Jul 202014
 

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You know how sometimes things just feel wrong from the moment you wake up? That’s how I felt Tuesday morning when I sprung (seriously) out of bed and did my IT’S WARPED TOUR, MOTHERFUCKAS feet-stomp on my bedroom floor. I felt so excited but also kind of disjointed, like something just wasn’t right. And on paper, it had all of the components of being the perfect day, because for the first time in years, the temperature was only going to be 79 degrees! Usually it’s almost 100 and we have sweat rolling down our backs before we even get through the gates.

My plan was to be out of the house by 8am so we could stop somewhere and have a real breakfast along the way, something better than the McDonald’s shit Henry usually plies me with on Warped Tour morn. I wanted pancakes or something, I don’t know. Something that would get me through the day.

But Henry ruined my plans as usual by being woefully unprepared so it was 9 by the time we pulled away from the house. Chooch was so tired that he brought a pillow from the couch and slept on it the whole way to First Niagra Pavilion, which is about 40 minutes outside of Pittsburgh, I guess. We hit all kinds of construction and had dumb Subway for breakfast which I didn’t want and then Henry got me HOT COFFEE from Starbucks instead of ICED COFFEE and the day was ALREADY RUINED, I COULD JUST TELL.

AND THEN, AFTER WAITING IN TRAFFIC FOR UNLIMITED MINUTES, HE PASSED UP THE ENTRANCE TO THE VENUE AND HAD TO TURN AROUND AND WAIT IN MORE TRAFFIC COMING FROM THE OTHER DIRECTION AND I WAS CRYING BY THEN.

But we finally parked, and gates still hadn’t opened yet so I was starting to calm down. Then Henry and Chooch had to go to guest services so Henry could get his complimentary Parent Ticket, so I stayed back and saved their spot in line. But then they never came back! They got in a different line! And Henry was texting me about how they walked past a camera crew that was potentially filming the next season of Warped Roadies and then he sent me a picture of Warped founder KEVIN LYMAN who happened to be standing near them and I was like “WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO MURDER MY FEELINGS!?”

But standing in that line alone for 40 minutes was about to prepare me for the rest of the day….so, thanks?

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The best part, though, was that my line moved faster and I got inside way before they did. If you’ve never been to Warped Tour, the one thing you need to know is that the very first thing you’re going to want to do is run to the Inflatable, which has the day’s schedule on display. You can also buy a paper schedule for $2, which we always do, but the Inflatable will tell me much faster which bands are playing like RIGHTNOW which is important because shit starts as soon as those gates open. The one band I was looking for, The Marmozets, wasn’t listed on either the Inflatable or the paper schedule and I was like WHAT. #WarpedTourProblems.

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I met up with Chooch and Henry in time to take Chooch’s picture with the Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! panda. (Pretty good band, too, if you’re into French pop punk and Goonies references.)

(Which I am, so…)

(And true to form, this was the second time in a row that I missed their goddamn set because of scheduling conflicts. #WARPEDTOURPROBLEMS.)

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One of the smartest things bands do before the gates open is send someone around all of the lines with a sign that has what stage they’re playing on and when. That’s how I knew without even needing to consult with the Inflatable that To the Wind was playing at 11:15. I excitedly texted my friend Terri to tell her, because she likes them too and I told her I would report back.

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I mean, if my WRONG COFFEE hadn’t already woken me up, I could have for sure counted on To the Wind’s set to have me thoroughly caffeinated. Nothing better some gritty hardcore for breakfast.

This was around the time that we started to realize Chooch wasn’t just tired, but possibly ill. He started out standing during To the Wind’s set, but then ended up sitting down Indian-style, right next to a bunch of guys who were hardcore dancing so I had to be Chooch’s human barricade. I thought he was just being a lazy jerk at first, but then as we were walking to another stage, he was like, “My head, throat and stomach hurt really bad” and I’m no nurse, but I was able to piece those clues together and hypothesize that perhaps my son was sick.

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Weird, hunched-over gait. Not asking for every single shirt he saw in Merch Alley. Only taking a few timid licks of an ice cream cone and refusing pizza, chicken strips and a cheeseburger. Yep, my kid was sick.

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I at least got him to take one selfie with me, but this was during the first hour and he hadn’t yet reached the pinnacle of his plague. Henry was actually going to just take him home and then come back that night to get me, but then we saw that the Summer Set was doing a meet and greet later than afternoon and asked Chooch if he wanted to do it. That sprung him to life a little bit, so we bought a Summer Set shirt and got a skip the line ticket. Then Henry took Chooch to the hillside and let him sleep under the shade of the trees while I ran off and did my own shit.

This was Henry’s view while he sat next to Sleeping Chooch:

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I really wish Henry would take some fashion risks like that. But NO: non-descript t-shirts until the motherfucking day he dies.

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Obligatory Warped Tour photo of me being blissed-out and Henry hating his life.

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I miss this scene already.

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A lot of the bands I follow on Instagram were like SERIOUSLY, CHECK OUT K. FLAY AT WARPED TOUR! so I did and she was alright. Kind of like if God changed his mind and made it possible for two men to conceive a child together and Mike Posner and Bizzie Bone decided to give it a whirl and next thing you know, we’re welcoming K. Flay into the world. She had a very laid-back California hip hop vibe going on and it was mildly entertaining, but not enough that I was like, “HOLY SHIT I MUST BUY HER SHIT RIGHT NOW.” Still, it’s always cool to see a girl killing it on any stage at Warped Tour.

Speaking of, some low-tier music journalist wrote a piece about how Kevin Lyman hates women because he doesn’t have enough female bands at Warped Tour and usually I’m all for girl power, but I had to strongly disagree with her in this case. I don’t go to shows based on the gender of bands. I go based on if they sound good or not. Kevin Lyman should definitely NOT pick female bands just for the sake of meeting some imaginary, unspoken quota. Um, remember when he had Katy Perry there in 2008? God, that was just terrible.

The bottom-line is that this is just a male-dominated scene. Not on purpose. I just think that there aren’t a ton of girls who get into playing music and decide that they want to be in a hardcore or metalcore band, and that’s the genre that makes up most of Warped Tour. I think Kevin does a good job seeking out girl bands that he feels sound good and fit the criteria. It’s not his fault that there aren’t a ton to choose from.

In all the years I’ve been going to Warped Tour, the lack of girl bands has never crossed my mind.

THAT BEING SAID, I was really looking forward to seeing the Marmozets, which my pal Jason described to me as “Hayley Williams fronting Dillinger Escape Plan.” I’ve had hearts in my eyes ever since. Anyway, Jason told me yesterday that the Marmozets missed two weeks of Warped Tour because of goddamn Visa issues, so it wasn’t that they were playing on some invisible stage that I couldn’t find; they just weren’t there at all. Super sigh. Another day, Marmozets. #WarpedTourProblems

At one point, I came back from my rounds (which included having one of the YOUNG boys at the Clean Water refill station flirt with me, yessss) to find Henry and Chooch in this state:

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That’s how we knew Chooch was definitely sick-sick: he kept saying he couldn’t feel the heat of the sun even though it was beating down on him. He had goosebumps, even. But every time he saw me, he would murmur, “Where’s my Summer Set shirt!?” and I would say, “In my bag” and then he would go back to sleep. He really did get a lot of rest there. I didn’t drag him around and make him do shit.

Surprisingly.

Soon, it was almost 2pm and I was faced with a terribly difficult decision: SAVES THE DAY OR BEARTOOTH?!?! UGHHH! In the end, I went with Beartooth only because I’ve seen Saves the Day before (god, I love them so much though, and it would have been nice to hear some stuff from their most recent album, UGH #WarpedTourProblems). Turns out though choosing Beartooth was life-changing. No, I’m not being melodramatic. Their set honestly breathed life into me.

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Typically, I will stand off to the side because I’m “old,” scared of getting hurt, and Henry is usually with me and we all know Henry ain’t going in no motherfucking pit y’all. But this time I was alone. So I pushed my way further into the crowd, forgetting for the moment that I absolutely hate touching other people, and next thing I knew, I was getting pushed further and further into the pit and it was just what I fucking needed. Not that I generally feel like an old person, but something clicked during Beartooth and I felt like myself. Like the person I used to be a really long time ago before shitty Real Life changed me. I didn’t care what I looked like or who was looking at me or if I looked like a mom or if I was going to get hurt or if I was going to hurt someone. I just went in there and raged and even fought the urge to apologize when I jumped on someone’s foot and then I got to shove someone in a hammerhead shark costume and it was like a fucking awakening, like my own personal version of Cocoon and Caleb Shomo was my Steve Guttenberg. When he screamed, “You guys paid to come to Warped Tour, and it’s up to you to make the most of it, so get the fuck up!” I screamed myself hoarse, because FUCK YES I WANT THIS TO STILL BE THE BEST DAY EVER! Yes, there were some roadblocks, poor Chooch was sick, there weren’t any of my favorite bands there, but goddammit: IT WAS STILL WARPED TOUR. And that was all I needed to have my day saved.

It also didn’t hurt when Davey from Vanna come out to guest-scream. God, he’s fucking hot. Basically, I walked away from that stage wanting 57 different Beartooth tattoos and a membership to their fan club. Do bands still have fan clubs, or am I REALLY being a 35-year-old right now?

Soon after, it was time for me to collect Henry and Chooch so we could get in line for the Summer Set meet and greet, which was a huge cluster and Henry was having a hard time holding himself back from assaulting the throng of fangirls who kept encroaching on us.

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I missed Every Time I Die while waiting in this never-ending line with Chooch, so next time he tries to say I’m a horrible mom, I’ll be sure to throw this back in his face. I DID THIS FOR YOU, SON. #WarpedTourProblems

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Chooch was able to muster enough energy to stand up and smile with the Summer Set. He adores them so much and knows all the words to their songs. They’re not really my cup of tea, but at the same time, I don’t mind when he puts them on. It could be way worse, you guys. They really pushed people through as fast as possible: you’d get to the front, give some dude your phone, pose, then split. It was like a factory line, but trust me: I’ve seen how long these lines get and they have to do what they can to keep things in control, so it wasn’t like it was overtly rude or anything. However, when it was Chooch’s turn, he went to walk away after the picture was taken, but they called him back over and each one gave him a high-five. I thought that was super sweet, so it made me like them a lot more and I didn’t groan or act put-out when we had to watch their set later. (It was actually pretty fun.)

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But first I had to go see my favorites in Of Mice & Men! They were a last minute addition to the Warped roster and I was really happy because they’re always so good.

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Here’s an accidental video I took of some dude’s underwear, which I found on my phone the day after and couldn’t stop laughing, so I showed Chooch and he was like “I MISSED OF MICE & MEN?! UGH!” :(

They have played my favorite song by them—”Second & Sebring”—every single time I’ve seen them, but not this time. I was like, “WHAT ARE YOU KIDDING THAT’S IT YOU’RE DONE!?” when they played their last song and said goodbye. *WarpedTourProblems

Chooch was able to hang on long enough to watch The Summer Set, but the poor kid had to sit down in the parking lot through the whole thing.

