Oct 182019
 

Heyo, it’s that time of the year where I start buckling down and churning out some new Christmas card designs. Let’s say hello to this year’s editions, shall we?!

  1. Serial Carolers

The ultimate holiday card for your fellow murderinos! This vintage-esque design features Ed Kemper, Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, Aileen Wuornos, and Dennis Rader (BTK) all bundled up and crooning some Christmas cheer. Well, except BTK – he’s the token surly non-singer.

One time in middle school, Laura Long had a Christmas party and made us all go caroling and I just stood in the back half-assedly mouthing the words. Caroling is for suckers. I get it, BTK.

This card is blank inside so you can fill it with lyrics to NKOTB’s “Funky, Funky Christmas” or whatever. I feel like Aileen might have had that cassingle. Lol, OK maybe not.

This currently my favorite card that I’ve ever made.

2. Ed Kemper Naughty List 

What a festive card! Who doesn’t love thinking about decapitated coeds when opening up Christmas cards?

Comes with an envelope. Be careful what you put inside though if you’re sending this to a prison pen pal. Not that I have any experience with penitentiary mail getting rejected.

3. Don’t Kiss Henry Lee’s Mommy

Nothing spreads Christmas cheer quite like the hint of matricide! Henry Lee Lucas should have used this as his motive for murdering his mom because it sounds way better than “She hit me on the head with a broom.”

Perfect for any true crime enthusiast in your life! Or your mother-in-law!

4. Robert Hansen the Worst Alaskan

I mean, who hasn’t used the “Oh shit, I forgot to dig up your present out of the woods of Alaska” to buy themselves some more time? I just used this excuse last month when I met up with a friend and totally forgot that her birthday had just passed and she was like, “Mmmhmmm” but look – maybe she doesn’t know my life as well as she thinks she does OK!?

Anyway, let the creep-o mug of Robert Hanson, the Butcher Baker of Anchorage, really drive this sentiment home. What a charming Christmas card! I’m sure it will be displayed front and center on the fireplace mantle.

Comes with an envelope. You could actually bury their gift and turn it into a real life scavenger hunt. Tuck in a map and some clues!

Fun fact about me: I am terrified of Alaska so this asshole might actually be the scariest serial killer in my opinion.

5. Son of Sam’s Xmas Jam

This is one of my original cards going back to the beginning of non compos cards, but I revamped the design for this year. Trufax: when I started making these cards 10 years ago, I barely knew how to use Photoshop. Truthfully, I’m still not much more than a novice, but I have gotten A LITTLE better over the years and I’m trying to polish up some of the most turd-iest designs in the shop.

This card was inspired by my desire to sign people’s yearbooks with the line “In their blood and from the gutter,” a sentiment straight from one of David Berkowitz’s letters to the popo. But people in high school already knew I was a weirdo and my luck, I’d have gotten called to the social worker’s office (again).

But now I’ve managed to incorporate it in a holiday card, and that’s pretty freakin’ redeeming.

Let Son of Sam, one of America’s most notorious killers, spread yuletime cheer to your loved ones; watch in amazement as their faces become awash with smiles that say, “Oh, you shouldn’t have!”

But you have!

Envelope included!

Ho Ho Ho and all that shit.

6. Ian Brady & Myra Hindley, Santa’s Elves

Hey man, what’s synonymous with Santa and his elves? If you said Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, then BOY have I got a Christmas card for you!

Fun fact about these two brutes: anytime I post their cards on Instagram, I get reported for violence.

**********

As always, I’m happy to fulfill any custom requests, so if you have a favorite (?) serial killer that you would like to see a Christmas card themed around, hit me up! And check out the rest of the shop for birthday cards, Valentines, Golden Girls stuff—it’s a real shit show over at non compos.

Oct 172019
 

I’m still trying to process this one. It’s maddening and depressing that another beautiful life is lost and I still feel numb about it so I will just say this: be nice to people. If you don’t like someone, walk away. Stop creeping on their socials. Realize that this is someone’s son or daughter. Words matter. Hate hurts. Life is fragile.

RIP Sulli. I’m so sorry.

Oct 162019
 

Hello and welcome to my love story about Millie and Steve, two rollercoasters that the general public may know as Millennium Force and Steel Vengeance. I will try to keep this PG, only because I couldn’t get Fabio to pose for the cover.

I’ve always been super into amusement parks (and county fairs until I almost died at one) but even though I like roller coasters, I never really considered myself an ENTHUSIAST. Then I rode T-Express at Korea’s Everland and, for a wooden coaster, that thing impressed me more than any crazy-ass steel multi-inversion Jojo-rolled contraption ever has. It made me want to seek out other crazy wooden coasters, because up until then I equated wooden coasters with rickety old back-breakers. I started binge-watching rollercoaster videos on YouTube, becoming more and more obsessed. That’s how I started learning about the different manufacturers, but the one that stuck out the most to me was Rocky Mountain Construction (RMC). I was fascinated by the way they take old, rough woodies and refurbish them into these head-spinning feats of engineering magic. The first one I got to ride was Lightning Rod at Dollywood and it was a game changer for me, I have been on a mission ever since to ride all of the RMCs. I am an RMC fan girl all the way.

Look. When I find something that I like, I don’t just LIKE IT: I LIVE IT, I BREATHE IT, I DREAM IT. And, I watch YouTube videos until my Roku crashes, I read Wikipedia and personal blogs, I search Instagram hashtags, I adjust our budget so we can do weekend amusement park road trips (STOP GOING TO THE GROCERY STORE, HENRY – WE DON’T NEED FOOD WE NEED COASTER CREDITS. THIS IS THE GREATEST DIET EVER). It becomes my driving force, the thing that gets me through the work week and gives me something to anticipate.

I never had much of a burning desire to go to Cedar Point until last year, when RMC refurbished the old Mean Streak into Steel Vengeance. So when we finally went a few weeks ago, I was practically salivating on myself at the thought of riding this bad boy.

Because this coaster is still new-ish and world class to those who know some things about the coaster scene, the line for this was between 90-250 minutes all weekend. We kept putting it off and putting it off, but finally, around 8:00pm on our first day there, I told Chooch, “Look, if we want a night ride on this bad boy, it’s now or never, bud.”

I think it said it was an 80 minute wait when we got in line, because by that point, all the haunt attractions had opened so most of the people in the park were in line for those things. Well, 80 minutes was a lie. They must have changed the sign to 120 minutes as soon as we walked past, because we stood in that queue—which winds around underneath the tracks so you’re like, majorly cut off from the rest of civilization when you’re in that line—for so long that I started to forget what Henry looked like (he opted out) which is either good or bad depending on what kind of day I’m having when you ask me.

Luckily, they have TVs in the line, so we got to watch clips of horror movies, fight with each other over trivia, and watch random music videos while eavesdropping on people around us playing Heads Up (this one girl was SO LOUD and also extremely stupid—some of the things she couldn’t figure out were maddening to us bystanders). There was a mom in front of us with her elementary school-age son and an older boy who I think was in college and also may be have been a Spanish exchange student? Look, we had a lot of time to spy on people.

So yeah, after standing in line for…I lost track but I want to say it was about 90 minutes, then it happened.

I will never forget it because we had made it to the last part of the serpentine path, all the twisty-windy parts of the queue were behind us, and we were finally on the lone path to the station. (Granted, that lone path still had some turns, a metal detector, and steps, but still!) We were standing right next to the giant billboard that had the Steel Vengeance character on it along with all the record-breaking stats.

This is where we were standing when the dreaded THIS RIDE IS CLOSED FOR MAINTENANCE announcement came out of some hidden hell-speakers and we could barely hear it over the loud roar of idle conversation around us, but it didn’t matter because we KNEW.

“Huh, that train didn’t have anyone in it,” the guy behind us noted as an empty train soared past us. We were in the part of the line now that had an excellent view of the first drop.

Yeah no shit asshole, if you would stop talking about dumb video games for a second, you’d have heard the announcement! As people finally started to figure out what was going on, a small exodus happened and because of this, we kept moving further up in line.

Chooch and I kept waiting for the other to cry uncle and suggest to leave the line, because neither of us wanted to make that call. All I kept thinking was that it would be our luck that it would start running again after we got out of line.

Long story short (LOL yeah like my stories are ever short), we opted to stay in line and after about 30-45 minutes, the damn thing started running again and everyone cheered and fuck if it didn’t feel like we were REALLY A PART OF SOMETHING, you know? Like, the Donner Party.

No, not the Donner Party.

Maybe a hostage situation, though. But then the hostage guy ends up having a squirt gun so we can all laugh about it later as the popo haul his soiled ass away.

Something like that.

Anyway, we rationalized that we had moved up in line just as far as we would have if the ride hadn’t broken down, so it was all the same, really.

The ride attendant at the top of the steps was assigning people seats but we thought, Look, we stood in line for this long, what would it hurt to just ask if we could snag the back row?

So we asked.

And the broad was all, “Eh, sure go ahead.”

And we had the most epic, glorious, whirlwind night ride on what is now my TOP ROLLERCOASTER BAE OF ALL TIME. I’m not even going to try and describe it other than it whips you around with ungodly force and everything happens so fast that you can’t even wrap your mind around the logistics of it and then when you think you’ve gotten your bearings, you’re suddenly being lurched through an inversion that makes you feel like dish water being sucked down a drain, and then suddenly you’re back in the station, fingerbrushing knots out of your hair and looking at your riding companion like, “IS MY FACE IN ONE PIECE!?”

Chooch actually ran his hands through his hair and made this wild-eyed I’VE HAD AN EPIPHANY expression like he was about to convert to the Kabbalah or some shit, and honestly, I personally nearly wept.

It was that good.

I felt like Steel Vengeance had actually rescued me from a burning building or something and then, oh god, oh no, was I getting a crush on Steve?!

