Jul 302014
 

Today is my 35th birthday. Thank you, thank you. Since 35 seems to be an age where things happen (?), I decided that I should commemorate it in live-blog form. And I sure picked a super awesome birthday to live blog, because I have a ton of festivities lined up today, like….going to work and taking Chooch to his piano lesson. Anyway, let’s get this party started in the least Black Eyed Peas way as possible.

7:43am: I just ate an everything bagel thin and I’m drinking coffee and typing in this and keeping track of all the people who wish me a happy birthday without an exclamation point on Facebook.

7:55am: I told Henry he didn’t have to get me anything for my birthday since he’s taking me to Riot Fest and then when he didn’t get me anything for my birthday I pouted and told him to GTFO and that I hate him. BUT HE IS STILL HERE WTF. This just happened. REAL TIME, FRIENDOS.

8:19am: Henry decided to go “religious” when choosing my birthday card this year. GOOD ONE, HENRY:

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8:28am: Henry is whisking me away to work in his juice van chariot. He knows how to make a girl feel like a lady.

8:46am: I’m at work now. Surprisingly, Glenn didn’t get me a birthday present. He said if he had known in advance, he’d have left a dead fish in one of my desk drawers. BETTER THAN NOTHING!!!!!

9:00am: AHHHHH CHRIS BROUGHT ME THE MOTHERLODE OF BIRTHDAY FANTASIA! CHRIS, YOU AND MONICA ARE THE BEST!

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I tried to show Glenn how cute the wrapping paper is and he was like “OK.”

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STFU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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THESE ARE HOMEMADE AND AMAZING! Chris and Monica, you guys are so sweet and I’m going to sit here and cry about it for a few minutes. Don’t tell.

9:07am: Glenn tried to out-do Chris and Monica by giving me a stapler. NICE TRY.

9:55am: Mean Amber offered to get me birthday coffee this morning but I declined for fear of her purposely BURNING me with it. That’s something she would do.

10:09am: There are people laughing in the forbidden section of our department (a/k/a “Forbidden City”) and it’s ruining my birthday. Also ruining my birthday: ETHAN giving me dumb work. Thank god Sandy came over and hung up a Dora the Explorer birthday banner on my desk. That helped.

10:55am: I just made the mistake of defending Mean Amber when she said she didn’t want to throw away her deflated balloon dog because his eyes looking up at her from the garbage can made her feel so sad. So I said that I knew what she meant; for example: when I’m shopping with Henry and go to put the cart back (my favorite thing!), I will never put the cart in an empty cart-return stall because I don’t want it to be lonely. I’ll find one that has others (preferably just one other because then I’m helping save TWO carts from loneliness). Then I can walk away, comforted by the fact that my cart has people to talk to. “Keep it up,” Glenn mumbled. “You’re just reinforcing what we already know about you.” What, THAT I’M A PHILANTHROPIST? Because, duh.

11:48am: Finally broke down and ate one of the vanilla bean macarons and holy fucking shit it’s going to take everything in me not to dump the rest of the box into my panting mouth. I’m such a whore for macarons.

11:59am: MY BROTHER JUST TEXTED ME THE BEST BIRTHDAY GIFT OF ALL TIME! Look at the disgust on my face! And Henry is still in that “Yes! I bagged a youngin’!” stage of delusion.

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12:11pm: Here’s random birthday memory. For my 23rd or 24th birthday (they all blend together, really; my 20s sucked tremendously), I had a handful of friends over for birthday cake. My then-friend (as in, no-longer friend) brought some guy with her and said, “I just found him at the gas station. He recently moved here from Italy and can’t speak English. I was like, “YES YOU CAN BRING THIS FOREIGN INTERLOPER INTO MY HOUSE!” because that was back when I lived on the edge and loved me some stranger danger. Henry was like, “frown frown frown frown” about this, but whatever. I rule the roost. Always. So yes, here comes this guy with a bottle of wine that I didn’t like and he’s just standing around and smiling and I’m talking REALLY LOUDLY to him because I kept confusing foreign with deaf. And then finally, after hours of this, my “friend” laughs and says he’s not Italian and he’s not a stranger. He’s actually her friend and has a good strong grasp on the English language. I was really mad because I felt like I wasted my whole birthday trying to find ways to ask this asshole if he wanted vanilla cake or chocolate.

12:53pm: YAY WENDY JUST GAVE ME PRESENTS! She got me a mustache ring-holder and a really cute tote bag. When I brought it all back to my desk, I said, “Look Glenn, Wendy got me a bag to put over your head!” because it’s my birthday and I’m on a roll.

1:19pm: At my birthday lunch with Jeannie, Wendy and Barb but BARB is ruining it with boring work conversation!!!

1:44pm: That time it was my birthday and WENDY spilled her Coke all over my side of the table!!!

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2:59pm: Lunch at Las Velas was great, but I had a moment of panic when I thought I was going to have to pay for my own birthday lunch and I still haven’t gotten a new debit card after losing my wallet two months ago. Don’t worry, Jeannie had me covered. Came back from lunch and Bridget yelled at me for saying Las Velas wrong. Also, I learned that Barb basically knows nothing about Mexican food and ordered the most Americanized thing she could find on the menu and then asked Jeannie what cilantro is and I was like, “Jesus fuck, even I know what cilantro is.” I had a tamale. Barb, a tamale is:

  1. a Mexican dish of seasoned meat wrapped in cornmeal dough and steamed or baked in corn husks.
    Mine had veggies in it, not meat.

3:04pm: I just started cracking up at my desk because I let myself actually think the words, “I wonder if my mom will wish me a happy birthday today.” But then I almost started to cry. MOVING ON.

3:26pm: SOMEONE ATE NATALIE’S PIZZA ROLLS!!! DRAMA ON MY BIRTHDAY!!!!

4:48pm: Natalie still hasn’t found the Pizza Roll pilferer. Meanwhile, Henry just told me he canceled Chooch’s piano lesson, but don’t worry: I’m sure it’s not because he has any surprise birthday plans for me. This is Henry we’re talking about, after all.

6:07pm: I’m home now. Sadly, there were no clowns hiding in my house.

6:15pm: I used to look forward to my birthday so much every year because I would typically have a big swim party at my Pappap’s house, and my Pappap would make everyone burgers and hot dogs and he was so damn proud of his grilling skills. I try not to hang on to the past, but fuuuck do I miss those days. My birthdays have always had an underlying layer of sadness ever since he died in 1996. I cry for him at least twice on my birthday, every year. I can’t help it.

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6:18pm: Haha, sorry. Henry left to take his mom home so this is the first time I’ve had a chance all day to really think about this day and what it means. :(

7:28pm: My big birthday plans involved coming home from work and finally starting the new season of Teen Wolf but the stupid first episode is already gone from On Demand WHAT. FUCK TODAY. GAME OVER.

8:40pm: I watched Teen Wolf on MTV’s dumb website so all is well in Appledale Hell.

