Where is Margaret Mead when you need her? Or someone should Explore the Phenomenom of Fandoms and Social Media STAT.

MargaretMead

Many people hide their real identities on Twitter, but I wish at least their ages were up there because I’m ‘Margaret Mead interested’ in discovering more about the psyche of people who spend time worrying, discussing, gossiping about and criticizing actors personal lives on-line. I’m talking about actors they’ve never met as if they’re owed more information and deserve to get it immediately.  During the last month or so, I’ve been watching in dazed bewilderment, hand over my open mouth, the Twitter wars that have been going on.

Full disclosure.  I worked in television and professional theatre during my ‘career years’ prior to becoming a stay-at-home mom.  So I really like TV and theatre.  I like watching shows, working behind the scenes, the entire process.  I’ve met and known many actors, some midling famous, some on their way up and some in the stratosphere.  One thing that never occurred to me was to wonder about their personal lives and relationships.  Never, ever, ever did I care about, ask a co-worker about or even ask the actor about their personal life even if I was sitting in a room with them for two hours.  I did sometimes wonder about their performance.  If it was bad, I wondered how the heck they got the job.  If it was good, I wondered if they took classes or went to University, then classes, what other plays or shows they’d been in, etc.  But, it never occurred to me to ask or want to know more.  Mostly because I wasn’t interested and I’m still not.

You know what an actor owes me? Nothing.  What I hope to get from them is a good performance that takes me along on a journey for 30 to 120 minutes.  If they do it right, their job is to tell a story in a way that makes me forget who and where I am for the amount of time they’re performing.  Maybe they’ll change the way I think about something, open my mind to new ideas,  or issues in the world.  Maybe their performance will be so good that it’ll help me resolve issues that I’ve been battling for some time like PTSD or the loss of a loved one.

I know for sure they don’t owe me one single bit of personal information about their lives that they don’t want to share.  You know why?  It’s. not. my. business.  Just as people are not allowed to knock on your door and ask what you’re doing, why you’re doing it and who you’re doing it with, you should not be allowed to do the same to them.  I know the argument.  This is what they signed up for.  Well, guess what?  Nobody, other than reality show participants, and maybe not even them, signs up for that kind of intense scrutiny or deserves it.  Real actors become actors because they have a passion to tell a story and they want it so much they’re willing to practically starve for years to do it. And that’s the truth of the matter.

What is going on in fandoms?  Are people so isolated from the real world and locked away in their own homes that they think the personal lives of actors are something that are owed to them?  I don’t even ask my adult children, whom I gave actual birth to directly from my own body, the kinds of questions being asked of actors on line.  If you really believe more is owed to you, than I suggest you start examining the reasons why because there’s something deeper going on and it needs to be addressed.  And in the meantime, I’m going to do some research and see if an actual study has been done on the subject and I’ll report back because now I’m a little more than slightly fascinated in this odd phenomenon.

Scotcon with #Outlander Stars, The Charming Guy with the Cute Butt, Bad Passport Photos and My Upcoming Scotland Adventure!

Many years ago, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, I was working at a TV Station in Austin when a co-worker alerted me that Austin City Limits had just hired a reeeeeally cute Graphic Artist.  Having just gotten out of a relationship, I was completely uninterested, but then one day I saw said Graphic Artist leaning over a drafting table, and there was the cutest manbutt I’d ever seen.

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One day the guy with the cute butt, let’s call him Richard, approached me in the hall and was very charming, hilarious and complimentary of my tv work and as I’m a sucker for smart, funny, cute men, that’s all it took.

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Soon, I married the man I wasn’t interested in meeting and oops, our son was born 13 months later.  We moved to Connecticut, we moved back to Texas, we had another child, we bought a house, we bought a bigger house and every year we used our time and money to travel to visit family so we never had the chance to go anywhere exciting…even our honeymoon was spent with family.  Every time we’d save up enough money, something would break like a car or air conditioning which is essential in Texas.

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Fast forward 30 years and Richard or @OutmanderArtist, just surprised me by planning a trip to Scotland so I can finally see the place I’ve dreamed of visiting for the last 25 years!  My Scotland love affair began with the novels of Rosamunde Pilcher and increased 1,000 times over when I discovered the books by Diana Gabaldon.  I’ve known all my life that I’m related to Robert Burns via my many times great grannie, Elizabeth Burns which might explain my genetic love of words.  As you can imagine, as an Outlander blogger, I’ve got emotions and feelings and yes more words and I need to write them down and share my experience with everyone cuz that’s how I do it.

