Tuna Tar-Tart

I suck at everything. Probably more than you do. I enjoy experimenting with cheese and playing with glue sticks. You might know me from that other joint, LiveJournal.

May 282017
 

Friday was one of those days where you hate to complain because when the words come out of your mouth, all you can think is “WOW THIS IS PETTY.” But I was stuck in that “wrong side of the bed” mindset and every little thing was under my skin. 

It was raining. I had to walk to the trolley in the rain. Some asshole car splashed me in the face. I was sitting on some yellow stain of ill repute. I got talked over a million times at work until I eventually just went silent for awhile. Everything was annoying. I had a headache that wouldn’t go away even after visiting Gayle’s Pharmacy. My umbrella blew inside out as soon as I went outside for a walk. I was so vicious to Henry on the phone but he took it like a champ because this is his norm. 

Stupid stuff, but sometimes that shit builds up and I can’t just brush it off everyday. Some days I just lack the resolve and gotta let the hate flow. This was that day. 

After work, Henry and I were supposed to meet our friend Jason and his girlfriend at the 68 show at Smiling Moose. They ended up having to cancel earlier in the day, but we still had tickets and a babysitter, so our plans were the same. 

Except that by the end of the work day, I was DONE. My headache was still there. I was hungry. My hair was frizzy from the rain. I forgot to bring a shirt and shoes to change into and I just felt UMCOMFORTABLE. I had no joy left in the tank.

From the moment I got in the car, I started bitching. Henry was calm as ever because he knew the nucleus of this bitchfest was hunger. Feed the girl, save the world. 

Originally, we were going to eat at the Moose before the show, but I knew all day that this wasn’t happening because I forgot to ask earlier in the week if I could leave work early and I knew by the time we got there it would already be packed since it was Friday. 

And I was right. 

FUCK EVERYTHING! LIFE SUCKS!

I mean….now, now Erin. Let’s not be petty. 

So we canvassed Carson St and I haughtily shot down every one of Henry’s suggestions with a flaming arrow of estrogen and hanger – that mix you fuck with only if you want to die. 

Henry kept trying to make me laugh and I was like YOUR JOKES ARE NOT SUPPRESSING MY HUNGER. Maybe put a fucking punchline inside a bowl of bibimbap, dumbass! UGH!!

Ultimately, I decided that I wanted to blow off the show even though at one point I had been genuinely looking forward to it, because I wasn’t sure if a crowd was going to exacerbate my total bitchfaced attitude or what. 

“Let’s just go home!” I yelled and Henry calmly said, “Ok. Whatever you want. I’m just glad to be spending time with you” and then I had to pause to puke in a discarded pizza box because bitch, please. 

Driving out of Southside, Henry suggested we try Onion Maiden, a metal-themed vegan restaurant we had been wanting to try since it opened but then forget about it every time we’re looking for a place to eat. 

You know how it is. 

So we rolled up to Onion Maiden and the dinner rush hadn’t yet hit so at least I didn’t have to be overwhelmed by a crowded restaurant on top of everything else. 

It wasn’t the Korean food that I was craving, but they at least had some Korean-inspired menu items. 


We started with a plate of cashew cheese, chutney, mini baguette, apple slices, and “Killing Yoke” deviled (faux) eggs. That’s what’s up.

Henry shared his order of Graves at Sea with me, and also ordered Coffins (I had a bite and immediately had ordering remorse). I got the Kimmy Gimmler of course because: kimchi. 

It was great but definitely wouldn’t have held up as a dinner entree on its own. Luckily, we had that cheese plate and tots too or I would have been ready to eat my arm an hour later. 

Henry got some vegan donut for dessert and I had the cheesecake special: The New Rose, which had like, rose, beets and hibiscus or something. 

It was good BUT—not as good as the raw cheesecake I had at this one vegan restaurant in Cleveland. I can’t remember the name of it now. Earth Something, probably. 

Props to the punny menu. It lifted my spirits and smothered the fury rising up from my belly. I was in a much better mood after that!

(Zenith is still bae, though.)

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May 272017
 

I’ve had a mild headache for almost a day now at this point and I can’t get it to go away, and also I have been having twitching/spasming under my left eye sporadically for the last week, so I googled and now I’m certain I’m having hemifacial spasms caused by nerve damage at the base of brain, so instead of going to a doctor, I’m just going to sit here and dump out a bunch of pictures I have been collecting on my phone.

Because that’s The Erin Way.

(I also thought I had botulism for a minute after reading about the gas station nacho cheese incident, even though I haven’t eaten gas station nacho cheese since, well, maybe ever.)

  1. Pictures of Town

First, here are some recent photos I’ve taken of Pittsburgh on my lunch breaks. SHOULD I START MY FAKE TOURISM SERIES AGAIN? And by series, I mean the two “walking tour” posts I did in 2015. (Here and here if you care! It’s like taking a virtual walk with me on my lunch break and like, who wouldn’t want that? As everyone in my department raises their hands.)

I took these pictures after I accidentally walked too far into the north side and almost didn’t make it back to work.

An alley. I walk through lots of them because I prefer the GRITTY SIDE OF LIFE, OK.

I mean, how tantalizing is this, right? Put me on the Pittsburgh Tourism Board already. (CHRIS, YOU CAN BE MY TOUR DIRECTOR!!)

2. #HenryHatesHipsters

Henry finally bought a water filter for the house. For a myriad of reasons, we needed one. So he was all proud of himself for bringing home a PUR filter all on his own because he knows if he leaves it up to me, he’ll come home one day to a strapping Amish hunk manning a freshly dug well in the backyard.

YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT YOU CAN FIND ON CRAIGSLIST.

Anyway, so he installs this water filter and is all smug and feeling like an exemplary provider, man about the house. But then later that night, one of my Facebook friends was all, “Hey guys, what is the best water filter out there?” and literally, no lie, every comment was “Berkey, Berkey, Berkey!” like it was the legit Marsha Brady of filtering systems.

I like to make Henry feel like shit as often as possible, so I went upstairs and woke him up SPECIFICALLY to tell him that “everyone” (like 15 people) said he bought the wrong filter.

Then I went back downstairs. Immediately, Henry started blowing up my phone:

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I have so many questions.

  • How did he know the comments I read were from hipsters?
  • Why does he care so much?
  • When will he learn the difference between there/their?

Anyway, I sent this to Chris who confirmed that she and Monica also have a PUR, so I told him and he was like, “I DON’T CARE I’M NOT MAD” as the steam from his nose drove me out of the bedroom.

WOW. Take a pill, Hank.

3. Great Parenting

I was one of those people who bitched and moaned when Instagram was usurped by Facebook and riddled with sponsored ads. But, ever the hypocrite, I have bought so much shit from those sponsored ads, ugh I hate myself.

One of those things is this shirt from Wicked Clothes, bought in a size for Chooch and me to share because he LOVES SHARING CLOTHES WITH HIS MOMMY.

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Hey remember when someone called child services on me for “being a goth” and taking pictures of Chooch in a cemetery with a creepy baby doll?

I don’t know why people call me an instigator.

4. Great Parenting, Part 2

My friend Jason is an editor at Alternative Press and when he saw the video of Chooch crowd-surfing at the Emarosa show, he emailed me to see if I’d be OK with AltPress doing a little feature of it for their website. We both agreed that it would be nice to read a heart-warming, fun piece in light of the Manchester tragedy, and that maybe it could serve as a reminder that life is still good, and fun.  Chooch said he didn’t care (“As long as they don’t call me Chooch!” he stressed, lol OK wait till you read the first line, sonny boy) and I was excited because if you know me, you know I’m always on a mission to give the bands I love attention. I thought maybe it could be good exposure for Emarosa.

So the next day, it was up on their site. They asked for a brief history of how Chooch and Bradley first met, so I also provided a picture of that, from the 2015 Warped Tour (which was already Chooch’s third Warped Tour! Homeboy gets around). It was pretty cool for me to see Chooch’s face on the website of a magazine I’ve been reading since the 90s, so I shared the link on Facebook and my friends were so supportive and excited, and some of them shared it too!

What I didn’t expect was the next day, when AltPress posted the link on their Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. It was liked and shared and Retweeted by Emarosa, Bradley, other bands, other magazines…which means, of course, comments. The ones I briefly glanced at on FB were all positive, although there was someone who criticized us for not putting sunscreen on Chooch two years ago, and I didn’t reply because who cares, but in our defense, he DID have sunscreen on that day, that’s his tanline, and we had just bought that tank top and put it on him halfway through Warped Tour because his other shirt was wet….BUT I’M NOT DEFENSIVE YOU’RE DEFENSIVE.

So you know, don’t read the comment sections because that’s where you encounter the GLENNS of the world.

But the majority of the comments I did see before I had to force myself to stop looking were all so wonderful toward Emarosa, how they’re good dudes doing good things, and that was my only hope — get people talking about Emarosa.

And then my friend Bridget said it inspired her to look them up, and that made me super happy!

It was pretty surreal though, because people I only know on Instagram were tagging me on AltPress’s IG post and sending me DMs like, “This came up on my feed and I was like, ‘That looks like Chooch—wait that IS Chooch!'” So that was really fun!

Team Emarosa for life. I want them to have it all! Huge stages in huge venues! WORLD TAKEOVER! BRADLEY FOR PRESIDENT! PUT A FOX ON THE AMERICAN FLAG!

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If you want to read the full article, go here!

(Perhaps “tossed” wasn’t the best word to use, but hey — journalism, amirite?)

(Also, Chooch is 11 not 10, but he had only been 11 for less than a month when this happened so I’ll let it slide. Mostly because I didn’t feel like emailing the web editor and telling her.)

5. 고양이 Scarf!

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That means CAT scarf, for all you dumb English-speakers. Cat is also one of the only Korean words I can remember how to spell in Hangul so I try to use it constantly. Good thing I’m a 고양이 lady.

That means CAT lady, you dum-dums.

(Sorry, learning Korean is hard and is making me mean on a daily basis now. Maybe that’s why I have hemi-facial twitching. LURNING IZ HAWRD.)

****

Should we end with a Kpop video? Fuck yeah, we should. Yesterday at work, Todd was all, “Who was that guy that G-Dragon was with sometimes?” and somehow I knew he meant Taeyang because this is my life now. So I sent him the video for Ringa Linga and that prompted a passionate discussion about how Kpop blends Korean and English lyrics together, so we were talking about that and what the reasons might be for it, which made me realize that I wouldn’t mind spending my days researching these things.

“I should be a Kpop historian!” I suddenly exclaimed, my life’s purpose finally realized.

“I mean, there probably aren’t many of those,” Todd said thoughtfully, and I took that as encouragement.

“….or any,” Glenn muttered bitterly, constantly being stuck in the crossfire of our daily Kpop discussion panel.

아싸! 좋다! (That basically means ‘oh yeah! it’s good!’ – G-DRAGON says that part in this song! I just taught you something from my limited bank of Korean vocabulary!)

