Even more than amusement parks, county fairs, road trips and cemetery heat waves, my favorite thing about summer is WARPED TOUR. (Which you already know if you’ve known me for at least 15 days. I have framed pictures of the damn thing on my desk at work for fuck’s sake.)
The tour officially kicked off a few days ago and I have been salivating over all of the pictures they’ve been throwing up on Instagram. One more month until it’s here in Pittsburgh and I can hardly wait! Chiodos! Sleeping With Sirens! Hands Like Houses! The Wonder Years! letlive.! The Used! Man Overboard! BRING ME THE HORIZON! Plus all the bands I don’t even know that I like yet! I can’t even. An entire day to be amongst my own people!
What’s notable about this year’s Warped Tour is that it will be Chooch’s first ever time attending! We almost took him last year, but decided against it at the last minute. But ever since he went to the Pierce the Veil show (and found out his 8th grade cougar-girlfriend will be there), he has been expressing interest in going with us this summer and it’s not like I would ever try to discourage that! I really think he’s going to fucking love it. There’s so much going on there that if he needs a break from the music, he’ll be covered. And I’m sure Henry will be using him as his scapegoat.
“Oh, boy….uh, it looks like Chooch needs to….sit down. Under a tree. And take a nap. BBL KBYE.”
Maybe I’ll try to get them both to guest post about it afterward.
Anyway, I’m posting this not just because I’m excited but also because I needed a break from writing about Kennywood because the residual giggles are apt to get me fired from my job that is how obnoxious I’ve been here this week. Sorry, co-workers! I’m trying to get my psychotic, worrisome laughing fits confined to my desk but sometimes they slip out in the bathroom and the kitchen and every single hallway I’ve tread on today.
No Jonny Craig at Warped Tour this year, too bad so sad.
OK, I need to get back to penning my Kennywood prose so that my detractors can get ready to tell me how grammatically incorrect my “writing” is, at which point I will pause to remind everyone that all I do is post iPhone photos and YouTube videos of my favorite songs, so like…what writing?
Sometimes I like to go back and revisit songs that I REALLY REALLY OMG REALLY DEFINATELY loved as a young teenager to see if they hold up, like “Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover” by Sophie B. Hawkins (yes) , “Come Undone” by Duran Duran (YES, GOD YES), “Because I Love You” by Stevie B (I mean….) or anything from the 90210 soundtrack (I mean, I wouldn’t know since I neither owned nor heard that “album”, ever. EVER I SWEAR).
Sometimes these songs just pop in my head. God only knows what triggers them. And this past weekend, I was serendipitously visited by the memory of one Army of Lovers and their strangely exotic song “Crucified.” I was young when this song was played on MTV (I think Kennedy was the VJ who introduced me to them but I could be wrong, and probably am), maybe 13? The song came out in 1991, so maybe I was 12 at the youngest. (God, my blog just keeps getting more and more riveting. How can you guys stand all of this drama!? The suspense?! The total underusage of capitalization?!) But I was captivated, and so I bought the CD single from Waves and tortured my friends with it ad nauseum. (Christy, do you remember this, or have you paid a hypnotist to eradicate the memory from your mind?)
I still have the CD single (I remember it had a minimum of 18 remixes on it, in a variety of languages) floating around somewhere, but I was mostly interested in watching the video again. THANK GOD FOR YOUTUBE.
Does the song hold up? YES. Does the video still make me uncomfortable yet mildy aroused? DEAR GOD, DIARY, YES. Only now I’m watching it and thinking, “THIS IS WHAT I WANT MY WEDDING TO LOOK LIKE!” It’s a good thing I’m never getting married since I can’t make up my fucking mind on the theme. “White Wheelchair Wedding”? “80s New Wave Dance Party”? “Carrie’s Prom”? “Mod Funeral with Waitstaff Wearing Prosthetics”? And didn’t I want to recreate a Cock Robin video in lieu of wedding vows at one point, also? WHO HAS TIME TO CHOOSE. All I know is that no matter what, I’d like to be wearing stilts at some point.
I hope this song plays in your head forever and ever and ever and OMG that fucking cleavage in the beginning of the video, amirite?
I love the original version of Zedd’s “Clarity” so much that I get choked up anytime I hear it (which is often because it’s been my default ringtone for months and I get A LOT of collection calls), but the acoustic version is even better. I even didn’t hate the Glee version, and everyone knows my least favorite part of Glee is the singing.
The next time you see me twirling around in a field, just know that it’s probably because I’m listening to this song in my head.