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The struggle is real. #WarpedTourProblems

Here are two different angles of Henry hating his life:

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Even though he was feeling like shit, his little lips still moved along to all of the words, and at the beginning of each song, he would look up at me and tell me what song it was. He was especially rejuvenated when they played “Fuck You Over” because OMG a song that enables him to swear freely. We left after their set, around 6:00, which sucked but he wasn’t getting any better. I was torn between Mom and Teenager: I wanted to leave so my kid could get better rest, but the spoiled teenaged brat side of me was like, “I’M NOT DONE HERE!” In all honesty, there was really only one more band that I really wanted to see, so it wasn’t that big of a sacrifice.

The next day, Chooch (feeling much better) was looking at the schedule and lamenting over all the bands we missed. “We missed Crown the Empire!” he cried. If he wasn’t my precious kid, I would have been like, “YEAH AND IT’S YOUR FAULT!” like when Christina’s sister made us leave early in 2007 and I wasn’t done yet and I still complain it 7 years later, clearly. But instead I just felt super bad for him because he really honestly wanted to see some of the bands there. Of all days to get sick.

“I felt so much better during Summer Set,” Chooch said with melancholy. “My throat stopped hurting and everything. But then when they were done, my throat started to hurt again and I wanted to leave.”

And then he asked, “What was that first band we saw?”

“To the Wind,” I replied. “You hated them, didn’t you?”

“No!” Chooch yelled incredulously. “I was really enjoying them! I just had to sit down because my legs were hurting. BECAUSE I WAS SICK.” We’re going to be hearing about that for quite some time, I think. But then we started talking about how one of the guys in To the Wind has a prosthetic leg, so that distracted him from filing his emancipation paperwork.

Chooch wore his Summer Set shirt for the next two days until I finally made him change because have you seen how heavily my kid sweats? Also, I love that he’s not deterred by a shirt with flowers on it.

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I still have post-Warped Tour sadness, even though it didn’t go off without a hitch, it was still my Christmas in July and I made sure it was a beautiful day. Like Beartooth preached: Warped Tour is all in what you make of it. I could have sat around and pouted, but I didn’t. I waited all year for that day and fucking hell, I was going to make the most of it. Besides, I know that next year will be better. So let the countdown begin!

(This was probably the best Warped Tour Henry has ever been to because he literally got to sit the whole time and not have his dumb beard bristled by banshee-like bands.)

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Jul 022014
 

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It might seem weird since I’m a vegetarian and all, but what I was most looking forward to in Frankenmuth was eating at one of their famous Bavarian chicken joints. There are two to choose from: Bavarian Inn and Zehnder’s, and they supposedly HATE each other. My friend Michelle told me that the two families basically built Frankenmuth so no matter which place we picked, it would be a big deal.

I mean, if you’re like me and give a shit about these things.

Zehnder’s and the Bavarian Inn really are right across from the street from each other, but there were no picketers or chicken dinner sabotage that I could see. No one was egging each other’s windows or passing out derogatory flyers. But since Roadside America mentions their rivalry, I know it must be true. I just wish it was more blatant and spectator sporty.

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I personally wanted to eat at Bavarian Inn, because it just had more of a Black Forest aesthetic to me, but Bill kept piping up with the merits of Zehnder’s, which just looked like some dumb colonial slab and not at all lederhosen-y. Turns out Bill might have eaten there once sometime in his liftetime and I think he forgot to tell us the part about how a Zehnder’s busboy saved him from choking on their world famous chicken dinner so now he feel indebted to them.

But then Jessi mentioned that she has eaten at the Bavarian Inn before and liked it, so PRAISE JESSI, we settled on the Bavarian Inn because girls rule! There was no blantant anti-Zehnder’s propaganda inside the doors of the BavInn (my new, sweet pet name for it), but I should have at least wrote “for loose bowels, call Zehnder’s” in one of the bathroom stalls. Ah, hindsight.

Fuck you, Zehnder’s.

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I want shutters like that on my imaginary never-house. 

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I anticipated a long wait, since this  seemed like the type of place that was like the Disneyworld of Old Country Buffets* for elderly tourists, but we had a table within 15 minutes!  And even had a scantily-clad Bavarian beefcake entertaining us with an accordion. (I mean, he was showing a lot of thigh and calf, but not a lot of below-knee, because that was covered with a modest swath of wool.)

*BavInn isn’t even a buffet so I have no idea why I wrote that, other than the fact that it’s 150 degrees in my house.

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I told Chooch that this place was going to be like the Hooter’s of Frankenmuth, with Bavarian boobs spilling out of corseted beer garden dresses. Partially because I was trying to get him stoked on eating there (he’s at that age, guys; boobs are everything), and also because that’s what it looked like in my hopes and dreams. Turns out the waitresses’ costumes were way more modest than the accordion player and his scandalous leg-skin.

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There was no cleavage to be had. Not even of the accidental variety.

Back to being a vegetarian: I was pleasantly surprised that the Bavarian Inn had an entire vegetarian menu! Bill said he only asked for it because he overheard someone in front of him asking for it. It wouldn’t have even crossed my mind to ask because places like that usually don’t cater to my kind and I was fully prepared to just get some side dishes but instead I got to have vegan chili and BY GEORGE it was fucking great. It had quinoa and perfect little cubes of sweet potatoes and was just a true delight my tongue even though I can’t imagine a real Bavarian eating that on their lunch break at the cuckoo clock factory.

It didn’t matter, because I still ordered a side of SPAETZEL. You guys, spaetzel. That is my ultimate comfort food because my Pappap, whose family was from Austria, made a huge pot of these buttery Alpine dumplings every Christmas and they were just spectacular. After he died, my mom tried to carry the torch but they just never tasted quite right. And then I asked Henry to make them one year for Thanksgiving but his came out really small and pathetic because he doesn’t have any of the good European regions in his genes, I guess. I  mean, I still ate them of course because anything coated in that much butter is still going to taste rad. But I just haven’t had any as good as my Pappap’s, not since 1995.

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And these noodleturds were by no means bad! Bavarian Inn has their shit together but these were just seasoned in a way that deviated from my Pappap’s spaetzel perfection. I still ate the ever-loving fuck out of them though. Why wouldn’t I?

Can we talk about our amazing waitress Kristi for a minute? Chooch spilled his lemonade all over the table so she swooped in and moved us to a clean table right next to us, all without making Chooch feel like a heel for being a normal 8-year-old who spills things in restaurants. And she brought us copious amounts of this delicious sweet bread (bread that’s sweet, not sweetbreads) which we enjoyed with ridiculously magical homemade strawberry jam. And our lunches were delayed so Kristi also brought us out bowls of German potato salad, coleslaw and something else that I forget now, but it was all perfect and made me want to book a Globus tour ASAP.

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Chooch was really anxious to sayeth Prayers from the Psalms before he ateth his chickeneth. (Everyone at the table got chicken, because duh—Bavarian Inn is world famous for that shit. Maybe one day they’ll be renown for their faux-chicken too. Now I wish I had ordered the fake chicken patty on pretzel bun. Oh well, there’s always next summer when we go back and stay at the Bavarian Inn, because yes, they have a huge resort-y hotel too. WITH WATERSLIDES.)

My second favorite part of the experience (hello: Spaetzel #1) was when I mused out loud about the comfort of the waitresses’ dresses and then a few minutes later, upon Kristi’s return to our table with more iced tea for Henry, Bill asked her what might have been the creepiest thing she had been asked by a man all day:

“Excuse me, but is your dress comfortable?” he asked casually, like he works for Cotton and it’s his job to determine a woman’s comfort as research for the next commercial featuring some random blond actress who can also kind of sing alright.

The Fabric of Our Lives: Dirndl Edition.

“You know,” she said after thinking about it for a few seconds, “it really isn’t too bad. It’s the nylons that drive me nuts, though. I can never wait to get home and peel them off, you know?” And Bill nodded knowingly.

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PSHHHHH. You wish, Zehnder’s. In your dreams.

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This is the back of the glorious Bavarian Inn. Surely there’s a nook or cranny somewhere in which I can live undetected.

You know I must have been stuffed full of spaetzel when I declined dessert, and they obviously had streudel, you guys. Motherfuck, do I love streudel. My grandma’s side of the family always made some sick streudel.

Streudel and spaetzel. These will be served at my pretend wedding. By Bavarian beer maidens, all named Gretchen.

Jesus, is it any wonder I’m a slut for Bavarian things? My childhood memories practically reek of edelweiss.

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Jun 262014
 

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I read some reviews online (because that’s what I do: read amusement park reviews all day long; I don’t have any friends to occupy my time, remember?) that complained about the employees were terrible. This was definitely not the case on my visit, because they clearly know I have a blog and want all of the glowing words written about them. I will say that I didn’t have a single run-in with surly orange-shirts all day. And I even left the park with two favorites: the dude from the Lost Coaster ride and this sweet Russian broad from the Hoosier Hurricane.

The Lost Coaster guy reminded me of the Salute Your Shorts camp counselor, Ug, in that he thought he was way cooler than he was and tried to act tough by yelling things like, “LIKE DON’T SIT ON THE RAILING!” But I guess he was still more intimidating than me because Chooch never listens when I tell him to get off the rail but when Ug hollered it, Chooch hopped off with a quickness.

I accidentally left my phone on the ride and realized it about 3 minutes afterward. When I ran back up the exit ramp to the ride platform, he was checking the next riders’ seat belts and casually holding my pink cell phone and it just made me crack up so bad.

“Hey, that’s my phone,” I said in faux-outrage and he put his hands up.

“I tried to chase you down but you were already gone!” he explained, handing it back over and we both had a good laugh. Why, I’m not sure. But I think I probably was definitely in the beginning stages of heat stroke by then so everything was funny to me except for things that Henry said/did/didn’t do because those things just made me inexplicably ANGRY.

OK, now let’s talk about the Russian. (I mean, after I type out hundreds of words that seem totally unrelated to a Russian broad, of course.)

A few days before we left for our road trip, Chooch acquired some sort of cut/scrape thing on the top of his ankle. Something about he went to kick a soccer ball, missed, tripped over it, bent his foot all the back and scraped it against the sidewalk. Then he proceeded to wear Converse high-tops, which ended up rubbing his scrape raw while forming a blister all at the same time.

So now he had a mutant cut/blister injury in addition to his foot hurting in general from being bent all the way back. He would be fine in the morning, but once he started walking too much, it would agrivate the wound and make his ankle get all red and slightly swollen.

