Jan 262021
 

Are you sick of seeing the dumb shit we’ve been doing around the house? Sorry, but there is NOTHING ELSE GOING ON IN MY LIFE RIGHT NOW. Work. Read. Exercise. Think of shit to change around the house.

That’s it. That’s my life.

Anyway, I wanted to show the new addition to the Cure sitting area that literally no one will be using anytime soon!

We had this ugly side table from Goodwill – I can’t remember why we bought it but I guess at some point I really had to have it. We originally had it painted black with a red glitter top which was never actually finished so the top got all shitty and it was impossible to clean.

Henry sanded it down and we painted it red with a pink top and I knew from the get go that I wanted the top to have lips on it to match the Robert Smith lips theme. Originally I was going to try and find some type of scrapbook paper, and then I moved on to looking for lip confetti. But then!

I found!

The most glorious!

Sequined!

Lip!

Patches!

OH BABY. These patches turned out to be exactly what I didn’t know I needed. I ordered several sets, Henry fucked everything up several times, but then eventually we got to the epoxy-pouring part. This is Henry’s least favorite DIY thing. He’s worked with epoxy before, back when we used to make pendants for my defunct art shop on Etsy. He pretty much hates epoxy. And it wasn’t his friend this time, either but he persevered (in between long nights of making serial killer Valentines – what even is our life, I have no idea).

It’s not perfect, but it’s level and works as a functioning table top, and that’s all that really matters!

The space that the table is living in is so dimly lit that you can’t even see the imperfections, anyway, but I did want to be up front about the fact that this project was not 100% perfect. Epoxy is no fucking joke. Henry suggested doing one pour to try and even out the swirls from where the plastic covering dropped on it and I screamed, “NO!” because with our luck, it will just make it worse! You literally can’t even see (or feel) the swirls unless you move the table into a brightly lit room. We always have the hall light set on pink in this area so it’s fine.

It’s the perfect table to display my copy of Charlotte Sometimes, gifted to me several years for my birthday by Sandy! (If you know the Cure, you know that they wrote their song “Charlotte Sometimes” about this book. If Chooch would have been a girl, his name was going to be Charlotte, and I was of course fighting for his middle name to be Sometimes, and I’m sure I eventually would have won that battle and 14-year-old Charlotte would probably really fucking hate me right now.)

And of course I needed a lip planter to really nature up the spot.

On the adjacent wall, there will eventually be a small shelf and at least two more The Cure pictures. I have this one screenprint from the Cure concert my brother Corey and I attended in Philly back in 2008, which still needs framed, but I think that would look really nice there too?!

I need a different rug for this space, though. I currently have my a red shag heart in my cart, but I JUST DON’T KNOW.

Jan 182021
 

We usually have a small clock-radio playing lightly in our bedroom at all times, dialed in on some inoffensive station that plays more “classic” Top 40 with the occasional current hit sprinkled in for good measure. Basically, it’s dentist office tunes, where one minute you might be blessed with some deeply nostalgic Depeche Mode track, and then just as quickly annoyed by some Miley Cyrus shit-song. I just like not knowing what I’m going to walk into each time I enter throughout the day (and sometimes I can even hear what’s playing from downstairs, prompting me to scream over the TV “ooh it’s my jam!” to which Henry scowls, “How can you HEAR that?!”).

All of this is to say that I was awoken one morning last week by the opening acapella pining of Tonic’s “If You Could Only See” and with tears spurting out of my eyes, I was suddenly drop-kicked back to 1997, the autumn after senior year, sitting in a lobby of the McKeesport YWCA waiting to take my GED test because yes, I was a high school drop out. There was only a month or so left of senior year, I was in a shitty relationship with a psychopath, I had zero support or understanding from my family, I had been grieving my grandfather’s death for over a year with no reprieve, and my mental state was largely ignored. Back then, as a 17-year-old brat, I chocked my decision up to rebelling, trying to get a rise from parents who didn’t pay attention to me. It wasn’t drugs, I wasn’t a teen mom, I wasn’t failing (I was on the fucking honor roll lol) – I just made a stupid, knee-jerk, stubborn decision to not get out of bed anymore because being in those halls made me feel like I was going to scream.  I would realize later on that I had a sort of mental breakdown and my ability to make “normal people” decisions had taken a back seat. I was literally lost.

Choices were made, amigos and chingus.

Fast forward a few months: my friend Christy, who knew that I was better than that, urged me to get my GED so that I could at least get a job. I had nothing else to do – all of my friends had gone away to college and I was just toiling around with Psycho Mike, on the verge of making the leap from rich suburban girl to legit white trash. So, why not? Let’s GED this bitch up.

And that’s how I wound up in the McKeesport YWCA, striking up conversation with a super cute and hilarious guy whom I felt SO STRONGLY was The One but now I can’t even remember his name. Dante? Damien?  All I remember is that he was super into computers (“I like taking them apart and putting them back together,” he said and I thought this was dumbest yet most interesting thing ever, like OMG can I watch?) and planned on going to school for that, and he lived in the nearby town of Dravosburg.

The GED test was spread out over two evenings, and we both arrived too early on each evening, hanging out in the lobby and talking before the doors to the testing room opened up. On both nights, we were the first to finish (I might have giddily rushed through it so that I would have more time to talk to him) and I remember distinctly sitting in this alcove/balcony area during the breaks we were allotted each night, and he even chivalrously sat with me while I waited for my ride after the testing was over, talking like we had known each other forever. He gave me his number, and when Psycho Mike picked me up after the second night of the testing was over, Mike was of course enraged to find me talking to another guy. I remember stopping at Firehouse Videos that night on the way home m to rent Dario Argento movies, and then having a huge argument in the basement of my parent’s house. I didn’t even care because meeting the new guy was a sign: I had incentive to dump Psycho Mike. Because in my stupid high school drop-out brain, having a rebound guy was better incentive than, I dunno, protecting myself from further abuse?! Teenagers are so FUCKING DUMB.

But then I couldn’t find GED dude’s number! And I hadn’t given him mine! I even called my friend Justin who also lived in Dravsoburg and asked him if he knew him, told him the whole Shakespearean dilemma, and could he locate this guy? Could he give him my number? Dravosburg is small, right?!

Justin said he would see what he could do, which was nothing because at the end of the day, we may have been “friends” but we were also “exes” and he wasn’t on board with pimping me out I guess.

So I never talked to that guy again, but I thought about him occasionally for the next several years, particularly anytime I would hear that Tonic song, which was popular at that time and for whatever reason, I associated it with him.

I did end up, obviously, dumping Psycho Mike but it wouldn’t be until another 6 months or so. And what would have happened if I hadn’t lost that guy’s number? How would that have changed the trajectory of my life? Would I have still met Henry? SO MANY QUESTIONS!

Hilariously (but not), several years later, now with Henry as my boyfriend, I had decided to go to college. In order to enroll at Pitt, I needed my high school transcript which made me so fucking nervous because I had never seen them and wasn’t really looking forward to taking that awkward and painful stroll down memory lane. I had to pick up the transcripts in person and I can remember bursting into tears in the parking lot afterward – I had actually graduated high school. After all of that, all of the passive-aggressive shaming my dad put me through, the childish bullying I endured any time I ran into enemies from high school*, the hassle of going to McKeesport and taking the GED exam, I had been a high school graduate that whole time. I remember back then, a friend telling me that there was a seat saved for me at commencements but I didn’t believe it then. I guess it was true.

