Mar 272015
 

It’s been A Week. I actually felt delirious when I woke this morning and remembered that it was Friday. Thank god. Here are some pictures that have been accumulating on my phone, because let’s face it: I have no time to type words right now, and you have no time to read them. Can life just slow the fuck down for a second?

This was my “I have to go to Chuck E. Cheese” face. I actually started writing a post about that. Maybe someday I’ll finish it, along with all the drafts haunting my WordPress dashboard. Sigh. I MISS YOU, BLOG. This weekend I still have to write my guest post for the annual Pittsburgh Guest Blogger event thingie that my friend Alex orchestrates with such patience and panache. I mostly know what I’m writing, but you know me: I stress and stress and stress like stressing is my motherfuckin’ job. But the thing I’m writing has a companion painting. I either overachieve or half-ass. You never know with me.

So many good shows coming up! I bought my Puddles Pity Party ticket the day it was announced. Chris and Monica are going too and I’m so goddamn excited! I want to get my picture taken with him so that I can frame it and hang it up in my future clown room. Before that though, I have La Dispute next week, and then Circa Survive! Thank god for shows.

This St. Rita figurine is on my bathroom wall and every time Janna comes back from peeing, she starts chirping about how she always thinks homegirl is holding a machine gun. Now I wish she was. AND THAT SHE WOULD SHOOT JANNA! Just kidding.

Kind of.

We are still trying to organize Chooch’s room. He had somehow developed hoarder-like tendencies without my even realizing it. So that’s awesome. It was nice to re-discover some of his things though, like that wooden gumball machine that I made in Industrial Arts class in middle school (there should be an upside down mason jar on its head, but it never operated properly so why bother), and that cute little zombie doll that I bought Chooch when he was a baby. We named him Rot. Rot used to go everywhere with us until he was lost in Chooch’s landfill.

More Chooch-stuff. I bought that Keith Haring picture in Switzerland when I was a teenager. It’s significant because it was the first time my crazy aunt Sharon let me go off on my own. God, I felt like I was the coolest little bitch! So, this picture has been hanging on my walls for, dare I even say it, 20 years. I like that it’s Chooch’s now, though. Spreading the Haring love!

I’ve been helping out with some admin stuff until they find Barb’s replacement. (Not that Barb can EVER be replaced!) I finally decided to make my own AWAY signs though, and thankfully I had 6 pages of Pierce the Veil posters just laying there on my desk. When I came to work the next day, SOMEONE had slapped on a post-it note on my sign that said “good luck.” OH I WONDER WHO.

(Speaking of Barb, I got to have lunch with her today! And also Wendy, but I see her everyday so…I almost started crying when I saw Barb and after she hugged me, all I could manage to say was, “I hate you.” It’s not easy having such a loose grip on your emotions.)

I play this fun game where I accuse Henry of cheating on me every single time I see him even glace at another vagina’d human. So when Henry was making an ATM withdrawal next to some lady, I instantly Instagrammed it and casually captioned it, “Here’s Henry and the broad he’s cheating on me with.” One of my Instagram friends got all upset about it, like I was on a stake out when I took this picture. Which, to be fair, I totally could have been. You guys know me.

Ahh, I have so much more I want to say! I wish I had more time.
If you still read this hot mess, god bless you.

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Mar 252015
 

One of the best things I have never done during my blogging tenure (lol, what a douchey thing to call it) was this event called Blogathon. It was a 24-hour blogging frenzy, where you picked a charity, begged people to sponsor you*, and then proceeded to blog every 30 minutes for 24 hours.

*I would bribe my readers by letting them pick stupid things they wanted to see pictures of Henry doing. My favorites were when my friend Lauren wanted to see Henry with a fried egg on his head, and when another broad wanted me to take a picture of Henry with my then-neighbor Robin, who we were convinced had a meth lab in her basement.

It was excruciating.
It was hilarious.
It was stressful.
It was super rewarding.

I participated in it three times and some of my favorite posts were born from it.

The coolest thing, aside from raising a lot of cash money for some bad ass charities, was meeting other insane bloggers. One of them, Heidi, made art for 24 hours, and it was GOOD ART. We became blog-buddies through that experience, and then eventually made our e-acquaintance Facebook official. That’s how you know it’s real, guys.

While Janna and I were waiting for Howard Jones to come out last Saturday, Heidi sent me a Facebook message saying that she was going to be in Pittsburgh the following weekend, and did I have any spare time to hang out. Um, do I! I love meeting my blogging buds even though my social anxiety goes through the roof and into the heavens above.

“Guess what I’m doing tonight?” I said to Glenn last Friday in that snotty, needling tone I like to use on him when I’m about to remind him that I’m awesome and he’s not. “I’m having dinner with a girl I know from the Internet.”

“That’s nice,” Glenn muttered. “Hope you don’t end up in a park, missing a kidney.” BUT SOMEHOW I DON’T THINK HE’D CARE EITHER WAY. Henry didn’t seem too worried either. He casually asked me at the last minute who I was meeting but I don’t think he was listening past the point where he realized it probably wasn’t a frat boy/NFL player/Bill Cosby with a pocketful of Rufies.

Later that night, I determined that Heidi was not a frat boy/NFL player/Bill Cosby when I picked her up outside of her hotel in Oakland around 8:45 and was super stoked and touched when she presented me with a Santa container full of the MOISTEST homemade chai cookies that I wish I was gormandizing right now as I type this. (Spoiler alert: they didn’t even last a full day once Henry and Chooch caught wind of them.)

(Second spoiler alert: I don’t think they were Rufied.)

Originally, we were going to get Indian food, but Oakland is a hotbed of co-ed activity (in case you’re not from Pittsburgh, that’s where the Pitt and Carnegie Mellon campuses are) and parking is a legit nightmare. Add to that my flawed night vision and I was about 87 near-misses away from having my vehicular luck run out. After driving around in the same loop enough times for it to get an honorary Circle of Hell mention, Heidi put an end to the madness by suggesting that we just go back to her hotel room and order a fucking pizza, since the main point was just to hang out and talk anyway. Fuck you, streets of Oakland.

Full disclosure here: I am usually semi-retarded when I meet new people. I never used to be this way, and actually used to meet people online for sport (I called it “Interviewing For New Friends, but my boyfriend at the time liked to call it Cheating). I had no reservations back then, but sometime in my mid-20s, all of the fucked-up relationships (romantic and otherwise) I had endured this far in life caught up and turned me into a self-conscious robot-being. Like, my personality went into a compact little cocoon in the back of my mind and only came out when I was around people I already knew. Otherwise, it would take me multiple hang-outs before warming up to people, but who has time for that? It’s exhausting and I would usually just give up and decline party invitations. And while I feel like I’ve made some progress in my 30s, it’s still murky waters out there for me, socially.

Yet, with Heidi, my gut was all, “Hold up, this one’s good. You can be yourself. She will understand you. Red flags disengage.” And so I was myself. I put my walls down. I opened up. We oscillated between soul-baring tales and cracking each other up. We talked for nearly an hour before realizing we had yet to order pizza.

Which is when we learned that we’re both vegetarians who hate ordering pizza! Yet when I cried, “I’M SCARED YOU DO IT!” Heidi took one for the team and made the scary call to the pizza place.

And then it took another goddamn hour just to get the pizza, but it was worth the wait because the pizza guy was totally into my Silence the City tank top with it’s inspirational message, and he described some inspirational shirt he has, which sounded like some Nike shirt from the 90s, so we were like, “OK guy, cool story, we want our pizza.”

I left around 1AM so that Heidi could get some rest, but not before SELFIE TIME!!

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When Heidi was taking this, I was saying that my smile is so fake.

“It is n—–OK, yeah it totally is,” Heidi laughed when she looked at the picture. And even though I look like a fool, this is the one I asked her to send me because it’s the perfect snapshot of one of the realest connections I’ve made in a while. What a fabulous night of learning more about a new friend. Good listeners are so hard to come by, and I felt like we had a nice balance. Heidi is totally cool, has a wealth of stories, is immensely talented and inspiring…but most of all, her eyebrows are fucking perf! LOOK AT THEM!

I am so honored that Heidi made time for me during her Pittsburgh visit. Charleston, WV isn’t too far away, so I’m sure we will meet again. (Besides, her daughter Molly is the same age as Chooch and they both play Minecraft, so….)

 

 

(Spoiler alert part 3: I still have both kidneys I think.)

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Mar 242015
 

One day last December, I woke up hungry for Howard Jones, as one often does. As I turned on Spotify with my blood-stained unicorn horn, I casually asked myself, “I wonder if Howard Jones is touring?” HoJo has been on my Concert Bucket List for years and years and years. Like Mike+the Mechanics, he represents a good chunk of my childhood, although the emotions behind it are way  more upbeat and cheerful because I associate him almost solely with ROLLERSKATING. It was kind of weird that these two shows happened to fall back-to-back.

