Oct 262021
 

Yay, another grand weekend of haunted houses! Look, I always get maniacal this time of year and try to go to at least one but usually two each weekend, but coming off a 2020 season of NO HAUNTS has me going hog wild in 2021. This past weekend (well, including Thursday) I knocked out FIVE of them with no REGERTZ.

You know the drill: all the nitty gritty deets are in my personal paper haunted house journal *FOR MY EYES ONLY* but I did take some pics at each place and figured why not do a photo dump? I mean, it’s day two of my annual Hallowcation and still too chilly/rainy this morning for me to go for a walk so what else have I got going for me? Just sitting here in a sweatshirt, vibing to The Black Queen–is there any better time  to listen to them than autumn?? I mean, they’re good always but they are FIRE in the fall. OMG I feel so cozy and calm right now, don’t take this away from me.

(OK, it’s also making me pretty sullen & lonely too, not gonna lie.)

(OK and now the End Where We Start just came on and I am maybe kind of sobbing haha.)

ANYHOOHAW! Kicking off the wicked weekend a bit early, I took Chooch and two of his friends (we will just call them Z and H because I feel weird suddenly writing about his friends? Who am I?) I was a little leery of this because I have never tagged along with Chooch and his friends before, when it’s just me. Usually Henry is also there and also, it was different taking him and his friends to haunted houses when they were younger (not that it happened often because most of his friends were like OMG HAUNTED HOUSE NO!) but now that they’re 15, do they really want MOMMY ERIN tagging along? I mean, they at least talk to me and feel comfortable swearing around me as evidenced when I asked them how to say haunted house in Spanish and H was like, “Yo, I don’t fucking know! We’re only in Spanish 1, dude.”

We went to Hundred Acres Manor, which I had written off because I am so sick of wasting money on this place when it’s mostly just walking through scare-less sets with maybe an animatronic or two. But because of the pandemic (I’m assuming, anyway) a lot of haunts seemed to have cut back on their hours and not many are open on Thursdays this year. This one, sadly, is. We were originally going to go to Allen’s Haunted Hayride but then it was supposed to rain so this was Plan B. Ugh.

The one cool thing was that the first 100 people there that night got a voucher for a free spooky Pittsburgh Penguins shirt so I was happy about that!

I took my boots off at the last minute before leaving the house because it hadn’t rained in hours and the forecast was clear, according to my phone. Of course, by the time we made it through the haunt (where H unexpectedly screamed his face off and swore so much that a scare actor admonished him for cursing, lol) it was raining so hard that it was actually coming down in SHEETS. Apparently there was a tornado warning too?! It came out of nowhere!? Or, you know, wherever tornados come from. Of course, the parking lot at Hundred Acres Manor is GRASS so that was RULL FUN, you guys, and actually the more exhilarating than the haunt itself.

The next day, Henry was diligently cleaning my shoes with a toothbrush, and now they look brand new again! He even bleached the laces!

We went to Sheetz afterward, and Chooch actually gave me some of his mac-n-cheese bites but then I found out later that one of them was actually H’s, which Chooch stole while H was in the bathroom. Cool. Cool cool cool. So I guess I felt included in the end, like going through a dumb haunted house that now CHARGES EXTRA for the ONLY GOOD PART (their maze!! It’s an extra $8 are you fucking kidding me? What a goddamn racket. This place can suck it) really made me kind of cool to some dumb teenagers. Also, they included me in conversations and even listened to my story about how I wrecked into a chainsaw guy’s car at Victory Haunted School in like….1998 I think.

The next day, I asked Chooch if he was embarrassed when I was telling them my chainsaw guy story.

“Oh yeah,” Chooch mumbled. “Especially when YOU RAISED YOUR HAND.”

Dude, I can’t help it. It’s called OOOH ME! PICK ME! PICK ME! syndrome.

But yeah, it really breaks my heart because when I was in high school, this place was called Phantoms in the Park and it was so fucking great. Just, real classic, had an incredible maze that nearly made me piss myself every time, and it benefitted charity. Now it’s all super try-hard and it just doesn’t feel like there’s any heart to it. The scare actors are OK but it was just so much better when it was a bunch of kids being super extra. Now, when I think of Hundred Acres Manor, I think CORPORATION.

But you know what place has a metric ton of heart? Castle Blood. I have been going to this one since the mid-90s and have never had a bad visit. Not even the time, years and years ago, Henry and I got stuck with a group of drunk assholes who were totally killing the vibe and mocking the cast members. One of the denizens—I can’t remember his name, but he was a very attractive vampirate I believe—kicked the group out and then gave Henry and me complimentary tickets to come back and experience the Castle properly. That’s one of those things that I will never forget, and this was years before we became friends with the boss behind the bitchin’ Castle, so it wasn’t like we were being favored or anything. It was just a very nice and courteous gesture that I doubt many other haunts would consider.

Anyway, we were here earlier in the season for their opening night but came back for seconds, this time just the three of us.

Boris harassed us bigly at the entrance. He has become my favorite denizen over the last few years! I love his biting wit and unfaltering accent – even when he was grilling Henry about his job as a truck driver and talking about shifting gears or whatever, he never broke character. And he was so mean  to surly Chooch WHICH I OF COURSE LOVED. But then I yelled at him because he insinuated that it was our first visit and I snapped, “OMG YOU NEVER REMEMBER US! WE COME EVERY YEAR!” and he was like, “YOU ARE NOT THAT SPECIAL” and if you know anything about me, you know that being verbally brutalized by monsters at haunted house is like Top 3 Fetish.

LOL ok flash.

OMG it was such a fun night. I love this place so much. If you’re new here and have no idea WTF I’m going on about, you gotta check out this old post I wrote about it, but in summation, it’s the MOST unique haunt in Pennsylvania and probably beyond, because it’s essentially a marriage of escape room and classic haunted walk-through, except that it’s IMPERATIVE to note that they have been doing this literally since the NINETEEN NINETIES. Before escape rooms were all the rage! But each season, the storyline and the challenges change and it really blows my mind, as a quasi-creative type, to consider all of the brain power and collaboration that goes into this, not just for the Halloween season but also for the other seasonal events they open up for as well.

And also, unlike other haunts where you get chased out of each room before your eyes even have a chance of landing one spot, there is an undead cast member that engages you in every room of Castle Blood, so you get to be involved in the action while feasting your eyeballs on the incredible decor and set design in the Castle. It’s so fucking wonderful. And if you ever do get a chance to make it out there, tell them that the Oh Honestly Family sent you. But if it’s Boris, he won’t know who the fuck you’re talking about, lol!

Castle Blood: The Ultimate Halloween Adventure

The next night, Henry and I did a TWO-FER while Chooch was at work! It’s been A MINUTE since we went to two haunts in one night! Although this was kind of a cheat though because the first one we went to was Tour-Ed’s Haunted Mine, which shares a parking lot with The Shadows, and cheapskate Henry was feeling gentlemanly that night I guess and agreed to do both WITH NO ARGUMENT!

Real quick background: this is located in an actual mine that gives tours. They were opened as a haunt for a few seasons back in the day (I went at least twice that I can remember: once with Henry in their inaugural year, and another time with this broad I knew from LiveJournal who was so annoying in general but then she said racist shit on Twitter during the Winter Olympics that were held in my godmother country of South Korea and I was like, “bye bitch, be blocked.”) and now after a 10 year hiatus, they’re back!

It was so cold!! But at least I wore boots this time.

We got there right before it officially opened and had to wait for about 45 minutes in total, maybe an hour, and this was also when Henry realized that HUNDRED ACRES MANOR SHORTED ME because he was counting my change from that night. They shorted me like $15 so basically my “free” t-shirt wasn’t so “FREE,” was it HUNDRED ACRES MANOR? Ew, I’m officially quitting you now. In fact, maybe I’ll even build my OWN FUCKING CHAINSAW MAZE. Assholes.

Anyway, the first part was cool: just a short walk-thru where I picked up a ton of interior design inspo, much  to Henry’s chagrin, and then we got to go in the mine.

YEAH BOI, 1980s MINER AESTHETIC.

The mine portion was utter chaos, complete pandemonium, and I mean that in the best way, lol. The whole time, I was just trying to not get hurt, if we’re being honest.

Then we crossed on over to The Shadows, which is one that Chooch and I have done together in the past, usually leaving Henry at home to prepare for the annual pie party, lol. The girls in front of us in line asked the dude at the entrance to the trail to take their picture and Henry was like, “Oh god, please don’t ask him too” and I was like, “I’M GONNA.” But then I didn’t have to because he offered to take one before I even had a chance to ask!

It’s not great but IT IS A MEMORY. It is actually hilarious how much of a photo-troll I am, honestly.

Anyway, did I mention it was COLD AF?? My toes were frozen in my foots and after all the standing we did in line, it was actually painful once it was time to start walking. Luckily, I was laughing so hysterically through most of the trail that I didn’t even notice the frostbitten pain.

My favorite part was when the very first monster jumped out at us and I purposely screamed, “HENRY, DON’T BE SCARED, HENRY!” with major emphasis on HENRY so the monster, in his gravelly monster bark, yelled, “Henry?! HENRY?!!? HENRY’S WIFE IS SCARED!” and I was like WOW THAT BACKFIRED and then he proceeded to gruffly howl, “HENRY’S WIFE! I SEE YOU, HENRY’S WIFE! HENRY’S WIFE IS SCARED!” for a really long time after we left that area, it was fucking hilarious. His screams were getting farther and farther away, but we could still hear him in the trees, screaming HENRY’S WIFE and I was like, “Joke’s on him, I’m no one’s wife!” lol.

Yeah, this one was super entertaining and also made me legit scream a few times, but it’s mostly light-hearted and just pure fucking Halloween fun. Love that for me.

Sunday night, I went to Demon House with Chooch, Janna, and Corey! It was the first time in YEARS that all of us attended a seasonal haunt event together. Like Hundred Acres Manor, this one usually pisses me off but we had a Groupon for it so if I’m not paying full price for something, I’m usually more lenient.

Demon House requires patrons to park in a lot down the street and then a shuttle is provided. I dunno why but this part always fuels my anxiety because I want to be the first one on it so I can sit in the first seat and then be the first one off so that I CAN BE THE FIRST ONE IN THE HOUSE, FIRST FIRST FIRST FIRST.

OMG this part of my personality is so infuriating. At least I’m aware of it, though?

Also, the guy mid-stride in that picture was SO ANNOYING and basically yelled at us like this was parking lot boot camp. First of all, he needed people to move their cars from the first four spots because he needed to put down parking cones and have us form a line in the  now-vacant spots because apparently where we were originally lined up wasn’t to his standards. I was actually starting to develop a complex, especially when he was dove into his NO PURSES OR BAGS OF ANY KIND THEY MUST STAY IN YOUR CAR lecture, I shouted, “OMG OK JANNA SAVE MY SPOT!!!” while I walked over two whole spaces to put my TINY-NOT-A-THREAT-TO-ANYONE purse back in  the car.

We were NOT the first ones on the shuttle, but all the people in front of us were in the same group and they all went right into the back so when it was our turn, I casually slipped into the front seat, leaving the middle rows empty lol.

OMG the group in  the back was rowdy as FUCK and played right into it when Mike the Bus Driver stood up and tried to entertain us with small talk while essentially stalling because Demon House wasn’t ready for us yet. There were so many double entendre and innuendos being slung, which made me do my REALLY FAKE AND BOISTEROUS AND ALSO SUPER FUCKING LOUD laugh that Chooch hates so much, and that was only making me do it with more fervor.

