Sep 102018
 

Here’s my crew in line for the Jack Rabbit.

Hi, I’m back with the second half of my Kennywood saga. I always feel like once I finish recapping the last amusement park visit of the summer, then summer is really over. So, I drag my feet a little. Sue me.

But also, this last trip to Kennywood wound up being one of the best times I’ve had there in years, so I’m desperate to hang on to those feels. Well, right this way to the bulletpoints…

  • For the first time in forever, we went inside Noah’s Ark and weren’t the most obnoxious people. Nope, this time it was AN OLD LADY behind us who was quiet the whole time we were in line and then as soon as her Easy Spirits hit the whale’s tongue, she sounded like a midwestern granny was being exorcised from within her. Literally, she was screaming things like, “OH GOLLY!” and “AYE YIYIYIYIYIYIYIYIYI!!!!” and the whole time I was like, “WHO THE FUCK IS BEHIND US” until I finally sneaked a peak in a less-dim section of the Ark and was like, “Oh wow, not what I was expecting.” Even Chooch was like bug-eyed over this and he lives in the same house as my big mouth so that’s really saying something. I just assumed she was trying to hype up the kids she was with, but then we exited the Ark, I watched her and husband walk away alone, no children in sight. Welp, I think I got a glimpse of Future Me.
  • Blake was allowed to ride one ride while they were there, and he chose the Black Widow because he still had never been on it since it was introduced to the park a few years ago. I tried to hide my reluctance and got into line with him and Chooch because this is one of those rides that puts me through a series of internal existential crises while standing in line, but once the ride is over, I always feel bad-ass an accomplished, especially when Janna is there because she totally idolizes my ability to ride insane thrill rides. (SHE DOES, OK. But, um, don’t ask her about that because she’ll, um, she’ll get embarrassed, see.) The line for the Black Widow is always long even on the least crowded days because the loading process takes so long.  So we stood there while Chooch mindlessly performed Fortnight dances and watched Henry chasing Calvin around on the other side of the fence. I yawned a lot. I always yawn while standing in lines, even if I’m not actually tired. A doctor told me once a long time ago that it’s because I don’t get enough oxygen so then I catch myself yawning and barely breathing, and I start dramatically huffing and puffing but then I just feel light-headed and it’s just a vicious cycle, is what I’m trying to tell you. So I don’t fight the yawns anymore. I’m yawning right now, even. After about 45 minutes, it was finally out turn. Actually, we were the last three people they let on, so that felt ominous. Even more ominous was when we were all strapped in and ready to go and the harnesses popped up because someone wanted off. Then we had to sit there and go through the load-in process all over again AND THEN THE HARNESSES POPPED UP AGAIN BECAUSE SOMEONE ELSE NEEDED TO GET OFF?! Even one of the ride operators was like, “wtf is happening are you kidding” and part of me was wondering if this was a sign? Like, should I object to this upcoming marriage of our souls with the sky? But I kept my mouth shut — until the ride started and then I started rambling like a crazy-person because that’s my defense mechanism on this rid – just keep hyper-talking until the ride stops because if God and Satan hear that shit they’ll be like, “Nah, we can wait a little longer before taking this bitch, that Henry guy can keep her.”
    • Spoiler alert! I survived! However, someone’s phone did not. Once the Black Widow stopped swinging, we saw a black phone on the platform totally shattered and exploded and everyone was super intrigued by this. The ride operators were like, “OH SHIT REALLY” and when the people in line figured out what we were all ogling, there was a collective exclamation of “OH SHIT!” This whole scene made me feel sick because they explicitly tell you to empty your pockets before getting on the ride and what if that had hit someone!? That phone fell from such a great height and with such force that it fucking exploded. I don’t want to think about what impact that could have had on someone’s head.  I didn’t stick around to see what happened next but I hope whoever that phone belonged to got fined or something BUT THEY PROBABLY DIDN’T.
  • Ironically, right after this happened, Blake & Co. went to get more food probably and the rest of us decided to ride the Phantom again. While we were in line on the platform, we noticed that it was taking a longer time than usual for the car to be sent off. I saw two of the ride attendants talking to two of the riders and then the ride operator (whom I was convinced I loved by the end of the night) got on the speaker and said, “This car will not leave the platform until all cellphones are placed in the bin.” I was like, “Huh, I don’t remember ever hearing this precautionary warning before” but then he got on the speaker and repeated it more forcefully. When there was no movement from any of the riders in the car, he tacked on, “I will call Safety Enforcement if I have to” and that’s when we realized that some broad refused to put her phone away and said something like, “Then make everyone else do it too” and someone screamed, “JUST GIVE THEM YOUR PHONE!!!” She got all huffy and defiant like this was some playground where shit wasn’t going her way, so instead of just complying with the rules, she and her male companion got off the ride and stormed out of the exit to an uproarious round of applause. I couldn’t even believe the audacity! One of the ride attendants told us that just the day before, someone had their phone out on the ride and it fell out of their hands and hit the person behind them. “There was blood EVERYWHERE,” she said, I almost puked. LOOK – I know this is the age of getting that perfect Instagram shot or Snapchatting your daily highlights so everyone knows you’re out there living your best life, and I get it, I do that shit too. I’ve taken pictures on roller coasters — but they’re mild ones and I always put my phone away before reaching the top of the hill. But most of those rides, common sense tells you that everything should be left with a non-rider or put in a bin! Why should your stupid ass social media feed take precedence over someone’s safety? Bitch, leave my park!
    • After watching the park employees handle this with finesse, I was glad that I didn’t roast Kennywood on Twitter like I had planned to after that Golden Nugget fail. I saw some guy complaining on there about how the load time at Kennywood takes twice as long as it does at Hershey, and the more I thought about it, I decided that I don’t give a shit if I have to stand in line for an extra 5  minutes if it means that these ride attendants are doing what they were trained to do in order to make sure we’re all safe. We all need to calm the fuck down and stop being so entitled. Yes, standing in line sucks. Having to part with your phone, god forbid, sucks. But it’s not worth defying rules and acting like an asshole. You want to check my seat belt again? BE MY GUEST. TAKE YOUR TIME.
      • Am I getting old or what?!

  • The first time we rode the Musik Express, we actually had to stand in line because the ark was still kind of crowded then. There was a little girl in front of us who kept staring at my shirt and finally she worked up the nerve to tell me she liked it. “My mom likes skulls, and I like cats,” she said and I was like, “Fuck, a small child is talking to me. WHAT TO DO. WHAT TO DO.” So eventually I just said, “Thanks” because that’s about all the small talkin’ I can do these days. Meanwhile, Chooch was seething beside me because it was actually his shirt that I was wearing and he hates when people compliment me, HAHAHA. The second time we rode it was later in the evening after all the lights came on and Chooch’s friend from the Thunderbolt was on it too – this was after we saw him on the Volcano and he slapped Chooch’s hand. We were really excited about this because making amusement park friends is the best, says the girl who literally just bitched about small talk a few sentences ago. I AM MORE CONTRARY THAN MARY MARY. Anyway, we made Janna  take a picture of us looking precious and then I had a flashback to the picture my mom took of me and my friend Liz when we were 13 on the Musik Express, with my brother Ryan and THAT FRENCH KID LAURENT (see my littering rant from last week!) in the seat behind us, and I have braces, permed hair, and a perma-scowl and also I’m wearing shorts and a tie-dye shirt that was probably IOU or some shit.

I look so Les Miz! I love this picture so much, but I’m sure I probably didn’t love it back then.

  • We don’t ride the Paratroopers very often, but it just felt right to ride it on this night. DO YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN? Probably not, because I don’t either. Here are some things that happened during this time:
    • While we were standing in line, I saw my friend Colleen from work so Chooch screamed her name real loud and then she came over to talk to us for a minute and I started laughing about this later because her office is right near my desk but that was probably the longest I’ve talked to her in a long time because it’s been so quiet at work lately.
    • I recounted a harrowing tale to Janna and Chooch wherein I was but a wee youngin’ riding this with my friend Amy and one of my sandals slipped off. Just like that person’s phone on the Black Widow, we were all lucky in  that it landed on the ground within the ride’s perimeter so no one was knocked out by a pink-bowed Candies, but that ride operator screamed at me afterward and I was crying and crying because I was like 7 or 8, and then Amy’s mom, who was also our heroic Girl Scout leader, stepped up and was like, “OH NO YOU DIDN’T JUST YELL AT THIS CHILD” and I have never worn sandals or flip flops to an amusement park since then. I told them this story as a grown-ass adult lady was on the ride wearing flip flops.
    • So I thought Chooch was going to ride with me but he was like, “Pfft nah I’m riding with Janna. That’s why I said too bad you don’t have a big stuffed animal to be your partner like that girl” and he pointed to some young, sad girl sitting alone under one of the umbrellas with a big bear or something next to her. I was really offended by this, especially when they started yapping about how they were going to get the purple one and that’s the one that I wanted so they were like, “Go get the other purple one then” and I was like, “NO BECAUSE I WANTED TO SIT NEAR YOU ASSHOLES” so then I was like, “Fuck you” and just took a green umbrella in front of them because I didn’t even care anymore. Then suddenly, while we were still preparing for the ride to start, I heard the two of them gagging and coughing behind me so I turned around to see what the hell was going on and Janna wailed, “That man that was sitting here before us must have farted through the whole ride because it smells!” and Chooch was practically dry-heaving, but now all the umbrellas were taken so they couldn’t switch and I was SO SMUG. “Good, I hope that guy pooped in there, too,” I said and then I sat through the whole ride with a huge smile on my face and aggressively waved to Henry every time I Mary Poppins’d past him. ENJOY YOUR SMELL, ASSHOLES!

  • All day long, I kept saying that we probably wouldn’t stay long enough for the fireworks because I figured we’d be burnt out by early evening, but before we knew it, it was dark and we were ascending the hill of the Phantom watching the fireworks. In all the times I’ve been to Kennywood,  I can honestly say this was my first time watching the fireworks from the Phantom! It was really magical, and made it especially terrifying when we were suddenly plummeting down the hill because we were too distracted to realize we had reached the top. Oh shit, I love roller coasters at night! I was so hyped up after this that even though it was nearly closing time, I giddily whisper-screamed, “LET’S GO ON ONE MORE TIME AND GET THE FRONT SEAT” like I was suggesting doing a hit of X behind the Potato Patch or something. Henry was like, “I am not riding this twice in a row” and he was still talking while Chooch and I chucked all of our belongings at him and ran, AND I MEAN RAN, to the entrance while screaming HURRY UP, JANNA! We just ran and ran and ran, praying that the line was still open, and it WAS but that didn’t stop us from still running through the queue. Some kid was behind us, also running, so his dad yelled STOP RUNNING! and I was like, “Fuck off dad” and just then, I FUCKING FELL while I was trying to duck under the railing because I was so giddy that I just lost all control of my body and went straight down so then I was on my hands and knees literally crawling until I got the strength to pick myself back up because I was laughing so hard that my whole body tickled! I caught up to Chooch and wheezed, “I FELL” and then almost peed my pants because I was laughing so hard. Anyway, inside the platform, almost all of the lines were empty except for the line for the front seat. We squeezed into the queue for that one and as we were catching our breath, the same guy who was all authoritarian about the cell phones and calling the Safety Popo was still working the Phantom and he came over and roped off the end of the line for the front seat. “You guys will be the last riders for the night,” he said, and it was so hot to me for some reason, like was he COMING ON TO ME I COULDN’T TELL. I was totally in love with him after this and I don’t know why but this was making me laugh even harder, and then to compound the situation, here comes Janna, strolling onto the platform like five minutes after we had already gotten there, and it was clear that she didn’t run AT ALL. Henry told me later that after she gave him her purse to hold, she actually started to walk in the wrong direction, but he confirmed that no, she did not run at all.
    • So now Janna is in line with us, but she’s standing in the queue for the second car so she can ride behind us. There is no one else in line for that seat, and still like 4 people ahead of us, so Janna is standing way far back, like she’s in line with her imaginary friends. My Kennywood boyfriend came over at one point and asked her if she was in line and she mumbled yes like wasn’t it obvious and he was just like “Oh” so I suggested that she try to get people to go in front of her. “Yeah, ask that guy to go in front of you,” Chooch suggested, pointing to some sweaty bro who rolled on up without a shirt on. “NO Chooch! I don’t want to sit where that shirtless guy sat!” Janna snapped, and Chooch snottily responded that she wouldn’t be sitting in the same seat because there were two Phantom cars running, so….still, she was like, “No! That’s disgusting!” and they’re going back and forth, fighting over where this shirtless guy is going to sit and I was doing the pee-squat by this point because I was slap-happy to the max. Honestly, when I say that we had the best time at Kennywood, I have to pull myself away from the situation a bit and look down on the scene, because was I the only one laughing? Nope, Chooch was too. OK good.
    • Sometime in the middle of all this, Chooch’s pal from the Thunderbolt walked into the platform! My Kennywood boyfriend said, “Oh hey, Sam” to him, so I guess he’s a regular! I think Sam had become Chooch’s “Stanley.” Anyway, Sam seemed a bit upset that the line for the front seat was roped off, but you snooze you lose, buddy! I didn’t get a scrape on my knee for nothing.
    • Meanwhile, Janna kept letting people in front of her but then she started to let TOO MANY in front of her so I screamed, “NO! NOW WE’RE LINED UP ANYMORE!” and the couple she was trying to let in put their hands up and backed away and then I started laughing all over again that pee was imminent. Oh, the pee struggle is so real, you guys. I never outgrew that whole “giddy as a schoolgirl” phase.
    • Finally it was our turn and it was everything I could have wanted, closing out the perfect day at Kennywood in the front seat on the Phantom’s last run of the night. It really felt like being a kid again and as long as I didn’t think about the fact that I had to go to work the next day, I was golden.

I spent the next week thinking of Henry sitting alone on a bench after Chooch ditched him for Sam, or Janna calmly meandering onto the Phantom platform after Chooch and I sprinted there like idiots, or Janna and Chooch sitting in a fart seat, and I would start upchucking chuckles (upchuckling?) in the middle of work. It made me miss Barb though because I always loved torturing her with my giddy Kennywood tales!

What a great way to end the summer! I thought I was over Kennywood, but then this day happened and now we’re an item again.

Henry was so happy that amusement park season has ended but now I’m throwing the idea of going to Knoebel’s in October at him, so now he’s sad again.

Sep 082018
 

Oh boy, another amusement park blog post, can you even stand it.  I thought that I probably wouldn’t have anything to say about this day since we already went to Kennywood once this summer (or three times if you’re Chooch), but as usual, I was wrong because this was one of the funNEST days I had all goddamn summer.

First of all, we were supposed to go two weeks ago on a Tuesday because our recent tradition over the last three years has been to go on  the last regular weekday of the season. I take off work for this shit! However, it was supposed to rain all day and it definitely started out that way so I pulled the plug on our plans just to be safe. And of course, it ended up being a stupidly day too, with just one quick shower in the late afternoon. But rescheduling for the following Sunday ensured that  now Janna and Henry could go for the full day instead of just meeting us there after work, and Blake, Haley and Calvin were also set to come out! So even though I was not pleased about having to go on a Sunday, it would be worth it to have a nice, full group for a change.

Turns out though, Sunday was like, fireman day or something so it was moderately crowded and I was kind of concerned that this was going to ruin the day, but then we realized it wasn’t actually all THAT crowded, it was just that the park was understaffed since most of the employees had gone back to school, so not all of the rides were running at once, which made lines for the rides that were running longer than we were used to. Somehow this ended up not being as tragic as I thought and we were still able to basically walk on most of the rides except for the dumb Black Widow and Exterminator.

Also, we got free WPXI sunglasses and candy from some people sitting at a table! (They were actual WPXI people, not just randos, but I still would have taken their candy probably because that’s just who I am.) Anyway, there were a lot of stupid/dumb/hilarious-to-me things that happened so let’s do this shit bullet-style.

  • Here you’ll find the first selfie of the day, while Chooch and I were on the Jack Rabbit. Please note that I always put my phone away before the ride starts, more on that later, YOU’LL SEE. Also, this was the first ride we went on which Chooch was salty about because the Exterminator is our tradition but since we were there on a day we weren’t meant to be there, I decided we might as well just scramble that shit all up. Also, while we were in line for this, Janna texted me that she had arrived so then Henry to go and meet her with her ticket (we still had some of those rain tickets left over from last year!) and Chooch and I were dying, wondering what they were talking about. Then they waited for us while we were on  the ride, like they were are our parents, and Chooch and I seamlessly fell back into our tradition of screaming, “JANNA!!!!!!” as loud as possible to try to get her attention from the ground. We’re both 8.

  • In line for the Racer, some asshole was in the queue behind us wearing a MAGA shirt and Janna and I glared at him every time we passed him when the line moved. Then we heard him talking at point and I said loudly, “OH THAT EXPLAINS IT. IT MAKES SENSE NOW” and then Janna started passive-aggressively saying things and Henry had pretty much disassociated himself from us by then while Chooch was asking in major outdoor-voice, “OH ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT THAT GUY IN THE TRUMP SHIRT?” Not pictured: Guy in Trump shirt.

Stupid group photo. Janna and I won the Racer, btw. This coaster is only fun if you win, I don’t care what other people say.