He was playing at the Trinity Cathedral downtown Cleveland, and I was totally relieved when Henry did some sleuthing (a/k/a actually reading the church’s website) and found out that there was on-site parking. One less thing for me to worry about! Except he didn’t tell me that parking was $10, which had to come out of my merch fund, ugh!

Janna and I got there about 15 minutes before doors. The line wasn’t long at all, and honestly a quick scan learned me that Janna and I were the youngest fans there so far. I figured the line would be relatively obnoxious BUT I COULDN’T HAVE BEEN MORE WRONG. This terrible old couple slinked into line right behind us and proceeded to engage in the most banal banter about nursing home food. The wife had a monotone midwestern lilt and I kept mouthing, “I’m going to fucking kill her” to Janna, who looked like she was being pushed to her limits, you guys, which is saying a lot because Janna works with behaviorally-damaged adults. (Is that a real term? I DON’T KNOW WHAT’S OK TO SAY THESE DAYS.)

Once the doors opened and we made inside the lobby, the wife started FREAKING THE FUCK OUT, albeit monotonally, because the event staff kept telling everyone to have their IDs ready.

“I DON’T HAVE MY LICENSE WHAT AM I GOING TO DO ARE THEY GOING TO MAKE ME LEAVE.” <—This, over and over, even though her husband kept saying, “I don’t know.” Have these people never in their 89 years been to a concert before? Good lord. Maybe you should have stayed home and binge-watched “All In the Family,” Edith.

Then Janna was all excited because she saw some girl trip on her way to the bathroom and play it off by acting like she was just breaking into a sprint.

The line moved pretty quickly and soon Janna and I had our drinking wristbands on since we were smart enough to bring our IDs, Edith. A second line formed after we had our tickets scanned, and this one snaked into a room with a makeshift bar and  the most entertaining bartender who was determined to get everyone drunk, even if they didn’t want to get out of line.

Janna got a $9 mixed drink.

Janna’s $9 mixed drink.

I wasn’t going to drink at first, but then I was like “FUCK IT I DON’T HAVE ENOUGH CASH ON ME TO GET A SHIRT NOW ANYWAY” thanks to Henry not telling me about the NOT-FREE parking lot. So I bought a $6 cup of wine and it was just enough to make me not want to fly home and give Henry a Mexican necktie for ruining my life.

Then some dude in charge was walking around telling everyone that the show was going to be filmed and explained that it was going to be held in the Cathedral itself, which was a happy surprise for me because I just assumed it was going to be in some annex-type thing. When the line started moving again and we slowly made our way into the main part of  the Cathedral, my breath got all caught up in my atheistic throat and memories of when I believed in God came fluttering back. It was good. Just nice little tingles of comfort and familiarity and not the skin-searing sensation of spontaneous combustion that you’d expect from me crossing the threshold of God’s House.

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Religion aside, I honestly do love churches and cathedrals for their architectural aesthetics and history. Just being there made the hair stand up like little erect penes on my arms.

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The first 15 or so rows were reserved, but we managed to snag good seats — well, my seat was good, but Janna was irritated because some tall broad planted herself in front of Janna and then never moved. I think Amazonian may have kind of clapped once, but it might have been an accident. But from my spot, I was able to see Howard and his hot pink blazer the whole time, in your face JANNA!

The girl who tripped on the way to the bathroom ended up being in the first row, so who’s laughing now, I guess.

The only downside of the night was the opener. It was just supposed to be this singer-songwriter, Cobi Mike, but apparently at the last minute the event organizers snagged some local Cleveland Ashanti wannabe — Nefertiti. Guys, you know I love me some R&B, but this wasn’t the night for it. Nefertiti came out looking like Miss America, with Cobi in all denim accompanying her on guitar. It just didn’t make sense from the start. Luckily, she only sang three songs, two of which were covers. The first one she explained was by “a virtual band who present themselves as cartoons.”

But she never said it was Gorillaz.

“Maybe she thinks everyone here is too old to know who they are,” Janna said. I mean, there were A LOT of old people there.

The second song was one of her originals and get this you guys—it was about LOVE. What a strange theme for a song.

The third was the Beatles’ “Blackbird” and I made a flying-bird motion with my hands when it was almost over, because bitch fly the fuck home. She was a real snooze-fest. Henry probably would have loved her.

After she left the stage, Cobi Mike went on to perform 6 songs and I was INTO IT. Janna said she lost interest after the first two songs, probably because he wasn’t doing any Bloodhound Gang covers. Because that seems like something that would make Janna get out of her seat, I don’t know.

Here’s a Cobe Mike song I found on YouTube to give you an idea of his Hot Angel face, I mean…smooth voice:

When he comes to Pittsburgh, I’m going. Just not with JANNA, I guess, since she HATES HIM.

After Cobi’s set, we went to the bathroom but nothing good happened there aside from two old broads having a conversation with each other over top of my stall. On the way back, we got stuck in some bottlenecked corridor while Nefertiti was doing a meet and greet, but I think it was actually just her family who came out to see her. But Jesus Christ, go somewhere else and tell her how proud you are! I eventually just barreled my way through with no excuse mes given because I don’t like her.

And then Janna saw someone she knows and got all hair-in-face covert about it, so I of course had to text Corey about it on the ASAP because we love texting about Janna’s comings and goings. Then Janna showed me the guys who have recently viewed her dating profile and that was enjoyable. Lots of black men in their 50s.

Right before Howard, the Cathedral’s pastor came out in a bitchin’ leather jacket to talk to us about her vision for the church in the 21st century, how this new concert series they’ve been dabbling in has been so successful, but to please remember that this is still God’s House at the end of the day, so please don’t make a mess. Since this wasn’t a Warped Tour crowd, I figured the church was pretty safe.

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BUT THEN IT WAS HOWARD JONES TIME!!!! He came out on the wings of celestial synth and if someone had interviewed me right then, it would have been all, “*SQUEAL! SQUEAL! SQUEAL!*” He walked around the crowd a little bit before joining his band on stage and I was just like, “UGH JANNA!!!” because I wanted him to walk just a little bit further to where we were. I would have pushed the broad next to me aside for one quick touch.

The sound was obviously incredible. I can’t imagine a better venue—it was so intimate and the crowd was great. There were tons of old bitches throwing themselves around in fantastical 1980s prom revisitations. I hope I still have fun like that when I’m old. I’ll probably at least still be heckling Janna, and that’s definitely fun!

He played all of his big hits and I was having synthgasms all up in that ecclesiastical piece. Synthpop is one of my all-time favorite genres of music and to hear it live is always such a dream. It makes me feel such happiness all the way to the core — there was no weeping at this show. It was all sing-alongs and bouncing and screaming. When Henry was “courting” me (lol), he played off this fact about me and made me synthpop mixed CDs and bought me compilations from A Different Drum. Henry was such a catch back then! (Fine. I guess he still is.)

My earliest memory of Howard Jones was in 1984. One of the network TV stations had a show called Friday Night Videos, and my dad used to keep a blank VHS tape in the VCR, waiting to hit “record” when songs he liked would come on. Howard Jones’ “New Song” was one of those videos, and if I knew then what I know now, I’d have cried, “This is the fucking jam!”

When I moved out of the house at 18, I slipped that VHS tape of videos, with its shoddy masking tape label, into one of my boxes. Because that tape was my everything as a kid! Sure, it means nothing now in the age of YouTube, but—there are some 80s commercials on it, and about 8 minutes of Days of Our Lives. It’s a fucking time capsule.

It’s funny: my relationship with my step-dad was strained and dysfunctional, but he inadvertently managed to cultivate my musical tastes. I didn’t get that from my mom.

This should be everyone’s anthem. Throw off your mental chains!

Here is his set list, in case you’re reading this and know who Howard Jones is, and if you still don’t, I linked to some of his most popular videos because I’m thorough like that (sometimes):


Howard’s keyboard stand changed colors and now I desperately want to get one for Chooch. When I showed it to Henry, he smirked and said, “Good luck with that.” WHY DON’T YOU BE A REAL FATHER AND MAKE ONE, THEN?!

On the way out, I noticed that there were empty cups and other various refuse all over the place. What fucking assholes. Even old people can’t be civilized at shows.

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And thankfully for Henry’s ballsack, Howard’s merch table took credit cards, so I was able to get a shirt after all.

I still get so giddy just thinking about being in a cathedral with Howard Jones! But I still had a 2.5 hour drive home in the dark, fueled by extreme hyperactivity from the day’s events, and hilarity over the fact that the combined effort of Janna and I nearly couldn’t figure out the headlights on the fucking rental car. I was actually driving a few miles without them on, but then we stopped at Sheetz for coffee and Janna stood in front of the car while I twisted the dial every which way.

