How to Make Ramona Flowers’ Large Hammer

After all the fun I had creating Ramona’s Subspace purse, Taylor and I decided to also make her large hammer (+2 against girls) as a prop for cosplaying at Dragon*Con or at Halloween or, y’know, whenever you may need a big ass hammer.

Materials:

  • Hot glue gun
  • One Large dowel (2″ by 36-48″)
  • Four small dowels (1/4″ by 36″)
  • A roll of wireform mesh
  • Two packages of plaster cloth
  • Black, metallic silver, brown, and white acrylic paint (not sure how much you need, but we got pints and that was way too much)
  • Sponge brushes
  • Sandpaper
  • Brown paper and sharpies

First we sketched out of the plans. That was actually very beneficial.

Then we cut up the dowels and hot glued them together.

When you have a three-dimensional version of the bare bones of the hammer, start covering it with the wire mesh.

Use the plaster cloth to cover the wire mesh. Keep it pretty taut. The wire mesh may create crevices in the hammer, but stretching the plaster cloth will keep it looking solid. It may start to get heavy, that’s just the water talking. We did about two-to-three layers of plaster cloth, but when all the water evaporates, it’s not that heavy.

Once the plaster cloth is dry, sand down the plaster cloth to smooth any overlaps. Then we painted the whole hammer head black. Then we dry-brushed the metallic silver on, making sure the black shows through. Then we lined the edges with a very light coating of white.

The handle of the hammer was painted brown. The particular color I used was called “bark brown,” but you can probably go lighter than that. I painted the whole thing dry-brushed, almost solid but not quite. I went over the brown with very rough sandpaper. Just like strokes here and there, stressing it to look a little more natural.

Look at these pictures. They will show you the way.

The Interest in a John Hancock

So it occurred to me when John Green’s new novel came out for pre-order today that I share a strange yet trivial fascination with autographs that most people have.

His latest book comes out in almost a year, but I pre-ordered it on Amazon. He promised via the internets to sign every single book that’s pre-ordered (yikes, Nerdfighters will give him carpal tunnel), and I was thinking to myself, “I like books. I like John Green. His book is on sale for $10. I should like it to be autographed.”

And I didn’t know why I should like it to be autographed. So I sat down and noodled it out and came to the conclusion, at least for John, that I liked having a little piece of him to keep with me. The man is just as important to me as the works he produces, so keeping some sort of token of his affection (most people say they love their fans–nobody loves their fans quite like the Greens) that can’t quite match my affection, but it can get pretty close.

I have a number of autographs. As mentioned before, I’m a patron of Dragon*Con. I go to see the famous people. Not to gawk or to take their pictures, but just to listen to them. There are two kinds of celebrities who attend conventions–ones who make connections and ones who make money. I like to think that I have only made the conscious effort to meet the ones who like to make connections. Those are the nerdy ones. The ones who would probably line up to see Carrie Fisher right with me. I like to have tokens of our mutual affection, and I suppose the easiest way is to have them sign something. It’s an easy enough memento.

Most of my autographs come with nice little stories.

Nathan Fillion was completely adorable. I couldn’t think of anything non-foot-in-mouth to say, but for a moment, I had his attention and he knew my name and he smiled at me and thanked me. And I don’t know why that’s important to the grand scheme of things, but it was important to me. How often do you actually have the courage to walk up to somebody you admire and tell them just that? How often do you get to hear them thank you? I’m too socially inept to do this to people I encounter on a regular basis anyway. So once a year I get up the balls to talk to famous people.

I did get to make a joke to Alan Tudyk. I don’t remember what it was. I remember it was really really stupid and he laughed anyway but all I wanted to do was headdesk because I was saying something stupid. I appreciated the laughter, genuine or no. It’s such a strange situation to be in, queuing up just to talk to another human being. The ones who put you at ease, who try not to work it as an assembly line, those are the ones worth looking for.

I was so flustered to meet Alan Ruck–who I discovered just as I discovered my love of theatre, and my mom had tickets to see him in the Producers and she went without me and I was so upset that she got to see him and I didn’t that I always wanted to see him–that I knocked like half the photos off the table he was at. Luckily it was just Taylor and I and we weren’t holding anybody up. But I scrambled to pick everything up and I was apologizing profusely and he was like, “Dude, it’s okay, chill,” and he bent down to help me even though the D*C person was like, “Stop touching stuff.” And then he asked me if I wanted my picture with him, and I was like, “Uh yes please” because 1) pictures in the Walk of Fame were expressly forbidden and 2) you had to pay extra to get a picture with someone and he was offering me a free one. So that was nice. He was so good-natured, it made me feel like my admiration for him was justified.