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May 252017
 

On my way to work today, one of the G-Dragon fan accounts I follow on Instagram (DON’T JUDGE) posted this snip of GD laughing from the last Run BIGBANG Scout episode (which was so adorable, btw, and I cried) and it just instantly cheered me up. HIS FACE!

Of course the first thing I did when I got to work was squeal, “DO YOU WANT TO SEE THE CUTEST THING EVER?!” to Glenn, who is the worst audience for these types of inquiries but I’ll never learn.

“Is it puppies or kittens?” he mumbled, not looking up from whatever riveting thing he had on his computer screen. PROBABLY SOME COMMENT SECTION SINCE HE’S A TROLL.

“NO EVEN BETTER IT’S G-DRAGON LAUGHING OMG,” I wheezed, shoving my phone at him.

He only glanced at it and then sighed, closing his eyes in defeat.

“LOOK AT HIM, GLENN!” I yelled.

“I did! I looked once. That’s enough,” he said, resuming his boring, American day.

**********

Later, I was talking to Lori about this and first, she asked me when I’m ever going to learn, but then she asked me when the G-Dragon concert is and I told her July 30.

“I can’t believe I’m going to see his face in real life,” I said all dreamily with googly eyes just like girls did in the 50s when they talked about cute soda jerks or whatever.

“We should make a countdown calendar,” Lori suggested. “I’m going to make one.”

This of course got me all wound up and I excitedly told Glenn and Amber. 

“Why do you encourage her?” Glenn asked Lori, while I was busy making Diabolical Finger Steeples at him.

I’m going to make a sparkly dragon to move along all the squares of the countdown calendar!

Sandy overheard this and called out from her office, “How long until the concert?”

“TWO MONTHS AND FIVE DAYS!” I shouted across the floor. 

I couldn’t see Sandy from my desk but I bet she was probably repeatedly slamming her hand in a desk drawer at the thought of two more months of G-Dragon anticipation. 

And then I told Amber about how Glenn didn’t have the appropriate response to the G-Dragon Laughing video. 

“Well she hyped it up as the cutest thing in the world,” Glenn defensively said to Amber. 

“Was it?” she asked. 

“No!” he said. 

Maybe if I post it in a comment section….

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May 242017
 

Me: Ugh why is Balance & Composure so fucking perfect?

Henry: I don’t know….?

Me: UGH WHY DO YOU HATE THEM?!

***********

Ok so maybe Henry doesn’t hate them per se, but he definitely isn’t a fan either and had zero guilt whatsoever about dropping me off in the Land of Post-Penguins Game Drunks on Sunday for their show at the Rex. It would be the third time seeing them in less than a year and you better believe I don’t take that shit for granted.

The height of my B&C obsession was last fall. We got SUPER hot&heavy, you guys, and I’m ok with sharing that because we’re all friends here. Their most recent album stayed on my record player for months and Henry and Chooch were all wide-eyed and tense. So while I might be all up on the Hallyu jock currently, I will always drop the Hangul long enough to let in some All American sad boy rock.

I arrived shortly after doors and had friendly banter with the bouncer, who asked if he could add to my collection of wristbands, or if I wanted to take my old one off (I usually keenmy wristbands on until they wear off on their own: my name is Erin and I’m disgusting). I shrugged and opted to take it off, so he rummaged in his pocket for what—A KNIFE? SCISSORS? A HACKSAW?—but I had already yanked the wristband off on my own. He acted like he was so impressed and made a “u so strong, girl” motion with his arms.

I love that guy.  Last time I was there, we struggled to work the ATM together. Not all bouncers are dicks, I guess!

Then I nearly got duped into changing electric companies (again!) by some girl who was standing at the door and I thought she wanted to take my ticket but NO she was just trying to start another fight between me and Henry. I literally just got persuaded by a cute college boy last fall to switch to some environmentally-sound clean energy thing and it sounded great but it was going to raise our bill by like three dollars and Henry had a fit because he googled the company and found review after review of horror stories from customers who got taken and everyday he was like DID YOU CALL AND CANCEL YET? YOU BETTER FUCKING CALL AND CANCEL.

God lay off, pops!

Anyway, when I tried to hand her my ticket, she was all, “Oh no, I don’t need that. But say, maybe you could help me? Do you like the environment?” And I said yes because sure. But as she said that, I noticed the paper she was holding said CLEAN ENERGY so when she asked if I oh the electric bill in my household, I said “No my dad does” BECAUSE IM ON TO YOU NOW, YOU LITTLE TREE HUGGER.

J/K I like trees.

“Oh! Well, when you get your own electric bill, look us up!” she said, and I was like, “Byeeeee suckaaaaa!”

(My tangents are the signs of someone desperate for compassionship. Henry doesn’t count. He’s exceptionally skilled at tuning me out. probably that’s how he cansleep  through concerts too.)

So now I was officially inside the Rex. It wasn’t very crowded yet so I slunk on over to the side of the stage because you know me, that good ol’ side bitch.

I mean…

Normally at shows, I can immediately spot the other loners in the crowd, but this show was populated by groups of friends and COUPLES WHO LIKE THE SAME MUSIC. Like, 75% of the crowd was on a date.

And then there’s me.

Leaning against a wall.

Next to a garbage can.

Le sigh!

Sometimes I feel like going to shows by myself is getting to be “not so bad” but this was not one of those nights. In fact, I was so self-conscious that I distracted myself by blogging about the last show I went to.  I literally blogged at a show about another show.

My life is so rich.

Thankfully, the first band—Queen of Jeans, from Philly— started right at 8 so I had something to do other than fidget with my phone, looking all loner-y and suspicious.

I had never heard of Queen of Jeans before and wasn’t expecting much. When I saw that three of them were girls, and two of them were dressed in various shades of 1970s afghan brown, I totally judged that book by its cover and wrote them off to be some riot grrl band. You know me! Picky with girl bands.

Anyway, you’ll be smug to know that I was wrong in my assumptions, and I ended up really, and I mean truly really very madly, loving them. Like a lot. The singer (Miriam – I’ve been reading some things, I do that sometimes, try to get some cold hard facts before I start laying down my super opinionated words) had the most unexpected voice, kind of reminiscent of Stacy King (Sucre, ex-Eisley), but with so much more power. I mean, this girl could BELT IT OUT. And the other two fucking slayed that stage right along with her, while the drummer, the lone dude, knew his place in the back. (J/K – he was incredible too.)

I can’t remember the last time I was at a show where the opening band was unknown to everyone there, yet still managed to get the whole crowd so hyped. We were LOVING it, totally eating out of their hands. They could have told us to scream, “FLYERS RULE” and….well, no, we probably wouldn’t have done it. THAT’S JUST GOING TOO FAR.

They ended with a cover.

“It’s 90s R&b,” Miriam gave us as a hint. “She’s dead.”

Right away, I was thinking Aaliyah because I’m old and used to be a yo-girl, that shit was my wheelhouse. But I didn’t want to yell it out loud by myself, so I said nothing.

AND GUESS WHAT I WAS RIGHT, UGH.

Here’s the tail end of it, where they were fucking shredding and we all lost our minds:

Good lord. Yes. @queenofjeans

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And here’s a full one, please enjoy. Have a drink and relax:

The second band was From Indian Lakes. I have been wanting to see them again ever since the first Riot Fest I went to in 2014, when I was walking past the small stage they were playing on and did the whole HOLD UP WAIT A MINUTE stop-in-my-tracks-while-Henry-keeps-walking thing.

I think I was body-snatched during their set because I barely remember it aside from the initial text I sent Henry that said, “OMFG I forgot how good they are!” I absolutely cannot remember anything now. Should I be concerned?!

I do remember that they had a bright white neon marquee that said F I L and I had a fleeting thought of, “LOL, father in law” and then I was clearly hypnotized. It’s the only explanation.

Aside from aliens.

Anyway, the whole point of this post is that I went to see Balance & Composure and was caught up in the rapture just like Anita Baker and shooooooo lawd, if I could see these guys once a month maybe you could start calling me religious. As soon as Jon Simmons starts doing his dreamy Midnight Zone dance, I SUDDENLY FIND GOD.

I’m just over here fanning my face, please hold.

ILYSM!!! 😍💗

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They played all of my faves: Midnight Zone, Postcard, Tiny Raindrop, Quake, Reflection, Tore You Apart….OK every song they played is my favorite because there’s not a single song I dislike in their whole entire discography. They are perfect, in my opinion. And just what I needed to cap off an already wonderful weekend. Sometimes, the social anxiety is worth it when the reward is a night of beautiful music that sticks with you.

Be my prom date, B&C.

**********

It was after 11pm by the time I got home and Chooch kept asking me if I was hungry, which I thought was strange because since when does he care about how or what I’m feeling?

“No, it’s after 11 and I’m ready for bed, not food,” I said. But he just kept it up, until finally I was like, “OMG, if YOU’RE hungry, eat something then go to bed!”

“Are you sure you don’t want an ENGLISH MUFFIN?” he asked, not so subtly stressing the “english muffin” part. He did everything but the wink-wink, nudge-nudge.

Finally, I figured out that he was trying to lure me over to the toaster so that I could see they bought a new one while I was at the show. No more burnt bagels!

“We don’t even have English muffins, so it’s a good thing you didn’t say yes,” Henry mumbled.

“Do you want to listen to a RECORD?!” Chooch asked from the back porch, practically sprawled across the table the record player sits on. And I noticed there was a new speaker sitting there. Wow, what a huge night for Henry and Chooch. Send a postcard about it. Five lines.

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May 222017
 

Here are some pictures I took over the last several days, before some motherfucker piece of shit bombed an Ariana Grande concert. I seriously just can’t take it anymore – WHY CANT SUPERHEROES BE REAL?! WHEN WILL CHRIS PRATT SAVE THE WORLD?! Literally nowhere is safe. Nowhere. 

Don’t you sometimes wish you could be a cat, completely oblivious to the explosions and rapes and obstruction of justice going on in the world? Oh, to be Peen Lop, lounging on a devil rug with Pink Mousey, if only for a day. 

A great distraction of mine is to constantly watch South Korea tourism videos on YouTube. Above is what Chooch’s face looked like when I made him watch the fortieth vlog of Jeju Island. (They recently unveiled a forest named after G-Dragon! I AM GOING.)

Drew getting ready to take a bite out of Chooch’s delicious arm. 

My car thought I was listening to Winger and not the smooth Kpop boy group, Winner. 

After Chooch graciously posed for photos at Buttermilk Falls, Henry had to hurry and find somewhere to eat because he knew he was running out of time before the Hanger Eclipse occurred. Honestly, there is a small window of time when Chooch and I are in good spirits and if we’re late for a feeding by even fifteen minutes, get ready for heads to spin and pea soup to fly. Luckily, Henry found a place called Ree’s and he insists we’ve eaten there before but I DO NOT RECALL. We had great service though even though some other waitress came over and tricked me into doing her job for her by having me replace the sugar and sweeteners. 

Ugh, work. 

