Jul 272016
 

Did you know that Chooch is a vegetarian now? Well, he is and I’m not sure how long it’s going to last, but it’s pretty entertaining for now. His choice to cut out meat is twofold:

  1. He was heavily influenced by the PETA people at Warped Tour
  2. He wants to “beat me” at the Who Became a Vegetarian At the Youngest Age game. (I was 16 when I became one, so GOOD JOB winning something that I currently have no control over, a-hole.)

Anyway, he hasn’t grown a taste for any of the advanced meat substitutions yet (although he’s love tofu since he was a toddler!) so we’re starting out super basic with baby steps so tiny, it’s really just a shuffle.

Vegetables.

Like, what a novel concept, serving a vegetarian vegetables, right?

I suggested that we go to Hello Bistro and pig out on the salad bar, where Chooch could control what kind of earthy vittles he ingests. And of course he started complaining as soon as he sat down because something “tasted like shit.” He thought it was the dressing but Henry tasted it and confirmed that it was actually the lettuce, it had some kind of bitter bite to it or something.

I wouldn’t know, because I opted for the MIXED GREENS because I’m not a fucking n00b. Lettuce is the actual worst, and so useless! You know a restaurant is Henry-levels of Michelin stars when the house salad is disgusting, brown-edged lettuce. Like, God is probably laughing at us because he meant for lettuce to be a weed, or, I don’t know, something to use as a scooper when your pet goat shits in the markets of Nazareth.

Chooch picked around the lettuce and ate all the tofu and chick peas and whatever else he put in there, I wasn’t paying attention because my salad mattered more.

Obviously, I’m not pushing this on him (I only do that with music, haha) so if he decides he’s had enough, I’ll only shame him a little bit. I’m just surprised he’s made it this far (like, almost two weeks?).

After dinner, I demanded ice cream because what a day. Also, ice cream is fine for us vegetarians who aren’t strong-willed enough to be straight-up vegan. (Unless they put bacon in the ice cream which I wish was a thing pre-1995 when I still ate meat, you know?) My friend Sandy had recently checked-in to Graeter’s in Wexford, so thank you Facebook for making it so easy to stalk our friends because I had no idea that we had a Graeter’s in Pittsburgh! (It’s a Cincinnati thing, along with lying fake-Mexicans.)

Henry was initially perturbed when we walked in because it looked like the clientele was going to be “not his kind of people” but I mean, that’s pretty much everywhere. He’d have to go to a McDonald’s in Appalachia for ice cream to feel comfortable, probably. But it wasn’t uppity at all – the people slinging the ice cream were absolute DOLLS, especially the older man who waited on us – I think he may have been the manager. I was so pleased with the service that I want to go to Sugar & Spice’s facebook page and tell them to go to Graeter’s to learn how to SMILE while scooping out ice cream, but first GO FUCK YOURSELF SUGAR & SPICE.

Maybe then they’ll be able to smile!

Anyway.

I was so irritated because Henry went first and ordered the SAME TWO FLAVORS I was considering, and what this means in The Laws of Ice Cream is that if we got the same flavors, how could we SHARE and by SHARE I mean that I would help myself to as many spoonfuls of Henry’s ice cream as I damn well please while he is only permitted one puny sample of mine.

So as the Graeter’s man handed Henry his dish of stolen flavors, I said to him, “Actually, he stole my order so I’m just going to take his” and the man laughed and went to duplicate the order for me before I held up a hand and said, “No I mean I’m literally just going to take his” and walked away with Henry’s Cheese Crown and Bourbon Pecan.

“Oh…” the man said with surprise, while Henry sighed and ordered something different, which I also liked a lot! (Salted caramel and Buckeye.)

Chooch got chocolate and vanilla. Sigh.
27967911354_6b90da1fa4_b MY ICE CREAM WAS GOOD. IT WAS COLD AND SWEET. THE SCOOPS WERE A GOOD SIZE. IT CAME WITH A SPOON. THE SPOON WAS GOOD AT SCOOPING. I WOULD PROBABLY DEFINITELY GO BACK AGAIN. – That’s going to be my Yelp review. I guess this place is so new that my YELP NEMESIS hasn’t been there yet! There are already two reviews from different people though so I can’t just say “First!” and then move on with my life.

Learning about how Graeter’s makes their ice cream while I steal from his dish.

Here’s Henry, looking angry as he finishes Chooch’s waffle cone. Chooch can never finish a waffle cone. Literally, Henry is the only person in the world who can make ice cream-eating look like a fucking chore.

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Then we went to North Park so Chooch could fly his stupid drone that my mom bought him and Henry bitched at him for not doing it right which is code for “It’s my turn to play with the drone” while I sat on the bleachers being bored and depressed.

Chooch won that shirt at Warped Tour for doing something at the Truth tent that I wasn’t there to witness because I was watching Oceans Ate Alaska. Maybe Chooch will tell you about it if he ever lets me INTERVIEW HIM ABOUT WARPED TOUR, ugh.

And that was our Saturday.

 

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Jul 262016
 

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I have been to many Warped Tours over the years and have seen a ton of my favorite bands perform there, everywhere from the smallest stage to the main stage. Every year, there is at least one highlight, that one moment that was so outrageous that I can’t wait to come home and tell my cats about it and then let my death row pen pals know by the next day’s post.

But the last two year’s, that highlight has gone to the same band, and if there was a Warped Tour homecoming court, CROWN EMAROSA KING OF WARPED TOUR.

I don’t know how many different ways I can say it, but Emarosa just makes me so alive. I was having such a shitty day at Warped Tour this year, which is completely unlike me. We almost left before Emarosa even played, and I would have hated myself forever if I had actually followed through with my crybaby bluffs. Because as soon as they came out and started playing “Miracle,” I felt like my heart was being stapled and sutured right there in front of the Poseidon stage — it fucking hurt so bad I could have screamed, but I knew it was going to heal. If you’re reading this, I know that you know that feeling because why else would you slough through these self-serving diary pages?

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You would think that when a band exudes  as much energy and crowd-participation as their singer Bradley does single-handedly, that I would look like your basic broad suffering from Beatlemania….but no. I am practically paralyzed with emotion and can barely manage to do more than just sway back and forth like a psych ward patient.

Oh, and I cry a lot too while mouthing the words and also looking at the ground with great introspection because I never stopped playing the part of Angela Chase. I honestly cannot help it. I am shocked and awed by Emarosa.

AND THEN THIS HAPPENED:

This.

A video posted by Erin Appledale (@ohhonestlyerin) on

Bradley is the most perfect person to front Emarosa and I will never ever ever forget the day that I found out Emarosa was finally back, after thinking that one of my favorite bands was dead, a band that would wind up on some lame BuzzFeed post-hardcore graveyard lists. It has been so much fun having them back, watching them rise to the top with their latest album, and seeing their reputation as THE BAND TO WATCH O WARPED TOUR spread like wildfire through Twitter.

And then you guys, and then OMG Bradley motioned for security to let us through the barrier and onto the side of the stage.

I thought my legs were going to give out. If you had told 2008 that one day Jonny Craig would no longer be the singer of one of my favorite bands but don’t worry because they’ll get a new singer who is even better (you can slap my face at this part to get me to stfu and listen) I would have started mouthing off and then you’d have to slap my face to get me to stfu and listen. And then if you had told me that one day I’d be watching them under the amphitheater at Warped Tour from sidestage at the request of their singer who is way better than Jonny Craig, I’d have slapped YOU across the face to get you to stfu.

Take me back. :(

A video posted by Erin Appledale (@ohhonestlyerin) on

 

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!!!!

Bradley’s wife was there too and she is even more beautiful in person, like a young, even prettier Alyssa Milano, and at one point Bradley turned his back to the crowd and sang a line directly to her while she pointed to him and sang it back and I was like I HAVE GOT TO DUMP HENRY AND FIND MYSELF A LOVE LIKE THIS.

And probably Warped Tour is EXACTLY the place for me to find it. Maybe during Oceans Ate Alaska’s set – their male fans seem like my type kind of

EMAROSA ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

A video posted by Erin Appledale (@ohhonestlyerin) on

OMG I could just die. I just want to type “OMG OMG OMG” over and over and not bother with trying to string together anything more intelligble (OMG intelligble?! SEE I’M BRAIN DEAD. EMAROSA SHOT ME IN THE HEAD WITH ALL THEIR ELECTRIC FEELS). I just want get “131” tattooed inside my lip now OK. You can’t stop me. You don’t own my inner lip.

I have to honestly stop myself from tweeting about my love for Emarosa as much as I want to because they probably already think I’m a fucking stalker but I swear to god, I’m not trying to be an actual groupie! I just get so excited and I wanted to reply to all of their tweets and remind them how much I love them and that I’m trying to get every single person I know to buy their album and if they could all just send me one tiny lock of their hair I swear it’s not to mix up with Henry’s blood and hemlock in my cauldron while chanting the lyrics to Young Lonely in Latin because that just sounds like some crazy shit and I’m not crazy.