Robert Burns

 

I recently heard about Scotcon and we decided to have our trip coincide with the Scotcon Weekend.  I’ve been devouring the Scotcon website and plotting our journey!  Scotcon is September 3 and 4th only a mere three months away!  According to their website, it’s the first and only Con in Scotland.  It’s dedicated to our show, Outlander, and it will be astounding and gargantuan.  I love things that are astounding and gargantuan, so this is a natural fit!

ScotCon

So, here’s the thing.  I know what it’s like to stay at home and read random tweets about different Outlander events and wonder what’s going on and what I’m missing.  So I want to take you all along with me, not in my suitcase, but in my blog.  I’m hoping to have some contests too, so I can bring back a few prizes for those of you who won’t be able to attend.

Here’s what we know so far:  At Scotcon there will be: Battle Re-Enactments, Weaponry Displays, Highland Games, Highland Dancing Competitions, Battle of the Clans Musical (say what?), Talent Skirmish (say what again?), Sports Village, Interactive displays, Food, Beverages, Arts, Crafts, Whisky, Outlander filming tours, DNA Analysis (I just did that!), Regression and Holistic Therapies (oogady boogady!) and much more! Here’s their website: Scotcon.con

Outlander Stars will be there for:

A formal gala dinner (I need a new dress!)
Cocktail mingle (I REALLY need a new dress!)
Autograph and Selfie Session
Meet and Greet

So far the Outlander Folks who are confirmed are:

Duncan Lacroix (Murtagh), Stephen Walters (Angus) & Grant O’Rourke (Rupert) who will judge Battle of the Clans Musical Skirmish
Graham McTavish will be Master of Ceremonies for the Highland Games

Also:

Steven Cree with two legs!
Adhamh OBroin, I’ll impress him with my terrible Gaidhlig!
Ronnie B. Goodwin (The Outlander Horseman and semi-mysterious hunk)
Robert Cavanah, Jamie’s Dad, #HesAlive!

Tonight, we filled out the passport forms and Monday we go in to apply. I had my photo taken and it’s terrible! Did you know you have to put your hair behind your ears and not smile for your passport. Hopefully nobody in Customs will judge me by my horrible picture.  I think my ears stick out a bit, but you be the judge.

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So that’s it for now.  We’re planning, deciding and scratching our heads so we can get the very most out of this trip and I can’t wait to share it all with you.  What would you most like to see or hear about?  Let me know and I’ll try to cover it for you!

Two Young American Women Who’ve Found Success In Scotland!

Like many Outlander fans, I’m madly in love with Scotland, a place I’ve never been.  When I discovered Diana Gabaldon’s stories about Jamie and Claire and read her descriptions of the Scottish landscape, castles and the families who lived there, I fell in love and never looked back.  Diana has brought Scottish culture alive for people of many countries and in the process has greatly contributed to the Scottish economy and tourism industry. Have you ever wondered if any other American women have made a splash in Scotland Hint:  The answer is yes!

Carly Brown (Full Disclosure: I’ve known Carly since she was four weeks old. She was an alarmingly alert baby.)

Carly Brown is a young Texas woman who has lived in Scotland for six years…first as an undergrad student at The University of St. Andrews and now at The University of Glasgow where she received her Master’s and now is studying for her Doctorate of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.

While at St. Andrews, Carly not only distinguished herself as a student and actress, but she combined her brilliant writing and performance skills and was named the 2013 Scottish National Poetry Slam Champion, eventually placing 4th at the World Competition in Paris.  That’s right, the Scottish National Champion was from Texas.  Yee haw!  If you’ve never seen a Slam performance, you’re in for a treat.  Think strong opinions, combined with humor stuffed inside a performance.  A comedic Turducken if you will, delivered at high speed, with passion and purpose.  You can watch her here:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27ZOipXtlQw

Carly has published two books, one of which is a children’s picture book about her years at St. Andrews called ‘I Love St. Andrews‘.

StAndrews

Carly is obviously a brilliant young ginger woman check out her website here:  http://carlyjbrown.com/ so I was shocked to learn she was completely uneducated in the ways of Outlander.   What are they teaching up there at St. Andrews?!?  I’m relieved to say, this past holiday, I filled in the gaps of her education at her mom’s house in Texas when I introduced her to cardboard Jamie Fraser and brought her up to speed on all things Outlander. I’m sure she’s very grateful to me and I know Jamie was glad to get out of the house.

