Mirthfully Firthfully

While searching for something in a drawer this morning, I unexpectedly came across something else that I had printed out from the internet on August 22nd, 1996 (!!) when I was well into my first year of Colin Firth fangirling. These were the early days of internet and fan sites and in my craze to know anything and everything about Colin Firth (he had just come to fame less than a year before, with Pride and Prejudice) I frequented a website called “Friends of Firth”. The website is long gone (I can’t remember when or the circumstances surrounding the end of it), but apparently I had printed the terminology that was invented there. It was called ‘A Firthian Lexicon’ and reading it again, 20 years on, has given me great amusement! So, I thought I’d just share some of the highlights from the lexicon here; it was clearly compiled at the height of Colin-Firth-as-Mr-Darcy-mania. 🙂

In the lexicon Friends of Firth is described as: “A group of focused, erudite, conversant individuals dedicated to the discussion and appreciation of the performances of Colin Firth.” I can subscribe to that! 🙂 Without further ado, terms from that list:

Firthland – The official Firthdom with boundaries that extend world-wide.

Colinist – An inhabitant of said province entitled to all privileges thereof.

Colinaneous – A state of being when a colinist can only see “a pair of fine eyes”

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Mr Darcy admiring Elizabeth Bennet’s ‘fine eyes’ to the surprise of Miss Bingley.

Colinatopia – a place where colinists are transported to when viewing the object of their affection.

Firthaholics Anonymous – A 12-step program that is never completed because the participant eagerly jumps off the wagon on the 11th step.

Firth-a-surf-aholic – One who surfs the net in search of pleasure (Colin) instead of business.

Firth Control – The ability to wait patiently for articles, videos, books and list-mail concerning CF.

Firthfully – Loyalty to the Firthdom and the object of our affections.

Firthis Colinitis – High fever caused by not watching Colin for more than a day. Curable by repeated showings of Pride and Prejudice (uncut version).

P&P dvd cover

Firthless (in Seattle) – Not having had a Firth-fix in approximately 1-3 days.

Firthmount – Any steed or mount that has the privilege to be ridden by CF.

Firthology – The comprehensive study of Colin Firth, i.e. films, videos, moles, dimples, thighs, etc…   Not sure about the moles but here are dimples:

And I always loved Colin’s long legs in this P&P scene:

Darcy & Elizabeth Pemberley stroll

Firthopath – A colinist infected by CF, causing occasional mental instability.

Firthophile – A colinist, firthian or firthlander completely obsessed in thought, word and deed.

Firthstration – The mood when not able to access information, pictures or videos.

Firth-weary – Any spouse subjected to multiple screenings of Pride and Prejudice or the complete list of CF films.

Mirthfully Firthfully – Any laughter that bubbles over while reading fantasies submitted by the Firthland School of Creative Writing

Schizofirthic – Someone who can’t decide if they like Darcy or Colin Firth.

Ah, fandom can be so much fun! 🙂

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The Brussels adventure

This past January my husband and I had the 25th anniversary of our first kiss and to celebrate a quarter of a century together (that sounds sooooo long!) he and I went away, just the two of us, to Brussels for 3 days (2 nights).  We decided to do it the unstressed way: go by train! The journey is only 2.5 hours from where we live and we only had to change trains once. The kids were looked after by friends, so there were no worries there, and we were off last Thursday morning. This is what it looked like just after we boarded the train to Brussels. Coffee for Mr Esther, tea for me, cakes and reading material… Yes, good start to our mini-break!

