Sep 252023

When we last left off, I think I was telling you, Sir Blog, about our breakfast with my work pal, Vicki. God, that was a good time!! After breakfast, she was kind enough to drop us off at Douglass Park. It was around 11:30 at that point and the gates were supposed to open at 11. We said our sad goodbyes to Vicki and skipped across the street to the end of the line (well, I skipped; Henry stalked). As soon as we had claimed our spot in line (which wasn’t even that long), a couple walking past in the opposite direction began announcing to everyone in line that gate-opening was delayed until AT LEAST 2pm due to the downpour that had been happening all through the night and most of the morning. While it wasn’t raining anymore and the sun was blissfully shining, I can only imagine the park grounds were pretty saturated. And it’s already bad enough that the Douglass Park community really, vehemently does not want Riot Fest taking over the park every year, so I can imagine the powers-that-be behind the festival want to do everything within their power to ensure that the grounds don’t get absolutely obliterated like with what happened at the old location, Humboldt Park, in 2014. Phew, that was BAD. That was the last time Riot Fest was ever held there because they kicked out hard on their asses by THAT community.


That left us with a lot of time, and very little to do. I didn’t want to text Vicki and be like, “Come back and hang out with some more, come pay attention to me, come babysit me” because what if she had shit to do!? I didn’t want her to feel obligated. So, we found a cafe that was “right around the block” according to Henry but was actually pretty far away and then by the time we got there, it was like a ton of Riot Festers had the same idea, so the line was practically out the door AND there was nowhere to sit.

We ended up getting on the train thing and going back to the section of town where we had breakfast. We found a sports bar that was crowded but slightly less crowded than all of the other ones on that block and sat down to have a BEER while people were screaming about football. Mm. My favorite environment.

I don’t even remember the name of the bar, it was very standard. And everything was FINE until HENRY told me what beer to order (something called Gumballhead or something) and it was fucking disgusting. Even Henry was not hitting it off with this beer. “I’M SORRY, BUT THIS TASTES LIKE AN IPA, NOT A WHEAT BEER.”

Whatever that means.

It was supposed to have a “lemony finish.” Oh, they got that right. Because that shit tasted like I just licked a table polished with Lemon Pledge, honey.

I am gagging in hindsight.

DUDE. LOL – so I took a break to walk to Dunkin’ with Henry because I wanted to spy (or, if you’re a Pittsburgher, “neb”) on the work that is going on next door — the still-vacant unit that I am lowkey panicking about because I want it to stay vacant forever. The front door was open so I wanted to, you know, casually gawk and see what’s going on but I all I saw the was DIARRHEA wall color, which is….well, somehow less ugly than the color that was over there when Blake lived there. Some disgusting sea moss or something – it made me so uncomfortable. I hated going over there.

Anyway, were was I! Yeah, so we were walking to Dunkin’ but then stopped at the BEER STORE first because I am still desperate for the Jelly Donut bullshit, and well well well, look what I found stinkin’ up the place:


Back to Riot Fest day. I kept checking Instagram and it appeared that they were definitely going to open the gates at 2PM, so we left the bar around 1:00ish I think. My original plan was actually to just go there around 2:00 anyway, because I didn’t care about many of the earlier bands until 2pm. So, I wasn’t very broken up about this to be honest. I do feel bad for the people who were upset to see their favorite bands get cut from the schedule though :(

The line to get in wrapped around the block quite a bit and Henry had me panicking, thinking it was going to take over an hour to get in. It didn’t take an hour. I would say maybe 30 minutes because the Riot Fest staff was basically like FUCK IT and started waving people through without even searching most bags. Only one of our tickets was scanned. The guy was like, “It’s cool, I scanned one, just go ‘head in.”

Um. OK. If this wasn’t AMERICA, I wouldn’t have so felt so clenched about this, but spoiler aleart: It turned out to be fine.

The only downside is that we completely missed Thursday, who went on promptly at 2pm but we could hear them on the other side of the fence, at least. I’ve seen them a bunch of times over the years so I wasn’t too sad about it but I would have liked to have been inside to support them.


So surreal being at Riot Fest again after…how many years ago 2016 was. Most of the ground was dry but there was DEFINITELY some swampy areas and we came out of their with mud-spatter all over our legs. I’m glad I brought my plain black Vans!

My one main takeaway is that even though we hadn’t been there in so long, and even though I haven’t been in this SCENE for just as long, it was like everything was frozen in time. You could really say that the Riot Fest scene is timeless, and that’s not really bad. It’s nostalgic and comforting.

Henry felt neither nostalgia nor comfort.

I had to laugh though because really THE ONE BAND that I wanted to see that day aside from The Cure was the recently-reunited Balance and Composure. You might remember how deep my love was for them before I turned the way of South Korea. Actually, 2016 might have been the last time I saw them, now that I think about it. Their set started at 2:55PM and Henry conveniently was in line to buy the Cure’s Riot Fest tour poster, so once again I found myself alone in front of the scene, crying to B&C. Some things really DON’T change!! But before they came on, I got to hear the end of Cult’s set on one of the main stages. They ended with “Do You Know What I Mean” and it brought back memories of the Early Years at the law firm when this song was an inside joke for Kaitlin and me. That seems like an entire lifetime ago! God, Riot Fest was really doing it to me.


Oh! I almost forgot. For some inexplicable reason,  I packed my old Hotel Books t-shirt which I haven’t worn in years. I didn’t really think much of until that morning when I put it on. I laughingly said, “God, I hope no one wants to talk to me about Hotel Books because I literally can’t remember a single thing about them aside from that I liked them a lot for a minute!”

I’m not kidding, as soon as I staked out my spot at the stage before B&C started, some guy leaned over and said to me, “I like your shirt!”

“Thanks!” I said, like I fucking made it in my t-shirt factory. And then I got real fidgety, my eyes practically screaming, “IMPOSTER! IMPOSTER! SHE DOESN’T EVEN KNOW THIS BAND!”

All I remember is going to see them at some defunct club on the Southside, getting kind of drunk, and hugging the singer/spoken-worder at the end of the night.

I really did like Hotel Books back then though!! I actually put them on in the car on the way home the next day and my chest got real warm like I just did a shot of Robitussin (Janna’s drug of choice) and I thought to myself, “Oh yeah. There it is.”

But FUCK MY LIFE, Balance and Composure still REALLY do it for me. Like, really really.

After this, I found Henry standing a safe distance away from the crowd. The next band I wanted to see was also on the same stage, but we had about 30-45 minutes to kill so we walked around, checked out The Bronx briefly (we’ve seen them numerous times over the years but it was like a homecoming hearing them live again, if only for a few minutes). Then we went and got some free samples of FUNNY WATER which was fine but I wasn’t ready to commit to a full can of it.

Henry kept asking me who were seeing next and I was like YOU WILL SEE and OH JUST WAIT so he was getting really paranoid, like it was going to be some fucked Jonny Craig side project revival bullshit set.

It was just LS Dunes, but it was funny to me because it’s the latest Anthony Green side project and literally every time we go to Riot Fest, Anthony is there in one form or another. Can you believe we (“we” lol) have been supporting him and all of his projects since 2004?? Staring with Saosin, but really getting in deep with Circa Survive in 2005. I had to actually google to see when it was that we saw Circa for the first time, and it was July 2005 at the Grog Shop, right before I got pregnant, and Anthony signed my Circa CD outside the venue. Say Anything was headlining and I didn’t like them (still don’t) so we must have ducked out before they came on and Anthony was just chilling on a wall outside, with a few fan boys jawing his ear off.

And now it’s 2023, he’s a dad of 3, been in and out of recovery, but continued to be obscenely prolific in the scene. Henry actually recognized his voice, but not his face. I mean, face it – we’re all ageing! It’s just so much more surreal when we see it happen to bands that we have been fans of for decades.

Anyway, LS Dunes – amazing. Frank Iero – amazing. Anthon Green – fucking ICONIC.

I really didn’t take many pictures. We were mostly there for The Cure and I felt pretty distracted all day because of that anticipation.

I got this crunchie vegan person bowl for dinner because my body was CRAVING vegetables. It was…ok. $18 worth of ok. :/

Meanwhile, Henry went off on his own, leaving me to eat alone under a tree a bowl of stuff that tasted like said tree, and came back with a vegan mac n’ cheesesteak. I was jel at first but after stealing a few bites, my final assessment was that eh, didn’t really like it that much.

I also was trying to keep myself from getting sick. I didn’t want to be standing for three hours at the main stage with a bloated stomach. You know?!

LOL JK I still felt like shit!!

Almost forgot to take a selfie. Yikes. Who am I.

Then Finch came on and can you believe it was the first time seeing them??!! I was obsessed with them in 2003? 2004? I just remember going on weekend drives with Henry and fucking blasting them and Thrice.

Henry stalking me. Lol I was sitting in the gross grass because MY STOMACH HURT from that stupid bowl.

The last band to play on this same stage, the only stage we were at all day which is insane because all of my past Riot Fests consisted of me SPRINTING from stage to stage, was the Used. Ugh. It was fine. I didn’t cry. But I also didn’t feel great in the heart.

“Now, which one dated Kelly Osbourne?” asked some guy behind us. “Oh the singer?”

Wow. That was a blast from the past lol.