Meanwhile, Henry was sleeping on a bench like a regular old back-alley wino, just kidding, he was actually awake and not at all concerned even though we had been missing in action for two and a half hours and he had our phones so we had no way of telling him what was happening, but since this was Cedar Point, he assumed that the ride had broken down because that’s what rides do at Cedar Point. So I guess he probably just ate a bunch of soft pretzels and scrolled through Reddit on his phone, because somewhere along the way I didn’t pay enough attention to him and he turned into the type of person who loses himself in asinine threads of Internet memes. Coo-coo-cool.

We were just like, “O-M-G YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW FUCKING SICKENING THIS RIDE IS, HENRY! YOU MISSED OUT BIG TIME! GOOD LUCK SLEEPING IN THAT BED OF REGRET TODAY!”

The next day, Henry wanted to see if Steve was all that we made it out to be, but as you might be aware, our plans of getting in a morning ride on this bad boy before the crowds rushed in was dashed when Steve was closed during early entry.

And then he proceeded to be down for most of the day it seemed. We kept tracking him through the Cedar Point app and sprinted over to him as soon as the status changed to “open.” It said that the standby time was 45 minutes.

LIES. LIES LIES LIES.

We 100% stood in line for nearly as long as Chooch and I did the night before. This time, right as we shuffled past the Steve billboard thing, an announcement came on.

WE FROZE.

But it turned out that it was just a “slight delay” while they added another train.

We exhaled.

Not more than 10 minutes later, another announcement cut through the gaggles of groups engrossed in Heads Up and the weird mom and son who were arguing with each other the entire time they were in line.

IT WAS FUCKING DOWN AGAIN.

“You have to be fucking kidding me!” I cried dramatically. I could actually feel the synapses firing inside me and I imagined peeling my skin off and shooting into the air using nothing but the sheer force of my anger.

“You guys can leave, you’ve already ridden it,” Henry said calmly, but I noted a twitch in his ‘stache. “I’m invested at this point.”

Well, I wasn’t leaving! I had major FOMO just thinking about Henry riding Steve without me. So we all opted to stay in line. People started exiting in small waves. A ride attendant walked past us, en route to the entrance where a CLOSED sign needed to be erected (lol). “Just so you know, this isn’t just a small problem,” he monotoned to everyone within earshot. “It’s probably going to be at least an hour.”

We all exchanged looks. Even more people left, so we moved up significantly in line and shrugged.

Henry and Chooch argued about every single thing.

Arguing.

But then, less than 30 minutes later, they sent a test train. Everyone cheered. Then, they sent a fully-loaded train, and everyone REALLY CHEERED. The line started moving for real. Of course, they opened the Fast Lane right so loads of people filed through on that side and I was SO PISSED because the rest of us had demonstrated extreme levels of patience and endurance by waiting this out and Cedar Point could have rewarded us by at least keeping that line closed off for a few more minutes, goddammit.

I have never been the type of person who would stand in line for THAT LONG for a RIDE so I must really be thirsty for Steve and his wood. Henry and I snagged the back seat and as we buckled ourselves in, I yelled, “YOU’RE GOING TO LOVE THIS!” and he was just like, “WE WILL SEE ABOUT THAT” because Henry does not know how to have fun or display any sort of emotion aside from exhaustion, irritation, and disgust. Maybe envy whenever he sees someone wearing a better beverage t-shirt that him.

But when we hit the midcourse break run, he looked at me and mouthed, “WHAT THE FUCK” and I was like, “RIGHT?!!!?” Holy shit, this ride. It’s everything. I was so fucking annoyed every other hour during our weekend at Cedar Point, but THIS RIDE was redemption. I would go back to Cedar Point every fucking weekend and be jerked around by the shitty operations if I knew I could ride this at least once each time.

It’s that good.

It’s world class.

There is a reason why so many of the experts and enthusiasts rank this as #1.

I AM TEARING UP JUST THINKING ABOUT YOU, STEVE. WAIT FOR ME! I’LL BE BACK.

Meanwhile, Chooch’s favorite ride that weekend was actually Millie, a/k/a Millennium Force, though he said it was difficult to choose between the two. The first time we rode Millie, on our first day at Cedar Point, we had the back row and I experienced a pretty good greyout, to the point where I ran down the exit ramp in search of Henry, who had ridden on the train before ours, just to excitedly scream, “I GREYED OUT, DUDE!!!”

I have never greyed out on a ride before, and it was so awesome!

Millie is pretty fucking beautiful. My favorite things about her, aside from that wicked first drop, was the cool 1970s space-y soundtrack that plays in the station, and the killer views of Lake Erie that the lift hill offers. Honestly, for as many times as that park let me down that weekend, I can’t deny that the atmosphere is unbeatable. I mean, it’s not at DisneySea’s level of beauty, but it is pretty fucking close. Oh, and the ride operators on Millie were phenomenal. They were entertaining (on our second ride, one of the operators asked, “Who knows the manufacturer of this ride?” and Chooch and I screamed, “INTAMIN!” before anyone else could answer even though we knew there wasn’t a prize but we were born to be first, OK; the ride operator was like, “FRONT ROW GOT IT!” and we rode that wave for a good 45 minutes) and super efficient. They had three train ops down to a science.

Chooch and I had a good ride in the front row on our second day, but I think I preferred the back. We are definitely backseat riders for the most part, on most coasters, but I do really love front row at night. We unfortunately didn’t get any night rides on Millie, so clearly we have to go back at some point. Like, this weekend. OK, probably not this weekend. I think Henry will murder me with his eyeballs if I even ask, lol.

I think I actually might be in love with Steve. Sorry, Henry.

Chooch just ran by and I said, “Chooch is there anything you want to say about Millie?” and he said, “Uh yes!” in a way that I expected a saccharine sonnet to come wisping out of his mouth, but instead all he said was, “It was good.”

WOW. Just so you know, he teared up looking at it from the car window when we drove away, so.

Oct 152019
 

My friend Wendy wanted me to take portraits of her daughter last weekend and I had some mild internal panicking because I have not used the “good camera” in a good long while, so about an hour before I had to leave (OK, maybe it was more like 30 minutes) I called Chooch home from his brother’s house and made him sit on the front steps for 3 minutes while I snapped some pictures in hopes of suddenly regaining some lost fake-talent.

I should probably start forcing Chooch into photoshoots again. That camera was not cheap and I barely use it!

Anyway, this has been a short “Here is what my 13-year-old son looks like through a lens that’s not attached to an iPhone or an on-ride camera at an amusement park” blog post.

Oct 132019
 

It’s 3:13pm and we’re on our way home from King’s Dominion in Somewhere, Virginia. We came here for the weekend because amusement parks are our favorites and also because we’re on a quest to get Chooch to 100 coaster credits by the end of the year. I think this visit put him into the 90-count so we might be able to do it!

Anyway, it was an awesome weekend, our first time at King’s Dominion & it really redeemed the Cedar Fair brand in my eyes. But I will get to that another day! This post is just going to be a live blog thing for our drive home because it’s a five hour trek which means it will take us like 8 hours probably and I finished my book on the way there (“Emergency Contact” by Mary H.K. Choi – loved it) so I will need entertainment.

We left the park around 2 and stopped at the Four Seasons Family Restaurant for lunch because we didn’t pay the big corporate Cedar Fair $$$ food prices – seriously insane how much they charge for a flimsy piece of pizza there.

Good plant vibes here, and our waitress was nice BUT the French fries were crinkle cut which is not my style. Also, Chooch and I both gave our salads to Henry so then when he got his burger, he removed the lettuce because he said he had too much already lol. The trials and tribulations of Henry J. Cry for him.

Then Chooch started being Chooch-esque and slammed back into the booth not knowing there was someone behind him so I was like SAY YOURE SORRY and he held up the stuffed dog he won there in the claw machine and made it do the apologizing for him and then started crying from laughing so hard so henry was like CHECK PLZ.

4:42: I keep nodding off because a weekend of running from one ride to another is more exhausting than it sounds but I have to stay awake because I’m so afraid that if i fall asleep so will Henry and then we’ll die in a fiery crash.

Also, we’re going to be out this way again in a month for the Super M concert which is weird because it’s been three years since we last came out this way and I was recently like, “we never go south anymore” and basically I’m just typing words to stay awake.

5:14pm: When Paula Abdul says, “now I’m caught in a hit & run” wtf she even mean? I never really thought about it until now.

We just left Sheetz and are currently fighting over a cookie so things are back to normal. The amusement park feelings forcefield has worn off, out of radius.

6:16pm: At some rando rest stop in Maryland that’s pretty for some reason!

Henry has his creep-o uncle Raybans on and I feel so offended.

7:09pm: Just stopped at a Pilot so Chooch could look for a book light. They didn’t have that but this is the place to go if you need a Bible, designer hunting knives, George Jones CDs, or starchy attire to subtly let people know who you voted for.

8:02pm: We just passed one of this “runaway truck” ramps coming down the mountain into Uniontown and I regaled Henry with the time I was driving home in the middle of the night from hanging out at the airport with my friends Heather the Ken and Justin Blair (back when you could hang out at airports and we would sometimes go just to get an ice cream cone from McDonald’s and watch planes land, god that sounds so fucking romantic lol) and I mistook one of those runaway truck things for the road and drove onto it.

“of course you did,” Henry sighed.

8:23pm: HENRY IS RIDICULOUS WITH THE CAR A/C. HE TRIES TO FREEZE US OUT.

8:50pm: I think that Elvis is like super overrated. THERE I SAID IT.

Some bullshit Ronnie McDowell song is on whatever old person radio station put on and apparently he was like an Elvis super fanboy and sang JUST LIKE HIM and I can’t understand a SINGLE WORD he’s saying so when people ask me why I listen to Kpop when I don’t speak Korean I will be sure to reference this motherfucker who is singing in ENGLISH (allegedly!).