Speaking of twirling, Henry and I watched the whole first season of Showtime’s The Real L Word over the last few nights (OK, maybe I also watched 2-3 episodes on my own every day before work, too). I didn’t even know it existed until I was scrolling through the On Demand TV show listings, because I missed the last Real World: Portland episode (don’t hate) but it wasn’t available yet. Then I saw The Real L Word right next to it and since I would probably definitely be a lesbian if I wasn’t with Henry, I started watching it ASAP.
I think the most excitement Henry gleaned from the entire season was when there was an electrical malfunction during LA Fashion Week. Totally gave him an electrician boner.
Also, I know that Sara (pronounced Saw-da, wtf?) is supposed to be this super hot bitch, but I look at her and see a clean-shaven Dave Navarro. Sorry, Sara. You aren’t for me. (I want to Google photos of her to put on here but I’m at work and I just have a bad feeling about that considering she spends a lot of screen time getting fucked by a strap on. So do your own Internet sleuthing and then get back to me on that.)
Lesbian Dave Navarro. Please tell me you see it.
I started Season 2 today and blew up Henry’s phone with my frantic texts. Almost all new girls, wtf!? I’m already in love with at least 4 of them, but fuck you, Showtime.
Today, I came to work and asked Glenn if he watches this show, too. Of course, I said it like Beavis and Glenn was just like, “God, you think you’re so funny.”
It’s a hockey night in Pittsburgh so we were permitted to wear jeans and Pens attire to work today. This is the shirt I’m wearing because it’s fucking awesome:
I might have another post later on tonight. I’m slowly getting caught up! However, Chooch and I have been working on something super secret and it’s been taking up a lot of my free time (aka time not spent watching a lesbian reality show). I’m doing my best!
This post is going to be about me hating Jonny Craig. This is my worst nightmare. I hate doing this. I hate writing. In March, we went to see Jonny Craig at Smiling Moose due to the fact that I had a lapse in judgment and bought Erin tickets for Valentines Day.
It’s a good thing that it was an all ages show so that all of the little kids had to stand outside and wait for doors to open while we went inside and sat at the bar so that I could be drunk and power through a two hour concert. Unfortunately, someone else also had an idea to sit at the bar, that being JC. And Erin turned into her normal 13-year-old self as usual. Erin was like, “Oh my god should I talk to him? Oh my god, it looks like he’s looking at me. Do you think he hates me?”
At some point in time, Jonny had sauntered by me [ed.note: Henry used that word himself!!] and the words “Hey how you doing” somehow spewed from my mouth. Erin had wanted me to follow him into the bathroom to check out his package but then she remembered she had already seen it, all the while making fun of me for actually saying hi to him. I don’t know why I said hi to him. I guess because he just happened to be there.
Erin said I had a crush on the waitress but I don’t remember.
Then I decided we should go upstairs which was really stupid because I hated all of the other bands and didn’t realize that the first band wasn’t even over yet and I could have stayed downstairs and drank more. Erin left me with a 13-year-old in body instead of a 13-year-old in mind [ed.note: I guess that's me?] and I felt uncomfortable standing next to her.
Then Jonny came upstairs and stood within a foot of Erin. Erin wanted a shirt but his shirts looked like they had been drawn on the way to the show in the back of a van and I believe she wanted was priced at $40. [ed.note: This is total bullshit -- it was like $18 or $20. He's such a fucking liar.]
Then I heard an interesting conversation between the sound man and tour manager. The tour manager was telling the sound guy that Jonny was difficult to work with. And then a little while later, the sound guy was talking to Jonny and Jonny mentioned that the tour manager was difficult to work with. I believe they’re both hard to work with.
When Jonny had taken the stage, as per Erin, I had ditched her and taken a spot up in the back near the bigscreen TV as to watch the hockey game. Internet, Erin wants you to know that she was upset because that was supposed to be our Valentine’s date but it turned out to be Erin up near the stage, crying, and Henry in the back watching the hockey game and not crying.
I don’t know why I hate him and his music so much, probably because of Erin. Even if he sang covers of Ted Nugent and Judas Priest. No.
Oh and I believe I had heard somewhere that it was Jonny’s birthday. I don’t have anything funny to say about that, but isn’t it funny enough that he aged another a year? He’s still a dick.
