A beautiful day I hadn’t realized I needed, or: Recharging with Armitage and friends

A fellow Richard Armitage fan was visiting my neck of the woods this week in order to support a friend whose son is getting married tomorrow. ‘Twas our beloved sister, Kathy Jones, poet and fangirl — the woman with a couplet or a limerick to mark every occasion! And she sent me an email and suggest that we meet. How could I resist? For me, despite my hesitance to meet fans in person, this was an offer that came just at the right time. This was the first EVER paid vacation day I’ve used in my life. I don’t think Kathy knew that, but it was kind of momentous for me for that reason alone. (I had to figure out how to use the computer system for that! And OMG an employer-sanctioned day off work! While everyone else was sitting behind their desks struggling with D/F reports!) But beyond that, Kathy is simply a lot of fun while not being only a lot of fun — a great combination of laugh-provoking and thought-provoking. I like to laugh and I don’t do enough of it, and Kathy is both lighthearted and versatile of conversation. I’m one of those people who always knows what time it is — and yet, somehow, I completely forgot the time while she and I were talking. We sat at lunch for three hours without me noticing the hour!

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The bridge I drove over in order to visit Kathy Jones.

We had talked a bit on the phone the day before, and I had ventured a little bit about my reservations — I think, in my mind, Kathy is really one of the cool kids, and I am not. I think that I am in person not all that much like Servetus (or Servetus is a version of me that is more appropriate for the blog than for real life, someone who puts herself together only with the power of words and isn’t undercut by the other aspects of her persona), and that I don’t want to disappoint. Kathy is, in contrast, not what one expects in a fan, but as I write that I wonder what I mean. I think it’s that with fans, one expects a certain preoccupied quality. But Kathy’s focused without being geeky or nerdy in the slightest. She really is the girl you want to sit next to in class because she’s together and knows what’s going on, but she’s also giving off a stream of amused commentary at the same time. She’s the one you want to be sharing your tent with on the Girl Scout camp out because she knows how to get it pitched but she won’t laugh at you if you don’t. Or, if she does, she’ll be laughing with you because she would think it was funny if the tent pole caught her on the nose.

But you know? In the end I wouldn’t have cared even if we hadn’t hit it off, because she played an instrumental role in my decision to see The Crucible after all — she sent me an email to tell me to throw caution to the winds, for once Servetus throw caution to the winds — and even though I didn’t admit it to her until afterwards, I thought for a long time about what she said and it influenced me.

She greeted me in the parking lot of her “resort” (we joked about what kind of facility passes for a “resort” in Florida), gave me a quick hug, and said, “see, I really am tall!” And she is — tall, tan, relaxed, a little bit effusive and, I might add, the perfect hostess. I spend all my days inside a freezing, windowless building, and so when she asked if I wanted to stay outside or go into her resort room, I promptly replied that I would love to stay outside as long as didn’t sit directly in the sun. I admit that I was a little nervous about that — Kathy is really, really tan and I am really, really pale, and I admit that given the number of people I know with skin cancer around here, I avoid the sun like the plague. She was totally up for it — so much so, though, that I think she ignored her own need for the air conditioning (it was 92 out at midday in all our Florida humidity) in order to please me. We sat outside under an umbrella and watched other people swim. She also assured me that if I spent a week with her, she could get me over my water fear!

Kathy Jones is, when one meets her: immediately disarming. She does not apologize for who she is, and that made it easy for me to be the same way. I knew I would like her the second she said “by the way, I swear a lot.” Also sympathetic: she doesn’t like making party favors for weddings. A further point in her favor: she thinks Florida is TOO HOT.

We talked about everything — of course, I knew much less about her than she did about me — and I got to hear about her kids and their activities, Mr. Jones (who was out fishing — damn, I knew I should have brought dad with me), and her other fan meetups (she’s met mimicruz and miapatagonia and Guylty) and in general, her impressions of the fandom. We talked about so many of the big questions — will we ever get to see Urban and the Shed Crew? If we don’t, what does that say about the quality of the project and its result? Are we going to like Hannibal? Will it give Richard Armitage the exposure we hope for? How “big” do we really want Richard Armitage to be? Do we want him to play Bond? What about Sleepwalker? How will we see it? What kind of theater is going to show Pilgrimage in the U.S.? And of course, the news about Clearance (what is it with these one word titles?) was only hours at that point, so we chatted a little about that, too. Naturally, we talked about some of those neuralgic points that it’s risky to raise in public discussion, because that’s the best part of the one-on-one aspect of fangirling, and one of the things I enjoy most about a fan meetup — the possibility of being really open in a way that I no longer am on email. We gossiped a bit.