*[Notably, the time I was at Denny’s with my friend Brian and that broad Cinn I mentioned recently, and two dumb bitches I hated more than anyone (I didn’t know about Trump yet) stood next to my booth in order and plunked quarters into the Claw Machine. “I’m really good at this,” Mindy said theatrically and extra-loud, as though her cunt friend Christine wasn’t standing RIGHT NEXT TO HER. “I went to college.” At this, they both collapsed into red neck chortles. OH BURN. So you went to college to learn a skill that requires you spend $1.00 on a 5 cent plushie? COOL!]

Anyway, both of those bitches are miserable and basic.

I was a mess in 1997: I was suicidal, directionless, hopeless, I saw no future for myself. So I chose some controversial paths, but those paths miraculously spilled me out into a pretty good spot in life. I made my own awesome family, I have a handful of loyal and amazing friends, and I have a decent job which maybe I’m not passionate about but that decent job affords me to focus my free time on things I AM passionate about. I dunno, I think I’ve done ok for myself in spite of some abysmal choices.

If I could only see all of that back in 1997.

LOL, see also: deep thoughts inspired by an ok song.

Jan 112021
 

Miss Margie just seems like she was (is!) so fucking cool. Also, I want to know why she was mad at that broad, and if she followed through with sending back all her stuff COD.

(COD!!)

Anyway, I have mentioned Nelson Sullivan on here before but he was the OG vlogger, filming the daily lives and exploits of his friends (mostly artists – like Warhol and Keith Haring!!, drag queens – RUPAUL!, and club kids – James St. James and Michael Alig!). He died in 1989 and his videos were recently acquired by some art gallery in NYC and they uploaded a large portion to YouTube. I fell down the rabbit hole over the summer and became obsessed – I know, this is soooo off brand, right? – and even included a framed photo of him and my favorite “costar” of his videos, esteemed Village Voice critic Michael Musto.

I used to videotape my friends and family relentlessly in the 90s and watching Nelson Sullivan’s videos makes me miss those days, and also how people were just naturally more social then too. My friends and I would go out and talk to ANYONE, we gave zero shits. We made friends at Denny’s and gas stations and movie theaters and at red lights and and and. Social media and cell phones have ruined everything. Did you know that I was super against cell phones?! I really was. My mom bought me some basic Nokia one in 2001 and I only had it for a few months before it broke, but it drove me nuts because it rang CONSTANTLY and I hated that I was suddenly always available to people. It took another five years for me to cave and buy a new one, and that’s only because I was about to have a baby and figured that having a cell phone would be the responsible thing to do.

And now Covid has taken whatever social instinct I had on reserve and drained it. OMG will I ever be able to have small talk with strangers ever again!? Maybe there’s a Skillshare course I can take…online…to relearn how to talk to people…offline.

Where was I?! Oh. Nelson Sullivan. Then I developed a really sick fascination with club kid Michael Alig. I knew the whole Party Monster story – kind of – and when it eventually occurred to me that the Michael Alig from Nelson’s videos was THE MICHAEL ALIG who murdered a club kid / drug dealer in the mid-90s and chopped up his body and dumped it in the Hudson, I was SHOOK. I guess because I had been watching these “intimate” videos of friends hanging out and what not, you start to think “hey I know that guy” and then when you realize that one of them is going to murder someone 10 years later IT IS WEIRDLY JARRING.

I never had any invention or desire to watch Party Monster when it came out but here I was all these years later making Henry watch it with me.

Anyway, shortly after Xmas 2020, Henry was like “btw that Michael Alig guy died” and of course he was annoyed that not only did that headline come up in whatever feed of his, but that he recognized the name thanks to my brainwashing.

Then I texted Janna because I dragged her down into this weird club kid abyss with me and she said that she too had seen that headline and meant to text me.

Michael Alig appearing on Geraldo, 1990

It’s kind of weird how the dots of life connect because I remember being a teenager, maybe in middle school, and watching the Geraldo (I think?? I guess I should go back and revise that to VAGUELY remember!) episode in the early 90s with the NYC club kids and not even knowing that Michael Alig was there and then not even realizing I had seen him once on TV whenever Party Monster came out (actually I’m not even quite sure that I knew it was based on real life events now that my brain-muscle is starting to warm up). And then even MORE years later, I’m watching literal home videos from the 80s where he makes cameos.

And now he’s dead.

Anyway, I think about this video a lot too, when Michael Alig had a giant party at McDonalds – you have no idea how much these videos make my heart ache for the 80s. I think I would have been REALLY COOL IF I WAS OLDER IN THE 80s and not in elementary school!!! Like I could see picture myself hanging out with Miss Margie and Michael Musto and Nelson and…well, probably not Michael Alig…I really feel like I was born too late…but then with Kpop I feel like I was born too early…UGH I CAN’T WIN.

When Covid is over, I’m having a giant party. Probably not at a McDonalds though. Taco Bell, maybe. Also I need to get all of my old videos transferred to the computer so I can make Chooch watch them and see how totally annoying obnoxious cool his mom used to be.

Anyway, this isn’t what I intended to write about today but you can’t always reason with obsession and fixation. Also, that was two videos and if I were a real blogger, I’d edit the title of this blog but I’m not so I won’t.

Jan 072021
 

My mom texted me last week, asking me to send her a picture of my wheelchair.

“Which one?” I asked, and I swear I wasn’t even being an asshole.

“You have more than one??” she replied like she hasn’t been to my house before!

I thought that perhaps recounting how I acquired each one would be a nice stroll down memory lane and also because I don’t have anything better to talk about and need a distraction from Trump’s dangerous bullshit.

MY FIRST WHEELCHAIR was procured way back in 2012.  I was at Zenith (these types of stories always start with that) when the broad I was with pointed it out. It was dangling from the ceiling and I knew I had to have it – and it was only $40!!! I called Henry STRAIGHTaway and he was like, “Wha—why?” I mean, why not?? I had to haggle with him for a bit but finally he was like FINE (honestly the only reason I even called him was because I knew it wouldn’t fit in the car and I needed him to arrange some type of pick-up, lol.

I really love this one a lot. I mean, you know what they say: you always love your first vintage wheelchair the most.

MY SECOND WHEELCHAIR was gifted to me like, a week later by my friend Wendy who randomly found one at some house recycle place thing and was like DO YOU WANT THIS and then I got spoiled, like “wow am I going to get wheelchairs all the time now?!”

I like this one a lot because it’s easily transported for photoshoot purposes!

MY THIRD WHEELCHAIR was acquired at a local antique shop in 2016 because it was my birthday and I wanted a present goddammit. This was also the same day / place I got my Mouse Attack sign!

I love this wheelchair a lot (I mean, I obv. love all of them) but it’s the one I baby the most because the seat is like super fragile-looking lattice. So I usually discourage people from sitting in it, though I have made exceptions for like, holiday portraits or whatever.

MY FOURTH WHEELCHAIR was a Christmas gift by our very own HENRY J., you guys!

He apparently had gone and inspected numerous w-chairs that he found via Craigslist, etc. But this one was the best, and without even seeing the others, I have to agree! It has a very medieval feel about it but I know it is not nearly that old. It’s a real bad boy, the daddy of the pack.

I love these so much, and the semi-haunted vibe they give to my house. I hope that it doesn’t come off as me mocking disabled people because I’m not like “woo hoo paralysis is cool” I fucking swear to god. I just love these old pieces of history and imagining the people they served.

THANK YOU for letting me talk about my wheelbabies and distracting me from the news.

