*ooof*: Every (Armitage) Shot’s a Hit

Excuse me while we leave the necessary appraisal of the Rayner shoot for this edition of *ooof*. It is a special day. Not only because I will be enjoying the exciting environs of London while you are reading this post (and incidentally meeting with a sista-in-RA while there), but first and foremost because we have a birthday to mark. Our very own Obscura of Ancient Armitage-fame is celebrating her birthday. “For she’s a jolly good fellow, for she’s a jolly good fellow, for she’s…” – go on, hop over to her blog and leave her a little message, while I dedicate this *ooof* to her. It comes with her choice of image – a shot by photographer George Pimentel, taken in December 2012 in the Roots Canada Store in Toronto on the occasion of the Canadian Hobbit premiere.

Richard Armitage Of "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" Photo Session

Rapt listener or ready to slay with a smile?
Richard Armitage in a Press Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage, Toronto 2012
Sourced via RAnet

What we have here is a typical press call photo. Something shot along the lines of the images by Tracey Nearmy which I discussed herehere and here. The photographer has been called in to take pictures for circulation in the press. He has to work with the environment (and subject) he has been given. In this case it is Armitage, of course, and a large room with armchairs and some promo materials. Is this an unused shop floor? The illumination comes via large windows, as we can see when we look at the other images from the shoot. And the photographer does the right thing and decides to shoot without flash. This is discernible because of the little trace of shadow to the right of Armitage’s nose – the use of a camera-mounted flash (as a press photographer would use) would have drowned out any shadow and possibly added a warmer hue onto the image because of conflicting light intensities. It is interesting to me that the face is illuminated so well from a window that seems to be to the left of the sitter. Is there a reflector that throws light back? I doubt it because press photographers tend not have an assistant to hold the reflector but work on their own.

From the little imperfections in the styling of the sitter we can tell that no stylist has been present at the shoot (although it seems likely that Ilaria Urbinati had her say in the assembling of the oooomphy outfit *vavavoooom*): The sleeves of the cardigan have been pushed up asymmetrically, thankfully exposing the fuzzy forearms *drools*, there are unsightly folds visible, the waist band of the deliciously tight cardigan has ridden up, and the shirt under the cardi has bunched up by the collar. Another instance of the blissfully fashion-ignorant sitter?

The pose is relaxed and realistic. Armitage is balancing his pert arse on the edge of an armchair, leaning slightly forward. His long limbs are arranged openly, but are demurely shielded behind his arms and hands. Shooting from eye-level, the photographer must be kneeling in front of him… and who wouldn’t… In fact, the whole pose reminds me of a number of other shots of Armitage that have been taken by a variety of photographers (click, click, click).

The best thing about this whole shoot is that we have a lot of material to look at as a number of shots taken at the same occasion are available to view. And every single shot’s a winner. Well, we all can’t get enough of RA and therefore want to see as many pictures as possible. But most of you might prefer to be given individual shots taken in front of ever-changing backgrounds, with different styling and varying poses. I, on the other hand, love to see the progression of a photoshoot reflected in the images of identical background, styling, sitter, all taken in quick succession. They are almost like a film, and viewed together they result in a more dynamic look at the sitter, and give an insight in the subject’s own willingness to participate actively in a shoot. In this case we can discern three different set-ups – RA on the armchair, RA in front of the promo poster, and RA against the grey curtain.

As a purely personal reaction, I particularly like the images that were taken with the grey curtain as a background. My favourite shot is the half-length portrait where RA has his left hand in his pocket – for the open pose, the relaxed feel, the nice smile, the good lighting and the slender wrists. A close second are the three technically flawed close-ups in which Richard is quite obviously not posing but being photographed while speaking with the photographer. There is life and joy in the unposed, mid-movement RA who comes across as slightly bashful (“how cuuuute!!!” *fawns and coos*) but friendly and compliant (“yes, boy!” *smirks and yanks the chained collar*)

