Neal/Baelfire didn't get his. I'm not even saying Emma! I'm saying his son, Henry deserved to have his father. At least to get to know him, have him in his life. Sure Robin Hood and Captain Hook are cool step-dad material... but both Neal and Henry deserved to be in each other's life.

I could rant for days on this subject... and I can gush for an equally long time about the awesomeness that is Michael Raymond-James. He is such a natural and warm actor. He's severely underrated in the fandom as well as in general. I'm not just saying this because I have a weird affection for a character he plays - he's good. Really good. Just like I did as a kid with Harrison Ford, I'm quickly catching up with Michael's career (which is easy, there isn't much he's in/available...sadly)... and EVERYTHING I've seen him in I've been impressed. I may not like his character or the show/movie but I can appreciate what he brings to it. He was by far one of the best (read strongest) actors on Once Upon A Time. I think the only one stronger would be Robert Carlyle. I know that won't be a popular opinion, but I just really find that the natural style that he has lends to him being incredibly believable... and his chemistry with everyone only helps solidify that in my mind.

I'm so excited to see him in a week in Sons of Liberty as Paul Revere. He said back in June when he announced the project that this one felt special and I really really really hope that it IS special and leads to fantastic opportunities. He deserves it. If his character couldn't get a happy ending, then MRJ better.