Firs group of the night, represent! They threw in a couple to round out our lovely Group 1 and they seemed like they weren’t going to be too bad at first, I mean, they were pretty white trashy but older and kind of quiet, so I thought it would fine. WELL, I THOUGHT WRONG because these motherfuckers lacked boundaries and social couth. I mean, one of the rules was literally to SOCIAL DISTANCE and the broad was literally pushing up against me several times when we were standing in rooms, not moving. Like it wasn’t enough that her “MAN” had both arms around her at all times, she still needed more physical contact??

But even worse than that is that LITERALLY IN THE VERY FIRST ROOM OF THE HOUSE, they wedged themselves between Corey and the rest of us, so Corey ended up being separated from us through pretty much the whole entire walk-thru, no matter how many times I screamed, “COREY WHERE ARE YOU!?” these two stoops did  not fucking take the hint, not even when I was like, “COME BACK UP HERE WITH US!” They would not fucking budge!! I hated them!

And then as if that wasn’t enough, the young cunt running the food trailer thing was like, “THIS DOES NOT APPLY TO HOT BEVERAGES” in regard to our FREE DRINK TICKET that came with Groupon. The LAST TIME we had one of these, it was for ONE FREE HOT BEV but apparently this year it was worded as “DRINK FOR ONE” or “DRINK FOR TWO” depending on the Groupon you got, and our choices were: water, Pepsi, or Coke. That bitch was so fucking rude about it too, like she literally thrived from the disappointment on our faces. Chooch gave his drink ticket away and Corey and I were like, “WE WILL JUST GET SOMETHING AT SHEETZ THEN” but Janna was like, “ACTUALLY I WILL TAKE A WATER.”

Then we had to wait for the shuttle to come back for us and some dumb Demon House employee on driveway duty was like, “PLEASE STAND OVER HERE IN THE GRASS” because god forbid we were across from him taking pictures of the Demon House sign. So we obediently moved to the grass but JANNA still had ONE FOOT in the driveway so he repeated himself in a very patronizing manner and I was like, “JANNA GET IN THE GRASS, DON’T MAKE HIM SAY IT A THIRD TIME.” For god’s sake.

I feel like all we did was get yelled at that night and now I hate Demon House a lot. At least the company was excellent though, and Mike the Bus Driver was very nice and let us take HALLOWEEN CANDY on our way off the bus. But then we couldn’t go anywhere because even though that parking lot guy was yelling about cars needing to be moved so he could put down his orange cones, the bus was still somehow blocking me in. Corey reached up from the backseat and blew the horn on my behalf, lol.

Oh!! And because that asshole guy made everyone put their purses in their cars, I didn’t have my car key on me so I had to text Henry and have him unlock the car from  the app that I still haven’t downloaded even though we have had our Kona since April, lolololol. It’s actually amazing every time I am able to leave the house without Henry and get to where I’m going and back.

Well, that’s all for now. Oh wait!! One more thing: Scare Manor finally posted that testimonial that they had Henry and me give and it’s….well, it’s something.

I really hate myself sometimes.

Oct 252021
 

A few months ago when SHINee’s “Don’t Call Me” MV came out, my fellow Shawol Veronica DMd me and was straight bugging over Minho’s “sick of all your trash” line. I love Veronica for this because sometimes I don’t initially picked up on these things because I’m too fixated on the beat, the dancing, the visuals, etc etc. So I had to go back and relisten.

It cracks me up every time I hear it now!

Anyway, a few weeks ago, Veronica was saying she wished there were T-shirts commemorating this iconic line and in my head I was like FUCK U HENRY FOR NEVER BUYING ME THAT SCREENPRINTING PRESS or whatever the fuck.

But then I was like OH HOLLA there is something I can make her…

Goddamn I was cracking up when making this card. His gritted-teethed grimace! The trash bags!

I really am grateful for the inspiration Veronica wafted my way because I have been in a card-making slump these last few months. I have so many ideas but the mental lethargy is real, yo.

If you’re a SHAWOL or know a SHAWOL that would enjoy the absurdity of this paper product, I do have it listed in my Etsy Kpop Card shop.

And here’s the “sick of all your trash” video!

Oct 242021
 

I just feel like doing a good ol’ fashioned free-form post today to clear my mind so that’s, that’s just what we’re going to do. Because I said so.

Chooch didn’t have school last Monday, and I was CONVENIENTLY off work (he was like, “YOU DID THIS ON PURPOSE” – who? me?) so I woke his ass up early-ish because I wanted to go out for breakfast. We didn’t have a single BREAKFAST CLUB MEETING all summer because I didn’t feel like fighting to wake him up early and also because…apathy.

But I had been wanting to go to Mediterra Cafe in Mt, Lebanon for quite some time and Monday seemed like JUST THE DAY FOR IT. I already knew that I wanted the 4-Grain Porridge because I love feeling like a fairy tale bitch eating a hot bowl of sludge on a toadstool in the forest. And this shit always fills me up more than more decadent offerings.

Idiot Chooch was like, “I DUNNO, I GUESS THE BREAKFAST SANDWICH” because he is 15 and is unable to do more than just glance at a menu and pick the first meatless thing he sees. I’m surprised he was able to lift his face up from his stupid Discord chat long enough to get his eyes to focus on off-screen words.

Can we talk about this pumpkin spice latte, though? It cost the big bougie bucks and I initially blanched at that because I’m not the biggest PSL (ugh) fan, and I think that Starbucks’ is especially overrated. But this? HOLY. FUCKING. COW. (Literally have never said that in my life, btw, but this latte brings out the potty-mouthed farmgirl side of me I guess.) This was so rich and smooth, none of that synthetic syrup flavoring, with actual SPICES in it. I love a cafe that makes their own pumpkin spice lattes!

I literally have not been able to stop thinking about this cup of hot pumpkin-patched heaven since Monday. I gotta get back there. I’m off all this week so if anyone wants to meet me out there at any point, holler at me, she said into the void.

The only downside to this is that my company left much to be desired. 15-year-olds, man. You just never know what you’re going to get. Some days he can be so talkative and willing to share details of his life, like how some of his friends are having this really stupid feud, or he’ll show me the website he’s been designing for his coding class without me having to ask. Other days, you can’t even ask him a simple question, like, “Are you hungry?” without having your head lopped off with his scythe-tongued retorts. Woo hoo, these years are awesome! My mom was like, “This is payback” but joke’s on her because he’s not even a tiny bit as terrible and gruesome and volatile I was at that age, so.

I mean, I think 15 was the age my mom called the cops on me and tried to have me committed, and I haven’t had to do that to Chooch yet so I think I’m winning this game.

In other Chooch news though, he has been a work-horse for McDonald’s! Part of me can’t believe he’s so into this, but then I remember how money-motivated he is and all the years he spent playing games like Diner Dash and whatever, which has clearly prepared him for the real thing. Lol. He asked to work the max amount of hours allowed for a minor but you can bet your apple-bottomed ass that I am keeping a close eye on this and the second it starts to affect his schoolwork, Mommy’s stepping in.

Anyway, he was on Drive-Thru yesterday and asked us to stop by.

Why is he like this!??! Henry was like, “Doesn’t he know there are cameras everywhere? Idiot.” Lol. Anyway, he reminds me so much of how my brother Ryan was at that age, it’s almost uncanny at times, although I don’t remember Ryan having such a shitty attitude, lol.

Oh and for all that “independent son” talk I have been spitting lately, he lost his work visor (“I left it on my floor so I would know where it was!” he screamed, and like—oh well?) and that thing Henry handed him in the video is a one-time trolley ticket thingie because DUMB ASS lost his student ID which he also needs to ride public transportation for free, so that’s actually the whole reason we were visiting him because I said, “Look bud, MOMMY AND DADDY are going to a haunted house tonight so don’t be calling us to cart your ass home.” Parenting is a fun time.

In NATURE NEWS: We have been terrorized by a family of BLUE JAYS and now Henry is having to buy twice as much peanuts because it’s like fucking hunger games out there between these Blue Jay assholes and my beloved squirrels. Henry was like, “Maybe we should see what blue jays like to eat so they’ll leave the peanuts alone” and I was like OK LET ME RESEARCH THAT SHIT, HEY GOOGLE… and of course what I discovered was:

PEANUTS ABOVE ALL ELSE ARE IRRESISTABLE TO THE LITTLE FUCKERS.

I mean at first it was cool. Like, woo hoo there is a blue jay, wow, oooh. But now they come in trios and they scream bloody murder out there. Like good Lord, take the fucking peanut and leave, you greedy bastards.

So now we’re trying to devise an anti-blue jay feeder for the squirrels, literally the reverse of what people are usually trying to accomplish lol. I just love my squirrels so much! They have been a big bright spot in my life during pandemic times.

And the cats are just like FUCK OUR LIVES.

What else. I finished Season 3 of In The Dark. WHAT A RIDE. That show is so ridiculous and implausible but the cast keeps me coming back. And I just found out it was renewed for a fourth season!! I also started Season 3 of You yesterday so I’ll be dipping into that some more while I’m off for my annual HALLOCATION this week. I dunno what else I’m going to do with myself because the weather is supposed to be dreary and rainy so my plan to go on a million walks has a huge hole in it now. Maybe…mall walks? Lol OMG I’m such an Elder.

Really loving CL’s new music! Here is a great one for you to enjoy on this lovely October Sunday:

She is the fucking queen, legitimately.

My life lately just consists of work, squirrels, and haunted houses. My hand has been straight cramped this month from all the actual writing I’ve been doing in my haunted house journal. It feels so good to be doing this again after taking the 2020 season off because of Covid/not being vaccinated. It’s also been fun going to some with just Henry this season too because it makes me feel like Erin & Henry: The Early Years. We actually first started dating exclusively in the fall of 2001 and I wonder if he was just like, “OK cool, we will go to 2 or 3 haunted houses, I guess” when I was like, “Just an FYI, I am OBSESSED with haunted houses.” And then BAM, I’m presenting him with a list of haunted houses, prices, and dates found in my annual Internet haunt research, while I’m dusting off my haunted house journal.

Like no, dude. I don’t just “like” things. I FUCKING LIVE/EAT/BREATHE things or hate things. There is no in-between.

Well, on that note, I have some stuff to do around the house, things to recap in said haunted house journal, rainy walks to take, books to read, and a haunted house to go to tonight. So ciao for now!

Oct 222021
 

Good eve. I took these photos ten years (!!) ago when my old friend Andrea was visiting. I’ve been thinking about refreshing these shots for a while now because I was never satisfied with the original ones and today after work I finally felt motivated to search the computer for the raw files (ok Henry to help me lol).

Anyway, I remember this being a really fun day so please enjoy these old relics from when Chooch’s cheeks were chubbacious and he was front-toothless!

Fun facts: these were taken at the same cemetery where Night of the Living Dead was filmed.

Chooch was REALLY into zombies back then and used to shamble around saying, “they’re coming to get you, Barbara” and also was in a heavy phase where he liked to watch YouTube videos of people walking thru Spirit Halloween to the point where some of my friends started making their own walk-thru videos for him.

That hearse just literally rolled up out of nowhere while we were taking pictures and dude driving was like WOULD U LIKE THE HEARSE TO BE IN YR PICTURES. I didn’t feel like edited the other ones with the HEARSE CAMEO, please forgive me.

Wendy was also on site, as a standby Chooch handler.

Henry was there too and did nothing to help.

