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Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

Christ alive — I’m not sure I recall how to write for my very own private audience any more. And it took about nine tries to remember my own password. A similar thing happens when I’ve missed a few pizza and taco nights worth of visits to the gym and the only way I can remember my locker combination is to imagine a woman shaped like the three digit code 34-8-38 (i.e. an apple core). I feel comfortable sharing that because you’ll never guess which one in the dressing room belongs to me. I’ll give you a clue though, I always try for the one that someone graffitied in perfect 7th grade detention handwriting “I H8 U!”

I’ve taken up a weekly residence over at Badass Digest where I mostly write about the resurgence of rad music videos – a true amalgamation of my favorite things. For full disclosure’s sake I’ll tell you that I gave said column the title “Holy Hunter of Music Videos” because I really thought it was funny how at first glance it appears to read: “Holly Hunter of Music Videos”. It may come as a shock that I wasn’t on all of the pot when this was decided. Then the comments came, “I always mistake the title for ‘Holly Hunter of Music Videos!'” I want to reply and explain but then realize I’d be essentially explaining that yes, I have a full-blown case of idiot. Instead I freeze up and google image search a pair of unlikely animal friends to clear my head. Wait, I uh…

Anyway, a perk of the gig is to occasionally have the opportunity to sit down with a well-known type, engage ourselves in conversation and share with the masses. This generally inspires zero performance anxiety on my end until someone mentions the words ‘video’ or ‘camera’. And I feel like I just exchanged my irrational fear of my grandparents’ swimming pool cleaning robot for a ONE EYED RECORDING DEVICE!

I’m determined to get over these silly jitters by discussing them, thus the wench boob grabbing header and word dump below it shall be seen again. This is as close as I’ll ever come to stripping on the internet.

The root of my fear begins with an introduction to this clip for some (a pleasant revisit for others) – Luther Hegg’s speech from The Ghost and Mr. Chicken. While other folks stuck to a predictably safe round of applause my paternal grandfather, Cleo used to shout “AAAAAATTA BOOOOOOOOOY, LUTHER!” to me from the audience after (sometimes during) every school play , choir performance, etc. It was one of those moments I secretly lived for and claimed to loathe in certain circles mostly made up of girls my age wearing the real Keds. Cleo also implemented the Swartz Family visit to Fuddruckers post Mormon Baptism that quickly became tradition. In any case, I don’t think I need more examples of  just how cool I thought he was at the time. And forgive me because I was far too young to know that wasn’t home of the world’s greatest hamburger. I’m getting off topic.

There was one performance in particular when I guess the confident-on-stage me fell right the hell apart. My parents had recently divorced and we’d stopped attending The Church of Cheese and Crackers of Rattle Day Snakes. The devout Mormons in our family didn’t approve and no longer came to my performances. I think only one of my parents had made it to the Fifth Grade Graduation Showcase. I had a small solo in a shitty number our lazy music teacher had written about exercising. Seriously, my shining moment was belting forth the line “EXERCISING, EXERCISING, HOW I LOVE MY EXERCISING!” at the top of my ten-year old lungs to a gymnasium full of video camera wielding parents with horrified looks upon their faces. And no Grampa Cleo in sight which meant no “Atta boy, Luther” and the resulting “Graaaaampa, I’m a GIIIIIIIIIRL!”

A few years later my new mom signed me up for a class at the Plano Children’s Theater called Sizzling Shakespeare. This is also where you have to ask yourself if a thirteen year old girl should sizzle. My parents narrowly escaped that tragedy because I sure as hell didn’t. My charisma reserves were tapped. On our first day of class during an introductory activity when asked to take the shape of a household appliance I had the nerve to become a human blender. They all watched as I spun around in circles until I became too dizzy and toppled over knocking a nearby chair on its side. Yes, I was unintentionally signing myself up to play the role of Nick Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I didn’t execute the part perfectly before an audience because of the whole newfangled stage fright plus missing Grampa thing.

What I’m getting at is – how in the world have I held onto these feelings for so long and how can I get rid of them?

I’ve had piping hot radioactive fluid injected into my face since then, so shouldn’t I be unfazed by a task so seemingly puny?

Crap, I think I’m having a bona fide “I’M NOT JOSIE GROSSIE ANYMORE!” moment.

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Famileaving.

Life has been on a peculiar pause here in Dallas while I recover from a depleted savings account and in one week I’ll finally be in Austin.  I’ve spent all of my time with family who’ve helped ease that stubborn cork out of my fermenting bottle of emotions.  Whether they’re all aware of that, who knows, but there’s something about my mom and dad’s respective kitchens that impregnate me with a litter of tear babies.  I’ve (conveniently) lost count of exactly how many I’ve given birth to over the past few months.