Dec 232020
 

How you doing today, Lucy? You good, Mary? OK cool because I got a fun pandemic decorating tale for you today so if you wanna just go ahead and fluff your tuffet – go on, I’ll wait.

I think I mentioned in here recently that I really wanted to clean up the little hallway area upstairs (when I say little, I MEAN little – there’s just two bedrooms and a bathroom up there so the hallway is basically a rectangular block). There used to be this big, wavy metal shelf at the top which was fine when I lived alone but then HENRY moved in and started leaving random tools and other masculine sundry on the shelves, and then I accidentally put too many photo albums and journals on it and it always kind of looked like it was one hard gust of air away from toppling. Plus, Drew kept jumping on it and it was just a crisis waiting to happen.

Then I got the idea to make it the Cure corner, because with that Seoul subway sign’s impending arrival to the wall behind the couch, my Robert Smith self portrait was going to need a new home and it wasn’t going to be tucked away in the attic, believe me! This was one of my first eBay wins in 1999 and I paid too much for it to rot away under a pound of cobwebs.

So then it turned into, “Hey Henry, what if…” and this is the one thing I always say that makes him visibly clench, well, that and “I have an idea.” That one probably gives him angina though.

I think that Henry is really just in some weird Bob Vila groove now though because not only has he been tinkering away at my projects, but he’s also been fixing things on his own, too. Like things that I didn’t even realize were broken because I’m not an adult. He like, put in new plugs and stuff. In the walls. I don’t know, but he was doing stuff OK?!

All I did was tell him that I wanted to do this and he was like “OK” and took down the shelf and then asked what color the wall will be (at this point it’s more like “what shade of pink will this wall be?” and then he went to Lowe’s and got the paint and then, like, actually painted straight away and then when the first several panels of faux-plants arrived, HE HUNG THEM. Like, without me even having to nag! Has he finally realized that this is all it takes to keep the whine away?!

The first phase, it looked like this, and even then I was enamored! But I had a firm, clear vision of what I wanted the end result to look like, so we pressed on. First, I knew that I wouldn’t be happy with the picture hanging up there as it was. I should have reframed that thing years and years ago instead of leaving it in the plain metal frame it came in, but if ever there was a time…

We had recently bought a picture at Goodwill specifically for the frame because I planned to use it for a different project. It was too big for the Robert picture so we tried to find something comparable in a smaller size but we are still in the pandemic after all, and I’m extremely uneasy about being in stores, so after two tries, we quit. Then Henry was like, “You know, I could probably just cut down that frame you like and make it work” and I was like THIS IS WHY I STAY WITH YOU.

Literally, what can’t Henry do!? (Aside from completing my Seoul subway sign.)

FUCKKKKKKKK it is so beautiful, like something that would ACTUALLY be at the top of the stairway to Heaven.

The view from below.

Then FINALLY last night we had everything else that was needed: three neon lips and a strand of LED lights, and Henry got to work.

YES. YES, HENRY, THIS WILL DO.

Haven’t decided which other of the myriad Cure memorabilia in my collection will go on the adjacent wall. I also have a small table that used to be downstairs, and I’m painting it cherry red with a pink top that has sequined lip patches adhered to it, so look forward to that, Mary.

I couldn’t have asked for anything more once Henry lit this bitch up, but then he went rogue and installed an LED bulb in the ceiling fixture. HE DID THIS OF HIS OWN ACCORD!!!!

So now the whole corner is awash in pink! I imagine him standing in an aisle in Lowe’s, looking at the bulbs and muttering, “she wants pink? Oh, I’ll give her pink.”

Like I said, I really think the man is broken.

I want to get some extra fake foliage from the craft store and make some drip off the bottom so it looks like less of a severe cut-off there.

The print has a portion of what would become the lyrics to A Letter To Elise, which would be released on the Wish album.

“Could you make it so that the Cure is constantly wafting out of a hidden speaker somewhere up here?”

“We’ll see,” Henry mumbled. So I guess we’ll see, Lucy!

(Sorry, I’ve been doing Paul Eugene workouts again and he’s always talking to some imaginary Mary and Lucy and now I’ve picked it up like a bad tick.)

Dec 092020
 

I just announced that I was going to write on my blog about the weekend and then I said, “Except that as usual, we didn’t do anything over the weekend.” I’m thinking back on it now (omg an entire three days in the past, can I even manage?) and literally all I can think of is that I made new cards for the shop, watched a bunch of Kpop award show performances, incited a riot on Twitter with BTS fans, obsessed over our porch squirrels, watched The Crown.

I do have some pictures of the cats, though!

They’re so over quarantine. They have like ZERO alone time these days.

Both cats are so used to the squirrels now that they just calmly sit on the beverage buffet and observe when our friends come to the windowsill for snacks.

Hmm, what else. Oh! For the first time in my life, I actually was able to use a coupon that I got on a CVS receipt. It saved me $2 on Essie nail polish! I feel like a real person now that I used a coupon to buy something!! Anyway, I painted my nails over the weekend with my new nail polish and Henry was shocked that I painted them all one color and I was shocked that he even noticed?!

Drew is literally always about to do something.

I can’t embed Instagram videos here anymore because stupid bitch ass Facebook changed something and now it’s not compatible with WordPress or something, I dunno, I got bored reading about it, but if it still worked, I would post a video of the progress Henry made on the Seoul subway sign. He FINALLY started gluing down the prints of the map onto a giant piece of plastic which will then be mounted on top of the board that has the lights on it. Then he will be able to build a frame and finally hang it, but honestly, I’m not holding my breath that this will happen any time soon because every time he carves out time to work on it, something happens, like we get a deluge of card sales and then he has to make that a priority because “IT’S OUR BUSINESS, ERIN.” Ugh. I’m just so anxious for it to be done! You guys, if it actually comes to fruition (I’m not going to count my hens, etc etc) it’s going to be the most glorious light installation we have in the house. It will take up a large part of the wall behind the couch in the living room and Henry will be my FUCKING HERO if he ever finishes it.

We had a mild argument about it because he started this at the end of 2019 and now we’re about to say hello to 2021 and PLEASE CAN IT BE DONE BEFORE THEN?? He was like, “It’s not like I can watch YouTube tutorials on how other people have done these because no one else has, so I have to make mistakes and go from there!!”

“Well, you’re a real trailblazer thanks to me, then,” I sneered.

“YEAH. A TRAIL I DON’T WANT TO BE ON.”

Oh my god, he is such a little bitch-baby sometimes. Honestly.

I think his favorite part was when I said that I should have just found a professional and paid them to make one for me. He was like, “I GUARANTEE IT WOULD COST ABOUT TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS SO FUCK YOU.”

You guys, it’s chaos over here, lol.

Oh! On Friday, which is kind of the weekend sort of except that I was working the dreaded late shift, we got take out from Zenith for dinner and it was delicious as usual. Chooch and I both got the TLT which came on really good rye bread and it made me muse out loud that rye bread is underrated and then Chooch and I started talking about our favorite breads until we realized that we were basically just naming all bread. We also both agreed that we do not have strong feelings against crust like some people do. I would never think of cutting off the crust! IT MAKES THE SANDWICH LOOKS SO SMALL THEN.

I watched various performances of this song A LOT over the weekend and I can say with confidence that it’s my current favorite from the NVT oeurve:

The 90s vibe is SO STRONG!!! Plus, Haechan and Ten in the same song, yes please. (Or: *kpop jibberish*) I’m obsessed with the whole concept of NCT and want to host a post-pandemic workshop where I invite trick people into coming over by saying we’re having beer and soft pretzels and then make them suffer through a slideshow explaining how the various units work and then at the end I’ll quiz everyone on all 23 members and they can’t leave or go to the bathroom until they get them all. And they’ll get electrocuted every time they say the wrong name.