Anyway this place ruled because they had veggie wraps and one of my favorite kinds of French fries. Not the elusive Good Kinds (you wouldn’t understand) but the thin, greasy, golden ones that are just so wonderful that I cleaned the plate of them and then felt sick for the rest of the day because French fries are not a regular staple of my K-diet and my stomach was like ABORT ABORT WHERE IS THE KIMCHI. 

Afterward, we went to the Beaver Valley Mall because that’s where the closest Game Stop was located and if you must know, I had to bribe my child with a DS game in order for him to willingly pose for portraits. 

Ugh I hate this!

Anyway, they didn’t have what he wanted, but we sure enjoyed meandering about a mall that looked like it hasn’t been updated since the 70s but still somehow had patrons milling about it. 

On the way out, Henry found a tiny bottle of disappearing ink in the mulch outside the entrance, and Chooch forgot all about fidget spinners and Nintendo DS games for a few minutes while he squirted invisible ink all over Henry’s back. It was great. Team Chooch.

(Dont worry, he got his dumb game later one when he and I walked to the Exchange in Dormont and the sales guy and I awkwardly touched hands when I was paying for the game and Chooch thought it was the funniest thing ever while my soul was slowly crushing in a vice of human contact.)

The next day, we went to the Strip to hit up the Asian markets, which is the only time I will joyfully tag along with Henry because it’s where I get all my candy for the Pumpkin of Horrors (which hasn’t been too horrible lately, except that something in there apparently pulled out one of Sandy’s fillings, so we can’t drop the “Horrors” just yet). But we also usually get a package of Samanco, which is the ice cream version of carp bread, and filled with wonderful red bean. Chooch just recently decided he likes red bean so when we go to S. Korea, he’ll be living off of red bean ice cream, hotteok, and, I don’t know, candy probably. Maybe we’ll pack some astronaut food for him. 

Henry made me bibimbap for dinner Sunday night and then dropped me off at the Balance & Composure show with a full and happy belly. 

Waited so long for the Twin Peaks return to finally happen and then of course I wasn’t home to watch it live. Henry and I watched the first episode today after work. I need some time to process, but I’m definitely along for the ride. I’m hoping it will inspire me to finally finish the painting I started three years ago! (It just needs some detailing but I’m the laziest fake artist you’ll ever meet. Planets have to be properly aligned for me to feel inspired these days, I guess.)

And here’s a Sistar video for good measure. Sweet dreams. 

ETA: nooooooooooo

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May 212017
 

My decision to attend the recent A Lot Like Birds show at Smiling Moose was pretty last minute. Kurt Travis was the clean vocalist of this band, and half the reason why I loved them so much, but he was basically kicked out last year due to “creative differences.”

That’s always the reason!

I was so broken up over this! How could they go on without him?! No one could replace him! First Dance Gavin Dance, and now…et tu, ALLB?

Turns out, they didn’t totally replace him. Cory, the screamer, took over clean vocals, along with bassist Matt Coate. I only had the courage to listen to one song and I ended up really liking it a lot, inspite of its Kurt Travis-less vibes. :(

So I sucked it up and bought a ticket, and ended up having a fantastic time. 

I’ll try to make this short and sweet because oh god no, not another concert recap. 

So here are some things I want to remember:

  • Atlas Decay was the local opener. This was my fifth or sixth time seeing them and they are fine. 
  • No natter how “at home” I feel at Smiling Moose, the fact that the room is as narrow as a Trump-supporter’s mind and cluttered with the gear of EVERY BAND PLAYING will forever have me constantly being in everyone’s way no matter where I stand. Sigh. 
  • I saw the local band photographer that I briefly met outside Diesel at last year’s Hotel Books show and we pretended like we didn’t know each other, just like the last three times we saw each other at shows. #mutualsocialawkwardness

  • When the second band – OWEL- started setting up, I knew in my heart I would like them because they had a girl member and she HAD A VIOLIN. I later learned that she also plays the viola and keyboard and she sings as well. Once they started playing, the deal was sealed. I loved them. If you need me, I’ll just be following them around on tour. (I mean, vicariously on Instagram. Sigh.)

OWEL YOU HAVE MY HEART. 

If you need me, I'll just be following @owelband around on the rest of their tour kbye.

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  • Next up was Hearts Like Lions. I saw them last year, also at that same Hotel Books show with the awkward photographer, so I was geeked to see them again, except that they weren’t as good as I remembered. Not that they sucker! Maybe the sound was a bit off or something but I wasn’t as drawn in as I was the first time. 
  • Their set ended around 8 so I went back to the bar to get a drink (a Hoegaarten, ugh) and decided to forego the fourth band and watch at least the first period of the Pens game since I never get to anymore because we’re a No Cable Household (which was coincidentally the name of of the band I was skipping – just Household, not No Cable Household, to be clear) – and I’m still mostly OK with this decision! But….hockey. Anyway, they were down 0-4 before the period was even over so I chugged my gross beer and peaced out. 
  • Finding a sort-of decent spot out of the way of the bands in the middle of moving their gear around, I occupied myself by staring intently into my phone (much like I’m doing now at the Balance & Composure show, waiting alone for it start), when suddenly I head someone say, “Did you see Emarosa when they were here last week?” I looked up and a guy in a Dance Gavin Dance shirt was looking at my expectantly. OH NO A CONVERSATION. WHAT TO DO? HOW TO TALK? I said I had, and realized not only was I wearing an Emarosa shirt, but it was one that just had the face of a fox on it and nothing about Emarosa. So he was a true Emarosa fan then! Fuck I forget his name already. Ryan? Mike? I don’t know, but his wife’s name was Ashley and they were both just wonderful. We talked about all the best bands and I showed them the video of Chooch crowdsurfing and of course they were disappointed to learn he wasn’t there that night. EVERYBODY LOVES CHOOCH. (OH MY LORD the laugh on this bitch standing in the bar at this Balance & Composure show is manufactured straight from the flames of hell. PLEASE LET THE FIRST BAND START SOON.) Anyway, that was awesome. Once I start talking to a stranger about music, it’s like ok me again. 
  • ALLB came on and played their new album Divisi in its entirety and you know what? They killed it. It was still ALLB, just without Kurt. I pretended that Kurt was taking a sick day. Yeah, that’s it. Cory did a bang-up job with those clean vocals, and Matt looked positively joyful singing along with him. And in between songs, when we were all clapping and showing our approval, Matt said thank you and just beamed as he looked out at all of our dumb faces. It was humbling. It’s easy to turn your back on a band when your favorite member is ousted, but these guys are just way too talented to give up on. Even though my heart turned into a pulpy, aortic mosaic when Matt sang the “you’re already undressed” line from Properties of Friction. OH KURT :(

It was strange seeing A Lot Like Birds without Kurt, but I still love them lots. Tonight had good energy. 💗

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And that concludes my succinct summary of the A Lot Like Birds show at Smiling Moose. I’m glad I got to see them many times already with Kurt and I’m gonna stick with them on this new journey. 

This post is brought to you by the letters ㅈ, ㅎ, and me standing alone miserably in between bands at the Balance & Composure show. 

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May 202017
 

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Oh hey, today I woke up and decided that I wanted to boss around Henry and Chooch some, and the best way I know to do that is to find some schmancy get-up to stuff Chooch in and then yell at Henry to hand me whatever lens I need. I DON’T KNOW THEIR NAMES. I AM A FAKE PHOTOGRAPHER.

We went to Buttermilk Falls, which was the location of the picnic we had once in celebration of me not dying on a carnival ride in 2013. (I just made the sign of the cross, because I’m religious when I feel like it.) Instead of just dumping these so-so pictures here, I thought it would be fun to ask Chooch some questions about his life currently.

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Me: I’m going to ask you some questions now. Isn’t this fun?

Chooch: *heavy sigh*

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Me: What’s your favorite thing about 5th grade?

Chooch: I don’t know. Why do you make me do this.

Me: Was the grilled cheese Wesley’s mom made you better than my grilled cheeses?

Chooch: You don’t even make grilled cheese…..do you?

Me: No…

Chooch: Exactly.

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Me: What is your current favorite Kpop song?

Chooch: Ugh. No. Um, “Signal” I guess?

Me: What is your current favorite food?

Chooch: Veggie burger.

Me: Talk about being a vegetarian.

Chooch: It’s amazing.

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Me: What is your favorite TV show?

Chooch: Um, hard to say. I have a lot that I watch on Netflix.

Me: Well, just recommend three of them.

Chooch: They’re all kids shows! No one cares!

Me: UGH FORGET IT. NEXT QUESTION.

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Me: What was it like to crowd-surf at the Emarosa show?

Chooch: Spooky, and scary…skeletons.

Me: You’re wearing a Cardboard Swords shirt in these pictures. Would you recommend them to people?

Chooch: Sure. You recommend every band you like to people, so why not.

(I think what he means is that I shove my music faves in everyone’s face constantly.)

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Me: Talk about Spencer.

Chooch, in his weird Corgi Mania voice: Spencer!! *throaty giggles* Spencer’s awesome! Spencer’s a Corgi! No, not a Corgi. An amazing Corgi. A Corgi who walks past my house everyday and I pet him and he loves me!

(Chooch honestly gets delirious in Spencer’s presence. He was excited yesterday because now Spencer rolls over when he sees him and I was like “Yeah probably so you’ll think he’s dead and leave him alone!”)

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Me: Why do you reject Korean food?

Chooch: Because YOU like it.

(Oh that little fucker better wait. His birthday cake next year is going to be one giant chapssal-tteok.)

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Me: Why don’t you have a hand in this picture?

Chooch: I went to a bar and someone stabbed it off of me.

Me: Any big plans for when Grandma Judy watches you alllllll summer long? Family Feud marathons? Go Fish for money?

Chooch: I’ll be going to Wesley’s all day.

Me: What if Wesley goes to camp?

Chooch: Well then I go to camp.

(WHAT IS SO FUCKING GREAT ABOUT WESLEY.)

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Me: If you started a band, what would you call it?

Chooch: The Bambi Penises. 

(He’s been calling Drew “Bambi” lately, and we call Penelope “Penis” sometimes, so there’s that.)

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Me: what’s so great about those dumb spinners that every kid has suddenly?

Chooch: They come in a whole bunch of different varieties!

Me: Wow. Riveting. DONT YOU KNOW YOU CAN DIE FROM THOSE. 

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Me: If you were a tour guide in Pittsburgh, where would you take your tourists?

Chooch: Spencer’s house. *erupts in giggles. 

Me: *MEGA EYE ROLL*

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Me: Do you think the Penguins will win the Stanley Cup?

Chooch, with that cheery monotone enthusiasm of Today’s Youth: Yeah. Hopefully.

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Me, bothering Chooch while he’s trying to concentrate on some adult connect the dots book he got today, and not “adult” as in connect the STDs to each porn star, but as in each page has hundreds of numbers: Quick do a haiku. 

Chooch: Bambi is special / Peen Lop never gives a crap / She needs more friends quick. 

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Me: If you could be penpals with any celebrity in the world, who would it be?

Chooch: Dan & Phil.

