Thinking of you at Dwarf Camp

(Was trying all night to make a post on another topic cohere. Didn’t happen. Giving up and going to bed to try again tomorrow. You get this instead.)

Dwarf Camp’s been on my mind. I’ve been wondering what it’s like for all of the actors to fly all that way with just a few suitcases to work together with people who they might know slightly or not at all in a setting where most of them probably don’t have family or friends within easy reach. Probably lots of initial nervousness is involved in all of this as everyone gets to know each other. Certainly tact and understanding and team spirit are called for as the group melds together. Eleven to thirteen hours time difference to the UK, so phone calling’s probably not always easy or convenient — makes it hard to stay in touch. And then, as I know from personal experience, there’s the necessary task of finding the creature comforts that ease the dislocation: the perfect cup of coffee, the best bakery or bookstore, the right path to go on a long walk when you need to think, and so on. What’s the housing like — hotel or trailers or apartments? Food arranged for everyone, or do people cook for themselves? Is everyone who’s working together also living in close proximity? If you work together all day long learning to be a dwarf and bonding with your colleagues, do you want to be by yourself in the evening, or do you go to the next pub to drink a round together?ย  Is there any free time, and if so, what do you use it for? Do you get to see any of New Zealand outside of Hobbiton?

It’s probably my protectiveness coming out, but Mr. Armitage, I’ve been asking myself what this “big adventure” must be like for you, and hoping that you had a safe trip to New Zealand, that you’re settling in well, enjoying meeting your colleagues for the next year, and developing a strong rapport with them. As a viewer I am grateful that you’re probably descending rapidly into your new role, but as a fellow human being, I hope you will preserve enough space in all of this for yourself that you won’t fall completely out of touch with friends and family at home. I hope you get to play football during the breaks, as you did in South Africa, or undertake some similar activity that puts you into a local context that allows you to learn more about yourself in the world.

I’m sure I speak for everyone here when I say that I wish you good health, satisfying work, personal growth, but also as much fun and humor during all of this as is humanly possible. Good luck at Dwarf Camp! We’re definitely thinking of you.

~ by Servetus on January 14, 2011.

119 Responses to “Thinking of you at Dwarf Camp”

  1. My initial thought is that Richard might find this first stage of production quite stressful. Being quite shy, meeting new people and relaxing with them must be quite demanding. I’m sure he will be more at ease when he gets the opportunity to develop the character of Thorin. In this context he will become the alpha male of the group and his role will be unambiguous (the dwarves don’t seem to be in to palace coups), but in the general relationships between the actors I suspect there will be some competitive jockeying in the pecking order by those with larger egos than Richard’s that he will not be drawn into.

    I feel protective about him losing contact with family and friends as he confessed to doing while shooting SB. I hope the demands of shooting SB2 (May-July?) don’t prevent him getting time to return to the UK and catch up with everyone. I also hope his parents take the chance of a life opportunity to holiday in NZ in the coming year!

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    • Apparently those that have wife and kids like Martin Freeman or James Nesbitt take their families with them to NZ. Quite an adventure for them as well! I have no doubt that accommodation will be comfortable enough, money shouldn’t be an issue. Certainly they won’t have to live in trailer, I assume they have flats/houses in their base camp and will stay at the nicest hotels available when shooting all over NZ.

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      • That is good to know. If you are going to spend that long that far away from home, it’s nice to have comfortable accomodations and for those with families, to be able to not be separated from them for long periods.

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    • parents: I was thinking about that, too, Pam. I lived in Germany for many years before my parents could get up the courage to come and visit. They loved it but just the thought of such a long journey, let alone things like having to get passports and being in places where people didn’t speak English were big obstacles for them to climb, mentally. I hope his parents are more adventurous than mine and in good enough health to take the journey.

      ego: you put that well. I was wondering about that, too. A group of a dozen odd actors having to establish a personal interaction power structure. Uck, wouldn’t want to be involved in that.

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  2. I also hope he is able to maintain contact with family and friends whilst away at Drawf Camp and shooting this huge movie. He is such a long way from home; I certainly hope he makes some friends amongst fellow cast and crew in NZ, too. As you say, Servetus, whether playing footie, having a pint or telling funny stories, I want him to have some relaxing, convivial downtime, too.

    As a fellow shy person, I am with Pam in my concern for RA dealing with the initial settling in. I’ve no doubt he will do fine, though. Perhaps a blessing from the first SB is he has learned the importance of maintaining those ties with loved ones when separated by great distance, and will use Ye Olde Computer and lots of email back and forth when phone calls aren’t feasible. (Re SB 2, maybe he won’t be as far from home for the second series, and of course, he is not going to be in all of it, either–so hoping for some reunion time for him and those he loves.)

    Who knows, maybe he’ll even sit right down and write a sweet, funny, delightful letter or two to those near and dear. NO doubt they would be treasured.

    I wish him lots of good, rib-stickin’ chow (I do suspect like his Creation, Guy, he might have a hollow leg with all that physical activity), a comfortable bed big enough for that distinctly un-dwarf-like body, and many pleasant dreams. Who knows, maybe even an amusing one about an eccentric American lady journalist who imagines all of his Characters invading her den on a regular basis and then writes about it.

