Kurt Travis posted this SERIOUS INQUIRY on Instagram last night and I begged Henry all night to help me find a place since my house is a rental and way too small so I was like *LIGHTBULB* THE FAYGO WAREHOUSE! And as I was about to comment on the picture, Henry was like DON’T YOU DARE!
So then I was like “can I at least offer our house up if he needs a place to stay?” And Henry said no before I even finished asking but I’m going to do it anyway.
This morning I was thinking about it some more and DONT PANIC IVE GOT A PLAN. I’m on my way to work right now and I’m going to ask Glenn for his home address and then give it to Kurt.
I’ll check back in and let you know how it goes, Internet Diary. CROSS YOUR FINGERS FOR ME!!
EDIT: I am at work now and asked Glenn, “SRS QUESTION.” And then I started having a laughaleptic seizure.
Glenn said, “You can’t ask that and then LAUGH.”
“What’s your home address?” I asked after I composed myself.
While Todd laughed in the background, Glenn smartly answered, “I don’t have one. I’m homeless.”
But then I explained what was going on and he asked, “Can he push a lawnmower?”
I THINK THAT’S A YES.
Except he still hasn’t given me his address.
Glenn just asked me if Kurt Travis is a COUNTRY SINGER. I yelled, “NO! He was the second singer of Dance Gavin Dance and NOW HE IS IN A LOT LIKE BIRDS.”
“The one that kept getting kicked out?” Todd innocently asked.
“THAT WAS JONNY CRAIG!” I cried in disgust.
My lord, try to keep up.
Then Glenn googled me and asked if “Brain Lord” was one of Kurt’s songs and I said yes but I don’t think he actually listened to it.
Blake and Sarah, I think we need to update these! Kind of like some idiot Buzzfeed “Where R They Now?!” type bullshit.
WELL THAT WAS FUN. Now I’m going to attempt to go to bed even though I drank 87 gallons of coffee today and just watched a particularly upsetting episode of The Following (I’M A WEEK BEHIND OK) and when I was crying, Henry snapped, “WHAT DOES IT MATTER WHO DIES, IT WAS CANCELED ANYWAY.”
Sorry. I’ve got a one-track post-hardcore mind and seeing Dance Gavin Dance on Sunday only made it worse. These pictures have nothing to do with either post-hardcore or Dance Gavin Dance, but they are some things from the weekend that made me smile. AND SMILING IS GOOD FOR KEEPING AWAY BEES AND PEOPLE WHO SMELL LIKE CABBAGE WHILE SHOWING OFF YOUR FILLINGS ALL AT ONCE.
1. Henry’s mom Judy had a birthday on Saturday! We went to Kelly’s to have some birthday cake coconut cream pie and it was super awesome. Henry is lucky to have such a good family, and I like spending time with them.
2. The next day we picked Judy up to bring her to our house and she had red hair! Red hair, Jude don’t care. This is her sitting on my couch, reading Alternative Press, even after mumbling, “I don’t know a single band in this thing!” Henry was like, “I WISH I didn’t know any of those bands!”
3. SNICKERDOODLE WAFFLES! Henry really needs to work on his plating skills, but the bigger picture here is that he used the waffle maker! He was annoyed though because the recipe I gave him was from A Beautiful Mess and he absolutely despises those broads. (They get on my last nerve too, yet I still go back for more.) Anyway, I love my waffle maker! Maybe I’ll eventually learn how to use it on my own so that I can make some really fucking weird shit!
4. You know what else I really fucking love? MY NEW (TO ME) CAR! I brought it home Saturday morning and Chooch was like, “Yeah, I’m riding with her. See ya, Henry!” And Henry sadly put-putted home in our crappy Focus which is due to die any day now. Chooch did some laps around Brookline, blasting PVRIS, before going home. It was awesome. When Corey saw it later that day, he was like, “Oh wow, and I love the color! Black is nice!” and I was like, “IT’S GREEN LOL” because I love to rub his color blindness in his face any chance I get!
The salesman I dealt with (Jarrod — he was awesome) called me on Monday and my first thought was, “OMG WHAT DID I DO WHY DO THEY WANT THE CAR BACK!?!?” but he just wanted to ask me to write a review on the dealership on some website. So I did because PLEASE DON’T TAKE MY CAR AWAY FROM ME. We’ve already imprinted and there’s no going back now!
But you know what I love the most about the car? THE STEREO! We were actually supposed to go to a Nissan dealer and get a Sentra; I had already talked to the finance guy and had been pre-approved, but the day before, Henry saw this car at a different dealership and knew that I would want it based solely on the stereo. I can play Spotify on it and the speakers bring a tear to my eye. Our old car makes so much noise when we drive it (it has something to do with the motor mount? That’s a thing, right?) that we could barely even hear ourselves talk, let alone enjoy music. And like duh, music is the most important thing!
Meanwhile, the other dealership is still calling me and I scream a little every time because the guy was so UGH to talk to, and I just know he’s pissed that I didn’t show up. “Just answer and tell him that you bought a car from somewhere else!” Glenn advised, tired of hearing me yelp every time the number shows up on my phone.
“Orrrr,” I countered, “I can just tell him I filed for bankruptcy.”
“Or you could just tell the truth,” Glenn sighed.
OR I CAN JUST KEEP ON NOT ANSWERING.