Me: That’s two people, and they’re not even celebrities, they’re lame YouTubers. 

Chooch: They live in the same place! Fine, just Dan. 

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Me: Do you want to go watch Running Man with me. 

Chooch: NO.

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May 192017
 

I have a lot of bands that I really love lots like tater tots, and I love the feeling I get when I see them live. But there is no feeling greater than the one I get when I see Emarosa. It’s so much more than just a concert: it’s an actual show. It’s crowd involvement. It’s an intense wave of raw energy that makes you forget everything else happening in the world, because for that small amount of time, Emarosa is inviting you into their world. And it’s chaotic and honest and nearly as beautiful as G-Dragon’s face.

You guys, they are my favorite band to see live, and I see A LOT of bands live!

Chooch and I already had tickets to see them last week in Pittsburgh, when  they were supporting Pierce the Veil, but when I saw they were also doing a handful of headlining shows on their off-dates from the PTV tour, I quickly bought three tickets for their Cleveland show at Mahall’s. Emarosa twice in one week? SO FUCKING BLESSED.

Plus, Mahall’s is a very intimate venue and I was excited to get all up close and personal. You gotta see Emarosa up close.

After spending a lovely afternoon polluting Cleveland with our idiocy, we got to Mahall’s right around the time doors were set to open. Do you even know me? I am rarely late to a show. I need to see it all! Anyway, Chooch spotted Bradley in the back of Emarosa’s van when we were walking past, so he started doing that thing he does where he starts to approach, then backs away, then approaches, then flings himself against a wall in anguish. I don’t know where he gets that. I have never had a problem talking to musicians. In fact, I’m the greatest at talking to musicians. No one talks to musicians in a more bigly great fashion than me. My confidence is uuuuge. So many people came out to see me talk to the last musician I talked to. So many!

#fakenews

But back to Chooch. There were several other people standing around, observing Chooch on the brink of a nervous breakdown and it was so awkward that I couldn’t watch any longer. “Please go with him, for Christ’s sake!” I hissed to Henry, giving him a gentle (lol) shove toward the van. So Henry was like FML and went to the back of the van to get Bradley’s attention.

I stayed by the door to Mahall’s because I’m too cool for that shit.

SIKE.

I was too busy staring into my phone screen, willing it to suck me in and away from this situation. I’m always so worried that Bradley is going to think we’re psycho stalkers, or that we’re trying to use him for perks or whatever, but that is totally not who we are – we all, as a family, love Emarosa and their music so much. There are very few bands that all three of us equally enjoy, so it really brings us closer as family (lol, j/k – we fought like 87 times that day, but the fun we had negated that so we’re cool, guys, don’t worry).

Bradley came out of the van and hugged Chooch, etc but I still wouldn’t go over there because I was too scared, for god’s sake. I’m 12, remember?

According to Henry, Bradley said something like, “Wow, you don’t stop!” to Chooch, since he had just seen him FOUR DAYS prior. Then he said that if he saw Chooch in the crowd, he was crowdsurfing that night.

I laughed when Henry told me, like what a cute threat, amiright?

Meanwhile, some guy standing near me outside saw Chooch with Bradley and he asked me, “Are you guys friends?” I wish! But I told him that we just casually know him from going to so many Emarosa shows and that Chooch really looks up to him. I mean, my kid rarely gets starstruck, but you put him near Christofer Drew from Never Shout Never or Bradley Walden from Emarosa, and that boy has eight tongues that are all tied together and then shot 4 times with Novacaine.

He’s not talking anytime soon.

“Bradley’s a good role model to have!” the guy said, and I was like, “Yeah, he really is.” Especially when after seeing Emarosa, Chooch pulled out his Sing Machine for the first time in like, a year. I  think he feels really inspired by them and that is just the best thing any parent could ask for.

Please, please, please let him have a future in music!

Then when we were inside waiting to get our tickets, Bradley came in and hugged me and I was like JUST BE COOL, ERIN, DON’T DIE.

Really though, how far we’ve come from the days of being ridiculed by a former singer for driving five hours to see his band play in Buffalo because I couldn’t get the night off work to see them when they were in Pittsburgh (OMG I’m such a loser for having a job and being broke but STILL making the drive to see your shitty face) to having the current singer say it’s nice to see me.

But enough about the past – back to the show!

There were five bands playing that night much to Chooch’s chagrin. He just wants to get in there, see the band he wants to see, and go the fuck home. Eleven-year-olds, you know? Pfft. He survived the first band – Keys and Corridors – but then “had to go the bathroom” which means he wanted to go back out to where the pinball machines were.

I liked Keys and Corridors though! Anytime there’s a girl in the band, I hope with all my heart that I will like it because we need more bands with girls.

And this one had two!

Chooch came back before the second back, Forage and Wander (I think?), started to play but he was being so fidgety and making me nervous, so I made Henry take him outside. Like he’s a dog. Take the dog for a walk, Henry! And here’s a bag for his messes.

Thank god Mahall’s has re-entry. God bless you, Mahall’s.

Anyway, the second band was fine. Nothing that my ears found inoffensive.

But the third band! Oh my sweetly-spanked Mussolini, this next band was everything I needed right then.

That sweet, melodic post-hardcore vibe taking me back to 2010? Check.

Immediate excitement that made me type things like #OBSESSED all over social media? Check.

Super hot frontwoman in a leather jacket with a voice that could knock you on your ass? Double check. 

I texted Henry and said, “You’re missing this band with a super hot girl singer” and LO AND BEHOLD, minutes later, Chooch and Henry sidled up next to me.

Wow, such coincidence.

Oh! Their name is Leav/e/arth. I even love their name!!

Honestly though, they gave me that excited feeling I used to get when I was younger, seeing a local band at Nick’s Fat City and thinking, “Wow, I can’t believe this band is from Pittsburgh!” That’s how I felt during their set: “Wow, Cleveland is so lucky that have this band!” I would try to see them as often as possible if I lived in Cleveland.

Just saying, Jason!

Also, I just saw that they’re on InVogue Records so now I’m going to start hounding the appropriate parties on Instagram for a Hotel Books / Leav/e/arth tour!

Next was Cedar Green, who are on this whole mini-tour of Emarosa’s. I thought that their name sounded familiar and then I realized that I saw them three years ago in Allentown, PA when they opened for Hands Like Houses and Slaves (ugh). Cedar Green had some technical difficulty during one of their songs (ER from Emarosa came out to help them behind the scenes which was so cool of him) but honestly I thought they were wonderful regardless. They had great energy and I know I say that a lot but have you ever seen a band that’s just kind of like…there? Then you know what I mean. I was happy to be able to support them, and when they did a Twenty One Pilots cover, Chooch was on board too.

I went over to talk to the guitarist after the show that night, and asked if they’re from Allentown. He confirmed this and seemed sincerely shocked that I not only had seen them before, but remembered it, too. He called the singer over to tell him, and he was also super excited about this. I love young bands that still have that humble graciousness – it’s adorable and it makes me so excited for them! I really hope they garner lots of new fans on this tour.

They remind me of summer. <3

Ugh, and then it was time for Emarosa! I’m going to cry at the memory of it because it was one of those nights that you wish you could gather up and stuff inside a snow globe, to relive with every gentle shake. LE SIGH. My emo heart, it bleeds.

I hope that if you’ve read any of my past Emarosa posts, you’ve taken some time out to listen to their music. If not – PLEASE do yourself a favor and check out their most recent album, 131. Their whole discography is beautiful and perfectly encapsulates each era of their journey, from Chris Roetter to Jonny Craig to Bradley Walden.

But…this current era with Bradley is tops, and it’s the best starting point for a new listener. PLEASE GO LISTEN AND REPORT BACK. I’ll wait.

At an Emarosa show, you’re going to get everything from:

  • charmingly funny stage banter that doesn’t come off as trite
  • literal acrobatics: Bradley usually does a backflip or two; picks up their bassist and spins him upside down;  gives their guitarist a piggyback ride through the crowd; and if there’s anything around for him to climb and hang from, he’ll find a way,
  • tons of crowd immersion (sometimes I think he spends more time singing in the middle of the floor than he does on stage),
  • but most importantly, incredibly well-written, passionately-performed music.

And this night, Saturday May 13th at Mahall’s in Cleveland, had all of these things.

(Except the climbing, although it did seem like at one point Bradley was casing the ceiling for something to grab onto it.)

Here, just watch this. JUST WATCH IT!

Young Lonely 💖

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I was in tears from all of the beauty, when, in the middle of “Helpless,” Bradley pointed to Chooch and summoned him on stage. Chooch was trying to convince himself that the attention was actually for the girl next to him, but even she knew what was going on and turned to make room for Chooch.

So he goes on stage and I’m like OMG WHAT IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW ARE YOU KIDDING ME and then Bradley picked him up like a regular sack of potatoes and slowly launched him onto the waiting hands of the crowd. My fucking kid was crowd-surfing. I oscillated back and forth between: “FUCK YEAH MY KID IS CROWD-SURFING!” to “OMFG PLEASE DON’T GET DROPPED!”

I can’t even believe it. I mean, I can. Bradley doesn’t make idle threats, I guess. I mean, the night was already 100/100, but this just sky-rocketed it to extra-terrestrial levels of outrageousness. How is this band so great?!

My kid got his first crowd-surf out of the way. At age 11. 😳

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Chooch of course ran over to the merch table after the show so he could once again act all quiet and awkward in front of the band, and get another photo for his ME&BRADLEYFOREVER scrapbook (I’m just guessing he has one).

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(The lighting was awkward!)

While I was getting my phone ready to take the picture, Bradley started whispering something to Chooch, and I figured it was probably something like, “Hey kid, stay in school” or “Be nice to your mom & dad, they love you” but NO.

Chooch told me as we were walking away that what he said was, “Why do you let your mom have that phonecase? Tell her to get rid of that.”

Ugh! Whatever! My phonecase is….lit? OK fine it’s dumb and clunky and something only someone riding on the back of a unicorn should have, but I love it. I mean, the manager at CVS asked to Snapchat it, for fuck’s sake!

It’s fine. No, I’m OK. I still love Emarosa.

(OK but seriously, if you made it to the end, now you have to go and listen to at least one song. And then buy their album. And a t-shirt. And then go see them. I’ll go with you, even. Maybe. If it’s within driving distance. And you’ll feed me.)

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May 182017
 

“Touch My Medal”

A few weeks ago, I was walking home from CVS. It was the day of the Pittsburgh Marathon. There were people ahead of me who were waking too slow and I didn’t feel like passing them so I crossed over to the other side of the street which I rarely walk on.

THESE ARE ALL IMPORTANT FACTS CONDUCIVE TO MY STORY. 

So I’m walking, walking, walking when suddenly, from the opened passenger door of a parked car comes a familiar sounding “Hello!” Shit, I think, slowing my roll. I looked over and sure enough it’s JOE, the neighborhood Mr. Atlas who loves to strut around town in the summer in semi-indecent runners shorts and a greased-down mega-tanned body. He’s probably in his late 50s so it’s a little much, you know?