Casey Kasem just told us a FUNNY STORY about how Barry Manilow found a song called Brandy by “some guy” and wanted to record it but there was already a hit song at the time called Brandy (the Looking Glass one) so he changed the name to MANDY.

I DID NOT KNOW THIS. Henry’s old person station taught me a thing. I’m going to tell Glenn tomorrow at work, see if he knows. He might have already learned this fact organically just by being old though.

Now Crystal Gale is on and I was like, “that’s what we used to call—oh, what’s that?!” I yelled as we drove over something on the road.

“I dunno, plywood I think,” Henry said.

“Oh! I thought it was a piece of glass. Anyway, that’s what we used to call the waitress at McCoys.”

“A piece of glass??” Henry and Chooch said in unison.

“No! Crystal Gale.” God.

Anyway we’re home now, just in time for Stephen Bishop’s “On & On” to end. I mean, it’s not the Tootsie theme, but as far as Stephen Bishop songs go, it’s not the worst.

Oct 122019
 

I don’t know why but I’ve never once gone to the Beacon Haunt in all of my haunting years. I’m not sure how long it’s been there but I definitely know that I’ve seen ads for it every year seemingly since the beginning of time. So I made the unilateral decision that this is where Janna, Chooch, and I would be spending our Friday night. I also made the unilateral decision that Janna would be driving.

The Beacon Hotel is an hour north of Pittsburgh and even with Janna’s shaky navigational abilities (lol) we managed to arrive with only one turn-around and no crashing into tractors crossing the dark country roads. Miracles.

I won’t get into the nitty gritty details about this haunt but I will say that if you’re operating a haunted house/hayride/corn maze and charging $20 for this racket, then at the very least you could mention somewhere on your crappy website that it’s CASH ONLY. Or maybe get with with the times and realize that 90% of the population never carry cash and some people don’t even carry WALLETS anymore now that you can pay with YOUR PHONE.

Luckily, the adjacent hotel/restaurant had an ATM but I was still annoyed because the ATM fee almost negated the fact that we had a coupon!! I AM SO CHEAP.

Anyway, it was a decent haunt! The main event is the corn maze and it’s a little misleading that they even advertise anything other than that, and some older dude in our group who was clearly drunk pissed in the cornstalks and I kind of wanted Isaac and Malachi to pull him further into their den of crunchy husks with the sharp end of a sickle.

The most important takeaway from this though is that I didn’t imprint on any of the scare actors which is always an incredible let down.

I made Janna listen to Super M on the way home and after every song, I would scream, “JANNA DID YOU LIKE THAT SONG” and she would calmly reply, “Yes, Erin.”

Then Chooch piped up from the backseat, “Taemin’s voice is like a loud whisper.”

WHOA. So much accuracy!

We stopped for ice cream at some joint in Evans City (where Night of the Living Dead was filmed for all my horror film buffs out there) called Zimmerman’s.

ANOTHER CASH ONLY ESTABLISHMENT.

Luckily, we had change from having to pay cash at the haunted house.

There was an old lady running the cone operation and she was less than thrilled to have to get up from her chair and serve us. She let us stand out there long enough to memorize all the rules that they have taped up everywhere.

NO PETS.

NO SITTING ON THE TABLES.

TABLES FOR CUSTOMERS ONLY.

NO CARDS. NO CARDS. NO CARDS.

NO U-TURNS IN PARKING LOT.

God Zimmerman’s, get a zimmergrip.

STRICT ICE CREAM.

I just had a twist with sprinkles. It was…a twist with sprinkles. Satisfying. I was going to say it’s hard to fuck up soft serve but then I remembered Millie’s nosedive into the soft serve realm.

I made Chooch sit on the table. We half-expected Mrs. Z to come flying out of a window on her broomstick and then a new ice cream flavor would be added to the window tomorrow: Chocolate Chooch Chunk.

I was like “Aw is that supposed to be a cherry?” And Chooch and Janna thought this was absurd, like why would there be a cherry on the roof and I was like “CHERRY ON TOP OF A SUNDAE? AND THIS IS AN ICE CREAM SHOP?”

Jesus Christ!

The end.

Oct 112019
 

Super M performed this on Ellen the other day and I really think I like it better than Jopping. Taemin dances like such an angel in this one. #swoon

Sorry for the double-post on a Friday but this needs to be shared and I already spent the last hour in Janna’s car talking her ear off about Taemin and Super M so now it’s your turn to be terrorized by my hysteria.

Oct 112019
 

The title of this blog post was Chooch’s idea and he was so pleased with himself when he came up with it. “Get it? Because it has two meanings?!” Yes, Chooch. We get it.

I woke up that Sunday ready to go with my G-Dragon shirt. My only goal for the day was to get one more ride in on Steel Vengeance, so we strategically parked in a different lot by the water park, which is near an entrance to the park that’s closest Steel Vengeance.

We arrived a bit after 9, so we had some time to look at the lake. Chooch found some little yellow Nerf ball thing in the sand and, I don’t know, imprinted on it or something, and that motherfucker stayed with him ALL DAY LONG. Which wouldn’t have been a problem if he kept it in his pocket but HE HAD TO FUCK AROUND WITH IT IN EVERY LINE WE STOOD IN and the number of times he dropped it was staggering. At one point, I hissed, “If that fucking thing rolls onto the track, the whole goddamn ride is going to shut down and everyone is going to hate you, me most of all!”

Wish a seagull would have swooped down and pecked it out of his hand.

After this, we got in the short line at the entrance. They had us spread us into four lines, and we were in a line behind a family. I was fucking READY TO GO. The pee-jigs were imminent. My pulse was steadily increasing.

After passing through security, we made it to the early entrance and we were IN FRONT FOR THIS. More and more people kept arriving though and the line was getting jacked, but I was like, “BITCH YOU’LL HAVE TO STAB ME DEAD STEP OVER MY LIFELESS BODY TO GET IN FRONT OF ME.” My feet were PLANTED. I had to endure some jackhole nastily snorting and sniffling, but I was like, “YOU GOT THIS ERIN. THIS IS WHAT YOU TRAINED FOR” and when they finally pulled aside the gates, the Running of the Bulls commenced and I am PROUD TO SAY that I was the only broad among a gaggle of coaster bros running like maniacs toward Steel Vengeance and I held my own. Even Chooch eventually fell back a bit, and Henry didn’t run AT ALL. But I was like, “I WILL NOT GIVE UP” and then I started laughing because, as I mentioned in my last post, my co-worker was running a 10K that day, and I GUESS I WAS RUNNING SOME TYPE OF A K TOO.

I don’t know what the actual distance was, but it wasn’t short and sweet. So when I finally reached the area of Steel Vengeance and saw the Cedar Park girl sitting in a chair and holding a sign that said DELAYED FOR MAINTENANCE, I literally felt sparks shooting out of my ears.

WHAT THE FUCKKKKKKK?!!?!? It was me and a bunch of dudes, pacing in a circle with our hands on our heads, screaming.

OK, Plan B – Maverick, which is Steel Vengeance’s neighbor.

SAME!!!!

FUCK YOU, CEDAR POINT!!! WHAT THE FUCK?!!?!?!? By now, Henry and Chooch had caught up and I flipped out. “This park FUCKING SUCKS!” I screamed. “I HATE IT HERE!” and I felt validated in my feelings because literally everyone around me was shouting the same thing so take that, Roller Coaster Capital of America. Pfft.

Before I publicly bitched about this though, I checked social media. “I’m going to feel like a fucking asshole if they said it wasn’t going to be available for Early Entry,” I said, even though we checked their website for the list numerous times before leaving that morning.

Oh, they posted alright.

TWELVE MINUTES AFTER EARLY ENTRY STARTED!

We were already en route to Millennium Force by then. I was so pissed because Chooch and I wanted to run to it but Henry wouldn’t run with us, so I started calling him Deadweight Dad and he was like, “FUCK YOU, GO BY YOURSELVES NEXT TIME!” I mean, we might as well!

He didn’t want to ride Valravn so I was like, “Take pictures of us on it” and he did pictures of the WRONG TRAIN so good job, Deadweight Dad.

WE’RE NOT ON THIS!!!

He was too busy taking selfies on my phone!!

Then we got off Valravn, which was just OK and I’m glad that the line was only about 30 instead of the 60 minutes that the standby time was posted at and also broke down literally RIGHT WHEN WE WERE WALKING DOWN THE EXIT RAMP (I like Griffin at Busch Gardens Williamsburg better), AND HENRY WAS GONE! He had our phones so we couldn’t check the app to determine were to go next and we were stuck standing in the middle of the walkway like two lost puppies and I was SO ANGRY when I eventually saw him meandering over to us from a distance.

“I had to go to the bathroom,” he shrugged. OMG DO THAT ON YOUR OWN TIME!!

Then he did it again when we were on Raptor (it was a walk-on!!). We got off the ride and he was gone for EVEN LONGER THIS TIME. I was fuming. Five minutes later, he came strolling over to us with a big fat sugar cookie, which I wrenched from his paws and took a huge, greedy bite because that’s what he gets for deserting us and not bring anything back for us!

OK, I got all the complaining out of the way. The rest of the day (save for ANOTHER Steel Vengeance break-down) was actually pretty fucking great. We were able to get a bunch of coaster creds in spite of half the park being broke down at any given point during the weekend (Gatekeeper was actually down for pretty much the whole day). The only coasters we didn’t get to ride were Maverick (this is the only one I was really bummed about), Blue Streak, Iron Dragon, and the two kiddie coasters (they count as credits so we ride them, shuttup!).

Dumb me and Deadweight Dad.

