Jun 212024
 

Hello from the tail end of one of the longest 4-day work weeks I think I have ever experienced. How is that possible?! Anyway, I was going to do a book recap today but it’s 95000 degrees in my house (at several points today you could have found me sitting at the computer with an ice cube on my head – and down my shirt – so that should be all you need to know about how I’m dealing in a heatwave with no A/C) and also I have been doing nothing watching this video on repeat much to Chooch’s chagrin because IT’S FROM 4 YEARS AGO AND HIS LOSER MOM ONLY JUST FOUND OUT ABOUT IT! God, sorry I exist! I shared it to some people at work and only ONE of them remembered it from FOUR YEARS AGO so maybe it wasn’t viral in this region!! At one point, Chooch yelled from the top of the steps, “Oh my GOD, are you watching that AGAIN??” And then last night, he was putting something on Netflix so, from the dining room, I changed it to this YouTube video and he was getting so perplexed as to why the TV was changing back over to YouTube. He kept going back to Netflix and I would just do it again, with quiet tears of laughter streaming down my face and mixing with the SWEAT THAT HAD ACCUMULATED THERE FROM DOING NOTHING OTHER THAN JUST BEING. “Just let it go and see what it’s trying to do,” Henry said calmly, surely because he knew it was me – Chooch didn’t because he is goddamn dense. So, Chooch let the TV do its thing and when this video started to play, he straight up lost his mind, LOL. This song haunts him now. I made Henry reset Alexa so now when I saw ALEXA LIVING ROOM LIGHT ON this song plays (it’s on Spotify thank god!!!).

I need to also make it my ring tone somehow.

If someone can do that for me, thsnks.

Anyway, here I was trying to avoid sitting here with a hot laptop sitting on my sweat-sticky thighs, but then this song hypnotized me into writing practically an entire blog post anyway when really I came here to post another VINTAGE CHOOCH POST, this one is from December 2013.

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This last week has been TRYING as far as parenting goes. I definitely feel like I’ve been screaming at Chooch more than anything else, because he is so fucking bull-headed (i.e. SO UNLIKE ME). The whole “There goes another Christmas present!

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” tactic totally doesn’t work anymore, by the way. I guess I’m going to have to swap out “Santa” for “Satan.”

“SATAN’S WATCHING YOU, YOU LITTLE ASSHOLE!”

And he definitely still believes in ghosts, so I can always go that route too.

Mornings and late evenings are especially bad. Sometimes he wakes up as Contrary Chooch and will battle me on EVERY LITTLE DETAIL down to the SOCKS I laid out for him to wear. My response is usually, “YOU ARE FUCKING 7 YEARS OLD STFU AND GET DRESSED.” Sometimes I try to kill him with kindness or make jokes, but in the end, I usually end up losing my temper and yelling.

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I hate power-struggles. I HATE PARENTING!

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Last Wednesday night, I was walking home from CVS and he was outside waiting for me. I KNEW he was going to try to bombard me with snowballs so I sternly said, “Do NOT throw snowballs—the snow is too icy!” But that son of a bitch whaled one right at my fucking face and it slammed hard into my temple. I instantly started to cry because that HURT, OK?

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And once Chooch saw that I was straight sobbing (I’m pretty good at embellishing), he got scared. He knew he done fucked up, but god forbid he should apologize. Instead, he starts making excuses and laughing nervously, and by the time we fought each other to storm through the front door, we were both SCREAMING hysterically and Henry came out of the kitchen like, “WTF?”

I stood in the middle of the living room screaming, “I THINK I’M LOSING MY EYESIGHT AND HE DOESN’T CARRRRRRREEEE!!!” and Chooch is yelling, “SHE HATES ME!!!!!!” simultaneously and the neighbors probably have their fingers poised to dial that last 1 in 9-1-1.

It’s been that kind of week.

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But then there are really sweet moments, too. And wine. And those are the things that keep me from getting that artists loft that I keep dreaming about. Like the one BO BRADY had in the 80s on Days of Our Lives. But seriously, how great would that be? I’d fill it with old mannequins and pretend like they were my friends. :(

Oh, right. Sweet moments. Like last night when Chooch was talking about the Santa Shop that’s happening this week at school. He wants to get something for our friend Andrea, but he became very perplexed because “it’s not like they’re going to have any death there.” Henry and I started cracking up but Chooch was very serious. He should write a letter to the paper about how the Santa Shop discriminates against people who collect dead things in jars.

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Unless one of us kills the other before then, Chooch and I are going to see Never Shout Never next Wednesday in Cleveland. Henry isn’t sure if he can go because his job is stupid and I am PANICKING about this. Chooch and I haven’t gone further than like, 50 miles away without Henry. And that’s probably a gross exaggeration. Maybe closer to 25 miles? Sometimes it’s just really hard for me to get into Responsible Parent Mode. I like it better when Henry can just deal with that and I can skip around being flighty and immature. Because that’s my true nature.

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If you live in Cleveland and see two dummies flailing about in Lake Erie, send the Coast Guard because I clearly drove off the map.

(PLEASE DO YOUR RELIGIOUS SPELLS SO THAT HENRY IS ABLE TO GO WITH US, OMG.)

Look, no one wants to put their kids on blast, but it is important for me to write about the lows and not only the highs. Because having shit like this to look back on makes me appreciate the highs that much more. This is real life.

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We argued the whole time we were in the cemetery on Sunday. But then by that night, we were able to co-exist peacefully on the couch and watch the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead together. (OMFG THAT SHOW IS KILLING ME.) And then the next morning, we were walking to school behind our Morning Nemesis and she was SCREAMING at her kid for pretty much no reason and that kind of made me take a step back and appreciate that at least Chooch and I can walk to school together without putting our disputes on display. That’s a small victory, right?

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So no, things aren’t perfect around here. But I guess they’re not really THAT bad either. And when I do start to lose the will to parent, I just go back and look at pictures of Chooch being, well, Chooch. And then it’s not so bad.

(That fucking snowball did really hurt though!!)