(Sorry all you quinquagenarians.)

Anyway, if there are any long-time readers left on this sinking ship, they might remember Joe as the man who ever so briefly deemed himself our official lawn mower back in, say, 2006 or 2007. Except he would always show up unexpectedly and then want to get paid and I never had cash on me! So then it turned it A Thing, like the paperboy on Better Off Dead, and Henry one day was like “Wait–why is he even cutting our grass anyway?”

I think he was the official grasscutter of whoever was living next to us at the time (some guy named Fish, I think), and I happened to be outside at some completely inopportune moment, probably with Chooch’s chubby baby-body clinging to me, rendering me unable to flee with the quickness, and I just couldn’t remember the word “no.”

So that’s how Joe started cutting our grass.

Then one day he decided he was going to be our personal landscaper as well when he saw an unplanted bed of flowers on the porch. He came at me with this grand blueprint involving Italian mulch filling up a tin triangle of our yard, with the price tag of $70. At the price, I suddenly remembered how to say no in 8 languages, including whichever one that is that involves a cool, swift kick to the nuts. German, probably.

OR RUSSIAN. 

So, after that rejection and having to chase down one last $7, Joe never came around again. We still see him all the time around town, but he always pretends like he doesn’t see us, those cheap motherfuckers at 3021 who don’t love their yard seventy dollars worth.

(We live on a main drag in Brookline, guy. I’m not paying $70 to have some drug addict or wino stumbling home from the bar at 2 in the afternoon vomit all up in the Italian mulch and petunias. I literally JUST watched some asshole puke on the sidewalk near our house and then I almost STEPPED in it the next day. So fucking gross.)

So back to the Pittsburgh Marathon day. Joe is sitting in the passenger side of a parked car, one leg out on the sidewalk, cordially saying hello to me like he’s so excited to see me after all these years.

I said hello back and figured that would be the end of it, but then he asked me how I’ve been and if there’s one thing I love doing, IT’S TALK ABOUT MYSELF ALL FUCKING DAY LONG, so that was enough to get me to linger for an additional second.

But it was just a fucking ploy to brag to me about how he ran in the marathon that day.

“How come I didn’t see you down there?” he asked me in a gross, flirtatious chide. And then I became acutely aware of the fact that before I left the house, I realized my lips were stained with the black icing I was using on the baby shower cookies and I had used HOT PINK lipstick to cover it up for the time being. I mean, my lips were practically beacons for my bordello, a neon sign displaying my going rate.

I fought the urge to wipe it off with the back of my hand, because then I’d just look like I woke up from a bender, so instead I politely said, “Because I don’t run” and almost started telling him that I’m more of a Kpop dancer before I realized that WAIT A MINUTE, I was trying end this conversation, not open up a side topic with dance numbers. 

I hoped that would be the end, please let me leave, release me from your small talk chains.

“Do you want to see my medal?” he asked.

I mean…kind of?

I shrugged. “Sure.”

He lifted it from his neck and I pretended to be really amazed but look bro, it ain’t the fucking Secret of NIMH amulet.

“You can touch it,” he urged, thrusting it toward me.

UGH SO I TOUCHED HIS FUCKING MEDAL, OK?! I DID IT.

UGH it probably had so much of his sweat dried to it.

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“The Secret Life of Chooch”

When I came home from work on Tuesday, Chooch immediately started jawing off about how we didn’t pack him a lunch for his track meet that day, how could we, we’re the worst, etc etc.

But let’s back up a few hours.

Earier that afternoon, Henry sent me a screenshot of Chooch’s school’s Facebook page, which I do NOT follow because I don’t want any of them knowing me. (“Oh my god, can you imagine if the school found your blog?” Todd laughed. “‘That lady’s a MOM?!'” And then I laughed too but it’s only kind of funny considering that’s already happened to me once at a different school.)

So this screenshot. Back to the screenshot.

It was a picture of the boys track team at their meet earlier that day.

And Chooch was front and center in that picture.

“Chooch is on the track team?” I texted back.

“Apparently,” Henry said.

THIS IS HOW WE FOUND OUT THAT NOT ONLY DOES HIS SCHOOL HAVE A TRACK TEAM, BUT OUR SON IS ON IT.

So Henry and I let him play out his sob story about how he was the only kid without a lunch (hello, he never packs a lunch! He eats the school lunch everyday!), and then when he finished, we started firing questions at him about this so-called track team.

“When do you even practice?” I asked.

“We only practiced once, yesterday after lunch,” Chooch said calmly because this kid knows he can weasel his way out of any conflict.

“Shouldn’t there have been a paper or something that we needed to sign?” Henry asked.

“There was. I signed it,” Chooch said with a shrug.

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“What do you even do in track, anyway?” I asked him later.

“Long-jump. I came in sixth.” Long jump?? I didn’t even know he could short jump!

Ugh, come talk to me when you come in at least second, kid.

P.S. I wonder who that message is from in Henry’s Facebook screenshot? PROBABLY HIS GF, OBV. What if he proposes to her and not me?! Whatever–he’s taking me to see G-Dragon, not her. I win. 

 

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May 162017
 

I was going to liveblog on the way to Clevelend last weekend because it’s something I really enjoy doing (I have a sickness) but then I just straight up didn’t feel like it. You know how it is- sometimes a girl just wants to listen to BIGBANG and stare longingly out the window, imagining that the generic Ohio scenery is actually some magical region in South Korea.

Sigh.

So yeah, no liveblogging. Who really cares how many tiffs with Henry and Chooch I can squeeze into 2.5 hours, anyway.

Some sicko does, probably. But just that one guy.

(Maybe it’s that guy Paul who snapped out a few years back and kept commenting on my blog just to remind me that I’m a cunt and that Henry won’t marry me because I’m fat and ugly. That guy was great. Yo, where you at, Paul?)

We left home around 11am I think. I was in a poor mood at first for no reason other than Bi-Polar, but I eventually eased into the day and quit threatening to fillet Henry’s ballsack with one single fingernail, so that was good.

For him, at least.

One particular moment of anger that I remember vividly was when I casually mentioned that some bakery account started following me on Instagram.

“Huh. They were on Food Network’s Cake Wars,” I said mostly to myself because I think this was when I was purposely trying to make Henry feel left out.

“What do they make?” Henry asked, trying to get involved.

“Well gee Henry, considering they were on CAKE WARS, I’m going to go out on a limb and say they make CAKES and not, I don’t know, salami fucking sandwiches.”

“Wow,” Henry murmured as I scowled out the window.

Sometime around noon, we stopped at a service place in Somewhere, Ohio.  Chooch won a yellow bouncy ball playing some idiotic arcade game. Which doesn’t seem like anything you’d scrawl out in a postcard to home, BUT…

Before we left the service plaza, I started crying about wanting an iced something or other, so we walked over to the Panera counter. I was just starting to order an iced chai latte when I saw in my periphery that fucking yellow ball squirt out of my Chooch’s hand, nick the corner of a counter, ricochet and soar mere millimeters past the Panera employee’s face, land in the bagels, bounce back out and graze the cookies on display, before finally hitting the floor and gradually slowing its roll.

The Panera guy had no idea any of this was occurring behind him, and I have no idea how he didn’t see the NEON FUCKING ORB as it nearly whaled him in the face, but I had to stand there, right in front of him, while my eyes were darting back and forth like I was watching Snookie and JWOW attempt to play ping-pong after a night of shots and smashin’ on the Jersey Shore.

And when he answered my question about almond milk, I couldn’t hold my laughter in any longer and it started to leak out of my mouth, at which point he smiled nervously and I know he was wondering if he was the butt of some mean-spirited joke, because Chooch was actually crying from the pain of holding back his laughter, and Henry said the other guy in line with us was openly laughing too.

Ahhhh, it was so stupid, yet hilarious.

How did the ball manage to not hit him even once? I mean, I know: because of Math Stuff. Shut up.

The Panera guy walked away to get started on my drink, leaving Chooch and me to stare helplessly at the yellow ball on the floor, separated by a counter. Eventually, some other Panera person walked over and I asked him if he could return the ball to us.

“I’m sorry,” he said, placing it into my hand.

“For what? It’s his fault!” and then Chooch and I lost it because this was such a stupid YOU HAD TO BE THERE scenario but it was endlessly funny to us. And now some Panera rando was apologizing to us for no reason! We must have rehashed it for the next two hours.

That would have been worth the postage of a postcard.

Right after, we pulled over in North Lima, which was totally poppin’, and ate lunch at C’s Waffles, your basic family restaurant in a tiny strip mall. But the service was great, the food was good, and no one turned and stared at us when we walked in like Large Marge had sent us.  I hate when that happens!

There was a family with four kids sitting near us and after observing them for a minute. The kids weren’t even being bad, but all of these scenarios of them rising up one day and taking complete control of the house started whirring through my mind and I felt panicked. I said to Henry, “I don’t think I could ever have that many kids. I’d feel too outnumbered, you know?”

Without looking up from his plate of breakfast fare, Henry sighed, “I have you and Chooch; I’m always outnumbered.”

Hahaha. It’s true.

One of the things I was really looking forward to doing in Cleveland because my life is so rich was checking out their Asian markets. Henry wanted to actually peruse their produce and whatever else might assist him in his kitchening, but I had only one purpose: to restock the Law Firm Candy Pumpkin. People have been getting snippy with me lately because I didn’t get a chance to candy-shop last weekend, so all the was left were the Mexican assortment that everyone has reacted very adversely to.

The other day, I said out loud, “What nationality of candy should I try to find next?”

Glenn said Iraqi, which sent me a googling spree, and at first I was like, “WOW IRAQI CANDY IS TIGHT!” but then things turned dark when I found an Urban Dictionary entry for “Iraqi Candy Shop.” Needless to say, I didn’t google to see if Cleveland had an Iraqi candy shop, and settled on more Asian snacks.

The place we went to was a LEGIT Asian supermarket, way bigger than the ones we have here in Pittsburgh, and Henry cringed when he saw the size of the candy aisle.

SO MUCH CANDY! I wanted to buy even more but Henry was like, “STOP BLOWING YOUR PAYCHECK ON CANDY FOR WORK IT MAKES ZERO SENSE.” This is how I buy friends, OK Henry?

Or lose friends, if you ask the ones who have bitten into some questionable sewer garbage in pretty wrappers.

But you guys, guess what happened next? We were in the random aisle with European candy and various beverages, when I started performing an intense HEAVY BREATHING.

“What?” Henry asked in a scared way when I made Crazy Eyes and shouldered past him.

GUESS WHAT I FOUND?!

OK I’ll just tell you: I finally found the Nongfu Spring BIGBANG teas that I have been searching for! Chooch and I went wild trying to find each member (“Did you get Taeyang? WHERE’S DAESUNG?!” while all the other shoppers were giving us the “OK, Koreaboos” side-eye. Henry was pretty embarrassed. But whatever, I got one of each member, plus two different G-Dragons and T.O.P.s and now I’m kicking myself for not buying more, at least an extra G-Dragon for Octavia. I’m the worst friend!