The humidity that day, and also the OINTMENT (I love that people hate that word) that Henry slathered on the wound, made Chooch’s ankle too MOIST (hahaha) for Band-Aids to stay adhered for very long. So when were walking up the metal-grated steps of the Hoosier Hurricane coaster, Chooch forgot how to walk and fell, banging his ankle against the metal edge of the step below him, knocking off the Band-Aid and making him wince in pain.

Henry wasn’t with us, since he wasn’t RIDING anything that day, so I had to try to be a mom and tell Chooch things like, “It’s probably going to be fine” and “You’ll probably still have a foot after all of this is over” and “PLEASE START WALKING, I REALLY WANT TO GO ON THIS ROLLER COASTER.” As soon as we made it into the station, a super sweet Russian girl took down the chain for us and said to Chooch, “Oh no! What is happened to you?” But Chooch was still blinking back tears so I had to do my best to make it look like I hadn’t abused my child.

“There is first aid down there,” she said, pointing over her shoulder. She was really concerned about Chooch’s ankle, which was really endearing. But then we got stuck standing awkwardly next to her while we waited for the coaster to come back, so she made broken-English small talk about the weather.

“It is hot,” she said in a staccato.

“Yeah,” I agreed, struggling for words. And then after a stretch of about 30 million acres of silence, I thought of something else to say. “That, uh, humidity makes it worse.”

“Oh yah! The humidity is worst!” she agreed, and I thanked the arrival of the coaster for interrupting our cliche weather discourse.

She made sure Chooch and I were safely buckled into our seats and then said, “Enjoy ride!” and I secretly hoped it was meant just for us and not any of the other sweaty bastards behind us.

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After we got off the ride, Chooch ran ahead of Henry and me because he knows everything, including the way to the first aid trailer. Eight-year-olds don’t need parents, you guys. By the time we caught up and walked into the first aid trailer, Chooch and the park medic were just sitting there silently, Chooch on the edge of the bed and the medic at his desk.

“He just came in and sat down,” the medic explained. “Said he was waiting for some people.”

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And then Chooch relayed the entire, sordid saga of the Origin of the Wound.

He loves to talk about it. Last night, as soon as we got to his piano lesson, he sighed and mumbled something about his foot hurting. (Side note: that fucker is pretty much healed by now, so I guess he’s experiencing fantasy pains similar to Henry’s imaginary war wounds that don’t exist because Henry was never in an actual war when he was in the SERVICE.) “Oh no, what did you do to it?” his piano teacher Cheryl asked.

“Ugh, why does everyone ask me about it?” Chooch cried and I was like, “OH OK, MY LEFT FOOT, MAYBE BECAUSE YOU CAN’T STOP BRINGING IT UP.”

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Here’s Henry re-doing Chooch’s Band-Aid 3 minutes later.

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There was another Russian girl working the Cornball Express, another roller coaster, but she wasn’t as nice. I mean, she wasn’t a dick head or anything, but she didn’t go out of her way to smother us with attention like Hoosier Hurricane did. The other Cornball Express girl routinely helped me unbuckle my seatbelt all 137 times we rode that coaster (honestly, there were no lines to wait in). Chooch, who had quickly mastered the secret of the Houdini-approved seatbelts, kept crying out, “Oh for Christ’s sake, mommy!” Before eventually just not waiting for me anymore.

I seriously have never struggled so hard with a seatbelt in my life. It was almost embarrassing. Ok it was embarrassing.

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After hours of stalking Frankenstein’s Castle, those fucking garage doors were finally a’lift and we had the confusing task of trying to add dolla dolla bills to the Indiana Beach cash card thing. I forget to mention that this is one of those amusement parks where, if you don’t want to plan on riding much, you can load money onto credit cards and then scan it before you get on the rides. Even the ride-all-day wristbands have barcodes on them and everyone is required to stick their wrist under a scanner at the front of all of the lines. Waldameer Park in Erie does this, too. It’s annoying, but whatever.

Anyway, Frank’s Place wasn’t included in the ride-all-day admission price. Some dark rides are like that and while I’m not exactly sure of the reason (Chris? Can you help here?), I have a few theories, mostly that it’s a restoration thing. It was an additional $3.50 per person and BE STILL MY HEART, Henry actually paid for THREE. At first, I thought maybe there was some sad albino kid in line behind us, tugging on Henry’s bland heart strings and making him do charitable thangs. (I didn’t want to end on a rhyme. You understand.)

But no, he was paying for himself! Henry was finally going to not sit on a bench with his nose pressed against his phone, looking at Pinterest! (Honestly, Chooch and I made fun of him from every line in which we stood. Because why not.)

As soon as the ticket booth broad granted us admission, our nostrils were slammed with the unmistakable vintage bouquet of moth balls and Aunt Edith’s cedar closet of muumuus. It’s a smell that I love because it means old school amusement park. Fuck those flashy sterile, steel concrete jungles known as Six Flags.

I want that fancy dark ride musk.

If they bottled it as perfume/cologne, that’d be a surefire to get me into your backseat.

(Oh come on, don’t pretend like you thought I was classy.)

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“I just paid $3.50 to walk through a fake castle with two screaming d-bags. I bet that taco would have also cost $3.50 and have been way less annoying.” – Henry, if he ever thought about anything.

After sitting on a bench and listening to a crackling recording about what scares we were about to encounter, a disinterested young Indiana Beach employee opened a door and ushered us in for the “OMG crashing elevator” segment. At first I thought this was going to be totally lame, and that part was, but then she opened another door and set us free, on our own, to shuffle through the guts of a mostly pitch-black haunted house.

Here is Henry’s review:

It was fun. I got pushed through by two scared little people. That’s about it.

Wow. Titillating as always.

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There were no scare actors, just the effective non-use of light bulbs, enclosed animatronic displays that managed to pop on when I was always the most unsuspecting, moving floors and enough enclosed spaces to make a claustrophobe fake their way through the rosary.

THIS IS A CLASSIC DARK ATTRACTION. One that keeps it real and doesn’t rely on modern, high-tech scare tactics. Let me put it this way: there are chicken doors located throughout the length of the castle and if Henry hadn’t gone in with us, I guarantee the first one would have a chunk taken out of it in the exact outline of my body.

This is the type of haunt you want to walk through with the person you’re obsessively crushing on or maybe the hipster you just met IRL on Tinder and want to terrorize in the dark with rusty hedge clippers while wearing your mom’s skin on your face. Butterflies!

I’d go back to Indiana Beach every summer just for another 10 minutes inside Frankenstein.

YEAH, YOU READ THAT RIGHT.

*****

Overall, I would rate Indiana Beach 3/5. The coasters and dark rides were its main redeeming qualities. I didn’t like how it took so long for a lot of the rides to open, instead of just opening everything when the park itself opened. And I also didn’t like the actual park grounds. The layout was weird, sloppy like the parks I used to create on Roller Coaster Tycoon because I apparently lack aesthetic. I’m not saying I expect every park to be Disney-levels of beautiful, but I don’t know, maybe try planting some more flowers or something.

We didn’t eat enough of the food for this to be a factor in my rating, although they had something called Redneck Biscuits which sounded hideous but I still wanted to eat one and Henry wouldn’t buy me one because NO TACO.

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Jun 242014
 

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My criteria for planning a road trip is pretty simple:

  • Are there friends along the way that I can impose upon?
  • Does my Roadside America app approve of this route?
  • Are there amusement parks in the vicinity?

I’ve wanted to go to Indiana Beach (fun fact: not actually a beach) for awhile now, and it seemed logical to combine this with a long overdue visit to Michigan to hang out with Bill, Jessi and Tammy and also meet up with some other ladies I have been Internet friends with for YEARS. (More on that later!)

We had to drive through actual farmlands to get to Monticello, Indiana, at which point a man of about 100 years of age collected $7 from us and told us where to park.

Which was “anywhere in the wide open, empty parking lot.”

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We got there right when the park opened, and not only was it a ghost town, but none of the rides were running. We roamed around for awhile, getting turned away from the Hoosier Hurricane and wasting time at the shooting gallery. Also, the humidity was so bad that it felt like Hell with the lid on. My face took on the sebaceous sheen of a glazed Christmas ham in no time. It was disgusting. But not so disgusting that I would consider visiting the dilapidated water park portion of Indiana Beach, which was included in regular admission because the lazy river wasn’t running. God only knows why not.

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No thanks, dirty pastel water slides. God only knows what kind of fungi you’re getting ready to launch into my vagina. (I have phobias, OK?)

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Chooch killed some time at the shooting gallery, while I paced around, waiting for the adjacent Frankenstein’s Castle to open their dumb doors already. I refuse to partake in the shooting galleries at amusement parks because HENRY won’t teach me how to aim. So I almost never hit anything. And then I pout, which morphs into an inevitable Hulk Rage later on.

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Fuck you, Henry.

Lame Henry didn’t get the ride-all-day wristband because he’s too old to have fun at amusement parks now. But he sure does enjoy the ones with free general admission so that he can walk around and complain for nothing. I promise you, we broke up at least 87 times that day.

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The main (OK, the only) reason Indiana Beach made my list is their staggering collection of THREE dark rides. Two of them, The Den of Lost Thieves and the most-anticipated House of Frankenstein were basically the last rides to open that day. But oh, were they worth the wait.

The Den of Lost Thieves is a shooting ride, which I generally do not enjoy. Kennywood took out a great dark ride, the Goldrusher, and replaced it with a modern shooter-type dark ride and the only thing remarkable about it is how incredibly boring it is. I would gladly bypass this one every time we visit Kennywood, but Chooch always drags me on it. I hate waiting in line for it too! You wait and wait and wait only to get put in this holding room, like a foyer, where they force you to watch some animated portrait on a wall telling you the story of Ghostwood Estate and then the door opens and it’s a fucking free-for-all. Everyone pushes their way through so even if you were the first one in line before entering that room, chances are you’ll take a fanny pack to the groin and wind up 17 people back.

So when I realized that the Den of Lost Thieves was also a shooting ride, I was like, “Damn, we drive 8 hours for this?” But it turned out to be FANTASTIC! Old, musty and full of old-school scares. I loved the shit out of this ride. Especially since I got more points than Chooch.

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Another dark ride in the park doubled as a coaster! It was called the Lost Coaster of Something I Forget Who Knows. There was no one in line when Chooch and I walked past, so I shoved all of my belongings into Henry’s chest and bolted for it.

“Um…it’s gonna take a few minutes,” the older, orange-shirted ride operator said. “It got stuck, and I’m waiting for someone to push it back out.” Oh OK, no big deal, you guys. Rides get stuck like all of the time, right? And probably not back-to-back times, right?

He said something about the cars not being “properly weighted” and I was like, “Oh well if you’re looking for all of the weight, you’ve come to the right thunder thighs.” Four more people joined us right as a mechanic came grunting out of the fake cave, pushing the double mine cars in front of him.

The ride operator seemed confident that we had enough bodies to successfully propel the mine cars from start to finish, so we loaded up with me and Chooch and some lady and little girl in one car, and a guy and kid in the one behind us.

