Mar 012021
 

Saturday was ok!

We have been slowly cleaning/purging our bedroom and suddenly Drew appeared on our bed and you need to know that this rarely happens because she’s very terrified of our room for some reason and only comes in a handful times a year, and only after long-jumping over the threshold. I guess my room must be haunted?! We did just get a new mattress and haven’t picked out a new frame yet so maybe the fact that the bed is lower to the ground appeals to her? Anyway, this was a super big deal!

Henry hung up the pinball marquee, as previously mentioned, and we went to Target for boring things like pillows. Later that night, I watched the last episode of It’s A Sin and it WAS A LOT. I have this weird, morbid obsession with the 1980s AIDS crisis – not in a YAY AIDS! way, but just because I guess I enjoy having my heart ripped out and feeling extremely frustrated and helpless that so many people suffered through it and that, big shocker, it became political. One of my favorite booktubers is from the UK and she mentioned this show a while back so I had been waiting for it to pop up on HBO.

It was SO GOOD. Heart-wrenching, yes, but shit—those characters felt like my actual friends. (Colin forever.) Anyway, when the last episode ended, I was so torn apart and desperate to hug Chooch so I ran upstairs to demand he hug me, but he was in the bathroom doing his nighttime facial routine so he slammed the door on me as he yelled, “WHAT?”

“I want a hug!” I cried, standing outside the bathroom.

“Oh my god,” I heard him gurgle as he splashed his face. Then we started arguing through the door because it was taking him too long to come out (like a whole minute but do you know me? I hate waiting!!) and then when he did, he gave me the most pathetic one-armed hug and mumbled, “You’re so annoying” and to be honest I didn’t even want the hug anymore because he made me wait!!!

Anyway, highly recommend It’s a Sin, even though the previews made it seem like Neil Patrick Harris had a much bigger role.

Sunday was OK. Henry and I went to one of the Asian markets first thing in the morning and I spent the whole time picking up various things and googling “Can squirrels eat [insert various things]?” We ended up getting them a bag of chestnuts and those have been going over well!

Then Henry went to pick up our latest Sugar Spell pre-order. This time, in honor of their second anniversary, they brought back 6 of their most popular, signature pints and at the last minute, I decided to skip this round because I am really trying hard to get back on my healthy eating kick (I’m still pretty fucking healthy but being home has me making some bad choices!) and also I sometimes feel guilty that we’re taking pints away from people who have less luck at beating the crowds. BUT! The next night, they also released some of their ICE CREAM PIES and I have never tried one of their ICE CREAM PIES so I was like, “Fuck it, get a pie, Henry” and that’s what he was doing while Chooch and I were choking on our sweat and tears during Level 10 of Jillian Michaels’ Body Revolution and asking each other, “WHY DID WE DECIDE TO REVISIT THIS!?”

So Henry went to pick up the pie on Sunday and came home with a pint of Rocky Road too which is the one flavor I was really going to gun for if I had opted to order pints this time around.

“I bought this for myself,” Henry said, while Chooch and I laughed and grabbed spoons.

Anyway that pie—-to quote the great Uncle Jesse Katsopolis, “HAVE MERCY.”

Here’s Chooch matching another part of the house.

Well, aside from all this, I went on a bunch of walks, ate bibimbap made with oatmeal instead of rice (so…bibim….oatmeal? I don’t know the Korean for oatmeal and don’t feel like looking it up—OK fine I looked it up and it’s literally oatmeal lol) which was DELICIOUS thank you Henry and also Cheap Lazy Vegan, and then I watched the new Walking Dead which was “eh” until they showed Maggie and Glenn’s son Hershel and then I fucking lost my mind and also Negan looked like Henry at the end of the episode:

The Walking Dead season 10 episode 17 callbacks and talking points | The  Independent

I had been looking forward to this past weekend more than usual, not because we had anything planned, but because I took Monday off and the thought of three work-free days was just making me legit giddy. I’m sure it’s not just me, but work has been especially trying. It’s hard enough navigating things remotely but we have also been training a new person and it’s been a lot. I am so much better face-to-face than trying to share my screen from home and have all my jokes and sarcastic jabs bomb tragically.  I know that I’m getting burnt out and that I will find a way to recharge and bounce back, because I always do. And that starts with taking a day off! Which I knew I needed the other day when I completely lost my patience and temper and that rarely happens because Work Erin is a completely closed off and dialed back version of Real Erin, so my co-workers were actually shocked and said that they couldn’t imagine me being mad and when I laughingly relayed this later to Henry, he murmured, “Wow, they really don’t know you….lucky.”

Wow, thanks Henry.

Anyway, I was determined to just relax and be cool all weekend, and I think I succeeded because I can’t remember my heart racing at any point (aside from Jillian Michaels Time!).

Hopefully we won’t be getting any more snow for the season and we can start doing more outdoorsy things (I hate being outside during winter) especially since nearly all our bigger projects are finished (except for that fucking subway sign because now Henry is trying to figure out how he wants to hang it since it’s so massive, ugh). I just gotta get out of this fucking house.

Feb 282021
 

Skip this if you’re 100% over reading about my dumb kitchen.

But look, I’m excited because it’s one of the few positive things that have come out of this past pandemic year for me, if we can even consider anything positive. I’ve considered it nearly 100% done for some time now but there are always little additions here and there can be done – for instance, I just put in an order for a custom roller skate rug to put on one of the blank cabinets & I’m really excited about it but the wait time is 6-8 weeks so catch me over here acting like I’m being patient while actually screaming to Henry WHY ISNT IT HERE YET three days later.

I would like to get a small neon flamingo for the wall by the fridge (not a $$$ custom one like the ramen bowl we have, but just a cheap one from Amazon or wherever), and Henry still has to do whatever to that conair phone to make it light up. So the state of the kitchen will probably just always stay in flux at this point until we move!

BUT! From the beginning, I knew I wanted a big conversation piece to go on the pink wall above the spice rack, rather than a bunch of little things. When I think of the 80s, video arcades always come to mind. Man, my brother Ryan and I spent A LOT of time at the ones in our local mall, and our Pappap was also super into them. He had several arcade games and pinball in his basement game rooms, and even gave my family two for our basement, too. I think he was friends with someone who dealt in arcade games, and I can picture that dude very clearly (I want to say his name was…Gary?) with his big-ass brown tinted eye-glasses and 1980s bowl cut.

Sorry, I’m not one to ever pass up taking the long way down Memory Lane, obviously.

Anyway, I definitely cannot fit a real life arcade game of any sort in my kitchen (or anywhere else in this house for that matter!) except maybe one of those tiny ones that were outside of Korean convenience stores in the 80s, where you basically sat on the ground and played. But I thought maybe it would be cool to get something similar to my Mouse Attack sign, and that’s how I fell down the pinball back glass rabbit hole last summer.

I hemmed and hawed over it for quite some time though because these things aren’t cheap – even the reproductions are pricey but I felt like if I was going to invest in something like this in the name of Art, then go big or go home, right? So I found an original back glass from the Coney Island pinball game, circa 1979, and I chose this one because it has something on it for all of us:

a roller coaster for Chooch and me;

a clown for me;

a bikini-clad for Henry.

I just really felt strongly about this one, so I bought it…

…and then it sat on the back porch for like 3 months, only to eventually move to the basement where it sat in a corner for another 2 months until Henry finally felt inspired to start working on.

And by working on it, I mean that it was our initial understanding that after I bought it, he would built a frame for it so it could be hung on the wall. Simple, right? Henry is Man! Man build Things! Wood, saw, rah rah rah!

But…then upon further consideration, I added, “But also make it light up. Like, with carnival lights. So it’s like a marquee.” And then Henry died inside a little, but he did agree! It took him FOREVER to find the lights though. Eventually he found some dealer on eBay who sells lots of used carnival lights so he snagged a box of them – my brother Corey thinks this is the best part of the whole story, the fact that Henry know has a plug for carnival lights, lol.

He started working on it, like REALLY working on it, over Valentine’s Day weekend, and finally finished it Friday night.

He’s really been putting his old electrician’s apprentice skills to use these days! I kept going into the basement to check on him and I would say things like, “How do you know how to do this” and the look he would give me in response would have made my weener wilt if I had one.

He hung it up on the wall yesterday and I honestly couldn’t be happier!

He is going to make a back for it that has white lights attached so that the glass will eventually be backlit, but the lights he ordered aren’t here yet. I told him to just hang it up now anyway because it’s still pretty perfect!

If you told me a year ago that one day the kitchen would be the best room in the house, I’d assume that something tragic must have happened to all the other rooms, seriously. The old kitchen was such a factory of sadness.

My whole brand is …”AND MAKE IT LIGHT UP” so having this new light feature in the house is making my mental state super leveled-out.

My decorating aesthetic might not appeal to everyone, but I just really would rather have large, crazy pieces that might not be worth much to most people, but are OOAK and possibly even made by Henry and myself, than something that I can just buy from a store. I’m luck that Henry is so willing to help me bring these ideas to life instead of being like, “Can’t you just hang a framed Marilyn Monroe quote like everyone else?”