I don’t remember much of meeting Sean Maher, and I remember telling Matthew Lewis to feel better because he had mentioned in a panel earlier that day that he felt horribly sick but wouldn’t miss out on meeting his fans, and James Marsters told me about how happy he was to go to conventions because he fully believed in “letting your freak flag fly.”

My dad used to live in Greensboro, NC for a bit–I was not at all in favor of his move, but the silver lining to that was that Orson Scott Card (writer of the excellent Ender’s Game/Shadow series, and probably other stuff, but that’s all I’ve been able to get into) also lived there and he always did signings in local bookstores. So when “Empire” came out (I… haven’t read it. Still. It’s been like 5 years.) my dad got his autograph and talked to OSC about me. Which seemed crazy. They just had this whole dialogue about me. Dad mistakenly told him I wanted to be a writer for a living (egh) so OSC probably gave him sage advice to pass onto me, which I either never received or for the life of me can’t remember. OSC wrote, “Welcome to my nightmare” above his signature. Either it was a meaningful dedication to the nightmarish profession that is professional authoring, or it had significance to the plot of the book. I like to think of it as the former. It’s funnier that way.

Not too long after that, OSC came out with a mini-book, a Christmas-themed short taking place in the Enderverse. So again I dutifully sent my dad his way come book signing time, but this time with a special request–to get two copies, one for me and the other for my very favorite teacher from all of the public schools in all of the worlds, my 9th grade lit teacher. Doc had introduced me to the Ender series, taught me how to write like a college student even though I was a freshman (I write better than I do on this blog, I promise, I work in my university’s writing center and everything), and did all sorts of other inspiring work that was difficult as hell.

He was the kind of guy that was outwardly curmudgeonly (I had him the first year that House was on, and I swear to Joss Whedon, David Shore must know Doc, because they’re kind of photocopies) and walked around being cool and insulting and difficult as hell, but at the end of the day, he’d write you kick ass rec letters and the most inspiring and nearly cry-inducing, ego-boosting yearbook messages, and you hated his classes while you took them and only after you finished them did you actually appreciate how amazing and beneficial the whole thing was. We even wrote our final papers for him based off Dead Poets Society and just as the bell rang, my class got up on our wobbly round tables (very dangerous, I might had) and Oh Captain, My Captain’d him. For which he yelled at us to get down, but you could see that he was kind of affected. He was smiling.

So anyway I got him an autographed copy of this little book and gave it to him, making him the first teacher I ever gave a present to (I have since only given presents to two other professors in college who have literally changed my life, as I’ve always felt that presents were kind of crossing a weird professional line, but I don’t really care about that for these three people). And he appreciated it. And I hope he still has it. It’s been about 4 years. I don’t know. But I told my dad to tell OSC about Doc and how amazing he was, which hopefully Dad did do, so while Dad’s getting an autograph, both the signer and the signee are feeling some sort of appreciation for each other–a physical token of affection.

At Braves games, the club auctions off autographed things for charity, which we always try to get one thing about once a year. Unfortunately, as soon as we seem to win someone’s autograph, they get traded or they retire or whatever. The only hold out is Brian McCann, which we got the first year he played. We don’t dare try for a Chipper Jones. In this particular year, 2004 or so, my favorite player was Marcus Giles. So I urged Mom to bid for a signed hat. We bid quite often, but we rarely win. This particular one we did, and I was so incredibly pumped, but by the time we made it to the place where we could pick the hat up, the kiosk was shut down. Color me devastated. So Mom had to go through this whole phone tag thing with the Braves charity organization–she wanted to donate something and she might as well get a token from one of our favorites. It was this ridiculous comedy of errors trying to get the thing to us, but they didn’t end up being able to mail it, so we just decided to go to another game and schedule a time to pick it up. So Mom goes to the thing and makes the swap and she shows me the hat once before stuffing it in the plastic bag it came in and wouldn’t let me look into the plastic bag, and I thought that was particularly odd, but I forgot about it within like 20 minutes.

Fastforward six months to December. I’ve pretty much completely forgotten all about the bag thing. And I unwrap my Christmas present–a square shaped item. It’s an autographed baseball from Marcus Giles. Mom says, “This present has a story to it.” The guy who my mom was dealing with in the charity organization (this whole thing took like a month to sort out, mind) was telling this crazy comedy of errors story to Marcus himself about this mom who just wanted to get the hat to her daughter. I honestly would have told her to forget all about the hat if I had known how much trouble she had to go through. And Marcus, upon hearing this story, grabs a baseball and signs it for me, hands it to the guy and tells him he should give it to us with the hat as a token of appreciation for her diligence in trying to secure his autograph and only wanting to do so if it meant she could donate to their charity. So that day at the park, Mom had to hide the ball because she knew she wanted to present it at this time. And I unwrapped it and listened to the story and kind of cried a little because it was just a tiny act of kindness that made the world a bit of a brighter place.

