Tag Archives: Muppets

Julia Wants to Hug David Rudman

1 Sep

Everyone knows by now I have an incredible love of all things Muppets. Hell, even if this is your first time at my blog you could probably piece that together simply based on my wordpress’s name. The Girl Who Loves Muppets. It’s a title I’ve carried with pride for the last twenty months of my life. What a glorious twenty months they’ve been.

As of the last five months, however, I’ve been kind of overly invested in this ideal of hugging a certain individual involved with the industry. I wouldn’t go so far to say I’m obsessed with this aspiration, but I certainly haven’t shut up about it.

The individual, you ask?

No, not the blue furry guy who loves to shove cookies in his mouth during all hours of the day. The man operating Cookie Monster. David Rudman.

Looking back through my all my tweets, it looks like this was something I decided to start up on the 9th of April. I began to try to get this hashtag to trend: #JuliaWantsToHugDavidRudman. Of course, it hasn’t, and I believe I’ve only ever successfully gotten three other people to tweet it. Otherwise it’s been all me.

Here are some examples of how I’ve used said hashtag in the past:

Hey David Rudman, there’s a hug in your future with my name on it. #JuliaWantsToHugDavidRudman

What’s good bribery to get a hug? Cookies? Nah, that seems a little too obvious. #JuliaWantsToHugDavidRudman

This point would probably be easier to get across if David Rudman actually had a twitter… #JuliaWantsToHugDavidRudman

Knock knock. Who’s there? Julia! Julia who? #JuliaWantsToHugDavidRudman

Exposition, joke, joke, funny, joke, blah blah blah, you get the gist. #JuliaWantsToHugDavidRudman

This has, truthfully, been one of the strangest ways I’ve chosen to express my Muppet love. To choose one particular Muppeteer and focus all my appreciation on him? Not that I don’t constantly rant about my appreciation for all other first and second generation Muppeteers. Of course I do. I wrote that entry last month about how I would’ve died of glee to meet Eric at Comic-Con, I’ve written countless pieces on Jerry this last week, I wrote an article over on Tough Pigs about Steve’s hair, etc. etc. etc. David Rudman’s not even my number one Muppeteer. That high honor goes to the one, the only, Dave Goelz… but it seems lately I’ve been putting a special focus on Rudman. It’s been several months now and I can’t help asking myself… why did I choose Rudman for my hugging goal?

No. Seriously. I honestly can’t remember why.

For starters, I know nothing about David Rudman. Besides the obvious (he works for Sesame/Muppets and operates Cookie, Baby Bear, Janice, Scooter, etc.), I really don’t know much about him. I’ve never seen/heard him give an interview, and I’ve never read one either. The only pictures I’ve seen of him are behind the scenes at work or at special events (and there are far too few of him even in those aspects), and the only video footage I know of is him performing his characters. I know absolutely nothing about this man’s life.


I remember back in March (and, for all I know, this may be what started this hugging aspiration) I had just been given a copy of The Muppets and I was watching it for the first time on DVD. It was one in the morning, and I really should have been sleeping because my family was catching a 7am flight to Italy for spring break that same day. But I was content eating ice cream, waiting for my dad to come back from fetching my brother from Eugene, and watching Muppet goodness. There was one point during the film, and it could’ve been with Scooter or maybe with Janice, though I have a sneaking suspicion it happened during a Miss Poogy scene, where I screamed into the abyss of my empty Portland household, “David Rudman is a god!” I don’t know why I yelled this. I was just suddenly overcome with such an appreciation for this man and all that he’s accomplished so far in his career.

There’s a reason I hold David, Steve, Eric, Matt, and Bill up on a pedestal. They’ve taken Muppets originated by other people and made sure they lived on. I suppose there are others that could’ve taken up the characters left behind from Jim, Jerry, Frank, and Richard, but let’s face facts, the second generation Muppeteers are killing it in the best possible way. Does David’s Janice sound exactly like Richard’s? No, neither does his Scooter (though, I will say, this Cookie Monster is impeccable). But the characters have remained true and have not changed a lick.