JUST CRAZY ABOUT EMAROSA.

Also just crazy about not getting enough sleep apparently.

OK, reel it in, Erin.

Bands only get to play for like 35 minutes at Warped Tour and this just isn’t enough time for Emarosa. However, it’s enough time for them to continuously win over new fans at every Warped date because it’s one thing to have a gimmick or a schtick (in this case, Bradley’s hyper crowd-immersion and stage gymnastics) but to also have the songs and raw talent to back it up really sets them apart from a lot of the bands on the tour. And trust me, I like a lot of those bands! It’s just that none of them make me feel like Emarosa does.

After their set ended, Bradley jumped off stage and ran straight up the hill to their merch booth so that he could meet fans. Chooch was like, “K BYE!!!!” and started to run back down the steps so he could go to the merch booth too and I saw Bradley’s wife stop him and say something to him and I was like “WHAT DID SHE SAY TO YOU YOU’RE SO LUCKY YOU GOT TO TALK TO HER WHY AM I SO SHY I HATE MYSELF?!!?” Chooch said she asked him if he wanted to meet Bradley and his response was, “I’ve met him many times” and then walked away — SO HE COULD GO AND MEET BRADLEY. That kid is usually so good at talking to strangers but if it’s a hot girl or, I don’t know, Bradley, he honestly needs either cue cards or a straight-up life coach.

While we waited in line to see Bradley, we realized that once again we were terrible parents and let the sun deep-fry our son (EVERY FUCKING YEAR, no matter how much we slather him with sun screen!) because he was wearing a tank top and usually only wears t-shirts, so he had some fresh pale pelt for the sun to greet. I told him he should put on his new Choonimals shirt he didn’t want to take his tank top off so he tried to put the shirt on over top of the tank and then take the tank off that way and it was just a tragic display of social awkwardness, especially once Henry tried to “help.” This sideshow went on for a good five minutes and it was so embarrassing.

“STOP LOOKING AT MY DAD DRESSING MY LITTLE BROTHER!” is what I wanted to shout at all the scene kids spectating this gross demonstration of parenting.

Ugh.

Then it was our turn and Chooch and I answered Bradley’s questions with scared, one-word answers while Henry just stood there and sighed. WE GET NERVOUS AROUND HIM OK LEAVE US ALONE.

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Just the best, the absolute bestedy-best-best-best.

He told us to let us know if we were going to any other Warped Tour dates because he would guest list us and I made puppy-dog eyes at Henry who immediately said something like, “HAHA, we’ll see” because he wanted to look cool in front in Bradley but then later he was like, “NO WE’VE GONE TO ENOUGH THINGS THIS SUMMER.” Ugh. Not like I would have taken him up on that offer anyway — he offered back in March to guest list us for Pittsburgh, and to just message him beforehand to remind him, but I freaked out and didn’t do it because I didn’t to look like I was using him, I DON’T KNOW?! My head is made of wasps nests of insecurity and paranoia.

I just really enjoy Emarosa’s music and I don’t want it to ever seem like I’m some sleazy hanger-on. They’ve already done so much for me!

Henry’s favorite song from 131 is either Cloud 9 or Miracle, by the way. He couldn’t pick just one. It’s a huge deal that he even has any favorites at all because this is Henry and usually having a “favorite something” is an indication that you have some semblance of a personality.

Don’t tell Henry this but I kind of like that there’s a band we ALL ENJOY AS A FAMILY. Oh for Christ’s sake, curl my hair and stick an over mitt on my hand, because that may have been the most Donna Reed-ish thing I’ve ever said.

Fuck, I can’t believe I almost missed this.

Watch that video and then tell me if you’re going to see them with us the next time they come to Pittsburgh!?!?

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Jul 212016
 

I have never been one to try and hide my deep-rooted love for soft rock. I don’t even try to downplay it by calling it “my guilty pleasure.” No, I’m PROUD to be a card-carrying member of the octogenarian set who sway in their rockers and walkers to Engelbert Humperdinck and Barry Manilow.

Ever since we determined that the kitchen stereo speakers still work, the first thing I do every time I go to Gillcrest is immediately crank up the soft rock. It brings a sense of normalcy to all of us I think, and Corey has even started listening to the soft rock radio station in his car.

This particular station is also a breeding ground for sweet, blissful 80s pop. Prince was on last Sunday and I was like, “EVERYONE STFU SO I CAN MAKE MY WEEKLY SOFT ROCK DANCE PARTY INSTAVID” but naturally, you can still hear Chooch’s big ass mouth in the background.

PRINCE PARTY AT @thestonick #prince #whendovescry #chandelier

A video posted by Erin Appledale (@ohhonestlyerin) on

And then Phil came on because why wouldn’t he?

PHIL PARTY AT @thestonick

A video posted by Erin Appledale (@ohhonestlyerin) on

Anyway, tonight Chooch and I were sitting when he said something like, “That sounds fun….no, now it looks boring” and I looked up to see a commercial for the ROCK AND ROMANCE CRUISE?! A cruise jam-packed with a ton of soft rock bands from the 70s that I FUCKING LOVE so I nearly pushed Chooch off the couch for saying it looked boring.

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Firefall?? STEPHEN BISHOP? Oh you know he’s going to sing that Tootsie jam. I literally just woke up Henry to scream-read this line-up to him.

“AND GUESS WHO THE CELEBRITY GUEST IS??” I squealed. “DELILAH!” That was his cue to fall back asleep.

But holy shit, Ambrosia, you guys. Ambrosia.

“You’re the Only Woman” is the only song Henry and I have danced together to (back when we liked each other, like way before Chooch was born, lol) and even when I was a kid, I would think to myself, “GOSH I HOPE SOMEDAY THIS IS HOW SOME IDIOT FEELS ABOUT ME.” Same with Foreigner’s “Waiting For a Girl Like You” but come on like what girl doesn’t have a diary entry about that one, I mean right. That song is #goals.

Anyway, sometimes when I feel like I need help falling back into like with my blue-collared man-friend, I will listen to some Ambrosia, and say a wistful “Aw” out loud. I have that song on my the DJ’s play list for my imaginary never-wedding, right smack in between Army of Lovers and Cock Robin. It’s too bad I’ll never get married, because in my head, it’s a FEAST FOR THE SENSES. You’d walk away feeling thankful it wasn’t your own wedding, but also inexplicably sad that it’s over. And hopefully slightly scared that it happened at all.

OH WELL HAVE SOME AMBROSIA.

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Jul 202016
 

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For years now, Warped Tour has been my escape, the one day a year when I set aside all responsibilities and sadness and just LET IT ALL GO. It’s the one day where I don’t feel self-conscious. Where I don’t feel fat. Where I don’t feel judged. Where I don’t feel like a fucking lonely outsider. I have never had a bad experience with anyone in the crowd, and Henry and I actually hardly fight on this day (he knows not to fuck with Our Lady of Warped on this day). I’ve gone to therapy, I’ve done the anti-depressant thing, but nothing has ever helped me like this one day does.

But this year was different.

I mean, I could fill this post with a bunch of lies about how perfect the whole day was, but I’m not a liar. This isn’t OhLyingErin.

It wasn’t Warped Tour’s fault. It wasn’t that I didn’t like any of the bands. It wasn’t that I was feeling suddenly jaded around all the young scene kids. It wasn’t that Henry and I were fighting. It wasn’t any of these things.

It was that, for the first time ever, I am honestly feeling that low and depressed that I couldn’t fucking shake it off. Things have been Not Great for me and my family over the last few months. I try to smile through it and continue on with life, but I think maybe I’ve been doing too great of a job with bottling it all up and now that bottle has sprung a leak. Maybe 15 leaks.

I think the impetus was answering my phone that morning when I shouldn’t have answered it. We had literally JUST WALKED THROUGH THE GATES and were running up the big hill to the Vans tent on the other side when I got the call. I thought it was a florist that had been trying to deliver flowers to my house and kept missing me, so I answered it. But instead, it was an estate attorney I had contacted the day before, calling to get some background on my situation and I was like, “Well, I’m kind of at Warped Tour right now…?” but she was all, “This will just take a few minutes.” So there I was, crouched next to a tree, holding a hand over my free ear to try and hear this lady over top of three bands who were starting to play on nearby stages, wistfully wishing I was any one of the hundreds of kids jogging past me with literally no cares in the world while I’m on the phone talking about wills and estates and reverse mortgages. This isn’t me. This isn’t who I am. Talking about adult things? Ew.

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It just made me realize that there is no escaping this one. Not even being “home” at my beloved Warped Tour was enough this time.

I hung up the phone and rejoined Henry and Chooch. I was totally out of sorts, high-strung, and emotional. We started to watch In Hearts Wake and after one and a half songs, I turned to Henry and said, “I can’t be here. Let’s just leave.”