One of those evenings we were all gathered around the island at my dad’s, elbows resting while discussing what we’d like to order from the take-out menu and apparently the “I’m going to die alone!?” I was craving wasn’t in season.

I forgot what it feels like to unleash that mammoth of sorrow in front of family members as opposed to strangers in public (because that’s where it inevitably seeps out).  They hug the absolute shit out of you and order you a hefty, soothing styrofoam box full of piping hot monosodium glutamate.  Not once has anyone here made me feel like a total dolt for letting it all hang out.

My dad placed a box of complimentary tissue in the middle of the living room the night we all watched My Sister’s Keeper because I may or may not have residual cancer scare whimpers buried way down deep behind my toenail beds.

My Mormon family didn’t even flinch the night I almost said “fuck” during a heated game of Catch Phrase.  I swiftly changed it to “fuh-art” , but I have a feeling they’d have let it slide because my grandpa (a Priesthood Holder) moments later said “damn” and we all laughed so hard we cried.

My little brother even gave me the permission to share a snippet of our conversation the other night in which he admitted to making love to his giant teddy bear when we were kids.

My older sister called me to apologize for always putting me in the middle of her ongoing battle with our biological mother.  I will call her later this week to atone for not fully appreciating the many nights she let me curl up on her bedroom floor after a nightmare where she and Joe Elliott would sing me back to slumber.

My ex-step mother welcomed me into her home and onto the unlimited family yoga account.  Her boob popped out the other day while she demonstrated a sun salutation and I’ve almost executed bakasana/crow pose properly because she makes me feel less afraid to land on my face.

My current step-mother truly completes my dad and has never once made me feel like an asshole for being a stereotypically terrible teenager.  We’re talking wasted high school football players smashing her sculptures after one too many glasses of Jim Beam and Kool-Aid terrible teenager.  Selling your Badmotorfinger c.d. for ecstasy terrible teenager.

In one week I’ll actually know what it feels like to be homesick because this time I’m not running away.  I’ve chosen to build a new life for myself a few hours away because honestly, any more than that and I’d be making Claire Danes Chin Crinkle Cry Face in every job interview.

Wish me luck, will ya?

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There’s a question I ask myself a heap of times a day.  Mostly I ask it in the morning when I’m hosing myself off in the emergency eyewash station we call a shower in our four hundred square foot efficiency.  I guess you could say it’s intimate.  

The apartment sits on top of a photo printing and processing lab where most of my immediate family has worked the majority of their lives.  I’ll be working there until I get to Austin in a couple months, too.  

Sidenote:  I worked there for a day once in the dark room with my now current step mother but only because I was on suicide watch after ingesting all of the Sinutab and Nuprin I could find in our medicine cabinet.  I think my pre-adult whoreanus girlfriends had rubbed Oreos in our window screens the day before and I simply had no choice but to relieve my sinus pressure TO DEATH.  Fifteen was a turbulent year!

The low point of my week is having to cut through the boardroom on the way out of the apartment in order to get to the office.  I tip toe and dress as tawny as possible in order to blend in with the walls, but they turn around every time.  Occasionally I’ll get a side-splitting, “HEY APRIL, I HOPE YOU DON’T GET CAUGHT IN TRAFFIC!”  Then I’m beaten with the uncontrollable urge to raise my middle finger.  I have to hide it behind a composition notebook like a middle school boner.

My birth control is no longer in pill form because I have to look at a ton of newborn baby photos closely resembling a bald, asphyxiated Archie Bunker.  

Don’t get me wrong, there are upsides.  It’s been incredible to live so close to my family for a change.  

We were even able to visit my aunt at a nursing home in Minneola, Texas where she’s recovering from a stroke like a god damned soldier.  We all played a game of Farkle (yeah, my dad and I couldn’t leave that one alone for long) that day so she could practice using her frankenhand and I saw my very Mormon grandparents drink two cans of miscreant, caffeinated soda.  

My hands were visibly vibrating as I scooted them across the table.  I wasn’t sure what would happen when the Diet Coke hit their lips.  Surely nothing short of what we all know happens when you feed a mogwai after midnight.  I imagined my grandpa’s white hair swooping up from both sides into the center to form a mohawk like the bad Gremlin leader, Stripe.  

I’m just super thankful that my grandmother was too jacked up on the pop to hear one of the residents approach me in the hallway with the following pick up line,

“Why don’t you follow me to my room?!  I’ll show you where I beat myself up!”

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Sinema.

During the first (Mormon and caffeine free) decade of my childhood, watching anything other than asexual, happily ever after films was strictly verboten. 