Awkward thing about this ride: four people fit in a car, but the seats face each other, so unless you’re with three of your homies, you get to stare at strangers for the next two minutes and I hate that you guys. Looking at people who are looking at me, it’s just…ew. Not for me.

This ride was pretty thrilling and volatile, just like a relationship with me! All of the ups and downs and whiplash and violent shoves. Will you need a PFA? Maybe! And then…nothing. It just stopped, right in the middle of the dark cave.

“Is it supposed to do this?” I asked the people in the car with us.

“I DON’T THINK SO BUT THE STEEL HAWG GETS STUCK ALL THE TIME,” answered the little girl in an octave only little girls can manage.

****Mental note to be wary of the Steel Hawg. (Which never opened that day anyway, so moot point.)

Anyway, guess what guys? We were stuck! I think this may have been my first time ever getting stuck on a ride, too, so thanks Indiana Beach! That’s a cherry I sure needed popped.

As if it wasn’t hot enough that day, now we were stuck inside some muggy faux-cavern, in a near-enclosed car, with no rescue in sight. I had sweat rolling into my eyes and mouth, I could feel it dripping from the backs of my knees, my whole person was slick with the moist essence of PANIC.

And I had these strangers staring at me and I had nothing to say other than nervous laughter and then the kid in the car behind us started to cry and his dad was mouthing off about how this was such BULLshit and Chooch kept meowing and I was like, “WHY IS NO ONE TRYING TO COMMUNICATE WITH US OVER AN INTERCOM OR MORSE CODE OR CROP CIRCLE?!” And then finally, after a good FIVE MINUTES OF NOTHING, that same disgruntled mechanic came trudging up the track behind us, shouted an answer to a garbled voice over his walkie talkie, fumbled with some switches in the breaker box next to us, and then said “Enjoy your ride” just as the motor kicked in and we went STRAIGHT DOWN A HILL. Oh that’s right, we were stuck on the zenith of a hill and had no idea because it was so dark in there. So…that was definitely a thrill.

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Meanwhile, Henry had been dreaming of buying a taco all day. That’s what he’s thinking about in this picture, as a matter of fact. Indiana Beach has a taco stand that was apparently featured on the Food Network for some reason. I love me a good taco, but I knew that Indiana Beach was for sure not going to have a meatless option. So Chooch and I decided to get pizza and then Henry was going to his coveted taco afterward.

Except that Chooch only ate one slice of his personal pizza and Henry acted like a motherfucking martyr and ate the rest of it. Like, who cares? Sometimes I think he does this shit on purpose, like he’s some Leftover Scraps Hero. OK, you ate three small slices of crappy pizza, good for you.

Oh, you ate the rest of Chooch’s waffle for breakfast? Well, FUCK Henry. Thanks for taking one for the team. Shit.

I knew all of his moaning and groaning over this would eventually paint a bigger picture, and I was right: Now that he had eaten Chooch’s pizza, he was “too full” to get a taco, and that was ALL THAT HE WANTED, you guys. A fucking taco, but now Chooch and I had ruined his life by having the audacity to get pizza for our own lunches. Last time I checked, no one was forcing pizza down Henry’s enlarged hatch.

I kept coaxing him to get a taco, but he was being such a bitch about it. He was acting offended almost, like he was on a porn diet and I was trying to get him to succumb to peer pressure by showing photos of naked broads going to town on tacos.

So bizarre. Maybe he’s trying to fit back into his SERVICE costume?

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Wistful thoughts over the taco stain on his shirt that could have been.

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Dreaming of brushing a taco with his moustache bristles to the tune of a Selena song.

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He had his chance right here! Going, going….

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Gone. This was right after he said, “I DON’T WANT ONE NOW. JUST FORGET IT.” Oh wow, someone’s come down with a case of the Erins.

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Imagining a lake where all the sailboats are tacos and he’s a great, venerable taco sailor.
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Not buying a taco.

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Yeah Henry. Don’t forget. Bitchbaby motherfucker.

(I think Mexico might find it hard to believe that the world’s best tacos are in Indiana.)

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Jun 232014
 

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OMG one of my favorite parts of our road trip was when we got to drive through the boarded-up hole where Henry used to live while he was in the SERVICE OMG CAN YOU STAND IT.

I wondered out loud if perhaps Henry had grown children running around Bunker Hill, but he assured me that was impossible, which means that Henry didn’t have sex for like THREE YEARS from 1984-1987.

I was in elementary school then, roller skating and being awesome.

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Henry is sitting next to me right now, against his will, and I’m asking him for information to include with these pictures since he has refused to write anything on his own because he hates thinking of the years of his life that didn’t include me.

Obviously.

He was an aircraft CREW CHIEF. Whatever that means.

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Here is a street that Henry may have walked on! He probably at least drove on it in his GREEN GRAND PRIX. (He just corrected me and said it was blue but last night he told me it was green. Now he’s saying he had both. God, brag much?) He doesn’t recall Brown’s Game Room being there when he lived there in the EIGHTIES. I asked him if there were any whore houses there and he got really impatient and said, “Not in BUNKER HILL. Those were in KOKOMO.” Oh. Sorry.

Henry never want to Indiana Beach while he lived there because he didn’t know it existed. He did, however, go to the fair. Once. He can’t remember if he rode anything, but he knows for certain he didn’t kiss any girls there because kissing leads to SEX and he wasn’t having that in Bunker Hill. That would have ruined his reputation as the Base Eunuch.

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This is the neighborhood where Henry’s trailer was but he claims the trailer isn’t there anymore, but he wouldn’t drive back to where it used to be so I couldn’t get any pictures of the empty pit that remains. He wouldn’t even get out of the car while I was taking these pictures. (Admittedly, there wasn’t much there to photograph and I didn’t want anyone to come running out of their home, spitting Skoal at me, so I was pretty quick to wrap this up.)

Also, Henry has no pictures of his trailer, because he wasn’t in the habit of taking pictures of his non-descript living quarters. He had a variety of roommates, including Les, Tim (WHO HE IS FRIENDS WITH ON FACEBOOK! I’m going to message him soon), and John. He thinks John only lived there for a little while but he doesn’t remember because it’s hard to remember things that happened in the 80s, you guys. He claims that they never brought home any local women and this is just so weird to me. They had lots of porn on VHS though. He mumbled “no” when I asked him if they all watched it together, which means that he wanted them to all watch it together but they were like, “Ew get out of here, Eunuch.”

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HENRY HAS BEEN TO THIS BAR!!! Apparently, he mostly drank at the bar on BASE. What a snob. He told me that he used to drink LONG ISLAND ICED TEAS at the bar on base. You guys, Henry used to drink LONG ISLAND ICED TEAS. Now I know what I’m serving at his 50th birthday party next year, complete with cocktail parasols and fruit on swords. And obviously they will be served in mason jars with paper straws, as an homage to Henry’s Pinterest addiction.

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Henry made me get in the car after this for fear of the homeowners mistaking me for someone casing their house.

Henry used to cook his own food when he lived there and he just said, “I don’t understand why this is such a big deal to you, I cook my own food now, too.” Oh yeah. But for some reason, I keep imaging him in velour lounge pants and a wifebeater, stirring succotash on top of a hot plate. He just told me he cooked Thanksgiving dinner once!! For like 4 or 5 people, he doesn’t remember!

(I AM SO GIDDY AS I WRITE THIS! The notion of Henry having a life prior to me is hilarious and mythical to me all at once. I need to know all of it.)

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I was excited to talk about this but Henry yelled, “THAT IS A WHOLE DIFFERENT THING. THAT IS NOT EVEN BUNKER HILL. THAT IS TEXAS.” He didn’t do cool things like this in Indiana. Probably because he didn’t know how.

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This was when Henry first saw the thing and then realized it wasn’t the thing anymore. (You know, that base thing.) It’s a prison now, hahaha. He said he doesn’t have many feelings about this since it was so long ago. There was a reunion last year that he didn’t go to. He said it was because all of the people who went were people who were there for like a million years and not an early-discharge pussy like himself. I asked him if he had one of those dishonorable discharges and he got really irritated so that means yes. Probably because he was a Eunuch. And back then, that was probably worse than being gay.

He’s laughing right now but it’s not the “I’m having a good time!” kind of laugh, but more of a “Can I please go to bed now because my sanity is starting to come out of my nose” kind of scary laugh.

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May 282014
 

In 2009, I wrote a blog post that I had no idea would become the most-viewed thing I had written. It was called “Jonny Craig is a Piece of Shit.” Back then, I thought I was the only one who had shitty experiences with him in person. But it is consistently viewed to this day, do you know why? Because “why is Jonny Craig an asshole?” is a popular search term. Occasionally, someone will leave a comment on that post, too. Most of those comments are from ex-fans who want to share their own horror stories with me, but there are also the scathing ones from rabid supporters, telling me I’m pathetic, that he doesn’t owe me anything as a fan, and that I’m clearly butt-hurt.

Look. I’ve only been butt-hurt once in my entire life, and that was when I lost my footing on a pile of pumpkins at Trax Farm and wound up sitting on a stem. True fucking story for all of you pumpkin porn fanatics out there.

Anyway, the catalyst of that post was meeting him for the second time during the Dance Gavin Dance/Emarosa Squash the Beef tour. He was standing behind me at the bar in Mr. Small’s and literally all I wanted to do was tell him how much I enjoyed Emarosa and what an impact their music had on me emotionally, how it stimulated my creativity (back then, I had based some of my paintings off their lyrics), and how interwoven it had become with my life. I wasn’t trying to sit on his lap (let’s face it, I’m too fat, much ugly for him anyway) or make him sign shit. I wasn’t trying to pull him away from his alcohol for a photo session. I just wanted to say nice things to him for < 30 seconds, God forbid. It took every ounce of courage I could muster just to even say hello to him, after years of allowing his voice to be the personification of my dysfunctional friendship with my ex-BFF Christina.

But he just stood there and stared at me, making it clear that I was boring the shit out of him, so I mumbled, “Enjoy your stay in Pittsburgh” and walked away with my head down. It was humiliating and I know that he was making fun of me as soon as I walked away.

Because that’s what douchebags do.

When you put so much stock in a person like that, raising them up on some shaky pedestal, creating images of them in your mind, and then the reality of their personality shatters everything you had built up, it’s devastating. Maybe that sounds pathetic, but music has always been how I have coped with things. It enhances all of the good times and softens the bad. So now when the singer of a band that had made me feel so good has single-handedly made me feel AWFUL, well, it was a little emotionally traumatic.

It’s amazing how we deify these underserving people in the name of fandom.

He sounded like shit that night too. Drunk, stumbling, forgetting lyrics. It was my friend Alisha’s first time seeing Emarosa and her succinct review was: “They’re terrible!”

No, Jonny Craig is terrible.