After two hours under the umbrella, Kathy politely moved me on to lunch — her treat. (She’s also generous, in ways that one sees, but also in many ways that one does not immediately recognize.) I was enjoying myself so much that I hadn’t noticed time passing. We took a sort of comical and superfluous ride in my un-air-conditioned car (sorry about that, Kathy! But I’m still grateful I found my nametag!) to a nearby restaurant with a beautiful sea view and had a weird miscommunication with the hostess, such that we ended up outside again. I think Kathy wanted to be inside but was too polite to say. Kathy had a turkey Cobb salad and I had lightly blackened shrimp bedded on a lemony sauce with some very good French fries. She downed a few Diet Cokes while I mainlined some very un-Southern unsweetened ice tea. (Thanks again for lunch, Kathy!) And we talked, and talked, and talked, about everything — teaching at different universities, the appropriate water temperature for diving, how tall is “too tall,” working in journalism, what the appropriate age for marriage was when she was a girl, what her mother was like and whether her son will ever get married (great joke about creating dating websites for people who’d rather not be in a relationship), how much money one needs to be earning to be satisfied with one’s life, and so on. I think our politics might not be very similar but it didn’t seem to matter. At some point it occurred to me, finally, to ask how old she was and she said, simply, “I don’t want to say, but I could be your mother,” and I felt a sort of comfort in that, in a way that briefly surprised me. In any case, she looks quite a bit younger than my mother did — probably the result of a very athletic youth but also the desire to stay young. She smiles a lot and it shows.

My favorite parts of the conversation, apart from getting acquainted with someone I “know” very well in a rather limited way, though, involved our discussions about Richard Armitage and what he, and the fandom around him, has ended up meaning to us. It wasn’t, I think, that neither of us has thought about these things, or that neither of us has ever said these things before. She showed me pictures and cell phone vids of her experiences at the L.A. premiere of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, and told me what the gentlemen were like, and we compared notes about Richard Armitage at the stage door of the Old Vic after The Crucible. I think these are the most important stories, and I don’t think we tell them, retell them enough: about how something about watching Richard Armitage, meeting Richard Armitage, however, briefly, what we saw, what we experienced, changed our lives. She had examples; I have examples. There’s something about the joy of those experiences that makes it okay to talk about the (problematic) circumstances that both sparked the changes and made the changes desirable. Armitage makes it okay. It’s not just the joy of being able to squeee with someone who understands, although that is part of it. It is finally being able to talk about something important, perhaps the momentarily most important thing. And we can only do this with people who really understand what it’s about.

Kathy Jones — is one of these people.

So, after she left me talk for three hours, she pointed out that it was 4:30! She needed to get to her wedding shower. I needed to get on the road before the all-afternoonly squall.

I drove home over this bridge. Very grateful.

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Sunshine Skyway Bridge. How I got home.

~ by Servetus on May 16, 2015.

63 Responses to “A beautiful day I hadn’t realized I needed, or: Recharging with Armitage and friends”

  1. What a lovely post is this. You described Kathy perfectly – I can only second everything that you say. She is one of the nicest people you could ever meet, generous to a fault (shrine fairy!!!) and just so easy to be around that you wonder where time went when you realize it’s time to go. And since you mentioned mothers – ever since I met her in person in London in the “summer of love”, I know that I’d like to be like Kathy when I grow up 😉
    So glad that the two of you had opportunity to meet up. And that you wrote about it. The whole meeting of fellow fans through our shared interest in RA is the aspect that I have come to appreciate the most in my participation in the fandom. There are so many people whom I have met – both in RL and bts via e-mails – who have truly enriched my life, and that is the thing that I really feel grateful to Mr A for. If it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t have met – all these diverse, different women, from all over the world, with quite different lifestyles, ages, backgrounds, politics, experiences. Yet I have never not liked a fellow fan whom I have met… Anyhow, glad you two had a great day together. It now explains why my ears were ringing a lot on Thursday… 😉