He and Chooch were both like, “Are you fucking kidding, we just got here and you love Warped Tour?!”

Four times this happened. I wanted to leave and ran off to the exit, but then Henry convinced me to stay. I was: on edge, lunacy fringe, snapping at both him and Chooch, walking off in the middle of Knuckle Puck without telling them where I was going, throwing an actual hissy fit during Hail the Sun, a band I fucking love and was looking forward to seeing again but Chooch kept trying to talk to me and I projected and stormed off, blaming him and Henry for ruining my day, being a certified psychotic asshole, and literally not giving a shit who saw me flipping out because EMOTIONS.

I haven’t felt this out of control since my mid-20s. The thoughts I had swirling through my head were scary and I never want to let them back in.

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During a rare moment of stability after my first public break down.

But then I got sucked back into the emotional spin cycle again, synapses playing laser tag death matches in my brain, which left me straight sulking and pouting alone in a seat under the amphitheater, not even caring when Masked Intruder walked past me.  That’s some heavy duty saltiness, right there.

But finally by the afternoon, I calmed down. Corey and my mom both texted me and assured me that leaving Warped Tour wasn’t going to do any good, that I should stay and make the most of it, and even Chooch was like, “MOMMY, LOOK, YOU KNOW YOU DON’T WANT TO LEAVE. YOU LOVE WARPED TOUR. CALM THE FUCK DOWN, EMAROSA PLAYS AT 3:25.”

And thank god I didn’t leave. Because once I stopped hyperventilating and took a moment to just sit quietly alone on the hillside, I felt ready to salvage the rest of the day. I hate that the first quarter of it was so tainted with my mental poison,  considering my motto is “No Bitching at Warped Tour.” But I just don’t even know who I am anymore.  This was kind of my wake-up call. I’ve been so busy worrying about how the current situation is affecting everyone else, that I haven’t taken the time to mourn properly. No place better than Warped Tour to open up the flood gates, I guess.

Plus, Chooch pointed out this guy and that was pretty amusing.

Honestly, god bless Chooch for staying so calm while I was saying things like I JUST WANT TO FUCKING GO HOME AND STAY IN BED FOREVER because that’s the kind of excellent example I set. DRAW MOTHER A GIN BATH, SONNY BOY!

Look at him up there, reppin’ Cardboard Swords. This kid is so immersed in the scene, and it makes me extremely proud. I hope one day he’s in a band, playing Warped Tour! He better save room in the bus for his MOMMY.

Eventually, I was able to smile again and let my shoulders relax.

I stayed for the whole thing and, like all of the years before, it really did help clear my mind and calm me down. It just took a little longer this year. Which is why we should have gone to a second Warped date, HENRY. #DoOver

I think on my gravestone, it will say something like “AT HOME IN HEAVENLY WARPED TOUR” or “RESTING IN PERPETUAL WARPED TOUR.” Or “IN GODS ARMS AT WARPED TOUR.” I don’t fucking know. Something like that. I’m counting on you, Chooch.

[Next: either band stuff or a Chooch guest post?]

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Jul 072016
 

Remember two years ago when my dad had Amish people putting a new roof on his house? And my brother Corey and I spontaneously combusted into a cloud of giggle fumes? Well, Corey texted me the other day with an AMISH UPDATE!

The same Amish gang is building an entire house down the street from my dad’s! Corey has been texting me pictures to help quell my curiosity and provide a quick Amish fix.

Real quick though, I want everyone to know that I’m not obsessed with them because I think they’re funny, like it’s some kind of handicap to be Amish and I’m just that kind of dick who would ridicule someone for GOD FORBID not being like me. No, it’s more that I am actually obsessed with the whole idea of being Amish. It’s fascinating and admirable to me, I guess. And whenever I see them off their turf, out here in the city, so far away from Lancaster, PA and Dutch Haven, I get inexplicably giddy.

I guess it’s the same way I feel when I see the furries too.

Speaking of, I was excitedly reminding Glenn last week of my borderline psychotic love for the Amish when I realized that it was also the week the furries were in town so then I was practically crippled with the weight of all of the unstable love I was feeling when Glenn mumbled, “What if there was an Amish furry? That would push you over the edge.”

OH MAN.

Anyway, here are some pictures of Amish menfolk, sans hardhats because the have the Lord protecting their pates, working dutifully on some yuppie’s house in Jefferson Hills. Bless you, Corey!

I would recognize that harsh bowl cut anywhere! Definitely the same guy, back on the roof where he belongs.

In other Amish news, our dad had an Amish man and his daughter come to the house to install a windmill in his backyard. And not some beautiful decorative one in the middle of a field of tulips, but some harsh metal thing. Two strangers knocked on my dad’s door the other day and asked if they could see it, and THANK GOD Corey was home and able to capture it on video:

Can you guys tell that Corey and I are siblings or what. So much action at my dad’s house!

UPDATE: my dad got a windmill because he saw a brochure of Amish windmills with a sunrise behind it and he thought to himself, “I want to see the sunrise behind a windmill in my backyard” and so he bought one. GOD LOVE HIM.

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Jul 052016
 

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The furries were in town again last weekend for the 20th Anthrocon! Amber2 summed it up perfectly by saying it’s the most wonderful time of the year. There’s just something super thrilling about walking around downtown on your lunch break and seeing a unicorn strut by.

It’s a lot better than the usual lot of unsavories I try desperately not to make eye contact with, like the Maybe Bomber and the Dunkin’ Donuts Protestor.

For the second year in a row, Anthrocon made their fursuit parade open to the public! It used to be something that they did just for themselves, inside the convention center, so the general public was unable to enjoy it. But over time, Pittsburgh has become so receptive to this FURnomenon (OMG get it) that now the parade is held outside for all of us un-furred folk to ogle and applaud!

Walrus Royce contacted me last week and said he wanted to meet up after the parade if I was planning coming down for it, and I was so stoked! I missed him last year and he was determined to make it up to me. I was also excited for Chooch and Henry to meet him because hello, he’s the best one.

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Chooch’s friend Dimajio came with us, and had no idea what he was about to experience. He didn’t know what Anthrocon or furries were! I was so excited for him to find out. Unfortunately, the dreaded Kenny Chesney concert was happening on the same day. This matters because it brings the worst, most disgusting, rurally-savage pieces of shit to our city like drunk lemmings.

We took the trolley downtown from the South Hills at 11:30AM and there were already rednecks and hicks OPENLY DRINKING cans of Bud Light while wearing TRUMP shirts.

Henry was all, “They’re not bothering me” and that’s because beneath his non-descript uniform and cowboy hatless head, he is a raging country jamboree waiting to happen. WE ALL KNOW THIS IS TRUE. Warped Tour is barely helping me keep his Chesney cork from popping out.

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More Chesney/Trump supporters boarded the trolley at each stop until I was gagging and drowning in beer fumes and stupidity.

And look — I don’t even hate country music! I mean, I would never ever ever ever go to a country concert because ew, but I don’t think that just because you listen to country music, you’re a terrible human who wants to see our country ruined. No, it’s the classless droves of uncivilized, selfish people who look at an event like a Kenny Chesney concert as their clearance to get wasted to the point of hospitalization and an excuse to act like pigs and trash our city.

It’s just tacky, gross and most of all, embarrassing. Especially when I see people from other parts of the country posting news reports about how barbaric Pittsburgh is. Look at us! Worse than Juggalos!

It’s such a big deal that it prevented many of my friends from even coming downtown for the parade because no one who actually lives in Pittsburgh and has even an ounce of decency wants to deal with this bullshit. Chris and Monica even considered not meeting us down there because of this, but luckily, the part of town where the convention is held is a relatively safe distance away from any degenerate looking to cause trouble or belch in our general vicinity. So they still came!

I had it in my head that the parade started at 1 and was set on getting downtown by noon.

“WE HAVE TO GET A GOOD SPOT!”  I kept screaming. Three-Days-Later-Erin would like to go back and smack Saturday-at-the-Parade-Erin upside the head because bitch calm the fuck down for once.

So we got down there all fucking early and shit and I’m like, “Wow, Kenny Chesney really kept people away” because no one had started lining up yet! Henry kept whispering something about how that’s because it didn’t start until 2 and I was like, “Boy, shut your lying face-pussy!”

Yeah, so the parade didn’t start until 2.

I’M WRONG SOMETIMES, GOD. SUE ME.

It’s not like you could be bored down there though. There were so many furries to flirt with, I mean, wave to as they walked by to get inside the convention center. We didn’t even have to entertain Chooch and Dimajio or make sure they didn’t get hit by a car because the streets were already blocked off!

And then the parade started and it was the best thing in the world! It was even better than last year’s because there were more furries and Chooch wasn’t being an asshole.

I don’t know much about beer, but I feel like Gangsta Furry drinks better beer than Chesney tailgaters.  Don’t most of them drink moonshine, anyway?