    Stranger things have happened, after all.
    Bonne chance, mon ami, Richard, tu es un homme extraordinaire.

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    • You touch on something that was also in the back of my mind, as someone who’s spent half of the last fifteen years living in temporary accommodations that are more than hotels but less than homes (in my case, barracks for scholars at various German libraries and universities): how to deal with the stuff that doesn’t quite fit. In his case I actually thought of the bed issue — will he have a bed and bedding that accommodates all those legs? It’s embarrassing to admit that one wonders about these details.

      I also hope he likes the food. No idea what one eats in New Zealand.

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      • Benny is six feet tall with long legs for his height, and I know how when we visit someone and are stuck with a double versus a queen bed, how he notices the difference not just in width, but in length. That’s what made me think of dear Mr. A with his long, long legs needing a suitable bed.
        Not familiar with NZ food, either.

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        • I surfed around on this a bit today, and it seems that lamb / mutton and grilled and roasted meats of various types are popular. Pavlova is the national dessert.

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          • Well, it sounds like food Thorin would like; hopefully his Creator will feel the same. ;D

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            • They also have a unique sweet potato called the kumara, which is eaten roasted in its jacket.

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              • I love sweet potatoes (although I don’t love the effect they have on my gastrointestinal system, alas) and that sounds rather delicious. My mom used to bake sweet potatoes slowly in the oven and they were wonderful hot and with some butter. I also enjoyed them cold without anything added. Very nutritious, too.

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                • My parents have started eating them in their old age! (This is astounding to me, since we had an Idaho potato in some form or other with every supper for my entire childhood. If my mom made noodles or rice with a meal she also had to make a potato for my dad. The last time I was home I was looking the cellar for white potatoes and couldn’t find any and my mom confessed that they’d stopped getting them because they go bad before they eat them.) Anyway, they wash and then nuke them and eat them with butter, salt and pepper. I like them a lot better that way than the jumped up preparations with sugar, maple syrup or marshmallows.

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                  • I can eat the tricked-out kind, too, but I really prefer a nice, simple sweet potato souffle with a little spice added in or simply a baked sweet potato, which is yummy by itself.

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                    • In the town where I live, sweet potato fries with chipotle mayonnaise as a dipper are all the rage.

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                    • A barbecue place here (which unfortunately just closed) offered sweet potato fries, and they were very tasty. We actually have a Sweet Potato Festival here each November. You can buy bags of potatoes, along with all sorts of sweet potato bread, muffins, pies and so forth. I really prefer sweet potato to pumpkin pie.

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  3. And yes, I, too, hope John and Margaret are treated to a fab holiday in Kiwi Land by their loving son who enjoys spoiling them a bit.

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    • That is exactly what I was thinking about Angie. I have been to NZ twice now and totally fell in love with the place. I’m sure his parents and other family members would enjoy a vacation there. The people there are lovely and I found them so friendly. Another thought I had some time ago when I heard he was to star in the Hobbit and be filming there in NZ was that maybe he will meet some lovely girl there who would love him for WHO he is and not for WHAT he is! He really deserves that.

      With regard to him bonding with the other cast members; if I remember correctly Peter Jackson said he chose his cast for LOTR because as well as being great actors they were also nice people who he felt would get on well together. This was very important as they would be spending so much time together and be away from home for long periods of time. I’m sure that this was also in his mind when choosing his Hobbit cast. From what we have read about the lovely Mr. A, he is an extremely likable person who seems to get on well with both men and women. I’m sure they will have a blast!

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      • Romance in NZ! I wish him well.

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      • I’ve always wanted to visit both NZ and Australia. Maybe one day . . . and yes, Mr. A seems to have the gift for getting along with everyone. I think he will fit in very well.

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      • I don’t worry about him as long as he is NZ. From what I read PJ’s crew is nice and in spite of this being a huge movie everything is quite familiar. At least that is what one if the dwarf actor told about the auditioning process. I don’t think the experience will be too different from filming RH or SB abroad. From what we heard from people who worked with RA in the past, everyone loves him (and surely it is nice to be loved by everyone!) and he works hard and does his best to help his colleagues. I don’t think he will try to fill the alpha male position among the group of actor but be a team player.

        But finger crossed during the dwarf training camp, after all there are some voices that hope (or fear) that he will be sent home like Stuart Townsend (because he is too young for the part or for other reasons)!

        Frankly, I worry more how he will get long if/when he ever moves to LA and how he will cope with the attention he might get once The Hobbit is released. I doubt that that will be very welcome so he better enjoys obscurity in NZ as long s he can.

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        • Even setting aside my objection that it won’t happen because Mr. Armitage is such a professional, I just don’t think there’s enough time for him to get sent home — if they are doing Dwarf Camp now, and filming starts in a month, how could they ever cast anyone else in time? It would create huge problems for their schedule, I think. And surely his agent wouldn’t have let him sign for a production where the director was on the fence about him to the point of having someone else in mind in case he didn’t work out.