So I guess what I’m saying is that I really don’t know why I have this goal of hugging David Rudman someday. And that’s okay. He’s an incredible performer and, from what I’ve heard from other Muppet fans, he’s a really stand up guy. He deserves all the hugs in the world.

I just hope he doesn’t have a heart attack when the day comes where I finally get to hug the hell out of him.

(Oh shit. OH SHIT. I just found my first ever David Rudman interview. I now know what his real voice sounds like. And now I actually know about him as a person… so… that kind of cancels out a lot of what I just wrote… but oh well, screw it. I’m so happy right now!)

a (muppet) thought.

27 Aug

I think if more people watched Muppet bloopers they’d understand why I’m so in love with not just the Muppets, but the Muppeteers as well.

Wonders Follow Me: A Personal Reflection on Jerry Nelson

24 Aug

Yesterday a star went out, as news quickly spread that long time Muppet and Sesame collaborator, Jerry Nelson, had passed away.

Many of you probably assume you don’t know who he was, and you’d be incredibly wrong in thinking so. If you grew up with Sesame Street, then you’d know Jerry best as The Count, Herry Monster, Sherlock Hemlock, and Mr. Johnson (ie. Fat Blue). If you grew up with Fraggle Rock, then you’ll know him as Pa Gorg, Gobo Fraggle, and Margery the Trash Heap. And with the Muppets he will always be known for Lew Zealand, Robin the Frog, Floyd Pepper, Crazy Harry, and hundreds of others. Just looking at all his puppeteer credits on the Muppet Wiki should clue you in to how much Jerry’s been apart of not just your childhood, but your life as well.

Jerry was seventy-eight, and his health had been deteriorating over the years, so his sudden death wasn’t too considerably shocking… but then again, losing such an influential figure is always jarring. I knew straight away I’d want to write a personal reflection on the part Jerry’s played in my own life, but finding the words have been so difficult for me. I can’t help but think on these lyrics from The Muppets Take Manhattan:

“Saying goodbye, why is it sad?
Makes us remember the good times we’ve had.
Much more to say, foolish to try.
It’s time for saying goodbye.”

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I haven’t been in the Muppet fandom for very long. Not compared to the multitude of friends I’ve made, who’ve been obsessing over Muppets, Sesame, and Fraggle Rock for years on end. I’ve always loved Sesame and the Muppets, but I’ve only been around the fandom for a little over a year and a half now. Even so, that’s still enough to make me want to run outside and sprint through the streets screaming, “Don’t you realize what’s happened? Doesn’t it eat away at your heart? Doesn’t anyone care?”

I’ve been playing the song ‘When the River Meets the Sea‘ on constant repeat since my friend, Scott, informed me of Jerry’s passing last night. The opening verse Jerry sings of this song touches me so much, because I can’t help but relate it to his passing:

“When the mountain touches the valley,
All the clouds are taught to fly
As our souls will leave this land most peacefully.
Though our minds be filled with questions,
In our hearts we’ll understand
When the river meets the sea.”

Jerry Nelson was the first Muppeteer I became aware of after Jim and Frank, seeing as I knew about Jim and Frank long before my Muppet love became a prominent part of my life. I’d seen footage once in 2010 of all the Muppeteers performing at Jim’s memorial, but while I recognized the voices I couldn’t place the faces (besides Frank’s). Cut to January of 2011, I’m stuck in bed with strep throat and discovering more and more by the minute that the Muppets are the most amazing thing on this planet. I made the first real steps of my life as a Muppet fan while bed ridden and ill: I found the Muppet wiki. I spent hours on that thing, learning people’s names, who played what character, who wrote for the shows/movies, and so on. I remember the first Muppeteer I ever looked up was Jerry. I remember this as clearly as if it were yesterday. I remember thinking, “Okay… Floyd! Yeah, I know who Floyd is. And Robin too, but… Uh… Who’s Louis Kazagger? … And is Crazy Harry the one with the bombs? And who’s Gobo?” I had a long way to go as a fan, but I cemented Jerry’s face and voice in my mind that day, and it’s never left me since.

