Oct 202014
 

Livermore is a supposedly haunted cemetery in Blairsville, PA. There are so many conflicting stories on the Internet (HARD TO IMAGINE – it’s outrageous how many people think that this is the cemetery from Night of the Living Dead) but I’ll just summarize by telling you that there was a flood at some point and people died. Or they didn’t. You don’t come here for history lessons.

DON’T LIE!

I know you just come here to do shots every time I squirt out a typo.

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I thought it would be fun to stop for a quick visit since we were about to drive past it yesterday on our way back from Knoebel’s; it’s been at least 10 years since we were there last. I could tell Henry wasn’t exactly down with the slight detour, but he did it anyway because I own him.

It’s not really all that scary there during the day, because the end of Livermore Rd spills out into a makeshift parking area at the entrance of a bike trail, which is right near the cemetery entrance. In other words, our parked car was wishing running distance in case something wicked happened back there.

Hopefully.

First we walked along the old train bridge because we like to live dangerously. BUT NOT TOO DANGEROUSLY! I kept yelling at Chooch for being too close to the edge, I didn’t trust that FLIMSY FENCE.

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What a beautiful spot for a family portrait, I thought to myself and then made my puppets jump. This one is definitely a Christmas card contender.

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I got suddenly smart and had us face the other way. I’m a good piktchur-taker.

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Chooch and I were like WHY ARE THESE KEYS HANGING HERE and then Henry had to go and spoil all of our fantasies by going into a long, dull speech about how someone probably found them and hung them there in case the key-owners came back looking for them and we were like “STFU you’re stupid and boring.”

I’m actually surprised Henry didn’t take them for his gratuitous key collection that he keeps dangling in a clump from his belt like he’s ready to audition for the role of Schneider on a 2014 revamp of “One Day At a Time.”

After about ten minutes of being too close to the river, I quickly tired of all this supposed beautiful scenery and we all walked back toward the car, which was parked near the path that leads to the cemetery.

 

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This gate literally only keeps out truck-sized people.

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Henry REALLY didn’t want to do this.

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Pretty sure this was written in crayon. Also surprising that “cemetery” is spelled correctly.

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Henry wouldn’t come into the cemetery with us, opting instead to loaf (haha, loaf) near the handmade Livermore sign, hands in-pocket, head nervously whipping over his shoulder. He claims he was more worried about townies than ghosts. Oh ok.

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As soon as Chooch and I crossed the threshold into the graveyard, I experienced a pretty strong episode of déjà vu and it occurred to me that I was wrong: we have definitely been there before with Chooch. He must have been two and I remember that it was about to storm.
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SUDDENLY WE HEARD A TRAIN! IT SOUNDED LIKE IT WAS COMING STRAIGHT FOR US OMGGGGG GHOST TRAIN.

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CHOOCH’S INITIALS!!

Earlier, I asked Chooch if he had anything to add and he mumbled from the couch, “No. Yeah! Tell them* about the tombstone with my name!”

“I already did,” I said.

“Oh. Then…no,” he mumbled and fell back into his stupid video game.

*(I wonder who he thinks comprises “them.” Cats, probably. My blog is the one all the cats read.)

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I thought the trees were making weird noises but Chooch said they sounded like normal tree-speak to him, so maybe I was just being paranoid. But it really sounded like the one tree was trying to spoil the end of The Crying Game.

I don’t know why I thought that but it’s late and I’m writing this in bed with the lights off like I’m telling the Internet a ghost story where the ghosts forget to show up. RSVPs don’t mean shit anymore.
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We rejoined Henry after awhile and headed back to the car.

“Look,” Henry quietly said. “A squirrel.”

“WHERE?!” I cried as if this was Jurassic Park and Henry hadn’t just pointed out something that we see 61818293 times a day in our backyard.

Meanwhile, Chooch was walking with such Frankenstein-esque force upon the leaves that it sounded like vertebrae were crunching and cracking beneath his feet. “WHAT? WHO?! WHERE?!” he screamed extra loud to ensure Henry, the squirrel, the squirrels cousins in Pittsburgh, and all of the restless Livermore souls could hear over the sound of his leaf-murdering.

Henry sighed. “Remind me never to take you two idiots on a stakeout.”

And I will now end this with the original post I wrote on LiveJournal after Henry and I first visited this place in October of 2004.

++++++++++++++++++

Henry and I decided to try and scope out the Livermore Cemetery yesterday, during daylight. Livermore was once a town about an hour from Pittsburgh, that was flooded in the 1800’s. So of course it’s haunted there. The road that leads to where the town once sat is scary in itself; surrounded by woods with an occasional farm house here and there. The road eventually leads to a gate and you have to walk the rest of the way.

I would have been less frightened if the sun was shining, but it was miserably overcast. We walked along a trail for thirty minutes or so, over two old railroad bridges, with water on either side of us. Supposedly, if the water level is low enough, you can see the foundations of the town. I couldn’t see jack shit, plus I was cranky because the quest to find the cemetery seemed hopeless. Also, I hadn’t fed my fat face in like, two hours! I demanded that we turn around and go back to the car immediately before I died of malnourishment. Even walking proved to be a struggle for me, and I kept falling. My legs just kept giving out on me because I was so hungry. Henry, never picking up on the emergency of these situations, laughed at me and kept walking. Then I thought I saw a skull! But it was only a soccer ball.

As we crossed over the last bridge, Henry happened to look up to the left, and he shouted, “THERE! OVER YONDER!” And there it was, the Livermore Cemetery. A few lone tombstones could be seen on the edge of the hill, between the trees. Maybe it was just the sight of the cemetery itself that heightened my senses, but if I believed in God, I would swear to him right now that the atmosphere around us changed. The wind kicked up and there was a noticeable chill in the air. This is the part that elicited the trademarked Skeptical Father look from Henry: something grabbed my leg. Would I lie to you guys? It’s true, I tried to lift my right leg to continue walking, and something held the back of my jeans onto the ground for around three seconds. When I turned around to look, there was positively nothing that my jeans could have stuck to, and there was nothing on the bottom of my shoes.

From this point on, all I could hear was my heart pounding in my ears, and I grabbed Henry’s arm and power-walked him back toward the car, whipping my head over my shoulders every other second. I even made myself dizzy. I haven’t been this lethally afraid since we stayed overnight at the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast last year.

My hair was slapping me in the face from the heavy wind. I reached up to swipe a strand of hair from my mouth, causing Henry to go ballistic on me.

Henry: “What did you just do!?”
Me: “Uh, I wiped the hair away from my mouth.”
Henry: “Oh, I thought you made the sign of the cross. I was going to say, if you’re crossing yourself and you don’t even believe in god, we have problems.”

There was a trail to the left of where we parked the car, and it was certain that that was the way into the cemetery. Henry pleaded with me to walk up with him, stating that “nothing was going to happen.” Now, I’ve seen enough movies in my twenty five years for this claim to make me lose control. “DON’T YOU EVER SAY THAT! YOU SHUT THE FUCK UP RIGHT NOW YOU STUPID ASSHOLE! DON’T YOU KNOW THEY WAIT AROUND FOR SOMEONE TO SAY THAT!? GET IN THE CAR!!” I adopted my ‘hissing through clenched teeth’ way of speaking for this moment; I felt it was the most fitting in my cache of tones.

And so we left. We ate at a restaurant that hosted the weirdest assortment of humanity I’ve ever witnessed. It was great fun, and it made me feel a lot better about myself. I especially felt better after I inhaled a soggy grilled cheese and fries and slurped my way through two cups of coffee. They had Presidential sundaes: Bushberry and Kerryberry (and strawberry for those who are undecided). I thought it would be so cute if Henry and I ordered our respective picks, but he didn’t want to play along. We left after I was becoming dangerously too engrossed in analyzing the differences between the two sundaes. (The Bushberry variety cost more!)

Something about the Valley Dairy restaurant made my courage surge, so I slammed my fist on the dashboard and demanded that we go back to Livermore straight away.

When we got out of the car after returning, we noticed that someone had dumped a garbage bag off the side of the path. Henry, being the curious garbage picker that he is, decided that he needed to have a closer inspection of the contents. Laying on the top was a piece of mail. Who litters a giant bag of garbage and leaves an envelope with their name and address on top? Ironically, the zip code on it was the same as ours. We thought that was rather coincidental considering we were nowhere near home. AN OMEN, perhaps. Livermore is partial to collecting souls from the 15226 area?