But the best part about this getting finished is that now Henry has time to work on the Seoul subway sign that might never ever get finished but he refuses to admit defeat, so stayed tune AND HAVE A GREAT SUNDAY!

 

Feb 262021
 

Oh why hello there. Warning: this is going to be completely scattered. I mean, when is it not. But you know.

  1.  Math Blasting Myself in the Foot

OK OK OK, listen. It’s no big secret that I was a Big Spoiled B when I was a kid. Good thing that didn’t shape who I am as an adult, amirite guy? Lol. So you’ll understand why I was SUPER PISSED when my Aunt Sharon, who was like my second mom and did her fair share in helping my grandparents spoil me rotten (hence the rotten apple tattoo I have on my arm), told me that her goddaughter Nicky was getting a computer for Christmas.

Now, I HATED Sharon’s goddaughter, probably because I didn’t really understand what that even meant to be a goddaughter, but also because she was only a year older than me and I was supremely jealous anytime Sharon did anything for her. (And it wasn’t even that often! Nicky’s mom was Sharon’s friend and they hung out so infrequently that I think I only actually met Nicky once or twice and just remembered that she was a GINGER.) Clearly, Sunday School wasn’t doing a great job with keeping the hate out of my heart.

So this was back when I was in 2nd grade, in 1987, and home computers weren’t what they are today, obviously, and I had never even wanted one until now that NICKY was getting one, what a dumb bitch! I wanted a computer too, suddenly! I mean, what–no, I had wanted a computer before Nicky, like since before I was BORN, what are you talking about, this wasn’t fair! I was already fuming about this, but to add salt to the wound, Sharon was like, “COME TO THE COMPUTER STORE WITH ME AND HELP ME PICK OUT A GAME FOR NICKY SINCE YOU ARE BASICALLY THE SAME AGE.” Oh.my.fucking.god. I was LIVID about this, like Firestarter-levels of fury. But I let her drag me along to this dumb computer store which no longer exists but we sometimes drive past its former location and every so often I have flashbacks and wonder where that dumb bitch Nicky is today.

ANYWAY!!! So we go to this idiotic store and I’m being SUCH A CUNT and rejecting all of Sharon’s suggestions. Then, I see this totally boring-looking game called MATH BLASTER and imagined Nicky tearing open Sharon’s meticulous giftwrap-job, expecting some Sharon-level present (Sharon always gave the best presents) but instead seeing some dumb computer game that was just an extension of school. Yay, now you can come home from school and do more school! Dumb bitch, that’s what you deserve.

So Sharon was like, “OK I trust  your judgment” or whatever, probably something like that, and she paid for it with her CHARGE CARD probably or maybe wrote a CHECK, because 1986, while I stood there glaring, with my arms folded across my chest I’m sure because this was my standard pout pose. (It might still be, ask Henry.)

Imagine my surprise that Christmas when, after I already opened like 80 gifts because my grandparents loved me best, my Pappap was like, “OH WOW ERIN I WONDER WHAT ALL THESE GIFTS ARE” after unveiling a series of boxes clumped together off to the side of the sun porch, where we often celebrated our Christmases at my grandparents’ house.

My very own Apple II GS and a printer!

And then there was a smaller box, but you already know.

Math Blaster.

Turns out Nicky wasn’t the one getting the computer after all, that was just Sharon’s ruse to see….what kind of games I would want.

WHO’S LAUGHING NOW.

I don’t remember what made this memory pop into my head but the other night when Henry and I were getting ready for bed, I just started babbling about it and he was like “……………” and then I went to bed angry at the recollection of that FUCKING GAME. I was so bad at it!!

Math Blaster Plus Gameplay Pc Game 1987 - Cute766

2. G-Dragon + Jennie

Is it true (okidokido)? At first I was like, “This seems false” because I just can’t picture him with someone like her, and you know obviously I’m SO CLOSE to both of them that I am qualified to make these types of assessments. My friend Veronica speculated that it could be a publicity stunt because maybe GD has an album coming out and I was like DARE TO DREAM because we VIPs are hungry over here, guys. BIGBANG needs to throw us a bone here soon.

But I dunno, it seems like it could be true and if it is, it’s pretty fucking adorable. I mean, they have known each other for quite some time and I know a lot of us were holding out hope that it would be him and one of the girls from 2NE1 (though I personally shipped him with I.U.!), it doesn’t matter as long as both parties are happy! Honestly, when I saw I worry about GD everyday, I’m not being facetious.

Also, my coworkers emailing me to see if I’m OK with this is the sweetest thing ever!

 

3. Bobo Bobolinski

My dad was good friends with this dude who had 4 sons and the one that was my age was my dad’s godson (oh boy, here we go again!) except that I actually liked this kid. Our families hung out a lot at cookouts, birthday parties, etc., but the one who was my age, Shawn, was the one who was with us the most because even though he was the same age as me, he got along real well with my younger brother Ryan. Plus, you know, the whole godson thing – my dad was always inviting him to Kennywood with us and things like this.

Anyway, my mom texted me a recent picture of all 4 boys with their wives and I was like HOLY SHIT THEY ARE SO OLD, OMG THAT MEANS SO AM I. I haven’t seen any of those guys since I was in high school, because my parents eventually separated and then divorced, so there were no more fun hangouts, but seeing that picture made me miss those days SO MUCH.

Shawn was ALWAYS at our house during the summer of ’92 – it’s when we had a French exchange student staying with us and is still to this day the best summer I ever had. This was also the summer that my dad bestowed upon Shawn a nickname that has stuck so well, that I actually hesitated before typing “Shawn” throughout this entire section. One day, we had taken the dumb French kid to Laurel Caverns, which is like a rite of passage for kids in any kind of Scouts-type group and also just fun for a basic family outing too. While we were there, Shawn slipped and smacked his face off one of the rock walls of the cavern, inspiring my dad to blurt out, “Good job, Bobo.” Then later, I can’t remember if it was the same day or not because I actually wasn’t there for this one, my dad had Bobo, my brother Ryan, and that dumb French kid at a place called Ohio Pyle, where once again, Bobo slipped and smacked his face off of rocks, so now the name Bobo had solidified, now with the surname of Boboliski.

Now, this was also the summer of the Atlanta Olympics so this was the backdrop for many of memories that summer, most notably the time my BFF Christy was over and we were all casually watching gymnastics. I remember Bobo laying on his side on the floor, in front of the coffee table, and saying, “Shannon Miller is a good gymnast.” Literally, that was all he said, just some stale statement, superlative-free, about his opinion of one Shannon Miller. Well, too bad he said this in the presence of Christy and me because we turned it into the Love of the Century and ran around screaming “OMG BOB LOVES SHANNON MILLER!” for the rest of ever.

I have one super specific memory of Bobo in our basement, trying his damnedest to play Pacman (we had the actual arcade game) while blocking out Christy and me who were buzzing around him like the most annoying middle school flies, screaming love sonnets involving Bobo and Shannon Miller.

I just told Henry this story the other night and he was like, “Wow. You are the same.”

That’s Bobo on the far right, French dummy on left, Christy then me.

4. Speaking of the Olympics…

I hope that Covid fucks off because I want Henry’s mom to come over and watch the Olympics (if they happen this summer) so I can live-blog. I had SO MUCH FUN watching the 2016 summer Olympics with her.

Watching the Olympics with Judy 

Plus two more!

Olympics with Judy: Part 2

Olympics with Judy: Part 3

5. Weekend Jamz

You guys I am OBSESSED with the new SHINee album. It is QUINTESSENTIAL SHINEE and I cant listen to it without running spastic laps around my house. It is giving me that spring fever-ish zest for life where I want to just forget all of my problems and frolic through a filed of tulips or whatever bullshit you happy-go-lucky people do. So, in an effort to dispel good vibes, I’d like to send you off with two of my current favorite from their new album:

And they have been performing this song in addition to Don’t Call Me, and it too is a bop which is something I don’t normally like to say because it makes me feel like I should be hanging out with Taylor Swift fans or something but this song is so motherfucking upbeat and I’m ready to, I dunno, make Henry dance with me maybe.

SHINee are goddamn pop legends. Please support them!

Feb 242021
 

I used to be friends with this one broad who was SO UP IN MY RELATIONSHIP with Henry that it was kind of gross. And every holiday she’d be all, WHAT DID HENRY GET YOU – like bitch step off. Jesus. It was frustrating because Henry and I don’t *always* exchange gifts and she was giving me a complex about this, like he must not love me. But you know what that they say: better to have someone who does little things for you every day than big things on holidays – I think someone said that? Maybe?

Anyway, my point is that we don’t go all out for each other every Valentine’s Day, although some years are more inspired than others (like that ONE TIME I baked him a cake and will never let him forget it). This year, I did zilch for him, but LOOK AT THIS BEAUTIFUL BANGLE HE GOT ME!