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          • I agree–the logistics and common sense factor of it all seem to work in RA’s favor. He seems to have a pretty savvy agent and I am sure PJ as a director has learned a thing or two about casting wisely since the Stuart Townsend incident. this is a HUGE project and you don’t want to make costly mistakes. Not that I have any doubts whatsoever about PJ’s casting choices.:D

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  4. Phone calls home are probably out! The time difference from England is really awkward. When we were in Jakarta, calls to Canada were no problem: the time difference made it same time, either yesterday or tomorrow (never did get the International Dateline thing straight) ๐Ÿ™‚

    Mr. Armitage will settle nicely into Dwarf Boot Camp, I’m sure – he is so focused on the artistic goal, that any jockeying for alpha-position could simply be water off the proverbial duck’s back. Obviously, I’m judging from media and DVD extras and demeanour in Ytube interviews, which is hazardous.

    The main hope is that he not push himself TOO hard. At least the NZ climate is a kind one, comparatively speaking.

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    • Yeah. No running till he vomits.

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    • Hear, hear, moderation, dearest Richard, do not overdo it with the physical training this time around. Which also leads me to wonder–is he going to have to get all buffed up again to play JP in Strike Back this summer? NO idea, of course, how much screen time he will even have. How much physical conditioning will be required for Thorin, I wonder . . . and why do I worry about such things? The Mother Hen thing, again.

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      • One kinda hopes they’ll let him keep his shirt on this time.

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        • As much as I enjoy seeing him without his shirt on, in this case, for his own sake, I kinda hope so, too.Cut the boy some slack.

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        • There is a scene in the book of all the dwarves bathing in a river and drying in the sun afterwards.

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          • I was actually referring to whatever scenes he’ll have to shoot for SB 2 this summer . . . I don’t want him to have to go to the passing out/vomiting extremes again to bulk up for the role. It will be interesting to see if the dwarf bath appears in TH, though.

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          • hmmm. ok. naked dwarves. Have to get my mind around that.

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            • LOL! The places Mr. A takes us to!

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              • After I wrote that I was wondering “why is that such a problem for me?” I think it has something to do with how we were trained to deal with features perceived to be disabilities in hte 1970s, i.e., look away. Presumably short people have sex, so in fact they are potentially sexually attractive.

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                • A dear friend of mine and fellow Lions Club member is a dwarf and I can assure you, he does have a romantic life (and loves the ladies . . .) Right now it’s a long distance relationship with another little person, but they have been able to visit each other a few times. Yep, little people need love, too. *grin*

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            • I’m only interested in one dwarf in this context. I’m not sure some of the others eg Ken Stott, would do much for me!

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        • LOL, I haven’t re-read the book yet but I don’t see how would it be plausible that Thorin ‘lots-of’- years old might be required to take his wardrobe-equivalent-of-t-shirt off…
          Actually it could get problematic with the long beard in the way ๐Ÿ˜›

          OML ๐Ÿ™‚

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          • From Mulubinba’s research it would seem that Thorin’s family is known for their long beards. This could prove difficult in a number of intimate circumstances but could provide a degree of modesty when bathing!

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            • Or it could make the intimate circumstances more … hmmmm ….

              Servetus likes facial hair. Have I mentioned that? ๐Ÿ™‚

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              • Methinks Servetus is thinking naughty thoughts about a certain hirsute blue-eyed dwarf. *giggle*

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              • Trust me, Servetus, I’m a fan of facial hair too having been married to a bearded gentleman for 24 years come next Monday! In fact I’ve never seen him without a beard.

                Still, dwarf beards could be a step too far especially if the female dwarves are bearded too. This could lead to some interesting romantic entanglements!

                Oh I fear this is beginning to border on the grotesque.

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                • just important to make sure the beard is clean after every encounter ๐Ÿ™‚

                  bearded kisses are the best kisses, that’s my motto.

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  5. I’m thinking about him also, and the rest of the cast. I hope he will have a wonderful experience being Thorin and will enjoy his time in NZ and this great adventure.

    I know from being a fan of the LOTR films that the cast really bonded and they all became great friends, and remain great friends today. From what I know the fact they were so far away from home and living such a unique experience helped them bond with each other.

    I think Richard has a quiet strength and dignity and I just know that he will fit easily in his role as leader of the Dwarves on screen, and leader and friend of the other men in the cast off-screen. After all he already knows horseback riding and how to wield a sword!

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    • Plus I think the dwarves are all mounted on ponies or donkeys. Mr. Armitage’s feet will be dragging on the ground.

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      • *giggle* That is an amusing mental image. What IS he going to do with those gorgeous long legs??

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        • I think they’ll need to get a Clydesdale for him if he’s going to look 4 feet tall on a horse.

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          • I love Clydesdales . . . I guess some CGI wizardry will probably come into play, but, yeah–sort of wondering if they are going to have to digitally “remove” those gams and replace with shorter ones for scenes on horseback (or donkey- or ponyback, as it may be). Oh, it’s going to be fun to see how all this evolves!!

            I feel like such a giddy fan gurrrl.