After a minute of silent deliberation, I finally heeded and followed Henry up the path. It was blocked off after a few feet, but this was not to deter Henry. He was eager to show off his trespassing prowess.

I’m getting antsy with this, and it also makes me feel kind of creeped out as I rehash it, so I’ll speed it up.

We came across the entrance to the cemetery

and crossed over the threshold. I thought for sure the sky was going to start hailing fireballs at this point, but everything was actually very quiet. From this point on, the time we spent in the midst of crumbling tomb stones was very leisurely and calm. I even started to zone about ice cream sandwiches, so it really couldn’t have been all that bad there, right?

Naturally, we couldn’t leave until we argued over the camera settings, which is customary for us. It certainly lightened the mood a bit. Until, as we began to walk back to the entrance, Henry pointed out that while it was windy everywhere else, it was absolutely still in the cemetery. Shut up, right? His observation made my heart threaten cardiac arrest for the second time in two hours, and I said, “Yeah, but that doesn’t mean that it’s haunted, right?” Henry shrugged and kept walking. Shrugging is not a good enough answer for me and I began to tug on his arm, begging him to tell me why it wasn’t windy. The phenomenon didn’t seem to be plaguing him as it was me, and he mumbled some half assed Discovery Channel explanation. I paused, letting it sink in, and said, “No. It’s because it’s haunted. OH MY GOD IT’S HAUNTED!! OH MY GOD THERE’S NO WIND!!! EVERYTHING IS DEAD IN HERE AND WE’RE GOING TO DIE TOO!!!!”

And then we got in the car and left. The end.


And the pièce de résistance:

Ha ha.

I mean, what? You don’t think that’s real?

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Oct 182014
 

When my brother Corey was texting me pictures of the Amish guys working on our dad’s roof, it brought back fond memories of the time my other brother Ryan and I stalked the man who was building our back porch when we were kids. I knew I had written about it at some point, so I searched my LiveJournal archives and now I am sharing it here, because I think it’s kind of funny how I am still basically the same person as I was when I was a kid.

I have a different dad than Corey and Ryan, so clearly our penchant for stalking comes from our mom.

++++++++++++++++

What was the best summer ever? Could it be the summer of ’92 when we hosted a French exchange student (that deserves it’s own entry)? The summer of my nineteenth birthday party marathon? No, my friends. It’s the summer of 1994 that wins this title.

My parents were in the process of having a back porch built onto our house. This was a big deal for my brother Ryan and me, because stalking one of the workers became the sole reason we got out of bed each day. I mean really, who wants to swim and lay out in the sun when you can be violating someone’s privacy?

We would run from window to window, snapping pictures of him. One day, Ryan even chased his truck up the street. Those pictures turned out fabulously. I’ll never forget the day we discovered his name was Gary. We ran into the house, erupting into shrieks and giggles.

After a week of wasting film on this fine craftsman, we decided to incorporate a little more extremity to our game. More thrill, if you will. We needed a bigger adrenaline rush. The next obvious step was to collect Gary’s cigarette butts and beer cans. When you’re young, you want souvenirs for everything you do.

We would wait until he would go to his truck, then sprint out in the backyard like scavengers, picking through the grass in search of a butt or two. Once we accumulated enough to satiate our pursuant appetite, we brought our treasures in the house and stowed it underneath the couch in the family room.

Stalking Gary consumed so much of our summer. How much, you ask? So much that it infiltrated the summer of my friends, as well. Christy was in Atlanta (I believe) for some sort of academic camp. I wrote her a letter and enclosed one of Gary’s cigarettes butts for her to cherish as well. I just wanted her summer to be as rich as ours had become, thanks due to Gary. I wrote letters to every one of my pen pals, detailing Gary’s every action and movement. Everyone clung to the Summer of Gary with bated breath.

Unfortunately, the fun and games ended when my dad unearthed our stash of memorabilia under the couch. Now, any other dad would have rightfully accused us of smoking and drinking. Not my dad. Luckily for us, my dad recognized the extent of our weirdness long before this incident, so he believed our tale and we escaped punishment. The downside was that he forbade us to continue our game. Something about we were embarrassing him or something.

I often wonder what Gary is doing these days, and if he knew he was being stalked. Was he flattered? My mom says ‘nay.’

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Oct 052014
 

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The truth is, I have purposely been putting off writing the last installment of Riot Fest, because it feels like once I write it, then that’s it: Riot Fest is truly over. The whole weekend was so perfect to me, especially coming off the tail end of a summer that was emotionally draining, just a total black spot on the year. Maybe it seems like I’m being overly-dramatic, god knows that’s basically my default, but I’m serious when I say that my three days at Humboldt Park felt like a religious retreat, in the same way that some people climb mountains to escape their past, cast out their demons in sweat lodges, or rail a quadstack off a hooker’s ass in the back of a 1984 Pinto.

This is how I heal.

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The whole weekend was a collection of experiences and heart-clutching moments, stepping stones that paved the way to the culmination of my catharsis: The Cure.

As I mentioned in my last Riot Fest post, The Cure was scheduled to play the main stage at 7:45, so we made our way over there during Patti Smith’s 5:45 set in hopes of getting a decent spot.

My expectations were low. I even told Henry that I didn’t care if we ended up across the park by the food trucks. As long as I could hear The Cure (and not shitty Weezer who were going to be playing at the same time on a smaller stage), I was fine. Besides, I had been dragging Henry around like a rag doll all weekend, and I knew he probably wouldn’t want to be standing stock-still in the middle of 50,000 people at the end of the day.

Except that Henry grabbed my hand and pulled me further into the crowd during Patti’s set. Every time even the smallest gap would open ahead of us, he would continue to squeeze us in. And he kept doing this until we finally hit a wall of unbudging people. Still, I was impressed with his determination and how far it got us, so I wasn’t complaining!

After Patti was over at 6:45, people began leaving the Riot Stage, which opened up more spots, so Henry once again tgook  my hand and started weaving us closer to the stage. He got us to a really great spot, about 50 heads back from the stage. This was pretty remarkable, considering most people had been standing there all day in order to get a close spot.

Don’t tell him this, but Henry was kind of my hero that night.

Social Distortion began playing on the stage adjacent to us and I was so thankful that we got to listen a decent band for the next hour, because I was so full of anxiety waiting for The Cure, that I couldn’t imagine adding shitty music on top of that. Also during this time, we made friends with the people around us, like an older couple (Henry’s age, probably, haha) from St. Louis. The wife was really kind to me and even offered to take the above picture of me and Henry, which is why he’s smiling — because a stranger is taking the picture. She reminded me a little bit of my friend Natasha, who is also a rabid Cure fan, and I think that’s why I liked her so much.

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The view behind me. 

The only downside while waiting was the two middle-aged assholes in front of me, who spent the whole wait loudly talking about how they’re such seasoned music festival attendees, and how they saw The Cure last year at ACL and then the one guy, the one who was wearing a huge professional backpack that jutted so far from his back that it kept hitting me in the face, extracted a video camera with an extension stick thing and I was just like, “Oh great. And he’s a rock documentarian, too.”

I don’t think that’s a word.

Then they started making a big deal about passing a joint back and forth, like LOOK AT US, WE’RE OLD AND STILL SMOKE POT! and I honestly had to cup my hands in front of face in case I needed to catch my eyeballs when they rolled out of my head.

When I heard of one them mention Weezer’s upcoming set, it all made sense to me. Weezer fans. Of course.

My new friend from St. Louis pulled me closer to her so that dildo’s backpack wouldn’t hit me in the face anymore, and I thanked her profusely. She was also extremely good at blocking people from getting in front of us once The Cure started. We worked hard for our spots way before The Cure came on! You can’t expect to wait until after they start playing and just steamroll your way  through. Bitch, you gotta work for that shit.

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I like Social D just fine, but when they were still playing “Ring of Fire” at 7:45, I was like, “I FUCKING HATE YOU SOCIAL D! STFU! GO HOME!” And then Mike Ness kept screaming, “ONE MORE TIME!” and the crowd over at that stage would sing the fucking chorus ONE MORE TIME and it was so obnoxious and we were all getting super agitated.