8:41pm: I never said this live blogging event was going to be entertaining. It’s basically the same thing as going to the dentist and calling THAT an event, too.

8:50pm: I’m walking to CVS to return “Noah” to Redbox. Maybe something outrageous will happen!

9:00pm: Walking home behind Mormon missionaries. This is the first time I’ve seen them (same two) that they didn’t give me a prayer card and ask, “Will you read it? WILL YOU?” Happy birthday to me, I guess. They’re no Sister McRae, that’s for sure.

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10:37pm: Well, this wasn’t the worst birthday I’ve ever had, so let’s call it a win. Henry could have been a little more accommodating though.

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Jul 222014
 

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I’m really thankful that my cousin Danielle and I reconnected because now Chooch has a cousin around his age and I just think that’s so important, and not something that I had growing up because my family is so goddamn mental and loooooved to sever ties with entire branches. Chooch has been getting to know Danielle’s son Ean better lately which makes me happy because while he regularly sees Henry’s family, there’s clearly not much left of mine.

Ean slept over on Saturday and they were still getting along when they woke up on Sunday. I mean, assuming they even slept at all!

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And then on Sunday, one of our little neighbor kids wanted to come in and I have a pretty strong NO NEIGHBOR SPAWN IN THE HOUSE POLICY because it brings back traumatic memories of when I first moved there when I was 20 and literally ALL OF THE NEIGHBOR KIDS gravitated to me and the next thing I knew, I had 5 kids hanging off the railings of my front porch every single motherfucking day. And then it occurred to me that I had become some unofficial Brooklline babysitter and it was just no good.

All of those kids were fucking DDDDDDICK HEADS.

But this neighbor kid isn’t bad. He was kind of in awe of my house which was hilarious because if you’re most adults, you’re sneering at my juvenile decor. But if you’re a kid (or a cool adult), you’re like IS THAT A PEE WEE HERMAN DOLL?!?! And then running around my house with a pig mask on.

These are all things that happened.

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Later, we took Chooch and Ean to a pretty sad mini golf course, where Chooch only cried once so I guess he’s growing up, you guys.

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Henry relived his SERVICE days with an ugly camouflage ball. Get a life, Henry.

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Intense staring.
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HYENA FTW!!! (That’s me, obv. And I WON.)

Anyway, aside from feeling hungover all weekend without having had a single sip of alcohol, it was a good one. That was the most time I’ve spent with Ean, so YAY FAMILY STUFF!

This was basically Marcy’s face all weekend, especially when the extremely high-pitch voiced neighbor kid was over:

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Jul 152014
 

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When I told people I went to a professional woman’s football game last Saturday night, the popular response was, “What the hell. You hate football!”

Truth! I really do hate football, and the only thing I hate worse than football is PITTSBURGH football. Boys or girls, I hate them all the same. No discrimination here. But when my friend Kristy asked me if I wanted to go and explained that she was only going because her friend Katie plays for the opposing team, the New York Sharks, and also that we were going to drink at the Smiling Moose beforehand, I was like, “Fuck yeah, I’ll go.” I get a lot of joy rooting for opposing teams! I’m like a sports hipster, I guess.

Besides, if I was going to go to a Pittsburgh Passion game with anyone, it would be Kristy. I don’t know why, but I stand behind this statement.

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Kristy even made this awesome sign to show support for her friend Katie! It was kind of adorable. I want to join some kind of team now or run for Congress so that Kristy will make a poster for me.

When we got inside Cupples Stadium, Kristy decided she didn’t want to sit in the middle of Passion fans, because Pittsburgh sports fans are a special brand of crazy. Like, bath salts crazy. Before we even made it to the stands, we stumbled upon a small group of Sharks fans with some assertive Passion broad who was trying to accommodate their seating needs. And by seating needs, I mean that they were asking to sit as far away from psycho Yinzer sports fans as possible. So we tagged along and entered the field with them, and that’s when I realized that one of the Sharks ladies was actually a part of the organization, so I started to feel really special, because that’s the type of person I am: the type that gloats when mascots or someone on a professional women’s football team payroll spends one extra nanosecond on me than the rest of the kids. It’s because I’m attention starved, OK? I will take flirtatious sentiments from anyone: in a fur-suit, NY Sharks shirt or prison jumpsuit, I don’t give a fuck.

Anyway, the Passion broad explained to us that she was unable to unlock the gate so that we could sit on the bleachers across the field from the Pittsburgh side, some lame excuse about how the Passion organization only paid for half of the stadium to be cleaned so they couldn’t have us getting our filth all over the other side of stands, too. However, what she was able to do instead was bring over extra benches ON THE SIDELINE so that we could still sit far away. There was some grumbling from the other Sharks fans about how they weren’t going to be able to see real well, but I was like, “Fuck yes.” Because if I’m going to have to watch some dumb football game, you better believe I want it to be on the field.

While we were getting situated on our special benches, one of the Sharks ladies felt compelled to beg us to behave. Don’t distract the players, don’t get up and walk off the field during play and basically just don’t breathe. Then she came back with her camera and yelled, “OK SHARKS FANS!” and everyone put their hands up on top of their heads like shark fins, and I had to whip my head around to look at everyone else’s so that I didn’t fuck it up because I’m a hand-gesture dunce.

“I wonder what the Passion sign is?” Kristy wondered out loud, making a diamond over her crotch with her hands. “Do they just like, masturbate?” And I died for the first of 87 times that night.

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Seriously, this was our view: a recreational lesbian’s field day. I cultivated no less than 8 crushes in the first five minutes of sitting down. It’s actually kind of surprising that Christina doesn’t play professional women’s football.

“Fair warning, my twin daughters play for the Sharks, so I might get kind of loud,” an older man who bore a mild resemblance to Laura Palmer’s Dad (but enough so that I would run with it for the rest of the night) said cordially as he sat down next to me. “Wow, Pittsburgh’s sure got a big fan base. Look at that!” he enthused, pointing across the field to the home bleachers. I thought he was being sarcastic, because there didn’t seem to be that many people there, but then I remembered that this was WOMEN’S football and we all know that no one cares about women’s sports.

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Passion’s Impressive Fan Base.

Did you know that they have to pay for this shit themselves? It’s true! Kristy told me. And they all have to have regular day jobs too, unlike those fat NFL rapist douchebags. So I was able to overlook my hatred of football by convincing myself that I was actually there to support girls doing shit. Because I’m a girl.

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I took this picture when we returned after halftime to illustrate how sparse the Sharks section was.

Laura Palmer’s Dad was a pretty laid back guy and I didn’t mind that he was trying to lure conversation from my clamped mouth because was mildly charming. But then 10 seconds into the game, he fucking EXPLODED with rage and bulging forehead veins.

“PAIGE!!!! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!!?!?!? CONTAIN!!!!! WHERE’S THE D?!?!?!?!?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME, REF?! WHAT WAS THAT!?!??! HEY REF, YOU NEED TO BORROW SOMEONE’S GLASSES BECAUSE YOU CAN’T SEE!”