Jerry’s also the reason I found the Muppet fan community so quickly. I’m sure I would’ve found them out eventually, but upon doing a Google search for Jerry I found that he had posted on Muppet Central before. This led me to making my own MC Forums account, which led me to meeting some incredible people and, eventually, got me onto Tough Pigs. Again, I’m sure I would’ve discovered all this on my own time, but thanks to Jerry I learned right from the get go that I was not alone in this brand new obsession.

One thing that saddens me about his passing is that I’ll never get the chance to meet the man. For months now I’ve had the idea of getting the words “Something’s Calling Me” tattooed on one wrist, and “Wonders Follow Me” on the other. I had always hoped I’d someday meet him once I had these tattoos so I could show him. I bet he would’ve gotten a kick out of them. He seemed like the type of guy who would.

I’m sure every fan and friend of Jerry is thinking the same thing today: what did Jerry mean to me? Mortality tends to do that to us. It makes us think on all that the person did for us and the rest of the world. And Jerry did so much. He taught us to count. He taught us that halfway down the stairs is a great place to sit, and that being little isn’t such a bad thing (which is good to know, as I am a pretty short person). He taught us that silly things like boomerang fish can be art, that chickens can be beautiful, and that theatre phantoms aren’t always so scary. He taught us that adventures are worth going on, and what some people consider to be trash can be the most important thing on this planet to others. He even taught us that sometimes you just get bad service at restaurants and it can’t be helped (curse you, Grover!).

Goodbye, Goodbye,
And every eye is dry.
Leavin’, there’s no grievin’,
Just a rainbow in the sky.
Goodbye, goodbye.

More so than anything, Jerry taught me what it means to be an all around swell guy. I never met him, as previously stated, but I’ve heard enough about interactions with him to know he was a truly amazing human being, just as every person who works with the Muppets is. He brought laughter with performances by Lew and Mr. Johnson, tears with songs by Robin, and the need to dance with pretty much every song Floyd ever did. He was a guy filled with soul, which is greatly reflected in his own personal music that he’s recorded on his own.

This morning I deliberated if I wanted to go on my usual run, since I wasn’t feeling quite up to it. The only reason I decided to go really was because I had to make a stop at the bank to deposit my paycheck anyway. I’m glad I did though. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have noticed the book on the bank’s table of toys for kids that had the Count on the cover. It made me realize that, even though Jerry is gone, his characters will truly live on forever. I also noticed two older men bickering in a friendly fashion on the sidewalk that bore a striking resemblance to a certain two hecklers, which I couldn’t help but think of not just Jerry, but Jim and Richard as well.

Times like this makes us reflect on not just who we’ve lost, but everyone we’ve lost. The song ‘Can You Picture That’ came up on my iPod during my run, and I couldn’t help feeling heartbroken that the main three singers of the song are all now gone. Not just those guys either. Over the years we’ve lost Jerry Juhl, Eren Ozker, Will Lee, Don Sahlin, Judy Freudberg, Northern Calloway, and the list goes on. I wasn’t alive for the passing of Jim, and I was only one when Richard passed on, so this is the first time I’ve ever had to cope with losing a truly prominent person of Muppet and Sesame renown.

I don’t know if I believe in heaven or not, seeing as my relationship with religion is so jumbled, but I know I’d like for it to exist. If heaven does exist, then I really hope Jim, Richard, Christine (Jerry’s daughter), and Jerry Juhl were all waiting for Jerry as he made his way through those pearly gates. Especially Richard. I can just see Richard, a big silly grin slapped on his face, approaching Jerry with open arms. The duo reunited. What a sight to see.

If you guys have some time, I recommend watching these clips of Jerry’s performances:

I’ll end this piece with a quote from the article the AV Club wrote up on Jerry’s passing, that I think defines Jerry’s contribution to Sesame and Muppets to a tee:

“If Jim Henson was the heart of The Muppets, and Frank Oz the brains, than Jerry Nelson was the soul.”

