Jul 252015
 

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It seems that people associate Warped Tour with metalcore these days, and I get that it definitely caters to that part of the scene, but Warped’s pop-punk, indie, and alternative rock game is just as strong. Contrary to popular belief, Warped Tour isn’t just one giant breakdown. I was really stoked when Hands Like Houses were announced, because they’re definitely one of my favorites. Henry is pretty whatever about them though; he thinks Trenton looks like he’d be a dick, but I have never heard of him having a reputation nor have I ever tried to meet him, so I’m not sure where this judgment stems from. (He also feels the same way about Austin Carlile from Of Mice & Men and that man seems so genuine to me!)

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I’m obsessed withi their guitarist, Alexander Pearson, because he reminds me of a young Tim Curry. So I just call him “The Tim Curry Guy” and Henry just shakes his head because he doesn’t get it. BUT YOU GUYS, LOOK! TIM CURRY GUY! I was so giddy watching him set up!

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TIM CURRY GUY!!

I would like to see more bands from the Blue Swan scene on Warped Tour, though. Eidola, Stolas, Hail the Sun, Icarus the Owl, Adventurer, and also Artifex Pereo and A Lot Like Birds who aren’t on Blue Swan but should be. I love the sub-scene that those guys have been cultivating and wish there was more of that type of post-hardcore sound on Warped Tour.

I got to hear “Lion Skin” and then it was time to sadly say goodbye to HLH and run back to the Unicorn Stage for PVRIS! They started out on one of the smaller stages, and wound up getting bumped up to the main stage once Kevin Lyman saw the crowds they were drawing. I’m so proud of these guys! It’s always exciting to see such a young band bust their asses and be rewarded for it. It’s also nice when a female-fronted band comes onto the stage and doesn’t try to sound like Paramore. Sorry, but I had to say it!

This was my second time seeing them, and I was pissed that it had to be under that damn amphitheater. There was no way I was going to try to push my way into the pit, not with Chooch there. And even standing where the seats start on the floor is dangerous. I remember a few Warped Tours again, Pierce the Veil was playing on one of the stages under there and Henry and I were standing up in one of the first rows of seats, and I seriously thought we were going to get crushed because people still try to mosh and crowd surf even with the seats in the way and it’s just bad news all around for less-resilient adults. So Chooch and I had to find seats back where it was safer, and it was fine I guess. I don’t know where Henry was. We lost him again because we were running too fast.

I actually cried several times during PVRIS’s set. Lynn Gunn’s voice just kills me. Terri sent me an article yesterday about how music can give people “skin orgasms” and that’s definitely what was happening to me under the First Niagara pavilion. PVRIS is going to be huge.

And the best part is that when Chooch met Lynn later on that day, she was so sweet and had no rock star ego. It was refreshing. She also got excited when she saw that Chooch was wearing the Emarosa “For Fox Sake” shirt and told us that she designed it, which makes her infinitely more awesome in my eyes. Chooch almost didn’t get to meet her at all. I misheard the time she was going to be at her tent, so we casually walked over after Pierce the Veil’s set later that day and there were only about 10 people in line.

“Yeah, realllly long line,” Chooch said sarcastically, because I told him that there were probably going to be hoards of people trying to meet her. Well, it turns out the line was so short because it was cut off a long time ago, and the end of the line was like THE END of the line. But the guy in charge of it was like, “I’m not supposed to let anyone else in line, but….you’re a kid so go head.” Relish this time in your life, Chooch. You’re still a novelty to the scene but pretty soon, you’ll just be one of the masses.

UNLESS YOU’RE IN A BAND.

I think Chooch already posted this in his guest post, but oh well:

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He was like STARSTRUCK after this. He kept murmuring, “I can’t believe I just met Lynn Gunn….”

I had no idea he liked PVRIS this much! Warped Tour is so much more fun now that this kid goes with me. I know this is like the 6976th time I’ve stated that, but I really mean it. I never thought it was possible, but it means even more to me now.

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Some of my favorite Warped Tour moments over the last 7 years involve Pierce the Veil. They’re one of those quintessential scene bands and always put on a great show at Warped Tour. They’re so much bigger now than they were the first time I saw them there in 2008 though! So even though they were playing under the pavilion on the main stage and we had to stand back really far, it was still exciting for me. (And Henry, too. Admit it, Henry.)

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We ended the day with Set It Off, and Chooch the hustler managed to get $10 from Henry in order to chase down the merch guy who was walking around selling the new SIO acoustic ep, which was only $5 and Chooch slyly pocketed the change.

So while Henry was all annoyed about getting ripped off, I was bloated with pride over the fact that my kid is doing his small part in supporting bands by caring enough to buy their CDs when he knows that he could just YouTube it or play it on Spotify.

Henry doesn’t like Set It Off, so this made it even better.

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As usual, I was dragging my feet toward the exit. I hate saying goodbye to Warped Tour every year and with everything that’s been going on with it this summer, I worry about its future. How much longer will it go on? I hate thinking about that. And to be honest, I’ve been dragging out these posts because I don’t want it to end. :( I have to find a way to get a job in the music industry or suddenly develop  enough talent to start a band or marry the owner of Rise Records, because this is fucking ridiculous.

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On the way out, we saw a magical rainbow. Perfection.

Normal people might consider relaxing at a spa, or on a wine tour in Napa, or laying on the beach in Hilton Head, and I get it; but for me, Warped Tour is my place of Zen. It’s where I recharge and heal and feel whole again. I can’t imagine ever losing this feeling.

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Jul 252015
 

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Warped Tour has been under some heavy scrutiny this summer, lots of controversy and drama with some of the bands exacerbated by social media. I’m not sure what state that’s going to leave the tour in by the end of the summer, but right now I want to focus on the most important aspect of Warped Tour: the music. This summer’s lineup was stacked. I don’t give a fuck what all those aging punks on music forums have to say about this topic: the mix of bands was diverse. The unfortunate downside is that there are going to be bands I have to miss in favor of other bands, and that is what heart-break feels like, my friends. As soon as the gates opened, Chooch and I sprinted to the Vans inflatable while Henry stood in line to buy a paper schedule. When we met back up, he handed me the schedule and said, “I don’t think you’re going to have a problem with scheduling conflicts this year!”

I bore holes through him with my furious eyes and spat, “Really? Then you don’t know me at all!” Because the inflatable had already broken my stupid heart. I knew I was going to have to forfeit ’68 (I have been dying to see them again ever since last year’s Chiodos tour) in favor of Never Shout Never for Chooch, and there could be no Beartooth, August Burns Red, or Moose Blood because I was 100% unwilling to miss even one second of Emarosa’s set. And don’t even get me started about how bummed I am that I missed Matchbook Romance. I really need to plan on going two Warped Tours next year. I always say that though. #musicfestivalproblems

Bands we managed to catch, whole sets and partial:

  • Palisades
  • Koo Koo Kangaroo
  • Our Last Night
  • We Came As Romans
  • New Year’s Day
  • Man Overboard
  • Never Shout Never
  • Night Riots
  • Transit
  • Hands Like Houses
  • Silverstein
  • PVRIS
  • Emarosa
  • Pierce the Veil
  • Set It Off

Bands I am not sad about missing out on at all:

  • Black Veil Brides
  • Attila <—fuck them, seriously

Even weeks later, as I’m looking at this schedule, my heart feels so heavy looking at all the amazing bands I couldn’t squeeze in without cloning myself. Bands like Citizen, Pup, The Wonder Years (I’ve seen them several times, but still), Lee Corey Oswald, Alvarez Kings…ugh. Heartbreak.

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We started the day off with Palisades, which was actually Henry’s idea. We saw them once with Dance Gavin Dance and I guess he must have secretly liked them enough to want them to be his Warped Tour breakfast. I thought Chooch would like them because they’re pretty fun and energetic, but he just shrugged and said, “I don’t know. They’re too loud.” I really only like one of their songs, which they played so I felt fulfilled.

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Next up we had to run to the Beatport stage to see Koo Koo Kanga Roo. This is not something I ever would have given a second thought, or even half of a first thought, but when we were waiting in line before gates opened, one of the singers was walking by carrying a stick with a huge picture of his head on it, trying to spread the word about the band. (I’m thankful for these distractions every year. It makes waiting in line way less excruciating.) He targeted Chooch right away and they had an adorable conversation.

“You must be in a band,” he said to Chooch, and in my head, I was screaming, “I WISH! HOPEFULLY SOMEDAY! I MEAN, I’M NOT GOING TO FORCE HIM OR ANYTHING BUT I PROBABLY WON’T TALK TO HIM MUCH IF HE’S NOT!” Then he asked Chooch what bands he was excited to see, and Chooch thoughtfully said, “All of them.”