And on and on and on. Kristy slowly looked over at me and we totally lost it. At this point, he was standing on top of the back of the bench, leaning against the fence behind him for balance, and every time he yelled, it sounded like angry jets were being launched from his throat and into my ears. And then another dad on the bench next to us joined in, the two of them volleying disparaging reviews of the ref’s competence back and forth between them in their thick New York accents. Laura Palmer’s Dad kept marching over to the Sharks bench and reaming out his daughter’s, Paige and Jenna, but it seemed like poor, fuck-up Paige was taking the brunt of it. She would just stand there with her head down, shoulders rolled forward, probably wondering when she was going to have time to finish digging her dad’s grave in the woods.

Please, please, please watch this dumb video.

Laura Palmer’s Dad was screaming so hoarsely, that I feared he was going to have a stroke. I was honestly afraid to turn around to see what he looked like while verbally battering the entire Sharks team and officials. I half-expected to catch him deep-throating an entire horse out of unchained anger.

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I kept getting misted with Haterade every time he screamed too, so now I can say Laura Palmer’s Dad showered me.

Meanwhile, my brother Corey was texting me because he saw my video on Instagram, so then it became even funnier to me, knowing that it was this funny to Corey. You know who definitely didn’t think it was “that funny”? HENRY. I kept texting him with a play-by-play to NO RESPONSE. He was just jealous because he wasn’t there and he probably knew it was only a matter of time before I fell in love with Laura Palmer’s Dad. I mean, he was totally my type. I bet he has sexually harassed an impressive amount of secretaries in his day.

Or Henry was just sleeping.

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Laura Palmer’s Dad in a rare moment where his lips were demonstrating what some people might recognize as “a closed mouth.”

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What? You guys don’t take shoulder selfies?

The other angry dad is standing next to the guy stroking his chin, who was actually with Laura Palmer’s Dad but not nearly as loud. Occasionally he would bellow “SHARKS!” but I felt like it was more because he didn’t want Laura Palmer’s Dad to be disappointed in him, too.

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Here’s one of the twins getting berated.

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And the other.

He reallllly wanted them to “contain it,” whatever the fuck that means. And see, that was a big problem, not understanding the game and terminology. I would have to wait for my Sharks peeps to cheer or clap to know how to proceed, but sometimes I was confused because the Passion fans would also be clapping and I thought we hated each other? Anyway, when one of the Sharks got the ball-thing and started booking it down the field with no one close enough to stop her, I knew to stand up and do jump-y things and yell. And I also knew that when things weren’t going our way, to blame the refs. That’s universal. And if I hadn’t known that, Laura Palmer’s Dad would have taught me real fast.

The Passion scored enough times for the speakers to bleed out Motley Crue’s “Girls, Girls, Girls,” “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” and “Single Ladies.” You know, just in case we forgot we were at a girls football game.

Too bad we were losing pretty good (I guess?) by halftime. I was pissed when we came back from not getting stabbed during our halftime drinks at Jack’s because KRISTY lied to me and we were LATE getting back to a sporting event I don’t even care about, except for when I do, so we had to stand off the field and wait for the quarter thing to end before going back to our dumb bench. THANKS, KRISTY. I was so concerned that we were going to be ostracized from our elite Sharks section. But as soon as the clock turned to 0:00, I speed-walked across the field back to our bend.

“Hurry! I don’t want to get in trouble!” I kept hissing at Kristy. And approximately 3 minutes after I said that, Laura Palmer’s Dad and Other Official-Hating Dad came together to throw a joint temper tantrum so histrionic that the ref literally turned toward us and screamed, “NO! YOU SUCK!” blew his whistle, made a violent motion with his arms, and stomped off the field.

The fucking ref stopped the game and stormed off, you guys. IT WAS FUCKING FANTASTIC!

But….then the Sharks lady (I learned after the game that she is the CEO or CFO or COO or some acronym equally as important) marched over and said sternly, “I told you that you had to knock it off. Ref wants you gone. ALL OF YOU.”

Laura Palmer’s Dad said, “No! You guys stay. I’ll take the hit on this one.” MY MOTHERFUCKING HERO. Oh god, please let me be Laura Palmer’s Dad wife. Oh, who am I kidding. Laura Palmer’s Dad’s penis coozy is good enough for me. He can scream at me to contain the D all night. Yell at me like I’m one of your disappointing twins!

“Ref wants you ALL gone!” Important Sharks Lady repeated. So we all got up and dejectedly walked off the field, Kristy with her rolled-up Sharks poster, basically the entire Cupples Stadium watching.

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This is what Womens’ Football Game Ejection looks like.

And just in case one of us was planning on resisting the ref’s request, two cops were sent out to make sure we left peacefully. It was the most ridiculous thing ever and I was so afraid I was going to pee from laughing so hard.

“Womp womp,” Kristy said with mock sadness into her rolled-up poster, and that just made me laugh even harder.

 

Once we were off the field, we all kind of stood in a cluster, laughing nervously by the concession stand. I was glad to see that Laura Palmer’s Dad was also laughing about it and not snapping metal rods over his legs in fury like I had anticipated.

“Sorry guys,” he said, with a shrug and then he flashed that good old Laura Palmer’s Dad smile at us and I melted. UGH HOW CAN I BE MAD AT THAT.

By then, one of the Passion broads had learned about what happened, so she decided to intervene. I guess because it was the ref who kicked us out and not the actual Passion team, she let us back on the field. They tried once again to get the gate unlocked for us, but then realized no one had the key. So the compromise was to move one of the benches further away from the field and have one of the cops babysit us.

“I feel like a red-headed stepchild,” Laura Palmer’s Dad laughed as he helped drag the bench away from the rest of the benches. Kristy and I opted to sit on his bench rather than return to our original spots, because I wanted him to see that we were IN THIS BITCH TOGETHER.

I just like being a part of things, OK?

Anyway, the game resumed after the ref rubbed the hurt out of his butt, and it didn’t take long for the two dads to get all fired up once again.

“OH NOW HE THROWS A FLAG!” the other dad bellowed, his voice cracking under the weight of the sarcasm.

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This was right after the ref called an illegal formation, whatever the fuck that is, and that set off Laura Palmer’s Dad and his Partner-in-Scream-Hemorrhaging all over again, to the point where I thought for sure they were going to cause us to make the 11 o’clock news. FUCK YOU AND YOUR ILLEGAL FORMATION, REF!

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Our babysitter.

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This lady refused to leave when we got kicked out. I guess that’s her daughter. She popped her shoulder out.

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And then, after it was all said and done, Laura Palmer’s Dad STOOD ON THE FIELD, yelling for his daughters’ attention. He was relentless.

I LOVE THAT IN A MAN.

During the final minutes of the game, “Girl On Fire” warbled out of the cheap sound speakers, and we just lost it. I wish they had put as much effort into their concession stand offerings as they did with the girl-centric stadium anthems.