I was pretty annoyed about Saturday night’s Pierce the Veil concert for several reasons:
it was at an outside concert venue and somewhere around 35 degrees that night (fahrenheit!)
there was a PIRATES game happening at the same time so every single bar we tried to go to was full of drunk sports fans — my least favorite type of drunks. (And no, I don’t even hate the Pirates.)
they were co-headlining with All Time Low, so there were HORDES of scene kids wrapped entirely around the building, waiting to get in. PTV can sell-out their own shows, but All Time Low has a massive following, so this really made it more of a mob scene than usual and Henry was all, “OH HELL NO I AIN’T STANDING IN THAT.”
I was so angry that I had a momentary rage-out on the sidewalk across from Stage AE where I declared, “WE SHOULD JUST SELL THESE TICKETS BECAUSE I AM SO PISSED OFF RIGHT NOW!” and then I proceeded to lament the days where I could go watch PTV play at a fucking skate park with 100 other kids and no one fucked with me and I didn’t have to stand in a line. Henry’s eyes lit up — that motherfucker would have had no problem scalping those tickets and then I’d have had to scalp HIM. So I quickly changed my tune and protectively patted the tickets in my purse.
We roamed around for about 45 minutes before finally snagging seats at the cigar bar inside Pittsburgh Sports Bar (what an inventive name). It ended up being super awesome though because some other (slightly) elder PTV fans were in there killing time, too (I think I called them my brethren and Henry made fun of me), and our bartender was awesome and let me gush about how much I love PTV.
Yes, I realize she was just doing her job, but hello — it was nice to gush about it without getting a patronizing smirk in response!
I know you’re thinking that the main point of this post is the actual concert but you are wrong.
It was around 7PM and the line into the venue had dwindled down to a bare minimum so we paid our tab and went outside. We reached the crosswalk at the same time as two scene girls also en route to the show, but traffic was NOT halting for us. I stood closer to the two girls because that is usually what I do when in a crowd so people don’t immediately think I’m there with my father. The three of us kept gingerly toeing the street and then fearfully jumping back on the curb when it became clear that the cars were not going to brake for us even though we had the right of way.
Finally, Henry threw his hands up in the air and, with a ”Fuck this” he stepped RIGHT INTO ONCOMING TRAFFIC and made those motherfuckers stop for him. Literally, moving vehicles came screeching to a halt just because some asshole in a blue flannel had the audacity to step out in front of them like motherfucking Moses.
“HOL-Y SHIT!” one of the scene girls cried as we scrambled to catch up to him before the cars started moving again. “THAT MAN IS HARDCORE!”
“LOOK AT THAT GUY! ZERO FUCKS GIVEN!” the other girl yelled in awe.
“THAT MAN DOES NOT GIVE A FUCK! HE JUST WALKED RIGHT IN FRONT OF THOSE CARS!”
You guys. This was Henry they were talking about. MY Henry. I fucking lost it and almost peed my pants right in the middle of the crosswalk. I mean, it still wasn’t enough for me to publicly hold his hand, but it was pretty fucking hilarious to hear these young girls gush about his supposed bravery. He was so close to becoming an Internet meme.
That was definitely the greatest one minute of Henry’s life. Or would have been, if he had any idea this was going on behind him.
And here are some photos from the show, yay!
You Me At Six is from England and SO FUCKING HOT. That is all. I pointed out that the singer reminded me of some guy I know in real life that I have a crush on and Henry said, “Yeah but [blah blah] doesn’t have a British accent.”
“He doesn’t need to!” I snapped. God, you’d think Henry would have figured out my crush-criteria by now.
Henry actually loves PTV shows.
No one got on my nerves. Well, there was this one instance where some mom in front of me kept yammering on about how she was the best mom ever for bringing her teenage daughter, and I was like, “OMFG WE GET IT, GO GET ANOTHER DOLPHIN TATTOO” and then finally her daughter looked at her and said, “SHHHHH. VIC’S SINGING!” Yeah, fuck you, Mom! God, it was during an acoustic song, even. What a fucking dummy.
It was winter-temps and I did not wear socks with my TOMS, but I had legwarmers on at least. (Did not help.)
Yawning during Mayday Parade, who covered that horrid Gotye song but actually made it sound good, and then VIC CAME OUT AND SANG THE KIMBRA PART so I was super happy — I would listen to THAT version, anyday. Thank you.
When the Pierce the Veil banner dropped, I squealed along with all of the other kids. Henry did too but his was a little bit sarcastic, I guess.
Um, I won’t go into detail because it’s the same as always and you don’t want to read the pages of my teenager diary anyway, but: Pierce the Veil came out, they played, I cried. Thank god for night’s like these.