  • We stood in line for the Exterminator for like 50-60 minutes it seemed like because for some reason, even when the park isn’t crowded, this ride always has the longest line. I mean, it’s essentially just an indoor Crazy Mouse and oh hey, funny story about that: Janna was talking about the last time we went to DelGrosso’s which is a small amusement park somewhere else in Pennsylvania (I don’t know, look it up!) and she was like, “Omg I loved that Crazy Mouse ride, I could have ridden it all day” and I was like, “You know that’s exactly what the Exterminator is, right?” because we have to DRAG HER ON THIS EVERY TIME and she always tries to give us some stupid excuse about how it gives her a headache. She considered this for a few seconds and said, “Oh my god, is it really?” and then I even pointed out how even the cars are the same and she was like, “OH WOW I FEEL SO STUPID” and I was like, “THAT IS BECAUSE YOU ARE.” And then Chooch tried to say that he’s the one who broke this same news to ME!? I was like, “Bitch you best step off because I knew that for a long time and it sure as hell wasn’t because your egg head told me so.” So then we fought about that, which was our second fight of the day, the first being when we were standing in line for the Jack Rabbit and got in a fight over semantics because he said I don’t explain things well and I said it’s just because his comprehension skills suck and he clearly isn’t that smart.
    • Also, we loved the couple in front of us because they were cute but not cloyingly so, and when we saw them later on, he had won her a giant panda (not piano like I had originally typed because I’m seriously losing control of  my brain) and we thought that was adorable. Or maybe just I did.

  • Speaking of giant pandas, while we were on the Exterminator that Janna suddenly likes now, Henry won Chooch a giant unicorn, which is bigger than Calvin but not bigger than Chooch.
  • Also while we were on the Exterminator, Blake and his crew arrived but Calvin is still too small to ride and Haley is pregnant again so they pretty much just took a food tour of Kennywood and enjoyed the perks of being there on Service Day (firetrucks, a cop parade, a police dog show – a baby’s paradise!).

Calvin is still at that age where Henry’s beard is cool.

  • The last several times we’ve gone to Kennywood, Chooch and I have eaten at Johnny Rockets because, bless them, they have black bean burgers that suit our meatless lifestyle. However, I wanted to flip things up again on this day and go back to our old food haunt, the….pizza place? Does it have a name? I don’t know. But this is where we used to always eat pre-Johnny Rockets. Henry got a whole pizza which Chooch, me, Janna, Blake and Haley devoured while Henry chased Calvin all around. Henry said he didn’t want any pizza……..

……..but he sure looks sad here.

  • While we were in the vicinity of the pizza place, we decided to also get our traditional Golden Nugget ice cream cones then too. I’ve been blogging about K-wood (ugh, I wish that actually meant Koreawood) for as long as I’ve been blogging (informative statement) so you might already know that we don’t get ice cream anywhere else but here but LISTEN UP PEOPLE: shit was wack this time. First of all, we noticed that they no long cut the squares of ice cream from the huge block that they used to use, but now it’s cut straight from an ice cream carton so the shape isn’t right and it’s more of a lumpy rhombus, and the little bitches working back there that day couldn’t be bothered and were scowling the whole time, and the worst one of them all was telling the other one about how she got fired from Giant Eagle for BEING RUDE TO CUSTOMERS AT THE CHECKOUT. Wow, you don’t say?! The dumb bitch in charge of dunking the cones in chocolate was trying to be efficient by grabbing three in her hands, but the guy in front of me was like, “I only need one of those, and a root beer” so instead of putting two of the cones back in the freezer, she continued to hold them while preparing his shitty Golden Nugget, and it was like 95 degrees out so you know those other ice creams were softening faster than a guy’s dick in front of Lorena Bobbit. After she finished his sloppy root beer, and I do mean it was a fucking mess, she turned her scowl upon me and asked what topping I wanted and I said I wanted the mixed topping at the end but I should have just told her to fucking suck on at that point because I didn’t even want it anymore but stupid Henry already paid and he hates when I cause scenes, so I took the lumpy cone from her which came with an identical scowl like hers, so I slapped that on my face and stomped back to the table Chooch was saving. I always take pictures of our Golden Nuggets because they’re masterpieces, but this time it was dripping everywhere and chunks of chocolate were falling to the ground because the fucking ice cream wasn’t frozen anymore. “I’M WRITING A LETTER ABOUT THIS,” I barked to Henry and Janna when they returned with their Sloppy Nuggets. “NO, I’M GOING TO TWEET ABOUT IT. AND I’M TAGGING KENNYWOOD IN IT!” I yelled, pounding the table. Henry agreed that I should do this because this is one thing that riles him up too – the sentiment that “no one takes pride in their work anymore.” He loves saying that. I’m going to make him a shirt with that slogan on it. But, then I got distracted because I wanted to ride the Thunderbolt, so that tweet never happened. (BUT THAT SHIRT STILL MIGHT.)

Sharing his Melted Nugget with Calvin who might never know the glory of a traditional Golden Nugget if Kennywood keeps this shit up!

Henry was this happy all day.

  • The first time we rode the Phantom that day, it was still KIND OF crowded and we actually had to stand in line for like 20 whole minutes, lol. Usually we go on days that are so empty that we just stroll right onto the platform, but luckily it would be like that later in the day for us spoiled amusement park enthusiasts. We had entertainment while waiting in line though – there were two fat groundhogs down below being super fucking adorable and we all clotheslined ourselves against the railing, observing their activity like we’re not from Pennsylvania and don’t see groundhogs every day. People were even taking pictures.
  • I was glad that Janna was there because while I enjoy being in a big group, sometimes there is a push & pull of what to do next and I’ll just put this right out there: I know I’m a fat girl, but I’m not the kind of person who goes to amusement parks to eat. I eat enough to sustain myself for all the running around I’m going to be doing, and I’ll usually get ice cream at some point, but the food stands are not an attraction for me. So when Blake and Haley were in line for another food thing, I was like, “WELL, I AM GOING ON THE THUNDERBOLT NOW, GOODBYE. COME ON, JANNA” and Janna was like, “I guess I am going on the Thunderbolt now. Goodbye.” Janna and I had just gotten in line when Chooch came sprinting over a few seconds later, but late enough that several people had already gotten in line behind us. “You can’t ride this without a partner!” I reminded him and this big guy in front of me said, “You can ride with me, I need a partner” and I was like, “YEAH JUST RIDE WITH THIS GUY” and Chooch was like panicking and looking over his shoulder, pretending his imaginary partner was right behind me. And eventually, we saw Big Dumb Henry do-do-doo’ing along toward the ride entrance. Little did I know that Blake and Chooch had decided to come with us but then some cop car parade happened so Blake & Haley got swept away in that excitement, so then Henry offered to take Blake’s place so that Chooch would have a partner. But now I felt bad for this guy in front of me (plus, he was wearing a fanny pack) so I made Chooch accept his offer and Chooch just shrugged and ducked under the railing to get in line with him. Henry finally reached the entrance and had this smug look on his face like HERE I AM, DAD OF THE YEAR. “Chooch has a partner now, you snooze you lose,” I said to Henry all haughtily because that’s how I say things to Henry, with haughtiness. Henry smirked and STILL GOT IN LINE!? But now there were like 15 people separating him from us so I don’t know what he thought he was going to accomplish? We kept heckling him like mean girls. And then when his line became parallel with us (because we were in a serpentine queue, you see), the guy in front of me sadly said to Chooch, “Oh. You can ride with him, it’s OK” but now Chooch was Team This Guy and said, “No. I’ll ride with you” and Henry was so confused. Then the line moved again and I lost sight of Henry so we were giggling uncontrollably about this, wondering if he would stay in line and find another stag rider to partner up with. By the time we got on the Thunderbolt, we still hadn’t seen Henry again so I figured he had just ducked out of line. As the coaster was ascending the lift hill, I looked down below and saw Henry sitting alone on a bench and I know there are people reading this and thinking “POOR HENRY” with a frown but I laughed so hard that I almost peed my pants sitting next to Janna and behind some strange man and I don’t even care IT WAS THAT FUNNY TO ME.
    • I started thinking about this a few days later on the trolley and lost it all over again, shit that happens at Kennywood is the funniest to me.

Well, I thought that doing a bulletpoint recap would spare you and me some of the words but somehow my word-control has gotten derailed just like Thomas the Tank Engine so I guess this will be a two-parter, OH BOY SEE YOU SOON FOR PART 2.

Sep 062018
 

While in the process of recapping my last trip to Kennywood, I started thinking about this one time when my friend Laura was there with us, and then she texted me out of the blue last night and I was like REMEMBER THE PHANTOM INCIDENT and she was like “Oh god, I just remembered that I don’t miss you at all.” (She moved clear across the country, you see.) So then I was reading about the aforementioned Phantom incident last night and was wheezing because it is STILL SO FUNNY TO ME so I’m reposting it because this is my blog and I make the rules.

This is also a really great illustration of what it’s like to go to Kennywood with me. Janna can attest.

***

The Giggle Picture

June 2014

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Above is a photo of Laura loving life as she rode the Turtles at Kennywood, which is evidently her most favorite ride ever. There was probably a Carpenters track playing in her head,  even. Too bad her life was about to change FOREVER a little bit later when she became involuntarily AMPUTATED on the PHANTOM’S REVENGE.

Shit, now I’m getting my parables mixed up.

Anyway, what happened was Laura, Chooch and I were walking toward the Exterminator (Henry was there somewhere) when Laura (this was all LAURA’S idea), threw a wrench into our well thought-out plan by saying, “Or we could just go on this…since we’re here…” and did a lazy Vanna White with her hands toward the entrance of the Phantom’s Revenge.

We had already went on this twice earlier in the day. The first time, we absolutely, postively walked right onto the platform and right the fuck onto the ride, that is how empty Kennywood was that day. Even on not-too-crowded days, there is still usually some sort of a line for this ride, because it’s the Big Shot Steel Coaster up in that piece, and everyone wants to take their turn on it, like the roofied guy at the sorority party. Oh wait. I’m sorry. I’m confusing genders.

The second time was actually a continuation of the first time, because when the coaster came back to the station, there was no one in line still, so the Kennywood peeps were all, “Hey, you guys can stay on if you want” so we did and it turns out that’s not so fun afterward, riding it with no break in between, when you’re in your thirties and not a seven-year-old like Chooch who was like, “THAT WAS AWESOME LET’S STAY ON THIS FOR THE REST OF THE DAY OMFG!!” as he pushed his eyeball back into its socket.

You should have seen Henry afterward, all clammy and green around the gills, wherever the hell his gills are, like he had just suffered through a particularly traumatizing Ludovico Technique featuring footage of all nine years of his loveless past marriage. (Past marriage.  Like there’s a present marriage. Hmph!)

So after Laura suggested riding it for the third time, Henry obviously was like, “Thank you sir, but I will NOT have another,” and proceeded to walk toward the exit of the Phantom’s Revenge, where he waited like an obedient puppy with his master’s purse. The rest of us ridiculed him for being a pussy and ran through the empty queue to the platform, where we saw there was a small line. We chose the seats that had the fewest number of people waiting and made sure that it was lined up evenly so that the three of us could get on at the same time.

Meanwhile, there was some sort of seat belt malfunction going on. The coaster was sitting there idly, full of passengers, but the ride attendants couldn’t send it off because of whatever was going on.

“We need someone to sit in this seat!” one of the teenaged boys in a Kennywood polo shouted. “There’s nothing wrong, but we can’t send this on with this car empty! It’s not a mechanical problem, just this one seatbelt!” And he was holding the seatbelt, too, as if that was going to reassure people.

And who wouldn’t be OK with putting their safety into the hands of a college kid on summer break?

Everyone started murmuring to each other about not wanting to ride in a car with a broken seat belt, even though it was only one of the seats in the car– the other one was apparently functioning properly, so only one person could sit in that seat. Some dumbass single rider was all, “Whatever, yeah, I’ll do it,” sparking a collective outcry regarding his stupidity. Some older woman in the line next to us was FREAKING THE FUCK OUT about this and her kids (her KIDS) were trying to calm her down. “They’re not going to let people ride it still if it’s actually broken, Mom!” one of the kids cried in frustration.

“But they’re using A REAL PERSON as a dummy!” she countered.

They sent the coaster up the hill, and we all turned and watched as it raced down the hill a minute later.

“No, he’s still on it. I saw him,” Laura assured me and Chooch. I wanted everyone to clap when the coaster returned to the platform with the idiot Single Rider still fastened into his seat, but everyone seemed to have lost interest by then.

However, that became the temporary designated single rider seat for the time being while the attendants waited for the maintenance guys to arrive with a new seatbelt. “Shit, they’re going to make me sit there!” Laura cried when it dawned on her what was going on. Chooch and I, of course, nearly gave up our asshole ghosts from laughing so hard at her future misfortune.

Just then, I looked ahead and noticed that the girl who was in front of us had moved over to the Broken Seat Belt Line, which meant that Chooch and I were next. We kind of half-heartedly tried to find someone to go ahead of us so that we could ride at the same time as Laura, but everyone behind us was perfectly lined up with their respective groups as well and didn’t want to give up their spots. So we shrugged a disgenuine “sorry” in Laura’s general direction, and then climbed into the car, leaving her alone on the platform. The guy behind her was laughing at our mock-sorrow, which made the whole situation even funnier to me.

When we came back to the station, we gave her a quick wave and then ran away to find Henry, who looked confused that we were short one person. So Chooch and I hysterically recounted the broken seatbelt situation (“I know, I saw the maintenance men go over there so I figured something was wrong,” Henry interrupted, fulfilling his inherent need to speak of any sort of man in uniform) and then started laughing even harder when we got to the part about ditching Laura.

“AND NOW SHE HAS TO SIT IN THE BROKEN SEAT!” we cried, doubling over in laughter.

“You two are both assholes,” Henry yelled at us, but that was the same time we realized that the coaster was ascending the inaugural hill, so Chooch and I ran closer to take a picture of what we were lovingly referring to as “Laura’s Last Ride.”

(Time out. I am going to pause here for a second so I can walk off this ridiculous laughter before I start alarming people at work again.)

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ENJOY YOUR LAST RIDE, LAURA!

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We ran back to Henry, who was scowling and trying to shrug away from his hyena-brood. At this point, I was on the pee-precipice and it wasn’t looking too good. Passers-by were starting to flash Chooch and I the “I wonder what they’re on” looks, which yes, I DO get a lot, now that you mention it.

And then finally, Laura came padding down the exit trail, looking disheveled and not very pleased.

We immediately started laughing harder. Oh, schadenfreude! My old friend!

“That was the most awkward ride ever!” Laura cried. Apparently, the maintence crew had fixed the seatbelt situation after Chooch and I got off the ride, so Laura wasn’t relegated to sitting in the Single Rider Death Seat. However, when she stepped across the seat to put her purse in one of the cubby holes, she turned around to discover that people behind her had taken her seat. So she had to walk around, looking for a car with an empty seat, and that is how she ended up sitting with some single dad. At this point in the story, Chooch and I raced over to look at the picture on the screen and then promptly lost our shit all the fuck over again. Even Henry mosied on over to take a gander at the photographical evidence of Laura’s misfortune.

The kid running the photo booth was kind of fake-laughing along with us, but it was clear he wasn’t sure what was so funny. Also unclear to him was whether or not he was going to make a sale on this one.

“Henry, PLEASE give me money to buy this!” I begged in my signature mouthful of laughs / Bobcat Goldthwaite voice. It’s Henry’s favorite part about me. Especially when it happens during sex.

“No!” he yelled. “I’m not paying $15 for that! That’s outrageous.”

“BUT IT’S WORTH IT TO ME!” I cried harder. I have got to stop leaving my wallet in the car when we go to amusement parks. This is bullshit.

And then something incredible happened! LAURA BOUGHT IT FOR ME! She didn’t seem too pleased about spending money on such an uncomfortable memory, but she did it anyway because she is a GOOD FRIEND. (Apparently, the OPPOSITE of what I am, according to Henry.)

The guy behind the photo counter was partially bemused, but mostly puzzled at this point, as Laura handed over her credit card with a sigh while Chooch and I flanked her in hysterical laughter. It’s like we’re drunk all of the time without actually consuming any alcohol. This is normal public behavior for us. Laughing so hard we need to lean on walls and people for support. Sometimes I lean on people I don’t even know because I can’t help myself, the laughter makes me walk on a slant, you guys.

When Laura handed me the photo, I blurted out, “You don’t have to get me a birthday present now!”

“I already did,” she sighed, with just a tinge of bitterness and regret.

Henry pointed out that Laura’s Temporary Husband also purchased one of the photos, which wound me up all over again. I wonder if it’s as funny to him?!!?

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HAHAHAHAHA BUT THIS PICTURE, THOUGH! Baby Mama Laura! Oh shit, I have to pee — BRB.

I have been actually crying about it at work, it is THAT funny to me, but everyone here is like, “It is not that funny, if at all” and “You’re so mean to your friends.”  And Henry is like, “No really, it’s not that funny” and “I can’t figure out how you have any friends at all.”   But Chooch and me? WE HAVE FIGURATIVELY BURIED OURSELVES IN A GRAVE OF IDIOCY from all of the laughing we’ve been doing. Team Dickhead FTW!