So they went a few minutes over. It wasn’t the worst thing ever, but that was like an entire extra song that The Cure have played at the end of the night!

But as soon as the last note of “Ring of Fire” petered off into the air, the lights on the Riot Stage came on and the most beautiful sounds to ever have been crafted enveloped us all in such warm beauty. And then Robert walked on the stage and my hands flung up to my chest and basically stayed there for the next two hours, along with the burning lump in my throat and the stinging tears in my eyes.

The Cure, you guys. The motherfucking Cure. This was my fifth time, but it might as well have been my first. Seeing them will never lose its value to me.

I have never been the type of person who could separate herself from the show unfurling in front of her long enough to keep track of the set list. Luckily, I knew that Chain of Flowers (the best Cure fansite in the world) would have me covered.

  • Open
  • Fascination Street
  • Sleep When I’m Dead
  • Push
  • Inbetween Days
  • Play For Today
  • A Forest
  • Before Three
  • Lovesong
  • Just Like Heaven
  • From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea
  • alt.end
  • Pictures of You
  • Lullaby
  • Close To Me
  • Hot Hot Hot
  • Wrong Number
  • The Caterpillar
  • The Walk
  • Mint Car
  • Friday I’m In Love
  • Doing the Unstuck
  • Bananafishbones
  • Want
  • Hungry Ghost
  • One Hundred Years
  • End.

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We were this close! Not bad for waiting until 6PM to stake out a spot!

Around 8:30, the idiots in front of me (who acted all smug as  they recounted all the times they’ve seen The Cure and the proceeded to just stand there like lumps once the show started…some fans they are) got their Riot Fest alert on their phones that OMG WEEZER was about to start over on the Revolt Stage, so they turned around and began pushing their way out of the crowd. I cheered and then moved up into their vacated spots, which came with a better view of my beloved Robert Smith.

Aside from those Weezer dorks, we were surrounded by true Cure fans. Those who knew all the words, knew to thrust their hands upward when Robert sang, “Put your hands in the sky” during From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea, and who didn’t engage in banal discourse with their friends. I know that if we had stayed in the back, I would have been miserable and forced to listen to drunk assholes scream to each other about sports and god knows what else. Just like the miserable time I saw them at miserable Coachella, where drunk frat boys screamed out, “Play Just Like Heaven, Fat Bob!” and then booed every time deeper cuts were played instead. Fucking Americans. The Cure graces our country with their presence and this is how they’re treated. Coachella will always have such a sour connotation to me. The hipsters can have it.

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I can’t think of a better way this weekend could have ended. My favorite band in the whole entire world with my favorite person in the whole entire world (ugh fine, I’m referring to Henry and not Robert Smith). There’s no one else I would have rather experienced this with, no one else who understands how much this band and this music means to me.

When we first started to get to know each other back in 2000/2001, before we were dating, Henry made me a Cure screensaver. Totally out of the blue. I was like, “OK. You have my attention.” I know that The Cure headlining this festival is without a doubt the reason Henry didn’t say no to me.

And he actually said that this was his favorite part of Riot Fest and not because it signified that the end was near. He even displayed moderate levels of PDA throughout the night by placing his hands on my back!

From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea – Chicago, Riot Fest 14-Sep-2014 from itsaperfectday on Vimeo.

Thank you to this person ^^^ for recording this because my heart felt like it was about to combust inside my rib cage during this one. One of my all-time favorites, ow ow ow. 

There was supposed to have been an encore, but they ran out of time. Thanks, Social Distortion.

Even though I think this was the shortest of the 5 Cure concerts I’ve been to (clocked in at just over 2 hours), I have to say this one ranks #2 on my list. Right under Canberra, Australia for the Bloodflowers tour. It was the perfect crowd, the perfect ambiance, the perfect company and the perfect weekend. What else can I really say about it, short of copy/pasting every synonym for “heaven” and “perfect” and “emo” and “STFU Erin, we get it.”

****

“You know what would have made that weekend even more perfect?” I asked Henry on the way back to Pittsburgh the next day. “If you had proposed to me during The Cure. Way to go, you blew it.”

Because even during moments of extreme, euphoric perfection, I still manage to find the flaws. But I wouldn’t be me otherwise. Right?

RIGHT?!

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Oct 012014
 

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Shit. Before we even finished breakfast (that’s a word with which the Econo Lodge takes great liberties), I was already feeling that panicky “today is the last day” sensation percolating in my gut.

(I’m sure Henry was experiencing very different feelings. His was probably more of a giddy countdown.)

We accidentally found a fly-by-night event parking lot on our way to Humboldt Park the day before, so Henry decided THE HELL WITH UBER, we’re going to entrust our car with these people that are wearing neon construction vests so they must be legit.

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It took us three days to figure out there was an actual area where we were supposed to be waiting for our stupid Uber rides. 

The sketchy parking lot cost the same as a one-way trip with Uber, and it wasn’t my money Henry was using anyway, so what did I care. All I knew was that we were only two blocks away from my homeland and I couldn’t wait to get there.

And stand in line for an hour. Because even by the third day, the gatekeepers hadn’t gotten their shit together.

All three days, we were lucky to not get stuck by any assholes, at least. The guy in front of us, whom I dubbed Dwight Hader, because he reminded me of Dwight Schrute and Bill Hader, was there by himself. “I’m just here for Patti Smith and The Cure,” he said nervously. “Basically, I’m going to get all the way to the front of the stage for The Cure,” he told us of his Riot Fest plans.

“Were you here the other days, too? What was it like? What’s the food like? Is it expensive?”

“Do you think I’ll be able to take in my water?” he asked anyone who was listening.

He was very concerned with his unopened water bottle.

Would it be confiscated? Did he have to drink it all now? Because he wasn’t thirsty yet. He wanted that water for later, when he was raging to Patti Smith. BECAUSE THE NIGHT BELONGS TO WATER.

The girl behind me pointed out that empty water bottles were allowed in, because there were refilling stations. But she and I both said that probably an unopened bottle wasn’t a good idea. The girl’s boyfriend was like, “Eh, just do it. Smuggling in water is so punk rock, man.” And Henry was like “IDGAF what this kid does.”

Meanwhile, the couple behind me were talking about all of the ska bands that they had seen so far at Riot Fest and I was so thankful that I wasn’t there with them because ska is pretty much the only music genre that I flat-out dislike. There isn’t one ska band that’s redeemable to me. I’m sorry if you’re a ska fan. I promise we can still be friends. Just get those fucking trumpets out of my face. I DON’T EVEN LIKE THE JAMAICA SKA SCENE IN BACK TO THE BEACH AND THAT IS LIKE MY FAVORITE MOVIE.

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1. Whispering, “It’ll be alright, Water Bottle. We’ll figure something out.” 2. Googling “will I be detained for bringing an unopened water bottle into Riot Fest?” // “ways to make a water bottle in your pants look like a medical condition that security guards won’t ask about.” // “smuggling contraband into a music festival- WWJD?”

MENZINGERS

  • TheMenzingers were due to start playing a few minutes after the gates finally opened. (DwightHader and his unopened bottle of water made it through unscathed!) But we had enough time to hit up one oftheRiotFestmerch booths soIcouldfinallybuy the hoodie I wanted,whichofcoursewas sold out so I got all shitty about and ended up buying a t-shirt that I didn’t even want and then I proceeded to bitch about it on the way to the Roots Stage so Henry was like OMG I WILL FIND YOU A FUCKING HOODIE but apparently he said this to himself because I had no idea where he had gone off to, leaving me to stand alone with strangers by the stage. Then he returnedrightbeforetheMenzingers came out, and he had the hoodie I wanted, but then I was still mad because now I had a t-shirt and hoodie in the same design and that seemed so unnecessary so I threw another tantrum and then Henry was like I AM GOING TO COLD COCK  YOU but instead of doing that, he grabbed the t-shirt from me and stormed off and then the show started so I hadtowatchtheMenzingers by myself.
    • This was surprisingly the only time we fought all weekend.
    • I hated not knowing where he went/what he was doing/if he was coming back.
      • Every time I glanced behind me, I thought I saw him, but it was always one of the other 8700 guys wearing a blue flannel that day.
  • Even though I was quietly stewing over this hoodie/t-shirt emergency, I still found some room in my head and heart to enjoy the Menzingers. I only have a very base knowledge of them, thanks to my friend Terri, and since I know how much she loves them, I made a point to check them out. It was a good way to start the last day, because they got everyone pumped right out of the gates.
  • I texted Terri the lyrics to the one song they played that I really liked, and she was like, “That’s from their new album. That song is so emo!” Which totally explains why I liked it!
  • After their set ended,Ipanic-strickenly made my way through a moving wall of people, desperately looking for Henry, near tears (I HATE FEELING LOST), but then he grabbed my arm and I suddenly forgot that I was in the middle of hating him because YAY I’M NOT LOST ANYMORE!
    • “You were never lost,” he sighed. “I knewwhereyouwerethe whole time.”
      • In case you were wondering, Henry apparently exchanged the t-shirt for an XS for Chooch, which made me mad all over again because why the fuck would Chooch want a t-shirt from a festival he didn’t go to?! And to back this up, when we gave it to him, he was like, “Ok….?” and then right away noticed that one of the bands on the back of the shirt was Pity Sex, so then he was like, “REALLY, MOMMY?! REALLY?!” all annoyed and exasperated.

