Monthly Archives: April 2011

Checkmate Kate, you won the king

First of all, let me start off by saying I was not one of those people who woke up at 4 a.m. to start watching coverage of the royal wedding.

It was 3 a.m.

Ha! I kid, I kid. Short of a national disaster and/or all-night bender, Momma doesn’t do anything at that ungodly hour.

However, when I finally did roll out of bed around 8, I will somewhat sheepishly admit that my eyes were glued to the TV. Now, I say sheepishly because originally I had planned to boycott this whole three-ring circus of Will and Kate.

I mean, all this week I’ve only been hearing one of two things:

1. News coverage and speculation over every possible aspect of this event (including so-called “experts” who would discuss the mysterious wedding dress, coming to enlightening conclusions, such as “it will be a dress” and “possibly white”).

2. People whining on Facebook and Twitter about all the news coverage and speculation over every possible aspect of this event.

Now prior to today, I was firmly in the latter camp. I just didn’t see what the big deal was. It’s not like these two will be our prince and princess. In fact, if I do recall any detail of my sophomore history class with Mr. Clayton (which ain’t much considering he made Ben Stein look downright manic), it’s that we fought our little American asses off so we wouldn’t have to celebrate crap like a royal wedding anymore.

Alas, maybe it was because I hadn’t had enough coffee yet therefore no energy to grab the remote that was five inches away, but I ended up getting sucked into it just like the 32 bah-jillion others around the world.

And I must admit, watching it made something stir even in the cold, cold recesses of the empty space where my heart should be.

Maybe it’s because Prince William and I are the same age and I grew up with him (metaphorically, of course, thanks to that completely unwarranted restraining order). And I used to daydream about marrying him (prior to the hair loss).

Or maybe because I remember watching the breaking news when his mom died and the impact her life and death had on the world. Or…(shudder)…maybe even I…(gag reflex)…like fairy tales just as much as…(pained swallow)…the next girl.

But I couldn’t stop watching. I even found myself clapping when they finally had their first kiss.

Jaded as I am, I found it moving.

Let’s face it. Here in America, we don’t have royalty. The closest thing we have are celebrities and thanks to reality TV, many of those celebrities are mildly disgusting and increasingly stupid. So instead of pomp and circumstance, and big theatrics, and national pride, we get Britney running off to Vegas for a 55-hour marriage followed by the epic love story involving a man who willing went around with the name K-Fed. Or Brad dumping Jen for Angie. Or two redneck teens from “Teen Mom 2” getting hitched. Or Tom Cruise turning Katie Holmes into some sort of weird robot wife with shiny hair.

Was the wedding over-exposed? You bet your tea and crumpets it was. But it was nice to see two young, yet mature, people in love and getting married in a manner that did not include a sweat suit with “Bachelorette” emblazoned on the butt.

And to see an entire country standing and cheering for them.

Because honestly, all we have to look forward to here in America is Snooki finally finding some guy to jump on that grenade ’til death (or herpes) do them part.

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What do you want to be when you grow up?

 When you’re a kid, your interaction with adults is usually confined to the following conversations:

“How was school?” which was always followed by “Fine.”

“So, got a boyfriend/girlfriend yet?” which was always followed by “No…gross.”

And the ever popular “So, what do you want to be when you grow up?”

If I was 5 and you had asked me that last question, my answer probably would have been “dog.” Perhaps I was just an inherently lazy child, but to me, dogs were living the ultimate life. Sleep all day, eat whenever you want, get petted, roll around in some gross stuff, fart whenever you want and sleep some more. Now THAT is the true American dream.

If I was 11, however, and you had asked me this question, I would have said model/actress/archeologist/doctor (while doing research as a marine biologist on the weekends, naturally).

By 15, most likely my response would have been along the lines of “Whatever…hey, how noticeable is this zit?”

But by 17, I would emphatically declare that I, Aprill Brandon, was going to be a writer.

By 18, a great writer!

By 19, a world-famous writer! Who would eventually go on to star in the movie-versions of her novels alongside Orlando Bloom as the lead male.

By 20, a teacher!…which lasted up until my first 15 minutes of student teaching, when it instantly switched back to writer!

By 21…well, that whole year is pretty fuzzy so my answer would most likely have been “Letzzz do ‘nother shot, bitchessss!”

The point is, for a very long time all I wanted to be was a writer. And so I became one, working as a journalist and columnist for the past six years.

But if you were to ask me now, at the age of 29, what I want to be when I grow up, the answer is simply “I don’t know” (although sometimes, if I just got done watching “Blade Trinity” for the 114th time, I’ll respond with “Ryan Reynold’s post-divorce rebound”).