On Sunday, we were going to go out and take pictures for our Christmas card which I decided is going to happen this year (did I send any last year? I don’t think so…) even though most of my friends have forgotten that I exist since I jumped off the SS Facebook without a life jacket back in 2017, but then I was like JUST FORGET IT because it was really cold on Sunday and I was feeling so lazy. So now we’re doing that on Saturday and I’m mildly excited because I at least have a seedling of an idea for it. Anyway, if you want a card & I don’t have your address, you should give me your address and who knows, maybe I will also send you a postcard from my lunchbreak someday if I ever go back to work downtown.

Oct 222020
 

My music tastes aren’t as seasonal as they once were (let’s be real: I’m Kpop nearly 24:7 these days); however: fall really tugs the nostalgia strings in my brain and I start craving certain bands/songs. Tonight, during my late shift I succumbed and put on some Balance & Composure. The way my body reacted was insane, like having a bucket of hot emotions poured on my head. Wooo boy the tears were sprung but it felt good.

Anyway, let’s relax a little, burn our tongues on some hot apple cider, sniff some pumpkin candles, etc. blah yadda. Here are some songs I like to achieve these vibes and maybe you will them too.

It has sadly been 4 years (right after the last election, to be exact, it was somber) since I’ve seen Balance and Composure and then they broke up soon after. Anyway, every time I saw them live it was BIG WARM FEELS man like an infinity scarf pulled over my face by a high school crush.

Love this band so much, but now I wish I was on my way to a haunted hayride while this is coming out of my car speakers. </3

(P.S. I was wrong! The last time I saw them was May 2017! You really care!)

Black Queen makes me want to walk around empty city streets in the middle of an October night with some hot goth I met on Darkchat and obviously this is 1999 because I am so totally devoted to Henry you guys come on this is not a Today Fantasy.

Exile is my favorite Gary Numan album ever and one time when I lived alone in the late 90s, I fell asleep with it on repeat and had some of the most wicked, vivid nightmares that I still think about to this day.

I was home alone the other night and played this in the kitchen with the lights out and yes, still has the same hair-raising effect on me and I fucking LOVE IT.

PVRIS is such a mood. As soon as a chill hits the air, I’m ready to crunch some crispy leaves in the cemetery with PVRIS as my soundtrack. The synth, the alt-goth aesthetic, the LYNN GUNN. Their old albums bring back memories of Ex-BFF so sometimes when I need to have that “swishing a cavity with bourbon” feeling in my heart, this is the fo-sho go-to.

I used to put this song on every mix CD I made back in the early 2000s and I just recently felt inspired to cue it up – yep, I’m ready to go on a lite night drive with foggy windows IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN. Chino Moreno and Mike Patton with some Goblin-esque elements simpering in the background, how can you go wrong?

(Speaking of Goblin, that will be my next kitchen LED light show tune, I think.)

***

OK, well now that tonight’s debate is over, I think I need to throw these jamz on a playlist and go take a bath in the dark. Happy fall y’all (wow, I really just said that out loud as I typed it, do I have to throw a wreath on my front door now?).

Oct 202020
 

Hola mi amigos, says the girl who had 3/4 of a year of Spanish in 12th grade.

It occurred to me recently that the 20th anniversary of meeting the Cure was on the horizon and I was like, “yay another reason to post the best picture ever taken of me!” and then of course the ACTUAL anniversary was yesterday and I forgot to post it so I dunno, pretend it’s still Monday. Also, apologies to anyone who already saw this on Instagram but 20 years is a big one and I wanted to commemorate that here too. (“It’s my blog, blah blah blah…”)

Most people in my life have heard this story so many times that it’s basically turned into my Big Kahuna moment but to summarize: in October 2000, I got on several planes and flew, alone, to Canberra, Australia to see The Cure perform the last leg of what Robert Smith swore was going to be their last tour ever. Now, I had never had the chance to see them before and they were (still are) my favorite band. They had recently toured the US but didn’t come to Pittsburgh and I had just started a new job, which meant I didn’t have vacation time yet. But when they announced the Australian tour several months later, my office mate, the one who was also in charge of payroll, was like, “You go to Australia and don’t worry about it – you’re getting a paycheck.” I mean, everyone at that job knew I was batshit for The Cure, so this kind of a big deal for them that I was doing this!

Super summary: I get to Canberra and start calling local radio stations, telling anyone who will listen that I’m some rando 21-year-old broad from America who is obsessed with The Cure, and oh won’t someone help me meet them? The alternative radio station played me on the radio – they thought it was really awesome that my love was that insane intense that I would fly thousands of miles on my own to see them. They wanted to give me a ticket to the show but I already had that, at least. They took down my number at the hotel just in case something changed. A day before the concert, they called me and asked if they could record the call. I was like, “Sure,” thinking they were just going to ask me what my favorite Cure album was again, stuff like that, filler for commercial breaks. But no, they wanted to tell me that they had someone on the line who wanted to talk to me…no, it wasn’t Robert Smith, but it almost as good: it was a local guy who had won a meet & greet that the station had held a week before, and when he heard me on the radio, he thought that I deserved to meet The Cure much more than he did, and wanted to transfer his pass onto me.

CAN YOU EVEN BELIEVE THERE ARE REALLY ANGELS ON EARTH?

So that’s how I found myself in the same room as Robert Smith, the man whose voice and words had buoyed me through countless bouts of depression and also soundtracked some of the happiest, manic moments of my life, too.

I actually have a video of this meeting but it needs converted from 8mm so check back another time, I guess.

MEANWHILE, and this is actually my favorite part that I think about A LOT, back in Pittsburgh: Henry was starting a new job at the same place I also worked. His initial impression of me when shown my empty desk was that I was some crazy girl who ran off to Australia to see some band.

Then I came back, we became work frenemies (lol—because that’s how I flirt) and then a year later we started dating. So not only is it the 20 year anniversary of meeting The Cure, but it’s the 20th anniversary of knowing Henry. And honestly, I haven’t changed one bit because I’m still obsessed with everything and NEEDING to travel for concerts (obviously not currently though, sigh), only now I’m dragging him along with me. You can’t say he wasn’t warned!

Literally no one thought we’d stay together this long, yet here we are.

Oh and The Cure IS STILL TOURING.I have seen them five more times since Canberra (zero times in Pittsburgh though!) and four of those times were with Henry. God bless him, he’s traveled to California (Coachella), Cleveland (Curiosa), Chicago (Riot Fest), and Columbia, Maryland to see them with me.

I made this for him several years ago and have definitely (bluffingly) thrown it in the garbage can during fights but he always takes it back out. I guess he’s a pretty good guy, but don’t tell him I said that.

(SIDE NOTE: I’m sitting here cracking up thinking about who I was as a person back then, like for instance how I called my job several times from my hotel room – COLLECT – so I could keep them updated on what was happening* and all the guys would pass the phone around in the breakroom saying, “it’s the girl! calling from Australia! the girl!” And if Henry was there when that was happening, was he thinking “who the fuck IS this girl!?”)

*(What? Social media didn’t exist yet!)

Oct 142020
 

Sometimes I like to use the calendar feature on my blog to see what I was doing around this time in the past and then I sigh and say, “Wow, remember I hung out with friends?” (But honestly, was it really a pandemic that changed that lol.)