So I don’t know what the deal is with autographs. There are some people who just collect them, probably intending on selling them or just wearing them as badges of experience. Been there, met them, did that. I’m just too hopelessly nostalgic and too obsessed with stories to let these photos written on with Sharpies by other human beings who may not be wholly important to people 500 years from now. They’re important to me now. They’re stories for me now. They’re little mementos from times I got to meet people who are instrumental to who I am and what I have become.

We’re a celebrity culture now, I guess, which isn’t all that bad as everybody cracks it up to be. These people are my 21st Century equivalent of getting to meet Shakespeare in his time. Would people know his works would stand the test of time? Certainly not. Did they think that would ever be a possibility? Hell no. Am I saying that Nathan Fillion is as important as William Shakespeare? Kind of. Deal with it.

List of Retail Customers

Not too long ago, I was all sappy about my job. I posted that just as I was going on vacation. In honor of my going on my first real vacation in quite a long time, I composed this list of all the people  I wouldn’t miss.

While a lot of this is specific to my shipping store, I think it’s broad enough to encompass most retail workers.

  1. People who hate me.
  2. People who think I’m evil.
  3. People who think I’m lying.
  4. People who think I can’t spell “shallow”.
  5. People who think I can’t spell “Smith”.
  6. People who think I have kids [KIDS LIKE MULTIPLE, I'M 21 FOR FORENSIC'S SAKE]
  7. People who are too old to function.
  8. People who don’t listen.
  9. People who can’t listen.
  10. People who get angry when they realize they weren’t listening.
  11. People who don’t follow simple instructions.
  12. People who think I make the prices.
  13. People who yell at me.
  14. People who tell me their life stories when I am trying to finish something.
  15. People who tell me their life stories when I have a line of six people behind them.
  16. People who are cheap.
  17. People who pay more for shipping than the item(s) they are shipping.
  18. People who think they can drive to their destination [California] for less than the price of shipping [$15].
  19. People who mumble.
  20. People who don’t speak any language known on this earth.
  21. People who make the effort to come into the store, but then don’t know what they want.
  22. People who call me.
  23. People who call me and expect to get priority over people who have come in.
  24. People who call me and don’t know the weight, destination, or measurements of something they want an estimate on.
  25. People who bring packages over 70 pounds and watch me while I try to maneuver it by myself.
  26. People who cancel their transactions after I’ve spent a good chunk of time working on them.
  27. People who can’t make copies.
  28. People who won’t learn to make copies.
  29. People who don’t care that all you need to do to learn to make copies is put them in the feeder and press the green button that says, “Start.”
  30. People who think I’m a kid who doesn’t care about my future and wants to work retail for the rest of my life.
  31. People who are surprised when I tell them that I am a full-time student at a pretty good college.
  32. People who are extra surprised to find that I can read both letters and numbers.
  33. People who want free things.
  34. People who expect free things.
  35. People who throw things when they don’t get what they want.
  36. People who throw things at me when they don’t get what they want.
  37. People who complain about paying 65 cents to mail something.
  38. People who complain about the government.
  39. People who complain about the president.
  40. People who get irritated when I don’t talk politics.
  41. People who try to sell me things.
  42. People who ask me if I’m the owner.
  43. People who think their six-figure corporate job entitles them the world.
  44. People who lie to me.
  45. People who tell other people how to lie and cheat their way into illegally shipping things.
  46. People who listen to the people that tell people to lie and cheat their way into illegally shipping things.
  47. People who get angry when I catch them attempting to lie and cheat their way into illegally shipping things.
  48. People who get angry when I refuse to be an accessory to a crime.
  49. People who tell me they’re going to Fedex because they think I’ll care.
  50. People who inform me that the Post Office is cheaper.
  51. People who expect me to counter-offer when they tell me the Post Office is cheaper.
  52. People who yell at me because the Post Office lost their package and they didn’t get a tracking number because the Post Office was cheaper.
  53. People who say, “I think it’s cheaper at the Post Office,” then leave, go to the Post Office, find out it’s cheaper, and then DRIVE BACK to my store just to walk in and tell me their package was cheaper at the Post Office.
  54. People who undercut my authority.
  55. People who think I’m a lawyer and can therefore comprehend and explain to them their legal documents.
  56. People who are creepy and tell stupid jokes.
  57. People who get angry that I don’t laugh at their stupid jokes.
  58. People who still expect that I have a sense of humor after spending years dealing with people like them.
  59. People who cut in line because they are “in a hurry.”
  60. People who want to do things that don’t matter when they are “in a hurry”.
  61. People who get outraged that their transaction will take approximately five minutes to complete.
  62. People who are on their cellphones.
  63. People who won’t get off their cellphones even when it’s their turn.
  64. People who expect me to wait on them while they’re on their cellphone, even if I have other people I can help.
  65. People who have finished their transactions but won’t leave because they haven’t finished their call.
  66. People who use my store as an office and stay for over an hour.
  67. People who wink at me in a conspiratorial manner–I don’t care who you are, that’s creepy.
  68. People who are misogynists.
  69. People who refer to me as “that little girl.”
  70. People who tell me, “You must be new”. [three year anniversary is in July]
  71. People who interrupt me with a question, even though they have just interrupted the answer to their question.
  72. People who won’t say anything to me other than, “Cheap!”
  73. People who continue to repeat the word, “Cheap!” even when I ask them questions.
  74. People who steal my good pens.
  75. People who steal my bad pens. [Why?]
  76. People who are having a bad day.
  77. People who park in the fire lane.
  78. People who are upset that they got caught parking in the fire lane.
  79. People who don’t control their kids.
  80. People who think that the giant bucket of mail I just got from the post office lady will be distributed within a minute of my getting it.
  81. People who walk into my store.

