Jul 212018
 

Well guys, my last Warped Tour ever happened last Monday and even though I barely even have my pinky finger still dipped in that scene, it was extremely hard to say goodbye. Not ready to write about that yet as I’m still processing my feelings (#sodramatic #soErin) but I do want tell you about one of the standouts moments of the day for me!

It was in the low nineties that day so I decided to fuck trying to look good and just threw on shorts and my KpopX Fitness shirt because it’s one of the few white tank tops that I own and I wanted to stay as cool as possible. When we were waiting in line to get in, people were complimenting each other on their shirts because you know, you wear your favorite band shirt to Warped Tour and that’s how you make new friends. Henry joked that no one was going to care about my shirt because who wears a Kpop shirt to Warped Tour?

Hey, if I wasn’t so concerned about dying of heat stroke, I’d have worn my black G-Dragon tour shirt and given zero fucks about who cared!

Anyway, halfway through the day, Chooch and Henry were passed out on the hill and I decided to take that opportunity to walk around and soak up the Warped Tour atmosphere for one last time when I realized that With Confidence was about to come on the small Owly.fm stage.

I was in the middle of texting Henry to let him know what stage I was at when someone tapped my arm. Alarms immediately went off (see last post re: paranoid schizophrenia) because OMG HUMAN CONTACT. I quickly turned and saw a total stranger standing there because why would it be someone I actually knew, I have never run into anyone I know at Warped Tour because all of my friends are grown-ups.

So now I’m looking at this young guy-stranger, waiting for him to ask for a cigarette or directions because he thinks I’m Key Bank Pavilion staff, but instead he pointed at my shirt and asked, “What’s KpopX Fitness?”

This….was not what I was expecting to be asked. What was this guy’s agenda?! Was he going to try and sell me a Bible?! The Hare Krishnas usually love targeting people at Warped Tour.

“Do you know what kpop is?” I began, and he quickly waved me off.

“Yes, I know what kpop is, but what is kpop fitness?” he pressed.

So I explained it to him and he asked me how long I’ve been into that so now I’m to the point where alarms are still going off but now the paranoia police have arrived at the scene and I figured he was going to say, “WOW THAT LONG? THEN WHY ARE YOU STILL SO FAT?” but no, he then asked me what my favorite one was.

“Routine?” I asked. “Or kpop group?” I was still thoroughly ‘noided out, wondering what direction this conversation was headed, if he was in the process of pick-pocketing me or what.

When he said kpop group, I answered “BIGBANG” with no hesitation and asked him if he was into kpop too. At this point, I was sure he was going to bullshit me with some vague answer or say BTS because everyone knows BTS now, but he said, “Mine is 2NE1 but lately I’ve been really into Black Pink.”

HOLY FUCKING SHIT. Were there cameras on me? Was this guy real? Were we really talking about my favorite thing in the middle of my old favorite thing?!

“Oh OK! So you’re a YG guy then!” I said, my attitude totally changing and my real life personality oozing out from behind my perma-walls. This rarely happens anymore. It’s usually Stiff, Blank Erin all the way these days unless I’m with Henry and Chooch. It felt good and free to be myself in that moment!

“I just bought a CL shirt yesterday, she’s my bae,” he said and I was like OK THIS GUY IS THE REAL DEAL. So we talked about how CL is going to be in an American movie that’s coming out later this year, and how our friends make fun of us for liking Kpop, and I told him about running into Super Junior on the streets of NYC (“HOLY SHIT, that doesn’t happen!” he said, and I was like, “I know, that’s what I was trying to tell my friends!”), and how we both fell in love with Kpop in spite of our metal/hardcore loyalties.

And then With Confidence started their set, so we said goodbye and he ran back over to his friends while I stood alone in the crowd, smiling to myself while raindrops started to fall, fully appreciating the symbolism of this whole scene that just played out. The door might be closing on my Warped Tour chapter, but now I have a brand new world to immerse myself in and new connections to make. That’s pretty exciting.

When I found Henry and Chooch later, I excitedly told them about how I made new friend.

“What’s his name?” Henry asked.

“I don’t know,” I said with a shrug.

“Then you didn’t make a friend!” he sneered.

UGH SHUT UP HENRY YES I DID.

Jul 202018
 

Can we pretend like we’re besties on a telephone call? OK great! I’ll let you talk in a minute (x87).

This week has been extremely draining. It all started Monday with Warped Tour which was exhausting for a myriad of reasons (it was so hot that day that there were mass casualty plans in effect, apparently) and I just never really regained any of my mental stamina after that. I’ve just been in some frustrating post-Warped Tour fugue state that I’m hoping to finally shake today.

This week wasn’t bad at all by any means though. There were so many awesome comebacks in the Kpop world — they do things a bit differently over there and release several small albums a year, each one paired with a comeback which means: at least one new music video, fan engagements, promotions (making their rounds on all of the weekly music countdown shows), and if we’re lucky – appearances on variety shows!

This week has given us new Triple H (Henry’s review of this was “How has Hyuna not gotten kicked out of Korea by now?” Lol #provocative), Chungha, Ashley, Hyolyn, and MOST IMPORTANTLY: The Great Seungri, BIGBANG’s maknae! His first solo comeback in 5 years is happening right now and you better believe I woke up before the alarm to watch his video and it’s safe to say that it was worth the wait! It’s so different from everything else out there right now and the video is just crammed with that Seungri charm. I love him! I miss BIGBANG so much (the other 4 members are in the army) so this made my heart swell. Thank you, Seungri. You did well!

Here, watch this. HEY, YOU ANSWERED THE PHONE WHEN I CALLED SO JUST FUCKING WATCH THIS WITH ME NOW, UGH:

I just want to share all of the videos on here but I will abstain. I should probably just start a separate music blog at some point so you guys don’t have to have this stuff shoved in your faces anymore; 11 years of post-hardcore, screamo, and sadboy music, and now this!

What else has been happening this week…Oh! I had an annoying trolley experience yesterday after a fairly decent streak of non-issues. But then yesterday, some delusional dad had his kid on the trolley IN SOME TYPE OF OBNOXIOUS TRICYCLE THING.

WITH A BELL.

THE OBNOXIOUS TRICYCLE THING HAD A BELL.

Now, I’m of the mindset that children shouldn’t be allowed on the trolley at all, so you can imagine how incensed I was when that little fucker started RINGING HIS BELL. It was the really loud, alarming kind that’s like TRRRRRRRRRRRING! TRRRRRRRRRRRRING! all metallically. I found myself sitting there, all tense and clenched, bracing for the next ring which actually made the base of my skull ache. It sounded worse than the sound of the imaginary rotary phone that rang when I called you.

Halfway to work, some dumb bitch got on the trolley and sat across from Dipshit Dad and Tricycle Tot.

“OH THAT’S A GREAT BIKE YOU HAVE,” she croaked in a typical Yinzer accent around 50 years of nicotine buildup. “WHY DON’T YOU RING THAT BELL” and to the imaginary friends in my head (not you, the other ones), I asked, “Is there a camera on me? Is my whole fucking life just one episode of Punked now?! AM I MAKING ASHTON KUTCHER RELEVANT AGAIN?!”

So this bitch keeps making the kid ding the damn bell and I’m like internalizing seizures three seats away to the point where I got off FOUR STOPS EARLY AND WALKED ACROSS A FUCKING BRIDGE just to get away from the insanity. I called Henry and he was like, “WHAT? WHAT’S WRONG!” and then I started screaming about how bad my day was going and he was like, “Oh.”

MAYBE I SHOULD HAVE JUST CALLED YOU INSTEAD.

And I had my big water jug in my bag for all of this so my shoulder felt terrific.

Oh, how’s my jug, you’re wondering? Let’s talk about that! I’m still chugging that  hard, y’all.

*(Korean for “water.” Thanks for not laughing at my pronunciation.) 

One day last week, I was sitting at my desk when Jill stopped over to talk to Regina in her office.

“Wow! That’s a lot of water,” Jill exclaimed. “Are you seriously going to drink all of that?” I assumed she was talking to me and was getting ready to answer, when I heard Regina say something about trying to drink more water.

I started to shift in my seat, wondering how much more water than me Regina was drinking. Did she have a vat? Should I upgrade to a barrel? COULD THAT BE POSSIBLE? YES, WITH A SMALL FLEET OF ST. BERNARDS!

I waited for Regina to leave her office and then I ran over to peek. Lori’s office is right next to Regina’s and I didn’t want her to think I was being a creep so I quickly filled her in. “And I just wanted to see if her water bottle was bigger than mine. Don’t worry, it’s not,” I assured Lori.

Lori laughed. “No one’s jug is bigger than yours, Erin!”

And that was the moment I realized I had a problem.

A competition problem.

“THAT was when you knew?” Henry scoffed when I called him on my lunch break walk.

Anyway, drinking water is such a chore. I guess Instagram knows about my new lifestyle because I keep getting ads for designer 1 gallon water jugs. MAYBE I’LL BUY ONE, INSTAGRAM. YOU DON’T KNOW ME.

Ugh, except that you do.

Speaking of Henry and water, I was obsessing over boats capsizing today while I was walking by the gross river because I’m halfway to a paranoid schizophrenic diagnosis so I asked Henry how a lake could have waves since that duck boat tragedy is all I can think about today.

“Well, it’s like a bathtub…” he started to say, and that’s all I heard to be honest.

I think that’s all I have to talk about right now. Um, I’d love to hear how your week was but I have to hang up now because I have to eat dinner. Ciao for now! OR SHOULD I SAY CHOW FOR NOW, OH!!!

Maybe we’ll talk about Warped Tour next time, OK!?

Proof that my dinner is here:

I told Henry I wanted a ton of vegetables so that’s what I got. Ordering food is easy at Cafe Henrique.

Wait one more thing because this just reminded me. There’s this reality show we’re watching called Roommate where 11 Korean celebrities live together and one of them, the oldest, is this Korean singer who’s in his late 40s and he has a beard and looks all tough but he loves to cook so the housemates nominate him to be the official cook and they call him Shin Omma (Mama Shin) and it reminds me so much of Henry so now I think we should all call Henry “Henry Omma.” Ok let’s.

Jul 182018
 

Related image

Today is our precious maknae Taemin’s birthday and I would be remiss if I didn’t take some time out of my dumb day to honor him because he has brought a great surplus of joy into my life. (Just watching video compilations of him laughing has been known to greatly improve my mood!) Technically, his birthday is over, but it’s still July 18 here in America so let the celebration continue, I say!

Today, I wore my Taemin socks to work! Carrie thought they were cute. Glenn said I need help.

In case you didn’t know, Taemin is my #2 bias (he’s been doing a great job at filling the void in my heart while G-Dragon is in the military) and he’s in my second favorite Kpop group, SHINee. He was just a baby when they debuted in 2008!

Image result for taemin replay gif

But he somehow grew up to be so dreamy! (That’s literally what Amber called him when I made my group watch a Taemin solo video in honor of his special day, lol, I think she may have been being sarcastic though…..)

Related image

I was in a great mood all day! Then I came home and saw that Henry actually went to the store and bought ingredients to bake the Korean cream cake I sent him a recipe for, begging for him to bake it for Taemin’s birthday.

“JUST WHAT I WANT TO DO, WORK ALL DAY, COME HOME AND MAKE YOU DINNER, THEN BAKE A CAKE!” Henry yelled.

So I made my own dinner to help him out! (Cereal and peanut butter toast lol.)

Look at him! Isn’t he the greatest Kpop ahjussi or what!? Oh, the fun we have.

I can’t believe he actually did this for me, I mean, for Taemin. He didn’t even get too surly about it—did I finally break him!?

#happybirthdayTaemin 6v6

A post shared by Erin Appledale (@ohhonestlyerin) on

“Now what?” Henry asked after I blew out the candles. Um, obviously we’re gonna eat the damn thing! It turned out really good, too! Henry is the best housewife, you guys. I mean, what CAN’T he do.