One of my favorite moments was when Monica said she knew she wasn’t at a Kenny Chesney concert when Henry picked up our trash and put it in a garbage can.

Chooch got all of the furry handouts. I didn’t even see any of them passing out balloons! I’m so disappointed. But Chris and I both got candy from one of the furries, and I got some ribbon with paw prints on it.

“Oh another little kid!” the furry announced after handing me my prize and seeing Dimajio and Chooch next to me;  apparently they were only being passed out to the kids but I just fit in so well.

Plus, my urgent grunts of “ME! ME! ME!” with cupped hands might have aided my cause as well.

This year’s theme was The Roaring 20s, duh.

Dimajio was a fast convert to the Church of Furry. I don’t mind Dimajio because he calls me Miss Kelly and not the dreaded and completely offensive Mrs. Robbins. THAT’S A SMART, POLITE BOY. I hope some of that rubs off on Chooch because he is such a jerk sometimes.

Ask Monica. We went to Ben & Jerry’s after the parade and he was encroaching on her space so much and just being a general brat that she finally snapped and called him an asshole. It was hilarious because the girl behind the counter kind of flinched a bit and then looked over at me, like, “Are you going to let this woman call your son an asshole?”

Yes. Yes, I am.

High-fives all around for Monica!

Stupid Five Nights at Freddy’s.

Of course my furry-magnet son got the most attention, but Chris and I got a lot of action too. I even had one furry single me out and fight his/her way over to wrap me up in a hot embrace. No really, it was super hot being imprisoned by all that fake fur.

“How many hugs did YOU get Henry?” I spun around to heckle. “OH THAT’S RIGHT – NONE!” So then Monica leaned over and hugged him because she is such a Henrylover.

So, let’s take back some of those high-fives we were doling out for Monica a few paragraphs ago.

Sike, j/k. Monica’s hug did not come wrapped in a fursuit so I still won! SUCK IT, HENRY!

But then Henry had the last laugh when I was snubbed by a furry, who instead leaned down to fistbump Dimajio, and his plainclothed handler gave me a bare-handed high-five out of pity.

Dimajio thought it was SO FUNNY, too, but he called me Miss Kelly again while telling me how funny it was, so I’ll let it slide.

Henry, the natural furry.


Oh, this sloth, you guys! Have you ever seen anything so adorable? Chris was practically hemorrhaging trying to get its attention. And then we were rewarded with sloth-y high-fives!

YEAH WE DO. We were positively giddy during the parade. Even Chris said that her face hurt from all the smiling she was doing, and Monica compared it to the same sense of acceptance and diversity that she associates with Pride. I love how every year, more and more of this city becomes OK with this, it’s becoming less taboo and more of something that people, especially the businesses down here, look forward to.

(Though there is this one barista at a coffee shop down here, I WON’T NAME NAMES, who completely flipped out on me when I asked if he’d seen any furries yet. He’s only been living in Pittsburgh for a year and has just recently learned about them and is not happy about it. It sounds like he just hasn’t opened up his heart to them, yet! I’ll keep working on him.)

I had a 4:00 meet-n-greet set up with Walrus Royce, who did not hear my anguished bellows of “ROYCE! ROYYYYYCE!” when he flapped past us during the parade. But that’s OK, because I got to give him a big hug and watch him flap around to the Post-Modern Jukebox rendition of “Call Me Maybe” in the lobby of the Westin – per my request! It was the best gift!

He gave Chooch and Dimajio lots of tips on making their own costumes, and they are obsessed now. I mean, we knew it was only a matter of time before Chooch became an official member, but now that Dimajio’s interested as well, there is more motivation to follow through.

You’re welcome, Dimajio’s mom!

Me and Royce’s pal, Comus! His eyes actually light up, you guys. Some of these fursuits have got all kinds of bells and whistles. I’m actually pretty excited to see what Chooch comes up with for his fursona!

After about twenty minutes or so, it was time to let Royce get back to doing his thing as quite a few people had begun to converge upon him, wanting a better look at his unique mask and asking for pictures. I’m just really honored that he cleared some of his schedule to hang out with me and meet my people — this is why he’s my favorite!

Before leaving though, I had one thing to ask of him: to let me take his picture holding a sign with the name of the ‘zine I do here at work, because (most) everyone in this department love furries and some of them even have furry-watching happy hours that they plan well in advance (gotta get a good table!). It’s just such a fun way to break up the work week, you know?

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Because my ‘zine is called ATTN REQUIRED. You wouldn’t understand unless you work here. Ugh. Just forget it.

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Chooch and Dimajio tried to help me with my project too. TRIED being the operative word. I found something wrong with every picture!


A normal scene in Pittsburgh during Anthrocon.

God love the furries!

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Jun 292016
 

For a brief period of time, way back in the day, I was talking to some guy I used to work with. You know. “Talking.” He was supposed to come over one night, and I had recently scored a new Cure bootleg video (literally on VHS, this was a while ago), so I suggested that we could watch this damn thing together. He made a slew of disparaging comments about the Cure, about how he would rather watch dogs eat their own shit, about how much that band sucked, about how “faggy” they were, and I could actually hear my heart breaking in my ears.

Followed quickly by the sound of the door slamming on this asshole’s opportunity. I just couldn’t imagine being with someone who didn’t like The Cure, or who could at least respect my staunch devotion to them. (Not to mention someone who calls things “faggy”? Ew no.)

And thank god I didn’t give that guy a second chance, because then I met Henry (at the same job! I was such an office ho!) and do you know what the first thing is that Henry ever did for me, way before we even started dating? He made me a screensaver of all of the Cure’s album covers.

That is a fucking good man.

Back then I probably said he was wife material, too, but clearly that material is full of holes.

What is: Cheese cloth.

What is: A handkerchief in some person’s pocket in a coffin underground.

All of this is to say that when The Cure announced their hugely anticipated North American tour last fall, Henry didn’t even question it when I said, “Well, there’s no Pittsburgh date as usual, but we could go to the Columbia, Maryland one…?”

“Buy the tickets when they go on sale,” he said with NO HESITATION.

BECAUSE IT’S THE CURE. And Henry loves me, you guys. Duh.

I sat at the computer and waited for the clock to tick down and then I bought two tickets on the ASAP. Of course with all the presales and ticket reselling schemes out there, every last spot under the pavilion was taken, so I had to be satisfied with lawn seats. And honestly, this being my 6th Cure show, I was content that we were even going at all. Traveling for shows is expensive and we are not rich people. SHOCKER. Plus, we were pretty close to the front two years ago when they headlined Riot Fest so it was fine.

We left Chooch at home with Judy and set off for Maryland around 9:30am. I was acutely aware that my left contact was jacked up, but you have to understand the tolerance I have built over the years to eye woes.  I figured the discomfort would eventually just fade into the background, and then I proceeded to just up my blinking quota during the car ride.

The drive down there was pretty uneventful and quick, by the way. I didn’t even live blog because I was too busy listening to the same Pierce the Veil song over and over, psychoanalyzing it, and feeling depressed. That’s just what I do. Also, I bought a ticket to see PVRIS the moment they went on sale, which was a lot less stressful since it’s just general admission at the Altar Bar. And then we ate at some shitty country cookin’ diner thing on the side of the road, because I was off my game and let Henry choose the lunch spot.

I went in the bathroom there and jiggled my contact around a bit, because sometimes that helps. In this case though, it still felt like someone was applying slight pressure to my eyeball with the tip of the long-nailed finger.  So, normal.

We arrived at our Extended Stay hotel thing around 4 and I got angry because GPS said something about taking the third right at the traffic circle. “IT’S A ROUNDABOUT!” I cried petulantly. “EVERYONE IN AUSTRALIA KNOWS THAT!”

Henry muttered something about this being America and in America, “we” call them traffic circles and I’m like, how about not lumping me in there with all you “we”s, thanks. And then I loudly counted down the rights so that Henry would know which one to turn off on, thereby fulfilling my co-pilot duties.

If I had liveblogged that day, it would be a lot of “AND THEN”s because I was pretty fucking happy.

After sufficiently complaining about our hotel room (because that’s my other duty – reminding Henry that nothing he does is good enough for me), Henry fed me a candy bar (Hershey with almonds if you need this for the case study), and then it was finally time to leave for the Merriweather Ampitheater.

One good thing about Henry is that he booked our room months and months in advance. It was the closest hotel to the venue and completely sold out. The lady at the desk even asked if we were there for the Cure concert, because duh. This happened right before Henry denied ogling some yuppie bitch who was walking two Pomeranian dogs.

It didn’t take us long to get to the venue at all, maybe 15 minutes tops. I was too busy hyperventilating and saying, “Ohmygodohmygodohmygod” incessantly to properly keep an eye on the time. Sorry for the inaccurate journalism!