Apparently, five years ago, I was using my annual pie party as an excuse to show off my beloved succulents, because that’s a thing that normal people do…Every single one of them are DEAD NOW. I especially mourn Jonny Maplebitch. :(

***

At some point on Saturday, in between gluing sequins on my Pie Party sign and shadow dancing around Baker Henry in the kitchen, I had the greatest idea of all time. I was upstairs when it came to me, and so I screamed for Henry to hurry his ass up to our room. He loves when I do that because sometimes it’s an actual emergency just often enough for him to fall for it every time.

“What?!” he asked, panting and mildly concerned.

“Greatest idea ever,” I began, and he immediately regretted falling victim to my wolf cries. “In addition to the pie party….SUCCULENT MEET N’ GREET.” I paused for a beat, smiling and waiting for him to crumble to the floor under the weight of my brilliance.

Instead, he just stood there, arms akimbo, that patronizing smirk plastered across his dumb bearded face.

Good thing I’ve never been one to look to my BEAU for validation. Speaking of BEAU, Bo Brady probably would have supported Hope in her decision to have a succulent meet n greet.

No, you’re right. That’s definitely false. Bo thought Hope was silly and frivolous. Oh, until she was about to marry LARRY WELCH, that is.

(OMG remember when Henry was my Bo Brady?)

Later that night, we were getting ready for bed and I was still yammering on about my succulent meet n’ greet. “This is just really exciting, I’m really excited about this, and I think it’s just full of excitement, so much excite,” the words spewing out in an auctioneer’s cadence. Henry must have been delirious from baking all day and night, because he just stared at me with an amused look on his face, and that is unlike him. The looks he gives me are typically basted with disgust, contempt, and frustration. Occasionally rage, but Henry is pretty laid back so one must really give him a series of forceful shoves for the anger to really shine through.

“They’ve never gone anywhere before!” I reminded Henry.

“Well, they’re plants, so….” he muttered.

Sunday morning, while Henry was filling the car with unnecessary, boring items like forks and plates, I was carefully considering which of my succulents to bring with us. I couldn’t bring some of my faves, like Bae and Panne and Suzy Banyon, because their pots are too fragile and breakable.

“I really want to bring Johnny Maplebitch with us, but I’m worried because there will be kids there…” I murmured mostly to myself, staring at that beautiful beast on my coffee table.

“Well, you could change his name for the day,” Chooch suggested. “Like, maybe….Johnny Mapledick?” he shrugged, completely serious about this.

“Yeah, good one, Chooch,” Henry sighed, stomping past us with more unessential pie party things, like pie.

I ended up bringing him in the end, because I don’t believe in succulent censorship.

I placed them all gently inside a carrying case while Henry was wasting time rounding up the beverage and making sure Chooch was dressed and not in danger. A little help would have been nice, but knowing Henry and his meathands, he probably would have just jammed my babes into the car all recklessly, like they’re not his real children.

Of course they’re not.

They’re the Devil’s.

I lined all of the picnic tables in the pavilion with craft paper and then had all of the succulents introduce themselves and say a little thing about pie. Because it was a pie party.

I TIE THINGS TOGETHER. It’s what I do.

IMG_9647

Chris and Monica asked me what vasterbotten pie is and I shrugged. “I’unno. I just googled ‘swedish pies’ and then didn’t get much farther than that.” So then Chris googled it and actually read about vasterbotten, and now we’re obsessed with vasterbotten pie because it’s basically just cooked Swedish cheese and I hope that Chris and Monica are currently reorganizing their wedding menu as I type this.

Henry always rolls his eyes when I bring up Phil Angie.

Leopold is the succulent I found in Savannah! I brought him so it was like having Octavia there in spirit. <3

And I had to bring Stefano so Monica could meet him in person, since she is the one who named him. (Also, two Days of Our Lives references in one blog post! And I haven’t even watched Days since 2005! <—sadly.)

Bambi had to give a shout-out to her favorite show, Twin Peaks. HOLLA.

I named this one after my favorite gymnastics coach of all time, BELA KAROLYI. He was happy to bring some Romanian flavor to the party. Isn’t he handsome?

 

Henry frowned at this one.

Some people seemed very eager to meet the succulents! Other people were like, “Why.” Henry was like, “This is why you don’t have friends.”

Anyway, if you couldn’t be there on Sunday, I hope you enjoyed this virtual meet and greet!

May 202020
 

Remember a few years ago when I suddenly discovered that I loved plants and then before you knew it, my house was full of them and they all had names like Bambi Sickafoose, Suzy Banyon (props to you if you know where that reference) and Ted NUDEgent and my favorite past time was going to Goodwill in search of mugs and things that could be turned into plant vessels? And then we got Drew and Penelope and one by one all of my plants ended up on the floor, in a heap of dirt and ceramic shards? And then eventually I just gave up and stopped buying plants?

Well, I decided that I needed to obsess over something during Pandemic Times, aside from books and Korea and exercise, so I’m back in the plant game, I guess. Henry bought me some at Lowe’s over the weekend and then I sat on the porch steps, dictating to him which pots to plant each baby in.

Henry’s grandkids who live next door, Calvin and Lily, were standing at their window while this was going on so I had fun showing them each plant as it was potted, and they oohed and aaahed and then told me to show their cat, Ham, too, who looked way less enthused than they did.

Social distancing sucks, but at least we can talk to them through the window I guess? So they don’t forget us?

I don’t think I will name these ones because I get too sad when they die. I do still have some that survived my first plant-pregnancy (??) from 2015, if you can believe that, like the aforementioned Ted NUDEgent, a jade plant that actually grew so much that I had to split him up into three pots, that growing bastard.

Oh shit, if you click on that link up there, the cactus in the picture under Ted NUDEgent is also still alive! He lives in Chooch’s room, and he has split into four thingies and kind of is slumped over but I don’t want to touch him so I don’t know how to fix him??


I always have to have something to obsess over. I have a very obsessive personality. I AM OBSESSION.

I love these ones so much!! I have one that Henry and Chooch got me for Mother’s Day a few years ago that is still alive. SEE NEXT PICTURE.

These guys (Lithops) are so interesting because they look like they’re about to die but really they’re just splitting apart for a new growth to come out, so fucking sick. They’re pretty low maintenance too.

Hanging plants never do well for me but we’re giving it a go again because I like having hanging plants in my room, I promise to try hard to keep it alive.

Here you can see the OG Ted NUDEgent, second on the left, and his two…ribs (?) over on the right. Also, that first one is something called a goldfish plant which I have had for several years and I thought it was dying for a while but then all of a sudden (KAPCHUGGI) it was like, “SIKE, MOTHERFUCKER” and then changed colors. So that was cool. I got it from some cute nursery that had a wild selection of something called fairy plants and for a split second I was like, “Hey let’s go to—-oh, never mind” because I’m sure it’s not open and even if it is, I’m still not up to going to into stores and things of that nature because I really don’t have a pressing need to. Henry is the sole shopper in our household during quarantine, even though our area has been downgraded to level “yellow.” I will just continue to stay put until further notice.

(Even though Target has been calling my name for months. I miss you, baby. We’ll see each other again, eventually.)

Anyway, I used to be really into photographing my plants so maybe I will start doing that again too, because HOBBIES.

Editor’s Note: As I was getting ready to publish this, I was scrolling through the categories because I could have sworn I had one for “plants” but surprisingly I don’t. Although I just found out that I have one for POLENTA?! Literally at one time in my life, I assumed that I was going to write about polenta enough to actually need to make a category for it. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED, PAST ERIN. 