How to Make a Ramona Flowers Subspace Purse (if you know nothing about making Purses) – Part Two!

Part Two!

Ready for Part Two? Preparation is over. It’s time to get your hands dirty (that is, poked and abused by pins).

[Are you confused? Click here.]

Putting it Together

We used two layers of fabric for the middle section, so we stuck the cardboard between those two layers.

The purse, when all is said and done, is entirely too floppy to function. I lined everything with thin cardboard off boxes of envelopes from the Office Depot–they have roughly the same thickness of two pieces of poster board together. I cut out two circles of ten inches in diameter, two strips of 2″x16″, two trips of 2″x4″, and one strip of 4″x16″. I stick them in the purse between the lining and the duck cloth. I put in the circular cardboard bits after most of the things were stitched up. Since you have to sew up everything from the outside, turning it right side out is very very difficult with the bits of cardboard in them. I leave about three inches open, roll up the cardboard, shove it into the thing, unroll it and flatten it up. The cardboard around the middle can be put in ahead of time as you’re sewing it up.

We’re going to move on by doing the middle section to the front. This is a bit complicated, so get your focus pants on. I’ll wait.

Ready? Put your layers in this order:

  1. Lining for the middle
  2. The middle (duck canvas)
  3. The piping
  4. The Front (duck canvas)
  5. Lining for the front.

Before you pin, I would cut the middle portion in half, as where the top and bottom come together, we’re going to insert the tiny bits for the strap.

Now, pin all this nonsense together; everything should be this weird cylindrical shape with the pins showing on the lining side. You’ll have to trim the piping. I did not do this very neatly, but essentially, you cut the piping to almost where you need it, and then fold one part on top of the other, removing some of the cotton part in the middle, and then just go ahead and sew all those pieces together so you have a complete circle to work with.

I found it easiest to pin the lining to the front circle, so as to ensure they wouldn’t come unmatched.

This is what it should look like from the outside. But remember to always work from the inside of the purse.

For the part where the two edges meet, just make sure your circle measures to about where you want it, and then pin the edges together–all that extra space we left at the end is for this purpose.

You can begin to sew at this point. Get as close to the piping as you can–definitely check at all points that you are sewing all five layers together. The piping is teeny tiny, so it’s hard to tell whether or not you’re getting it. I’m sure this is all going to be pretty simple to run through the sewing machine. So I did it all by hand. Yep. I know. I’m a nutter. There isn’t a bit of this that I did by hand.

If you're sewing close enough to the piping, the outside of your purse should look like this.

This is definitely not a couple-hour task, sports fans, so be wary. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to give up and just try to get that purse on Etsy. But with perseverance and good company, I survived getting my fingers pricked at least four dozen times and sewed the whole damn thing together. I felt like I actually accomplished something… that is, until I realized that I had just spent about four hours hand sewing the purse and I wasn’t even half way done. Fun stuff!

An outside view of the strap holder.

When you’ve got it all sewn up together, it kind of looks like a lemon. You should have two flaps on either side where the two portions come together. Don’t have stitched this together yet. You’ll need to insert the portion for the strap in there, halfway in the fabric. I took a bit of the fabric I had set aside for the strap and used this. I folded it in half, folding in the sides as well to create smooth edges on both sides. The whole strip ended up being 1.5″x5″, which I then folded over, inserted the strap metal thing, and pinned into the fabric. Sew all of this together with a little portion of the strap fabric sticking out. I sewed all of this about three times round because I didn’t want any part of it falling apart.