Henry and I had a brief feud before getting out of the car because he didn’t bring a blanket from home and had to buy a blanket from a Target near our hotel and it was sooooo ugly (brown plaid and fuzzy, ew) so first I was like, “I WILL NOT BE SEEN WITH THAT ATROCITY, LEAVE IT IN THE CAR!” I mean, plus it stunk of plastic because he had just unzipped it from the stupid vinyl package it was all cubed-up in.

Not surprising, Henry didn’t bother to fight with me. He knows not to fuck with me when I’m in an emotional fragile Cure-related state. So we left the blanket in the backseat and wove our way through the gravel parking lot to the end of the line. We got there about 45 minutes before the gates open, I would say, and in no time, the line behind us had grown so long that we could no longer see the end.

I spotted someone in line nearby carrying a blanket in the same bracket of ugliness as the one that Henry had purchased. So I succumbed to the Ugly Blanket Squad and told him he could go back to the car and get the motherfucking poop-colored blanket. Whatever. This isn’t the blanket prom, is what my dad would have said if he had been there.

Ugh.

I could only see the first 30 or so people in front of us, because then the line snaked down and around into a forested area. It was making me nervous not knowing how far back we were.

People-watching was splendid and helped pass the time. There were OG Goths, neo-goths, yuppies, hippies, hipsters, Henrys — people of all walks of life had converged upon Merriweather all for the same reason: to bow down before the Cure. Two guys behind me did nothing but quote from Pitchfork the whole time, while the two dads and their respective young-teen sons talked dryly about sports.

Hockey came up.

I inched in closer.

“Yeah, his mom is a huge hockey fan,” the one dad said to the other. “Her favorite team is the Flyers, and then the Penguins.”

I was bouncing on my toes by this point while Henry was giving me the “KEEP IT ZIPPED” look.

“Oh, well she must be happy. The Penguins won the whole thing,” the other dad said and I was SQUEALING now, about to raise my hand and do the whole, “OOOH! OOOOH!” thing that I do when I’m desperate to add to a conversation that does not belong to me.

Henry, that motherfucker, actually grabbed me by the elbow and pulled me back!

I hate small talk EXCEPT when it’s about music or hockey, or if I overhear incorrect information and feel like I could die if I don’t set the universe straight with my infinite wisdom.

But apparently this is “annoying” and Henry doesn’t like to be a witness…or an associate.

The opening of the gates was pretty prompt and we were inside in no time at all. There are several entrances and parking lots and there were less people in front of us than I guessed. We were able to snag a prime piece of real estate very close to where the pavilion seats ended and the lawn started, and I let go of all my high expectations of having the perfect, unobstructed view and instead just enjoyed being there. Sometimes you really gotta just let go.

Henry bought me some kind of beer that he figured I would be able to drink without wasting — Shocktop maybe? I’m still trying to become a beer person but I’m just unapologetically picky. Don’t fuck with my palate. I managed to drink two whole beers! Each one cost less than my $10 pizza, which was actually pretty good but NOT ENOUGH.

“For $10, it’s gonna have to be,” Henry frowned before going off to buy some gross sausage in a bun atrocity for himself.

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The fact that you can barely see my left eye in this photo is FORESHADOWING.

The lawn was really starting to fill up and so far, I didn’t find a single person I hated. I wasn’t too startled by this revelation though because Cure crowds have historically been some of the kindest and most fun I’ve ever been in the middle of.

EXCEPT: Coachella 2004. Worst crowd ever. A bunch of rich frat boys screaming “FAT BOB!” and booing when anything other than a radio single was performed. Welcome to America, Robert. Welcome to America, indeed.

Just then, two middle-aged men tossed down two seat cushions in the small section of lawn available between the two couples in front of me.

“And DOWN!” the one announced loudly and jovially as he plopped himself onto the cushion, beer sloshing all around. He looked at us and laughed, but I gave Henry the “I hate this guy” look. When the two women whose blanket they sat down next to came back from getting beer, I thought for sure they were going to be all, “OH HELL NO” but instead, the one lady was like, “LET’S BE FRIENDS” and then everything was happening so fast before my eyes.

Henry went to get more beer, leaving me alone to stew in my depressing solitude while everyone around me was carrying on with each other and making friends with new people, and ugh just ugh.  Never was there a more apropos moment for Robert to come on stage and sing, “Why Can’t I Be You.”

(He didn’t.)

(But he should have.)

So now the people in front of me were introducing themselves. The one who had yelled, “DOWN!” told the two ladies that they were from Pittsburgh.

PITTSBURGH? I’M FROM PITTSBURGH!

I tapped him on the back and was all, “Hey guy, I couldn’t help but overhear you say you’re from Pittsburgh. We’re from Pittsburgh too,” I said in that weird 1920s radio DJ syncopated voice I get when I’m no longer Erin but some weird caricature of a person with a sturdy societal footing.

And that’s when Henry returned to his ugly blanket and found that his girlfriend had made new friends with the boisterous men in front of them. (I never talked to the broads though. Once I heard the one lady say that she was heartbroken that the Penguins won the Stanley Cup, I knew I had nothing left to say to her, except for SUCK IT.)

(J/K, she and her sister seemed like fine ladies.)

Randy was my favorite of the two guys. I can’t remember his friend’s name. He was nice too, but not as hilarious as Randy. I can’t explain it, you guys would have had to have been there.

You know how it is.

The Twilight Sad came out sometime around 7:00. I was already familiar with them and interested to hear them live for the first time. And I mean, they were wonderful, but it’s hard to give a shit about an opening band when you know, and they know, and everyone knows that The Cure is back there somewhere, pretending to jump rope, touching up that blood red lipstick, sipping a spot of tea.

So I can’t say anything other than, “The Twilight Sad seemed good.”

I ran to the bathroom afterward, while there was still a bit of sunshine left. I was immediately cold-cocked by the essence of patchouli and clove.

And it just felt right.

As I washed my hands, I inspected my eye in the mirror. There didn’t appear to be a dagger or any such spiny specimen jutting from it, contrary to how it felt. So I gave it one good, aggressive rub (What Not To Do To Your Eye 101) and stumbled my way back to our blanket, which was now one of many in a sea of throws.

Sold out show, y’all.

As soon as the opening notes of Tape wafted into the air, my face was wet with tears. It doesn’t matter how many times I have seen this band, they make my heart feel so full and I even if I tried, I couldn’t hold back my emotions. I get all snively and trembly and the tears just flow freely – this who I am.

I LOVE EVERYONE AROUND ME.

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A video posted by Erin Appledale (@ohhonestlyerin) on

Aside from the three Instavids above and few Snaps that my brother requested, I didn’t fuck around with recording or taking pictures, because it’s the Cure and I needed to let every last second get into my pores, you know what I mean? Henry even gave me some “there-there” pats a few times.

He gets it.

He didn’t need to see my face to know it was slick with tears, mascara, and whatever poison was seeping out of my left eyeball.

You’d think that all the crying would have washed out whatever was in there, scraping my cornea, but instead it just started burning even more. The joy and amazement of standing before The Cure made it easier to shrug off, though. It was going to take a lot more than an eyeball malady to get me to leave this show early.

SET LIST:

Tape / Open, High, Pictures of You, Closedown, Kyoto Song, A Night Like This, The Walk, The End of the World, Lovesong, If Only Tonight We Could Sleep, All I Want, Push, In Between Days, Just Like Heaven, Bananafishbones, Never Enough, From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea, End

1st encore: Sinking, It Can Never Be The Same

2nd encore: Shake Dog Shake, Burn, A Forest

3rd encore: Dressing Up, Lullaby, Fascination Street, Wrong Number

4th encore: Hot Hot Hot, Let’s Go To Bed, Close To Me, Why Can’t I Be You?, Boys Don’t Cry

I have never heard “Burn” live before so I was freaking the fuck out for sure. FREAKING THE FUCK OUT.

It’s unreal to me how solid this band sounds after all of these years. How they can get out there night after night, play for three hours with just as much if not more energy as bands 30 years younger. These guys are living legends, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame can keep snubbing them all they want because there are millions of screaming fans who know just how brilliant and incomparable they are.

When you can get even someone unmoved and unaffected as Henry J. Robbins to stand for the entirety of your show and also APPLAUD after every song? That’s how you know you’re frizzled hair, shoegazing perfection.

Little Cure fan. <3

Robert seemed to be in very good spirits too, chattier than I have ever seen him, and still breaking out his adorable little goth moves during “Lullaby.” However, he did get choked up during a new song, “It Can Never Be the Same,” which rumor has it is about his mother who passed away last year. When the song ended, he said something along the lines of, “The last song is a new one…. haven’t quite… haven’t learned how to hold back….so…”

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He is a motherfucking god. No one will ever replace him in my heart.

NO ONE.

***

As soon as we got back to the hotel, I raced to the bathroom and plucked the contact off my eye, which exacerbated the pain. Now it was like my eyeball was in labor with a hatchet-coated fireball. A thicket of natty homeless person pubes. A briar patch of all the human bones found in Jeffrey Dahmer’s apartment.