Once we were on the road again, Janna said, “I’m glad we have headlights now.”

“Yeah,” I agreed, tearing into my Melt leftovers, and then realized that I had forgotten to turn them back on after I got gas. OH, HOW WE LAUGHED. And then I almost cried because I was tired but giddy. We got back to Pittsburgh around 2AM but then I couldn’t fall asleep until 3:30. I woke up at 6:30AM on Sunday, so that did wonders for  my mood disorders. But, worth it!

You guys, I saw Howard Jones! The only way that night could have been any better would be it was at Spinning Wheels and I was ten-years-old again.

 

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Mar 232015
 

Earlier tonight, I was inspired to listen to music that makes me want to die, which is Henry’s absolute favorite activity to watch me participate in! After The Used’s “Blue & Yellow” (which I haven’t been able to listen to in its entirety for years), I switched over to Armor For Sleep.

“Why do you torture yourself?” Henry sighed in a rhetorical fashion, because he knows why. He might  not understand it, but he knows the answer.

“I’d give anything—-” I started to say, but my voice got strangulated by impending tears. “—to see Armor For Sleep again.”

Henry just rolled his eyes and shook his head.

I listened to this album A LOT on my drives to Cincinnati in 2005 and it still holds up so well, ten years later. Such a sorely underrated band. You should listen to them. Would it make any of you 30 Rock fans more interested if I told you that the singer Ben Jorgensen is married to Katrina Bowden?

But seriously, if they would get back together for just one last tour….I’d drive to Cincinnati again for that.

Emo forever.

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Mar 222015
 

   

Henry went to the laundromat this afternoon and forget to put Chooch and me in our cages, so we decided to run around Brookline like average idiots. If we threw pinecones at you, sorry I guess. But you probably deserved it. 

We walked to that abandoned blind kid school that we love so much, and as usual I know we were being spied on by eyeless ghosts. 

            

We’re not very adept at using the camera timer but this was still less frustrating that if HENRY was taking the pictures ugh he’s the worst. 

     

Then Chooch took us home his way, which involves a lot of cutting through people’s backyards, jumping off walls, and screaming “OMG RUN!”

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Mar 212015
 

When I woke up last Saturday morning, I told Henry that my goal was to be as obnoxious as possible all day.

“I’m sure you’ll win,” he said somewhat happily, probably since he wasn’t going to be with me. I was Janna’s burden!

I found out last December that Howard Jones was playing in Cleveland in March and I begged Janna to go with me. But, since Janna isn’t Henry, she said sure right away and I didn’t have to make any false promises like I typically have to do to get Henry to go to shows.  Henry was so excited that he didn’t have to go, that he even rented a car for me so I honestly didn’t have to do anything to prepare for this day aside from order my own ticket. Henry is the best, you guys!

Bu then I flipped out twice before even leaving the driveway, once because I couldn’t get the car to recognize my phone and once because I couldn’t find the route he pre-programmed into the GPS for me, making Henry come out to assist on both accounts. Janna just sat there and sighed, because she has been a spectator of the sick sport of Henry and Erin for 14 years now. Afterward, Henry made some douchey retort on my Facebook status about how I “won before even leaving.” Whatever forever, Mehoover.

The drive to Cleveland was, thankfully, uneventful. I mean, as far as being murdered by hitchhikers or flipping FBI cars go. I only missed one exit! And it was because HENRY had the GPS set on MUTE, good job, HENRY. Because Henry is a Professional Driver, I don’t do much driving myself these days. And while it was nice to be behind the wheel, it was also pretty maddening not being able to tweet nonsense about Janna BECAUSE I DON’T TEXT AND DRIVE YOU GUYS. Nor should you.

Once we made it into Cleveland, our first stop was a late lunch at Melt, because it’s sacrilege to go to Cleveland without shoving a cinder block-sized pile of bread, cheese & assorted sandwich accouterments into that gaping pit in my face that is often mistaken for the portal to Hell. The best part about Melt is that they recognize vegetarians and vegans as real human beings and nearly everything on the menu can be tweaked to accommodate the meat-averse population.

And that is how I was able to enjoy the Melt of the month: a chicken pot pie grilled cheese, are you kidding me. And the funny thing is that I was never a big fan of pot pies when I still ate meat. I would eat the puff pastry on the top, scoop out the middle straight into the trash, and continue on to the bottom layer of pastry, all soggy from the gravy and totally amazing.

Here you can see some puffed pastry hanging out, like the labia of an over-worked grilled cheesgina.

If I’ve learned anything from the last three years’ worth of Melt power-chows, it’s to pace myself. Especially considering every time I’ve eaten there has preceded a concert, which means I have to endure an evening of my rumbling digestive system rivaling the sound of the show. So I slowly ate half and then immediately pushed away my plate.

Janna’s menu was on the back of an Alan Parsons Project record cover and I almost died because “Eye In the Sky” brings back weird flashbacks/maybe-memories of my birth dad and has pretty much haunted  me my whole life. Just a few weeks ago, I spontaneously queued it up on Spotify just to torture myself. So it was pretty apropos that this happened during the tour down music-memory lane I had embarked on last weekend.

Fucking orgasmic grilled cheeses (Janna got the Big Popper, which I had the last time and highly recommend!) and kismetic album covers aside, I would have to say my Melt highlight was when our waitress carded me when I ordered an Angry Orchard and then said, “No way, you look YOUNG. We were born in the same year, I’m jealous.” FUCK YES SEMI-HEALTHY LIFESTYLE FTW! Just kidding. It’s all that baby blood I drink. 

Looks aside, I definitely feel younger now than I did in my 20s, so something’s working right.

After we ate, we took a test-run downtown to make sure we knew for sure how to get to the venue while it was still daylight, and the GPS kept trying to convince me that it was OK to turn the wrong way on one-way streets, which is why I would rather just print my directions out on paper via Mapquest like the old days, ugh. Directions and I just aren’t a match. Then the Flower Child foray happpened, after which I made good on my promise to take Janna to Edgewater State Park in order to see disgusting Lake Erie (all large bodies of water disgust me) and it was even more disgusting because IT WAS FROZEN AND LOOKED LIKE THE SURFACE OF THE EARTH AS SEEN FROM SPACE AND I ALSO HATE SPACE!! Ugh, fuck you, Janna!! (Don’t worry — I said that to her face, too.)

All that white behind us IS FROZEN LAKE DISGUSTINGNESS.

OMG I’m puking in my mouth just looking at this.

FUCK YOU. This might as well have just been ALASKA, that’s how repulsed I was. (Alaska is one of my biggest fears, in case you’re new here.)

I was just really distraught about this. I kept thinking we were going to get taken by a serial killer who would then place our mutilated bodies in some obscene ice-fishing tableau on the lake.

Luckily, I was rewarded for my valiant effort to make someone other than myself happy (ugh, who am I anymore) when we were trodding through grass and JANNA ALMOST STEPPED ON A DEAD RAT!!! Oh god, I was already cheering so hard, I can’t even imagine the euphoria that would have poured over me like a bucket of rainbow glitter had her shoe actually made contact. Of course, she was like, “It’s not funny” and then she went off to use a porta-potty but SHE HAD TO CLEAN IT FIRST BECAUSE IT WAS GROSS and she had no other option, because when ya gotta go, ya gotta go, right? So at this point, I had literal tears from laughing so hard and started to see sparks in my periphery, because this is a thing that has been happening lately when I strain myself from reacting to absolute hilarity (which I was I seriously think I have a laughing disease!!). I had to go sit on a bench and text the only person who I knew for a fact would appreciate the latest Janna episode: MY BROTHER COREY.

“Go knock over the porta-potty while she’s in it!” he begged via text and I was being stabbed in the ribs at this point by the Giggle Gods. Then I tried calling Henry to tell him that Janna almost LITERALLY imprinted with a rat corpse and then had to scrub a porta-potty, but he knew better than to answer because I was either going to:

  • bitch about direction-things and blame him for being lost in the red-light district.
  • tell him I found some medieval birthing chair at a garage sale and could I spent $666 on it?
  • try to tell him a story but end up having a Bobcat Goldthwait-esque chuckleptic seizure in his ear instead.

And then it was finally time to set off to the Trinity Cathedral for Howard Jones! And I only made one wrong turn!

 

 

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Mar 192015
 

HEY GANG. Today have a vintage Erin and Henry post about the first time we went to the flea market together in 2005. This was also back when we hated each other, so read between the lines, I guess is what I’m saying, oh ho ho ho. 