Oct 202021
 

Just over here lounging on a heating pad (‘oh my aching back’, she’s been saying since the 1990s), watching “In the Dark,” with two sluggish cats while Henry & Chooch are at the store (perpetually). It’s a pretty good, cozy October Thursday.

Oct 192021
 

Hello. Here I am. Apologies in advance for what comes next because my brain is scrambled today.

My noo’st NooWorks shirt features a spooky design by artist Coco Roy and not like I need much help getting in the mood for “spooky season” (I dunno why I hate that phrase so much) but this really gave me an extra witch-boot to the ass over the weekend. I was so excited to wear it to a haunted house, and several of the haunt people were like OMG I LIKE YOUR SHIRT and I was like, “I know right” because how could you work at a haunted house and not be all about this fine piece of fabric?

Plus, it’s a mock turtleneck!

I didn’t know this until just now but Coco Roy worked on the Netflix movie HUBIE HALLOWEEN as costumer & wardrobe designer! I actually loved that movie (horror comedy usually isn’t my jam but this one legit entertained me) so now I love this shirt even more!

I call this the “Who, me?” pose because the squirrels always do this when I call them, like they’re saying, “Who? Me?” Henry always rolls his eyes over this but I think he’s just jealous because I speak squirrel now and he has yet to crack the code.

I feel like everyone does black&orange or blood-spatter nails for Halloween but I like the green&orange combo for that ultimate monster movie vibe. Black&purple&orange also goes Hallo-hard! Did that sound stupid? I just made that up. Can’t tell if I should high-five myself or not.

Hallo-hard.

Hallo—-ugh, forget it. That was dumb. Edit that part out.

Yeah anyway, um. Speaking of monsters, what is your fave type of horror movie genre? (*crickets*) People always think I love zombies because Chooch went through a heavy zombie phase when he was super young, but I actually would choose vampires and ghosts/supernatural over zombie movies every single time. My top favorite subgenre is probably possession/religious horror.

I wish I had this pillow with me Saturday night when they asked us to film a testimonial after the haunted house. I keep checking that place’s social media to see how humiliated I need to feel but they haven’t posted it yet. Maybe one of the ghosts did me a solid and erased it from that broad’s phone.

Vans 4 Lyfe. I only have 4 pairs of Vans but wish I had 40. They’re my faves. TOMS used to be faves until they want from being scene kid shoes to soccer mom loafers.

Eyeballs 4 Lyfe.

Well, I told you my favorite horror genres but here are some of my all-time favorite horror movies:

  • Lost Boys
  • Suspiria
  • Blair Witch Project (this remains the king of found-footage genre, fight me)
  • Halloween (I’ll take the original 1,2,3, and 4, Mary)
  • Ju-On
  • Monster Squad

These are the first ones that came to mind. I grew up on horror though and my best memories are watching the Friday the 13th franchise with my brother Ryan and having my childhood BFF Christy sleep over and meticulously choosing movies from the horror section of Blockbuster. When I was dating Psycho Mike, I had a membership card to a little hole-in-the-wall rental joint called Firehouse Videos or something (it was next to our favorite 24:7 diner, Home Cookin’!) and they had the BEST SELECTION of Argento films.

But my favorite-favorite was back in the early years of my relationship with Henry, when we would walk several blocks to Incredibly Strange Video in Dormont, where the proprietor Bruce was always happy to see us and he’d know exactly what horror movies to recommend, never action, dramas, comedies – he knew we came there for the horror. It was during these years that we filled up on Asian horror, indie slaughterfests, and some of the scariest student films you could imagine. Then like all other video rental shops, Netflix forced Bruce to close up shop and that was a really sad day for us. Because Netflix and whatever else is out there is great and all, but for all that they offer, I swear to god I can never settle on anything to watch!

This is the face I make when I’m mimicking Henry and he was like TAKE A PICTURE OF THAT SO YOU WILL SEE HOW INSANE YOU LOOK/HOW INACCURATE IT IS so I did and it looks actually more accurate than I ever intended! I was mocking him in the car next night too by way of a pseudo-stand up routine that I made up on the spot about him eating chili and he told me I’m a complete asshole. Not just a partial one. Complete. With all the parts.

If you were driving to a haunted hayride, through twisty & bumpy unlit country roads in the middle of nowhere, what would be playing on your car stereo?

My picks would be:

  • B! Machine
  • The Black Queen
  • Gary Numan
  • 1970s/1980s era The Cure
  • Depeche Mode

I also always love to have gas station coffee for the drive too. When I was younger, I was obsessed with getting seasonally-flavored “cappuccino” from the dispensers at gas stations but it’s been a hot minute since I last, um, “treated” myself to that sugary swill.

At some point, we have plans to repaint this wall a deeper, more vibrant blue but the thought of taking down all these pictures and rearranging them later is exhausting lol j/k like I would be doing any of that myself. Why keep a HenryTM around if you’re not going to use him.

Aside from Henry’s mom, I still haven’t invited anyone over since we redecorated etc etc during the pandemic. I guess at this point I’ll just wait for Henry to hang up the damn Seoul subway sign (he’s getting the spray paint for the frame tonight I think!?!? *allegedly*) and maybe, oh fuck it I am completely anti-guests now, thanks Covid, lol. But if I were actually wanting to be hospitable, this is the way I would come to the door.

WELCOME TO MY HOUSE LET ME SHOW YOU ALLLL AROUND. Lol, it’d be a 5-minute tour. I live in a duplex.

I got this jacket FOR FREE. One of my InstaPals was unhauling a bunch of clothes after moving into a new house and there were a bunch of people clamoring for this bitchin’ lamé shoulder-warmer but I won out by literally 2 seconds or something. This was over the summer but I had visions of wearing it during the transitional fall weather, over t-shirts at amusement parks and haunted houses. It was so hot for the first part of October that this past weekend was the first time I could comfortably wear it and of course it was actually too cold because god forbid we should have actually fall weather here in Pittsburgh. It goes from like, Indian Summer to CHANCE OF FLURRIES.

Anyway, it turns out this jacket was part of a kid’s dance costume, lol.

I like this one because it accidentally almost looks like my right hand is that one on my shirt.

In other spooky news, I was inspired to check if Philly does their Dracula’s Ball and they are having one this year but it appears to be more of just a concert, and it’s only 2 and a half hours long, with The Crystal Method (definitely have not thought about them in, I dunno, almost 20 years?! OMG TWENTY YEARS, I AM SO FUCKING OLD) headlining. That seems less like a ball and more like a rave for old people.

Probably thinking of more projects for Henry, like, building a squirrel bridge over the road in front of my house so MY SQUIRRELS WILL STOP GETTING HIT BY MORONIC CARS. We just buried a Mr. Gray Guy today :( I heard the *thump* this morning and knew, just knew, in my heart what had happened. I had just been yelling at him from my window to BE CAREFUL but it wasn’t good enough and I had to go out and carry him off the street and place him a box for Henry* to bury this afternoon and then I proceeded to sit here, steeped in guilt and “what if”s all day, alone. I am *not* thriving in this work-from-home environment. Not even a little bit. I’m lonely and my attachment to the squirrels is unhealthy YES I KNOW, THERE I SAID WHAT ALL YOU PEOPLE HAVE BEEN THINKING.

Well, on that note, guess I’ll go make tombstones for the squirrel graveyard in my backyard. I mean, two graves makes a graveyard, right? I hate life.

*(TTGFH**)

**(Thank god for Henry.)

Oct 182021
 

Lol ok it wasn’t quite truly outrageous but it was really nice, nonetheless. I’m just Erin, not Jem, after all.

It is rare that I am in good spirits for an entire weekend without any mood dips or irrational thoughts or, I don’t know, the seam of my sock setting me off. But this was one of those rare weekends where not even Henry’s breathing was getting on my nerves. What the actual fuck, amirite?

Let’s start with Saturday. I was still jonesing for pumpkin ANYTHING after building that pumpkin patch on Thursday; you’d think handling all those pumpkins and getting scratched and scraped by their stems would have completely turned me off but no. I needed sweet pumpkin SOMETHING in my mouth. I saw on Instagram that Valkyrie Donuts had vegan pumpkin pies on hand so I sent Henry on over to Bellevue to procure a pumpkin pie for his princess.

It looked so good! And it was OK! I really liked the texture. But it didn’t have me turning cartwheels in the pumpkin patch of my mind, if you know what I mean. I think also that I’m just very hard to impress in these older years.

Then while Henry was PRIMING THE FRAME FOR MY SEOUL SUBWAY SIGN*, I finished watching Midnight Mass. Oh man, that gets a big HELL NO from me. I’m sorry if it’s your current netflix fave, but the writing, the monologues, and oh FOR FUCK’S SAKE THE ACTING, was excruciating. I really have enjoyed other shows by Mike Flanagan in the past so I was extremely surprised by the amount of ire this series drew up from the depths of my soul. Every fucking time there was a sign with, coincidentally, Erin & Riley, I was snoozin’. The convo they had about death? The way Riley was looking at Erin with that fucking creepy puppy-eyed love-drunk visage? Oh god, no just fuck off.

The only things I liked were Bev – I mean, obviously I hated her character, which was the whole point, but that role was played to perfection. And nothing exciting or even the least bit interesting happened until the penultimate episode, at which point shit hit the fan and I was like, “OK, Mike Flanagan, let’s gooooo” but that wasn’t enough to redeem the series. There is no excuse for the 5 episodes leading up to that, being so dreadful.

Oh, and the Sheriff. Loved him.

Chooch worked from 1:00 to 8:45 both days over the weekend, so Henry was like, “Fine. I will take you to a haunted house since you have no friends” and I was like, “Wow, thanks.” It was weird though! When was the last time Henry and I went to a haunted house, just the two of us, like it was a date?! I mean, I could check my haunted house journals but you don’t care and to be honest, I don’t either, IT WAS RHETORICAL.

Duh.

I even had a GOING ON A DATE TO THE HAUNTED HOUSE ensemble picked out! I will have an entire post with the dumb photoshoot I did to promote this shirt, but for now, here we are, lol.

We went to Scare Manor, which is set up in a field behind an actually haunted building called Hill View Manor. It’s been featured on just about every popular ghost hunting TV show in existence. You could buy a combo ticket to tour the actual manor as well, but we opted to just do the haunt since the manor is open most of the year for tours.

I won’t get into the nitty gritty because I save that for the haunted house journal, don’t you know, but this place charmed my face off. Henry and I were the first people to go through and they sent just the two of us, which always makes this shit better. But this place was OLD SCHOOL. The scare actors were so into it and the set designs reminded me so much of all the haunted houses I loved when I was in high school in the 90s, back when there were so many little charity ones all over and they were cheap enough and close enough that you could go to two or three in one night and wake up  the next morning with NO VOICE from all the hysterical shrieking.

This one tickled me so much that I felt inspired to go back inside the waiting area to let the people at the ticket table know that we loved it.

“Would you be willing to film a testimonial?” the ticket lady asked and I was like, “HO HO HO no.” But then she was like, “IT WILL BE FINE, JUST A QUICK ONE” and I was like, “Um….” because I hate saying no so I was like, “OK haha, fine” and she was like, “Yay let me just call the lady who does that” and then that lady appeared (Lisa I think was her name) and she was like “COOL GREAT I’M JUST GOING TO HAVE YOU STAND OVER HERE” and she made this big production of turning down the lights and putting her flashlight on her phone to illuminate us and now every single person waiting for a tour had turned around to watch, like, “the fuck is happening over there” and Henry muttered, “Thanks a lot, Erin” and I was like, “I will just let you do all the talking since I suck at this” but then Lisa started recording and suddenly PRIME TIME ERIN came out and I was super into it.