6. Spoon selfies!
7. The weather was too perfect on Sunday not to spend the majority of the day outside. We took Chooch to a bike trail and cringed every time he almost caused biker pile-ups, and then some dickhead biker was all WATCH OUT FOR THAT LARGE SNAKE ON THE ROAD UP AHEAD! and he totally got me all up in arms for nothing because THERE WAS NO SNAKE and it reminded me of the time Henry and I were walking up the street and some guy screamed out the car window, “YOUR SHOE’S UNTIED!” to me but my shoe was not untied! It didn’t even have any laces! And then I aggressively wiped some dandelions down Henry’s arm and he looked like he had Big Bird shit stains all over his stupid elderskin.
8. Chooch, modeling the t-shirt that Chris and Monica got him for his birthday. Those two are extremely in tune with my kid’s interests!
In addition to all of this, we had a party at Laser Storm and then closed out the weekend with DANCE GAVIN DANCE at Mr. Small’s, which I am still smiling about like a clown with a cracked jaw. (?) These two events get their own posts, which I will joyfully write once I pluck my head out from the clouds. Sometimes, life sucks. And that’s OK, because it makes the good shit seem even goodier. That’s going to be the last line of the self-help e-book I’m writing. Spoiler alert, I guess.
I’m hard-pressed to come up with any complaints about the weekend, other than: “it ended.”
9. And now here’s a Dance Gavin Dance song because we can all stand to have a little post-hardcore in our day:
Please make way for the special invented armor. Mental protection if reality is ragin harder. Hello mister mime, hello medicine. I believe denial makes me hella intelligent.
Me, looking around at all of the groups of friends who were stoked to be seeing Circa Survive together: Don’t you wish we had a crew?
Henry: Nope. I wish you did.
Tuesday, April 28th marked my 4th time seeing Circa Survive in the span of one year. (The 6th time seeing Anthony Green in general, though, if you count the Sound of Animals Fighting and Saosin.) And it’s too early in the morning for me to attempt and count how many times since 2005. Suffice to say, I really love this band and I was giddy as fuck all day at work because I was going to see them that night.
We went straight to Millvale after Henry picked me up from work and ate at the Grant Bar & Lounge. How have I been going to shows at Mr. Small’s for more than a decade and never eaten here?! And to think we were originally going to eat at the Subway across the street.
This place was everything I love in a dive: First, you have to walk through the bar to get to the dining room so you can take a quick tour of the town’s underbelly. And the walls are faux-stone! It was so Bavarian! I LOVE BAVARIAN.
Old school waitress buzzer!
I can’t really explain why else I liked this joint so much, other than you could tell it hadn’t been renovated since before I was born. I love dark, cave-like restaurants.
Henry had a burger and I had a grilled portabello sandwich with homemade onion rings. The food was fine (my Yelp nemesis gave them a thirty paragraph review all to say that his experience was “fair, a three-star experience, the Thesaurus taught me 92 new words as I was writing this review.” Fuck, I hate that man so badly. Of course, he gave 5 stars to the place in Millvale I originally wanted to try, so now I’m glad we didn’t go there), but it was really the ambiance that made it special for me. (Until the bitch-baby in the booth across from us started acting like an asshole and of course no one cared because she was the granddaughter of one of the waitresses and every single person eating there was a townie and used to it.)
We were about to pay the check when I overheard the old broads in the booth behind us inquire about the desserts, and our waitress started bragging about the coconut cream pie. THAT IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE PIES. But it’s really easy to get a shitty piece. They ended up ordering it and when I saw that the topping was whipped cream and not meringue (a thousands fist-shakes in the face of meringue), I had to order a piece ASAP.
And I shouldn’t have, because my stomach was already emitting a series of beeps and shocks to remind me that it was over capacity.
COCONUT CREAM pie.
It was the best damn coconut cream pie I have ever had, and I felt so strongly about this that I wrote a “Dear Grant’s Bar” love letter on the back on the check. (Henry was just happy that it was a positive ode for once, and not one of my infamous THIS PLACE SUCKS I HOPE YOU DIE death threats that I may have been known to scrawl from time to time before dashing out the door.)
However, those last forkfuls of food (what would my Yelp nemesis have used here? Vittles? Sustenance? Something Arabic?) really sent my digestive system into overdrive. I thought I would feel better once we walked to Mr. Small’s afterward, because walking off a meal typically helps me, but no. I spent the rest of the night in deep regret. And by regret I mean that I reached a point where I couldn’t even stand up straight. And of course it was a sold out show, and the balcony area was VIP-only that night.
We ended up all of the way in the front row, but over the side, so I could lean against the stage all night. And lean I did. At some points, I was also sagged and half-collapsed across it, too. The pain was real and just kept getting worse.
The opening band was CHON. I knew that Henry wouldn’t like them. I whispered, “FYI, they don’t sing” when we were waiting for them to come out. Henry HATES that. But I have been following them on Facebook for a few years and was excited to finally see them. I heard a girl nearby ask the guy next to her if they were the same style as Circa Survive. The guy and I both laughed at the same time, and he said, “Uh, no. Not at all.”
I’m sorry, Henry, but they were pretty sick to watch and I felt like they were channeling Chuck Mangione at times. I don’t listen to this style of music very often, but it served as a nice reminder that vocals aren’t always necessary to feel something, and I am definitely guilty of focusing too much on the singing sometimes.
Balance and Composure was next and I have to be honest here: seeing that they were on this tour made me even more excited about it because I have liked them for years yet have somehow never seen them live!