This was a pain in the neck.

When it comes to putting the zipper on the top, I saw one of two ways of doing it, and I’m not sure which one is more effective. What I did was attach it after the two pieces were connected. I figured it would be easier to judge the middle of the half-circle if I already had it pieced together. Before you set about sewing the zipper in, slide in the pieces of cardboard you’ve got cut out. I measured the zipper portions to just about 2×16″, but you’ll have to eyeball it. Those cover the long way, and then I have the 2×4″ pieces to fit perpendicularly up by the strap area. These will help tremendously keeping the purse from sagging. I cut out a line down the middle of the fabric and lining, about 12 inches in length. At the edges, I cut perpendicular lines, less than half an inch across, so when I folded the two sections over, it left a small opening to attach the zipper to. Stitch that up from the bottom, so’s all the thread bottoms are in the inside of the purse. I go around the whole thing twice, just for extra reinforcement.

       

Then I attached the back of the purse to the middle. We put a zipper and pocket in the back. I attached the fabric to the zipper first before sewing the pocket together. For the pocket, we just folded the fabric lining in two and sewed the edges together. The lining will go over the pocket, which will be attached when the whole thing gets sewn to the middle bit of the purse. I used blue thread because I thought the contrast would look cool on the nugrey. I considered doing it for the whole thing, but I forgot after a while, so that’s the only bit I did blue.

When attaching the remaining outer pieces together, follow the exact procedures as the front side. I used the embroidery circle to ensure that everything was keeping a circular shape. That is the hardest thing to keep up, this whole time. Be careful how you’re putting them together, because one time I accidentally pinned the back wrong, where the zipper was upside down. Not good.

Now you can turn your purse right side out, pulling the fabric through the zipper on the middle portion. Be careful not to bend any of the cardboard you’ve put in round the middle. Then I got to work on the strap.

The strap measures about 1.5″ in width, and the length varies based on what you had left from preparation. Mine was long enough to warrant a strap adjuster, but you can cut yours short enough to keep it just one length. One of the ends you loop around the strap holder and sew it together. The other end, you’re going to either do the same, or loop one end in the strap adjuster, from the top, moving down, looping into the strap holder, then back up to the strap adjuster, where you sew it around the middle ring.

So. Now that you’ve got everything turned right side out, fold back the purse and shove down that cardboard into the front and back circular panels and close up those holes.

AND THEN YOU ARE DONE!

Do you feel validated? ‘Cause I sure did!

Here’s some general things I’ve noticed:

  • Duck cloth attracts fuzzy stuff. You might look into different types of fabric, that is just as thick.
  • If you don’t fold over the fabric to cover the edges, the edges fray.
  • Sewing things by hand sucks, but five layers of fabric is probably difficult to go through with a sewing machine.
  • Lots of layers bend pins. Make sure you have plenty.
  • Find good things to watch on Netflix while you’re working! I recommend Doctor Who, Sports Night, and Parks and Rec. Those got me through some tough times.

Check this action shot!

 

 

 

 

 

Questions, comments, clarifications, concerns, wisecracks for the Guide? Hit the comments below.

Philosophical Wax from a Shipping Employee

So I work at a shipping store. And I don’t get the world’s greatest treatment from my customers or my superior. But right now, that’s immaterial.

I like my job. Or maybe I like the idea of my job.

There are probably a number of people who consider my job non-essential. I often count myself one of them. Nobody’s ever going to force you to ship something. There are about 7 different options to deliver something from Point A to Point B. I recognize that. The non-essential nature of my job [I say this in a very grand scale way, at the very end of time, are people going to look back and say, "Thank Joss we had shipping stores?"] is quite often why people complain about our prices. I can dig it. Shipping is expensive. But I challenge you to drive to California on only $14. Please do. Robert Downey Jr. couldn’t do it with or without Zach Galifianakis.

Maybe what excites me most is the fact that I get to use my imagination.

You have no. idea. the kinds of things people ship. It’s insane.

You get the regular business people who send businessy things. You get the regular online shoppers who won’t learn that home shopping network deals are too good to be true. You get the embarrassed guys who return Victoria’s Secret items for their ladyfriends (They actually disguise their company as VSM on the label, probably for the purpose of discretion. You can’t fool me).

Then you get people who send two foot by three foot tin sculpture of a flying pig. And people who send a package of bread rolls–just like regular grocery store bread rolls. People who send awards and photographs and newspaper clippings.

Point is, there’s a story in each of these items. For these particular examples, I know them.