I am wondering why the photographer did not make more of the grey background. The pictures in the armchair – despite a sitter who is doing his best – are not ideal because of a distracting background: A variety of textures and wall coverings (panels? painted walls?) and flamboyant floral arrangements take away from what should be the sole centre of attention in the shots. The shots in front of the Hobbit poster are the customary promo shots that can’t be avoided – after all, this is a press call on the occasion of the Canadian Hobbit premiere, so that’s why RA is here and there’s the poster to give him context. The one and only full-length image is positively delish, however – slim, never-ending legs, tight fashionable clothes, broad shoulders, the angled pose jutting his hip right into our faces, all emphasised by the POV of the camera. Very sexy. But the poster shots are great only for up-to-date news photos, and not so good for longer-lasting portraits of the rising-star actor as they anchor him with a certain time. The grey curtain is much better for that, but has not been used to its full potential. While the dark grey curtain goes well together with the grey cardigan of the subject, the folds in the material make for some distracting vertical lines. And why did the photographer not just place RA differently in front of it, or rearrange the folds to make the image look better? And shoot more of those close-ups? Time constraints? – We’ll never know. So let’s amuse ourselves with some fiction instead.

He felt like a little school-boy. Some important background information. Should help him in piecing the story together. Expert knowledge. Opportunity to ask questions. He huffed inwards. Really, he *was* able to read and research for himself. God, he was known in this business for writing extensive character biographies, immersing himself in the role by creating a whole pre-plot background. It was what he was being cast for – the meticulous, method-acting professional approach to his work. And now his schedule was hijacked by the production secretary for a “chat” with an “advisor”. Three weeks into the shoot. He rolled his eyes to the heavens. He really could’ve spent the time better, working out in the gym on the stairmaster (his leg muscles really needed a bit of toning up – those skirts were pretty unforgiving, he thought with a shudder, remembering a short, previous cinematic excursion into antiquity from his early acting days). He really needn’t be lectured to. He threw himself resignedly back into the soft armchair and sighed. This “Prof O___” was most likely going to be some dried up history type, all pleated skirts and grey roots under her perm. Kind of my target group, though, he chuckled self-deprecatingly. Nah, she’s probably never even set foot into a cinema and only watches the History Channel on her ancient, wood-encased picture tube TV, straight from pre-history like herself.

A door opened behind his back. This would be her. He sighed again. Let the games begin. As she was approaching, he peeled his long limbs from the armchair to get up. At least keep up the good manners if you can’t muster up much interest, he thought. “Hello Mr Armitage, pleased to meet you”, a warm and polite voice intoned behind his back. Before he could turn around, the woman had circumnavigated him and stood before him, tall despite fashionable high heels, long waves of auburn hair, luscious curves packaged in an understated but nonetheless elegant burgundy coloured dress, hand outstretched. His eyes widened in surprise, and for a moment he seemed unable to speak. “History type, my arse!” “Pardon?”, she cocked her head in confusion. Did he say that out loud? “Eh, I mean… history delights my hours… eh, Latin quote?” he fumbled. She smiled indulgently – as if I am a silly schoolboy indeed, damn, she’s seen through that impro – and softly said “Historia magistra vitae – history, teacher of life. ”Eh, thank you for coming in, Prof O___”. “Oh, please, just call me O___”, she offered. “I am Richard”, he said. “I know”, she answered.

Five minutes in and Richard’s previous ungracious defiance had been replaced by open-mouthed admiration. Not only did he listen to her well-articulated instruction with rapt attention, but he was literally on the edge of his seat, his long legs folded in front of him. Roman gender relations were actually a fascinating subject. Plus, he was more and more taken with the glittering doe eyes above the dancing cherry-red lips. The word “domination” caught his attention. Was it getting hotter in here? He pushed up the sleeves of his grey cardigan and slightly loosened his tie. “It’s important to remember that males in Roman society largely followed a cult of virility – which has implications for the way Roman men dressed, their posture, their associations and their physical attitude towards women. Something you might want to remember when characterising your… eh… character”, she paused, licking her lips, looking up. Richard’s breath hitched. This was much more interesting than he had thought. “Please tell me more”, he whispered huskily, pursing his lips and leaning forward with a smile. 

Happy Birthday, Obscura!

PS: If you have been reading the comment section on the previous post attentively, you may have noticed a few hints regarding a little creative writing venture that has been garnering momentum behind the scenes. Judiang and myself have felt mutually inspired by our picture-prompt ficlets and have been wondering whether this could be a venture that others might like to participate in, too? We are currently working on the format of it, but are very keen to get this off the ground and would like to gauge your interest. Interested, creative writing ladies? And you, lovers of all things visual, would you like to prompt? Say “peep” in the comments, please, and spread the word, so we can see if a picture-prompt ficlet platform is the way to go forward with this!

All text © Guylty at me + richard armitage, 2013. Please credit when using excerpts and links. Images and video copyrights accrue to their owners.