I wanted to go back to wherever Henry got that glorious hunk of a sugar cookie because I wanted my own, but instead I opted for this iced candy corn sugar cookie which was OK but not as good as that original one, I always choose poorly! I think the process of buying cookies was just as frustrating as trying to ride a damn ride in that park. There were what seemed to be enough people working there, but there was NO ORGANIZATION and people just entered the line form whatever end they felt like it and we kept getting skipped over and then someone finally helped us and left our stuff next to the register and that was another whole process of trying to flag someone down to just ring up our fucking cookies already WE WERE RUNNING OUT OF TIME AND I WANTED TO RIDE MORE THINGS BEFORE WE HAD TO LEAVE, GOOD GOD PEOPLE RING A BITCH UP!

This derby-esque carousel ride is one of the few memories I have of previous trips to Cedar Point. I remember the first time I rode it as a kid, I thought it was just a regular carousel and was completely startled at how fast it actually goes.

Chooch accumulated a fork at the cookie place after asking to try a sample of fudge, so now his stupid yellow Nerf ball thing had a friend.

Anyway, I’m obsessed with collecting family carousel photos now, lol.

Broke-down Gatekeeper.

I had to laugh because when we decided to go to Cedar Point, I distinctly remember saying, “Oh and since we have passes and can go back whenever, we can just take it easy and enjoy ourselves without rushing around trying to fit everything in.”

You guys, have you met me, though? This is the complete opposite of what happened. From the moment we parked the car, I was in RACING MODE. Adrenaline was already pumping, my arms were akimbo so I’d be ready to elbow linejumpers (there were A LOT OF THEM at Cedar Point), and I kept screaming WHERE IS THE MAP?!?! I live everyday like I’m on an episode of Amazing Race (if I were actually on that show, I would probably have a stroke during the first challenge because my entire body consists of nerves, impatience, and competitiveness). There was no way I was going to stroll about this park beneath a lace parasol, stopping to sniff the Halloween gourds.

Sigh. It’s not easy being me.

Henry was concerned about how wasteful this was and probably started dreaming about all the soups and purees he could make with Cedar Point’s October decor.

Henry makes some REALLY GOOD SOUPS, you guys. I once tried to get him to open up a soup stand in our front. He could refurbish one of Crazy Larry’s dead cars into a walk-up immobile food-truck type thing. Daily vegan options, too!  Buy a serial killer greeting card while you’re here!

If it weren’t for Steel Vengeance and a small handful of others (Millennium Force and Magnum, and probably Maverick if I had had a chance to ride it), I’m not sure I’d be in much of a hurry to go back. I’m about to start gushing about Steel Vengeance but I will stop myself here because as I mentioned before I want to have a separate post for that and Millennium Force, which were the two main highlights of an otherwise up-and-down experience.

I have to say though, for as many frustrating moments that the weekend held for us, I still left this park anxious to come back because of the aforementioned short-list of perfect rides and also being next to the lake was so scenic and those views from the coasters were breathtaking. The whole experience felt like being in an abusive relationship, though! All it took was one ride on Steel Vengeance and I magically forgot about all the shittiness that this park had delivered prior to that. I can’t hate you, Cedar Point.

Oct 102019
 

I was looking forward to our Cedar Point weekend for, well, two weeks because that’s all the advanced planning we did with this one. Typically, I would NOT go to a park of this caliber on a weekend, let alone during a holiday event, but we purchased Cedar Fair platinum passes for the 2020 season and they’re available to use for the remainder of the 2019 season too. You have to go to one of the parks to get the physical cards and CP is only 3 hours away so we figured why not just go, make a weekend of it, and even if it’s super crowded, we can just go back whenever we want since we have the passes (which includes free parking and early entry too!).

I was fully anticipating a park at capacity but look, we’ve been to three Asian theme parks at this point and you do not know the true meaning of “park at capacity” until then let me tell you. I mean, a three hour wait for the Viking ship at Lotte World is next level.

And that was just on a random Monday!

Fair warning: my moods swung faster than any of the pendulum rides there that weekend, but I didn’t want this blog post to be all stabby & crabby so I waited a bit to sit down and collect my thoughts, and I realized that the good outweighed the bad and I’m already jonesin’ for a return trip!

Instead of dwelling on the negative, I’ll just get it over with before diving into the pictures and good times: rides were breaking down left and right all weekend long, starting with the very first one we were in line for! Look, I understand that it was late in the seasons, the rides were tired, the mechanics of modern rides are so computer-driven that the slightest deviation will shut down operations — I APPRECIATE THIS BECAUSE “SAFETY FIRST” AMIRITE? But when it happened 5 times to us on the first day (Maverick, Blue Streak, Magnum, Gatekeeper, Steel Vengeance), it was just very frustrating. I didn’t have a problem with waiting in lines for these rides, but when I’m 45 – 60 minutes into it and that dreaded announcement comes on, go fuck yourself Cedar Point. A park of this size and stature better have maintenance men living in bunkers beneath all the rides, you know what I mean?

This place was operating like every pathetic piece of shit park I ever tried to construct on Roller Coaster Tycoon, where I spent the whole time picking up my maintenance guys and dropping them off on whatever ride was smoking at the time.

OK, there. It’s out of my system now. I had my hissy fit inside of the park too (Magnum went down while we were in the station and then two dumb bitch lesbians totally line-jumped and I tried to stop them but they were too busy jamming their hands into each others’ back pockets to care and the other people who got line-jumped were too engrossed in their phones to care and I just fucking lost it and left the line like a fucking toddler because that’s where I am emotionally these days. I’m waiting for my second serving of pureed peas, Henry) and so we left in the afternoon so I could cool off and come back down to earth with the stable people.

Here are some highlights from Day One though! (The two biggest highlights were Millennium Force & Steel Vengeance so I will sing my ode to them separately.)

A Korean food truck inside an amusement park, shut up and take Henry’s money.

Chooch and I both had the Tofu Cup and Henry ordered nothing because he knew he was going to have to eat our leftovers. I was so sure that I was going to finish all of mine though but as usual, eyes bigger than stomach, blah blah blah. Look, my lunch at DisneySea was definitely postcard-to-home worthy, but this was a real close second as far as amusement park lunches go. I was so content. (I mean, until right afterward when we were in line for Blue Streak and it broke down right when we were the next group to get into the station BUT I SAID I’M DONE COMPLAINING THOUGH.)

Chooch’s review: “The cabbage was surprisingly good.”

Before I threw a fit.

I took this picture while waiting for Henry and Chooch to catch up to me when I was storming out of the park, lol. God, I love being dramatic. If only everyone knew the real me haha.

We came to  the park around 6 that evening. These passes are great because you get free parking so leaving and coming back AIN’T NO THANG.

Except that now we had to park a trillion miles away but hey, we’re walkers so this was fine.

Now that I was calm and plied with pizza, I was able to really see this park. No, I mean, REALLY SEE IT. Like, it’s pretty fucking beautiful. Not DisneySea-levels of beauty, but fuck if Lake Erie doesn’t trick you into thinking you’re actually beachside. Like, with a real ocean. I always forget how great that lake is.

Chooch and I immediately into line for Gatekeeper, which was right, well, by the entrance gate, because the app said that the wait time was only like 30 minutes. I think it was actually less time than that, though.  Since Gatekeeper is a wing coaster, the line eventually splits so you can choose which side of the ride you want to sit on. Chooch was adamant about choosing the line that would put us on the lake side so he started to go to the left but I’m a Big Dumb and went to the right, thinking that it was the line that would put us closer to the lake since it was, well, closer to the lake, forgetting that the ride MAKES A TURN when it leaves the station.

So Chooch was correct and he cried out, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING” and abandoned the left side to fetch me, but now it was too late because we were both in too deep in the non-lakeside line. Sorry bud.

Luckily, THE RIDE FUCKING BROKE DOWN as soon as we made it back to the break run, and now we WERE on the lakeside. So while we sat there, stranded, for 25 minutes, I leaned over and said, “There’s your fucking lakeside view, buddy. SOAK IT IN.”

Yep, we figured it was par for the course that we actually get stuck on a broke-down ride. I mean, the odds were in our favor at that point.

Meanwhile, Henry the Good Parent was on the ground somewhere, waiting for us. He said that he heard the THIS PIECE OF SHIT RIDE IS BROKE DOWN announcement ,he waited for us to come filing out of the line with all the other people and when he didn’t see us, that’s when he realized, “Oh shit, they’re on the ride.” LOL yep that was us, just restrained and hanging out against our will, while the sun was setting and the cool lake air was chilling us to the bones.

Nicholas, my favorite ride operator, came  to visit us several times to give us canned updates (“Sorry guys, we’re waiting on maintenance”) and basically take the wrath of angry park patrons while the other guys were inside the operations booth tossing a football back and forth. Assholes.

Nicholas was super nice though and I didn’t fault him for this at all. He was really scrambling out there, trying to make everyone happy. So definitely one of the things that helped balance out my disdain over the unpredictability of the rides was the friendliness of the staff. Visiting other parks as often as we do always makes the surliness/blankness/ambivalence of Kennywood employees so much more apparent. I love Kennywood, it’s my home park, but I really wish they had friendlier staff.

Henry took pictures with my phone while we were stuck on Gatekeeper.

Cool pic, Hank. I think we all know what the subject of this picture is

You would think that I would have been on the hunt for desks to flip by the time we were released from Gatekeeper, but I was just numb to it all by then so when Chooch was like, “CAN WE FINALLY GO ON SPAGHETTI NOODLE*???” I mumbled, “Sure why not.”

*(This is what he called Wicked Twister all weekend.)

The standby for this was only 5 minutes and we got front row.

Wicked Twister is an impulse coaster, the kind that launches you and sends you up a twisting track to the dark heavens, drops you back down so you’re flying backward into the station and then up the twisty track on the other side. It does this like three times and IT WAS TERRIFYING. I don’t usually get “scared” on roller coasters, but this one gave me fucking chills and I screamed like I was in labor. There was a guy behind us who laughed, “Damn, these bitches be SINGING!” and I fucking KNOW he was talking about me, lol.

