Thursday, May 25, 2017

Robin Hood Week - Tag

Olivia at Meanwhile, in Rivendell is hosting a Robin Hood Week.  Check out her blog for all kinds of links to various Robin Hood posts.  Here are my answers to her opening questions tag:

What was your first exposure to Robin Hood?
Er.... No idea if it was the Disney animated one or the Disney Richard Todd one in book format.  One or the other.  I also had a Robin Hood kid's book that dates back to the same time frame, so that one's mixed in there too.  I know in elementary school, I had a lunchbox for the Disney animated one, and it was my favorite lunchbox ever.  My sister wanted to steal it, and we both still talk about it to this day.  And meeting Prince John at Disneyland was a highlight of my early visits to the park.  There's an old photo of me with Prince John from that Disneyland trip somewhere... need to get it from my parents and scan it to share.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how big a fan are you?
7 or 8.  I'd say I'm a pretty big fan of Robin Hood in general.

How many versions and spin-offs of the legend have you experienced?
Oh man... so very very many.  I don't think I could count them.  Movies, mini-series, tv series, Robin Hood themed episodes of non-Robin Hood television shows (like Star Trek: The Next Generation, Time Tunnel, etc.), Robin Hood in Ivanhoe, books... 

What is your favorite version of Robin Hood (can be book, movie, TV series, anything)?
I have different favorites for different things.  I'll say up front that I think the 1938 Adventures of Robin Hood with Errol Flynn is the best version.  It's everything a Robin Hood story should be, and nothing has ever quite touched it.  But while I think it's the best version, it's not necessarily my favorite version.  My personal favorite Robin Hood character is Stuart Wilson's version in Princess of Thieves (2001).  He's older, not necessarily wiser, but embodies all the attributes I want out of a Robin Hood. He's noble and rough, snarky in the face of danger, has a nice combo of protective love and bitterness, and is still capable of changing.  Princess of Thieves also has my favorite Will Scarlett, portrayed by Crispin Letts.  I'm also quite fond of Cary Elwes in Men in Tights, even though I'm not particularly fond of the movie itself.  My favorite Sheriff (to date) was a book version, De Lacy, who I believe is in the Richard Todd Disney Robin Hood, but I haven't actually seen it, only read it, so I don't know that the movie version will measure up to the book, even if it's based of him (if that makes any sense).  I'm also fond of Robert Shaw's Sheriff in Robin and Marian, only that movie scarred me when I was young and I'm still haunted by a few moments from it, so I have not seen it since.  Favorite Guy of Gisborne would be Richard Armitage's version, naturally, from the BBC series.

The one character I don't think I can pick a favorite of, would be Prince John.  Prince John seems to be quite good in all versions.  I might just love Peter Ustinov's lion version in the animated movie the best.  But Ralph Brown in the 1997 Ivanhoe miniseries, Toby Stephens in the BBC miniseries, and Oscar Isaac in the 2010 Robin Hood are right up there as well.

My favorite scores are Korngold's Adventures of Robin Hood and Michael Kamen's "and the score turns black with notes" Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.  (That's one of favorite composer quotes, from a making of video that played back on television when that movie came out.  Never forgotten it.)

Are you one of the lads? (Meaning, have you watched/are you a fan of the BBC show?)
Yes, I'm a fan of the show.  I'm backwards to most fans, though... the third season is by far my favorite season, followed by the first season, and then the second season.

Who is your favorite Merry Man?
I'm going to have to go with Robin himself.  He's the reason I'm a fan of the stories.  The other merry men come and go depending on the version.  And if I don't like the Robin... I'm probably not going to stick around very long.

Do you have a favorite portrayal of Lady Marian?
Olivia de Havilland from The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938).  She is perfect.

Do you have any interest in or aptitude at archery?
I used to do a lot of archery in my high school days.  My mom had several bows and a whole quiver of practice arrows, so we'd set up hay bales and targets and shoot away.  I also got to do archery in high school as a P.E. course.  I was pretty good at it.

Fact or fiction -- which do you think?
A bit of both.

Do you think Robin Hood has been "done to death," or are there still
new twists that can be found?

Oh, not overdone.  Not at all.  Not remotely.  Are you kidding?  I am anxiously looking forward to the next version, coming out next year, cuz Ben Mendelsohn is the Sheriff.  I don't care who else is in it, that's a version I'm sooooo looking forward to.  When the Russell Crowe version was announced, he was originally supposed to be the Sheriff in that.  And I was super excited.  Super duper.  And then they changed it and made him Robin Hood, and all my joy evaporated.  Now don't get me wrong, he makes a good Robin Hood, but it would have been different and far more interesting if he'd gotten to play the Sheriff instead.  Well, guess I just needed to be patient and hang in there, cuz now I'll get a Sheriff I really want to see.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

RIP Roger Moore

So sad to hear about the passing of Roger Moore.  He isn't my favorite James Bond, but he was still MY Bond.  The first Bond movie I saw in the movie theater was The Spy Who Loved Me, and I saw every one after that.  James Bond movies are a huge part of my life, and Roger Moore is integral to that.  Of course, he also did so many other things beyond Bond.  My favorite role of his is Ffolkes, in the 1980 movie ffolkes.  Very entertaining film, and Moore was fabulous as the cat-loving, knitting, cranky counter-terrorism expert in it.  That movie had a great cast, but Moore is the one that made it great.  I've always wanted three cats named Esther, Ruth, and Jennifer, just because of this movie.  I also have always loved him in The Wild Geese (1978). 