I miss screaming-Bert. I get that he can’t scream anymore but man, I will never forget seeing them at X Fest on a tiny stage and seeing him puking all over the stage from intensity of his screams.

Those were the days, man.

I felt really fucking old at Riot Fest. Not because everyone was young, but because of all of these bands from my way-back years. I couldn’t handle it. It was a lot.

I’ll end this here. The Cure deserve their own post <3

Jun 152023

Sorry if you’re only here to get the SCOOP because today’s post is just photos from our early parking experience. Of course I was being a psycho about everything related to this day because it’s THE CURE and it’s not very often they come to the US and also the weather forecast was ABYSMAL for that day and I was panicking about the rain and merch lines, and GIVE THIS BITCH A PILL, WILL YA. Anyway, the option to pay $20 for early parking was available and the only reason I agreed that we should do it was because they said that merch booths would be set up in the lots and honestly, the convenience of not only snatching up what I want ahead of time but also being able to take it back to the car rather than keeping it with me all fucking night long was worth it.

This meant that we had to hang out for over 2 hours in the parking lot, but whatever. At least I was able to get my daily steps in, lol.

Here we are, sitting in the grass after securing my merch. I got two posters (one was show-specific and the other was for the entire tour) and a shirt. I was extremely content, especially since we didn’t have to wait in line. Oh, and all three of those things together cost the same as ONE SHIRT at a Kpop concert. Jesus.

(I still you, Kpop. You are still worth it to me.)

We went back to the car after awhile, making it just before the skies opened up and dropped torrents of rain on us. I’m glad that I’m obsessed with checking the weather constantly because we brought umbrellas and ponchos from home just in case. Henry was all, “We will probably be fine.” HE THOUGHT.

Me walking into the Cure concert with my happy Korean umbrella, LOL.


Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised with how smoothly entrance into the plaza was. I NEVER bring a purse to concerts anymore so we were able to skip right on ahead to the empty NO BAG line and made into the place in record time. But then then we still had another hour to kill before the rest of the pavilion opened up so that we could get to our seats. But one of the perks of being there early was that we got to hear soundcheck. We couldn’t see the stage because of the hillside but just hearing Robert’s voice and knowing we were in the same goddamn vicinity – holy shit, it made me tear up so bad.

OK on that beautiful note, I’m going to piss off and peace out. More on the actual concert, and “the thing that happened,” in my next post maybe possibly. I’m tired. :/


Apr 162023

My friend Veronica pointed out the night before the NCT Dream concert in Chicago that there was a full moon, that maybe the effects would extend to Friday and bring me good vibes at the concert. Well, I think she was on to something because it was sincerely, without coming off as being hyperbolic or corny, one of THE best concert experiences of my life. And I have been to a lot of concerts of all types and sizes!

In this post, let’s talk about the pre-show haps. You already know what my ‘fit looked like UNLESS YOU DON’T READ THIS DUMP REGULARLY.

Our hotel was right across the street from the Allstate Arena so that was extremely convenient. When we first drove past the arena earlier that day to get to the hotel, there was a HUGE line already formed. That’s the one main reason I opted out of getting a GA floor ticket – it actually cost about the same as the seat I ended up scoring, but it was standing room only (some Kpop concerts have seats on the floor). I’m of the age where my time is valuable and my endurance for ‘camping’ outside of an arena is at an all-time low. To be quite frank, I would not even do this for The Cure. I just want to be able to see the stage comfortably and while the prospect of being barricade is tempting because YES, I WANT EYE CONTACT WITH IDOLS, I can admit that this season of my life has passed. But I will still scream and cry and freak out over whose poca (photo card) I pull from albums! DONT GET ME WRONG.

That being said, we didn’t leave the hotel until around 6:30, I would say, almost died jaywalking (there was no crosswalks at the intersections!?) and reached a side of the arena that had two entrances. I was really confused because as we were approaching the arena straight on, I could see a huge-ass line of NCTzens snaking all the way from the second entrance, down the length of the arena, into the parking lot. Yet, there were some stragglers approaching from the left and going right through the first door.

“Is that like, a VIP entrance?” I asked mostly just to myself because tf does Henry know, right? There were two girls who had been walking in front of us and I could tell that they were also debating what to do – cross the street and attempt to go straight into the first door, or walk all the way to end of the line waiting to enter the second door.


Just then, a security member came out of the first door and shouted, “FOLKS, THIS DOOR IS OPEN, THERE IS NO LINE. THIS DOOR IS OPEN.” So I was like, “Shit, run!” and we (well, I) ran across the road and pretty much STRAIGHT through the door since neither of us had bags that needed to be searched.

Was it a dick move considering many of those people had been camping all day? I mean, maybe, but we weren’t GA/floor so it’s not like we were taking someone’s spot, and there were people coming in from the parking lot on the left who were strolling right on in too. It’s not our fault that the arena didn’t do a better job directing people!

So we got lucky and this ended up being one of the seamless concert entrances we’ve experienced.

The best part was that the first merch table we approached only had about 20 people in line, so we slid right up on that.

The line was made up of a few roped-off switchbacks, and there was a girl two rows ahead of me who opened her tote bag and called out, “Anyone want any freebies?” Of course everyone near her happily reached into the bag but I was a bit too far away, so I had to yell, and I DO MEAN HOLLER, “Ooh, can I have one?!”

“Oh my god,” Henry murmured in the key of Bob’s Burger.

I had to reach over two lines to grab one of the tiny envelopes in her bag, literally making the line in between us come to a halt lest they get clotheslined on my arm.

But I got a Haechan poca out of it!

“You’re so embarrassing,” Henry sighed.

Yo, I can’t help it – as soon as I’m at a kpop concert, my inner Erin comes out, like I AM FREE TO BE ME. I am super talkative, sociable, and a complete extrovert like I used to be so long ago before the real world crushed my soul into a pulp of jaded anxiety.

The merch line went extremely fast. I knew immediately which shirt I wanted, and when the (mildly-flustered) merch lady went to ring it up, she paused and said, “Oh wait—” and reached under the counter. She then placed a small black envelope on top of the shirt. Apparently, merch purchases came with a poca! (I found out later that it was specifically the t-shirts.) This was a pleasant surprise! Of course, I found out later that it created a huge debacle because fans began to expect a poca with every item purchased, and then some of the merch tables ran out of pocas before the end of the night.

You don’t understand – collecting poca is a huge part of the Kpop scene. It’s not that important for me, which is literally the ONLY indication that I am an Elder in this scene. But I can promise you, if I was younger, I would probably be charging hundres of dollars worth of kpop albums to my mom’s AmEx, trying to collect every single poca.

To make it very simple, each kpop album comes with a random poca (photo card) of one of the members. It’s usually a selfie that they took, and then the backs have a handwritten message on them. They’re about credit card-sized, and you can even but little albums to store them in, or photo card holders to hook onto your backpack, keychain, belt loop, etc. (Yes, I have one lol. I was also using it for my work ID too, so it always looked like I was buzzing myself in with a picture of Renjun, lol.) Anyway!! Super fans will buy multiple copies of the same album trying to get the poca of their bias, or to just collect one of each member, and there are trading communities out there too. It’s a whole thing, you guys. When I say you don’t just get into Kpop on a casual basis….


By the time we got out of the merch line and started exploring the rest of the arena, the lines for every single merch table had grown so long that it had become difficult to walk. The lines spilled out into the main hallways and it was so chaotic.

I wanted to find my seat, just to get a lay of the land before the show started. I found my section, but Henry wasn’t able to actually go any further than the curtain, as it was being guarded by a STRICT older woman usher. She was not letting a single soul slip past on her watch. I showed her my ticket and she told me to go all the way down to the bottom-most row and turn left. I knew that AA was the first row so I admittedly didn’t listen very hard to the rest of her instructions. I went down to the first row and was immediately rattled because the last seat in that row was 11, and I was 12?? How could that be? Directly above seat 11 was a seat 12, but that was row BB so I was super confused and now my heart rate was up a bit. I really do not trust TicketMaster or the venues anymore so I really was thinking that I somehow had purchased, for $500+, a seat that didn’t exist

So, I went back to the usher lady and said I couldn’t find a seat 12 in the first row, and she once again reiterated her directions and I, once again, went down to row AA and couldn’t make this invisible seat 12 magically appear. Now I was just in the way of people trying to have their pictures taken with the stage behind them, so I sulked back up the steps, like, “OK great there is no seat there for me so I guess I will just spend the show crying in a garbage can instead.”

At this point, Henry (who kept telling me to CALM DOWN, and NOT TO WORRY ABOUT IT) wanted to use the bathroom before we went to find our respective seats. We just kept walking and walking, passing one women’s room after the next. Finally, Henry stopped to ask a male employee where the closest men’s room was.

“Alllllll the way down that way,” the guy said, motioning with his arm. “There are only two men’s rooms for tonight,” he laughed and we thought he was joking but it was true! Knowing that the majority of the night’s attendees would be women, the arena had turned most of the men’s rooms into women’s room, lol. We had to fight our way downstream, cutting through the unruly merch lines, for idiot Henry to find a damn bathroom.