“That’s a lot of bands!” said whichever one of the Koos this was.

And then out of nowhere, Chooch said he was most excited to see PVRIS, which kind of surprised me because while I knew he liked them, he hadn’t really mentioned that to me before and WE ARE SUPPOSED TO TELL EACH OTHER EVERYTHING ABOUT OUR FEELINGS FOR MUSIC.

The group of kids in front of us were listening to this and when he said “PVRIS,” they expressed their approval at his taste in music and I was like, “Well, he only likes them because I do, so….”

God I hate myself.

The Koo Koo Kanga Roo guy went on to totally sell on us on his set. “You gotta come by! It’s a dance party! We sing songs about fanny packs and cats….” Welp, someone said the magic word.

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Their merch guy was dancing like a crazy person to Walk the Moon’s “Shut Up and Dance” which entertained us while waiting for Koo Koo Kanga Roo, who eventually come out wearing gold fanny packs.

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And a hilarious dance party ensued.

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This is why I love Warped Tour! Where else could you sing songs about everybody pooping with two crazy guys who play shows at elementary schools and then have your face melted off by Beartooth? But no, there’s no diversity. You’re right, jaded music forum posters.

Their set was fun and hilarious. I’m so glad we went!

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Afterward, we went to their merch tent so Chooch could get a CD. Henry Warbucks was like, “Buy them all.” Chooch and I exchanged a “wtf got into HIM look?!” because Henry hates spending money at Warped Tour so now I’m convinced he has a side job as a gigolo. (Oh come on! Everyone has a type. I bet there’s tons of octogenarians out there who want a surly-faced man in a striped shirt, naming Faygo flavors in a husky voice.)

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He also got a Koo Koo Kanga Roo comic book and stickers that smell like gross things. Not a bad way to start the day.

“You made it!” the moustacioed-Koo exclaimed happily when he saw Chooch.  “Do you know what time PVRIS plays?”

“3:50,” Chooch answered, and I had no idea that he had even checked the schedule for that. I guess he likes them more than I thought.

From here, we headed to the amphitheater, where the two main stages were held since there were storms in the forecast. I hate, hate, hate the stages under the amphitheater, and it was even worse this year since it was the main stages, but I understood that it was something that had to happen. It’s just so hard to enjoy any of the bands when they’re playing those stages, because it’s hard to get close. We ended up sitting and it always feels weird to me to be sitting at Warped Tour. I felt like a true Old Person. While we were under there, the first of many waves of heavy rain started, which drove so many people under the amphitheater, it made me wonder if anyone was left at the other stages. I felt bad for all of those bands who were playing at that time.

Oh, also, we purposely lost Henry during this time, and it made Chooch and I ridiculously giddy. We could see his idiot cabbage-head bobbing up and down in the crowd, searching desperately for us. Oh, how we laughed.

Our Last Night was still playing on the left side of the stage, so Chooch and I listened to them while waiting for We Came As Romans. I saw OLN last year with Chiodos in Cleveland and my impression was “meh.” But I really liked them this time around and I’m glad I was forced to give them a second chance. Then WCAR came on and I was just like, “………..” I don’t dislike them or anything, but they don’t really make me feel any type of way. Chooch likes them a lot though and that’s all that matters. He wrote about seeing them here.

We were going to walk around after their set ended, but then it started storming again, so we fetched Henry and found seats closer to the other side of the stage, where New Year’s Day was playing. I feel like they’re at Warped Tour every year.

“Wait, their singer is a girl!?” Chooch asked in disbelief. He kept making fun of them, and I was like, “Dude, they’re really not that bad!” and he gave me this horrified look and said, “I can’t believe you just said that!” I found out later that the whole time they were playing, he thought it was Black Veil Brides, and we have a huge mutual dislike for that band, so I guess he thought he was losing me as an ally or something.

We made Henry feed us around this time. Henry’s favorite thing! Spending money while praying that whatever food he’s ordering will satisfy us and quell the bipolar-demons within for a few hours more.

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Henry trying to block out Transit playing behind him. He had to call work around this time, so he left us at the Journeys stage while we waited for Hands Like Houses, and walked around trying to find a halfway-quiet area to make his call. He was so excited when he came back because while he was on the phone, some guy moved him out of the way, and when Henry turned around, he realized it was a security guard escorting Vic and Jaime from Pierce the Veil through the crowd. Henry, the ultimate scene dad.  You guys know he secretly enjoys this shit. He can name at least one person in most band that I like, even some of the ones I don’t like. I really think he likes going to Warped Tour!

This concludes the first half of the day.

 

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Jul 182015
 

When I was younger, my friend Shawn and I used to go to shows all the time and we loved meeting the bands afterward. It never seemed like a big deal either, just hanging out after the show, waiting for a chance to take a picture and tell them what a great performance it was. One of my favorite memories is sitting around in a small circle in the parking lot of a venue of Hershey, with Scooter Ward from Cold. Totally casual, and he even passed around Starbursts (I still have mine; it’s orange and deformed and lives in my freezer). Sure, I was freaking out internally because Cold was my JAM back then, but it was always such a positive experience seeing and speaking with him. He was (and still is) a stand-up guy. And we met Tegan and Sara before they became famous and they were adorable and sweet and it was just such a chill moment.

And there was this one night when Shawn and I hung out backstage with Finger Eleven after their show at Nick’s Fat City in 2000 (don’t judge! I used to love them in another life, haha). Even Dave Navarro was super chill, and then obviously there was the time I met The Cure fifteen years that was so beautiful I still have not been able to bring myself to put it into words.

But then I met Jonny Craig in 2008 and it was awful and humiliating and I haven’t even looked at the photo that was taken of us, not once. It was definitely a “I drove 4 hours for this?!” moment.

It kind of just killed it for me. I never really bothered trying to meet any bands again after that (except for Jonny one more time in 2009 which was stupid on my part because it was even worse; sorry I’m not a skanky tattooed scene waif offering you blowjobs and heroin, asshole; God forbid I just want to tell you that I love your music). But now Chooch is getting into music and he has that joy and excitement of meeting bands that I once had, so I’m reliving it vicariously through him. Seeing the stars in his eyes after he met Lynn Gunn of PVRIS was just utterly adorable.

And Chooch’s experience meeting Bradley Walden of Emarosa was a positive one and we were both really excited about it. I know that it seems like it goes without saying that bands would just automatically be nice to kids, but you’d be surprised. Or not.

Even though their set at Warped Tour was already on its way to being the highlight of the day for me, Chooch meeting Bradley afterward really drove it home.

Last Wednesday, I finally made myself sit down and write about seeing Emarosa that day at Warped Tour. I had been craving them ever since they play Riot Fest last year, and was stoked that it was finally happening again. I wrote that blog post on my break at work that day; on the way home, I checked my stats as I do occasionally and noticed that they had skyrocketed. Panic set in because usually it’s no bueno when this happens, like when all of the field trip posts were viewed multiple times and it turned out it was because some mom from Chooch’s old school found it and passed them around to all of the other moms and then I was in a real life “Lucy, you have some ‘splainin’ to do!” moment.

Turns out, Bradley found my blog post via twitter, which I never intended. He retweeted it and also said this:

I mean, it’s hard not to excited about things like this, even though social media makes it really easy for bands and other celebrities to throw their fans a bone in the form of Instagram likes and Twitter retweets, so I was trying to be cool about it but then I was like AW FUCK IT and posted it on Facebook, because it was a really big deal to me! And I made some new friends on Twitter because of it too, smart people who agree that Emarosa is better than ever.

This was kind of weird timing, because Henry and I had tickets to see Emarosa perform a small, intimate, acoustic set at Mahall’s in Cleveland. I was a little bit embarrassed, because you know how gushy I get in my writing, and Christ, I wrote that thing on my lunch break at work, without proof-reading of course, because I’m so “professional,” so I felt a little foolish. Does that make sense? There’s such a fine line between sincere fan and psycho stalker who thinks she has a future being a band wife.

I promise you I’m not the latter even at times it may seem that way!

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When Emarosa announced this quick, impromptu tour two weeks ago, I bought two tickets for the Mahall’s show immediately, and then woke Henry to tell him. Then he found out it was on a work night and I got grief from him about it every day up until the moment we were standing in the basement of Mahall’s, with Emarosa setting up less than a foot away from us.

(Literally, less than a foot. The girl next to me kept asking them if we were in the way and they said we were fine, but I definitely felt in the way, which is a normal feeling for me so it was basically just like any other day. Also, I wanted to scream I FUCKING LOOOOOOVE YOU!!!!! but instead I just buried my head in Henry’s chest.)

I felt sick, literally sick-to-my-stomach, like a chud of over-pickled cabbage was sloshing around in it, all day about seeing them because they just slay me right through the heart.