Perhaps it’s because I left my old job to move to Boston with my husband and now have the time and opportunity to explore other career avenues. Or maybe I’m just burnt out after so many years in a high stress, demanding job. Possibly it’s because the big dirty 30 is creeping up on me. Or it could even be I’m beginning to feel a little out of my league considering Boston attracts a whole lot of wicked smaaaht people.

Whatever the reason, I’m at a loss what my next step should be. Hell, I’m at a loss what my next sentence should be.

I mean, even with this blog, I’m not sure what I’m doing. Technically, the whole theme is…well, there’s not even really a theme other than “hey, I’m almost 30, just moved to Boston and have no idea what I’m doing.” And apparently in this day and age, first-person writing needs to document a year of your life as you cook, or eat, pray and get laid, or read the entire encyclopedia or whatever the next blog-turned-book-turned-movie that is coming out is about.

And looking through job listings just makes me tired. From what I can tell, my options outside of media are pretty much confined to barista or project manager for some company that I can’t pronounce.

So, should I take this time to explore other options (how hard can it be to make a non-fat, soy latte with an extra shot of espresso anyway?), or pursue my lifelong dream? Or is it even my dream anymore?

I guess the real question here is: Is writing what I do, or is it who I am?

Hmm…maybe I had it right when I was 5.

Cheering on the Boston Marathon, one beer at a time

The Boston Marathon. A living testament to dedication, endurance, skill and no short amount of pain (and possibly permanent damage).

Naturally, of course, I’m talking about the livers of the spectators who begin drinking while the runners are still stretching.

Yes, while 20,000 people run 26 miles, pushing the limits of human athleticism and subsequently inspiring the world, the hundreds of thousands of people on the sidelines were busy pushing the limits of public drunkenness. And this first-time spectator was no different. 

Having only lived in Boston for a little over two months now, I felt it was my duty as a new resident to check out what goes on during Marathon Monday that they don’t televise. Thanks to a tip from the Tweeter (I owe you one @BostonTweet), I decided to start my day at the American Craft bar, which was on the marathon route and, more importantly, was opening up its beer garden at 10 a.m.

Feeling a bit sheepish (and dangerously close to a lush…well, more lush-ish than usual), I had reservations as I stepped off the train. I mean, what would people think of me as I ordered booze that was not the universal before-noon acceptable drink of Bloody Mary?

But that feeling quickly melted away as I realized I had absolutely nothing to worry about. As soon as I sat down at a prime spot (the early bird catches the worm in the bottom of the tequila bottle it seems) and ordered a screwdriver (hey, at least it has orange juice in it, I figured), groups of others quickly arrived and sat all around me, ordering everything from beer to shots of whiskey.

They say New Yorkers will come to opening of an envelope. If I’ve learned anything during my relatively short time here in Boston, it’s that Bostonians will make a drinking game out of it.

And so, there we sat, when suddenly a cheer erupted from somewhere, gradually making its way down the street to us. The first of the wheelchair division was making its way toward us.

Now, I’m not usually one for being sentimental. But watching everyone stop what they were doing, whether they were in the beer garden or just walking down the sidewalk, to cheer them on, made me feel, well, downright sentimental(granted, that feeling could have also been related to the second screwdriver).

By my third screwdriver, the first of the elite men’s division was passing us by and by this time, throngs of people were making their way to the sidelines. The cheering never stopped.

Realizing that if I continued drinking the way I was, I’d be lucky to be awake past noon, I paid my bill and made my way closer to the action. By this time, the sidelines were packed with people, everyone from families to the group of 20-somethings who were not-so-discreetly carrying around red Dixie cups filled with “juice.”

The sense of excitement, regardless of your soberness level, was palpable. Being the country bumpkin that I am, I had never experienced anything like this before (unless you count the time my husband and I accidentally stumbled into a re-enactment of the Alamo in San Antonio…like literally were walking down the street with the period dressed actors until we realized what was going on).

Hearing the encouraging cheers (even the drunken, slurred ones) and seeing the city come together like that was truly inspiring.

In fact, as I rode the train home (which was an adventure in and of itself…by my count, three drunks almost got run over), I started to think how much I really wanted to be a part of this great event, more than just getting my buzz on and using it as an excuse to daydrink. To think that there’s so many people out there that aspire to complete this Herculean task, sacrificing and training for months, made me want to be among their ranks next year. Seeing the entire crowded subway car cheer when a runner who completed the marathon got on only fueled my new resolve.