I vowed to be done with him after that, and I was doing well until Emarosa released their next album in 2010 and I couldn’t resist. I still hated him. But I felt if I could separate my personal feelings for him from the music, I would be fine. Besides, wasn’t that what all of my detractors were telling me to do in certain harsh terms on my blog?

The problem is that as soon as I hear his dumb voice, I melt. It has nothing to do with him. I forget what a douchebag he is and all I can remember is how good it feels to be that into music. And it somehow kept me psychically connected to Christina, even when we were no longer speaking. It always goes back to that anyway.

Meanwhile, Henry was totally annoyed. He doesn’t get the whole “OMG JONNY CRAIG SINGS LIKE AN ANGEL!” argument, and it drove him nuts how I would turn into a 30-year-old fan girl at the mere mention of his stupid name. You know how I have pretty much based this entire blog on hassling Henry, right? I mean, unless this is your first time reading it. So if he hates Jonny Craig, then I am going to FUCKING BE OBSESSED with Jonny Craig.

My obsession can be broken down like this:

5% immaturity // 10% mental illness // 10% sincere love of his voice // 75% desire to drive Henry into an early grave.

(I triple-checked to make sure that added up, btw.)

And let’s face it: I thrive on being obnoxious.

I ran with it. Jonny Craig became my shtick. I made a Jonny Craig Christmas tree topper. I had my friend Maya make me a Jonny Craig doll. I hung up pictures of him around my office at work (if you go to the Law Firm and start questioning people on my floor who Jonny Craig is and they don’t know, then obviously I must never talk to that person, ever). This whole time, it was helping me cope with issues that Christina had left me with. I know, some people would just get therapy. But I’ll just sit over here and hug my Jonny Craig doll. Because projection is normal. Right?

The MacBook scam happened. The detox. The rehab. I was prepared for this to be the end of the Jonny Craig story, but then he started dating a girl who seemed to really change him, or at least, she was trying. And the crazy part was that she didn’t seem like a basic groupie. She seemed pretty intelligent, which one might argue about since she got involved with JC in the first place, but love is blind, you guys. I’m with Henry, aren’t I? Of course, I had to keep up my Crazy Jonny Craig Fangirl Persona and act like a nutcase when they got engaged (I think I might have even referred to her as Jonny’s penis-cozy in one of my faux-fits, what the fuck is wrong with me), but really–I hoped that she would save him.

Because as much of a loose cannon as he is, he really is a bright spot in a scene overflowing with generic, formulaic background noise.

All of these things I was willing to overlook because the music meant that much to me. I was so excited when Henry reluctantly agreed to drive five hours to Allentown last weekend so that I could see Jonny’s new band, Slaves. But then when I was going through his twitter feed to get screen shots of the nasty things he was saying about Emarosa (I wanted to have those as visual aids for my Emarosa blog post; can you stand how thorough I am?), I ended up seeing some terrible things.

Really awful things.

Jonny and his fiancée are currently going through a messy breakup, and he had a tweet that said if he saw her being raped, he wouldn’t stop to help.

He had another tweet saying that he never beat her when they were together but now he wishes he had. He deleted the original tweet but his retweet of this smart girl’s response still existed on Twitter:

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This asshole seriously needs to have someone monitoring his social media accounts. Like, I don’t know, maybe his MOTHER?

“Really fucking nice guy, Erin,” Henry spat when I showed him.

(Even worse is that these asinine girls were tweeting things like, “Jonny Craig could have his hands around my neck and I would still love him.” Which of course he was retweeting because these are the things that make King Shit’s ego swell. Keep encouraging him, girls. Make your mamas proud.)

At this point, it was too late. We had already bought the tickets. Rented the car. Booked the hotel room. Whether we went to this show in Allentown or not, I had already inadvertently supported a misogynistic douchepig and it made me sick to my stomach. So sick that I had a mild panic attack standing outside of the venue that night and we almost didn’t go in. Henry had to take me back to the car so I could calm down.

Look, I don’t know his ex-fiancée, but as a woman, I can’t stand for shit like that and I will automatically have her back. This is the reason men run the fucking world, because they say shit like this and no one does anything. They’ll have tons of men cheering them on in between disgusting chugs of beer, wiping Hooters wing sauce off their lips with their unwashed football jerseys of rapist athletes.

There could be actual video footage of Jonny Craig beating a woman, and he will still have fans. I mean, Chris Brown still gets played on the radio, doesn’t he?

“I just feel like if I see him, I’m going to fucking punch him!” I kept saying over and over. I was so disgusted. I kind of wished that I had worn my Emarosa t-shirt, like I had joked about last week. I brought it with me and at the last minute, Henry agreed it was a bad idea because it wouldn’t be Jonny who noticed, it would be his legion of scantily-clad side broad hopefuls and I wasn’t trying to get clawed at by their nasty acrylics. Talk about a petri dish of I Don’t Wanna Know.

We went inside. I scowled at all of the meatheads in their Jonny Craig is My Homeboy shirts. I cringed at all the girls wearing barely nothing, knowing exactly why they left 89% of their clothes at home. I suddenly felt so protective of all these little girls.

Slaves took the stage and as expected, the crowd went nuts for Jonny. But for the first time ever, I felt nothing. I just stood there with my arms crossed, refusing to clap, refusing to do a single thing Jonny demanded. And then he dedicated the last song to his ex, Amanda. “Til death do us part, bitch!” he spat and everyone was like “Yay!” because that’s cool, right?

I looked at Henry and my eyes started to well up. I felt like such a traitor to women everywhere just by being there.

“I can’t do this anymore,” I said to Henry afterward. “I can’t keep supporting this asshole.” And I think that was the happiest I have ever seen Henry in the thirteen years we’ve been together.

Meanwhile, King Shit was standing a few feet away from us, going through the motions of showing his fans what a “changed person” he is by posing for pictures with them. Two moms (like, I know I’m a mom, but these were MOMS wearing mom jeans with their mom purses slung across their mom boobs) ran over to him, took his picture, and then ran back giggling to show their respective daughters, who didn’t look more than 15-years-old. The daughters predictably squealed and were dragged back over to him by their moms.

“I guess these old broads don’t know he loves demoralizing under-aged scene girls,” I yelled to Henry. Oh, it was sickening to watch. And then afterward, I saw someone’s picture with him on Instagram and the caption said something about how Jonny was rushing everyone along because there was “quite a horde” of fans waiting. I didn’t know “roughly fifteen people” constituted a “horde,” but OK.

I’m not going to lie: I’ve always looked at fans of Ronnie Radke and wondered, “How could these kids love a guy who is such an asshole?” And duh, hello. Look at me. Blindly supporting a dreg of society since 2008.

More than anything, I feel like I owe it to my 8-year-old son to wash my hands of this guy. What kind of an example would I be setting for him if not? He already knows the guy is a drug addict (but the piss test! it was clean! blah blah!) and just a flat out mean person, but I definitely don’t want him to think that it’s OK to make those kinds of violent comments about women, publicly no less, and still have girls falling over you. “Hey, this guy acts like a douchebag and my mom loves him, so…..”

So maybe, if you’re a Jonny Craig avenger reading this, some girl with low self-esteem anxiously awaiting your chance with him, some bro who thinks it’s cool to treat people like dirt, then you might think this is a lame reason to throw in the towel. And that’s fine. Because one person writing a blog post like this is not in any way going to hurt his career, don’t worry JC afficionados. But I have too much respect for myself and at the end of the day, it’s all about girl power. I won’t stand for comments glorifying domestic violence, whether they were empty threats or not—-doesn’t matter. This guy clearly needs help, and I wish his new bandmembers luck with all of the future statements they’re going to need to release, swearing that their singer “has changed” and “is clean.” Seriously, good luck with that, and I hope he doesn’t destroy your careers.

I think I’m going to tell my kid, when in doubt, to ask himself “What would Jonny Craig do?” And then do the opposite.

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May 242014
 

The spring and summer of 2008 was one of the best times of my life. I had a job, so Henry and I weren’t fighting about money (basically the only thing we ever fight about). Chooch was an adorable 2-year-old with a penchant for blurting out “Asshole!” in public. Christina and I were at the pinnacle of our BBFdom, and she was visiting a lot from Cincinnati so hijinks were prevalent.

This was also around the time that she and I began our unhealthy obsession with all things Jonny Craig. We first fell in love with his angelic pipes when he was in Dance Gavin Dance, but then they kicked him out so we were sad. Fortunately, that spring we started hearing things about a new band who had snagged him while he was in band limbo. They were called Emarosa and even though they have previously put out an album with another singer, Christina and I had never heard of them. But they were about to become our new favorite band.

When “Relativity” was released that July, it suddenly seemed like DGD kicking out Jonny was the best idea ever. Emarosa had stolen our hearts and our creepy Jonny Craig infatuation grew exponentially. When music becomes so entwined with your life, it’s euphoric. It becomes more than just music.

It becomes a soundtrack.

Christina and I ended up meeting him in Buffalo later that year and it was emotionally traumatic for me. He was completely disinterested in anything I had to say but took an immediate liking to her. Drug users unite, I guess. That night ended with me sitting in the car of Xtreme Wheels, crying to Henry on the phone about how Jonny Craig ruined my life and I was going to just drive the 5 hours home in a snow storm because I couldn’t stand to be around Christina over night.

I ended up calming down after Christina bought me pie at a Greek diner, but our friendship went downhill that fall and never found its footing again. We were no longer speaking at all when Emarosa released their next album in 2010. I listened to it on repeat that whole summer, like a leper jumping into a silo of salt. It was my way of coping, because my friends were sick of hearing about Christina. They probably still are, honestly, even though I try to stick a cork in it.

Because trust me, there’s not a day that goes by.

The winter of 2011, Henry and I were on our way to see Emarosa at the Rex Theater. They were co-headlining with “new” Chiodos (i.e. the short-lived Brandon Bolmer-era). I was casually scrolling through my Twitter feed when I came across a tweet from Absolute Punk. “Jonny Craig forced into detox.” Apparently, Emarosa and the record label had had enough and actually made him leave the tour that morning, and sent him to a detox facility in California. This was right after he got caught scamming his fans by selling a Mac Book that didn’t exist for drug money. (Rise Records had to pay back all of the fans who blindly Western Union’d him money.)

At the last minute, Tilian Pearson from Tides of Man was asked to fill in for Jonny’s vocals. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t Jonny. I was really upset that night. An Emarosa without Jonny, followed by a Chiodos without Craig Owens. It was really confusing and stressful on my heart.

Meanwhile, Jonny was also back in Dance Gavin Dance, and jumped on a tour with them right after he got out of detox, so I got to see him a month later anyway. Seeing him live is hard to explain, because I love him as a singer so much, and he embodies all of the best things of 2008. I project a lot of emotion and bottled-up feelings on to him, which is why to the casual observer, I act like a 14-year-old reading a Kirk Cameron issue of Tiger Beat in 1987. He’s my best friend proxy, in a way. Especially considering he’s let me down almost as much as she has. But I still listen to his music, no matter what band he’s in, because it’s the only thing I have to keep the memories of 2008 alive.