Look at the dumb noodle fucker! I just shuddered at the memory.

We don’t normally go to amusement parks for the Halloween shit because I’d rather go to a regular haunted house, but even though we didn’t do any of the haunts here at Cedar Point because the lines were outrageous (we expected that though!), it was still a lot of fun being there at night with all the creepy displays and fog. Plus, they were playing REALLY DOPE music too, like shit from Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Midnight Syndicate was even performing there! EVERYONE KNOWS THEY MAKE THE BEST HAUNTED HOUSE SCORES.

And I heard two different Cure songs too while we were there. Cedar Point, you killed it in the ambiance department. Mwah!

And now you have to imagine three hours of nothingness because that would have been the time we were in line for Steel Vengeance. YES IT BROKE DOWN WHILE WE WERE IN LINE. But, Steel Vengeance will get his time to shine in a separate post, as I said before. Ahem.

The rest of the night, what we had left after the Steel Vengeance time-suck that is, was spent giddily riding Magnum twice (I forgot how phenomenal this coaster is, it’s been so long since I last rode it!) and SCREAMING at how creepy/awesome the lake looked from that ride at night, dragging Henry on Gemini where he tripped and fell getting into the seat and hurt his back and leg and made sure we didn’t forget about it for the rest of the weekend (#HenrytheMartyr), and then even got a last minute ride on Top Thrill Dragster! (I hate that name so much.)

This ride usually has enormous lines all day, but we were walking past it on our way out at 11:30 and it said it was only a 30 minute wait. The employee at the ride entrance said that as long as we were in line, we’d get to ride it even if it was past the park’s midnight curfew. So we were like, “Well shit, yeah!”

And the line ended up only being about 15 minutes long!

And then we were on it, listening to the damn thing revving, and suddenly I was like, “HOLY SHIT WAIT LET ME OFF I CHANGED MY MI———————————————————————————————nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnndddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd” as we were launched 120mph in 12 seconds.

Yeah, this was also something I’d file under SCARY AF. The launch was so forceful that I couldn’t even scream and then I wondered, “If I piss myself, will it just get pushed back inside?” But the best part is that I spent so much time that day, every time we walked past, dwelling on the launch, fixating on it, letting it fester in my imagination, that I never even considered the second part of that fucking ride — coming down off that towering top hat. IT IS REALLY TALL AND YOU GO STRAIGHT UP AND THEN PLUMMET STRAIGHT DOWN THE OTHER SIDE.

It gave new meaning to the phrase “I was shook” that is FOR SURE. I couldn’t get my body to stop trembling after we got off this damn thing!

Oh yeah, Henry didn’t ride it. Apparently he was going to but he had to go put his MAN PURSE in a locker and we left him because we didn’t know he wanted to ride it with us LOLOL.

Now it was 11:59PM and we for sure were on our way out of the park, but one of the monsters of one of the haunts was all, “Hey, psst, you guys wanna come in here? You can be the last group of the night!” so we did and it was pretty cool but again, amusement park haunts tend to not scare me that much because it’s so big and commercial. It was still fun though! The scare actors did a good job for it being the end of the night.

I had to take a picture for my coworker who was running a 10K that weekend because that’s her last name and I was like “Hope this isn’t an omen!” She’s only been in our department for a few months but she has already learned that I’m kind of a jerk. She seems OK with it though.

We went back to our hotel room and fucking crashed after that. I was glad that the second half of the day picked up or I would have been so sad. But oh don’t worry because the next morning would change all that. Cedar Point was like surfing Sybil’s brain waves, I swear to god.

Oct 092019
 

I was outside on my lunch time walk on Monday when I happened to check Twitter, only because Henry so rudely got off the phone with me because he had to like, do his job or something, which silly me I thought his job was being my lunch time therapist but OK, you go on and do your other job then, bitch boy.

The very first tweet I saw was from Lisa, a girl I only e-know from Twitter; she had two tickets that she couldn’t use for a Stephen Chbosky lecture/book signing that night at the Carnegie Library Lecture Hall and was giving them away, the only catch was that they had to be picked up at her office downtown.

Shit.

Chooch loves Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Shit.

I work downtown and could easily get the tickets.

SHIT.

I just want to go home after work!

SHIT SHIT SHIT.

It was one of those classic Good Mom vs Lazy Person throw-downs. On weeknights, I am very against spontaneity. Do not text me from across the street wanting to “drop by” or I will have a stroke.  Sometimes I miss my “I go to 15 post-hardcore shows a month” phase, but I’m very happy going home straight after work, changing clothes, eating dinner while watching roller coaster videos or Kpop music show performances on YouTube, exercising, watching a k-drama, and going to bed, with a hearty mix of “Henry Harassing” sprinkled in between. This is my post-post-hardcore life and I don’t hate it.

I had to force myself to think with the non-hermit side of my brain and consider the kid. This would be a cool opportunity for him and I should at the very least put in a modicum of effort.

So I texted Chooch a screenshot of the tweet, partially praying he would say no.

Instead he said, simply, “YES.”

So then I responded to Lisa and asked if the tickets were still available.

She said THEY WERE.

UGHHHHH. NOW I WAS IN TOO DEEP. CONTACT WAS MADE. I asked where her office was and the ticket hand-off was made quickly and painlessly.

OK look, for as much as it pained me to have an impromptu social engagement to attend instead of going home and begging Henry to take us to some far-flung amusement park, I knew that this was a cool opportunity for Chooch. He read “Perks…” over the summer in Korea, on buses and subways and planes, even at G-Dragon’s pension, and it’s what inspired him to want to start a book club at the Teen Center. I think he’s at that perfect age where certain books are resonating with him. And ever since we read The Outsiders last year (it was required reading), he’s always on the prowl for more coming-of-age books.

He really connected with Perks.

Henry dropped us off at the Carnegie Library. Chooch looked so cute and scholarly in his khakis and a nice shirt! He was READY for this. Henry had bought him a new edition of Perks and I bought him Chbosky’s new novel, “Imaginary Friend,” from a stand up at the front of the room. It’s approx. 500 more pages than Perks, so good luck with that, Chooch.

I wanted to sit somewhere in the back, but Chooch marched right over to the front of the damn place and chose the fifth row. He probably would have sat closer if he could have but the first three rows were mostly reserved for Stephen’s friends and family.

We had a good 30 minutes to relax and people-watch. The crowd was super diverse. Everyone from college students to the elderly turned out for this, and before long, the venue was full.

Oh yeah, it would be beneficial at some point to mention that Stephen Chbosky is from Pittsburgh, so this is even more special and meaningful. And the movie version of Perks was filmed here too. In fact, the Rocky Horror Picture Show scenes were filmed right down the street from my house at the Hollywood Theater.

I haven’t read the book (I started to when Chooch was sleeping on the plane to Tokyo) but I have seen the movie so I know the gist of it and can totally see why this book would mean so much to kids in the formative years. In fact, when I posted about this on Instagram that night, numerous people commented to say that book saved them in high school. How amazing that must feel to be the person responsible for writing something that made practically a whole generation of kids feel understood, seen, less alone. And now it’s being passed on to a brand new generation. Pretty amazing.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Stephen Chbosky. Would he be all navel-gaze-y? Drunk? Super awkward? Nope, he was outgoing, funny, honest, and full of energy. He was full of interesting and entertaining anecdotes, read a chapter from his new book (“I closed my eyes during that because I wanted to be able to visualize it better,” Chooch told me later), and then answered some questions from the crowd.

Chooch LOVED it. He hung on every word, laughed at all the jokes and stories, and applauded with a certain brand of sophisticated zeal like he was at the motherfucking opera. His attitude might be questionable at times, but this is my favorite Chooch-age so far. We can do things like this without him getting bored and antsy!

I thought it was nuts that this is his first book in 20 years, and I let imagining him in a dark room with one desk lamp and a bunch of empty whisky bottles on the floor around his slipper’d feet, but then when he was being introduced by some library woman, I was reminded that he’s also a screen writer and director, and yeah, he’s been busy between those two books, writing the screenplay for Rent and Beauty & the Beast (the movie) and directing Wonder.

There was a good discussion about inclusion of physical differences and LGBTQ representation in books and films, and he really seems to get it. It did get a little tense though when a girl in a wheelchair borderline attacked him for not using a boy with facial differences in his film Wonder, but he explained that they did try to find a candidate for the role, but only one child who fit the description applied and he just couldn’t do it so they had to go with a child actor and use prosthetics. The girl in the wheelchair compared this to a white person doing black face in a film instead of a black actor being hired. I think there is a fine line there, and I saw both points, but I didn’t think her comparison was fair. Stephen pointed out how incredibly difficult and mentally taxing it is for child actors and said that this particular boy, with no acting experience, was just unable to handle it. But that since then, Stephen has been working with an organization whose specific goal is to train and hone actors with all types of differences so that he can be sure there is broader representation in his future films.

What do you guys think about this? It was a very fragile, sensitive topic but really worth talking about and even though the girl who asked the question was combative and kind of rude, it really opened the floor up for a good discussion and I was glad that Chooch got to hear it and have something to think about.

After an hour or so of that, it was time to get in line for the book signing, which OF COURSE started on the opposite side from where we were sitting and literally our whole row was OLD PEOPLE and none of them were in a hurry to get up, so we had to go the long way to get to the end of the line and I thought Chooch’s head was going to explode.

He was SO PISSED. Especially because the four people next to us when a different way, cut in front of a bunch of people and somehow got in the front of the line while we were about 50 heads back.