(I’ll answer so you don’t have to: PROPOSE.)

Henry took some pieces over for Blake and Haley. “Did you tell him it’s for Taemin’s birthday?” I asked hungrily.

“Yes, Erin,” he sighed.

“Yeah but, did you specifically say Taemin, or just ‘some Korean guy’?” I pressed on.

“I said Taemin,” Henry said through the web of slumber over his face.

“Well did Blake even wish him a happy birthday?!” I cried, and Henry was like, “*no comment*”

6v6 is the emoticon that represents Taemin; all the members of SHINee have one.

Idol worship is so weird, I know, but it sure does make life fun. It’s nice to have things to celebrate. What a fun Wednesday night!

Jul 162018
 

After a casual dinner at the Village Diner in South Orange and ice cream at Carvel’s…OK wait, I have to stop here and elaborate on Carvel’s for a quick sec. Here in Pittsburgh, I’m so used to getting gigantic scoops at all of our ice cream parlors, so when I ordered my Kit Kat ice cream, I asked for just one scoop in my sugar cone and what the old broad behind the counter gave me was the equivalent of Baby’s First Ice Cream Cone. I mean, when you say “one scoop” in Newark, they take it to heart and flick off any extra curls that might be try’na crown that dome of frozen dessert. Such a puny little ball of ice cream, the girth was barely enough to keep it from slipping inside of the cone. I was SO SAD and SO UNSATISFIED by the time I finished it but in hindsight this was probably a good thing because I’m the Queen of Eating Until Sick.

We should have went to Cold Stone which was next door to the Village Diner but who wants to go somewhere that’s also in their hometown!? Before we go back to Newark in September (ughhh) I’m going to spend at least a week researching ice cream places because this is just dumb.

Anyway, Henry dropped us off at the Prudential Center after that and this time we found that the lines were more organized but it still took FOREVER to get inside and somehow we picked the slowest-moving line as usual! I spent most of the time internalizing the fact that the barcodes on our ticket print-outs were smudged but spoiler alert – we got in.

The best part of the line-standing experience was that one of the staff-ladies (I actually remembered her from last year when I was in line for one of the fan engagements!) was so sweet and helped this lost girl reunite with her friends, who had her ticket. She even went inside the Prudential Center and came out with a megaphone! Then while she was up on a railing with her megaphone, she pointed out a burly tattooed biker dad in line,  and said, “And shout out to all the parents out there who brought you guys here today. Yeah, I saw them, saving your spots in the hi-touch lines while ya’ll were out there running around doing stuff and then you came back and STILL complained! Don’t bite the hands that feed you, kids!” Chooch looked at me and said, “Yeah, I’M doing this for YOU.”

Lol, get over yourself Chooch. You’re deep in this k-game too.

Even being in a shorter line this time, we were somehow even LATER getting inside. I thought for sure we were going to miss the preshow, but we JUST made it to our seats, and happily, the annoying warbler wasn’t behind us this time!

During the preshow, the two winners of the Asiana tickets to Korea came out on stage with their big fake Publisher Clearinghouse-esque checks and I was so happy because they were both Korean guys in their early 20s. The girls that won last year were white and annoying, so it warmed my heart to see two guys who both said they were excited to go to Korea and see relatives that they haven’t seen in decades.

And, of course, eat.

Someone in the crowd screamed, “Are you single?!” when the first guy was introducing himself. He said no, but the when the second guy introduced himself, he tacked on, “…and I AM single.” Everyone was cracking up and Chooch nudged me like, “go get ’em.” Lol.

The host asked them what they were most looking forward to eating in Korea, and the first guy said, “Well, it’s something that I see in all of the Korean dramas….Subway.”

It couldn’t have been any funnier if it was scripted! Danny Lim, the preshow host, was like, “You guys could take my job!”

Then the show started! This was the lineup for Night Two:

  1. Golden Child
  2. Fromis_9
  3. EXID
  4. NCT127
  5. Wanna One

Chooch was oddly fixated on Golden Child all weekend (“Is that Golden Child? Is this Golden Child? Put on Golden Child.”) but I was most excited for EXID and NCT127. As per usual, all groups delivered! Let’s get started with a quick recap because KCON is already two weeks out at this point and I need to stop procrastinating or like, quit my job so I have more time.

(JUST KIDDING, JOB, I LOVE YOU.)

  • Golden Child: All I knew about them preceding KCON was that they were on Weekly Idol once with Weki Meki and they were competing to see which group had the most flexible member?! They’re a young, rookie group – it hasn’t even been a year since their debut, and I only knew one of their songs which is total bubblegum pop so I was not expecting them to come out so strong like this!

They were fun! Chooch really imprinted on them though and said that they were one of his favorites of KCON. Big praise from Kpop critic Chooch!

  • Fromis_9: When this girl group was originally announced, I was underwhelmed. But then sometime after that, they had a comeback with DKDK and I was like, “OK I GET IT, I AM CERTIFIABLY CAPTIVATED BY THEIR CHARMS. Plus, their video features a giant cat!? I gave them some love on here a month ago, so we’ll skip the formalities and get right to the video:

THEIR DRESSES! These girls are like the posterchildren for what I think the general conception of Kpop is: frilly, cheesy, feel-good bubblegum pop. That’s not a bad thing to have in your life here and there, you know? It’s good to chip some of the ice off the ol’ heart sometimes!

Before I get to EXID, I want to talk about the special stage for this night, which featured a solo performance by LE of EXID and 3 members of NCT performing Whiplash, which I didn’t realize until after the fact, but that was the first time they performed that song live! Also this video isn’t one of the official KCON videos so it adds some hysteric audience flavor, if you know what I mean.

  • EXID: When I first got into kpop through kpop cardio, I listened to girl groups almost exclusively. My favorite routines back then were to songs by 4Minute, 2NE1, Red Velvet, Girl’s Generation, Orange Caramel, and EXID, so when I started listening to kpop outside of those workouts, those were the groups I gravitated to. I especially loved the song Up & Down by EXID, and then when I saw the video for it, I was like, “SOLD.” It was so weird and just my style: super fun, bright colors, animal masks, with bizarre things slipped in, like a thumbtack on a tongue. I was so excited when EXID was announced for KCON because I’ve loved everything about then since that Up & Down video. They’re actually a five-member group but their leader has been sitting things out for the last year and a half while recovering from hyperthyroidism. She recently announced though that she’s been learning the new choreo and hopes to comeback very soon!

An interesting story about this song is that when EXID debuted it on the music countdown shows, it apparently flopped. But then someone posted a video that just focused on Hani (my EXID bias) and it went viral, so they got a second chance and it dominated the charts after that!

I screamed like a little girl for them! “Lady” is SUCH a 90s throwback, major TLC vibes for me and I just want to go back in time and not toss all of my yo-girl outfits because every time I hear this song, I want to put on my Cross Colours bodysuit and Karl Kani jeans and walk around downtown.

  • NCT 127: Well, you guys I had so much shit written on here for NCT and Wanna One and thought that I published this on Saturday but for some reason I came on here today, saw that it was still a draft, and everything I wrote after EXID was gone OH WAIT I KNOW WHY BECAUSE WORDPRESS IS A PIECE OF SHIT. So, sorry if the rest of this post comes off as uninspired (lol, like that would be any different than anything else on here!) but I just came home from Warped Tour and instead of relaxing I’m apparently now going to spend the rest of my night writing a bunch of words that no one will read anyway but my blogging OCD will not let me leave this alone. SO HERE WE GO. NCT 127 are poised to be the Next Big Thing in Kpop Crossover, I really do believe this. Chooch and I saw them last year too and they just blew us away with their dance formations, visuals, and bass-laden bops. So we were really looking forward to them (Chooch’s eardrums notsomuch though!). First though, here is a really artsy and aesthetically-pleasing video to introduce you to all of the members:

They played my favorite Cherry Bomb but I already posted that last year, so instead, here’s their strong into and new’ish song “Touch,” which shows their more playful side:

  • Wanna One: When we were in Korea, I definitely noticed that Wanna One was just as big as BTS and EXO, if not even more popular at the moment. You couldn’t walk a block without hearing one of their songs blasting out of a store, or seeing candy bars with their faces emblazoned on the wrappers in convenience stores, or notice huge Wanna One billboards in the subway stations. They are the product of a music survival show called Produce 101 (GET IT? WANNA ONE?! Season One produced a girl group called IOI, GET IT?!) and the unique thing about this show is that the groups have a short lifespan of about a year. It’s basically to help them get their name out there in the industry and all of the girls from IOI have gone on to other projects so it’s not as bad as it sounds. Wanna One is nearing the end of their contract so Chooch and I felt lucky that we got to see them. I hope that they all have successful careers post-Wanna One! Here is my favorite song by them and I love the dance move they do when they sing “do you feel the same” – I dare you to not be won over by their beautiful suited bodies, catchy songs, and imprint-worthy Kang Daniel.

Image result for kang daniel

After Wanna One, all of the groups came out for the “freeing of the confetti” and we all screamed out throats raw to show them how much America loves them.

And that’s a wrap for KCON 2018. I can’t tell you enough how happy kpop makes me and I’m so grateful that KCON exists so that we get an opportunity to see so many great artists all in one weekend. It’s hard to feel alone when I’m with tens of thousands of other people who love this scene as much as I do!

Then Henry was mad because he wanted us to take a Lyft back to the creepy hotel but I was like, “YOU SAID YOU WOULD COME GET US I DON’T UNDERSTAND” and he was all, “OK BUT IF I LOSE MY PARKING SPOT YOU’RE DEAD” maybe he didn’t say “you’re dead” but it was some similar empty threat, and then there he was, obediently waiting for us after the concert and we excitedly told him every single detail of the night and I could tell he was sad that he missed it. Maybe if KCON wasn’t so fucking expensive, Henry could actually go to the concert too! (Henry really does like kpop, sorry to shatter any misconceptions. He apparently now stans MAMAMOO because all of their videos were playing one night and he got sucked in because that’s how kpop works.)

Jul 152018
 

Dear e-diary,

Remember how I wanted to walk to the new-ish paleteria in Beechview on Friday to get some refreshing paletas, but then I ended up puking all day instead? Well, you’ll be happy to know that my own person doctor, Henry, diagnosed me with a 24-hour stomach bug and I felt A-OK when I woke up on Saturday! Which meant a Mexican popsicle celebration, naturally.

Here is a short review.

It was something like 90 degrees on Saturday and humid as the air between Trump’s ears, but I insisted that Henry and Chooch walk, not drive, to Alquisiras, where we would then be rewarded with an array of delightful Mexican flavors in frozen form. Chooch brought his scooter and I hate that thing so much but whatever.

It’s only about a 20 minute walk to Beechview, but if you take the longer way it’s all level. Henry argued with me about this and I was like, “Look motherfucker, if you want to be walking up steep ass motherfucking Pittsburgh hills*, be my guest, but I’ll take the nice leisurely route and get there 5 minutes after you.” He can’t bear to be without me, and Chooch was like OH, I’M NOT LUGGING THIS SCOOTER UP A HILL, so it was MY WAY OR NO WAY.

*(Hey, San Fran, I’ll see you out there with your steep-ass fucking streets but Pittsburgh has the country’s** steepest street of all time, so stop hogging our limelight.)

**(Some people claim it’s the steepest in the world, but I think I read there is street in New Zealand that actually holds that record.)

There were so many paletas to choose from and it was a legit struggle. I kept going back and forth between walnut, chili mango, and red currant, but I eventually asked Walnut to mouth-prom because I love nuts, man. It was SO GOOD too but now I’ll just have to go back and try all the other flavors and I can’t really be mad about that.

Chooch got strawberries and cream and was clearly so ready for this picture.