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I’ve only ever been to a flea market once in my life (I’m a reformed Versace-girl, remember). That was in high school, and it was only a quick jaunt for my friend Jon to pick up some cheap cigarettes. I remember wanting to stay longer so I could look for cool things like slap bracelets and ugly lamps, but Jon reminded me that we had more important things to do, like sit and drink coffee at Denny’s for five hours.

So when Henry pressed his luck and threw “flea market” into the Sunday Morning suggestion box, I shrugged and said, “Maybe.” After learning he would buy me trinkets of affection (and shameless bribery), I hurriedly changed my vote to a yea.

I was eager to experience this so-called bargain circus with my frugal, blue-collared boyfriend, who is no doubt quite familiar with spotting a deal. Hopefully he could show me the ropes. At the very least, maybe it would turn into another social experiment, like when one of my ex boyfriends tried to show me how to grocery shop with coupons.

The flea market we attended was set up inside an old movie theater, with the excess spilling out into the back parking lot. Henry wore a proud look of “welcome to my world” on his face, as he steered the car through aisles of limping elderly and spandexed women. I saw fanny packs and torsos sausaged into crop tops everywhere I turned.

Feeling a swell of excitement as he parked between two Nascar bumper stickered cars, I whipped out my lip gloss for a touch-up.

“Are you kidding me? Did you not see the people we drove past? No one cares how you look! It’s a flea market.” But I like to look nice while I’m shopping! He stood next to the car with crossed arms until I dolefully returned the lip gloss to my purse.

We entered the converted theater and Henry seemed to be harboring some hesitation. Maybe he was regretting bringing me?

Once my eyes adjusted, I scoffed and whispered, “Oh my God, this stuff is so dumb! People actually buy this?” causing Henry to grip my elbow and push me along the aisle.

“Stupid. Ugly. Dumb. Whoa…..what’s that?” On a table to my right sprawled a sparking strand of exquisite black baubles suitable for any good Zsa Zsa Gabor impersonator (I should know — I dressed as her once in fifth grade). I held the necklace in my hand and allowed the coolness of the black gems to sink into my palm. This must be a thousand million dollars, I thought to myself in disdain. My eyes furtively sought the table for some sort of price tag, when they landed on a sign that said “All necklaces, $2.”

Be still my heart, I swooned! Pivoting on my heels, I silently implored Henry with wide eyes, necklace clutched to my heart. He rolled his eyes and passed me two dollar bills. When I looked at him in confusion, he said irritably, “Go give it to that old woman behind the table.” I didn’t know! God.

My first flea market purchase! I skipped back toward Henry and gloated in his face. “That’s great, now watch where you’re walking.” He was jealous, that’s all. This is when it occured to me that perhaps my depression could be attributed to lack of accessorizing. So I embarked on a mission for more gaudy adornments.

Twenty seconds later and Henry had lost me. While he continued to walk ahead, I had been drawn over to a table boasting brilliantly colored wooden necklaces. I fawned over them with glazed eyes until Henry made his way back to my side.

“I’m buying these two. Give me money.” When Henry’s hand failed to move toward his pocket, I made like I was going to cause a scene and he hurriedly slapped a twenty in my hand.

I wore the necklace pictured later that day when we went to lunch and each time the waitress would stop at our table, I would flip my hair dramatically over my shoulder and wait for the inevitable shriek of “Oh my god that necklace is so great! Where did you get it!” Alas, she never noticed (Henry maintains that she noticed, alright, but just didn’t care).

Quickly deciding that I was going to empty his pockets if we stayed inside amongst all the “nice” merchandise, he decided to take me out to the parking lot where all the junk was set up. On our way out there, an old woman careened into Henry with a rolled up rug and said, “Oh, I’m so sorry dear heart.” I made a mental note of calling him that for the rest of the day, but it became a fleeting memory once we walked out the doors and were barraged by blaring country music and the dueling aromas of soul food and teriyaki chicken. What a mix.

I shielded my eyes and took in the sea of slipshod tools, bargain cleaning products, and board games with missing pieces. We flipped through stolen DVDs and crates of cracked CD cases; I’ll never see more Rick Astley CDs in all my lifetime if I try.

People bounded from table to table, like locusts, grabbing up armfuls of batteries, watering cans adorned with giant plastic daisies, and Barbie clothes. Underneath small tents, more people pushed and shoved to get a better look at VHS selections, dollar store Christmas decorations and faded Steelers shirts.

I had grown accustomed to paying only $1-$2 for things that caught my eye, so when I’d see price tags demanding a lofty $5 and up, I’d slap my hand across my chest and say things like “Astronomical!” and “Oh, sister, you’re out of your mind!” I fear that I may be forever ruined by the flea market and all of its remarkable deals.

We trudged our way up and down the aisles, Henry stepping on the backs of my flip-flops and me complaining of the pelting sun. In the middle of a train of snide remarks, I interrupted myself with a breathy “Uh-oh.”

“What does that mean, ‘uh-oh’?” Henry asked nervously. “What did you do?”

“Would you look?” I said, as I pointed vigorously to the stand on our left.

“Yeah, it’s all junk. Keep walking.” And he started ambling away, that Henry. I tugged him back over to the table and pointed again.

“I want that.”

“No, I’m not buying it. Come on.”

“But I need it! Please ask that man how much it is!” You know how when you’re a kid and you just have to have a certain toy and your parents know that you’ll never play with it so they don’t want to encourage you? That’s kind of how it is all day, every day with Henry and me.

Henry stood quietly for a few seconds, staring at the object of my desire. “My loins are burning for it, Henry! Please, it’s my dying wish!” I was yanking his arm and lurching up and down like I had to pee. I scrunched up my face and flung my hand across my forehead.

And so he finally cleared his throat and dejectedly asked the elderly black man behind the table how much the brown nudie mug would set him back.

“One dollar.”

ONE DOLLAR. Oh, my heart soared and I beamed and squealed as I watched Henry make the transaction. The man plunked it into a plastic bag and I wrestled it from Henry’s fist. “I swear to god I’ll use it everyday!” I emphatically vowed.

“Yeah? I wouldn’t,” Henry muttered as we continued along the aisles of clutter.

Still riding the waves of euphoria over my nudie mug, a shiny glint caught my eye. Stopping abruptly, I slowly turned my head to see what was causing such a dazzling glow and gasped as I collapsed back into Henry.

“No, oh no. Keep walking,” Henry’s face was awash with a stew of apprehension and horror.

“But it’s the most beautifulest thing in the world!” I breathed. “I want it. I want it! How much do you think it is?” I had to run to catch up to him, as his pace quickened significantly. “Please?!”

“You act like everything is life or death,” Henry spat as he continued to browse tables for stuff that he likes (which is all stupid stuff).

“I really think that I need this, though. I mean, I love my nudie mug, but this would make me even more happy. Don’t you want me to be happy?” That gets him every time. Every time. I knew that once we made our way back around, he would buy it for me.

What is it? Only the most glorious piece of art you’ll ever see, that’s what it is.

I walked with my head down, body rigid and consumed with panic. “What if someone buys it?”

“Um, doubtful,” Henry uttered while tossing me a fed up face.

Mere seconds later, I was entranced by a glazed ceramic figurine that resembled Big Boy, only he sported frightening lime green eyes. Standing at about a foot tall, I envisioned him perched on my fireplace mantle, keeping watch over my guests. The grizzled old guy manning the table caught me staring at it and warbled in a hoarse mountain man voice, “Anything here catch your eye?”

I wanted to clap and say, “Yes, mister! This right here! How much?” but Henry pierced through my soul with slinted eyes, and with flared nostrils he quickly shook his head “no.” As we walked away, I scuffed my feet and tried to make him understand how much I wanted it.

“That stupid thing was wearing golf clothes and it was carrying a golf bag. Why would you want that?”

“I love golf!” I was offended that he did not know this. When he denied my golfing affectations, I reminded him that I have Phil Mickelson listed as a LiveJournal interest.

“Yeah, but that’s not because you think he’s a good golfer. It’s because you’re weird.” He was still mouthing off about me being a golf fan-poseur, when I saw the most beautiful, gigantic metal bangle bracelet.

I thrust my fist through it and modeled it for all to see. The Asian woman behind the table cooed. “Yes, that’s lovely! Three dollah.”

“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe…I can’t decide.” I scrutinized the heavy bracelet and admired how it mirrored the sun’s blinding rays. I continued to deliberate, peppering the moment with uncertainties such as “Maybe I’ll be back” and “Do I really need such an extravagant piece of jewelry adorning my wrist?” until she said, “OK fine, two dollah!”

As I walked away with my new chintzy bangle, I shielded my eyes from its blazing shine and elbowed Henry in the side. “Did you see what I did back there? Knocking her down to a cheaper price? That’s called bartering, Henry. I learned how to do that in Morocco.” Because I loooove reminding Henry that I had already traveled half the world by the time I was 13 while he was busy coloring his collar blue.