Anyway, the dumb Passion beat the Sharks and I’m 99.999999999999999% sure it was fixed. We hung around after everyone left, watching the Passion do some sloppy Electric Slide thing to a really terrible pop song while the Sharks sat in a slumped huddle and cried. For a girl who hates football, I felt surprisingly really sad. Once the Sharks started to mill around on the field, Kristy and I went over to say goodbye to Katie, who hugged me twice which I thought was really nice of her but I think she was really just using my torso as a Shamwow for her sweat.

“What was going on over there?” she asked us, and we got to giddily tell the story of Laura Palmer’s Dad, a story that I look forward to retelling over and over and over again for the rest of my life.

SHARKS 4 EVA.

 

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Jul 142014
 

I have a story to tell you guys about a football game I went to with my friend Kristy over the weekend, but every time I start writing about it at work, I crack up alone at my desk. Which would have been in the past, but where I sit now is A SUPER QUIET ZONE. So, that story will have to wait until I get home. Until then, here are some photos that have been collecting dust in my phone.

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I made this “Fuck Yeah, Breakfast!” painting as a housewarming gift for my friendos, Bill and Jessi. I hope it gets along with their other breakfast art!

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Henry bailed on me one day while Chooch was outside playing with the neighbor kids and within 2 minutes he was injured. I called Henry approximately 87 times and then texted him with the 911 but can we please focus on the fact that it took him THIRTY MINUTES to respond to me?!

Henry came home and examined Chooch’s wound and asked me, “Did you even look at this? It’s not a splinter. It’s just a scrape.” Sorry bro, my eyeballs don’t do wound exams.

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This is what Marcy does anytime someone wants to play games. Once, many moons ago, that little brat waited until I had finished a 1000+ piece puzzle and then casually jumped on the table and pushed it off onto the floor.

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FUCKIN’ ICE CREAM, MAN.

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Finishing Chooch’s and his own, as usual.

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Henry was nervous when we went to Dell’s for ice cream one night because some guy was there that he knows from work, GOD FORBID, what if Mouth One or Mouth Two embarrasses him.

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Celebrated my friends Chris and Monica’s engagement a few weeks ago with vegetarian meatballs at Emporio: A Meatball Joint. That was one good goddamn meatball sandwich, you guys. My brother Corey used to call them “meat ballps” when he was a baby.

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I appreciate it when ice cream shops provide spill troughs. Page’s Dairy, you’re A+. Except when you have long lines. Then we will drive past you and go to Dell’s.

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We had to wake up Chooch to give him his ice cream and he was such a jerk about it. Dude, we’re waking you up to GIVE YOU ICE CREAM. Shut your face.

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Chooch is still going strong with his piano lessons, which just warms my heart. He mentioned a few weeks ago that he wants to take voice lessons too and it just so happens that Bradley Walden, the new (and BETTER THAN JONNY CRAIG) singer for Emarosa, offers voice lessons via Skype, but Chooch got all weird when I suggested it and then later said, “I’m too shy!”

He’s like me when it comes to band guys.

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It took 10+ years, but Marcy and her grandma kind of have a relationship now. Judy got to pet her for the first time ever last week and was so excited about it!

OK. Those are my pictures. Now I have to go back to work.

 

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Jul 072014
 

Alternately titled The Purge: Brookline

Henry and I drove back from Cleveland after the show Saturday night and were a few blocks away from home when Henry pointed out the window and said, “Oh look, a drunk guy on our street. What a shocker.”

It was about 2:30am by this time, and I had been fighting to keep my eyes open pretty much the whole drive home (I always force myself to stay awake out of solidarity to Driver Henry, so stop saying I’m a bad girlfriend). But since this drunk guy was staggering only a few blocks from our house, I decided I could postpone collapsing onto my bed for a couple more minutes so I could feed my disgusting addition of clandestinely recording strangers.

Also known as: being a creepy stalking motherfucker.

Henry was not OK with this and kept telling me to stop, but thank god my penchant for being a dickhead won out because that guy ended up falling in front of my house, right onto the street.

We could hear the thud of head against concrete from our house, and Henry immediately called 911. Drink Guy was still breathing, but he was knocked out for several minutes. I was terrified that a car was going to smash him into a puddle of guts and vodka, but thankfully my neighbor’s parked car was blocking him from oncoming traffic. Still, he was pretty far out into the street.

He started to wake up right as Henry was finishing up the 911 call.

“You done?” he kept slurring, trying to pick up his head. “You done? We done here? ‘Scuse me.” Then he started to sit up and Henry told him to take it easy.

“You done?” Drunk Guy mumbled again, using the telephone pole to pull himself up. It’s sad that we live in a world where Henry and I were too afraid to offer the guy a hand, because god only knows if he’d turn volatile. There was already one fatal stabbing in Brookline earlier that day*. ON MY STREET, TOO! So we just stood there, helplessly watching him struggle to his feet.

*(Oh, and also someone got shot in the shoulder on Brookline Boulevard about an hour before we came home from Clevelend. I mean, what ever happened to just spending 4th of July weekend blowing yourself up with black market fire crackers?)

Henry pointed out that the man had some blood on the back of his head.

“You done? We done here? I’m going home.” he repeated again, like some drunk baby toy.

“You ARE home,” Henry said to him, using his creepy ‘I’m Teasing a Child’ tone.

“Why are you talking to him like you’re his kidnapper?” I asked. Meanwhile, the guy had steadied himself on his feet long enough to take off down the sidewalk.

“Follow him,” Henry sighed, calling 911 again.

Friends (and enemies), I am so grateful that this idiot was on foot and not behind a wheel. I’m just really not a fan of drunks. Stay the fuck home if you want to drink yourself to death.

Drunk Guy staggered at a quick pace down the sidewalk and then ran into the street, right in front of a car, for fuck’s sake. All I wanted to do was go the fuck to sleep, not witness vehicular homicide. By the grace of the god, the guy managed to make it safely to the other side of the street, where he collapsed on the steps of a nearby church. I stood and watched from a distance, making sure he stayed there so I would know where to direct the first responders, who were thankfully quick to arrive. I saw the firetruck idle next to Henry, who sent them my way. I pointed to the church steps and then went home. Too bad adrenaline prevented me from achieving the state of sleep that I had been craving for the last 3 hours.

“Hey, what did say to the firetruck people?” I asked Henry as we got ready for bed. God forbid I should miss anything!

“Firetruck people?” he repeated in a patronizing tone. “They’re called firefighters, Erin.”

Anyway, that’s the story of how I ended up babysitting a drunk stranger.

****

Brookline exploded again the next afternoon, starting with a landlord/tenant dispute two houses down that began with a simple disagreement over lawn-mowing and culminated into a screaming match and a visit from the motherfuckin’ popo. This sparked my other neighbors to emerge from their house and talk loudly about how our landlord has “another thing coming” and I’m like, “Can we wait until I move? Can we also not stand in my front yard while shit-talking the land lord?”