Full disclosure, he knew I wanted it and went through this whole rigmarole of measuring my hand before ordering it, lol. It felt like redemption though and here’s why: I love this jeweler (Martha Rotten) so much. I bought a doll-head ring from her probably about 8 years ago and it is sooooo chunky and eye-catching, and you know, totally my style. So then one time several years later, Henry and I went to Riot Fest in Chicago and she was a vendor there!! I got to gush to her face about how much I love her work and even pointed out the ring and yelled “I HAVE THIS ONE!” and she was like “OK cool story” but in a nice way and I was psychically pleading with Henry to let me buy something but this was back when we were less financially secure so Henry answered my silent pleas with silent LOOK of his own and I was like OK WE WILL BE BACK! but of course we never came back because wasn’t it enough that we drained our accounts for a three-day music festival in the mid-west, Erin? GOD!

But every once in awhile, I revisit her Etsy shop and drool over the new(-to-me) additions. When I saw this planchette bangle, I was like I WANT THIS and sent it to Henry.

It just arrived the other day and I am obsessed. I love big, heavy jewelry so much! (This is going to make Henry’s head explode because my actual Day Of Valentine’s present was a new FitBit but I freaked out because it was too big and I was uber-aware of it on my wrist so he took it back lol. I don’t want my FUNCTIONAL accessories to be clunky!!)

Ew, ignore my awful nail polish.

Also arriving on the same day as my bangle was the F21 clothes I got Chooch during their President’s Day sale. I mean, someday when we have places to go again, we’ll at least have lots of new clothes and accessories, because online shopping is like my pandemic sport.

Anyway! Last night, I was like, “Put on this shirt and stand in front of the door” because shit is SO EXCITING around these parts.

Actually these are just tigers probably BUT IT’S MY BLOG AND IF I WANT THEM TO BE BENGALS FOR THE SAKE OF A BLOG POST TITLE, THEN BLAH BLAH BLAH.

He’s just lucky I didn’t make him put on the tiger robe too….(why didn’t I make him put on the tiger robe too!?!??!).

Welp, that’s all for me (except that the latest news in the Kpop world is that G-Dragon and Jenny from Blackpink are dating OMFG!!!).

Feb 222021
 

Sometimes I make a conscious effort to not coat this Internet space with fan girl vom, but I have no control over that today because it’s SHINee’s comeback, their first one since Onew, Key, and Minho have been discharged from the military!

The 7th album is every synonym of a chefs kiss. My favorite song is either Body Rhythm or Kiss Kiss, but the first single Don’t Call Me is also PERFECTION – they all look and sound so good. Ugh that ubiquitous SHINee sound!

Most of you know that they’re my second favorite Korean group but honestly, if BIGBANG’s hiatus lasts any longer, they might end up eclipsing them at some point here.

JUST PUTTING THAT OUT THERE.

Actual clothes worn by SHINee! This is from the SM Town museum in Seoul.

I have felt like I’ve been on the receiving end of the warmest, most familiar hug while listening to this new album and I hope it’s always like that for me.

THIS SONG TOO THO ugh I can’t pick a favorite but this song has THAT SHINEE SOUND that makes me feel this intensely strong pull to South Korea. It’s seriously like the biggest crush I’ve ever had.

I get some low-key 1980s-era Genesis vibes from the instrumentals on this track which obvi makes me love it more.

Today when Henry came home from work, I screamed DID U WATCH THE SHINEE VIDEO and he was like “of course I did, duh” and I think it really says so much that he also is into Kpop comebacks, when he never gave a single shit or reacted at all to any of the new releases from the Warped Tour-esque bands I used to love.

Laugh all you want but Kpop changed my life for the better and – I don’t want to say “saved” because we weren’t like on the skids or anything, but it gave Henry and me something to BOTH LIKE AT THE SAME TIME. Omg a shared interest?!

I’m just so stoked on this new SHINee right now and I would really love to have a Kpop party to brainwash all of my friends with it. Ugh fuck you Covid. Winter sucks in general but a winter after a year of semi-isolation sucks the most. I’m going to have so many imaginary friends by the time we’re in the clear, maybe even enough to start my own girl group.

In other news, I was super hyper because of SHINee and pretending to puke down Henry’s shirt but when I grabbed his collar to tug it, my cold hands touched his skin and he reflexively turned and we banged heads and now I think I have a concussion for a super dumb reason. This is almost as bad as when I wanted to see how hard I would have to squeeze a Milk-Bone to break it and when it snapped, it sliced me in that weird turkey-chin part of the hand between the thumb and pointer finger and my mom was like YOU BETTER PRAY YOU DONT NEED STITCHES BC I AM NOT TAKING YOU TO THE HOSPITAL FOR THAT.

Feb 212021
 

I’m just sitting here relaxing on a Sunday evening and thought that instead of waiting until next week or never to talk about the weekend, why not just do it now even though the weekend is still alive? Because it’s actually been a pretty nice one for once! (I mean, I shouldn’t say “for once” – but during covid times, it’s basically just more of the same, minus the logging on for work.)

Saturday started off STRONG with Henry coming home with baked goods for 350 Bakery and sorry but I do not pause to take pictures of these sugary AM delights anymore. Then we walked to the post office and the library – Saturday traditions, I guess. After that, Chooch went to the Teen Center and Henry had to go to the Man Store and get Tools and Stuff so I hung out with the cats and squirrels and then decided to see how selfie-licious the Cure Corner actually is, because I’ve wanted for some time to have FOTO ZONES around my house and this just seems like it’s calling out for some vanity shots, yanno?

I’m just really feeling myself every time I sit in this chair! I’m so happy with this dumb corner. It reminds me of all the trendy cafes I’ve gone to  that has that ONE COVETED SPOT with the cool backdrop that you can never get anywhere close to because some dumb influencer with a fresh balayage got there when it opened and has since posted 87 pictures to her IG story but still REFUSES TO LEAVE.

Except now I can sit there whenever the hell I want, letting my gray hairs fly freely because fuck a salon during the pandemic.

I just wish I had someone bringing me a latte instead of having to make my own cuppa French press. Sigh.

That neon backlight, tho! It even makes *me* look decent!

I’m still collecting some more of my Cure memorabilia to add to the area (I think I already talked about this recently but I have no idea what is happening IRL as opposed to in my head, so…) but the one thing that I would really liked to add is a hidden speaker somewhere that starts playing random Cure songs when someone starts walking up the steps. Am I asking for too much? Henry?

Then a bunch of nothing happened while Henry went in the basement and worked on my Coney Island pin ball sign.

He gets really mad for some reason when I visit him in the basement to check on his progress. And when I ask him things like, “But how do you know how to do this stuff?” I guess someone REALLY paid attention in high school shop class!

Then Chooch and I did our Jillian workout and I spent the rest of the evening watching the Professor of Rock YouTube channel while Penelope snoozed next to me:

Professor of Rock has some really great videos about 80s music which is my cuppa…French press.  Henry was “taking a break” from sign-making for the night so he joined me in time to watch one about “In the Air Tonight” and what I wouldn’t give to go back in time and relive my cherry-popping experience of that jam. I have a visceral memory of what I imagine to be the first time I heard Genesis’ “Tonight Tonight Tonight” though, when I was probably 6? 7? and I still think about it every time I hear that song. It haunts me in the best ways.

This brings us to Sunday! I saw Janna for the first time in a year! Literally! The last time we saw each other was right before the pandemic when we went to the Hollywood Theater to see JoJo Rabbit. I know that people have still been hanging out with friends and family and vacationing and living their lives since all of this started and maybe I’m on erring on the side of EXTREME CAUTION but I just have not felt comfortable doing any of these things. And I know that Janna has also been taking the virus seriously, as well. But we decided that we would meet up for a masked walk through Jefferson Memorial and it was SO GOOD TO SEE HER! My throat was actually sore from talking so much! Look, no offense to Henry and Chooch but I AM SO TIRED OF ONLY HAVING THEM TO HANG OUT WITH.

And while I was gone, Henry sent me this:

!!!!!

It’s not done yet but this is basically what it will look like. He spent all weekend building the frame and drilling the holes for the marquee lights to sit in, and I’m just so delighted! He just primed the frame and then will paint it white tomorrow. The glass will be backlit by LEDs and then once the lightbulbs come from wherever he ordered them, it’ll be ready to hang in the kitchen and then he can start working (for the 769874545th time) on my Seoul subway sign.

Also, the marquee lights aren’t in there permanently – Henry just set them in there to show me that he finally finished the holes. Believe me, my Type A-ism will take over and I’ll have the last say in the way they’re arranged, lol.

Then we did some shopping and picked up Mandy’s Pizza for dinner.