But then, luckily, I went home, took a nap, sobered up and decided eh, maybe in 2013…or 2014. 2015 even. Or maybe to celebrate my 50th birthday or something…

Besides, those screwdrivers aren’t going to drink themselves next year.

Infants, babies and toddlers, oh my!

In case you couldn’t tell by now, I am not a mother (pause for sigh of relief from Child Protective Services). Now this in and of itself is not that unusual. There are plenty of married women my age without children.

That is, unless you are in my family, where almost every single one of my cousins under the age of 40 have children, if not a whole litter of them.

Now generally speaking, my family is OK with the fact that my husband and I are waiting to have children (naturally I’m leaving out any and all mothers and mothers-in-law…both of whom I suspect are already buying and hoarding onesies). But apparently their infants and toddlers are not.

For the six of you out there that regularly read this, you already know that I recently went back to my hometown for a visit. And while there, it became abundantly clear that all the rugrats in my family were determined to bitchslap awake my maternal instincts (no small feat, mind you, when most of your day is taken up with teething).

Yes, these kids did their damnedest to make motherhood look amazing. I mean, just look at what kind of underhanded tactics these kids used:

This little guy is 2-year-old Jackson…

And in case you were wondering, he posed this way on his own.

And William…

...with his giant baby eyes that ended up making me talk just wike 'dis because him such a handsome boy, yes him is, who's a handsome boy?

There was Huxley…

...who somehow managed to look cute even while crying

 And Samantha…

...who, as the oldest, I blame for organizing the troops

 And that’s not even all of them.

And so, being the mature person that I am, I wrote a column about this mass baby marketing campaign they have undertaken and how I am so on to them as revenge.  I mean, if I don’t stand up to them now, what’s next? I let my husband actually have the remote and start feeding my dog on a semi-regularly basis?

Ha! I don’t think so. Nice try, kids.

Sorry, but women just aren’t funny

Kids, there are many reasons why yours truly shouldn’t drink 10 pints of beer and take a huge shot of Maker’s Mark in one night. For one, it leads to a bar refusing to serve you because you were “allegedly” swaying back and forth and drooling (judgmental, douchebag bartender).

But more importantly, it could lead to the following situation:

Last Saturday, as the night was winding down (and my blackout stage was winding up), two men in our group made the declaration that “women aren’t funny.” Now considering these guys didn’t know that I’ve been a humor columnist for the past seven years and that they are two of the most progressive-minded people I know, I wish I could tell you that I calmly and rationally told them how utterly ridiculous that statement was.

And I’m sure I would have…had I been Sober Aprill. But Drunk Aprill had taken over hours ago and as such, when I (loudly) disagreed (with no shortage of colorful language) and was then asked to name a funny woman, I sputtered out something along the lines of:

“Um…Tina Fey, hello!…and um…you know, Erma Bombeck…and pffffttt….so many…[expletive-deleted] stoopid men…Gilda [expletive-deleted] Radner and…how can you say that? There’s so many…like…[expletive-deleted] that one chick…and…[expletive-deleted] you [expletive-deleted] guys [expletive-deleted] are [not-really-a-word-but-sounds-like-it-should-be-an-expletive-deleted] assholes.”

And then I stormed (staggered) off.

I then proceeded to drunkenly yell at my husband (whose only mistake was having a penis and being in close proximity to his drunk wife) all the way home.

Now, did I over-react? Abso-[expletive-deleted]-lutely. Especially considering we spent the whole night basically riffing on politically-incorrect material.

But do I think they were wrong? You bet your funny-ass vagina I do.

And so, it still bothers me that there are people out there who think women aren’t funny. As such, through the miracle of the Interwebs, I present my much more rational (re: sober) argument to the statement that women aren’t funny:

There were the great pioneers like Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett. In fact, the biggest compliment I ever got in my career was being told by an itty-bitty 77-year-old woman that I reminded her of Carol Burnett (in fact, I was so flattered, I’m thinking of putting “Aprill Brandon: Once compared to Carol Burnett” on my tombstone…that, or “Aprill Brandon: She was one hell of ninja”).

Not to mention, Gilda Radner and Tracey Ullman also kicked down many doors for funny women; a mantle which was taken up by Cheri Oteri, Molly Shannon, Rachel Dratch, Amy Poelher, Maya Rudolph and Tina Fey (who wasn’t just funny onscreen, but was also the head writer for SNL and has won an obscene amount of awards for “30 Rock.”).