I have also never really paid attention to what they look like, so I was in for a shock when they took the stage because Jon, the singer, looked so much like my co-worker A-ron that I started to wig out a little bit. I kept taking pictures to send to all of my work friends, and the next day 98% of them were like, “Holy shit, are we sure it’s not really A-ron?!” except for TODD who said that it only kind of looked like him, and JEANNIE who frowned and said “not at all” and that it just looked like “an average guy with brown hair.”
“If everyone else said it didn’t look like him, you would say it did,” I said to Jeannie in a huff, which just made her laugh BECAUSE IT’S TRUE! She enjoys being the voice of dissent. But whatever, because when I saw A-ron that day, I said to him, “I’m surprised you’re here today after your big show last night” and then I showed him the picture and A-RON HIMSELF WAS LIKE OMG. But showing him turned out to be a mistake because it totally went to his head and then he kept making air-guitar motions and that was just weird.
Anyway, seeing Balance and Composure was worth the wait. I loved it, even though my stomach was like, “NOW can we go home??”
“Remember that coconut cream pie?” I dreamily said to Henry after CHON, punctuating it with a tiny burp.
“It wasn’t that great,” he mumbled.
Somewhere in between CHON and B&C, the super normal, inoffensive and unassuming girl who was next to me moved to a different spot and before I had the chance to move over into her vacated space, the grossest couple usurped it from me. The girl was about 5 feet tall and had SCENE HAIR. I haven’t seen SCENE HAIR since 2009. It was big and teased and so close to my face that I fixated on ripping out the bobby pins all night. And she stunk, you guys. Like Love’s Baby Soft and filth.
Now I’m picturing her trying to visit someone in jail with all of those bobby pins in her gross hair.
Her boyfriend was this big fucking Jersey Shore gorilla juice head who was wearing a TIGHT DRESS SHIRT.
You know how sometimes you just can’t help it, but you hate someone on sight? These were two people who did not have to give you any more of a reason to hate them other than just existing. AND THEY KEPT LOVINGLY GIVING EACH OTHER PECKS ON THE LIPS as if I wasn’t already having a hard time holding back my bile. I was having vivid hallucinations of yanking the rat’s nest off her head, I just couldn’t stand her. And during B&C, she spotted Anthony Green and squealed to her boyfriend and then jumped up and down and clapped her tiny little scene-fairy hands and I was like OH HOW FUCKING SWEET. YES I’M SURE YOU HAVE A SHOT WITH ANTHONY GREEN.
Then Gorilla Juice Head left her to stand ALL ALONE while he went and purchased practically one of everything from the merch booth for her, which she then kept in a pile on the side-stage area in front of her, and I swear to god she kept looking at me over her shoulder and then sliding her t-shirts closer to her, like yeah bitch, I’m going to steal your XS shirts. I just hated the way she kept looking at me, like I didn’t belong there, and I know it’s awful and I shouldn’t care, but it made me feel really uncomfortable (like I wasn’t already thanks to Grant’s Bar) and I started to feel like everyone was staring at me and that maybe I really didn’t belong there, and I haven’t had such low self-esteem issues like that at a show in a REALLY LONG TIME.
I would have just moved somewhere else, but I really needed to stay where I was because leaning against that stage was like a literal crutch for me, that’s how bad my stomach hurt. It was a sold-out show, and there was quite honestly no better place for me to go, other than home. And I wasn’t leaving without seeing Circa Survive.
Then this happened:
WOW JUST WOW HENRY.
Also, I felt disoriented because I swear every time we go to Mr. Small’s, something in there has changed. They’re constantly working on additions, which is great, but it’s made it seem very unfamiliar to me. I felt like a stranger in a place that used to be home.
And this is why this ended up being the worst Circa Survive show I’ve ever gone to. And it’s nothing against the band at all, because they were such amaze much wow as usual. I just could barely enjoy it.
They played all of my faves from Juturna. That album never gets old.
I felt like I was floating out of my body at one point. The pain, so real. Call an ambulance. And Henry kept getting pushed into me and every time I felt his belly pressing into my back I wanted to fucking murder him. I kept turning around to glare at him and he hissed, “What do you want me to do? Do you SEE all of the people in here?!” Ugh, I just didn’t want to be touched! It was terrible! Anthony’s antics were only making it slightly more tolerable, but I admittedly kept praying, “Please let this be the last song” 20 minutes into their set. It was hard enough standing there in physical pain, but the vibe from the crowd exacerbated my discomfort. Even Henry was like, “There were a lot of assholes there that night.” And Henry’s threshold for assholes is much greater than mine.
I was really looking forward to this show. I woke up with that excited thrill in my belly and spent all day at work bouncing in my seat, counting down the minutes. But, I guess they can’t all be wins, right? This show ranks at the bottom, with the 2005 Grog Shop show and last December’s Philly show with Terri tying for first place. That December hometown show was just so right on so many levels.
It took more than two days for my stomach to make up with me. I don’t know what the hell Grant’s did to me, other than my stomach just being overly sensitive to greasy food these days. That’s one way to keep the weight off!
Today, while following Chooch around on a bike trail, I asked Henry some questions about his billionth Circa Survive experience. Here are his scintillating* answers:
*(I did not consult a Thesaurus on that, thx.)
What did you think of CHON?
*gives me a ‘don’t be stupid’ look*
Did you like Balance and Composure?
Ehhhhhhhh. Not really.
If you could use your beard to smuggle anything into a concert, what would it be?