The girl in the wheelchair reappeared with her friend and service dog and was EXTREMELY ANGRY that the line for the book signing was blocking the entrance to the wheelchair lift. The girl behind me was standing directly in front of it and exclaimed, “Oh my god, I’m so sorry, I didn’t see it there!” and the girl in the wheelchair snapped something about “how could you not see it?” and then she got in the wheelchair lift with her dog and it just sat there for an excruciating amount of time and Chooch panicked and hit the “down” button a second time for her until it eventually began its snail-like descent. She made me so nervous!! I didn’t want her to yell at me!

Suddenly, Chooch said, “I can’t wait to get out of here and finish programming games on my calculator.” The ultimate dork, you guys. My son. God love him.

After about 45 minutes in line, we finally made it to the table. There was a couple in front of us and right after the guy had his book signed, one of the library people came over and stopped his girlfriend was moving up in line and then waved over an older couple from out of nowhere.

“Are you fucking kidding me?” Chooch cried. “We literally just got Fast Passed. AGAIN.”

This always happens to us at amusement parks! Right when we think we’re next, the ride attendant is like, “Sorry guys” and then lets some dumb Fast Pass d-bag take the back row from under our noses.

I don’t know who these people were, but Chooch said that the lady was signing a CD or something for Stephen’s wife and then they took a selfie together, but it didn’t seem like Stephen knew them!?

Whatever. It was eventually Chooch’s turn and he was like FREAKING OUT. He shyly said, “This is my favorite book tied with The Outsiders.”

“Wow. I will TAKE that tie!” Stephen said happily, and Chooch’s face was so red. It was amazing. It’s not often I get to see the shy side of my kid, let me tell you. But meeting Stephen Chbosky definitely was an awe-inspiring moment for him and for a fleeting second I thought to myself, “MAYBE CHOOCH WILL WANT TO BE A WRITER” but oh god, I don’t want the poor kid to be tortured. I was a miserable, suicidal sack of insecurities when I used to fake-write. Now I just crap-blog and life is so much better! WOO!

Look at this. So cute. So presh. So there’s-something-in-my-eye. I’m glad I put my selfishness in my back pocket for once and indulged Chooch in something that mattered to him. I drag him to enough of my concerts! He’s earned this.

***********

Later that night, I was texting Janna and she said she’s never actually read “Perks” so I asked Chooch if she could borrow his copy.

“I mean I guess,” Chooch sighed. “But you should let her know that there are things called libraries.”

He’s such a dick.

Oct 082019
 

You guys, we have finally reached the end of the Great Modern Odyssey that is Erin Kelly’s Korea Vacation Recaps. If you were bored, I apologize. If I drove you away, please come back. I you want me to just go back to Korea and shut up forever I WILL DO THAT FOR YOU GLADLY.

But anyway, this post will be about the morning of our last full day in South Korea, and what a morning it was! Walking up in G-Dragon’s Dolce Bita pension, drinking coffee (instant Maxim, boiiii) on a balcony overlooking a serene lake? This was pretty close to paradise for me.

I spotted G-Dragon’s dad, Mr. Kwon, outside so I ran back into the room and shook Chooch violently. “HE’S OUT THERE. WE HAVE TO GO FOR A WALK. ACT CASUAL.”

Acting casual.

I wanted a picture of my dumb self in front of the pension and thank God it was Chooch who was with me because Henry is the worst picture-taker. Chooch knows how to  take pictures of me that won’t make me want to cut my face off. Thanks, son. Sonny Boy. Pally Pal.

(I’m on my second cup of coffee this morning.)

On our way back to the pension, GD’s APPA was walking toward his car with a cup of coffee, and I was like, “OK BABY IT’S NOW OR NEVER” so after he said good morning to us, I blurted out, “WILL YOU TAKE A PICTURE WITH US!?”

He smiled, stepped back for effect, and, with a hand on his chest, said, “Oh, you know me?”

“Yes!” I laughed, and it was the cutest thing, Mr. Kwon feigning surprise that he’s secondhand famous. You know he’s done this a time or two though because he signaled for us to hold on, put his coffee in his car, and then led us over to what I imagine must be “the photo spot” considering we had already taken three pictures here during our stay!

He asked us where we’re from and said, “Ohhh!” when I told him we came all the way from the east coast of the US to stay here. #SuckUp

It took everything inside of me not to start blabbering about how much I love his son and what does he think about Seungri’s scandal and will BIGBANG survive that in addition to their military-forced hiatus and what are my chances with Jiyong I AM ONLY 9 YEARS OLDER THAN HIM DOES HE LIKE NOONAS?!

DEEP BREATHS, ERIN.

So, I initially only wanted to  get Chooch’s picture with him because I am OH SO SHY and also because Chooch is now collecting pictures of the BIGBANG dads.

But Mr. Kwon was like, “OK and now you” and summoned me over and I’m sorry but you don’t say no to a Kwon.

I couldn’t even force myself t o look cool and calm in  this – I thought my smile was going to split my face in half, I WAS SO GIDDY AND NERVOUS AND AWESTRUCK.

This man is half the reason why my #1 Korean artist (and honestly #2 of all time, right behind Robert Smith of The Cure) is on this earth. I know a lot of people think that Kpop is dumb or weird or whatever, and that’s fine (your loss!) but GD transcends Kpop. He is a FUCKING ARTIST in every sense. The guy was clearly born to be on stage, and he’s an artist off of it as well. His charisma is palpable, whether it’s in a concert or even just watching him on TV shows.

While Chooch was preparing to take the picture, Mr. Kwon told me he liked my tattoo! KILL ME DEAD!

So this happened, and I was having a FIT over it for days.

We thanked him profusely and then casually walked away like we didn’t just have a brush with the father of greatness and then once we rounded a corner, we ran back up to our room and screamed about it to Henry, who was still sleeping, lol.

By now, the Cafe was open so Henry finally finished getting dressed and we headed out.

The whole Cafe is stuffed to the gills with G-Dragon and BIGBANG memorabilia, including the actual piano from GD’s “Who You” music video.

Of course Chooch and I added our own messages to this wall! We didn’t even ask Henry if he wanted to add anything because he’s dumb and would probably mess it all  up.

Anyway, two other rooms were already in the Cafe – the extended family with the baby, and the Chinese Super VIP.

That baby was so freaking cute, though. His grandma kept trying to feed him but he was so interested in what Chooch and I were doing, so the grandma and I kept laughing together and I felt so connected in that moment! Language barriers were being torn down! It was such a beautiful time.

Henry pointed out that the Seungri doll is missing from the shelf up there and I felt sad, wondering if that was the Kwon’s way of showing their stance in the Seungri scandal (FYI nothing criminal has even been proven), but then Henry did some investigating and noticed that the doll stopped showing up in pictures way before the beginning of 2019 (when “the scandal” started) so maybe it was stolen or it broke!?

Anyway, the Cafe’s breakfast was self-serve which was fine because “self-serve” in our house means “Henry will serve.” So Chooch got ourselves the easy stuff, like cereal and juice, and then shouted our egg and toast orders to Henry, who had to stand in the kitchen, slaving over a skillet, just like he was at home, haha.

It’s awesome being us.

While eating, we were entertained by BIGBANG videos playing on an overheard TV and it was next-level euphoria for me.

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BIGBANG breakfast!

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(In that video, I love how Henry whips around while he’s cooking, like he can sense that I’m doing something sinister behind him,)

This table was great. I wish we had those in our conference rooms at work.

(I ATE BREAKFAST IN GD’S CAFE, OMGOMGOMG.)

 

I need a wall-sized portrait of GD in my house. Maybe on my bedroom ceiling!? HENRY CAN WE!?

This whole unit is the Crayon Room and rumor has it, Taeyang has stayed there as well other friends of GD! It was like $700 a night or something else that was quickly deemed Too Rich for our humble lifestyles.

Dolce Bita is so cool. I love the industrial-like facade against the lush Pocheon trees.

Almost time  to give back the VIP key. :(

One final picture of Chooch in the foyer of our VIP room before packing up our stuff and hitching a ride back to the Ildong bus station by Uncle Kwon. Before we got in the car, he said, “Something for you! Present from Jiyong!” and it was a signed picture of him! We currently have it framed, but I want to cover the mat in red velvet before hanging it and Henry keeps saying, “Sorry I haven’t had time to go to the velvet store” every time I’m like WHY ISN’T MY G-DRAGON PICTURE FINISHED?!

I mean, I ask so little.

Anyway, when we pulled up to the bus station, GD’s uncle motioned for us to follow him inside, where he proceeded to get the bus tickets for us so that we wouldn’t have to struggle. I cannot stress enough how accommodating and hospitable GD’s family is. Honestly, we were treated like real guests and not just written off as some weirdo fans from America, and it really meant a lot. I’m so glad that we had the chance to not only stay in this VIP haven, but also relax and really take the time to slow down and take it all in because this last full day in Korea was going to fucking FLY BY once we got back to Seoul. It was non-stop running, eating last minute favorite foods, buying up last minute presents, eating LAST MEALS, ugh.

Having finally gotten to the end of the recaps, I think my favorite thing about this return trip to Korea was that we got out of our comfort zone even more than before. Traveling without an organized tour group in foreign countries is no joke, and I think I can speak for all three of us when I say that we felt pretty accomplished. My love for Korea may have started accidentally with Kpop cardio as my gateway, but I have grown to love the entire country and its history and culture, so much that I want to see ALL of Korea. I’m not even close to being finished and I am probably maybe definitely already planning our next trip there.

If you’ve read all of this, thank you! And I am always super eager to talk about Korea so if you’re thinking about going and have any questions, PLEASE ASK ME.

Oct 062019
 

Hey babes (???), I was sick from Thursday morning until, well, I’m still kinda sick (we’re at Slim-Fast-flavored cough phase) and basically my life is just wasting away because Henry was all YOU NEED TO REST and I really don’t know how to do that but I did try a little.