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  2. Man denkt immer, ihn höchstselbst zu treffen, sei das Allergrößte. Quatsch. Also mal abgesehen davon, dass das für mich schon ein Riesenerlebnis war letzten Sommer, gibt es kaum etwas, was befriedigender ist, als ein Treffen mit anderen “Wahnsinnigen”. Dieser hemmungslose Austausch, ohne wenn und aber, kein Verstecken und peinliches Rumdrucksen, himmlisch! Ich habe bisher auch nur allerbeste Erfahrungen gemacht. Und wenn es richtig gut läuft und die Chemie stimmt, dann ist The Man Himself nur ein Türöffner für richtig gute Gespräche, die ihn nicht zum Thema haben. Es ist so ein befriedigendes Gefühl, nach einem solchen Ereignis komplett “auserzählt” wieder nach Hause zu fahren. Meine schönstes Bild vom letztem Wochenende: drei Frauen (Guylty, Suzy und ich, ALLE keinen Tag älter als 39, also ca. 🙂 ) sitzen nachts um 1Uhr oben auf dem Stockbett einer Jugendherberge, glotzen in einen Laptop mit unsäglich vielen Bildern einer uns allen mächtig vertrauten Person und lachen sich fast besinnungslos (ich habe geheult!). Sowas lädt den Akku richtig auf.
    Klasse, dass du das auch erleben durftest.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL … “ALLE keinen Tag älter als 39” … ich habe kein Tattoo … aber das einzige, dass ich ernsthaft in Erwägung gezogen habe war “Forever 39” 😉

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      • Also ganz ehrlich, eigentlich waren wir vom Benehmen her keinen Tag älter als 15 🙂 Das mit den 39 dient lediglich dem Feel-Good. Ansonsten versuche ich gerade Frieden mit meinem tatsächlichen Alter zu schließen. 😀 Aber solche Aktionen haben tatsächlich eine gewisse Anti-Ageing-Wirkung. Und das mit den Tattoos kann irgendwann mal arg kontraproduktiv sein. Absackgefahr etc., wenn du mich verstehst 🙂

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        • Die Lachfalten haben bei der Aktion zwar schwer gelitten, aber ansonsten war das eine wahre Verjüngungskur, da pflichte ich dir schwer bei, cRAmerry. Mein Scott, ich hatte schon lange nicht mehr so gelacht wie mit dir. Tränen waren ja wohl untertrieben. (Ich habe jetzt noch ein schlechtes Gewissen Armitage gegenüber… der Arme! Was müssen dem die Ohren geklungen haben.) Aber hey, ich finde es gut, wenn man auch im gesetzten Alter noch albern sein kann. Ein Zeichen, dass wir noch nicht scheintot sind.

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          • Pah, schlechtes Gewissen! Sagt er nicht immer, allen soll es mit ihm gutgehen oder so ähnlich? Müsste ihn doch schwer freuen, dass wir mit ihm so viel Freude zusammen haben. 😀 Und solange es grundsätzlich positiv schwingt, darf IMMER reuelos gelacht werden.

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            • Das war aber schon sehr auf seine Kosten… Aber sei’s drum. Ein Entertainer entertaint. Auch unfreiwillig. Ein Hurra auf steife Anzüge und hochtoupierte Haare!

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              • Psssst. Du weisst doch, mit dem lauten Lachen wollen wir alle nur unsere hämmernden Herzen übertönen. 😀
                Also ich wäre innerlich schon längst implodiert, wenn ich nicht ab und zu mal kräftig meine Gefühle ablachen könnte!

                Liked by 1 person

      • Nee – “schon widda fümmendreißig”!!!

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    • cRAmerry und Guylty haben schon alles gesagt, ich kann nur hinzufügen, dass die realen Treffen mit den anderen Damen des fandoms bisher großartig waren und das letzte Wochenende war so intensiv und aufbauend, durch nichts zu toppen!
      Ich wünsche Dir noch viele weitere so schöne Erfahrungen ❤
      Und natürlich: Keinen gefühlten Tag älter als 39 und das mit der Verjüngungskur durch hemmungsloses Albern und Kindisch sein kann ich nur unterstreichen! RA fans brauchen kein facelifting, vielleicht gibt es einen Weg dieses Gefühl in kleine Tuben abfüllen?

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    • I would pay for a picture of that 🙂

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    • Au Mädels!! Das klingt echt ziemlich supergut!!! Genau das Richtige zur Aufheiterung und für den Teint!! Da bin ich jetzt doch ein bisschen neidisch…

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  3. […] of fluffy, lovely, heart-warming Saturday reading I recommend you head over to me+r and read up on Serv’s fan meet-up with Kathy Jones. Feel-good […]

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  4. That sounds amazing and I’m so glad the two of you got the chance to meet. 🙂

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  5. Sounds like a really joyful day 🙂 … and my little architects heart skips a beat at the bridge pics! I’ve driven over the similar cable-stayed-bridge “Pont du Normandie” that spans over the Seine by Le Havre and I know therefore that pics not fully cover the experience, as driving up almost feels like sitting in a roller coaster 🙂

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    • I actually hadn’t planned to drive home that way (it’s a toll road) but the signage was confusing. In the end, it was worth the $1.25 to drive across that.