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We arrived in Brussels and walked to the street our hotel was in (right bang in the historical center!), had a late lunch, checked in to our hotel and then started walking… and walking… and walking… We walked by ‘Manneken Pis’ (yeah, world famous small fountain statue of a little boy peeing)…

… walked some more…

… and popped into a church where I lit a candle for my dad and which also turned out to be Heraldry-heaven for Mr Esther (the man loves medieval history and is a heraldry specialist, a fangirl of sorts, if you will)…

… we walked on and on till we got to the royal palace, which is the Belgian king’s work place…

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… walked from there back into the old town, with a lovely view as we came down…

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… we stopped for drinks then walked on to finally visit a high point: the market square with old city hall and beautiful old buildings surrounding it (click on images to enlarge)…

It’s a gorgeous square, it’s probably the best cared for part of Brussels. Our hotel was situated about a minute minute away from this location. This was our breakfast room view, by the way…

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Our feet were already getting very tried at the end of that first day. We went to the hotel room, freshened up and then went off to dinner and a movie after (Silence – slow moving Martin Scorsese movie about Portugese Jesuit monks in 17th century Japan – 3 people walked out during it, but Mr Esther and I found it totally engrossing).

Friday, the second day, we walked even more… We visited the cathedral (again, click to enlarge)…

… and, as we are Europeans at heart, we walked on to where the European Union administration is situated. The European Commission building is freakishly huge (these pictures don’t even begin to show that)…

… outside that building there is also a piece of the Berlin Wall with a text on the history of that eyesore and how since that was torn down European unity has grown…

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… we walked by the European Parliament buildings…

Outside the parliament building there was a tree decorated in a crocheted work of art. I have no idea what that is about but we found it amusing…

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We walked through more streets closer to the old center where our hotel also was…

… and in less touristy parts of Brussels, we also came across an occasional house painted with interesting illustrations (again, click to enlarge)…

Speaking of cartoon characters, we also came across this sign in a park, asking Pokemon character searchers to keep off the grass as the grass had just been re-planted. Apparently massive amounts of Pokemom game players had trampled the grass before…

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Of course, by the end of the day our feet were just about dead and we sat for quite a while sipping wine (me) and special beer (Mr Esther) in the old market square…

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We moved from there to a restaurant and later back to the square again for more beer. The square was beautifully lit after dark…

Saturday, our last day in Brussels, we spent at the museum, seeing an exhibition on famous Belgian surrealist painter René Magritte. Alas, his most famous works weren’t there, but he sure made some really wonderful less famous paintings too!

In the same museum we also strolled through the beautiful medieval paintings section…

Alas, we were too tired to go on to the 19th / early 20th century paintings that I had also wanted to see; we skipped that in favour of a café (and more beer and wine) before taking our train and heading back home again.

For me, hardly a trip is complete without fangirling of some sort! And I got to do some on this trip as well! There was no Richard, Colin or latest crush Lucas fangirling but there was the 1920s Magritte painting, that made me think of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries because of the black bob hairstyle (sorry for the fuzzy picture)…

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… and we came across Simon Baker of The Mentalist fame in a Longines watches ad in a jewelry store window ( I stared and smiled at that for a while before moving on, the man and his smile are beautiful)…

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Brussels also likes its comic / scifi / fantasy stores… In a store window, for instance, we saw all sorts of wands from Harry Potter characters for sale…

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… and then in another store, which was filled with so much stuff you could hardly move, I decided to search once again for a Pop Thorin figure. I always regretted not getting Pop Thorin at the time The Hobbit movies came out and now they are sold out everywhere and they’re very expensive online. Well, I didn’t find Thorin but then my husband called me over and I saw these two…

20170305_155620… Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy! Granted, not Colin Firth as Darcy but hey, he can pass for it, right? And a kick ass Elizabeth Bennet, who I did enjoy in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. So yeah, I didn’t want to regret not getting Elizabeth Bennet! I bought her first, then the next day decided I’d get Mr. Darcy as well. I want no more Pop-regrets…