After peeing in one of the two designated men’s rooms, maybe even christening it, Henry offered to find my seat because I am a lost sheep that needs to be herded. I gave him my phone so he could pretend that it was actually his seat and as the same usher gave him the same directions she gave me, I realized my fatal error: she had said “to the left,” and I, both times, WENT TO THE RIGHT. Literally, I was trying to give myself a worse seat than the one I actually had, by trying to will a seat to appear for me in a section farther from the stage.

What is my problem!? We will talk about my seat in a little bit because when Henry returned with an irritated smirk on his face (“Thanks, I had to make a bunch of people move because your seat is all the on the other side of that row”), I decided that I would just go to my seat closer to the start time of the concert, now that this usher was probably like, “are these two old heads trying to pull one over on me, or?”

Because these fucking concerts are so stupidly expensive, Henry and I can’t afford to sit next to each other because puchasing two seats at once would bankrupt us. OK, that’s being dramatic, but the fact is that while I can justify the cost of a ticket for myself because I am a Never-aging Fan Girl, Henry is content being there, but you know, with the cheapest ticket available. The day of the show, he bought a $60 seat in the upper level (and then proceeded to complain later when people in front of him stood, which prompted the same argument of “THAT IS WHAT YOU DO AT A CONCERT.” When I tell you that I wanted SO BADLY to stand during Genesis, but everyone else in our row was seated and there was a wall of elderly people behind us so I stayed in my seat….Ugh. I hate thinking about it. I was really glad to have had the opportunity to see Genesis, but it was a bit too calm for me.

Anyway, here are some pictures of Henry finding his seat. He had the WRONG SEAT at first, but go on Henry, make fun of me for my inability to follow directions and mentally map out the route to my own seat.

Henry in the Correct Section.

And lookie, there appear to be two dads down there! Henry was very happy to have scored himself an aisle seat. It’s really all he wants when it comes to concerts. Anyway, wow, now that I’m looking at this, upper level at this arena was not so bad!

Next, Henry wanted to buy a BEER. I didn’t think to ask him at that time, but this morning, my friend Alyson asked what kind of beer Henry got. Alyson always asks the important questions! I had to go into the basement to ask him (no, I don’t keep him in a cell down there, he was actually doing work on the Seoul Subway Sign v.2, so yeah, I guess he’s basically imprisoned). He said he got a COORS LIGHT because it was the only beer option. I do know that they were also selling Vizzy (I mean, duh, you can see that in the picture) and that one can cost $22!!! Maybe even $25?? I can’t remember now, but the girl who was sitting to my left had one and she told me how much it cost and I actually felt sick. Then she motioned that she was going to set down in front of her (we had a little wall in front of us so it wasn’t going to topple off of our row and onto the floor or anything, but I was still very protective of and it watched it like a hawk anytime we had to move to let people in or out of our row. I was like Vizzy security.

I was standing behind Henry when he was purchasing his beer (which came in commemorative Allstate Arena cup, wow) and heard the beer-pourer ask, “You here for your daughter?” and Henry said, “No, my wife” which is always so annoying because SWEETHEART you have not earned the privilege to call me your wife?? I leaned forward and yelled, “DON’T LIE!” and the beer-man laughed and then asked him, “Do you listen to this music?” and Henry said YES.

I took this picture after I got to my seat. The concert hadn’t started yet, but they always play MVs beforehand and then everyone screams like the members are actually on the stage, lol. I was so happy with this seat! The lady in red was the staff member guarding the entrance to the floor area which was directly on the other side of my seat. I was so close to the floor that my row (AA) had folding seats as opposed to the regular floor-mounted seats that the other sections had. I had a perfect view of the main stage, but the reason why I chose a section farther away from the main stage was because I knew there would be an extended stage, and that is what I wanted to be closer to. The end of that portion of the stage is right next to the head of that super tall blond girl in the sheer white shirt. It was almost as good as being on the floor as far as proximity to NCT Dream went, but way more comfortable because I was in a row with seats and while of course none of us sat through the concert, we didn’t have to worry about being crushed or having to strain to see past the people in front of us. And the crowd on the floor pretty stayed where they were too, it never expanded to where there people right in front of us, leaning against the sideboard like that striped-shirt person is doing up there. I was nervous about that, but wow, what excellent fortune I had with this seat! I was so worried that I chose poorly!

OK, I think this is all that I wanted to memorialize. In my next post, we will discuss THE CONCERT. Assuming I have returned to earth by then.

Mar 262023

Just a friendly reminder that my prince gets discharged from the military in one week.

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God help those around me, for I will be shrieking and sobbing my dumb face off.

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I have tried to avoid any Taemin content while he’s been away but I did a mini-binge this morning and I’m finally starting to let myself get stoked! Even Henry will usually put his phone down and watch if Taemin is on TV.

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Feb 132023

We are so close to completing the attic space and getting our weekends back – I can almost taste it! I want to go out to a greasy spoon for grilled cheese and pie to celebrate.

Here are some things that went down over the weekend, and none of it was Superbowl-related, I bet you’re shocked.

We put a temporary table up there so Chooch can put together one of his little bitch ass puzzles while we’re actually doing work. (LOL ok the extent of my “work” is mostly standing around, arms akimbo, supervising Henry’s work and suggesting new fun projects, but I *was* actually doing something this weekend!)

Saturday morning, I woke up entirely too early (6:50!!) and met Jeannie and Wendy for breakfast at Upstreet We hadn’t had a breakfast club since over the summer, so were long overdue. It’s always nice hanging out with them outside of work and not….talking about work. Did not come up ONCE. They made fun of me as usual for opting to park in a lot two blocks away rather than park on  the street in front of the place (but to be fair, this diner used to be Pamela’s and at that time, street parking was extremely unicorn-ish to come by!) but I have no regrets because I got to feed a Mr. Gray Guy squirrel in the lot and also spotted a really beautiful dark brown/black squirrel that looked like he was made from velvet. I wanted to pet him so bad!

Anyway, while I do love me some Pamela’s, I’m not mad at Upstreet for filling the vacancy over that way. Their menu is an interesting fusion of Mediterranean/Turkish and classic American. I got the spinach feta omelet and it was easily one of the best I’ve ever had – filled with sundried tomatoes (I did panic at first because I thought it was pieces of ham lol) and topped with a melted mop of horseradish chive cheddar. The homefries were really good too! Just the right amount of greasiness.

I was leaning toward shakshuka but I always get ordering anxiety with that because I’m afraid I’ll forget how to pronounce it. Jeannie offered to order it for me and maybe I will take her up on that if we go back there again!

Meanwhile, the joint was having issues with their credit card terminals (is that still what they’re called??? I used to be a telemarketer for a credit card terminal company back in the day lolol). Jeannie paid cash andt hen Wendy and I Venmo’d her, which was how we found out that Wendy has over 100 friends on Venmo because of course she does!

The rest of Saturday was spent working on smaller attic projects – Henry was working on the TV snack bar and I was working on a mural-ish for the closet door up there because I’m sorry, I can’t leave that door white!

Sunday: more of the same!

We took an afternoon BOBA BREAK though so that was nice because Sunday was a pretty nice day, weather-wise. We went to Tsaocaa in Squirrel Hill because they have purple rice as an add-in and I’m lowkey obsessed with it. First though, we went to Panda to procure some snacks for the TV snack bar that was slated to be finished by that night and you know me, I needed to have snacks on hand for photo prop purposes lol. I let Chooch get whatever he wanted and then we left Henry alone at the checkout to deal with the $70 total lololol. TO BE FAIR, he did buy actual produce and things for real meals, as well. We literally cannot go to an Asian market without Henry tossing some produce into a basket.

Then we went to Homewood Cem for a leisurely stroll while enjoying our boba except that Chooch pretended to have a stomachache so that he could stay in the car and watch Community, which he just discovered and is so annoyed that I already watched it in real time and yelled at me because I have to “act like such a hipster about everything.”

Yeah so.

Anyway, I went with osmanthus tea, boba, purple rice. I always get the least amount of SWEET levels, too. It was perfect.  It’s crazy how many boba options there are in Pgh, which usually has barely any options of anything except BREWERIES and SPORTS MEMORABILIA STORES. The first time I ever had boba was in the mid-90s at the Beehive on the Southside, except it was billed as BUBBLE TEA and that is 100% probably the only reason I felt inspired to order it, having no idea what the fuck I was in for. I mean, it probably was not the best boba, but I Had no idea what it was so the novelty was HIGH. I know I was scared at first and wasn’t sure I could get behind chewing a drink, and my friends who were with me were like “that is fully disgusting,” so maybe that’s why I liked it.

Look, I’m doing that hipster thing again lol.

But yeah, I had it that one time in the 90s and then I feel like it was probably at least a decade until I had it again because it kind of just…went away. Unless I just wasn’t running in the proper Chewy Bev circles.

Oh! The cemetery! There was something going on there, not sure if it was SANCTIONED BY THE CEM or not, but there was a huge crowd of super loud revelers congregating by one of the crypts, at least 50 of them and they appeared to be COSPLAYING, I don’t know?! But I was super annoyed because they were shouting and laughing and maybe this is just me being an old fucker, a cemetery hipster, but STFU AND GTFO of my cem, you nozzles. They were being so disruptive! Also, and I say this every time we go to this cem now, but I hate how “popular” cemeteries became as a direct result of the pandemic. Like all these annoying people suddenly realized that cemeteries were good places to go for walks while social distancing and now there are always hordes of douchebags at Homewood Cemetery every time we go there. Even on Christmas Day, in poor weather conditions, here’s all these jackasses jogging and riding bikes.