~ by Guylty on September 16, 2013.

84 Responses to “*ooof*: Every (Armitage) Shot’s a Hit”

  1. Yay! Love this discussion as always! I see the background noise now that you point it out, I can’t imagine what distracted me :). Now I need to go back and take a closer look at the rest of this shoot for comparison -especially the “non pose”pose you mentioned – love those. Historical advisor indeed. :). Happy birthday to me!!! Thanks for the great start Guylty!

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  2. Gulp.

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  3. Tooofday again? My, this was a short week…. 🙂
    Thanks for ooofing this wonderful picture. Can’t get enough of it!
    How can one look that relaxed, and like he is enjoying himself during a period of mediafrenzy of biblical scale? Meeting hordes of people from early morning till midnight and answering the very same questions politely over and over again during weeks. Constantly in the focus of the photographers and every single move is documented. Must be a question of stamina I suppose.
    Or what was it that he had been smoking? Doesn‘t matter – gimme some of it!! And be generous with the dose.

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    • Hey i.f. – haha, you got me. I got my days muddled. I had intended to post this on Tuesday, but because of my absence I had to schedule it – and completely messed up with the days *umph*. Stupid me. But at least that meant, the post went out on Obscura’s real birthday.
      As for the shoot – yep, he came across really well in that shoot. Must have been in a good mood, despite the “mediafrenzy of biblical proportions” *rofl*. However pro he is – I think you can often tell in press calls how willingly he participated. It does take a lot of patience and good humour and professionalism to keep up the front and give the people what they want. Being in the spotlight is probably not what it is cracked up to be… but he pulls it off well.

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  4. Happy Birthday, Obscura!
    It’s funny you tell your story of Richard being ‘schooled’ here, Guylty , because I’ve seen a number of instances where RA’s been referred to as a professor of history or literature in this garb. It’s got that scholarly feel about it. I actually thought he managed to do rather well in the dressing department by getting the same margin of shirt showing on each sleeve below the cardigan.
    Enjoy your stay in London- lucky you!

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    • Oh, I know Katharine – they always use the be-cardiganed RA for the professor-fantasy. I quite deliberately decided to turn *that* fantasy upside-down. I sketched him to be a bit obnoxious there, unfair of me, I guess, for all we know he is interested in background and would not be as prejudiced as I made him out to be. It kind of suited my story because I wanted an entrance with a splash for Obscura.
      London was great, btw – just 36 hours, but always, always fantastic.

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  5. Happy birthday to Obscura! Great choice of photoshoot to oof. Not a huge fan of the cardigans, but this one is so…snug. Mmmm. He looks very comfy and relaxed. Love your ficlets, G.! I would be willing to contribute if you set up your platform. I certainly would make suggestions of photos for inspiration! Great idea! Thanks for another fun *ooof*!

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  6. I like the contrast between the slightly sloppy styling and his classic perfectly professional posing. He can control his face, his shirt not so much. 🙂

    And where that Professor Armitage outfit took you, verrrry interesting!

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    • I love how you put that – “he can control his face, his shirt not so much”. Adequate. And all the better for it. The little imperfections are what make it so interesting. Intriguing and also inspiring for ficlets 😉
      As for the Professor Armitage fantasy – this was the expurgated version *ahem*

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  7. Lovely ooof, lovely photo and once more an absorbing little story around the photo – everything matches perfectly! Thank you, guylty! Have fun in London!
    Happy birthday, Obscura!

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  8. I love the concept of the ‘blissfully fashion-ignorant’ sitter. That’s what I’d like to believe. It keeps him so real amid all the super star attention.
    I’m definitely in the cardigan-loving class of RA followers. Who thinks this look is frumpy? Put the outfit on grandpa, and maybe so – but just LOOK at the form behind THIS traditional, collegiate get-up. I’d not likely actually cognize a word he said if he were a prof in said garb. Holy….

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    • Absolutely true – some people can rock *any* outfit. RA sure can. Now, if the cardi was less tight, though, it might not *quite* leave the same impression… And yes, again – the imperfection is what makes beauty.

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  9. In the cardigan outfit, I have always thought Richard bears an uncanny resemblance to Robert Young in “Father Knows Best”. Not a sexy look to me. Happy birthday to Obscura and the fan ficlet idea sounds fun. I would love to participate.