“Didn’t you hear what she said? You could have got three for $5, so wipe the smirk off your face–you were still taken.”

And then there we were, back to the table that housed the diamond in the rough. “Look at it,” I purred. “If that’s not the most beautiful—”

“Do you honestly want it?” I imagine Henry thought I was joking until he saw that my eyes were tearing up. And so he asked the seller how much it was going for and suddenly, I felt a rush of blood to my head, and the sound of crashing drums filled my ears. I braced myself for the ugly truth, willing to wager that my masterpiece was going to be too steep for Henry’s meager salary. I could hear Henry talking, but it sounded long and drawn out, like a record playing on slow speed.

I’ll tell you what, I thought my eyes deceived me, like an oasis in the desert illusion, when I saw him hand over two dollar bills. TWO DOLLARS FOR THIS PIECE OF EYE CANDY.

 

 

 

It’s like three feet long!

“I can’t believe someone bought this the first time,” Henry said disgustedly as he thrust the beauty into my greedy hands. I stared at it in awe. What a dangerous item to be placed into the care of someone as sacrilegious as myself. My mind began to whirl as I imagined all the things I could do with it. Chase Marcy around the house; slice Henry’s wrists and splatter his blood over it; use it as a TV dinner tray.

There was a brief window of fear as I wondered if the picture was so cheap because it was haunted. Like, I don’t know, maybe by the Holy Ghost? I made a mental note of hanging the picture below my devil clock; let him keep an eye out, you know?

Generally, I make Henry carry all the bags when we go shopping, but yesterday, I stingily hoarded them all for myself. Feeling my last supper picture slap against my thigh as I walked caused me great delight.

I’m hoping to shop at the flea market all the time now.

“Hey big spender, do you think it would be alright if I bought myself a hot dog?”

You know what, Henry, go and have that hot dog; I think that’ll be just fine.

[Note from the future: I was reminded me of this when I saw a similar piece to the Last Supper at Flower Child last weekend. It was the same size and made from the same material, except that instead of Jesus & Co., it was fruit and FORTY DOLLARS.]

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Mar 182015
 

It was all the way back in October when I was getting ready for work and heard on the radio that Mike + the Mechanics were touring America for the first time in 25 years, and Pittsburgh was one of the stops. I freaked the fuck out and texted Henry immediately because I needed to see this.

When I was a kid, my Pappap used to drive me to school (which is probably where my fear of public transportation stems from—I never rode the bus to school!) and he went through a pretty heavy Mike + the Mechanics phase after they released The Living Years. He kept the cassette in his truck and every time the title track would play, he would thrum his fingers along the steering wheel and get real quiet. He told me once that this song made him think of his father, but because I was At That Age, I never actually bothered to ask him questions about their relationship: if it was bad, if there were things he regretted saying or not saying to him, did he miss him. So in a way, this song has always had the same effect on me, as well. And after my Pappap died in 1996, I would sometimes listen to this on purpose, just to make myself even more miserable. Because why not.

I had to go to this show, because I just couldn’t stop thinking that maybe my Pappap would be there. Dumb? Don’t care.

In addition to this, there are the other face-value factors, such as MIKE RUTHERFORD. I loved (and still love) Genesis when I was a kid, and while I got to see Phil Collins, I never had the opportunity to see Genesis. So even though M+M have two new singers who replace Paul Carrack and the deceased Paul Young, being under the same roof as Mike Rutherford was worth it to me. And the other factor is that it’s just a great fucking band with some huge hits that defined my childhood.

Every time I would hear the commercial for the show on the radio, I would tear up. And all last week, I was sick to my stomach with excitement and also anxiety, because I knew it was going to be a rough one, emotionally.

Henry and I had time to stop for dinner beforehand, and because it’s all about me, we went to the Tin Roof, a vegetarian restaurant a few blocks away from the Carnegie Music hall. The food was OK, but I’m so spoiled by Zenith that it takes a lot to impress me when it comes to vegetarian cuisine. I had carrot ginger risotto, which was slightly burnt and served on a roasted portabello mushroom; I feel like Gordon Ramsay would have called the cook a donkey over that one, but I still ate it and it was fine. Henry basically ordered the thing on the menu that had the most cheese because god forbid, No Meat.

I had some wine to calm my nerves. It didn’t work.

Thrilled to be on a date with me!

We arrived shortly before the opener went on, and I was happy to see that Henry got us the same seats we had for Goblin last year. I love balconies! And then we looked on in amusement as more and more people trickled in and Henry realized he was one of the Younger Ones for once. And if that was true, then I was practically infantile by comparison.

I love the vibe at Older People shows. You know I love my scene kid shows, but sometimes it’s nice to experience other things, too! I was about to say that older people are much more respectful and appreciative at concerts, but then I remembered the old hags I was standing behind at Afghan Whigs at Riot Fest, who never shut their fucking Botoxed faces. So we’ll just go ahead and say, “Mostly.”

Daryl Stuermer, also formerly of Genesis, opened the show at 7:30. He played some covers as well as his own solo stuff, but what I liked best was when he would talk in between songs. Especially when he told the story of when his friend urged him to audition for Genesis in 1977, and then Mike Rutherford sent him a cassette of demos.

“You seem like the type of crowd who would be familiar with cassettes,” Daryl joked and I laughed just a tad too hard, because Henry hates that.

Then when Daryl announced he was from Milwaukee, I adopted that weird growling-voice I do sometimes and said in Henry’s ear, “So was Jeffrey Dahmer.” Henry just shrugged me away from him. 

My favorite parts of Daryl’s set was when the man in front of me would pump his fist and cry out, “YES!” and then follow-up with a quieter “Yes.” Also, I enjoyed his cover of “Shock the Monkey.”

It was sometime around this point where I fell into my standard, “What if someone starts shooting?” paranoid thoughts, and then I started laughing out loud at how absurd it would be to start a story with, “That one time I got shot at a Mike+the Mechanics show.”

After Daryl peaced out, Henry and I went to the makeshift bar and I got more wine. Henry got beer or something, I guess.

And then it was time.

Everyone went nuts when they came out, and while I do love to see an old folk go apeshit, my heart was beating so rapidly that I didn’t have it in me to mock any of them for Henry. I know he felt sorely remiss. All I kept on thinking was, “OMG THIS IS HAPPENING YOU GUYS!” because “you guys” are always in my thoughts. Whoever the fuck you are.

The new singers? PHENOMENAL. I was so worried they were going to stink up the classics, but nope. Nope, nope, nope. Tim Howar was my favorite of the two: he reminded me of a young Phil Collins, ironically, vocally and appearance-wise. I fucking swear to god he kept looking up and smiling at me too, and not at the old lady in front of me, so don’t get it twisted, lady. Immediately, I was like, “OMG HENRY I HAVE A CRUSH ON HIM” and Henry was like, “He’s wearing a scarf, so…”

So I was OK, smiling and clapping a lot through the first two songs, just generally being happy to be there, when “Silent Running” happened. Earlier that day, I told Glenn, “I am going to cry so hard when they play Silent Running” because I just love that song so much and my god, the childhood memories. However, I was mostly joking. I figured I would probably tear up like I do at most shows, but what happened that night was so much more than “tearing up.” Before I even knew what was happening, tears were straight SQUIRTING out of my eyes, my face involuntarily scrunched up, and my bottom lip was quivering so badly that I was afraid I would never get it to stop.

I had gone from “Yay this is fun” to “UGLYCRY” before the vocals even kicked in. I went from “OMG TIM LOOK AT MEEEEEE!” to “OMG TIM STOP LOOKING OVER HERE, I’M A MONSTER. A WET-FACED MONSTER!!” It was seriously concerning. I mean, I’m crying right now just typing this.

And then Tim performed the Genesis track “I Can’t Dance” and if I closed my eyes, it really felt like Phil Collins was there. It was SO GOOD that I actually stopped crying for a little bit.

This bimbo in front of me was wildin’ out all night and at first I was all about it, but then After the Tears, I was so pissed off and wanted to punch her in the back of the head because I was miserable and EVERYONE AROUND ME NEEDED TO BE MISERABLE TOO. (Seriously though — she was fine. I was just being a crybaby. Literally.)

And they played “Taken In”! That was one of the many highlights I was witnessed through tear-blurred eyes. It had been a really long time since I heard that one.

But then the inevitable happened: They played “The Living Years” and I couldn’t stop it. I tried. So hard. But I began to absolutely sob and I was actually too distressed and absorbed in my own pitiful cocoon of grief to be even a little bit embarrassed about it. My whole face was spasming and soaking wet with tears, so I can only imagine what a lovely sight I was STOP LOOKING, TIM. I mean, I cry pretty much every day because I’m Erin Rachelle Kelly, but I can’t remember the last time I expelled such pent-up sadness. It was a good old-fashioned bereavement.