It really never used to be like this. I used to walk there all the time when Chooch was a baby and it would be us and the groundskeepers, farting around on their landscapingmobiles.

Came home and Henry really powered through the TV project and GOT HER DONE, BOYS. With just enough time left in the night to sit down with me and watch some Whitney & Timmy React to the Hills action. Henry is like REALLY INTO THIS.

So, not the most exciting weekend but super productive, with a much-needed breakfast with friends, and some pretty chill family time.

I also read a lot, but…duh

Jan 052023

I left my brain somewhere between 2022 and 2023, I think. Literally feels empty up in there.

On that note, here is a dump of photos from my phone, thoughts salvaged from my hollow head, and some things I’ve been enjoying as of late like this Kdrama, The Glory:

Yooooo. This made me a legit Song Hye Kyo fan, honestly. She is incredible in this. It’s about a woman who was VICIOUSLY bullied by a group of classmates in night school. They show it in flashbacks and it is graphic and extremely disturbing so major trigger warning there.

Anyway, she drops out of school and buses her time FOR YEARS, plotting her revenge.

As an adult, she is very cold and guarded, but she crosses paths with a young doctor and a middle aged housekeeper, and the relationships she develops with them are so fun to watch and provide a tiny bit of levity but this show is a HEAVY DRAMA/PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER.

I especially loved it because unlike most Kdramas, this was only 8 episodes long and each episode was between 45-55 minutes which is perfect.

I watched the last one today and was screaming at the end but thankfully, there is a Part 2 coming in March!

Chooch took this picture of Girl Buddy lounging in a pine tree at the corner of our block. I love her so much. We had a nice talk on Monday when she came to the porch for walnoot time.

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Color palette for the attic game room – yes, we finally got to the point where paint samples could be purchased! 90% or the stuff is out of the attic now, either tossed, donated, or stored away elsewhere for now. It was mostly books, CDs, old computer shit, and tons of Chooch’s baby stuff.

Oh and basically my entire middle school and high school career in the form of notes.

I’m really excited to get started on this for real! I need a project / something to “design.”

I took down all the Christmas decorations on Sunday (well, the temporary ones, anyway lol) and then bought this cutie sweetie Valentine heart garland thingie at Target. I love Valentine’s Day decorations sooo much. (Hate the actual day though because, you know, Henry is so unromantic. We had JUST come home from Target and I was already balancing precariously on a chair, trying to hang this in the Cure corner. I’m pretty sure I still had my jacket on, even.

I love it!

Chooch and Henry were like, “Mmm, great – more decor for us to get tangled in.”

I just barely snagged this photo of the sisters sort of sitting together. I think they’re still pouting because I moved most of their cat houses around the house in preparation for the Christmas party and never moved them back, but they seem to really love sitting inside this new table, so I guess it’s a reasonable trade-off for them.

On Sunday, I reached for the stars and added purple rice to my purple potato boba and at first sip, I sputtered, “OK THAT WAS A CHOICE” but then I felt compelled to go in for another sip. And then another, and then another. Yeah, turns out I was into it and will 100% choose this as an add-in again.

Is NewJeans my new favorite girl group?? OMG I THINK MAYBE? It’s a very close tie with Aespa and STAYC though, but every single New Jeans release has been an undeniable bop. This is their latest and it is in my head constantly. Also, I love how all of these newer girl groups have super distinct dance styles, and that NewJeans is so slinky and 90s-vibin’.

Another fave is Stray Kids’ Case 143 which I didn’t immediately love, but it’s been a slow-burn on my brain (is that where my brain went!?!?) and is in my head quite often. I shared it with Nate and Lauren today, and they both loved it also, but then hours later, Nate told me he couldn’t get it out of his head (much like when I sent him the Ame Bibabi classic, Chin Up High, which became an accidental department obsession that we randomly quote to each other out of context) and Lauren of course loved the visuals and the fact that she now knows what “no cap” means ever since we had a whole-ass GenZ slang conversation in group chat several weeks ago, which is still alarming to me when I think about it, knowing that we let Glenn loose on the streets with words like “bussin'” in his arsenal).

Anyway, Henry loves this song and will randomly sing the 143 part to the cats. Also, I had no idea that 143 meant I love you in olden lighthouse days and that Mister Rogers even did an entire episode about it!?

I’m so glad we went to see Stray Kids last year!!! While we’re talking about them, Chooch was so pissed several weeks ago when I was watching one of the Korean music award shows and he didn’t know who they were! He was guessing every boy group he could think of and I was like, “DANG, DANG, DANG.” Then I said, “Watch this” as I muted it and called Henry into the room.

“Henry, can you tell who this without hearing the song?” I asked, shooting Chooch a smug look while he folded his arms across his chest and responded with a “There’s no way” facial expression.

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Henry looked at the TV for about 1.

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5 seconds before saying, “Stray Kids,” popping a prune in his mouth, and cockily strolling out of the room.


Over the weekend, we were in the car and Henry casually whispered, “Fuck em all, fuck em by” apropos of nothing.

Dec 032022

Oh my god, when I found out that NCT Dream was releasing a movie centered around their recent In a Dream concert, and that TWO theaters in Pittsburgh were actually going to be showing it, I bought two tickets immediately the day they went on sale. NCT Dream is the “younger brothers” to the main NCT unit, NCT127. I know, it’s confusing. SM Entertainment really does the most and their convoluted NCT conglomerate takes some time to really parse through. Basically, you can’t really be a moderate or part-time fan of NCT – you gotta be all in because there are so many moving pieces.

Anyway! I fluctuate between who I like more: NCT127 or NCT Dream. At this point, I have seen NCT127 three times (twice at KCON, and once at a full-fledged concert on their recent US tour) and I have seen NCT Drean NONE TIMES.

But I really think that they are my faves. They just make my heart so happy and I want all of the best things for them.

Watching this movie was going to have to be the next best thing to actually seeing them live.

Today was the day of the movie and I WAS FUCKING READY!!!

My Haechan pendant (designed by me, made by Henry) and a NCT lightstick necklace by the talented The Idol Collective.

My Cherry Bomb purse (this is actually NCT127) with my Renjun and Jaemin pins showing.

NCT Dream Dear Diary pin; Haechan Boom-era pin.

You guys, it didn’t occur to me until we got to the theater that I FUCKING FORGET TO WEAR MY NCT DREAM T-SHIRT. I HATE MYSELF.

“It’s going to be dark in there,” Henry reasoned. YEAH BUT…

P.S. We were only about 7 minutes away from home when Henry looked over at me and frowned because I WAS ALREADY STARTING TO CRY. Why do I have to feel so much?

“I should have brought Kleenex because I know I’m going to cry. I can’t help it! I care very deeply about NCT Dream. They’re on the same level as the cats and squirrels,” I said wailed.

Henry mumbled, “Wow. So that puts me even lower.”


The girl in front of me took a picture of this so then I had to, too Henry sighed.

I sent this to Chooch, who was at work and “sadly” had to miss the viewing festivities. “Great, now I have to sit next to him while he eats popcorn in a silent theater.” Chooch and I are very much anti-Henry’s Mouth Noises.


You guys. I thought there was no way for me to love these guys any more than I already did, but then I spent two hours with them in a theater and my heart was swelling to the point of explosion. This concert was a huge deal for them because it was at the Seoul Olympic Stadium, which is like the PREMIERE venue for artists to perform at in Seoul, it’s what they all aim for. It’s also only their SECOND concert (like, full concert of their own and not just like festivals, etc.) and the first one with Mark, who had “graduated” out of NCT Dream before they had their first concert because originally, NCT Dream wasn’t a fixed unit. It was intended to be a fluid unit with revolving members under the age of 20. So once Mark had his 20th birthday, he “graduated” out of NCT Dream. The fans did not like this one bit and demanded that SM reconsider, bring Mark back, and keep NCT Dream as a fixed unit with the original 7 members. Eventually, SM caved, put Mark back in and promised that the current lineup would be the forever-lineup.

Yeah, I was a mess at most times throughout this movie. My nose was running bigly and my stomach hurt from trying to silent-cry when I wanted so badly to big-sob. And I know you’re wondering: Henry only fell asleep once at the very end, for “like a second,” he said. To be fair, he legit likes them but will honestly fall asleep at any given opportunity. He would probably also fall asleep during a Ted Nugent biopic.

I’m glad that this was available in Pittsburgh and that I was able to go. Yes, it emotionally wrecked me but it was amazing to see so many of their songs as they performed them at their concert in Seoul. I am so proud of them and the huge crowd they drew!

Since the World Cup stuff is happening currently, I’ll end this with a video of them performing Trigger the Fever, which was the official song of the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2017 (whatever that means) and Mark actually has a songwriting credit for this!

And here they are performing it at the soccer thing in 2017 (minus Jaemin because I think he was injured):

They were so young!!!

Afterward, Henry and I went to Angkor for some Thai food and I tried so hard to rehash the entire 2 hours but he barely had anything to say and just nodded a lot, but you know, that’s just Henry.