I don’t know. I wouldn’t. Why do I need to smuggle anything in? I just want to get out.
Do you like old or new Circa Survive songs best?
I don’t know the difference. *mumbles: I can’t believe I’m answering these*
What was the highlight for you? You’re sleeping!!
I’m not sleeping, I’m thinking! I don’t know. Two girls fighting at the end.
Off the top of your head, name three bands that you dislike seeing even more than Circa Survive.
Whatever that first band was. Crone? Cron?
If Anthony Green started a line of barbeque sauces, how tempted would you be to try them?
That’s a weird question. I would try them, but only because it’s barbecue sauce.
I would pour some on my Anthony Greenbeans and dip my Circa Surfries in it. How does it make you feel when Anthony spreads his mouth open with his hands?
Does it bring back prepubescent memories of sexual confusion?
Sometimes I find myself getting sucked down into Negative Thinking. I don’t like that. That’s not me. (Anymore.) So I thought it would behoove me to do one of those happy thoughts lists, and I think you should too!
Another work week in the books! There were lots of annoyances as usual, but also a lot of really fun times too which is easy to overlook when you’re fixated on the bad. Good things this week include: annoying Glenn, having numerous people thank me for my help (a thank you goes a long way!), cutting 10 inches off Jeannie’s hair so she could donate it and then watching Catherine pet the detached ponytail like it was her pet, WAFFLE MAKER.
Exercise. I’ve been going strong with Jillian Michael’s Body Revolution since January, plus various fitness subs on YouTube, and while the weight loss has been great, the part that I’m the most excited about is just the overall energy and strength I have. So I guess I’m thankful for the ability to keep pushing myself, blah blah blah.
Revisiting an old album and remembering how much I loved it when it first came out. My current mood today was a solid Mindy White-era Lydia. Their “illuminate” album still sounds so fresh to me.
Sharing music with my friend Terri! It’s such an important thing to both of us and she has really helped me see a greater beauty in some genres that I never really bothered much with before. I like that I can text her the day after a show and she gets how big of a deal it is. Seems like such a small thing, but it means so much to me.
Buying a new car on my own! Fine, Henry did some legwork, but this is the first car that is 100% in my name, and I’m just as stoked about that as I am about the car itself! Our current car is paid off but it’s on its last leg (the drivers side door handle broke a few years ago and the passenger side handle broke two weeks ago—TWO DAYS AFTER WE PAID OFF THE CAR), and there are other annoying things about it too (let’s just say that Budget car rental knows Henry personally at this point, we rent cars so often) so it was just time to move on. Henry’s keeping it to commute to work though so…..Godspeed, Henry. Anyway, I got a 2014 Cruze and admittedly the only thing I looked at was the stereo system (it’s premium!) but Henry says don’t worry, the rest of the stuff is good too. I get to bring it home from the dealership tomorrow and I might cry. I never thought my credit would be good enough, because Life.
Chooch. He really gets on my nerves a lot (who doesn’t?) but he always makes me laugh. Plus tonight he indulged me and watched videos of Anthony Green on YouTube with me. What a nice way to end a relatively annoying-as-fuck day.
Let’s end with 7. LUCKY7. Hope you guys collected some little things this week that make you happy. Sounds lame, but whatever works, right? <3
The “I Hate Every Single Fucker In This Line Right Now Why Can’t You Make Some Damn Friends So I Don’t Have to See Circa Survive 8 Times A Year I Need a Fat Sausage To Plug My Food Hole Hey There’s ANTHONY GREEN OMG!!!” shot.
The “All Of These Chon Songs Sound Exactly the Same So I’m Just Gonna Stand Here and Pin Recipes How Are People Dancing To This?!” shot.
The “I’m Secretly Singing Along To Every Circa Song In My Head OMG ARE THOSE TWO GIRLS MAKING OUT OVER THERE????” shot.
It’s Food Drive season as work and the person in charge for our department is kind of mean about it and her emails lack the proper amount of enthusiastic punctuation so I have not felt inclined to donate any dusty cans of stewed tomatoes that might have fallen behind the kitchen shelf. (I save those for Warped Tour so I can skip the line!) But then Sue sent out an email today that said anyone who brings in a jar of peanut butter tomorrow can wear jeans, so I will be doing that. Actually, I asked Glenn as he was leaving if he would bring in one for me but he just tossed me a scowl over his shoulder, so I feel like I shouldn’t put too much stock in him.
There is also a bake sale happening in order to raise money for the Food Bank, which would be awesome if I wasn’t forever on a diet.
Tonight is Game 1 of the Pens/Rangers playoff series and I am not anticipating it one bit. We barely even made it into the playoffs this year so my hopes are not very high. Actually, my hopes don’t even exist.
Someone brought in a pan of brownies for the food drive bake sale and my hockey anxiety has me considering bringing the whole fucking pan back to my desk.
YOU GUYS yesterday after Henry picked me up from work, I swear to God I saw Paul Eugene walking down the sidewalk!! Henry was like, “That is not him” and I said, “SCREAM PAUL EUGENE OUT THE WINDOW!!!” but Henry wouldn’t so I guess now we’ll never know.
There’s some article going around on Facebook about how Brookline is “suddenly hip” and I’m a bit irritated that no one thought to consult me for this newsworthy write-up.
And then that same day, there was a stand-off in Brookline, so….