Not long after the detox incident, Emarosa released a statement saying that they had parted ways with Jonny. Inevitable, but still my heart was broken. I loved Emarosa so much and the general consensus in the scene was that they were done. Without Jonny, what were they? Just another band fading into the background. With Jonny, they should have realistically enjoyed great levels of success, but because of his unprofessionalism, douchebaggery and drug addiction, it was a case of having the golden ticket to nowhere. They didn’t even record their last album together. Jonny did his vocals from the other side of the country.

What a piece of shit, right? God, I hate him but I love him so much, all at once.

Not too long after the Emarosa divorce, DGD also gave him the boot for the second time, but unlike Emarosa, they found a replacement pretty quickly: Tilian Pearson, the same guy who filled in for Jonny on the last Emarosa tour. Jonny hooked up with Kyle Lucas and Captain Midnite, recorded a new solo album, and went on a few tours. But Emarosa stayed pretty silent. I still followed them on Twitter and Facebook, but there were very few updates from 2011 to 2013. They opened up to Alternative Press and promised that this wasn’t the end for them.

But it really felt like the end.

Finally, last summer, Jonny conveniently let it slip on Twitter that Emarosa had found his replacement: Bradley Walden from Squid the Whale. I guess Jonny just wanted to put it out there and ruin whatever Emarosa was planning to do as an announcement. Because that’s the kind of awesome guy he is.

I didn’t know much about Squid the Whale previously but a quick listen made me a believer in Emarosa’s choice. Bradley could SANG, y’all. Still, I was nervous about what he could bring to the table, and how well he would be able to perform the Jonny songs.

After officially announcing their new singer, Emarosa went quiet again. Rise Records was posting all kinds of teasers on Facebook, like, “Hey guys, just heard the new Emarosa album. You guys are going to love it!” and we were all like, “STOP BEING DICKS! GIVE US A SINGLE!”

And they finally did:

And my heart burst into a million pieces of blood-coated stained glass. Ah, that voice, are you kidding me!? Backed by those five guys that I refused to give up on. It felt so good to be an Emarosa fan. Especially after the way they very professionally took much warranted pot shots at Jonny Craig in a promo video they released a few months ago. (No sarcasm here: considering the Hell Jonny put them through, I think they were within their right to talk about it and I’m really impressed at how they were able to keep it classy at the same time.)

While at the same time, Jonny was doing this:
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With Jonny’s new band Slaves about to release their album in June too, the drama has been popcorn-worthy. And I have to say, I was nervous about seeing Emarosa live last Monday, because it’s hard to tell based on the shitty YouTube videos people have been uploading. I didn’t want Jonny to be right. It’s not easy loving a band and then hearing another voice singing those songs that have become your Bible.

I asked Chooch who he likes better and he said, “Bradley, obviously. Jonny Craig does drugs.”

I can tell you that it was only sound check, and hearing a five-second sample of Bradley’s voice made my heart feel like it was dropping out of my kooka. I had to grip Henry’s knee and he was like, “Stop it.” When the lights went out, they weren’t even fully on the stage yet and I was in tears. Then they went right into “The Past Should Stay Dead” and I was a sniveling mess. Bradley killed it. He sang those songs like they were written for him, and I know that’s driving Jonny nuts because he’s been whining on Twitter about how it’s terrible to hear HIS SONGS being destroyed. “His songs.” He did nothing to help Emarosa write those songs.

When Bradley sang the line “We know who does it best” I almost died, because POIGNANT.

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He was all up in the crowd, being gracious, talking about how honored he is to be singing with a band that he has been a fan of for years. He didn’t try to sing like Jonny; he sang like Bradley. And he brought charisma by the boatload. How could something feel so familiar yet so new?

You know those fountains that move along to music? That was me Monday night at the House of Blues: music played and my tear ducts were engaged. Throw some fucking pennies in me.

And then this happened:

BRADLEY LEFT ME A HEART ON INSTAGRAM! Jonny probably would have just called me fat. I love that Bradley gives a shit.

The best part for me was seeing the rest of the guys SMILING while they played.

The worst part for me was when some asshole behind me started shouting, “WHERE’S JONNY CRAIG? YOU SUCK!” I was getting really upset and I think Henry was afraid I was going to open my mouth (I was) but some other girl beat me to it and shouted back to him, “HE’S A DOUCHE!”

“I hope Bradley didn’t hear him,” I cried to Henry afterward, and then proceeded to spend the next 72 hours being emotionally wrecked.

“Are you still crying?” Robbie asked incredulously while we were waiting for Chiodos to come on. YES, YES I WAS.

Bradley was standing by the merch booth after the show and Henry kept urging me to go talk to him because Henry likes to psychologically abuse me. I did a few stutter steps and while saying, “OK fine. No. OK I will. No I can’t” before finally just crying, “LET’S JUST GO!” I didn’t want to snot the guy’s shirt, you guys. I was just feeling way too raw to try and form words with my mouth without choking on tears and having yet another singer in a band think I’m special needs.

Honestly, I didn’t think I would ever get to see Emarosa again, one more memento of 2008 buried into the ground. It was a really confusing, emotional night for me. I wished that I could just crawl inside their music and lay there for awhile, like a bed full of all the best memories and softest feelings. SO CORNY BUT I DON’T CARE. STEP THE FUCK OFF. I’m having a moment.

I think they have the chance to become a true post-hardcore powerhouse and I can’t wait for their album to come out next month. Here’s to starting over.

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************
I’m going to see Jonny’s new band tomorrow in Allentown, which I’m really stoked for because this is their first tour and I NEED TO KNOW, but after the Emarosa jabs, my love meter for Jonny is really waning. Maybe this will be my closure.

Seriously considering wearing my Emarosa shirt tomorrow night. #teambradley #emarosavseveryone

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May 192014
 

Marcy was sitting next to me when I was doing Real Important Things on the computer last night (putting together puzzles on Jigzone, duh). Sorry Marcy, you sit that close to me, you pay the price.

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Now she’s acting all weird because Grandma Judy is here and Marcy knows that means her beloved Henry is going somewhere. I mean, I’m going too but Marcy has the confetti and noisemakers lined up for that.

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May 162014
 

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The greatest thing happened on Mother’s Day. No, Henry didn’t propose. But we were on our way to the cemetery and Chooch piped up from the backseat, “Put on ‘Strawberry Swisher Part 3′.”

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THAT IS A DANCE GAVIN DANCE SONG IN CASE YOU DIDN’T KNOW. And my kid was requesting it of his own volition. My heart swelled past the size of his mysterious bee sting. So of course I tweeted about it and said it was the best mother’s day present ever, and Dance Gavin Dance retweeted me! Like any other 16-year-old, I freaked out because OMG A BAND ACKNOWLEDGED ME ON SOCIAL MEDIA. Seriously, that’s the best thing ever about twitter and Instagram. I have a collection of screenshots for every time this happens because it excites me, OK? I’m just some dumb mom from Pittsburgh but then Craig Owens likes a picture I posted of him on Instagram and I feel special for 5 seconds. Let me have my moment.

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Tiniest bit of donut icing on his lip. I have eight year’s worth of photos of Chooch’s dirty face. No sense in starting to wash it now.

But even better than that was that other people were retweeting it because DGD did and I wound up having a nice exchange with this teenaged girl who told me that I need to know I win the Mom of the Year award for the rest of eternity and that she wishes her mom was cool like me and she hopes she will be that kind of mom to her own kids someday and I was like, “BABE, DON’T LOSE YOUR LOVE OF MUSIC AND YOU’LL BE FINE.” Because really, I can’t imagine how stale my life would be without that. I don’t really consider myself a “cool” mom because this is just me being myself. I’m just an awkward girl determined to find balance between being a mom and staying true to who I am, and that meant not putting music in the background, but keeping it a prominent fixture in my life where Chooch can experience and love it too. He asked me to put Spotify on his phone and now he finds himself falling into those magical wormholes and it makes me so excited for him because we all have those songs that we vividly remember discovering for the first time. Anytime I hear songs that I loved when I was his age, it’s like I’m suddenly sitting in my mom’s old Pontiac Grand Am with the McDonald’s sweet and sour sauce stain on the backseat. I wonder if it will be like that for Chooch, too.

God knows our car has enough stains in it.

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Music is even more fun when you get to share it with someone. And it’s even better when that someone is your kid. But you can swap that out with so many different things: sports, movies, art. I think it’s so important to have that one thing to bond over where your kid is seeing you not as a parent, but as a PERSON WITH INTERESTS. We don’t always have to be in parent-mode. See? Being a parent is not always lame, you guys! Except for when it’s VIP day at school. Which it was today. I have a feeling there will be several bullet points devoted to that later on.

OK, you’re dismissed. Now go listen to music with someone you love today!

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May 092014
 

Special? Not really. But I thought it would be fun to do a Dance Gavin Dance show edition of the bullet point posts which have somehow turned into a weekly thing. My apologies, Internet colleagues. But yes, it really does make more sense to write about the show in bullet points because my mind and emotions were all over the map Wednesday night. But I woke up the next day feeling more refreshed than I would have after a day at the spa, sorry I’m not sorry but I actually am sorry that I typed out “sorry I’m not sorry.” OK, onward, fat girl. (Points if you know that.)

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Henry being unhappy standing in line to get in.

  • This show was May 7th at Mr. Small’s, which is my favorite venue in Pittsburgh and I haven’t seen DGD play there since 2009 when Kurt Travis was their singer (I’ve seen them numerous times since then, but just in different places), so I was really excited. Henry? Not so much. See above picture again if you need a visual.

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  • I remembered my ID this time so once we got inside, we went right for the 21+ area. The bartender informed us that the balcony was open for the night and Henry was like YES and I was like NO. Old people sit in the balcony. :(
  • Henry whined a lot about being up since 3AM while I giggled and smiled at all of my DGD brethren.

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Frowns for DGD.

  • I was trying to remind Henry of the time we saw DGD last year because these shows all blend together for him. “Were they with these same bands?” he asked. “No, they were with A Lot Like Birds, remember? You hated them.” “There’s a lot of bands I hate,” Henry said dryly. “And I have to go see all of them.”
  • I randomly got angry at Henry for not being a sound guy.
  • Something came over me and I decided we could sit in the dumb balcony since Henry was tired and there was a lot of shit I needed him to do over the next few days for Chooch’s upcoming birthday party. It was kind of cool though because we essentially had the whole balcony to ourselves and there were no moms up there writing out shopping lists or reading Better Homes & Garden. Plus, I could actually see now, yay!