Today I am sharing two of my favorite Pierce the Veil songs because they are wonderful and maybe you will like them too. (Also because we just saw them for the fourth time in less than a year on Saturday and they just never fail to make my heart swell. You can ask Henry. I always turn around and yell in his ear, “THEY MAKE MY HEART SWELL!” So he is an expert on this.)
I get so lost in this song every time. Vic has said that he wrote this song for his parents, who are always financially struggling no matter how hard his dad works. It just makes me think of Henry, of how hard he has worked to keep our family OK and to make sure we have a roof over our heads. We’ve been through so much together over the last 12 years and I might rag on him constantly on the Internet, but the truth is, he has sacrificed so much for me and I would pretty much follow him anywhere because I am permanently his.
If I had to pick one favorite PTV song, it’s this one. Everything about it is so multi-dimensional – the lyrics, the music, the emotions it brings up in me. I heard them play this live for the first time last November and I swear I held my breath through the whole thing and then gushed to Henry for days on end, “I CAN’T BELIEVE THEY PLAED BESITOS. WE GOT TO HEAR THEM PLAY BESITOS!” It’s hard to explain why it makes me feel the way it does, because the lyrics are so cryptic and kind of obtuse, but I will just say that it makes me think of someone for whom I have vacillating feelings of fondness and hatred. The line “You know I’ve never held a gun in my life, but now I carry one around in case I see you tonight” makes me fucking rage out internally every time I hear it.
And then by the end of the song, I feel a little bit of inner peace. It’s a very confusing 4 minutes.
I spent so much of my life turning to music to help me thru bad times and even though I am an adult now with a great support system, music still helps me heal. Maybe we don’t like the same music, but if you can relate to that, isn’t that really all that matters? Music saves.
The line to get into the Chameleon Club was pretty massive, wrapping down and around the block, this undulating horde of scene kids staring at the old people who had the poor sense to bring their six-year-0ld to a Pierce the Veil show.
Chooch got a few shout outs for wearing a Chiodos shirt though.
“All these other people are wearing Pierce the Veil shirts and I’m wearing Chiodos!” he whined when we claimed our spot at the caboose of the scene kid train. I considered giving him the “Don’t wear the band’s shirt to their show” seminar, but figured I already control enough of his life.
So instead, I explained, “Well, that’s just because you don’t have a Pierce the Veil shirt yet” and then quickly used this as incentive to get him to stop being a dickhead in line.
And I guess when I say “dickhead,” what I actually mean is six-year-old. Of COURSE a six-year-old is going to go nuts standing in line for an hour! Especially when there are masses of teenaged girls paying attention to him.
Henry seemed relatively amiable and tempered, I’m assuming because there were other parents in line so he didn’t feel quite as pedophilic as usual.
After barely moving for 30 minutes, some of the Chameleon Club staff came out and tried create some sort of order to the situation, so they separated us into will call and TicketFly lines. This meant that every time our line moved forward, we would pass new people who hadn’t yet giggled and said “Aww!” when they saw Chooch. Thanks guys, for rewinding his asshole key.
The only way I could get him to calm down and stop moving was to ask him questions about that dumb Minecraft game that he plays. Six-year-old Chooch was shelved and suddenly I was talking to this new person, this little grown-up in my kid’s body. He is INTENSE about Minecraft and speaks extremely matter-of-factly about it. He paid no attention to any of the girls around him.
Wow. I just pictured his future and it looks dark. I guess that’s because he’s going to be LIVING IN MY BASEMENT.
The show was supposed to start at 7, but I’m pretty sure we were still standing outside by then. I don’t know if they were having problems or what, but it gave me way too much idle time to have a million doubts and second thoughts about bringing Chooch to a post-hardcore show.
Perhaps the person who called Child Services on us last year was on to something.
I kept scanning the crowd, looking for some other retarded, negligent mom who brought her innocent youth to the show, but Chooch was BY FAR the youngest kid there.
Of course he was. No one else is that stupid!
“Do you think this was a mistake?” I asked Henry as the lines finally started moving with purpose. Henry just frowned at me and then there we were, inside the Chameleon Club, throbbing bass drowning out Chooch’s Minecraft monologue. The transition from Quiet Outside to Loud Pandemonium didn’t even faze him. He just kept right on talking, mindlessly handing over his ticket to be scanned while explaining all of the Minecraft weapons to me.