But then they started playing, and my nerves started to stop snapping and sizzling; it was just such a relaxed, campfire vibe, and everyone was so into it.

The whole band seemed to be in such good spirits, and there was a lot of joking and camaraderie. EVEN HENRY WAS SMILING.

Especially when Bradley had everyone sit down. That was Henry’s favorite part. Until he apparently lost feeling in his legs.  (Such an attention whore.)

The only light in that small basement room came from one red bulb, which made taking pictures and videos futile, even with no one standing in front of me. I didn’t want to be That Person who used a flash, so I eventually just hit record and aimed my phone at the floor, because who needs visual when the music is so beautiful on its own.

“You’re better than Jonny Craig!” some guy yelled from the middle of the crowd. Bradley smiled and said, “I know” and everyone cheered. I know it seems petty, but if you knew what it’s been like for the last 8 years, being let down by that piece of shit when you’re such a fan of his music, you would take sides too. Emarosa won all of the smart, grown-up fans in their divorce with Jonny.

They played some older songs too, “We Are Life” and “Heads or Tails…” and I swear to you, Bradley sings them better than Jonny ever did, without even trying.

After the show, I kind of just wanted to run out of there. Henry kept saying, “Whatever you want to do,” which wasn’t helping because I really wanted him to just, “You are going to go over there and say hello to Bradley or I will never go to another show with you. Ever. Again.”

The girl who was standing to me during the show was getting her CD signed by him, and no one else really seemed to be crowding him at the moment, so I sucked it up and edged a little closer. I didn’t see this happen, but according to Henry, after Bradley signed the girl’s CD, he began to walk toward me, but then she started saying something to him, so he stopped. Once she walked away, I can’t even believe this happened and it still feels like a dream, but he walked over and hugged me.

HUGGED ME. (Henry said that the girl who was talking to him before me had a WTF look on her face, lol.)

“It’s good to see you,” he said.

I was stunned.

“……do you know who I am?” I questioned, and then immediately hoped it didn’t come out sounding arrogant.

Bradley gave me a weird look and said yes.

HE KNEW WHO I WAS.

He told me that he read my whole blog post and it meant so much, he loved it.

I said, “I really wanted to talk to you last week at Warped Tour, but I get so nervous. I use my kid as my mouthpiece,” I laughed, and Bradley said I shouldn’t be nervous, and that he thought Chooch was so cool and he made his day.

I told him that he really wanted to come with us, and Bradley said he wished we would have brought him and now Chooch basically wants to kill me, haha. Then he asked me how long of a drive we had from Pittsburgh, so that was Henry’s chance to contribute to the conversation.

But I finally got to thank him to his face for breathing life back into Emarosa and I’m crying now as I’m typing this, but I told him how much that band means to me, and it’s just so wonderful getting to have positive experiences seeing them now and not wondering if their singer is going to be fucked up, slurring his words or flat out forgetting the lyrics, and trying to fight people from the stage.

And then he hugged me again.

To have someone I admire so much actually read something that I wrote, like a REAL something, a not just a tweet….it’s validating. I’ve been blogging since 2001, and writing in general since second grade (I used to write stories on the backs of my dittos, remember when we had dittos?!).  It’s also overwhelming and mind-blowing. This whole experience has helped heal me from past traumas of being treated poorly by band members that I once admired. It’s restored my faith in the scene and has only made me want to try even harder to get everyone I know to PLEASE FUCKING LISTEN TO THIS BAND. I love them so much that I bought an extra Versus album just so I could give it away on my blog last winter in hopes of gaining them another fan. And it worked! And not only did they gain a fan, but I gained a friend. Emarosa is awesome like that.

“You still haven’t met the rest of the band,” Henry said as we walked out of Mahall’s.

“I’m not ready for that yet!” I laughed.

Seriously, I wasn’t trying to cry that night. The way it ended was perfect, and I didn’t want to push my luck. 

Then I gave Henry reprieve from my need to dissect every single second of the night by texting and Facebook messaging my friends a CAPSLOCK summation of the evening, and they all responded to me with the proper amount of excitement and exclamation marks, GOD LOVE THEM.

“Wasn’t it worth it?” I asked Henry, shaking his arm as he tried to navigate his way out of Lakewood, Ohio. “Aren’t you so glad we came?!”

And you know what? He said yes.

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Jul 152015
 

I do this thing where, as I’m writing blog posts, I’m actually hearing myself talking in my head to a group of imaginary friends, kind of like when you’re preparing to take the stand in a murder trial by staring at yourself in a mirror and clearing your throat a lot. So while I was thinking of all the things I wanted to say in this post about Emarosa, my brain-voice was machine-gunning the words at such an alarming pace that I gave myself a headache.

In other words, I am fucking stoked as hell to tell you, imaginary friends, about how it felt to see Emarosa at Warped Tour last Thursday, a/k/a THE BEST DAY OF 2015 THUS FAR.

If you’re a new figment of my fake readership, let me give you a brief run-down of my love affair with Emarosa and why I didn’t give a shit who else was playing at the same time as them that day because this day trumps all. I fell in love with them in 2008 after Jonny Craig got kicked out of Dance Gavin Dance and picked up by Emarosa, currently in need a new singer. Jonny Craig was It for me back then so naturally Emarosa became my favorite band.

Jonny fucked them over big time in 2011, and so the rest of the band really had no choice but to part ways with him. Jonny was all, “Good luck Emarosa, you guys are nothing without me” and for awhile it was starting to look like he was right; they all but fell off the face of the earth, popping up sporadically to let Facebook and Twitter know that they weren’t done, they were still writing music and looking for a singer.

It took them three years, but they found Bradley Walden and proceeded to record their best album to date; it has never felt better being an Emarosa fan. My pride for them is so ridiculously over-the-top that you’d think Chooch was in the band.

Thinking of the shitty position that Jonny put Emarosa in (remember the MacBook scandal?) always leaves me with the bitter taste of chopped cabbage in my mouth.

(It’s worth noting that Emarosa only played the first leg of Warped Tour, and then a day after their last date, Jonny’s new band Slaves jumps on for the last leg. There was absolutely no overlap. #soblessed that the Pittsburgh date got Emarosa and not misogynistic, drama-perpetuating Slaves!)

I always get real on edge right before seeing a band that I’m super into, so around 4:30 (35 minutes before their set time), I started to feel pretty barfy, coupled with some intense pants-peeing giddiness. I mean that in all of the best ways, like back in high school when you would hide behind a corner, waiting to take a clandestine photo of Scott Dambaugh with your 35MM camera; or when you would have your mom drive you past his house; or when you and your best friend would walk “casual” laps around the mall while you hoped to spot him slinking about lazily in his billowing Stüssy pants, OMG IT WAS JUST LIKE THAT.

It had been raining, and I mean RA-HAY-NING, intermittently all day long, and it conveniently started up again right before 5:00. I was bummed, because Emarosa has been making huge waves this summer on Warped Tour, and were even bumped up to the main stage for one of the dates, thanks to their incredibly energetic performances. They’ve been growing more and more popular, and the pictures I had been seeing online showed that they were drawing really big crowds for a band playing on one of the smaller stages.

Unfortunately, the rain drove a ton of people clear to the other side of the venue, beneath the amphitheater’s sheltering roof, leaving very few of us to brave it out before the Kevin Says stage. By the time Emarosa came on, the rain was coming down in bullet-like sheets, and there were times I had to shut my eyes because it felt like my contacts were being knocked off my eyeballs.

But it was worth it. Fuck the rain! Bradley gave zero fucks about the weather and spent 95% of their set immersed in the audience. (The few times he was actually on stage, he was busy busting out basic gymnastics stunts and spinning Will upside down. He has done nothing short of busting his ass to win over the old Jonny Craig fans, and in the process, he has garnered a ton of new recruits as well. If I wasn’t such a blathering mess in these situations, I would like to hug him and thank him for breathing new life into Emarosa. And then I’d like to grovel in the faces of Will and Jordan about how grateful I am that they didn’t stop trying and how I never gave up, and how proud I am of them and most of all, fuck Jonny Craig! He was nothing but poison. I wasted so much time defending him when all he gave back was slurred performances and humiliating encounters. I’m too old to fuck around with that.

Moments after the above picture was taken, Bradley had crowd-surfed his way over to where I was standing and I got to touch him and was like OMFG about it for the rest of the day. Chooch likes to tell everyone that I cried, but I promise you I didn’t actually cry. I only cried once all day, and that was during PVRIS’s set. (MORE ON THAT IN ANOTHER POST.)