A couple in Wisconsin purchased the pig online through someone’s Etsy store or antiques’n’things store or whatevs. This thing, it was HUGE. And kind of creepy. It was a little bit like a ‘found things’ sculpture. It was whimsical. And it took forever to package. I don’t know what the Wisconsinites were planning to do with it, but I secretly wish they would call me and let me know.

The bread roll lady was funny. Every year her whole family gathers up north for a big family Thanksgiving, and that year, she couldn’t make it. She would always be responsible for bringing the bread to dinner (that would probably be my contribution if my family ever did this…), so she was shipping a package of rolls she got from the grocery store next door just so her family would have a little piece of her at dinner.

Now I’m just getting sappy.

The point is.

Is there a point?

I think so. I get an insight into what people are like and what other people think other people would like. And that’s nice. I suppose I could just as easily ask people to tell me about themselves. But I like to involve my imagination. Besides. Fiction is always a little more fun than reality.

During “Die Vampire Die” I was all, “There are some people in the world who say–THERE’S HUNTER BELL”

Okay. Let me just take a moment. This is my last post about [title of show]. For now. I make no promises.

Andbutso. This weekend we performed. And. Well. Now I’m feeling post-show depression. So naturally I turn to the blog.

Remember that time a few days ago when I said…

[cue flashback lights and sounds]

“Is it wrong that I’m sort of relieved we’re so far away from New York that they can’t just pop in on us to see what we’ve done to their show? [Hunter's from Atlanta at one point, as our Hunter pointed out to me, and that's scary]“

So. Um. Guess what happened?

HUNTER FUCKING BELL JUST KIND OF DROPPED BY AND SAW OUR SHOW.

He was in the neighborhood and he and his brother–the same brother from the Ace of Death and A Puzzling Obsession story–casually popped on in and… well. They seemed to really love it. Which blows my mind. I can’t stop thinking about all the mistakes I made, lines I didn’t read properly, etc. And then I was talking to OgleHunter about my worries and he just kind of put it into perspective, “Were you playing Hunter with Hunter in the audience?” No. THANK JOSS.

You know what’s great? When your heroes come to see you in a play! (Word, Susan)

So. Let’s go the story sequentially. Adrenaline-fueled and possibly not very accurate. Let’s just assume all quotations are paraphrased and Kate-ized.

Lights up, everything’s going fine. Fast forward to the end of Development Medley. I’m running my chair from far stage left to far stage right–I’m not joking, I’m running–to hit my mark for the phone call (Zehnder-Oliver Capital, this is Susan) and just as I’m there for “Aaaah Off-Broad—” I twist the hell out of my left ankle. But at least I hit my mark for the lights. And so I finish my five lines and spend the next scene–Keeping the Ball in the Air, I think?–frozen on stage in lots of pain. Then I’m a mess during Change It Don’t Change It, I missed my mark for the next phone call and had to inch my way into the light. And then during “A Way Back to Then” I’m so overcome with ‘This is the last time I’ll hear her sing this song, this is the last time we’re on stage together, my ankle hurts a lot, I don’t ever want this to end, why don’t we have more than three shows?’ that I just start crying. And OgleHeidi is crying because she’s feeling the same thing I’ll bet–minus foot hurting–so we’re struggling to keep it together during Pre-Nine People’s. And then I just kind of lost it AGAIN during my solo talking about the goddamn Rice Krispie Treats because this stupid show was all totally life changing to me and I feel like my whole life has been validated within the course of three weeks. And I’m a gross crier, so I’m trying to come up with discreet ways to wipe my nose. And I get it together for the finale and then just totally lost it again during curtain call and hobbled back to the ASM to sit in a chair and cry while my mic is being removed. And the cast and everybody’s freaking out, like–can we ice your ankle do you need help OMJ what the hell–and I’m being stubborn and stupid and I’m crying partly because it hurts but mostly because it’s so damn embarrassing. And eventually I convince them to leave me and I take a couple of minutes to compose myself and wash my face and slap myself a couple of times to just snap out of it.

And then I’m walking toward the doors to leave and our Technical Director says, “Mummblemummblehunterbellmumblemuble.” And I’m all, “Wha…?” And then I limp into the lobby with my face all red and I’m still sort of confused.

And there’s Hunter Bell. And he turns around and just sort of holds his arms out for me and I think I literally started backing away in embarrassment. He introduces himself, he’s so cool just kinda casually like, “Hey I’m Hunter Bell you guys were so awesome” and I’m all, “Grglelagbler Hi I’m Kate.” And I shook his hand and then we probably hugged. And then the night became the greatest night of my life.