Speaking of writers, how about Erma Bombeck, who paved the way for other modern newspaper humor columnists? Or Dorothy Parker? Or Dawn Powell? Or Amy Sherman-Palladino, the writer and creator of “Gilmore Girls”? Or Diablo Cody, who wrote all those great lines in “Juno”?

While the majority of the funny lines on the American version of “The Office” are given to men, it’s co-executive producer and show writer Mindy Kaling (a.k.a. Kelly Kapoor) writing those lines.

What about Sarah Silverman, Ellen Degeneres and Wanda Sykes? What about Julia Louis-Dreyfuss holding her own in the boys’ club that was “Seinfeld”?

Davis Sedaris is one of the greatest humorists of our times, in my opinion…but his sister, Amy Sedaris, is just as funny. (Seriously, if you’ve never seen the TV show “Strangers with Candy,” drop whatever it is you’re doing right now and run out and get it…unless you’re currently holding a baby, in which case, gently hurl the baby at the closest available adult and run out and get it).

And then you have up-and-comers like actress Emma Stone, who made “Easy A” much more than just another raunchy teenage comedy.

There’s dozens upon dozens of others I could name.

Now that’s not to say that everyone finds every woman on this list funny. But you can’t tell me that absolutely none are.

So, gentlemen, the next time you think women aren’t funny, don’t blame it on us having a uterus. Blame it either on 1. that particular woman isn’t funny in your opinion or 2. you were probably too busy staring at her boobs to truly get the joke.

Where’s your train goin’, hobo?

Well, I’ve finally returned from my two-week odyssey to my hometown in Ohio (luckily, I was able to squeeze this vacation into my busy unemployment schedule of watching “Criminal Minds” reruns and my increasing obsession with the character Dr. Reid). And the score so far is:

Number of times my parents footed the bill at a restaurant: 6

Number of times I did: 1

Number of bottles of wine my mom bought in anticipation of my visit: 8

Number of bottles we drank: 9

Number of items my mom bought me to get me to stop whining: 4

Number of times I snuck outside to smoke a cigarette in secret: 53

Number of times my family was completely aware of what I was doing: 53

Number of relatives’ babies I held: 2

Number of relatives’ babies that drooled, puked and/or released some other form of mucus on me: 2 (3 if you count my drunk friend Dan).

Number of times I got called a hobo because of what I was wearing: 1

Number of times I got called a train conductor because of what I was wearing: 1

Number of times my friend who witnessed both above incidents made fun of me for being a train conducting hobo: 3

Ah, yes, there’s nothing quite like going home for a visit to make you realize just how much of an illusion adulthood is.

Oh sure, I may be approaching 30 and have lived thousands of miles away from home for the past six years. But it never fails. As soon as I step off that plane, I suddenly revert back to my 16-year-old self. But honestly, it’s not my fault. I mean, how can I maintain maturity and independence when my mom makes me whatever I want for breakfast? And lunch! And dinner! And my 12-year-old brother keeps calling me a turd? And I’m having sleepovers at my best friend’s house (only instead of pigging out on Doritos and Diet Coke and calling boys on the phone, we pig out on Doritos and Bud Light and stalk boys on Facebook)?

Not to mention, I made the mistake of going to a dance fundraiser for my old high school, which sent me reeling back to my days of acne and awkwardness, especially when the formerly popular, older “kids” started talking to me. Instead of being the cool, confident, fashion-savvy writer and photographer living in Boston I fancy myself to be, I was the girl who giggled awkwardly when told by my ex-boyfriend’s best friend that my Calvin Klein dress and knit hat made me look like a hobo (speaking of which, now that I’m back in Boston and back to my old self, my response to that is, oh, and I see you still look like an asshole, Ken).

Now granted, maybe I should be ashamed, at least a little bit, of how quickly and easily I lose myself every time I go home. But I guess it just goes back to the old theory that you can’t go home again.

Because if you do, you’re sure to turn into the goober you once were.

Will Write For Food

So, I’ve been spending the past two weeks hanging out in my Ohio hometown, visiting family and friends, and well, drinking with family and friends. Alas, this busy beer schedule of mine has left little time to write (at least coherently).

The good news though is that this trip has given me enough material to last me until June…possibly October (just a to give you a preview, titles will include “Aprill Gets Called a Hobo,” “Potential Reasons Why My Mom Calls Bud Light ‘Buddy Light'” and “How Not to React When An Infant Sneezes In Your Mouth”).

But until then, if you’re just desperate to kill time (or enjoy references to Bugle witch hands), you can check out my latest column “Will Write for Food” here.