Jun 152024
 

OK let’s get this over with. The last part of the last day of the last trip to Korea. Sigh de la sighlalalalala ugh. I will try to make this one a short one.

We finished off the trip in Myeongdong. Henry wanted to get another small piece of luggage and Chooch and I wanted to do last minute shopping, so that’s exactly what we did.

I seriously wanted to buy everything in Butter.

We just don’t really have many cool shops like this in Pittsburgh and it kills me dead.

Finally got an egg bread! This is one of my favorite Korean street foods. It’s kind of reminiscent of corn bread, but then it has an egg baked inside of it. It’s so satisfying.

Not pictured, but I got a bunch of skin care at Innisfree and some gifts at Tony Moly and Artbox. Chooch bought a bunch of Seoul edition clothes at Adidas, including a pair of WHITE SWEATPANTS which he will obviously never be able to wear, as the reigning Stain King of North America.

LOL the very last night and Henry’s T-Money card had insufficient funds, so he was DENIED ACCESS. We had to wait for him to refill his card like old times. Why am I honestly tearing up at this memory.

I miss hearing these names being called out on the subway. I miss the subway. I miss the subway STATIONS. I miss the maps. I miss Henry and Chooch arguing in front of the maps.

Back at the hotel that night, we were supposed to be helping Henry pack but we were hindering and pissing him off bigly so we decided to leave him to it and we left for one last walk around the area. We stopped at two or three convenience stores for some farewell treats.

Saw this Japanese milk which cracked me up because that looks like Henry circa 2010 and we were like WE CAN’T ESCAPE HIM!!

Seodaemun – it was nice staying in this area! I’m pretty sure we had never been here on our previous trips but the location was very convenient. There was a subway entrance literally right outside of the hotel door.

Love you, Shilla Stay. You were good to us.

Korea, you’re amazing. You’re my second home. You are special and magical and gritty and shiny and historical and modern and creative and fun and and and….I could go on forever. I had such a wonderful visit, even though I was a little bitch baby at moments and having “departure date panic” in the back of my mind the ENTIRE time we were there. It was such a privilege to be back there, I am very grateful that we were able to get there, to accomplish our goal of getting married, and to bask in the beautiful Korean culture for as long as time allowed. Please, please, please let me make it back there again. It is never enough time. There is still so much I want to see and do. (I hope salt bread is still a thing the next time I go!!)

Sorry I was so annoying about these recaps. Did there need to be 187 posts for a 10 day trip? Nope, but this is me, Wordy von Doesn’tKnowWhentoStopenson. KOREA I FUCKING LOVE YOU.

Dec 282023
 

I still have one more amusement park to recap on here and hopefully I will get to that by the end of the year, but I wanted to skip ahead and do my annual Carouselfie Collection post! NONE are from the US! We did go to several US parks this year but they were ones where we already have carouselfies from, or they didn’t have a carousel (Fun Spot America).

So, with the exception of the first one pictured, these are all from our Coaster Crew trip, which makes them even more special to me! (Of course, none of these are printed, framed, and hung yet but it’s been a stupid several months).

First carouselfie of the year was also our first park of the year – Canada’s Wonderland! It was our first time visiting this pretty massive park right outside of Toronto and it was aight. I feel like the first park after a long, boring winter is always kind of weird – for me, at least – because I have to remember how to tolerate crowds.

I thought it was a really cute carousel though!

Next up was this crazy carousel in Denmark’s Bakken (the oldest amusement park in the world!) where you just run and jump on it while it’s still moving. Mmm, I wasn’t super OK with that, but I guess that’s the American sue-culture in me. But yeah, our first European carouselfie!

It doesn’t look so scary, but man, I really thought I was going to get a foot chopped off jumping on this thing.

NEXT UP: Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen!

I wasn’t sure that I was going to be able to get a good carouselfie because Henry and I had to sit in a spinny thing so I tried to do a video edition instead. Don’t worry, that didn’t become a thing, lol.

We’re all wearing the same clothes as we were in the first carouselfie not because our luggage was lost but because this was the SAME DAY. You would know that if you read my blog.
The next day, we also did two parks but the first one didn’t have a carousel sadly. So, these photos are from Tivoli Friheden, somewhere in Denmark.
I wasn’t a big fan of this park in general, but I thought the carousel was beautiful. It was also super sloooooow, though. Some kids actually asked to stay on and I couldn’t tell if it was ironically or not.
The next park didn’t have a carousel, so this was the next-next park: Farup Sommerland, also in Denmark. I loved this one! It was woodland creatures and motorcycles!
HOW COULD I NOT LOVE THIS ONE?!
First and only carouselfie in Norway! If it looks like Henry and Chooch are wearing the same clothes as the last picture, it’s because THEY WERE because everyone slept in the bus while we drove overnight to Norway after the biggest storm in 20 years cancelled all ferries. I was prepared and made sure I had a shirt to change into though because, vanity.
Anyway, this was at Tusenfryd and I was generally super in love with this park. Loved the vibe, loved the views. It was beautiful.

OK stop – was Liseberg the best park of the trip? And was this also our first carouselfie in Sweden? Ugh, there are no lies here. We spent two days here and it was a goddamn dream. I hope to return here one day! I hope that Chooch has children someday and we can take them, too because this place was built on magic. Disney is cool, BUT LISEBERG BLEW MY HAIR BACK.

Fun fact – adults (Chooch included) aren’t allowed to ride on the animals on the carousel here so we had to sit in the spinny tea cup thing.

Yo, Stockholm carouselfie! This was at Grona Lund, our last park with Coaster Crew. :( We also went to two other places prior to this one but no carousels were to be found.
First Finnish carouselfie!! Linnanmaki is another park that I hope to return to some day. It was so quirky and pleasant and just a joy to be at.

And lastly, here is the one that I haven’t actually recapped yet, but we did a day trip to Tampere in Finland and went to Sarkanniemi, which was….meh but super scenic and something really unexpected happened while we were there so I guess you will just have to check back and see if I ever get around to posting about it!

