Comic Con Kindness

Hayden Christensen has been doing the fan convention rounds lately, due to his upcoming appearance in the Disney+ Star Wars ‘Kenobi’ series. although he can be shy, he never fails to make the fans feel like they matter. he listens to their praise for their love of Star Wars and Anakin Skywalker with patience and humility. he praises them for the artwork they show and the character based outfits they wear. the safety protocols for the COVID virus have made the celebrities not as accessible as they have been in the past, with plexiglass dividers for the photo ops/autograph tables, along with the wearing of masks, which makes it even harder to hear in the already noisy convention venues. Hayden has been stringent with the protocols in his everyday life because he has a 6yr old daughter to look out for, but he didn’t let that hinder the kindness he showed to the fans in Florida and New York City, often coming out from behind the glass during the photo ops to give someone a hug or hand hold when he could tell they really needed it. he’s a good sport with the photo poses, which is always hilarious for me to see because it can be awkward, but he tries! how many times can you make a half heart gesture with your hand or hold a toy lightsaber before your smile starts to falter? you can tell when different poses make him laugh though because his eyes sparkle and his face shows that it’s not just the fans who are having fun with the experience.

Some of my favorite photos from the recent New York Comic Con:

nottheanakinway (Twitter) showed Hayden the sweatshirt she designed, featuring symbols representing her favorite roles that he’s played. as she tried to convey how much they, and he, mean to her, he sweetly held her hand. I love her smile, she’s so excited!

rachelleishman (Twitter) wanted ‘the high ground’, so Hayden kneeled. no doubt every fangirl will be taking this pose out of context for years to come…

speaking of, there was an actual proposal during one of the photo ops! so cute that they captured Hayden’s reaction to the momentous event.

marvelcait (Twitter) nervously apologized when she lost her balance during her pose, to which Hayden replied, “it’s okay, Beautiful”. #charmer

having Hayden ‘Force Choke’ them, or vice versa, seemed to be a popular pose with many fans.

harlin88 (Instagram) became so overwhelmed during the culminating moment, that she had a hard time pulling herself together. while the photographer graciously gave her time, Hayden struck up a conversation with her two young sons, one of whom is actually named after Hayden. she returned the next day and Hayden recognized her from the day before, saying he really wanted to give her a hug in the moment but they were being strict with the protocols that day; he remedied that the second time around. her boys are so cute in their Jedi costumes.

acslater_96 (Instagram) is a police officer who was working security for the event and was able to catch Hayden during a break in the festivities. Hayden eagerly took pics with him and some of his fellow officers, thanking them for their service.

I don’t know the story behind this one, I just think she looks adorable.

Fan conventions must be nerve wracking for the celebrity guests, especially if they themselves are anxious or shy at all, but Hayden seems to realize how important just a few seconds of his time is to his fans, especially the young adults. coaxing a smile out of a nervous teenage girl, holding a woman’s hand when she gets tongue tied, or giving a man the universal bro handshake-fist pound combination that all males seem to secretly know, these are the little things that they will remember as very big things for years to come.

Bonus: vid of Hayden congratulating The Empire State Building on it’s 90 year anniversary.

Not My Responsibility

I give myself boundaries to balance my social media time. I focus on the actors I like specifically for that reason. if it doesn’t have to do with them in some way, I keep scrolling. my interactions in fandom are self absorbed in that way, I freely admit. I’m not here to make connections that go beyond the Object Of Affection or fandom. I’m open about who I am in real life but I’m not here to talk about that, I’m here to talk about who OOA is instead. I live my own life every day. observing his life, making speculations and examining my reactions to him, is an engaging escape for me. I’ve seen and been involved in enough fan drama over the years that I try to avoid it as much as possible. I do enjoy conversing with fans, I do value the friendliness we share with each other. I see that as an organic benefit: I’m not seeking it and I’m not consciously going out of my way to orchestrate it, but when it does happen, I enjoy and appreciate it. I don’t think that’s a bad approach to have.

I’m not as active in fandom as I used to be, simply because I don’t feel the need to shout my feelings from the rooftops as strongly as I once did. I really like Hayden Christensen; I still like Dan Stevens; I’ve come back around to Richard Armitage; Fandom itself is pretty interesting too. If people are curious about my thoughts on those subjects, they’ll read my posts. if not, they’ll keep scrolling. I will not be offended if they don’t read, or like, or comment, or link to my posts, or give me shout outs in theirs. it’s nice when I get to know other fans through conversing in the comments or through e-mail, and I feel honored when they say nice things about me or consider me a friend. I don’t need those things, but I appreciate when they occur and it does bring me happiness. just because I don’t talk about those things in my posts, doesn’t mean I don’t value them. that doesn’t make me detached, it makes me protective; holding the things that are dear to me close. 

It’s not my job to rescue people from their drama.

It’s not my responsibility to behave as others might expect.

I do not need permission to end draining conversations.

Other people have every right to not like me or to disagree with me.

I am acceptable just as I am. I know I am enough.

drama llama

A few days ago I started reading Harlan Coben’s  The Stranger. a friend had given me the crime thriller in anticipation of Richard Armitage starring in the Netflix adaptation, but I never got around to reading it. I watched the Netflix television series when it was originally released but I found it too chaotic, like a slippery fish that I just couldn’t hold on to. so when I started reading the book on a whim, I was not expecting much, just hoping that maybe the story would be more enjoyable to follow in written form. surprisingly, I couldn’t put it down!

so it’s true? you cheated on fanfiction with a real book. and liked it.