Musing about Muppeteers :: My Appreciation for the People Behind the Fur and Below the Cameras

11 Aug

I was on Tumblr this morning, as per usual, and I was looking at the pictures of Eric Jacobson with Super Grover at this year’s San Diego Comic Con that both Lara and myself had posted simultaneously on our Muppet tumblrs today, and it really got me to thinking, which got me to writing. What follows is a long response to this picture (over on the left) that I wrote about on my Muppet tumblr today, with a few minors edits and a couple additional pieces. I guess today is ‘Julia-has-a-lot-of-feels’ day, or else I wouldn’t have spun off into this lengthy rant that not too many people are going to care about.

Anyway. Here it is.

If I had been at San Diego Comic Con 2012 and had gotten my picture taken with Super Grover, I think I would’ve asked Grover if it was all right if I had my picture taken with his friend Eric as well. I wouldn’t direct the question at the man on the floor, I would have dignified the part he was playing by addressing the cute, furry blue monster on his arm. Of course, a part of me likes to think that I would have just run straight passed everyone and flopped down on the ground next to Eric right away, but that would have disrupted his performance and thrown everything off, ruining the illusion, and I would never want that. Not in a million years. I know that later in the Con Eric was at a table for signings and pictures, but I have a feeling that upon first sight of Grover I would’ve been instantly overwhelmed and would’ve wanted to share my appreciation with the world immediately. But not for Grover. For Eric Jacobson.

You see, I know Grover’s the name and the face that everyone knows, but I pride myself in being one of the fans who appreciates the man underneath just as much as the monster up above. I wish Muppeteers got just as much recognition for the work they do as any other performer out there. Sure, you could argue that maybe if they did it’d all go to their heads, as it does with so many entertainers nowadays, but I don’t think so. I believe the material they work with keeps them grounded, humble, and human. It certainly did for Jim. These people though. They’re such amazing, talented people, and no one seems to understand that. Their job is far from easy. They portray so much emotion, brevity, and heart in their performances, all while keeping themselves out of the camera’s sight line. They have to be precise in their movements, able to shape their voices to fit a multitude of characters, and they all can sing their ever loving hearts out. They are the most under appreciated performers in all of Hollywood.

Yes, Jim truly got the recognition he deserved, as Frank still does to this day, but if you walk up to someone on the street and ask them if they know who Dave Goelz, Fran Brill, Bill Barretta, Karen Prell, or David Rudman are, they wouldn’t be able to give you an answer. However, if you ask them about Gonzo the Great, Zoe, Pepe the King Prawn, Red Fraggle, and Cookie Monster? Of course they’re going to know. Hell, Steve’s been performing Kermit for twenty-two years now, and people still don’t know the name of the man who kept the Muppets alive after Jim’s passing (well, Steve and Brain both did, in my opinion). I suppose Kevin Clash has become much more recognized, thanks to the brilliant documentary Being Elmo; however, instead of hearing people praise his work as Muppet Captain and co-producer on Sesame, I’m still much more likely to hear, “Can you believe Elmo’s played by a black man?” (Yes I can, you ignoramus.) I also think it’s a crime against nature that Caroll Spinney isn’t a household name. That man’s dedicated forty-three years of his life to making children happy. He’s a national treasure and should be treated as such (and hopefully, with the release next year of I Am Big Bird, he will be).

These performers have touched so many people’s lives with the work that they’ve done and they deserve all the praise and adoration in the world.

So no. Maybe I wouldn’t have gotten down on the ground with Eric, as not to disrupt his performance, but I certainly would have turned to Super Grover and told him, “I just want you to know, your friend Eric? I really respect everything that he’s done and he is, truly, one of the most talented people alive today. He’s one of the many people that’s changed my life for the better these past couple years, and I just want him to know that.” And I’d hope that would be enough to get my point across to Eric down below, and I hope someday I do get the opportunity to tell this to, not just Eric, but any Muppet performer I might meet. Each and every one of them has taken the last two years of my life and made it so much grander, so much more wonderful, so much more extraordinary. I will never, not ever, stop being grateful to this amazing group of people. They’ve made life a thing of beauty for me, and that is something to be truly thankful for.