Oct 262022

My weird side-angled view, lol. The advantage was that we got to see NCT before anyone else though!

Ever since the NCT127 concert two weeks ago, I have been putting off writing about it because (a) I’m still riding that high and frantically searching YouTube for fan videos from the concert and (b) I don’t even know how to begin! I feel like I always start these things by saying some wishy-washy sentiment like, “It’s so hard to explain…” but you know what? No, it really isn’t so hard to explain because I bet any person reading this can relate in some way to that fucking euphoric feeling of seeing your favorite band, especially if it’s one that you don’t get to see very often or haven’t seen at all before, and then that inevitable crash of post-show depression that follows. This is what connects us! We might not agree on the band/group/etc. in question, but the feeling is the same.

So…you know exactly how I felt on this night of October 13th, 2022, and also right now as I relive it!

I am honest to god quietly crying right now (and also laughing at the fact that I’m crying!) because I love these boys so much. I want to protect them and I want all of the good things to happen to them.

I first saw NCT in 2017 at KCON NY (actually was in Newark though, at this same arena!). They were still rookies then and I only knew a little about them. At that time, I was wholly-invested in their big brothers, SHINee, as you might know! But when Chooch and I saw them on this stage that night, I was blown away. I started paying close attention to the music and MVs after that, but it wasn’t until maybe 2018 or 2019 when I also started watching their content.

If you don’t know, most Kpop groups put a TON of extra content online. YouTube is full of “comeback parties” and vlogs of their daily lives. I think what really hooked me was watching all of the vlogs that NCT127 filmed while on their last US tour in 2019. I already knew all the members by that point, but that was what solidified me as a card-carrying NCTzen (their fangroup name!). Seeing them on this stage that night, in real life, after spending the last several years obsessing over them, learning the members of ALL NCT units, hemming and hawing over who is my latest bias, and just rooting for them with my whole heart, it was a lot. It was a lot for everyone there that night, I think! The number of tears that I shed and screams that scraped my throat that night…that was also a lot.


  • Interlude: NEO Zone
  • Kick It
  • Lemonade
  • Cherry Bomb
  • Elevator (127F)
  • Dreamer
  • Love Song
  • Another World (Taeil Solo)
  • Love Sign (Taeil & Haechan duet)
  • Run Back 2 U (Jonny, Taeyong, Yuta, Jaehyun dance performance)
  • Highway to Heaven (English version)
  • Breakfast
  • VCR: Running 2 U
  • Vibration (Mark solo)
  • Moonlight (Taeyong solo)
  • The Himalayas (Mark & Taeyong rap duet)
  • VCR: Lipstick
  • Lipstick (Jungwoo solo dance)
  • Focus (with Johnny solo dance break OMFG)
  • Lost (Jaehyun solo)
  • Butterfly (Yuta solo)
  • The Rainy Night
  • White Night
  • Back 2 U (AM 01:27)
  • The Reason Why It’s Favorite (Doyoung solo)
  • Favorite (Vampire)
  • Regular (English version)
  • Love on the Floor
  • Paradise
  • Touch
  • Love Me Now
  • Sticker
  • Faster
  • 2 Baddies


  • Dreams Come True
  • Promise You

(And now I’m crying again. Cool. It’s fine. This is fine. I’m fine.)

Every single second of the night was my favorite. But if I had to choose several isolated moments:

  • HAECHAN. Literally, seeing Haechan in real life was everything. He’s my ult bias across the entire NCT universe, and it was hard for me to focus on my actual NCT127 bias (Jaehyun, who started out as my bias wrecked only to be in danger of being wrecked himself!). Haechan is just…this is so fucking lame and I’m going to sound like a grandma from the 1960s, but he is JUST SO DAZZLING. His movements, his face, his HONEY VOCALS. No one sounds like Haechan. No one. He is OOAK.

OMG this part! OK so I tried really hard to avoid videos from the LA show that happened the week before this because I didn’t want anything spoiled. So I had no idea that they did this super cute lightstick dance to “Breakfast”! I was SCREAMING.

I’m just going to put this out there, but I think Mark and Taeyong’s chemistry together as rappers is like a New Gen T.O.P. and G-Dragon. Their rap styles are so distinct that even if you aren’t a NCTzen, you can spot an NCT song by the rap line alone. Anyone who says Kpop is homogenous either isn’t paying attention or doesn’t want to accept the fact that there is a wealth of talent in South Korea and frankly, their artists are just performing at levels that Western artists can’t touch.

OK LOVE ON THE FLOOR. (And poor Taeil’s shoes preventing him from climbing up.)

This is nowhere near as incredible as it was when they performed it in Korea and Japan because the US just can’t handle those kinds of stages, I guess, lol. But this was still…yeah.

The last song before the encore was 2 Baddies and I swear it felt like the arena suffered structural damage from our maniacal screaming. THAT SONG. THAT FUCKING SONG.

After the lights came on, I reluctantly made my way out of Section 127 into the swarm of NCTzens, and found Henry creepily leaning against a wall. He immediately started whining in real time to me about his seat sitch and I was just like, “Bro-ski, I do not CARE, let me SAVOR THIS MOMENT without dropping your bitchy anvil on it.” Fuck!!

Once we got outside, Henry’s mood had totally seeped into my skin so then I was feeling mopey too but he finally realized that he was, once again, ruining my life, so he quickly swerved and said, “Hey come on, let’s go stand over there and wait for NCT to leave. I didn’t call the Uber yet.” I made him suffer for a few more minutes before finally walking over to the area near the loading zone. We found out by accident that this is where the artists leave the arena back when we saw Stray Kids, because it was taking us so long to get a ride back to the hotel that we just happened to still be standing across the street when their cavalcade of black vans pulled out.

We must have only waited for about 20 minutes, but it was chilly and drizzling. Still, it was totally worth it to stand with my fellow NCT stans in total anticipation of not being able to see anything aside from our distorted reflections in the rain-streaked tinted windows.

Yeah, it was worth it.

Henry was even nice and gave up his spot to an older lady who was so appreciative – Kpop Dads know when to take one for the team, you know?

I didn’t realize this until days later, but apparently Aespa was in the first van!

(Um OK I’m crying again, hold please. What is my problem lol.)

Oh man, what a night. I hate Newark so much but I would make (Henry make) that drive 127 more times if it meant even seeing NCT for a minute. They are so special to me, it makes me feel actually physically ill.

When we got back to the hotel, someone on our floor had Haechan peeking out from under their door and I was so jealous! I do sometimes wish that I had friends here who were into this but I guess Henry will do. And my one and only kpop friend (Veronica in LA!) and I made a pact that we WILL be attending a kpop concert together in the future. I suggested that we just go to Seoul and see NCT127 there and she did not say no, lol!

Do I regret spending $DONTMAKEMESAY.IT on a ticket? NOPE. I will never, ever regret spending money on music.

(Or vacations and amusement parks!)

At least I will die rich in experiences lol.

(Probably while lying in the fetal position on the futon Chooch throws into the corner of his basement for me because I’ll be too poor as an old retired* lady to live on my own.)

*(Or to retire.)

[DISCLAIMER: None of the YouTube videos are mine. The Flickr ones are, though.]

Sep 042022

One of my favorite things to do before going on a road trip is look for restaurants in the area. I have a very particular set of requirements so it’s good to be proactive. If we’re going to a bigger city, I will for sure look for vegan joints but small towns have me looking for the greasy spoon time capsules. If a review is bad because the place is outdated, it goes on the list.

If it’s quirky or novel, borderlining on roadside attraction, here comes Erin. (See: Mr. Happy and Pal’s!)

These are the very important duties I task myself with, in case you were wondering what I do when I’m not getting yelled at by attorneys at work or walking my feet off because I’m a slave to my step goal.

So when I came across Mr. Pancake, housed in a structure shaped like a river boat and family-owned dating back to the 60s, I refused to leave Wisconsin Dells until we ate there.

Especially after watching some local news story from 12 years ago highlighting the breakfast spot loved by tourists and locals alike.

That clip of the food-faced bitch getting floaters all up in her apple juice made me dry heave though.

But I was otherwise reminding Henry by way of FACE-SCREAM that we were going to eat at Mr. Pancake and he was like “ok” while pushing past me to finish his chores and Chooch would just curtly say, “I don’t know what that means” and then acted like it was NEWS TO HIM when we drove past it yesterday while going to our hotel.

Anyway, we almost had to scrap the plan because they’re only open until noon so we would have had to go Sunday morning except that we still need to drive to Chicago-ish to go to Six Flags and prefer to get to new-to-us parks when they open because we’re always on a mission, you know.

I’m sure Henry and Chooch were less then thrilled with my declaration that we’d just have to leave the hotel earlier than intended and get to Mr. Pancake as soon as they opened at 7.

We were the first ones here! We arrived at 6:53 and Henry was like I AM NOT SITTING IN THIS PARKING LOT IT WILL MAKE THE WAITSTAFF NERVOUS so we had to drive around the still-sleeping Dells. When we got back at 6:58, the lot was still empty and I told Henry to park right next to the door and he was like I AM NOT PARKING THERE I WILL PARK OVER HERE AWAY FROM THE BUILDING. What a weirdo.