LAURA STEVENSON

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  • There was nothing on Sunday’s line-up that was OMG URGENT for me to see until Billy Bragg played around 2.
    • To Henry this meant: YAY LET’S GO FIND A TREE TO SIT UNDER FOR A FEW HOURS AND CLOSE OUR EYES AND HOPEFULLY DIE.
    • To me this meant: Let’s wander around and check out the other stages! We might find our new favorite band!
  • Of course, my plan won out and that is how we wound up at the Rise Stage in time for Laura Stevenson, who has an accordion player and is just the most adorable thing I saw on stage all weekend. I’m notoriously picky when it comes to girl singers, but her style was kind of old Tegan andSarameetsSherriDuPreefromEisley, in a way. I immediately adored her.
    • Especially when she pretty much announced every song as, “OK, this is a sad one.”
      • I love sad music.
      • Her music was the deceiving kind of sad though, where it sounds happy and upbeat but, no.
  • Laura’s between-song-banter was painfully awkward at times, which endeared her to me even more.
  • Fuck it, go listen to her on Spotify and then buy her albums!

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Henry’s mad because we were kind of matching. Also, I think this was right before La Dispute and he hates La Dispute.

THE FRONT BOTTOMS

  • Right after Laura was done playing, The Front Bottoms came on the adjacent Revolt Stage. This is another band that I have read and heard a lot about but just never bothered checking out. Since we still had a little bit of time to kill and the stage they were playing on was conveniently located near the one Billy Bragg would later be playing on, I dragged Henry through droves of lost locust-people and claimed a prime spot near the side of the stage.
  • And then they came on and proceeded to captivate us for their entire 30 minute set.
    • If you can win me over with your stage presence alone, then you’re doing it right.
    • If your music is good enough to back up your stage presence, then you’re golden.
  • I thought Henry hated them, but he admitted later that they were a high point for him.
    • Last week, I came home from meeting my friend Katrina for coffee, and Henry was flat out listening to them on xbox music. “SO WHAT?!” he cried in defense, like his mom just busted him watching tranny bukakke.
  • They reminded me a little bit of Never Shout Never for grown-ups, so I wondered if Chooch would like them too. Spoiler: he does.
  • My favorite part was when Tiny Moving Parts stormed the stage and started fucking with them. I LOVE IT WHEN BANDS ARE FRIENDS WITH EACH OTHER.

BILLY BRAGG

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  • WhenIsawBillywas listed on the line-up, I died a little of excitement. This guy is a living legend and I made Henry get right up front for him.
    • We were surrounded by a lot of Older People so I thought Henry would feel safe.
  • In high school, I dated this real piece of shit. Pretty much everyone called him Psycho Mike, because well, that’s what you call a guy who intentionally sets his best friend’s house on fire (thankfully,whilethe whole family was on vacation, but still) all over a video game.
    • Yes, I knew this going in to things, but warning labels don’t ever deter me.
    • Anyway, Psycho Mike and I didn’t have much in common, musically. I would cringe when he would play Anal Cunt in his car and even though I bought him the Misfits boxed set for Valentine’s Day one year, I made it clear that I didn’t want to listen to it. We would meet in the middle with classic rock mostly, but occasionally he would play things for me that I actually liked. Some of those things were: Neutral Milk Hotel, Hayden, and Billy Bragg.
  • Billy Bragg is a British folk/punk singer-songwriter who sings a lot about politics, which usually isn’t my cup of tea, but there is just something about him that has always appealed to me. I thought Henry would be all about him too, since Billy is known to sing in favor of all those blue-collared blokes like Henry. But Henry was just like “eh” when I asked him if he enjoyed it, which basically means Henry is clearly a fascist.

  20140928-123525.jpg Henry not understanding why everyone was all FUCK YES during Billy Bragg.

  • My favorite Billy Bragg songs are “Must I Paint You a Picture,” “St. Swithin’s Day,” “She’s Got a New Spell,” “The Man in the Iron Mask” and “A New England,” none of which he played, but he did play my ALL TIME FAVORITE which is “The Milkman of Human Kindness” and the 17-year-old slut-who-was-fucking-around-with-a-psychopath-in-1996 in me was so stoked.
  • Billy also made me super stoked about Scotland, which I had otherwise not really thought about at all because it’s basically me and my music under a rock. But on this day, I was like, “YAYSCOTLAND! GO GET ‘EM!” And then suddenly I understoodwhysomemenhad been walking around Humboldt Park all weekend in kilts and carrying Scottish flags.
    • I catch on quick.

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  • Might sound extreme, but getting to see Billy Bragg live was a milestone for me. I have literally waited half my life! This man is a living legend. Familiarize yourself with him.

TINY MOVING PARTS

  • On our way to the Rock Stage, immediately after Billy Bragg, we got to catch a little bit of Tiny Moving Parts.
  • Henry said he doesn’t remember this happening at all. I think he might have been buying more cheese-on-sticks and beer?
  • TMP iskindoflikeneo-emo I guess? It’s definitely a sound that I really adore. And they are really energetic and passionate on stage, which is what made me stop mid-trek to the Rock Stage and say to Henry, “They are calling to me.”
    • I like them way more live than listening to them, say, while driving to the dentist or writing in my blog.

LA DISPUTE

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A rare moment where Henry got to sit for a few minutes until the girl next to him annoyed him to such extreme levels that he suddenly didn’t care about resting his weary joints anymore and actually stood up and moved. And no, surprisingly, that girl wasn’t me. 

  • I let Henry stand far away for La Dispute because he can’t stand them. But I was like, “See ya, sucker” and elbowed my way through the crowd along the side of the stage until I was nearly to the front. I stopped right before I hit prime crowd-surfing / circle pit real estate. Sometimes, I have to remind myself that deep down, I have some fragments of the “Sensible Mom” gene and I remember to keep myself safe.
    • Otherwise, I just feel like I would be such a great candidate for Idiot Who Broke Her Neck At a Show.
  • Have you ever listened to La Dispute? They are a part of a music genre that I am in love with. Like, if I could mold it into a penis, I would fuck it. It’s technically post-hardcore, and Jordan Dreyer shouts and barks the lyrics with so much emotion, that it’s, for me, the equivalent of listening to some kind of passionate Sunday sermon. Their songs tell stories that make the hair grow erect on my arms and I spent most of the time standing there with my eyes closed and, at times, wishing I had a wall in front of me to punch. There’s an urgency to the music and the way the vocals are delivered that make me feel uncontrollably aggressive. And then….sad.
  • When they played “King Park,” we all went fucking nuts.  This song is about a shooting and all of the elements and emotions surrounding it, and it is raw, devastating, angry, sad, honest—this song is REAL LIFE. The way they build up to the crescendo of this song, OMFG—it’s like climaxing for real.  Jordan started hoarsely shouting “Can I still get into Heaven if I kill myself?” and that’s when I realized that I had been crying through the whole fucking thing.

  • “Wasn’t that fucking amazing!?” I cried afterward, reunited with Henry. “Not really,” he mumbled.
  • I walked away feeling like I could start a revolution. Or at the very least, make a REALLY GOOD POSTER about MAYBE starting a revolution.