Henry was like, “I’ll just stick with ice cream because I’m square.” He chose pistachio (always a good choice) but then whined later that he wished he had gotten a paleta instead so I guess we have to bring him back with us next weekend, ugh.

Prince of posing in front of murals.

Other things happened on Saturday too, but the one thing that stands out the most is that Henry proved that HE DOESN’T REALLY KNOW ME AT ALL. We were getting ready for bed that night, totally exhausted from a really good Kpop Kardio hour and lots of subtitle-reading (we started watching Roommate because a new episode of Are You Human Too hadn’t yet been released and we needed our Seo Kang Joon fix and by “we” and “our” you know I mean “Henry” and “his.”). We had the a/c on in our room but it was still kind of muggy in there and I was complaining about how I was too hot.

“Well, you’re under the covers. Take the covers off,” he suggested like I hadn’t already considered this!?

“Yeah, I can do that a little bit but you know I how I have to have my feet covered at all times,” I said.

“……no?” Henry answered with hesitation in his voice.

“Yes you do!” I cried. “Like, everyone knows that about me.” And when Henry didn’t answer, probably because he was flipping through the Rolodex of Erin’s Issues in his head, I tried to help him by dropping clues. “You know, because I don’t want to get my feet lopped off…”

“WHAT?!” he yelled. “By who!?”

“The man with the sickle!” I yelled back, like how was this news to him?! I’m sure I even mentioned this on LiveJournal before and I KNOW I have discussed this with some of my work friends too.

“Oh my god,” Henry sighed. “I don’t even want to know.”

I was so offended that this wasn’t one of those super important facts that he seared into his brain, but I still gave him the run-down about how ever since I was in second grade and we moved into our new house on Gillcrest, I was always terrified to look out of my bedroom window at night because it faced the backyard which was surrounded by woods and our neighbors’ tennis court that was always illuminated just enough at night to make the shadows come to life in ones mind, and I would sneak peeks out the window and swear that someone would be out there, creeping around in the backyard, waiting for me to fall asleep with my feet outside of the blanket so he could lop them off with his sickle and run away with them in a sack slung over his shoulder.

“It’s the same reason why I would always stand at my door, run and leap into my bed at night, so I wouldn’t be standing close enough for the man under my bed to grab my ankles,” I told Henry.

I think he was sleeping by then though.

But yeah, nearly 39 years old and I will never succumb to the man with the sickle! YOU’LL NEVER GET MY FEET, MOTHERFUCKER. Take Henry’s.

Jul 132018
 

Let me give you a run-down on how my day is going: it’s 4:30PM and I only have 1,015 steps.

And no, it’s not because I’m on a plane to Seoul.

Today is my work-from-home late shift day which I always get giddy about the night before. I get to sleep in! (I never do though.) I can go out for breakfast! (Usually just stay home and have a bagel.) I can exercise my face off! (This is actually realistic.) Now that it’s summer and Chooch is around, I thought it would be fun to walk to the paleteria in Beechview and go hog-wild on some exotic popsicles while supporting our local Mexicans (#FuckICE #NotThePopsicleKindsThough).

But then I woke up with a stomach bug and spent all morning puking/sleeping/puking/whining/sleeping/shivering/crying/puking/shaking – you get the idea. And then I had to log on to work where I was met with several disasters from the night before and then I cried some more and had to run upstairs and puke up the piece of bread I stupidly ate in an effort to calm my stomach.

Chooch was like, “Hey mum, I feel really bad and all, but um, I’m going to go the library, don’t die.”

Can I pause here to say that I don’t understand why, if he calls me “mum,” he doesn’t call Henry “dud.”

Well, I typed all of this will feeble fingers just to say that all I have the mental endurance for right now is sharing some pictures of my cats who are the worst because they didn’t care about me AT ALL when I was vomiting and then I started crying because I miss my cat Marcy who, even though she hated me, would always sit outside of the bathroom while I puked and I’m sure it was mostly just because she wanted to be as close as possible to see me suffering/ensure that her wicked spell was working, but the point is, she was THERE and then I imagined holding her and for a split second I could FEEL her in my arms and then I just started bawling in bed and texted Henry, “I miss Marcy” and he said he knew exactly why.

Stop acting like you know things, Hank.

But yeah, here are pictures of Drew and Penelope from the other night when they were on Fly Watch and Drew was doing all these fancy circus-quality high jumps and flips in the air in an attempt to catch one, and then all Penelope did was clumsily bat a fly out of the air, smash it under her paw, and then eat it.

Drew was so mad.

Sometimes you just have to go the rudimentary route, you know.

This was after Penelope feasted on her game.

Pouting, lol.

Well that’s all for me. The one bright side is that this happened while I was at home and not sitting behind Carrie at work. YOU’RE WELCOME CARRIE. Aren’t I thoughtful co-worker?!

#vomit

P.S. Back when I was on LiveJournal i knew someone who always put “vomit” spelled backwards in asterisks and now I feel compelled to bring that back.

*timov*

WHAT EVEN IS THE POINT OF THAT THO?!

Jul 112018
 

Even though my feelings toward the scene are less than favorable these days, the sadness of this being the last Warped Tour has finally started to set in and I started to cry about it last night, haha. Seriously, to just get through one day without being so stupidly sentimental!

It’s weird to think of a Warped-less summer when it’s been such a big part of my life for over 10 years. The first one I went to was in 2000 and it was pretty terrible, to be honest. It was in a much smaller venue and I only really cared about seeing AFI, and to be fair, it was actually legitimate punk bands that played back then.

And hilariously, I have never really been into punk.

Then I was supposed to meet Christina at the Columbus, OH date in 2005 but we had a fight or I was suicidal or just having a non-life-threatening mood swing, who knows – 2005 was a disastrous year for me. So I didn’t go and she took her sister instead, I think. The next year, I went with her to the one in her hometown of Cincinnati and it was OK. I was still blogging on LiveJournal back then but all I wrote about was how the engine blew in my fucking car on the way home, so that tells you a lot about how I feel about that particular Warped Tour, lol.

It wasn’t until the next year, 2008, when it started to really feel like Christmas in July for me. I think Christina was supposed to come here for that one but we had a fight or god only knows, so Henry ended up going with me at the last minute and you guys, we had SO MUCH FUN TOGETHER. OK, I’ll rephrase that: I HAD SO MUCH FUN WATCHING HENRY SCOWL AT SCENE KIDS. And ever since that day there was a decree that we would go to every Warped Tour together and you bet your pretty god-given ass that he tries to get out of it every year.

Especially since Chooch started going with us. Then it became, “Why do I still have to go to this? Why can’t I just you guys off at the kids drop-off zone? This is so dumb.” But it’s a FAMILY TRADITION, you guys. And next Monday will be the very last one.

Even though it’s changed so much over the years (hate me all you want, but I miss the neon years of 2007-2011, where the scene queens’ cat-eyes melted down their sweaty faces and their cotton candy hair sizzled and frizzled under the sun. I miss only being able to see one eye on every scene kid with side-swooped fringe bangs. But most of all, I miss the glory days of Pierce the Veil, Chiodos, Emarosa, and Armor for Sleep.

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite Warped Tour photos here. I OWN THIS SPACE SO WHY NOT. I mean, I hope that’s OK! Let’s look at them together. We’ll start with 2008 because in my heart, that’s when the magic of Warped Tour truly started for me. *tear*

First let’s start with my collection of commemorative holographic tickets! Henry hates that I pay extra for this every year lol. I don’t have one for 2007 or 2008 which makes me feel like they probably hadn’t started doing that yet, and curiously 2013 doesn’t have one either. I thought maybe I lost it but then I obsessively googled (me, obsessively doing something on the Internet? lol) and I don’t think there was one that year.

And see that one round? FUNNY NOT FUNNG STORY I bought the special Xmas presale bundle for that year’s Warped. It came with socks (haha) and an ornament, which ended up being that round thing up there. The collectors ticket was supposed to be mailed later on, closer to summer. Except when my ticket came IT WAS A NORMAL ONE. I flipped out and started sending emails at which point I was told they had “run out” of the special tickets but anyone who didn’t get one could just bring that ornament (which actually was flat and the same thickness as the tickets are) to use as the “skip the line” but I was like THAT IS NOT WHY I PAY EXTRA FOR THESE TICKETS IT IS LITERALLY BECAUSE I LIKE HAVING THE TICKET so they were like “stop crying child and contact us after Warped Tour. We will see if we have any extras for you” and I was like “DONT THINK I WILL FORGET.”

I didn’t forget. I emailed as soon as Warped Tour was done and was like WHERE IS MY EXTRA TICKET and no one ever responded. WOW.

So of course every time I look at these tickets, that’s the first thing I think about and I feel SICK because I probably have OCD ok. Send one of the Pretty Little Liars to steal my medical records, why don’t you.

2008 Snaps, taken with my Blackberry Curve, I think lol:

My first time seeing Pierce the Veil <3

Blake came to Warped Tour with us that year and it was a bucketload of fun. I’m talking an entire gin-filled bathtub of fun.

2009 Pics:

chiodoscrowd

chiodos2

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RIP Scene Queens. :(

2010 Pho-Toes:

I think was when I started bringing my DSLR but I was still posting super small pictures back then so what did it even matter, lol.

I have this picture of Vic Fuentes framed on my wall <3

PAHAHAHAHA Jonny Shitbag Craig.

2011 Picalicktures:

Henry’s brethren. I interviewed Henry about Warped Tour that year and you can read that here if you want, lol. 

Austin Carlile, formerly of Of Mice & Men. Their sets always gave me life.

2012 Photographs:

Lol.

This was the year Henry wrote his own Warped Tour blog post!

2013 Visual Relics:

The year Chooch started going with us!

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2014 Still Life:

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Chooch got sick on this day, unrelated to Warped Tour. He ended up having an ear infection (I think? I CAN’T KEEP TRACK OF ALL OF HIS AILMENTS) and about two hours in, the fever set in. He didn’t want to leave until he got to see his favorite band, The Summer Set, so we had to stay until around 5:00 or 6:00.

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They took copious breaks.

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Chooch with The Summer Set, delirious but smiling!

2015 Mementos:

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Hands Like Houses <3

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Chooch and Lynn Gunn from PVRIS! Chooch had recently fallen off his bike or something, again I DON’T KEEP AN ACCIDENT AND AILMENT LOG just haunted house journals and this piece of shit diary, and went to Warped Tour looking totally hardcore with his scraped chin.

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Wardrobe change.

One of my favorite Warped Tour moments of all time, I’ll never get over this.

2016 Images:

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Man, I’m going to miss that ol’ granddaddy Inflatable. It was tradition to run straight for it as soon as we made it through the gates, even though you could buy the schedule for like $1 or two. Henry always did that while I Gumped my way to the inflatable to scan it for all my favorite bands in a panic because so much heartbreak happened here! This is you would be faced with DECISIONS when there were inevitable overlaps with the bands you wanted to see. WHO WOULD GET SACRIFICED?!

Ugh, my stomach hurts just thinking about all the hard choices I had to make while standing in front of that damn thing.

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Chooch always does a wardrobe change at Warped Tour. God forbid we buy him a shirt there and he waits until the next day to wear it. Here he is with Bradley, who was once again responsible for making this the best day ever. 

2017 Frozen Visions:

Chooch is in love with Jule Vera.

Henry giving directions, his favorite pasttime!

One of Chooch’s teachers was so excited that he met Gwar. I can’t imagine any of the teachers at his old Catholic school being excited about that unless we met “excited” in the sense that they were excited to help him purge his sins.

***

I could go on and on but no one has time for that so I will end it here and try not to think too much about how this coming Monday will be my last chance to make Warped memories. I thought I was OK with this but MAYBE I’M NOT READY TO SAY GOODBYE!?

 

Jul 102018
 

A: Leave Newark, lol.