These past two days at work, Barb has basically been searching her desk for her imaginary OUT TO LUNCH sign every time she sees me approaching  because she knows I’m going to just stand there and have uncontrollable giggles usurp my ability to speak like a regular human being. However, at least she can appreciate the fact that it’s more of the backstory surrounding the photo that has legitimately cracked my sanity. Everyone else is just looking at me like I’ve lost my mind.

Just today, I was walking to the trolley and I started laughing all over again, and I mean LAUGHING. So I called Henry and said, “You have to stay on the phone with me because I’m walking down the street and laughing uncontrollably.” (Which actually isn’t anything out of the ordinary in my neighborhood.)

“What are you laughing about—-” Henry started. And then, “Oh. Never mind.”

But it was too late. My laughter upchucked out of my mouth like a galloping horse and I had to pause in a doorway of a store because I almost peed my pants in the middle of the sidewalk. I AM OUT OF CONTROL. This is what happens to me at amusement parks! I turn into a hyper dickhead and then suffer from residual giddiness for days afterward and you know who suffers? Henry! My co-workers! YOU! THE INTERNET!

And then that motherfucker Henry waited until I was on the trolley to text me the picture, which caught me off guard and I had to cover my face with my hair and laugh at my reflection in the stupid trolley window and then I started crying and people were looking and some asshole probably wrote a blog post about ME, can you imagine.

Aug 292018
 

Me: Have you read my post about the Holiday World coasters?

Chooch: No, because I was there. So….

Did I tell you that we almost didn’t go to Holiday World? No, I mean even aside from Henry’s noncommittal. The forecast for that Saturday in Santa Claus, IN was all day showers/thunderstorms. I mean, all the way up until Friday, it looked like a  bad omen. And we endured a storm once in Indiana so I know those are nothing to fuck around with.

So Henry was like, “Look, you gotta make the call here. Do you want to chance it?” I hesitated for a whole 5 seconds probably, but ultimately said that we had no choice because I fake-bragged about this at work so we had to go or I’d look dumb and Henry was like, “That is honestly the stupidest reasoning but whatever.”

So we did it, we made the dumb drive and guess what? Not a single drop of rain landed on my dense head all ding-dong day. I mean, it was as humid as the rainforest with the lid on, so we wet in other ways…

…but no severe weather threw a wrench (or a lightning bolt) in our day, woo!

Holiday World is split up into five areas based on holidays, plus a water park which we didn’t go to because maybe I’m in a minority here (and I definitely was there, too) but I think water parks are disgusting and I get so skeeved out just thinking about them. I haven’t been to one since I was 12 and have no plans to ever go to another. Anyway, the holiday sections are: Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the 4th of July. I am genuinely upset that there was nothing for Easter, because I love pastels and bunnies and imagine the Zombie Jesus dark ride you could have up in that bitch.

The mind reels.

Let’s do a little photo tour of each section and I will tell you things along the way, like we’re on one of my lunch break walks together. Just hold your breath when we walk past the alleys – the stench of hot piss in the summer emanates.

HALLOWEEN

Ya gotta know this was my favorite area, boi.

Goblin Burgers did not have veggie burgers, but KRINGLE’S CAFE did, don’t worry about Chooch and me.

I love that all the game facades and food places were purple and orange, and the restrooms had a witch on the womens door and a vampire on the mens door and also while we’re on the topic of toilets can I just commend HW on their commode cleanliness? Public restrooms in general are a crapshoot (lol crapshoot) and amusement parks can be on their very own tier of grody. But these ones were remarkably stench-free and each stall even had toilet seat sanitizer that you could pump out onto a wad of toilet paper to give the seats a real good last minute rub-down.

Here’s Chooch with a sunburned face, despite the fact that there were free sunscreen stations located all over the park.

So you know how I made you guys have a coaster circle jerk with me in my last Holiday World post? Well, you might be surprised to know that I had any room left over in my short attention span to also obsessed over the swings.

First of all, they’re called the HALLOWSWINGS and second of all, I was already obsessed with them before we got there because I saw a picture on the HW website and it was one of my pre-HW talking points at work and Glenn was like, “Are you 5?”

BUT WOULD YOU LOOK?!

They are the prettiest swings I’ve ever seen at an amusement park!!

That detail! i want to go trick-or-treating just looking at it!

I knew that this park was small enough that we could probably ride everything and then leave in the early evening if we wanted to but when I saw the swings in person, I declared that we weren’t leaving that park until the sun went down because I needed to see it all lit up at night!

Wouldja look at the smiling jack o’lantern on top of the swing?! I wish that was on top of my house. Actually, I wish this whole swing set was in my yard. Well, maybe my mom’s yard since it’s way bigger than mine. I’ll just visit.

Every day.

See that girl in the green shirt behind me? As soon as the swings lifted up, she started SCREECHING, and I do mean SHRIEKING HER FUCKING FACE OFF, about how she didn’t want to ride it anymore and she just kept screaming and screaming that my shoulders kept raising toward my ears and the ride operator, who was getting the people on the ride before us all hyped up, was super quiet and no one was cheering, and we all just patiently waited for the ride to end so this kid would stop making us feel like we were in a deleted scene from Final Destination Part 666. Her fear was contagious and I was starting to panic.

When the swings descended and came to a complete stop, I turned around and asked her if she was OK and she yelled, “YES” all huffily and then ran away. I walked past just as she reunited with her family and, while stamping her feet, she shouted, “I AM NEVER RIDING THAT AGAIN” and her family was pretty unsympathetic about it. But even Henry, who was waiting for us with all the other parents, lol, was like, “The fuck was wrong with that girl?!”

Also in Halloween land was the HW log flume ride called Frightful Falls, which wasn’t as long as our beloved Log Jammer (RIP) was BUT it did have a semi-thrilling pitch black tunnel right in the beginning and that made up for the lack of flume-duration. Chooch and I got Henry to go on it with us later in the night, after begging and nearly causing a scene, and he admitted that it was OK and then we bought the picture because anytime Henry will actually ride something with us, we need a souvenir.

But can I stop here and criticize HW on one thing real quick? No haunted house in Halloweenland, Holiday World? Really?

CHRISTMAS TOWN.

Sadly, the Christmas section didn’t have any rides aside from a handful of kiddie bullshit, but it did have a sweet Nativity scene and Kringle’s Cafe, home of the $10 black bean burger. (At least the drinks in Holiday World are free?)

Special fake burgers for me and Chooch, the special little liberal snowflakes who use reusable straws. God, we suck so bad!

OMG we sat across from a family who said prayers before digging into their food and ended it with two power fists in the air, which was kind of cool and made me want to start saying food-grace just so I could have some awesome jazz-handy ending.

While we were eating, SANTA HIMSELF walked past the window so Chooch knocked on it real hard but when Santa turned around, all he saw was me, so he waved joyfully and I shyly waved back. Thanks, Chooch.

Meanwhile, over in the attached Mrs. Claus’s Kitchen, I finally got my lips around a critically acclaimed—no not an elf dick—Holiday World frozen hot chocolate and even though it made me sick because I had just eaten a $10 black bean burger and fries, it was worth the wait. I mean, I’ve never had one from Serendipity but do they use Mrs. Claus’s secret recipe? DOUBT IT.

I was so smug that I remembered to bring a reusable straw but then FUNNY STORY there was a hole in the drawstring bag we had with us so by the end of the day, we lost 2 out 3 straws, yeah that’s us, literally littering with reusable straws.

Le sigh.

We went back later and JUST CAUGHT SANTA and his handler with 5 minutes to spare before photos with Santa was over, but it was really awkward because we rolled up on them while they were talking and Santa wasn’t even sitting in his Santa Throne, and I had my camera out like could it be any more clear that I wanted a picture, but instead, he just stood there and drilled us on our thoughts of like every ride there and it dawned on me that perhaps photos weren’t free and they were all packed up for the day, so every time there was a pregnant pause, I would try to thank them for their time, but then Santa would ask, “Now, which seat did you sit on when you rode Thunderbird? Inside or outside? OH NO YOU GOTTA RIDE IT AGAIN AND SIT ON THE OUTSIDE, THAT’S THE BEST SEAT” and the glitter in his beard was making  my eyes crossed and I was perspiring so badly and Henry was just loafing on the other side of the candy shop, looking at cases of cupcakes and candy apples, avoiding my hostage eyes.

Finally, Santa dismissed us and Henry was like, “Did you get a picture?”

Fuck off, Henry.

4TH OF JULY BORO.

I mean, I’m not patriotic, but I guess we were in a state where they give a shit about this stuff, so sure, let’s 4th of July it up.

I was excited about this section for one thing: THEY HAVE A CALYPSO THERE. Granted, they call theirs the Firecracker, but it’s a Calypso nonetheless and when I was a little, it was my favorite ride at Kennywood but no one believes me that it was there because all of my friends were abducted by aliens at some point and I swear they have no MEMORY when it comes to our childhood.

I look like such an herb in this picture but I love it because I can tell you without a doubt that I was saying something disparaging about Henry here, and it probably had something to do with when we were in a CVS parking lot that morning and saw a guy wearing an NRA shirt so Chooch and I were going off about how the NRA is run by the devil and just as Henry started to chime him, I cut him off and said in the Eeyore-voice I use when I’m pretending to be Henry, “Not all NRA members are baaaaad.” Chooch almost threw up in the car from laughing so hard after I said this, so we kept yelling it randomly throughout the day, in lieu of “wooo”s and “yeah”s on all of the rides.

The first time we rode this ride, the ride operator was talking about high school soccer teams to anyone who would listen, and the second time, a different ride operator said, “I like your Dance Gavin Dance shirt” as checked to make sure our seatbelts were fastened, so then we had a brief post-hardcore convo while he checked the cars around ours and in my head, I screamed, “HOLIDAY WORLD IS THE PLACE FOR ME.”

But really, Indiana probably is not the place for me.

Oh yeah, every time we got off a ride, the operator would wish a happy whatever-holiday-section we were in, so that was fun to say, “HAPPY 4TH OF JULY TO YOU  TOO!”

Henry thought that sign said “Fucking a Country” and I couldn’t stop laughing and now I think that’s what they should name the movie about Trump’s “presidency.”

The carousel was small and not as grand as I wanted it to be but I got to ride on a rabbit and that was enough to keep me satiated.

OMG I was wrong – Henry rode not four but FIVE rides at Holiday World!

I mean, of course it would be called this.

We rode the train just so Henry could have something to ride.

It was filled with nursery rhyme scenes so I think it actually was part of kiddie land and not 4th of July Boro.

Henry was disgusted that Peter Pumpkin Eater couldn’t think of anything rougher to do to his dumb wife.

Yeah boy, free beverage all day long! What a novel idea! And before you think we walked around burping up Pepsi all day, we’re actually not a soft drink family at all so we were happy to see that water, Gatorade, and iced tea were also options. They had a great diet peach green tea on tap so I drank that when I wanted something more than water, but we all mostly just drank water and it was amazing not having to spend $3 for bottled water (which I always refill at water fountains but still….)

Paper cups too, thank god.

OK, I read about this Udderly Blue Ice Cream online and I was positive that I wasn’t going to like it because I tend to shy away from anything blue raspberry and even the wild cherry sounded too artificial for my liking, so while we were in line I changed my mind and decided to not get anything.

Chooch got a cup of the twist and Henry got a cup of just the cherry, and after one tiny bite of that I was like, “Oh here, let me help you eat that” and then I tried the blue raspberry in Chooch’s twist and WHOA NELLY (I only say that out of respect for the 80s classic Labyrinth which I still can’t spell on my own without Googling 25 years later, I’m so great) that shit was actually pretty fucking divine. Both flavors were deep and not overly sweet and sugary, if that makes any sense. I could have easily sucked back a bowl all on my own.

I made Henry get sprinkles on his and he was like, “Why, this isn’t yours” LOL everything is mine, dumbass.

THANKSGIVING PLANET

We probably spent most of our time in the Thanksgiving section because Chooch and I had both imprinted on the Voyage and probably the only time we fought all day when we were competing over who liked it better and I was about to dig up a fucking diamond and propose to that goddamn thing just to prove a point, ugh.

In this section, you could eat an actual Thanksgiving dinner at the Plymouth cafe, which I’m sure was super-congealed and freezer section-y, but I appreciated that they offered a vegetarian version which was four sides and cornbread.

We didn’t eat there, though Henry kept looking in the window every time we walked past.

What is: something Henry uses up every day after one conversation with me.

Oh shit, Holiday World had a dark ride and it was Thanksgiving-themed! It was called Gobbler Getaway and it was a shooting darkride.

I was too fixated on shooting to win so I actually didn’t pay any attention  to the scenes, which is dumb. I should have went on a second time just to enjoy the experience, but I had the high-score and I didn’t want one of those assholes to beat it the second time.

Also, aside from when there was Cleanup Project on the Voyage, this was probably the longest line we stood in, and that was around 20 minutes.

Worth it though.

Also  in this area, we saw that scuzzy couple that was making out behind us that morning in Subway (god, do you even read my blog posts?! I know, they’re like a puzzle, but still) but they were definitely not making out now and in fact, they looked like they were on the verge of a breakup and for some reason, this was very satisfying to me.

Of course the Tilt-a-Whirl would be called the Turkey Whirl!

I think it’s pretty funny that I was so certain we would probably leave the park early in the evening, but then we ended up shutting that bitch down. It was like being a kid again, running around in that darkened park, trying to get one more ride in on each coaster while Henry casually strolled in our wake, carrying the bags and our drinks, letting us be the fucking freaks that we are.

I can’t get over how fun this little park is and I highly recommend it to any amusement park enthusiast because it’s quirky as fuck and has an arsenal of secret weapons in the shape of some pretty beastly wooden coasters. Just beware that there doesn’t seem to be much else than pizza parlors in the area so if you’re planning on eating dinner outside of the park, you might end up at Jenk’s Pizza 20 minutes before they close and have to be the asshole who makes the two teenagers working there stay a bit later in order to make your family a pizza with a ton of black olives on it.

This was when Henry asked, “Is this unsweetened tea?” even though there was a big sign under the pitcher that said, “TRY OUR SWEET TEA.” Chooch and I were dying. So now those teenagers were like, “Wow this fucking family is making us stay late and the dad is also dumb as hell.”

The pizza was fucking good though.

Then Henry casually slapped down a tip on the counter and said in a deeper-than-usual voice, “Have a good night guys” and Chooch and I were trying not to pee.

We had a blast at Holiday World, and we all got along which is the most important part. Also, the hotel I booked for us wasn’t a sex-shack so we were able to get a good night’s sleep afterward. It was all-around a pretty perfect day.

Aug 272018
 

Crows Nest and Thunderbird, in the Thanksgiving section of Holiday World.

I was running on Holiday World-adrenaline for a week after we returned from Indiana. I can’t remember the last time I fell so hard in love with a little family amusement park like this one, but the coaster cupid got me good, straight through the heart, with this one.

Does it sound hokey on paper? A park divided into sections based on holidays? Sure does sound hokey. But it works, it really works. And when you got off a ride in Thanksgiving town, it might seem weird at first to be wished a Happy Thanksgiving, but before you know it, you’re casually saying it back to people without second thought!

Even Henry, who was Father Frowntown all summer regarding this park, was not immune to its hunky-dory midwest charms. Once we trained to ourselves to ignore the fact that we were a family of Democrats awash in a dirty sea of Trump Train passengers, things we were fine, we were fine, it was all just fine.

(To be fair though, I saw not one MAGA hat all day, so there’s that.)

And not to be a sell-out, but those coasters were fucking worth it.

Let’s talk about them!

THE RAVEN

The very first coaster we came upon was the Raven, located near the entrance of HALLOWEEN which clearly was my favorite area out of all the holidays, hello.

It looked like the line was going to be outrageous for this but it actually moved along quite speedily and Chooch and I were buckled in in no time.

(Henry wussed out and while he was waiting for us, he ran into Discount Vin Diesel and they talked about, in Henry’s words, “Nothing special, just the fact that we were in the same place.” Wow, that was your guest bi-annual guest contribution from Henry.)

Anyway, oh shit people, this coaster was so unexpectedly outrageous! It’s always the best riding a coaster for the first time, and this was right up there because there because we didn’t realize how fast it was going to be, and there were so many banks! It was rough as hell, but I was ready to ride it again almost immediately.

But first, we ran over to the Legend, also in Halloween land, because I wasn’t sure what the crowd sitch was going to be like and I needed to make sure we rode everything at least once.

Our last ride of the night on the Raven was lit fam (I hate myself). We hadn’t been on the front seat yet so we waited the extra handful of minutes but it was entertaining because the ride operators were dancing and getting the crowd totally hyped, Raven: After Hours-style. It made me miss the days when Kennywood was like that. Maybe it is during the peak season, but we generally go on days when we know it will be less crowded and those kids running the rides are just bored, jaded, and miserable. Like my friend Chris, not the kinds of Kennywood employees that Rick Sebak would have ever interviewed for his epic, classic documentary, Kennywood Memories. 

I totally screamed at those boys behind us to shut the fuck up because they were “ca-cawing” so fucking loud up the first hill that it sounded like a raven was laying eggs inside my fucking skull and I get it, I’m an obnoxious maniac on rides too, but these kids were just demonic.