I mean, in my head I was. I have no idea how this video turned out because it’s now Monday and nowhere to be seen.

Then we came home and later that night I told Chooch to wash the dishes and he said, “I worked all day” so that was cool. I’m surprised it took him nearly a full week of working to drop that line on me.

The next day, Henry and I went to Many More, an Asian market in the Strip. I needed some more Korean popsicles for the G-Dragon popsicle art I’m making and Henry needed to buy boring stuff like produce. They had a new-to-us KitKat flavor though and I think it’s my new favorite?

It’s like wheat cracker or something? And the chocolate part is like this delicious and mild golden coating and I am so sad that  this isn’t a standard flavor.

Then I found out that there isn’t just one new baby Buddy, there are two! Here’s one chilling with Girl Buddy (aka Mom Buddy) while the other babe was noshing on our windowsill. Before I took this picture, Henry and I had just come from Giant Eagle and I saw Girl Buddy foraging in our front yard, near the street. I knew that they were out of peanuts but we had just bought more at the grocery store, so I crossed the street and said, “Buddy! Come with me! I have peanuts!” and she fucking FOLLOWED ME DOWN THE SIDEWALK TO THE PORCH, where she then skittered around my feet impatiently while I opened the bag of peanuts.

I felt like this was truly Next Level squirrelling. My dream is for them to eventually sit in my lap where I can pet them while they eat their peanuts.

Let’s see, what else. Oh! Henry and I started season three of IN THE DARK Friday night so we watched some of that off and on over the weekend. I can’t even tell you how happy I am to have this show back on my TV! It was such a sleeper hit for me when I accidentally started watching it on Netflix last year. I  got my friend Megan (aka my Logging Partner), to also watch it and she too was like, “DID YOU SEE SEASON THREE IS COMING!?” Guys, this show is so good. I mean, it’s outrageous (like me and Jem) but so fucking good and dark and funny and suspenseful and the CHARACTERS!!! Felix forever!!!

Henry took me to another new-to-us haunt later that night! Thank god we actually like each other or else we’d be fucked now that the Child Buffer has been removed. I know it’s only been a week and I’m not saying that I’m happy to have Chooch out of the house with a job or anything like that, believe me, but I’m also KIND OF excited at the idea of like, doing couple things again. I mean, not that we didn’t go out without Chooch in the last 15 years, of course we went to concerts and things like that, but it just feels different now? Kind of cute? Also scary because at the end of the day it only means we’re getting old? Lol. Ugh, just be happy, Erin. Enjoy it, Erin. Don’t cloud it with negativity, Erin.

Anyway, in that picture up there, you can see the WORLD’S TALLEST SMOKESTACK, located in Homer City. We were driving through farmland and as we came up over a crest in the road, that fucking thing became visible and I started screaming, “AHHH WHAT IS THAT??” I took this picture when we were further away so it’s not as scary but I literally felt like I was dumped into a 1950s sci-fi movie for a second.

Anyway, we went to Scary Harry’s which is a little over an hour away in Homer City, whatever that means. I have always seen this one come up in haunt listings but for some reason, we have never gone. I had it on the list for this season because I was looking specifically for haunts that are open on Thursdays and Sundays because those are preferable nights since the crowds are low. A lot of haunts cut back their hours to just Fridays and Saturdays this year, presumably because of the pandemic/being short on people. But Scary Harry’s is open on Sundays so this is the one I chose. Plus, $15!! I swear, that’s actually a really good deal in the haunted house world.

We listened to Alexisonfire the whole way there because I have been on this Riot Fest nostalgia kick lately even though Riot Fest turned dumb so we no longer go. But the three times we did attend were a lot of fun (well, mostly for me) and I will never forget the way I felt when I saw Alexisonfire perform there. I also associate them with fall too so it seemed like the perfect musical accompaniment for an hour-long ride in drizzling rain and chilly temps.

Waiting in the rain!

It thankfully stopped raining by the time the place opened and for the second night in a row, we were the first ones in! Again, I’ll save the play-by-play for the journal but this one exceeding expectations, too! I thought it was just going to be some dinky haunted trail but it was so much more than that and I will say that I can’t really think of another haunt that used audio as a scare device as effectively and in an array of different scenarios as well as Scary Harry’s. I mean, there were times when a sound scared me more than the live scare actors, and there was also a certain area in the “saloon” that had me panicking and screaming, “HENRY WHERE ARE YOU OMG I HATE THIS HELP” lol. It was SO GOOD. We even bonded a little bit with the other much younger couple (from Punxsutawney!) who got stuck going through with us, and we had a nice chat with the parking lot worker afterward because when a haunt is actually good, I love to tell someone who works there because I would want to hear good feedback too if I was affiliated with a haunted house! This is always the time when real, authentic Erin comes out and is suddenly a functioning member of society who can use her words without stuttering or being awkward. Man, I missed that Erin. Wish she’d stick around full-time!

What a delightful weekend, honestly.

Oct 162021
 

I decided to sign up for this year’s Global Day of Service at work because it’s been several years since I last participated, one of the options was helping to set up for the Boy Scouts annual Halloween event, and I need to get the FUCK out of this house. Working from home definitely has its perks but the burnout is real. I wanted to see familiar faces and just, you know,  not be strapped in front of my computer all day.

I convinced my work pal Megan to also sign up for this particular event. “It’ll be fun!” I said. The activities listed decorating and helping out with the pumpkin patch. Sounds like good old-fashioned October fun to me, and for a good cause to boot!

Then there was a whole lot of confusion just during the sign-up period: incorrect dates, miscommunication regarding t-shirt pick-up, instructions on where to park etc not emailed out until the eleventh hour. I was so stressed out about this because I like having a clear and concise plan in place when something involves me going to a place I’ve never been before, and the fact that no one was responding to our emails (I think I gave Megan second-hand stress and she was also emailing the global service people for answers lol) had this whole situation INFILTRATING MY DREAMS. Yes, I fucking had low-key stress dreams about this stupid volunteer opportunity, why can’t I be a normal person even in my slumber. Seriously, it’s exhausting being this tightly wound 24:7.

But finally Thursday aka Volunteering Day came and I was prepared. Got Chooch to school, came home and ate breakfast, was at Megan’s house promptly at 8am, made it to the Boy Scout camp in Sugar Spell Scoops Town (aka the town where our favorite ice cream shop lives lol) with a good 15 minutes to spare. And it’s a good thing too because finding the camp was tricky and we kept thinking we were going the wrong way or that we passed it, and then we finally found the street and saw the main building, we proceeded to drive past it to find the gravel parking lot as the instructions told us. It said it was “on the other side of the road past the education center” and we did see a lot there but it wasn’t gravel. And someone named “RANGER MIKE” was supposed to be there to help.

There was no such man there.

So we drove around again and still could not find any semblance to a “gravel lot” so we went back to the first one and parked. Another Law Firm person rolled up and was like “IS THIS RIGHT” and we were like “SHRUG” and that in unison we all said, “IT’S NOT GRAVEL” but then a man came barreling down the road in a golf cart-type thing and we were like THIS MUST BE RANGER MIKE and it was. Law firm people are just smart like that, you know? RANGER MIKE was like “Follow me to the correct parking lot” and he took us further up the road to another parking lot that was also NOT GRAVEL!?!?

Did they just pave the lot after sending out that email?! We were all fixated on GRAVEL. You cannot throw down super descriptive words such as GRAVEL without following through. I am going to dwell on this forever, watch.

OK, on to the actual volunteering. It was just Megan and me from our department, but two other ladies from a different department on our floor were also there so that was really nice to see some familiar faces! Then there were four dudes, none of whom I knew or recognized, from various departments. I think one was an Associate, and the rest of us were all non-lawyers. There were 3 different tasks that needed done that day, and we were split up into groups. The four of us broads quickly raised our hands for pumpkin patch consideration, two guys were on painting duty, and the other two went with RANGER MIKE to do something with life jackets and then set up some sort of game for the Halloween event, I honestly don’t know because I quit listening to the options after “pumpkin patch.”

We went off with another camp person, Kim, down the road to a little area of land next to a picnic shelf and a creek. Basically, we just had to tear apart bales of hay and scatter it so that the area for the patch was completely covered. You’d think this would be fairly self-explanatory but I had to keep sneaking peeks over my shoulder at Kim to make sure I was doing it like she was, I’m so fucking Type A. Once that was done, it was time to place the pumpkins. They still had stickers on them and I was about to ask Kim if she wanted us to remove them, but I saw that she was leaving them on all of hers. I thought, OK, maybe this is like a brand deal or something, and whatever farm supplied the pumpkins asked for the stickers to be left on for marketing purposes. I don’t know the beside-the-scenes shit that goes on at pumpkin patches. OK Randy?

This went on for quite some time, and I was surprised at how mildly worked-out I felt, I wasn’t sweating or anything, but the process of plucking pumpkins from the boxes was full-body, you know? I was grabbing three or four at a time and pretending they were tiny medicine balls.

When we were nearly done, a cart full of three Camp elders scooted on up to us. They dropped one lady off, and she immediately began inspecting our work and mumbling under her breath about the stickers.

“I didn’t really think it mattered,” Kim said defensively. “It’s fine,” she said to the rest of us, now frozen with stickered pumpkins in our hands. But the Camp elder began stooping down and removing stickers.

Kim caught me peeling a sticker from a pumpkin I had just grabbed from one of the boxes.

“No, don’t!” she said. “If she wants to go around and take off all the stickers, she can be my guest. But we are not doing that.” My eyes must have widened or something because she tacked on, “She’s my mother-in-law, so I can say that.” And then we laughed heartily. So then it became this Thing with Camp elder, walking around peeling off stickers and us dumping down more stickered pumpkins. I will admit that every time Kim wasn’t looking, I peeled the stickers off the ones I was putting down because it was honestly bothering me a little bit too. I mean, look how dumb all the white spots look in those pictures! But then I kept reminding myself that the patch was just for the kids and kids could give a shit about the cosmetics and one of the ladies from my floor said, “The stickers will probably make the little kids happy, anyway.” And that’s true, probably.

After getting all the pumpkins down, we helped Kim put up a red plastic fence around part of the perimeter and Camp elder was trying to hijack this part of the process too by changing the border of the patch. Kim kept saying, “No, we don’t need a fence over there. No, the kids aren’t going to fall over, it’s not a cliff.” It was actually hilarious and the looks Kim kept giving us behind Camp elder’s back made me feel like we were all camerapeople at Dunder Mifflin.

It wasn’t even 11AM yet so one of the other ladies asked me if I knew what else we would be doing, but as far as I knew, it was just the pumpkin patch. RANGER MIKE didn’t say anything else. So we sat for a bit under the pavilion, drinking water and telling horror stories about past Global Days of Service.

“This one was actually really nice,” I said. “It was mild labor and felt very rewarding, plus it was also kind of fun.”

Everyone agreed and one of the ladies was saying that she did a landscaping one in the past and it was hard labor. “I’ll never sign up for anything like that again,” she said, and I had flashbacks of my last volunteering experience with Tree Pittsburgh and how terrible it was. 

No, seriously, I just re-read that right now and I’m having phantom callous pain.

“Do yinz think you’ll come back next year?” Camp elder asked, and we all enthusiastically said yes. Then Kim talked to us about what the Boy Scout event is like and encouraged us all to come out to that Saturday. It’s $20 a person, but for a good cause, so I was considering it.