Meanwhile, some older gentleman slowly biked past our house and screamed, “I’M GOING TO KILL YOU AND YOUR DOG” to my neighbor who thinks the landlord has another thing coming, who was standing in the yard with his dog. This prompted said neighbor to scream, “COME BACK HERE AND FIGHT ME YOU FUCKING FAGGOT” so yay, now we have delightful slurs happening in front of the children, too.

And then an hour later, a neighbor on the street behind our house paid us a visit because OUR SON threw a rock and broke one of his garage windows. Luckily, Henry and the neighbor remained cool-headed and even shook hands and laughed about it, because that is how normal people handle confrontation.

I mean, that sucks it even happened—bad Chooch, bad! But thank god Chooch was the perp and not our landlord-hating neighbor’s son, who was the accomplice, because the police would have probably had to come back since that family is incapable of handling things peacefully. That’s all they do all day is scream: parents screaming, kids screaming, dogs screaming. They’re like a goddamn Yinzer screamo band.

So that’s how our weekend ended: Henry having to pay to have a window replaced and our son grounding himself and putting himself to bed without dinner at 7PM. (I mean, I was just going to be like, “Stop throwing rocks, dumbass!” but whatever gets it done, son.) Henry and I just kind of sat numbly on the couch for the rest of the night. I think it’s safe to say that buying a house not on this street is our #1 priority at this point.

And that’s the story about that time Brookline broke.

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Jul 032014
 

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It’s that time of year again, friends: AnthroCon a/k/a Furry Season! Honestly, it just hasn’t gotten old yet. I love that they have chosen Pittsburgh as their mecca.

I got stuck working the late shift today, which ended up being OK because Henry and Chooch wanted to come downtown after I got off work to do some furry-hunting. It’s kind of a tradition by now.

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If you’ve ever met Chooch in real life, you probably know that he’s pretty outgoing. But you should see him around furries. He gets shy.

SHY.

S-H-Y.

Verklempt, if you want to be fancy about it.

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He loosened up a little bit after playing fetch with this dog.

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I think the furries can sense that Chooch is one of them. I’m not sure how I’m supposed to feel about that. It’s almost like they target him, like they can smell his inner fur.

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ZOMBIE FURRY, YES! I was in love with this one.

I wish I had gotten a video of this, but someone had a dog with them who was going NUTS watching a furry high-five a little boy (I think maybe the dog belonged to the boy). It was hilarious because the dog was so confused and angry and acting all GET AWAY FROM MY HUMAN, YOU FAKE DOG-THING! I guess I never thought about how furries must seem from a dog’s perspective.

SEE?! Furry-watching is basically a brain-boosting activity.

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These two were so awkward and it took them forever to position themselves for this picture. I mean, shouldn’t they be used to having their picture taken by now? They must be n00bs.

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I don’t know why, but this furry reminded me of my brother Corey. I sent him this picture and he was like, “Um, I assume you mean the one in the green hoodie and not that lady with a tail.” I mean, obvi! I don’t know, they’re both tall and kind of stand the same way, so…easy connection.

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Skunk/badger thing creeped me out a little.

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This dude came over and just posed like that randomly.

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It took Chooch a million minutes to work up the nerve to approach this one. After I took their picture together, they high-fived each other, and right as the…cheetah? WTF is that thing?…started to walk away, Chooch lunged at it and gave it a hug.

Then he ran back to me with his hands over his flushed face.

He’s so fucking ridiculous.

Then we went to Eat n Park on the way home, where I made Chooch cry by insisting that he actually came from a sewer, not from me. Another successful day of parenting.

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Jul 012014
 

Guys, the furries are coming back to Pittsburgh this week! I don’t think the beloved Walrus Royce is attending this year, but I wanted to repost this anyway because he’s awesome, furries are fun, and this was such a great experience for me last summer. 

*****

Weird Al’s version of “Born This Way” plays from an iPod attached to his chest—right next to a fish-shaped necktie—as Royce Cobblepot shuffles and flaps around the lobby of the Westin Hotel. It’s probably as close to dancing as one can achieve while having their hands and feet covered with plush flippers. “I just love Weird Al!” he shouts through a prosthetic snout.

Royce is the popular walrus attendee of Anthrocon, a furry convention held annually in Pittsburgh. In case you recently moved back to civilization from a secluded mountain cult, “furry” is, in the simplest sense, the pet name for a person who has an interest in anthropomorphic animals, which may also culminate in dressing up as a mascot-type animal.

Furries are also sometimes misunderstood, and, being a devoted fan of the (upcoming pun in 3…2…1) underdog, I wanted to spend some time getting to know one, and Royce was kind enough to oblige.

20130715-063927.jpg I didn’t register for the convention, so I couldn’t get all of the way inside to check out the panels and members-only events, but Royce was given the go-ahead to answer some of my questions in an effort to shed some positive light on this social subset that most people seem to think is synonymous with sex, like furrydom is the seedy underbelly of the cartoon porn industry; this is all thanks to media outlets like Vanity Fair portraying them on the whole as sex-obsessed. To be quite honest, I had never heard of the furry phenomenon until one fateful day in 2004 when I posted a picture of the Froggy radio station mascot and myself on my LiveJournal and jokingly wondered if there was such a thing as “mascot porn.” Someone commented and said, “Yeah, it’s called ‘being a furry.’” So this tête-à-tête with Royce Cobblepot was just as much to enlighten myself.

The fact is, there are always going to be people who can sexualize anything. It even happens with Harry Potter fandoms, yet people don’t automatically assume that someone who enjoys reading the Potter series must also be into writing fan fiction about Harry and Draco riding each other’s broomsticks during Nude Quidditch matches. And it’s OK to dress up as your favorite superhero and attend Comicon, but as soon as someone suits up as a purple fox and isn’t getting a paycheck for it from an amusement park or ballfield? Alert the sex police.

According to Wikipedia, the subculture is said to have originated at a science fiction convention, not the basement studio of some bored and desperate 1970s porn director looking for a new kink to sell some films. Growing up with a sci-fi novel obsession and love for cartoons with anthropomorphic characters are generally what seem to lure people into furry role-playing as adults. Royce himself credits cartoons and his love of stuffed animals as sparking his interest in anthropomorphism, but it wasn’t until he watched a documentary in 2004 on the The Learning Channel about the subject of animal impersonators that he decided to take his love of animals to the next level, thus seeking out a community where he could talk to other people who shared these interests.

****

In a scene ranging from half-suits (people who choose to wear only ears and tails) to full-blown animal fursuits (foxes, cats, and bears being the most ubiquitous as far as I can tell), it’s rare to see something as unique as a walrus, which was one of the reasons Royce chose this animal as his animal persona, (or ‘fursona’, as they call it)”, after originally joining the furry community as a were-bear named Furio.

“Walruses are such wonderful creatures,” Royce explains proudly as we sit together on a bench in the lobby. “When we see them in movies, they’re always personified as older, dignified gentlemen.” In fact, he was inspired by Karl Malden’s portrayal of the Walrus in the 1985 version of “Alice in Wonderland,” which is my favorite Alice film, so my interest is really piqued at this point. Royce tells me that there is enough furry inspiration culled from Alice in Wonderland that at another furry convention, he headed an entire panel on the subject: Furries in Wonderland.