One of my favorite exchanges from The Wild Geese:

(Roger Moore) - Allen!  What, not even a hearty handshake, a Shawn my boy how are you, nothing?
(Richard Burton) - Clown
(Roger Moore) - Oh, "clown."  At least it's a start.  Now, would you mind telling me what you're doing here, thank god.
(Richard Burton) - If we live, I'll tell you about it.  Idiot.
(Roger Moore) - Clown and idiot.  You always were a flatterer.

Thursday, May 18, 2017


Back in March, I posted a couple pics of my apricot tree in full bloom.  Well, I have a bumper crop this year, and the tree is loaded!  I've eaten a few already, ones that have been ripe enough to fall off.  The rest aren't quite there yet, but they'll be ripening up in the next week or so.  There's nothing like fruit off the tree.


And here's a shot of Silver thinking he's a cat and that the back of the couch is made for dogs to perch on as well.  Since he fits and is comfortable... I guess he's right!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

A Special Night

Last Wednesday, my sister and I went to see opera tenor Joseph Calleja in concert.  He has been one of our favorite tenors for years now, and we could not pass up the opportunity to hear him live.  It was a fabulous evening!  He was in fine voice, and the program was a good one for us.  Normally, the concerts we've seen at this venue have piano accompaniment, but he had an orchestra.  The first half was opera arias, and all ones we love.  The second half was Italian songs.  There were five encore songs as well, and thunderous applause from the audience for all of it.

And one of the neatest parts of the evening was that the concert was a tribute to Mario Lanza.  And who was in the audience?  Mario Lanza's daughter and three other members of his family!  That was pretty amazing.

It was a great evening for two opera lovers!

(one of my favorite arias, which he sang live for us)

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Writer Tag

Hamlette tagged me for this one.  So here goes...

1. What genres, styles, and topics do you write about?
Let's see.  I'm a fiction writer of short stories, novellas, and novels.  These days, I write mostly dark actiony fantasy stuff, with a bit of Combat! fanfiction thrown in every now and then.  What style do I write in?  Depends on what the story requires, but usually it's in third person limited, and I tend to write fast-paced suspense stories, I guess you could say.  I'm not sure the word topic applies, as I don't write about topics.  However, there are certainly themes I'm fond of, that I find myself drawn back to over and over again.  Friendship.  Betrayal.  Love.  Magic that isn't traditional wave-a-wand/spell magic. Freedom and fighting for freedom.  Standing up for what's right.

2. How long have you been writing?
Since I learned how to spell.  My first completed story that was not written for school was probably second or third grade, but I'm not memory-oriented, so no actual idea.  I wrote about a space race to Mars, complete with plenty of action, betrayal, and attempted murder.  Yeah.  Not much has changed.

3. Why do you write?
I write to escape this mundane life.  I write to tell stories that will entertain others and let them escape for awhile.  I write to hopefully keep them up until 2 am because they can't put it down and have to find out what happens.

4. When is the best time to write?
Weekend mornings, or weekday nights.  Has to be done in off-hours when I'm not at the day job.  I prefer evenings, when it's dark and quiet and nobody's bugging me.

5. Parts of writing you love vs. parts you hate.
There's nothing as glorious as watching an idea take off in your head, watching it expand and surprise you and become something you didn't dream of when you originally said, "hey, what if..."  I also love writing or rewriting when I'm not involved consciously, but am just racing to write down what my characters are doing and saying.  Anytime they're in charge and I'm not having to coerce or bribe them into working for me is fun and delightful and makes for a good writing day.  I trust my subconscious to deliver what's required, and it very rarely lets me down.  Conscious fiction writing... which I do as little of as possible, is never as fun.  That's when it becomes work.  I'm also probably rare, in that I like editing as well.  I love tightening up a manuscript, throwing out the useless bits.  There's a great joy to turning a 200 word paragraph into a 100 word paragraph where every new word does a better job than the 200 that came before it.  And one of the very very very best parts of writing is when it's all over, and the story is in the hands of a reader, and you find out if it all worked or not.  That's the reward.

What do I hate about writing?  Not much.  Getting stuck, I suppose.

6. How do you overcome writer's block?
Depends on the type of writer's block.  The kind where I'm just lazy and would rather do something else?  I just have to start writing and everything will click into place all on its own, guaranteed.  Just start writing.  The kind where I'm stuck on a scene because I'm missing an element, or the world building failed, or I let my conscious brain interfere and accidentally wrote myself into a corner... those require patience and more thinking time.  So, I walk away for awhile and do something else while the subconscious fixes it.

7. Are you working on something at the moment?
I've got a fantasy noir tale I'm writing, currently titled "The Sunflower Dress."

8. Writing goals this year? 
I'm not a very goal-oriented person, I've discovered.  If I set goals, they tend to make me stubbornly do the opposite because I don't like being told what to do.  Even by myself.  Even if it's something I really want.  So I don't set goals.  (Deadlines from editors are a different thing entirely, but I don't have any of those right now.)  So, I'd say the only task I have at current is to keep working on my WIP until it's complete.  After that, who knows.