My legs look like giant hotdogs and it’s creeping me out.

OK, that was fun. A bunch of carouselfies. I hope Chooch doesn’t think that he’ll be exempt from these once he starts college??

Dec 172023
 

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Way back in September, we were on our way to Chicago for Riot Fest when I randomly started talking about whether or not we’d have a Christmas party that year. I am always on the fence with this. I love having parties, I really do, but I always get really stressed out and sometimes end up not even enjoying it. Plus, I just don’t really care about Xmas that much. I started thinking about how people have Friendsgiving but I also kind of think that’s corny and giving A Beautiful Mess, so I definitely wanted to make up my own holiday.

It got me thinking, what’s the Korean word for “friend”?

Chingu.

And I would still want to have the party in December.

So…Chingumas. Boom. Done.

I googled this, in English and Korean, and nothing comes up so I think I might have literally invented it!? I excitedly texted Chooch from the car and he of course didn’t respond so I had to follow up hours later:

UGHUGHUGH.

Then the next day, we met my friend Vicki who works in the law firm’s Chicago office for breakfast and before we even sat all the way down, I blurted out, “VICKI I HAVE TO TELL YOU SOMETHING THAT NO ONE FROM OUR GROUP KNOWS YET” to which she responded with a pallid-faced, “OMG what?”

“I think I invented a new holiday!” I cried. She slapped a hand against her chest and sighed, “Oh, Erin!” I guess she thought I was going to tell her I was quitting or something.

We hit up H-Mart before leaving Chicago the next day so that we could stock up on all the Korean alcohol, boiii, since Pgh sucks in that regard (you can get soju at some liquor stores but I have not seen a great selection of flavors nor have I seen makgeolli which is my fave Korean sul).

And then I proceeded to embark on a willy-nilly, haphazard invitation spree. Jessica, the only thing I miss about Facebook, THE ONLY THING, is the ability to create a FB event, add everyone I want, and then easily keep track of the RSVP list, post updates, delegate food-bringing, etc. Now, I am inviting people on Instagram. Via text. Over Jabber at work. On It-Will-Always-Be-Twitter. And then I promptly cannot remember who I invited and who I didn’t invite. So the week before the party is inevitably spent terrorizing people, asking, “PLEASE REMIND ME, ARE YOU COMING TO CHINGUMAS?” and then they reply with, “PLEASE REMIND ME, WHEN IS IT?” and it’s a hot mess. And then I always forget to invite people because I’m in my early onset dementia era, I think. Or I need to start keeping an actual planner like people did in the 70s or whatever.

Anyway, Chingumas was last Saturday the 9th and guess what?? My great friends Bill & Jessi came all the way from Michigan on Friday to spend the First Weekend of Chingumas with us! I had every intent of decorating early, doing food prep early, etc etc so that on Saturday, we could relax a little and spend time with them.

Did that happen? FUCK NO. We were panic-everything’ing the whole fucking day. It was a dumpster fire. Henry was so behind on food-making, I wasn’t still decorating when people were beginning to arrive, my heart rate was rabbit-on-the-run levels of Next Stop: Heart Attack Land.

I mean, look Linda, listen: it was fine! It really was fine. Even though people were arriving while I was roaming around aimlessly, muttering over and over, “Wait, what was I doing? Why did I come in here?” and then Chooch had to help me cut out my idol food labels because I don’t have eight hands and Henry was still preparing food so the kitchen was a shit house and UGH. He had to give me a quiet pep talk as I was contemplating drowning myself in the kitchen sink.

Megan’s Famous Cheeseball: Korea Edition! It had gochujang in it, which was the secondary theme of the party – so much food had gochujang in it and I was happy because this is one of my favorite things ever! (It’s Korean red pepper paste, in case you were wondering, and it is fucking spicy and perfect.)

But you know what, he was right. It was fine. I was OK. It was OK. The food got done (although he forgot that he was supposed to make mini grilled kimcheese so that’s great, thanks). People were eating and drinking and laughing and my work friends were mingling with my non-work friends and my friend Cara that I have known since Kindergarten but rarely see showed up with a Seoul Box for me and she seemed to be OK being thrown to the wolves aka my other friends, and Bill and Jessi’s presence kept me calm, and Chooch had four of his friends over and they were like “This is good food” and everyone was calling the kimbap “sushi” even though I had a cut-out of Sana from Twice announcing that it was kimbap but you know what, this was just the first Chingumas. Baby steps.

One of my favorite parts was when Glenn and Amanda arrived and some of my non-work friends were like, “Yes, we know Glenn” and Glenn was like, “No…I don’t think we’ve met” and then they realize, “Oh shit we know him from Erin’s blog” or whatever, and thank god that he is OK with that HAHA. I mean, is he though? Eh. Probably.

Thank god you can’t see the sink in this shot because it was FULL. The perils of not having a dishwasher.

I feel like I spent the first 30 minutes walking around with an industrial roll of tape, and then at one point asking, “Why am I holding this?” You can see it laying on that white stool back there. I set it down and then forgot about it for hours until I found it later laying on the hand chair and then finally putting it away.

I guess I’m including all of this because I am marginally concerned about my brain health and want to have this on record. Maybe I’m just tired. Maybe I should start taking naps?

Maybe I should also include the guest list before I start forgetting names and faces as well:

  • Bill & Jessi
  • Amanda & Glenn
  • Janna
  • Cara
  • Megan
  • Sami
  • Lori
  • Sandy
  • Nate & April
  • Wendi & Ben
  • Margie
  • Shawn & Jess
  • Chris & Monica
  • Corey
  • Lauren

Chooch’s Crew:

  • Ben
  • Daniel x 2 (aka The Daniels)
  • Zakk

We made tiramisu and I know you’re asking right, “Why would you make a traditional Italian dessert for a party celebrating Korean culture?” and I will tell you why: one of the first things we realized on our first trip to Korea was that HOLY SHIT, they love tiramisu in that country! You could go into any cafe and expect to see some type of tiramisu in the dessert case. Tiramisu almonds.