“Are there chainsaws?” one of the other law firm ladies asked. “I hate chainsaws!”

Kim said she wasn’t sure, because the Boy Scouts plan the haunted trail themselves and she didn’t know what they were going to be doing yet.

Right when I was thinking that maybe they’d set us loose early, Kim got off the phone with who I assume was RANGER MIKE and said, “OK, we’re going to the log splitter.”

We all laughed, like, “Haha very funny, the log splitter, lol-le-lol-de-dee.”

But then she wasn’t smiling anymore. “No, seriously. You guys are going to join the other two guys who finished with Mike.” So we all looked at each other in fear and reluctantly followed her up a path, past THE ASYLUM where a life-sized Hannibal Lecter had been leering at us from a distance all morning. (One of the ladies spotted him earlier and thought he was a real person and started to get angry that someone was staring at us, lol.)

And then we got to the infamous log splitter. Two law firm guys, one from Finance and one from IT if I remember correctly, were already manning it and they did look like they were living their best lives, let me tell you. RANGER MIKE had rolled up in his stupid cart to bark off orders.

“Two people can be on the splitter while the rest of you stack the cut pieces and bring more logs to them to be cut,” he said and us FEMALES exchanged, “THE HELL WE ARE” looks with each other. I for one did not want to go anywhere near that horrifying device.

STORY TIME:

When I was 17, this was back in 1996 I believe, my dad was in the yard operating a log splitter, and then KAPCHUGGI (my favorite Korean word that means “suddenly” in case you haven’t learned that by now) he came running into the house, legit spurting blood all over the laundry room and into the kitchen. This happened to coincide with Halloween weekend, so my mom thought he was fucking with us, like “haha, great use of fake blood, impressive trajectory” but then he was like THIS IS REAL, VAL and he showed her his hand that was now missing one finger tip and we were all like OMG VOMIT. So she got him to the hospital and they were like, “Hello, did you bring the finger” and she was like, “Excuse me, the what now?” and they were like, “The finger. We need it” so she had to go back home and find his fingertip which was still inside the glove he was wearing, and they were able to reattach it.

But the part of this story that I remember the most vividly happened shortly after The Accident. My dad and I were having yet another knockdown drag-out fight because we fucking hated each other back then (we’re fine now!) and in the heat of the moment, I shrieked, “I wish it had been your head!!!!!!” and then slammed the front door behind me as I ran away.

My brother Corey must have been about 7 at the time and he was a witness to this. Not too long ago, he actually texted me “I WISH IT HAD BEEN YOUR HEAD *SLAM*” lol. Oh, the things that stick with us.

But yeah, me and a log splitter? No thank you. I texted Corey and he was like, “THIS IS A SENSITIVE TOPIC FOR THE KELLY SIBLINGS!”

So, I opted to roll the to-be-cut logs over to the MEN. You can see from this picture that there were several nice looking, clean, dry logs that were already chilling there, and just needed to be rolled over to the other side of the log splitter. This is not so bad, I thought. I mean, they were heavy so I was not pleased with that.

I sent the original picture to Corey and he was obsessed with the disgusted expression on my face and sent me this picture in return. I mean, even through the blur, you can tell that I was feeling pretty put-out at this point.

After Megan and I rolled the last log over to the guys, I looked at RANGER MIKE (who was busy texting on his phone, btw!!) and asked, “Is that it?”

“Oh no, those ones over there too,” he said, and pointed to a mound of haphazardly stacked logs on a small hillside AND THEN HE LEFT.

These logs were not nice and uniform like the other logs, but were actually huge chunks of tree, and looked like they had been loitering there for quite some time. That was apparent as soon as I flipped one over and unearthed a family of writhing worms, OMG hold please, the memory of this is making me dry heave. There were so many that they were basically KNOTTED, ugh. And the random bugs!!! Holy fuck, there were so many bugs I have never seen before, skittering all along the logs. The only nice buy I encountered was a fluffy black caterpillar which I transported to safety via a leaf because I didn’t want the poor thing to get the ax.

This was after we already removed a bunch, but you can see that the logs over to the left are basically just an extension of the ground, and that’s how the ones were that Megan and I were fucking with. Once we’d unearth them, literally, the underneath of each log was coated with cold, slimy mud and it smelled mildewy and rotten, the perfect combination to tickle ones gag relfex. Then there was some kind of disgusting mold on some of them and old-ass fungal growths that could have been poisoning us, but RANGER MIKE was not there to tell us. I kept slipping and sliding into the thick, sludgy crevices that were exposed after I’d lift a log and it was not PLEASURABLE.

The fact alone that they didn’t even give us gloves?! Are you kidding?? I had cuts on my hands!

“This is like Cross Fit,” I panted to Megan as I was squatting down to get enough leverage to push a giant log up the ramp to the log splitter. “It’s like Boy Scout Cross Fit.”

Like flipping tires but with the option of getting splinters.

I wanted to go off into the woods and scream, “FUCK!!!!!!!!” repeatedly until my throat was raw.

Did I mention that we were 100% unsupervised during this and were provided with NO safety equipment? No gloves, no goggles. Henry was actually horrified when I told him. I thought he would have laughed and made fun of me for having to do work but he was actually somewhat appalled that this was allowed to happen. I mean, there is a reason we all work in a law firm and not a forest, you know?

Look at that mother-whomping chunk of a tree! Megan and I were in beast-mode. Also, I witnessed several close calls with those guys and the log splitter.

And then Megan flipped over this guy’s house and that was pretty much her cue to throw in the towel.

With every log I flipped and heaved, I heard Camp elder’s last words in my head:

“Do yinz think you’ll come back next year?”

“Do yinz think you’ll come back next year?”

    “Do yinz think you’ll come back next year?”

                                                    “DO YINZ THINK YOU’LL COME BACK NEXT YEAR?”

                             “dO YInz THInk yOu’Ll ComE BaCK nEXt YeAr?????”

                                   "dO YInz THInk yOu'Ll ComE BaCK nEXt YeAr?????"
                                       
                                                                                                                         ,,¿¿¿¿¿ɹ∀ǝ⅄ ʇXƎu ʞƆɐq ƎɯoƆ l˥,nOʎ ʞuIH┴ zuI⅄ Op,, 
By the tenth log, it sounded like a Beatles record playing in reverse.

Finally, RANGER MIKE came back and said, “OK you guys can be done after these logs here are split” and pointed to the last two that Megan and I had heroically rolled up to the log splitter. I did a celebratory shimmy behind his back and spent my newly acquired logless time trying to work my wrist bones back into place. They were wrecked. Maybe even worse than my back. Then I started thinking about all the tiny bones that make up a person’s wrist and I getting nauseated. See also: I needed lunch in a big way. I’m a lumber jack now, after all.

The guys got to hitch a ride back to the parking lot on RANGER MIKE’s stupid Boy Scout mobile while us girls opted to walk. I don’t know about them, but I had some anger that needed processed and walking always helps with that.

“I was fine with the pumpkin thing,” one of the other 10th floor ladies said.

“Yeah and the pumpkin thing didn’t have bugs,” I said, and then we all did something that was supposed to be laughter but sounded more like the mewling of our collective broken spirits.

As we passed the pumpkin patch, someone mentioned that we probably finished too early and they put us on log duty because they didn’t have anything else. I said sadly, “Maybe we should have just gone back and taken off the stickers after all.”

This time our laughter sounded more like trying-not-to-cry-ter.

Back at the warehouse or whatever it was, we reunited with the other two guys who had the painting assignment. One of the ladies muttered, “We should have picked painting, instead” because they realllllly took their time with that job and dragged it out so they didn’t get stuck logging.  It just goes to show you that efficiency doesn’t always pay off in the end, you guys. Sometimes the slackers come out ahead!

RANGER MIKE took a group picture and then finally released us. I was so happy to sit down in my car until I got home and couldn’t get out of my car. Ugh, my aching back. I needed a Doans or something. Is Doans still a thing? Because they could have used footage of the day’s activities for their next commercial.

Well, that’s my story about being a do-gooder. I think I’ll go back on hiatus now.

Til next time: Jesus loves you, I don’t have to, fuck you.

Oct 152021
 

Hello Internet People. This is just going to be a bunch of mostly correctly-spelled words (joke’s on me, I spelled “correctly” wrong the first time lol) about our day at Six Flags Great Adventure on Saturday, October 9. I wanted to try my luck at this park one more time this season since the time we spent there on my birthday was underwhelming to say the least.

I was prepared for massive lines and crowds since Fright Fest is going on right now, but really the only thing I really wanted to do was ride Jersey Devil, the new RMC single-rail coaster. It was DOWN the day we were there over the summer and I was determined to ride at least one new-to-me RMC this year, so return we did, we did return.

And to no one’s surprise, Jersey Devil had just broken down when we rolled up to the queue, lol. But then as we were walking away to hit up a nearby coaster with an allegedly “short” wait, Henry noticed that it was running again so Chooch and I were like SEE YA SUCKER and got in the relatively short line. Actually, there was a line just to get INTO the line because they have to check you to make sure you don’t have anything in your pockets. (Henry opted to sit this one out in lieu of getting a locker so we dumped our phones on him.)

We watched this couple get turned away because they had stuff, then walk back over to the security guy, completely cutting in front of us those of us in line FOR THE LINE (so stupid) only to get turned away AGAIN because they still had their phones. I was gloating. Nice try, trying to cut only to get caught with phones. Buy, bitches. But then when we were finally in the real line, Chooch goes, “WTF how did those people get so far in front of us?” and it was same couple who had gotten turned away, but now they were about 25 people ahead of us! They had a kid saving their spot and I think they literally walked around and cut through landscaping and climbed a fence, because I did NOT see them cutting through the line while we were standing there. I was so angry. What fucking assholes.

Regardless, the line was still only about 20 minutes long because the ops on this thing are so good and they were running 4 trains I think. There are always at least 2 trains in the station being unloaded and loaded at all times, and the trains never stop so you have to hop in while they’re in motion. I’ve never been on a coaster that load that way! (Just dark rides or various Wild Mouse-types of coasters.)

Chooch got the front seat only because I let him have it, ugh. I would have actually preferred the back but I just wanted to get on this thing while it was running because  you never know!

Anyway, it kills me to admit this but I found this ride to be slightly underwhelming. Listen, listen, listen…I am still your fangirl, RMC, and I understand that there are elements that may have affected the ride’s potential – weight distribution of the train, the seat I was assigned to, the weather. Maybe it just wasn’t running at its best because it felt kind of sluggish to me. In fact, no one on our train was screaming or anything!

I’m not mad at it or anything, and I swear I am not giving up in it either. I need a few more rides on it to really form an opinion (I was underwhelmed by Twisted Timbers the first time I rode it! TWISTED TIMBERS!) and I’m kicking myself for not going back for any re-rides that day but we had other shit to get done before the Fright Fest masses plunged upon the park.

After a terrible start to the day, I can honestly say that we still managed to have a great time at Six Flags. I guess we are a pretty OK family in that sense. “Wow, was that really only 6 hours ago that Mom threw a pile of clothes onto the floor like a tantrum’ing child and then tried to bite Dad? Seems like forever ago now that we’ve ridden 3 roller coasters.”

Hahaha…ugh.

We got a good ride on Batman! I really have a big appreciation for B&M inverts these days. This one was really fun but too short IMO! The line wasn’t too terribly bad either, maybe about 25-30 minutes? Which, for this park on a Saturday, is pretty decent.