TEGAN AND SARA

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  • I first saw Tegan and Sara in the year 2000 at now-defunct club in Pittsburgh called Rosebud. I didn’t know anything about them but my friend Wonka was like, “I heard one of their songs on WYEP. PLEASE GO WITH ME!” Wonka was my prime concert-buddy back then, and we went to tons of shows where we barely knew who we were seeing, plus I was buying my ticket with my AmEx that my mom paid for, so why not? It was us and maybe 40 other people and I think Tegan and Sara walked away with all of our hearts that night. They were VERY different than they are now, way more stripped down, way less pop. But their stage banter was just as on point. We got to meet them that night and I still look at that picture, of these twins who look so different now, and I laugh because I remember saying to Wonka, “Holy shit, these girls are going to explode!”
  • They were playing on the main stage at Riot Fest to some tens of thousands of people, so I’d say that they definitely exploded.
  • I didn’t want to get too close because I knew we were going to have to split before they were done, and I didn’t want to make our exit any more difficult than it needed to be, so we stood pretty far away. The problem with that is that the further away you stand, the more likely you are to surround yourself with people who couldn’t give a fuck what band is playing, they’re just going to stand there and brag about what college their daughter is going to. Sometimes old people are WAY WORSE at shows than young people.
  • The first time Henry saw Tegan and Sara was with me in 2002/2003 at the Hard Rock Cafe. He didn’t know anything about them but it didn’t take him long to realize that he was a man in a roomful of lesbians. At one point, he tried to go to the bathroom, but a girl with a shaved, rainbow-tattooed head was blocking his way (not even menacingly! she didn’t know she was in his way!), so he turned around and came back. I think about this EVERY TIME I hear a Tegan and Sara song. GOOD TIMES.
  • And before you’re like “Tegan and Sara are so Top 40,” please watch this video:

  • Sure, they’re mainstream now but I will always believe that they still have a little bit of that quaint singer-songwriter ethic that they did when they were teenagers. I just love them.

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Never had time to play Riot Putt. :( Or go through the Zombie Contamination Unit. Or ride any rides. Or see the sideshows. TOO MANY BANDS. 

 MINERAL

  • We cut out of Tegan and Sara in order to run back to the Rock Stage just in time to see Mineral, who have recently gone on tour for the first time in 17 years. I’m so happy Riot Fest was on the super-shortlist of shows they were doing, because god knows Pittsburgh was nowhere on that list.
  • MineralisstraightupEMO.
    • I fucking love emo.
  • Mineral broke up in 1997, before I ever had a chance to see them. The singer went on to form The Gloria Record, another band that I fucking loved so hard but never got to see live. Henry claims he has no absolutely no recollection of a band called The Gloria Record and I was like “ARE YOU FUCKING STUPID, I LISTENED TO ONE OF THEIR ALBUMS COMPULSIVELY IN 2005!” Then I even played him my favorite song (“Good Morning, Providence” — if you look at my Spotify sidebar, it’s actually the second song listed in my “Perennial Favorites” playlist, COME ON HENRY) and he was like, “Nope. Don’t know it.” That man is a master of tuning things out.
  • However, Henry admitted that Mineral was “pretty good.” The whole time I was just standing there in awe, thinking of how grateful I was to get to see them after all this time. So grateful that I almost wrote an emo poem about it.

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PATTI SMITH

  • After Mineral, we decided that we should probably make our way back to the Riot Stage because if we waited too close to The Cure’s start time, we would never be able to get close enough. Patti Smith was playing at the time, so we pushed our way through the outskirts of a crowd of aging hippies screaming along to “Because the Night.”
  • If it wasn’t for the sake of the Cure, I never have would have stopped to watch her. I’m sure that makes me something of a heathen to a lot of people. I can definitely respect her! I understand the mark she’s left on not only the music industry but also the political landscape. She’s a living, breathing legacy. I get it. And while it’s not particularly my thing, I am definitely glad that I can say “I saw Patti Smith.”
  • She is old as shit but fuck if she wasn’t rocking the shit out of that stage.
  • There were men older than Henry standing around us who were screaming “PATTI!!!” so fiercely, I feared that they were going to hemorrhage.
  • In between every song, Patti would stand on her soapbox and promise us that we can change the world. “PEOPLE HAVE THE POWER!” she kept shouting and everyone screamed so loudly that they turned into South Park Canadians.
  • By the time her set was over, I definitely didn’t feel like I could change the world, but I would have liked to have changed into a pair of more comfortable shoes.

I’m going to end this here because I’ve been writing it for four days and I want The Cure to have their own post. Because they’re the motherfucking Cure.

If you’ve read any of these word-dumps, I am eternally grateful (and extremely shocked)!

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Sep 082014
 

All day at work, I kept obsessively checking the tracking info for my Emarosa preorder bundle.

“Out for delivery.”

All day long.

Longest fucking delivery route of all time.

Henry picked me up from work at 5:30 and on the way home, I noticed that the status had FINALLY been changed to “delivered.”

I did an uncoordinated air-pump thing.

“Have you been home at all today? WAS IT THERE?!” I screamed at the side of Henry’s bristled cheek as he steered the car around potholes.

“I was home for a little bit but it wasn’t there,” Henry replied in the calm voice reserved for cloud-watching with kittens and lacking the URGENCY required when one is discussing the status of an Emarosa album delivery.

My heart began its nervous jig inside my chest. A parade of lost packages drove through my memory like a fucking funeral procession, my Emarosa bundle in the hearse.

I checked my email again.

“It says it was delivered at 2:06!” I cried, my wildly gesticulating heart inviting my cheeks to join the panic party by pumping warm blood into them.

“Well, it wasn’t there when I was home,” Henry mumbled.

He pulled into the driveway and I craned my neck to see the porch.

Empty.

He parked the car in the driveway and Chooch took his good old time getting out of the backseat so I ran around the front of the car, practically knocking Henry back into the drivers seat, and raced up the driveway. I yanked the screen door open to see if my package was laying in between the doors BUT IT WASN’T.

Henry had caught up with me by then and as he was unlocking the door, I was on the cusp of tears.

“PLEASE TELL ME YOU WERE JOKING AND IT’S IN THE HOUSE!” I screamed at him.

“It’s not here!” Henry insisted as I pushed my way into the house and ran around wildly.

He’s right, I thought as I looked at the package-less coffee table. It didn’t come. SOMEONE STOLE IT!!

I was eight, thirteen, nineteen, twenty-three, thirty-two all over again and not getting what I wanted for Christmas. I was just about to shriek, “THIS IS THE WORST DAY EVER AND I WISH I WAS DEAD!!!!!” when I noticed the MerchNow package resting surreptitiously on a dining room stool.

I snatched it and caught Henry laughing at me. And I started to cry.

“WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT TO ME?!” I screamed, and my whole body WAS SHAKING because that is how much this shit matters to us kids, ok?

And then I proceeded to rip the package open, smash the Versus beanie on my dumb head, hug the CD, kiss the vinyl, put on my Emarosa shirt, and string up the fox ring on the included chain.

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Today is a good day.

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Sep 052014
 

I mentioned my love for the Game Show Network several times on this blog recently, but another thing I really loved about the invention of digital cable was all of the music channels! I’m not talking about MTV, et al, but the ones that are like radio stations for TV. You can listen to music while reading random facts about the music you’re listening to.

I mean, that’s how it works nowadays. But back then? It was literally a black screen. It didn’t even tell you the name of the song and the artist you were listening to! Shenanigans. (a/k/a Salem’s best bar.)

One day, this song came on the alternative channel and I was like, “EVERYONE STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING AND HEAR, I MEAN REALLY HEAR, THIS SONG.” And for once I wasn’t talking to my imaginary friends, because back then, I actually a ton of real life people who were always hanging around my loft. I had no idea who it was singing this haunting song; it didn’t sound like anything that was being played on the radio, which was odd because there was no real underground thing happening on these channels back then. It was seriously all bullshit you would hear on regular radio stations. But this song 100% was not being played on Pittsburgh’s alternative radio station.

I lunged over and hit “record” on my VCR, because this was pre-DVR days, my friends. I literally recorded a blank TV screen onto a VHS tape, just so I could later record that onto a cassette tape too. I was real tech-savvy in 1998.