LEGEND

I know you guys probably pieced this together, but this was Sleepy Hollow themed and even though there wasn’t anything blatantly related to this along the course, it was still fun to imagine that we were being chased by the headless horseman, especially when the parting words at the station were, “Don’t look behind you” and there was a perfectly-placed howl that came at the top of the first lift hill.

We sat in the back for our inaugural ride and my seat belt was down too low so the metal part dug into my thigh for the entire ride which was rough enough with that extra torture! I honestly couldn’t enjoy the ride because of this and kept putting off riding it again, but eventually we did later that day. This time we sat in the second row and my seatbelt was properly placed across my lap, so I was able to really enjoy this maniacal coaster for everything it was: a spine-shatterer but so goddamn good! This one also has a ton of banks which I love on a wooden coaster, and TUNNELS! I love tunnels!!

We finally got Henry to ride it (Chooch and I sat in the front seat that time) and Henry was pretty wrecked afterward. It took him out for the count so aside from the train, Gobbler Getaway (a dark ride) and Frightful Falls, he didn’t ride anything else all day. Lol. Sucks to be henry.

The best ride we had on this one was at night — it was pitch black and made the whole headless horseman fantasy seem even more real, like something was just going to snatch us out of our seats at any moment. Also, we rode it in the front seat for that and it was magic.

I somehow didn’t get any photos of this one, so here’s snap I grabbed off the Internet, credit goes to Coaster 101:

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THE VOYAGE

The first time we rode Voyage (which Chooch has taken to pronounce the French way), the line for the front seat wasn’t too long so we claimed our spots. But then someone puked or peed, bled out, had a baby, something that caused them to temporarily suspend operations due to a “cleanup project.” Lol. We got to watch as the car was moved out of the station and then some Holiday World guy who drew the short straw snapped on rubber gloves and got to work with a rag and a spray bottle. This whole scene only racked on about 10 minutes to our wait time, maybe not even not that much.

But then when we were next in line, some guy with a fast pass stole the front seat and I was mad at first but then realized he was disabled and almost died from a melted heart when he looked over and thanked Chooch and me genuinely. So then I wasn’t mad anymore.

Oh, and in case you couldn’t tell, since it’s in Thanksgiving town, it’s supposed to be like the Mayflower’s voyage, so when the ride operator set us off into the sunset, she ended her spiel with “Set sail!” I didn’t pick up on it right away, but Chooch pointed it out later and I cried, “I LOVE HOLIDAY WORLD!”

Such committment!

Look at that hill! We were practically peeing our pants on the way up, but I didn’t want to be involved in another cleanup project so I held it in. This ride was, to use Henry-vernacular*, ROCKIN’.

*(Henacular?)

This out-and-back whips you so hard around bends and does that beautiful “whoosh” into tunnels, oh my god, I can’t praise this coaster enough. I want to take it on a picnic in some fairy tale forest somewhere.

We couldn’t drag Henry on it, but Chooch and I must have set sail at least 8 times that day, the best being right before the park closed, when we literally SPRINTED from the Legend to the Thanksgiving section, praying that we made it in time, and WE DID! We snagged the front seat again and holy shit, that was hands down the highlight of the whole entire day for me, cruising (more Henacular) through the pitch black forest, unable to see what was coming next, and just screaming our sweaty faces off. IT WAS SO PURE!

One of the things I’ll never forget about the Voyage was when we were waiting in line and saw some broad wearing some black mesh shirt thing getting off the ride and not only were most of her boobs popping out, but we definitely both saw some nippage. I hope this wasn’t Chooch’s “coming of age” moment, but he has definitely referenced her more than once since we’ve been home…

Thunderbird

This was the only steel coaster in the park (aside from the kid coaster) and you might think this would have been our favorite but you would be wrong. I mean, it was a great coaster – one of those launched wingriders (lol, I totally looked that up, I have no idea what I’m talking about), but sometime in my 30s I became terrified of steel coasters so I wasn’t able to fully enjoy it until we were rolling back into the station. Then I was like, “WOW THAT WAS GREAT!” That first launch though, holy fuck, it felt like it was never going to end, and then it goes straight upside down and the rest of was just me fearing for me life and praying I didn’t lose a leg. Especially when we flew into a hole in the roof of a barn. That was scary.

This ride was also not crowded, so we were able to ride it three times without waiting hardly at all, except for the one time we decided to get the front seat after Santa recommended it to us (true story). That was the most terrifying ride of them all.

Since Henry didn’t ride anything, he stood on terra firma and played photographer which was cool because I’m going through this weird mortality crisis where I worry that I don’t allow myself to be in enough photos because I hate my face so much (I have issues stacked on neuroses infused with complexes), so I’m trying to loosen up. Anyway, I love these photos because they illustrate exactly how scared-rabbit I was on this ride. Like Chooch is up there living his best life while I’m praying to some fake rosary made out of the rocks in my head.

My favorites in order were:

  1. Voyage (hands down, this ride is killer.)
  2. Legend (even though it left its mark on my thighs, like I was in some shitty made-for-TV remake of The Entity)
  3. Raven (just classic as far as wooden coaster goes)
  4. Thunderbird (those wooden beasts just shone too brightly, keeping this one in their shadows)

Wow wasn’t my review informative? “I liked these roller coasters because they went up high hills and had tunnels and speed!”

I’ll be back with more pictures and a general summation of this park and how much of an impact it made on us – a total blindside!

Aug 252018
 

Oh, it was fraught with adversity.

My obsession with Holiday World started about five or six years ago when we were planning a small road trip around a visit with our pals Bill and Jessi in Michigan. I started looking up amusement parks around that area and found two in Indiana that seemed promising: Holiday World and Indiana Beach. I remember it was a big to-do because I wanted to go to both parks and didn’t understand what the problem was, no matter how many times Henry showed me on a map that they were on opposing sides of the state from each other.

SO WHAT!?

Henry just wasn’t as committed as me I guess, and in the end he made me choose one.

In his own gruff dad-words: ONE OR THE OTHER!

I ended up choosing Indiana Beach because they had several rides and y’all know that dark rides are my absolute favorite things in amusement parks. A pox on those that don’t have any, I say!

Something made me jump back on the Holiday World train sometime in late April.

“We’ll see,” Henry said, utilizing his favorite cop-out response.

“But we never go anywhere!” I cried.

“We literally just came back from Korea?!” Henry cried while foraging in our backyard for that night’s dandelion dinner because Korea left as poor people.

(It didn’t really but that’s how Henry acted because it gave him an easy way out of having to do anything for the unforeseeable future.)

My begging and pleading went on for MONTHS culminating in him flipping out and yelling, “SOMETIMES I FORGET THAT YOU’RE ACTUALLY AS OLD AS YOU ARE!” in the middle of Target when I was pouting.

I even took this one particular Friday off work because it was getting down to the wire and I couldn’t get that asshole to confirm but if we were going to go, it was going to have to be on that weekend and finally I was like FUCK YOU and booked the hotel and then the rest of that week was really tense and silent in our house, lol, not really but Henry wasn’t pleased with me at all.

At one point, just me and Chooch were going to go but I hoped that my bluff wouldn’t come true because I definitely didn’t want to make that 7 hour drive myself. HOW WOULD I LIVE BLOG?!

After I booked the hotel though, I started to tell work people about it because I thought maybe if I vocalized my desires, they would be more apt to come true so I was all, “YEAH WE’RE GOING TO HOLIDAY WORLD THIS WEEKEND NO BIG DEAL” and blew on my finger nails a few times like I was a 1950s greaser who just called some nerd Coke Bottle Eyes at the soda shop.

Glenn was like, “That sounds dumb” but Lauren and Margie were all in. Especially when I told them that there was the promise of FROZEN HOT CHOCOLATE WITH SANTA IN MRS. CLAUS’S KITCHEN.

I walked past them one time last week and casually called over my shoulder, “Oh, and all soft drinks are FREE at Holiday World. Sunscreen too” and then I fake-yawned and continued on to my desk.

But then the day before I admitted to Lauren that I wasn’t actually sure if we were going for real because I still hadn’t gotten Henry to say the y-word (“yes,” come on guys, I shouldn’t have to spell out everything for you, get a clue) but that I had taken the following day off a month prior.

“Did you take that day off specifically for this, without knowing for sure–” and then she started cracking up when I sadly nodded.

So then Friday came. I knew Henry didn’t take the day off because god forbid he ever takes days off work, but sometimes he can get out of there semi-early depending on other people. I fucking paced around Brookline ALL DAY and then Chooch and I argued because I didn’t feel that he cared enough about this trip, and he was like, “But it’s just….Indiana—I mean, no I’m really excited! I want to go! Yay, Holiday World!” but his forced enthusiasm wasn’t foolin’ nobody. NOBODY.

Finally, that d-bag Henry came waltzing in the house around 3:00 and I was like LET’S GO but then he had to take a stupid shower first and pack and I was tapping holes into the floor with my foot.

It was around 3:30 when we finally left the house and I was like, “OK we’re doing this, we’re finally leaving” and Henry was surprisingly in a good mood so that made me feel ominous, you know? Like was something going to happen? (This isn’t foreshadowing, nothing happened, but I am a very superstitious and paranoid person so I was ON EDGE all weekend.)

The funny part is that part of my deal was that if we went to Holiday World, I would drive part way. Originally, I said I would drive for the first part because I can’t drive well at night (see: eyes that can’t see) and Henry was like, “Deal” but then I was like, “Well, I’ll just drive to Columbus and then you can drive after that because I get confused around Columbus” and he sighed heavily but still agreed.

(When I was friends with my ex-bff who lived in shitty Cinci, I would always make her take the Greyhound to Columbus and then I would pick her up there and make her drive the rest of the way to Cinci because following directions on a highway is not my strongsuit. On my very first time ever visiting her, I got the exit number screwed up and got lost like 2 hours into the trip, lost my temper, and came home. Turns out my head scrambled the exit number and instead of taking, say for example, Exit 81 I took Exit 18 and it didn’t occur to me at all that it was awfully soon into the drive to be “almost there” and then I stopped at a gas station and got in a fight with some trashy bitch in Marietta, OH and I have the rest blacked out but I think I wrote about it on LiveJournal so maybe I’ll go and look that up on a rainy day which could be any day since all it’s done here in Pittsburgh this summer is rain and will you just get back to the story, Erin?!)

I was prepared to get in the drivers seat when we were leaving but Henry said he would drive for a little bit because he’s a big tough man and everyone knows women should just shut up and get in the passenger seat. He was going to switch off with me once we got to West Virginia but HILARIOUSLY it started storming so hard that it was hazardous and everyone was crawling along the highway with their flashers on and by the time it stopped, we were nearly to Columbus, and Henry was like, “WOW YOU SURE GOT OUT OF THAT ONE” and I just smiled cutely because we all knew I wasn’t going to do any driving, come on now, I have shit to do.

It was around 7 at this point (yes, that rain took a major chunk out of our travel time) so we stopped in some podunk town for dinner. We were going to eat some joint called Clay’s which was an ice cream parlour and family restaurant, but there was a bit of a wait. I put in my name and we sat on a wooden bench with some of the locals who knew we were outlanders, but then Henry realized there was a Loving Hut nearby so we left and he was mad at me for not telling the lady to take our name off the list like he suddenly is the authority on restaurant couth.

Got to Loving Hut and originally sat down near a fucking screaming toddler whose ear-piercing screeches were ricocheting in my head, and I almost left because I was on the verge of flipping a table (its mom just sat there and scrolled through her phone, like hello maybe your idiot kid is screaming because it wants you to look at it) but then Henry asked a waitress if she could clean off an empty but dirty table on the other side of a wall so ALL WAS WELL.

I usually try to just eat at local establishments when we travel but the call of Loving was just too strong. We used to have a Loving Hut in Pittsburgh but it closed and I’m not sure if it’s reopening somewhere else or just gonezo forever, but it’s a vegetarian joint that even Hank the Meat-Tank can stand so we were all happy. (Even Korea has Loving Huts!)

I want to go back in time and tear that sandwich apart with my gnashing maw all over again it was so good. (Vegan BBQ with coleslaw, ugh more please). I don’t know what Henry got but he nearly licked the plate clean while Chooch complained because he didn’t like the sauce on his burger bun – that kid is so averse to condiments, it makes me sad.

We were sooooo off-schedule by then. Our original ETA was 10:30pm but we had only made it to Cinci by 10, and Santa Claus was still 3 hours from there. But the bright side of running late was that we got to see fireworks over top of an otherwise bland city.

Chooch fell asleep sometime after this and I was burdened with the task of making sure Henry didn’t fall alseep at the wheel even though I was tired too but SOLIDARITY. The drive from Cinci to Louisville wasn’t too bad (we drove past the Vent Museum!) but holy shit it was all black nothingness once we hit Indiana. And then we somehow got rerouted so the GPS added 45 minutes to the drive time and I started crying out of anger while Henry was threatening the GPS robot lady, but then somehow it recalculated and shaved off a bunch of time so we celebrated.

We rolled up to the super basic (but clean and not crawling with sex workers like the last place Henry booked in Newark) Motel 6 or 8 or whatever number they use sometime after midnight which was actually after 1am for us but time rolled back an hour when we crossed over into the central time zone somewhere in Indiana. There was some family in a banged-up minivan who got there at the same time as us and the dad was like, “HAHA you guys look as thrilled as us” because we were just dragging at that point. He had on shorts and a wife-beater and as the elevator door closed on us, Chooch said, “He looked like a discount Vin Diesel” and I couldn’t stop laughing at that because he kind of did look like that.

We crashed and then woke up bright and early to get ready for HOLIDAY WORLD! First we went to Subway for a light breakfast (I get sick if I go to amusement parks with too much food in my gut) and we were in line with a young alternatrash couple that were super skinny probably from drugs and the dude had TERRIBLE face tattoos, which was basically my prelude to a day full of more face tattoos, so many face tattoos, Indiana must run specials on them. And they weren’t on people who looked cool and edgy, like guys in bands or tattoo artists, guys who can pull that shit off because it’s part of their lifestyle as a musician or artist, you know? No, these were the kinds that screamed, “I just finished beating my girlfriend and gave myself this shoddy prison face tattoo.” Every single guy I saw in that park who had one just looked so fucking trashy and heroin-y and I can guess that they all had at least one Kid Rock CD in their car at that moment.

But that didn’t affect our glorious time at Holiday World!

We got there right when it opened at 10am and expected it to be relatively crowded because it was a Saturday and we try to avoid going to amusement parks on weekends. I was fully prepared to have to do a lot of waiting in lines but it was gloriously sparse!

The Raven was the first ride we rode! It was a wicked coaster and unexpectedly fun – Chooch and I sat in the back and got our asses (and necks) kicked on it.

I took some family’s picture here and then the mom was all, “here I’ll take yours too” and I reluctantly agreed but I hate having my picture taken so bad so that’s why it looks like I have 87 fire-sticks up my ass.

Henry was going to wear a gray shirt that I hate because every time he wears it, he’s in a bad mood, so then he changed into a different gray shirt. The man loves grays and browns, I don’t think he’ll change up his wardrobe at this point.

I’m going to stop here and get into the real meaty portions of Holiday World in my next post because SPOILER ALERT we had such a great time there and I can’t stop thinking about those majestic wooden coasters.

Aug 132018
 

Kind of like the Bible, you know? Before Henry and After Henry.

The last ride that Chooch and I went on before Henry came and pooped on my birthday* was Aero 360. When we were in line, we kept thinking that we saw Henry, but it was just other middle-aged men in non-descript shirts and varying shades of brown and gray. Then some girl behind us was talking about how she was on the Jack Rabbit earlier and it stopped right before the double dip. (Foreshadowing!)

*(J/K Henry was actually kind of OK, I guess because it was my birthday and he knows I’m fucking fragile these days.)

Henry rolled up to the Aero360 right as it was our turn to ride, so were like, “HENRY! WATCH US!” because we’re weirdos who like it when our people watch us go on rides. One time, we were like JANNA TAKE OUR PICTURE!!! while we were riding the Swing Shot but she fucking failed us.

Anyway, I used to like the Aero360 a lot but now I’m just like, “It’s fine.”

After that, we made Henry buy us ice cream cones at Golden Nugget! Truhdishun!!

We made Henry ride THE TURTLE….

….and pose by the corn dog pagoda thing…..

…and go in Noah’s Ark! Henry hates going in Noah’s Ark with us because we act like the biggest raging assholes in Kennywood inside that fucking bible boat.

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Being dicks at K-wood.

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Guys, I’m so excited. The Volcano (formerly known as the Enterprise) was shut down nearly every time we went to Kennywood, to the point where last year was actually the first time Chooch had the opportunity to ride it. I found out through the Kennywood grapevine that it was because they were having a hard time finding a part for it, but then they did and now everything is right in Kennywoodland again! I love the ride, and always have, even though they gave it a dumb name so it would “fit in” better in a themed area that only last like three years.

But the whole reason I took this picture is because I recently mentioned this in a blog post and wanted to be able to show you what I was referring to! SO GO BACK AND REFRESH YOUR MEMORY about the time that ride nearly took off my foot.