My eye was so red that it looked like it was bleeding, like it had been CHEESE GRATED. Tears were squirting out left and right, like some completely crude, X-rated, optic money shot.

“I CAN’T KEEP MY EYE OPEN!” I wailed, flapping my hands and hopping from one foot to the other.

I was panic-stricken, screaming about having to go to the hospital; but instead, Henry calmly went out and got me eye drops. I had cried myself to sleep while he was gone, but don’t worry! I woke up in the middle of the night and as soon as I realized that it wasn’t just a nightmare and that there were still flames licking the inside of my eyelid, I started screaming. Henry woke up and secretly pretended he was killing me when he held my head down against the pillow and put the drops in my eye.

In the morning, it still hurt and I felt like a vampire, screaming about the sunlight. As the day wore on, I was mostly OK again, though my eyelid was slightly puffy and I wasn’t even about to try to put my contact back in for the next two days. So I went about life squinting and walking with my arms outstretched. One-contact-wearin’ Erin.

But none of that was enough to tarnish the beautiful memories of the night before. Le sigh.

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Jun 272016
 

At the House of Phil Collins, watching Henry stand on a ladder. #Sunday

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The Phil Collins vibes are strong AF at Gillcrest. Every time I turn on the kitchen stereo, there he is. And twice on Sunday!

He's an easy brusher.

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It’s all at once comforting and haunting. Absolutely impossible for me to hear any Genesis or Phil jam and not think of my childhood in that house.

I guess that’s why when I couldn’t fall asleep Friday night, I found myself painting a picture of Phil.

When Chooch saw it the next day, he happily said, “Oh, Phil Collins! I was just thinking about him, too…” Can’t imagine why.

Speaking of my fake stustudio, I finally got this bad boy up on the wall. It was originally hanging in my grandma’s clown room and she always said I could have it. And now I have it, so…

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This post is brought to you by late night iced coffee, kettlebell fatigue, and MTV’s Are You the One*. Coming up later this week: an emotionally disjointed recap of last week’s Cure show, maybe another music video no one will watch, an essay on my political stance (lol no), HOPEFULLY HENRY’S WARPED TOUR VIDEO, and probably some furry love because Anthrocon is this week and I have a date with a walrus!

*(I tried so hard to resist, but it finally sucked me in. I’M WEAK, OK??!!)

(Also, I wonder if Henry and I would be a match if we were on Are You The One. Omg lol that’s a hilarious thought. I just woke him up to tell him that and his response was muffled on account of his dumb face being buried in his pillow.)

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Jun 202016
 

Last Sunday, Chooch and I went to the Pierce the Veil “Misadventures” show at the House of Blues in Cleveland. When they announced that they’d be performing their new album Misadventures in its entirety for this tour, I was all in. I bought tickets for Chooch and myself the second they went on sale (balcony seats because I’m not taking a 10-year-old into the pit for PTV — those girls are aggressive!) and then Henry agreed to be our chauffeur.

Henry likes Pierce the Veil, but what he likes even more is that our kid also likes them enough to be my concert partner and Henry can go off and be an old man somewhere.

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Since we had actual seats, I didn’t feel the need to get there hours before the doors opened, but even 45 minutes before-doors, the line wrapped all the way down the block. I just asked Henry how many people he thought were in line when he dropped us off and he said, “Everybody.” It was the longest line I have even stood in for PTV and while it was mildly annoying, I was also really happy for them. They have come so far since the time I saw them playing for 150 kids at an indoor skate park in Buffalo, NY!

Some old man walked by and said, “Wow, this is a really long line. What band is playing?”

“Pierce the Veil,” I said proudly, like I’m their fucking mom.

“Never heard of them. Where are they from?”

I was acutely aware of all the people in line who had turned around to look at me at this point, and I ALMOST blanked! So much pressure! But then at the last second, before any of the dumb kids could steal my thunder, I answered, “San Diego” in a voice quaking with uncertainty.

“I hope everyone fits inside!” he laughed, and as he walked away, I wiped the sweat from my brow. I hate when strangers ask me questions!

However, if I overhear strangers passing around incorrect information to each other, I have NO QUALMS with inserting myself into their conversation. For instance, when the people in front of us where talking about the Stanley Cup Finals and the girl was all, “I think tonight might be game 6 but I don’t know” and her boyfriend was all, “No, I think it’s game 5. The Pens are up 3 games to 1” but I knew the correct answer.

“Excuse me,” I said, holding up a finger. “We’re from Pittsburgh. Tonight is definitely game 6. AND IF THE PENS WIN, THEY WIN THE STANLEY CUP.”

They both mumbled thanks and then turned their backs on the crazed Pittsburgher who couldn’t mind her own business. HENRY HATES WHEN I DO THIS.

It happened later on too, before the show started. We were in our seats (which Chooch found on his own and then an usher came rushing over ready to yell at us for taking seats that weren’t assigned to us and then felt stupid when he checked our tickets and muttered, “Oh, you found your seats”) when the kid next to me said to his girlfriend, “Oh man, I love this song, but I can’t remember who sings it!”

“Do you want me to tell you?!” I leaned over and asked him in this super weird husky voice I get when I’m excited. He was kind of caught of guard, I think, but he humored me by saying, “OK sure.”

“THE USED!” I cried, and he and his girlfriend were basically like, “Cool story, psycho.”

And then I ask myself where my kid gets his know-it-all-ism from.

You wouldn’t know it, but Chooch was saying, “Tampax Pearl!” in lieu of “Cheese.”

There were only two opening bands for this show and while I’m certainly no hater of opening acts, I was secretly happy that this wouldn’t be a super long show. I was way too hyped for PTV and also I was hoping that the show would over early enough that I’d get to hear the final minutes of the Stanley Cup final in the car.

What a conflict to have, you know?

The first opener was Movements. At first, they sounded like your standard Warped Tour-caliber band, but then the SPOKEN WORD happened. Chooch gave me a knowing look because this genre is my motherfucking jam and he knows it.

“Let me guess — you’re going to buy their album?” he said. FUCK YEAH I AM. AND I DID. On vinyl, son. And it sounds glorious.

I the Mighty was next and somehow I have never seen them live. I have no idea how they’ve escaped me this long since they literally roll with some of my scene faves. In fact, they’re touring with Artifex Pereo this fall!

“He looks like Chris Kunitz,” I yelled in Chooch’s ear, pointing to the bassist. And right after that, I got an alert that the Penguins scored the first goal of the game, AND CHRIS KUNITZ HAD THE ASSIST.

“They’re going to win,” Chooch said in a very calm and wise tone. “This is their year.”

And you know what? I felt really reassured and peaceful in that moment, because Chooch knows everything.

Not as much as me. But he’s getting there.

So I will now always associate I the Mighty with the Penguins winning the Stanley Cup.

Chooch made me buy him a soft pretzel with cheese before PTV’s set started. I’m pretty opposed to eating during concerts—it just feels weird to me—but Chooch was in a very good position to ruin my night if I let his hunger get out of hand. A soft pretzel in his pie hole seemed to really do the trick and we were able to coexist peacefully for the rest of the show.

This album is kind of a big deal for PTV fans because it took 4 years to create and it seemed like maybe they had lost a lot of the momentum they had built up coming off their last album.

And for as much as I love PTV (and I’ve stuck with them from the beginning), I didn’t love their last album. I still had fun at their shows but it kind of made me wonder if I was growing out of the PTV scene. Time to move out and buy a Coldplay CD…?

Thank god Misadventures was released and saved me from bland Mom Rock.  I’m back in love, people! This album somehow feels like such a throwback to their first album (my favorite) without making them sound young, regressed, or un-evolved. (You know, un-evolved. That’s a word. You must have been absent the day it was on the spelling test.) I can’t put my finger on it exactly, and I’m not even sure if they did it intentionally, but there are nuances and subtle nods to their past work, almost like secret part 2s or reprises. A “getaway” reference that just can’t be an accident. There were a lot of skippable songs for me on their last album, but Misadventures is fucking solid and I have already come close to wearing out the record.

And hearing them perform it in its entirety was fucking priceless. And for their encore, as the Penguins were watching the clock tick down in the final moments of the third period, PTV came out and played “Bulls in the Bronx” and “King For a Day” — the two songs Chooch was screaming for them to play so of course now he thinks he made that happen, and that’s OK, because I MADE THE PENGUINS WIN THE STANLEY CUP.

PANT PANT PANT.

This might have been the best PTV show I’ve ever seen. Obviously they sounded fantastic, but that combined with Chooch and me singing our faces off together and the Penguins winning the Stanley Cup—it was a priceless trifecta. So many stars aligned, mood swings remained unswung, not a single douchebag sat near us.

I want to do it all again.