Anyway, I have a “plant” category now. Phew. Now all of my plant posts can live together harmoniously.

****

Bonus plant reading:

Plantsapalooza

Apr 132020
 

Easter is my second favorite holiday (second only to HALLOWEEN, of course) so I was determined to still make it a memorable one even though we’re stuck at home. Now, we’re not religious people, so not being able to go to church wasn’t an issue, and we never celebrate Easter with extended family, so the inability to have a big family dinner wasn’t making us shed any tears either. 

For this particular Easter, we had planned to be at Efteling Park in the Netherlands, so any back-up plan I came up with was going to pale in comparison. Yet somehow, it ended up being one of the nicest Easters ever!

Chooch kept saying that he didn’t want anything, didn’t care if he didn’t get a basket, but all he REALLY WANTED was for us to hide eggs for him. I really think he’s going to grow up plagued by the Peter Pan syndrome that he undoubtedly inherited from me. I kept saying, “NO WE ARE NOT DOING THAT YOU ARE TOO OLD, GROW UP. THE EASTER BUNNY ISN’T REAL” and I guess he really believed that we weren’t doing anything because he originally woke up at 8:30 and then said, “I’m going back to bed, wake me up at 9:30 I guess.” I was so mad because I woke up early and raced against the clock to hide the fucking eggs for that little bitch-kid. 

When he finally woke up and went into the bathroom, he was met with Doll and an egg, so he knew that it was going to be an alright day, lol.

(He is REALLY BAD at finding eggs though. Or else I’m really good at hiding them. But one was literally inside a book, so it was like wide open.)

We got him a basket too because come on, what kind of shitty parents do you take us for? IT’S EASTER FOR GOD’S SAKE. He didn’t know that he was getting one so it just sat in its hiding spot all morning until I finally couldn’t take it any longer and exclaimed, “OH WOW, WHAT IS THAT.” 

I LOVED getting an Easter basket. I still like white chocolate to this day because it reminds of me the white chocolate lambs and bunnies with the blue or pink candy eyes that my mom would always tuck in there among the jelly beans (which I didn’t like) and the Sarris chocolate eggs, and OF COURSE THE TOYS, HELLO. For most of the Easters during the elementary school years, I got a new My Little Pony. I LOVED My Little Ponies (the new ones are dumb) so I always looked forward to seeing which one I was going to get. 

Knowing me and my warped memory, this probably only happened on one Easter, lol.

I also associate Easter with springtime and baseball (loved baseball as a kid, neutral about it as an adult) and wearing pretty dresses to church and having a casual Easter dinner at my Pappap’s house. 

I try to make sure that we’re always doing something for Easter, whether it’s traveling for a concert (we saw Emarosa in Lancaster, PA one year on Easter and it was a really nice weekend), being in KOREA, inviting friends over for a Pizza Party for Jesus Christ, or just having a family dinner at a Chinese restaurant. This year, I wanted to have the Inkigayo sandwiches again like we did last year, because I think this could be a new tradition for us. 

And you know how I love a fucking tradition.

Chooch the Baker wanted to make a carrot cake for Easter, so that turned into a Battle Royale between him and Henry in the kitchen while I sat out here and read a book and watched YouTube videos about reading books and finding books to request on Libby and exercising. 

I mean, his cake decorating needs practice, but the cake itself was A REAL GODDAMN DELIGHT. And he cut back the confectioners sugar big time in the frosting and it was such a good call, because it was perfect. I don’t like super sweet frosting, especially cream cheese frosting, so Chooch got a big thumbs up from me on this one.

Henry probably would have ruined it.

The weather was  nice on Sunday so we were able to comfortably eat on the back porch and it was a Big Time Spring Mood. I could not have been happier!

Inkigayo sandwiches and kimbap, a Korean Easter picnic! Henry forgot to buy banana uyoo so it wasn’t perfect but I’ll let it slide this time, I guess. 

We’re all big fans of the famous Inkigayo sandwiches here in the Oh Honestly household. I highly recommend them! The convenience stores in South Korea all sell variations of these sandwiches and I happily devoured them when we were there. One of them had a limited edition blueberry edition! IT WAS THE BEST ONE!

We were probably making fun of Henry’s mouth-sounds here.

I’ve rambled about this sandwich on here before but a quick summary: There is a weekly music show in Korea called Inkigayo and legend has it that the cafeteria in their studio makes these tri-layered sandwiches and the kpop idols go nuts over them. Of course, regular civilians cannot go to this cafeteria to get an authentic one, but there are numerous variations of the recipe online. 

Yes, that’s strawberry jam in the middle, surrounded by an egg & potato salad (there’s also crab in this layer but Henry omits it for us vegetarians) and a cabbage salad that includes corn and apple. It sounds hideous, but it is SO STUPIDLY DELICIOUS. And filling. I split mine with Henry, and Chooch saved his second half for today’s lunch.

Drank my coffee from my Lotte World mug to keep it extra Korean. 

(I know it’s obvious, but my heart breaks more and more each day I’m not in Korea. Sorry if I’m annoying, but this is who I am.)

The Inkigayo (or EASTERgayo, as I lovingly call it on Easter) is a two-handed affair.

You guys. Chooch’s carrot cake. Fuck yes. The best thing to come out of this quarantine (for my family, anyway) is Chooch’s blossoming interest in Kitchen Times. 

Easter, After Hours.

Really, I think this will go down as one of the best Easters. It was so casual, laid back, lots of laughing (on my part), lots of Kitchen Feuding (on Henry and Chooch’s parts, also the catalyst for my “lots of laughing”), and it made me appreciate even more that although these are scary and strange times, at least I’m going through them with Chooch and Henry and we’re still, somehow, having fun. <3

Jan 162020
 

I needed background music while Chooch and I were having reading time on Sunday, and Kpop wouldn’t work in this sense because I always find myself focusing on the words to see if I can figure out any of the Korean (#obsession). So on a whim, I put on a dark synthpop playlist on YouTube. A MILLION MEMORIES AND WARM FEELINGS CAME OVER ME.

So, I’ve gone through a lot of music phases; some of them make me feel uncomfortable when I think about it because of the weird time of life it was, like when I was into very cold, angular indie-experimental stuff like Blonde Redhead and Deerhoof; I actually shudder when I think of those days. But when I was very heavy into synthpop, it was the very, very, very beginning of my relationship with Henry. I was obsessed with this label – A Different Drum – and used to buy all sorts of compilations from them. Henry, in an effort to win my heart, used to make me CDs of synthpop that he ILLEGALLY DOWNLOADED OMG. Can you imagine Henry, 35-years-old at that time, living alone in some weird apartment, burning synthpop CDs for me? I mean, it’s kind of cute.

Those CDs remind me of cozy winters, so even though it was unseasonably warm over the weekend, it still brought back waves of comfort as I curled up on the couch and read a book.

But then I had an idea!

I typed in “Synthpop workouts” in the YouTube search bar and was sad to see that there really isn’t much of a goth/synth cardio niche on YouTube. Look, I have been considering (only half-jokingly) of making my own amateur workout videos for some time now. My only problem, aside from being extremely awkward on camera, is that I have a difficult time moving while narrating what’s coming up and singing out motivational filler. I would want to do just super-casual and fun walking workouts, because those are my go-to videos on YouTube when I need to boost my step-count, I’m too tired/sore/sick for high-impact cardio, or I still have some energy to burn off after doing a strength-training workout.