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SOME LOCAL BAND

  • Some local band that wasn’t on the bill ended up coming out first and I’m not going to say that they sucked because, you know, kudos to them for getting up there and doing their thing, but my god the singer NEVER STOPPED TALKING. They might as well just be a spoken word band. I got the impression that this was the first time they played somewhere other than Aunt Jackie’s garage, because during sound check, they were taking pictures and filming the crowd, and their enthusiasm was kind of embarrassing. But then the mom in me came out and I remembered that these are someone’s kids so then I felt bad.
    • “It sounds like they’re all playing all different songs. Why did they come out like they’re the headlining band?” Henry asked with concern.
    • One of their choruses sounded like “Make a crump mess.”
    • During one of the singer’s many monologues, he asked the crowd if any of us have parents who (indecipherable hoo-haa), to clap. I did not clap because I had a feeling  that the indecipherable hoo-haa had something to do with parents being supportive, and…no.
    • UGH TALKSOMUCH!
    • I started clapping and cheering REALLY LOUD at one point, but it was only because I was following along with the Pens/Rangers game on my phone and MALKIN SCORED, MOTHERFUCKERS. (Got to see the replay later and holy shit, Geno.)
    • They dedicated the last song to the Pens so I love them now.

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Here is a picture of Henry sleeping during the local band, something Project.

  • Henry realized that he hadn’t eaten since dinner the night before. NOT MY PROBLEM.
  • The crowd would sporadically bust out into “Let’s Go Pens!” cheers between bands and it made my heart swell. I don’t often love that community feeling, but when I do it usually has something to do with hockey. (NEVER THE STEELERS THOUGH.)
  • Even after I let Henry sit in the balcony, he had the audacity to complain that the seats were uncomfortable. I posted this on Facebook, because I wanted the 25/450 people who haven’t hidden me yet from their newsfeed to see that Henry is an ungrateful cockface. Sandy commented and said that she has a portable seat cushion he could borrow for next time. “There won’t be a next time,” Henry muttered.
  • Bleach Blonde was the next band. They were good. The singer reminded me of Adam Lazarra. Henry fell asleep again.
  • But then Palisades came on and WOKE HENRY THE FUCK UP. I got really excited because I started putting two and two together and I realized that I watched one of their videos a few months ago and loved them immediately but then forgot about them, probably because I got distracted by Jonny Craig again. Anyway, I’m in love.
    • By the second song, I had totally lost my fucking mind and kept beating on Henry’s arm and screaming.
    • “I FEEL LIKE TAKING MY SHIRT OFF!” I screamed in Henry’s face, which turned into the perfect expression of horror, disgust and “Grow the fuck up.”
    • OMG DID I INGEST MOLLY?! THIS BAND IS SO FUCKING GOOD I WANT TO SCREAM!
    • Made a note to add 30 minutes of Palisades-inspired cardio to my fitness challenge total for the day.
    • AND THE SUTTER GOT A SHORTY SO I THOUGHT I THREW MY ARM OUT SOCKET WHEN I SHOT IT UP WITH ALL OF THE FORCE.
    • The singer Lou (WHO I AM NOW IN LOVE WITH OK) yelled, “Have you ever been judged for the clothes you wear (etc etc)? Then put your motherfucking hands up!” I kept trying to get Henry to put his hands up but he wouldn’t budge. “Put your fucking hands up, Henry, I fucking judge you all the time!” I screamed.
    • I posted a video of them on Instagram and THE SINGER LIKED IT OMGGGGGG SOCIAL MEDIA MAKING ME FEEL IMPORTANT AGAIN.
    • Yesterday at work, Barb said she watched my Instagram video of Palisades and it made her feel stressed out, LOLOLOL.

  • Capture the Crown was next and Henry was like “Y SO MANY BANDS UGH” and then immediately hated his life once the singer started screaming. And it was my favorite kind of screaming too! Th ekind that gets real high like a screaming eagle and then super low and guttural like SATAN. So, I loved the screaming parts of this band, but I was otherwise bored and besides, it was the third period by then so I was pretty much 100% invested in my phone.
  • PENS WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Henry went to the bathroom so I decided to hide from him under a table. I waited until I saw him down below, getting ready to come back up to the balcony, before taking my place. As soon as I saw legs enter our empty section of the balcony, I jumped out only to see that it was some broad instead. OF COURSE someone would pick that moment to come to our area after it had been empty all night. Henry was right behind her and was like, “Good. Good for you.”
  • Motherfucking DANCE GAVIN DANCE YOU GUYS UGHHHHH!!!! Henry was like “PLEASE STOP!” because I was losing my shit and doing these weird screams that I have no idea where they were coming from and I was just going completely spastic while he sat very calm and still next to me.
    • They opened with The Jiggler which was perfect. I love this song so much because it reminds me of a circus:

    • Obsessed with Jon Mess. (If anyone wants to buy me one of his paintings for absolutely no reason at all, I wouldn’t be mad about it.)
    • Several other people came up the balcony at this point and some drunk hippie dropped his beer bottle on Henry which I totally missed and didn’t find out about until later.
    • TILIAN WAS ON POINT. He was even singing the Jonny Craig-era DGD songs so much better than the last time, but he totally killed it on the songs from the new album.
    • LEMON MERINGUE TIE!!!!!!!! UNEASY HEARTS!!!! CARVE!!!!
    • Honey Revenge is a song from the perspective of a stalker and Tilian made it even creepier live by making these precious faces when he would sing the lines “Oh, can’t wait to get you all alone.” He can stalk me any fucking day, dear god.
    • Crying right now. This band is so entangled with memories and emotions from 2008 that sometimes it feels like my heart is on fire when I listen to them.
    • I have stuck with DGD through three singers, the departure and return of Jon Mess, and various other line-up changes. But after that night, I have decided that this current DGD is my new favorite DGD. They just sound so cohesive and smooth together now. They will always be in my Top 5. I’m just sorry that more people don’t get how talented they are. Matt Mingus and Will Swan are extraordinarily underrated musicians.
    • On the way home that night, Henry said the next best thing to a marriage proposal: THAT HE LIKES DANCE GAVIN DANCE AND HAD A GOOD TIME. What world am I living in!? After 9 years, he has finally accepted that he has to share my heart with a bunch of dudes from Sacramento, I guess.
    • HASHTAG BLESSED ALL THE WAY HOME.

Anyway, last night Henry and I stayed up late watching DGD videos (he willingly did this!). “You can tell Tilian is a lot more comfortable now. He isn’t trying to sing like Jonny Craig anymore, he’s singing all of those old songs like himself,” Henry said in full seriousness and I almost died. Henry is making Dance Gavin Dance observations? I am so in love.

“I don’t like how Tilian dances, though,” he went on to say, killing the mood.

STFU, Henry.

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May 072014
 

TONIGHT!!! I requested off work for this show  the minute it was announced several months ago. So stoked the day is finally here. DGD 4L*, y’all, Jonny Craig or no Jonny Craig. Meanwhile, Henry is walking around today sucking on an imaginary shotgun. Fuck your life, right Henhen?

(I have honestly never called him “Henhen” before but I think it’s going to be my New Thing.)

If they play this song, I’ll cry. And if they don’t play this song, I’ll cry.

In other news but not-really-news, I still have to write about the ghost tour of Pittsburgh I went on last Saturday with Wendy, Evonne and Jeannie but all I really want to do right now is stare at a wall.

*(It’s only a matter of time before I get that tattooed inside my bottom lip.)

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Apr 262014
 

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I’m sitting here watching the Pens/BlowJobs game with one eye open and am having terrible stomach aches because playoff hockey = ulcers so here is a photo of Marcy because I needed something to distract me and I’ve already taken care of my Springfield on Simpsons Tapped Out.

#inhaleexhaleinhaleexhale

#fleurydontleavethecrease

#dubinskycanchokeonaglacier

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Apr 172014
 

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Remember how I bribed Chooch with ice cream in exchange for Easter portraits? Well duh—that’s because I wanted ice cream, too. Yeah, yeah, yeah: I know that you can still eat ice cream during the winter (and trust me, I do!) but I am super partial to soft serve ice cream with sprinkles and well, they just taste better in warm weather. So even though this was supposed to be Chooch’s treat, I kept trying to give him gentle shoves toward soft serve places, but he was deadset on going to Scoops on the Boulevard, which is only HARD ICE CREAM. (And it’s really good too but I just wanted a soft splooge of vanilla majesty in a fucking cone, OK?

But then Henry pointed out that there is a new place down the street from Scoops called Carnival Treats and they supposedly have soft serve. Plus, this meant we could walk rather than drive, since it’s right down the street. And that’s a win/win because I’m really into walking. An enthusiast, even.

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Carnival Treats is still new and does not have its shit together yet. It used to be a pretzel place that Henry jacked off over for about a month, but I never liked the pretzels. I’m picky about my pretzels. (I was just talking yesterday about some sort of food I’m picky about and Chooch was like, “Ugh, you’re just like a teenager. Teenagers are picky about EVERYTHING.” Oh OK, because 8-year-olds aren’t?)

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I want to redo their sign in the worst way. It was making my eyes itch while I was waiting for my ice cream. You’d never know it based on the grammatical shit stains on my blog, but I am actually pretty good at spotting other people’s errors. And I’m REALLY GOOD AT MAKING SIGNS. That was my favorite part of working at that shitty meat place from 2000-2004 (which I’m technically not ever supposed to write about as part of an agreement from when I won a settlement against them after I quit and it pains me to think about all of the salacious tales I can never tell on this blog). But yes, in addition to managing the office, I was responsible for hand-writing the deli case stickers. My beautiful lettering, wasted on “PORK BUTTS” and “ALL BEEF WIENERS.” But I still churned them out with a gentle flourish because I take pride in anything I make by hand.

Even meat price tags.

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But I digress.

The damn vanilla side of the soft serve machine wasn’t working because why would it be? So I had to get CHOCOLATE instead and I’m just not a fan of chocolate soft serve unless it’s a Frosty from Wendy’s.  But I ate it anyway because I was determined to enjoy my first ice cream cone of the spring, even though I complained about the sprinkles, too.

I’m picky about sprinkles.

These were too big and chewy.

Henry didn’t get anything because he was being a cry baby for some reason.

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The next day was even more beautiful, so we took Chooch to Round Hill Farm to see the animals. Apparently, it was the location of the Great Allegheny Easter Egg Hunt which was scheduled to start an hour after we got there, so we rushed Chooch through in an effort to get the hell out of there before it started because I am way too much of a bitch to be a part of something so competitive involving children.

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Chooch really wanted medicinal herbs.

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THEN WE GOT MORE ICE CREAM. This time we went down the road to Yough Twist in Elizabeth because that place is the shit.  There was an old couple that arrived on their lame bicycles right before us and basically ordered a three course meal but luckily one of the other girls there who looked like she could have been a member of Danity Kane opened up another window for us to order because I guess she realized that her co-worker was going to be stuck helping the elder bicyclists for quite awhile. Ugh, I hated them so bad, I can’t even get into it right now.