Honestly though, we decided to skip out on day two of the convention portion of KCON based on how clustery it was the day prior.  It was like 90 degrees that day too and I could only think of several things less appealing than being in a crowded parking lot with thousands of people. (Also, we learned after the fact that this year’s KCON had nearly doubled in attendance from last year’s; thanks BTS…?)

Henry found some place for breakfast called Maple Leaf Diner, and it definitely wasn’t in Newark. It was in a town called Maplewood so you can already picture how adorable it was. Chooch gave him directions there since he was hoarding Henry’s phone for Pokemon reasons, and that was hilarious because Henry HATES not being in charge of directions. We had to drive through some really nice and upscale areas to get to this place, and it was a nice change from the bail shop-lined streets and boarded-up windows near our “hotel.”

I had a breakfast wrap and a fruit cup that was…actually good. I was anticipating a cracked-cup with like, 4 grapes and two slivers of hard and flavorless cantaloupe, but no! It was a grand variety of pineapples and melons and berries. Chooch got chocolate chip pancakes and couldn’t finish so Henry and I grudgingly helped him.

(The pancakes were good too and I am such a Persnickety Pancaker.)

I don’t know what Henry got.

Meat.

The street that Maple Leaf was on definitely looked like some place I’d frequent if I lived in the area: lots of cute little boutiques and casual restaurants, almost had a seaside-vibe to it.

We had briefly considered going back to NYC for the day but all I kept thinking about was something going awry and us not making it back in time for the concert that night. I was too nervous and superstitious to chance it, and we figured we could always just visit again when we’re back in Newark for the BTS concert in September. That being decided, I whipped open my trusty Roadside America app and, after Henry vetoed 85 of my suggestions, we settled on the Morris Museum in Morristown, NJ because they have a large Guinness-owned music box exhibit.

And you peeps know how much me loves me music boxes! (Sorry, I just got done doing Lucky Charms commercial porn voice-overs for me my side gig.)

But first, we had some time kill before the museum opened so we drove out to Staten State Park so I could see the Statue of Liberty but from a SAFE DISTANCE because I’m terrified of her.

Don’t ask, OK? This isn’t a motherfucking AMA.

(LOL j/k. Please ask me anything you want, anytime! I am starving for interaction.)

Who knew some park in NJ would have such a great view? Anyone with a basic knowledge of maps and geography. Duh.

The first picture I took, Chooch was flipping off Lady Liberty and I was like, “Chooch! It’s not her fault, it’s Trump’s!” and he was like, “Oh yeah” and then admitted that I was starting to make him feel scared of the Statue of Liberty too. THE BEST MOM.

For as sweltering as it was that day, it really was nice to take a leisurely stroll next to whatever that water is. Chooch and I ganged up on Henry as usual and I almost peed my pants, so that was cool.

Seriously, though! HARROWING. Even as a kid, I never had any desire to visit her. Can you still go inside her?! Henry said he didn’t think so, but I unsubscribed from the Statue of Liberty newsletter back in the 90s so I’m way out of the loop.

I can’t remember if I already posted these but it’s me and my fam and we don’t take many group pics so deal with it.

\

Chooch is That Guy who wears last year’s festival shirt to this year’s festival. I was going to make some kind of uppity Coachella comparison but then I remembered that no one wears COTTON T-SHIRTS to Coachella. They’re all made of FOIL and BANANALEAVES.

Right?

(To be fair, when I went to Coachella in 2004, those stupid ruffle skirts that Paris Hilton always wore back then that were super popular so almost every girl was wearing one of those and like, a bikini top and Uggs. I can’t even remember what I wore because: rage blackout. But it definitely wasn’t that.)

After getting our fill of The Great Outdoors, we headed some other direction* to Morristown.

*(LOOK THIS ISN’T THE MAPQUEST BLOG OK.)

I received a Pro Tip from the Roadside America app: everyday at 2PM, there is a LIVE DEMO in the music box and animaton gallery, so we planned our arrival around this.

Admission was very reasonable. $10 for us adults and $7 for Chooch. After I gave her my clearly-not-NJ zip code, the girl at the desk asked me where I heard of the museum.

“Roadside America,” I said over top of the melancholy melody of Henry’s sigh.

“Oh!” she said, “that’s cool.” She seemed moderately intrigued by this but also kind of sad that I didn’t say, like, Mr. Roger’s or something.

Anyway, please enjoy some glimpses inside the Morris, which out to be an extremely worthwhile visit!

Chooch and I are obsessed with Burger art now. And not just for the nudity!

LOL @ Henry pretending like he cares about art. I wonder if he ever did any fingerpaintings for his mom when he was in THE SERVICE?! I just called him in the room to ask him and he walked away without answering so the clear answer here is NO HE MADE MACARONI ART.

When the museum has it all.

We headed over to the Guinness exhibition about 30 minutes before the live presentation was slated to start and I was immediately enraptured. My grandparents’ house was full of music boxes of all sorts — none of the super elaborate ones, but they had a nice collection of inlaid music boxes from Sorrento and Zurich; it was one of the many things they liked to collect. Not to mention the more traditional one in the Clown Room that played Send in the Clowns, natch.

This particular collection was donated by the estate of Murtogh Guinness—yes, of THAT Guinness family. He developed a love for music boxes of all types at an early age, after his mom gave him one as a gift. (OMG what types of things is Chooch going to start hoarding?!) He also collected automaton, moving mechanical devices made in imitation of a human being. Right up my alley!

Oh, to have this in my house!

There were several parts of the exhibit that were interactive and hands-on, so Chooch and Henry were busy.

This one was my favorite!!

Anyway, the curator started the presentation precisely at 2 and it was wonderful. He was extremely knowledgeable and even if I didn’t have any prior interest to things of this nature, I think I still would have been captivated. I mean, even Henry seemed like was paying attention and not looking at his Pinterest app.

Chooch kind of zoned out but he’s 12 and he sucks, so.

Ugh I love music boxes.

A post shared by Erin Appledale (@ohhonestlyerin) on

I wanted to talk to to the curator afterward to see if he’s ever been to the Bayernhof, but one of the guys in the small group that had gathered for the show (THERE’S ALWAYS ONE) was glued to his side afterward, yakking his ear off about calliopes so I eventually gave up. Thanks, Guy.

Chooch was happy because he got to use a hole puncher and make a song.

Before we left, we went into the basement, where you can view part of an additional 700+ items left by Mr. Guinness. That’s a double-stuffed nightmare for some people, but I was like licking the glass.

No I wasn’t, that’s unsanitary.

Highly recommend this place if you’re ever in the area! Just try to plan to be there at 2 for the free show!

Afterward, we were going to get ice cream but the place Chooch chose (because there was a Pokemon there or something) was in a super sketchy area (because it was close to our “hotel” lol), really dark inside, and definitely a front so we pocketed the ice cream idea for later.

AND THAT WAS THE FIRST HALF OF OUR SUNDAY IN NOT-NEWARK.

Jul 082018
 

After the fun we had at last year’s KCON concerts, I vowed that we would get better seats next year. Not any of those insane packages or whatever, but just one level better.

And I was fully prepared to do just that but then ONE WEEK BEFORE KCON TICKETS WENT ON SALE, BTS TICKETS WENT ON SALE. I honestly didn’t think we would even be able to do both, assuming I could even get BTS tickets. But then by some stroke of Kpop fate, I scored 2 BTS tickets and since they were so high up and still face value, they were pretty reasonably priced. But, not free, which is what they would have had to have been for us to even consider getting KCON upgrades, haha.

So, we were back up in our P3 seats again this year (which is actually very close to where we’ll be sitting for BTS in the fall) and it was fine, more than fine, because I didn’t think we would even be able to go! I felt very grateful.

And, with the exception of G-Dragon, I don’t need to be down there by the stage getting showered in Kpop sweat – this lifestyle is way too rich for my blood at times and I’m more than context looking down from the arena heavens!

Before dropping us off at the Prudential Center like a good Papa H, we had dinner at Top’s Diner, which I found on Yelp and thought it was going to literally be a diner but then we walked in and it was totally pimped out inside! There was a really nice bar/lounge area, and then the rest of the dining area was like Upscale Diner themed.

We had a great waitress and I had a LOVELY Cuban coffee, oh mami, it was so fucking good and I wish I had one in front of me right now because that would certainly help me write this faster. I’ve never had a Cuban coffee before and I can’t believe I wasted so much time. Now I have to research cafes in Pittsburgh to see if I can a fix anywhere.

Anyway, I had a very decent veggie burger here but it was so hearty that I had to take half of it to go, which is good because I knew without a doubt that I would be hungry post-concert and the one thing our shitty hotel actually had was a mini fridge. Hard to believe. But, I guess the regulars need a place to keep their 40s cool.

Three cheers for Tops! I’ll have to remember this for the next time we’re in Newark, which unfortunately will be once a year if we continue going to KCON unless they finally find a way to actually move it to NYC.

Coleslaw was not great, though.

Doors were supposed to be at 6:30 so that’s when we got to the Prudential Center, but of course it was a typical clusterfuck of disorderly lines, confusion, and literally no signage to direction from staff members. Why, KCON, why you do dis? This is the 8th (I think?) annual KCON at this point and you would think by now they would have this down to a science. But instead everyone was asking each other which line they were in and the most popular answer was “no idea, dawg.”

Chooch and I got in the first line we could find an end to, and it was so fucked up because it snaked around so many times that we were actually starting out facing the opposite direction of where the entrance was.

I’ll spare you the nail-biting details, but we were in line for nearly an hour (the concert was slated to start at 7:30 so that wasn’t a heart-stopper or anything) and fucking RAN to our seats once we got inside, just narrowly making it on time. There were still a lot of people out there too once the concert started so that’s really shitty and uncool. I don’t know who’s at fault here, KCON of the Prudential Center staff, but that shit’s gotta change. Part of the benefit of having seats is that you don’t have to camp out to make sure you get a good spot, but even still, if we had arrived any later than we had, we would have missed part of the pre-show. We should have been able to roll up at like 7:15 and just go inside, it was so absurd.

Also, a big Fuck You to the people who bring actual backpacks into those places because that holds the line up so much! WHY DO YOU NEED SO MUCH STUFF?!

The highlight of the line was probably when Chooch saw some girl with some stackable Bambi plushes and he yelled, “I LOVE BAMBI!” at her. She smiled nervously. I guess it was like the time I rushed up to some broad at Riot Fest one year to scream, “I LOVE EMAROSA!” because she was wearing an Emarosa shirt. She was like, “Oh! You startled me.”

That’s…that’s what I do.

Here we are, getting ready for the show, lightsticks in hand!

Guys, day one had a stacked line-up:

  • Straykids
  • Heize
  • PENTAGON!!!!!!!
  • Red Velvet!
  • SUPER JUNIOR!

I will try to summarize this as succinctly as possible because I know I can get super word-slutty. So I will give you a quick description of each group/artist and post a video for each one, cool? And it will be the official KCON videos, because trust me, mine are awful and I only recorded 30-60 seconds of each group for my own weird sentimental benefits.

Let’s KCON!

  1. Stray Kids: Prefacing this with “they were formed on a singing survival show” is kind of dumb because that’s how a ton of kpop groups are formed. But nevertheless, they were formed on a reality show called, well, Stray Kids. They’re on JYP Entertainment which is also home to two of our fave groups, Twice and Got7, so needless to say, this group is tight. I only knew two or three of their songs going into this and Chooch didn’t know any, but by the time they were done, we were both sold. It’s hard not feeding off the crowd’s energy and getting effing hyped, you know?! I love kpop fans so much.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o44vMCW81Bk

Except for the people behind us. The one, and I started noticing this about 30 minutes, sounded like puberty-pinnacle Peter Brady screaming at the Korean pop music show. At first I was like, “Haha, that’s cute, but I hope they stop doing that after this song.” NOPE. NEVER STOPPED. THEY SOUNDED LIKE A BROKEN FIRE ALARM. And then Chooch was getting mad because he said it smelled like someone behind him was shitting and I’m not saying it was the same person but I’m also not saying it wasn’t the same person.