I’m kind of obsessed with constantly moving. I don’t even watch my K-Dramas without walking in place (here is that part where I make a subtle hint for Henry to finally buy me that treadmill). But the walking workouts on YouTube are…eh. There’s Leslie Sansone, but her shrill Janice-from-Friends laugh gets to me. There’s Jessica Smith, but she always uses that generic cardio music which doesn’t help motivate me. I really like this one broad, Gina B, because her walking workouts are all themed to things like, “Walk to the 80s!” or “Disco Walk!” – so it’s fun because you’re doing these upbeat walking/cardio workouts to good pop music from past eras, and it helps keep you interested. IT DOES THAT FOR ME, ANYWAY.

But man, I would be so down for a synthwalk. Even the real morose dark synthpop still has that thumping bassline which, I truly believe, would translate well to simple box steps, grapevines, step-taps – whatever walks are in the arsenal.

So the other night, I cried out, “I WILL JUST MAKE MY OWN SYNTHPOP WALKING WORKOUTS!” And Chooch and Janna will be my back-up walkers (Chooch already said no and Janna doesn’t know yet but I guess she’ll find out if she ever reads this; say yes, Janna) and we will all black – maybe gowns? Robes? Stompy boots, for sure. And we’ll light candles everywhere, and in between the higher-energy tracks, we’ll do body-weight moves to a slower-tempo funeral dirge, maybe hoist a weighted plank, a move we will call, “The Pallbearers.”

Fun fact about the above song: I once listened to it on repeat for an entire 8-hour shift at this one shitty job I had where I worked with like 8 people in a basement until midnight, and then I genuinely wanted to fucking kill myself afterward. No hyperbole here.

This could be a good cool-down track. PASS THAT INVISIBLE ORB OF ENERGY.

I have a vision of Janna crying at some point, to help keep the ambiance in the room aligned with the tragic vibe of this Mind Side Out track, so perhaps this will be the portion of the fitness video where Henry burns her with a candle off-camera.

I was telling my co-workers about this on Monday and they were like, “Wow. Glad you found your….calling.” I mean, I’ve attempted and failed at making writing, photography, and art a career,  so hopefully fitness figurehead is where my true talent lies!

NO I TAKE IT BACK: My favorite Depeche Mode song would be the PERFECT cool-down song:

 

See also: Wendy 1999 for a scintillating story sort of about this song.

“So what, are you just going to use your phone to film this?” Chooch asked me in that AWESOME judgmental tone of a middle schooler bracing himself for impending parental embarrassment. But the fact that he’s thinking this far ahead means that he BELIEVES IN ME!

Anyway, hopefully this comes into fruition once I conquer my inability to say motivational things without stepping on my foot. I think it’s going to be way better than my idea from 2004 to open a Crucifixion-themed restaurant.

ETA: I was just filling in Chooch re:The Pallbearer move.

“You made me pause my movie for that?” Chooch snarfled, and Henry Buttinsky was all, “Where are you getting this ‘weighted plank’?” because when he’s not White Knighting, he’s standing in a corner with a needle, punching holes in my logic.

“I mean, it’s just going to be, like, a board with weights on it,” I shrugged, like what else would I use? An actual coff—-

OMG I NEED AN ACTUAL COFFIN!

Jan 122020
 

What’s up, Diva cups, I’m checking in on this cozy Sunday night to regale you with another non compos cards  Valentine commercial!

The Cure is my all-time favorite band, as in: cash in your savings account and fly to Australia to see them after they hastily announce that they’re not going to tour again after that but that was in 2000 and you have since seen them like 6 more times because Robert Smith lied but that’s ok!

True to form, this is a cringefest so get your groans ready.

The set contains 16 different mini-cards, just like the kinds we used to pass out in elementary school except much cooler because, you know, The Cure.

Henry was like I DON’T GET IT and I’ll tell you why – it’s because he’s not actually a “fan” of The Cure.

This set is now available in my shop and I am so happy about it! Part of me wants to track down all my old friends from the long defunct chatroom I used to frequent in 1998/1999 called Darkchat and send them all one of these cards (and by frequent I do mean I used to stay up until like 5am private messaging with all of my goth paramours). God, those were the days! Now when I tell people that The Cure is my favorite band, the general response, “I don’t know who that is.” Well, just break my goddamn heart.

I think this set goes wonderfully with all the serial killer ones, the vintage porn star collection, the Golden Girls series and of course all the Kpop varieties in my Hello Hanguk shop too! I’ll repost all of those ones throughout the week in case you missed them last year. I love Valentines so much!

Interested in purchasing a set of The Cure valentines for all the lovecats in your life? Click right here!

Jan 042020
 

Hi hello 안녕. I waited a full day before posting about this otherwise it would be all in CAPS and a grammatical garbage dump, even more than usual. 

But let me walk you through a thing here.

Thursday night, I was getting ready for bed and checking twitter like I normally do after my shitty Duolingo Korean lesson, when I saw that this one vlogger I follow, JRE, tweeted that BIGBANG was playing Coachella.

Now, at first I scoff-laughed and figured he was just tweeting his hopes and dreams. But then I was like, “But…what if…” so I went to Coachella’s Instagram…

and…

Image result for coachella 2020

마이

갓.

오 마이 갓오 마이 갓오 마이 갓오 마이 갓오 마이 갓오 마이 갓오 마이 갓!!!!

“HENRY,” I said sternly, standing above him as he lay in bed, which is his absolute favorite thing ever, playing the, “Does she have a knife or not” game.

And then I just fucking started screaming and he was like, “WHATTTT??” and then grabbed his phone. Once he confirmed it was true, he started looking up Coachella tickets (first weekend is already sold out) but I was like, “Look, we’re not going, and it’s ok.”

BIGBANG is my fucking ULT, and while I would love to see them live, I just…don’t want it to be at Coachella. I hate even saying the name of that damn festival. We went to Coachella in 2004 to see The Cure and it was quite literally the worst music festival I’ve ever gone to, and I don’t want to sully the first time ever seeing BIGBANG by being surrounded with thousands of starfuckers in the weed-scented desert. Not gonna happen. Also, you know the guy behind Coachella is just the absolute, right? Like, Greenpeace has his name on a list and it’s not a Nice List.

But also, this just happens to be the same time we’re planning a spring break vacation so we potentially won’t even be in the country.

Now let me tell you why I’m so excited about this. BIGBANG has been on hiatus since the beginning of 2017, when one-by-one the members entered the military for their mandatory service. Time away could be the kiss of death in the kpop scene, which is notorious for being extremely fast-paced, which groups having multiple “comebacks” a year. And then their youngest member, Seungri, became mired in a “scandal” at the beginning of 2019, and the investigation has delayed his military enlistment. Regardless of whether he has actually done the things he’s been accused of (I believe he didn’t), the Korean media has pretty much smeared his name into the ground enough that he officially “retired” from the industry and was released from his contract.

The last year has been straight terrible for BIGBANG fans, and even with the release of the other 4 from the military at the end of 2019 (T.O.P. was released in July), it really felt like this was it, that they were just done as a group. But then this Coachella announcement came out of nowhere and VIPs are fucking foaming at the mouth right now, me included. BIGBANG IS COMING BACK! And if they’re coming to Coachella, maybe that means they will do a proper US tour (Blackpink did last year) and that we could possibly GET NEW MUSIC?! G-Dragon, save us from this boring fucking music industry!! All the end-of-the-year Korean music stages have been soooo lackluster without BIGBANG.