Every word of that song slammed against my heart like a mallet and I just felt pain. Everywhere. Like arthritis all over my body. I put my face into Henry’s chest and wailed, “This was a mistake.” Almost 20 years and it’s still like this this gaping wound that time just fucking refuses to heal. And though it was painful, it was worth it in the end. Like honoring a part of my childhood, one of the best parts of my childhood. I think my Pappap would have been happy to know I was there.

“Weren’t they incredible?” I sighed to Henry in that weird, on the verge of hiccuping voice you get when you cry like a little bitch for too long. And my Henbot 4000 blip-bleeped that “they were ok.” And then I cried about it some more in the car, because when you open the floodgates….Shows like this really make realize how much I’m carrying with me.   “You look really tired,” Janna said when Henry and I came home to relieve her of her Chooch-sitting duties. I guess that’s what an hour-long power-weep will do to you.
*********
Coincidentally, the next day Janna and I were en route to Cleveland, and because road trips are the best times to reminisce, we were talking about the stupid shit that’s happened over the course of our friendship, including the time I almost killed an FBI agent and the time I got pulled over at 3AM for going through a flashing red light in a pretty bad area of Pittsburgh and then your basic traffic violation hilarity ensued (a story for another day).

“We were listening to Mike + the Mechanics that night, you know,” Janna pointed out, and I have no idea why I can’t remember that, other than it was probably when I was going through one of my many mental crises.

*********

It felt like losing my Pappap all over again.

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Mar 172015
 

OMG a blog repost and it’s not even Throwback Thursday or Flashback Friday, how dare I. Anyway, this is an excerpt from this post because I just ate at Melt again over the weekend & I apparently even get nostalgic over Grilled Cheeses I Have Eaten. 

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Here is what Henry has to say about his lunch at Melt.

Me, watching Henry wash the dishes last night: What was on your sandwich?

Henry, in his standard indignant tone: It was a gyro melt.

(I guess this means we’re supposed to figure it out on our own.)

Me: OK, no one cares anyway. How sad were you that you couldn’t sit next to Jason and dish secretly about root beer like two little 1950’s school girls?

Henry, maintaining his Man of Few Words image: I wasn’t.

Me, as Henry takes a hearty swig of Faygo Cola. Dish washing is hard work, ya’ll: What was harder to wrap your mouth around, your sandwich or the words “I do” in 1993.

Henry: Why do you have to do that.

Me: Seriously, which one?

Henry, adopting his “You’re pushing me” high-pitched squawk that I hate so much yet cause so often: I don’t know! Let it go!

(He hates being reminded of That Time in his life.)

Me, furiously scribbling in my important “I’m Interviewing Henry!” notebook (it has monsters on it): If you could have your own sandwich on the Melt menu, what would be on it?

Henry, trying to make my dinner at this point, so you would think I would back off lest a generous sprinkle of rat poison fall into the pot: I don’t know!

(This is assuming Henry has any imagination, but it would probably be some sort of flesh marinated in Faygo and served on a bed of emasculation, with a bandanna as a napkin.)

Me: Did you think our waitress was hot?

Henry[Looks at me suspiciously and slowly says no. This means YES.]

Me: What about the guy who refilled your iced tea?

Henry, in a flat tone: No, I didn’t pay attention.

(This means he’s already downloaded busboy porn.)

Me: How disappointed were you that none of our lunch companions remarked upon your striking resemblance to serial killer Ed Kemper?

Henry, playing Bakery Story on his phone at this point: I wasn’t.

Me: If you found a finger in your sandwich, would you

  • Pull it out and set it aside, then puke in a flower pot;
  • Eat it. Meat is meat and they know what they’re doing at Melt;
  • Use it to replace the butt plug you lost during the Great Marital Separation of 2001.
Henry: [Laughs like a gay Santa, I think to illustrate the fact that this is going to be one of those NO COMMENT moments.]
 
Me: If you invented a sandwich at Melt in my honor, say if I died saving an albino support group from a hostile group of arms-bearing Serbians mistaking them for enemy Albanians, what would you name it?
Henry, no hesitation: Pain in the Ass.
 
(That sounds unappetizing and pregnant with pinto beans. Pretty apropos then.)
 
Me: There were some big words on the menu, like “muenster” and “diablo.” Did you use your phone to covertly look up the definitions under the table?
Henry: [walked away.]
 
Me: What would your SERVICE buddies say if they knew you were eating trendy gourmet sandwiches and not pork-n-beans?
 
(Totally typed porn-n-beans at first.)
 
Henry, in a beaten-down, wilted-dick mumble: Nothing.
 
Me: What did you eat in the SERVICE, anyway?
Henry: FOOD.
Me: No, seriously. All asshole-ness aside, I really want to know.
Henry: I ATE WHATEVER I MADE.
Me: So like, succotash?
Henry, slashing my throat with his glare: I don’t know.
 
We officially reached WOKE BEAR status at this point, so I quickly closed my notebook. Maybe someday Henry will regale us with tales of making messes in the mess hall. But today is not going to be that day.
 
Here’s a quick review from a special guest:
 
Henry’s Moustache: I have been trying for the last 20 years to emulate Tom Selleck’s lip wool. Maybe then I won’t walk around with meal souvenirs tangled in my bristle. Someone please send Henry a stencil.
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Mar 162015
 

This was such a crazy throwback weekend: first I saw Mike + the Mechanics on Friday and then Janna and I were in Cleveland on Saturday to see Howard Jones; two childhood dreams come true in one weekend. My unpredictable navigational skills got us there with just enough time to squeeze in a quick lunch, staring at a disgustingly frozen Lake Erie, and, keeping with the theme of Retro Weekend, a necessary and apropos perusal of Flower Child.

SPOILER ALERT: this blog post is going to be just about Flower Child. I will drone on as nauseum about all that other stuff later in the week because I love doing things out of order.

All the times I’ve been to Clevelend, I never knew this place existed until my friend Jason took us there in 2011 and I bought a glorious light-up/holographic Jesus picture which made Henry grit his teeth.

Just like he probably grit his teeth yesterday when I began texting him pictures of $$$ swag lamps, alerting him to the fact that I had arrived at the place that wants all of my hard-earned monies.

Some of the sexiest Jesuses ever reside in the basement.

I have to touch everything when I’m in there, like I’m inviting midcentury spirits to enter my body through my fingertips and then everyone will be like why is Erin having uncontrollable fits of the Pony? And Janna will be like, “Because she touched some sequined boot and now she has a dead gogo dancer living inside of her, no big deal.”

I don’t think it’s very surprising that my heart belongs to mid-century interior design, considering I was raised in a house with shag carpet and foiled wallpaper. The yellow/burnt orange/brown color palette is instantly comforting to me and brings back memories of every afghan that ever covered the back of a couch in our house when I was a kid.

Luckily for Henry, I didn’t buy any murder weapons disguised as ash trays or 1960s prom dresses, but instead settled for this factory of happy thoughts:

It’s actually made out of paper mâché and the colors are just like SMILE OR I WILL PUNCH YOUR DUMB FACE. When Henry saw it yesterday, he did a slow exhale of relief that it wasn’t an Iron Maiden to go with my Devil rug.

And since I’m going out of order here, before Flower Child we stopped int Big Fun, which was having a going out of business sale, so I snagged this Diane Keaton “Clown Paintings” book for $5!

When I posted this on Facebook, one of my friends said, “I feel like, visually, my day is ruined.” So then I posted this collage of some of my other clown memorabilia, because I’m a Little Miss Sweetheart like that:

Ciao for now!

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Mar 132015
 

I have really been phoning it in lately. Yes, I’m aware. But this is not going to be the post that changes any of that. Just kind of stating the obvious I guess.

Here are some pictures of things that happened this past week.

We went rollerskating on Saturday. I really thought that this was going to be the winter where we would get back into the skating game, but it just wasn’t to be. Our weekends have been pretty full, but when I realized that nothing was going on Saturday, I told Henry that this is what we would be doing and, as he tucked his dick between his legs, nodded obediently. Kara and Harland met us there, so that was fun even though I barely got to talk to Kara because hello, I’m too busy being a goddamn dream on wheels out there, OK?

And Henry was sad because he apparently hurt his foot in another pallet-related accident (WTF goes on at the Faygo Plant!?) so he did not rent skates and instead leaned against the wall and watched everyone else whirrr past under the flashing lights. God, cry me a river of Dorothy Hamill tears.