Then I got out and ran over to the door but the CLOSED sign was still up even though it was now exactly 7 so I got nervous but JUST THEN the hostess came over and flipped the sign while smiling at me through the window of the door.

I ran back down the steps and yelled, “SHE CHANGED THE SIGN TO OPEN!” to Chooch who was like “yes I know I’m standing right here, I saw, you’re so annoying.”

MR PANCAKE SELFIE! WE WERE THE FIRST PATRONS! Our waitress’s name was Paula and she was amazing and really helped us navigate the tricky menu.

(It was not tricky but she still held our hands and promised us that we would never walk alone while in her care.)

(Fine. She didn’t hold our hands but her soothing tone implied that was spiritually braiding her fingers into ours while leading us down a path of tulip petals and housemade maple cinnamon syrup.)


Chooch is in the Blocking His Face From Mommy’s Camera stage of his life.

You guys!! I got a blueberry waffle which came with lemon butter! When Paula checked in on us later, I blurted out with such urgency that her face flashed with alarm, “I didn’t know the butter was going to be lemony!” But then I gushed, “I love it!” so her face relaxed into her standard cheerful Wisconsin visage and she proudly declared that it’s made in house. JUST LIKE THE SYRUP.

A few years, two bitches from some local supper club took the reins of Mr. Pancake from the family who had been running it since the 60s. The history on the website says that they kept the OG recipes but added some stuff to the menu and I told Henry I bet the BARISTA section of the menu and the fancy house made butters and syrups were their doing. But for some reason I said it is a disparaging, snippy tone like these uppity supper club broads were really leaving me with a bad taste in my mouth for literally no concrete reason that I can give you to back up my intentions. Sometimes I JUST BE LIKE THAT.

Anyway, I also had my eyes on the Iowa Corn Pancakes (?!?!?!) because they were filled with corn and corn meal!! But I cannot eat three pancakes and there was no down-sizing option. However, Henry got an omelet which came with two pancakes and Paula said that he could substitute any of the specialty pancakes for a small upcharge so I told him to get the corn ones and he did and they were SO GOOD. Actual corn kernels plopped out when he cut into them. I mean, it wasn’t like a pouch of corn cooked into the cakes but more so just interspersed throughout. I love corn stuff, especially when it’s surprise corn like in Korea, where they love to sneak handfuls of kernels in where you’d least suspect it, like pizza and lattes.

음ㅁㅁㅁㅁ, 옥수수 🌽.

By the time we left, Mr. Pancake had filled up with patrons filling up on carbs before a day of water-parking, including a family with a really fucking bratty toddler that proceeded to scream its face off immediately upon being seated and at one point the mom yelled YOURE BEING BAD and I am going to start publicly calling Chooch out for being bad too. It’s what he deserves.

Mr. Pancake gets an A- from me though because I didn’t like their souvenir T-shirts and they didn’t have coffee cups for sale!! I would have bought one for sure. They should make white ones with a red outline of the Mr. Pancake river boat thing.


Sep 012022

Today I’m going to tell you about one of two times in the span of a week that I sobbed like I was auditioning for a soap opera.

I’m not proud of my behavior, but I also CAN 100% JUSTIFY IT OK STEP OFF.

It all started last week when my best Kpop friend Veronica DMd me on Insta. She had randomly noticed that she had a Ticketmaster email in her SPAM FOLDER.

Announcing NCT127 US DATES.

Two of them, to be exact. LA and Newark.

At first I was like OMFG yessss! So excited!

But then it quickly dawned on me that only two dates meant that tickets were going to be EXTRA HARD to procure. It’s already Hunger Games for a regular Kpop tour, just a bleak landscape of scalpers and Ticketmaster price gouging, preventing the true fans from getting the best seats possible without their parents having to take out a second mortgage.

Tickets for Newark were slated to go on sale Monday at 3pm, so from the moment I read Veronica’s message until Monday, I was a mess of stress, a web of sizzling nerves and heart palps.

Henry came home Monday afternoon in an effort to help me get tickets. I thought he was going to be late, but he strode in around 2:30, totally carefree, pep in his step, while I was sitting at the computer burping up stomach acid and running my hands through hair slick with PANIC GREASE. I threw myself at him and wailed, “I KNOW I’M NOT GETTING TICKETS. I’M NOT SEEING NCT. I’M NOT GOING.” And then I just started sobbing like a three-year-old who needs a nap but doesn’t know it.

I think you know the hell that is Ticketmaster. I won’t get into the nitty gritty, but that waiting room bullshit is so stressful (like, they could at least play some Chuck Mangione or something, even Kenny G for God’s sake) and the fucking QUEUE is insulting. Henry and I both had 2000+ bitches in front of us, and by the time it “our turn” to buy tickets, everything was already resale or TICKETMASTER PLATINUM.

You guys know about this, right? Just another way for TM to fucking price-gouge by being THEIR OWN SCALPERS. It’s so fucked up, I can’t even….

I was fully prepared to throw down a pretty penny for a floor seat, but they were already up to $4000.

I can’t.

I wish.

But even if I could.

Would I?

That’s a shit ton of $$$.

Sorry: $$$$.

So then I was like, “OK, if I can’t get the floor, then I’ll take the next section up. But those were all Platinum by then, and every time I would click on a seat, I would get the frustrating, “We’re sorry, someone else us beat you to it” message AND I WOULD FUCKING RAGE OUT.

At one point, I screamed really loud and threw my mouse across the desk and Henry had to put his hands on my arms and say, “OK. EASY.”

Finally, I panicked and paid entirely too much a seat in the first row of section 127 (127!!!!) which is not where I wanted to be.  I could have waited to see if resale tickets would go down as the date gets closer, but when it comes to Kpop I don’t gamble. These groups have expiration dates and military enlistment is looming for some of them.

I thought I would get a chance to see SHINee, and look what happened.

I thought I would get a chance to see BIGBANG, and look what happened.

So, I spent a lot of money, but even though it made me sick, I can’t say I regret it because NCT127 is my #2 group, you guys. (BIGBANG and SHINee now share the honors for being #1.) So, I splurged.

I didn’t realize just how much stress over this my body was carrying until after it was all said and done, and it almost felt like static electricity lifting off my body. It was insane.

Henry had retreated to the bedroom for his daily after-work nap by this point, confident that I was pacified and that the kitchen knives wouldn’t need to be confiscated. Stress now replaced with frenetic, nervous energy, I followed him up there, threw myself down on the bed and wailed, “HENRY I DON’T CARE IF I SOUND LIKE I’M 16, I JUST LOVE THEM SO MUCH AND WANTED TO BE AS CLOSE TO THEM AS POSSIBLE, NOW HOW WILL JAEHYUN HEAR ME SCREAM HIS NAME??” I flung my arm across my forehead for good measure.

Henry casually said that we could try to find them in NYC afterward, and I got really excited about that, BECAUSE ONE TIME WE ACTUALLY DID SEE A KPOP GROUP IN NYC, but then he said he was kidding. :(

I let myself wallow a little bit. I ate ice cream out of the carton with whipped cream. And then once I came back down to Adult Land, I was finally able to realize that I was lucky I could afford one overly-inflated ticket (um, my one ticket was 3x what Corey and I paid to see Genesis, so…) and the big picture is that HELLO I AM GOING TO SEE NCT127!!

So then I sniffled, “Alexa, play NCT127” and straight-up sobbed when “Favorite” came on because I AM GOING TO SEE NCT127!!!

Poor Henry has been periodically checking to see if he can find a cheap nosebleed seat for himself (I am not making it up when I say that he likes them!) so hopefully he can also go. I’m still also holding onto hope that they announce more US dates (they did say “more dates coming soon” but this is a world tour so that doesn’t necessarily mean more North America dates ugh.

I love that Kpop is finally acknowledged and not treated like a joke so much anymore here in this shitty country, but I also hate it because now it’s so hard to get concert tickets!

I woke up Tuesday morning feeling like a brand new person though, and that’s when I realized just how stressed I was over buying a ticket. It just….shouldn’t be that way. Ticketmaster needs to, I dunno, go to prison.

Oh and in case you were wondering, the other time I sobbed like Susan Lucci was the weekend I had COVID. I was so emotionally depleted to begin with, so when I realized that my new FitBit, which Henry had just set up for me that day, had LOST ALL OF MY STEPS AND 3/4 OF THE STEPS FROM THE DAY BEFORE, REMOVING MY STAR AND BREAKING MY 2 YEAR STREAK, I fucking lost my mind so hard that I started LOUDLY CRYING while home alone. Like, full body-racking sobs, real tears, all snotted up.

Over a FitBit.

I called Henry and basically threatened his life, so he came home and spent 45 minutes researching the inner workings of FitBit and (mostly) fixed it then had the audacity to request a THANK YOU from me? AFTER HE CAUSED THIS? I clearly was very sick and my body need to cleanse by way of Ugly Cry, so this was the opportunity I chose to let it all hang out. A choice, for sure.


Jul 192022

Saturday was a pretty chill day. For alibi purposes, here is what went down:

I spent a million hours at the salon getting babylights. I went to a new-to-me place called Bad Apple because my friend goes there and posted about it on Insta and I was like, “That place sounds nice and the name matches my tattoo” so I made an appt because the last place I went was only out of convenience and being panicked about going back to work after two years of WFH’ing and I needed something done FAST.

