Monday, July 15, 2013

Tea, Pegg, and Shenanigans

Okay, so a quick update since my last post - things have been happening pretty fast (again), and I just got back from Paris, France last night at around 11:30, so this blog post has been pending for a while. Expect another one tomorrow / soon (I can no longer make promises in regards to the timeliness of this blog) about my French adventures!

Also, Spotify - per usual.

At any rate, here's a blog post about my last week here in The Big Smoke - hope you enjoy it (it's rather hilarious, random and incredible - but then again, when isn't it?).

Deej and Camden Town!

So, I have this buddy from Colorado, and his name is Doug Fries (but I call him DJ). I haven't seen him in literally years, but we did a ton of theatre together at CenterStage Theatre Company (based in Louisville Colorado). Actually, we were only in one show together, but that doesn't matter so much as the fact that we used to hang out a lot in middle school and high school during our old, childhood theatre days. And the fact also remains that, while I'm here in London working full time, DJ is now studying Shakespeare at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art through a summer program (also, LAMDA is one of my dream acting academies... so... just saying). And the fact also remains that DJ is a fucking awesome human being and we decided to meet up, get a drink or two and catch up.

I'm actually in love with this. Whoever decided to paint this
should be knighted.
And, as you've probably already learned (if you've payed close enough attention to my blog thus far), one drink always leads to two, an two always leads to three... and three will eventually lead to five or six. So, five or six drinks later at The World's End in Camden Town (one of my favourite pubs in this city), DJ and I are still at it, having a complete and utter blast. I seriously missed this human so much - it felt like we didn't even not see each other for all of these years, if that makes any sense whatsoever. He's just fantabulous. We met some awesome French people at the pub, too, which was so hilarious and fun. And seriously, I could talk with this dude for hours about the most random and incredible things - we talked politics, film, theatre... seriously, everything. And the only reason that we parted ways at the end of the day was because we had to catch the Tube back to our respective flats (he's also at a NIDO near Green Park - #nidorocks). I could have talked with him for hours!

Long story short, meeting up with DJ was kick ass, and I hope to do so again before we part and go our separate ways back to the ol' U.S. of A. Not only did I get to hang out with one of the coolest humans ever, but I also got to finally explore Camden Town - a part of London that is the definition of unique (think Boulder Colorado, but... London. A few dozen "blocks" surrounded by reality), and also the home of the punk rock movement (we're talking The Clash and The Sex Pistols here). It was truly an awesome night to remember!

Check out these fun pictures from Camden Town! What a rad place.

There's this Thing Called Hot Tea...

So, in case you've been paying attention... there's this thing called hot tea. It's English Breakfast Tea, in case you were wondering. And it's rather delicious. Katie likes to drink at least three cups a day while at work, because it's incredibly filling and very delicious. Sometimes, she'll drink up to at least four or five, which is probably bordering on unhealthy, but at this point Katie is thinking about just giving up on being healthy in this city where it is impossible to avoid the "Heathrow Injection."

At any rate... Katie likes tea. She likes tea a lot.

Katie is not the only person that likes tea - oh, no, not here in Britain. Oftentimes, being the intern, Katie is sent to get not one or two or three cups of hot tea for the office, but upwards of six or seven, depending on how shit the weather is / how stressed out everyone is (if they're really stressed, they'll opt for the abomination they call "coffee"). So, Katie - along with fellow interns Kelvin and Kirk (Mikael left - sad day) - make lots of tea. But sometimes, Katie has to do it by herself, 'cause Kirk actually does cool things with the Art Department and Kelvin is off doing an errand for Matt. Katie's become a pro at making a lot of tea incredibly quickly.

But there was this one, fateful Tuesday... a day in which Katie was making tea, and someone else was in the small Irresistible kitchen making themselves a late lunch. Katie poured boiling hot water (straight from the kettle) into a cup, sidestepped this lovely post-production fellow, and... accidentally knocked the tea cup over. And boiling hot - boiling hot - water... sprayed all over Katie's stomach. And Katie, having weird reactions to pain (agonizing pain), leapt back, looked down, clenched her jaw, held completely still, before looking up at everyone in the room (who looked like they'd just seen someone get murdered right before their very eyes), and said, "... well, shit."

Okay, okay, getting away from speaking in the first person.