CarlyJamieMe

Mari Black

For the past few years, my family, friends and I have attended the Austin Celtic Festival.  The Celtic Festival is held each October and we love to watch the Highland Games, sample the food (Haggis!) and listen to the musicians. In 2014, my husband and I stumbled upon a fiddle player on the Main Stage and she absolutely blew us away.  We knew nothing about Mari Black until that day, but now we are HUGE fans.  Mari is able to make you laugh, cheer and cry while watching her play, something I’ve rarely seen in a performer.  I think she was amazed by the enthusiasm of the Austin audience who did not want to let her leave the stage.  We saw her again this past October and again the crowd was on their feet, cheering and not wanting to let her go.

Mari is from the Boston area, BUT she is the 2015 & 2013 U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Champion and the 2014 Glenfiddich Scottish Fiddle Champion! 

Mari

I could not find any live performances (and believe me I looked) but she has a Youtube Channel where you can watch her perform many songs, here’s one with her bandmates here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lR3R2kM_tyI and another one of my favorites is here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tmBzsRGlxs 

Girl’s got credentials too!  Mari holds a Masters’ Degree and Artist Diploma from the Yale School of Music, and a doctorate from Columbia University’s Teachers College.  I know that sounds a bit stuffy, but she’s anything but.  She plays her fiddle behind her back and behind her knees, she brings audience members on the stage, has them hold her fiddle while she works the bow.  I’ve seen her perform three times and each time, the audience started out quiet and polite and by the end of her set, they were on their feet, stomping, cheering and begging for encores!

MariStage

MariBack

You can visit her website and check out her schedule and try and catch a performance when she’s in your town:
http://www.mariblack.com/news/

You can also order her debut album, Flighthttp://www.mariblack.com/watch/  which I really wish Bear McCreary could hear because she’s really that good and Bear knows talent.

So thank you to Carly and Mari for your intelligence, talent and for making us proud of American women in Scotland!  By the way…you two really should meet someday… and I’d like to make that happen!

 

 

 

Revised! Sassyface vs Sassenach and The Hideous Reality of Droughtlander and Books That Will Help Us Survive!

REVISED, UPDATED & SANITIZED FOR  YOUR PROTECTION (Also, danger ahead, there are a couple of spoilers!)

I followed my own advice and re-read ‘Celia Garth’.  It had been 30 years since my first re-read and I’ve lived a lot during that time.  I was afraid the book might not be as good as I’d remembered, but fear not my friends,  it was actually better!

I feel the need to preface this update by reminding readers {needlessly, cuz most of you are pretty darned intelligent} that it’s not the same as reading any of the Outlander books, as it was written during a different time by a different author.  Oddly enough, though best selling novelist Gwen Bristow wrote this book in 1959, Celia Garth reads much more like a modern woman both in her strength against adversity and her relationships with the men in her life.  I’m now fascinated by this author and feel the need to learn more about her.

The later Outlander books are set in North Carolina. Celia Garth is set in neighboring South Carolina during the Revolutionary War and I wouldn’t be surprised if Francis Marion, known as the ‘Swamp Fox’ and whose shenanigans are featured in this book, pops up in Outlander, Book 9.  The now legendary, Marion, was a hero in the south during the War for Independence as he and his men perfected the art of tormenting the King’s forces with the use of citizen spies and early guerrilla warfare.  I would love to see our hunky hero Jamie Fraser become his friend or at the very least, his protege.

I whined for 20 years that I wanted Outlander to be made into a movie or TV series and now that it has, I will re-dedicate my whining skills that the same thing will happen to Celia Garth and you can join me as ‘whiners love company’!  Don’t forget, if you do read Celia Garth, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Original Post:

Droughtlander is here folks and it’s no joke.  If you want more Jamie and Claire,  the obvious answer is read the rest of Diana Gabaldon’s books. But what if you’ve read them all…..or read them all a few times? Or…read them all ten times…*slowly raises hand*   I’ve got a few book suggestions that, depending on how fast you read, should tide you over for a month or two.  Maybe by then I’ll come up with some more titles or we could suggest some for each other in the comments.  No, they’re not as good as Outlander, because nothing is. But some are set in approximately the same time period, some are time travel and some are set in Scotland.  Let’s take a look, shall we?

The Young Adult genre didn’t exist when Celia Garth was written, but it falls neatly into that category.  I found this older book in the library when I was a teenager and I’ve read it many times.   I haven’t read it in over 30 years so it’s definitely time for a re-read. I did a little research and was happy to see it has been re-released under ‘Rediscovered Classics’, and like most books, you can also buy a used copy on-line.