And the last bit of fangirling had everything to do with Charlotte Bronte! Jane Eyre is still one of my absolute fave books ever, this coming summer we will be travelling to Haworth Parsonage in Yorkshire where she lived, and yesterday I walked in her footsteps in Brussels! Charlotte Bronte stayed in Brussels for about a year in her mid twenties, learning French at a ‘pensionnat’, a school for girls, and also teaching English there. She also fell in love with the husband of the pensionnat owner, Monsieur Heger, even though nothing ever came of that. She based two books on her Brussels experiences (‘The Professor’ and ‘Vilette’) and Jane Eyre’s Mr. Rochester is said to have been modelled after Monsieur Heger. The part of Brussels (between the royal palace and the older city) where she lived isn’t there anymore. Now big buildings stand on the street where the pensionnat used to be, the street itself is also gone. On one building (you really have to figure out where to find it, luckily Mr Esther is good at that stuff) there is a plaque commemorating Charlotte and her sister Emily living there…

… and there are steps there that were also there in Charlotte’s time and that she most certainly must have walked on…

When we were at the museum an hour or so later, we saw this painting…

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It’s  the painting of a school children’s parade in Brussels, all these girls are schoolgirls! It was painted quite a few years after Charlotte and Emily left Brussels but I like to imagine that these girls could have been their pupils… or maybe the teacher walking next to these girls was!

We took the train out of Brussels again yesterday at the end of the afternoon and got off at Antwerp to have dinner there before heading home. While in Antwerp station (beautiful building inside!) we sat drinking coffee and chai tea latte while waiting for our next train. This was our view…

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… and yes, it immediately reminded me of one of my favourite flash mob videos ever, which was also the first one I ever saw, I think. A flash mob The Sound of Music ad was filmed in Antwerp station some years ago and still is awesome to watch…

Yep, we had a really wonderful time! It was over all too soon…

Jobs and fangirling…

Good news first: I finally found a job! Due to budget cuts my last job ended at the end of last summer. I have been doing little bits of freelance stuff for my former employer here and there since, but nothing close to what could constitute a real and steady job. I’ve sent many applications and have had quite a few job interviews and finally that has paid off! I had a second interview at an organization I really liked yesterday for a job that will be challenging but I think also fun. They were going to let me know on Thursday but an hour after I left the office I was called and already offered the job! Next week I go in for a 3rd interview to discuss actual salary, working hours, etc. but that shouldn’t be a problem… I still have a few freelance things lined up from my former employer so I hope to start in my actual new job by mid March. Eeek! 🙂

The good thing about being out of work for a while is that I have had more time than ever to fangirl. Hence the time I had to binge-watch 5 seasons of Syfy Channel’s Haven with my new crush Lucas Bryant. Hence the time to make video clips and, yes, today even finish an actual Haven fan video (with plenty of touching and kissing in it, because the only touch Nathan can feel is Audrey’s)…

Laid back life will be over soon… I’ll be back to working 30-32 hours (which I haven’t done in a long time, my former job was 24 hours a week), I’ll continue teaching Dutch 2 hours a week to my Polish and Italian students, I might be doing some more occasional freelance stuff for my former employer, not to mention carving out time for family! I have a fear my fangirling will start to suffer somewhat… Sad in a way (because I really love fangirling!), but I do admit to being happy that I will finally have a steady work-purpose again soon! Not to mention the fact that the extra income will be very welcome again… Yes, times they are a-changing…

Trouble

I always love how watching, listening to or reading something can turn me into a fan of something completely different! A great example is Muse. I watched the Twilight movies a long time ago, which were alright, but I especially liked the music in those movies. One of the bands on the soundtrack was Muse and once I discovered them – well, the rest is history! They are my absolute favourite band now.

I have more examples like that. For instance, the reason A Place To Call Home caught my attention was because it starred Brett Climo who I had liked way back when in The Flying Doctors and now I am smitten with that series. Or the trailer of the movie The Social Network (and I still haven’t watched the actual movie, although I have had the DVD for ages and ages now!) brought my attention to a Belgian women’s choir, who sing covers of pop songs, called Scala & Kolacny Brothers; I have since seen them in concert once a few years ago!