And he was kind of leading me up to where everybody else was, and, like the total sweetheart he is, asks me if I’m okay, and I have to stop panicking long enough to apologize that I fell after Development. And he’s all, “Somebody get her an icepack!” And I’m all, “NowhatnoI’mfineyou’rehunterbell.” And he’s all, “I gotta tell you about the time Jeff sprained his ankle during the show on Broadway”–which he does, eventually when things have calmed down.

And everybody’s freaking out. We’ve got cameras flashing left and right. I eventually hobble/ran as fast as I could to get my camera and he was totes game to stand there and take pictures with us for like twenty minutes. And so the audience members and cast/crew alike are just going camera-crazy and we grab every single person who worked on the show–actors, ops, management, directors, choreographers, designers, everybody who was there–and take pictures with him. And then he says he wants his own picture with the four of us. And I’m just dying of pure delight. A huge part of me wants to apologize for the mistakes I made but a smarter part of me was just like–dude shut up.

And you know what’s adorable? He totally apologized to us for writing the medleys. He apologized. And we were all, “Dudeshutupyou’reawesome. We love you no matter how hard it is to stage your show. I love you forever let’s be best friends.”

We kind of kept quoting him back to him–which I wonder whether or not that’s surreal, but you better believe how applicable all the things they said freaking out about Bernadette Peters or Kitty Carlisle Hart were definitely applying to him. Our Assistant Director even asked him, “Is it true that you don’t know squiddle about dibetes?” about which he was very tickled and responded appropriately and then OgleHeidi was all, “Me too dum dum me too!” WE’RE SO SELF-REFERENTIAL IT’S AWESOME.

Eventually we just kind of kidnap him for a bit and take him back to the green room to sign every poster our director could get his hands on. He was pressing us for questions and doling out praise for all of us like it was nothing. He loved our show. He signed everything we asked him to–including our stage manager’s callbook, because he said our SM called the show beautifully and then our SM cried a little because this was the happiest day of his life too.

He told us a bunch of wacky Broadway anecdotes, including how hard it was to know where to move the chairs during blackouts (WE HAD THAT PROBLEM TOO!) and how Jeff refused to stop doing the show even though he sprained his ankle before the Medleys. He was just the most complementary and loveliest famous real person I’ve ever met. I had to admit to myself–this day was even better than the day when I met Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyk, and Matthew Lewis all on the same day.


He was pressing us for questions–he’d answer anything and everything that we wanted to know about [tos] or the [tos] gang. So we’re all, “Hey what’re you doing now?” And he explains to us that the four are work-shopping a show at the Vineyard around May/June and casually was all, “Yeah you guys should totally come see us.” And we’re all, “drool omj yes please school sponsored field trip?”

So after we commandeered him for what was probably over an hour he decided that he should probably head on home with his brother. As he was going, he said, “I’m going to report back to the others and tell them how awesome you guys are.” And all of us were like “AH HEIDI/SUSAN/JEFF ARE ACTUALLY GOING TO KNOW WE EXIST” more so than the “They put us on their website” excitement. And that was legit them doing the website stuff cause Hunter mentioned that Jeff thought the popcorn in our poster was funny or sommat like that.

I must have hugged him like seven times that night. I’m not a hugger. And I hugged the hell out of Hunter Bell and I didn’t mind in the slightest.

Anyway.

So even though Hunter’s left at this point, I’ll just keep telling the story because I cry some more and everybody likes to laugh derisively at people who cry.

We finally start the strike, which you think would take a short time what with us only having four chairs and a keyboard but that’s not true at all. Then duhduhduh-duhduhduh-duh-duh-duh-this is some time that has passed [only funny if you saw our production, I apologize]–strike’s over. We gather in the green room for pizza. People make lovely speeches about how awesome everything has been. I’m trying to not cry.

Throughout the rehearsal, we’ve tried to have an ongoing contest to see who can come up with the best drag queen names and since none of us but OgleHunter and the director were really that good at it, they decided to give us all like “Well you all failed so we’ll just give you all prizes so everybody feels special!” prizes. Word. Sample drag queen names include: Isadora Jar (which we put into the show), So Soo Me (she’s Asian–says our director), Shirley A. Man, Alotta Dix… yada. Our SM and ASM are handing out special prizes/notes that are specific to our characters. They ask us to read the card to everybody so we don’t see our prize ahead of time.

For OgleJeff, they give a powder-blue bowler hat with a large flower sprouting from the top, “His serious hat because he’s so serious.” Serious OgleJeff is so serious. I wish he’d wear that hat every day.

For OgleHeidi, she gets a pair of sparkly butterfly wings for “A Way Back to Then” because, let’s face it, she just kills that song. If she would let them, the audience would probably give her a standing O after that. She’s so kick ass.