Ya gotta just take my word for it, OK? Tiramisu is ubiquitous over there and we love that.

In the beginning of the party, I was panicking that I wasn’t going to get enough pictures which has been a problem in the past, so I literally just ran around in photo attack mode which my GUESTS FUCKING LOVED, I WILL TELL YOU THAT MUCH especially when I posted some of these on Instagram to their great “I wasn’t ready!” chagrin. Corey and Chris look like I dragged them in my house off the street and tossed them back there, which to be fair is kind of the strategy I had for accumulating party guests back in my early 20s. I mean, I have kind of changed my ways and I, you know, play by the book these days, sort of.

You can tell I was frantically taking these and people were like, “AREN’T THESE BLURRY??”

“No!” I yelled over my shoulder, moving on to my next target. Flash forward to the next morning, oh man, a lot of these photos are blurry!

I was going to only play kpop but I feel like people wouldn’t have been able to handle ALL KPOP ALL THE TIME so I used last year’s Xmas Party playlist which seemed to be ok for everyone.

LOL MARGIE and her shot glass of soju lol.

Tiramisu!

Henry also made a large platter of tteokbokki and the other sub-theme of the night was, “This is spicy but I like it!”

Still on my photo-attack tip.

Here’s Henry finally getting a chance to explain the nitty-gritty electrical deets behind his Seoul Subway sign. You can’t see her, but Margie was listening intently so that she can make something similar for our next department meeting. So when Sue says, “Margie, can you pull up the numbers?” Margie can share her screen to show her gigantic light-up sign of our new business intake monthly stats.

I don’t know what was going on here but when I reminded people of the hashtags that I wanted them to use on Instagram, Nate seemed very annoyed so I left the Back Porch Club alone after that.

Megan and Janna used to live on the same street but then Megan moved because she didn’t want to live on the same street as someone who can’t pick Haechan out of a crowd of 9!!!!

My favorite part of the night was finally getting people to try makgeolli and I’d say it was a hit! Hope they didn’t like it too much since it is so fucking hard to find around here.

OK, I have been writing this for way too long.

Wendi and Ben! We almost had two Wendi/ys here but Wendy-with-a-Y was sick :(

Lori and Sandy and the Rush Audit Light!

Cara! We almost had two Cara/Karas but Kara-with-a-K was sick :(

Chronica!!

Nate and April!

Jessi and Bill!!

Margie and Lauren!

Herbert and Megan!

Chooch and Wonka talking about Computer Science thangs. Chooch became the man of the hour after his friends left and he was available to be verbally accosted by all of the adults wanting to drill him on his college plans. I tried to ask him a question later that night after everyone left and he said, “I’m all out of talks. Come back another day.”

Wow.

Megan and me! Also, my gochujang cookie looks like it has Mary or Jesus on it!?

Jess and Wonka!

Corey!

Freaking precious.

I think this one needs framed???

Glenn and Amanda!

I dunno, I think it was fun! It seemed like everyone else did too so I guess we will try it again next year with maybe more advanced Korean culture components. Photo cards, maybe?? An NCT member line-up match game?? Hangul crash course?? Korean drinking games?!

Dec 112023
 

I have to skip ahead several hours to our evening in Tallinn where we finally, thanks to Henry changing our ferry time, got to go to the Depeche Mode bar! Apparently, Chooch was still one year shy of drinking age in Estonia (I think he could have drank in Denmark and Finland, but he had no desire to and I am not going to be mad about that) but if he wanted to, he could have marched his ass right into a store and bought a fifth of whateverthefuck if he so desired, or if he had lazy parents who didn’t feel like buying their own booze.

So, that’s a fun fact!

Anyway, we pretty much sat around the corner and counted down until 6PM so we could casually stroll in as soon as the doors opened since Chooch tacked on his little +1 coaster credit excursion which was outside of old town and somewhere in actual Tallinn so we wanted to make sure we were allotting enough time for that as well since it was going to require us to walk a bit and take at least one bus. Love that for us.

But look – this was so worth it! I have loved Depeche Mode since I was a kid so when I heard that there was a whole-ass bar randomly in Tallinn’s Old Town dedicated to them, I was NOT budging on this piece of the itinerary. Non-negotiable. We were going to have at least adult bev in this bar AND THAT’S THAT.

First, I loved that we had to walk down steps to get here because basement bars are the best bars (looking at you McCoy’s, or whatever you’re called now). Second, I recognized the bartender from Instagram and he was so cool and nice!

It was worth it. Chooch was happy because there were some arcade games, I was blissed out because there was so much memorabilia to ogle while being enveloped in an aural Snuggie of Depeche Mode, and Henry got to have a beer or whatever and also sit down which I sometimes toss to him like scraps under a table for a dog. He doesn’t NEED it but sometimes I like to treat him, you know?

It was dark & cozy & I really could have easily stayed here for hours, thanks for ruining my plans, Chooch!!

Depeche Modes videos were projected onto the wall, of course.

The only way this could be any better would be if it were themed to The Cure, but I am sure there are Cure bars somewhere out there and if not….hey, Henry? Now just hear me out….

Chooch was like, “This is cool I guess” and Henry was secretly glad that he was able to reschedule the ferry – I know this to be true in my heart. He will never admit to it though.

But yeah, IN CONCLUSION: if you like Depeche Mode and happen to find yourself in Tallinn, pop into DM BAAR for a drink and dark vibes. It’s worth it. And Henry even bought me a coffee mug when I was in the bathroom blowing my nose because this was Day 2 of Travel Allergies, yay!

And now I will leave you with one of my favorite DM songs and if I had heard this while there, I think that’s the only thing that could have made the experience any better short of Dave Gahan actually walking in and sitting down next to me.

Nov 292023
 

 

Actually, the only surprising thing is that WayV’s On My Youth didn’t make it in the Top 5 Songs because I feel like I listened to it an absurd amount of time over the last month, however, now that I think about it – a lot of those listens were on YouTube, same with Taemin and NCT DJJ. And retrowave and The Black Queen playlists lest you think I’m only kpopping.