My Dance Gavin Dance pre-order finally was delivered yesterday! I was frantically tracking it all morning and when I saw that it had been delivered at 10:33am, this went down:
OK so yay! Henry left work to get my package off the front porch, but then he just LEFT IT IN THE HOUSE!? Like, he couldn’t have brought it downtown for me!? So then I texted him later in the afternoon because I wanted to remind him to bring the CD with him when he came to pick me up so that I could listen to it in the car, but he said he wasn’t going home firat first!?
THE WORST!!!!!! Then last night, Henry saw that I posted these screencaps on Instagram and he claims that “No problem” was something he had sent to me earlier in the morning about something else, but “for some reason” it resent it after my crazy text torrent. I’m actually inclined to believe him because when I first got that text, I thought to myself, “Wow. What an even-keeled response to my CAPSLOCK jamboree.”
Me, after coming home from work and tearing open the package.
In other DGD news, I’ve been talking about them so much that Todd felt inclined to listen to their new album yesterday on Spotify, He made it about 20 seconds into the first song before stopping to share his commentary: “It was real mellow at first, like some Adam Levine shit, but then all of a sudden it turned metal…?” And then later he asked, “Why are they so angry?!” And that’s funny, because to me this isn’t angry music at all!
Today, Glenn was like “Well? Where’s all your gear?” And I was like “My what now?” “Your gear. All the gear you got yesterday that we had to hear about all day.” LOL. “Gear.” Like anyone calls it that!!!
Here at work, when we’re not all gushing over the new DGD album, we’ve been on some hardcore Amber G. Baby Watch. I have been checking in with her every day and reporting back to everyone, but I’m trying not to be some crazy Birth Sentinel because I know that would annoy me if people were constantly texting me about my dilation status. It’s going to be so weird when she comes back to work and isn’t pregnant anymore, because I think we all had grown so accustomed to tip-toeing around her. (She could be pretty snarly in her pregnant state!)
Maybe tonight’s hockey game will induce labor.
A conversation that happened last night while watching Breaking Bad:
Me: “Can I give you a top knot?” Henry: “What is a top knot….?” Me: “Just say yes.” Henry: “No.” Me: *gives him top knot anyway*
Henry: “WHAT IS IT?! No!”
His new look was wildly celebrated on Facebook, but he shockingly did not wear it to work today.
Hay guys, the hockey game just started and the Rangers scored 20-some seconds in. MAYBE I’LL HAVE A BROWNIE AFTER ALL.
Amber, did you have your baby yet?
This might be the dumbest blog post title I’ve ever made up. I quit.
Chooch has been on a Fall Out Boy kick recently (primarily their recent album) and I got to be That Person who bragged about seeing them in 2004, pre-commercial success, when all of my friends were like, “WHO are you going to see?!” (Oh wait, that’s present-day too!)
Today, I made the mistake of telling Glenn that my knee hurt. I tweaked it a few months ago when I was exercising and every now and then it starts hurting again. So glenn offered me “Advil” and I stupidly took it without checking to make sure it was legit and not something he cut in the woodshed/lab in his backyard. His fake drugs did not cure my knee but I think there was a connection between that and my extreme drowsiness all day. Luckily, my new BFF Allison gave me real, name brand Advil later on and then my knee felt OK.
UM, so I have been home from late shift for like 2 hours and just noticed that there was an envelope addressed to me, casually strewn upon the dining room table. The return address was THE ARTERY FOUNDATION so I knew immediately that it was going to bey handwritten DGD lyrics and IT WAS so I flipped out on Henry and screamed HOW LONG WERE YOU GOING TO HIDE THIS FROM ME?! and he claims he “didn’t know” what it was?! I was like THE POSTMARK CLEARLY STATES THAT ITS FROM SACRAMENTO WHAT ELSE WOULD I POSSIBLY BE GETTING FROM SACRAMENTO?! My god Henry fails as a scene kid’s boyfriend. I guess now that he wears a topknot, he’s only interested in watching Coachella videos on YouTube.
Sometimes my day can be so spectacularly disappointing (all work-related, nothing that actually matters) but then something music-related happens to save the day. Pierce the Veil was added to the Warped Tour lineup, and even though everyone pretty much already knew that because of a leaked flyer, it was still awesome to find out for sure!
This year’s Warped Tour has the potential to be better than 2008, which was my favorite one!
Today is the third annual Pittsburgh blog exchange event that my pal Alex dreamt up and organizes each year with panache, patience, and maybe a secret flick of a magic wand. It’s so much fun to participate in and this year it has grown exponentially!
I’m excited to be hosting Alex from A Body of One’s Own! Every Pittsburgher has their own personal collection of local gems, and today Alex has curated her own list! And if you would like to read my guest post, a fictional account of Mr. Rogers’ day in the neighborhood, please see your way to Ya Jagoff!
Before I lead you to thinking I’m some sort of yoga-master, green-juice drinking, Buddhist type person, let me clarify by saying I’m not. I often wish that I were, but the parameters of my daily life in addition to my own personal human condition really get in the way of this. That doesn’t mean I don’t strive to be calm and centered, it’s just not always in the works that day. The best that I could do? Redefine what it means to meditate. Years ago, I recall sitting in the dead center of my parents’ backyard with my legs criss-crossed and my hands raised toward either side of my head. I did some “Ohm’s” like I knew how to shut my brain off. Not only was I interrupted by my father who began shouting, “What the hell are you doing up there?” but I realized that shutting my brain off was not going to happen. I didn’t give up, though. Instead of putting extraneous amounts of effort into not forming thoughts, I sought out a way to fine-tune my thoughts.