At the top of the first flight of steps, a club staff member encouraged us to keep climbing the steps to the two balconies, because Chooch would supposedly be able to see no matter where he stood up there. Which would be true if Chooch was a six-foot-tall man. But as it turned out, every space in front of the balcony was already claimed and those teenagers don’t give a fuck about no six-year-old kid, that’s for sure. Not a single asshole would budge.
We decided that the main floor would be best, and to be honest — being on a balcony with Chooch is not really the best idea for a hyper-protective mom like me. Besides, we found a prime spot near the back, next to a wall that had a small ledge on it that was perfect for Chooch’s butt. The club was pretty small, so even though we were in the back, we weren’t very far from the stage. Even I could see perfectly, and I’m pretty short.
NOTE TO THE AUTHORITIES: WE PROVIDED EAR PLUGS FOR CHOOCH AND MADE SURE HE KEPT THEM IN DURING EVERY BAND. WE ARE NOT IDIOTS.
When the house music faded out and the first band — Issues — came out, Chooch became hyper-alert. It was a true make-or-break moment — this kid was either going to fucking FEEL it or he was going to be struck with aural fear. Henry hoisted him up on the little ledge thing and, without being prompted, Chooch started throwing his arms up in the air and he was SO INTO IT, you guys, I wanted to fucking DIE. I felt like I had waited my whole life for that moment.
Chooch placed a hand on his chest and laughed.
“Do you feel the bass?” I yelled over the music.
“Yes!” he shouted and laughed again.
This was Chooch’s face after Tyler Carter from Issues called everyone motherfuckers.
[Interestingly, Jonny Craig and Tyler Carter were having a feud awhile back. Jonny's twitter handle ends in "4L" and then Tyler made his twitter handle end in that too, so Jonny was all, "TAKE THE 4L OUT OF YOUR NAME, WAHHHH!" And then Tyler had all of these cryptic-but-not-cryptic tweets about losing all respect for his idol, which was actually pretty awesome. But I guess they're friends again because Jonny recently posted a picture with him on Instagram. Maybe I should host my own Scene Kid News Hour since it's the only real news I know.]
At one point, Chooch booted me in the back.
“CLAP, MOMMY!” he screamed, after one of the songs ended and he noticed I wasn’t clapping. I started to tell him I wasn’t clapping because I didn’t care too much about this band, but instead I just sighed and joined in the applause. Chooch seemed satisifed about that.
LOOK AT HIM WITH HIS ARM UP, OH MY GOD!
After the Issues set ended, the concert version of the “Are we there yet” game commenced (“When’s Pierce the Veil coming out!?”), so Henry stuffed a slice of pizza into Chooch’s mouth. I’ve never seen that kid devour any sort of non-ice cream food so fast before. All that raging during Issues made him hungry, I guess.
I kept his mind focused in between sets by allowing him to continue the Minecraft conversation. He was talking about some of the Minecraft videos he watches and mentioned something about someone’s roommate.
“Do you have a roommate?” I asked. (He only plays the Pocket Edition on his Kindle so he’s not actually playing online with other strangers.)
“Oh yes!” he answered excitedly. “It’s a pig. His name is Gilbert.”
Some guy in his early 20s stopped next to us and looked at Chooch thoughtfully. Finally, he spoke. “You’re awesome,” he said, offering his knuckles to Chooch, who bumped them back with his own fist. Chooch looked at me after the guy walked away and kind of laughed, as if to say, “What a fucking weener, of COURSE I’m awesome.”
Chooch disliked the next two bands (letlive.* apparently made his stomach hurt and Memphis May Fire wasn’t Pierce the Veil so he hated them) so I let him play on my phone. By the time MMF was over, he was starting to unravel. It was past 10PM and he had a long day being in the car with his asshole parents, so I couldn’t really blame him.
“Just try to make it a little bit longer and I’ll play air hockey with you when we get back to the hotel,” I promised, figuring he would be too tired by then anyway.
But when the lights went out and everyone started screaming, “PIERCE THE VEIL!”, Chooch was suddenly very alert. Henry put him back on the ledge and he sat there, clutching his Vic Fuentes doll, looking so expectant and excited.
I wish I had a picture of his face when PTV came out onto the stage, but I was so very much in the moment that fucking around with my phone was the last thing I was thinking of. It doesn’t matter if I don’t have a picture because I know I’ll never forget that look on his face — his smile was so big and he started laughing and waving his Vic doll in the air.
Chooch, in total awe. And speechless! When does THAT ever happen?