Then they call up me, and I’m like on the verge of tears just watching how happy the other two are. And they hand me the note that says on the cover, “Because you ARE the Rice Krispie Treats” and I read it and start bawling immediately like a small child. On the inside of the card, “Now you’re shakin’ bacon!” And they gave me a box of Rice Krispie Treats and I’m just inconsolable because I’m touched and honored and happy and I don’t ever want to leave ever. And then SM’s like, “…you do like Rice Krispie Treats, right?” to which I respond, “I fucking love Rice Krispie Treats”.

And to OgleHunter they gave a mix CD of what I assume to be Broadway tunes, which they titled “A Little Night Mucus” (one of the potential titles for the show that he improv’d, though my favorite was, “What about ‘Spider-man: Turn Off the–AHHHHHHH IT HURTS’!”) to help inspire him whenever he needed monkeys driving on speedboats.

But anyway, so that’s the end of that. And I don’t want to wax poetical about how influential this show has been to me and how it’ll go down as probably my best college memory and I’ll talk about it for years to come. Yada.

But enough about [tos]…. Who’s up for more [title of show] talk?!

My brother’s fiancee’s nine-or-ten-year-old son (six degrees much) came to see the show on Friday and all I think he really got out of it was a lot of swearing and some mime violence during “Die Vampire Die”. He kept fake staking me with a toothpick all day Saturday. I said, “No, no, kid. I’m the vampire slayer; you’re not supposed to stake me.”

Also I keep making [tos] jokes to people who’ve only seen it once and then they don’t laugh because who the hell else remembers tiny details but I’m too busy laughing at how clever I am to care. Blergle.

This is the last line of my poorly constructed stream of consciousness definitely forgetting some awesome details blog post.

Ogle[tos]

I am still in the peak of my [title of show] related obsession. It’s all I think about. It would be all I talk about, but people get irritated about that. I’m just freaking out gearing up to the best weekend of my life (since Dragon*Con 2010).

And now this week, a bomb of happiness has been dropped on my life. And literally the first thought that popped into my head–Air Freshner Vampires be damned–was–

“HOLY FUCKING SHIT!”

And exactly what could elicit such an expletive-infused reaction?

The very acknowledge of our little show’s existence by the original [tos]sers themselves. Don’t believe me?

We go up this weekend, and I am going nuts with the anticipation for what appears to be almost everybody I know and love in the general area (and not in the general area, being that my brother is taking the eight hour drive up here, and I love him even more) is all sorts of excited to find out exactly where the hell I’ve been for the last month.

Is it wrong that I’m sort of relieved we’re so far away from New York that they can’t just pop in on us to see what we’ve done to their show? [Hunter's from Atlanta at one point, as our Hunter pointed out to me, and that's scary]

Don’t mistake that for doubting our awesome. Trust me. We’re awesome. The show is awesome. Our crew is awesome. Our performances are going to be awesome. The show easily lends itself such workable and likeable people, we can just slip into them so freaking easy, taking all of our quirks and blending them in with the [tos] quirks. This show is the closest I’ve ever come to believing in blessings. I struggle to think of a time when I’ve been so consistently happy in the last decade.

Also? Can I just say that this show seems to be inadvertently made for the purpose of adding Star Wars jokes? I’m not even joking a little. We’ve spent the last week or so making nonstop Star Wars/[tos] hybrid jokes (not to mention having a continual musical review with our amazing AMAZING Larry the pianist–if he wrote a blog telling all of the crazy stories from his life, it may be the most read blog in the world, totes to the post-it notes).

I dream a dream of a one-time performance of our Star Wars-themed improv [title of show] show. It would be the most amazingly nerdy thing to ever happen at this school ever. And we’re a really flipping nerdy school, like no joke you guys srsly.

Care for some highlights? [that won’t make sense unless you’re a [tos]ser already].

“This isn’t the musical you’re looking for. Move along.” [a potential title of show]

“I’m going to go on YouTube and announce that I want a golden taun-taun!”

“Heidi and I did that training montage in Dagobah together.”
“SHUT IT. Y’all were in Dagobah together. Tell me a wacky, Dagobian anecdote.”
“Uh, hm. I don’t know…”
“Did you go through a Dark Side infused tree stump and slay your inner-demons?”
“No… but that would have been wacky!”
“That would have been emotionally scarring, Heidi. Scarring.”

“Oh My God, this is it. Here we go into the Sarlac pit.”

“What if my fear turned to anger? / What if my fear lead me to the dark side? / Obi-wan! Would that change the way you saw your Padawan, / now he’s a Sith and he needs you!”

“I’m just a diplomatic emissary! I don’t know squiddle about Dantooine!”

YES THAT JUST HAPPENED.