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  10. […] This slap dash ficlet courtesy of this post here. […]

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  11. […]  Guylty’s oof so kindly you here to drop birthday wishes, here’s a spot to put theM.  Happy Birthday to […]

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  12. Reblogged this on Armitage Agonistes and commented:
    Happy Birthday to Obscura: we all received a gift from Guylty.

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  13. Canada seemed to agree with Richard. Okay, so he’s a bit of a schlump. One of my favorite Rl men would leave his house every morning like he walked off the Gq cover page. By afternoon, reporters would described him as “the ever rumpled…” I agree 100% the gray drape was an interesting background – maybe the photographer thought gray on gray wouldn’t work. Wrong. The shots in front of the poster include my pet peeve- I mean the eagle has landed – on his head. This is the best shot in my opinion, second to the closer up. And Professor O- couldn’t you get him to move his hands and arms, just for one shot? Damn, my birthday is so far away.

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    • Hehe, this was only the expurgated version, Perry… The story went on, of course, in my head, but well, some things are better left unsaid. *coughs*
      Don’t forget to let me know when your birthday is, then. I am always happy to schedule a dedicated *ooof*. And I take picture requests any time. You don’t have to have a birthday for that!

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  14. Happy Birthday, Prof O__, and many happy returns. Guylty, thanks for the *ooof* and the ficlet, delicious as ever! Yes, fanficlets, count me in…

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  15. Happy birthday to the luscious cherry-lipped Prof O__! Oh, oh, oh.

    And yes, please, especially after *such* a delicious OOOF, I’d love to be counted in. I’ve done some short fics off photos before on my other blog. Of course, mine are mostly smutlets… lol. I can keep them clean, though!!

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  16. peep

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  17. […] Perry’s feeble attempt at the challenge found here. […]

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  18. Hey my dear friend, just a short salute from me! Some of those pics of George Pimentel are among my favourites of last years press-photos. Therefore the pleasure was all mine when your new „ooof“ appeared today and reading your impressions was a great treat as usual. In fact there is a trace of shadow right of his nose! How could I miss that!! But you really cracked me up with your observations, such as, that his cardigan has ridden up and that the shirt under his cardi has bunched up by the collar. Tsk, tsk, no kidding, where have I looked all the last months???? 😉 However what a relief, in parts he still appears to be the blissfully fashion-ignorant sitter (as you label him)!
    S. enjoy your stay in London and good luck for your meeting! I deliberately left a couple of places of interest/stuff for you to do… Ha, ha! Didn’t want to come out as being too greedy!
    BTW what are the exact plans you are concocting with Judiang?

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    • We would like to gather a group of writers interested in posting ficlets based on picture prompts chosen by commentators. Something like what Guylty, Perry and I have done today. We need an idea of how many people would be interested before wrestling with organizing it.

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    • Yeah, I am being really facetious with my observations, niggling where no real flaws can be found. 😀 But then again, I look at these images so long while I am preparing my *ooof*s, nothing excapes my attention. Well, almost nothing 😉
      London – ah bliss. Always a pleasure, even if it is just for 36 hours. Got three expos in, met AwkwardCelebrityEncounters and had a ball with her, and just soaked up all that big-city-liveliness. Felt as if RA could walk around any corner at any time, but the closest I got was the Shanks again 😉 So.. plenty of stuff that remains to be seen and visited for another stint in London. Next time with you, again, I hope.

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  19. Acho incrível como sua presença nas fotos me rouba a tenção de qualquer outro elemento ao redor.. Incrível! É como se RA estivesse sempre em 3D em relação ao resto do ambiente atras dele. Esse homem me mata…

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    • Oh, he is a killer, alright, Celia. But there is also the insignificant little detail that we are infatuated with him *ggg*. Thanks for commenting (and bless Google Translate :-D)

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  20. Happy Birthday Obscura! An in depth discussion in Mr Armitages hotel suite- now that would be some birthday gift!

    All the photo’s that came from the Canadian visit were swoon worthy but this one particularly so. That cardigan is sooooo perfect. It is the RA of cardigans- quietly understated and yet incredibly sexy. So much nicer than that horrible flashy Louis Vuitton thing. Thank you once again for your observations, Guylty. I had never noticed the crumpled and rucked up bits but think the naturalness of that makes the sitter even more appealing. I just want to reach out and straighten out that tuck in the edge… ( fans self..)

    Did you mention the watch? I love the watch! RA has great watches.