Plus, I use Henry’s Spotify account a lot too because that’s what is connected to our Echo, so I guess this UNWRAPPED isn’t really all that scientifically accurate IS IT.

Wow what a boring fucking post. But here’s a live video for THE BAT so maybe you can see why it’s my #1 song lol.

Nov 252023
 

I am having a pretty good day and I hope you are too. (Look at me being positive and nice!) The past week was pretty good too aside from some weird work anxieties – nothing major but I think I am just very on edge lately since OMG CHANGES IN MY LIFE. I just really don’t adjust to change all that well. The best way I can describe the last month-and-a-half is by comparing it to the time middle school was on vacation with my grandparents. I think we were gone for nearly 3 weeks, just long enough for me to really experience homesickness. I was happy to come home to my dogs (mm probably not the rest of my family though LOL savage) and the familiarity of my bedroom. EXCEPT THAT MY MOTHER CHOSE TO REARRANGE MY ROOM WHILE I WAS GONE.

Kevin, excuse me but do you know how disorienting that is??

I think that’s similar to how I have been feeling lately. To be honest, I don’t think I really got back into the groove since we came back from vacation. That was a long time ago at this point. I just feel so uncomfortable every day? Nothing feels right? And then the new neighbor situation has really fucked me up and I can’t explain why. Yes, it’s been sort of stressful, but I think it’s more of the fact that my routine was bulldozed for weeks and I just can’t get back into it. I’m trying to start up my exercise routine again because that was totally ruined and my diet was fucked, all of this PLUS the stress causing me to gain weight and you know the underlying theme of my life is WEIGHT OBSESSION / FOOD PHOBIA etc. so god bless my neighbors for sending over plates of delicious food and homemade bread, but I know associate them as a whole unit with WEIGHT GAIN and I am to the point where I am almost hiding from them and that’s so fucked up. I am fucked up. Do I need therapy, you think? Here are these people just trying to be nice neighbors by feeding us and I’m over here developing an aversity to them because I’m fucking neurotic. I hate myself.

Anyway, all of that aside, some nice things happened over the past week to get me out of the house and talking to people aside from online chatting with my work friends (not knocking that AT ALL but sometimes I need some IRL conversing).

I had brunch plans last Saturday with my friend Lindsey and I was reallllly looking forward to it. It’s only our second time hanging out but, at least on my end, it feels like she is an old friend (I mean, she *is* Internet-wise!) and the nerves are not there at all, which I really appreciate. Henry drove me though because Chooch had his gaming class at Pitt right before that and it was convenient for us to drop him off together so that we could then go to Home Depot and pick up paint for our current project. There is this one person I used to follow in IG who would drop little bread crumbs about her latest project and then say I CAN’T WAIT TO SHOW YOU WHAT IT IS and half the time she never would. I will not be like and just tell you that we (LOL *WE*) are redoing the twin to the current beverage buffet we have and we are doing it in a garish clown theme. No big secret to reveal later, unless you want me to assign it a gender and have a dramatic announcement when it’s done.

OK so the whole point in me telling you this is because we had the best cashier ever, this super personable older black woman who first initiated conversation by saying that she liked my hamburger purse and then she started asking me questions about it like is it wagyu I don’t fucking know and I was like, “Oh, I just bought it because I thought it was funny since I’m a vegetarian” and she was like, “Oh ok. Are you ready for Thanksgiving? What are you cooking?”

I laughed, like a really hard staccato HA! and said, “Nothing!” She looked at me like I was FUCKING CRAZY. “Trust me, no one wants me cooking!”

Henry was off to the side making grunts of agreeance. Then he said he does all the cooking and she was like, “WHY YOU DON’T YOU TEACH HER??”

“Oh trust me, we’ve been together over 20 years. There is no teaching her.” And I added, “It’s true. He has tried and I get so distracted and start looking up at the ceiling.”

She was dying. Then I told her about the time I tried to make Chooch pierogies and didn’t realize that I had melted the spatula on it until I saw him about to shove a forkful of pierogi and spatula tendril into his mouth.

We had actually already finished checking out and were still standing there talking about this and it was one of the rare times lately where the small talk felt so real and natural?? It reminded me of how I used to be before the world and texting and the Internet ruined my knack for verbal communication. I forgot that I used to be really good at it and would have good chats with people everywhere I went! I kind of feel inspired to do that again??

Then it was time for brunch with Lindsey at Scratch!! First of all, it was so awesome to see her again and eat what were quite possibly the best donuts I’ve had in Pittsburgh? My friend Wendi was raving about them to me, and I can confirm that they were worth the hype!

The avocado toast was also totally filling and also beautiful – look at it up there! I can be kind of bratty about avocado toast because trends also annoy me but sometimes a good avocado toast can be so satisfying.

Then one of the waiters interrupted us to tell Lindsey that she has the best laugh and I totally second that! But then it was kind of awkward because I wasn’t sure if he was going to ask to join us….? He just sort of lingered there and then eventually offered to take our order because our original server was busy with a large party, but honestly, I kind of felt like he was he interested in Lindsey and then lost his nerve and tried to play it off by taking our order?! LINDSEY IF YOU’RE READING THIS, DID YOU GET THAT VIBE FROM HIM?

We overstayed our 90 minute welcome window and were asked (politely!) to leave, lol. I mean, the host did offer to move us to the bar area, to be fair! I can’t believe how fast that 90 minutes flew by though! It was so fun to catch up, complain about Pgh’s food scene (eff you, Oak Hill Post!!), and tell her the Coaster Crew trip deep cuts.

I totally forgot to ask someone to take our picture!

My Coaster Crew friend Pam is in town this weekend for an event at Kennywood (it’s being held by a different coaster club) but she made time to see me after she got into town yesterday! We met at Yinz Coffee (owned by the former owner of Crazy Mocha which was the ONLY cafe in Pgh that had a good chai latte and I’m happy to report that Yinz Coffee uses the same recipe thank god) and had a wonderful catch-up sesh! Kind of surreal seeing her here in Pgh and not out in the wild of some Scandinavian amusement park. #tears

Henry came in toward the end and Pam was like, “IT’S HENRY!” Ugh, Henry! Henry! Henry! Henry barely even talked to anyone on that trip and I guarantee he’s still the one people would remember the most!