Mandy’s is the best because they have an entire vegan menu in addition to their regular one and their vegan ham & cheese hoagie makes me feel like a kid looking out the window in the backseat of my Pappap’s car one night while we drove home from his favorite car dealership, Grabiak’s (my Pappap collected Corvettes and I think this is where he got them!?!), with “Tonight Tonight Tonight” playing on the radio. Either my aunt Susie or Sharon was also there and I just remember feeling so content. That’s what Mandy’s ham & cheese does for me, too.

Feb 192021
 

I honestly don’t think I ever even heard the word “foment” before until that former President, forever dingleberry Trump incited an insurrection and suddenly that was the word du jour on all the news channels.

Anyway. Just wanted an excuse to use that.

So here are some things, not necessarily five as we’re wont to do here on Fridays, because I’m feeling more in a freestyle mood if you know what I mean and if you do please tell me because I don’t know anymore.

I watched that Netflix documentary about the Cecil Hotel last week – it was good but I felt it was also kind of repetitive and while I wished there were more episodes exploring more of the dark history instead of just focusing on the Elisa Lam case, I also think that they could have accomplished the same thing in probably less. Does that even make sense or am I typing in circles again.

Numerous times while watching this, I had the thought that this is 100% the type of Roadside Shack of Doom that Henry has put us up in various times throughout the years. In fact, I’m convinced that if we had had to stay in LA at any point during our whirlwind trip to Coachella in 2004, we would have been walking the same blood-stained hallways that Richard Ramirez once roamed. I mean, the actual place he booked for us during that trip was a Knights Inn in San Bernardino that was also hooker housing (I talked to one of them when she came out of a neighboring room as I was petting a stray cat and she said, “Oh, there’s lots of cats around here – we feed them every day!”).

And let’s not forget that seedy Red Carpet Inn outside of Newark – I mean, THE CONNOTATION AND ALLUSION BEHIND “RED CARPET” IN THIS CONTEXT ALONE IS NAUSEATING.

This inspired me to go digging for that particular vacation journal because, can’t travel now so might as well live vicariously through past sojourns, right? A thing you need to know about me is that I have fucking journals all over the house. Like, tons of them. Like, if I ever became a former President, they’d have a good place to start with my library collection. Until you get to the later ones when I wasn’t yet aware of how problematic my “jokes” were. Y-I-K-E-S. Let’s just say I’ve had lots of years (and self-education) to, um, grow away from that.

While digging through a cedar trunk (Henry’s from the SERVICE!!!) of my self-penned tomes, I found the very first journal in my Vacation Series, which I must have started when I was 9ish?

I barged into Chooch’s room to read him this super adorable disclaimer but he interrupted me to guess, “does it say ‘caution: very uninteresting content’?” WOW JUST WOW guess I won’t be leaving him my hand-written vacation journal canon in my Will.

Eventually, I did find the specific journal I was looking for and was reminded of how mentally unstable and self-loathing I was back in 2004 when Henry and I took that California trip – I was apparently VERY AWARE of the girth of my arms and fixated on it to the point that it ruined the entire vacation for me and probably made Henry reconsider his choices. I’m still very neurotic and self-conscious but I think I have gotten A LITTLE better over the years!?

Yikes.

My mom asked me if I want these torch lights that she salvaged from my grandparents’ house because she feels that it would really complete my decor, lol. Yes I want them! However, after going back and looking at pictures of them when they were still hanging in saluting stasis in my Pappap’s goth hallway (which, ironically, was blood-red carpeted), I’m now remembering how gigantic these suckers are and wondering where I would put them, plus there’s the whole electrical side of it to consider (Henry reminded me 87 times during this discussion that we do not own this house and while he has his electrician-guy background, he doesn’t want to be doing electrical work on a house that he does not own). UGHHHH. What to do!? I  guess I will take them and store them and hope that one day I will wake up and think, “This is the day we start actively house-hunting.” I dunno why I’m being so lazy about this. (I mean, I do know – it’s because we don’t want to be limited to where we can buy a house while Chooch is in school, but still, I have to wonder how much of that is just an excuse because I’m such a fucking weirdo when it comes to change.)

(Hopefully Chooch, the Zillow Prince, doesn’t read that last line and take that as his cue to start sending me house listings again lol.)

Back to my vacation journals. The one with the Coachella recount also had the tail end of our weekend 2003 road trip to Lancaster, PA which was supposed to be my consolation prize for Henry ruining my birthday trip to Boston/Salem by getting the flu (according to my journal, we had to abandon our Salem itinerary halfway through the day and go back to the hotel because Henry thought he was having a heart attack and knowing me, because you know, I am me, I’m sure I verbally eviscerated him the entire car ride back for ruining my day. Anyway!!! I know certain reader(s) enjoy being taught shit by Henry, so here’s a little lesson that he taught  me at 8:43PM on August 8th, 2003:

Truck drivers used to “swap” toll tickets so their toll would be cheaper but then they got caught, which is why the rest areas usually have two different ways to get in so that the traffic doesn’t cross or something. [Now that I’m typing this based on what I wrote in my vacation journal, it doesn’t make sense so I’m sure I was only half-assedly listening.] Anyway, those shady-ass truckers got busted because of the discrepancy in time on the turnpike tickets. Quotes Henry, “It made it look like it only took them an hour to drive 300 miles. Hahahaha!” According to my journal, I laughed really loudly and mockingly so I basically haven’t changed at all. Sorry, Hank.

Drew likes to sit on the mantle, much to my chagrin, and here she is bird-watching with Trudy. Please note that after this morning, Trudy no longer is wearing the matador-red tiger robe because it was bringing out the bull in Drew’s sister Penelope, and I’ll tell you what, little gets the blood pumping quite like the sound of a mannequin hitting the floor behind you in an otherwise ghostly-quiet house while you’re concentrating on work.

I’ve started to slowly add things to the wall adjacent to the Cure Corner – when I say I have a lot of Cure memorabilia, I mean that I have so much that I have actually been uncovering prints and posters that I had no idea I had, or even when/where they came from. So yeah–I could decorate an entire house with just the stuff that I’ve collected since, when, like 1999 I guess.  But right now, I started with these three smaller things: a sketch of Robert from the artist EsQui, the picture of me meeting Robert OMG kill me, and — bear with me — this cute 3D cockatoo art that I bought from some store based in Amsterdam when it came to me late one night (when alllllll the best/stupidest ideas visit me) that I needed something cockatoo-related in that area because if you didn’t know, Like Cockatoos is in my Top 10 favorite songs by the Cure.

Henry was shining his phone’s flashlight at this corner for me while I took pictures because it’s shrouded by a moody pink light up there 24:7 (actually more like 18:7 because we have the light on a timer lol). As soon as it’s OK to have parties again, I’m going to insist that all of my friends take turns sitting here so I can take their pictures. Maybe this could be like a polaroid zone.

Here’s me: how can I effectively turn my home into a functioning modern art exhibit or at the very least, an Instagram-trendy cafe but without the baristas. This has been my dream for quite some time but ever since Corey, Kara, and I visited this one abandoned house-cum-art installation a few years back, I was like THIS IS FOR ME. More secret passages and fireplace-crawl spaces!

OK, maybe I will consider buying a house sooner rather than later, before my friends are too old and feeble to army-crawl in between walls in order to access the bathroom-slash-movie theater that only plays silent, vintage porn.

Feb 172021
 

Oh boy here are the books I read in the second half of January, and I also want to mention that Henry just read “In the Dream House” which was one of my faves from last year and I am SO PROUD of him for giving it a chance because this is decidedly not a Very Henry Book but he read it and HE LIKED IT. (He did admit that some parts went over his head though lolol.)

(I asked him if he even felt any emotions and he was so offended and scoffed, “YES. I’M NOT DEAD INSIDE.”)

7. Sigh, Gone: A Misfit’s Memoir of Great Books, Punk Rock, and the Fight to Fit In – Phuc Tran

Sigh, Gone: A Misfit's Memoir of Great Books, Punk Rock, and the Fight to Fit In

The tagline on the cover was enough to get me to pick me up but Phuc’s writing brought it to the next level. There was one part that stood out where he describes his immersion into the punk scene as a way to be considered a misfit or outcast for something other than the color of his skin.

Phuc’s humor & accounts of high school hijinx with his skater crew often made me feel like I was reading the script for an 80s teen movie and it was beyond entertaining, but then he would turn around and show us what he was going through at home with his Vietnamese parents who just wanted to provide the best life they could for their kids but didn’t always do that in the best ways.

Anyway, Phuc is currently a tattoo artist in Maine and I want a tattoo from him in the worst way now.

8. The Ghost Tree – Christina Henry

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How is this the same person who wrote Alice, which I read in December and loved?! This book was not great!  Something about it reminded me of that guy Grady Hendrix who everyone thinks is such a great horror writer and I’m always just like, “THIS WAS SO CORNY!” That’s how this felt, except that it was targeted more for young adults, I think so Christina Henry can get away with that a bit more I guess.

I don’t even feel like discussing this, to be honest.

9. Weather – Jenny Offill 

Weather

OK excuse me please but this book was OFFILL.

Sorry, I had to.