Another inspiration was Royce’s very own grandma, who has showered him with support. He was even given his grandfather’s cane to accessorize his costume. My grandma only ever supported my body image issues and wavering self-worth, so I’m impressed!

Royce’s walrus get-up was a labor of love, from the donation of the cane to his friends and neighbors assisting with fashioning flippers out of regular old bedroom slippers and oven mitts. Royce worked with a Canadian prosthetic company to create the mask, which fits the contour of his face and moves along with his jaw when he speaks. He only gets the opportunity to don it about four times a year, at various conventions and showings of the Rocky Horror Picture Show in his hometown in Virginia. Royce typically only attends Anthrocon every other year in order to keep his character fresh and novel.

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****

Our conversation is interrupted frequently as interested and curious people (even other furries who are presently disrobed of their fursuits) stop to compliment Royce on his get-up and ask for a picture, but I don’t mind because I enjoy watching Royce in his element. I’m also not surprised at the attention he garners, because of the furries I’ve seen around town, Royce is the most unique and eye-catching.

“Thank you so much!” he gushes when I tell him this. “But at the same time, that actually makes me sad.” He explains that while the attention is nice, he doesn’t want anyone to think that he’s better than anyone else out there, because they all work so hard on their personas, even if they only have ears and a tail to show for it. Royce stresses the fact that every furry has something unique about them, and that there is certainly no hierarchy in their community. “We all know that there is still a person under there,” Royce explains, and I find it kind of alluring how much love and respect flows freely within this community. “Everyone here has something to offer: one person is an amazing puppeteer, another person is a veteran. Many people here are involved with wonderful charities. One guy can play the most beautiful music spontaneously, without knowing how to read music, it’s the most incredible thing!” he gushes. So it’s a good thing that Anthrocon has a talent show, in which Royce and some of his friends participate.

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Moments later, Royce blurts out, “Oh, wait until you see who’s coming—it’s my nemesis!” and together we watch the revolving door of the hotel as a slender fox in a tophat emerges. “Oh, he’s so dapper!” Royce gushes, and it’s clear that they’re not actually nemeses and that Royce has genuine admiration for the fox’s slick attire. It’s a shame that some people are too busy fixating on the negative aspects of furries instead of enjoying the artistry and ingenuity behind some of these costumes.

****

We’re walking down Liberty Avenue to visit Fernando’s Café, the first furry-friendly establishment in Pittsburgh. Four days a year, you’ll find chalk paw prints leading up to the front door, furry-centric items on the menu, and food served in dog bowls. Their name even temporarily changes to Furnando’s. But that’s not what makes the owner a legend in the Book of Furry: During Anthrocon 2007, Fernando himself stepped up and defended Anthrocon attendees in his restaurant from getting harassed by a local Pittsburgh meathead and wound up taking a brick to the head for it. The furries thanked Fernando later by raising over $20,000 to help him keep his restaurant when he was in danger of losing it. It’s a pretty sweet love story, if you ask me, and Royce wants to stop in to thank them again for their hospitality and support.

En route, we pass a bar on the corner of Liberty Avenue called Tonic, which offers outside seating in the warmer months. “Oh, these people just love us!” Royce says, brandishing a flippered hand toward the presently-empty line of tables. “People sit out there with their drinks and cheer at us and just have so much fun!” I’ve seen it too during the times I’ve hung out in front of the hotel to engage in one of the newer Pittsburgh sports called “Furry-Spotting.” It’s almost become somewhat of a game for downtown professionals to collect photos of themselves engulfed in furry embraces, which inevitably wind up on Facebook. But this is a good thing! Because if my city can (mostly) ignore the naysayers and have fun with it, then that has got to give the furries hope that they can win over others, slowly but surely.

20130715-063957.jpg Just outside of the cafe, we run into one of Royce’s best friends, Comus, who has experience in the animation industry. He is on his way to one of the many Anthrocon events taking place in the Convention Center, but is kind enough to stop and briefly chat with us. When I tell Comus that I’m not a furry, he hands me the schedule of activities to peruse, and I’m surprised at how much they jam into these four-day conventions—it’s almost like flipping through a small college course guide. There’s everything from financing (have you seen some of these furry get-ups? they’re not cheap) to Native American totems to puppetry skills. And yes, there is even a panel for all you bronies out there—adult men and women who love and relate to the cartoon series My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic—which excites me because this is a whole other subculture that I find completely fascinating; I’m not shocked that there is a crossover between this phenomenon and furries.

I excitedly mention this to my fur-company, which leads into a brief discussion about the show’s cultural irony and clever adult-relatable storylines, so now I feel like I need to revisit My Little Pony. Because to me, these aren’t much more than plastic ponies I used to get in my Easter basket.

Inside Fernando’s, the walrus-sighting draws out employees from the kitchen. Everyone wants to either talk to Royce or take his picture, further exemplifying the appeal—to be just a regular person, working a regular job, but then have these moments every year when you’re such a hot commodity? I kind of want that. Especially when it quickly dawns on me that I am the only non-furry in this joint. The Fernando’s staff is actually looking at me strangely for not even at least sporting a tail and I have to laugh at the absurdity of the situation—and also marvel at the progression that my city has made in these last eight years of being Furry Headquarters.

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While furries are quick to dole out hugs, shrugs, and photo-ops, many choose not to interact verbally with their un-furred fans. Royce, however, gives his walrus a more approachable edge by speaking affably with anyone who stops him.

“I think it puts people at ease,” he explains, after thanking an admirer for his accolades. I think of horror movie icons like Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees, mute behind their masks and communicating only through head tilts, chainsaws and machetes, and I’m suddenly very thankful that my new walrus friend isn’t answering my questions with blank stares.

While Royce’s avuncular voice perfectly complements his tail and top hat, touching his whiskers gets you a boisterously anthropomorphic “aarf,” which is a real crowd-pleaser!

Outside of Fernando’s, we encounter a furry in her human form who, like everyone else, is anxious to get her minute with Royce. She is here from Canada, and the two of them seamlessly fall into a conversation entirely in French. Afterward, Royce says to me, “Yes, I speak French—a little, and not very well!” So humble and self-deprecating.

Another reason some people might be drawn to anthropomorphism is the power and confidence that comes from shielding your insecurities beneath a mask. “Sometimes,” Royce explains, “finding an animal persona can bring out things in a person that they didn’t know existed.” I mention Robert Smith, the singer of my favorite band The Cure, and how I once read that the reason he wears lipstick and eyeliner is because he’s so painfully shy, and makeup is enough of a mask for him to be able to walk out onto the stage and perform. Royce agrees that there’s a correlation there. “I’m definitely a shy person,” Royce says, and admits that becoming a walrus has had a positive impact on his human side.

Royce is eager to talk about the oft-overlooked aspects of the furry fandom, the most important point being how it’s all about making people happy. He tells me about how his favorite moment of this year’s convention happened just the night before, when he danced with a disabled woman in a wheelchair. Her husband was even inspired to join in.