And also I took this picture because I had just regained some semblance of equilibrium after stupidly lifting my years-long ban on the Pirate Ship thanks to Chooch’s peer-pressuring and I was killing time while sitting on a wall swallowing back vomit and waiting for Henry to come back from the super-long way to getting me water, which turns out was purposely at Auntie Anne’s because that selfish bastard wanted pretzels.

Also, right after I took this picture, two girls probably in their early 20s walked by and one of them was wearing a BTS hoodie and I was desperate to talk to her but also didn’t want to look desperate to talk to her, so instead I watched her walk away and then I spent the rest of the day wondering if I just let my possible new-BFF slip through my stupid fingers. Ugh making friends is hard.

I needed to go on a baby ride after the Pirate Ship made me nearly give up the ghost, so I dragged Chooch and Henry on Garfield’s Nightmare which is the lamest ride in the park (a darkride that used to be cool until it was rebranded into Garfield). Henry tried to get out of it but I was like IT IS MY BIRTHDAY, GET YOUR ASS IN THIS BOAT.

And it’s 3D! Henry is so stoked!

Still stoked!

Getting loaded waffles is our new tradition. MINE IS SPECULOOS. This was also my dinner. And my make-believe birthday cake since I didn’t get a cake this year. :(

Henry was supposed to have a G-Dragon cake made for me but I guess his love for me isn’t strong enough.

Chooch suddenly thinks the Auto Racer tide is “so lame.” Well it’s my birthday so shut your face and get your ass in the car, boy.

There was a brief moment in the afternoon when the park started to get crowded (we blamed Henry because it happened after he arrived) but then by early evening, it cleared out again and we have no idea where everyone went but it was glorious. If I ever had to wait more than 20 minutes for anything at Kennywood, I think I would riot because I’m so accustomed to going on off-days.

(We’re supposed to be going again next Tuesday so I probably just jinxed myself.)

Kennywood definitely isn’t cutting edge when it comes to amusement parks, but it has a nice collection of wooden coasters and in case you ever go to some dive bar’s trivia night and they have an Oh Honestly Erin category, WOODEN COASTERS ARE MY FAVORITES. My top 3 are:

  • T-Express in Everland (It’s just the best)
  • The Phoenix in Knoebels
  • Ravine Flyer II in Waldemeer

OK so none of those are in Kennywood, but the ones here in K-Wood will always be close to my heart no matter what because they are pure nostalgia and always leave me with a raw and scratchy throat the next day because I AM A SCREAMER.

We made Henry ride the Racer alone. Every time I tried to take his picture, his ginger guardian would turn and watch me with disappointment. Like, wow, lady. Worry about your own dumb family.

We call this one Henry Rides Alone. This was right before his ginger guardian plucked a strand of his hair to keep in her Stalker Chest. I was just wistfully wondering why I’ve never kept a Stalker Chest but then I remembered the time my brother Ryan and I were obsessed with GARY, the guy who was building a backporch on our house during the summer of 1994 and we collected his cigarette butts and beer cans after he left one day and hid them under the couch, for what reason, I have no idea—I GUESS YOU WILL HAVE TO CLICK THAT LINK UP THERE— but then our dad found our psycho stash and was like WHAT IS THIS and when we told him it was Gary’s, he believed us because hello, everyone knew we were weirdos.

Henry’s stupid train won and Chooch and I tried to shrug it off like we didn’t care but I was internalizing the urge to break bricks over my knee if we’re being honest.

  1. Chooch’s hair
  2. It was THIS empty!

We rode the Swingshot for the second time that day, excited that now Henry was there to watch us. (We really are like little children.) I begged Henry to ride it too but he was like, “I DON’T GIVE A SHIT WHOSE BIRTHDAY IT IS, I AM NOT RIDING THAT THING.” We rode it with this one little boy who kept screaming, “It’s Mary Poppins yall!” and a couple in their 30s who I thought were going to be annoying at first because they were kind of trashy (guys have you read my children’s book, See Erin Judge?) but the lady actually ended up being super cool and after the ride ended, her man-thing peaced out but she was like I WONDER IF I CAN JUST STAY ON because there was NO LINE so she was like, “Do you guys want to just stay on with me?” and this was after I just spent a minute giving birth mid-air to a doom-baby but I said, “YEAH SURE OK WE WILL RIDE THIS TWICE IN A ROW, NO BIG DEAL, I’M NOT SCARED YOU’RE SCARED” and then the laissez faire teenage ride attendants were like, “Bitches, yall can do what you want, we don’t give a fuck” and Henry was mouthing the words, “WTF are you doing” but I just laughed and waved him off, because he wouldn’t understand, this was real daredevil shit right here.

And then we were catapulted into the air for round 2 and I couldn’t even try to be brave because my fight-or-flight inclination to scream off the contents of my Living Will into the ether smashed any ounce of stoicism that I might have had inside me.

Once the ride was over, I was so fucking relieved to see that there were people in line this time. “OH WELL GUESS WE CAN’T GO FOR THE THREEPEAT, SEE YA LATER, LADY” and I ran out of there, haha, just kidding, I fucking slowly stumbled out with actual knocking knees.

HOW DID STANLEY DO THIS 80 TIMES IN A ROW?

Alone At Kennywood, Part 2: Serendipitous Stanley

Henry just shook his head when we rejoined him and said, “Why do you ride that?! You don’t look like you enjoy it AT ALL!”

I DO A LOT OF THINGS I DON’T LIKE FOR NO REAL REASON, OK HENRY? It’s call sado-masochism and also I clearly hate myself.

Ugh, we ran into those dumb kissers again.

I can’t remember the last time I rode the carousel at Kennywood but I felt inspired to on this day. We just missed getting on and while we were standing in line, the ride attendant came barreling over and slammed the gate shut. I was like WHAT IS HAPPENING and apparently the ride wasn’t supposed to start yet?! Like he was still going around and making sure everyone was ready and the gate was wide open so basically if it hasn’t started moving right as the people in front of us got to the entrance and stopped, we all could have been stepping on the platform as it started moving and that sucker went from a standstill to MOVING in no time.

The ride attendant was like totally pale-faced after this happened and had to get the ride operator to shut it down while he finished making sure everyone was OK which they were but there were only about seven people on the damn thing so the lady in front of us turned to me and said, “He could have at least let us on!” I KNOW RIGHT, STRANGER?!

Of course, I accidentally wound up having a crush on that ride attendant afterward and Henry was like, “I’m not surprised.”

OK fine, I’m going to admit something to you, blog: I AM AFRAID OF CAROUSELS. I’m weird about heights/disembarking things and I always panic when it’s time to unstraddle whatever animal I chose so sometimes I will actually pick either the stationary horses or the old people seats. Nevertheless, every so often I get the urge to feed my fears.

And thank god because what a stupid family selfie I was able to collect on this thing.

We did not ride the swings. I can’t remember the last time I rode these ones, to be honest! I have been on ones in other parks though but, because I am a sentimental d-bag, I have lost so much love for Kennywood’s swings since it moved locations.

And it wasn’t even recently! It moved to this current location, like, a LONG time ago but I am such a baby about it still.

I hate change!

Kangaroos is fucking underrated. I always get super excited to ride this and vocalize that excitement maniacally and then I realize, “HEY, NO ONE ELSE IS SCREAMING.” Come on guys, it’s the Kangaroo, get fucking crazy!

Also, the ride attendant from the carousel was working this ride by that time and I kept shouting to Henry, who was standing on the other side of the gate with all the other grandparents, “HENRY LOOK! IT’S MY BOYFRIEND! MY BOYFRIEND IS HERE NOW!” and Chooch was like, “OMG please stop.”

We didn’t ride the Music Express because the Pirate Ship ruined me.

And then we finally got to ride the Jack Rabbit—oh, I didn’t tell you? We tried to ride it previously after Henry got there and made it all the way to the front of the line before an announcement came on that said they were experiencing technical difficulties and while everyone was welcome to stay in line, they were going to have to temporarily suspend operations.

Guys, I have never seen so much mechanical failure in all the years I’ve attended Kennywood, and it only got worse because later that week, Thomas the Tank Engine derailed twice, the Phantom’s Revenge got stuck and passengers had to be walked down the steps, and THE FUCKING BRAKES STOPPED WORKING ON THE PIRATE SHIP AND PEOPLE GOT STUCK ON IT FOR 10-15 MINUTES. Yes, WHILE IT WAS MOVING. It was on the news and obviously people were like puking and stuff. Kennywood, you are fucking drunk this season.

We left the park around 8 because we pretty much did everything we wanted to do and I feel like I might have been pouting when we left but it’s also possible that I’m mixing this up with pretty much any other time we’ve gone to Kennywood.

Aug 092018
 

I used to always work on my birthdays and people would be like, “Why are you here on your bday, that’s stupid.” Well, back then, Barb and Gayle were still here to shower me with ridiculous amounts of attention and presents! And now that they’re not here anymore, WHY BOTHER?!

J/K! (Partially.)

I guess it’s more like the older I get, the more I want to have a child-like birthday, if that makes sense. This year, I chose to spend that day actin’ a fool at Kennywood with my best riding partner, Chooch!

Also, he and I both have season passes and while he had already gone twice this summer, I started to panic because I hadn’t gone once yet! What a waste of a stupid season pass.

Henry is super weird about requesting days off of work, so he said he would just meet us there after and we were like whatever, you do you, bud. If there’s one place Chooch and I can survive on our own, it’s Kennywood! (We didn’t know that until three years ago, when we tested it out and did alright!)

Per tradition, we raced toward the Exterminator as soon as we got into the park, but then we had to stand in line for about 30 dumb minutes because we got there too early and nothing was running yet, why do we do this to ourselves?! It’s not like we need to claim a pavilion for a family picnic or anything!

(I have literally NEVER done that, by the way. My family never lugged in coolers full of pierogies and coleslaw and bologna sandwiches to share with each other under a pavilion next to the Log Jammer. Actually, I can’t remember if my family ever even went to Kennywood altogether as a family, now that I think about it?! DID WE?! I always just went with friends or with my mom and Pappap when I was Kiddie Land-age. I think  the closest to a full-family Kennywood trip might have been in the summer of 1992 when Laurent, our French foreign exchange student, was living with us and we took him to Kennywood but I’m almost my dad didn’t go because he hated him.)

(Sorry, you know me and my brain detours.)

But yes, the Exterminator! Our favorite ride! We got stuck in front of some teenaged girl and three middle school-aged girls that I guess she was like, in charge of, I don’t know, but they thought she was SO COOL (she wasn’t) and she acted like she knew everything to the point where I was waiting for her to pull out blueprints to the Exterminator from her backpocket and say, “Yeah, I built this thing.” She was telling them every single thing to expect! Where’s the fun in that!? Let the kids find out for themselves!

Meanwhile, one of the little bitches was practically Siamese’ing herself with my hip no matter where I stood in line! And she kept bragging about how she just came back from vacation and got lost in the airport and all I could think was, “I wish you hadn’t been found!”

I didn’t like her.

But even worse than her was the young couple in front of us for the Phantom’s Revenge who fucking gave each other small, annoying pecks on the lips, nose, forehead, shoulders, over and over, the entire time, and I wanted to puke everywhere. The girl had herself all wrapped up in a Pride flag so at first I thought she was going to be cool but then I noticed she was also wearing a Falling In Reverse t-shirt and I was like “YOU ARE SO LAME.”

THEY BOTH WERE.

They were like when band dorks are outside of their pack and trying to fool strangers that they might be cool but no one’s buying it.

Then he would lightly touch her nose and she would stick out her tongue, so then that became a thing that they did over and over for about a minute and I honestly almost gave up our spot for last seat and moved somewhere in the middle of the station because fuck PDA. I hate it so much that it’s a wonder I’m not a serial killer.

OR AM I.

DOT DOT DOT.

Chooch and I were crying as we speculated that they were embracing and kissing through the whole ride, and that they were probably mid-kiss in their Phantom souvenir photo too, but then Chooch took it too far as usual and ran the joke into the ground. THERE IS A TIME LIMIT ON SOME JOKES, CHOOCH.

When it was our turn to board the Phantom, it started to rain! I’ve never ridden a roller coaster in the rain before, I don’t think. Anyway, nothing terrible happened. But the rain only got progressively harder so I was worried that we would have to cut our day short.

Since it was raining, we felt this would be a good time to check out the new Thomas the Tank Engine area that I had hopes for because I LOVED THOMAS WHEN I WAS A KID AND BY KID I MEAN A TEENAGER IN HIGH SCHOOL.

I was so disoriented. I always get excited when amusement parks get new rides but I also hate change, so…

Of course when it was our turn to board, they had to temporarily shut it down because the engine was overheating or something, how grand. We chose to stay in line because we had a roof over our heads and it was really raining harder by then.

After about 10 minutes, they let us on. We raced to the caboose of course because I love sitting in the backs of things.

Anyway, wow. What a disappointment! With all the delays they had opening this new section of the park, I expected that this train was going to be some incredibly realistic chug-a-chug-chug through Sodor BUT NO it was literally the exact same track that was there for the old train and they didn’t add ANY SCENES. Literally, all they did was cover up the Kennywood History signs that were there for the other train with “Greetings from….” posters.

We got greeted from all over the world BUT NO KOREA. Kennywood’s no chingu of Korea, I guess.

Yeah, train, your removal was all in vain! And they moved Laffin’ Sal from her iconic perch in front of the old train station to the arcade. Ch-ch-ch-changes.

Same shitty view of the river and industrial things.

Hilariously, the train derailed twice in two days the same week we were there. It’s an omen. Or a Laffin’ Sal curse!

The next day at work I was bitching about how dumb this train is and Wendy and Carrie were like well duh you’re not a toddler but HELLO I love little kid coasters and trains! Lest ye forget the Wacky Worm?! Come on now! This could have been such a great opportunity for K-wood to do it up like the Seussville train at Universal Studios and know how much I loved that bitchin’ ride!

(And if you don’t, here’s evidence.)

Faces nice and slick with oil thanks to the humidity! Why do I bother wearing makeup in the summer?! Oh well, had to get a “WE’RE ON THE TRAIN” selfie anyway. I think the highlight of the ride was when I was a fucking peach and asked two teenage boys if they wanted to switch rows with us so that they could be closer to their family and they were SO GRATEFUL.

AM I GOING TO HEAVEN NOW, OR…?

When we got off the train, we saw The Kissers. She was holding a stuffed Rick (from Rick & Morty) so were gagging. “Oh, of course he won that for her!” Chooch spat. We are a hateful breed, lol.

Anyway, it was still raining so we felt that this would be a good time to eat our No Henry traditional lunch at Johnny Rockets. We only eat here when it’s just us! It’s awesome! They have veggie burgers! We sat at the counter like real life kids from the 50s and fucked around with the countertop jukebox the whole time. They had Under the Boardwalk on it and I aggressively pressed the buttons for it 87 times but I never did hear any of the songs we requested. Fuckin’ Johnny Rockets.

It miraculously stopped raining while we were eating! I took this picture of the Litter Gitter, unchanged since I was a kid, and we joked that maybe it would pick up Henry when he got there, which was soon after! More later. I gotta go for my nightly walk around town with Chooch where we punch our fists into our open palms and act like hooligans.

Jul 312018
 

In the nearly four (4!!) decades I’ve been visiting Kennywood, I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve gone to the arcade. Just not my thAng, you know?

But Chooch dragged me in there twice yesterday and turns out, it’s not so bad and they have a ton of old school arcade games that I used to play with my bro Ryan at the mall when we were lads & lasses.

Anyway, here are some pictures that I took while I was bored when Chooch was doing stuff for tickets under the guise of “winning mum a birthday present” like ok boy.

I used to be really good at Skee Ball! But now I suck and get super aggravated at even the thought of inserting a token. It made me kind of sad to think about how undesirable amusement park and arcades games are to me, even though my wallet is happy, because it’s probably one of the only childhood things that I’ve outgrown. I still love amusement parks, I still get obsessed to the point of traveling to other states and countries for bands, and I still love piling on accessories that make me look like toy store window display.

But I just don’t care for games anymore! Of any kid! Video, arcade, card, board…however if you were to invite me over for some night tag or hide n seek, I’d be there.

Especially if there was a night cap of prank calls.

I win 15 tickets on this thing by accident. Ok bro.

In the back, some old shit is on display so that was cool and Chooch and I had some laughs imagining Henry riding on one of the old carousel horses or playing whatever that Peppy thing is.

Fun fact: the movie Adventureland was filmed at Kennywood and the arcade was in some of the scenes. I only saw that movie once when it first came out like 10 years ago so don’t ask me any questions about it.

We had to return to the arcade once Henry joined us later in the afternoon because I’m one of those mean moms who won’t give their son money for games LOL. Yeah that’s right, the first time we were in there, he just stared wistfully at all the games because he had no money haha.

Meanwhile some lady frantically chased down Chooch and panted, “WERE YOU JUST PLAYING THAT MACHINE OVER THERE? WELL HERE, BOY, YOU LEFT YOUR TICKETS!” and she dumped a long string of tickets into Chooch’s open palms, what a fucking ARCADE SAINT.

Henry was threw some quarters at me like I was working in a Texas strip club and I did super lucrative things like get fortunes and lottery numbers.