Long story short, everyone in the post-production room (same room as the kitchen) leapt up and immediately starting a) mopping up the tea, b) asking me if I was alright, and c) getting cold water on a rag and telling me to put it on my stomach. Of course, they're all guys, so they didn't want to actually lift up my shirt and do it (it was an awkward exchange), but I didn't really think that it was that bad, you know? I'd accidentally poured tea on myself a few weeks back (in front of the Cadbury executives, ironically), and it had only been red for a day before fading away. I thought that this time would be no different. But ten minutes later... that's when the real pain began. I kept reapplying the cold compress to my stomach thinking that would fix everything -

- but then I took it away... and a blister had formed.

Well, that wasn't good, I didn't think. So, I told Yan (the post-production fellow) and he ran over to Tesco's to get some burn ointment and some frozen peas. And then, I put the ointment on and the frozen peas. And it still hurt. In fact, it got worse. And I took the frozen peas away from my skin?

Well, I thought. Those blisters weren't there before.

By this time I'm panicking, which I wouldn't normally do, because we were told what to do in this kind of situation, and I felt confident that I could handle it if necessary. But the pain was literally agonizing. I was in so much pain that I was pale, my hands were shaking and I was getting nauseous. I started frantically messaging everyone that was on line - my friends, my Mom, a DreamCareers staffer Nemo, and they all said to tell my boss. And I hate when people have to take care of me when I'm sick or hurt - I hate showing weakness - so I didn't... actually tell anyone that it was getting that bad? Only three people (the editors) knew what had happened, so most of the people that I actually directly work with (production people, upstairs) had no idea what was going on. So, I just sat there, hiding frozen peas against my stomach and pretending like nothing was wrong. And then I felt so sick from pain... that I kind of... got literally sick... And then I decided, "You know what? Fuck it, I have fifteen minutes left at work, I'm leaving early."

I said a casual, "Bye, guys, see you on Thursday!" And left.

This was my hospital table at the University College Hospital
at Euston Square. I felt like I was about to undergo surgery.
These Brits take health seriously. 
I stumbled - literally stumbled - all the way to Bishopsgate Street, where I hailed a cab as quickly as possible and told them to take me back to Nido, where Nemo (bless her soul, she's my hero) was waiting for me to to take me to the A&E and possibly Urgent Care. So, we take the bus up to Euston Square, and... well, a blister pops. Pain unlike anything I've ever felt before (except for that one time I had to crawl off of the field during a lacrosse game and couldn't walk for two days afterwards). I just turned pale and held this not-so-cold-anymore bag of peas to my stomach and clenched my jaw and didn't say anything. Just stood there and stared at this point outside of the window, like, "I'm going to kill something, fuck, I'm going to fucking kill someone."

So, we get to the A&E. Pain's not subsiding. I'm pretty sure that I'm going to die or something. There's a long wait, which is stupid, because I'm pretty sure that myself and this lady sitting next to me with a gash in her hand (and this other lady in the room who probably has kidney stones) required immediate medical attention, as opposed to this French twat who was literally eating McDonald's and joking with her friends while she waited to check up on some dumb cough that could be fixed by going to a Tesco's and getting cold medicine. At any rate, I finally go in, the nurse takes one look at my stomach and goes, "Yeah, go to Urgent Care. In the meantime, take this random pain medicine."

I take the random pain medicine... and everything is lovely. :)

SUMMARY: I spilled hot water on myself trying to make tea for my boss (who doesn't know yet), went to Urgent Care and got the following prognosis - First Degree burns for most of my stomach, but significant Second Degree burns surrounding my naval. Susceptible to infection, thanks to that damn popped blister. The guy wrapped it up in gauze, gave me some pain medicine, and sent me on my way. Free of charge. WINNING.

I've been trying to take good care of my burn since the incident happened, but even then I felt like something was amiss, as... well, the burn kind of grew in size, and the blisters became ginormous and merged to form the blister of doom. And it still hurts. Like a MOFO. And the stuff that they gave me for pain makes me drowsy and weird, and I can't... well, I can't "go out" if I'm on them, you know? And I hate pain meds that make me feel like I'm not in control, so... I'm just in pain a lot. :/ It's not a fun experience.

I went to St. Bart's Hospital (AWESOME) the other day to a check up, but they were closed... sad day. So, I went back to University College Hospital, got brought through the system rather quickly, and was subjected to the whims and experiments of a student-nurse and his intense teacher (who specializes in burns, so no worries). It was pretty intense, but the dressing that they gave me is absolutely fantastic, and I'm sure that the burn will heal soon! :)

So... yeah! Not only will you get a Katie with a new vocabulary / work mentality when you come back - but you'll get a Katie with battle scars! HUZZAH!