Apparently, if I had rested like real people and like, slept a lot, I might be better right now. That’s what Dr. Henry told me.

Here’s a sicko bullet point post because I feel like it’s been a while since we bulleted on through a blog post, right?

  • This is a picture of me from earlier in the week when I was not sick and I wore my SMTown Museum badge as an accessory because I thought Key from SHINee looked nice next to my yellow shirt and I do what I want, boy.
  • On Thursday, I started to watch Dead To Me on Netflix because I needed something in English since I was too sickly to worry about subtitles. I finished it on Saturday and that is how you know I’ve been sick because I am soooo not a binge-watcher, my friends. In good health, it would probably take me about a month to finish a season of a TV show. I love Christina Applegate.

  • My pal Chris and his daughter Katelyn stopped by one night last week, pre-Plague, and dropped off three complimentary coupons for us to use this weekend at Castle Blood’s friends and family event! I felt so honored and grateful that we were being included in this, and I still can’t believe that I am now friends with the masterminds behind one of my favorite haunted houses of all time. I got a second wind after my late shift on Friday so we went out to the Castle and had one of the best times ever—this year’s theme IS SO GOOD and I will be posting about that separately sometime soon, but I am admittedly drowning in blog posts.
  • Chooch just started watching The Good Place and got to the episode where Adam Scott and some of the Bad Place people visit and they’re all assholes who mock people and Chooch screamed, “THAT IS LITERALLY YOU!” to me, and I can’t deny it. I remember watching this episode and thinking that my life was being spied on because the Bad Place people is like the perfect television representation of how I verbally treat Henry everyday.

  • I bought the scarf in Incheon’s Chinatown! That’s all.

  • I saw this picture on the teen center’s IG and I started cracking up because when Chooch came home that day, I did a double take and asked, “Did you…get your haircut?” and he just casually was like, “Yeah” and then started talking about things and I cracked up because it’s so hilarious to me that he’s so independent and smart in so many ways but then he still asks us whose name goes on a card envelope- his or the recipient’s. Literally this just happened again two weeks ago. How is so smart but so dumb?! Maybe I should start making Common Sense quizzes for him.

  • On Friday, I had to walk to the post office to mail some card orders because Henry didn’t care that I was sick, he still left them for me to handle, what a horrible business partner. Anyway, my favorite mail clerk Maureen was working. I used to not like her but I think that now that I’m getting older, I really see a lot of myself in her which is actually not a great thing but I kind of want to be a brash old lady when I grow up. On this particular day, there were two even older ladies in line in front of me and they both had questions about Xmas stamps and this just really set Maureen off to the point where she started complaining to me about them BEFORE THEY EVEN LEFT THE POST OFFICE! Also, it was only FIFTEEN MINUTES INTO HER SHIFT and she was already acting like an entire hornet’s nest was stuffed down her pants. God, I love her. She looked at me and said disgustedly, “You know, some days I drive to work and ask Mary to please let me see her son in the faces of my customers.” I ALMOST PEED MY PANTS. This lady hates her job so much but she is so accidentally hilarious in her cynical rants that I really think she should have a podcast or a YouTube channel because she is amazing. She likes me though because I always bring a scan sheet so she doesn’t have to stand there and scan all of my individual envelopes. Then she started bitching about how some kids were riding their bikes along the handicap ramp in front of the post office and she went out to tell them to stop and the one kid was like, “I KNOW HOW TO CONTROL MY BIKE” and she was like, “CLEARLY NO ONE HAS TAUGHT YOU TO RESPECT YOUR ELDERS SO WHY DON’T YOU STAND THERE AND KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT” and I was like OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD I hope it wasn’t my kid, but when I asked him about it, he said that he doesn’t ride his bike anywhere on that sidewalk because the guy at the bike place told him that curbs will ruin his handlebars or something but I wasn’t listening because I started picturing Chooch as a future Pee Wee going to Chuck’s Bike-o-Rama.

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  • Well, SuperM tickets went on sale yesterday at 10am and I was a BAG OF NERVES waiting in that fucking Ticketmaster queue. Oh god do I miss the old days when I went to tiny shows in clubs and could just buy a ticket at the door and still get in the front row if I wanted. Kpop is next level. It’s like 1980s NKOTB-level of ticket-acquiring insanity and I hate it so much. I kept looking at my FitBit and my heart rate at once point was 135, I am the most pathetic! Henry and I both logged in and counted down at the same time, and I managed to get in first and snag decent floor seats that were in my price-range. So on November 17th, I will finally be seeing LEE TAEMIN for the first time ever in Fairfax, Virginia and also I’m so FUCKING HAPPY THAT IT’S NOT NEWARK FOR GODDAMN ONCE!

Well, on that note, I’m still weak-ish and have nothing else to report since I only left the house twice since Wednesday. I have no idea what I even wrote in this stupid thing. Enjoy!!!

 

 Posted by at 12:18 pm  Comments Off on Sick Thoughts
Oct 052019
 

We had some time to grab lunch in Ildong before our ride was scheduled to get us from the bus station. Let me tell something about Ildong – you’re half-fucked if you don’t at least know how to read Korean, and it’s a ghost town on Sundays.

Luckily, I can read Korean.

Unfortunately, we were there on a Sunday, and finding an open restaurant was not easy. We eventually settled on a Korean-Chinese restaurant, which was pretty goddamn fantastic.

These noodles were SO GOOD. I was like, “Oh wow, I am not going to be able to eat this whole thing” as I skillfully sucked down every last noodle on that plate.

The young waiter was so friendly and didn’t get flustered with us even with the language barrier, and this was the first time I was brave enough to push the button on our table to summon him! (This is extremely common in restaurants in Korea, which is awesome because it means that the waitstaff will only come to you when you need something and they’re not constantly hovering and interrupting your conversations like the waitress did the entire time we were with Jason last weekend at George’s in Cleveland!)

We were all happy with our respective lunches (I think Chooch had the classic mapo tofu and was super Yeah Boi about it). Everyone there was so nice and thanked us for eating there, it made me feel so good!

Afterward, we walked around for a bit looking for a grocery store so we could take food to the pension with us. As I said before, nearly everything was closed in that town, and that sucked. We passed this same old man several times as we checked the backstreets for options, and finally he asked us if he could help. We basically communicated through Google translate and he was so happy to point us toward a convenience store across the street, which isn’t exactly what we wanted, but honestly Asian convenience stores are SO GOOD that you can get real quality stuff there.

Plus, he stood on the sidewalk and watched us to make sure we crossed the street and went to the right place, what a sweet, sweet man!

This makes me realize that I need to brush up on my direction-giving skills so I can actually help people too whenever I’m sought out for assistance downtown.

Anyway, our ride arrived around 3pm (oh, don’t worry – Chooch had JUST ENOUGH TIME to blow money in a claw machine arcade in the meantime). It wasn’t G-Dragon’s dad as I had hoped but another older man who actually kind of reminded me of a Korean Glenn?!

“GD’s music for going to GD’s pension,” he said, pushing play on the car stereo and straight-up blasting G-Dragon’s last solo album, Kwon Jiyong. It was SURREAL, GD’s “Bullshit” blaring, our driver laying on the horn and swerving past cars like this was the Autobahn and not some quiet Korean country road.

I was in the passenger seat, white-knuckling my seat belt and making up prayers in my head. It, um, really added to the experience. We found out later that it was GD’s uncle!!! The surreality just kept surging!

It was only about a 5 minute drive, and when the pension finally came into few from across the lake, my mind was BLOWN. I couldn’t believe that this was really real! It was really real for real for real!

Let me back up in case anyone is like, “the fuck is a G-Dragon’s pension?” Pensions in Korea are basically rental properties, like beach houses or whatever. Several years ago GD bought property along a beautiful lake in Pocheon, which is about an hour outside of Seoul. All of the rooms are themed after his solo songs and BIGBANG songs, and he gave the property to his parents to run. Staying there is a huge must-do for any BIGBANG fan.

I wanted to do this on our first trip to Korea, but he FAQs say that no guests under 19 are allowed. So thanks Chooch. But then when I was telling my friend Jiyong about this a few months ago, she took it upon herself to contact the pension and was told that a family with a thirteen year old was perfectly fine, so we happily made reservations!

Since it was my birthday (Henry was SO SICK of hearing this, lol) I decided to splurge and get the VIP room, which was two floors and came with a private mini-pool on the deck. VIP is the name of the BIGBANG fan group, in case you didn’t know.

I’m here to teach.

Call me Prof. ERK.

The best room you can get is the Crayon room which is rumored to be a room that GD has used to host his friends in the past so that was tempting but also kind of out of my price range. The VIP room is the second best so I was happy with it!

Anyway, I posted a bit while we were there, so I will now just run through some photos of the property that I took on the first day.

The VIP room was at the top of those steps and to the left. GD’s uncle took us up there and gave us a tour of the facilities.

The sitting area.

I read a review online that said there were too many pictures of G-Dragon around the property and only fans would like that. Well, I mean, that is the main draw of this place, so…

However, the other guests (with the exception of this one lady who was staying alone in the room next to ours and who I accidentally found on Instagram while I was scrolling through the pension’s geotag and discovered that she’s some Chinese mega-VIP who travels everywhere for BIGBANG concerts, exhibitions, fan meetings, etc and has like 50,000 followers on Instagram wth) all seemed like “regular” Korean people who were there for a weekend get-away, including an extended family with a baby, and several couples. I mean, it really is a nice area so I could see why people would go there even if they were GD super-fans. There are other pensions around too, like one right down the street from ours that had a waterfall effect on each porch so that was pretty cool, too.

This was on a shelf in our room.

I loved that the pension had such a modern, industrial feel to it. It just felt like GD’s style all around.

This was a little garden area behind our room.

Henry is such a great poser. I don’t know what these red figures are but they were cool and I want some in my front yard too.