This was actually only my seventh time: 3x with Jonny as the singer, once with Tilian Pearson who was filling in when Jonny was forced to go to a detox facility, and 3x with Bradley. I am here to report that this was the best performance of them all. I was so excited that this was Chooch’s first time getting to see them live! He seemed really into it, and we were right in front of the barrier so he could see perfectly (not like Bradley was ever on the stage!) but there was a moment when I looked over my shoulder at Chooch and he was making this anguished face, so I thought to myself, “Oh boy, here we go. The Brat is surfacing.” Because he has a pretty low threshold when it comes to doing things he doesn’t want to be doing, so I thought maybe he had grown tired of Emarosa so quickly and was about to start whining about wanting to go home.

Boy, sit yo’ ass down. We ain’t leaving when Pierce the Veil is on next!

Anyway, I found out later that his contorted face was out of repulsion because there was a couple behind me who were making out, God forbid.

Just, wow. Bradley proves over and over that Jonny isn’t the only golden-throated angel in this scene. It makes me laugh that after Bradley had joined the band, Jonny was tweeting about how Emarosa wasn’t “allowed” to ever play “his” songs again, but they are. And Bradley is KILLING IT. “Set It Off Like Napalm” coming out of his mouth is almost too much for me to handle.

If we’re being honest here, I don’t think Emarosa is going to be this scene’s best kept secret much longer. They are too good and deserve mainstream success. I’m rooting for them so fucking hard.

***

Right after the last song ended (1996 On Bevard!), Bradley said he was going to be at their merch tent meeting everyone; after dropping the mic, he ran straight up that soggy, muddy hill, true to his word. We quickly followed, and thanks to the still-heavy rain, only about 20 people beat us there. There was a little bit of time to spare before Pierce the Veil, so I asked Chooch if he would be my proxy and meet Bradley and Chooch was like, “Yeah, duh.”

He’s clearly a pro at rubbing elbows with bands now, you guys.

“I dare you to tell him that he’s better than Jonny,” I said, laughing as we stood in line.

“What will you give me if I do?” he immediately asked, his wagering cap securely fastened under his chin. It’s never free with him! What happened to the days when the mere act of accepting and completing a dare was all the glory needed?

So I promised him a dollar. That little crook.

I know Chooch already posted this picture in his own blog post, but it is too glorious not to repost over and over again.

God I can’t even remember what happened now when it was Chooch’s turn, I was shaking so bad. But I will tell you that right after I took this picture, Chooch started to walk away but then turned back and said, “You’re better than Jonny.”

“Thanks, man!  I agree,” Bradley said, propelling me into a tailspin of IS THIS REAL LIFE.

I shot myself with a horse tranquilizer just in time to chime in with, “We’re Team Emarosa!” Bradley probably said “thanks” or something, but I couldn’t hear past the psychotic ringing in my ears.

“You’re so goddamn awkward,” Henry said after we walked away. WTF I felt like I was being pretty OK and normal for once? I dwelled on it on for the rest of the day, trying to recreate in my head what I must have sounded like. Probably Bullwinkle. So, thanks, Henry. I’m glad you fucking fell down the hill!

***

I’ve been going through serious withdrawals like I always do after a show, particularly Warped Tour. But the good news is that I’M GOING TO SEE EMAROSA AGAIN TOMORROW NIGHT IN CLEVELAND, WOO!

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Jul 132015
 

Everyone is always OMGPITTSBURGH<3 and I’m just like, “Eh. Pittsburgh is alright.” This is probably why I don’t really fit the whole “Pittsburgh blogger” label.  However, the one time I REALLY love it here is during the annual Anthrocon!

You might already know that Pittsburgh has somehow, someway, become the official city of the furry convention. Most of my co-workers get so stoked for this time of the summer because furry-sighting is, how can I put this, FUCKING EXHILARATING.

But the reason it makes me love my city so much is that Pittsburgh of all cities has somehow banded together and invited an unconventional social group into its golden triangle.

Who knew that my city could be so open-minded? Go on with your progressive self, Pittsburgh.

Anthrocon has been held here since 2006 (I believe, and I’m too tied to look it up; for fucks sake, I’m writing this on my phone during Teen Wolf commercial breaks, so if you want facts, go turn on the news and hope for the best) but this year was the first time that they moved their parade outside so that anyone, even non-convention goers, could gather ’round and revel in the mascot circle jerk.

Henry and I brought Chooch downtown to be a part of this cuddly moment in anthropomorphic history. Chooch was fine, in a really mild and amiable mood the whole there on the trolley, but as we walked down Liberty Avenue on the way to the convention center, his Veruca Salt switch was flipped and we (and everyone who has the displeasure of sharing curb real estate with us) were treated to a royal shit show, a sticky meltdown of chocolate drama and vitriolic sprinkles dripping down Chooch’s face and hands.

 

The time bomb is ticking.

Eventually, he was straight writhing on the sidewalk, whining and moaning about his parents had the audacity to take his photosensitive ass out into the SWELTERING JULY SUN, and they wouldn’t even give him any water because THEY WANT HIM TO DIE.

I had a bottle of water. Every time I offered it to him, he kicked it away so guess what? NO WATER FOR YOU, JERK-SON. Seriously.

There was baby in a stroller, crying its face off across the street, and even that was less annoying that the defective attitude of my nine-year-old brat-child. I found out later that there were actually a lot of people there that I know, and either they just didn’t see me or Chooch’s rotating demon head was serving as a natural social deterrent.

Then I made Henry hold this sign and he started whining just as bad as Chooch.

It’s a miracle that Chooch even agreed to pause his public cry to Child Protective Services in order to have his photo taken with what I thought was Jesus Lizard, but then some dick on Instagram corrected me and said it was actually Raptor Jesus, which is disappointing because I thought it was an homage to the band.

But I guess that’s giving too much credit.

Still, it’s humorous to me that Chooch was wearing his Lucipurr shirt next to Jesus something-or-other. I should have asked him if he could perform a quick exorcism, but he was one of those serious, non-speaking furries.

Luckily, the parade started only a little bit behind schedule, and everyone erupted into happy cheers. Quite a crowd had formed and it was downright heartwarming. Such a nice display of acceptance, and some of the furries even yelled things like, “We love Pittsburgh!” as they strode past. (I mean, the ones who are allowed to speak, anyway.)

Chooch quickly realized that he could turn this parade into a competition to see who got more high-fives and suddenly he was alert and no longer googling “foster families” and “how to make a hobo bindle out of Henry’s bandannas” on the bedazzled phone he stole from the broad next to us.

I clearly won the high-five contest because hello — I’m the original competitive douchebag in our household. I got three high fives in a row that Chooch missed, so that went over real well. We both got some head pats, too; those were 5 points.

I was positively giddy with furry love. But, I’m pretty simple so I get easily swept away in moments of group camaraderie. Collecting high-fives was insanely enjoyable for me.

Henry got ZERO high fives because all of the furries probably thought he was a NARC.

I don’t know if these rabbits are from something, or if these costumes are original, but they were fucking fantastic either way.

The sun was blazing that day. I can only imagine that inside those suits of funfur was the rancid spice of curdled armpit sauce and rotting galumpki in a dumpster outside of the Terra Haute State Pen. Except that I’m not imaging it really because I don’t have time to throw up right now.

ONE OF THE FURRIES WAS WEARING A BRING ME THE HORIZON SHIRT.

Sadly, I didn’t see the Walrus, even though I know he was in town because Sandy spotted him the night before and texted me a picture of him. I kept waiting and waiting and Henry was like, “He’s not here” and I was like, “NO. HE HAS TO BE! HE’S GOING TO BE THE LAST ONE, BECAUSE HE’S THE BEST ONE.” But no. He wasn’t the grand marshal, like I had hoped. So sad.

After the parade, we stood in line for milkshakes with furries. Only in Pittsburgh.

Chooch and I were best friends again by the time we got home, don’t worry. I can’t stay mad at that jerk.

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Jul 112015
 

It happened in between PVRIS and Emarosa. We were walking down a hill, headed to the Black Craft Cult merch tent because Henry wanted to get a larger size in the Lucipurr shirt he bought for Chooch. Henry was in front of us when Chooch spotted the Warped Youtubers tent over to the left. A small line had formed, idiot girls waiting to get their pictures taken with these kids who are inexplicably Youtube famous.

What a world we live in, where the term “Youtube famous” is a thing.

“I want to meet BryanStars,” Chooch decided right then and there. “I just want to hear him say ‘Werped Ter.'”

As I mentioned in a previous post, Chooch and I like to watch these Warped Tour videos on YouTube and crack up at how some of the Midwestern Youtubers say Warped Tour. Bryan Stars is the major one who we ironically watch, and it drives Henry up the wall. He absolutely cannot stand this kid, because Henry is an Internet bully.