I vaguely remembered the plot and the key players from the television series, so I already knew ‘who done it’ in the end but as it went along, I thought maybe I was misremembering because there were a lot of things that were different. a lot. the most glaring being the absence of the alpacas. not that I lamented this discrepancy, because it was essentially that whole tangent that turned me off the series, but did I mix up that whole teens getting high in the woods and decapitating an alpaca and then hiding it in the closet scenario? was that a Black Mirror episode?

first rule of rural life: what happens at the bonfire, stays at the bonfire

When I finished the novel (in 2 days) my immediate reaction was that it made so much more sense! I then googled the ‘series vs the book’ to see if my memory was playing tricks on me (it wasn’t). I learned that the author wanted to switch things up in the tv version so that the book readers wouldn’t have it all figured out already. maybe viewers found all the switch ups exciting, and the story did have to be drawn out due to the series format instead of a one-time telling in movie form, but I think the book version worked better. all the drama of the high school subplot and the connection through Adam’s dad concerning the real estate war and the identity of the stranger, not to mention the revelation of why Adam’s older client didn’t want to move out of his house; it was just too much. I preferred the more straight forward explanations of the book.

me, waiting for the plot to find me

I also learned that the author’s young daughter is responsible for the whole alpaca sideshow. and now that makes more sense too.

I’d like to read other Harlan Coben books but don’t know which one to try next. Richard Armitage is set to appear in an adaptation of Stay Close; should I read that one or try some others first?

but when you smile at the ground it ain’t hard to tell, you don’t know oh oh, you don’t know you’re beautiful…

Takers

[spoilers included]

Takers is a 2010 crime thriller that follows the orchestration and execution of an armored truck robbery by a group of former colleagues. the group consists of 6 friends whose working relationship disbanded when one of their members, Ghost (played by rap artist T.I.), was arrested and sent to prison. now he’s out and wants their help to pull off an elaborate heist with a big payout. the group is wary of Ghost’s intentions, fearing it’s a revenge plot at it’s core. he was sent away for five years, while the others remained free, and his ex-girlfriend is newly engaged to fellow member Jake (Michael Ealy).

Their intricately thought out plans go awry when a passerby causes the armored truck to stop short, throwing off the timing for the explosives to detonate. the members adapt quickly to slightly altered plans and are able to grab bags full of cash as they take to the city’s underground tunnels for their escape. two detectives, Hatcher (Jay Hernandez) and Welles (Matt Dillon), arrive upon the scene and after correctly deducing where the criminals are heading, catch up to member Jesse (Chris Brown). a chase ensues which showcases Jesse’s impressive athletic skills as he dodges traffic and flips over barricades. Jesse tries to hide his money in order to come back for it later but is accosted by detective Hatcher, who he fatally wounds. when Jesse meets up with the rest of the group, it’s revealed that their suspicions about Ghost weren’t misplaced; he double crossed them by making a deal with a group of Russians who are now trying to kill them in order to get their share of the money. a gun fight between the two groups takes place, resulting in the death of member A.J.(Hayden Christensen) as he sacrifices himself in order to give the others enough time and cover to eliminate the Russians and get away before the police arrive. 

I do not support this plot point. 

After Ghost fled the gun fight, he extracted his revenge on Jake by killing the ex-girlfriend and laying in wait to do the same to Jake and Jesse. the two surviving members, John (Paul Walker) and Gordon (Idris Elba), thwart Ghost’s get away at a small airfield, with the unintended help of detective Welles, who was wounded in the stand-off and is left behind as John and Gordon escape.

The movie doesn’t get weighed down with unnecessary drama, leaving plenty of room for action sequences of high adrenaline chases and gunfights. I wish the piano playing detonation expert A.J. had more screen time, but I may be biased.

Coming Full Circle

Once upon a time, I blogged solely about Richard Armitage. it was fun, freeing, and fulfilling. until it wasn’t. it just became too much- the fandom involvement, following a real human being that closely, the time and focus it took away from my everyday life. I had a lot of things to fix inside of me, and so I closed that blog. not long after, I wrote a series of posts examining some of the ‘following a real human closely’ pitfalls. it helped. somewhat.

never has a gif been more accurate

Eventually I started blogging regularly again, about Dan Stevens and Hayden Christensen, among others. I explored not only the actors themselves, but myself in relation to them- myself with fandom involvement, myself with following a human closely, myself with time management. it helped. a lot. when I looked back over the original blog, reading old posts and comments, I was able to see it afresh with new eyes. I turned a corner. whatever personal issues, resentments, and fears that kept tripping me up, were no longer a hindrance. they were still there, visible, but I could see them more clearly and step around them.

instead of jumping right in

This morning when I opened my e-mail, I was sent a link to Richard’s 50th birthday message to the fans. and when I clicked play, there he was. that guy I used to know. the dorkiness that I always adored, was there. the sincerity that I always admired, was there. the real human being, at least the version I had come to know and enjoy following, was there filling up the screen. seeing him again felt…like magic.

(I’ve replaced the video embed with a gif from Tumblr because the Youtube preview gave away a really cool part that occurs at the end of the video)

The cupcake, which had come to symbolize the unraveling when he joined Twitter, was there too. but the candle, with a brightness that once caused me to look away, has now become a manageable glow. I just needed to find the right glasses.

things are going great, and they’re only getting better

[lyrics from The Future’s So Bright by Timbuk3]