Still, a minor complaint considering we were treated with such talent all night!

2. Heize: She is not only super fucking beautiful, but she is an extremely talented singer-songwriter. She even self-produces a lot of her own music. She was the only solo artist in the bill this year (last year it was Zion-T) so you know she has huge appeal in this market. And had these subtle, metallic shimmers in her hair that were so cool. I want to be like Heize. :(

3. Pentagon: Guys, I have gushed about them on here before and if there is one group from night one’s line-up that I would stress for anyone reading this to listen to, it’s these boys. I am rooting for them SO HARD. They WRITE THEIR OWN SONGS, and have even written songs for other groups, and they just want people to recognize them for this. When this song debuted last April, I was hooked from the start. Like, 15 seconds in, I knew I was going to watch it 785457 more times that day and learn all their names and read the lyrics and learn the dance (lol, try to anyway). My favorite is E’Dawn, and you probably already know which one he is, but if not, he’s the one that starts out alone on the outer stage with the conductor stick-thing. These guys are no one-hit wonders; they have a bunch of jams in their repertoire (I recommend “Runaway” and “Like This”) but here is a video of them performing my favorite, Chooch’s favorite, and everyone’s favorite:

4. Red Velvet: KCON skimped on the girl groups this year but the ones they gave us more than made up for it. Red Velvet are QUEENS, you guys. They were one of the first girl groups I really got into when I started doing kpop workouts (lol) and I remember being obsessed when I first saw the video for “Dumb Dumb” because it was sooooo quirky. I had some of their videos on at Blake & Haley’s baby shower last year and my friend Kara had to leave the room because she said they were creepy and I wouldn’t go that far but OK. Anyway, they’re on SM Entertainment, which is the #1 kpop agency, a freaking behemoth. Everything that comes out of SM is gold (*cough*SHINee*cough*) and it was such a huge deal to finally get to see these five girls. One of them, Wendy, is American, and when she sang a few lines from Alicia Keys’ “Empire State of Mind,” the hairs on my arms stood up, hoisted themselves out of their follicles, and then walked away, a’quiver. SANG, GIRL, SANG. Sorry, but you get two videos for this one, and the first is when they treated us to Bad Boy with the second half all in English!

5. Super Junior! They were the headliners of the night one, and for good reason: they are fucking iconic in the kpop world! I already wrote about them about here, so I’ll spare you the reiteration. Chooch and I were so excited when they made their grand entrance, and I think it’s safe to say that the tens of thousands of other people there were just as hysterical over it as us! Here you go guys, bask in the legendary greatness that is SUJU:

Henry was so jealous that he missed this!

And as a bonus, here’s a medley they did of their three most popular jams!

In addition to all of this, each group also participated in fan engagements, and there were two special stages: one was a duet with Seulgi from Red Velvet and Yesung from Super Junior, and one was a shared stage with Stray Kids and Pentagon. The whole event just flows seamlessly from one stage to the next so sorry if you have to go to the bathroom, there is no down-time!

I think my favorite part of KCON is looking over and seeing Chooch going ham with his lightstick or capturing his favorite parts of songs on his phone, and smiling through the whole thing. Oh my god, what a great fucking night. And we still had five more groups to see the next night!

Jul 062018
 

Today is Friday. Here are five things I’ve been happy about this week, I guess:

  1. This Korean art I bought in Insadong that Henry finally hung up for me before it ended up breaking from all the sitting around it did on the dining room table (“OMG just do it yourself” blah blah blah says my anti-fan club, lol):

2. Drinking Copious Amounts of Water

Yes, my waterjug-chug-a-lug’ing is going strong but I have had to answer to pretty much every single person who spies it on my desk (I mean, it does kind of stand out). Like YES I AM DRINKING THIS PLUS SOME EVERYDAY. I’ll tell you, when it’s in your face like that, it really isn’t very challenging and I sure do feel a lot better for it. Did you know that some hydration authorities say you should drink one ounce for every pound you weigh?!

3. Special Delivery from My Mom!

After work today, my mom stopped over with some stuff from Trax Farms (fun fact, you locals: I’m related to the Trax family). Like vegetables and stuff, and then a Jurassic World blanket for Chooch because HE GETS EVERYTHING. J/K. I didn’t also want a Jurassic World blanket. I want, I don’t know, a Taemin blanket probably. Anyway! My mom also brought over lunch meat (ugh Henry) and cheese. “OMG SHE GAVE US TOO? OH SHE IS SO NICE!” like this is an orphanage and now he gets to put a cheese-cap on his nightly porridge for a special treat. As he was dramatically gnashing on a slice of provolone, he said very seriously, “Colby is good, but provolone if my forever favorite.” Meanwhile, Henry was all butt-hurt, whining about how he buys cheese too, like he’s going to turn this into some competitive grocery shopping thing.

She also got us corn!! I love corn! Except that I won’t eat it on the cob, I make Henry scrape it off me so it falls onto a plate like puzzle pieces. I had braces for 8 years and grew accustomed to eating my corn this way, you guys. I was telling Carrie about this at work last week and she informed that there are kitchen tools for this very act; I looked on Amazon and she’s right! THEY’RE CALLED CORN STRIPPERS!!!!.

4. Speaking of Taemin!!

I was challenging myself to not post this video on here because I know my Kpop gushing is nauseating for most/all, but Taemin was on this Korean show called The Call, where artists are paired up and collaborate together. I watched this video in the car on the way home from Newark last week and it has been in my head EVERY DAY since. It’s a collab between Taemin and rapper BeWhy and it’s a real wig-snatcher. (Lol, I hate that saying.)

5. Halfway to Holiday World!

One thing that always pulls me out of a summer numbness (I was going to be cute and call it a Summer Number but then I was like, “hey that looks familiar, oh right, because ‘number’ is already a word” and now I’m dwelling on the fact that when you add an “er” to the end of “numb,” the “b” suddenly becomes unsilent. ENGLISH, WHY U DIS WAY?!) is going to amusement parks! I have Henry half-convinced that we should go to Holiday World in Indiana. I tried to get him to take us there a few years ago when we went to Indiana Beach because my reasoning was, “They are both in Indiana” and then he showed me a map of Indiana and I was still like, “Ok…so?” So now, years later, I’m back on my Holiday World kick and he seems mildly interested because the route we would take puts us near Jungle Jim’s, a huge grocery store near Cincinnati known for it’s huge selection of international goods. The last time we were there, I was more into Romania than Korea so I didn’t focus on any of the k-goodness. Also, I want to eat at Hyde’s! But all this talk about going to Indiana has made me daydream about the quaint little burger joint we went to when we were in town for Indiana Beach–Mr. Happy Burger!!! I think I just recently referenced this on here because I get obsessed and then re-obsessed. Anyway, I’ve been all up in Henry’s ears about how “and then we can go to Mr. Happy Burger too!” and he is like “NO!” and I am like, “WHY?!” and he is like, “LITERALLY FOR THE SAME REASON I TOLD YOU WE COULDN’T DO INDIANA BEACH AND HOLIDAY WORLD AT THE SAME TIME – THEY ARE ON OPPOSITE SIDES OF THE STATE!” and then he has to re-show me a map of Indiana which I just blink at and say, “So?”

We’ll see how far I get with this hackneyed scheme. Shooting for August. FINGERS CROSSED!!! I want to ride on holiday-themed rides and go hog-wild in Santa Claus, Indiana!

Jul 052018
 

Do people still say “crunk”? I hope not. But if they do (and it’s probably soccer moms from Boise who just discovered Lil Jon and are trying to be ‘hip’), I’ll them tell you that my July 4th was not crunk.

It wasn’t bunk, either, though.

It was…middle of the road.

Mild.

Perfectly alright.

It’s hard to get all patriotic when the current administration is making me embarrassed to be American, but that’s a writing I will save for my political thesis that I’m writing for one of my classes in the secret socialist college I’m attending in the basement of the Smiling Moose.

I HAVE ALREADY SAID TOO MUCH.

We didn’t have any plans for the day, a combination of being still broke from our KCON weekend and it being 98 degrees outside. If there wasn’t the promise of a swimming pool involved, I wasn’t going, I’ll tell you that much. But then Chooch ended up going to Kennywood with his second family: Blake, Haley, and Calvin. Henry and I opted out because, again, THAT HEAT, THO.  Chooch and I have season passes. He’s gone twice already, which made the price of a season pass for him worth it, but I still haven’t gone AT ALL so I’m kind of panicked about that, like maybe I should just go tonight for an hour after work!? WHAT TO DO…..!

This meant that Henry and I had to spend the day together alone which was gross, j/k, it was OK. I was crabby in the morning because sometimes I get off on starting fights over the breakfast that didn’t make me because I purposely only asked him to make it in my head and then I get so outraged when HE DIDN’T READ MY MIND WHY ARE MEN THE WORST.

Henry: You have anger issues.

Me: I KNOW. ITS CALLED EXPLOSIVE ANGER DISORDER. I WAS DIAGNOSED.

Like how does he forget these things

But Henry was like, “No, this day isn’t going down like this” so he took extra measures to placate me, like by sitting with me and watching Korean dramas and then taking me for an ICE CREAM LUNCH.

When you’re adults, you can do that shit.

We went to Page Diary Mart which is a local softserve hot spot. Lately, all I ever really want is soft serve, so I appreciate when a place offers more than just  the vanilla and chocolate staples. And Page’s is super well-known for their blueberry softserve which has real blueberries in it and doesn’t have that artificial taste to it, either, like those places that are like TRY OUR 50 DIFFERENT FLAVORS OF SOFTSERVE! but then they’re just adding some kind of weird syrup to it and it usually tastes synthetic.

Because it is.

I asked for rainbow sprinkles and it wasn’t until hours later when I really started to dwell on this.

“They gave me patriotic sprinkles when I asked for rainbow and I think that’s pretty brazen to assume I celebrate the 4th of July!” I shouted, to which Henry calmly replied, “Maybe that’s all the sprinkles they had.”

STOP WHITE-KNIGHTING EVERYONE, HENRY!!

Regardless, that cone was just what I needed on that grossly hot day, even though I had to eat it almost too fast to enjoy it.

Henry got the raspberry almond torte sundae and don’t you worry, I sure did help him eat this. Also, it looks like he’s smelling a fart in this picture.

JUST LIKE JOEY TRIBBIANI.

After our ice cream date (lol), I convinced Henry to park somewhere on the Southside, no not so we could have car sex and get murdered by a serial killer, but because I have this app called Job Spotter and it’s so dumb but basically you take pictures of hiring signs and the storefronts of the businesses looking for help and submit it to this app and you get points based on the quality of the picture, how many times it’s already been submitted, etc. Each point equals one cent which goes into your “wallet” and can be redeemed for an Amazon gift card at any time. I started using it sometime in May because it gives me something to do when I’m walking around and I’ve slowly accumulated $41 in my “wallet,” lol. The most points I ever got for one of my submissions was 109, and most are between 40-70 so you really have to submit a lot.

Anyway, I was like, “LET’S DO SOME JOB SPOTTER’ING” and Henry was like, “Oh great” because he’s embarrassed to be seen with me when I’m looking like a tourist taking the most boring pictures. It’s fun for me because people usually wait until I’m done and then look around to see what I was taking pictures of.

Anyway, I got a bunch of points on Carson Street and Henry was, “Was this really worth getting heat stroke, though?”

Um, yes. Dumb question.

Later, Henry and I walked to Eat n Park because it was TOO HOT TO BE IN THE KITCHEN according to Henry.

