Monthly Archives: May 2013

This one is dedicated to all of you

Hey, you know how when you have really, really good news and you want to tell everyone you know about it? For that matter, everyone you don’t know? In fact, you want to practically shout it in their faces because you’re so excited? Because it’s just the best news ever? A dream come true? But then you’re not quite sure how to do that without looking like you’re a bragging stuck-up snob? So instead you just sort of downplay the whole thing?

Yeah.

So I published a book.

(Did it work? Did I hit that sweet spot between proud yet nonchalant?)

Don’t get me wrong. I’m extremely happy about this accomplishment. Giddy even. It was No. 1 on my bucket list: Become an author. And after ten years working as a humor columnist, where I documented my transition to adulthood, I finally had enough material to write a tongue-in-cheek guide to growing up, from post-college to turning 30.

To be honest, it’s one of the greatest things I’ve ever done. But don’t take my word for it. The early reviews speak for themselves:

“This is the greatest book ever written ever. I’m so proud of you, honey! Also, are you eating enough? You look skinny in your author photo.” –Aprill’s mom

“Holy crap, you wrote a book? I thought you were just playing Candy Crush on the computer.” –Aprill’s husband

“Who is this? I told you to stop calling here.” –Whoever answers the phone at the New York Times Book Review

“…*fart*…” –Aprill’s dog

It wasn’t easy. As they say, dreams come true, not free. So, the past several months were spent like this:

The Writing Process

Book writing

Book writing 2

Book writing 3

The Editing Process

Book writing 4

Book writing 5

The Publishing Process

Book writing 6

(That’s…uh…that’s all I really remember about this part).

But it’s done. And all that hard work was worth it. My book, “Why Does the Cheese Always Fall? (A Guide to Faking Adulthood)” is now out there in the world.

why-the-cheese4

Specifically out there at Smashwords.com, an indie author website where it is available to download on all Apple and Kindle products and pretty much any other electronic device you have, and also now available at Amazon.

For only $2.99.

(Did I hit that sweet spot between giving you information and blatantly marketing my book to you?)

The only thing missing from it is a dedication page, which was not included because I completely forgot about it. So, if I may, I’d like to add that part here.

To all the indie authors and writers with stacks of rejection letters in their desks, who slave away writing day and night because they know no other way than to write, this book is dedicated to you.

To all the local musicians, wherever you’re from, who practice and tour and play tiny, tiny bars only to get paid in beer year after year because they know no other way than to play music, this book is dedicated to you.

To the artists, who work day jobs and then come home and stay up half the night working on their masterpieces because they know no other way than to create, this book is dedicated to you.

To anyone who has ever had a dream, because they know no other way than to dream, this book is dedicated to you.

So go buy it.

(Did I hit that sweet spot between genuine and yet desperate for money?)

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Brunchers in the Mist

(Alternative title: “Don’t get your panties in a brunch”)

Boston. The urban jungle. A wilderness teeming with exotic species and, at times, dangerous terrain (the Pedestrian/Vehicular Civil War has been raging in the region since 1934).

For the past two years, I have lived among the wildlife naturally found in this part of the world, in an effort to study and document their behavior and way of life. After several months of careful observation, I have come to discover that the creatures found here are much more varied than first thought.

Among the numerous species found in Boston (such as Manic-Depressive Sports Fan, Drunk Sorority Girl and Angry Hobo), is a most curious mammal known as the Native Bruncher.

The Native Bruncher is a result of centuries of evolution and combines the urban dwellers’ natural instinct to flock together on the weekends and their natural aversion to any type of exertion. From what I have gathered in my research, the habits of the Native Bruncher serve on both a medicinal and social level.

While for most of their week, the Native Bruncher forages for food among the alleyways and corners of their habitat, the main caloric staple of their diet is morning-appropriate cocktails and ironically named omelets featuring a fascinating combination of cheeses. The Native Bruncher will drink and eat these items on the weekend until they have amassed enough calories to tide them over for the next five or six days, where they lapse into a hibernation-like state known as “The Work Week.”

Although the history of Brunchers has never fully been documented, it is believed that the very first brunch was held in 1753 in England when a hungover Lord Hamish Cottington Hammingford the IV woke up late one Sunday morning and found that he was too late for breakfast and too early for lunch at the local pub.

hamish

Flabbergasted, the proprietor asked him what he would like to eat: breakfast or lunch?

His response changed the course of weekends as we know it.

“Hmm…well, eggs sound good, but so does steak. Or perhaps pancakes. But then again, a big sandwich might be nice. You know what, how about you just bring me a crap load of all of that. And some ale mixed with something fruity and topped with no less than three fruit garnishes.”

This unique mixture of food caught on immediately among the hungover-impaired peasantry, prompting Lord Hammingford to declare “I shall call it ‘Lubreakfanch!'”

Luckily, his wife, who was slightly less inebriated (having only had four fruity ale cocktails, as opposed to seven) suggested changing it “brunch.”