We are definitely done with Neville Rollerdrome and have chosen Romp-n-Roll as our new headquarters. It’s a pretty great spot and just feels more roller-rinky than Neville. The sad reality is that really no matter where we go, we’re going to be terrorized by kids who can’t skate, so I’m trying to just get over that.

I got to talk to Kara for about five minutes when I finally came off the rink for hydration. Apparently, she had Harland in the side room, which is kind of like a mini-rink except that there are pool tables in the middle. Either way, it’s a good spot for non-skaters to practice, so she was trying to help Harland when Professional Skater Henry stepped in and began instructing him, because even when he’s not skating, he has to remind everyone that he’s a better skater than me, god fucking dammit.

Highlights:

  • Some dickhead came out onto the rink with candy and spilled it, which subsequently led to people skating over bits of Skittles and grinding it into the floor. So the DJ stopped the music, turned on the lights, and told everyone to stop where they were. He explained the sitch and asked us if we could all take a few minutes to look around where we were stopped and see if we could find any candy shards and if so, to please dump it into the hands of a skate guard or take it to the DJ booth. This way, they wouldn’t have to shut down the session for however long it took them to clean the whole rink. I was so excited because I FOUND ONE RIGHT WHERE I HAD STOPPED! It was orange and I almost fell when I went to pick it up, but it was worth it for the opportunity to triumphantly glide over to the DJ booth and announce with authority, “I FOUND THIS.” On my way there, I passed Henry in the snack room and shot my hand up in the air so he could see my candied treasure. Later, he told me he didn’t know what I was doing. Fuck you, Henry.
  • Not falling.
  • No terrible Goldilocks issues with the rental skates.
  • The DJ starts out the session with some old school jams, and that makes me happy. Of course, it veers into hott urban joints after that, with some T.Swift sprinkled in, but what can you do. I also appreciated that he’s on a first-name basis with the singers. He’d be all, “Next up, here’s Sammmmmmm” and it would be some Sam Smith song (they all kind of sound the same to me). Or “Heyy! It’s time for some Ed.” And then Ed Sheeran would soundtrack my hazardous laps around a rinkful of birthday party-goers who were having their hands held by their parents WHO DID NOT HAVE SKATES ON. Ugh, people shouldn’t be allowed on the rink without skates. Wait…hold on…

Lowlights:

  • PEOPLE WERE ON THE RINK WITHOUT SKATES! And one woman had her BABY STROLLER OUT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RINK. I couldn’t even wrap my head around this. If this was Neville, she’d have had a major whistle blown at her skanky suburban ass.
  • When Henry didn’t know I found one of the candy perps. :(
  • Their rink policing SUCKS. I told Kara I want to be a rink ref and she was like, “But then you’d have to yell at people all day” and I was like, “INORITE!? AND BLOW A WHISTLE.”
  • Some little bitch in a Snow White dress nearly killed me probably the same amount of times she watches Frozen in a week. I honestly almost shoved her once because BITCH MOVE OUT THE WAY.
  • People are allowed to have their phones on the rink and every time I saw someone take a selfie-in-motion, I had to fight the urge to shoulder them into the wall.
  • Also, some people would congregate in small, idle groups on the rink, not even near the walls, but right in the prime skating path, and they would just stand there and TALK. Like they were IN A PARK PAVILION. Or near a WATER COOLER. Unacceptable.

After skating, we ate dinner at some old folks joint in Glenshaw called The Boulevard and it was really quaint! Totally one of those places where all the old people have standing relationships with the waitstaff.  “Why haven’t we ever eaten here before?” I wondered out loud, and Henry answered, “Because we’re never in Glenshaw?” And Henry was one of the youngest people there!

Then I was just sad that we’re not regulars anywhere.

Sunday chin-scratches. I had a dream a few weeks ago that Marcy had a horse penis and also had this huge growth on her stomach which turned out to be a pug. Like, an entire dog just hanging off her stomach. I guess it’s because I’ve been so stressed out because she’s old and has breast cancer and everyday I’m like IS SHE BREATHING!? And Henry will calmly answer, “Yes, Erin. She was also trying to sleep but your big mouth just woke her up.”

The other night, Marcy was sitting on the couch with us and I kept saying, “I love you!” to her in a panoply of accents and strangulated voices. “Aren’t you glad that I keep all of my voices on lock while I’m at work so that I can come home and unleash them all over the house?” I asked Henry.

“Yeah. Totally,” he sighed.

Henry bought me this shirt at the Pierce the Veil show a few weeks ago. <3

Ironing Perler bead creations: What is Henry’s life.

Behold the most majestic ground-sheath. Chooch has come to terms with it and even helped me unroll it. Henry was just like, “I hope Marcy pees on it.” Oh OK, as if you’re not going to take your clothes off and roll around on this when no one’s home, Henry. That’s not something you would do AT ALL.

Chooch hijacked Henry’s phone last night when he stupidly went to bed early, and hoo boy did we have some fun. Mostly we just terrorized people on Instagram. Chooch went to his favorite YouTuber’s Instagram page and we left him all kinds of love notes from Henry (jrobber1 if you feel some sick need to follow him on there). Then, after posting several selfies, Chooch started following horrible people on Henry’s behalf.

This morning, I was talking to Henry on my walk to the trolley and he blurted out, “You two are assholes.” I tried to play dumb, which is usually is pretty easy for me, because I’m naturally dumb, but he barked, “Oh don’t play dumb. I know what you guys did. I knew as soon as I opened Instagram this morning and Kim Kardashian’s boobs were everywhere.” Also, his alarm didn’t go off, so we’re getting blamed for that now, too.

I just started cracking up over this while I was getting stuff off the printer, because not only am I prone to laughing alone at  my desk, but also while traveling to other parts of the floor. And it’s probably not even really that funny, but you should know that lately I have been fluctuating between laughing until I have to puke, to crying until I have to puke. OK, that’s not just “lately.” That’s “always.”

Speaking of hyper-psychotic laughter, we’re all moving our shit to our new spaces today and I was like, “Hmm, why the hell do I have a sewing kit in this box?” And then I remembered someone gave it to me when I was making my Glenn garland for my office Christmas tree a few years ago. O MEMRIEZ.

I was just finishing up this Dahmer painting to join the others in the set* when Chooch strode over and said, “I want that. Can I have it? PLEASE LET ME KEEP IT!”

“What, why? It’s—”

“Jeffrey Dahmer, I know! And I want it,” he cried. So, I guess Dahmer is going on Chooch’s wall and I’ll just make another.

*Fish and Manson so far—I’m trying to paint as many as I can so I can incorporate them into new cards for my serial killer card shop. I need a new “everyday card” line.)

****

In other news, one of my co-workers, Marlene, was moving into her new desk yesterday and suddenly screamed. Her scream was then followed by an accusatory, “ERIN!!!” I slowly got up from my desk and said, “Yeah, I think I know what this is about….” Apparently, there was a  leftover bloody finger in one of the drawers from last Halloween’s scavenger hunt. So Marlene suggested that we put it in Debby’s drawer. Today, it was back in Marlene’s drawer and she immediately accused me! I was like, “I SWEAR I DIDN’T DO IT!” so the next obvious suspect in line is always Glenn, who wasn’t here yet. Marlene marched over to his desk and put it in his jar of peanuts.

“Great, he’s not going to think that I did that AT ALL,” I said. And of course, I got blamed for it. I told Marlene and she was like, “I hate to break it to you, Erin, but everyone ALWAYS thinks it’s you!”

“BUT LOOK AT THIS FACE!” I cried, pulling it into the most angelic visage of innocence I could muster.

“THAT is why we always think it’s you!” Marlene laughed.

And then I went into Wendy’s office and she was crying because her sister sent her some sad song and then I started crying because I saw Wendy crying and tears are contagious.

Speaking of crying! I’m going to see Mike+the Mechanics tonight and I said to Glenn, “When they play Silent Running tonight, and YOU KNOW THAT THEY WILL PLAY SILENT RUNNING TONIGHT, I’m going to cry so hard.”

“Good to know,” he mumbled. He’s just mad because he had to take my late shift tonight. SO THAT I CAN CRY AT THE MIKE+THE MECHANICS SHOW!

Friends, I am more Sybil than usual. I think I need some sort of Mexican home remedy.

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Mar 122015
 

Time for a RIP Glenns winter dump! If you’re asking yourself, “WTF is a RIP Glenn?” then please refer to this informative link that is sure to leave you amazed. And then if you’re still like, “OK but WTF is a GLENN?!” then might I direct you back to this Glenn Origins blog post?

OK, onward fat girl.

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First up is ROD TAYLOR. I was like, “Oh” when I heard he died, but BARB was all, “YOU HAVE TO DO A ROD TAYLOR GLENNNNNN” so I went with his role in The Time Machine, because why not choose something stupidly detailed to recreate on a tiny face.