Now that I had it recorded, I decided to call the local alternative station and do this: “If I play a song for you, can you tell me who sings it?” This worked once for me, when I first became transfixed and heart-eyed by Huffamoose’s hit single “Wait.” The DJ knew immediately who it was, flaunting his credentials and probably blowing on his finger tips as soon as he hung up the phone.

So I tried this tactic and the DJ was like, “I have no idea. Sorry.”

I waited for the next DJ’s shift and made the same call. Still no dice.

And I kept doing this for days until I exhausted all of my options. I was really big into videotaping every mundane thing I did back then, and I can tell you for a fact that I have legit video of my friends making these calls for me, too. One night, we just went around the room, taking turns calling the same DJ who fucking FLIPPED OUT finally and screamed, “I TOLD YOU I DON’T FUCKING KNOW WHO SINGS THIS STUPID SONG!”

You might say that this was the title track to Erin’s Summer of 1998.

I would play it over and over again in my car. I didn’t even care that the beginning was cut off. My friend Heather, who was basically living with me at the time, would subconsciously hum this song while half asleep on my couch. Some of my guy friends would threaten to pull the mix tape apart if I didn’t stop listening to it.

WE WERE ALL HAUNTED BY THIS FUCKING SONG. Friendships were ruined. Sanity was snapped. Local radio DJs were angered. That’s why I slept with so many guys that summer, Henry. It was the song making me do it. Really.

That fall, I met and began dating Jeff; even then I was still listening to The Song in the car, not as obsessively, but it was on several mix tapes. So this fucking song at some point had wormed its way into Jeff’s ears and set up camp in his brain, just as it had every sorry mother fucker that came to my apartment that summer. Flash forward to that spring, and we’re hanging out in my apartment (a different one at this point), and Jeff casually says, “Hey, that band you like was on [some late night show] last night.”

“Which band?” I asked, because hello. There are many.

“Guster,” he answered, and then looked confused when I said I didn’t know any band named Guster.

“Oh my god, are you fucking kidding me? You listen to that damn airport song all the fucking time!” he cried. And then it hit me. The airport song. The song I obsessed over that ended with the line “You’ll be selling books at the airport.”

Jeff unknowingly cracked the fucking code. And yet I still I fucking dumped him. Sorry, Jeff.

I went out and bought their CD immediately. But…I never actually became a Guster fan. I only just liked that one song. The fucking Airport Song. (That’s actually the name of it, too!”

So today, I am going to share this goddamn song with you, because it practically ruined my life and you should know that.

I recently posted this video on Heather’s Facebook wall and she was like, “Thanks. I hate you.”

 

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Sep 042014
 

Over the weekend, I decided that I wanted to do a Twin Peaks-inspired series of portraits because I love that damn show so much. So I put Season 1 on Netflix and started with the Log Lady, because why not.

By Tuesday night, Agent Dale Cooper, Dead Laura Palmer and Dr. Jacoby had joined her…and then quickly left her. They were all sold yesterday!

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(The Log Lady is still available, if anyone is interested!)

Last night, while Henry yelled at Pretty Little Liars (that show gets him so riled up!), I started on The Man From Another Place. It still needs a lot of touching up, which I’ll get to tonight, but here he is anyway:

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There’s several more I want to add, but what kind of series would you want to see next? TELL ME. I’ve been thinking about vending at a local horror convention next winter and I need to build up my inventory, and quick! I’ll be selling my serial killer cards there, but I’d like to have some of my art on hand, as well.

(Hopefully I can also build up my social skills.)

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Aug 292014
 

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I had this large piece of canvas just hanging around and I needed something to occupy myself so I started painting random people that I am/have been obsessed with at some point in my life. Just, off the top of my head, I picked celebs and it was oddly comforting. If I don’t have something to do, I’ll sit around and think about things and no one needs me thinking about things, believe me. Pittsburgh will inherent a pollution problem.

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It took about a week, but I finished it last night! Henry is super stoked to have to see it every day for the rest of his life, but he’s going to be even more stoked when he has to go out and find the perfect gaudy frame for it.

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Shortly after Chooch was born, Henry and I stumbled across Season 2 of So You Think You Can Dance and it was one of those things where we were fucking exhausted, Chooch was nursing so much that I was basically a couch-prisoner, and all we wanted was mindless entertainment. So we left it on. And then became obsessed. I never knew watching people dance could make me cry so much! So I picked Nigel Lythgoe, one of the original judges, to be the first person on the painting.

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If you’ve been my friend since at least 2008, you know my love for gymnastics guru Bela Karolyi runs deep.

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One of the best things about the advent of digital cable was The Game Show Network. All of those new channels to flip through and my friends and I never changed it from GSN. Especially if Match Game was on! I looooved Match Game and all of it’s amazing 1970s fashion and complete disregard for political correctness. My favorite panelist was Brett Somers and to this day, I covet those bug-eyed frames she wore with such panache. Fuck, she was fantastic.

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My mom took me to see Hot to Trot starring Bobcat Goldthwait in the 1980s and ever since, I think of him every time I lose my shit with giddiness because my punch-drunk laugh sounds remarkably just like his retarded bray-like way of speaking.

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Tammy Fay Bakker because she was such a train wreck. I was so obsessed with her for awhile that Henry made me a LiveJournal icon with her popping up from behind a hill. I don’t know, it’s just what I wanted, OK?

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I was obsessed with “Romancing the Stone” when I was a kid, because why not. What a great kids movie, right? I watched this movie a lot because I thought Michael Douglas was so goddamn hot. Billy Ocean’s “When the Going Gets Tough” will never fail to make me think of this movie and how much I miss the 80s. AND THEN MICHAEL DOUGLAS, DANNY DEVITO AND KATHLEEN TURNER WERE IN THE VIDEO!

After I picked Billy to be one of the people on my painting, I decided to listen to him on Spotify for some inspiration, and was instantly reminded of the time in middle school when my friend Christy and I were at the mall and I decided to buy his greatest hits from the record store Waves on the third floor. But for some reason, I was embarrassed about this, I guess that was before I quit caring what people thought about my musical choices. So as I was paying, I loudly and theatrically shouted to Christy, who was only standing a foot away from me, “I SURE HOPE OUR FRIEND SUSIE LIKES THIS CD.”

I still have that CD too, and I regret nothing.

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I’m sorry, Beyonce fans, but Barbara Streisand is the greatest female singer in the world. Sit the fuck down, Kanye. I have loved her ever since I was a kid, ESPECIALLY HER GUILTY ALBUM WITH THE BEE GEES OMG. But yeah, Barbara Streisand is the fucking shit and I will white knight her until I die.

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Jeffrey Dahmer was my first foray into the dark underbelly of humanity. I remember watching the news coverage in real time and just thinking, “Holy shit, this is real life?” I’ve been super intrigued by serial killers ever since—obviously not in an adoration sense, but you know what I mean. I thought it would be apropos to include at least one serial killer on this painting since Henry and I spend so much time making our serial killer greeting cards and Jeffrey was actually the one that spawned those. The Christmas card with his mug on it was the first one I ever made.

So, there’s a quick little summary of what I was thinking when I painted this. I’m pretty excited that it’s done and I have eight random slices of my own personal pop culture preserved forever!

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Aug 292014
 

monster-squad-poster-1

If I was forced to submit one quintessential quote to sum up my childhood, it would be “wolfman’s got nards.”

I was in elementary school the first time I saw The Monster Squad. Probably third or fourth grade? It was on HBO and my little brother Ryan and I were like, “…the fuck is this!?” It instantly became a Kelly Family Classic and I was so proud of myself when I caught it from almost the beginning one time and recorded it over top of my dad’s recording of Platoon. (Haha.)

I still have that VHS tape somewhere in a box in the attic. It’s labeled Monster Squad, etc. on a piece of masking tape and I watched the shit out of it all the way into my 20s until a few years ago, when I excitedly bought the DVD for Chooch. He liked it just fine, I guess, but didn’t latch on to it like he did with The Lost Boys. I was disappointed, but at least I finally got to watch it from the very beginning and without the 5 seconds of Platoon/brief static/slo-mo transition into the first scene of Monster Squad that I had grown accustomed to throughout my childhood. This flick was right up there with The Lost Boys, Goonies, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure and Midnight Madness, as far as my childhood goes. We even named our pet rabbit Rudy after one of the boys!