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        • I guess they only tell us they are in a training camp when in reality they spend a month being shrunk by whatever magic.

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          • Instead of “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” it’s “Hey, We Shrunk the Actors” . . . well, I for one have always thought Mr. A rather magical, so I’d almost be willing to believe there was some sort of hocus-pocus going on. (:

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          • LOL!

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  6. The man can be addressed as John Dwarf for the coming months! ๐Ÿ˜€

    I also have my fingers crossed for The Hobbit, but not too long, otherwise I canยดt type. I feel your empathy!

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    • Yeah, there’s a little extra piece of the script they’re not showing where it turns out that Thorin is really John Poisonbow. He took out an encampment of Hobbits in a part of the story Tolkien didn’t write down that will only be shown in flashback. After the raiding party liberates the palace from Smaug, Gandalf and the dwarves will have to gun down John Poisonbow in order to reclaim their treasure. Much of this will be shown in inexplicable flashback. ๐Ÿ™‚

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      • ROTLMAO The nightmare would be, of course, that Vasey has somehow escaped the ChaRAacters and is now working his evil wiles on the scriptwriters for The Hobbit . . . Muhahahahahahaha!

        I don’t even want to go there . . . *sigh*)

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        • You both really crack me up, and it’s not even 8 AM here ๐Ÿ™‚

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          • It’s always good to start the day with humor, Elisabet. *wink* It would be even better to start it by turning over and looking at a tousled-haired, sleepy-eyed TDHBEW with becoming stubble . . . *sigh*

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            • I know…. When I wake up I whistle to my cat who then comes cuddling. That’s kind of cute, but NOT the same ๐Ÿ˜‰

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              • Awww–it’s sweet that your cat comes when you whistle! We have four, but only one is likely to come when we call and sometimes she plays the aloof feline card, too.

                Right at this moment, Callie is curled up snug at my side, purring away.

                Unfortunately, one of them–our huge male cat inherited from my late father-in-law–likes to sleep right between my hubby and me, and one morning Lucky was actually sleeping across the top of my husband’s head LOL

                But the purr of a honeyed baritone would be most delightful to wake up to . . .

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  7. @ Angie — you shy? Really? I was wondering when the cast was to leave for NZ. They are in their summer now.

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    • @fitzg, yes, me, shy. Painfully shy as a child–bashful, timid, whatever you want to call it. But I have grown out of a lot of it. I see myself as an ambivert now–in need of alone time sometimes, and yet able to also interact and “play well with others” as well.

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      • @angie – an ambivert, I like that, sounds like me as well which fits with my MBTI type where I’m a moderate extrovert. Now I just need a context to use the term!

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        • @Pam.

          I don’t remember where I first ran across the term ambivert–perhaps in a psychology article?-but it seemed to suit me so perfectly. I was such a bookworm as a child (still am) and often escaped to the world of my imagination (still do with my fan fic writing). My mother encouraged me to sing in our church choir from a young age, then I moved on to solo performances and that helped me with some of the shyness.
          (I was always more at ease in front of a group than in one-on-one situations, I discovered. Apparently a lot of professional performers are the same?)

          Now, after working as a reporter for 10 years and often being in one-on-ones with interviewees, I am more comfortable in either realm. But at heart, I still see myself as the shy little sister, I guess.

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          • I was also a shy introvert who was heavily socialized by my parents into non-shyness, particularly by means of extensive submersion in sleep-away camps as as a preteen and teen. The result is that I am now not shy — but I am still a pretty serious introvert ๐Ÿ™‚

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            • I never had to do sleep-away camps. Really, college was my first extensive experience of having to regularly share space with others . . . I’d been an “only” child since age 12 due to the age difference. Was SO glad when I escaped the dorm after one quarter and moved into an on-campus apartment with three other girls. I craved having a little bit of privacy.

              Today, I would honestly hate to have to live in an apartment or townhouse again, as we did some of the time during the military years. I love the peace and solitude of the country, even if the commute is sometimes inconvenient. My introverted side relishes it.

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              • I have found the solution to the apartment problem in the last three years, and I can’t believe I didn’t think of it earlier. You divert all of your mail elsewhere, to your work address or a PO Box. You also limit media exposure at home, esp nothing that gets you listed in a directory, like a phone. I’ve got a cell now but it bills to my work address. Essentially, it means that there is no reason for anyone whom I don’t expect to bother me at home. This means that if someone knocks on the door and I am not expecting it I just ignore it unless they sound frantic. Yeah, I still hear noise from other apartments, but when I am there it’s like I don’t exist. Which is a huge relief.

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                • Clever girl!!

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                  • Boarding school from an early age meant sharing a dorm with perhaps twelve other girls. Matron looked after a whole school, so a shy and very private bookworm of a child learnt to get along with most people and developed a winsome personality. Now I balance between being very private with a need to retreat to a quiet space, with being the bubbly, loveable personality. Both serve me well.

                    Richard also went throught the boarding school experience, albeit in his teens. Some of that will stand him in good stead in his life as ac actor.