I liked it but they only did partial highlights without me even realizing what was going on and the gray coverage was NOT good – the whole front of my head was like a billboard for gray hair recognition! And the broad who did my hair was not really my style. She was more like, Big Hat at Coachella vibes and I wasn’t comfortable with that.

I’m picky. We all should be when it comes to our hair!

Anyway, I really liked Bad Apple a lot and the girl who did my hair (Carly) was SO CHILL and easy to talk to. Definitely my type of person. My hair isn’t like, IN YOUR FACE, different since I only just recently had highlights done, but she did a full highlight and blended and toned it SO WELL. I didn’t even need a cut and she was gushing about how healthy my hair is and that like, never happens, so I am crediting that to Vegamour (which I was going to cancel but now I’m like SHOULD I??) and Jennifer Aniston’s Lolavie product line.

After spending nearly all day in The Chair (9:30 – 2ish ugh this is why I’m like the ONLY GIRL in the world who does not enjoy going to the salon. Sitting still is not in my wheelhouse), I came home and scarfed down a quick salad and then Henry and I went to Allegheny Cemetery so I could walkwalkwalkwalkwalkwalkwalk.

We took this to send to our AWOL son.

Shortly after, I saw a fun photo op and asked, tentatively, for Henry to help me achieve said shot. Of course, he blundered it bigly, resulting in A Fight because honestly his lack of even the basic, most RUDIMENTARY photo skills drives me nuts. So then he had the audacity to get mad at me for getting mad at him and I was like YOU KNOW WHAT, JUST LEAVE AND PICK ME UP LATER and then I performed a perfectly-timed storm-off down a brick path while he stayed on the road.

I made sure I waited a long time before tossing a furtive glance over my shoulder to see if he was following me.


Which equal parts pleased and angered me.


Well I was off on my own, I paused to take some pictures of my new Korean Vans <3. I’d like to point out that they were shipped from South Korea on a Sunday, and I had them on my feet by the following Wednesday.

South Korea does NOT fuck around with shipping. When you hear expats saying that South Korea has THE BEST delivery service, believe.

Meanwhile, Henry was commenting whiny things on my Instagram for all to see and I was like OMFG this man is so desperate so I made my way back to the car and then he had to play his little hiding game with me which is so annoying. I should have just left him there – I had my car key on me….

…but not my house key. Dammit, I’m always missing something!

I felt bad for Henry because he clearly cannot survive without me so I accepted his groveling apology but only because I wanted to go to the Grant in Millville because it’s been years since we had a slice of the best coconut cream pie in at least the whole state if not the UNIVERSE.

We got there right when they opened at 4, us and all the Olds! We were relegated to the BACK ROOM which isn’t as woodsy and Bavarian-esque as the main dining room so I was pissed. I guess we weren’t OF AGE enough. (Henry probably was but then I lowered the average.)

I like this picture up there though because Henry sort of looks like he’s smiling at me. Smrobly a fluke though.

We decided to get dinner while we were there too even though we weren’t really hungry but it’s a good thing that we did because our food took a really long time to come out – I didn’t mind so much because we didn’t have any where we needed to be and this was basically just helping us build up an appetite, but our waitress was so stressed about this delay and she kept reporting back to us and making sure we were properly hydrated. I fucking LOVED her. Honestly, we didn’t care about the wait at all because we were super engrossed in receiving updates from Chooch (this was when he was suffering through the off-the-cuff vegetarian burrito made from pineapples and cactus, lol) and we were obsessed with the ongoing plight of the young host/busboy who kept trying to sit down and take a break in the corner only to immediately be summoned. My favorite part was when he tried to seat people in our dumb room and one of the waitresses came back to say, “They want to sit in the front room.” He went back to retrieve the menus from the table and as he walked past us to go back to the front room, I heard him huff under his breath, “of course they do.” It was fantastic.

Anyway, our waitress ended up comping us one of the slices of coconut cream and I was like, “This was not necessary – Henry leave her a giant tip” but when she came back with the check, she wisely gave it to me which was good because Henry is a shitty tipper.

Oh man, we ended up so stuffed from eating a dinner that we weren’t really hungry for but that pie man. THAT PIE. It is a religious experience. I am a FIRM believer in the Book of Whipped Topping Coco-Cream. Meringue is for pariahs.

Waiting for Henry to pee on the way out. This is the room I wanted to sit in. :(


Well, those were the highlights of the day. We came home and spent most of the evening rearranging Chooch’s room. We really want to have that fucking attic cleaned out and painted before he comes back so it can be an extension of his room (like the lounge area) but I don’t think that’s happenin’ hot stuff.

May 302022

I was looking for something that we could do Sunday morning to kill time since Six Flags doesn’t open until 11 and OH BOY-O did I find just the thing!

Apparently, there is a place called Stanley Park a few miles away from Six Flags and the reason why this is relevant to my interests is because it’s known for having a large population of BLACK SQUIRRELS. Seems that some dude in the 40s was gifted with several black squirrels from Africa or something?!

This place is referred to as Black Squirrel Town on Roadside America and there even used to be a local store where you could by souvenirs but now it’s online only, I guess.

Obviously we needed to go here, and Chooch suggested that we grab breakfast sandwiches to eat there. (Actually, that’s already what I had wanted to do but you can’t even tell Chooch that you had the idea first, god forbid.)

So we went to some place called Baker and the Bean or something and it was a nice place! Someone working there mistook Chooch for someone in one of their classes so that was weird.

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They had huge snickerdoodle cupcakes so we scooped one of those up to split between us.

It was ok! The icing was very thick and heavy cream cheese which was unexpected but not the worst.

Sat on a bench at Stanley Park and wolfed down our sandwiches (I only ate half because I was in such a hurry to see the squirrels!!) and then ran down a path into a wooded area where it was a SQUIRRELPALOOZA.

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There were definitely black squirrels but way more Mr. Gray Guys. They were all running around and chirping at each other and for a second I was actually concerned that we might get attacked. It was like a wooded wonderland in this park though!!

Chooch has always been obsessed with geese and ducks so he was more into that portion of the wildlife free-for-all. These guys were so friendly! The geese in Pittsburgh are borderline aggressive. And that’s not even when there are babies around!

We spent about two hours here and it was worth every second – I could have easily spent more time in this wildlife paradise. The squirrels! The geese! The ducks! THE CHIPMUNKS!! I swear, we hadn’t seen chipmunks in Pgh for years and years it seemed but then started noticing them again within the last two years at the cemeteries – not in our neighborhood though. They are super scared of people though and zip past us with nary a shred of curiosity.

At this park though, we were basically stalked by the chipmunks! They kept running up to us waiting to be fed I guess. Henry went to the car to get change for the goose feed machines and found a lone peanut and some pieces of dehydrated strawberries and bananas.

(I kept telling Henry on the way there that we needed to stop and get peanuts or something but he was being a real STICK IN THE MUD* about it and kept mumbling excuses like, “We don’t even know if there are really going to be that many squirrels there.” OH OK so we only feed squirrels if there are…what, more than 5 of them? OK Cuz.)

I could never get my neighborhood Mr. Gray Guys to come this close to me! I wasn’t able to hand feed this babe, but he did get super close and kept hopping all around me until I finally just tossed a piece of banana to him.

But you guys, the chipmunks!! Chooch and I were both able to hand feed some and Chooch even got gently nibbled by one!

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This picture sucks because Henry took it with his broken-ass phone, but here I am feeding a peanut to a chipmunk!! This might be “whatever” to a lot of people but I am animal-obsessed and have always been jealous of Snow White (lol), like I wish bluebirds flew around my head like a crown of flowers, etc.

Here please enjoy a boring video compilation I made:

On the way out, Chooch said, “Look there’s a lady reading a book in the rose garden. That could be you.”

TOTALLY! I would go there every god damn day if I lived in that area. It was IDYLLIC.

Oh! I forgot that one of the best parts was when Henry almost fell down the steps and then Chooch and I took copious liberties of reenacting it/mocking him.

It’s how we show our love.

Today, I went to the Black Squirrel website and bought a magnet!! I LOVE STANLEY PARK.

May 102022

People. Listen. You know that I am a SLUT for Rocky Mountain Construction. One of my bucket list items is to ride every RMC in the world because they are actually works of art.

One of the most controversial RMCs of late is Iron Gwazi in Busch Gardens Tampa. It was originally a dueling coaster called Gwazi, which was notoriously rough and a prime candidate for the RMC treatment. It was like HUGE NEWS in the coastersphere when Busch Gardens officially announced that it would definitely be happening. I think this was in 2019, and it was slated to open for the 2020 season.

Welp. We all know about 2020.

So then it was pushed to 2021 but ended up SBNO (standing but not operating) for the entire season. I looked GREAT though! Seemingly complete, but you know, you just couldn’t ride the damn thing. I remember at some point during the summer of 2021, there were videos circulating of IRON GWAZI TESTING!

But then nothing.

The park finally announced sometime that fall that it would be officially opening in March 2022. We had actually tossed around the idea of doing a Florida park road trip last January, but omicron was still rampant so we nixed that idea. It was for the best though because I don’t think I would have been able to handle being that close to such a magnificent RMC without being able to ride it.