It is a fucking timeless classic.

The other day, Kristy (one of the only people I know who shares my adoration for this movie!) texted me and said that the theater in the Waterfront, which I usually avoid like the plague, was going to be showing Monster Squad on Wednesday and I was like WE WILL BE THERE. Chooch was like, “What movie? I don’t know. I guess” and was totally blah about it because he IS SO TIRED AFTER HIS LONG, HARD DAY AT SCHOOL, YOU GUYS. SO VERY TIRED.

I was hoping my brother Ryan could go, because what better way to relive our childhood together than by shouting Monster Squad quotes at the big screen, but he sadly had to work.

When we arrived at the theater Wednesday night and Kristy’s daughter Sarah had a Slushee in her hands.

Let me tell you a short story: The night before this, we had met Chris and Monica at Antney’s for an ice cream date, and after rejecting his strawberry ice cream and then half-heartedly eating a consolation chocolate peanut butter cone, Chooch wanted a Slushee. Of course we were like, “Fuck you, spoiled brat. You just had two kinds of ice cream when you really shouldn’t have had ANY” so he proceeded to sit there and literally interrupt HIMSELF with whines about wanting a Slushee. He was so tired and irritable, that we should have just left him in the car. (I mean, with the window down! Cracked, at least.) That little fucker bitched about his lack of Slushee the whole way home. “My throat is so dry and you won’t even stop at a GAS STATION to get me a Slushee. What kind of parents ARE YOU?! I know I was a mistake!” He had basically written his emancipation speech before we even pulled into the driveway, and then he proceeded to go straight to bed. So, good riddance.

Flash forward to the next night and now he practically has a Slushee doing a striptease in his face, so I was like, “OMG I WILL BUY YOU A FUCKING SLUSHEE HOLD ON.” Turned out to be the best decision ever, because he nursed that bitch through the whole movie, like he was sucking it straight from a unicorn’s teat.

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Slushee Date.

I was happy to see that there was a relatively decent tour-out for this viewing. I didn’t realize until I was an adult how underrated and unknown The Monster Squad actually is. Henry had never heard of it until he fell into my dark vortex (my life or vagina?) so I mocked him endlessly until I realized that he was actually part of the majority on this one. Unfortunately, he opted out of watching it on the big screen because Lowe’s was calling his name. Good riddance.

Before the movie started, some dude with a microphone talked about all of the upcoming classics that they’re going to be showing, and when he mentioned the Robin Williams tribute night, Kristy whispered, “Don’t cry” and I was like HOW DID YOU KNOW!? Because I was totally crying, just at the mere thought of a Robin Williams tribute night. Sigh.

And then the guy finally shut up and Monster Squad started and so did my tears. Again! I hate how emotional I am. I blame Chooch. I never fully recovered from pregnancy.

You guys, this movie holds up so well. It was just as funny and exciting as it was when I was a kid, because now that I’m an adult I understand more of it, haha. And for Chooch, who hadn’t watched this since he was probably 3 or 4, it was like seeing it for the first time. He was cracking up really hard, and EVERYONE clapped during the pivotal “Wolfman’s got nards!” scene (that quote is right above the signature line on my checks!). IT WAS SO EXCITING!! I LOVE THIS MOVIE SO MUCH!!

“Dracula just doesn’t give a shit,” Chooch yelled at one point. Unsurprisingly, his favorite part of the movie was all of the swearing. Especially since it’s mostly kids doing the swearing. And then near the end, there is one part that has always ALWAYS always made me cry, and I glanced over and saw that Chooch was straight sobbing during the same part. We’re so emotionally fucked.

The next day, I was on an actual Monster Squad high. And all last night, Chooch would say things like, “Remember when Dracula was like give me the amulet you bitch?” And “Remember when Shawn was like hey asshole, you looked?” It reminded me so much of when Ryan and I were kids and would leave each other notes full of quotes from the bad movies we loved. I think I need to plan a Kelly Family Classic movie night soon.

Kristy, THANK YOU for the heads up on this! I would have been so sad if I missed it!

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Aug 272014
 

Today I’m going to tell you about some things I’m currently obsessed with, because don’t you all give so many shits about what I like? Obviously.

1. This version of PVRIS’s “St. Patrick” makes me feel like I’m being emotionally cuddled. (There’s no screaming in it, if that usually deters you from clicking “play” when I post YouTube videos, haha.

2. Cantaloupe! I know, such a small thing to obsess over, but usually cantaloupe is that one fruit I pick out of fruit salads because it’s always so over-ripe (under-ripe?) and tasteless. But Henry has won the cantaloupe (and watermelon!) lottery this summer and has been bringing home some of the sweetest, juiciest melons this side of 1990s porn.

3. Emarosa. Big surprise. But I can’t remember the last time I felt this much anticipation brewing inside my gut for a new album. I thought this band was never coming back, and now here they are, with a singer who is a million times better than Jonny Craig, and every single song and snippet I’ve heard thus far has felt like dynamite in my heart. I get to see them again in 2 weeks at Riot Fest and I’m so excited that I could just fucking SCREAM. They just released another single yesterday, and this is the one I’ve been craving ever since they played an acoustic version of it last May when I saw them on the Devils Dance tour. It is amazing. It is brilliant. It is so Emarosa and I must have listened to it 87 times last night after we came home from an ice cream date with Chris and Monica (or, Chronica). Here is Henry’s face during the Emarosa marathon:

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Here’s the album version of “People Like Me…” even though I posted the live version last week. YOU SHOULD STILL LISTEN TO THIS ONE BECAUSE IT’S BOMB AND WHEN BRADLEY INTERRUPTS HIMSELF AND SAYS, “NAH, FUCK IT” I GET SO STOKED.

I fucking love you, Bradley Scott Walden. I’m ready for this fresh start, in so many fucking ways. #Goodbye2008

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 4. Halloween Desk Planning! I came up with this year’s theme a few weeks ago and have already started collecting some key elements. I’m pretty excited for it, but also worried that it will be a huge failure because taking last year off kind of makes me feel like I’m off my game. Barb even said that I’ll never be able to out-do my Murder Desk from 2011 and believe me, don’t I know it. This year’s theme will be subtle (kind of) but also requires a lot of work and searching for things. (Luckily, these are all things that I have been wanting to add to my collection anyway, so acquiring them won’t be superfluous.) I can’t wait to tell you what I’m doing! Secrets are not  my strong-suit.

5. Painting faces. Actually, just painting in general. These last several months have not been the greatest for me (just inside my head; not anything serious, like job-related or with my home life). I feel like slowly, things are starting to come back to me, even after years of not practicing, even though some people still call my art “paint-by-numbers” and kind of roll their eyes when I try to show them things I’m working on, because they’d like me better if my “talents” were more of the culinary variety, I guess. So sorry. Juvenile art is the best you’ll get!

(ALERT! Jeannie was just over here and she said that she likes my art and that I have a very distinct style, so suck it, haters. Jeannie is hard to please!)

(OMG you guys, my family gave me such a complex, I apologize, lol.)

Anyway, I painted this one of Jesus yesterday, because why not:

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Also, this beast that’s still in progress:

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6. Henry In a Suit. OK, I haven’t written about Kaitlin’s wedding yet because I need to do that at home and not sporadically at work like most of my blog posts come into fruition, but can I just post this picture of Henry here and chirp about how much of a crush I have on him when he wears a suit? Heart-eyes for days.

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A quick list of things I’m currently NOT obsessed with:

  • CHRIS LEAVING THE LAW FIRM, BOOOO.
  • Summer basically being over.
  • Volatile mornings (a/k/a “Getting The Kid Ready For School”).
  • Being strung along; luckily, strings can be cut.
  • The neighbors.
  • Not having all of the time in the world.
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Aug 142014
 

You guys. Remember on Sunday when I was like “OMG TONY STEWART MURDER NASCAR AHHHHHH!!!!!”? Well, after I posted that on here, things got worse. Because you know me and taking obsessions too far.

The problem is that I have some friends who are just as asshole-y as I am, so when I was sitting there thinking, “Who do I know who would appreciate this so we can commiserate together?” my friend Bill immediately came to mind.