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  8. @servetus, hear! Hear! and to our lovely Mr. Armitage I will raise a pint to his health, happiness, success and the bringing of love into his life. Cheers!

    P.S. I do hope eveyhting isn;t Dwarf sized… ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • So true. What a nightmare for him to get a bed made for a man who was 5 feet tall … ๐Ÿ™‚ In a lot of the interiors in his roles you see his head coming close to the doorframe.

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      • Geraldine’s house in Dibley has small doors anyway, so he always seems on the verge of banging his handsome head on the door frame just before he ducks. And I swear, he seemed even taller and more broad-shouldered when he played John Standring–truly a gentle giant.

        I do love a tall man, though, I really do.

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  9. I think that Mr. Armitage and other cast and crew have fun this time in NZ. It is important to liked to spend time with each other and they will be an inspiration for themselves. Besides RA has an amazing ability to be Thorin after he was Guy of Gisborne.
    Also I have the impression that the separation from loved ones can be a difficult experience, but how pleasant it can be to return home ๐Ÿ˜‰

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    • @Ania,

      Absence often does make the heart grow fonder, and I am sure it will be a joyous reunion when RA and his friends and family reunite. ((:
      I have to confess, I am hoping the dear fellow finds love with a significant other in the next couple of years, although I know personal relationships and his crazy work schedule don’t always mesh. I just don’t want him to miss out on that part of life, I guess.

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      • @angie

        Amen to that.

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        • @Pam, you want good things for the people you love and respect and admire, don’t you?

          He so deserves personal happiness and fulfillment as well as the public fame and recognition of his great talent, professionalism and dedication to his roles.
          I want him to have it all!

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      • And it seems to me that this “finds love” depends largely on the perception of himself. I think he like me, feels like a 25-year-old, and somewhere there is a subconscious thought that is still time. In addition, for a family need to spend time, you need to be with family and it is difficult to reconcile if we are a career oriented. What does not change the fact that also wish him luck and fall in love because there is no greater joy than together with your loved one to enjoy the success.

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        • I have the same feelings, Ania ๐Ÿ™‚

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        • I know he doesn’t feel (or look) his age and as for me, mentally I am still 33 (as Riv has given me permission to stay that way LOL) but chronologically, I am definitely 50, and I know time goes by exceedingly fast. And I do want him to achieve his professional goals, definitely. But I also see at my more “mature” *cough* age, the importance of having the right people in our lives to multiply our joys and divide our sorrows.

          And yes, I do want someone to love him for being Richard Armitage, the really lovely, bright, caring fellow from Leicestershire, and not Richard Armitage, the sexy, gorgeous Famous Person.

          Gosh, what a sentimental old sop I am. But it is the way I feel.

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  10. Change of topic or to refer back to our discussion of Downton Abbey, thought you all might be interested in this blog:

    http://austenprose.com/2011/01/14/downton-abbey-entailed-understanding-the-complicated-legal-issues-in-the-new-masterpiece-classic-series/

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  11. Angie and Pam – ambivert is brilliant! I suspect it fits more of us than the stark and limiting intro- and extra-!

    I trained for classroom, elementary school teaching after uni, but realized I could not be “on” all day. Librarianship was the perfect compromise – plenty of client time and occasional presentations/public speaking, balanced by as much research and writing time. Ambivert is a very sensible and realistic pigeonhole; a comfortable one. Thanks for that!

    Thanks to Rob, too, for the Downton reference. The “entailed estate” is a fascinating topic – how it developed, the impact on landed families, etc.

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    • Glad to be of service, @fitzg. I think a lot of us around here at this blog probably fall into that category. Writing can actually be a bit of a lonely profession, but of course going out and covering events and doing interviews requires one to come out of one’s shell and pull others out while doing it. Fortunately, people find it easy to talk to me. I think an interview can be a cathartic experience for some people . . .

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  12. Let’s continue this theme in the Downton Abbey thread. BTW, talk about being slow: it finally dawned on me why Hugh Bonneville was so familiar: he was Geraldine’s Jeremy in VoD – Du-uh!!

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    • Hugh pops up in a lot of stuff. He played Emma’s husband in a production of “Madame Bovary” that I saw recently, he was in the movie version of “Mansfield Park” from the 90s . . . quite a bit of costume drama stuff.

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      • Don’t forget Notting Hill…

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      • Not forgetting the abysmal Bonekickers..

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        • @rob, it’s been so long since I saw “Notting Hill” I really only remind a few of the cast members. @Kaprekar, I haven’t ever seen “Bonekickers,” which I believe stars Julie Graham. Since I am So Not a Fan of Ms. Graham, don’t plan to watch it, either. When “Survivors” aired here on BBCA, I didn’t watch it for the same reason.

          I’ve only seen her in two productions–“At Home with the Breathwaites” and later, “BTS” and was turned off by her character in both.

          It’s not jealousy because she was in those sexy scenes with Richard in BTS, either. I disliked her before I ever saw that LOL

          And from your comment and the reviews I read for “Bonekickers” (which was on my recommended list at Amazon.UK), I didn’t miss much.

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        • Hugh was in a Poirot and a Miss Marple over Christmas as well so he must be up there with RA in the days worked a year stakes.