Katie: 0; Tea: 1.

But have no fear... that night, I got back and made myself some tea straight away, determined to not let this irrational fear control my life. Stupid tea.

Katie: 1; Tea: 1.

The World's End

So, getting a serious burn on my stomach wasn't exactly what the doctor ordered - or, rather, what Katie had expected to top off her ending half of her journey here in the Big Smoke. But it wasn't all that bad, really. Why? It almost seems like fate, but I did not have work this past Wednesday, which gave me some time to relax in the morning, redress the wound, and take care of myself - instead of the usual morning commute (which comprises of a lot of grumbling, tea-making, trying to stay quiet so that Julie can sleep and hitting the "Snooze" button so that the "Star Wars" theme song will stop blaring in my ears). I didn't randomly get Wednesday off, though...

... I had a plan.

Okay, quick interjection. Anyone who knows me knows that I truly admire actors and actresses and the incredible work that they do. As an "aspiring actress" (if you can call me that), I have a lot of different inspirations from different actors and actresses around the world - and, for some strange reason, many of my acting inspirations come from this little, stormy British island.

Enter Martin Freeman.

I was vaguely familiar with some of Martin Freeman's work before I saw him portray Dr. John Watson in Sherlock - I'd seen a few seasons of the UK's The Office, had even dabbled in some of his earlier work such as Bruiser, and I recognized him in Love Actually. I thought that he was a fantastic, comedic actor who seemed very much at home in his comedic medium. And then... he was John Watson, probably one of the most layered and complex characters ever created / portrayed. Ever. And it's a very serious role. Martin Freeman was simply incredible! And next think you know, he's Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit trilogy! And I really began to look at his work a bit more closely. I really feel like I can... connect with his acting? Like... how do I explain this...? ... I feel like I can see the process. But most importantly, watching him act - and seeing just how much fun he was having doing what he was doing - really got me through this "actors slump" that I encountered after the emotionally grueling CU production of Far Away. It really got me pumped about acting again.

I think, though, at his very core, Martin Freeman's aesthetic is comedy, which is awesome, seeing as he's been in every single one of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost's films so far in the Blood and Cornetto Trilogy. Including The World's End. Which... you know, hits theaters next week.

And Martin Freeman is kind of in it.

And the world premiere was... you know, kind of in London. On Wednesday.

Okay, I confess - I got off of work to meet Martin Freeman. So sue me. I was determined.

If you haven't seen the trailer for The World's End... you should. And also, be ashamed of yourself. Also. This pub crawl things - Imma do it.

I'm kind of excited to be here.
I got there with my 2nd-degree burned stomach and all and sat out in the hot sun for a good three hours. I met some awesome peeps, too, like Kirsti, Alli, and Fey, and we all geeked out hardcore over films and fandoms and awesome things in general. I got interviewed for a London radio station (985. The Capital), which was pretty awesome! There was actually a little thing before the premiere in which this "warm up host" was handing out free tickets to see The World's End that night! All that we had to do was think up an awesome rap that was about The World's End and that also had Simon Pegg's name in it. So, I immediately started thinking of crazy ideas... this is what I came up with (don't judge, it took literally three minutes).

"I'm out here in London, trying to meet Simon Pegg,
he isn't any pirate, he ain't got no peg leg.
I'm dancing out here, getting down, getting groovy -
C'mon, man, c'mon, I wanna see this damn movie!"
"It's about these five friends, going out, it's all good,
But then things get crazy all up in the neighboorhood!
These robots attack, everything gets freakin' crazy -
But they've drank so many pints that err-tang gets kinda hazy..."

And you know what? THE DUDE DIDNT EVEN PICK ME. He gave the tickets to these two girls who just said, "Simon Pegg" over and over again and acted all cute and clueless. I was FURIOUS.

Well... at least I got a cool rap out of it.

And then the time arrived - the talent arrived!

First, came the producer - Nira Park, one of the best producers of comedy in the business. Next came the director, Edgar Wright! Then came Eddie Marsan, Paddy Considine, Rosamund Pike... And then came the two big faces and names of the entire event - Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, who are both incredibly kind and goofy people who give me faith in humanity again.

And Martin Freeman? Yeah... Martin Freeman.. was literally... the only actor...

... who wasn't there.

I was actually really upset about the entire deal, because I had planned out an entire little speech, like, "Mr. Freeman. I just want to say that I really admire your work, and I'm really inspired by it, and I can't wait to see the next series of Sherlock. It's going to be fantastic." Like... everything. Planned out.