But my favorite part? That Chooch and I got along so magically! Anyone who has ever hung out with us knows this is like some rare familial It was really choice quality time, and I’ll tell you, sharing moments like this with my kid is my favorite part of being a parent. He was just a little babe back when I started listening to PTV and now we’re both fans — that’s kind of an amazing thing. The kind of amazing thing that really makes your life feel super rich.

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Henry was waiting for us in the car across the street from House of Blues when we came charging at him after the show, screaming “PENS!!!!! PENS!!!!!” like drunks. Henry just frowned and yelled at us to get in the car. He apparently spent his time tooling around Target and various grocery stores, which is probably what the other moms did after they dropped their kids off at the PTV show. His frown fluttered into a slight smile when he showed us the limited edition Blueberry Pie Oreos he found. Henry’s life is super rich, too.

i like your starry eyes

they yell SURPRISE SURPRISE

i’m in love but for long

 

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Jun 192016
 

Yesterday was a good day at Gillcrest, full of productive conversations & planning…just a general sense of optimism. There is still so much to do that it often makes me feel like I can’t breathe, but Henry got the grass cut— so, there’s that.

(Hey, there’s a lot of grass over there!)

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Dick in a tree.

Dick on a tractor.

Dick behind a mower.

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More Gino Vannelli finds!

And this bitchin’ Winchester shirt that has stains but IDGAF.

I like to turn on the kitchen stereo so the house is full of soft rock. It’s comforting and makes it feel alive in there again.

When I'm at my Pappap's house and Phil comes on the stereo. 💔

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My Caribbean Queen. No more love on the run. #billyocean #twerkingforbillyocean

A video posted by Erin Appledale (@ohhonestlyerin) on

One can always count on Chooch for comedic relief.

My mom got a random head lamp thing in the mail as a free gift from Marlboro, so she brought it over for Chooch. But it actually was a pretty handy device for me because I was working on cleaning out some of the drawers in one of the gamerooms that has very limited light.

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I haven’t worn one of these since I did that ghost hunt back in 2011!

After we left the house, Henry took us to Page’s for ice cream where I had major ordering remorse. I wanted a maple sundae but I didn’t see the sign for it, so I got the blueberry soft serve instead. And then of course right after Henry paid, I saw my maple queen on the fucking menu.

Dick at the ice cream shop.

“It tasted like ice cream. I never would have thought,” Chooch just deadpanned when I asked him if he wanted to review his ice cream cone.

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Seriously, for being my back-up, you can’t really go wrong with soft serve made with real blueberries, you know?

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Dick hugging a dick.

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Dick with an angel.

Capped off a fine Saturday with “Crimson Peak,” which was way better than I thought it was going to be and felt actual sadness when it ended. JUST LIKE I DID WHEN SATURDAY ENDED.

Never enough Saturday. :(

 

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Jun 132016
 


HEAVY.BREATHING. 

They fucking did it! The Penguins won the Stanley Cup tonight, at the exact moment Pierce the Veil was singing King for a Day at the House of Blues in Cleveland. I was trying to divide my attention between both the show and the game via Penguins alerts on my phone and it turned out to be OK – I was sad at first that I wasn’t going to be able to watch; me! The girl who watches every regular season game except when I’m at a show, and even then I’m getting alerts on my phone because I can’t quit you, Penguins. The girl who starts sobbing out of the blue when thinking about them because I just really care about them, you guys. 

But it ended up being kind of amazing, after all the shitty news in the world and my own personal life, all the tragedy and sadness, here was a moment to come together with people through music and sports, at the same time. It made my heart feel so full. Henry didn’t go to the show with us, but after he was done “driving around” a/k/a looking for strip clubs, he parked across the street from House of Blues and said that when the Pens won, tons of screaming erupted in downtown Cleveland. So awesome. 

The best part is that Chooch was into it this time. He has finally, if not reluctantly, crossed over to the official Pens fan side of the house, and he was anxiously asking for game updates all night. And when there was only 3 minutes left in the 3rd, I kept maniacally refreshing my Pens app while he leaned over to look and we both sang, nay—SCREAMED, along to “King for a Day.”

What a fucking beautiful night. And, as we drive home from Cleveland, we just drove under a traffic alert sign on 79 that said “Bring Home the Cup.”

OH IT’S COMING. 

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Jun 122016
 

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The key to my survival is to continuously have concerts lined up on the horizon. Tonight Pierce the Veil will be performing their new album in its entirety in Cleveland and Chooch and I will be there for it. Ya gotta break up the doom & gloom every so often, you know? And if you don’t know, now you know don’t worry because that will be a chapter in my upcoming self-help pamphlet available on every corner in your nearest slum.

I’m also excited to eat at Happy Dog. I’ve been dreaming of the Fruit Loop-dog ever since last November. Small things matter.

AND HOPEFULLY THE PENGUINS WILL WIN THE CUP TONIGHT TOO?! I’ll be following along via NHL alerts.

I’m going to cry so hard tonight and it’s going to feel wonderful. #masochist

Meanwhile, my cats are acting like they ingested peyote so god only knows what condition we’ll find the house in when we get back from Cleveland.

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Jun 022016
 

Alternately-titled: How Many Times Can One Woman Say “Ugh”?

I try not to be too pageant-mommy, but I like for my kid to represent the scene whenever possible, even if it means being accused by shitty, catty 8th graders for “not even knowing who Pierce the Veil is.” (I CANNOT LET THIS GO.)

So the day before we left for Bled Fest, I made sure that it was clear to all exactly which shirt Chooch would be wearing: an Abstruse Apparel tee that prominently featured lyrics to an Artifex Pereo song.

I bought it a few years ago when Artifex posted about it on Facebook. It was limited edition, and my size was already sold out. I wanted to support the band and their designer friend, so I bought a size smaller and figured as long as someone in this house was wearing it, that’s all that mattered.

Anyway, Artifex was going to be at Bled Fest so I thought it would be fun to represent, you know? Technically, it wasn’t breaking the whole “wearing a bands shirt to their show” law, god forbid, since it didn’t actually say Artifex Pereo anywhere on it.

I didn’t really think much of it, but very early into the day, a guy walked past us and called out, “I like your shirt!” to Chooch.

“I think that was one of the guys from Artifex,” I said to Henry and Chooch, laughing.

It happened again, about an hour later, as we walked out of the merch area. This time I knew for sure it was one of the guys from Artifex.

****

I first fell in love with this band two years ago when my record producer crush, Kris Crummet, posted about their album on Instagram, how he had just finished it and was so proud of it. I had definitely never heard of them before, so I decided to start following them on Instagram and Twitter because that’s what thirst music fans like me do. By the time they released their first single, I was hooked faster than a bloated river trout.

Totally became obsessed. Up until Bled Fest last week, I had only had the opportunity to see them one time, at Mahall’s in Cleveland. Seeing them live made me fall in love even more. The whole way home that night, I couldn’t stop gushing about them to Henry.

“DIDN’T THEY SOUND SOOOO GOOD? LIKE, FLAWLESS?” and “I THINK THEY MIGHT BE ONE OF MY FAVORITE BANDS NOW.”

I even got my brother Corey into them! And they gave Emarosa a ride home from the So What festival in Texas last winter! Because they’re both from Kentucky! MY DREAM IS FOR THEM TO TOUR! AND ALSO ICARUS THE OWL!

Oh man, I’m panting over here. Wet dream a’gogo.

But they have never come to Pittsburgh, and all their other Cleveland shows have been impossible for me to make. So Bled Fest was even more special to me!

And they did not disappoint in that narrow, mirrored-wall classroom known for the day as Stage D.  So much energy! And new songs! I was in tears, finally getting to see them again after two years. If music is super important to you, then you understand how long two years can feel without seeing one of your favorite bands!

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When they played Hands of Penance, the room just absolutely exploded with energy and ricocheting bodies. It was so healing! I was in the best mood ever! Nothing could bring me down!

Seeing Artifex Pereo again after 2 years was super rad. This band is just amazingly talented!

A video posted by Erin Appledale (@ohhonestlyerin) on

I was so fucking stoked after their set. I felt like I could take on A LARGE OPPONENT. Like maybe a gas man with a shut-off notice. YOU DON’T KNOW MY STRENTH, OK??

Henry and Chooch were like, “OK we saw like one and a half bands so now we’re going to fuck right off, byyeeeeee” and off they went to sit outside under a tree while I ran to see Sorority Noise on one of the main stages.

About 90 minutes later, I was staggering down the hall after catching Adventurer play on the smallest of all the stages, a tiny room comparable in size to the literal Pittsburgh basement I saw them play in last summer. Just much less dank.

I spotted Henry and Chooch up ahead, walking toward me with a smugness that was palpable and my stomach instantly began to turn. WHAT HAD THEY DONE.

“Guess who I met?” Chooch said in a chiding tone, holding up his phone to show me a photo of him with motherfucking Artifex Pereo?!