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          • Pam, I just checked out Hugh on IMDB and he had no less than 11 entries for 2010, including narration of a TV series, seversl films, TV movies, and of course, Downton Abbey. He is a hard-working fellow, by the looks of it. I counted at least 10 different projects I have seen him in.

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            • They don’t make as much money in the UK and taxes are higher, so they have to work harder!

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              • Good point. Also, with most of their series running only six or eight eps, if that many, it tends to free up the actors to play more roles in a year’s span. A bit of Hugh trivia–he used to go by his middle name for his professional name–Richard. And he is exactly the same height as Mr. A according to IMDB.

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  13. According to Gwyneth Palterow’s newsletter (which I really enjoy), when she was in Nashville on an independent film shoot (I think it might have been for Country Strong, since that’s out now) not only did she get an apartment for the entire shoot, but they had a designer come in and completely redo the place to customize it for her and her family.

    http://goop.com/newsletter/85/en/

    And this was not a studio film like The Hobbit.

    Russell Crowe said on the film commentary for Gladiator that he had an apartment the studio rented for him in Malta where they filmed the Africa scenes, and he liked it so much he debated buying it for himself, but did not.

    So I really don’t think any of the film principles will be camping out in a dorm with a too short bed or anything.

    I have never shot a film but I have been in plays. One of the great things about these projects is the sense of family you get when everyone is working and living together, all towards the same creative ends. What a fun job! I would love to be there myself! Can’t wait to see the movie too.

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    • I hope not. I’m not a Hollywood star, and maybe they sent everyone a questionnaire asking what they had to have to be comfortable, but my experience with accommodation that’s arranged by others is that it always requires tweaking, sometimes more than others. Maybe he really likes the experience of geographical remove — some people love it — and maybe the adjustments don’t bother him much.

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      • When John Sayles made his independent film here in my home county, several local people gave up their homes temporarily for cast and crew to live in (talk about a home away from home).

        Of course, they were paid. My dear friend and mentor, my former art teacher Priscilla Davis, actually has a charming small cabin on the shores of a lovely lake right outside of town which the British cinematographer settled into very comfortably. Hmmmm–if only he’d come and shoot something here one day, I am sure PSD would be happy to rent it out again . . .

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  14. Worried? Why? He’s living the dream of his lifetime, working – as one of the lead characters – in the most important film of this decade, with a huge budget. A film that will be shoot in wonderful locations (with chauffeurs and helicopters available to get there) and certainly lodging in flats or luxury hotels with all the possible comforts. (He will also take the opportunity of visiting NZ and Australia and the nearby isles and of skiing on that majestic mountains: Treble Cone maybe, if not prohibited by his contract) And you can imagine what he, Aidan Turner and Rob Kazinsky will do during their week-ends for the joy of all the girls staying in NZ now.
    Not at all concerned also for the dwarf camp. It seems that all he’s done before (RH, SB, ecc…) was in preparation for this role. There will be hard work, even exhausting, that’s for sure but that won’t be a problem for him. He’s so fit, professional and dedicated to his art, that he will do a fantastic job and his beautiful voice will make the difference. In the end, on that 2012 red carpet, he will shine above all the others.
    Finally, if he moves to L.A. – as it is to be expected – it will be very interesting to see how he’ll be judged by people who are not as besotted and protective as we are. What a challenge!

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    • @Lucrezia,

      I love your optimistic take on our lovely fellow’s Grand NZ Adventure. He is indeed “fit, professional and dedicated” to his art and I do hope “he will shine above all others” on that red carpet next year. We already know how gorgeous he looks in a tux. Now let everyone see what a great character actor is under that Stanley Stunning exterior.

      A lot of people are worried about the whole Hollywood thing somehow changing him, but in my heart I know he’s a very level-headed, mature individual who has worked very hard to get where he is—and I somehow don’t see him at this stage in his life “going Hollywood” even if he does end up living there. I could be wrong, but–I don’t think so.

      Time will tell, of course . . . but whatever happens, I will never cease enjoying watching Mr. A on big screen or small (or listening to him on the radio, audiobooks . . .)

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    • I don’t know how worried people are in the sense of worry, but I do think people feel empathy for the challenges he faces. I wrote this because I wanted to wish him well, and also because I’ve had the experience of traveling a much shorter distance (only 5k miles) to live elsewhere to do something I was trained for extensively and dreamed of all my life, and while it was good most of the time and often fantastic, that doesn’t mean there were no accommodations to be made or that there were never problems. Perhaps I was picking up on the strand in his Xmas msg that he sees big challenges in front of him this year — and I wanted to wish him the best for them. I think all the readers here are confident of his success.

      I’ve been on the fence about the possible move to LA for months. Still not sure how I feel about it. Maybe working on this project and then having to promote it afterwards will give him his own sense of how caught up in that world he wants to get. Colin Firth, e.g., does not live in LA but can still command important roles. I think all in all I’d wish him more of that kind of life than the other, but that’s me wishing. In the end I want Mr. Armitage to get what he wants.