But this book was really bad. It was like someone printed out random LiveJournal entries from 2002, bound them and then made some OK collage for a cover. I had absolutely no idea what was going on, what the point was, who the characters were…this was such a waste of time.

10. Moshi Moshi – Banana Yoshimoto 

Moshi Moshi

I think this book cover is so lovely.

Moshi, Moshi was a very short book yet it took me nearly the entire month to read it. First of all, it’s not broken up into chapters and books like that make me nervous. I need to have a solid place to end my reading sessions! Second, it’s just a very slow-moving, quiet exploration of the grieving process. The main character’s (Yoshie) father has been murdered and she moves out shortly thereafter, only to have her mother follow. Her mom claims that their old apartment is haunted now, which gives a false impression that this book is going to be a ghost story. It’s really not. It’s more about how Yoshie and her mother each find different ways to move forward from the death.

I didn’t NOT enjoy this book, but it wasn’t something that I am going to find myself ever thinking about again, if that makes sense. You know me and my wishy-washy book reviews. The best part about this book was that I learned from a Goodreads review that Japanese people say “Moshi moshi’ when they answer the phone because ghosts can only say it once. THAT IS THE COOLEST FACT I’VE LEARNED RECENTLY. (I don’t know very many cool Japan facts since Korea is my wheelhouse.)

Anyway, I don’t even know if that’s true.

11. The Music Shop – Rachel Joyce

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I didn’t know how badly I needed to read this book. I had never even heard of it and then one day it was recommended on Scribd and I wanted something to listen to while working – UGH IT WAS SO TOUCHING. Anyone who loves music will relate to this.

The side characters are like a British Stars Hollow motley crew, and the two main characters (Frank, who owns a record shop in the 80s and is violently resisting the growing demand for CDs; and Ilse, a woman visiting from Germany who has her own love story with music) are so well-written and I was rooting for them bigly.

I cried like a baby at the end. This book was so sweet.

12.  You Say It First – Katie Cotugno

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This was OK. We have a girl in Philly who is super into politics and works at a voter registration call center after school, where she cold-calls a house in Ohio and has a combative conversation with the teenage boy of the family who starts questioning her spiel and OMG HOW DARE HE and of course this turns into some kind of sketchy long-distance frenemy sitch until suddenly they realize that they’re more real with each other than they are with their actual friends. Yadda yadda yadda – we all know this story, but now add politics into the obligatory teen drama.

It actually reminded me of when I worked at Olan Mills as a telemarketer when I was 18 (can you imagine!? I was actually extremely great at it because this was back when I had a super outrageous personality before life and toxic work places beat me down into the bland, insecure pulp I am today. Anyway!! This one night, I ended up calling a guy who declined my offer for a photo package because he was actually a photography major at the Art Institute yet we hit it off for no reason other than we were both young and opposite sex and you know how when you’re young, it doesn’t take much. My manager was like majorly side-eying me for being on the phone for too long so we exchanged numbers and then when I got home that night we talked for HOURS to the point where our conversation took its natural course to us getting married, moving to Montana*, and getting a sheepdog.

*(Weird because I literally can’t imagine myself ever living there so he must have caught me in a good mood.)

I can’t even remember this guy’s name now – JOE?! – but we did end up meeting in real life at the mall. My friend Brian took me there and made sure I was OK before leaving and then JOE?! and I took the bus (literally the first and last time I was ever on a PAT bus) to his apartment in Southside, messed around (lol), and then he took me to a nearby cafe to meet his friends at which time he turned into a different person and I was like EW I DO NOT LIKE YOU ANYMORE and he was like “stay over” and I was like “NO THANK YOU” and had to call my mom to come pick me up at 2am because I didn’t have my license yet LOL.

I think we talked on the phone occasionally after that (I have a recollection of him moving out of state – I think he wasn’t from Pittsburgh and had moved home – and then moving back and getting in touch?) but I was like “Dude you can shove your Montana dreams, I was already in one shitty relationship and I will not be treated like common trash just because you’re trying to look cool in front of your friends” and this is the part that I related to in the book because they end up meeting up IRL and he takes her to a party and all his friends are total rural bros who make misogynistic jokes and think all women are meant to fetch beers, and now the dude isn’t acting like he normally does when they’re on the phone and I FELT THAT.

God, what was that guy’s name!?!? I used to have a picture of him too and now I don’t even know where that is. I just remember he wore JNCO pants and had several piercings because ART SCHOOL.

Anyway, those are the books I read in January. You’re welcome.

Feb 162021
 

Last night I was reminded of the time when I referenced cabbage in every blog post for an entire month and no one noticed. I asked Henry if he remembered that and he said, “Yeah….why? Did someone finally notice?” in an incredulous tone that implied disbelief that anyone still reads it. Whatever, Henry! So I was inspired to self-boost my blog stats by revisiting the cabbage posts from that month and in the process, I came across the post from the time I coerced Janna into going to a house show with me at a frat house in Oakland and then I started cracking up SO BAD at the memory of that night that I had to run upstairs and wake up Henry to laugh-wheeze in his face and he was like, “OK psycho, are you done? Then turn off the light.”

(I have to warn you that I pulled out some old vacation journals and that has also been cracking me up because I’m a fucking stand-up narcissist I guess, so be prepared for some of that shit coming up in the future since I have no life currently and am living in the past.)

OK anyway, this is from July 2015 and it was such a fun/funny/weird night.

****

Sometime last month, Kurt Travis posted that he was trying to book a house show in Pittsburgh. It was an off day for the headlining solo tour he was doing and if you’re a regular reader or have the misfortune of working with me, you may recall that I begged Glenn to let me offer his house.

Spoiler: he said no.

But luckily, some guy took care of business and promoted the house show on Twitter. My emotions ran a veritable Tough Mudder.

First, I was completely stoked because I haven’t seen Kurt since the last time he was with A Lot Like Birds and I think that was 2 years ago at this point.

Second, I was overwhelmed because a house show meant Kurt would be totally accessible and you know how ridiculous I get. BANDS ARE PEOPLE TOO, ERIN.

Third, the tiny modicum of adult rationality I keep buried beneath my abundance of wanton abandon managed to surface and I was concerned for my safety because this house is in collegeland and what if it turned into a HOUSE PARTY and I get roofied? DOES THAT STILL HAPPEN? I’m pretty far removed from all of that.

Fourth, I felt preemptively self-conscious because while I don’t FEEL old, for this particular music scene, I AM old. It would be much less easy for me to blend in at a house show.

Fifth, I felt panicked because every single person I asked to go with me said no. If this show was at a venue, I wouldn’t have even bothered asking anyone. I’d have just gone alone.

Sixth, whimpering pity party sadness that Terri, the only friend I have who even knows who Kurt Travis is, lives in stupid Philly.

Glenn and Todd were loving this.

“You’ll have to show us the stitches from where they take your kidney,” Glenn said before he left work on Friday.

And Todd was all, “I used to live in Oakland [where the house is located] and nothing good happens in any of those houses.”

Oh and before you ask, Henry said no before the details of the house show were even finalized.

I had a small glimmer of hope when I ran into Blake’s ex-girlfriend Shannon at the mall Wednesday night. She is acquaintances with the guy who booked the show and said she was certain he wouldn’t roofie me, but that she didn’t know any of his friends, so…. But then she said she might be there and I got really excited so she reiterated the “might” part.

My seventh emotion was that of RELIEF on the day of the show when Janna agreed to go with me.

***

I made Henry drop us off there because I wasn’t trying to add the stress of parking in Oakland to my teetering stack of worries. First, I made him do a case of the house, which was actually a row house that seemed to have zero activity going on around it. But then we saw a group of young people (probably 21?) walking toward it so Henry was like, “Get out.”

“Not until they’re gone!” I cried. I didn’t want them to see me getting out of my dad’s car, god Henry.

It was around 7:30, so…now or ever. Janna and I tentatively climbed the steps to Planet Vegeta (lol). The front door was open so I walked in and found some guy lounging on the couch in a room that was in your standard college kid state of haphazard uncleanliness, the promise of tetanus  and rodent infestation lurking beneath every casually-strewn pizza box.

“Is this where the Kurt Travis show is?” I asked the comfortable man.

“Yep, it is!” he answered not in the apathetic manner I was anticipating, but in a friendly, inviting tone instead.

When I’m nervous, self-deprecation falls out of me like hot, salty ejaculate from the mouth of a hooker with strep throat. (Sorry for the porn-fingers.) I vaguely recall saying something about being “too old for these things hahahahah *kill me*” and he just laughed and said, “Everyone is out back. Make yourself at home!”

So, narrowly avoiding kicking a soccer ball through a window, we wound our way through the kitchen and out a screen door, where KURT TRAVIS was hanging out with the other bands. Small cliques of people were sitting around awkwardly, so add two more to the awkward party, I guess!

