Archive for the ‘Traveling’ Category

That was the only phrase the “man” in the red shirt could utter in English that crucial, balmy Venice evening (er, morning) back in the summer of ’02. I still don’t know if those words rang true or if he was just a behind the times Fine Young Cannibals fan. For whatever reason I decided to leave my virginity with that… Angel.

I wanted the journal entry I wrote the next morning while riding the train to Venice to accompany this photo — but I just read through it once more and it’s still that brand of dry heave inducing, coming-of-age mortification. I’m talking the feeling took me back to that moment in 3rd grade when I spilled chili directly into my crotch on my birthday and couldn’t get ahold of my parents for a change of clothes embarrassment.

His name is Luca and that’s all I know.  Admittedly, as tragic as that t-shirt is… I’d totally scoop it up for a crisp Lincoln if the Salvation Army ever gave me the chance. An insignificant extension of me would wear it while taking someone else’s virginity, but I think that’s the wrong kind of paying it forward.

I’m glad he carried condoms in his tiny, baby blue backpack and that he wore reflective sneakers.  Dual levels of safety first.

I think this quote from a friend sums it all up quite nicely:  “blake:  you lost your virginity to a gay dude?”

Because I’m pretty sure I did.


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Frosty pause.

I’m Bill Paxton and/or Helen Hunt unrealistically tied to plumbing by leather drive belts in that farm pump house.  The tornado is fabricated!

Other than nearly losing my semi-firm grip on reality here in Austin, things are sensational.

I acquired a job almost immediately which actually surprised the hell out of me.  I must’ve said “Oh, it can’t be that difficult to find a job!” one hundred times while sweating a machine gun magazine full of bullets in every direction while family and friends looked on in secret horror.  

I won’t say much about it other than I did find barefaced joy in naming a file “dog poop letter template” the other day.  I work right on the UT campus with a sunlight and squirrel friendly office overlooking several walks of shame per morning.  I’m only on the second story, so the clip clop of their burnished lady shoes stabbing the concrete mercilessly with every step stops me right in my tracks.  I really can’t help but study them a bit.

Last weekend I was proposed to by a heavyhearted, Bukowski type fella who literally peed in his pants a couple stools down from me.  I’m not used to being in a bar come witching hour and it’s damn near frightening.  From my perspective, women are not unlike the gasoline in Mad Max 2.

It’s been truly spectacular to reconnect with an old friend that doubles as my current roommate.  She gave me the room with the view of the Capitol Building, and that’s just one of those inane things I find myself repeating when someone asks how I like it here. 

“It’s great!  I can see the Capitol Building from my bed.  Seriously, I can lie all the way down and its nipple is still peeping at me.”

As it turns out, not many people are as dazzled by that fact.  It reminds me of the time I moved to an apartment I’d never seen before in Chicago all because it was right next door to a prosthetic leg factory.

I was finally able to bring my cat home, too, and will admit that I pulled a Britney riding a few hours with him in my lap.

I’m okay.

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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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I’ve been avoiding this topic for quite some time.  For the most part, I didn’t want to be dooced before I put in my notice.  I also didn’t want to tell anyone about the morning I wept in my boss’ office while giving said notice. 

Hello, awkward.  Please, grab yourself some real estate in my life (lots of it).  The only thing worse than crying at work is crying while eating.  Bonus points are awarded if you’re crying while eating a dessert

I kept waiting and waiting for the right moment, one where I was feeling less decrepit.  It was just one more thing I had to part with.  Blergh.    

I can’t say I’ll miss the white noise generators because I’m convinced that if I removed the grates I’d expose alien nests brimming with cocooned corpses, but I will miss some of the actual humans in the building.  Especially my old buddy, J, on our Janitorial staff. 

I crave his brief, yet conclusive film reviews on our daily walks toward his bus stop and my stupid gym.

Re:  Jumper (2008)     


He was on the money.  That’s all he did!  I watched it and he just jumped everywhere.

It should also come as no surprise that a week after I get my braces off I’ll be moving back in with one of my moms for a while.  You’re a woman!  No, you’re not.  But you’re very close!  I’ll be living in her closet, working, and saving to move again to my final destination, Austin, Texas.

I joked with someone recently that I’m relocating because I landed a sweet Assistant Manager position at the Taco Cabana.  I’m pretty sure they took me seriously.  What I really want to do in Austin sounds just as ridiculous to some of my family members. 

Special effects make-up!  *crickets*

I guess some of them expect me to drone out now that I’m almost 27, unwed, and not planning on enrolling in any more college courses that don’t involve coloring. 

I’m girded and ready to field their questions.  There will be many since no one ever left Texas.

Now I’m no clairvoyant, but I believe these will be the first three:

1.  Are you a lesbian?

2.  Why aren’t you pregnant?

3.  Do you want fries with that?

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Our team, Green Pax, gave birth to a 48 Hour Film two weeks ago and ever since I left Greensboro I’ve felt like I’m suffering from postpartum depression.  I’ve got a fever.  And the only prescription is more Blue Bell. 

Genre pulled:  Historical Fiction

Elements Required:

Line of Dialogue:  “I’m fixing to get started.”

Character:  Luke or Laura Brown, President of a Non-Profit Organization.

Prop:  Family heirloom.