Dammit, Martin.

But, really, it was all for a good reason. I follow Peter Jackson on Facebook (as should you all), and as of... 8 hours ago (as I'm writing this), Martin Freeman finished up his last shot as Bilbo Baggins for The Hobbit trilogy (I actually got really upset by this). He was still in New Zealand! I can't say that I'm jealous... but I totally am. What an incredible actor with such an awesome career. I can't imagine having to miss the world premiere for a hit film for finishing up another film in another part of the world! If only I was that much in demand, haha! (And If only I had a career at this point, haha... ha...). At any rate, we all kind of guessed that was the reason why he couldn't be there, and all of us Martin fans at the premiere wish him well with the rest of his crazy filming season (back here to London to film Sherlock next week - again, crazy busy guy!)

You're some good craic, Martin, keep it up! <3 Such an inspiration!

The incredible, the hilarious and the friendly
Mr. Simon Pegg! <3
And there was another cherry on top with this entire debacle of "trying to meet the actor that wasn't in the same country as you thought he was." You wanna know why? Okay, so Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are wonderful people who love their fans, and they want to be able to sign as many posters and scraps of paper as they can. So, even if they can't stop immediately and take pictures with people or have conversations, they try to do their "rounds," so to speak to sign a lot of stuff. So, Simon Pegg was in this epic rush to sign everything, and he was headed my way... and I realized, "Oh, shit, Katie, you don't have anything for him to sign." For a second, I considered my forehead, but that wasn't permanent, you know? That would be awesome, but totally not... you know... Anyway, I rummaged through my things, and I found something kind of awesome - a plane ticket, with my name on it - from Denver to London.

And I just kind of... held it out for him. And he saw it, stopped... kind of made this weird look and then said, "Is this a boarding pass?"
And I said, "Yup."
"Why a boarding pass?"
"Why not?"
He kind of gave me this weird stare, and then started to sign the ticket. He kind of laughed a little in a joking kind of way and mumbled, "This is the most absurd thing I've ever done."
And, without thinking, I said, "Well, you made Hot Fuzz."

And then the most incredible thing happened - Simon Pegg laughed. He laughed. One of the best British comedic actors in the world laughed at some stupid quip that I'd made up! It was simply awesome. I felt like hot shit (see what I did there?).

Signed boarding pass. Win.
Nick Frost tried to make his way over to us, but the movie was about to begin, so they had to usher him away - but not before he turned around, blew a big kiss and shouted, "I LOVE YOU ALL!" We love you too, Nick.

Even though I didn't get to meet one of my top acting role models, I met some of the best comedians in the entire world - including the guy who played Scottie in Star Trek, who happens to be probably one of the best British comic actors to have ever walked the face of the planet - got to meet one of the top comedy producers in the world, waved at Edgar Wright (he waved back), and met a ton of awesome people. And I attended my first world premiere of a film, even if I didn't get to see it (that warm up host better feel damn guilty - I hope he finds this blog and reads this damn rap). It was surely a day to remember.

Oh. And I have a plane ticket signed by Simon Pegg. Yeah, that too. :)

And I... kind of stole a poster from the world premiere and ran away with it. And Rosamund Pike signed it. So, there's that.

At any rate, I met some awesome Americans at the premiere who are studying here (we're everywhere), and we're all going to go and see the Cornetto Trilogy marathon at Leicester Square next Thursday! :) I can't wait - Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World's End all in a row?! That's my idea of a good night out! :)

Pictures from the world premiere of "The World's End" - I LOVE MOVIES!

Scavenger Hunt from Hell

Okay, so... the same night as The World's End premiere, DreamCareers was putting on an epic scavenger hunt around the city of London - which sounds awesome, but I was exhausted and my stomach was beginning to hurt. And I was also carting around a giant stolen poster from the world premiere. So, I really didn't expect to be able to go to the scavenger hunt...

...boy, was I wrong.

I was literally one street away from my flat when my friends - Alison, Julie, Nicole, Lizzie and Morgan - intercepted me and dragged me along with them on this epic adventure. I didn't even have time to put my poster away! We had three pages of tasks to accomplish by 10:00pm, and it was 7:30 when we began. First place price? A bottle of champagne. So, off we went!