After profusely thanking Eric, I would also tell him never to cut his hair this short again. Not his best look.

here’s to summer.

8 Aug

Sometimes the simplest things can make a day complete. Sleeping in until ten o’clock. Lazing around with a friend and discussing the importance of strong fictional women. Eating part of a pint of vanilla and then swapping for a pint of Rocky Road with said friend. Watching countless hours of television surrounding frogs and dogs and bears and chickens and a whatever and a whole slew of musical numbers from the 70’s. An email of wonderful possibilities. A letter from a best friend in a foreign land. Blasting Tenacious D and dancing around in nothing but underwear.

This is what summer’s all about, folks. This is what being twentysomething should always be like. These are the days I live for. Friendship, food, Muppets, and fun. What more can a girl ask for?

Five Professions I’ve Considered Doing

1 Aug

Right now I’m pretty set in my ways when it comes to the aspiration of becoming a writer. I try to write an hour a day (which is a shameful amount, according to Stephen King), and I write a blog entry every day as well. If theater and/or photography gigs come up in my future, hey, great! I’ll soon have degrees in both of those as well! As I mentioned yesterday, I’m considering traveling a bit once I graduate college, but eventually I would like to return to grad school and get a degree in writing, ultimately making that my life pursuit.

That being said, I must admit that there are several professions I spend time thinking about taking up. I know they’re not realistic, but I sometimes wonder if in another life I would’ve gone after these jobs. Here’s a look at the five professions I find myself wondering about.

1. Comic Book Artist

I’ve always envied people’s abilities to draw. I grew up reading comic books and graphic novels – still do to this day – and it was something I kind of always wanted to do as a kid. I even doodled my own comic book around the age of seven entitled “The Puppy Squad” which was about three dogs that gained super powers and had to defeat the Evil Dr. Birdenstein (I can’t tell if I was ripping off of Mary Shelley or if I was just a really antisemitic child). I’ve flipped through my comic book recently and, here’s a shocker, it’s awful. I was a kid, but even so the drawings are crude and the storyline makes me cringe. It’s not something I’m necessarily proud of. I think I could’ve gone in the direction of comic book artist when I was young, had I taken the right classes and put enough practice into it, but besides having a sketchbook to doodle in throughout high school, I never did give my drawing skills the proper attention. True, my doodles have improved over the years, but they’re still laughably bad on many levels. On occasion I’ll draw something that I’m actually proud of, which thusly ends up in my scrapbook, but otherwise I think it’s fair to say I tucked away all aspirations of being a killer comic book artist a long time ago.

2. Veterinarian

Throughout the extent of my childhood my family went through: one dog, nine cats, one rat, one guinea pig, one hamster, one frog, four hermit crabs, three lizards, three newts, and way too many fish to even begin to remember. Most of these animals lived for a very long time (with some exceptions for the fish) and they remained apart of our family for years on end. Needless to say, I’ve been surrounded by animals all my life. I can’t pass a dog on the street without making an “Awww!” remark, nor can I see a cat and not try to pet it. It’s just the way I am. I used to say “I want to be a vet” for a very brief period of my childhood. My belief that I’d someday grow up to be one filled up the short gap of space between wanting to be a ballerina and wanting to be an actor. Truthfully, I think I would make a terrible vet. Remember the movie War Horse that came out last December? Well, in the film, there’s a scene where an entire army fleet gets killed in battle. I didn’t even bat an eye. But a couple scenes later where that one horse died? TEARS. TEARS EVERYWHERE. So I don’t think I could handle working in a profession which involved me dealing with sick or hurt animals daily.