I’m sure we’ll be back in Cleveland soon though.

Meanwhile, I want to start a campaign to get the beverage company where Henry works to start distributing these. I mean, obviously 99% of the appeal for me is that BIGBANG endorses it, but the tea is actually so fucking good too! My friend Ronda asked me what GD tea tastes like and honestly, like sitting on a swing-set next to your crush on a cool summer night, and also peach oolong.

OH GOD, MY HEART.

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I brought one of the G-Dragon bottles to work and everyone is like, “….cool.” Whatever Amber, you know if there was a Dance Moms Nongfu Spring series, you’d collect them all!

After all of that hysteria, we took Chooch to one of the beaches on the outskirts of Cleveland and totally convinced him that Lake Erie was actually the Atlantic Ocean.

“But we’re in Ohio…” Chooch argued.

“Yeah, and the Atlantic Ocean….cuts through,” I answered like he was being so foolish for not believing me.

“Look there it is! It’s the ocean!” I cried, pointing out the window. After doing that four times, Chooch finally snapped, “OK! I know! It’s the ocean! You don’t have to keep telling me.”

Haha—suckeerrrrrrrrrr.

Then I made The Gifted One pose for a selfie with his Geographically Devious Parents. All of this happened after Chooch stalked a couple and their two collies before finally getting a chance to blurt out CAN I PET YOUR DOGS, a/k/a his catchphrase.

There was some broad who kept screaming HAYDEN at her small daughter whose name was, I guess, Hayden. Ugh, Chooch and I were not fans. And they were everywhere we went! Constantly in our way! Mom screaming at Hayden the whole fucking time!

We had enough of that fake ocean scene and moved on to my favorite store in Cleveland – Flower Child. <3

Chooch was like, “Oh, the store with all the old Playboys? OK, I’m in.”

This is one of those stores where I get to use my catchphrase a lot, which is: OMG PLEASE DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING.

And then every time I say it, I’m reminded of the time my grandma had a shit fit when we were in some glassware store in Italy and kept yelling at me to not touch anything when I WASN’T TOUCHING ANYTHING and then guess who knocked over a rack of breakable glass things? OH MY GRANDMA THAT’S WHO.

I’m waiting for history to repeat itself, is all I’m saying. Hopefully I’m in a dollar store when it happens. :/

There were a million things I wanted to buy….but G-Dragon tickets.

Worth it.

After inhaling the musty fumes of the 1960s, we met up with our friend Jason for dinner at Taco Tontos. I love Melt but sometimes it’s nice to mix it up a bit, I know you understand. So no gratuitous foodporn shots of mammoth grilled cheeses oozing with 87 ingredients this time around.

But this tempeh burrito was stuffed with creamy sweet potatoes and I gorged on the entire thing while divulging to Jason my past life as a yo-girl when I tried to join a girl gang, and my unabashed love for Toto.

(“Really? All you wanted on Record Store Day was the Africa picture disc?” Jason said, considering leaving our friendship to disintegrate right there in the pile of Chooch’s taco refuse.)

We also talked about Kpop, much to Henry’s chagrin.

“No, I want to know about light sticks,” Jason waved off Henry, giving me the OK to continue. What he did not want to know was how much our G-Dragon tickets cost, though.

I failed to get a picture of Jason because I was off my photo-stalking game, but here is a picture of Henry looking happy to have a friend.

This picture is a lie. That was mild sauce on Chooch’s chip because he’s not tuffenuff for the hot stuff.

Chooch and Jason argued over which dogs are better: Shelties or Corgis, and then we walked down the street to Wax Bodega, a record store owners by one of Jason’s Alternative Press friends. There was a pet boxer hanging out inside and Chooch spent the entire time trying to convince him he’s a Corgi.

Chooch is going through some things, maybe.

After saying goodbye to Jason, we walked around the neighborhood in order to kill time before the show. Mahall’s is right down the street from where we ate, so Henry didn’t want to leave and his parking spot, because those are the things that matter most to Henry, and probably other people in his demographic, as well.

Further down the street, Chooch and some guy dressed as a gorilla silently became best friends. Chooch and people in animal suits, man. The gorilla was trying to lure passers-by over to the BBQ shack, which was actually pretty adorable and made me feel like I was vacation. They sold soft-serve, so we made the gorilla’s day and popped on over for a cone.

(I mean, after we walked another block and Chooch imprinted on two stray cats in a parking lot.)

I was still really full from my burrito, so I asked if I could get the kids cone even though I’m clearly not 12 or under. The guy at the window acted like he was making a HUGH CONCESSION for me by saying, “Well….it is Mother’s Day….so, OK!”

(It wasn’t Mother’s Day, though!)

Henry said he was clearly going to let me have the kids cone anyway, but just wanted me to think he was a hero for bending the rules.

One could also argue that I deserved the kids cone because I have the accessories of a 12-year-old.

I thought that sign said “I go ape over the Gays” at first, like when someone’s Great Uncle Rupert tries to emphasize the fact that he’s not homophobic but chooses a very poor way to convey his sentiment. It made my ice cream cone taste awkward, with sprinkles straight from 1950.

Guys, this was the cleanest public restroom in a park that I’ve ever utilized. I couldn’t believe it. Also, the accessories of a 12-year-old.

And that’s all of the things, in GREAT DETAIL, that we did before going to Mahall’s to see Emarosa. Thanks for reading. Quiz to follow.

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May 152017
 

Twice’s new single came out today and now I’m even more excited to see them next month ahhhh get your lightstick ready, Henry! (AND NO THATS NOT A EUPHEMISM…OR IS IT.)

Henry gave this video his highest score yet: “it’s ok.”

I can’t wait to get everyone at work to make antennae with their hands. Jjirit jjirit!

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May 142017
 

Today is Mother’s Day and it was fine. Nothing spectacular. We’re all lethargic a little from our Cleveland day trip yesterday, which always seems like no big thang until it’s 2:30am and we’re just rolling into Pittsburgh and I say “we” because I do everything short of propping my eyelids up with toothpicks in order to stay awake out of solidarity while Henry drives (and also because I have a huge fear of him falling asleep at the wheel). Needless to say, I was kicking myself for telling him we didn’t need to spend the night there. 

(That’s how yow know I’m serious about saving money! I HAVE MY EYE ON THE PRIZE.)

Chooch actually said Happy Mothers Day to me this morning without being prompted by Henry, which was nice I guess. Then he said, “I’ll make your coffee for you. Never mind, I don’t know how to make coffee” and then walked away when I tried to tell him to how. 

WHO DOES HE REMIND ME OF RIGHT NOW, I thought to myself. OH YEAH—ME. 

Chooch is too old now for teachers to force him to draw me some dumb picture or write some MOTHER acrostic and if Henry doesn’t remember to take him to the store to buy me at least a card, I get nothing. 

This was one of those years. But I’m still riding high on G-Dragon and KCON and also seeing Emarosa last night so I’m good. I mean, I’m still going to bitch about it because that’s who I am, but honestly I’m fine. 

I’m not a big breakfast fanatic so I told Henry to just make me an egg and an English muffin. Wow, when did I become so easy? Then Henry asked, “Do you want to watch Running Man since we didn’t get to watch it yesterday?” And he never seemed hotter to me than he did at that moment, except for Friday when he was like “Fine get the P4 KCON tickets instead of the P5.” 

So we watched Running Man and it happened to be the episode where they announce that Song Joon Ki is leaving and everyone on the show was crying and I was practically choking on my tears because they fell so fast that I wasn’t able to close my mouth in time. 

Wah. 

Um, what else. 

Henry made me a lovely bowl of dangnyeum for lunch and then we went to Jefferson Memorial for a walk even though Chooch declared that he suddenly doesn’t like cemeteries anymore? And I pouted because they weren’t putting me up on a grand enough Mom Pedestal, to which Chooch cried, “Literally every day is your day!” And ok fine he has a point but still. 

Then I made Chooch pose for this picture right after he was loudly talking about how he had to piss, not realizing that some broad was sitting in a nearby car with the window down, listening to his crude soliloquy:

I bet all the old rich suburban people preening their mothers’ graves really loved Chooch’s shirt. 

There was a patch of buttercups next to a stream in the cemetery, and I taught Chooch the whole “buttercup nose reflection” thing which really isn’t that big of a deal but I remember doing it a lot as a kid with my friends so maybe it was a big deal? I mean, we also weren’t preoccupied with Snapchat and Musicaly and cyber bullying back then, so the simple act of making the tip of our noses glow yellow was a fucking barrel of monkeys. 

 Chooch originally was unimpressed, but then a few minutes later he said, “No really, how does it turn your nose yellow?”

He’s kind of slow sometimes. 

We ended the day with a walk to Scoops, where a fourth grader came in and proceeded to stare at Chooch. 

“Do you know her?” Henry asked. 

“Yeah, she calls me Beaver.” And then when we stared at him expectedly, he casually added, “Because I ate a stick one time.”

Ugh, his reputation at school must be completely unenviable. 

On the way home, I was running like I was in the BTS “Run” music video and then Chooch was going to live at a bus stop and I was laughing so hard at everything that I was practically screaming and Henry just continued to walk faaaaaar ahead of us. 

So, that was my Mother’s Day. It was… a day. But yesterday was pretty close to perfection, so I guess it all evens out. 

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May 122017
 

  • I’m sorry no one loved you, apple.
  • Well it happened – Wesley’s mom fed Chooch. He came home one day last week and said, “Things got really awkward at Wesley’s. His mom asked me if I wanted a grilled cheese…..I said sure.” Wow. Mega awkward.
  • Somehow at work yesterday, Glenn, Todd, and I fell down a tennis rabbit hole. I don’t remember how it began but I mistakenly told them about the translucent yellow vinyl folder I kept stuffed with newspaper articles about Andre Agassi and pictures I had crudely drawn of him. (Crude as in amateur and terrible, he didn’t have like, weeners coming out of his mouth or anything like that.) I hate when I give them fuel like this because I know it will come up in the future as a way to make fun of me. Ugh. And then I called Aranxia Sanchez-Vicarrio beefy and those two got all up in arms about how I was essentially just calling her fat like they’re suddenly sensitive to fat-shaming, and I frantically argued that I just meant she was muscular, so Glenn said, “Then just say muscular.” “Yeah, not beefy!” Todd chimed in with his Team Aranxia pin on. Whatever!
  • Lauren asked me if there are any vegetables I’ve been eating on my Korean diet that I’d like her to try and grow and I was like FUCK YEAH BELLFLOWER so she was like “ok what is that” and I was like “……” So we started googling it and I would like to take this time to accept all of the credit for the super informative things I have accidentally been teaching my coworkers. But seriously I’m obsessed with bellflower this week.
    • Also known as doraji in Korean. Get you some.