It was REALLY uncomfortable for about the first 20 minutes. I’m not going to lie, there was a split second when I considered leaving. But then Dylan, the guy who booked the show, came over to take our money and mark our hands with a green X. Someone put on an 80s playlist, Madonna first and then The Cure came on which calmed my nerves considerably. Especially when the music stopped because the owner of the phone it was playing from had to make a call, and when he came back, someone asked, “What should we put on now?”

“I was happy with The Cure, but whatever,” Kurt said in a way that meant “PUT THE CURE BACK ON.”

(They did not put The Cure back on, but whatever.)

Then Janna was like, “I really hate to have to do this—” and here is where I thought she was going to hold up her phone and show me that her Uber confirmation because SEEYA, this scene ain’t for me, bitch!

“—-but I have to use the bathroom really bad and I’m so afraid to go back in there.”

Oh, thank god that’s all!

But then I realized that this meant she was going to be leaving me out there, alone, OMG.

A minute later she came back.

“There’s no one in there to ask,” she complained.

“OMG, just go back in and look for the bathroom. I promise you that these people give zero fucks about a strange girl using their bathroom,” I said. It was bad enough that I was already the Old Lady at the House Show. I didn’t want to also become The Old Lady at the House Show With the Other Old Lady Who Shit Herself.

And so Janna forged her way back into the house and located the bathroom without even needing a map, as evidenced by the victory text I received from her that said, “I found it. Nobody here to care that I walked up here.”

Janna, conquering frat house floor plans, one campus at a time.

Meanwhile, I was leaning against Divorce.’s van, cracking the fuck up by myself, because what a fucking night already. It’s funny how this shit is normal when you’re 20 years old, but when you’re 35, every single second of it was fucking hilarious. I kept texting updates t o Henry, Corey, and Wendy, who actually said that she would have gone with me if she didn’t have to go to a wedding. AND SHE IS PREGNANT, YOU GUYS. That is a true friend.

Then a rousing game of hacky sack started up and I was silently praying that no one would kick it to me because I am a failure at hackying the sacks.

I texted Henry, “Some guy* is sitting in Kurt’s van, staring at me. He looks like a young Charles Manson, help.”

Henry: “Lol.”

Thanks, Henry!

*(I couldn’t figure out where I knew him from, because he looked so familiar. I was running down a list of bands in my head, but I couldn’t place him in any of them. Turns out he was helping with merch on this tour and I recognized him because the Blue Swan scene is so small and I’m always seeing him pop up on Instagram and Twitter because he’s friends with pretty much all of those bands. I am way too immersed in this scene, help me, I’m drowning.)

Around 8:15, divorce. was ready to start and everyone was ushered down a precarious set of spiraling concrete steps into a tiny basement, and then the night proceeded to go from 100% awkward to 100% FUCKING AWESOME.

These guys are from here (Pittsburgh), and that makes me proud because they are just the kind of passionate, gritty emo/grunge band that I find myself often craving.  I’m keeping on an eye (and an ear, oh ho!) on these ones. They’re gonna go places.


I already can’t wait to see them again!

After their set, everyone retreated for the cool air. We sat down in the parking lot and Janna complained about being sweaty and wanting water. That’s not being very punk rock, Janna.

While we were waiting for Save Us From the Archon, Janna and I talked about looking for new jobs, trying to get out and do more things, and Chooch. It occurred to me that we were sitting in a back lot with a bunch of people 10+ years younger than us passing around bowls and drinking cans of cheap beer, while we were talking about grown-up life bullshit.

It’s ridiculous that this post is so age-focused but please remember that the music scene I’m into is young and I really am an anomaly.

And then Janna said, with just a note of surprise to her tone, “I liked that band! They were good!”

“Well duh, Janna. I don’t like sucky music!” scoffed my music-snob alter ego. Seriously! If people would actually pay attention to what I say, then maybe they would be listening to good music, too. NO ONE TAKES ME SERIOUSLY! #pityppartyonpioneeravenue

This was my second time seeing local mathcore favorites Save Us From the Archon. If you don’t like any music along the lines of post-rock, then you probably definitely won’t like SUFTA. Me? I think they’re brilliantly gifted musicians and, as someone who has no musical talent (save for playing the clarinet moderately well in middle school), it blows my mind watching their hands and fingers move and trying to work out in my feeble mind how they play such crazy-technical shit that makes my chest feel like an alien is about to punch its way out. It’s a frenetic, metal-tinged meltdown in all of the best senses.

(Needless to say, Henry was not sad that he was missing them. We saw them last year at the Hail the Sun/Stolas/Icarus the Owl show at Smiling Moose.)

There was a girl nearby who looked in awe and said, “OK, I am definitely learning how to play the guitar.” That made me happy.

While SUFTA was playing, the sun had set, so we retreated from the basement to an absolutely beautiful, mild night. There was even a slight breeze and it felt so fucking good after sweating in that basement. “It’s practically winter out here!” I said to the girl who wants to learn the guitar and she agreed and THAT IS HOW YOU TALK TO PEOPLE, APPARENTLY. I’m relearning these things.

Some young guy walked past us and said, “I have to sit down; my legs are killing me.”

I laughed and said to Janna, “God, who’s the old person now!?”

You guys, that’s Kurt going nuts during Adventurer’s set, no big deal. He kept grabbing the mic and singing along. It’s fucking refreshing that there is so much camaraderie and passion between bands. They told us that Kurt is their mom, which is adorable because you can tell that he looks after the young bands he take s on the road with him and I JUST WANTED TO CRY because I’m an emotional wreck even on a good day. Add amazing live music to the mix and I’m suddenly a house wife watching a Nicholas Sparks movie.

(By the way, Adventurer? They’re a three-piece post-hardcore band from Michigan. Go get stoked on them, NOW. Kurt doesn’t just take any run of the mill band on tour with him.)

Oh god, and then Kurt. I’ve seen him twice with Dance Gavin Dance, three times (at least) with A Lot Like Birds, and once by himself when he was on Jonny Craig’s solo tour in 2012, but none of those times even come close to being as perfect as this was. It doesn’t get much more intimate than seeing a singer you respect that much…..in some dude’s basement.

Adventurer acted as his backing band, and there was a hilarious moment where Kurt hunted down Steven (Adventurer’s guitarist) and kept trying to kiss him until, at last, he was successful and everyone cheered.

He sang “Desperate” and I was like *HEART EYES* because that song punches me in the gut every time.

At one point, Kurt brought up the fact that he was the oldest person in the room, I can’t remember why it came up now. But we made eye contact when he said that and I shook my head “no.”

“If anyone in this room is older than 31, raise your hand.”

I raised my hand.

“You??” he said in a shocked tone, which let me tell you, I truly appreciated. “No.”

“Yep. I’m 35!” I announced, and everyone craned their necks to get a good look at the token old broad.

Kurt shook his head and smiled. “Damn, I thought for sure I was the oldest one here! OK then, I dedicate this next song to you!”

O M F G.

In that moment, I was filled with gratitude that Janna was there as a witness. FINALLY, BEING OLD WORKED IN MY FAVOR!

(I still don’t feel old though. And I was showing more signs of life than half of those comatose motherfuckers last night!)


Kurt asked, “Anyone here like The Cure?” There were only two of us in the basement who answered affirmatively. Kurt told us that when he was a kid growing up in Sacramento, his mom was a dancer for Reebok and Adidas and he would often accompany her on drives back and forth to LA, where he would spend a lot of time listening to The Cure, specifically “Disintegration.”

“This next song was heavily influenced by The Cure,” he explained, before playing “Everything Is Beautiful.”

Meanwhile, Steven had stepped on glass or a syringe or who knows what and a small pool of blood had formed on the basement floor while the tour manager ran to get a first aid kit. And he just kept right on playing.

Kurt declined Steven’s request for him to kiss it.

I don’t even know what else to say about this night other hearing his beautiful voice within a small cinderblock-walled room was something that I will never forget and I definitely would have lived to regret it had I not gone, just like I still to this day regret missing a Frank Turner house show in 2010 because I had just started an evening assignment with a temp agency, ugh forever. I remember that I considered calling off and Henry, who rarely says no to me, gave me a Look that said, “Are you fucking kidding me, we’ve been poor as FUCK for the last year, you are GOING TO THIS JOB AND YOU ARE GETTING PAID.” Ugh, sometimes Henry has a point.

***

After the show, I waited semi-patiently while two guys fan-girled in Kurt’s face, because I had decided that I was not leaving this house without officially meeting him. And saying, “Can you sign this?” after I bought his EP from him in 2012 does not count.

“It was totally worth being the oldest broad in the room for this,” I said, trying not to gush.

“I couldn’t believe anyone here was going to be older than me!” he laughed.

Then Janna popped up from out of nowhere and said, “I’m older than her, just so you know” and I was like “GTFO YOU ARE NOT GOING TO RUIN MY MOMENT!” so then she retreated into her hole and I went on to tell him that I’ve always been a huge Dance Gavin Dance fan, and I obviously love his current band A Lot Like Birds, so it was worth enduring a potentially awkward situation to see him that night.