Anyway, those bastards didn’t even win me anything because Henry was all WHY DONT YOU SAVE THE TICKETS FOR THE NEXT TIME YOURE HERE AND THEN GET A BIGGER PRIZE and I already know how this will pan out but here, choose your own adventure:

A. Henry loses the ticket receipt

B. Chooch loses the ticket receipt

C. Chooch chooses a prize for himself

D. We don’t make it back to Kennywood this year to see which way this will go

E. Trump bans amusement parks

You know what I’m truly bad at now as an adult? I mean, aside from being an adult? Pinball. It makes me so anxious!

And this concludes the arcade interlude. I’ll be coming ’round the mountain with another Kennywood post later this week and maybe some songs that we can sing together as a round.

Jul 292018
 

I keep putting off recapping Warped Tour for a couple reasons: it was the last one ever and I needed to let the feels marinate for a bit before spooning it into the thought pot, I’m really blog-ambivalent these days, but mostly because there just isn’t really that much to say this time.

This sounds like we had a horrible time and I can assure you it wasn’t that. In fact, aside from early morning sniping, it was actually the first Warped Tour since Chooch started going with us that we got through the whole entire day without even the TINIEST quarrel. Give us a fucking ribbon at the Family Behavioral Fair, motherfuckers.

It just very much felt like we were going through the motions. For instance, the gate we normally enter through didn’t appear to be open this year so we had to get in a much-longer line for the main gate and I didn’t even feel the tiniest bit anxious about this because it didn’t matter to me when we got in. WHY, YOU ASK? GOOD QUESTION. Because there wasn’t one single band in the lineup that I was super-stoked to see.

!!!!

Granted I know that I have been out of the loop for a year or two but even the old bands on the list were like Zzzzzzzz for me.

SO WHY DID YOU BUY A TICKET, DUMMYTURKEY?! Great question! Because I still love the atmosphere and the vibes and I wanted to see it through to the end. GOD DONT YOU READ MY BLOG I ALREADY WROTE ABOUT THAT.

One thing I want to want to mention before I move on to other things is that for as huge of a festival that Warped Tour is, we have never really had a bad “waiting in line” experience. The credit probably goes to the venue, but they do such a stand-up job getting everyone inside the gates at a speedy, safe pace. (KCON/PRUDENTIAL CENTER SHOULD STUDY THIS PROCESS!)

The whole time we were in line though, I kept checking the Warped Tour socials for the “magic word” to get the first 200 people free shit at the Vans tent but I never saw one! So that was kind of a let-down. I had notifications turned on for the Warped Tour app and never received a single alert all day long which was strange…this was one of the reasons why it just didn’t feel right this year.

Chooch got to play games so he was happy. That was all he was looking forward to since the lineup was so “meh” this year.

This was us sitting in the pavilion (all these girls at Warped Tour with their perfectly matte faces while I’m over here looking like I could moisten a whole loaf of week-old bread with my face), waiting 35 minutes for the Maine to come on which never happened because I didn’t make the connection that for the first time ever, there was only one stage under the pavilion?! Usually, it’s the Journeys Left Foot and Journeys Right Foot, but this time they were separated so only one of the “foots” was under the pavilion and guess what guys it wasn’t the one that the Maine was playing on so my tradition of going to Warped Tour every year and never seeing the Maine continued. It’s good to end things with a perfect streak sometimes, you know?

Also, there was a fifteen minute delay on every stage but I thought it was only on three of the stages because I didn’t read the inflatable schedule correctly and basically, if I had any vested interest in seeing any particular band, I would have probably been met with disappointment.

It was just weird how this day started off with CHANGES and that just led to a strong feeling of disorientation for the rest of the day.

If you know what I mean.

Do you know what I mean?

I’m the type of person who totally loses her mind when there is even a tiny sprinkle of aberration in a schedule.

But can I just say again how weird it was to not be literally sprinting from stage to stage in an effort to see all of my scene-faves? A Warped Tour without Emarosa is bad enough but there really wasn’t any post-hardcore for my soul that day.

We did accidentally see a hardcore band called Sharptooth though and I was immediately sucked in because the screamer was a girl and she was fierce as fuck. After the first song, she plowed right into a fiery speech about #MeToo and the crowd was backing her so hard with energetic cheers, and all I could think was, “Can we claw-drop all of the Ronnie Radkes on this tour into the front row and make them listen to this hard truth?” What irony, you know? This band promoting safe spaces, speaking out against domestic/sex abuse, rape, the mental illness stigma, while so many shitty bands full of shitty motherfucking abusers were running rampant on in the same venue because Kevin Lyman doesn’t want to lose money by banning their asses from Warped Tour. This strong, outspoken female could have eaten Jonny Craig alive and made Ronnie Radke shit his pants.

CAN YOU SEE WHY THIS WAS HARD FOR ME!? On one had, Warped Tour is supposed to be this safe haven for all walks of life, socially conscious with tons of really great (and I mean super fantastic) organizations there every summer spreading awareness for depression, suicide, LGBTQ, breast cancer. They have food drives at every city and a tent where you can get swabbed to be a bone marrow donor. (I almost wrote donater.)

But then it’s also a huge parking lot full of band dude debauchery, statutory transgressions and other things that go in on those tour buses that I don’t want to even think about because ew.

On that note though, I noticed a HUGE influx of families in attendance. This was usually not the case, so maybe it was all those grown-up punks wanting to revisit the scene for Warped’s swan song, but goddamn there were A LOT of children there. The first year we brought Chooch, it was 2013 and he was quite literally one of maybe three under-15 kids there, to the point where he was getting a lot of attention and double-takes (and a lot of free swag!). I remember getting a lot of shit from people who thought it was a bad idea for us to take him at that age (he was 7) but you have to consider the fact that Henry and I were already extremely experienced at this and Chooch was literally raised on this kind of music. I mean, he tell you the names of the singers of probably 15 bands that were there that year.

So this was another thing that made our last Warped Tour feel….sterile? Is that the word I want? Yes. Let’s go with sterile.

Also, Chooch is barely even a kid anymore! It’s weird that he won’t ever get to experience Warped Tour with his friends. We used to joke that once he was in high school and his friends finally started getting into this stuff, he would have already been to like 10 Warped Tours! But now I guess we’ll have to see what kind of thing makes a move on Warped’s demographic.

LOL, Henry put so much effort into his Warped Tour outfit.

He was so funny on the way there that morning. Traffic was super backed up as we got closer to the exit for Key Bank Pavilion (will always be StarLake to me) and he was like, “Oh hell no” so he morphed into Professional Driver Henry and cut in front of every car sitting in mile-long Warped Tour traffic, drove over DO NOT CROSS lines, and slid right into a small opening in the front of the line and then said “I literally do not give a fuck.” He just wanted this day to be over, guys. It was actually super impressive.

Full disclosure, I had never heard of the band Lighterburns before but when I saw this sign, I screamed, “YES, I DO AGREE WITH THIS STATEMENT” and promptly whipped out my credit card and by that I mean I had to chase after Henry who was pretending not to hear me and then shake him down for money because like why would I bring my own stuff lol.

Yeah, you do.

Anyway, after that I felt I would be remiss to not check out their set so I went back to the small stage that the lesser-known bands are relegated to, and I really liked them! I wish they had been able to accumulate a bigger crowd, but Warped Tour is a crapshoot like that sometimes. Anyway, here is one of their videos, go support them because they’re fighting the good fight.

Hahahahahahaha, probably my favorite picture from that day!

Chooch is too cool for the big slip-n-slide now I guess, even though he practically got pruned skin from the amount of time he spent in it at his first Warped Tour!

Seasoned veteran at age 12.

Since there were no must-see bands for me, I was able to meander about leisurely and just soak up the vibes, which actually was the best way for me to have closure. It was nice to just listen to all the screaming, get in some prime people-watching, and check out all the merch, like Choonimals! We of course bought their special edition Warped Tour design and said a sad goodbye to Chad, who takes Choonimals on the road with Warped Tour every year.

“This sucks, I feel like this part of the Warped Tour tradition for us, buying a Choonimals shirt,” I said to Chad and he admitted that he has no idea what he’s going to do with his summers now, but assured us that Warped Tour would still be around in some capacity. It sounds like it just not going to be a cross-country tour anymore, but that they will still have events. Maybe something like a west coast and east coast festival? I probably wouldn’t road trip for it, because I can’t imagine any bands in the scene right now inspiring me to travel, so this probably was my last Warped Tour.

Chad gave us all high-fives and thanked us for supporting the brand all these years. I’m not going to lie, I AM TEARING UP RIGHT NOW AS I TYPE THIS. Go check out Choonimals, their shirts are top-notch and the designs are just really great. I guess I’ll be buying all my future Choonimals online from now on, sigh.

Truth is always making people stop and play their dumb games which is right up Chooch’s alley. He always gets free shit from them every year and this time he played some stupid ninja game and chose yellow sunglasses as his prize because they reminded him of the $230 pair of Gentle Monsters that we wouldn’t buy him in Korea, lol, keep dreaming, kid.

Gonna miss sitting on this hill. Gonna miss these tents. Gonna miss the sunburn and the how amazing it feels to take a shower after enduring the heat all day. Apparently, it was so hot that day that the local EMS was calling it a “mass casualty incident” and it was all over the news. I had no idea about any of this, but it explains why three different people at work the next day were like, “I was so worried about you, there was a mass casualty incident!” and I was like, “Wow, how weird that all of these people are using the same word for it.

Then I found out that the singer of Waterparks, Awsten Knight, saw the news crew and ran over to give a statement, but he said he was Kyle Fletchers from December’s Tragedy and this is so fucking hilarious to me to think of people watching this and wondering if their kids like that band. Henry thought it was stupid but NO HENRY, YOU ARE STUPID.

Warped Tour apparently made him a new tour badge after that, hahaha. Oh, Awsten. We fucking missed Waterparks because of how the schedule was jacked all day and they were honestly one of only 4 bands I had any desire to see that day.

We stuck around long enough to 3Oh!3’s first three songs, because it felt symbolic since they were at the first Warped Tour that Henry and I attended together in 2008 (10 years ago! in case you can’t do math). They were largely unknown at the time and I remember thinking at first, “These guys are stupid” but half a song in, I was trying to get them to play at my imaginary prom. I remember exactly what stage they played on that year too, it was one of the ones under the pavilion, where the smaller bands performed back then. Katy Perry performed on that stage that year too and they both exploded into the mainstream right after that. It was nuts.

So even though we were all super fucking hot, tired, and hungry, we stuck around long enough to see some of their songs (“Oh, I know who they are now!” Chooch cried almost immediately after he kept insisting that he didn’t) and then we all decided to throw in the towel by 7pm. I mean, I certainly didn’t want to stick around for shitty Falling In Reverse and I gave no shits about any other band playing after that anyway.

I thought I would be OK, but I still found myself stalling, knowing that once we exited those gates, that was it. The Book of Warped Tour was closed. I know it probably sounds like we had a not-great time, but the fact is that it was just right. I didn’t have high expectations going in so I wasn’t let down. I knew the line-up and wasn’t shocked that there wasn’t anyone I was dying to see. I bought all the merch I needed. None of us fought. Chooch spun wheels and won things, Henry fell asleep.

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Nap time. #kingofsleepingatWarpedToursince2008

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It was enough for me. And it made me appreciate my new lifestyle even more, because I just connect with the Warped Tour stuff anymore and that’s OK. Maybe if they would have recreated the 2008 lineup, or the 2012 one, I would have been more stoked. There was a post-hardcore void, and it’s obvious that the kids are moving away from that genre, so it was another reason for me to make peace with the end of an era.

But I will tell you one thing, later that night, I lost all control of myself and started sobbing into Henry’s chest because it finally hit me. I know that this wasn’t something I did in my childhood, but it still had that feeling to it! Like it was some weird delayed coming-of-age moment for me, lol, I don’t know. Warped Tour was a big part of my life for many years and I will cherish those memories forever. But now I can fully embrace this new season of life I’m getting into, without having one foot stubbornly stuck in the old one.

Warped Tour, you will forever have a place in my heart. <3

Jul 212018
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What’s his name?” Henry asked.

“I don’t know,” I said with a shrug.

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

UGH SHUT UP HENRY YES I DID.

Apr 162018
 

At the rate I’m going, I’ll be back in Korea before I finish recapping this trip, so let’s break down Everland using my everfavorite everbullets. It’s everefficient.

  • We noticed that nearly none of the Everland characters were Korean…? This is good to know for when I move there and need to find a job. What?
  • There wasn’t as much “weirdness” to the park food-wise as I guess I thought there would be, but there was a stand slinging peanut-buttered roasted squid. I wanted so badly for Henry to get some but he hold on tightly to his hard no all day long.

  • This tree played a big part in an episode of Running Man, too. LE SIGH.
  • The ride attendants were amazingly energetic and in it to win it. I expected to go on rides and have kpop blasted at us (would not have complained) but on this one particular ride that was kiiiiiinda similar to the Music Express, at least in the same family tree, there were three people running it and they freaking SANG AND DANCED for us the entire time. It was so surreal and probably my favorite part of the entire day, you guys. I felt so pumped! CHAMPIONSHIP RODEO ALL FUCKING DAY LONG, OPPPPPA!!!!

  • Hands down the best ride at Everland is the T-Express. We got in line as soon as it opened and by we I mean Chooch and me because again, Henry was all, “I DON’T WANT TO RIDE WITH A STRANGER” because he’s so fucking weird but guess what, he wouldn’t have had to! There were tons of single riders! Henry is so dumb. Anyway, if you’re a coaster enthusiast, you can read up on T-Express here  and possibly develop a healthy crush like I did. I enjoy wooden coasters so much more than the fancy-pants high-tech steel ones, I just need to lay that out there. I just love the nostalgic feeling to it, and I think it’s a greater accomplishment when a coaster can be the most fucking thrilling without sending you upside down or having your feet dangling through the whole ride. This was just pure wooden adrenaline, man, and it was fast as fuuuuuck. Also, there’s no creaking slowly up that starter hill, either – this thing yanks you up with no dawdling and it was so exciting! Chooch and I rode this only three times throughout the day (and we got that one nighttime ride in there too!) and now I regret not riding it more. So I’m going to be super cheesy here for a second but it was a really cool feeling to be the only two foreigners on a roller coaster and realizing that there is only one language for AMUSEMENT PARK FUN TIME and we were all speaking that together in the form of throat-scraping screams! How bonding! Maybe all the world leaders should spend a day together at Universal Studios, giggling on spinny rides and shrieking on roller coasters and eating the fuck out of some fried food.
    • Here’s a video of two of my favorite Korean TV personalities, Ha-Ha and Yoo Jae-Suk, on the T-Express for their other show Infinite Challenge:

  • This was the biggest pirate ship ride I’ve ever seen and no, I didn’t go on it because even the puny one at Kennywood makes me vomit-prone these days.

    

  • Line Friends is everywhere in Korea so of course there would be one in Everland too. They also had legit clothing stores too, like boutique shit and not, I don’t know, Beer Tees or something equally as tacky as you’d probably find in America.

  • Henry only rode the carousel, one of the 4D rides, and the safari rides. He’s such a grandpa. In fact, toward the end of the day we were all three going to ride the T-Express but GUESS WHO LOST THEIR TICKET oh this dumb broad typing in a blog right now. I can’t even believe I lost my stupid ticket. So Henry saw this as his way out and happily said, “OH WELL. HERE, JUST USE MY TICKET” and then took that opportunity to sit on a bench and stare at all the chaebols (HEIRS). He was obsessed with this one group of young people who were wearing trench coats and acting like they were cooler than everyone else and I didn’t see them but I can already verify that they were cooler than us. Fact.
    • I feel like Henry and I probably argued a lot too but I likely blocked it out in order to preserve the Perfect Memory. I just asked him if there’s anything he wants to say about Everland and he said no. Hold on, Chooch is coming downstairs to take out the garbage so I’ll ask him.
      • “fun time dancing boys” – Chooch’s garage-bagged review.

  • I mentioned this in my k-observation post but I was in love with all of the couples at the park that day. Granted, Chooch and I felt like third and fourth wheels in line for most of the rides, but it was still super adorable. I don’t want to give off the impression that these people were like, making out and dry-humping in front of us—it was way more sweet and innocent than that! A lot of the couples were matching outfits, tons of selfies were taken and just really cute affectations were going on, like nose-taps and things like that. Then we would get off the ride and I’d run over to Henry and remember that we’re in one of those good old hateful American relationships. J/K we’re not always hateful but I actually hate PDA, if we’re being honest here.

  • Chooch and Henry had an argument at one point over military time. Chooch kept arguing that you would say “One thousand three hundred o’clock” for example, and kept pushing back every time Henry corrected him, until finally Henry yelled, “I THINK I WOULD KNOW, I WAS IN THE GODDAMN SERVICE.” Whoa, it’s always newsworthy when Henry plays the SERVICE card! I would have tweeted it at that exact moment but I didn’t have wifi.