  • Speaking of Bring Some Home For Daddy, Amber read that blog post and told me that he once tried to hug her too! But her reflexes were less lethargic than mine and she was able to sidestep his malodorous embrace.
  • Tuesday was the annual Dreaded Finger Prick day at work, a/k/a Wellness Screening. I participate every year because it does something for your health insurance, I never actually read that far into it. Anyway, Glenn and Amber get great jollies out of heckling me every year because they know how I get the vapors just thinking of the impending trauma my fingertip is about to endure. I went up the 28th floor (which gives me anxiety in and of itself) and signed in while the lady at the table was trying to make conversation with me about my name (she was confusing  my name with Erin Andrews and I just let her roll with it because my jitters made it sound like she was talking to me from inside a fishbowl and I just wanted to sit down). There was a tiny triage area and I collapsed into a seat next to my co-worker, Lucas. “I’m FREAKING OUT, LUCAS!” I said in lieu of any sort of normal salutation. And then I made him talk to me until it was his turn to go and sit behind a curtain and I was ALL ALONE beneath a leaking thought-bubble of horrible finger pricking tragedies. A few minutes later, an older man in a lab coat named Ray came over and called me back. He immediately started wringing his hands and pretended to bite his nails in  spot-on mockery of my visible nerves. “Is it that obvious?” I laughed nervously. “Oh, you’ll be fine!” he insisted, seating me in a chair facing out the window. “Look, you can see Kennywood from here,” he said, gesturing toward the window. “REALLY?” I squealed, unable to contain my gullible delight. “No,” he said, unpacking the pint-sized torture device that was able to fuck my finger to hell and back. OH RAY, YOU FUCKING CARD. His strategy worked though because he made me talk about my favorite Kennywood rides, and he asked me if I like Potato Patch fries (le duh), and it totally distracted me from the blood being pillaged from my finger.
    • J/K I totally noticed it and it hurt like a motherfucker.
    • Still, Ray was an absolute delight and the scale said I weighed three pounds less than my scale at home said that morning and all of my cholesterol-y numbers were great – and again, I say Thank You, Korea. You are changing my life in the best ways!
      • Glenn went up for the Perforation of Ye Olde Phalange and ended up getting Ray too! He claims they traded war stories about me, and Glenn told him at least he doesn’t have to sit behind me all day. :( Then Catherine went up and specifically asked for him when I told her that I weighed three pounds less on his scale, but then everyone kept getting called back before her because the lady at the table kept saying, “She’s waiting for Ray” so then finally Catherine was like FORGET RAY I JUST WANT TO GET THIS OVER WITH so she went back with some lady who, it turned out, was sharing the same scale with Ray so Catherine was happy.

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Finally, something about me is highly desirable! That sexy 2.8, boyyyyy.

  • KCON tickets went on sale today and everyone was counting down with me at work and by everyone I mean that Glenn was counting down for when Ticketmaster was going to make the tickets available and he could go back to listening to his political commentary in peace without me turning around every 30 seconds to let him know where we were in the countdown. (Todd planned his lunch break accordingly and was not in the office when this was happening.) Anyway, I got my KCON tickets! Henry is thrilled. I’M GOING TO SEE TWICE, YOU GUYS! AND G-FRIEND AND CN BLUE AND HIGHLIGHT AND ZION-T AND I’M GOING TO BE AROUND PEOPLE WHO WON’T MAKE FUN OF ME FOR LIKING THIS STUFF!
    • I think I got made fun of enough at the baby shower on Sunday to last for quite some time.  I know making fun of things you don’t understand or like is so cool, but let’s take a break, lol.
  • Chooch and I went to the grocery store with Henry last Saturday, much to his chagrin. We decided to help him at the self checkout, in spite of his cries of “NO PLZ DON’T NO, OH GOD—” and then proceeded to set off the Needs Assistance alarm three times.

  • I couldn’t find the black cardigan I usually wear with this shirt so I thought, “WWG-DW?”* and then when there wasn’t a $15,000 Chanel hot pink feathered blazer in my closet, I opted for this ballet shrug that’s been chilling in my dresser since 2000, never worn. I bought it at Express for probably $50 more than it’s worth. #bringingballetshrugsback *(What Would G-Dragon Wear)
  • Chooch has a date for a dance next week. o.O I don’t have it in me to say anything else about that right now. :(

  • I was working on my Korean studies last weekend and made it to the have/not have chapter and one of the answers was a name of a BIGBANG song! I already know this word of course, but it was so exciting to learn WHY it’s written this way. (The BIGBANG song is missing that last character up there, because their song title is informal Korean / banmal.)
  • Henry’s bringing approximately 4 weeks of laundry into the house (Chooch and I have a lot of clothes) while a bunch of teenagers are walking by so I yelled, “HENRY ASK THEM TO HELP YOU” and now he’s all embarrassed/angry/exasperated.
  • I just asked Henry if he’s going to freak out when Twice sings “TT” at KCON and he said, “No. Why would I?” Then I told him that I feel like I’m going to act extra-erin at KCON, like I think I might go super hard, dummy-style all up in the Prudential Center. Kpop makes me super hyper and giddy. 
  • Chooch texted me today when I was at work to tell me that he got straight As. So, I got KCON tickets.

That’s all for me. We’re going to Cleveland tomorrow to see Emarosa and eat food with our pal Jason so maybe I’ll liveblog / post pictures of Henry once an hour. READ IT OR DON’T.

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May 112017
 

It’s hard to believe that nine years ago, I saw Emarosa open for Pierce the Veil at some dinky skate park venue in Buffalo, and now here I was with Chooch (a much better concert companion than the one I had in ’08), seeing them together again on a much larger scale.

Pierce the Veil is still the same band from way back when. Emarosa couldn’t be more different. Yet, the feelings (trying to stop saying FEELS all the time because Inannoy even myself) were still the same.

100%.

Henry dropped Chooch and me off at Stage AE right after work on Tuesday and I was READY. Chooch found joy in pointing out all the parents in line who were way older than me, so that was a fun game for me too, although it was also kind of bizarre because I don’t remember parents ever being at PTV shows back in the day – why are their fans getting consistently younger?!

Although in every case I’ve encountered, the parents were there because they actually like PTV too, so that’s something.

Standing in line was boring. Nothing exciting happened. No ice cream truck. I did happily shout, “TAMPON” when the security guard was patting me down and asked what was in my pocket.

And Henry mocks me for never being prepared. Pfft!

Chooch and I managed to get the same spot we had for Never Shout Never, a sweet spot against the railing, off to the right where absolutely no one crowds so we’re free to gesticulate wildly and Chooch can, god forbid, rest his weary 11-year-old bones between sets.

As soon as we claimed our spots, an older woman gave us a once-over and said, “Oh good, you’re here with a kid too!”

I get real defensive about this because I’m not just some chaperone. So I felt the need to explain that I have actually liked PTV for the last 10 years (I didn’t mention liking their first incarnation, Before Today, because I didn’t want to sound like an indigent hipster even though I do have the indignation part down pat).

“He likes them now too so he became my concert buddy,” I said, jutting an elbow back toward Chooch. Henry is still so thankful about this, btw.

Anyway, Yinzer Mom (that’s not nice – she was actually a lovely person who knew when it was fine to just stand together in silence without puffing out empty words all night) went on to tell me that her daughter got her into PTV last summer.

“I started listening to them while working out – I lost 50 pounds!” she exclaimed.

“It’s like you and Kpop!” Chooch butted in. Shut up, Chooch. The moms are talking.

It was cool to listen to an older person gush over a band that has been associated with teenage fans for as long as I’ve been into them. I don’t really understand why that is, because they’re so great, and for as many times as I’ve seen them (at least 20 times by now!), they have not put on one single bad show.

I asked her if she’d ever heard of Emarosa and she admitted that she hadn’t.

“You’re going to love them,” I promised. And then she told me that the last concert she attended was Kid Rock & Lynyrd Skynyrd 10 years ago.

Wow. Just wow.

Also, not surprising.

Then some other old broad rolled up with two young teen girls. They were standing on the floor below us, but the broad turned around to talk to us several times, my favorite of which was when she asked me if I liked Korn.

LOL.

For a minute in 1997? And then a second in 1999?

She must have been bitchin’ back in the day. I could tell by her form-fitting black attire, severely bleached hair, and faded sleeve full of hearts and daggers.

Ugh, I’m trying to do this new No Judgment thing and it’s hard. So very hard.

She was a very nice lady.

With some pretty poor choices.

The first band to play was Chapel. I had never heard of them and didn’t do my due diligence because it’s a struggle for me to leave my Korean bubble. I gave them nary a Spotify spin. I expected them to be moderately heavy, but instead we were treated with an electro-pop duo from Georgia who completely and unexpectedly slayed. The drummer was a bad-ass girl who, at one point, was beating a drum with her head. Chooch was enthralled.

He’s been learning how to play drums now too, in addition to piano. His teacher Cheryl dedicates the last 15 minutes of his piano lessons for some drummin’, and he is really into it.

“That’s your basic rock beat,” he said, nodding toward the stage during the intro  to one of the songs.

Yeah, Chooch and I were definitely fans of these guys.

Chapel was way better than I anticipated ❤

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I kept thinking of Whitechapel in my head, and I’m glad that they didn’t sound like them.

After Chapel, it was EMAROSA TIME! It occurred to me that it had been nearly a year since we last saw them, and maybe I’m just spoiled but that is way too long and I’m glad we were able to rectify that shit. Chooch and I were fine not being closer to the stage because we’re also going to see them in Cleveland on Saturday, where they’ll be a doing an off-date headlining show at Mahalls. Way more intimate!

Bradley has bleached hair now and that was disorienting at first (Henry would have had a field day because he’s obsessed with noticing changes in band members’ hair), but then they started playing and it was like, “MY HEART IS HOME AGAIN.” How are they not taking over the world yet!?

Guys. Emarosa fixed me right up tonight.

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Bradley did all of the people-pleasing tricks: doing backflips on stage, literally immersing himself in the crowd, carrying their guitarist on his shoulders through the crowd. But most of all, he sang like a fucking anguished angel while the rest of Emarosa supported his vocals with intense instrumentals. There is no other way to explain an Emarosa show to someone other than it sounds like magic and you will be fucking engaged. Bradley will make sure of that. Every show I’ve been to, people go nuts, whether it’s their first time or fiftieth time experiencing the bombastic showmanship.

Afterward, I asked my new mom friend what she thought. I mean, she was fucking whistling (yes, she’s a whistler; sigh), fumbling to record with her phone, and screaming her crispy-haired head off.

“Holy shit! I was NOT expecting that,” she yelled. “When they first came on, I was like OK who is singing?! And then I was like, Oh! There he is, IN THE CROWD! They were AWESOME!”

I love experiencing someone’s first time with Emarosa! I’m starting to cry as I write this, someone give me a pill.

Immediately after their set, Bradley hopped off the stage and went straight back to Emarosa’s merch table, because he cares about his fans, you guys. The merch table was on  the opposite side of the venue from where we were standing and I didn’t want to lose our spots. I could have asked Yinzer Mom to save them for us I guess, but I hate talking to people.