That was really fun, and it made me want to have a reunion with everyone from that trip so I posted on Instagram that we should have a Phantom’s Revenge marathon party next year and then everyone can stay at my house and Jean (!!!) commented and said, “Let’s do it!” and Henry was like, “DO THEY KNOW HOW SMALL OUR HOUSE IS?!?!” But if we wait until Chooch goes to college, we’ll technically have two spare rooms to fill with beds and sleeping bags?!

Or we could be grown-ups and buy a house.

I was really thinking a lot last night about our Coaster Crew friends and it made me wonder if any of them were at the Coastin’ By the Ocean event we did in 2022 – it was technically an event held by Morey’s Piers but you had to be a card-carrying member of a coaster group to be able to register, so we were able to do it as Coaster Crew members. Of course, we had never done a Coaster Crew event before that so we had no idea if anyone from that group was there.

I looked up the group picture and literally SCREAMED:

FREAKING DAWN AND ROBERT, TWO OF OUR FAVORITE PEOPLE WHO WE ALSO RAN INTO IN FINLAND?? (Spoiler – I haven’t written about that yet, oh well!) And they were RIGHT IN FRONT OF US? I am shook. Honestly, the world is so small sometimes. It’s humbling.

Today, Chooch and I met Janna, her sister Julie and bro-in-law Marcus and their son August at Eat n Park so that they could talk to Chooch about his college plans, tell him about their experience at CMU, answer questions for him, etc. It was really informative and interesting even for me, the big stoop at the table. It also occurred to me on the drive there* that I don’t think I have seen Julie since high school??

*(You’ll be shocked to know that I actually drove Chooch and myself there and here’s why I did: I knew I would be able to park there; if I am going somewhere with street parking, Henry better drop what he’s doing because I will have an anxiety attack before I even grab my purse, requiring him to drive me and drop me off like I’m fucking Miss Daisy or a 4-year-old going to preschool.)

Anyway, I really really really appreciate that Julie and Marcus took time out from their holiday visit to meet with Chooch and I don’t know how he’s feeling about it because he never tells me this shit, but I know that I for one felt a bit better and less stressed about it by the time we left.

The college process in general I think (OK I  know) is another reason why this fall has felt so alien to me. Most nights, I lie in bed with such anxiety, that I can feel my blood rushing even in my gums. Like a sizzle/tingle along my teeth. I know, I know, “this too shall pass,” but I am having such a hard time calming down. I need one of those sweaters that dog’s wear to keep them calm during thunderstorms. Maybe the human version of that is a hug? I don’t know.

Nov 212023
 

Today’s STORY TIME requires a bit of a flashback sequence, which will happen in the form of a fancy copy/paste from 2019:

JANNA’S FUTURE HUSBAND

OK how to even start this story. Well, I guess it starts the same way they all do: I became obsessed with this one YouTube channel that features a group of guys who go to amusement parks and carnivals and vlog about it, but sometimes the friend of one of the guys shows up and for some reason, I have really taken to him.

In an effort to keep my blog out of search engines, let’s just call him Fleece Radkins.

Now, Fleece sometimes shows up in the vlogs of his friend, Flint Yesvac. Their home parks are King’s Dominion and Busch Gardens Williamsburg, and actually, one of the Busch Gardens vlogs was the first time I saw Fleece. I liked him because after every ride, he would stoically and confidently state, “That’s my favorite ride in the park.”

So then Janna was visiting one time and Chooch was like “JANNA WATCH ME PLAY FORTNITE CAN I HAVE YOUR GAMING COMPUTER” and I was like, “JANNA CHOOSE AN NCT127 BIAS AND WATCH THESE ROLLER COASTER VIDEOS!” so I showed her one of the vlogs that featured Fleece and yelled, “ISN’T HE FUNNY” and she was like, “I guess?” and I was like, “OMG JANNA LIKES FLEECE!”

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And then Chooch abandoned Fortnight in an effort to help me harangue Janna mercilessly like any other Saturday night in Hell House and we decided that we needed to hook them up.

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So the first step, naturally, was to find him on Instagram. I did, but his profile is private and he doesn’t have a lot of friends so I didn’t want to request him.

“I feel like he’s much too young, though!” Janna pointed out, which means that she was at least considering it.

Anyway, on our first day at King’s Dominion, we were walking to Grizzly when Henry casually asked, “Hey, wasn’t that one of the guys in those videos you watch?” and I was like, “Huh? Who? Where? Why?” because I am the most unalert when it comes to other people while I’m walking. I mostly keep my eyes on the ground so that I don’t trip.

However, when I turned around to look, even from the back and with eyes as jacked as mine (and I do not mean jacked as in muscular, my eyes are basically saggy orbs that are close to serving as just facial decoration) I recognized one of the passersby as FLEECE RADKINS.

“Holy shit!” I screeched to Chooch, and we were frozen, watching him walk away with his group of friends.

“Was it really him?” Chooch asked, and there was only one way to find out: CHASE HIM SUPER STEALTHILY AND STARE AT HIS FACE FROM CLOSE RANGE.

We caught up with him just as he walked up to the Wayside Grill, so I stood right next to him and said, “HMMM, LOOKING AT THE MENU” while,  you know, looking at the menu. Then Fleece walked away and sat down on a wall while his friends stayed in line, and at that point, I was 99.9% confident that it was him so I made Chooch pose for a fake picture.

FLEECE RADKINS, ladies and gentlemen!

I sent the picture to Janna.

She was a bit less enthused than I expected her to be. I guess I wanted her to be upset that she wasn’t there but she seemed pretty flippant about it, what a bitch!

YOU GUYS, TWO HOURS LATER, WE SAW HIM AGAIN IN THE SAME SPOT!!