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    • Yeah, the rumpled and bunched up bits – I am really glad for them, too, Bolly. Every time I see them I feel as if I have a reason to reach out and smooth them down. Who knows – maybe it is all intentional???? Now, there is a ficlet fantasy…
      The watches – yes, very good point. That has occurred to me, too. Has noone ever researched and written about that? Servetus? Classy, massive big thing – kind of like the man who wears it…

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  21. Oh I love these photos actually. To me he is incredibly sexy and the cardigan is actually just fine. Definitely has that teacher look, sort of the Indiana Jones thing you see, not quite what he seems is he? Very approachable. I mean couldn’t you see yourself in a library walking up to him to ask directions for a particular book and you know he researches very thoroughly and loves history. Oh yes, I could write a story there, already have in my mind actually. Definitely could see cuddling up to him there. He just looks so comfortable really and yet it is all such a turn on. Could you pass that fan Bollyknickers and you are right by the way the watches are just perfect as well aren’t they?

    Lucky you going to London. I hope to go next year some time myself. Happy Birthday Obscura!

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    • If my tutors had looked like that I might have tried harder.

      Or i might have been so naughty I was summoned to his office regularly for a telling off. He looks like the sort who would use gentle encouragement rather than tough discipline ( although either method would be fine by me!)

      Swoon..

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    • Well, there is another little ficlet in the making, Peggy – an encounter with Prof Armitage in the library. Bookishness has never been so sexy. Where is your ficlet? Go on, write it down and show us 🙂

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  22. Obscura – Happy Birthday fellow Virgo!

    Guylty – “history delights my hours” – Hysterical! Love this post, especially your ficlet and the idea of Richard in such distracted state as that. 😉

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  23. Happy Birthday Obscura! I am glad I asked Guylty to *ooof* a picture for my birthday and now others are asking her to do the same. It is fun to see what other pictures everyone else likes.

    If Mr. A was my teacher I would work so hard for an A. I really do now that I am a older student, I guess there was a reason to wait till I was older to go back to school.

    Guylty have fun in London. I was to busy after work to check my e-mail and then after supper I worked out before I checked my e-mails, now I wonder if I should have checked e-mails first. Maybe better I worked out first. Thank you for another great *ooof* day special Monday!

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    • Indeed you are right, Kathy – I think you started a trend, and I am actually really grateful for that. It is lovely to write for an audience. And it makes it easier for me, often, when I have been challenged to write about a particular image.
      Yup, I possibly would also work harder for a prof like that. Superficial cow that I am, it has happened like that before. In both my young and my old student days.
      London was fabulous. Loved every second – and can’t wait for my next trip, hopefully before the end of the year.

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  24. Hahaha! This is great, Guylty! 🙂 I love those Canadian photo shoots.
    Could you please pass my greetings and hugs to georgeous Prof O_! 🙂

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    • Thanks, Joanna – RA obviously really liked Canada. I don’t think there were any shots and occasions where he wasn’t his most gracious self. Even on Strombo, faced with the Speedo-footage, he maintained his image. Ahhh, good good boy.

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  25. Great post. 🙂

    Happy birthday Obscura. 🙂

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  26. Happy Birthday Obscura!
    BTW, let me know about that project you mention. I don’t write more than the bare minimum and I certainly don’t do it for pleasure, but I do like to fiddle around with images, so consider me Peeped if I can be of any help, assistance etc.

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    • We’ll put you on our list of victims… eh… interested contributors. And btw – I don’t think we will impose a minimum word count. Short ficlets work, too.

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      • You’ve been to my blog, right? You weren’t there for the written word, I’m sure 😉 Oh hell, keep me posted and we’ll see (if the rest promise to be particularly bad so I can look good…), now let go of my arm you’re twisting 😉

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        • You are quite wrong, Agzy. I *am* there for the written word because you write hilariously funny stuff. How well that can be turned into ficlets I don’t know. And maybe that is not your cup of tea. But hey – you could possibly prompt us with some specially made RA edits??? There, twisting even more…

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  27. Happy belated birthday, Professor O___! The *ooof* and accompanying ficlet is quite the present.
    And Guylty, excellent job once again.

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  28. Thanks so much to everyone for the wonderful birthday wishes! Thanks especially to Guylty for the dedication, and doubly so for the ficlet…I’ve been very distracted since reading it for some reason 😉

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  29. […] the ethereal quality of the imagery in “girl” and “limbo”. ooof  ooof ooof  […]

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