Now, Bill was around back in  the day when I developed an unfounded obsession with Phil Mickelson and a poker-hot hatred was formed for Payne Stewart simply because he beat him one time when I was paying attention. Bill actually just brought this up when we were visiting him and Jessi last June. So I thought, “Bill will understand this new thing for Tony Stewart.” So I texted him and he totally fired back with a string of texts, encouraging me to paddle away in my douche canoe and making me nearly pee myself with laughter.

“He might be homicidal, so that’s a plus. Not as cool as dying in a plane crash….” Bill replied when I told him that Tony is my new Payne. Bill continued to fuel my fire and I was scream-reading his texts out loud to Henry, whose mustache was writhing in frown-formation.

“He must be hardened by the sad facts of his hero Tony Stewart being a homicidal maniac,” was Bill’s reason for Henry’s non-laughter. So then it was decided that Henry REALLY LIKES Tony Stewart and I was practically bashing my head off the wall out of pure, extreme mania.

Henry left for about an hour to go grocery shopping and I was just sitting around, twiddling my thumbs, trying not to explode with giddiness, when it occurred to me to paint a portrait of Tony for Henry as a surprise gift. And that is what I did Sunday afternoon while Henry was running bitch errands at the grocery store.

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Even Chooch was like, “Mommy! Calm the fuck down, OMG. It’s not funny.”

When I texted Bill the picture of the final product, he said, “I can’t see any outcome that doesn’t involve Henry dropping to his knees and sobbing tears of pure joy and appreciation.”

I KNOW RIGHT?!

WRONG:

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“Seriously?” he sighed, when I produced the painting from behind my back. This was after I called him and, around outbursts of throaty giggles, asked him to please hurry home. He sounded really scared, and then he LOOKED really scared when he was getting the groceries out of the car. Probably because I was standing at the door with my hands behind my back, smiling.

Sometimes I wonder what it’s like for the people who have to look at me when I get like this. I must look insane. BUT NOT THREATENING AT ALL, I’M SURE.

“This explains why you didn’t call and text me constantly when I was at the store,” he muttered. So really what he was saying is that he was already scared before I even called him to tell him to hurry home.

Later that night, Bill texted me a picture of race car-shaped chicken nuggets and said, “In honor of Tony Stewart, I’m eating these for dinner.” Bill is basically like the drug dealer to my extreme giddiness addiction.

****

Meanwhile, Henry totally didn’t want to take Tony to work with him, so I took it to my dumb work and now he resides on my desk, where Glenn makes excuses to look at him every day because he just can’t get over how fantastic it is. I told Glenn the whole back story and he was like, “Wait, do you like him because he killed a guy, or do you hate him because he killed a guy?”

GOOD QUESTION. Both? I don’t know. I’ve been really been confused lately. Help.

Then the other day, my boss was walking past and she stopped abruptly.

“Is that….Tony?” she asked hesitantly.

“OMG YES!” I cried, happy that someone recognized him. I quickly recapped the story of how I found out Henry is a secret NASCAR fan (which he is still denying, FYI) and Sue said, “Well, wait…did you paint this before what happened, or….”

“Oh, totally after the incident. That’s why I’m obsessed with him now.”

“OK….” she said slowly, and then shook her head and laughed because Oh Honestly, Erin.

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Here’s Tony guarding the blueberry snickerdoodle ice cream sandwich I scored for signing up for community service at work. I actually saved that motherfucker all day (and I worked from 9am-8:30pm that day!) so that I could share it with Henry after work, because on the real, even though Henry was like “*frown frown frown*”, he is the only person I’ve been with who has ever let me just be me. It’s true! I have been thinking about that a lot this week, how painting Tony has made me remember how much I used to love to draw, how I was going to go to the Art Institute (I dropped out after orientation, lol), how I used to fucking write stories nearly every day. And then I stopped for a long time and I was thinking about why, what made that happen, and it’s because all the guys I dated before Henry kept me in the shadows. It was always about them: their band, their music, their writing, their art. And so I just kind of stopped doing everything. Not to get all Norman Rockwell Painting up in this piece, but Henry is kind of the best and he lets me grow instead of keeping me smashed down under his thumb.

So thank you, Henry and your secret Tony Stewart fandom, for making another piece of me fall back into place. Maybe one day I’ll be myself again.

***

I just asked Glenn if he thinks Tony will be safe on my desk when I’m not here, and he very dryly said, “Yeah. I’m sure no one will take him.”

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Aug 062014
 

Man, I was making some new RIP Glenns today at work when I realized it’s been awhile since I did a nice, big, satisfying RIP Glenn dump up in here. So, here’s all the dead celebs I’ve used to deface Glenn since…April? I think April. I’m really tired.

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This was supposed to be H.R. Giger’s famous work from the movie Alien. “Supposed to be.” My apologies for desecrating your work, Mister Giger.

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I legit cried over this one! And then a week later, “The Brady Girls Get Married” was on TV and I cried all over again.

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I looooooved The Young Ones (bought the whole series on VHS from Columbia House in the 90s!), but opted to go for Rik Mahall’s portrayal of Drop Dead Fred instead because that’s more recognizable. Otherwise, it would be like trying to explain my Sidney Crosby/Sid Vicious shirt all over again.

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That’s supposed to be a raisin in the sun. Get it? Because Ruby Dee was in the movie “Raisin in the Sun”? I know, these get worse and worse. And then worser and worser.

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FUNNY STORY: When Casey Kasem died, I mused out loud, “I don’t know if I want to turn a Glenn into Shaggy, or have a ball dropping behind him.” Henry was like, “WTF are you talking about? What ball?” and I was like, “THE NEW YEAR’S EVE TIMES SQUARE BALL, IDIOT.” And Henry was like, “THAT’S DICK CLARK NOT CASEY KASEM.” And I totally knew that too, but somehow I combined them into one person and thank god Henry corrected me or else everyone at work (I mean, everyone who gives a fuck about the RIP Glenns, anyway) would have ridiculed me for some time. Especially BARB. That would have been sweet, delicious payback for her after all the times I’ve called her out for being WRONG.

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Really sad about this one too! I loved Designing Women when I was a kid.

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FUNNY STORY: I needed some Wite Out for this one and when I went to open it, the brush was stuck and I yanked it entirely too hard and wound up with Wite Out on my face, in my hair, on my keyboard, on my computer screen and worst of all, on my black shirt. :( I forget who, but someone at work was like, “Who uses Wite Out anymore, anyway!?” because everyone loves those correction tape strip things. I was like, “ARTISTS WHO ARE TRAPPED IN OFFICES, OK?!” Seriously, that shit is the closest thing to white paint I have at my desk. I have made many a Glenn with it.

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James Garner was also in  the Rockford Files and Henry and I had a big fight about that once when we were in Rockford, IL and I was like, “Is this were the Rockford Files was supposed to take place?” and Henry was like, “No, it was called the Rockford Files because that was the guy’s last name” and I was mad because I wanted to be right so we fought about it. Which, you know, typical. Henry wanted me to make a Rockford Files Glenn but I was like “FUCK YOU! MAVERICK GLENN FTW.”

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I forgot that Johnny Winter died mid-July but I was reminded of that on Friday when I was at Dave’s Music Mine with Terri and Christian (whose visit I still have to write about but I am so lazy this week!). Glenn was like “Who is that?” and I said “SHUT UP, GLENN.” But then I told him, because I love schooling people.

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“I was going to email you about that one,” Glenn mumbled disinterestedly as he walked by my desk and saw me furiously working on the Marilyn Burns masterpiece. I think he was secretly excited about it, so I used that as my chance to ask him which RIP Glenn is his favorite.

“Oh gee, there are just so many to choose from. I don’t think I can pick a favorite,” he said in his patented monotone, BUT I think I detected just the tiniest spark of glee.

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Jul 272014
 

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For your consideration: a 5×7 acrylic homage to the therapeutic role music plays in our lives. (If you don’t relate to this, then I’m sorry.)

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This series of mixtape paintings has been really fun. Get one before my attention drifts and I go back to painting ugly things.

“Music Heals” listing on Etsy. I can also make you a custom one if you hate the colors.

Now go! Enjoy your Sunday!

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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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