I’m not really sure how Bryan Stars became “famous,” but he has been interviewing bands on YouTube for years. One of his sit-downs with Never Shout Never turned into a notorious shit show and Bryan Stars is so beloved by his fans, that NSN ended up taking a lot of heat for blowing up at him. (Christofer Drew even made him cry!) It is incredibly painful to watch.

 

So we get in line and I’m like, “Whyyyyy are we doing this? This is so embarrassing!” and Chooch is all, “No it will be great. We’ll just hear him say Werp Ter and then we’ll leave.”

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And then Henry realized we weren’t behind him anymore and had to retrace his steps. Please see above photo for his reaction when he saw what we were in line for.

“Daddy’s so disappointed in us,” Chooch laughed.

So then it was our stupid turn and Bryan was all, “Hey man, what’s up?”

Chooch: *becomes a cabbage*

Me: *Gets Warped Tour schedule wet with tears as I see all the bands we’re missing at this moment*

Bryan: Do you watch my videos?

Chooch, nervously: Uh….not really.

Me: *dies slowly*

Bryan: Do you want a picture?

Chooch, shrugging again: Sure, OK, yeah, I guess.

Me: *take the fastest picture of my life while backing away*

 

Bryan: Do you want to meet Jordan? Hey Jordan, come here.

Chooch: *……….*

Me: *please make it end*

Jordan: *lots of awkward body movements that I think might have been a wave*

Me: *This is so dumb*

Bryan: Um, so, do you like, want to be in a band when you grow up?

Chooch: Uh, not really.

Me, desperately attempting to make a fissure in the ice: I want him to be, but he’s going to end up being something stupid….like a doctor.

[No one laughs.]

Jordan: *reaches out awkwardly to shake my hand*

Me: *swept away in a gust of awkwardness*

Bryan: So…..are you having fun at Werp Ter?

Chooch: *explodes*

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And then for the next hour, Chooch relived this moment and cracked the fuck up.

I was so pissed off at him though, because they were so awkward to begin with, and Chooch was making it worse by barely answering their questions, so then I felt obligated to say words and the whole time I was like WHY AM I STANDING HERE WITH THESE KIDS?!

Meanwhile, we found out later that right after we ditched Henry to go to the Warped YouTubers tent, Henry slid down the hill.

That was literally the only bad part of the day. Henry slid down the hill.

AND WE MISSED IT.

But, Chooch got to hear ‘Werp Ter’ so I guess that’s all that matters.

(Ugh, it pains me to admit this, but those guys were super sweet and adorable, even while slowly pulling us down in their awkward quicksand.)

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Jul 082015
 

Today, I was going to further desecrate and defame my relationship with Henry by writing IN DETAIL about the horrible, dreadful, almost-broke-up-over, July 3rd we had. And I still probably will, but today I was way too preoccupied with JITTERS and GIDDINESS and ROLLER COASTER STOMACH because it’s motherfucking Warped Tour Eve and all I want to do is fantasize about this:

and daydream about this:

and get stoked for this:

and Chooch is going to cry over this:

I’m going to attempt to live blog tomorrow because I love live blogging and I love Warped Tour and IT JUST MAKES SENSE because god forbid I forget to record a single Henry frown or scene kid side-swoop or EVERY TIME I DIED. I even made a “Don’t Forget” list at work today, like I even really needed it, but it made me happy to write things down that I need to bring with me to WARPED TOUR, ahhhh!

I love that my work friends play into this shit with me. Todd was even on the Warped Tour website, looking at the list of bands, and sarcastically saying things like, “Wow, I’m really excited that H2O is going to be there.” And then when I was leaving, they were like “OMG HAVE FUNNNN!” like I was running off to get married. Even Glenn mumbled, “havefun.” when he left today, but I think he is actually pretty stoked because he finally gets a reprieve for a day.

***

Chooch and I were fighting in the car on Sunday (what else is new), and I  cried, “Chooch isn’t going to Warped Tour with us because he’s going to ruin my day!”

Chooch yelled, “Oh please, SHE is going to ruin MY day!”

Henry chimed in and said, “I don’t know what you two are arguing for. The only one who ever has their day ruined at Warped Tour is me.” He’d rather stay home and manscape his beard into a cabbage patch. 

We do this super fun and not at all obnoxious thing where we play Warped Tour “survival” YouTube videos on the TV and Henry gets so irritated because it’s always some apathetic scene kid drowning in their own Hot Topic sponsered ennui, making awkward faces, and telling everyone not to forget to bring their ticket and how like staying hydrated is important and shit. There was one girl in particular who got on Henry’s nerves so bad that I subscribed to her channels and then put on a video of her talking for 8 minutes about how she had nothing to say, followed by a tutorial with her friend Maddie (who is not going to Warped Tour this year) on how to follow boxed cake directions. 

Chooch’s faves are the YouTubers from the Midwest who pronounce it “Werp Ter.”

***

There is no way I’m going to be able to sleep tonight.

EMAROSA THO!!!!!!!!

 

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Jul 032015
 

Henry and I are off work today, so we’re going to some large flea market in Ohio that only happens on Fridays so we never get to go because Jobs. (We’re dragging Chooch with us of course and he is pretty surly about this right now.) I’m hoping to find a wheelchair (so that Henry can make me cry when he points out that it won’t fit in the car) and obviously SUCCULENTS. I haven’t bought any SUCCULENTS in like two weeks because I’ve been funneling all of my attention onto my ailing Ted NUDE-gent, but Henry re-potted him and I think maybe he’ll be OK because he hasn’t seemed to have gotten any worse.

So before any new SUCCULENT-adopting happens, I wanted to introduce the Internet to the rest of the ones I brought to their forever home (lol) a few weeks ago.

Heeeeeeere’s Agnes!

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Henry bought the virginlicious planter at some thrift shop while Chooch and I were at the Sleeping With Sirens two weeks ago. When he sent me a picture of it, I was like, “Do you even need to ask me!?” Agnes fits perfectly!

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Agnes is very sturdy.

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I forget what type of succulent she is.

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Suzy Banyon by candlelight. I took this picture the other night because I just wanted to get closer to Agnes so she could protect me when Chooch and I were watching The Exorcist.

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This is Yootha Joyce. I like her because she looks like a bunch of stars stacked together.

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Sõrg! Isn’t he a babe? He’s a “Fang” succulent, and sorg means fang in Estonian, apparently; I asked my cabbage dealer. I painted an old candle votive thing just for him and then didn’t wait long enough for it to dry because I’m impatient and Henry got really annoyed, which was actually just a continuation of him already being annoyed about something I had done previously to annoy him because when isn’t he annoyed?

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Whenever Gayle found out that there was a Swat situation on my street a few weeks ago, she asked me, “Is it your house? Too many plants in the window?” GOOD ONE, GAYLE!

I will leave you now, my fair friends, with a beautiful song that I think my succulents are really responding to. This joint makes me want to do slow Cabbage Patches all around Henry until he can no longer deny my presence.

Alone. is the side project of Michael Franzino from A Lot Like Birds and it is a thing of beauty, just like my plants.

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Jun 292015
 

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It rained A LOT over the weekend, so when we had a little bit of a reprieve on Sunday afternoon, I begged Chooch to go for a walk with me. And then, since he got to buy a new Skylander on Saturday, I guilted him into letting me take more pictures of him, because I was bored as fuck. (This happens every time I designate a “chill” weekend. I am just not meant to sit at home.)

Henry, barely glancing up from the couch, mumbled, “Be careful” as we walked out the door.

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There are a lot of creepy alleys in Brookline, so we picked one and went from there.

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Chooch’s dumb mouth set off a series of dog-barking, which was totally annoying and brought a ton of attention to the two a-holes slinking around suspiciously behind houses. As we neared what seemed to be the alpha dog on the street, I mistakenly said, “Hi buddy!” which alerted, I am not shitting you, EIGHT MORE DOGS to come charging at the fence from the side of the house.

Granted, they were all really small dogs, terriers and things like that (I’m bad with recognizing canine breeds), but their barks were way bigger than the large alpha dog guarding the gate. Chooch and I cracked up because it was so cartoon-ish how this herd of tiny dogs just materialized seemingly out of nowhere.

I bet that street doesn’t have a burglary problem.

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His face is always dirty.

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Chooch got this shirt from the Pierce the Veil show in Lancaster when he was 6. I think it’s an Adult XS and now it almost doesn’t fit him anymore! :(

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Yes, please. Pretend like you’re breaking and entering. Alert more hounds.

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I like this one because it looks like he’s in a “DON’T COME NEAR ME!” stance, which is lovely and sends all the right messages to Child Protective Services.

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Almost all of Chooch’s time these days is monopolized by the neighborhood kids (he has a fan club — they sit on the porch and wait for him) so I was happy that he gave me 30 minutes of his precious time. He actually didn’t even bitch about it once we got out of the door!