Eventually the ritual spread throughout Europe and by 1829 was brought to America by a traveler named Chet Avery, who in some academic circles is also believed to have been the first hipster on record and the inventor of what we now call “the soul patch.” Avery was also an avid proponent of the healing effects of alcohol to combat the negative effects of alcohol and making it a staple of the brunch ritual.

soul patch

While Brunchers can now be found in urban jungles all over the world, they seem to be most populous in Boston (although Native Brunchers from Portland and Brooklyn would probably categorically disagree with that statement in a pompous voice while barely looking up from their iPhones).

The Boston breed of the Native Bruncher is also unique in its penchant for “theme” brunch, such as Disco Brunch and for being the first successful species to have brunch on the water (the 1974 sinking of a ship in the early days of this tradition, dubbed “The Bacon-Flavored Tea Party,” notwithstanding).

What separates the Boston Native Bruncher from other species who practice brunch-ery is the way it has honed its skill and timing in arriving to brunch before the phenomenon known as “the rush” begins. For example, if the species known as “Newbie” arrives to brunch promptly at 11 a.m., they will find that particular watering hole already teeming with Native Brunchers. The “Newbie” is then likely to give up, bowing down to the alpha herd, and will then head to a much less trendy watering hole where the eggs are much less fancy.

A close cousin of the Native Bruncher, known as the Permanent Resident Yet Non-Native Bruncher, can also be found in large quantities in Boston. They are easily spotted on the outskirts of the herd, waiting until the Natives have finished and then getting whatever scraps are left over. At times, the Permanent Resident Yet Non-Native Bruncher can wait up to four hours, tiding itself over with screwdrivers and Bloody Mary’s until they are finally allowed to feast. This is also where the Fanny Pack Tourist species can be spotted as well.

Typically, brunch lasts for two to three hours for all of the species, although on certain occassions it can last until 2 a.m. depending on the individual Bruncher’s capacity to ingest large amounts of alcohol for many, many hours straight.

As for what the future holds for the Native Brunchers and their ilk, no one can be certain, especially considering the encroachment of chain restaurants on their native land. But the most current scientific research suggests that mimosas will be involved no matter what.

Possibly the lamest trilogy of all time…

I don’t know if you’ve been following my Bumblebee and Wasp Saga but if you have, good news! It has now just turned into a trilogy.

(And if you haven’t, you can read the first part here and the second part here).

But just to sum up real quick, my back porch has been taken over by a bumblebee and a wasp who are not only working in CAHOOTS to keep me away from my own rightful property, but who have also given my dog PTSD after a disastrous attempt to take it back.

Well, recently it’s been quite rainy, so both sides retreated back to their respective base camps for the past week or so. Today, however, is an absolutely gorgeous day so, figuring they had either died (how long can their life spans be anyway?) or found someone else in the neighborhood to torture, I decided to go enjoy the sunshine on MY back porch.

But just as I was about to open the porch door, I looked up and saw this staring back at me through the glass:

Bumblebee10

Better yet, my dog, who was happily about to follow me out, also saw them glaring at us from the other side of the door. And when he did, he quickly backed up, ran out of the kitchen and is currently quivering on my bed.

Now, if I was a real adult, I’d just go out there with a broom or possibly a grenade and kill the little bastards. End this ridiculous stand-off.

But I’m not. And so instead, I slowly backed away, grabbed a napkin and waved it in the air.

And consequently, I will be spending my entire summer indoors.

Well played, Nature. Well played.

The Credit Card Twilight Zone

By reading this, you’re traveling through another dimension. A dimension, not only of sight and sound, but of the contents of your wallet. A journey into a heinous land whose boundaries are only those of your credit limit. Next stop-the Credit Card Zone.

The place is here. The time? Now. Street scene: Summer. A woman is on the sidewalk, pacing back and forth as she talks on her cell phone. Age: 31. Occupation: Hack writer who steals formulas from 1950’s television series.

Meet Aprill Brandon, a fiscally irresponsible woman with a penchant for ridiculously high heels. In just a moment, Mrs. Brandon will enter a world where logic and reason have no meaning. A world where only confusion, misdirection and “Sorry, lady, that’s not my responsibility” reign. For an otherwise ordinary day, this simple phone call is about to take a turn for the worse.

“Hello. Please enter your 16-digit credit card code.”

1234-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX

“Thank you. For security purposes, please enter the last four digits of your social security number.”

5XXX

“Thank you. All our available operators are currently busy. Please wait for the next available operator.”

Doo-doo-doo-dah-dah-dah-bum-da-doo-dah…

(45 minutes later…)

“Hello. This is Steve. Welcome to customer service. How can I help you today?”

“Hi, I’m calling about the debt cancellation policy I signed up for when I first got this credit card. I keep getting charged each month for it, which is making it hard to pay off my card and so I’d like to cancel it.”

“All right, ma’am. We don’t handle those policies so I’m going to transfer you to the third party company that does. You’ll be redirected to a menu and when it prompts you, you’ll want to choose Option Three, OK?”

“OK. Thank you.”

“Hello. Welcome to Account Protection Services. If you are calling about your payment status, press One. If you are calling about processing a claim, press Two. To return to the main menu, press Nine.”