While we were there, The Sundays “Here’s Where the Story Ends” came on and some older woman at the booth behind us started singing along and I just had the biggest rush of FEELINGS because I can’t remember the last time I heard that song but it was definitely ages ago and ITS THAT LITTLE SOUVENIR, BLAH BLAH BLAH LA LA LA.

“You always hear songs here that bring back memories for you,” Henry said, and I couldn’t tell if he was just making an obvious observation or if he was like, “I AM SAYING THIS BECAUSE IT’S ANNOYING AND ALWAYS COMES WITH A STORY.”

Seriously though that Eat n Park plays the best music, which is great because their food is mediocre and their service is inconsistent, so it’s good that they have one thing going for them.

Rainbow on the way home!

And then I found this old Pocket Rocker tape on top of my refrigerator which seemed random at first but I think several years ago, OK probably 10, I went on this kick where I was yearning for a Pocket Rocker because it was one of my favorite childhood toys and I found one on eBay because of course eBay would have it and so I bought it without hesitating and it came with this sweet-ass Tiffany tape and also the Jets too if I remember correctly.

Henry thinks that the Pocket Rocker is “around somewhere” but he made no moves to find it so instead I made him watch an hour long block of Tiffany and Debbie Gibson videos. SHOULDA LOOKED FOR THAT FUCKING POCKET ROCKER WHEN I ASKED, HANK.

Me: Who did you like better, Tiffany or Debbie?

Henry: I don’t know.

He didn’t even THINK about it, though.

I was excited to hear “Could’ve Been for the first time since probably back when it was popular, back when girls sang with their own natural voices instead of forcing themselves to sound “different,” *cough cough HALSEY cough cough*. Oh, try-hards.

I personally liked Tiffany better because she seemed edgier, like a girl who was more likely to run away at 16 and date an older man. But then Debbie’s Electric Youth video came on and I was overcome with nostalgia because that shit was the jam. Remember when I was in 5th grade and played Zsa Zsa Gabor for an interview in Mrs. Madden’s class? Well, one of the other groups was my friend Amy who was Debbie Gibson and Brandy was the reporter interviewing her about her new Electric Youth perfume. Man, I wanted that perfume so bad and for a girl who pretty much had everything growing up, it was always the little shit like that my mom was always like, “Lol no” when I asked for it. AND THOSE ARE THE THINGS I WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER.

Also, Elisabeth H. had a birthday party sleepover in 5th grade and I remember this vividly because I was laying underneath a pool table with, I BELIEVE JAIME McC., and I admitted that I had a crush on Scott S.* and she was like, “Ew why” and now I too am like, “Ew why.” Anyway, Elisabeth gave away cassingles (!!!!) as party favors and one of them was Electric Youth and that’s the one I wanted but instead I got Kylie Minogue’s “Locomotion.”

Ugh.

You better believe I paused the Debbie Gibson video marathon to tell Henry this story and he said, “I like how all of your stories start with something about you having a crush” and I think this is a bit hyperbolic, Henry, because it’s probably only every other one.

*(Fun fact: the last time I used the full name of one of my crushes on this blog, someone who used to work with him stumbled upon it 8 years later and left a comment that had subtle threatening vibes by saying he was going to send the link to him to see what he thought of it and by the time I realized what was going on, my stats had SPIKED hardcore and it was all traffic for that one blog post so I panicked and made it private and if you’re wondering if I’m still shook about it, the answer it this just happened last month so yes, lol.)

Somehow, someway, I was reminded of the Rainbow Brite movie through all of this (lol I know exactly why, it was because one of the Debbie Gibson videos, for a split second, sounded like the way Rainbow Brite sang the word ‘rainbow’ in the song THERE’S A RAINBOW INSIDE OF YOU) so god bless YouTube, we spent another 30 minutes listening to Rainbow Brite songs and Chooch at one point came in the room, shook his head and left.

“Don’t you remember this!?” I cried to Henry, who was like, “NO!!!” because this was probably the year he was in the Service, getting a Vicks VapoRub hand job by some Taiwanese prostitute at a back table in a bar in Japan and he will tell you fervently that this never happened THEN WHY DID HE TELL ME ABOUT IT ONCE 15 YEARS AGO DID HE THINK I WOULD FORGET?!

But really though, what a great day! Exhausting day overall though, because of the heatwave. At one point I said, “I think I have…sun disease. Heat burn…what’s it called?”

One of those things! We all looked like Drew by the end of the night:

ETA: Great, I let that Tiffany video play again when I went to get the link to put it in on here, and now Madonna’s “Live To Tell” is on and I’m sobbing out of nowhere?! 1980s Madonna was the Best Madonna.

Now I need to listen to This Used to Be My Playground because that shit to make me cry so hard as a kid like I suddenly had adult feelings and hadn’t just finished playing RBI with my brother Ryan on our basement Nintendo. (I used to always choose a Canadian team so both National Anthems would play and he would get so angry lol.)

Jul 042018
 

Waiting for Henry to Get Breakfast at Dunkin’ Donuts Because We Ate in the “Hotel” Without Him selfie. 

I’ve been putting off writing this post because I’ve got some beefaroni with KCON. It was still a good time, don’t get me wrong, but I think that we were spoiled last year so when they changed things up this year, it felt like having the rug pulled out from under our feet.

But first, here is a quick explanation of what KCON is in case you don’t know and are like, “OK but what is KCON.” This is what I do sometimes when I’m trying to redeem myself as a “blogger” – be informative like Wikipedia but with less fact-checking and more typos.

So, KCON is a big Korean-centric convention focusing on K-culture, K-beauty, K-beauty, and most importantly KPOP. Let’s be real, we go for the kpop. There are two KCONs in the US every summer: one in “New York” which is actually Newark but they have to pretend like it’s New York in order to get the big names to agree to come here. The other is later on in the summer in LA and that one is way better than the NY one but Henry is like, “LOL no” every time I suggest we should book a flight.

For NY, it’s a two-day ordeal at the Prudential Center in Newark. During the day, the convention fills up two parking lots and there are Korean food vendors, K-beauty stalls, kpop merch, booths giving away snacks, and tents set up for various panels to take place. At night, there is a big concert inside the Prudential Center, sponsored by MNET Music Countdown, which is an actual countdown show filmed weekly in Korea. Tickets for the concert are exorbitant, and it gets more and more expensive if you want to tack on additional perks, like getting to attend the red Carprt event, getting to participate in a Hi-Touch (more on that in a bit), and obviously getting to stand on the floor by the stage. We’re talking over a grand for this shit, though.

I took this picture when Henry was inside a bank using an ATM. It’s my favorite mirror ever. NO I DON’T HAVE BODY IMAGE ISSUES, YOU DO.

The convention is an additional $20 for both days and last year we walked away with so much swag and prizes that it was more than worth it for us. I know this is going to make me sound like a greedy little entitled bitch, BUT WE BARELY  GOT ANYTHING THIS TIME. (We all did get a KCON totebag though.) Also, last year, anyone who registered for the convention portion of the weekend got several scratch offs for an opportunity at a Hi-Touch or to be in the audience for a Fan Engagement. What these things are additional perks that are guaranteed for those who pay for the platinum or gold tickets, but the rest of us plebes at least got a chance.

I ended up getting to go inside and stand in the audience for Up10tion’s fan engagement last year, and it was really cute because they played charades and answered some fan questions, etc. And then the Drama Fever tent was offering more changes if you posted pictures on Instagram using their hashtag and then spinning a wheel. By doing that, I won a HI-TOUCH for KNK!

Speaking of, here’s A BIG LOW: NO DRAMAFEVER BOOTH THIS YEAR?!

You can read about my experience with that here, but the gist is that a Kpop group will stand on a stage behind a table and then the hi-touch winners get to file past them, gently brushing their hands with your own hand. It sounds so ridiculous and I was like “hur hur, this is going to be so lame I can’t believe I’m doing this as a woman in her late 30s” but then it was my turn and I walked out of that room totally shook, and kept stuttering, “They were so beautiful” over and over for the rest of the weekend.

Well friends, KCON realized that they could make more money off of these events so now, in addition to the super-inflated ticket packages, they offered additional fan engagement packagaes, starting at $45. Some of them only came with A CHANCE of winning whatever, but the one thing they all had in common is that you couldn’t choose which group you wanted. So you potentially could be spending so much more money only to wind up with a fan engagement for a group you don’t even care about.

This is why people walk around the convention all day holding up signs for fan engagement trades.

So right there, that was one pretty big low for us. Not having that frantic, hand-quivering scratch-off moment was sad because it was such a fun part of KCON Last year. We paid $20 for a convention and they didn’t even give us, like, a sticker. Or a button. A peppermint would have been nice, too.

A highlight was that now they had the area around the Prudential Center more blocked off with security set up at every entrance so that we only had to have bags searched once instead of every single time we wanted to visit a different part of the convention (there are two big parking lots with only one way in, so you have to get your wristband scanned each time you enter). Last year, it was a big hassle, especially after we started to accumulate more stuff. So that was nice to be able to get in to the different sections with more ease.

The first thing we did was some clusterfuck of a photo zone, where you had to go to all four areas, take your picture, post them all on social media, and then go to some table and show the guy that you did it. Then he let you draw a ball out of a bucket for a chance at fan engagements.

IT TOOK FOREVER TO DO THIS BECAUSE EACH ONE HAD A LINE.

Also my hair looks like shit because the hairdryer in our “hotel” was broken so air-dried hair for me.

Anyway, we did not win. I was pretty irritated about this.

More lows: All the good stuff was crammed under a big tent in one of the lots. The Lotte booth, the McDonald’s booth, the Bibigo booth which was handing out amazing samples last year, the Melona booth, various kpop merch booths…all of these things were under the tent and the lines were outrageous and intermingled so you never knew what line you were in and you couldn’t move and it was enough to send even the most extroverted person into shut-in mode. Literally, I felt like so many people were breathing on me and I couldn’t handle it, especially when I was standing in line to spin the wheel at the Melona booth and some girl asked me which line was to purchase the Melona bars and the big mouth white girl behind me took it upon herself to bellow the answer into the back of my head and I was pretty much done at that point.

SIDE BAR: Other than that one girl though, everyone else was fine. It’s really nice getting to be surrounded by tons of people who share a love for all things Korea when you typically get mocked for it on a daily basis! And my general observation for the past two years is that people here aren’t jerks. You don’t get pushed or shoved or glared at. Everyone is polite and friendly and wanting to make friends with other stans of their favorite groups. So I would say “the attendees” is another high.

Last year, everything was more spread out. But that particular lot was mayhem because it also had the KCON stage (a small stage set up for artist interviews, dance performances, etc. throughout the day) so there was always a decent crowd for that and it bled right into the MASSIVE line for official KCON merch because they ONLY HAD ONE BOOTH. You guys, I stood in that line for AN HOUR later on in the day, because I kept thinking that the later I waited, the shorter the line would be, but NO it was ALWAYS THAT LONG.

We never even got any Bibigo samples because everything inside that fucking tent was such a cluster.

We did take some pictures at whatever this thing was, which was cool because I love Pentagon and Chooch loves GOT7.

Chooch won these light-up glasses from some State Farm lady while I was in line for a free makeup sample.

So many lines.

Melona bars are so good! Chooch spun the wheel and won a Melona toothbrush which is a toothbrush in a case that looks just like a melon Melona bar and I was so mad because he was all, “I hope we don’t win the toothbrush” but I WANTED to win the toothbrush, so when he won it I was like, “Yay, gimme!” but he all of a sudden changed his tune and decided this was a grand prize and then suggested THAT WE SHARE IT!?

Um ew, you can have it.

Right after this, Chooch and I were standing in line to enter a contest for Asiana Airlines and Chooch’s preteen ‘tude began to rub me the wrong way and then Henry meandered over and exacerbated the situation and I can’t even remember what the impetus was at this point but I exploded and we all had a Big Fight and then Henry was like I AM LEAVING AND NOT JUST TO GO BACK TO THE HOTEL* I AM GOING BACK TO PITTSBURGH.