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I’m pretty sure the only reason Chooch agreed to go on this walk with me is because he was hoping to stumble upon his GIRLFRIEND.

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On the way home, we walked past succulent city! Some house had a whole shit load of succulents in long troughs and I plucked one of the leaves right the fuck off so I could take it home and propagate it because “propagate” is now a regular part of my vocabulary. Chooch was appalled that I “stole” this, but no dogs barked so it was an easy getaway.

***

Later that night, I was inspired by the upcoming premier of the new MTV Scream series (and also my brother Corey’s fanatical texts while watching MTV’s Scream marathon) to revisit the first Scream movie. Somehow, Chooch has lived nine years without ever seeing it (though he does know about it), so he ran upstairs to grab his blanket and then settled in on the couch with Henry and me in a rare, American family moment. (Henry will usually go in the other room and pretend like he’s doing important things on the computer when we watch horror movies because he’s scared.)

“That lady looks familiar,” Chooch said at one point.

“She was on ‘Friends,'” I said, and then he knowingly said, “Oh yeah. Courtney Cox.”

This cracked me up, that a nine-year-old knows Courtney Cox’s name because of ‘Friends’.

Anyway, after Scream ended, Chooch emphatically announced, “I LOVED IT.” And then, after thinking about it, he added, “I didn’t know it was going to be so funny, too.” Nothing fazes him.

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Jun 212015
 

Here is a thing you should know about me in case you’re ever trying to really butter me up (or poison me) by sending me baked goods: I LOVE LAVENDER-FLAVORED FOODS. A few springs ago, Caribou Coffee used to have a lavender latte and it was fucking dreamy but then it went away and I got bug-eyed looks from baristas every time I asked for it after that. (Thank god for Monin syrups and Henry’s basic kitchen knowledge, because he has been known to whip me up some lavender simple syrup when he’s trying to keep me from leaving him for someone more age-appropriate.)

My friend Kara alerted me a few weeks ago to the Destiny Hill Farm’s lavender festival in Washington, PA. I forwarded this news along to Henry who didn’t even question it because he knew that taking me to this was essential to my existence. So that’s what we did yesterday and Chooch was PISSED because it required being in the car for like, 45 minutes, god forbid. But he’s really into the Smashing Pumpkins now so listening to Mellon Collie and reading the lyrics kept him quiet.

I know: a lavender festival seems like such a plebeian event for me to attend, right? But you know how I am with things: I either REALLY LIKE THINGS to the point of restraining orders or REALLY HATE THINGS to the point of cease & desist letters.

I started screaming when I saw this sign and Henry was like, “OK ERIN.”

We got to ride a school bus! I LOVE SHUTTLING TO FESTIVALS!

I will try to make this short and sweet: I tasted lots of delicious things infused with lavender (and bought it all too), only hated one person (some overly-inquisitive broad who cut in front of me at the honey stand when all I wanted was a sample of the lavender honey but had to stand there and listen to her ask 87 questions about raw honey and I was like “I’M SORRY BUT THIS IS NOT A LECTURE HALL DO YOU WANT A SAMPLE OR NOT?), ruined a pair of TOMS in the soggy farmgrounds, and managed to apply TEAMWORK with Chooch in order to cut our own lavender without the assistance of Henry (we wandered off without him and then he couldn’t find us and was pissed because OH LOOK WHO’S LOST NOW!), and basically felt like I was floating on a giant lavender-stuff satchel. It was a dreamy kind of day.

I ATE THIS! HONEY LAVENDER GELATO! My god, it was like the Garden of Eden was melting upon my sinful tongue. I DON’T KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS. Lavender makes my brain shut down.

This was the exact moment that Chooch saw two girls around his age, giggling and wearing crowns of lavender. He looked at me and mumbled, “Shut up.”

“OMG LAVENDER.”

Chooch was fine until he ate a sample of lavender fudge that burned his throat, so then he spent a good portion of the time there wearing his thespian cap. He was miraculously cured when we found a baby donkey to pet, though. But then later, we were sampling balsamic vinegar and when the lady gave Chooch a sample cup of it, he threw it back like a shot before we had a chance to stop him. So that was A Scene.

Stoked for lavender.

We left the festival with Lavender sparkling wine, lavender fudge, lavender honey, lavender balsamic vinegar, bellies full of lavender lemonade & cookies, freshly cut lavender sprigs, and a purple beaded necklace! In addition to all of this, Henry also left with a headache spawned from all the times I screamed IT’S INTOXICATING! while shoving my lavender bundle in his face, and a newfound hatred of Kara.

I DRANK THIS LAST NIGHT. Not the whole bottle, even though I wanted to.

The only downside to the festival, other than ruining my TOMS, was that there was no lavender coffee! There was definitely a coffee vendor there, but it seemed to be offering just the usual suspects. Unless I missed it, but that seems unlikely since I’m never wrong.

Chooch had so much fun* at the lavender festival, that his hair turned lavender, too.

*(That might be a slight exaggeration.)

******

Today we are spending Father’s Day at Waldameer Park with our Henry who hates amusement! Happy Father’s Day to any dad who might be reading this dump.

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Jun 192015
 

Guys, hey guys. Over here, guys. I have some more succulents that are so stoked to meet you! (No, it’s not the serial killer greeting cards or the haunted house journals or the cemetery picnics, IT IS THE PLANTS THAT MAKE ME INSANE!) Anyway, my new thing in life, in case you somehow missed the botanical bulletin, is to adopt succulents and then spend a ridiculous amount of time fretting over the perfect container to pot them in, and then we all go outside on the porch for a photo shoot.
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I think I already showed you guys Ted Nude-Gent in my introductory foray into plant-blogging, but here is a sultry, scandalous, seductive close-up. BOW CHICKA ALL DAY LONG AM I RIGHT.

One of the times I was outside potting my new acquisitions last weekend, Hot Naybor Chris’s wife came out of their house and was all, “Ooh, whatcha makin’?” So I was strong-armed into small talk, which at first was OK because OMG I love to talk about my babes. But then she was telling me about the plants she has potted on her porch, but they’re not succulents so I was like, “zzzzzzzzz.” Succulents or GTFO.

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Some aerial shots of Phil-Angie. I almost forgot his name the other day and I still feel guilty about it.

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This prickly puppy still needs a name, so let me know if you have any suggestions!

Saturday morning, Henry was like, “Do you want to get your new phone or plants?” I looked at him like he was a doof-fuck for asking. “Plants,” I snapped. Obviously! So he took me to some nursery out in Allison Park. The drive there is only about 35 minutes but Chooch was SO PISSED because he hates being in the car and of course we weren’t telling him where we were going so when we pulled into the nursery’s lot, he cried, “Are you kidding me!? I hate my life.” But then there was a cat roaming around, so he was placated.

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After adopting several potted pets from the nursery, we swung by a nearby Lowe’s, which had a much better selection than the one by our house, i.e. the one that bore my obsession. This one had a pretty large display, but I quickly noticed that most of them looked diseased and malnourished.

“They’re not getting enough sunlight!” I cried to Henry.

“There’s a skylight right above them,” he pointed up at the ceiling.

“LOWE’S ABUSES THEIR SUCCULENTS!” I yelled, making sure there was some asshole in a Lowe’s apron within earshot.

And then some motherfucker was blocking one side of the succulent stand. Just fucking standing around and chatting it up with some bitch he ran into, NOT EVEN LOOKING AT THE SUCCULENTS, like this was a goddamn water cooler. And the worst part was that in addition to blocking it with his stupid body, he also had a large cart that was jutting out, preventing me from getting as close I needed to be.

I turned to Henry and said in more than an indoor voice, “NICE PLACE FOR THAT ASSHOLE TO STAND. LIKE, GO OUTSIDE AND TALK. I CAN’T BELIEVE HOW RUDE THIS DOUCHEBAG IS BEING.”

“Are you done?” Henry sighed.

“NO BECAUSE THERE IS ONE I WANT DOWN THERE BUT I CAN’T REACH IT BECAUSE THAT MAN IS BLOCKING IT!”

So then I made exaggerated motions to illustrate how hard I was trying to reach over the man’s cart in order to grab a plant I had been eying.  So before this could escalate, Henry walked over and politely asked the man to move it.

Finally free to claim the plant I wanted, we headed over to the register. I was still mouthing off about how rude that man was.

Henry said, “You could have just said excuse me.”

“I shouldn’t have to! He should know not to park his cart in front of the succulents!!”

“OK,” Henry conceded in exhaustion.

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I may have beef with Lowe’s, but at least they had this adorable Living Rock dude! I have been dying to add a Living Rock to my collection! (LOL, like I’ve been collecting plants for 15 years and not just two weeks.) I actually carried this guy home in my lap because he’s too adorbs and I wanted to stare at him with googly eyes.