The singer Pink I discovered through a Richard Armitage fan video that I saw in my early RA fan years back in 2007! It was gone from YouTube for a while but then returned. I quite like Pink, we play a greatest hits CD of hers regularly in our car. So, I was watching this fan video again recently for the first time in forever, it is set to Pink’s awesome song Trouble (lots of Guy in this video for the Gisbourne-lovers out there!) …

… and I figured this song would go very well for a Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries fan video as well! In fact, I think several Pink songs would be very fitting for Miss Fisher, but this one stuck in my mind. So, as I make fan videos myself now, I made one to this song!

You can also view it on Vimeo, should YouTube not work for you:

Now I have officially managed to connect my Miss Fisher fangirling to my Richard Armitage fangirling! I am quite pleased with that. 🙂

Fan videos, fan fiction, fangirling

The latest “Mach was!” (“Do something!”) topic is Pö’s challenge to do something with your favourite TV series.

I have loved stories in movies and stories in certain TV series for ages and ages. And I’ve always been a fangirl of some sort! I’ll stick to my TV series fangirling here (although, when I started ‘fangirling’ I don’t think it had that name yet!).

The first TV series I loved as a young girl was Little House on the Prairie. I loved the series, I loved the books, I wanted to be Laura Ingalls, wanted long brown hair like her and the worst possible insult was being compared to Nellie Oleson (which sometimes happened because I was blond like her)! I found out much later that as much as Laura and Nellie hated each other on-screen the actresses portraying them (Melissa Gilbert and Alison Arngrim) became good friends in real life.

I collected pictures from magazines, read everything I could about Laura – basically did the best fangirling I could do before the internet.

My first own fan creation is a fan fiction I wrote (not typed, but actually wrote in a paper notebook!) at the age of 19 or 20. I still have it somewhere, never finished it though. I wrote it for an Australian TV series called The Flying Doctors that I was absolutely addicted to at the time. My favourites on the show were Dr Geoff and nurse Kate and I loved watching their relationship slowly unfold.

The fiction I wrote, however, was not about them but about Dr. David Ratcliffe, a young new doctor who came on later in the show.

I wrote a story about him falling in love with an original female character (travelling through the Australian outback but setting roots for a while in the town of Coopers Crossing where the doctors were based), as the writers didn’t seem to be able to give David a proper love interest on the show. I never realised I was writing what is now called ‘fan fiction’ and I imagined I was the only one in the world doing that. Thanks to the internet I now know many many others have the urge to write fan fiction as well!

The next fan fiction I wrote was some 16 years later! I had seen the North and South TV mini series, I had fallen in love with Richard Armitage and I just needed to continue the story! So I wrote about Margaret returning with John to Milton, making peace with Mrs Thornton and about Henry trying to break them up again but not succeeding… Here’s the title page I made for that fic:N&S continued

Reading it again, it’s alright but not great and rather sappy with quite some mistakes in it too, so I don’t think I want to own up to it here… It was the first fan creation I shared on the internet, though! And it’s still around if you know where to look. 😉

North & South also awakened my interest in fan videos. I watched countless fan vids online that were being made at the time. I had no clue how to make them myself, though. But finally one day, I tried one. Not for North & South however, as there were already so many good ones for N&S out there; I made my first fan video for another TV series.

The TV series was called Silent Witness and again, there was a couple at the heart of the show – the developing relationship between pathologists Dr. Nikki Alexander and Dr. Harry Cunningham. In fact, my interest in these two had been awakened by a fan video I had accidentally come across and had really enjoyed! So, I started watching Silent Witness and along the way made screen caps for myself. I one day decided to set these screen caps to music in a PowerPoint presentation. Only after I had done that did I discover I actually had video making software on my laptop and I started experimenting with it. That old Windows Moviemaker software has more possibilities than the current newer version, so every time I got a new laptop I installed the old Moviemaker on it. To this day that’s what I use to make videos. It’s not very advanced software but it’s free. Anyway – I remade that first Powerpoint video in Moviemaker, set up a YouTube channel and posted it. Here is that first crude effort, in case you’re interested (I made vids under the pseudonym of  ‘Hannah’):