A few months into year 22 on this earth, and I’m realizing all the things you do when you get there. What it all boils down to is being an adult kind of sucks. I won’t settle for that. I’ve managed to do some pretty cool things that were never on my agenda. I’ve crafted a life for myself that makes no sense at all on paper. I live all alone, I work mostly under the table with no security, I write for a living despite thinking I can’t write at all (you can be the judge…), and I opted not to go to school. I have all the freedom in the world, but it’s lacking security. I tell people with real lives and careers and babies what I do and their immediate response is skeptical. I am happy, sure, but there’s a lot of pressure to do a bunch of things I don’t want to do. Ya know, for the future or whatever.
On this journey I had from failing, flailing teenager to almost-functioning adult with a kinda-sorta career underway, Pittsburgh has stayed just about the same. And thank goodness. I realized in my mission to experience the ultimate sense of clarity that nothing can put me back in my happy place better than the appreciation I have for this city can. When I find the opportunity to take time to myself, I know exactly where to go to get my zen on. These are the places that are like home to me, which in turn allows me to breathe, sit (or sweat!), and think. That’s my meditative state – a place that lets me really live in the moment.
1. Primal Fitness Pittsburgh So, I was on the hunt for a new fitness routine as usual. I used to kinda-sorta be a runner, but my heart wasn’t in it anymore. It no longer felt like a time I could meditate, rather running had become an obligation. I decided that I wanted to lift heavy things instead. As a certified Instagram stalker, I had my eye on Janelle (@primalburgher) who was always posting pictures of her kettlebell gym. I got in touch with her because I thought we probably had a few things in common. Turns out I was right. Upon first meeting her, I signed over my life and money to her. I’ll admit, I was afraid. I had no idea what I was doing, not that she expected me to. Over the past couple of months, I’ve grown stronger and more in touch with my body and mind each day I train with her and the amazing staff and clients she has. She focuses on functional movement and strengthening the entire body. The studio also offers calisthenics courses which are generally high-intensity bodyweight circuits. Janelle has not only made me SUPER BUFF (see photos below), but she has offered me a kindness and compassion that is irreplaceable. I feel lucky to work with her. Bonus: we have the weirdest crew ever. Seriously, these people are insane (in the best way possible), and sometimes we go on group outings. I’m so happy to call them my friends. 10/10 would recommend this gym to anyone from a beginner to someone who has a background in strength training.
2. Zeke’s Coffee Pittsburgh This place is the key to my success. If I didn’t have Zeke’s, I’d probably be far too sleepy to do much else with my time. I started going here before they moved across the street where they’re set up now. The shop was teeny-tiny, but I fell in love with the coffee (small-batch roasts!) and their incredible staff. I dog-sit about a mile down the road, so I tend to walk here with the pup. I quickly befriended the baristas, and all the regulars quickly befriended the malamute. While the coffee has always delivered, the renovations and new location are my go-to place when I want to just sit and take a breather. It’s a glorious, quiet moment in my daily routine. I feel at home when I go here. I look forward to seeing my baristas and sometimes getting free coffee. Bonus: all the pastries are baked in-house, and they always have a selection of local goodies including Gluten-Free Goat for those of you with a long list of dietary restrictions like me.
3. North Shore Riverfront Park and Trail Despite no longer identifying as a “runner,” I still like to run sometimes because it does wonders to clear my head. The aforementioned gym I attend is conveniently located right on this trail, so now that the sun is making more frequent appearances, I like to take advantage. I like that this segment is pretty long and scenic, and it also leads straight to Point State Park if you go far enough. My favorite detour to take is into downtown to Wood Street Galleries for double the zen action. The selling point for me is the opportunity to run across a bridge or two. Then again, where can’t you do that in Pittsburgh?
4. Stage AE Nothing helps me get centered like live music. I grew up going to concerts. Besides the Backstreet Boys (every girl of the 90’s first concert), my first “rock show” was Incubus way back in 2004. I thought the lead singer was hot, and my mom couldn’t stop laughing at the way he danced. I also met Steven Tyler from Aerosmith in the fourth grade. I didn’t have the same affinity for his looks the way my mother did. My horizons have thankfully expanded since. I spent my middle school days chasing around emo bands on tour, having them sign my glittery skull t-shirts from Hot Topic. In high school, I became a total festival junkie after my first year at Lollapalooza. There is something that has never changed about the way I feel submerged in a sweaty pool of people and very loud guitar. It’s almost like an out-of-body experience. I love all the little venues around Pittsburgh, but the most recent show I went to was Sleater-Kinney at Stage AE. I left feeling empowered. It was a very special evening. Since they opened this venue, I’ve attended some of the best concerts of my life.
5. Riding Meadows Dog Park If you have a dog, GO HERE. Even if you don’t, you should go here. I mention this place to everyone I meet, and nearly nobody has heard of it. Consider it a hidden gem amongst the field club and strip mall of Fox Chapel. The hiking is good and mildly challenging, which is something Frick Park lacks. As a native yinzer, I have grown to love the hills. I get confused without them. Both parks are beautiful and fantastic for dogs, but at Riding Meadows, the entire area is off-leash. This means no grumpy people screaming about your dog the size of a wolf frightening their shih-tzu. Bonus: Burgatory is a totally valid lunch option right down the road.