At midnight our screenwriter delivered a wonderfully written, haunting 1930’s love story into our anxious paws.  The time spent in between is a blur because I only stay up that late on Wednesday evenings when the Sci-Fi Channel does Ghost Hunters marathons.  And I’m pretty sure I sleepily admitted that fact aloud while also (not) regaling new pals with other confessions like how badly I miss VHS tapes.  I need to work on new, more gripping conversation material. 

We tied up loose ends until 4:00 a.m. the next morning and I passed out cold on the bottom bunk in my host, Jennie’s, thirteen year old daughter’s room.  I awoke two hours later in a purple Jonas Brothers palace and Frankenstein’d my way across the hall to the shower.

I can also say now that I promptly chugged 4-5 cups of coffee after that shower to get my good eye open, gave myself the runs, then began my duty as clapboard (clapperboard, slate, marker, etc) operator.  I’m sure I’ve grossed someone out by mentioning “the runs” and “duty” in the same sentence, but in all honesty that was an accident.

The slate was brand new and the hinges were stiff, so the first couple times I clapped it made a noise that only a dolphin could hear.  I know, next time I’ll hire a fluffer. 

Ex:  “Take two!” *silence*

Luckily, the director was a really nice guy and did me a solid by saying “Action!” anyway.  It reminded me of how my older sister would take forever to find me during a game of hide and seek even when I had clearly removed every toy from the chest and stacked them up just outside so I’d have enough room to close the lid. 

I was also able to put very little gore effects experience to the test by fashioning what was to be a human heart out of cow livers.  It looked (and smelled, ew) frighteningly real wrapped in a flour sack and did a good job of oozing out in a pivotal close up. 

This won’t be streaming online anywhere for quite some time, but I do have a copy at home for those of you nearby. 

I traveled back to Greensboro last weekend for the screening where our team won the award for Best Costumes and made the Producer’s Pick which was 10 out of 35.

I wanted to take everyone home in my pocket, but instead I drove back with the second best thing I could think of, a cheeseburger. 

I won’t be able to spell my full name until August 11th when we hand over our submission for the Romero Contest.  We shoot this Friday, July 4th, and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate our independence. 

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Wishin’ accomplished.

I’m proud to say that over the weekend in New York City I was in Xanadu.  My mom scored stage seats and despite their name I didn’t realize that they were actually on the stage.   

I was right there under the ‘U’ and I’m sure the real audience members were blinded by the light reflecting off of my brackets as I smiled and clapped offbeat like a drunken seal… with braces.

The stage manager gave us each a glow stick and told us to wait for our cue at the end. 

“And after you crack it, get up and dance!” 

Exsqueeze me?  Baking powder? 

I hadn’t been that stoked to dance with a glow stick since my high school rave days.  I thought to myself, “You’re lucky to finally have a professional on your hands tonight.” 

Unfortunately, mom and I were separated and I sat next to complete strangers on the opposite side of the stage.  They looked like people I know and I thought I could trick myself into being social that way. 

That might have worked had I not eaten my own weight in onions sprinkled generously atop a burrito bowl earlier in the evening.  There were two very large and unmistakable olive colored clouds of doom hovering over my front and behind.

I wish I had the vocabulary to describe the look on my face when one of the actors yelled, “CRACK THOSE GLOWSTICKS!”

I flew right out of my seat and pumped my fist into the air like my life depended on it.  Like everyone’s lives depended on it. 

Like every puppy and kitten in the world would lose an eye in a horrifying archery accident if I didn’t show that crowd what I was made of.  

We were also able to catch Spring Awakening and *spoiler alert* seeing a real live boob in a theater was surprisingly shocking.  It was like seeing a teacher outside of school. 

“What are you doing here?”  

Also, although I knew Duncan Shiek was behind the soundtrack, I wasn’t aware of the fact that he would be on stage with his band performing the instrumentals.  You probably remember his 90’s smash hit, “Barely Breathing”.

I kept getting so distracted by him on stage and during very serious and emotional scenes I kept seeing him scan the audience. 

“Did he just look at me?”


That’s the story of my life. 

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I’m a closet Xanadu fan and I’m finally going to see the live musical in NYC come February.  My (ex-step) mom and I just exchanged embarrassing e-mails about how excited we are and how we can’t get the righteous jams out of our heads.  She’ll be there on business and I’ll be there catching a cold. 

If anything that should stop the IT Department from reading the more risque selection from the outbox regarding the visible panty lines I sport most of the time here at the office.

My fascination with Xanadu began a couple years ago when my dad’s new wife, Monica, slipped the record in along with the collection he kindly passed down to me.  Like many things, it started out as a joke and quickly became a top shelf soundtrack staple in my weekend housekeeping rotation. 

I can’t imagine anyone being turned off by a roller skating disco fantasy featuring the sweet sounds of the Electric Light Orchestra.  Don’t bring another cloud to rain on my parade if that person is you. 

I visited New York City once when I was 14 and saw all of the major tourist attractions.  I even bought a Korn c.d. at the local Times Square Tower Records.  What?  That wasn’t in your travel guide?

This time around I’d like to visit:

  1. The American Museum of Natural History
  2. The writers of the movie, Kissing Jessica Stein, on the off chance that I’d also be able to give them black eyes.
  3. The back seat of a Cash Cab where I will surely know the answer to every trivia question without fainting and win all of the money.  Maybe fainting and not winning all of the money.  Maybe crying. 

Feel free to chime in if I’ve overlooked any important must sees.


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