“I really like the drummer!” he shouted, so now of course he wants to take drum lessons and I am more than happy to oblige.
A few songs in, some kid pushed through the crowd, his 1998 candy raver girlfriend unconscious and draped over his arms. “Move!” he yelled, parting the people next to us.
Chooch took all of this in, then turned to me and said dryly,” She’s dead. She saw Vic and she died.” And then he focused his attention back on the stage. I wish I had that kid’s comedic timing.
Henry ended up taking him out to the car during the fourth song. It was almost 11 by then and he could barely keep his eyes open. They stopped by the merch table for a shirt and the merch guy gave Chooch a free poster for being his youngest customer.
I wasn’t there for that though because hello — I wasn’t leaving the Pierce the Veil show! I stayed there ’til the end. And then cried.
This will be my favorite picture of him for a long time, I can already tell.
We decided not to stick around and try to meet the band. It was almost midnight, cold and who knows what kind of area that place is at night – Amish juveniles might rage in the street with their pitchforks and torches, holes pre-cut in rape-ready bed sheets. Chooch had had enough excitement anyway, so maybe next time he can scratch “groupie” off his Underage Bucket List.
Chooch’s second wind kicked in when we got back to the hotel and I honored my promise of air hockey. However, when I was trying to get change out of the change machine, some older man and his grandson (?) hijacked the table, so Chooch ended up playing air hockey with some little foreign child and it was utterly awkward for me because the old guy and some broad who was presumably that kid’s mom just up and walked away, leaving me to supervise while they went off to play pool. So fucking weird!
But then Chooch and I got to play while that kid stood to the side, trying to capture the puck. I had visions of me screaming, “HE WASN’T MY RESPONSIBILITY!” as the paramedics wrapped his broken fingers. Stupid idiot kid.
This entire situation left Chooch and I somewhere near an 87 on the Giddy Meter, so after our game, we tore off through the halls of the hotel, laughing and carrying on like children (which I guess is understandable in Chooch’s case). But then Henry happened to pass us in the hallway, on his way back from complaining about a clogged toilet to the front desk (maybe Of Monsters & Men can write a shitty song about THAT little talk), and totally put his foot into the asshole of our late night hotel antics.
“Get back to the room! SHUT UP!” he hissed, guiding us down to the room the Ramada had relocated us to. Apparently, we had to swap a working heater for a working toilet. But after the night I had, I could have been relegated to a hobo tent and would have still fallen asleep happy.
OK, that’s probably a total lie. But still — a chilly room was a small price to pay for the memories I got to make with Chooch at the Chameleon Club. My heart could not have felt any more swollen that night, I swear to god. Finally, both of my loves had converged inside of this little club in Lancaster. It was hard to justify complaining about a chilly room after that.
Even on the days when I hate Henry with the burning passion of a million Snooki’s kookas, I can listen to this song and all of a sudden it is 2001 and I’m falling in love with his dumb ass all over again. Ugh. I used to listen to this album all of the time when I was with the Boyfriend Before Henry, and while I always loved this song the best, but it never meant anything until I met Henry.
Too bad we will never get TO DANCE TO IT AT OUR WEDDING. It’s OK. I’m getting used to the idea of being the pedestrian Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell of Pittsburgh, PA.
(Henry said they broke up, but I swear I just saw a picture of them in US Weekly, swimming with dolphins. The closest thing to swimming with dolphins I’d ever get from Henry would probably be wading furiously amongst dead Yinzers, syringes and car parts in one of our crappy rivers. You know, because Henry spoils me so.)
I snatched The Devil & God Are Raging Inside Me off the shelf last weekend when I was looking for something to listen to in the car. I forgot how fantastic this entire album is — no, that’s not true. I just forgot about how much I loved it. As soon as it started playing, it was like 2006/2007 smacked me square in the face with a frying pan, but it kind of felt good.
I listen to music like this and am reminded how lucky we are to not have to rely on the shit that the radio spoonfeeds us.
It was March of 2004. Christina and I had been e-friends for almost a year by then and I finally decided I would make the 4+ hour drive to Cincinnati to visit her. Henry made sure I had directions (printed out from MapQuest—it was 2004! No GPS, no smartphones. Not like I would have used that shit anyway. I’m directionally stubborn like a man), snacks, water and an encouraging “You can do this!” hug and a kiss. Meanwhile, I made sure I had the Important Stuff: MUSIC.