Even if nothing happened last year with Seungri, he would be in the military right now and wouldn’t be able to perform them anyway, so I really feel like they had always planned to do something as a 4-piece while waiting for him in order to keep relevant. So….I will hold on to the hope that once his investigation is officially over and he completes his military service, he will be able to rejoin BIGBANG and all will be right again.

And for anyone who is like, “But why not BTS?!” Please understand that BIGBANG is on a whole other level. They transcend “kpop.” They are rough, edgy, musical powerhouses who get on a stage and whip it into submission. I put on loops of their live performances when I need cheering up and it never fails to entertain me, no matter how many times I have watched. They are INSANE and I hope those who do attend Coachella realize how lucky they are to stand before actual Korean gods.

I texted my friend Jiyong yesterday morning and told her.

“Bigbang? OUR BIGBANG?” she responded, and it made me feel important, to have something with her that’s an “our,” lol. When I met with her today for our weekly “Watch Erin Struggle To Speak Korean” session, we excitedly speculated over what this could mean for BIGBANG’s future. Please lord almighty don’t let this be a one-and-done farewell type scenario.

Also, for the people who are like, “Kpop groups don’t sing,” please acquaint yourselves with the legendary BIGBANG:

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be over here watching BIGBANG Youtube while waving my BIGBANG light stick in Henry’s face. I mean, it’s Saturday night after all.

OMFG BIGBANGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!

Dec 292019
 

Our Thanksgiving dinner to go set notwithstanding, it had been a minute since we last dined at Zenith, which is a damn crime because it’s not only my favorite vegetarian restaurant in Pittsburgh, but also one of my favorite restaurants in general all around. I mean, how many places do you know where you can eat a vegan fish sandwich, drink of pot of whichever tea you choose from the broad collection in a cabinet, and buy an antique mental institution wheelchair?

We don’t eat out very often, but even for as infrequently as we visit, the family who runs the place still remembers us and they really make it feel like you’re dining in their home—it’s so cozy and intimate and there is not even a HINT of pretension swirling around the rafters.

I’m not sure I have ever been here during Christmas, now that I think about it…HAVE I BEEN?! My memory is getting foggier and muddier, and I’m not handling it very well. Did I tell you that a few weeks ago, Margie at work asked me when CHOOCH’S birthday is, and with the UTMOST CONFIDENCE, I answered, “June 6th.”

THIS IS NOT CORRECT! That is Henry’s birthday! So I laughed and said, “OMG no that’s not right! It’s April 6th.”

Margie laughed it off and started to change the subject but then the blood began bubbling behind my cheeks as I realized that I WAS WRONG AGAIN. I could have just let it go but what if Margie has some ironclad memory and would always remember that it’s April 6th and then there would be this whole thing where she sees his birth certificate and notices a different date and then puts two and two together that Chooch was kidnapped and NO WONDER ERIN HAS NO MATERNAL INSTINCTS SHE IS NOT A MOTHER.

Sorry. That took a turn. I’m waiting for Henry and Chooch (?!?!) to finish making dinner and I think I’m light headed.

Foodwise, Henry actually enjoys Zenith. I know, it’s hard to imagine him not double fisting some bratwurst but he doesn’t mind going meatless every now and then. (He does not like tofu, though.)

However, Henry usually clenches up the whole time we’re there because I usually find some obscure thing that I need to have, like this hanging lamp from a church that I bought straight from the ceiling of the dining room as Henry and I ate dinner. Or the time Kara and I were having lunch there and whoa, who invited this clown to join us? Oh, right – me.

(Also, apparently I HAVE been there while the Christmas decor was up. My blog serves as my memory now so it’s a good thing I’m all about the HONESTY on here, lol.)

I’m not a big tea drinker but it’s part of the process to pick a fancy tea at Zenith. On this visit, I chose maple vanilla and it was AMAZE. I think sarsaparilla (REALLY THIS IS HOW THAT’S SPELLED?!) is still my favorite that I’ve ever had there.

Oh, and for those playing along at home, Chooch burnt dinner, which was a french fry recipe called “Hume Fries” from his new “The Good Place” cook book. We blamed Henry though because Chooch was supposedly only in charge of cutting the various carbs and Henry was responsible for the oven part.

Henry’s salad. I always appreciated how colorful the Zenith side salads are. None of that soggy, wilted iceburg lettuce and cherry tomato bullshit.

Henry opted for the seitan teriyaki entree – he’s a big fan of seitan, and I am too, honestly. That shit is the meat substitute that God wanted us to have. If more people would open their hearts to seitan, the world would be such a better place! HAVE YOU EVEN TRIED SEITAN WINGS?!

BBQ tofu sandwich – I don’t eat very much bread on my daily diet, so sometimes I crave sandwich buns. This was one so soft and honestly it was almost as good as the BBQ tofu spilling out of it, which btw was the perfect texture: firm but with a nice, springy bounce, like what Henry’s imaginary mistress Cheetah Girl’s boobs were probably like in the 70s.

Chooch got the black bean burrito but I didn’t take a picture of it because you know what a burrito looks like but also because he fucking gutted it immediately so it was basically inside out and looked like a Mexican crime scene.

Oh, and he also ordered an appetizer of buffalo hummus and pita “for the table” and holy shit you guys, is that what buffalo chicken dip tastes like?! I never had it before because I don’t think it was a popular party food yet back when I still ate meat, but I guess the hummus was supposed to be flavored the same and it was honestly the best hummus I’ve ever had and look, I live down the street from Pitaland and also, I’ve been to Greece, so.

If you go to Zenith, save room for whatever vegan Bundt cake option they have going on that day because it will blow your meat-mind, yo. Personally, my favorite will forever be the lemon poppyseed but the chocolate hazelnut hunk up there was *FRENCH FINGER-KISSES*

Chooch and I ditched Henry once the cake plate was licked clean and we walked around to explore. I’m always on the prowl for new things to add to my mishmashed collection at home. There is this old-fashioned pram hanging from the ceiling and I have had my eyes on that for years but I didn’t hound Henry for anything on this visit because we are planning an Easter trip and I am trying to be responsible with my monies but shit, it’s tough when you want everything.

One of the Zenith people came over while Chooch was tapping on an old typewriter, and I thought he was going to be like DO NOT TOUCH but instead he told us that he just recorded a song using the sounds of a typewriter as the background and I thought that was really cool and wanted to ask him if he has it online anywhere but then he distracted me by asking me how long it’s been now so I’ve been coming there and I had to think for a second but wow, it’s been over 10 years now. My first visit was with Kara in 2008!

If you ever go to Zenith, after you polish off the slice of cake that I told you to order, make sure you don’t leave without checking out the bathrooms. There are two, but the door on the left is my favorite. It’s owl-themed! I’m still a little sad because this room was originally painted blue, but it’s been green for so long now that it’s grown on me. I mean, it’s a room full of owls! The only thing better would be a room full of…G-Dragons.

Obligatory selfie.

Obligatory selfie part 2.

Such a selfie station. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been peeing in this bathroom long before Instagram was even a thing yet.

I keep saying that I want to start collecting these old light up Santas (and Easter bunnies!) but then I never do anything about it. Obviously I would keep them year-round in my house.

Ugh, the most nostalgic Christmas trees! My OCD would always flare up anytime the ones we had growing up would be missing lights. I wish I had kept one.

And that was our lovely Saturday afternoon at Zenith, a place that I do not visit nearly enough. One of these years, I will have my birthday dinner there like I have been saying I want to do for the last 10 years. (OR SOMEONE COULD PLAN THAT FOR ME, I DUNNO, JUST A THOUGHT. MY BIRTHDAY IS JULY 30, EVERY YEAR.)