  • So you know how the Chinese food we eat in America is like, not what actual food is like in China? Well, in Korea, there is this noodle dish that people love called jjajangmyeon (짜장면) a/k/a black bean noodles, which is considered a “Chinese dish” but is actually a Koreanized form of a similar Chinese noodle dish. I thought that was pretty interesting, but more importantly is that I think these noodles are freaking amazing so when we saw that one of the park restaurants offered that as a main dish, we were in. (Actually, I think Henry got something else but I couldn’t remember because I was too busy bathing in thick black bean sauce. Not sure what Chooch’s face means in that picture, but he fucking inhaled his noodles too. Also, unlimited daikon radish! Alsox2 – this was way cheaper than probably any amusement park meal we’ve ever had in our lives. Except Henry because he was born in the 60s and probably ate sardines out of a can for 15 cents at amusement parks back then. Right? Hardboiled eggs straight out of a hobos sock?

  • There are two different safari rides you can go on at Everland and both were incredibly entertaining even though we didn’t know what was being said by the guides, lol. But each guide we had was so incredibly enthusiastic that it didn’t really feel like we were missing out. Chooch said he liked the guide on the second safari ride better; no shit, because she was a cute girl! When the second safari ride (Lost Valley) came to an end, all the Lost Safari people gathered around and sang a farewell song to us and even low-key chased us as we exited. It was so exciting! In the gift shop right after, Chooch was told by yet another Korean guy that he was handsome, this time it was a young Lost Safari attendant. “Big eyes!” he said to Chooch, and I responded, “Yeah, big mouth too.”

  • I THINK THIS ELEPHANT WAS ON RUNNING MAN?!

  • Guys, I for sure can walk around with a caterpillar torso on my head all day.

  • The Spooky Fun House wasn’t too spooky but it was definitely fun, because hello IT WAS MY FIRST “DARK RIDE” IN KOREA! Ironically, after we came home, there was a letter from DAFE (Darkride and Funhouse Enthusiasts) asking us if we wanted to renew our membership ALMOST LIKE THEY KNEW WE WERE RECENTLY DOING DARKRIDE THINGS IN ANOTHER COUNTRY!
    • Not my first foreign country darkride rodeo though — my aunt Sharon and I went to some  super rickety and shady pop-up carnival thing one time in Paris. It was one of those rare times when we had some free time away from the tour group so Sharon was like, “THIS LOOKS FUN AND NOT LIKE A REALLY BAD IDEA AT ALL.” I can’t remember a single fucking thing about this place except for the fun house we went into that knocked us all around and then the hamster wheel at the exit was spinning SO FAST that I kept falling and Sharon was screaming, “TURN IT THE FUCK OFF!!!” and this fat French bitch manning the gate was laughing her mole-dotted face off at us and I just remember sobbing and feeling so violated, and then having bruises and brushburn on my my legs and arms the next day. Fun times in France!
      • Actually, I think we also went into a haunted house where we were borderline assaulted by the “monsters” inside.
      • Now I want to dig out my old vaca-journals but the Walking Challenge just started at work and I can’t be sitting for that long so maybe sometime in June we’ll revisit this topic.

  • The park wasn’t too crowded, being a weekday in March, but there was one area where you could be sure to find a crowd, and that was the garden section. There was a tulip festival thing happened and if there is one thing people LOVE to do in Korea, it is have their picture taken copious times. Nearly everyone came equipped with either selfie sticks or actual freaking tri-pods — FOR THEIR PHONES! It was nuts, and made it impossible to stroll through that area leisurely because we were constantly photobombing adorable couples or besties dressed in matching school uniforms. This was fine though because it just meant that the lines for the rides weren’t too terrible!

  • Oh shit in the forefront of this picture you can see the tracks for the Dragon Coaster, a kid coaster that came super close to rivaling THE WACKY WORM. Chooch and I were huge fans and Henry didn’t even pay attention to us when we were on it. :(

  • I still don’t understand how this ride works but it’s called Flash Pang Pang and it inspired a SPIRITED debate, Henry and Chooch vs. me, later on when they insisted that it was called Flash Pong Pong and I countered, in a very calm and collected way, that no, it’s Pang Pang and they both flew off the handle and started slinging slurs at me and accused me of drinking nail polish remover, all sorts of terrible things! I continued being the mature one though, and politely pointed out that I had read the sign in hangeul and it was, in fact, a longer “a.” They continued to diss me and I said, “That is OK. I still love you both very much even if you disagree with me.” But then I smugly pointed out later on the map that I WAS RIGHT, MOTHERFUCKERRRRRRRRS.
    • If you’re wondering about the whereabouts of our headbands, Trudy the Mannequin is wearing them both.

Oh man, I feel like I’m missing so much here, but those are most of the highlights off the top of my head. Around 9, we went out the parking lot and panicked for a good 5 minutes because the bus wasn’t there and there was definitely a moment when we thought we had been left behind and would have to find our way back to Seoul, but then ALVIN *HEARTEYES* appeared on a cloud dropped straight from Heaven and showed us to the bus. THANK YOU ALVINNNNN.

Is it weird that I spent most of the day being hyper-aware that I was walking around a place that Running Man has filmed? I know that I’ve mentioned it a million times on here, but just in case someone is reading this and imaging a bunch of people doing the Running Man dance in an amusement park while being recorded, Running Man is a Korean variety show that Henry and I love so much. They have their permanent cast but there are also usually guests on each episode, from kpop idols to actors. I only started watching it because BIGBANG had appeared several times and even with subtitles, I had no idea what was going on at first, but the cast is so charismatic and hilarious, that I was hooked and found myself YouTubing more and more episodes until finally I said “fuck it” and started watching from the first episode on Drama Fever. I’m not allowed to watch it without Henry so that’s how he knows I must be mad at him, when he walks in the house and catches me in the act of cracking up while watching grown adults essentially playing tag.

That show has also helped me learn a lot about Korean culture too, like kai bai bo (the Korean version of rock paper scissors which is wildly popular for Koreans to play when in the need of breaking a tie, deciding who’s going to pay, etc), the honorific system/formal speak, and certain titles that people use on each other based on age. It’s fascinating and something that has changed my life, and now there I was, in a place where some of my favorite people have run around, tearing off each other’s name tags. #shook

So whenever I’m asked what my favorite thing was that I did in Korea, I can’t say one specific thing because the simple fact that I was there AT ALL was my favorite thing. How can I possibly choose one moment?!

First ones on the bus this time! I think that the next time we go to Korea (because I’m not through with Korea yet!!), we will probably use this tour company again for another day trip. It was reasonably-priced and definitely worth the price to have non-stop transportation provided. We ended up getting pretty comfortable with the subway system but I don’t think we could have handled making multiple transfers via subway and bus and shuttle with very much panache. I mean, I know Henry probably feels like he could conquered that but um…Chooch and I have seen him squint at maps enough to know that at some point, he’d have us going the wrong direction.

I miss Alvin.

*******************************

Post-Everland notes:

It was 10:30 by the time we arrived back at Dongdaemun and you would never know it was a Monday night because that place was poppin’ off. All the department stores were still open, the street food was still being churned out with a vengeance, and people of all ages were milling about like it was a Friday night. Seoul, you truly are the city that never sleeps.

OMG we of course feasted on street food on our walk back to the hotel and it was the perfect ending. I miss these nights so much.

The next post will be all about Hongdae shopping!

Apr 152018
 

I feel like my epitaph should include something about amusement parks, because I have been known to plan vacations around them. You will never catch me going to a beach that doesn’t have a boardwalk theme park. So do you really think we could go to Korea and NOT go to an amusement park? We are freaking theme park enthusiasts and Everland has been on my list ever since I saw an episode of Running Man that was filmed there. (It’s one of my favorite episodes, too!) Plus, they have this famous wooden coaster called the T-Express which has also been featured on numerous variety shows, so sign me the fuck up.

The thing with Everland, though, is that it’s about an hour outside of Seoul, which is fine if you either have rented a car (we didn’t apply for an international license) or are more savvy with public transportation than we are. You can GET there using pub-trans, but it involves transfers and buses, and god only knows the things that could go awry with us idiot foreigners. Plus, I read that it can take around 3 hours to get there this way.

Luckily, Henry noticed that our hotel has some partnership with a company that provides not only discounted rates, but transportation on a chartered tour bus as well! So he did his thing through the website on our first day in Seoul, and then decided to also go down to the front desk and ask some follow-up questions, at which point he was told that they knew nothing about what he was telling him, so we thought for awhile that we had been scammed.

Early Monday morning, Henry stopped by the front desk on the way back from what was soon to become his traditional “before sunrise” convenience store breakfast run, and had the nice guy call the tour agency for him, at which point we learned that the bus was picking us up at 9am at some subway exit in Dongdaemun, so Henry was like, “Wow, good thing I didn’t wait until 9 to go down and ask” which is what he was originally going to do!

Anyway, long story short, we walked around for what seemed like an hour because Henry “wasn’t sure” and I was like, “If they said Exit 10, shouldn’t we just, you know, wait by Exit 10?” which is what Chooch and I did while Henry used my phone to call the travel company, who was like, “Well, we don’t have you on the list because you did this over the weekend while we were closed” so then there was this long moment of uncertainty where we thought we couldn’t go, but then they found our order and it was still an issue because the tour guide who was going to be on the bus didn’t know we were supposed to be there, so they were like, “You have to show him your receipt on your phone” and  thank god there was another family of three waiting there with us because who even knows if the bus would have stopped it was only us!

So the bus got there, and that’s when we met ALVIN with whom I imprinted almost immediately because when he was wearing his medical mask, he looked kind of like Song Joonki, but there was more back and forth with Alvin because he had to examine the receipt on Henry’s phone and take a picture of it with his phone and then text it to the office and wait for them to confirm, and meanwhile, there was a legit busload of people waiting on us and I gulped so many times.

But then, yay, our reservation was confirmed and we were allowed to board the bus! We were the last stop too, and there were JUST ENOUGH seats. It reminded me of when the bus I sometimes took in high school would get to my street and my neighbor Lindsay and I were the last ones to get on and the bus was always packed to capacity and it was so uncomfortable having to squeeze into a seat that already held two people. Oh, anxiety! But Chooch and I got to sit together, so it wasn’t too bad. Henry had to sit with the dad of the family we were waiting with, lol.

So everyone on the bus was either English- or Chinese-speakers, which meant that Alvin had to go over everything in both languages and that made me love him even more because not only is he Korean, but he also speaks English and Chinese!? Yes, please. Chooch was like, “Get a life, you’re so embarrassing” because he saw me scribbling in my vacation journal about my wedding plans.

It turns out that Henry went through K-Tour Story, which I had come across numerous times while planning our trip because they offer other day tours, as well, like ones to Nami Island and the palaces. So I felt better knowing that this was a legit thing Henry purchased, it just got a little messed up since he went about this on the weekend.

When we arrived, Alvin gave us explicit instructions on when and where to meet later that night at 9, and then made us pose for a group photo, which was later posted on their Instagram along with other recent tours they led. THAT IS ALVIN ON THE FAR RIGHT, but in this picture his true Song Joonki-ness isn’t shining through.

Henry was just like, “What is happening, what have I done?”

And then Alvin handed everyone their tickets and said, “MAKE SURE YOU KEEP THESE WITH YOU AT ALL TIMES” in the  most foreshadowing tone possible, and we all ran to the entrance where we were greeted with glorious amusement park music.

“GIVE ME THOSE,” Henry barked, snatching our tickets from us so we wouldn’t lose them.

Henry disappeared immediately and we thought he was pooping somewhere because that’s always our first suspicion, but then it turns out he was exchanging money or something non-bathroom related. So he says.

Since the park had just opened, none of the rides were running yet so we used this opportunity to go see the pandas before it got insanely crowded.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen pandas in real life before,” I mused out loud.

“WELL UNLESS YOU’VE BEEN TO CHINA OR THE SAN DIEGO ZOO I’M GOING TO GUESS THAT YOU HAVEN’T,” Henry scoffed haughtily, because if there is one thing for you to learn about Henry from this blog post, it’s that he sometimes acts like he is a fucking zoologist who was first in his class.

For instance, one time we were driving past Columbus, Ohio and this is an actual conversation we had and I know it’s verbatim because I literally just copied and pasted this from the liveblog I was writing when it happened:

Henry: I’d like to go to the Columbus zoo someday.
Me: Why.
Henry: Because they have a nice zoo.
Me: How do you know?
Henry: Because they have a nice zoo, OK?
Me: Yeah but how do you know if you’ve never been there?
Henry: Because…THEY JUST HAVE A NICE ZOO.
Me: BUT HOW DO YOU KNOW?????
Henry: *mumbled something about Jack Hanna*

Henry and zoos, man.

Anyway, we got to enjoy some glorious time with pandas with only a handful of other people and it was really something special.

Especially when this guy was rubbing his butt on a rock.

Getting to see pandas in an Asian country was something that I never thought I’d do in this lifetime. It was beyond amazing.

I’m going to try and get Chooch to write a guest post about Everland because he took a shit-ton of videos, but he is L-Z when it comes to writing.

Right after this, we got in line for a small steel coaster called the Rolling X-Train. Henry was all clenched because he thought he’d have to ride with a stranger which is his least favorite thing to do especially after he had to ride with some 13-year-old girl on one of the Harry Potter coasters at Universal and Chooch and I spent the next two months talking about “that time Henry had a date with a teenager,” so he opted out.

The line wasn’t too terribly long, maybe about a 15 minute wait, but as we got closer to the top, I started noticing that everyone was flashing something at the ride attendants.

“Oh fuck, do we need our tickets?!” I whispered to Chooch, Alvin’s warning playing back in my head in slo-mo.

And sure enough, when we got to the front of the line, the ride attendant asked to see our tickets and I was so flustered. I told him that we left our tickets “with some guy” and it was so embarrassing because here we are, Korea! Dumb Americans who can’t follow instructions! Anyway, he was super nice and told us to go and get our tickets and then come back through the exit so we wouldn’t have to wait in line again.

HOW FUCKING NICE IS THAT?! That never would have happened here in Pittsburgh. (But then again, Kennywood doesn’t even issue tickets anymore, so…) So we angrily held out our hands for Henry to give us back our tickets because this was all his fault, and then we guiltily and shamefully re-entered through the exit ramp, where we waited on the other side of the concourse. The girl on that side was like, “Hello who are you?!” but our friend jumped over the tracks and explained to her what happened, so she was like, “OK OK you can go on the next one.” I love you, Korea.

Meanwhile, two girls joined us.

“Did you guys forget your tickets too?” I asked.

“Yes!” the one said dramatically, and we bonded over how embarrassed we felt. Turns out they were from the Philippines, which is only a 4 hour flight to Korea so if moving to Korea doesn’t pan out for me, perhaps I’ll consider the Philippines?

Anyway, those girls were nice and Chooch and I were excited to have made “friends.” Especially friends who also failed to follow directions.

And then it was our turn to ride and all I could think was, “I AM ON A ROLLER COASTER IN KOREA! LIFE IS FUCKING AMAZING!” And as the coaster started to leave the platform, the ride attendants all yelled, “화이팅!” (hwaiting) and I was like, “HOW IS THIS REAL LIFE?!!?!?” because I have heard this so many times on all of the Korean shows I watch but NEVER IN REAL LIFE.

Gah, now I’m over here crying about it! I will be back with more Everland pictures and recaps once I compose myself. My state is fragile right now.

 

 

 

 

 

Sep 012017
 

While everyone was eating, some Kennywood band started setting up near us and Haley said, “Yep, time to leave.” Thank god! I get so antsy when we sit for too long at amusement parks!

It was about 785 degrees out on this day, so hot and humid that Chooch and I were drenched in sweat just from sitting. Beads of perspiration rolled down my back in 5 second intervals and I internally cried to the gods, “WHY DID YOU MAKE MY SWEAT GLANDS SUCH OVERACHIEVERS?!” It’s just mean.

Our caravan began it’s slow stutter-walk toward Lost Kennywood. There was chatter about which ride we should go on, the Pirate Ship or the Phantom, and I personally didn’t want to go on the Phantom right that second because we had already ridden it, but the Phantom won out and I just had a feeling.

That sickening belly-nag.

The sky was starting to look straight-up foreboding, my friends. I half-expected that Kennywood guy sitting at the entrance of the line to say something about it, something like, “Yinz guys should go ride the Music Express or something because this bitch is getting shut down here rill soon n’ at.”

But nope, he just gave us blank looks and allowed us to pass.

The line was a lot longer than it was when Chooch and I rode it earlier with Henry, but we trudged along until we couldn’t go any further. This put us behind a young couple from one of the high school bands and at first I was like, “Aw, look at these band nerds in love” (I can say that because I was in band, too). Literally, they looked like they were normal people who were dressed up band geeks for Halloween. The girl especially looked like she had a hidden prettiness, like she was dying to star in a real life version of one of those predictable teen makeover movies. She’s All That, or if I want to date myself, SHE’S OUT OF CONTROL which starred Mickey Dolenz’s daughter! I saw that movie in the theater with my friend Spring and I thought it was so great and it gave me hope that someday I would grow out of my ugly duckling phase.

(Spoiler: I never did. Have you seen me?)

So back to the Phantom. These fucking kids went from “aw” to “awful” really fast. Their PDA was so out of control that I was starting to dig my fingernails into my palms. The boy kissed the girl after EVERY SENTENCE. These disgusting little kisses on her nose, lips, cheek, shoulder, neck, head. And then she would do it back and it was like being a fucking farm watching chickens peck at each other.