Again, this was 2004, so I didn’t have any mp3 players that plugged into my car or even a CD player that played mp3 CDs. The horror! This was “old-school” 80-minute mix CDs days. I filled a blank CD with a bunch of music that I had recently (legally) acquired but hadn’t really had a chance to listen to yet. My all-time favorite Metric song was on that CD (“Siamese Cities”), some tracks from Open Hand, Murder By Death, Armsbendback, Acceptance and even a yacht rock throwback (Ambrosia).
Even though Henry printed out a play-by-play list of directions and a map and explicitly told me, “Just stay on 70 west forever,” I still managed to get navigationally fucked. Why? Because I’m a fucking idiot and can’t follow directions. I can fly to Australia on my own without a hitch, but drive across Ohio on my own? That’s a real map for disaster. I was about 2 1/2 hours into the trip when I saw an exit sign that corresponded with the exit in the directions. It was same exit number*, and it even said “Cleveland / Cincinnati” like the directions said, except it said “77 N” instead of “I-270.” I panicked and took it, figuring that maybe 77 and 270 were the same road. Because why couldn’t that be possible? ROADS ARE CONFUSING. Still, I had that nagging sensation in my chest telling me to stop driving before I got too far into the unknown. I didn’t have a cell phone back then so I couldn’t call Henry for help every 3 minutes like I do nowadays.
ex: Henry: Tell me what you’re near. Me: A black woman in tall boots.
[* I found out later that it was actually the reverse of the exit number I needed. Driving dyslexia will get you every time.]
I took the next exit I came upon and it landed me in Kimbolton, OH which I also could not find on my map because hey, let’s go to Kimbolton said no one ever. I spotted a BP gas station and pulled over to get help. It may have actually been the very first, original BP it was that rustic. Print-outs in hand, I went inside and ask the older fellow behind the counter if he could show me where I was. Two girls behind me began to laugh. Like, the rude kind of snorting laugh that you do when you’re making fun of someone. I turned around and said, “Yeah I know – I’m retarded. It’s ok, you can laugh.” And then to really illustrate my sarcasm, I let out a dry, staccato ha ha. Instead, they took this opportunity to fucking whisper about me behind my back. I couldn’t believe that they would treat me like shit even after I offered to let them cut ahead of me and pay for whatever crap they were buying. Trying to ignore the demonic voice of Bobcat Goldthwait in my head, telling me to fuck their shit up, I sucked in my breath and asked the old man employee if he could help me get back onto 70. He held my map up to the light, and said, “This map looks like it was printed off that there Internet.” Seriously, he said this. I checked my LiveJournal and that is exactly what I wrote in 2004 so it must be true. I told him that it was and he informed me that it was useless. USELESS.
BLAME HENRY, 2004 EDITION.
Anyhow, when he saw where my final destination was, he exclaimed, “Well, why did you even get off 70 west!?” This made the fucking lot lizards behind me laugh even harder. Omigod guys, I know, right? What a dumb ass I am. Because I drive through Ohio every fucking day. The one girl was wearing two-day-old black eye liner and Wet n Wild fuchsia lipstick, which she probably purchased from the same streetwalker store where she bought her clothes. Her sidekick was pregnant I think, and wearing a belly shirt. Totally classy. I was completely envious of the stains on her clothing and the growth on her lip.
Sighing, I asked the old fuck if he could just tell me how to get back onto 70 west. He looked at me like I asked him to help me count to five and said, “Well, you go 10 miles south!” Well, shit son! Problem is that I had NO IDEA which way was south. Of course, I couldn’t ask him to point me in the right direction, because that would have just given those whores more unnecessary ammo. I pretended to understand, gathered up my useless MapQuest print-outs, and turned to leave.
Except the quasi-pregnant girl was blocking the door. I politely said “Excuse me” and she totally looked the other way. Bitch, best not ignore me! At this point, I had accumulated approximately 25 and a half things to be angry about, and I began envisioning myself ripping her fucking greasy hair out of her ugly fucking head. Instead, the miniscule shard of rationality that I store in the back of my brain surfaced and reminded me that there were two of them, and only one of me. And if we’re sharing secrets, they were really rough looking. I didn’t want my last role in life being some hackneyed-toothed hillbilly’s punching bag, so I took the bitch way out and literally ducked and squeezed between her bloated gut and the door.
Then I went back to my car and indulged myself in a total crybaby sobfest.
Sniffling like a bitch behind the wheel, I managed to find my way back to 70, and decided to take the exit for 70 east and just go the fuck home. I was scared and disoriented, not to mention BORED (driving alone is hard!) I took it out on my snack selection. At one point I even wailed out loud, “Soy Crisps don’t taste so good when I’m driving!”