3. Puppeteer

One of my only regrets as a Muppet fanatic is that I got into the game so late. I have a feeling, had I discovered this obsession back in high school, I would’ve begged my dad for a class or two in puppeteering. Now, this is not to say that I wont ever in my life pick up a puppet, because I’m sure one day I will, seeing as I already know all the logistics of how to operate a puppet, but I also realize that unless I happen to be uncannily good, I’m never going to be a puppeteer. Even so, I still have a great passion to someday work with the Muppets on some level, be it writer or production crew or, hell, I’d gladly get just about any Muppeteer their coffee. And I’d do it with a smile.

4. Wine Maker

The idea of giving up my life and running away to Italy has crossed my mind several hundred times since my trip last March. Ideally, in my perfect fantasy world, I run off to Italy, become a hot shot writer, live in a villa, and get a smokin’ hot Italian boyfriend. Of course, this is not realistic at all. So, in my run-off-to-Italy fantasies, I work as a wine maker. I think it’d be a pretty sweet job, and okay, maybe it’s because I really love wine, but I just find the idea of doing it kind of refreshing and simplistically perfect. Who wouldn’t want to spend every day stomping on grapes?

5. Rancher

Being a rancher is something I’ve always secretly lusted after all these years. As a kid I confused this ideal with wanting to be a farmer, which is something I never want to be. I’d always think to myself, “Boy, being a farmer would be great… except for the farming… and the whole killing animals part…” I don’t know exactly what the profession of a rancher would entail, but ideally I would love it if my main source of income came from giving horseback riding lessons. I suppose I could have some chickens and sheep, then make a few bucks selling wool and eggs. Really though, this would just be an excuse to surround myself with horses all day long.

I’ve loved horses since I was a kid. I took horseback riding lessons for two years growing up, and I’ve always been sad that I stopped when I did. I don’t think I ever wanted to get to the point where I could compete in shows or, I dunno, participate in an equestrian activities. I just really loved riding. I still really love it, though I haven’t ridden a horse in years. I’m basically a girl who never grew out of her ‘I-want-a-pony’ phase. A part of me still fantasizes about being able to own a horse someday. There’s also something so deliciously wonderful about the idea of owning a ranch out in the middle of the countryside. The thought of being in the middle of nowhere with just my books, my laptop, a huge field, and some horses? How is that not paradise?

Thankful for Friends, Muppets, and a Huge Pile of Socks

16 Jul

In the past I’ve gone on and on and on and on about my love of Muppet fans, so by now it should be well known that my love for this fan community is ginormous. Muppet fans surpass all other fans, which I doubt the world will ever truly recognize. They are considerate, loving, silly, hilarious, understanding, and wonderful. Because the source of their obsession (Muppets/Sesame/Fraggles) promotes love and compassion and unity, it is in turn what the fans practice on a day-to-day basis, making them some of the most genuine people you will ever meet. They are, indeed, all around wonderful.

But today, let’s cut the schmaltz and just say it.

I fucking love my Muppet friends.

I’m not a speechless person. Well, okay, in person I tend to be tongue tied and quiet and incredibly awkward, but in writing I never have any problem expressing my thoughts and feelings; however, when it comes to my friends from Tough Pigs, along with my several Muppety friends from Muppet Central and Tumblr… I’m just speechless. I truly don’t even know how to begin to express my gratitude and love for this amazing group of people.

This last month’s been kind of rough on me. I moved into a new apartment for the first time without my roommate of the last four years, I sent my cat 200+  miles away to go live with my dad (don’t laugh, I miss her), I got to deal with my first ever issue of identity fraud, and I had to say goodbye to many a graduated friend. Most of all, my best friend on this planet moved away to Spain, which has brought me incredibly down in mood as of late. I’ve gone through a lot of change, and change is always a really scary thing for me, so I’ve been, frankly, very sad recently. Sad and lonely. I keep most of that in, but it’s been something that’s been persistently there. It’ll get better soon, this I know, but for the time being it’s hard to not be consistently bummed out.

Then you guys swoop in a pull a stunt like this.