Here’s the Amazon description:  Bringing to life the heady days of the American Revolution through the eyes of a heroine who played a brave and dramatic part in the conflict, this novel follows Celia Garth, a Charleston native, as she transforms from a fashionable dressmaker to a patriot spy.  When the king’s army captures Charleston and sweeps through the Carolina countryside in a wave of blood, fire and debauchery, the rebel cause seems all but lost.  But when Francis Marion, a lieutenant colonel in the Continental Army known as ‘The Swamp Fox’, recruits Celia as a spy, the tides of war begin to shift. This classic historical novel captures the fervor of 18th-century Charleston, the American Revolution, and a woman who risked her life for the patriot cause.

Next are a pair of books that combine time travel, chick lit and a love story.   ‘There And Now’ and it’s sequel ‘Here And Then’  were written by Linda Lael Miller who writes in the romance genre.  They’re very quick to read and I’ve read them several times each.  Sadly, I tried to read her other books and couldn’t get into them, but these two really captured my imagination.

‘There And Now’ is my favorite of the two.  Quick Plot Summary:  After a bad break up/divorce, Elisabeth McCartney returns to her late Aunt’s century old home in a small town.  After settling in, she puts on her aunt’s favorite antique necklace, lies down for a nap in the empty house and wakes up to the sound of a little girl whining that she doesn’t want to practice the piano, she wants to go outside and play.  The voice is coming from a part of the home that burned down over 100 years ago and no longer exists. Eventually, Elisabeth is able to enter that part of the home and meets the little girl and her father, who, of course, is a hunky, widowed doctor.  I’m not going to give anything else away, but I think you’ll enjoy it.

The sequel, ‘Here And Now’ features the same home and the protagonist is Elizabeth’s cousin, Rue Claridge, who also time travels into the past looking for Elizabeth.  She meets and falls in love with the town’s hunkalicous (my word) sheriff who lived 100 years ago.  Both books are fun, light, summer reads and you’ll get your time travel fix!

Rosamunde Pilcher is a Scottish author whose books have captured my imagination for almost 30 years.  Her books usually have several female protagonists, one in her 60’s and one in her 20’s.  They’re set in Scotland and/or England in the Cotswolds and the setting is most often a large ancestral home.  My three favorites novels of hers are The Shell Seekers, September and Winter Solstice. She’s written several other novels and many short stories.  You really can’t go wrong with any of her books, they’re all so good!

The final book is one I randomly picked up when I was in Target over 15 years ago because I liked the cover and they were predicting snow the following day and I had nothing to read. I may or may not have also bought a large package of Oreos at the same time.   ‘London Holiday’ by Richard Peck is a story of three middle-aged American women, high school friends from Missouri, whose lives are all in transition.  They decide to go to London to vacation, re-connect and re-think the direction of their lives….and stuff happens!  The English lady who owns the B&B where they stay is even more fascinating than they are and I wish Mr. Peck had written an entire book just about her.  Although some of the women find love, it is not a Romance, it’s simply a novel.

Although these books are not Outlander, I really enjoyed every single one of them.  If you have book suggestions, please put them in the comments.  Together, I know we can survive Droughtlander!

Sam Heughan’s Emulsion Wardrobe Items are up for Auction on eBay!!

Calling all Sam Heughan Fans!

Emulsion writer and director, Suki Singh, is auctioning wardrobe items from Outlander star Sam Heughan’s role in the film Emulsion.

The auction is on eBay and the items include:

3-Piece Suit

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Oxford Dress Shirt

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Necktie

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Suspenders

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Vintage Driving Gloves

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Watch

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Scarf

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The link for all items is below:

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw=&_osacat=60345&_from=R40&_trksid=p2045573.m570.l1313.TR3.TRC0.A0.H0.XSam+Heughan.TRS0&_nkw=Sam+Heughan&_sacat=60345

The auction began the evening of Friday, April 24th and will end on the evening of May 4.  Suki Singh will be generously donating a portion to Sam Heughan’s charity, Lymphoma & Leukaemia Research of the UK.

Thank you all for participating; good luck and happy bidding!!

Melissa
@Gracesmom48 (Feel free to contact with questions)

The Exception To The Rule, Sam Heughan…in Black & White

I have this personal rule where I almost never create memes of actors when they’re out of character. But you know how sometimes you’ve just got to break your own rules, whether it’s making memes or being a sexy, tough guy in a photoshoot?