We got to ride the Dark Knight ride this time too – it HAD JUST BROKEN DOWN the last time we were there, literally right when we were walking over is when the guy came out and put down the TEMPORARILY CLOSED sign, lol. July 30th was a very bad day to visit Great Adventure.

In line for this one, there was a guy wearing a shirt that said:

“That’s what.”

-She said.

Chooch and I thought it was mildly amusing and Henry was like, “WHAT. WHAT. WHAT IS? WHAT?” because he is always a million years behind us. We were like NOTHING NEVER MIND YOU WILL NOT GET IT and now he was getting mad and was determined to know who we were talking about so I said it was the guy who looked like him from the nose down.

Because he had a beard.

And it was moderately similar to Henry’s.

So now Henry didn’t care about the shirt anymore, just the fact that I said the guys looked like him.

“I said just from here to here!” I cried defensively, motioning at his mouthal area. Henry gets so mad about other people looking like him, Jesus.

Also, this ride was fun because it was indoors and we had no idea what it was going to be! Turns out it was just a Wild Mouse-type of ride but the theming was surprisingly decent AND Henry got to sit next to a dad who got separated from his family in front of us and as soon as the ride started, he began  talking to Henry which is what we always hope will happen!

“WHAT DID HE SAY TO YOU??” I cried afterward, out of breath with excitement.

“Who?” Henry responded, which is his general response to everything, causing Chooch and me to yell WHO DO YOU FUCKING THINK?? Like, try to keep up, asshole. Jesus.

Anyway, the dad just asked Henry if he knew what kind of ride it was because he had also never ridden it before.

Anyway x2, I forgot to mention that before we got on the ride, the dad’s wife said she liked my sweatshirt and I thought it was because she knew about the Fear Street movie trilogy but it was just because it has the date 1978 on it and that’s her birth year. Of course, I didn’t hear her say that so when she asked me if it was also mine, I said yes. I mean, it’s only one year off so I don’t feel bad about accidentally lying but I really need to stop trying to answer yes or no questions without actually hearing the question.

The line for Superman was like 120,0000 minutes long so I convinced Chooch to get in line for Green Lantern instead. To me, the line didn’t look all that long but WOW Dear Diary, I understand that age old adage “looks can be deceiving” First of all, we couldn’t see that there were switchbacks on the other side of the station, and also out of all the rides we rode, this one had the WORST LINE-JUMPING PROBLEM. It was fucking out of control. The audacity of some people is actually astounding, because I could never imagine saying EXCUSE ME EXCUSE ME to 500 strangers who are watching you blatantly break the rules while tacking on to their wait time. Like, it’s bad enough when there are people holding spots for their friends (these two girls in front of us had an entire group of 4 join them when we were almost to the steps that lead to the station, it was insane) but the amount of people we watched walk all the way through the line, up the steps, and into the station was actually impressive. Like, the balls on those motherfuckers, you know? And of course, in this day and age, NO ONE will open their mouths and say, “Actually, no, I won’t excuse you” because you don’t know what kind of Crazy you’re facing. I’m not trying to get knocked out in line for a roller coaster, you know? And that really sucks and it’s beyond frustrating as well. Because I can be very confrontational and these are the times when I really want to be That Bitch but I also value my life and the life of my kid.

Ugh, I’m so angry all over again now.

However, one thing that I will say about the ride ops on this ride is that they actually do look out and scan the line, because twice while we were in line they busted people and actually called them out over the speakers. Dude really said, “We see you, we know what you look like, and when you get up here,  you will not get to ride.”

Oh shit, Chooch and I were screaming! When we were closer to the steps, we heard people up in the station burst out into applause and Henry, who was loitering by the exit with the other non-riding parents and low lifes confirmed that it was indeed a tall white man in a red shirt who was ejected from the ride (I mean, not literally, but that would be a great punishment for line-jumpers). Apparently he told his wife, “They wouldn’t let me ride!” and acted like he HAD NO IDEA WHY. Oh OK it couldn’t be the fact that you fucking breezed through 3/4 of the line while the rest of us stood there like obedient drones.

My favorite was the solitary girl in pink Crocs who muttered “excuse me” in a bored sigh over and over while holding her phone up  to her face. “She’s literally not even on a phone call,” Chooch observed.

Wow, what a brilliant line-jumping aid. THE FAKE PHONE CALL. Because no one is going  to step up to a broad talking on the phone.

Another guy line-jumped so fast that we lost track of him until Chooch pointed out that he had not only cut past people, but he was also jumping over railings, so he made it up to the ride platform almost in a blink of an eye.

And the crazy part is that these motherfuckers had to walk past the attendant sitting at the Fastlane entrance without getting caught and they did it every single time. Fucking amazing.

On one hand, it made the wait so much longer but on the other hand, it gave us something to fixate on so that was fun. Also, it’s something that doesn’t cause us to argue because what is Chooch really going to say? “No, you’re wrong, you don’t know their stories. Line jumpers might have a good reason for acting like they’re better than everyone else who has to stand in line. Maybe they just don’t have time to wait.”

LOL Chooch would never.

Surprisingly though, Green Lantern ended up being REALLY GOOD. Like, shockingly so. I was bracing myself for a piece of shit experience because it’s a stand-up coaster and ew, just no. But this damn thing was a fucking delight and I was not mad at all that we waited in line for over an hour even when the Six Flags app said 20 minutes. (We definitely knew that was not going to be NO GODDAMN 20 MINUTE WAIT, MARY.)

OMG OMG OMG then we went over to Bizarro.
You guys. I was NOT expecting to love this ride so hard.

It has impeccable theming.

AND FIRE!!

And what I didn’t even realize until we were on  the lift hill is that there are illuminated and misty Superman rings that you cruise through! I was SCREAMING, “CHOOH! CHOOCH! LOOK!” and he was like, “YEAH OK COOL I KNOW CHILL” and then I was like “TELL HENRY! TELL HIM!” because Henry was sitting on the end furthest away and couldn’t see the rings yet as we were climbing the lift hill and I needed him to know but he is sooooo hard of hearing so finally Chooch screamed at me, “HE CAN’T HEAR. HE’LL SEE THEM SOON ENOUGH. CALM DOWN!”

“I’m going to scream really loud when we go through them!” I shouted to Chooch as we crested the top of the hill, and then I did, too! I screamed my goddamn ugly dog-face off. I screamed, “YEAH! OMG HERE IT IS! YEAHHHHHH!” as we barrelled down the first hill and tore through the rings. And then when the fire part happened, I was shrieking. Oh shit, I just screamed and laughed through the whole fucking ride and Chooch was like, “OMG YOU ARE SO EMBARRASSING STOP!!!!” but I couldn’t, I physically could not get myself to calm down!

And then when we were pulled back into the station and the operator asked if we had a good ride, I was the ONLY PERSON WHO “WOOOO!!!!!!”d on the whole train, and you know how much Chooch loved that shit!

Meanwhile, Henry said he didn’t hear me screaming at all. That man really needs a hearing aid. Also, he said he was a rough ride and I was like, “OK fragile bitch.”

Is Bizarro actually my favorite ride in the park? OMG I THINK IT IS.

(Keep in mind that I still not have not stuffed my ass into a seat on Nitro or El Toro, so that could change, lol.)

MMMM.

I think Chooch should get a summer job at an amusement park because he would be ruthless when it comes to handling line jumpers. We were talking about how parks should plant plainclothed employees and have them line jump periodically on different rides, so that they can get called out by a staff member and then be made an example of so people will be like, “Wow, they take this shit seriously here, I will just wait in line rather than get busted and dragged out of the park by security” but Chooch said, “No, they should just get shot.”

Like, OK Squid Game much.

Oh and speaking of Nitro, by the time we got off Bizarro, it was after 7pm, the sun had set, and the park was POPPING OFF. It was significantly more crowded than it was before we got in line for Bizarro (a line that no one cut in, I should add) and the line for Nitro was clear out of the queue and spilled out into the main walkway. I REALLY wanted to ride this and we didn’t have anything else to do that night, but the fact that it came so far out into the main area like that made me nervous that it would be even easier for people to cut because it was just an unorganized mass of people waiting out there and I became very frustrated thinking about it.

We have to go back at least once next year when El Toro is fixed, so I will ride it then. You and me, Nitro. You just wait. You and me.

We didn’t do any of the haunt stuff because some of it was extra which is fucking ridiculous, and there were so many people there. This was expected though, and it’s not why we were there, so I wasn’t crying about it.

I did enjoy the ambiance, but I gotta say: Cedar Point was better.

We left around 8 and were going to find a non-amusement park haunt to go to but GODDAMN haunted houses in NJ are $$$. Like, we’re talking $50-$60 a person!? Nope. No, thanks!

Anyway, that is my Six Flags Great Adventure story. Second time was definitely more charming than the first, but here’s hoping the third time is the ultimate charm! I gotta get in some more rides on Jersey Devil too. Kicking myself for not getting in a night ride while we were there but I honestly forgot all about it because I couldn’t stop talking about Bizarro and ranting at how there was NO BIZARRO merch there! None!!

Also, I learned that Bizarro was the very first floorless coaster in the whole entire world! Back when it debuted in 1999, it was called Medusa, but was later painted and rethemed to Bizarro. I can’t wait to ride it again. <3

Oct 132021
 

Hello it’s October aka Spooky Season as all the annoying kids say, so here are two pictures of Chooch being a gross clown at Zombie Fest in 2014. Also I’m kind of sad because this is the first year that I won’t be making a costume for him because he’s 15 and has no interest, should I have another kid then???

Quick! Someone lend me a kid to decorate.

Oct 122021
 

I was so excited when I went to bed Friday night because we were going to Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey the next day. You know how when you’re a kid and you get that Xmas Eve bellyful of butterflies? That’s how I feel on nights before amusement park visits, lol.

“ONE MORE SLEEP UNTIL SIX FLAGS!” – says 42-year-old Erin, lol.

But then I woke up early as instructed by Road Trip Dad, and talk about WRONG SIDE OF THE BED times 18979312. To say I was in “a mood” is putting it mildly. I was basically on a rampage, prepared to have a terrible day, determined to shred my self-worth to shreds, refusing to let any rational thoughts or reasoning sink into my furious brain. So instead of leaving at 6am like Henry wanted, I threw a 2-hour-long fit, oscillating between I’M NOT GOING to WHY DON’T YOU CARE ENOUGH TO MAKE ME GO to I WISH I COULD RIP THE FLESH OFF MY BONES I HATE MYSELF SO MUCH.

I don’t know why I get this way.

Oh wait, yes I do. Bi-polar.

And an eating disorder/food phobia/body dysmorphia. Lol.

Anyway, two hours later and I had calmed down enough to put myself together and we set off (also because Henry already paid for the hotel and we were past the cancellation deadline lol). But my whole point in telling you all of this is that I truly believe that everything happens for a reason, and even though the morning SUCKED and I hate feeling out of control, something good came out of it.

Because a few hours later, we stopped at a rest area near Bedford, PA and as we were walking across the parking lot, I heard someone say, “Erin?” At first it didn’t even occur to me it was actually me who was being addressed, but then when I noticed a woman walking toward me I went into FIGHT-OR-FLIGHT mode.

Then my eyes focused and I realized it was my friend Bridget, who left The Law Firm several years ago to move to Texas! It was honestly a really sad day when she left and I remember trying to avoid saying goodbye to her until the final hour when my friend Lauren came over to my desk and said, “OK look, you have got to tell her goodbye. I’ll go with you.” I might try to act like I’m all cold-hearted and partially agoraphobic, but I am a huge sap when it comes to saying goodbye.