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“How many people get to say they danced with a walrus?” Royce laughs, and I can see just enough of his eyes beneath the mask to tell that he’s tearing up a little at the idea of being able to leave some sort of imprint on someone’s life. That’s a pretty cool thing. And I think for a lot of Pittsburgh adults, it’s a chance for them to act like a kid again, running around on their lunch breaks, high-fiving neon bears and bunnies in bustiers. “I like the idea that I might be a special thing in someone’s life that they may never see again,” Royce muses. “At the end of the day, I’m tired and sweaty and my back hurts, but I’m laughing—I just love making people happy.”

When you break it down (and, if you’re a prude, ignore the “darker” side of the movement), furrydom doesn’t seem so “weird” or “creepy” after all. People dress up as zombies and gather in hordes because they like zombies. People volunteer at haunted houses because they like horror movies and scaring people. And no one says anything about them. And to all of the people out there who say things like, “I don’t want one of them hugging my child, knowing that they’re going to be having furry-sex”? Think about this: that broad who gave your kid a lollipop at the doctor’s office may have went home and banged her girlfriend later. Your kid’s third grade art teacher? She might have a closetful of whips and toys. Maybe your mailman goes to Revolutionary War Sex Parties. PEOPLE HAVE SEX. All kinds of it! Stop letting it affect you and go hug a fucking furry.

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[These views & opinions do not reflect the furry community as a whole and should be regarded only as one individual's experience as a furry. Thank you, Royce Tuxford Cobblepot, for your graciousness and time!]

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Jun 282014
 

One of the greatest things ever about the Internet is meeting new people, especially if those people aren’t psychopathic torture warriors greasing up the Iron Maiden for your visit.

Before I had this blog, I used this awesome blogging platform called LiveJournal and met some really incredible people, most of whom I have kept in touch with even after abandoning LJ in 2007 (I still miss it every day, though!). So on day 3 of our road trip, we had plans to meet two girls I have known for what seems like my entire adult life at this point, thanks to LJ.

After Indiana, we had plans to go to Michigan to hang out with Bill, Jessi and Tammy for the weekend. They were coming back from Tennesee that Friday night, so we had the whole day to make our pilgrimages to meet Michelle and Sarah, who thankfully all live within an hour’s drive from Bill and Jessi. And they were both available that day! All the stars were aligned, for once.

(Coincidentally, LJ is also how I know Bill! All hail, LJ. Some of my best friendships were forged from something that I had no idea what I was doing when I signed up.)

First up was Michelle in Royal Oak. I can’t even remember when she and I became friends, but it was definitely pre-Chooch, so probably around 2004/2005, would be my guess. I have wanted to meet her for quite some time and we even had plans to meet up last year at this Pee Wee’s Big Adventure festival that was supposed to happen in Louisville, KY, but then Pee Wee found out about the festival and pulled the whole cease and desist thing, so there went that.

Michelle and I both really like Pee Wee, obviously.

It was raining in Royal Oak when we pulled onto Michelle’s street. Henry passed her house and had to turn around but that was a good thing because it meant that I got to see her Little Free Library! Henry was like, “Oh she’s the one with the library thing?” TRY TO FOLLOW ALONG, HENRY.

Ugh.

Anyway, we finally parked in front of her house and Henry said hello to her mailman which cracked me up for unknown reasons. He just loves men in costumes, you guys.

Michelle opened the door and I immediately went into “dur dur dur now what??” mode because my social skills are missing a chromosome. My first impressions: her hair is awesome. She has purple walls! And some of my art is on them! OMG CUTE KIDS! OMG CUTE DOGS! Chooch pretended to be totally annoyed but then immediately ran off with her little girls, Delia and Kira, so Henry and I got to sit down and have grown-up conversations with someone which rarely happens!

It’s always surreal to meet someone in the flesh after they start out just being a user name (mshecubus!) but then advance to real pictures on Facebook and sending real life mail to each other. Michelle sent me my coveted blood-splattered coffee cup with the brass knuckle-shaped handle that made everyone at work shake their heads! I love that damn mug!

We passed a signed for 8 Mile on the way to Royal Oak, so of course I had to ask Michelle questions about Eminem. She wasn’t sure if he still lives in Michigan, but she said his daughter recently graduated from a high school close by and that he had to watch it from a TV somewhere inside the school so he wouldn’t get mobbed, which is kind of sad but then I remembered that I don’t like Eminem so what do I care.

Every once in awhile, Chooch would run back into the house to tattle on the girls, not one of his finer traits, and to cry about getting sand in his damn ankle wound. God, try to be a little more self-sufficient, kid.

As usual, we were behind schedule and had to leave after about an hour, plus we didn’t want to impose since it was such a poorly-planned meet-up because Henry sucks at mapping things out. Professional driver my ass.

The only good thing about leaving was watching Chooch writhe in horror and pain as Delia and Kira gang-hugged him, hahaha.

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PROOF!

Then it was back in the car for more stupid driving, this time to meet Sarah. It took about 45 minutes to get to Flint and we were too stupid to find Sarah’s salon, so she took a picture of us standing on a street corner, looking lost, and texted it to me. And this is why we’re friends!

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Sarah was one of my very first friends on LiveJournal, back when I didn’t believe in capitalization and the only punctuation I used were ellipses and groups of 18 exclamation points. We were pregnant at the same time (her daughter Alpha is two months older than Chooch) and she was one of the only people who knew the truth of my fucked up friendship with Christina; I still feel so grateful that she was there for me.

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And now we were finally meeting! More surreal feelings.

Sarah had recently finished working at the salon for the day, but if I didn’t work at a Law Firm, I would have totally asked her to give me lavender hair. I dream of lavender hair. But instead she took us around the corner to the Flint Crepe Company, which was like walking into the 1920s.

A man in a suit said, “Hi Sarah!” and after greeting him, Sarah was like, “Oh that was the mayor of Flint.”

THE MAYOR KNOWS SARAH! She is so cool. (This made me really giddy too, for some reason. Mailmen and mayors just do it for me, I guess.)

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OMG I got the Lemon Drop and it was just the right combination of lemon and drop. So good.

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Who cares what Henry got, but he was actually kind of smiling!

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Chooch got some chocolate strawberry special and ate it like we hadn’t been feeding him at all on this trip. Then he proceeded to lap his water out of the glass like a cat, because that was his new thing, as of that moment, pretending to be a cat who speaks like a toddler.

“Me a cat, meowmeowmeow,” he kept saying and I was kicking him under the table because it was creeping me out. I mean, it’s one thing if this was just his nervous tic, something that he does every now and then because he thinks he’s being cute, but aside from a casual and ironic “meow” here and there, he has never regressed like this before. I was kind of alarmed, like my kid was breaking.

I ended up chalking it up to the fact that he was acting stupid because he was crushing on Sarah.