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  6. Wonderful to read about your afternoon with Kathy. Everything you say about her is true about her kindness and generosity too. I was able to meet her in person last year after Guilty introduced us. Kathy then helped me survive at ComicCon Int’l. which was surprising after I made her run almost 2 miles through thousands of people to get to a screening of Into The Storm. She also gave up valuable time to help me at WonderCon this last April too and scored a key Star Wars question with a well known author that got published and made me look good at work. I am continually amazed with her fearlessness to do anything, or at least anything I need her to do to help me at CCI and WC. Here is where I should mention that she uses her hidden talents to help out during panels making the experience better for everyone attending. What a valuable asset to have in a friend. I really lucked out there. I worry that I’m taking up too much of her time tho. I can be an overpowering personality and be totally selfish with work obsessed tunnel vision, but Kathy seems to tolerate it alright and doesn’t seem to mind spending time being my friend and ComicCon assistant anyway. So I am doubly glad another person has seen and experienced how wonderful she is. Wow, I really owe RA a big thanks for her.

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    • Big LIKE on this comment. (And another argument to go on the “Will I go to ComicCon 2015”-list!)

      Liked by 1 person

    • She hides her Star Wars credentials well, though. I can totally see, too, why her friends would want her “easing the encounters” at a wedding where no one knows anyone else.

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      • Kathy is too humble, but that might be why she finds a certain actor so irresistible, they share similar qualities in humility and giving others credit. I am not a very well rounded sociable person, oddly enough, the hubs is and Kathy has very similar qualities. (Not to mention they are both tall, it tends to make me a little jelly.) Meaning, she reacts quickly, always knows what to say, how to say it, how to approach it. I tend to be all serious work (although with friends I can let that go) and never really mastered that casual social side of life with strangers. She is teaching me by example and I refuse to get too old to learn new things. For the record, she had that Star Wars author totally mesmerised, charmed and her best buddy inside of 2 minutes. They can be friends for life if she wants now 😀

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        • Mimi, you are too sweet. I love being your minion and would recommend it to anyone who thinks they can keep up with a tornado. You are amazing.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Glad you had such a fun day off! I long to meet another RA fan.

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    • you will, but I do think one has to be kind of intentional about it. It’s only ever happened to me once “accidentally”

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  8. Thank you for the kind words,my RA sisters. I love all of you I have met and look forward to getting to know more of you. Today I am cutting up fruit for about 100 people and continue to provide cheap manual labor for my friend. I have to say (full disclosure) I am a huge nerd and have never been one of the cool people although I can mingle with them while in disguise. Meeting you,Serve, was so much fun, even in the heat. Have to run but I have so much more to say. Maybe later.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope they got the marrying out of the way already because it looks like there’s a squall headed your way 🙂 you’re honestly a true friend to do this kind of thing in our weather this time of year.

      In case it wasn’t clear, I LOVED meeting you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I am finally home and have time to respond to things. I LOVED meeting you too. And as for being humble, I have loads of things to be humble about, including my poetry. It is always silly, eyelashes and other serious things are most of my topics. But I wanted to commemorate our momentous meet-up, and we had some (heartfelt) serious as well as frivolous discussions. With that in mind, the following is for comedic purposes only, serious content is strictly coincidental.

        Ode to a Superstar

        Away from the sun, baking in Florida shade,
        Serve’s on vacation, she’s got it made.
        The best part of it is, she’s still getting paid.
        While far from her campus she willingly strayed.
        To hang out with a fan from the opposite coast,
        Who wanted honor her with a nice toast.
        Only diet Coke and ice tea were in the raised glasses,
        But a friendship was made between these two lasses.
        And though humidity there could be said to be sucky,
        Two friends who connected felt extremely lucky.
        For they were happy and well met,
        Despite one being covered in sweat.

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  9. Happy to read this. Hope you take and enjoy all of your paid vacation days!

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  10. Ahhh, what a marvellous read! I feel so much warmer now 😀 Would love to drive over that impressive bridge, though I fear the temperatures and the humidity in Florida would be a serious challenge for me 😉 Meeting fellow RA-fans is really an extraordinarily delightful thing to do.
    Hi Kathy!! You know…. It was a great pleasure meeting you girls! We had such fun together. Only that everything went by in an instant (almost a blur, especially in combination with the Man during that very day in the “Summer of Love”. It left me (us all) excited and exuberant but also hooked on for more!!!
    Serv, I think this is quite a wonderful and adequate post for your outstanding achievement (!!! you hear the fanfare??) of just now reached 5.000000 hits. Hip Hip horahhhhh!! Und viele, viele Blumen für die unermüdliche Schreiberin…..