When the first package came in the mail several weeks back, I was bewildered. It resulted in me screaming “HOW DID JUSTIN GET MY NEW MAILING ADDRESS???” and flailing about my apartment in confusion. It wasn’t until I got Carolyn’s package next that I began to understand what was going on and how this was all possible, and instantly began to cry. No group of friends has ever done something like this for me, which is why it so truly touched my heart. While the rest of the world may see this whole process as me receiving packages of socks, I see it as a gesture of great kindness and friendship. Of course, upon receiving these packages I remembered making an off hand comment once a couple months ago about how I never get socks for Christmas or birthdays, and when I wrote it on the forums I really thought nothing of it. Then one of you (you know who you are, you amazing, wonderful person) put this together for me, and it just… honestly, I’m teary just writing this. I feel absurd getting overtly emotional, but I truly cannot help myself. This is the nicest thing a group of people has ever done for me.

Here’s a picture of me sitting with all my booty while trying to convey my immense amount of gratitude in my facial region:

I was talking to Justin (Tonglet) over IM when this all first started happening, and I wrote to him, “Ugh. You all are such stellar people. I can’t even handle it.” I really can’t begin to describe how truly lucky I feel having you all in my life.

I was on Muppet Central for about a year, and while I did take away some friends from the site (whom I adore very much), MC Forums was, to me, lacking in the camaraderie department and seemed to spark one too many arguments amongst the users for my personal liking. So I took a deep breath and made the switch to Tough Pigs. When I first joined up with Tough Pigs back in December I was beyond intimidated. I mean, it took me forever to understand the format of Delphi (curse you, Delphi!!!), and secondly, here was this amazing group of people with all these inside jokes who had known each other for years. How was I gonna fit in? Me, who’s not witty or punny. Who isn’t brave or outgoing. How was I gonna remember all these names and keep up? How was anyone ever gonna notice shy, awkward me? And yet, somehow, you invited me into the family with open arms and made me one of your own. I remember in the first week someone told me “You’re gonna fit in just fine” and how I swelled with pride at this notion. I’ve always felt out of place in this world. I haven’t felt part of an actual group since middle school. Since then, while I’ve always had my closes friends and been part of quiet a few groups, I’ve just felt like I’ve been drifting from group to group, never having one to truly plant my feet in. You guys, though. With you guys I feel like I’m one of you. You guys have taken this year and turned it on its head. I can’t even fathom not being on Tough Pigs eight months ago; that’s such a foreign concept to me now.

And what a year its been. I’ve met up with Carolyn twice (for Muppets and puppets!), I’ve had many a pleasant chat with the majority of you, I’ve gained a drunk texting bud (Dosierrrr), plans of visiting one of you for a Disneyland trip were discussed a while back (and should be discussed again sometime in the near future), I’ve geeked out over TV and movies with you all, I’ve been introduced to new bands and music, and I even got to write a Tough Pigs article of my very own (with another on the way). And then there were the socks. All thirty-one pairs of them. Not to mention some other fabulous gifts… Gah. You guys.

The most frustrating part of all this is that I can’t come up with any way for you all to know the depths of my gratitude. All I can really do is say thank you. So.

Thank you.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you all for being so wonderful, so ingenious, so insightful, so amazing. Thank you for giving me a reason to smile pretty much everyday. Thank you for being silly, crazy, funny, random, witty, punny, and fucking incredible. Thank you all for being such wonderful friends and such stellar people. Thank you to everyone who sent me something in the mail. Thank you to everyone who sent me something in the mail that never reached me (I’m still greatly moved). Special thanks to Martha, who I know is the true master mind behind all of this. And not just thank you to the people who participated in my birthday surprise. Thank you to all my wonderful friends that I’ve made through our similar Muppet adoration; whether we met through Tough Pigs, Tumblr, MC Forums, Twitter, Facebook, whatever. What started as a mutual love for a fandom has grown into something far more precious and much more important. I so look forward to the many years to come with you all in my life, hopefully getting the chance to meet up with most of you, and please always know just how much I treasure you as people, comrades, and friends. Thank you, thank you, thank you all.

And trust me when I say, from now on, I’ll be careful what I wish for.