Anyway, Bridget recently moved back to Pittsburgh and she and her husband were actually en route to Lancaster for the weekend, so it was a super happy coincidence that we happened to be traveling at the same time and in the same direction, and that we ran into each other at some rando rest stop!

Henry is angry at himself for missing the opportunity to harangue Bridget for endorsing Magic Spoon cereal because ever since she convinced me to give it a shot last spring, I have been hooked and that shit is not cheap (for cereal). Henry makes all kinds of sarcastic comments to Chooch, like, “No, you can’t get new shoes. Your mother has to buy her expensive cereal.” And “Wow, my cereal costs less AND I get so much more in a box.”

I don’t care, I love this stuff! The satiety factor is so good that I don’t want to eat  my arm off an hour post-breakfast like I usually do with anything else. I even bought the official Magic Spoon spoon!

And from a design standpoint, the boxes are so eye-catching and fun! Here are the fall flavors that I am almost out of and just told Henry I need to buy more at which point he mumbled about IT’LL HAVE TO WAIT because this cereal is apparently A LUXURY EXPENSE and not like when Chooch needs milk and Henry drops everything to run to the store.

Ugh.

Wow sorry. This somehow turned into a SPONSORED POST. j/k I have no sponsors.

Anyway! It was amazing to see Bridget but it made me sad also because I miss the way things used to be at the law firm, but I guess even then I was missing the way things used to be EVEN BEFORE, because we’re never happy in the moment ARE WE?

This was also hilariously the second time I’ve run into a former LAW FIRM friend at a rest stop. The other time was my friend Mary at a rest stop in Ohio on the way home from Cedar Point. WHO WILL BE THE THIRD, AND WHAT AMUSEMENT PARK WILL BE INVOLVED??

After that, we continued on through Pennsylvania, where I was desperate to find a Sheetz before entering the dreaded Wawa Zone, but the only one that was close was smack in the middle of Ren Faire land and traffic off of the exit ramp was a disaster.

So, no Sheetz (or lunch) for me. Henry and Chooch bought snacks at pretty much every single rest stop 7-11 so they were fine but I was going back and forth between I NEED TO EAT and STARVE YOURSELF, FAT GIRL. Saturday was a really good day for me. Lots of self love.

The rest of the drive was completely boring. I went back and forth between listening to an audio book and telling Henry that I hate him which he knows translates into, “I hate myself so much that the hate is overflowing and splashing onto you, I will probably apologize to you for this tomorrow but right now: I HATE YOU AND THINK YOU ARE SO DUMB AND YOU HAVE RUINED MY LIFE, FUCK OFF. P.S. YOUR HAIR CUT IS STUPID.

I am so pleasant!

Then we got to Six Flags Great Adventure and I funneled all of my hateful energy onto the copious amounts of LINE JUMPERS we encountered, so Chooch and Henry enjoyed the several hour reprieve from being on the receiving end of my wrath.

Six Flags stuff up next. Ciao for now!

Oct 102021
 

Hello. We are in Princeton, NJ about to make our way home from our time at Six Flags Great Adventure. Last night, we were out looking for War of the Worlds roadside attractions because apparently this is the area where the Orson Welles radio show happened. That was kind of a fail because we couldn’t see anything at night, but!! we drove past a shopping center with a sign for Woori Mart, which made me do a double take. “IS THAT A KOREAN MARKET” I screamed. It felt like it was the romanization for 우리 which means “our” in Korean. Sure enough I was right and I love being right!! It was closed but we stopped this morning after checking out from a Quality Inn that had music softly pumping out of speakers near the elevators, such as INFORMER BY SNOW.

Anyway, Woori Mart was cool. I bought a case of some type of beverage endorsed by Korea’s MC Yoo Jae Suk. And we got black sugar milk tea flavored Choco Pies and some other snack items, and good grapes. But we didn’t want to buy too much because we had already planned on stopping at an H-Mart in/near Philly, and that is where we are headed now, woo!

It’s now 11:07 and we’re leaving H-Mart. Henry was so annoying in there and spoke to me with no sincerity in his voice at all. Then he accidentally took someone else’s shopping cart and she was like excuse me this is my cart and I was like OMG GREAT JOB HANK because of course it was at a moment where he had handed the card off to me.

Here’s a selfie of Chooch and me inside Artbox!

I took it for Veronica because she is going to H-Mart in LA today.

Now Chooch is trying to retrieve his Apple juice from under the seat using the backscratcher he won at an arcade in George, NY over Labor Day weekend.

Props to Henry, I would never want to drive in Philly.

We made it! No one would order when the lady came to the window so I was like OMG CAN WE HAVE TWO VEGAN CHEESESTEAKS AND ONE VEGAN NASHVILLE HOT CHICKEN. For gods sake, THESE PEOPLE!!

Anyway holy shit both sandwiches were good but that chicken was AMAZE. Unlike Eden Burger’s korean chicken sandwich, this one actually was coated in sauce we could taste and the fake chicken itself was delightful.

Did not enjoy sitting next to the road though.

Then we walked around for a few blocks because I didn’t want to get in the car right after eating. We went into a small pet shop and got Drew & Penelope cat nip bubbles and made friends with the shop cat, Marvel.

After calling Henry out for ogling numerous lingerie / bondage shops, we went into a comic book shop and the “saxophone guy in a thong on the boardwalk” song from The Lost Boys was playing but Dumb Chooch didn’t recognize it.

Oh yeah and we stopped at Dottie’s Donuts (also vegan) because we parked right across the street and I took it as a sign so we stopped in and got a hibiscus and blueberry jam-filled. Haven’t tried it yet because we’re still full from lunch but I’m sure at some point during the drive home we’ll be digging into them.

1:34pm: on our way out of Philly we passed Laurel Hill Cemetery and I was whining about how I always wanted to go there, and Henry was like OH OK REALLY? HOW DO YOU EVEN KNOW ABOUT IT like I WASNT masquerading as a goth for like 4 years of my life. I started naming off things about it.

“And it’s a really popular place for photo shoots,” I finished.

“Ok let’s never go there,” Chooch piped up from the backseat.

2:23pm and we just left the PETER J CAMIEL rest stop. Henry needs to find another rest stop because “there were too many people in the bathroom” and he needs “to sit down.”

You’re welcome.

Wait! More rest stop happenings. We decided to taste test the two donuts from Dottie’s (I was like WE ARE JUST GETTING TWO BC EVERY TIME WE GET MORE THAN THAT ITS GLUTTONOUS).

Hibiscus: v. good & light, the glaze is v.v.v.sweet though, with just the right amount of floral. Into it.

Blueberry jam-filled: DELECTABLE and visually pleasing. I had to make Henry take it away from me so I didn’t inhale the whole thing.

Meanwhile, some dude was getting out of his car and Henry noted, “That guy gets out of his car the same way I do. Let’s see if he’s limping when he walks—oh! He is! Let’s see if his wife makes fun of him–Nope, she’s holding his hand and helping him! Wow. You just slam doors in my face.”

Omg we’re at another rest area you’re shocked. We checked on the popsicles that we bought a thousand hours ago at Hmart knowing damn well they’d be melted even though they were in a cooler with ice but that’s HOW FROZEN STUFF WORKS I guess. But henry was all THEY WILL BE OK WHEN WE PUT THEM IN THE FREEZER.

Chooch ate…er…drank one and said that, contrary to Henry’s optimistic assumption, there is no way they will refreeze and be ok. Then Chooch & I cooed over a corgi who was being walked over by the garbage can where we were throwing away wrappers of Korean snacks.

When we got back to the car after that, Henry was all LOOK AT THE CORGI and we were like WE KNOW BUT NICE TRY. Then I told him that Chooch said the popsicles probably won’t be ok when they refreeze and Henry barked, “WHO said that??”

“The corgi, henry. The corgi told me that. He is a fucking Popsicle oracle.” My god, CHOOCH SAID IT, HENRY!! TRY TO KEEP UP! Fuck.

Hello from the last rest stop in PA at 6:21. Henry had to pee SO BAD but chooch and I stayed in the car. Thank god henry was kind enough to park with this wonderful BLARING view of the sun.

I want to kill him, honestly.

It’s 7:04 and we’re on our street. BYE!!

Oct 082021
 

Good morning! Today is Hangeul Day (한글날) in Korea, which is a day to celebrate and commemorate the creation of the Korean alphabet by the great King Sejong in the 15th century.

Obviously I am not Korean but nevertheless, I have a very deep respect and love for Hangeul. The way it sounds and absolutely the way it looks made me want to learn it; while I can still hardly speak Korean, just the ability to decipher Hangeul has made my life feel so much fuller. Learning it made me feel like a code had been cracked and it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself, honestly.

The first time we went to Koreatown in Toronto, I was in tears because we were surrounded by signs and storefronts smothered in Hangeul and I was able to read it. I kept pointing things out to Henry and he was like “ok I get it cool mmm.”

It’s such a beautiful language and I’m happy to celebrate it today, even as just an American from Pittsburgh.

Anyway, I’d like to share some Hangeul-laden pictures from our trips to Korea. Just look at how pretty those characters are!

This one is really sad – Many families were pulled apart during the Korean conflict and those in the South are still trying desperately to be reunited with estranged family members. There was a TV show to help these efforts and people wrote down their addresses and phone numbers to be posted in Imjingdak. We saw this during the DMZ/JSA tour we took in 2019.

I really hope I get to visit 한국 again someday. Happy Hangeul Day, my friends! Go watch a Korean drama today with subtitles, no dubbing!

Oct 082021
 

There is nothing quite like a Friday in October to get the butterflies in my belly all boisterous. I love this month so much!  I am going to write about FIVE THINGS today that have me in a GOOD MOOD, which means I can’t write about the ongoing DOMESTIC DRAMA on the other side of Hot Naybor Chris’s house, because that is not very good mood-inducing and is actually just very sad and depressing so we’ll save that one for a rainy day, literally.

  1.  Autumn always has me thinking about that good ol’ goth chatroom I used to frequent back in the late 90s, Darkchat (don’t Google that because whatever you’ll find is 100% NOT where I used to spend my Internet time!). I was living in my first apartment, this was back in 1998, and didn’t have a computer of my own. My mom had just bought this BRAND NEW THING called WebTV where you literally used your TV to connect to the Internet. I started going over there late at night after I was done working (at EchoStar lolol) just so I could fuck around on this Internet thingaling. I literally cannot remember how this happened, but as a joke I found this goth chatroom and thought it would be fun to infiltrate and pretend I was goth except that I immediately made a ton of friends and realized that I actually kind of fit in there. WHO KNEW. Anyway, my little bro Corey, who must have been about 9 at the time, started going to this chatroom too, using the name “Franklin” (literally after the Nick Jr cartoon about the turtle) and would enter the chat by saying, “Good eve, all.” I just thought about this the other day and was cracking up so bad because I don’t think anyone realized an elementary school kid was so very deftly holding his own in a chatroom-full of brooding goths. This into has nothing to do what I’m about to say next but I just wanted to share it because I thought it was so cute! But the real point of this is to say that “Franklin” grew up to become PITTSBURGH’S #1 REAL ESTATE AGENT! THAT’S MY LITTLE BRO, YOU GUYS!!! I am so proud of him and look forward to the day when I can really push him to his limit with my very specific criteria of: COTTAGE CORE BUT ALSO TURRETS, ROOM FOR HENRY TO BUILD SECRET PASSAGES, POTENTIALLY HAUNTED.