He graciously thanked me AND THEN GAVE ME A HUG!

He told me a little bit about the tour, and how he was said that In Angles couldn’t be there tonight (and I was sad too because I have been listening to them ever since he first gave them a shout out on Instagram) and it’s just really awesome how humble he is, and always ready to support and promote other bands before talking about his own. He is a real diamond in this scene.

I didn’t want to keep him any longer, so I wished him safe travels and then Janna and I headed out of the basement.

“Way to steal my moment, Janna! God, I was waiting for you to pull out your cane to prove you’re older than me!” and Janna laughed but I was serious!

Then Henry and Chooch rolled up and I screamed in Henry’s face, “KURT TRAVIS DEDICATED A SONG TO ME AND HE HUGGGGGGGGED ME!!!” Henry was like “…..” but Chooch had a ton of questions about this, because Chooch gets it, you guys.

***

This night.

It was utter perfection.

In fact, it was better than rolling cabbages down a hill toward Jonny Craig bowling pins.

P.S. In case you care, this is my all-time favorite Kurt Travis song even though it’s a Dance Gavin Dance song:

P.P.S. I survived and my organ-count is the same as it was Saturday morning, so in your face, GLENN!

Feb 142021
 

You guys, Sugar Spell Scoops has returned from their much-deserved January hiatus, just in time for Valentine’s Day! Their cupid-approved comeback featured 6 flavors, but I managed to repress my inner pig and only ordered 4. I try to reason that I’m giving other people a chance. It is literally Pint Panic during these pre-orders, you guys. Their ice cream is highly sought after and their winning reputation has been growing with each release. So, if you don’t sent a reminder on your phone and sit there hitting refresh like you’re trying to buy Blackpink concert tickets, then lolololol have fun eating your SO Delicious.

Be My Valentine is their Feb 14th spin on their famous Dunkaroo flavor, which was the first scoop Chooch ever got from Sugar Spell and I remember having flavor-remorse that day because I of course liked my choice but after he gave me a taste of his, I was straight up coveting it. So now I always make sure to snag a pint when it’s part of a pre-order! This version has chocolate Teddy Grahams and pink funfetti buttercream frosting swirls which honestly disengages my self-control and I just want to sit in a dark closet with my pint and spoon it into my slobbering mouth with my bare hands.

Chooch proclaimed Burnin’ Love as his favorite – it’s chocolate ice cream with mini chips, cinnamon and cayenne pepper. Woo boy, that subtle throat burn is perfection! Also, I have said this on here before and I’m not just being hyperbolic but Sugar Spell makes the best chocolate ice cream I have ever had and it’s even more incredible when you remember, as that rich chocolate pillow of flavor melts on your tongue, that this IS VEGAN.

AMBROSIA!!! I was determined to get this one because my mom made ambrosia for every summer cookout we had when I was growing up – to this day I’m always like “YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG” if I go to someone else’s party and they don’t have a big fucking bowl of ambrosia (or strawberry pretzel salad! If you can’t have both, at least pick one!). I did a whole post here last summer about summer picnic salads. It is actually stupid how on point this ice cream version is.

Perfect Matcha is obviously matcha, but also stawberry rose ice cream topped with rose petals! It’s mine all mine because neither Henry nor Chooch like matcha (well, I think Chooch is ok with matcha but he doesn’t love floral flavors in food) and oh baby this is so refreshing. It’s just the right amount of rose without leaving you with that cloying, accidental perfume inhalation taste in the back of your throat, you know what I mean? Sometimes, floral-flavors can be too heavy-handed, or they can just catch you off guard and leave you with a choking fit in the middle of a temple on a Hare Krishna compound when you imbibe water without knowing it had been steeped with an entire rose garden even though your FRIEND JANNA tried to warn you.

Ah, Sugar Spell – welcome back. You were missed!

Next up in vegan food pre-orders,  Onion Maiden’s occasional pop-up The Ramen returned this weekend, and I excitedly pre-ordered two bowls of spicy ramen for Chooch and me, and then the Flower People cheesecake which we will get to in a second….but first – RAMEN CLOSE-UP:

Now let’s get into this cheesecake! It’s made with ube & peach cashew cheesecake, with a soft helmet of cashew cream, chamomile, raspberry dust, and coconut.

It was so rich and dense that I willingly shared it with Henry.

We ordered two pieces though so you might catch me eating while crying in the shower because I’m going through some emotions lately HAHAHA ugh.

Anyway – back to Ambrosia Talk. Whenever Sugar Spell announced that as a flavor, I started a conversation on Instragram with Amanda (Sugar Spell’s mastermind) about how nostalgic this is and she told me that her grandma used to make a variation of it called Frog Eye Salad, which I have never heard of and became immediately obsessed as soon as Amanda mentioned that it contains PASTA.

She sent me the veganized recipe she uses and when I passed it on to Henry, he was intrigued enough to make it last night. I am here now to tell you that it is delicious and the pasta gives it the BEST texture!!

SO GOOD! And it’s not overly sugary or heavy so it makes a nice snack or a breakfast side (I may have done both today lol).

Here’s the recipe Amanda sent me if anyone is interested!

 

Feb 132021
 

Hey word-nerds. I figured I would keep up this book list on here because it’s fun and I don’t have much else going on. I decided at the end of my 2020 challenge that I definitely do not want to read over 200 books again. I mean – that was nuts and I would like to have more time like, watch a k-drama or something.

I think I set a goal of 50, which seems reasonable and not hyper-obsessive. Right? Except that I still have all this momentum and ended up reading 12 books in January regardless, but I am going to make a conscious effort to slow the eff down from here on out, I swear to myself.

Anyway, here are the first 6 books I read in January, which was an “OK” reading month.

  1. Pizza Girl – Jean Kyoung Frazier

Pizza Girl

What a weird little effing book this one was! Every so often, I take advantage of my library’s recommendation service and the librarian this time around gave me some right recs. We follow an 18-year-old pregnant Korean American, out of high school and lost, working at a pizza shop, when one day she takes a call from a frenzied mom begging for pickles to be added to her son’s pizza. Intrigued by this, the girl then goes out of her way to procure  the pickles and after delivering the pizza, she starts to become obsessed with the lady.

This book was so uncomfortable at times, funny, sad — there’s an underlying exploration of grief that I could relate to more than I wanted to, as it becomes clear that the girl never fully mourned the semi-recent death of her alcoholic father.

I don’t know, I really vibed with this and it was a great book to kick off the new year! Also, the cover is amaze.

2.  The Party – Robyn Harding

The Party

LOL this book was so bad. In regard to the blurb on the front cover: This was more like if a 12-year-old binged Big Little Lies and then tried to write her own version of it. Every single character was written SO POORLY.  The pizza in the book above had more personality than anyone in this book, which is a shame because it was multi-POV and I usually really enjoy books written that way.

Dumb dumb dumb. I hate being a shithead toward published authors because obviously what have I published, but not only was the plot just….huh??….but the writing was bland and unexceptional. Basically, this is something that a mom would grab at an airport bookstand last minute and forget about by the time the plane lands. Skip this!!

3. Us Against You (Beartown #2) – Fredrik Backman

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My friend Eve commented a few months ago and told me that she liked Beartown but she LOVED Us Against You. I thought these were strong words because I LOVED BEARTOWN and couldn’t even imagine how a sequel could best the original.

And then I read it and with saline-swollen eyes and a stuffy nose, I wailed, “SHE WAS RIGHHHHHHHT.” This book is everything. I have since also gotten Janna and Henry to read both and we are like a small little Pittsburgh chapter of the Beartown Bros.

We’re still following Hockey Lyfe in Beartown, most of the characters from the first book are back but we get some new ones too and I can’t stress enough how masterful Backman is at writing characters. Every character has a purpose. Every sentence matters. I sobbed my face off numerous times during my reading journey because the people in this book feel so fucking real to me, my heart aches anytime something bad happens to them.

Drew was actually staring at me with huge concerned eyeballs when I finished the last page because I was legit ugly-sobbing. Like, CRYING OUT LOUD.

You do not have to be a hockey person to enjoy these books. Please read them. A third one is coming out at some point and I am considering medication before I start reading it. Oof.

4. Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng

Little Fires Everywhere

This one kept getting bumped off my TBR last year but I made a point of getting it read in 2021. By now, you probably have at least heard of this thanks to the Reese Witherspoon Hulu adaptation, which I have not seen.

I thought this book was OK! I enjoyed the references to Bethel Park, which isn’t shocking since the author grew up in Pittsburgh, but overall I didn’t really connect to it like I had hoped to. I read “Everything I Never Told You” last year and thought that one was INCREDIBLE. The emotions felt so tangible to me while reading it and I guess I had expected the same from Little Fires. I think if I had read this one first, I would have liked it more but I did think the plot was super interesting and really gave you a lot to think about (if you read this, I’m sure you will know which side I was on).