Seriously, this place. I’m glad we planned this over-nighter at the end of the trip because the slowed-down pace was really needed. Our whole vacation so go-go-go that it was nice to be forced to relax and not have anything to do but take some strolls around the lake, read our books, listen to the Korean bugs at night, maybe get drunk on some soju.

Chooch didn’t want to go for a walk with us because I made him walk 4000 miles every day and besides, so he hung back and read a book. I was acutely aware of the fact that we could run into some crazy Korean-style wildlife out there and that was a bit scary. Did you know that there are wild boars in South Korea and they can KILL YOU?! Also, some super fucking alienesque hornets. I like nature until I start pondering the things that I might find in nature. Then I just want to go back to a city, any city.

But also, I kept imagining that maybe this was somewhere GD has taken a walk and that made me so excited! That I could be walking in his footsteps! I AM SO PATHETIC!

GD’s dog, Gaho!

I loved this painting of G-Dragon. <3

This is the bathroom on the main floor. I was creeped out that you could see through the door so I only used the one upstairs.

Our bedroom. STRIPES AND POLKA DOTS!

It was like a million degrees so we didn’t partake in the hot tub, but I bet this is amazing on a chilly night!

Of course I had to send a picture of GD’s loo to my friend Alyson, who is known to enjoy a good loo photo every now and then.  I’ll never forget way back when I was looking at the place where my baby shower was going to be held. The bathroom was pretty creepy and I begged Henry to let me text Alyson a picture of it and this is where you need to know that it was the year 2006 and it WAS EXPENSIVE (according to Henry) to text, let alone SEND PHOTOS. Oh, the data! But he understood that this was important and said it was fine, lol.

I mean, I would have done it anyway.

I had a really peaceful sleep. I never thought I was a lake person, but maybe I’m a lake person!?

I’ll be back to write about the next morning, which includes one of the greatest moments on the whole entire trip.

Oct 042019
 

I am in tears right now! The Super M video dropped at midnight last night and I forced myself to stay awake even with a fever (Henry said I don’t have a fever but I have a fever), watched the live press conference beforehand, and then sobbed in my tuffet if Kleenex and blankets while I watched the video.

THE STRESS!

I love it–they’ve received so much hate from respective fandoms who want SM Entertainment to only focus on the main groups but I think this collective talent works so well together, it gives them something fresh to do. Taemin’s entire group is in the military so he’s alone, and some members of EXO have started enlisting too, and it gives some of the NCT guys an opportunity to collaborate with their sunbaes– what a dream that must be for them!

The other day, they announced their US tour and instead of feeling joy, I felt the dread coat my whole body because now I have to try and fight for tickets and this is my least favorite thing in the world that doesn’t involve bodily harm or death.

Henry is an efficient oppa.

I wanted to wait for my preordered album to arrive in the mail today but I couldn’t resist and listened to it on YouTube already haha. And I’m so happy that the entire Super M album isn’t in English, as rumored. The songs being in Korean is like 75% of the reason I was drawn to Kpop in the first place!

OK, now I have to go and pass out and hopefully feel better before I have to log on to work at noon. What a great day.

P.S. I think this one is my favorite so far:

Oct 032019
 

I know this is going to be shocking, but we have officially made it to the last batch of Korea recaps! We just had dinner last weekend with our friend Jason and he asked, “How many times have you been there now? Wow, it seems like a lot more than just two times.” And Henry mumbled, “That’s because she is STILL blogging about it.”

SORRY FOR BEING THOROUGH!

Anyway, to those who haven’t abandoned ship out of sheer annoyance, today we will start talking about Sunday, August 4th, which was our second-to-the-last day in Korea and the last day that I have yet to record on this dumb site so that one day when I’m in the nursing home, Chooch can open up my blog in hologram-form and read these posts to me while some nurse spoon-feeds me pureed peas and orange Jello.

Green and orange is such a hideous color combo that I actually kind of like it.

This was our big Korea finale where we would be staying at G-Dragon’s pension, Dolce Bita, in Ildong. Ildong is about an hour or so north east of Seoul, in the country. We had to take a bus there, which required us going to a bus station that was pretty much Hangul or GTFO, so luckily my baby babble skill level was just enough for me to find Ildong on the departures list and buy the tickets (at first I pronounced “Ildong” like an American and the ticket lady was like “?” so then I had to say it over again with a heavy Korean annunciation and then she was like “Ah!” I love languages!!!)

Anyway, you can read about our bus ride here because I was live-blogging it.

We got off the bus in Ildong with a bunch of Korean army guys and milled about the bus station aimlessly (it was moreso just a bus stop, with a small ticket window nearby). Luckily, there was a taxi stop nearby so we grabbed one and had him take us to Pocheon Art Valley, which was really the only thing aside from some Herb Island thing that there is to do tourist-wise in that area. The reason I chose the Art Valley is because several dramas have been filmed there and it just looks so beautiful!

It took about 20 minutes to arrive by taxi, and Chooch and Henry were immediately like “this place is dumb” only they said it with their poor attitudes, not words!

Please also remember that it was like 100 degrees and we were far enough outside of Seoul where English was a rarity so we were kind of just stumbling around like lost puppies. We did manage to buy tickets for the monorail without making fools of ourselves at least.

As we ascended the steep incline, the monorail operator excitedly pointed to something out of one of the windows and everyone was like “Oooh! Ahhhh!” but of course, we couldn’t tell what it was. We still looked though!

Meanwhile, some old lady was sitting in  the first seat facing out and recorded the whole entire journey to the top and I was like, “Why though? Nothing is happening!”

Honestly, there is not too much information to provide aside from that it’s an old rock quarry that’s been converted into this beautiful nature-tastic retreat full of art sculptures, a planetarium, a concert site, a restaurant – I can see where this would be a very appealing day trip for older people but there were also a ton of photo zones which would cater to Generation Instagram too. We spent about two hours killing time there (we weren’t scheduled to get picked up for GD’s pension until 3) so here are some pictures.

This is the pièce de résistance, FO’ SHO. There is one drama in particular that was filmed here, called Legend of the Blue Sea, and I was SHOCKED when I found this out because it’s about a mermaid and those scenes make it look so ethereal and epic that it’s hard to believe it took place right here in some man-made lake-thing!

Chooch was like, “I didn’t watch that drama so why would I care?” and then he left to sit on a swing with some other Korean kids who I wanted him to become friends with.

LEE MINHO STOOD ON THIS BOAT IN LEGEND OF THE BLUE SEA! He is one of my favorite Korean actors (says, like, every k-drama watcher ever).

Top of the quarry.

One thing is for sure, we got a lot of exercise in Korea. We climbed a steep hill to get to this view point and it was so worth it…

…even if Chooch’s hair was sticking to his face in sweaty tendrils.

There really aren’t any bad views in Korea.

Korea is largely made of mountains and they are fucking beautiful.

I had the cold sweats and jelly-legs descending this spiral staircase. It was so scary.

Henry took “real” pictures of this place using the “real camera” but I am so lazy that I still haven’t even gone through and edited those plus Henry kind of sucks at taking pictures. SORRY HENRY BUT YOU DO!!

I bet this would be such a romantic spot to walk with a date at night. It was hard for me to imagine though since it’s been so long since I have been in any type of romantic situation OH HO HO HO thanks Henry.

Meanwhile, we realized that we lost Chooch, only to find him down yonder – he had spotted a Corgi and was straight-up stalking it, he’s so fucking embarrassing.

The Adventures of Dick & Dick.

I was concerned that Chooch missed this masculine landmark in his hurry to find the Corgi, but he showed me that later that he too had taken a picture of it. A good one for his school slideshow.

#art

I made Chooch halt his Corgi chase for this photo op. Apparently, the Corgi’s owners took its picture sitting here so Chooch started manically scrolling through the corgi hashtags on Instagram because, “all Corgis are Instagram-famous,” he reasoned.

Spoiler: he did not find this Corgi on Instagram.

Immediately after, he ran up that hill in hot pursuit of the Corgi, but the Corgi and its family were boarding the monorail—we only had one-way tickets though because the walk back to the parking lot was all downhill, so Chooch was very unhappy about this and tried to race the monorail back down.

I mumbled, “don’t fall,” and let him run off down the hill. Korea’s safe, no one was going to kidnap a sweaty American kid.

Look how cute the monorail is! Everything in Korea is cute!!

Chooch pretty much chucked my phone back at me after he took this because THE CORGI PEOPLE WERE GETTING OFF THE MONORAIL.

He goddamn walked next to them like a creepy Corgi-boo and had even looked up how to say “can I pet your dog” in Korean but lost his nerve. He gets so weird when it comes to Corgis, like me with guys in bands!

There goes the Corgi, not once bum-patted by Chooch.

Corgi probably would have been offended though because Chooch was wearing a Shiba Inu shirt. Aren’t they like rivals? Seems like they would be rivals.

Now that we were back at the parking lot, we started panicking about how to get back to the Ildong bus station, which was the designated pickup spot to get to the pension. Our options were to walk down to the main road outside of the Art Valley and pray that a bus came, or sit at the taxi stand in the parking lot and pray that a taxi came.

Then a taxi came!

But the taxi driver was actually off duty and actually there with his wife to enjoy a day at the Art Valley.

I was just about to find the nicest-looking person sitting in the nearby courtyard to ask them to call a taxi for us, when one actually pulled up and we all drop-rolled into it and proceeded to ride back to town in silence.

Pocheon Art Valley was nice but I wouldn’t recommend traveling outside of Seoul solely to visit this place unless you’re super into visiting filming locations or have a quarry fetish. If I could have a do-over, I think I would have opted to hang back in Seoul that day, and then take a bus to Ildong around 12:30, eat lunch in Ildong, and then go straight to pension. It would have saved us a bunch of $$$ in cab fare, that’s for sure!