H-Town: The Debriefing

I’m glad that Houston is just like I remember: nearly unbearable. But in a way I’ve grown to love. I love the ridiculous traffic, the sweltering heat, the overzealous mosquito population, the two stars. I also love the now-completed building that was outside my window all of last year. Its roof now looks like a ship’s prow that has accidentally careened into the med center. And, yeah, I walked by the new gym and it consumed my soul with jealousy. Other than that, though, I managed to pretty well avoid getting hit by the nostalgia truck. Because my shower doesn’t scream.

Probably the most surprising part of the weekend came on Saturday when I was expecting to collect my pieroyalties, the amount of which increases in increments of one pie yearly. I was promised three, but since both Anna (director) and Jacob (producer) assumed responsibility for this, I ended up with six. Jacob gave his long suffering Jacob sigh, said they would tip me one more, and keep two for the cast party. I assumed this was just his way of covering up a failed attempt at winning my affections. Because nothing says “Let’s make out after this play” like extra pie. It’s maybe a universal signal.

Anna also felt the need to tip me, specifically for this part of the play:

BLACK HOLE: Slow down, young whippersnapper! Don’t you come any closer!

VOYAGER PROBE: But I’m Voyager Space Probe One! My mission is to send data back to Earth!

BLACK HOLE: In my day we didn’t have any of this fancy robotic space trash! Who raised you? Didn’t they tell you not to go near a black hole?

VOYAGER PROBE: My mission is to send data back to Earth!

BLACK HOLE: I’m a black hole! Don’t come any closer or you’ll be sucked in and squished to the size of spaghetti!

VOYAGER PROBE: My mission is to send data back to Earth!

BLACK HOLE: Of course, from the outside it’ll just look like you’ve frozen on the edge of me FOREVER.

VOYAGER PROBE: My mission is to send back data to Earth!

BLACK HOLE: But go ahead, what the hell, give it a try. It’s just astrophysics. I’m sure you know best.

VOYAGER PROBE: My mission is to send back data to Earth! My mission is to send back data to Eeeeeeeaaaaaaaarrrrttthhhhh! (freezes comically next to BLACK HOLE)

BLACK HOLE: Stupid disco technology

For something I wrote as an afterthought at 2am, this became wildly popular. The Thresher calls Christina Villareal who played it “the cutest satellite ever to leave planet earth” (take THAT, Mars Rovers) and she made guest appearances in all the other plays. Searching for data, you know. FOR SCIENCE.

For this, admittedly genius, bit of writing Anna decided to up my payment with one trashy novel, but I didn’t realize how trashy we were talking. It’s Anne Bishop’s The Black Jewels Trilogy and the back cover describes it as “a ruthless game of politics and intrigue, magic and betrayal, where the weapons are hate and love–and the prize could be terrible beyond imagining…” I cannot wait to read it so that you don’t have to. Although it is 1204 pages so it may be awhile.

Other notable events: Erin Waller getting “Total Eclipse of the Heart” stuck in my head for three days. I thought we were past that, but it still gave me the uncontrollable urge to find TJ and tape leaves to his fingers. Also, despite limitations from the script, the freshmen still found a way to uphold a THE 434 tradition and make fun of Dr. Dodds. Naturally that is how I meant for the play to be interpreted. I think this really gives it away:

BLACK HOLE: Oh, I know what you mean. I was a big star once too. Listen to me, kid, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Sure, you get all the hottest planetoids and all the sunspots you want. The free beer ain’t bad neither. Oh, those were the days… but I’d give it all up if I could just have the true friendship of my solar system back.

THE SUN: Um, yeah. I think I’ll take the babes and the free beer if it’s all the same to—

BLACK HOLE: Plus, after a few billion years, you explode and turn into a rotating gravitational field from which NOTHING not even LIGHT can escape, sucking up all matter around you and squeezing it into NOTHINGNESS.

THE SUN: (jumps back) AHHHHH! Nothing? Really?

BLACK HOLE: NOTHING! NOTHING AT ALL! Nothing except bitterness, which moves faster than the speed of light.

God, it’s JUST LIKE talking to him at lunch, the illusion is scary.

A few people made comments about the themes of a scientific nature, but I patiently explained that I’m an SE now (library science, guys), so it’s totally allowed.

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