I needed more Izzy though. She was fucking amazing. Give Izzy her own story!!

5. All the Birds, Singing – Evie Wyld

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HOLY.FUCKING.SHIT. Is Evie Wyld a master at timeline fuckery? Yes, I believe she is. After I read “The Bass Rock” last year, I was really eager to devour more of her words and All the Birds did not disappoint. It’s weird how I can handle the most gory horror, abuse, rape etc in books, but as soon as you start adding “animal stuff” I am like, THIS BOOK IS HARD TO READ. And that’s how it was this. Lots of sheep killing, there are some pretty graphic scenes, but everything matters. It didn’t feel gratuitous.

Like The Bass Rock, this one took me a bit to decode the timeline, but once I did, I kind of sat up straight and said out loud, “Wait…is this…did she really…wow.” It’s just….WYLD. Lol.

I actually need to re-read this one at some point, now that I have a better understanding of the timeline. I love it when you’re reading a book and it just suddenly clicks. This book is a treasure!

6. Harrow Lake – Kat Ellis 

Harrow Lake

I actually kind of liked this more than I thought I would considering it’s a YA thriller/mystery. The daughter of a famous horror movie director goes back to the town where his most famous film was set, and accidentally falls into a mission to find out what really happened to her mom. Is this something that I will remember years from now? Nope. Did it provide some entertainment via audiobook while I was slogging through a miserable workday? Yeah boi. And that’s really all I can ask for.

Feb 122021
 

Is it weird to have your own art hanging in your house? I don’t think so, I guess. Most of my art is birthed from inside jokes (like the Tony Stewart portrait I painted for Henry while he was at store and he didn’t even appreciate it or the Ham Sandwich AF painting after I watched a Mamas and the Papas documentary) or inexplicably deep-seated obsessions (like this strange amalgamation of celebs with a token serial killer). I don’t really *miss* painting all that much, surprisingly considering it did provide some catharsis for a time, but it does make me smile to have some remnants of that Somnambulant Years scattered around my house. So for this Friday Five, I will show you OMG FIVE HOW DID YOU GUESS pieces of what I still consider “my fake art” because my grandma really gave me a complex when I was a teenager and said I wanted to go to art school in San Francisco and she scoffed and huffed, “Well, I’m not paying for that.” Lol.

  1. Twin Peaks Montage

I actually never finished this (the red is pretty streaky and I never even sprayed it) because I knew pretty much from the get-go that I wasn’t going to sell it since I love Twin Peaks so much and I’m a selfish person – I always had a hard time letting go of some of my paintings, most notably the Pee Wee ones.

2. Stars of the OJ Trial

This one has been half-obscured on a shelf for years but I think I’m ready to get a frame for it and hang it. The OJ Simpson trial was a HUGE PART OF MY LIFE as a teenager (OK maybe only for like 3 months). I don’t know why I was so fixated on it considering I was only like 15 and most teenagers didn’t give a FUCK about the news or whatever back then but I was so sure that OJ was innocent and I actually got kicked out of a class that year for cheering when the verdict came out lololol. And there was the whole Pog saga.

3. HOT JESUS

This is, IMHO, the best painting I ever made I think.

4. BLAH BLAH BLAH CHOOCH CHOOCH CHOOCH.

I bought this creepy-ass picture at Goodwill of a young boy and then painted Chooch’s head over top (this was back when he had pink hair, clearly) and surprised him with it. He was SO MAD about all the “blah”s lol. I remember back when I painted it, Henry’s mom was all Weekend Art Critic about it and I was like, “I know Judy, that’s why I’m a fake artist.”

5. Murder Farm

This one is SO DUMB but I found this basic country/farm picture thing at Goodwill one time and liked the shape and the frame so I added some ghosts and blood and bones and then made Henry hang it in our bedroom and he was like, “HAHAHA – oh, you’re serious.”

So, that’s five. Maybe someday I will share five more. WOW DARE TO DREAM.

Feb 102021
 

I’ve been getting back into my Kpop cardio groove in an effort to reclaim some pre-pandemic normalcy and orientation, and I have to wonder why I ever fell out of this practice to begin with because it cheers me up SO MUCH. So I started doing 4 to 5 routines before work and several during my lunch break and I have to say that my mood has definitely improved.

Several times, I have caught Buddy at the window watching me! (HE LETS ME HAND-FEED HIM WALNUTS NOW!!!)

Over the weekend, I went back to one of the OG Kpop workout channels – SarahKpop – who sadly doesn’t post new workouts anymore but at least she kept her channel up so we can still enjoy the old ones. Anyway, doing these older routines felt like a bucket of warm, molten nostalgia was being poured over me and wrapping me up in the safe and comforting arms of a velvet-robed grandma fresh from putting the snickerdoodles in the oven.

There have been so many bangin’ Kpop songs that have come out lately and my favorite Kpop cardio instructor has been churning out the most fun routines for them and I have been LIVING FOR IT.

Two of my favorites right now are Twice’s Cry For Me and Hyuna’s I’m Not Cool:

I fully immersed myself in this at the end of 2016 when I couldn’t take the reality of this country anymore and now I need this more than ever. I cannot pull myself away from the impeachment trial. I know it’s really hampering my mental health and I know these sleazy, piece of shit, spineless ReTrumplicans are going to shit all over democracy and do the selfish thing as usual. So I will dive back into my Kpop lalaland where the language is beautiful, I can distract myself with daydreams of G-Dragon and patbingsu, and best of all there’s no Trump.

(I know this is SO SHOCKING but I dream every day of going back to Korea & the amount of times I scroll through my vacation pictures with fervor might be considered “pathetic” to some people but I call it PASSIONATE lol.)

Anyway, as I sit here and type this, I realized that for once, I’m not dreading waking up tomorrow morning because I know I’m gonna have my toast WITH COPIOUS AMOUNTS OF BUTTER & JELLY and then flail around like Elaine Bennett to some poppin’ Kpop workouts. Yay – endorphins!

(I wonder if I can get Henry to do some kpopping this weekend LIKE OLD TIMES? God knows he has Valentine factory stress to burn off lol.)

Feb 092021
 

I have always had a TON of Cure memorabilia strewn about my house, so many pictures of Robert Smith hung on my walls that I used to jokingly coo, “That’s your daddy!” when Chooch was but a wee baby.

During the pandemic, I’ve had a lot of time to, you know, STARE AT THE FUCKING WALLS, and I’ve been having some fun floofing the Cure wall downstairs while also slowly adding some more stuff to the new Cure wall upstairs. In my head, my decor makes sense, you guys.

I just think this corner is so cozy. Getting a church pew really added pizzazz (do people do say pizzazz or is that we’re calling people who believe in pizzagate nowadays? Pizzazzes?). I have several more of Chooch’s school pictures that need hung but we’re eventually repainting that wall so I’ve been holding off.

I do want to reframe the Robert portrait though!

That swag lamp was one of the best spontaneous purchases I’ve ever made and even though Henry hits his head off it a lot I think he is mostly ok with it. We got it at some fly-by-night junk store in Cleveland when we were killing time before seeing, I think, Artifex Pereo.

In “upstairs Cure wall” news, I’m starting to add some stuff to the adjacent wall, like these two pictures (one is me meeting Robert! I finally put it in a frame!):

We hung them low so they’re just above-level with the table. You know so when you’re sitting there for no reason, you can look at me handing Robert flowers in Canberra, Australia.

And I have a framed, signed album that also needs to go on that wall but I’m still mulling over the position.

It’s such a fun area! I’m looking for the perfect holy water font to also hang on that wall so I can fill it with candy/mints and then when you come out of the bathroom, you’ll see it on your way back downstairs and say, “Candy? Don’t mind if I do!”

I mean, if anyone is ever able to come over again. Sigh.

It’s also been serving as an exceptional backdrop for non compos product shots!

I am a firm believer of elevating your poster-pasted teenage bedroom walls into “grown up” interior design. If you are passionate about something, let it show! I remember this one time, I think it was 2015, we had to have an ambulance called for Henry’s mom (who thankfully was fine!) and one of the paramedics was looking all around and asked, “so, who likes The Cure?” I mean, the question could have been “who here is the Satanist?” had he looked down first and seen my Devil tarot card rug lol:

I wish we had done this a long time ago. I used to HATE being in this house because it was so dumpy and we don’t own it and I was always so depressed that I couldn’t really be bothered to do anything about it. But it’s been the only…bright side? of this terrible pandemic because being stuck at home has forced us to confront all the parts of this house that needed changed in order for us to stay sane and live comfortably. This is basically if my high school bedroom was a Mogwai that got fed after midnight. One day we will own an entire house and when that happens, I think I will be able to fully realize my outsider-artist interior design dreamscape.

(I actually wanted to be an interior design for a very hot minute when I was 19-20 years old can you imagine LOLOLOL.)

Anyway, I will be back with more updates as these spaces progress, I’m sure!

(Maybe I should turn the back porch into a forest?!)