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think the weather here is really crazy, although I’d have sworn until this very day that I wasn’t acclimating. I realized that I don’t think 92 in the humidity is all that hot anymore …

      re: achievement — Kathy and I actually talked about it a little. So strange! Odd to think that there aren’t really any more milestones like this left 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • ?? Now I’m a bit baffled (that’s always the disadvantage of the written words versus talking with each other face to face. Re: achievement because 10.000000 hits will need at least another approx 5 years?? Provided you keep up and continue for a while longer…Or one is getting irrevocably too old and there is not enough time left to accomplish something new that could pass as a milestone? What could that be anyway? You see… odd questions in my befuddled mind!! Me seems you talk about something different altogerher…. 😉

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        • 10M doesn’t seem real. Four years and a bit might be realistic if Armitage’s career continues to bloom and I keep on writing at the same rate. There are ways I could accelerate it if I wanted to put the work into it. That said, it seems like the things I want to do, still — aren’t really milestones. Things I want to say, courage I want to get ( like Bilbo) and so on.

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    • Hi Linda! Hope I have another excuse to travel to your side of the pond and meet for some Richard mischief.

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  11. Sounds like so much fun! Glad you two hit it off! =)

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    • I can recommend Kathy Jones as immensely hit-it-off-withable. Actually you guys would probably be trading rhymes within seconds.

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  12. I despise the Skyway bridge. off topic, but it just had to be said 😀

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    • I had a beer that night at the best bar on the planet, and was chatting with the manager about it, and he said something similar. In his case it was that he drove over it the first time when the weather was bad, in a UHaul. Frightened out of his wits.

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      • I can understand that! I’ve been over it a few different times, one of which was during a storm. we did get to see a beautiful rainbow though, so it wasn’t all bad 🙂

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        • In general, that is the silver lining around here. Weather is bizarre, but there’s a gorgeous sky almost every evening.

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  13. Sounds like you had a great day meeting up with another fan/friend. What a great way to spend your first ever payed day off from work.

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  14. Sounds like a good fun,Servetus …just like Kathy Jones comments and poems 🙂

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    • I was thinking we might get another poem from her, but I’m guessing she is either traveling home or still in bed from last night’s festivities.

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  15. sounds like the perfect way to spend a day, making or meeting friends 🙂 you should take more of these days off 😉 Glad you got to spend it with Kathy and you both had a lovely time!
    and yes, i totally agree, it is a pleasure like no other to share our passion with like minded lovely people ❤

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  16. AW, this sounds lovely! Glad you had such a great time together and what a great way to spend a paid-leave day!

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  17. A wonderful report of meeting a fellow friend (fan).
    And you know what? Last year when all was planned to attend The Crucible and to meet a fellow friend, Linda60, whom I first met in Berlin 2013, I had to cancel it due to my broken foot and leg (sorry of repeating, some of you readers know it and roll their eyes). But I dared to write a letter to Mr. A inviting him to a well known theatre festival taken place in in my next surroundings every year. Kevin Spacey, Jeff Goldblum and Cate Blanchett attendet it some years ago, why not him? (Not that I have anything to with it, it´s just my dream). And the fellow friend gave the letter to Mr. A. She´s a brave girl (I`m still blushing, don´t know if I could have done it).
    Servetus, if it would ever happen, the Ruhrfestspiele (as you probably know) take place from May to early June every year; we have many asparagus and strawberry fields and Bauernhöfe providing it with Westfälischen Schinken here.
    That could be a great gathering of fellow friends and fans, therefore let an old gitrl dream about it 🙂

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  18. […] When I was an academic blogger, I couldn’t really risk being friends with any other blogger I knew. We kept our identities mostly secret (I never told anyone else I blogged with my name, and I suppressed the blog at the point at which my identity could have been guessed by an outsider) because what we were saying was too potentially explosive for our careers. Fandom blogging has been a lot more fun in that regard — insofar as I was more comfortable telling some fellow fans my name. And I’ve actually met several fans — Judiang, Fedoralady (we didn’t write about that meeting at the time because of the person who bullied her), Obscura (I thought I wrote about our first meeting — maybe not — it was a lot of fun and a typical regional moment), two who prefer to remain nameless, Guylty, LadySquid, and Kathy Jones. […]

    Like

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