Eventually, I focused on my music and it was a familial band of Texans called Eisley that got me to calm down. To this day, when I listen to Eisley, I think of that drive and laugh. And then promptly relax. I’m so picky with girl singers, so the fact that I still like Eisley 9 years later really speaks volumes. I can listen to those girls sing all day long. The video at the top of this post is one of my favorite songs ever from them.
Epilogue: A few weeks later, Christina took a Greyhound to Pittsburgh and then we drove back to Cincinnati together. We made a pitstop: A certain decrepit BP station in Kimbolton, Ohio. Those bitches weren’t there though. AND HOW LUCKY THEY WERE.
My Jonny Craig doll has been pretty lonely so Chooch suggested that I have a Vic Fuentes (Pierce the Veil) doll made. So I went straight to Maya, who can pretty much make ANYTHING because she’s a creative genius. And damn, she is FAST! I think this whole process only took a little over a week once I got some pictures sent to her.
She even gave him a little nose ring, OMG!
The first time I saw Pierce the Veil, Vic was wearing a Jaws t-shirt, which Maya replicated into a tiny baby size (even embroidered teeth on him!). I can’t wait to get him in the mail and squeeze him! (Although, Chooch totally thinks that it’s HIS doll.)
I can see Chooch and I are going to be doing a lot of sibling-esque fighting over Vic.
While Henry is dealing with the grown-up parts of looking for a house (which he hasn’t actually started doing yet! BLAME HENRY!), I’m more focused on the important things. Like, collecting more wheelchairs and deciding what song I want my doorbell to play.
I think my favorite Kraftwerk song would be apropos:
Can’t you just imagine ringing my doorbell, hearing scary German synthpop (because I’ll make sure it’s loud enough to hear from my doorstep), and then seeing me open the door in one of my old wheelchairs, probably with a fetus doll on my lap?
In my parent’s house, we had a this doorbell which I’m sure was extremely high-tech for its time. There was a box on the wall with a ton of songs to choose from, like La Cucaracha. I self-appointed myself to be the official doorbell DJ of Gillcrest Drive.
Meanwhile, the doorbell of my current residence hasn’t worked since the day I moved in. I’m pretty excited to have a doorbell again one day. I guess I never realized it was so important to me.
I never thought I’d say this, but thank god for Flo Rida. Every time I hear “I Cry,” I shush anyone who might happen to have the audacity to talk over it. I realize that he’s actually sampling a remake of the original song, but I fucking loved Brenda Russell’s “Piano In the Dark” so much as a kid, that even hearing the accelerated dance remix of the chorus sends waves of nostalgia over me. It brings back memories of rollerskating in my basement and at Spinning Wheels, eating grilled cheese in my grandparent’s kitchen (they ALWAYS had soft rock playing on their house sound system), riding around in my mom’s car.
And then I inevitably feel sad. But it’s that sadness that I thrive on, if that makes any sense. It’s that sadness that keeps in touch with my memories and my past, and as much as it hurts sometimes to have some old track by Alan Parsons Project finger the trigger, I kind of like it. (Don’t get me started on “Eye In the Sky.”)
So I knew that looking up “Piano in the Dark” on YouTube was probably opening a can of worms, and I resisted for weeks and weeks until finally, the other night, I succumbed. And it felt exactly how I suspected: like my heart was being strangulated with neon legwarmers and jelly bracelets. The fucking 80s make me so happy-sad!
Henry and I were in bed the other night when Flo Rida’s version came on. I admitted that I had made it my ring tone (actually, the Bingo Player’s version, because it’s all of the chorus, none of Flo Rida’s lame rhymes). And that’s how I found out that Henry didn’t know any of this was borrowed from Brenda Russell’s seminal 1988 hit! So I of course had to play it for him, which resulted in very blase, “Oh yeah, I kind of remember that song” response right before he rolled over and fell asleep, leaving me to lay there alone in ear worm hell.
Meanwhile, I have been listening to it pretty constantly all week (I even found a live version that features JAMES INGRAM AND MICHAEL MCDONALD ON BACKUP, WHUTTTTT??), feeling all wistful about my ponytailed childhood and even at one point veering precariously down Taylor Dayne lane. Don’t worry, I reeled myself back in.
So now I’m passing on the torture to you.
Even when it’s not playing, I hear it. Maybe it appeals to me because I too play the tambourine and fling playing cards across the floor at random.