Henry didn’t know that Fleece was behind him, so Chooch ran up to Henry and whisper-screamed, “DON’T LOOK BEHIND YOU BUT FLEECE RADKINS IS RIGHT THERE” and I was standing behind Fleece close enough to see that Fleece’s eyes were honed in right on Chooch and he totally had to have known that he was the subject of their DON’T TURN AROUND conversation.

I never did approach the guy because he’s not even a part of that YouTube channel, he’s just kind of like an occasional tag-alonger so I would have felt uncomfortable being like, “HEY I HAVE SEEN YOU IN THREE VIDEOS ON YOUTUBE AND I HAVE CLEARLY WATCHED THOSE THREE VIDEOS ENOUGH TIMES FOR EVEN MY BOYFRIEND WHO ONLY HALF-WATCHES THE VIDEOS TO RECOGNIZE YOU CAN I GET A SELFIE?”

Yeah, no thanks.

Back at work (a/k/a The Place Without Roller Coasters), Glenn thought this was such a great story that he made me tell it in our weekly meeting and absolutely no one was shocked that I was stalking some guy that I kind of know from 3 YouTube videos. So, your typical Tuesday meeting.

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

OK, got that? You marinating in those juicy, wet fact-globules?

Yesterday, I’m sitting at home, chained to my computer, doing Law Firm stuff (remember when Chooch thought I was a stock broker, though?) when Chooch texts me from work. It’s a picture of someone’s Chipotle order, and I’m like, “What am I looking at, the fact that this bro is a meat-psycho, or what?”

And then I see the name.

Mmm, no way. I’m sure Fleece Radkins isn’t that uncommon so probably just a funny coincidence. But then I remembered that there is an ACE event at Kennywood this weekend, so MAYBE he was in town for that? I mean, odd to come in so many days in advance considering this is PITTSBURGH, but who am I to judge.

“Send me his picture, I forget what he looks like,” Chooch texted, just on the off chance that this was the same guy. Because my blog goes down EVERYDAY NOW, this was of course one of those times so I couldn’t search my blog for his picture and instead had to google his name plus the name of the guy whose YouTube videos he sometimes has cameo appearances in.

In doing so, I saw that the second result was a LinkedIn page for a guy with the same name, his profile picture was definitely the same guy, and it said PITTSBURGH, PA??

My heart started racing (LOL why tho) and sent it to Chooch who replied: lol should i say something to him

UM YES PLZ LOL.

Anyway, Chooch finally texted me back a few minutes later and said it was definitely him, they talked, it was awkward. “I’ll tell you later, I have to go back to work,” he said, leaving me hanging for approx. 4 hours. Meanwhile, I was frantically trying to tell Carrie and Nate this over Jabber at work, knowing they would be the only ones who would care. I did NOT know what to do with this useless information!!

By the time Chooch came home from work and I accosted him for the 411, he had already half-moved on with his life and didn’t know what I was asking him at first?? How was this story not just PERCHED on the tip of his tongue, ready to roll the moment he walked through the door??

“Oh, that,” he laughed, “Yeah, it was really awkward.”

And here’s why: BECAUSE CHOOCH MADE IT THAT WAY.

First of all, instead of being straightforward and saying, “Hey, aren’t you in some of Flint Yesvak’s coaster videos?” he instead decided to play a weird psychological game by pretending that he looked familiar but wasn’t SURE HOW.

So of course, Fleece is probably on guard. I know any time someone says, “Hey, do I know you from somewhere?” to me, hundreds of “wrong place/wrong time” scenarios whiz through my mind like a Rolodex of Ill Repute.

“Is this a hitchhiker I picked up in 1999?”

“Is this one of the moms from Chooch’s first (Catholic LOLOLOL) school where I was publicly shunned for being the MEAN GIRL who was blogging about all of the douchey parents??”

“Is this one of the people I met on WEBTV and invited to my house when I was going through an ‘Interviewing for New Friends’ phase???”

You see what I mean.

“I think I saw you in a video,” Chooch ended up saying to Fleece, like it JUST CAME TO HIM.

He said Fleece very cautiously asked, “What….kind…of video?”

“Oh, I think…coasters maybe,” Chooch said, still toying with him. I’m so glad I didn’t witness this. I was actually squealing in embarrassment just listening to his replay of the interrogation.

From there, Fleece deduced where Chooch had seen him which was good because Chooch legitmately couldn’t remember the name of the Fleece’s friend’s channel. Not having anything else to say, they exchanged “Nice to meet you”s and then Fleece took his burrito and left. Watch him never come back to that Chipotle.

“Didn’t you see the screenshot of his LinkedIn that I sent you? He went to school for Computer Science – you could have talked to him about that!” I cried.

“HOW WAS I SUPPOSED TO LEAD INTO THAT??” Chooch asked incredulously. “‘Excuse me, but when I was perusing your LinkedIn page while waiting for you to come in, I noticed that you went to school for Computer Science’???”

Chooch also said that it was funny because when he first got the order, all he saw was the “Fleece R” and that the full name doesn’t come up until you print it, I guess? He said he immediately thought to himself, “Fleece Radkins lol.” AND THEN HE SAW THE FULL NAME AND WAS LIKE, “………….nah.” What a small fucking world.

But yeah, now that we know he lives in Pittsburgh, Janna has much better chances of marrying him! I’m so excited for her!!

(As I was telling this to story to people, it was kind of alarming to me to realize how many times I start off by saying, “OK remember that one person I was obsessed with from [insert CVS, MY NEIGHBORHOOD, THE PARKING LOT OUTSIDE OF A RESTAURANT, THE TROLLEY, OBSCURE BAND, NICHE YOUTUBE CHANNEL, AMISH CHEESE SHOP]???”)

 

 

Oct 302023
 

Wow, wowee wow wow. Two  blogs in one day but I couldn’t hold back from sharing Taemin’s comeback MV, I tried, I made it almost all day.

 

LORD HELP ME.

MY GOD.