*(LOL@HOTEL)

Somehow, this made Chooch and I resolve our blood feud with one knowing glance, and by doing so, we teamed up against Henry who suddenly became THE ENEMY. So while Henry stormed off to one of the exits, thinking Chooch and I were following him like we’re his puppies or something, we hung back and sat down on a wall, trying to figure out what to do.

Meanwhile, Henry texted me using regular text and not Kakao which was his way of illustrating the level of anger he was at because KAKAO IS JUST FOR FRIENDS.

“The Lyft will be here in 5 mon” his first text said.

And then: “min.”

LOL, what a loser.

“Let’s just stay,” Chooch said. “I want to go to the concert tonight. We can’t leave!” and then he flipped through the Convention program and said, “Here, let’s find something that you want to do” and that’s how we became Best Friends again and found ourselves under one of the tents in the lesser-populated areas, listening to three of my favorite YouTubers talk about meeting Kpop idols. And this was hilarious to me because I was never one who “had favorite YouTubers” until I became obsessed with Korea and now here I was, getting all emotional at seeing Jre, WhitneyBaeIRL, and HeyIt’sFei sitting at a table and talking to us.

Even Chooch was like *pulls out phone and records*.

Then we wrote on this big chalkboard wall because why wouldn’t we.

CAN  YOU TELL WHICH ONE IS MINE.

About an hour went by and Chooch and I were starting to get The Hunger so I was trying to decide if I wanted to continue to stand creepily near WhitneyBaeIRL while debating asking for a picture, or if I wanted to go back to the ATM near the flattering mirrored poles because food was cash only and Henry Warbucks took it all with me.

Just then, Chooch exclaimed, “Haha, look!” and pointed across the parking lot where HENRY was sadly lumbering around alone, camerabag around his body in the ultimate dad-fashion. OMG he looked like such a perv, like he was there solely to satisfy his Korean kink (OMG Chooch used this word the other day and I was like, “WTF CHOOCH” and he said, “What, would you rather I say festish?” Whhhyyyyyyyy), and we had to lean against a fence because we were laughing so fucking hard.

“He just walked by Terry TV!” I screamed, choking on laughter, at the sight of Henry walking past a big YouTuber and being blissfully unaware about it. Then Henry spotted us and meandered on over and we were like, “WOW SHOULDN’T THAT LYFT HAVE BEEN HERE 60 MON AGO?”

LOL@mon.

Henry tried to act like he only came back because we “needed” him even though neither of us called or texted him to come back, so.

Then we ate BiBimBoppers (fried balls with bibimbap inside, super good but we only got two for $6!!) and tteokbokki  and I don’t know what Henry had, something on a stick. They were actually both still in their own respective lines (we split up accordingly to maximize efforts) when Super Junior took the KCON stage so I had to run over to that crazy lot alone just to see them.

By the time I got there, I had already missed most of it but it was cool to see them! In my head though I was like, “LOL, I was much closer to them in NYC.”

This particular tteokbokki was actually spicier than any of the kinds I had in actual Korea, and it was ALMOST too spicy even for me. Chooch couldn’t handle it and I couldn’t finish mine which is unheard of when it comes to my stomach and tteokbokki.

This was the only open space in this particular area and only because it was near the exit.

THEN PENTAGON CAME OUT ON THE KCON STAGE!! Out of all the groups in this year’s lineup, they were the ones I was most excited to see. I think they’re so fun and talented and exude a positive energy and mystique that draws me in and makes me want to learn more about then, which means watching videos called “4 minutes of Pentagon speaking in English” or “Pentagon showing their aegyo” or “Pentagon 2x dance compilation.”

Oh Kpop, you make it so hard to just be a part-time stan.

Papa H took this picture with the “good camera” which I didn’t know he was doing until I turned around and he had the look of “Gotta get these pics for my daughter” concentration on his face. Oh, Henry.

Pentagon! E’Dawn I love youuuuuu.

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Heize came out after that and it was really interesting learning more about her  because she low-key is an extremely talented singer-songwriter and she does a lot of self-producing as well. I know people tend to view Kpop as a super pre-manufactured industry and I can’t even get defensive about that because it really isn’t wrong, but there are some people who are true artists in every sense and take the reigns when it comes to the creative process. Pentagon is this way as well and it just makes me have mad respect. They even said that they want to be known as a group who writes their own songs, so now you guys know!

Another Big High was when we witnessed this kid dancing to Hyolyn’s Dally. I was like, “OMG THIS SONG RLY?” because the choreo is insanely provocative, complete with floor-humping, but yeah, he did that.

This kid!!

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I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention this other Big High: while I was standing in the super long merch line (the girls behind me complimented me on my idol keychains and said they got excited when they saw that one is Jimin and I didn’t even mind that they were touching them that’s how happy I was to feel like I belonged somewhere), the kpop dance cover contest started up on  the KCON stage. I was happy that I was at least able to see that from the slow-moving line I was in because it was entertaining.

And then, while one of the dance groups was dancing to BTS’s “Fake Love,” the song stopped playing and there was a split second of WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN but then some people in the audience STARTED SINGING so that the dancers could finish their routine and I’d have to remove the “Honestly” from my blog name if I sat here and told you that I didn’t cry. It was so touching and inspirational! This video is really worth watching.

I was reading the comments and it’s all, “They didn’t even know the words though” and let me tell you something, I know very little of the Korean parts to even my FAVORITE, most-played Kpop songs. I’m not a big singer to begin with (I always do the monotone humming with random screamed words) and even if someone was like, “THINK FAST, FINISH THIS LYRIC TO A SUPER POPULAR SONG BY YOUR FAVORITE BAND THE CURE!” I would be like, “……………………………um……………………………” So it bothers me that there were so many negative comments attempting to overshadow what was a really beautiful moment shared by the Kpop community.

Then we saw my SUPER FAVORITE KOREAN YOUTUBER JOAN KIM at the Innisfree tent and we wanted a picture but got there too late and the Korean guys behind us were like super sad that they missed an opportunity but I was just as happy to snap a paparazzi shot from where I was standing and be done with it. Seriously though, watching Joan’s videos ended up sculpted a good bit of our Korea itinerary much to Henry’s chagrin, haha. He was NOT stoked to see her, yet he was the one that pointed her out earlier. “LOOK WHO IT IS” he said, trying to act like he didn’t care, but he sure did notice, didn’t he!?

It was about 4pm by this point, so we decided to skip the last 2 hours of the convention, go back to the “hotel” to freshen up, and then got some dinner before Chooch and I headed back to the Prudential Center for the concert. STAY TUNED FOR THAT RECAP! IT WAS SO GOOD! AHHH!!!

Here’s a special treat for those who made it to the end! Henry is going to tell you what he did when he bluffed and said he was GOING BACK TO PITTSBURGH (I wish you could have heard me say that just now in the voice I use to mock him).

I can’t remember exactly how the whole situation started, I’m sure I did not exacerbate the situation at all. All I remember is walking away pissed off and ready to leave, which I did right out the gate and didn’t look back once. Once out of the gate, I brought up the Lyft app to get a ride back to the hotel, where I could get the car and drive back to Pittsburgh, instead I decided to go get something to eat instead since I was hungry, pretty sure that is why Erin blew up for absolutely no reason, hunger does that to her. After eating I went back in to the convention and walked around not looking for anybody in particular, especially the ones I came with. After a while we happened to run in to each other, actually they were creeping on a You Tuber and didn’t see me. Then tried to play it off like they were not worried about being left in Newark alone. I wouldn’t do that to Chooch. Wouldn’t do it Erin either, I love her too much!! Maybe next time Ill actually leave and teach her a lesson.

LOL ok, none of this is true and I just asked him where he allegedly ate and he said he ate “in a store”, so what, a Slim Jim and Zagnut?

Jul 032018
 

Henry sat here and watched all nineteen minutes of this with me without complaining or looking at his phone even once and the question is: is it because he loves me, or Taemin?!?

“Nineteen minutes out of my life,” he just murmured but he obviously felt obligated to say that lest anyone realize he’s way deep in this Kpop lifestyle.

Jul 022018
 

Boy, is this going to be an interesting blog post. It’s about SNACKS (three separate snack-related stories!) and WATER as the title suggests. Am I doing this blog-thing right or what?

  1. Birthday Snacks

We have one birthday celebration every month here in my department which is mostly just an excuse to get a sugar high while pretending to like each other. (J/K we’re all friends here.) I’m one of the birthday babies for this month so the new admin lady, Margie, emailed me and the two other people I’m forced to share the limelight with this month to see if we have any preferences for birthday treats. One of the other recipients on this email is GLENN because he had the audacity to be born in July too (he’s not cool enough to be a Leo like me, though), so I replied and said that I like cookies and brownies, and that Glenn doesn’t get an opinion. Margie thanked me profusely for teaching her something new (that Glenn doesn’t count). I’m sure he will eat the cookies and brownies and like it.

I’m always happy to help a new co-worker learn the ropes.

2. You Can’t Sit At Our Snack Table

One of the many great things about the head of our department is that she spoils us, and I mean totally pampers us, with a snack table. Now, I’m not talking about pretzel sticks and Saltines, OK. She makes us feel like royalty with a spread that may include fancy Cheez-Its (those Duo things that have two flavors in each bag!), Fig Bars (like the hipster, Whole Foods version of Fig Newtons and so insanely good), good granola bars, fruit cups, single-serving bags of Chips Ahoy and Teddy Grahams, etc. Legit snacks. Snacks that serve as status symbols in elementary school lunch boxes.

All of the snacks sit on a table by the door to our department, and facing that table is Debby, who has taken on the role of Snack Sentry because this table sits right outside of a conference room that anyone from the firm can use, so we often have “visitors” on our floor. (See also: the guys that come down from other departments to poop in our mens room.)

Remember when that guy came down here and thieved a bagel and I was like HE IS SO LUCKY THAT DEBBY WASN’T HERE TO SEE THAT? Well, last week, another guy came down and wasn’t so lucky.

Allegedly, he had come to our floor to see someone who was not in their office at the moment, so on his way back out, he hovered over the snack table and treated it like a buffet, taking AT LEAST TWO THINGS.

“Oh hello, who are you?” Debby asked sweetly, but I have been working here for 8 years and knew that she was currently weaving a web with that honey dripping from her mouth.

“Blank from Blippity-Boo,” the man answered. (LET’S NOT GET FIRED, ERIN.)

“Oh hello, Blank from Blippity-Boo. Just so you know, those snacks are just for our department,” Debby answered, calm and calculated.

Now Blank was approaching her. Where was this going to go!?

“I was just down here to see [someone],” Blank said.

“OK, but those snacks are still just for our department,” Debby reiterated.

By this point, our whole quadrant was pin-droppingly silent, hands pulled back from keyboards, waiting with bated breath. I was half-slid under my desk in case this guy pulled out a potato gun or something, who knows. He may have been down this snack-standoff road before.

And then, completely unpredictably, HE ASKED HER IF SHE WANTED HIM TO PAY FOR THE SNACKS.

This guy REALLY wanted those snacks.

“No, I just want you to put them back,” Debby said calmly, which is where we differ because I would have taken the money. Also, I would have definitely just let him take the snacks and then told on him later.

And so the guy returned the snacks to  the table (sadly, I never did see what his choices were) and then mumbled, “Please tell [person] I was here to see her” and then we all waited until we heard the ding of the elevator before laughing our faces off at our desks and then Debby was worried she was going to get in trouble for being snack-stingy but someone’s gotta put the smack down on snack scavengers from other floors, amirite?

Also I think this is hilarious because I used to be such a little freaking candy pilferer at one of my old jobs but at least I waited until all the daylight people went home before raiding other spaces.