MemeHeuTalkin

‘Oh, hi, yes, I wasn’t talking TO you as much as talking about you…very respectfully, I hope.’

But, back to you dear Readers.  I know that I randomly see things and I like them.  Whether it’s a sunset view with my husband, spending time in my flower garden…or browsing in a book store.  It’s not always easy to hold those feelings inside and the best thing is to just express them and tell the world how you feel about the things you like.

Meme-HeuWall

‘Lovely.  It seems like a very nice wall and you look lovely leaning on it. *Clears throat*

So I did just that I made some non-Outlander memes.  And I hope readers won’t only want to read my zany Outlander re-caps or laugh at my wack-a-doo Outlander memes.  I need to talk to someone about this or at the very least, I wish someone would ask me how I feel.

Meme-HeuDoin

‘Thank you! Finally, someone cares enough to ask…..I’m very well, I’m having a nice day…had lunch with a neighbor, did a few chores around the house, etc……’

But the bottom line my friends is this.  It’s important to swing for the stars and go for what you want. Because no matter who you are, or where you start from, if you work really hard and don’t give up, there’s no telling where you can end up! Sometimes great things happen to great people. And sometime’s these people have fancy accents, lovely profiles and a strong jawline.

Meme-HeuRushmore

It’s good to aim high, but it will probably be acting awards and the Hollywood Walk of Fame which is like Mt. Rushmore for actors!  And I wish you the best as do thousands of other Outlander fans.  Now, go get some sleep, you look exhausted.  Very, very handsome, but exhausted.

More of Sam Heughan’s ‘Emulsion’ Costume Items Will Be Auctioned soon including gloves and watch!

As you all know, ‘Emulsion’ will be released on DVD this Valentine’s Day, February 14.  Soon after that, I’ll be auctioning (on behalf of Suki Singh Writer and Director of ‘Emulsion’),  more costume items which were worn by Sam Heughan in the film.  These will include the suit, shirt, suspenders (braces for our UK audience), tie, gloves and the watch.  And, YES, a portion will be going to charity!

More info will be coming soon!

Auction Info for Sam Heughan’s Emulsion Costume: Coat and Fedora (Hat)

Sam Heughan’s “Emulsion” Costume Auction Info:

Scottish actor and ‘Outlander’ star, Sam Heughan and ‘Emulsion’ Writer and Director, Suki Singh, have teamed together to donate Heughan’s costume from the film ‘Emulsion’ to be auctioned on eBay beginning November 19 with all proceeds benefiting  Heughan’s favorite charity, Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research in the UK which you can follow on Twitter @BeatBloodCancer.

Heughan sprung into our collective consciousness this year with his leading role as Jamie Fraser in the Starz series ‘Outlander’ based on Diana Gabaldon’s best selling series of books of the same name.  Heughan is not only an actor, he’s also an amateur athlete who has long participated in charity sporting events that benefit LLR.  The difference is this time his fans will be able to help support his favorite cause and own a piece of movie history too.

The coat and fedora hat from the modern day, film noir ‘Emulsion’ have been in storage since filming ended.  The Facebook group, ‘Texas Friends of Sam Heughan and Suki Singh’ will be spearheading this eBay auction in conjunction with a screening of the film on November 17th at 7:30 pm at the Alamo Drafthouse Lakeline in Austin, Texas.  The costume will be available for movie goers to see in the lobby beginning at 6:30 pm prior to the screening and again after the show.

It’s worth noting that Heughan wears the costume in many scenes of the film and as time goes on this costume will only increase in value in the world of movie memorabilia.  Smaller items will also be available for raffle that evening including a Starz’ ‘Sassenach’ t-shirt donated by blogger Melissasobservations.wordpress.com/ and iPhone covers donated from the fan group, Heughan’s Heughligans.

We’ll continue to publicize this event from now until November 19th when the auction goes live on eBay through the completion of the sale.

Coat & Hat Information

Photos:  http://www.slickpic.com/users/Melissasobservationswordpresscom/gallery/

Coat: Dimensions: 48″ from top of collar to hem, inseam to wrist 16″

Hat: Front to Back, 8″, Inside width 6″

(Please note:  The coat and hat were worn in this film so they are not in pristine condition.  In fact, the coat has small ‘moth holes’ which are visible in the photographs and the hat shows wear on the sweat band.  If you want to own a coat and hat that are in perfect condition, this auction is not for you.  If you want to own a bit of movie history, this is the auction for you.

All sales are final, no refunds or returns.