Imagine my screaming when we solidified our spring break plans and I finally let it sink in that I WOULD BE RIDING IRON GWAZI less than a month after it opened!! (I mean, GOD WILLING.) The world’s steepest and fastest hybrid coaster! (As of this posting anyway!)

Obviously we made a beeline for Iron Gwazi as soon as we arrived at Busch Gardens on this beautiful, sunny Wednesday in April. It is right near the entrance too so that was great! Now that I’m thinking back to this day, I don’t even remember walking through the gates. I mean, we definitely did, but I have no recollection of it AT ALL. I just know that we got there a little bit after the park opened and I was so nervous that everything was going to be crowded already.

LOL. Janice. Please. Iron Gwazi was a motherfucking STATION WAIT.


Can you even!?!?

And not just for our inaugural ride. It was like this all day long. I think the longest we waited MIGHT have been 25-30 minutes but that was just because we wanted the front row.


And I loved all of the greenery around the queue, and the polynesian-esque roof thingies. I am very cultured. Look at me go.

I love this picture of us so much!

OK let’s back up, Brenda. The line attendant was assigning seats but anytime we asked for the back, they were just like, “That’s fine” which cracked me up. I love a backseat ride on an RMC, and this was no exception. Broken record here, but I am not good at explaining roller coasters so I will just say that this was 100% worth the hype and I got off the damn thing feeling INVIGORATED. Like most RMCs, this bitch is RELENTLESS. It makes you feel like you’re being yanked around on a leash, or riding out an avalanche down a mountainside. From the first drop, you’re just careening at breakneck speed, unable to even contemplate the elements you’re whipping through.

And it only got better and better with every ride as the day went on.

Here’s how you know RMCs are the real ones: Henry does not often re-ride coasters, but he always gets back in line for an RMC.

This is Henry agreeing with what I just said up there.

I rode once with Henry in the third to last row and this broad in the dress was right behind us yapping at the back of my head the whole way up the lift hill, and on one hand I was agreeing with all the super hype shit she was saying about air time, etc, but she was more annoying than anything else. Especially when we arrived back on the brake run and I said to Henry, “OK, that sealed it for me. I like this better than Steel Vengeance,” and it was almost like she heard me and was purposely squawking to her husband about how Steel Vengeance is still superior because it’s a longer ride, and OK I’ll give it that, but Iron Gwazi did more for me in a shorter amount of time than SteVe.

Also, SteVe is RARELY re-rideable. That motherfucker always has a huge line every time we’ve gone to Cedar Point, except for when it’s down.

Which is often.

So this is why I’m ranking Iron Gwazi higher – the entire experience from the queue to the ride itself was just a bit better than SteVe in my opinion.

Chooch and I got right back in line and this time opted for the front and that dumb bitch got in line right behind us so we had to endure her being a THOOSIE IN A DRESS again but at least since she was in line for the same row as us, that meant I wouldn’t have her screeching behind me again.

She was the only person who annoyed me all day (aside from Henry, natch) and honestly, she wasn’t even that bad.


Henry liked Iron Gwazi so much that HE BOUGHT THE DAMN HAT. Chooch got a t-shirt. I got nothing and I have big sads over that. I should have gotten at least a coffee cup or something!

This was the last BIG COASTER that we had to check off the list for this road trip and it was really like saving the best for last.

Ugh, but VelociCoaster…

No, Iron Gwazi….

Yeah, but those VelociCoaster night rides…

OK but Iron Gwazi’s insane elements…

Yeah, I can’t decide. Those are two very different coasters and ride experiences. Can it just be a tie!?

This was our 8th RMC (just Henry’s 6th LOLOLoser) and it’s safe to say that RMC still owns my heart. This trip had Chooch replacing B&M with Intamin for his favorite manufacturer, but it’s still me and RM sittin’ in a (hybrid) tree.

Mar 302022

I waited two entire days to post about NCT Dream’s comeback in order to prevent the entire post looking like a gang of toddlers took over.

Because I was excited, guys. Even now, I am screaming these words in my head maniacally as I type them, but you can’t tell, can you? No CAPSLOCK abuse here.

(You can do this, Erin. Be professional. Be-be professional.)

Early Monday morning, NCT Dream dropped their second full-length album, Glitch Mode, and the video for the eponymous first single. Let’s take a morning pause with our fresh cup of coffee to watch this together, shall we? I haven’t already watched it 87 times.

I love that SM doesn’t shy away from super different, unique, not always immediately accessible songs. Very few groups could pull something like this off, and NCT Dream is 100% one of them. Glitch Mode is wild, Mary. It’s already jarring (in all the good ways) and then 갑자기 metal breakdown!? WHAT? IN KPOP? Yes. That happened. And it brought out my old post-hardcore sentimentalities. 

If you want something more slow-jammy, they got you covered there too. This is my current favorite song on the album OMG (OK it’s becoming hard for me  to stay composed now):

But this song is a close second – it makes me want to hostilely speed skate through the neighborhood, knocking over everyone that gets in my way while imagining them to be various people who pissed me off during the work day. (Namely all the people who call me KELLY. I almost made it through the day yesterday without that happening, but nope. There it was. Post-lunch email. “Hi Kelly,”….OH FOR FUCK’S SAKE.)


There are other songs that I want to highlight too but I will keep calm and kpop on in private. I don’t know what the b-side will be yet that they’ll perform during the promotions, and I can’t wait to to find out!! I live for this shit – waking up every morning and watching the latest music show performance. It keeps me young, Cliff.

But I will end with NCT Dream’s debut, because it’s really awesome to see how they (and their talent!!) have grown – I think Jisung was only 14 or 15?!?!:

just really love this group. They have kept me afloat during some Dumb Adult Days, that’s for sure.

Mar 282022

In more “Chooch bought a 3D printer” news, he printed me a topography map of South Korea and it is so beautiful, so perfect, so meaningful. I  knew as soon as he handed it to me that I wanted to make it into an art piece because it’s just too special to lay around on a desk or in a drawer. Or on the floor once a cat discovers it on some surface and desperately needs it to drop to the floor. (Actually, in the above picture, Drew just couldn’t resist slowly touching it with her paw when she thought I wasn’t looking. Cats, amirite.)

We had several oval frames laying around because we always always always buy frames from Goodwill whether we’re in the market for them at the moment or not because you never know, bro. Henry painted it pastel pink and I found this gift wrap that I saved from a traditional Korean jewelry box store the first time we visited (which, at the time of this writing, was exactly 4 years ago; HOW). To be super exact, the box I bought for Barb was wrapped in this paper and after she opened the gift, she asked me if I wanted to keep the paper and I snatched it off her, like, “I THOUGHT YOU’D NEVER ASK.” It’s been chilling in a box in my closet all this time, patiently waiting for its time to shine.

Well, gift wrap, that time be now.

I just love it so much. It brings actual tears to my eyes. I still can’t believe how much of an impact this country and its culture has had on me over the last 6 years. I’m sure it’s very annoying and strange to some, but when I think back to 2016 and how miserable, low, depressed, traumatized, angry, and just honestly even in bad physical shape I was, I am ever so grateful to that fateful Christmas Eve in 2015 when I accidentally stumbled upon KpopX Fitness, even though it took a full year for it to give me that hard push down the rabbit hole to what ended up being an entirely new lifestyle. It literally started with me searching “hiphop cardio dance” on YouTube.

(Shocking, but no I didn’t “discover Korea” because of BTS.)

I made the right choice that night. So maybe some people might think this is a weird obsession or find it hard to understand, but I see it as the catalyst to me making big changes that may have potentially saved my life. When I say 2016 was bad for me personally (obviously also politically), I am not exaggerating. I didn’t think I could ever bounce back from the trauma I went through that year, but Kpop and learning about Korea gave me something to be excited about. So, you’ll understand when I want to surround myself with mementos and art from Korea; it’s very symbolic to me and when I’m having a bad day, I clutch my experiences and memories that I made on those two visits like an emotional support stuffed animal.

It’s like those people who love the beach so much, they hang flip flop art around their house. I just took a step further and hung a giant light-up map of the Seoul subway lines on my wall. You know, for example.

I also like that the paper is gently wrinkled just like my face.

I think it really adds something different to this wall! Plus, we hung up the Old Crafty Man’s bunny!

Underrated corner, to be honest.

While I was at it, I framed this old photo of my grandparents from the 90s in a frame that I finally brought home from work. It used to have fake blood sprayed on the glass, with a picture of Sweeney Todd’s wife and kid inside, which I used for Todd’s Halloween motif the first year I ambushed my coworkers with covert Halloween decorations based on their names.

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And of course Todd got the Sweeney Todd theme and had no fucking idea what was going on. I even made disgusting meat pie things!

So many things around my house have fun stories but I never get to tell them because I’d need to have visitors for that HAHAHAHA ugh.

Well, that’s all I have to say about this because if we’re being honest here, today was the day of NCT Dream’s comeback and I need to get back to sitting here with my mouth open while watching YouTubers reacts to the video.

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I don’t pretend to have a glamorous life, you guys. Fair warning, I will probably spam the fuck out of this space with NCT Dream fan-swooning tomorrow.

Anyway, I miss interacting with people so if anyone happens to read this, tell me about an item in your house that is special to you, and why. I love reading about things like that!

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