I don't remember too many of the details of the evening (it was the definition of insanity), but I can give you some bullet points of some epic / random / terrifying things that happened in our insane two and a half hour spree across the city:
  • I chugged a pint and a half of lager in less than five minutes.
  • We got some old British lady to flip us the bird.
  • I ate it running up a downward flight of escalator stairs in the King's Cross St. Pancras Tube station, and almost got arrested by the "safety officer."
  • Lizzie planked on the Trafalgar Square lions, while I flailed.
  • I literally posed in front of every landmark that I could while holding the The World's End poster (until I handed it off to a Dreamers staff member, Ryan, at Trafalgar Square - bless you, Ryan).
  • We stumbled upon the set of Elementary (the American TV-show about Sherlock Holmes, which is nowhere near as good as the BBC version).
  • Julie planked on the sidewalk, because she didn't know what else to plank on (it counted).
  • Nicole got fake arrested in front of the Empire Theater at Leicester Square by one of Simon Pegg's police officer dudes (I told him to give Simon my regards).
  • Alison and Julie hugged ten random people in the middle of Piccadilly Circus, and I got a picture of every single one of them.
  • We got some cab driver to let Morgan pose on the front seat of his car.
  • Alison chugged hot sauce from some random Indian restaurant near King's Cross.
  • Two of us got to wear hard hats from random construction workers at King's Cross (but another group actually stole the hard hats. Rebels.).
  • Someone in our group definitely stole a pint glass from the Sherlock Holmes pub near Trafalgar Square (we're now infamous and probably will be arrested if we ever go back there).
  • We ran into at least five tourist shops trying to find a tiara, so we finally just settled with the Jester's hat - and pissed off every shop owner in the process.
It was seriously so much fun doing the scavenger hunt, and I really thought that we'd win first place! ...well, we won third place instead, which is still cool. Instead of booze, we got chocolate. :) It was a... really long day, and I just hit the hay at the end of it! It was rather fun!

I know that I'm probably going to get in trouble for posting these (forgive me, guys), but I had to immortalise all of these random and frankly terrifyingly awesome moments somehow. So... yeah. Just think of it this way - in four years, we'll look back on this and go, "Wow. Yeah... I did that. That was awesome. YOLO - You Only London Once."

City Life + Feet = Ow.

This is just a quick little anecdote. So. Just to jump right into it... my feet hurt. THEY HURT. Jesus, Mary and Joseph on high, who knew that being a girl in a big city could do this to you... as of yesterday, I cannot walk normally on my feet anymore.

I have this thing? Where my body makes more skin that it should? So, I get calluses incredibly easily, just because... well, they magically appear. You must be thinking, "Oh, Katie, that's so great for you! Calluses make the pain go away! They protect your sensitive toesies!" Wrong. You are SO WRONG on SO MANY LEVELS. My calluses are now so severe that it physically hurts to stand on my right heel - my calluses are literally driving themselves into my flesh. Into my FLESH. Not only that, but thanks to wearing boots and sneakers and other such things every day - while walking literally everywhere - I have sores on most of my toes. Sores bleed, guys. It hurts to wear normal shoes. I have to wear my sandals or flip flops every day now (which isn't so bad, seeing as London has randomly turned itself into the hottest god damn place on earth for the time being and my back is currently drenched in sweat, as neither Irresistible or Nido seem to have air conditioning of any kind but STILL).

Let's also take into consideration the fact that, during our epic scavenger hunt from hell (and back), I had to run up a flight of downward-going escalators. And, caught on video (for your amusement), I definitely ate it and ripped my toe open. So, there's that.

Also - did nothing but walk in Paris for two days straight (I was poor and it should be illegal to make food in Paris that expensive).

Oh, and I also broke two toes the other day. Yeah, they're definitely broken. Purple, practically immobile and all. And I didn't even break them doing anything exciting, I just hit them off of Julie's bed by complete accident sometime during a groggy, slow morning. And how do you fix broken toes? YOU DON'T. YOU JUST HAVE TO DEAL WITH THEM.

Ah, well. Such is the life of an intern. You've just gotta suck it up and push through! That's more fun, anyway - who wants to stay at home when there's something fun going on?! :D

At any rate, that was my crazy awesome week, full of pain and pleasure. Again, I'll try and get a post up about my time in the City of Love sometime soon... it'll be grand. :)

Again, thanks for reading you crazy Yanks (and Brits). Love you all!

So, until the next adventure...


P.S. This is officially my new theme song in life. Please enjoy. And jam away to your heart's content. And appreciate the awesomeness that is Scottish alternative pop-funk-rock-whateverthisis.

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