I can’t complain because my cousins had it far worse.  They weren’t even allowed to say the word, “butt”. 

You can only imagine the horror in my aunt’s eyes the evening she walked in on me confessing to her children how I desperately wanted to be the piano seat beneath Richard Marx’s butt in the Christian music video we were all watching. 

In hindsight that certainly seems like more of a nightmare (to be smothered by Richard Marx’ ass) than a turn-on, but love does work in mysterious ways. 

It should also come as no surprise now that during this time no one ever discussed “the birds and the bees” with me. 

Instead I took notes from actors and actresses in a plethora of late 80’s to early 90’s erotic/thriller/contraband VHS tapes my parents kept tucked behind the Disney collection. 

Bear necessities vs. bare necessities.  Guess which ones I chose?

Basic Instinct (Spoiler:  It turns out to be not so basic.)

Nine 1/2 Weeks (Mickey Rourke as the naked Wrestler.)

Sliver (A Baldwin!)

Bitter Harvest (Another Baldwin!)

No Way Out (My favorite at the time for the erotic limousine tour of the Washington DC monuments and memorials.  Somebody hose me down over here.)

Flash forward to last week in Production class where the teacher announced our homework, to describe the use of dramatic lighting throughout the movie, Basic Instinct

I blushed and forgot for a moment that she wasn’t asking us to watch porn. 

I honestly couldn’t even tell you what the movie was about.  My ten year old review would read simply: “BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOBS!!!”

Will my twenty six year old review be any different?

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Hello, Nyquil.

Goodbye, sensibility.

Here is a pithy list of mistakes I’ve nearly made while under the influence of America’s favorite cold/flu multi-symptom relief syrup. 

I almost:

1.  Exchanged words with the human (or at least I think it was human) shrouded in one of the weakest chicken costumes I’ve seen to date.  I found it dancing on the street corner advertising a fast food joint specializing in chicken wings

Don’t get me wrong here, I love chicken wings, but take a hint from your Mormon cousin, Chic-fil-a, and hire renegade cattle with loose morals to do your bidding.  Because I’m not buying it. 

2.  Replied to this add on Craigslist.

“Was looking for 10 ladies to add to my staff for a self defense video. There is no nudity involved, looking for girl next door look. Basically you would be paid to smack a guy around (Male model), in some different techniques. Pay would start at $10 an hour, will keep 4 on a contract basis to do whenever new shoots are available.

Please reply with your name, age, picture and a brief description to why you are right for this position.”

To whom it may concern:

My name is April and I’m 26 years old.  I’d like to speak with you regarding a cost savings initiative for you, the budding entrepreneur reaping the benefits of the current self defense video boom.

Might I suggest a male model in a Wing Zone chicken costume?  I’ll even take $9/hr.  The catch is… instead of traditional hand to hand combat I’d like to defend myself with a super soaker full of honey mustard.  What do you think?

3.  Cried over a junk mail pamphlet advertising a local, residential maid service that read:  “LIFE’S TOO SHORT TO CLEAN YOUR OWN HOUSE!” 

Really!?!

Then why do I even bother wiping?

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My Turn On

I did the unthinkable last night and exposed the fine folks at my weekly movie night to a creepy Mormon musical I loved as a child. And on a VHS tape no less (BYOVCR). 

They kindly pointed out something I never noticed because I don’t have a filthy mind (nose growing); that the title on the box cover appears to be My Turn On instead of My Turn on Earth (1986).

Written exclusively for the stage, the play recounts the Mormon Plan of Salvation told by four extremely perky adults in children’s clothing.  I didn’t hesitate to point out my favorite, a Luke Perry doppelganger complete with his light denim overalls tucked into his Nike high tops.  Silence those ahh-ooga’s, ladies.

Catchy musical numbers like “Where on Earth Can I Find Heaven” (trick question) echo the sweet sounds of popular 70’s soft rock duos like The Carpenters, Seals and Crofts, or Loggins and Messina.  In other words, you better believe I’d snatch up the soundtrack on vinyl.   

I brought cookies (from heaven) to soften the blow and admitted aloud that I was actually worried the whole scenario would mimic the plot of The Ring/Ringu.  If you haven’t seen either version, I’ll spare you the nightmares and let you know that both revolve around a mysterious videotape that kills each viewer seven days later. 

Surprisingly, all six of us lasted until the very end, one full hour and twenty minutes later.

I guess I’ll know next Thursday whether or not the VHS tape was cursed.  I’ll feel just terrible if they’re all kidnapped and forced to wear two piece bathing suits while chugging two liter after two liter of Mountain Dew, Lucifer’s highly caffeinated soft drink of choice.

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