Taemin-ah, we missed you. Thank you for feeding us. You are TRULY a living legend, not just an idol but a motherfucking ICON.

And he has looked so happy and healthy in all of the interviews and shows I’ve seen him on so far during this promotion cycle. I worry about him so much, especially when he was enlisted, but he seriously looks like he’s thriving, back in his element, eating the stage. He is the BEST dancer in the world and no one can change my mind.

(UM BUT CAN WE TALK ABOUT THIS T-SHIRT CHOREO???)

(NEVERMIND, I’M NOT READY TO TALK ABOUT IT YET.)

Oct 022023
 

a/k/a Erin’s Redemption Era

Me, before Riot Fest: We don’t even have to be near the stage. We can just stay way back on the fringe, sit down and relax, etc.

Also me, 30 minutes the Cure’s set: *TRUDGING THROUGH THE MUD AND CROWD WITH ARMS AKIMBO, ELBOW-JABBING THROUGH HORDES OF PEOPLE, TRYING TO GET AS CLOSE TO THE STAGE AS COMFORTABLY POSSIBLE*

We ended up decently close, on the right side, surrounded by a pretty good cluster of Cure fans. It was 10000x better than the crowd at the Blossom Music Center, I will tell you that much right now. I really liked the older couple next to us – the woman was so short, I felt awful for her. There was a very tall guy, like Corey-height if not taller, with his friends in front of her and he was trying so hard to duck out of her way. She was like, “Listen, I’m short – I’m not going to be able to see no matter what! You’re fine!” and for a split second I considered trying to be like her, not giving a shit about seeing, just enjoying the music, etc etc but then they came on stage and I was on my tip toes, craning my neck, bobbing and weaving. It’s so futile, lol. I could actually see, mostly, but also the screens at Riot Fest are EXCELSIOR, way better than the ones that they have at most of those dumb ampitheaters, so it was almost impossible to not see.

The Mars Volta finishing up on the other stage. I think they had everyone in a trance by the end. I haven’t listened to them in YEARS, probably actually since their first album, and I know I saw them at least once back then, maybe twice, so the nostalgia was there for me. Not so much for Henry though. He was acting like his ears were bleeding.

And then magic happened for the next 2.5 hours. You guys. YOU GUYS. It was so nice to just enjoy the concert and not wonder if SOMEONE was going to ask me SOMETHING, etc. etc.  And I think Henry can also attest that the night was a lot more fun for him too, not having any expectations. When they performed “From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea,” Henry grabbed my hand and pulled it into the air and I was like “YOU’RE SO DUMB I HATE YOU” but on the inside I was like *rainbows and grilled cheese*.

I love this aerial shot so much, credit to Riot Fest, obviously. I left my drone at home.

This was 100% worth coming to Riot Fest. I love the Cure so much, and I guess Henry is up there too, just not as high. And not as unconditionally.

***SET LIST***

  1. Alone
  2. Pictures of You
  3. High
  4. Lovesong
  5. And Nothing Is Forever
  6. Cold
  7. Burn
  8. Fascination Street
  9. A Night Like This
  10. Push
  11. In Between Days
  12. Just Like Heaven
  13. At Night
  14. Play For Today
  15. A Forest
  16. Shake Dog Shake
  17. FTEOTDGS
  18. Endsong

ENCORE:

19. Lullaby
20. The Walk
21. Friday I’m In Love
22. Close To Me
23. Why Can’t I Be You?
24. Boys Don’t Cry
25. 10:15 Saturday Night
26. Killing An Arab

And Dumb Henry bought me this beautiful poster to add to the collection!

It’s already frame and on the wall going up the steps, right next to the one of the entire Riot Fest lineup <3.

Incredible night. The weather was wonderful. The Cure was perfection as usual. (They are physically unable to put on a bad performance, I swear to god.) The company was….eh. Decent. The only annoying part was waiting for Henry to pee afterward and then the stressful process of catching the train back to the hotel, which actually wasn’t that bad except that I got stuck talking to some guy about my posters and he was definitely one of those guys who asks you questions about music just so he can not listen to your response because you’re a dumb dumb silly goose girl and then before you even finish he’s already on his mansplainin’ podium. He wasn’t THAT bad, just moderately annoying and I was fucking tired and didn’t want to exert energy needed to form sentences.  I was actually kind of praying that he would try to throw down some Cure facts on me just so I could take him to school but he eventually set his sights on the guy behind me who was wearing a band shirt that he could relate to, I don’t know what was going on, I was trying not to fall asleep while standing erect.

There was a line going down the sidewalk just to get INTO the train station thing and by the time our group was the next to get herded through, there was a public transit worker guy who was trying to usher everyone down as far as they could go by hollering, AND IT WAS REALLY COMPLICATED SO YOU HAD TO REALLY PAY ATTENTION, “Everyone keep walking down the track as far as you can go!”

But….they didn’t go as far as they could go. They just…stopped halfway. So, then the train came and everyone just stood there, and Henry and I were like, “Um, we’re going ALL THE WAY DOWN, peace out motherfuckers” and that is how Henry and I got to snag a completely empty car and secure any fucking seat we wanted, while all the other cars were packed to the gills with Riot Festers who were too dumb to FOLLOW DIRECTIONS. Jesus Christ. And people have the nerve to say that Kpop stans are dumb. Mmm.

I’ll end this with one of my favorite Cure songs of all time. When I first moved into this dumb house in the fall of 1999, I used to watch the music video for Fascination Street over and over and over and over and over and…..ugh.

OK now I’m crying. Goodbye.

 

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.

So…

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:

P-U.

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.

THAT’S JUST THE MOM IN ME.

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.

FML.

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.

A FOREST.

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. :/

(BUT OMG I SAW THE CURE.)

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.

LOOK, I AM TRYING TO GET THIS POST WRITTEN AND DID NOT WANT TO WASTE COPIOUS AMOUNTS OF TIME MAKING A NICE DRAWING SO PLEASE ACCEPT THIS SCRIBBLED DIAGRAM.

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….

Phew.

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