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    • Agreed @Lucrezia, he is a sensible guy who knows what he’s doing. I just want him to have a blast in NZ! And, I do look forward to seeing him in US talk shows, that would be great. I don’t see him moving to La La Land, many British Hollywood film actors remain in the UK, I think he would too. But, if he decides to do it for his career, I would be supportive of his decision.

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      • @Riv, I’m with you. I don’t think Richard will become a permanent LA resident. I suspect he would be very uncomfortable in that kind of environment for any length of time. That will be the challenge for him (and his agent), to get the interesting parts without constantly parading around in Hollywood so the studios remember who you are.

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  15. Another Tweet from Robert Kazinky: http://twitter.com/RobertKazinsky/status/26607152575549440

    “New Zealand is a piece of paradise.”

    Wonder if dwarf school starts tomorrow? Or in the next few hours given that it is 7:00 am in NZ?

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  16. From LOTR I know the production company rented houses for the cast, so I don’t doubt he’ll have a comfy place to stay.

    Apart from that, a trip to Australia and NZ are something I’ve wanted for a long time. Guess I need to start saving for that, not to mention prepare myself mentally for the seriously long flight when I do get th chance.

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    • Yeah, it’s something that needs to be planned, I think. My parents always said they wanted to go there but now I think that dream is over. Europe was a big enough journey for them, and I don’t think they’d go alone now. Maybe if I went with them, but the days in my life when I have both leisure and income enough to do that are coming to an end. So yeah, start saving and planning now so your dream can come true!

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  17. Prof.,
    I know you’re very sweet and protective but I don’t think that RA has “accomodations to be made”. The TH production has already made everyting for him and in the best possible way. Furthermore he used the word “challenge, not “problem” and I associate a very positive meaning to this word, maybe because I’m young and irresponsible.LOL
    Angie,
    as far as the Hollywood thing is concerned, I believe, like Riv, that he is a very sensible guy, no longer in his twenties, that has struggled a lot to get where he is now and experience has made him wiser. I think he’s found a good balance between his private and public life and that he’ll do everything he can to keep it so, even if he goes to Hollywood.
    Jane,
    I think the dwarf camp has started and that the first day of trainig is already over, being now, 8 p.m. in NZ.
    Maybe now, he’s jogging around on those beautiful white beaches.

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    • No, just realistic. Whenever you’re abroad, you have to adjust and accommodate. Things don’t necessarily happen the way you’re used to them happening. I don’t know anyone who’s left home for a long period of time who hasn’t had this experience. It’s easier for some than for others, but it’s a pretty standard human experience. He’s made remarks along this line himself in interviews, e.g., about the cultural differences between the U.S. and the U.K.

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      • I agree, I’ve been away from home 2 and a half years and you definitely have to accomodate, as good or better as some thing are, they’re not ‘as home’ and you’ll try to change them to make them as close to that as you can or even if you don’t want to/is not really necessary, the feeling will arise.

        OML ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Lucrezia, I think the fact this success and attention has come to him in mid-life rather than as a young man fresh out of drama school is probably a blessing in disguise–he’s more mature and experienced and knows himself better, and better understands what he wants from his career. I have no doubt he will be OK.

      On the other hand, I also see where Servetus is coming from: culture shock is a reality. I have come to realize more and more the differences between the US and UK from working with a British beta on my current fan fic (thank you, Milly).

      I remember my sister, who spent six weeks in Europe at age 15 and found herself pining for ice-cold bottles of Coke and Dairy Queen hamburgers (this was the early 70s, well before McDonaldization of the planet) and Hershey’s Chocolate and Charmin bathroom tissue, her little sister’s crazy stories–and other simple pleasures of home.

      Life is always requiring us to make adjustments, some harder than others. I would hope if he comes to America for any extended period of time, he gets to experience more than the artificial, superficial atmosphere of Hollywood. It’s a big and beautiful country, and we have quite a lot of nice, normal, wonderful people, honest we do. ๐Ÿ˜€

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      • I also have no doubt he will be fine. I thought about this last night and reread the post and I don’t see how I am saying anything either objectionable or controversial. I wish him all the best on a big adventure and everything associated with that.

        Cultural accommodations: I could write a dissertation on this topic, having seen it from multiple perspectives with myself and with others, and at different ages, and having been employed at times to deal with it with high school and university students. It’s very hard to predict who will make adjustments most easily to a new situation. People who are highly alert to their environments and observe what’s going on around them are at an advantage as they can see more clearly what’s happening, for example, but this has to be combined with a great deal of calm in terms of accepting difference. One advantage that comes with age is that one knows a little bit better what exactly the problematic triggers are and can set up to avoid them (e.g., if you know you are really attached to your favorite toothpaste you travel with a lot of it), but an advantage to youth is that one is often more flexible. It helps if one is really excited about the transition, but that can also set one up for big disappointments if one has not been realistic in advance about the nature of the challenges involved in the transition. The issues are also different depending on the time planned for the transition — dealing with six weeks away is emotionally different than dealing with nine months away, for example, or the decision to relocate permanently, in terms of the horizon for understanding the challenge (is this an accommodation I will need to make for a short period? a medium term period? permanently?)