6. Highway Robbery Vintage When all else fails, I go shopping. Try as I might, some bad days just cannot be healed without a little retail therapy. Kate at Highway Robbery is curating the most whimsical vintage collection of clothing I have ever seen. Every time I pop in to the shop, I find multiple things that I can’t leave without. This can either be good or bad depending on your financial situation, but nothing says “living in the moment” like a funky impulse buy. She posts highlights on her Instagram page (@highwayrobberyvintage) where you can give her a call and tell her to reserve it for you. She carries both men’s and women’s clothing. Bonus: if your dog is friendly, her store is too. This list is slowly but surely becoming “Places You Can Take Your Dog,” but everything is arguably more worthwhile with a fuzzy companion in tow.
There ya have it. These are a few of my favorite things. I find my solace in these places in one way or another. I focused mainly on places you can go all alone and have a good time. Today’s society shuns solitude, and we are conditioned to feel lonely and awkward when we venture into the hustle and bustle by ourselves. From the city to the forest, Pittsburgh has a lot of places that diminished this preconceived notion from my mind entirely. It’s good to be alone sometimes, and it’s good to seek out an environment where you can make an escape – if only for an hour or two.
Thank you, Alex! Please check out more of Alex’s writing over at A Body Of One’s Own and feel free to click through the below collection of links to read more guest posts! It’s a great lineup.
We said goodbye to Marcy today. It was the hardest, but most humane, decision I have ever made. She was 17, and I know that I have to be thankful that I was given that much time with her. She was the best pet I have ever had and my bond with her was borderline psychotic—even back in the day, my friends would be like, “God help us when Marcy dies, Erin is going to need a straight jacket.” She was so evil to 99.9% of the world that most people thought she might even be immortal.
The .1% is Henry. He is the only one she ever willingly showed affection to. I don’t know how Marcy or I would have gotten through this without Henry.
When she grew that tumor almost two years ago, we thought that was it for sure, a death sentence. But she kept on keeping on, and it wasn’t until the last few months that we really began to notice weight loss. She was still eating and drinking though, and acting like herself, just an elderly version of herself. Most importantly, she didn’t seem to be in pain and she was still out and about.
But on Friday, she seemed weird. For one, she wasn’t trying to attack me when I put my hand near her. Her appetite had dwindled. She was still eating a little, drinking normal, and peeing and pooping, though. On Sunday, she tried to jump up on the table and missed.
It was heartbreaking.
So I thought about it all day at work, how I was going to have to make that decision soon. I just didn’t realize how soon. By the time I came home, she could barely walk and www trying to meow but it sounded so sad. I sat with her on the floor and Henry called the vet. We knew we couldn’t let it go any longer. It wasn’t fair to her. And if she had deteriorated that much in a weekend, who knew how much time she had left.
We made the appointment for today and Henry and I took turns sleeping with her on the couch. The moment we would take our hands off her, she would cry and struggle to sit up. And then she just couldn’t walk at all.
She and I have been together since 1998. She was my first roommate. EVERYONE knew Marcy—how could they not? She inserted herself in every social situation. Whether they liked her was another story, though. Ha. She drew her fair share of blood over the years.
Now we’re home and this house has never felt emptier. This is the first time in my entire life that I have not had a pet. But, losing four in the span of three years has really traumatized me. I think I’m going to need some time.
Marcy loved Frostys and now I’m so angry at myself for not thinking to get her one last Frosty. Please don’t hate me, Marcy. :(
Emotionally crippled by the sounds of crying, screaming, laughing, talking kids, ugh. Why me?!
We had to take Chooch to Chuck E. Cheese last weekend for a birthday party and it totally ruined my day. Originally, I was going to stay home and make Henry deal with it, but I was having a really clingy day and didn’t want to be home alone, god forbid. Plus, the party was for the neighbor kid (the one whose mom was on my side when another neighbor screamed in my face) so I felt like it would behoove me to go and pretend that I’m neighborly.
(I’m not neighborly.)
We were going to just leave Chooch there after a few minutes, but then the grandma was all, “You’re sticking around, right?” Ugh, grandma guilt! Just what I needed that day.
OMG that place was a screaming sea of anklebiters. There were approximately 87 parties going down in tandem, not including the moronic parents who thought it would be a great idea to bring their idiot children there ON A SATURDAY AFTERNOON.
FOR NO REASON!
And the music! I heard Pharrell’s “Happy” twice in two hours, god help me.
There were two highlights though: when the other party kids discovered my holographic eyeball and obsessed over it for the first half hour, much to Chooch’s chagrin. He HATES that my purse gets attention.
The second was when the birthday boy’s father arrived and I realized that HE IS REALLY FUCKING HOT. I got overly giggly about it (not unusual) and later, after he came over to introduce himself, I whisper-cried in Henry’s ear, “REMEMBER WHEN I HELD HANDS WITH MARKIE’S DAD?!”
“That’s called a handshake, asshole,” Henry muttered.
When our ex-neighbor (the one who got in my face last summer because her son is a d-bag and Chooch kicked him in the nards) arrived with her brood, things went from bad to worse. I just get so angry at the mere sight of her cunt-face. Luckily, we were separated by an entire table so I at least didn’t have to hear her grating Yinzer-speak.
And then Chuck E. came out of a door and Henry frowned. “Chuck E. lost some weight.”
I turned around to look and got really angry because this looked nothing like the Chuck E. I knew and loved! Oh, this was just pathetic.