2. Speaking of being PROUD of people younger than me, our very own Chooch has his first job interview today after school. This kid has been salivating at the prospect of getting a job since he was like 10. He is money-hungry, ambitious, and self-motivated the nth degree and now he is finally of age to get a part-time job. Neither Henry nor I have told him that he has to get one – this is all him. He went around collecting job applications on his own, got the necessary shit from the guidance office at school, and even went to the fucking Board of Education in Oakland on his own to get his student work permit. (I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW HE NEEDED TO DO THAT, THANK GOD HE HAS ASKED ME TO LIFT NARY A FINGER IN THIS WHOLE PROCESS.) And now, today after school, he has an interview at a nearby McDonald’s where one of his friends also works, which he is able to easily access via the T. On one hand, I’m like, “Where did this child come from” but then I remember that I also was super into the idea of getting a job when I was in high school and applied EVERYWHERE which is how I memorized my SSN# and never forgot it. However, when I did eventually get a job, it was at the dollar store at the mall. On my very first shift, I got into an argument with a customer, went on my break and never came back. Never bothered to get another job in high school after that lol. Last night on the way home from a haunted house with Janna, he was calculating how much his paychecks could potentially be if he gets the job and how he will take $20 out of each paycheck for afterschool spending money and save the rest. Please let him always have these values, oh god, please.

3. Speaking of HAUNTED HOUSES, Chooch and I went to Rich’s Fright Farm last night with JANNA. It was only my second time hanging out with her since Pandemic Times started, and Chooch’s first! Anyway, even though she was 40 MINUTES late getting to my house last night, Chooch and I managed to forgive her and we all had a WONDERFUL time. I forgot hw cathartic it is to push her into chainsaw guys and scream JANNA LOOK OUT every 2 seconds. My chest actually hurt from screaming and laughing so hard AND it wasn’t crowded so at all so that was a big relief because even though I had my mask, who wants to be herded through a haunted house with a crowd of people who may or may not be vaccinated, NOT ME. This place used to have a SLIDE that was really well placed so that when you reached the bottom, not only were you a bit disoriented, but now you’ve got monsters in your face. I remember specifically the one year we landed ourselves right in the middle of a bunch of undead debutantes twirling around at a BALL. It was amazing and creepy.

I call this one: JANNA EXITS THE PORTABLE POT.

4. The other day, I found the little Flatwoods Monster figurine I bought at the Flatwoods Monster Museum a few years ago when we were on our way home from Dollywood. It was in one of my billion purses, none of which I have been using much over the last year and a half since I don’t go anywhere aside from amusement parks these days. But anyway, I was so happy to find it because I thought it was LOST. I put it on my very special Souvenir Shelf, which is one my fave spots in the house because, well, isn’t that why we buy souvenirs? To be reminded of the fun we had in awesome places?! I’m super into souvenirs, even if it’s just something simple and cheap like a magnet (although, hello inflation – magnets aren’t very cheap anymore!!). Anyway, here is my Souvenir Shelf! Also, Henry cut this shelf from neon acrylic!

That penis-shaped thing is my favorite, lol. It came on top of a bottle of medicinal wine from Jeonju, South Korea. I guess you’re supposed to drink from it. Most of the stuff on the shelf is from Korea, but there’s also stuff from Japan, Italy, Morocco, Toronto, Australia, and a seashell from Wildwood lol!

5. Do you guys ever have that thing happen where you think of something that you haven’t thought of in a really long time and then it comes up 2 or 3 more times in the same week? I used to know the name of that phenomenon but now I forget. Oh what’s that you say? Google it like a real professional blogger would? OK hold please.

Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon (a.k.a. the Recency Bias or Frequency Illusion) The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon, otherwise known as the frequency illusion or recency bias, is a situation where something you recently learned about suddenly seems to appear everywhere.

Ehhhh…..sort of? In this case, it wasn’t something that I just learned. We were watching Squid Game last week and I made some offhand comment about how the character Kang Sae-Byeok resembles, in a way, the OG Swedish Pippi Longstocking. It’s the shape of her face and freckles that does it, I think. Of course Henry was like, “Um OK sure” because we never agree on anything. But then, after I said it, I was like, “Aw, Pippi” in my head because I loved/hated that when I was a kid. It was actually quite terrifying!

OK, so then a few days later, The Best Realtor in Pgh texted me and was like REMEMBER WHEN I WAS OBSESSED WITH PIPPI LONGSTOCKING, THE SWEDISH ONE? And I was like, “Bruh.”

THEN!! Yesterday, my beloved TOP from BIGBANG posted this on Instagram:

WHAT.DOES.IT.MEAN? Aside from that I need to re-watch this as an adult, pronto.

Bonus Friday Fact: My birth dad’s last name was actually Pippi!! Thank god my mom remarried when I was so young so that I didn’t have to go  through school as Erin Pippi. Granted, now I go through work days being erroneously called Kelly in emails by people outside of the department, but whatever. I’ll take that, I guess.

Also!! Chooch is an idiot and fucked around in Oakland after school instead of getting right on the bus to come home for his job interview, resulting in Henry having to meet him at the T-stop near McDonald’s so that he could change his clothes in the car, and he made it into McDonald’s right on time…..for them to tell him the interview needs to be rescheduled.

For tomorrow.

When we will not be in town.

NEVER MIND!! Henry just called me and apparently they’re doing his interview now after all.

Oct 062021
 

Here are the books I read in the last half of September, my book-dorks!

7. The Poppy War – R.F. Kuang 

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This book is a real chunker!! It’s book one in a series and wildly popular around the various bookish social media circles but I kept avoiding it because, well, fantasy. Right out of the gate, this book started out strong AF. We’re following a teenage orphan, Rin, who is about to be sold off to some fat old guy and either she can become his wife/concubine, or she can study her fucking ass and ace this super important test to get into the elite Sinegard military academy.

I was really into this book for about the first half. I thought the characters were great, the dialogue was punchy, there was perfectly-timed effortless humor, the tension was palpable. But then it got too political/war-y and I was lost. These are elements and themes in books that will almost ALWAYS lose me, so this is no slight against the author. That lady can WRITE. But I just had no idea what was going on for most of the second half and there were too many characters for me to keep straight. I’m not sure I will continue this series, but I would watch if it was ever adapted into movies or a mini-series for sure.

8. Razorblade Tears – S.A Crosby

Book Cover

If there is only one book recommendation you take from me this year, it’s this one: READ THIS BOOK. NOW. RIGHT NOW. GO TO YOUR LIBRARY. GO TO YOUR LOCAL INDIE BOOKSHOP. GO TO YOUR LIBBY APP. You want to talk about two of the most compelling characters written this year, it’s Buddy and Ike. HOO BOY.

This is a classic Odd Couple-trope where two unlikely anti-heroes band together to avenge the deaths of their sons, who also happened to be married. One dad is Black, one is white, and the one thing they had in common prior to their sons being murdered is that neither of them could accept that their sons were gay. So there is a lot of powerful conversations about homosexuality, transphobia, racism, and classism in these pages, while maintaining the pulse-quickening, page-turning status of a crime thriller. This book was ACTION-PACKED. One of the booktubers I watch said she kept picturing Woody Harrelson as Buddy and holy shit, yes.

This book had me screaming. By the end, I was bawling. I just ready that Jerry Bruckheimer is apparently trying to buy the rights. I know it will eventually be turned into a movie because it literally reads like an action flick, and I hope that whoever takes the helm treats these characters with respect because they are some of the most memorable fictional people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.

I need to read more from S.A. Crosby, STAT.

9. One Last Stop – Casey McQuiston

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Ew I just realized that this book cover has the same color palette as the last book! But they couldn’t be more different lol.

I have to admit that I thought McQuiston’s previous book, Red White and Royal Blue, was way overrated. It was a cute political/royal queer romance and I enjoyed it but I also didn’t think it was THAT GREAT? This one, however, made me change my mind about McQuiston because I felt that it highlighted her quirky and fresh writing skills. This reads like a Netflix series, if that makes sense. I could 100% imagine this being a TV show and me being so fucking into it because it has a STRONG sense of found family and that is one of my favorite things in books and TV.

Our main character, August, has just moved to NYC to finish college but mostly to get away from her mom who has spent her entire adult life searching for her missing brother. August moves into an apartment already occupied by three other people, gets a job at a quirky and beloved diner, and….falls in love with a girl who has been stuck in a loop on the subway since the late 70s.

Yeah, it’s fucking weird. But the side characters!! Fuck the romance, I was here for the roommate escapades. Wes and his excruciating love for the drag queen who lives across the hall?? The snarky Russian diner manager?? Everyone in this book was big and bright and popped right off the pages. Also, I kept picturing a young Sara Rue as August and now I need a COMING SOON TO NETFLIX announcement or at the very least a spin-off with the roommates.

10. The Twisted Ones – T.Kingfisher

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I read The Hollow Place by this author last year and have the same opinion with this one: I love how T.Kingfisher writes. Both books were like reading about Lorelai Gilmore going on a paranormal adventure and bitching the whole time about how she didn’t sign up for this.

So, the main broad is in some super small southern town cleaning out her dead grandmother’s house who, surprise, was a hoarder, and also lives near the woods where weird deer-things keep flitting about and there’s a creepy effigy hanging from a tree and she finds her dead stepgrandfather’s diary that has lots of absurd shit written in it and she thinks he must have had dementia, etc etc etc.

And I loved being in the character’s head, I loved meeting the townspeople with her, I LOVED HER DOG. But like the last one, once the actual climax of the paranormal shit began, it lost me and I actually got bored. I think I would like her books better if it focused on more of the quirky small-town vibes and completely omitted the “horror.” Because it’s not really that scary.

11. Survive the Night – Riley Sager

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LOL, this book is trash. I was on the fence with Riley Sager prior to this. I had read three of his books, thought two of them were pretty good, didn’t care much for the third. But this is the book that made me finally admit that, you know what? This dude does not deserve the hype, man. This shit read like a Christopher Pike book from the 80s. And I loved Christopher Pike books…when I was in 5th and 6th grade.

Henry actually hates this guy and has DNFd him in the past, totally refuses to give him another chance. He is very happy that I have officially joined his sector of the Riley Sager is Trash club.

I don’t even want to talk about the plot because it’s dumb and also predictable and wow, the characters were like floppy cut-outs going “meep meep” and “moop moop” instead of having meaningful conversations or saying ANYTHING of substance. No one had depth! This was SO LAME. I didn’t care if ANYONE survived the night!! And the ending, the fuck was that?? I won’t spoil it but Riley Sager hates women I think.

12. Ace of Spades – Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

Book Cover

This book is billed as “Gossip Girl” meets Get Out and I can’t argue with that at all. The only two Black students in a prestigious high school are suddenly the targets of anonymous text-blasts and it quickly becomes clear that someone wants them out of the school.

The main characters are so strong and while they are definitely flawed (thank you for writing real teenagers, Faridah!), you will still root for them until your chest hurts. And there were so many times when the audacity of the white kids in this book gave me fucking chest pains. But yeah, if you’re a fan of “Gossip Girl,” Get Out, and the dark academia genre, then this should be in your wheelhouse. Just be prepared to have your teeth set on edge at the injustice these kids face because of their skin color.

Also stick around for the author’s note at the end. She is amazing and I look forward to reading more from her in the future!

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OK that wraps up September! Can you believe I got this all done in the first week of October?! Pardon me while I go and treat myself to an episode of Hometown Cha Cha Cha now.