“I like water rides,” she said. *KISS*

“I like water rides too!” he said. *KISS*

“OMG we should go on a water ride!” *KISS*

“I agree!” *KISSKISSKISSKISSUGHFUCKYOU*

I tried to get Haley to switch spots with me but she was like, “Girl, I will fucking kill them.”

It was so out of control! Their conversation was so banal (because this is real life high school and not Dawson’s Creek where they look at the stars and talk about paradigms) and did not warrant such flagrant, superfluous affection, like each precious peck was some uncomfortable form of punctuation that English teachers omit from their curriculum because it’s gross. 

We moved up enough in line to where it was almost time to pick which car we wanted to sit in and then get in the appropriate line. Blake asked where I wanted to go and I was like FAR AWAY FROM THESE OVERACTIVE LIPSMACKERS OVER HERE.

But as it turns out, we wouldn’t have a chance to go any further because an announcement was made saying that the Phantom was temporarily shutting down due to the approaching storm.

MOTHERFUCKER.

This was after about 30 minutes of already standing in line!

Some people opted to stay and wait it out, but we turned around and went to find Henry and Calvin, who had taken pre-shelter under a pavilion of Pedro’s Tacos, which was closed and now that I think about it, I don’t think I have ever seen that place open.

Henry the Meteorologist kept checking some storm tracker map thing and pointed out that it looked like it was going to be OK once this storm came through, that the rest of the day should be all clear. There were other storms behind the first one that was approaching us but Henry pointed out that it looked like they were going to pass around our location.

All of a sudden, the rain fell and people started screaming like it was acid dropping from buckets. We just laughed because come on, guys. It’s rain. This went on for several minutes, with more and more people squeezing into the pavilion with us. I turned my back for a second and got doused with what felt like a really rough wave, and everyone started SCREAMING and pushing each other further into the pavilion. I had no idea what was going on, but garbage cans had fallen over and were rolling violently along the wet ground, and the rain was coming down in what appeared to be curtains at this point.

We were right across from the Pittsburgh Plunge, which is a water ride, and I very naively thought that some sort of tidal wave had been created in the pool of water at the bottom of it and that’s what had hit us, but Henry was like, “No, stupid, the wind was so strong that it was making the rain fall sideways.”

It was intense! And of course this feels like a string of nonsense in light of Hurricane Harvey.

Some dumb bitch was standing near me, coddling her crying son who looked like he was at least 9, and loudly saying things like, “I KNOW, I KNOW. I HATE CROWDS! PEOPLE ARE SUCH IDIOTS” like excuse me, we’re all trying to stay safe here, and I personally didn’t witness any shoving or general jackassery.  Dumb bitch—your kid is basically an adult at this point, get a grip. Meanwhile, Haley was standing behind her, calmly holding Calvin and not panicking or shouting passive aggressive insults at everyone who wasn’t paying enough attention to her.

That lady was already under my skin before the rain even started falling because her face was a moving billboard of angry expressions.

After the storm, there was nothing to do but eat and play games. I remember back in the day, only certain rides would get shut down when it rained and then they would pretty much fire back up as soon as the storm passed.

“Yeah, but then that microburst blew the roof off the Whip and some lady sued,” Henry said.

“Someone sued for real?” I asked.

“Probably,” Henry shrugged. A logical assessment.

The greatest part though was that it cooled down so beautifully and felt like a brisk fall day. I wanted a maple latte badly though. 

I love/hate when they play games. On one hand, there is always something cute that I want them to win for me, but on the other hand, that’s S. Korea money going right down the shitter.

The fish pond is my favorite game! I love how it smells, and I love the sound the metal hook makes when it connects with one of the chunky plastic fish cruising on by with the “current.” It’s one of the things that hasn’t changed about Kennywood since I was a kid and I appreciate that so hard.

This girl was not amused by Chooch’s uncertainty and indecisiveness when it came to choosing fish to hook and I was waiting for her to reach in with her hand and pick for him. I feel like if you’re working one of those games, that one especially since it’s such a kid-centric game, you should have a more docile, friendly disposition?

I wanted Chooch to pick a plush popsicle, but he chose a cupcake instead. I was really disappointed but when he declared that he was giving it to Calvin, the disappointment was replaced with pride because no one made him do this, and it was basically the first time in three months that he acknowledged Calvin’s existence!

<3

Blake won a small pink poop for Calvin. 


An hour later, it started POURING again while we played the shooting game, which is also where I got angry at Henry because he will never properly teach me how to aim and I never hit any targets!

It was 3:00 by this point and we had basically done fuck-all, when a speaker crackled, followed by, “This is the voice of Kennywood….”

The park was officially closing at 4pm because an entire of fleet of storms was still en route to the area. 

SAD TUBA FOR REAL. 

But the upside is that we got rain tickets for next year! 

We still stayed put under an awning because it was torrentially downpouring and no one wanted to walk through that to the gate. This was how I learned courtesy of Haley that if you run through rain, you get more wet!

IS THAT TRUE?!

The rain slowed down long enough for Henry, Chooch and me to speedwalk to Goldent Nugget to grab ice cream cones for the crew but THEY WERE DONE SERVING ICE CREAM FOR THE DAY. 

WHYYYYY!?

I had to text Janna and tell her to JUST FORGET IT because she was going to meet us there after work. This could have been such a great day! We had the perfect group! But then HENRY made us go left instead of right AND LOOK WHAT HAPPENED. 

I never noticed this fire hydrant before. 

All was not lost though because Chooch ended up winning this plush unicorn on the way out, and Haley (who had craved candy apples during her whole pregnancy) snagged the last candy apple in the candy store by the exit. 

Small victories!

In conclusion, shitty weather but excellent company. 

I bet those fucking band dorks spent the whole afternoon kissing raindrops off each other ugh I’m so glad I never saw them again. 

Aug 312017
 

Well, we managed to squeeze Kennywood in right before the end of the summer season, but it was pretty much a bust. We chose this day a month in advance to ensure that we could get the day off work and that Janna, Blake and Haley could make it too, but the bad thing about planning so far out is that none of us know what kind of stew to cook up in ye ol’ cauldron to foresee the weather.

Spoiler alert: it stormed hardcore halfway through the day.

But! We were able to enjoy a few hours before that happened and this post here will do its best to illustrate that.

This was the first time in two years that Henry was actually joining Chooch and me at Kennywood, since we don’t go on Father’s Day anymore. He wasn’t happy that Chooch and I have made our traditions in his absence, such as: getting there as soon as the park opens (Henry never took us there that early!) and going the supposed “long way” which is how I used to get to Kennywood as a kid.

“Yeah, because you lived in another part of town then and it made sense to go that way!” Henry tried to reason by YELLING IN HIS DAD-VOICE which always makes me turn up the music.

I got my way of course and we left about three hours earlier than Henry would have liked and went the “long way” through West Mifflin, god forbid.

We actually got there a little bit too early though because the gates hadn’t even opened yet and there were quite a few lines already formed. Henry was being SO ANNOYING, jumping from one line to the next, trying to find the shortest one and it was really embarrassing. Like who is ever that high-strung about getting inside Kennywood?

There was a fuckarow with the lines anyway, because a bunch of different high school bands were there and the one Kennywood ticket girl was trying to corral them all into one line and they were such dunces about it and of course out of every line there, the only one it affected was OURS, good job, Henry. Couldn’t have just stuck with the first line.

By the time we made it up to the front, she was still bitching about it.

“I don’t understand what was so hard about that,” she scoffed at me and also no one in particular. “All I asked them to do was stand together. They’re in a band! That’s literally their JOB, to STAND TOGETHER IN A LINE!” and I just cracked up so bad. It was a good start to the day!

Until we made it through the ticket gates and Henry made us go LEFT instead of RIGHT when we ALWAYS GO RIGHT. Never in my life have I gone LEFT—that’s the way we always LEAVE the park! Little did we know that he was setting the tone for the day, because everything had an air of unfamiliarity to it after that.

Blame Henry, all dingdong day long.

Once we made it through the tunnel into the park, Chooch and I screamed, “Exterminator!” and took off in that direction while Henry just dawdled behind us like a fucking farmer from the 50s. Half of the Peters Twp band seemed to have the same idea and I was trying to get Henry to speed it up so we wouldn’t stuck with them in line but nooooo, Henry was all, “Don’t run! Take your time! Slow down!”

OMG why did we bring him!?

Of course, we ended up smack in the middle of the band kids and it looked like it was going to be terrible because some of them were teetering on line-jumping, but then one of the kids in front of us asked me, “Do you guys want to go ahead of us so you’re not stuck in the middle of the band kids?” and I was like, “Bro? You reading my mind, bro?”

He did this grand flourish with his arm and we happily jumped ahead of them and it was WONDERFUL, THANK YOU KIND BAND NERD.

There were some others in front of but they weren’t a part of the clique I guess, and were mostly keeping to themselves. This is how I learned some new hand-slapping games that Chooch said he would play with me but I had stage-fright because it seemed difficult and I didn’t want to mess up in front of people! There was intense counting involved. Counting is not my strong-suit.

Neither is typing.

Or talking.

Or breathing.

Sigh.

(Or sighing.)

We had to wait in line for about 15 minutes for the ride to open since it was still early. But once it opened and we all moved inside (the Exterminator is an indoor coaster), the band kids got super rowdy and immediately started screaming at ear-fucking levels and Henry’s grimace was devouring his whole point. Then they started high-fiving their friends as they passed each other in the queue and I was giddy because one of them high-fived me too but then I realized later that maybe he was just preparing his hand for his bandmates behind us that he was about to pass.

But I was so eager to get a piece of that hot high-fiving action! I love high-fiving. High-fives over hugs.

I jokingly said that I was going to make Henry ride with those annoying kids and he said, “I already have annoying kids to ride with.”

Oh snap, pops.

Finally it was time for us to get on the ride and I was beyond stoked, doing a bunch of “me-me-me-me-me”s to warm up my throat for the radical levels of shrieking I was about to unleash as soon as the ride started. I LOVE SCREAMING MY FACE OFF ON RIDES. It’s kind of my THANG. I will scream to the point where I’m laughing too hard to scream and then I’m peeing too hard to laugh.

Fuck yeah, Exterminator!

I had to laugh though because during that whole ride, I was the only one vocalizing any sort of feeling: literally, it was just my dumb big mouth filling up that entire warehouse, and each car of band kids that passed us were somberly quiet. After all that commotion they caused in line!

After that ride, Chooch and I made Henry watch us ride the Swingshot, which I successfully scared/horrified/enraged everyone on it with us with my blood-curdling Kerrigan-cries of “WHHHHHHYYYYYYYYYY?!?!?!?!” and “OH MY GOD NO NO NO!!!! I FORGOT HOW AWFUL THIS IS!” before my finale of “rosary in tongues.”

“You’re so embarrassing,” Chooch muttered when the ride stopped and I happily announced to everyone that we survived.

Then we rode the Phantom’s Revenge, where Chooch viciously mocked me for initially calling it the Steel Phantom WHICH IS WHAT IT USED TO BE CALLED WHEN I WAS CHOOCH’S AGE, OK?! The line was still really short so we ran for the back because back is best, fuck the rest.

Henry had to ride alone and he said he was fine with that because we’re annoying.

(Chooch just barged into my blogging life and said, “How the hell can you write about Kennywood? We did nothing!!” I mean it’s almost true, but still—there’s always shit to say about Kennywood!)

On the Phantom, Chooch and I had the very last seat and Papa H sat in front of us. We fluffed his hair and made our presence known the whole way up the first hill, and I think Henry was seriously reevaluating some life decisions, especially as the coaster made it over the crest and my murder-moans kicked in.

I just can’t hold it in, OK?! There was one year that the Handas were with us and Chris was like,  “You are my new official soundtrack of the Phantom.” It’s just what I do, guys. I have the vocal chords of a fucking 1970s Scream Queen. 

Then we made Henry go into Noah’s Ark since he hasn’t seen it since it was renovated. Chooch and I ran like escaped zoo animals to the entrance and then had to stand there and wait for our slow-lumbering counterpart, so thanks for that, Henry.

You meandering asshole.

Henry wasn’t impressed with renovated Noah’s Ark. WELL GUESS WHAT I’M NOT IMPRESSED WITH HENRY.

OMG Chris gave me a heads up last month about the new waffle stand that Kennywood has. Normally I’m not a big amusement park eater (I prefer eating National Parks, instead) but I was like, “Hold up wait a minute, Henry give that boy all your money because mama wants some wafels with all the dinges whatever that means.”

Henry was annoyed because Blake had texted him and said that they were nearly there and Henry needed to meet them at the entrance because he had their tickets, and now I was throwing waffles in his path like perilous banana peels and he was mad because waffles weren’t even spelled right, OMG!

He paid for our waffles and then barked, “You assholes can wait for them by yourselves, I’m going to get Blake.”

OMG FAVORITISM. HENRY LOVES BLAKE MORE THAN US.

Anyway, it was worth it. My waffle had Speculoos on it (first dinge is free!) and Chooch had strawberries on his. We were in a fucking waffle ZONE by the time Henry emerged through the entrance tunnel with Blake, Haley and Calvin.

Calvin’s first trip to Kennywood! He was so stoked! You just can’t tell from this photo.

Immediately, we dragged Blake and Haley on the Skyrocket. I was getting impatient because I thought they were right behind us but they were still giving Henry instructions on how to babysit a sleeping baby in a stroller. While this was happening, some fucking family of hunters crawled out of a West Virginia holler and got in line in front of us, so we were stuck in their local yokel presence the whole time and I wanted to KILL the camo-clad patriarch, who dumped a bottle of water over his nasty son’s head, and then the kid proceeded to shake his head like a dog after a bath, spraying his sweat-juice all over me and I was in TEARS.

IT WAS SO SICKENING.

UGH PEOPLE.

And then the whole time, Chooch was under the impression that he was going to be sitting with Blake, until we got all the way to the front of the line and Haley was all, “Oh no, Blake’s riding with me.”

Oh man, these two have the best rivalry. I love spectating because I have nothing to lose in it!

Chooch was all dejected but I said, “YAY WE’RE BACK TOGETHER AGAIN!” and Chooch was like, “When are we ever NOT together?” as he begrudgingly climbed into the last car with me.

And this was when I realized that we had never gone to an amusement park with Haley before, because she seemed positively startled when the coaster shot up the first hill and I started screaming.

I heard her say to Blake, “Oh, I can’t with her!” LOLOLOLOL.

You can’t but you willlllll!!!!

Meanwhile, Henry was talking off Calvin’s ears about the Service and probably fishing in ponds and how to change a tire. Sterile Henry Tales.

After one whole ride, we took a time out so Haley could feed Calvin. We were all just standing in there in front of her, in an awkward semi-circle, and in my head I was like, “Can’t we like, walk and do this, I don’t understand.” I get really nervous when there’s too much standing over in an amusement park. I have shit to do!

I finally got them to walk toward the Jack Rabbit, where Blake handed over Calvin to Henry, who stood in the shade and fed him his bottle while we kids got to be kids.

I had to zoom in and crop, so this picture is shitty but there’s Henry pretending to be a single dad.

[Side bar: Chooch has been calling Blake “Blook” for the last year now I guess because he has this weird quirk where he enjoys replacing vowel sounds, and I found myself slipping and saying “Blook” the other day and I felt like such a loser.]

Haley called the first seat when the line was cut off right in front of us. That’s always the best feeling because you know when the next coaster rolls up, you get dibs on whichever seat you want! But Chooch was all, “No we’re getting the front seat!” and Haley cried, “Us moms get first choice!” and I was like “Us moms? Who is she talking about….oh, lol, me.”

But as you can see, Chooch has literally no soft spot for mothers and viciously blocked us from the front seat. I didn’t realize how badly I wanted the front seat until that moment!

This was when I realized that Haley’s hatred of Chooch had distracted her from buckling our seatbelt and even though I’m smiling in this picture, I remember that in my head I was like, “HURRY UP BEFORE WE DIEEEEEE.”

We spent the whole ride flicking and pulling Blake and Chooch’s hair. THAT’LL SHOW THEM.

Haley and Blake had a list as long as Santa’s with all the food they needed to eat that day, so instead of continuing to ride, we took a time out to get food. Chooch and I weren’t hungry and wanted to keep riding, but the adults were like, “Calm down, kids, let the grown-ups eat.”

Ughhhh.

Chooch tried to get Blake to ditch the food foragers and come ride something with us, but Haley was like,, “No. Blake needs to get in line for Potato Patch while I’m in line for a corn dog” and Chooch looked so sad. I put my arm around him and said, “It’s OK, little buddy. You still have me! I’ll ride with you!” and a halo of blue birds flew around his head chirping, “FML FML FML.”

I wanted to ride the Thunderbolt while everyone else was standing in various food lines, but Chooch is like obsessed with Blake and needed to keep him in sight I guess, so we rode the Turtles instead.

It may have been the saddest ride on the Turtles of all time. Also, it was a really long ride! I was really into it at first but it went around about 10 times too much and I started to feel green.

The grown-ups had a table ready for us by the time we were sufficiently Turtled, and this would end up being one of the last dry moments of the day.

Le sigh.

I’ll end here with this picture of Henry leering perversely at his corn-breaded wiener. Part 2 coming soon!