Hyperactive children aside, what I hate most about that place is how much it’s changed from when I was a kid in the 80s. Man, Chuck E. Cheese was THE SHIT then. I used to primarily go to the one in West Mifflin, and I have fond memories of it being dimly-lit with multiple rooms, which really seemed to keep the crowds at bay. There was a room to the right that had animatronic….Beagles? I can’t remember now exactly what kind of animals they were, but you could walk up and press a button to awaken them, at which point they would serenade the room with Beach Boys classics while everyone burnt the roof of their mouths on pizza.
(The pizza was also better back then. Even as a teenager, it was fun to go to Chuck E. Cheese because PIZZA.)
One of the game rooms had a ball pit, which are apparently outlawed now in all play areas. Children these days are so goddamn fragile!
The main party room was a cavernous multi-level room featuring a stage with Chuck E. and all of his friends, like that chicken lady thing and Pasquale the Italian pizza guy. There was some purple thing too, I think. (Munch!?)
The Chuck E. Cheese we went to last week didn’t have any animatronics! They used to though, as recently as when Chooch was a baby, circa 2007:
The pizza is some kind of bullshit now too.
The best/worst part about the Chuck E. Cheese from my childhood was the Cheese Factory. Please, somewhere out there has to know what I’m talking about. It was the traumatic, closed-off maze that was essentially built into a wall. Once you were in it, it was like Baby’s First Claustrophobic Experience. Its intention was to make you feel like you were climbing through a giant piece of swiss cheese, I guess, and you would have to hoist yourself up through carpeted holes while disorienting lights flashed and cosmic sounds played overhead. I have a vague recollection of a hallway where parents could stand and pray that they wouldn’t lose sight of where their children were inside this unintentional haunted house.
I associate it with real terror, tears, and the hysterical sensation of abandonment.
God, I wish it was still like that in there!
I feel bad for all of these millennium kids who will never get to experience the strange joys of being an 80s kid, like clothes-shopping at Kids R Us and playing Tic Tac Toe on one of the large electronic game walls that were located around the store in hopes of keeping children satiated while their parents piled the cart full of corduroy pants, leggings, neon socks, and sweatshirts with puffy paint-esque bears on it.
Anyway, by the time the party was over, my nerves were shot. I’m just thankful that Chooch is at an age where I didn’t have to follow him all around the game area, because I might have been arrested. (OK, probably just 302’d.)
It’s been A Week. I actually felt delirious when I woke this morning and remembered that it was Friday. Thank god. Here are some pictures that have been accumulating on my phone, because let’s face it: I have no time to type words right now, and you have no time to read them. Can life just slow the fuck down for a second?
This was my “I have to go to Chuck E. Cheese” face. I actually started writing a post about that. Maybe someday I’ll finish it, along with all the drafts haunting my WordPress dashboard. Sigh. I MISS YOU, BLOG. This weekend I still have to write my guest post for the annual Pittsburgh Guest Blogger event thingie that my friend Alex orchestrates with such patience and panache. I mostly know what I’m writing, but you know me: I stress and stress and stress like stressing is my motherfuckin’ job. But the thing I’m writing has a companion painting. I either overachieve or half-ass. You never know with me.
So many good shows coming up! I bought my Puddles Pity Party ticket the day it was announced. Chris and Monica are going too and I’m so goddamn excited! I want to get my picture taken with him so that I can frame it and hang it up in my future clown room. Before that though, I have La Dispute next week, and then Circa Survive! Thank god for shows.
This St. Rita figurine is on my bathroom wall and every time Janna comes back from peeing, she starts chirping about how she always thinks homegirl is holding a machine gun. Now I wish she was. AND THAT SHE WOULD SHOOT JANNA! Just kidding.
We are still trying to organize Chooch’s room. He had somehow developed hoarder-like tendencies without my even realizing it. So that’s awesome. It was nice to re-discover some of his things though, like that wooden gumball machine that I made in Industrial Arts class in middle school (there should be an upside down mason jar on its head, but it never operated properly so why bother), and that cute little zombie doll that I bought Chooch when he was a baby. We named him Rot. Rot used to go everywhere with us until he was lost in Chooch’s landfill.
More Chooch-stuff. I bought that Keith Haring picture in Switzerland when I was a teenager. It’s significant because it was the first time my crazy aunt Sharon let me go off on my own. God, I felt like I was the coolest little bitch! So, this picture has been hanging on my walls for, dare I even say it, 20 years. I like that it’s Chooch’s now, though. Spreading the Haring love!
I’ve been helping out with some admin stuff until they find Barb’s replacement. (Not that Barb can EVER be replaced!) I finally decided to make my own AWAY signs though, and thankfully I had 6 pages of Pierce the Veil posters just laying there on my desk. When I came to work the next day, SOMEONE had slapped on a post-it note on my sign that said “good luck.” OH I WONDER WHO.
(Speaking of Barb, I got to have lunch with her today! And also Wendy, but I see her everyday so…I almost started crying when I saw Barb and after she hugged me, all I could manage to say was, “I hate you.” It’s not easy having such a loose grip on your emotions.)
I play this fun game where I accuse Henry of cheating on me every single time I see him even glace at another vagina’d human. So when Henry was making an ATM withdrawal next to some lady, I instantly Instagrammed it and casually captioned it, “Here’s Henry and the broad he’s cheating on me with.” One of my Instagram friends got all upset about it, like I was on a stake out when I took this picture. Which, to be fair, I totally could have been. You guys know me.
Ahh, I have so much more I want to say! I wish I had more time.
If you still read this hot mess, god bless you.