Snack Table Epilogue: This morning, one of the IT guys was on our floor helping Debby with her laptop and then he went over to get some vittles from the that vixen of a snack table, and I braced myself because I like this IT guy a lot and didn’t want him to get yelled at, but Debby let it slide and told me later that she figured he’s been on our floor enough times that it was OK. I mean, he’s always down here fixing our computers so I would say he was a pack of peanut butter crackers, let the man eat, you know?

3. Snacks from the Sea

Before I left for KCON, I promised my work buddies that I would get some new K-snacks from the Pumpkin of International Horrors because we were going to stop at H-Mart on the way home. However, I forgot that H-Mart, of all Asian markets, is really lacking in the candy aisle. Most of the options were things that I have already brought in or things that were just too astronomically-priced (I have a price-cap on how much I’ll spend of that fucking pumpkin, OK).

One of the things I grabbed was what I thought was a bag of some sort of melon candy but then I got already back home to Pittsburgh and realized that I grabbed a bag that was in the wrong spot because what I actually bought was….

DUN DUN DUNNNNNNN.

Look, I love kelp. I love how it tightly bear-hugs rolls of kimbap. Dried laver sheets are my go-to snack. But the common factor here is: dried and savory. This kelp jelly was sweet and it’s not even that the flavor was horribly offensive, because it was very subtle (just a hint of sea, like the tag-line boasts up there), but it was the fact that the vehicle in which it was delivered was JELLY. It just felt wrong.

I brought them to work anyway and only told Lauren the secret flavor. She emailed me later and said she decided to try one and was OK until she got halfway through and couldn’t stop imagining that she was chewing on the ocean floor and had to spit it out.

I left one on Glenn’s desk while he was at lunch and the next day he was like, “THAT GREEN CANDY WAS DISGUSTING” except that it was less capslock-y and more monotone because Glenn’s volume doesn’t really ever vary.

So then I gave one to Todd but told him that it was one of the good chewy peanut things I also bought, and he was like, “But why is it green though” and I was like, “Because Korean, just eat it!” He was not a fan.

Lloyd loves them though! He said it reminds him of the kelp candy he used to eat as a kid where it was literally just dried kelp, already naturally salted, and then candied. The texture was brittle and dry, and THAT sounds like a kelp candy I could get down with it.

Speaking of Hmart, we grabbed some Korean pastries from the Tous les Jours bakery by the exit (basically a Korean twist on French pastries, cakes, macaron, etc and I miss those effing milk buns so much and all of the things stuffed with red bean, ugh) and G-Dragon was playing!

My two favorite things in one place – G-Dragon and pastries. 🐲🥖

A post shared by Erin Appledale (@ohhonestlyerin) on

4. The Jug

Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight knows the struggle, especially when you’re doing so well and then you just plateau seemingly out of nowhere. For me, this almost always happens in summer, which is crazy because winter is so often associated with rich, hearty comfort foods, but what it boils down to for me is that I just don’t drink enough water. I always thought this was a myth when I was younger, like how important could water possibly be (there are still openings in my online nutrition classes, just Paypal me $1000).

But if I’m diligently logging the water I drink, I start to see results. However, I suck at that. For some reason, when we were coming home from Newark last week, I bought the biggest jug of water the gas station had in its cooler, in spite of Henry’s, “Really. REALLY?!”s and Chooch’s daring ribs of, “Lol, you’ll never drink all of that.”

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED MOTHERFUCKERS.

I did drink all of it, I’ll have you know. And then Saturday morning, I decided to try that again, because weekends are when I’m especially awful at drinking water, like I could go the whole day without drinking even a cup and would never notice until at the end of the night when I’m pissing for the first time and it’s dark orange.

So, Presidential Piss.

Yesterday, I was watching an episode of Why Not the Dancer when I started screaming because there was a scene where Taemin takes a break from working on his choreo and starts to chug-a-jug. “YOU GUYS IT’S JUST LIKE ME!” I cried and Henry was like, “That’s nice” and Chooch was seething because I had the audacity to lure him away from the computer just to show him that.

I MADE THIS:

Henry was like, “Oh wow, and it moves.”

Anyway, it’s in the 90s this week in Pittsburgh so I decided that I was going to take the jug to work with me because I need to stay hydrated. Henry was like, “Have fun with that, nerd” because I apparently look dumb lugging around this jug with me. As soon as I got to work, I was on the elevator with some girl from another floor. I could sense her side-eyeing me, judging me and my water jug that I had resting on my hip like a plastic gas station toddler, when she finally spoke.

“So, does that actually help you drink more water?” she asked, and at first I couldn’t tell if she was snarkin’ on my tactics, but it turns out she was genuinely curious and said, “Maybe I’ll try that, I really need to do SOMETHING” after we had a really nice convo about the Hydration Struggle. It was awesome! I texted Henry and he was like, “OMG.”

Here I am with my spirit animal Taemin in the background. #BigJugClub

Wendy saw the H2O vessel on my desk and yelled, “ARE YOU DRINKING OUT OF THAT?! I hate you.” And Sue seemed genuinely concerned that I might drown, to which I told her that becomes a real danger when I’m in the car and Henry is driving all jerkily.

Marlene and Debby caught me on my way back from my refill and Marlene was like, “THIRSTY MUCH” but then they were all GOOD FOR YOU without a shred of sarcasm when I explained what was going on and that was nice.

I was talking to Nate before I left for the day and he too commented on the size of my jug, which was back on my hip like I had just retrieved it from daycare. “How did you get anything done today!?” and the idea of wearing a diaper honestly did cross my mind at one point.

“I guess I didn’t think anyone would really notice,” I said to Henry after work.

“Really? You’re drinking out of  something that’s bigger than your head.”

I could tell that he literally meant my head, too, and not my ego.

Jun 302018
 

If you read that trainwreck of a liveblog from last week, you know that we had some free time last Friday and actually got our shit together in enough time to take the train from Newark to Penn Station. We’re getting a little better at these things. I mean, we’re still bumbling tourists, but we got on a train heading in the right direction, so that was cool, and we all ended up sitting separately which served as a perfectly-timed reprieve after spending all day in the car together. BYYYYEEEE BITCHES.

For an entire 30 minutes, anyway. Sigh.

Chooch of course made friends with the people he sat with. I did NOT make friends with the guy next to me. I’m not sure where Henry was sitting and never bothered asking him how his ride was because, Henry.

Aside from going to Central Park so Chooch could catch idiotic Pokemon and then running into Super Junior (!!!!), we mostly just walked around and looked at things, flipped off Trump Tower, sang the NO YOU AREN’T GETTING ANY DESIGNER CLOTHING song to Chooch while walking down Fifth Avenue, and had a highly anticipated food-related hunger blow-out. So basically, it was the Oh Honestlys in [insert literally any city, ever].

Because we’re in the middle of a heat wave and I have spent way too much outside, my brain is goo so I’m just going to post a shit ton of photos I took with my phone and call it a day*, because I already reported all the exciting things. The rest was just us literally walking and walking and walking like we do in cities. Let’s just say that even after spending 7 hours in the car that day, I still managed to get 23,000 steps.

*(I just finished writing this whole thing and came back up here to say, “lol, nice try Erin, this piece of shit post is still over 1,100 words.”)

Here’s Chooch, as close as he’s gonna get to Hamilton. (He’s obsessed with Hamilton, I mean, who isn’t, I guess). This was right before we saw Super Junior! The same sidewalk!!!

Chooch in Times Square. I thought he would be overwhelmed, but he was like, “Well, we were in Seoul, so….” #SeoulFTW #SorryNYC

I just kept taking pictures. That’s what you’re supposed to do there, right?

I always hear that Times Square often plays kpop stuff on the screens there but I didn’t notice anything on this particular day.

Those Minnie Mouses back there next to the texting Statue of Liberty were actually old ladies. Henry was obsessed with them.

Every time Chooch saw an adult shop, lingerie store, or anything relating to women, he would scream, “OH, HE LOOKED!” and Henry was just like, “FUNNY HOW YOU’RE THE ONE WHO ALWAYS SEES THESE THINGS FIRST, THOUGH” and it is pretty funny, actually. What a fun game! Anyway, Chooch nearly fell into a garbage can in his urgent attempt to catch Henry looking at the giant Aerie ads up there.

We had fun telling Chooch he couldn’t go in the Lego store, lol. That place is like the equivalent of a hardware store to me.

Obligatory pictures.

OMG we were dying over Henry squatting to tie his shoe because it brought back memories of him squatting down in front of my pink backpack in Busan Station, so we were in tears and Henry was like, “IT’S NOT FUNNY*” as he pushed past us. Chooch and I have so much fun together at Henry’s expense.

*(Honestly, it’s definitely not that funny to anyone else but Chooch and me, like the time Janna hit her head getting off the train at Kennywood and I had to run to the bathroom while I was trying to tell Barb about it the next day at work because I thought I was going to pee my pants. I guess I was just born with extra funny bones. #birthdefect)

This was taken while some guy was yelling, “THERE’S A FUCKIN’ FENCE THERE!!” when his wife suggested walking a certain way and just in case you think I’m being all subtle here because it was actually me and Henry, let me remind you that I AM NOT HIS WIFE NOR WILL I EVER BE because I’m holding out for a hero Korean.

Another great “Overheard in NYC” convo was when we were waiting to cross the street and some broad was scream-talking into her cell phone about some guy who’s engaged to a girl “AND EVERYONE KNOWS HE’S GAY” and I wanted to hear more about this but the light changed.

KOREATOWN!! Of course we had to go to Koreatown. Unfortunately, it was reaching prime time on a Friday night and every restaurant had a long wait.

<3 G-Dragon <3

You would never see anything like this in stupid backward Pittsburgh.

Anyway, around this time, Chooch and I were reaching the Hunger Apex and it was Big Trouble In Little Korea for real, trying to find a place on a Friday night that was family friendly, and then Henry was like, “HERE LET’S EAT AT THIS PIZZA PLACE THAT’S SMALLER THAN OUR KITCHEN AND POTENTIALLY HAS ROACHES” and I was like, “You can go fuck yourself, Hank” and then it was all, “THEN LET’S JUST GO BACK TO NEWARK, THIS IS FUCKED!!!” and Chooch was like, “YOU KNOW WHAT, I’M SO HUNGRY THAT I ATE MY HUNGER AND NOW I’M NOT HUNGRY ANYMORE, THANKS FOR BEING SHITTY PARENTS” but then right before Henry had a chance to make good on his bluff of going back into Penn Station, I looked on Yelp and found some pizza place around the corner called NY Pizza Suprema and was like, “IT’S HERE OR A VENDING MACHINE, MOTHERFUCKERS” and since I picked it, it ended up being some award-winning joint that Anthony Bourdain (rip) has visited.

But we had no idea about that until after we sat down with our pizza.

It thankfully wasn’t too crowded, though it definitely wasn’t quiet, so we were able to quickly order and appease the hunger demons.

The one on the left is vegan (lol, I eat cheese, but I wanted to see if it was any good and it actually was super fucking good) and the one on the right was Hot Honey, which was fucking fantastic and oh, how I wish I had an entire pie in front of me right now. It literally had some local hot honey drizzled on top of hearty clumps of ricotta and the best specks of mushrooms I’ve ever had on a pizza. It was just what I didn’t know I needed.

There’s a picture of Anthony Bourdain hanging up there. :(

Chooch and Henry both got sicilian slices and I’m happy to report that everyone was extremely satisfied and we were magically transformed back into a happy family. Thank you, NY Pizza Suprema.

Henry, earlier that day: “We can go if we get to Newark early enough because I don’t want to be in NYC at night.” Lol ok.

And then we got back on the train to Broad Station. We all got to sit together this time, which was fine I guess since we were on speaking terms again. It was fun watching all of the weirdos trying to interact with people.

Then we went back to our “hotel,” which was even BETTER AT NIGHT, you can probably imagine. What a great town Newark is.