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IT’S GLENN’S PARTY AND HE’LL CRY IF HE WANTS TO! Just like he did when he found out his favorite singer Lesley Gore died. Actually, he didn’t know who she was until I sighed and started naming off song titles and even then, I think he just pretended to know to get me to stop talking.

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Not to sound like a callous asshole, but this Ken Weatherwax Glenn was pretty fun to make.

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I know this seems incredibly unbelievable, but I am a super die hard fan of The Real World, and its drama-filled spin-off The Challenge. So when I heard that Diem Brown had succumbed to cancer last fall, I cried real tears, to the point where Henry was like, “This might be a problem.” I mean, I was crying about it at work. And then Amber1 told me  to go and read what her off-and-on boyfriend, fellow Challenge competitor CT had written about her and I was just a mess. Diem was such an inspiration. And yes, I watched the MTV tribute show. And cried some more. (OK, a lot more.)

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NOOOOOO NOT EDWARD HERRMANN!!! My two favorite Herrmann roles are Richard Gilmore in The Gilmore Girls and MAX FROM THE LOST BOYS, AHHH. So I went with Max. Glenn was like, “Oh.” Because he’s an idiot and has never seen The Lost Boys. Just re-looking at this RIP Glenn makes me really want to just leave work right now and start my Lost Boys painting.

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Um, can we all agree that Glenn should wear his nonexistent locks in pigtails every damn day?

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THIS IS WHY I DON’T JAY WALK!!!!

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According to Facebook, it seems like Glennard Nimoy is the uncontested fan favorite.  I was never into Star Trek, but this was sad even for a non-fan. Sorry the Glenn is all out of focus; I use gel pens and sometimes that makes photographing difficult. I need to build a better studio at my desk here at work, clearly. Everyone knows that making these Glenns are like, the most important part of my job. In fact, Glenn, Amber “Get this Baby Out of Me” 2, and I are all moving our desks tomorrow and the very first thing I did in preparation of this last week was to delicately move all of the Glenns down to our new quadrant. Now they can be seen by fresh eyeballs! Most people didn’t even know the Wall of Glenns existed because of how tucked away our current desks are. Well, NOW THEY WILL KNOW.

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Mar 112015
 

Over the weekend, I had just finished a custom Phish painting and prepping a 30×40 canvas for the biggest custom I’ve ever been asked to do (status: in progress, Stacey!), so I just kind of mindlessly began painting Pee Wee on a spare piece of wood that was sitting around, looking all forlorn.

And then it just kind of grew into a Big Adventure collage.

I posted a picture of it on Facebook while it was still in progress, and for the first time ever, someone claimed it before it was even finished. It was a pretty proud moment for me, so thank you Natasha! (And thanks to everyone else who chimed in about wanting it, too!)

Pee Wee’s Big Adventure is in my Top 5 All-Time Favorite Movies and I quote from it so often, it’s kind of ridiculous. It’s right up there with Lost Boys on my list of memorized dialogue, so I think it makes sense that A LOST BOYS PAINTING WILL BE NEXT, WOOOO!

My painting dumping ground ^^. It’s starting to feel like a junk store.

 

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Mar 102015
 

Sunday was a delightfully mild March day and I refused to spend it indoors. Henry got all huffy-puffy at first, like he always does when I decree that it’s the perfect day for a family cemetery outing. Chooch was annoyed about it at first too and even said he hates cemeteries—WTF. Serious tears welled up in my eyes because how could my own son say such a blasphemous thing to me?! I was just about to throw a fit about it, when I decided to compromise by switching cemeteries to the one by the craft store so that Chooch could get more Perler beads. (His obsession with perler bead creations has been going strong since December. It’s such a curious hobby for my trucker-mouthed spawn, but…at least he’s found something that keeps him off the streets? Who knew he had the patience for it. He’s been begging me to start an Etsy shop for him so that he can sell this shit for $50 a piece. Oh OK, son.)

Not considering that 45 degree sunlight + snow = wet ground, I wore TOMS and regretted it as soon as I stepped out of the car and into rushing rivulets of melt. This was right after I mocked Chooch for wearing boots, by the way.

I haven’t abused my Hipstamatic privileges in a while. I know you missed it.

Don’t worry, Henry and I mumbled some things about not stepping out onto the frozen pond.

<3

It’s so easy to slip into hibernation mode during winter, and even though all three of us are usually home together on weekends, that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re spending actual TIME together. Chooch is usually watching stupid YouTube videos, I’m painting, Henry is being a domesticated bitch….you know how it is. So I thought it would be nice to go for a walk where we wouldn’t be distracted by technology. EXCEPT FOR MY PHONE, TAKING ALL OF THEIR PICTURES.

Henry and Chooch have some sort of unspoken snowball rivalry transpiring. As soon as we step out of the front door, it’s Game On. Typically, they leave me alone because they know that I’m a delicate flower and cry easily. (Seriously, snowballs hurt my feelings.) And these two go hard with their snowball pitching. Even just walking from our house to our car across the street on Saturday, they engaged in this outrageous battle that had passers-by stopping to watch (and laugh when Henry pelted Chooch super hard in the side of the face). It’s like child abuse disguised as WHAT GUYS WE’RE JUST PLAYING. I imagine it must relieve a lot of pent up anger for Henry, considering that the first thing Chooch says to him when he sees him everyday is “DADDY WILL YOU IRON MY PERLER BEAD CREATION?!” Every goddamn day with the ironing requests, oh my god. Perler beads are so fucking annoying.

They even had an impromptu battle outside of the Boulevard Restaurant after dinner on Saturday:

So basically, our entire walk was a snowball battlefield, and I nearly peed my pants 87 times. I know it’s corny coming from me, but I have the most fun with these two idiots and I am forever appreciative that we all like each other enough to want to spend time together. I think about my own parents a lot, and how it was pretty rare for all of us to do things together — it was either my mom and us kids going shopping together, or my dad taking my brothers out. And if we were all together, there was usually some tension, someone was mad at someone, someone didn’t want to be there. Who knows.

I’m sure we looked like idiots to the few cars that drove past us in the cemetery, and that just made it even more fun.

It’s got to feel so cathartic for Henry to bombard our ever-blabbering, smart-mouthed kid in the face with icy orbs of retribution.  Seriously. I love Chooch so much, but sometimes I sit here at work and I can still his voice in my head, asking really annoying things, like, “Feed me.” Ugh.

I wonder if I have the same effect on Henry…

Chooch’s crowning achievement was when he pelted a snowball at Henry, which ricocheted off his neck and smacked me in the face just as I was turning around to say something.

Finally, Henry was like I’LL SHOW YOU and dumped Chooch headfirst into a snowbank and I almost peed my pants because it was so funny and then Chooch really DID pee his pants because it was so funny, which caused Henry to go off on a tangent about how it concerns him that our first instinct when something is funny is to pee our pants. Sorry, I guess our bladders are just ultra-sensitive to mirth, Henry, something you know nothing about.

I think Chooch has a bright future as a dunk tank clown.

Plus, we also went roller skating! So, this weekend was pretty fucking grand. I mean, if you’re the type of person to say things like “grand.”

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Mar 082015
 

Bathroom plaques are filling up the shop again! I used to make tons of these back in the day and when I used to sell my stuff at Wildcard, they were super popular for some reason. Yinzers like their loos, I guess. 

Now when someone asks, “Which door is the lav?” you can just let them grope their way down the hallway and find it themselves with this helpful, can’t-live-without-it bathroom signifier. They’re available in a variety of styles and the choice is all yours.

Here are some of the glowing reviews that have been dumping in (oh, see what I did there? DUMPING?):

Jen Shitcan from Missouri has been heard saying, “Shiiit, I was so sick of my bitch ass husband bringing his broads home from the bar and asking me where the can was so they can empty their Diva Cup.  Now they just look for the sign and I don’t gotta be bustin’ caps no more.”

Isaac Outhouse from the wilderness sent a telegram saying, “Sign good. Rust proof.”

Peter Pisser from a place with a large blind population sent a box of chocolates with a note saying, “Works good. Except my one blind friend still needs help finding the commode. Make one in braille, you should.”

Melissa Purell informed in green ink, “My son has a penchant for smearing fecal matter everywhere but the hand wipes I keep on the sink specifically for these occasions. Luckily, the unsavory smudges wipe right off my bathroom marker. The stench, not so much.”

And Alyson from Waltham, MA was so thrilled to have her friends stop crapping in her potted plants that she left this flowery feedback: Thanks so much!! I absolutely love it!! My house plants thank you from the bottom of their rooty hearts. It’s the perfect size, too!

Possibly only one of those are real.

These guys are 4×4 and ready to hang. I love doing custom signs too so holla at me. 

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