        A frequent issue with English-language culture transitions is differing use of the language in different places, as are contrasts in manners. Again, I’m not predicting this for him, just saying that these are the kinds of things one encounters and has to accommodate.

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        • Nah, nothing controversial as far as I am concerned, Doc. When I taught French I not only taught the language, I also spent time on cultural differences–why an innocent gesture here might mean something completely different there, the idea of personal space, and so on–to try to let them see everyone is not like “us” and that is OK. Different countries, different languages, different customs . . .

          LOL about the lessening flexibility as we age. I used to laugh at people I saw travelling with their pillows. Guess who now packs her spa pillow with the satin pillowcase when she visits her sisters? Yup, me. I also have to my sound conditioning machine, my sleep mask . . . *sigh*

          One thing I think will be on Richard’s side is he seems to be so interested in and open to what’s out there to discover in the world, I think that will help him in making such transitions, even if he’s getting a bit “set in his ways.”

          And New Zealand certainly looks like a beautiful place to spend time working on a movie. I know we all wish him good health, friendships, positive experiences and just maybe, some love along the way. ๐Ÿ˜€

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  18. Angie,
    I know that you are a lot of nice, normal , wonderful people. LOL
    Prof.,
    There’s nothing controvesial: just a different take on things. I like challenges and changes. When I’m abroad I switch off my mobile and I almost forget that I have a home. Last summer my mummy texted me this: Please, at least tell me that you are alive!” She’s a bit melodramatic. LOL

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  19. As an ambivert (have adopted that description) who nevertheless requires much “introvert” time to reflect/read/write/draw, and reclaim the intro self, I have gloried in living in other countries, from Vienna and Athens to Jakarta. And traveling in many more.

    Mr. Armitage has kicked himself out of familiar environments for countless years, including within England, to Hungary (twice) to S.A. – NZ certainly won’t prove daunting. The more interesting aspects will be the Thorin character development, the interaction with the cast and crew. I think he’s up for that.

    Still giggling over the Clydesdale and the beard modesty panel! ๐Ÿ˜€ As long as he’s not required to act on his knees…

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  20. First time to post. Saw N&S DVD just before X’mas 2010 and fell in love with the series. RA is brilliant in it. Now I’m sourcing out his previous projects. WAs prompted to see DVD of Clarissa due to RA reading excerpts. Didn’t enjoy the DVD itself but love RA’s reading. Just finished Spooks #7. It was edgy, fast paced and contemporary with modern technologies and current world events. Was on the edge of my seat most of the time. Don’t want to watch it at night cause it makes me tense. I have to pace myself watching it. Ordered Series #8. Saw Marie Lloyd on You Tube last night. Also saw the Impressionists DVD. Seen excerpts of his other projects and still a working process. RA is so mean looking at RH.

    I haven’t seen LOTR but I’ll see the Hobbit because he’s in it. He would be needing King size bed for the length so his feet won’t fall off.

    I think RA will enjoy his time in NZ cause NZ is the most English place outside England. I come from Melbourne. I bet he would try the “Hangi”. It’s the Maori’s way of cooking chunks of meat & vegies, damper? in a pit covered with burning wood (charcoal). Slow cooking sort of. I’m sure he’ll gonna enjoy the wines & food too and skiing in the mountains if he’s got time or allowed to.

    I believe it’s about time for RA to venture into H’wood if he wants to. With the exposure of The Hobbit and Capt. America, surely he’ll be noticed in La La land. He doesn’t have to live in LA but can set a base and have an American agent. Another British actor who hasn’t settled in LA is Rob Pattinson. He goes home for the holidays in London & Isles of Whyte. He just rents around where he’s got projects or hotels provided by Summit. If RA chooses to invest in properties ..if he’s got filming projects and rents them out when he’s not in town.

    I hope RA makes it big in H’wood if & when he decides to… without the craziness that goes with it among fans especially his private space. Hope he can handle all this !!!

    Is there anybody in this blog to go to NZ to visit the set? Hope he gives interviews while filming with NZ & Australian TVs & newspapers.

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    • Thanks for the comment, and welcome, Tedgirl! AFAIK no one here is from New Zealand, sadly ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

      Wow, you’re a total newbie, too, like I was a year ago — hope you enjoy the beginning euphoria. You may have to watch for spoilers here, but I am sure lots of fellow fans will be happy to hear your impressions. Welcome to the fun.

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  21. […] Part 1 here. […]

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  22. […] some Tolkien fans that asserted you had been miscast and that this would be realized during “dwarf camp“? Something in your contract that specified a probationary period? Your own fears that you […]

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  23. […] I’d started in the spring of 2011, called “Thinking of You at Dwarf Camp,” with an initial post wondering what it would be like, and then a humorous comment on what I thought they might be doing. It’s fun now to look back […]

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  24. […] This is insane. Prompted by Herba I was looking at last year but I just saw a post by Adam Brown that ten years ago today, he got on the plane to go to New Zealand. Here’s my post from Jan 14, 2011. […]

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