“I’ll just go by myself,” Chooch said with a shrug, and off went my independent 11-year-old kid who doesn’t need me to hold his hand like I need Henry to hold mine. WHO IS THIS BOY!?

Anyway, he stood in line all by himself and he said Bradley playfully punched his arm when he noticed him. <3

Of course, Chooch didn’t say much because Bradley is the only person in the world who can take Chatty Chooch’s tongue. It’s amazing, really, how shy and clammed-up he becomes. But he got a picture!

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<3<3<3

Chooch was angry because the guy who took the picture for them didn’t do a good job.

“It’s blurry!” he whined, and I was like, “Yeah but it’s still better than if Henry had taken it.”

Bradley asked where his parents were and Chooch was probably thinking in his head, “THEY ABANDONED ME WILL YOU ADOPT ME PLEASE BE MY NEW DAD” but instead, Chooch said he told Bradley that his mom was “over there somewhere.”

Yep that’s me, being a vigilant parent, on the other side of a venue full of drunk people and boobytraps and kidnappers.

The next band was Sum 41 and I was totally not looking forward to them. I kind of wished, selfishly, that they were the headliners so we could peace out after PTV, but no….they were right smack in the middle.

I’ve managed to go all these years without ever having to see them live, and I only know the songs “In Too Deep” and “Fat Lip.” So I was willing to give them a chance, because maybe they’d be fun. As the stage was being setup for them, the floor started to fill in with a lot of older persons; Yinzer bros who most definitely listen to nu-metal started pushing their way to the middle of the floor, sloshing their bro-beers around and just looking like genuine hooligans.

I was glad that we had a railing separating us from them because I could only imagine.

You guys. I’m probably going to offend people here, but Sum 41 now sits comfortably in my list of Top 20 Worst Bands I’ve Ever Had to Stand Through. Maybe they’re for you but THEY ARE NOT FOR ME. And apparently, not for my kid either, because he was ANGRY during their set.

He flipped them off several times, too.

Look, I’m glad Derrick Whibley didn’t like, die, or whatever, and that he got away from Avril Lavigne, but good goddamn, he is not very original with his crowd engagement and banter (getting the crowd to yell Fuck Yeah – so progressive).

Also, their set was like a billion decibels louder than the other three, and was definitely one of the loudest shows I’ve ever been to, and not in a good way. I was actually in pain, that’s how needlessly loud it was. Like, I actually wished I had earplugs.

I felt like a subwoofer was having me for dinner.

And when did Sum 41 become metal? It was basically 45 minutes of generic-sounding metal riffs, a quick Black Sabbath cover, a cover of We Will Rock You that they dragged out for 10  minutes because Derrick had to stop in the middle of it to fling more banal banter at the crowd while sauntering around the stage aimlessly.

Sum 41 guitar solos.

Sum 41 minutes I’ll never get back.

Sum 41 days of hearing loss.

Yeah, I hated them. It was the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus all over again.

It was years of enduring Dope because they wouldn’t stop touring with my beloved Cold.

It was just a waste of time. Go back to 2002, Sum 41.

But none of that mattered once Pierce the Veil came on!

Pierce the Veil's show-opening never disappoints 🔥💥🥊

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There’s not much I can say on this here blog other than they were utterly fantastic. From their stage design to the performance, it was flawless and entertaining and kept us all engaged – even my fickle kid who has been known to want to leave after three songs are played.

But he was really feeling it, and we kept elbowing each other each time our faves were played, or when Jaime would come to our side of the stage, or when legit smoke circles came bursting out into the crowd during “Circles.”

Mike’s drum set was on top of a giant stick of dynamite, even!

Pierce the Veil shows have it all!

Vic mentioned that 2017 marks TEN YEARS of them being a band and I can’t even believe it. Obviously, it makes me wistful for certain people, and a certain time in my life, but I’m glad that I can still go to these shows and not be completely sucker-punched with sadness anymore. Maybe it’s a new era. Maybe it’s because now I can share it with Chooch.

But it’s good now. Even when they threw it back to A Flair for the Dramatic – sure, I held my hands to my chest like a little old lady clutching her purse on the way to church….but no tears! I was TEAR FREE!

I AM SAVED, LORD JESUS!

I do miss the fluorescent clothes-wearing scene kids with side parts that used to make up the majority of the crowd, though. Those were the days. #StayPosi

No one even wears bows in their hair anymore!

💙 Pierce the Veil 💙

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OMG, after they played “Stay Away From My Friends,” my new mom friend and I literally squealed and she elbowed me SO HARD (I’m delicate!) that it hurt but I’ll let it go this time since it was in the name of PTV.

Chooch was a happy boy because the last song of the encore was King For a Day. I wish that Besitos was still part of their set list, but their last album is so great that I don’t really miss it that much, I guess. (But it IS one of my favorites! God, Vic — aren’t you reading all of my letters!? Is it because they’re written in blood?!)

As we were leaving, we saw Chooch’s One True Love, Courtney, leaning against the bar with her boyfriend. Chooch has loved her since he was in 1st grade and she was the 8th grade mentor. Now she’s like, I don’t know, in some grade in high school, but we run into her a lot. We saw her earlier when she was crowd-surfing during PTV, so now I figure it’s only a matter of time before Chooch needs to step up his concert game and I AM NOT LOOKING FORWARD TO THAT SO MANY KIDS WERE WALKING PAST US WITH BLOODY NOSES AND I DON’T WANT MY SWEET LITTLE BOY TO BLEED WAAAAAH!

Sometimes I’m a mom.

Anyway! So we saw Courtney and Chooch was all, “Oh no. Oh god no” and he tried to go the opposite way, but I grabbed him by the shoulders and steered him over to her while he was literally dragging his heels. Eventually, he was right in front of her. She looked up from her phone, smiled real big, and said, “Hi Riley!” with just the right amount of taunting-ness to her voice.

His face turned so red that I feared if I pricked it with a pin, a gush of blood would come spurting out a la The Shining.

Then we went outside and ran around looking for our parents like all of the other kids leaving the show. Don’t worry, Papa H was waiting.

 

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May 102017
 

“I met him when I was twenty-five.” The sticky dough was passed back and forth between Agatha’s hands and she kneaded it rhythmically until chubby logs were formed. “I had noticed him around town before — cruising down Main Street in his pimento-hued jalopy; one lanky arm, permanently marred with dots of trauma from his recurring bout with shingles, draped confidently over the side of the door. Grease the pan, Cecilia.”

“Mother, what’s a shingle?” Cecilia asked as she moved the stick of oleo along the cookie tray, edges of which were blackened from years of use. Agatha ignored her child’s inquiry as she methodically bathed each log of dough in a lake of sugar; she was lost in thought.

“We always seemed to be at Barb’s Taffy Stand at the same time. My mama said it was serendipity, but I argued that he was tailing me. Not wanting to surrender, I’d fixate on the wide, colorful bands of chewy sugar being pulled and stretched by metal arms, pretending not to notice that he was standing well inside normal human comfort zones, with his cowlick prominent and glistening from a daub of pomade, and his butterfly knife tucked into the front pocket of his jeans. I tried to ignore the acrid redolence of chewing tobacco bred with halitosis and a marinade of anchovies as he breathed his order for banana taffy too close to my nostrils.”

Agatha squirted several drops of red food coloring into a bowl and began folding it into the goo, creating sanguine swirls among the stark white frosting. She continued her tale, in no need of prodding.

“One day, we ended up in the same room together. I pretended to be immersed in a gossip rag, but every time I glanced up, I spied him making lewd gestures at me from across the room.”

“What kind of gestures, Mother?” Cecilia asked, dropping dough logs too-close-together on the tray.

“Well, like the universal sign for cunnilingus,” Agatha ruminated, quickly lashing her tongue between v-spread fingers, in an impetuous demonstration.

With Cecilia nodding to show her comprehension, Agatha continued. “After a few minutes, he sidled up next to me and whispered, ‘Hey broad, let’s blow this abortion clinic.'”

“Didn’t he mean ‘popsicle stand’?” Cecilia scrutinized.

“Oh, no dear,” Agatha chuckled. “We really were in an abortion clinic. He was there delivering pizzas and I was there—” She stopped when she saw Cecilia’s face, constricted with horror. “Oh honey, no!” laughed Agatha. “I wasn’t there to abort you. But let’s just say that if I hadn’t gone back the next day, you’d have a big brother or sister. Possibly inbred,” she mused.

“So,” Agatha continued, extracting the first batch of baked cookies from the oven. “Against my better judgment, I began seeing him. We’d meet up behind the bait shop, under the rusted train trestle, sometimes on an honest to goodness mattress. I kind of started to like him.” Agatha stared out the rain-streaked window.

“What went wrong, Mother?” Cecilia asked, her face furnished with curiosity and chicken pox scars.

Agatha seemed to bristle momentarily, but then forged on with the story. “I found out he was seeing someone else. Nancy Jenkins, the proprietor of the town bordello. They shared a Winnebago together, and kept it parked near the river bank where together they could share the perfect view of the sunset. I tried to be OK with being the mistress, his dirty secret, his fat-bottomed hussy, but my father told me that I deserved better than that, even despite my cleft palate.

“So I told him he had to break up with her,” Agatha recounted as she slid the cookies onto a cracked serving platter. “He seemed angry at my audacity, and I saw his hand gravitate, almost instinctively, toward his knife. But then he turned and left without a fight; I fear I’d never see him again. The next night, he showed up at my doorstep, holding out a red velvet ring box.”

Cecilia’s cookie-frosting came to a halt and she smiled up at her mother expectantly. Agatha finished dabbing the tip of Cecilia’s neglected cookie with a flourish of crimson frosting before continuing.

“I thought to myself, ‘This is it, Aggie. Someone’s finally going to make an honest woman of you,’ and I gingerly accepted the gift from his out-stretched hand. But there was no ring inside, Cecilia. Not even a pendant or a brooch.”

“Not even a key to his Winnebago?” Cecilia asked, befuddled.

“Not even a key.” Agatha licked her lips, gummy from being so chatty. “Inside that box, resting gently atop the velvet innards, was a finger.”

“A WHAT?”

“…a blue-nailed finger,” Agatha calmly repeated. “I never meant for him to kill her! It was all a misunderstanding,” Agatha rushed, assuaging Cecilia from conniptioning. “‘I said break up with her, not break her!‘ I hollered at him. He laughed and said, ‘Well babe, same end result either way, am I right?'”

“You left him after that, right Mother? You ran real fast, right? Tell me it’s so.”

“Well, not exactly, sweetheart. I had to stay with him…”

“…because you were pregnant with me? He got you pregnant didn’t he? He’s my real daddy isn’t he? And not that clown from the circus who stole our refrigerator!”

“Oh honey, no,” Agatha laughed into the tray of tampon-shaped cookies, freshly baked for the upcoming Menstruation Masquerade; it would be Cecilia’s first time attending. “It was because he had an enormous cock!”

[Originally published January 8, 2008. Reposted because I can do shit like that.]

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