I named him Little Otik, after Little Otik from the movie Little Otik. Google Little Otik if you haven’t heard of Little Otik prior to my mentioning of Little Otik.

Glenn was walking past my desk the other day and I stopped him. “GLENN, LOOK AT LITTLE OTIK!” So Glenn was standing there, looking at Little Otik, and I was looking at Little Otik, and then finally Glenn began shaking a stack of papers at me and said, “ARE YOU GOING TO TAKE THIS? I’M NOT GOING TO STAND HERE ALL DAY” and here, the only reason he stopped at my desk before going back to his was because he had grabbed my print job for me (I know, I was shocked too) and was waiting for me to take it.

“Oh,” I said sadly. “I thought you just wanted to keep looking at Little Otik.”

Later, I witnessed him getting INVITED TO A PARTY and when I whipped around in my chair to add my own disparaging remarks to the conversation, he told me to go home and play with my plants, which probably sounded weird to the guy he was talking to. (It was TERRY, if any of my work pals are wondering.)

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DIEM AND CT! I named them after Diem (RIP) and CT from the MTV Challenge. They must not ever be separated.

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I was so excited about Diem and CT that I texted a picture of them to my brother Corey on the ASAP. He was excited but then he asked, “Um, how many plants do you have now?!”

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Last weekend, I learned that my succulents are going to grow?! I thought that was why they had various sizes available, like S, M, L. All this time I’ve been picking the Size S versions of all my succulents because I thought they were midgets, and midgets don’t grow.

So…

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CRAZY PLANT LADY. Look at Panne over there in the right-hand corner! God love ’em.

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Just hanging out with Suzy Banyon, Nipsy, Ted Nude-Gent, and Panne, no big deal.

In other, stupid plant news, I remembered to water my fledgling spider plant at work the other day. I hate him. He’s no succulent.

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I still have more plants to show you! I’ll save that for another day. I don’t want you guys to get too excited all at once.

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Jun 142015
 

I bought tons of new plants yesterday and I have so much to tell you about them, B(otany)log! But it’s hot in my house and I don’t have much time today, so instead let’s spotlight my favorite one of the lot: CARLY.

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My brother Corey wanted me to name one of my plants Carly, after two Carlys: Carly Simon (because of that famed game night where we were playing Catchphrase and all Henry said was, “I don’t know….she’s a singer” and I jokingly screamed, and I mean SCREAMED “CARLY SIMON!” totally randomly and it ended up being right, wtf) and also Carly Rae Jepsen, based on the obsession Chooch and I had with Call Me Maybe during the summer of 2012. (Remember Ross’s Blackberry?!) But that particular plant didn’t look Carly-esque, and that plant became known as Stefano DiMera.

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But then I saw this Pink Vygie (heh heh heh vygie) at some nursery yesterday, and I was like, “That’s the one! That’s Carly!” because it’s got the thorny parts to represent Carly Simon bad-assery and unconventional beauty, and the pink stem-things reflect CRJ’s bubblegum pop. (I AM DEEP IN THE PLANT GAME, PEOPLE.)

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I didn’t realize that Carly was going to have FLOWERS on her until we got home (because I don’t read the informational tags that come with the plants after that part that states their species) and Henry was like, “Oh wow look the plant bloomed” in his typical “who cares” tone and I was like, “SHE HAS FLOWERS ON HER!?” Even more apropos! WHAT A POP STAR!

I adopted Carly at the perfect time too, because my CRJ obsession has been reactivated with the buzz of her upcoming album release. I AM OBSESSED WITH THE TITLE TRACK “EMOTION”! It reminds me of rollerskating parties at Spinning Wheels in the late 80s and I just feel so happy and excited for summer.

I can’t even say she’s a guilty pleasure, because I feel no guilt. MY LOVE IS UNABASHED.

And then this joint is the perfect couple skate jam and why am I sitting in my dining room writing this and not gliding gracefully around a roller rink RIGHT NOW?! Ugh. Everything I’ve heard from this album gives me those dreamy late-80s pop feels. I am really anxious to hear the tracks she wrote with Tegan and Sara and Sia.

Ugh, I love you, CRJ.

And in case you read the Ross’ Blackberry post and wondered “WELL?! DID HE GET HIS PHONE BACK?!” the shocking conclusion can be read here.

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Jun 092015
 

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Well, guys. I’m still obsessed with my succulents. Earlier tonight, I unwound by taking some of them outside for a PHOTO SHOOT. It gets really wild over here sometimes. And crunk, too, if anyone still says that. Anyway, I named this one Suzy Banyon.

 

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One of the downsides to where I live is that there are ALWAYS people walking by and I kind of felt like I was being watched as I filmed a porno, you know? Because what I was doing was so INTIMATE. I’ve never been one to take photos of flowers and general objects of nature, so that’s how you know I am infatuated with my dumb plant collection. Henry’s mom was here today and right away I shouted COME LOOK AT MY PLANTS OMG. She agreed that Bae is pretty much the shit. 

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This babe is Gossamer.

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And you already know Bae! THIS IS A CLOSEUP OF BAE.

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More Bae!

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Sandworm, obvi. [Sidenote: I finally have a use for the root beer jug Janna bought me for my birthday at the Fayette County Fair a few years ago!]

 

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My precious Panne.

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PANNE AGAIN. I think Panne might be tied with Bae for my favorite.

 

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Nipsy.

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This one is still a John Doe. I have to stare at it intensely some more. EDIT: Monica has dubbed this one Stefano Dimera because, like his namesake from Days of Our Lives, he’s hard to kill! (hopefully.)

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Gossamer’s nickname is Nun’s Vag.

Henry just walked by and sighed. That might be my cue.

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Jun 082015
 

One day last week, Timehop was all, “Hey crazy lady, here’s a round-up of all the cat-related things you posted about on the Internet on this date in the past.” Look, they’re not ALWAYS cat-related, OK? But this particular Timehop day was prolific with Marcy shout-outs:

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For instance, one year ago when she was street-teaming for the new Emarosa release, and two years ago when I was trying to create a real-life Vampire Diaries story-arc to help keep Marcy alive forever.

Real talk: I have been a hot mess since putting Marcy to sleep on 3/31. For some reason, I have been bottling it up this time around. OK, not for “some reason.” I know it’s because part of me is like, “If I pretend like I’m OK, I’ll be OK!” Which is so stupid and I’m normally such a huge advocate for crying it out. Nothing has felt right since she died, and getting that tribute tattoo opened the floodgates. I have cried every day since then and…it has felt pretty good. Even Henry was like, “It’s OK. Just let yourself cry.” AND HE IS A HERO SO HE WOULD KNOW. I really do feel a sense of peace now that I have her furry face permanently etched upon my arm, but man—-I fucking miss her so hard. 17 years is a long time to be around someone every day and then have them taken away, so I know that feeling this way is normal, but I guess I also didn’t want to get to that point where I was making everyone around me feel uncomfortable, because “fuck, she’s crying about her cat again, maybe we should call HR.” I have pretty much stopped painting since her death, too. It’s like, why bother.

I was so nervous, like stomach-churning nervous, all day long prior to my tattoo session, mostly because I hadn’t seen the design yet but also because I knew that I was going to be struggling to hold it all together. As soon as I arrived at Kyklops, Erin pulled the sketch out of a folder and my eyes started to well up so fast because it was like being face-to-face with Marcy again; literally love at first sight. There wasn’t one single thing that I wanted changed. Then, while Erin was prepping, I noticed that she had the most perfect portrait of Mike Patton not only hanging on her wall, but also tattooed on her inner arm. So we talked about Faith No More and that made me start to calm down.

I had over three hours to sit in a chair and think. We talked here and there, but I’m not a big talker while getting tattooed, and we were both in the zone. So I sat quietly and thought a lot about how everything has changed. For the first time in my whole entire life, I am without a pet. It is devastating, but I just don’t feel ready to bring a new one in. I still have guilt. And it feels so raw that as I’m typing this, tears are burning my eyes and my heart seems like it’s actually sighing. So I started thinking of plants, succulents to be specific. I have been wanting to bring some into the house for some time now, mostly because the idea of finding/making/repurposing containers in which to hold them is super appealing to me. Second, they are supposed to be easy. Part C, because they’re pretty weird-looking and I love weird-looking things (see: Henry, jewelry made of teeth, Asian fruit). And most importantly, because I need something to take care of and take my mind off things.

No, plants aren’t replacing my pets, but they’re an adequate fill-in for the time being and they make my house look prettier. (Kind of.)