A gas man with a shut-off notice, or HENRY AND CHOOCH.

Henry said that they were so excited about his shirt (MY SHIRT, TECHNICALLY) that they had Henry take a picture for them to send the guy who designed it. And then Henry was all, “Yeah, they’re coming to Pittsburgh in September with I the Mighty.”

“YOU TALKED TO THEM?!” I cried.

“Well, yeah. I’m not weird like you,” he said with an attitude that I could have done without.

And then they apparently went back inside to the merch area to get a picture with Lucas, the vocalist, to further ram the extreme, blinding envy down my throat.

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Ugh, my kid is the literal worst.

IT GETS EVEN WORSER THOUGH.

Later that day, my brother Corey sent me a screenshot of this from Instagram:

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UGH!!! “He brought his dad with him.” NO MENTION OF THE MOM WHO IS THE BIGGEST FAN IN OUR LAME HOUSEHOLD. They probably think MOMMY is home sweeping the dirt floors and darning socks and not somewhere inside Bled Fest having her face melted off. I don’t know how Henry and Chooch were able to sleep that night knowing that they deceived me so.

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AND THEN THIS!?!?!? “Why is this dude not my best friend?” REALLY. Ugh, fuck my life!!

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And then the next day, Abstruse Apparel posted the damn picture AGAIN and I was cooking rage balls in my pot of boiling envy by this point.

“This is out of hand!” I cried, incredulous that he was getting so much attention out of this. “Keep taking good care of your shirts? HE HAS A HOLE IN THAT SHIRT!!!” Chooch was nearly gagging on his tongue from all of his shitty laughter.

Two days later, we were having breakfast with Bill and Jessi and I was still on a tear.

“I CURATED THIS!” I yelled, swirling my hand around Chooch. “Where’s my shout out?! Ugh! You don’t even LIKE them!”

“I do now,” he shrugged.

And everyone just laughed because what else can you do when crazy girl goes crazy.

In all seriousness, HAPPY FOR YOU CHOOCH. But when I just happen to get a picture with Ansley from Jule Vera at Riot Fest, YOU’LL UNDERSTAND HOW IT FEELS.

Probably not. He’s not quite as ridiculous as me.

*****

When I went back to work on Tuesday, the first thing Amber2 asked me was, “Still jealous of your kid?”

Why, as a matter of fact—YES. YES I AM.

 

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May 152016
 

A/k/a MY MOTHERLAND.
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I know this trip was supposed to be all about the celebration of Chooch’s existence, blah blah blah, Chooch for motherfucking Prez….but you can’t celebrate the spawn without also heralding the INCUBATOR. So I decided that we needed to tack on Universal Studios in order to appease Cesar and my ever-tingling scar. And in usual Erin-Fashion, I can’t just write one post about an amusement park. This is going to take a while. Such thoughts. Many feels.

Henry got some Universal Studios deal through work where he bought two day park-to-park passes and got the third day free. At first I thought, “Maybe three days is excessive…” but then we got there and I was like, “Nope. Three days is going to be a fucking dream.”

To be honest, if it wasn’t for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, maybe we would have skipped out on Universal altogether and found other things to do. But there was no way that I could be IN ORLANDO and not experience the Harry Potter magic. I fucking love Harry Potter (it’s a lowkey love — I read all the books as they came out and watched all the movies, but I don’t like cosplay or write fanfic). Henry knows this. When he was “courting” me back in 2001, he would buy me Halloween and  Harry Potter memorabilia. I guess it worked. I mean, fifteen years and one wild child later…

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My initial assessment of Universal? IT’S NOT JUST HARRY POTTER STUFF*. This place, you guys. This place. Amusement parks are my things, but this one is definitely my new #1 and now I’m convinced that we’re probably going to have to visit at least every two years because I don’t want to miss out on all the things they’re adding. Also, maybe I might even be trying to get a job there. As Lisa Simpson. Or as a psychic. YOU DON’T KNOW.

*(But the HP stuff is phenomenal and will get its own post because I know how to beat a horse. You should see the welts on Henry’s back.)

 

Here are some photos from our first day there, from both Universal and Isles of Adventure.

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The food was more expensive and there were less options for the token VegetErin but I was fine eating cheese pizza because I’M NOT THERE TO EAT, JUST REFUEL.

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The Simpsons Ride was the shit. It made Henry sick though because he’s old and dumb.

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We spent most of our first day at Islands of Adventure, and I instantly fell headfirst in love with Seuss Landing.

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Basically it was like walking into what my house would look like if I wasn’t lazy and poor. A landscape of over-saturated colors.

Naturally, it was there that I may have found my new Wacky Worm, you guys.

This came close to evicting the Wacky Worm from my heart. 😯

A photo posted by Erin Appledale (@ohhonestlyerin) on

 

If you ask Henry, it was “just some stupid kids train” that we had to wait in kind of a long line for (I mean, a 30-minute wait was unusually long on the days we were there). We were really pissed because an entire family of super rambunctious New Yorkers cut in front of everyone to join The Placeholder. Henry usually doesn’t get very riled up over these types of things, but his mustache were starting to singe against the heat of the smoke leaking out of his dragon nostrils.

He was mouthing off about how rude they were and I was pissed too but the fact that there was so much vitriol being produced while waiting in line for a children’s ride was pretty comical.

And then when Henry had to ride with one of the New York Dads? Fucking priceless.

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The train got stopped TWO TIMES because of them! Once when one of the daughters complained that her seatbelt was too tight and Mouthy Mom hollered at a ride attendant to fix it. And then again right as we finally began to pull away from the station and they all reached across to high-five the remaining members of their family who were still waiting in line.

And the whole time, it looked like Henry was a part of them and I’m sure he was slowly dying on the inside because he hates shenanigans and these motherfuckers were LOUD AS SHIT. I went from hating them for line-jumping to absolutely adoring them for embarrassing Henry by association.

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Henry made a friend!

A video posted by Erin Appledale (@ohhonestlyerin) on

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Afterward, the mouthiest of all the New Yawkers came up to me and screamed, “I THINK YOUR HUSBAND HAD A GOOD TIME RIDING WITH MY FAMILY! HE PROBABLY WON’T BE ABLE TO HEAR FOR THE REST OF THE DAY THOUGH.” And I was almost peeing my pants at this point, laughing too hard to even correct her that hello he is not my “husband.” Like, ew. Gross.

Whatever.

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Cat in the Hat was scared of Chooch’s Chiodos shirt, lawl.

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BUCKLE UP, HANK.

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Chooch suddenly became a Rule Follower and was extremely distressed that the carousel had the audacity to start before he could fasten his seat belt. I mean, his concern was super adorable, but I don’t think he really was in any danger…? I love that I had the good fortune of catching him giving up in this Instavid:

WHEEEE, HENRY. WHEEE.

A video posted by Erin Appledale (@ohhonestlyerin) on

 

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Post-Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Rapids, i.e. the best rapids ride I’ve ever ridden! Henry conveniently couldn’t find a vacant locker near the ride so he was like, “Just go. Go on without me” like some fucking war-zone martyr.

We did get him to go on the Jurassic Park ride though and we were front row so he got soaked. Suckerrrrrrr. And since he was already wet, we convinced him to go on Dudley Do-Right’s Rip-Saw Falls right after in the Comic Strip section of the park, which was the best log flume ride I’ve ever ridden! EVERYTHING IN UNIVERSAL IS BEST. BEST BEST BEST!

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Look at that! What a fucking delight. The final drop had a double-dip!

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Man, we had a great time at Disney, but…Universal kind of stole the show. More later! I have to go and roll around in my bed of vacation pictures now. That’s totally not true at all…I’m not that obsessed. I mean, I look at my pictures constantly on my phone and cry like I just lost my best friend, but I don’t ROLL AROUND IN THEM.

God.

****

Chooch’s review of day 1: “I met a lot of characters that day and I have to agree with my mom that Universal did kind of steal the show from Disney. Mainly because of Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Thanks.”

Henry’s review of day 1: “What? I’m busy cooking. I can’t do this. Day 1 was OK.”

 

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May 142016
 


…but you can’t find it and Henry says, “It’s in the basement. I’ll get it tomorrow” and you’re like “WHY TOMORROW?! BECAUSE YOU’RE SCARED TO GO DOWN IN THE BASEMENT AT NEAR DARK??” 

And he doesn’t answer. 

And you’re too scared to go down in the basement at near dark. 

So then you play Flashbeagle on YouTube and beat him the fuck up with your epileptic dance moves while intermittently scream-singing because Flashbeagle is fucking epic. 

JOEY SCARBURY. And some broad. 

My Saturday evening, you guys. 

But also, there was ice cream!


Ice Cream Sandwich with Twinkie underneath. Ice cream tastes so much better when it’s Weight Watchers cheat day!

Churn might be my new favorite ice cream spot. Thank god it’s kind of a hike because this could be dangerous. 

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