“Um…[hits the three button]”

“I’m sorry. I do not understand this command. If you are calling about your payment status, press One…”

“…[hits the one button]…”

“Hello. This is Linda. How may I help you today?”

“Hi, Linda. I’m trying to cancel my debt cancellation policy for my credit card. I was transferred to an automated menu by customer service and pressed Option One and I got you.”

“OK. Well, we’re not the ones in charge of those policies so I’m going to transfer to you to the department that handles that. You’ll be redirected to a menu and you’ll want to choose Option Three.”

“Oh, but wait, the last time…”

“Hello. Welcome to Account Protection Services. If you are calling about your payment status, press One. If you are calling about processing a claim, press Two. To return to the main menu, press Nine.”

(Two hours later…)

“Hello. This is Haashim. How may I help you today?”

“OK, look. I know this isn’t your fault but I’ve been on the phone all afternoon and have been transferred to at least 15 different departments or in some cases, completely different companies. I’m just trying to cancel the debt cancellation policy on my credit card. But I keep getting sent to a menu where I’m told to choose Option Three. Only there is no Option Three. There is never an Option Three. All I want is to talk to a human being who can cancel this policy. Can. You. Cancel. This. Policy?”

“Oh, I’m very sorry to hear about all your trouble, Mrs. Brandon. Unfortunately, we do not have the power to cancel the policy in this department. I suspect, however, the other operators were transferring you to the wrong menu. Let me transfer you to another menu, which should have Option Three.”

“BUT THERE IS NO OPTION THREE! THERE’S NEVER AN OPTION THREE!”

“One moment, please…”

“Hello. Welcome to Account Protection Services. If you are calling about your payment status, press One. If you are calling about processing a claim…”

“(Rocking back and forth)…There is no Option Three…There is no Option Three…There is no…”

Aprill Brandon. Age: 31. All she wanted was to begin a new life of fiscal responsibility. But in the end, it turns out the price for such a goal was her sanity.

It can happen…in the Credit Card Zone.

Top 10 Worst People on the Subway

This is why we can’t have nice things, Boston.

1. Mom with luxury stroller- That’s great that you can afford a stroller the size of a Hummer for Baby Zsa Zsa over there but you’re taking up too much room and blocking everyone’s access to get on or off the train easily. And don’t give me that nasty look when I refuse to get up and give you my seat. I’m reserving it for all the mothers out there with reasonably sized strollers. Besides, your behemoth of a stroller could fit you and half of the Bruins team in it so, there you go. There’s your seat.

2. Hobo that smells like pee- I get it. Times are hard. But next time, try peeing in the alleyway right beside the T as opposed to in your pants while on the T.

3. Guy rapping along to his own “demo” mix- No one is impressed, dude. No. One.

4. Woman with giant purse, which apparently needs its own seat during rush hour- There is a special place in hell for people like you.

5. Gang of junior high kids- I can’t tell you how thrilled I am that you just got out of school and are apparently fueled by six Red Bulls and 52 pounds of gummi worms. But no one honestly believes that Tammy the eighth-grader went to second base with you in the janitors closet so shut the hell up.

6. Young couple in love- I’m assuming she’s probably banging someone else on the side hence the desperate display of love and affection but come on, guys, keep it in the bathroom of the basement dive bar like everybody else.

7. Dude who keeps loudly telling his sob story and asking for $15 because he needs to get a state ID or he won’t be able to sign the lease on his apartment and the office that gives out the ID closes in 20 minutes which means he can’t get home to get money for said ID so if you could just spare some money to help him out otherwise he’ll be homeless and normally he’d never do anything like this but this is an emergency- No one is buying it, dude. No. One.

8. That guy wearing the Scumbag Steve hat on his cell phone yelling “I’M ALMOST TO DOWNTOWN CROSSING! WHAT? NO, DOWNTOWN CROSSING! WHERE ARE YOU? BRO, I SAID ‘WHERE ARE YOU?’ NAW, MAN, LIKE PROBABLY FIVE MINUTES. WHAT? I CAN’T HEAR YOU.”

9. Woman eating McDonald’s- Great. Now we all get to smell like slightly burnt fries. Thanks.

10. Creepy silent starer- Um…yes, I can feel your gaze on me. And every time I try stealthily to look up to see if you’re still staring, BOOM! you are. Learn the rules of polite society, buttface, and awkwardly look down at the floor like the rest of us.

UPDATE: The Battle for the Back Porch continues…

Three days ago, I surrendered my back porch to two power-hungry and maniacal winged insects (which you can read all about here if you missed my last blog post).  But now, after hunkering down inside my house with my tail between my legs, I had had enough.

I was going to take back my territory if it was the last thing I did. So I decided to go nuclear on their asses and bring in my secret weapon:

CAPTAIN CANINE!

Yes, I figured if anything could defeat my sworn enemies, it would be my dog, a fearless creature who will eat ANYTHING (except, of course, for cheap dog food).

Or at least I thought so up until a few minutes ago, when Buffy and I stepped outside and this happened:

Buffy-Bee1 Buffy-Bee2 Buffy-Bee3 Buffy-Bee4 Buffy-Bee5 Buffy-Bee6

Yeah. I’m pretty sure we have to move now.