(Side note: this tattoo has healed almost magically; it’s kind of bizarre. But several people at work even commented on how it already looked healed and I really feel like it’s because Erin is just seriously amazing. Of course, I threw in the fact that it’s because she’s a girl and Glenn was like, “OH PLZ” and made some disgusted noise.)

The very next day, Henry took me to Lowe’s and we bought three succulents: some jade-plant thingie and two cacti.

I am smitten. IS THAT WEIRD? That me, Erin Rachelle Kelly, after 35 years of not giving a basic shit about vegetation, is suddenly O to the Bsessed with these creepy earth-growths? I spend most of my free time Googling about them and perusing succulent shops on Etsy and YES EVEN WATCHING YOUTUBE VIDEOS, which caused Chooch to walk by, stop, roll his eyes and mumble, “Oh Jesus Christ” as some d-bag urban gardener taught me how to propagate*.

*(That means MULTIPLY my succulents, you guys! THEY MAKE BABIES!)

I happily potted the jade thing in a nudie mug that I bought at the flea market over 10 years ago and have always been too afraid to drink from so it’s been sorely underused all this time. So of course he’s aptly named Ted Nudegent.

Chooch planted his in some old coconut thing that I drank booze from at some Italian festival in West Virginia one year. (Ha-ha, just kidding. Henry planted it.)

I spent all week pining for more succulents. And then, Henry took me to buy more on his birthday! I guess Henry enjoys garden-y stuff. I asked him if he used to have a garden and he said yes and then I asked him if we could talk about it and he quickly snapped NO because he’s always trying to keep secrets. So we bought some new plants at Home Depot, where an older man came up behind me, said “Excuse me, dear” and then PUT HIS HANDS ON MY WAIST AS HE SQUEEZED PAST ME and I seriously couldn’t stop reliving the moment for the rest of the weekend because it WAS SO INTIMATE and I really dislike human contact. Henry witnessed this whole horrifying scene and actually laughed out loud in public, which he hardly ever does in private, even. And then I was all excited because we were listening to Pet Shop Boys in the car on the way there and then it was also playing at Home Depot! I couldn’t believe it and was just about to mention something about kismet or serendipity to Henry when I realized that Pet Shop Boys was actually PLAYING LOUDLY FROM INSIDE MY PURSE because Spotify had switched over from the car stereo to my phone.

Maybe that older man was actually trying to dance with me?!

Ugh.

After Home Depot, we went to an actual nursery which was a HUGE LET DOWN and I made lots of angry and disappointed noises every time we walked past an employee so that they would know how worthless their dumb plant store was. Thank god we wrapped up Saturday’s succulent spree with a stop at Goodwill, where I found some 1970s-esque mugs and then lost Chooch but he was just in the bathroom so it’s OK.

I named this guy Phil Angie because he looks like alien finger (a/k/a phalanges, WATCH AN EPISODE OF FRIENDS NOW AND THEN, WHY DON’T YOU).

Haunting.

 

This one is Chooch’s, obviously.

The mug on the right is from Taormina, Sicily and had been collecting dust on my shelf for the last 15 years. WELL, NOT NO MO’.

Some of my new adopted friends are still Jane and John Does. These things take time. I don’t give hasty names.

These photos are horrible. Don’t worry—I plan on doing a legit photo shoot with my real camera. I need to make hats for them first.

Not really a secret, but this one is my favorite so naturally I have to call him Bae. (Also, I had to explain to Glenn this morning what Bae means and he looked sorry that he asked.)

Panne, for pannekoek, because he’s obviously Dutch.

And then yesterday, Henry took me to another Home Depot while Chooch was at piano lessons and I got even more ahhhh can you stand it?! When we picked Chooch up, I was like, “GUESS WHAT I GOT?! MORE SUCCULENTS!” and he made a really disappointed, tired sigh. But whatev—Pearl and Aloysius are such babes!

I have even more than this windowsill illustrates now. Last night, I bought RARE SUCCULENT SEEDS from some Etsy seller in CYPRUS! Wendy said that I probably invited some deadly disease into the States but who cares once my bunny-eared succulents sprout!

This morning, I was still getting ready for work when Chooch started to leave for school.

“Say goodbye to the succulents!” I shouted down the stairs.

“No!” he shouted back with disgust. But then I heard him quietly sigh, “Goodbye, succulents. Goodbye, Bae.”

I couldn’t wait to come to work and share pictures of my new acquisitions with everyone! Glenn was thoroughly impressed and has added “I hope your succulents die” to his malicious repertoire of retorts.

I couldn’t even make it through our weekly meeting today without blurting out that I’m collecting plants now. This conversation carried on as we all walked back to our desks after the meeting and I told Todd that some people even pack a bunch of succulents into a picture frame and hang them on the wall.

“Wait…so they just like grow, in the air?” Todd questioned me in a tone that me feel like I was being accused of something.

“No, but there are plants that grow in just air! They’re called—-” and here I paused to curtail a giddy laugh “—tillandsias! I learned that because I was watching YouTube videos yesterday.”

I sat back down at my desk (because during this conversation, I was excitedly pacing back and forth between Todd’s and Glenn’s desk) and then said, “Wow. Hearing myself say that just now made me realize I don’t know who I am anymore.”

***

I will eventually get another pet someday, I swear. But right now, it’s comforting to know that if I try to hug most of my succulents, I’ll get injured. Just like when I would hug Marcy.

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May 292015
 

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I didn’t want to wait until #mcm (MAN CRUSH MONDAY) to post this, so let’s pretend like today is #fgf (FAVORITE GUY FRIDAY).

When I first started dating Henry, I was 21 and he was 35. A LOT of people were like, “Ha-ha, say goodbye to your life. Have fun listening to country music and drinking IC Light.” Because that’s what all 35-year-old men do? And I guess I was a little worried at first, because I loved road-tripping for concerts back then. My friend Wonka and I would drive all over to see our favorite band at the time, Cold. In the first few months we were together, Cold was playing in Hershey, PA and Wonka wanted to go. I was worried that Henry would be like, “YOU ARE NOT DRIVING THAT FAR AWAY WITH ANOTHER MAN.” But Henry understood even then how much these things meant to me, and he was OK with me going.

(I mean, I totally would have still went anyway because that’s the kind of selfish, arrogant, solipsistic fucking bitch that I am!)

But then Wonka started dating the future mother of his children, and our roadtrips came to an end. I had no idea that Henry would ever want to do these things with me, because I was so used to having completely separate lives from every boyfriend I ever had. But by that May, there we were, driving to Wisconsin to see Cold. And there have been many, many more concert-spurned road trips since then, whether he liked it or not!

Wednesday night, I was watching music videos on YouTube, because that’s just what I do, when Henry said, “Look.” He was holding up his phone to show me that this year’s Riot Fest line up was finally announced. I ran over and snatched his phone from him and immediately started freaking out because FAITH NO MORE. I had a feeling that they were going to be there so my eyes were blind to everything else on the list but that for the first ten minutes. And then the more I looked at the lineup, the more I freaked out. THE NOSTALGIA FACTOR IS OFF THE FUCKING CHARTS.

I started freaking the fuck out and chanting PLEASE CAN WE GO PLEASE CAN WE GO PLEASE CAN WE GO CAN WE CAN WE CANWECANWECANWE over and over but I was pretty sure the answer was going to be no because we kind of broke the bank when we went last year. But you know, I’m immature, head-in-the-clouds Erin and I don’t think about things like RENT and GROCERIES and BILLS. I was just about reaching Veruca Salt levels of brattiness when Henry got up from the couch in a huff and said, “Don’t start!” So I sat there, staring at the lineup and crying because these are things I cry about, when I got a text from Henry, who was in the kitchen. IT WAS A SCREENSHOT OF THE TICKET CONFIRMATION OMG CAN I KEEP THIS MAN FOREVER?! I guess he knew for awhile that going again was inevitable, so he was prepared.

And it’s a good thing, because I’ve had the days requested off from work since January.

I know I bitch about him being a killjoy a lot, but even though he really doesn’t like these things at all, he still does them because he is an A+ kind of guy. And I am super lucky to be with someone who maybe doesn’t  share the same passion for music as I do, but he understands that it is a necessity for me, like food and water. I crave this stuff! I can’t tell you how many times I have gone back and looked at pictures from last year’s Riot Fest because it puts me in a good mood. That weekend was so close to perfection, and I can’t wait to do it all over again with my frowning sidekick! #blessed

(Snoop Dogg is performing Doggystyle in its entirety. My 1994-self is FUCKING FANNING HERSELF with her Snoop lyric-doodled science folder.)

I am going to be so nice to him for the next several days months. Take all the naps you want, Big Guy!

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So yeah, naysayers: 14 years later and I’m having fun listening to whatever music I want while Henry drinks craft beer.  

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