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I was a dummy and ordered a pretzel cone, which was totally disgusting. Why did I do that!? Why am always trying to gild the lilies?!

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Thank god that girl had the foresight to give me a plastic cone protector thingie because my ice cream was melting at lightning speed. I actually had a bigger mess on my hands than Chooch, which is really saying something because he’s the grossest food-eater ever.

Also, I don’t care how annoying it is, I have a compulsion to photograph every single ice cream cone. It’s just what I do. Sorry if you have an eye allergy to ice cream pictures.

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Henry, finishing both of our ice cream cones after he had already eaten his own.  He should look so much happier than that, right!? (Look at that dumb lock of hair sticking out of his hat, hahaha.)

Overall, not the greatest weekend of ice cream cones, but there’s, like, however many more weekends there are from now until next dumb winter.

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Apr 152014
 

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Henry hates it when Chooch & I walk to the bakery and buy him a donut because he knows there is absolutely nothing altruistic about it. We just want to take pictures of pretty pink frosting grazing his bristling moustache so that we can endlessly mock him later. It’s one of my favorite past times.

So now Henry tries to act like he doesn’t want the donut. In fact, he was only pretending to eat it just so I would take a picture and leave him alone.

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Henry’s dumb lunch.

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He kept trying to sneak bites without me noticing so I wouldn’t take any pictures but I’m too fucking good. Get real, Henry.

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It never gets old.

And this concludes my Law Firm Fitness Challenge Cop Out Blog Post. I feel guilty if I waste too much time sitting and typing when I could be pacing and lurking. (I lost two pounds since it started yesterday morning! My body fucking hates me today!)

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Apr 032014
 

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I briefly mentioned last week that my friends Kevin and Lizzy sent me a box of fruit from Miami and I went into fruitiac arrest right there at my dining room table. It was actually the first time I used #blessed without an iota of facetiousness.

Literally every single fruit in that box was something that had never once graced my filthy lips. And I knew this because I didn’t recognize anything. Thank god they packed along a brochure from the fruit stand Robert Is Here, which is now my favorite place ever and I can’t wait to go to Florida.

Of course, Henry was in a “rush” to get back to work (I just like to put random words in quotes, OK? It makes my finger tattoos tingle) so he claimed he didn’t have time to cut anything for me. Luckily, one of those small beige balls was slightly ajar, so I swept it away into the kitchen and started ripping it open with my bare hands, until Henry finally sighed and confiscated it. He cut the rest with a knife and packed it away into one of my plastic fruitainers (a container for fruit, duh) like a good father getting his child’s school lunch ready.

According to my brochure, what I had so savagely opened in the style of caveperson was a sapodilla and I rejoiced because Kevin is always BRAGGING on Facebook about how he’s sucking back sapodilla MILKSHAKES, no big deal, and I get all jealous because what is a sapodilla, I have no idea but I want it.

The description in the brochure says that a sapodilla tastes like a pear with brown sugar. I am here to confirm that it tastes like a pear with brown sugar, how is that possible?! It was also a little bit reminiscent of root beer candy, HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE!? The texture itself is a little bit grainy, definitely pear-like. I wish I had some in my mouth right now. (I wouldn’t share this with anyone, FYI.)

Hassia-Sapodilla

In my haste to devour all of the sapodillas, I never got around to ramming my phone up into their grills, so please enjoy a stock photo that I procured from the Internet. I can’t wait until Henry plants sapodilla seeds in our tropical climate backyard biodome that he doesn’t know I’ve enrolled him in college to learn to build. And then he can peruse his beloved Pinterest for candied sapodilla and Kevin & Lizzy’s sapodilla milk shakes and sapodilla-on-the-cob and sapodilla lampshades. Sapodilla moustache rides?

Sapodilla chevron mason jars suspended from sapodilla pallets! Don’t forget to put a motherfucking bird on it.

Get on that, Henry.

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When I came home from work that night, I made Henry cut another fruit for me, the lone yellow guy up there. At first, I was confusing it for the mamey sapote because I am apparently dumb at matching. (Never mind the other day when I bragged about being excelsior at it; just call me Mary.)

(Because I’m contrary. God, go read a fucking nursery rhyme once in awhile.)

OK, so how can I describe this fruit to you without grossing you out….it’s like sticking a spoon in a yeasty vagi—OK WRONG, WRONG. Let me try again. The texture is custard-like and squash-y, not your typical pulp-y fruit innards. Do not be afraid of it. There is no squirting of juices to ruin your clothes (I know I’m not the only one that winds up walking around with fruit-jizz splotches on my shirts after wrestling with an orange). It’s soft and velvety, and even though it stinks of raw pumpkin, once you move past that, it is the most gentle sensation upon your buds, and I liked to imagine that when Robert Smith wrote the line “the strangest twist upon your lips” it was while watching some broad slowly masticate the shit out of a canistel, which is what this fruit is, and not a mamey sapote. Now that I’ve made you read 18 sentences wondering WTF fruit this is. I write good, y’all.

The flavor of the canistel isn’t in-your-face sweet like fruits that you average Americans are accustomed to, but it’s more of an egg custard. So there were times that I was spooning it into my maw where I would get a little skeeved out, remembering that I wasn’t eating some kind of exotic cheesecake, but the actual entrails of a fruit right out of its skin. It kind of made me feel like a savage. AND I KIND OF LIKED IT.

It had a very interesting moist:dry ratio and made me think fondly of Thanksgiving because now I want this shit in a pie shell.

Texture Freaks: This one might just tickle your gag reflex.

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Next up was the weird eggplant ball and the oblong cactus-thing. I determined these to be a star apple and guanabana, respectively. Coincidentally, my friend Eve had just recommended the guanabana to me a few weeks ago! I like having fruit friends. I mean, literal humans that also enjoy the sweet spoils of nature, not actually friends that are made of fruit.

(Although in 9th grade, I did have a friend that was an orange. His name was Marcus Aurelius and my asshole mom threw him away because he was starting to rot.)

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Henry blew out a harried sigh when I shouted, “WAIT! I need to take a picture” right as he was about to start hacking away at the star apple with that big knife in the background. (Don’t tell Henry, but sometimes, even though I’m not supposed to be handling sharp objects, I carry that knife with me around the house because I watch way too much shows like The Following and read too many home invasion news reports and yeah, I’ll probably wind up accidentally slicing through my femoral artery and then Henry will come home to find Marcy lapping up the pooling blood around my dead body. And then she probably will live forever after that.)

(Don’t be a bitch, Marcy.)

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I know, this inside of the guanabana is pretty gross; all glazed-over and white like the inside of an earthworm. (I think? It’s been awhile since that day I vomited in high school Biology.) It’s impossible to do anything with either of the above two fruit other than just spoon it into a bowl and go for it. Nicer boyfriends may have picked the seeds out first, but Henry told me to just spit them out. :(

He put both fruits together in a container, and by the time I was ready to eat it at work, they had kind of melded together into one gross lump of mash. Visually unappetizing (if I posted a photo of what it looks like right now on my desk at work, it would be the worst promotion ever), but each was delicious in its own right. Let’s talk about that.

The description of the guanabana says it tastes like pineapple cotton candy. How can this be possible, I do not know, but it’s pretty accurate. The pulp was firmer and wetter than the canistel, and reminded me of the cherimoya. Perhaps they are cousins. The guanabana had a mild tropical bite to it, not unlike that of the pineapple, but much less tangy and juicy. And it’s true: the lingering flavor at the back of my throat reminded me of cotton candy! (However, I can’t say that I would have naturally picked up on that on my own. Reading the description beforehand might have swayed my opinion—-like when Henry watches Fox News.)

I really expected this white piece of mangled flesh to be the winner here, but the star apple (or caimito, if you’re trying to be fancy) blew me away.

My favorite cake at Bethel Bakery is this almond majesty full of the softest raspberry buttercream frosting that I have ever suckled. It’s so regal-tasting that I always upgrade regular old birthday cakes so that they’re inseminated with raspberry splendor. The star apple—somehow, someway—reminds me of that fucking buttercream. The texture is thick and mostly smooth with a slightly grainy consistency that mocks sugar granules. It has subtle raspberry notes and a gentle saccharine tongue-hug that makes you remember that nature has its own sweetener. And I’m not talking about God’s ejaculate. (OR AM I.)

However, eating either of these fruits probably looks hideous to innocent bystanders. Especially when I’m orally chucking seeds into a spitoon. Today, I mixed in blueberries in an attempt to offset the general visage of eyeball paste and mashed-up road kill kidney. It didn’t work.

20140402-160918.jpg Babe. <3

Aaaaand, typing that while I’m still sitting here eating it was really dumb. This would have been fine a month ago when I was a casual bulimic for a few days.

Yesterday, I attempted to wield my knife-guardian and began hacking into the remaining beige ball in the box. I thought it was another sapodilla, which are soft and Erin-friendly as far as cutting goes. But instead, I made it less than an inch before the knife encountered the hugest pit I’ve ever seen in a fruit. So I had to wait for Henry to come home and finish the job.

In the meantime, I was unable to locate this big-pitted bastard on the brochure so I had the genius idea to EMAIL ROBERT IS HERE. I attached the below picture and made sure to also tell them that sapodillas are the best fruit in the whole universe.

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Within a few minutes, Employee Tracey emailed me back!!

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OMG ME AND ROBERT ARE FRUIT BROS!!! I started screaming and fanning myself, totally fruit fan-girling, while Henry sat there and glared at me in his typical Henry fashion. Sorry you find joy in nothing, old man.

Anyway, the mamey apple tasted like an apricot, indeed. Just more exotic, and more like a dried apricot, even though it didn’t have a dehydrated texture. I let Wendy try a piece and now she’s mad at me for making her like fruit that she won’t be able to get at the grocery store here. Welcome to my world, Wendy. :(

There was one last fruit that Henry cut for me yesterday, and he RUINED IT because it wasn’t ready. (It’s that football-looking thing in the first picture.) The insides were really tough and it kind of looked like a cantolope, and it had the most amazing stench. I kept shoving a piece up Henry’s nose.

“I KNOW! OK! IT SMELLS GOOD!” he kept screaming at me while swatting away my hand. I’m just trying to make moments with him, you know? Memories to include in our never-to-be-written vows.

But he was supposed to wait until the fruit was much softer and the skin was wrinkled, and after that it was supposed to taste like STRAWBERRY PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE because it’s a mamey sapote you guys! It’s what I originally thought the canistel was! Henry’s lucky I didn’t take the knife from him and [withheld so it cannot be used as future evidence].

But don’t worry. I’m now a registered user over at the Robert Was Here website, so: one mamey sapote coming right up!

[A million thank yous to Kevin & Lizzy for broadening my fruit horizons. When we visit—and we will!—, please take me to Robert Is Here so I can get him to autograph my brochure!)

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