Not long after that I ‘graduated’ to making videos with actual real video clips (that I had painstakingly sourced myself)! Figured it all out on my own and was quite proud. Those vids aren’t great, but hey, it’s a learning process! Alas, Harry & Nikki never actually got together on the show, so in my frustration I also wrote fan fiction about them where they of course do get together! Also still around on the internet if you know where to look. 🙂

Sometime later I discovered The Mentalist and became completely enamoured with that show! Four years ago I made my first Mentalist video to the song That man. To this day that remains one of my absolute fave vids that I made. The image sizing isn’t ideal, which at that point I hadn’t quite figured out yet, but I still love the pacing and rhythm in this video and how the lyrics suited the images (all of them from season 3) that I had chosen. To this day it is also the most popular video on my channel.

I have made videos to some other TV shows as well. There are a few The Lizzie Bennet Diaries vids (technically not a TV show, but a YouTube vlog series), I even made two Remington Steele ones, I made a few for Call the Midwife and lately I have been vidding like crazy for two new (to me) Australian TV series that I have absolutely fallen in love with! What’s extra fun is that both these series connect back to The Flying Doctors, the object of my first fan creation!

First off, A Place to Call Home which stars Brett Climo in the lead male role. Climo also played David Ratcliffe, the doctor I wrote my first fan fic about! In A Place to Call Home he is even briefly reunited with Andrew McFarlane who played his colleague Dr. Tom Callaghan on Flying Doctors and on A Place to Call Home McFarlane plays the small role of a far less heroic psychiatric doctor in season 2…

Anyway, I digress. I have made a few fan videos for A Place to Call Home that I already blogged shortly about here, here and here.

And now I am also obsessed with Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries and there are Flying Doctors connections in that too! Phryne Fisher’s best friend Doctor Mac is played by Tammy Macintosh who also briefly played nurse Annie on Flying Doctors.

And Phryne’s ex-lover Rene is played by Peter O’Brien who was pilot Sam on Flying Doctors.

And even my fave doctor Geoffrey Standish (Robert Grubb) had a small guest role on Miss Fisher (series 1 episode 4 as owner of a business whose workers are on strike).

But this post isn’t about Flying Doctors connections, it’s about doing something with your favourite TV series. So, adding to the many favourite TV series I’ve known, I am right now into making Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries videos. I already posted about two video’s I had made here and here but in the meantime I have made 4 more videos… Yeah,  I know, it just needs to stop… Anyway, here they are:

“Ain’t she sweet”:

“A heart that runs as deep as the Pacific ocean” (a bit of an angsty video):

“A coffee, a sandwich and you” (as Jack loves his food so much):

“That’s what friends are for”(highlighting the tactile side of the Phryne & Jack relationship):

There are more TV series I really enjoy (like right now Blindspot) but not all series make me actually want to be creative. For Blindspot for instance, I would have no idea where to start or what to do. I’m not sure why the series I have mentioned above have made me do something creative. Maybe it’s a sense of needing to add something, the need to resolve something that is unresolved or the need to relive a certain aspect of certain characters’ stories. Yes, reliving certain aspects has a lot to do with it, now that I think of it… in my videos I am always highlighting a certain aspect of a relationship I love, telling that part of the characters’ stories.  But sourcing clips takes up a lot of time, so I only do it for those TV shows where I feel I have something to add to what’s already out there.

As for fan fiction – that’s about resolving unresolved issues. In addition to fics already mentioned, I’ve written a Mentalist short one shot and I even wrote a short Ally McBeal one because I always felt she should have ended up with Larry (and I pretended the last season never happened). I sort of start writing the fan fiction in my head in bed before I fall asleep at night. It relaxes me and takes my mind off any worries I might have, works better than any sleeping drugs out there. Sometimes the nighttime stories in my mind need to be written down and they turn into fan fiction. They never feel quite good enough, though. I am braver about posting fan videos than owning up to my fan fiction attempts…

So yeah, I have done quite a lot with TV series… perfectly fitting to share all of this for the “Mach’ was!” challenge, I figured! 🙂