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After crepes, Sarah took us on a walking tour around Flint. Some of my friends were like, “Really? Flint?” because vacations are supposed to have beaches I guess, but it was really fun! I love exploring places and Flint had that gritty feel to it that I love.

Of course we had to ask Sarah about Eminem too. She told us this story about how she was at Warped Tour in 1998 (Chooch perked up at this part, because WARPED TOUR) and accidentally kicked a rock at the guy in front of her. He turned around and called her a fucking bitch and then later she heard all of this booing coming from one of the stages and the guy who called her a fucking bitch was on the stage and turned out to be Eminem, haha.

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This is when Chooch was excited to trespass.

 

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Sarah taught us about these berries, the most important fact being that we could eat them, so then Chooch and I had to stand there, pulling down branches and getting stains on ourselves. “I don’t even like these!” Chooch said, popping another into his mouth. Henry just sighed and kept walking.

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I bet they sell Faygo in there!

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Then Sarah took us to the river to see if there were any dead bodies and causally mentioned that there was a 1-in-45 chance that something violent would happen to us just by being in Flint. That was exciting!

I thought we saw a dead body for sure but Henry was like, “THAT IS A RUG AND BESIDES IT’S TOO SMALL FOR A BODY.”

Oh OK. Midgets or babies can’t be wrapped up and discarded in a rug? Appendages or severed heads? I forgot we live in a perfect world where midgets don’t get murdered and babies aren’t thrown away and not everyone eats their kill. That’s so 1990 Jeffrey Dahmer.

THIS POST JUST GOT TOO DARK. Or not dark enough, if you’re my kind of people.

We did see homeless people with a George Forman Grill, and that was the one thing that Henry  took away from him. When we met up later with Bill and Jessi, he couldn’t wait to tell them about that.

“A George Forman Grill! Where were they going to plug it in!?” he laughed. Oh, Henry.

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Henry Crapo, HAHAHAHA!

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Trying not to laugh at Henry Crapo.

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Alleyway Photo Op.

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Henry and Chooch had to stay outside while Sarah and I went inside Paul’s Pipe Hospital, which immediately made me think of my dad. I’m not sure if he still smokes pipes, but he did when I was growing up and I always loved that smell. One of my high school teachers owned a pipe shop in the mall called the Tinder Box and I used to love walking in there for the same reason.

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Paul’s Pipe Hospital taught me that there are actual trophies to be won if you can continuously smoke the same pipe longer than anyone else in Pipe Competitions. Now I kind of want to acquire a taste for pipe tobacco so that I too can win a trophy. How popular would Chooch be at school once everyone finds out his mom is a competitive pipe smoking CHAMPION? And how long will it take before someone in his school realizes there are ways to make this into a euphemism for fellatio.

“OH YEAH, I HEARD SHE SMOKED YOUR DAD’S PIPE REAL COMPETIVELY.”

God, this is a fantastic idea. How do I get started? I want one of the pipes I saw there that come in a far-out array of 1970s afghan colors.

Look at what you’ve done to me, Sarah.

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My outfit matched Sarah’s hair perfectly.

After about 2 hours, it was time to say goodbye and head back to Wayne so we could check into our hotel and grab a quick dinner before meeting up with Bill and Jessi.

Sarah and Michelle, thank you both so much for making  time for us and getting the awkward “first meet” out of the way. I already can’t wait to see you both again! Come to Pittsburgh!!

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Jun 172014
 

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This is the first year that Chooch didn’t spend the entire time “wanting.”

“I want ice cream.”

“I want stuffed animals.”

“I want games.”

“I want the deed to Kennywood.”

Except, he did have a moment in line for Noah’s Ark where Henry was The Worst Dad He Ever Had because he wouldn’t buy Chooch lemonade at that exact moment.

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THANK GOD he got his fucking lemonade afterward though and calmed down enough to take the 57th selfie of the day with me. Right after this photo, I ran into one of my old high school friends, Heather the Ken! I hadn’t seen her since 1998, so it was pretty awesome/awkward. “You ain’t kidding,” Henry drawled when I later said that it was kind of awkward. I suck at seeing people I know, but it was still cool.

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Call it old age, but these last several years, I have felt SHEER TERROR every time I even just glance at the Phantom’s Revenge. And every year I make the conscious decision to not ride it. But then every year I somehow find myself in line, doing the pee jig. This year, it was just Henry, me, Chooch and Chris who rode it. Henry and I sat behind Chris and Chooch and I wasn’t aware that I was being loud enough for Chris to hear my panicked narration, but when we got off the ride, he said, “You are my new official soundtrack of the Phantom’s Revenge.”

It starts with the ascent up the inaugural hill, which is where I moan, “Oh, I forgot how much I hate this part…..oh god we’re going to die….WHY IS THIS TAKING SO LONG?!” and then after we reach that daunting daunting zenith, I am an emptying bag of battle cries. I also enjoy letting every one know each and every time I feel the slightest twinge of pain, like, “MY BACK JUST BROKE! I ALMOST LOST MY ARM!” And then I usually cap it off with a finale of Nancy Kerrigan-approved “WHYYYYYYYYYYYY”s.

And then the ride coasts back into the station and I’m all “Fuck yeah, Phantom!”

Afterward, the rest of my party turned into unfocused loiterers and I was getting so anxious! I even walked far away from where they were sitting at one point to see if they noticed that I was gone. I DON’T THINK THEY DID!!! I was in a BIG HURRY because I wanted to ride the Exterminator next and that’s basically the best ride in the whole park in case you don’t live here or just have bad taste in amusement park rides. I nearly pee my pants on it every year! (And sometimes you can scratch out the “nearly.” FULL DISCLOSURE UP IN HERE.)

While waiting for my group of Southern Meanderers, aka Careys, I stood and watched the Black Widow do its thing. When we were in line for Phantom’s Revenge, I caved and told Chooch I would ride it with him, but ONLY so that I would have leverage for the future because that’s my solid gold parenting style. Just watching it Jello-fied my legs, but a promise is a promise. However, I started imagining every last worst case scenario, so that really helped.

(NO IT DIDN’T HELP.)

Finally, everyone started walking toward the Exterminator and I was like, “YES YES YES!” and started to get in line, but then they all went and fussed with the lockers and in the meantime, approximately FIVE PEOPLE got in line in front of us.

THANKS A LOT, GROWN-UPS.

The line was kind of long and Henry kept trying to put me on blast by pointing out how whiny I was being when I really didn’t think I was being whiny just because I kept letting my body go limp against him and saying things like “WE HAVE BEEN STANDING IN LINE FOR-EVHAHAHAHA-ER.”

But whatever, the Exterminator is worth the wait. It’s basically like the Crazy Mouse but INSIDE A DARK BUILDING. It makes me choke on my own laughter every single time, like I have a disease.

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Chris got in a car with Chooch and Katelyn, leaving me, Henry, Kari and Ricky to squish ourselves into the next one. Except that the car we picked was “sensitive,” whatever that means, and the bored Kennywood worker made us get into the next available car all the way at the end of the line. This meant that Chooch, Katelyn and Chris had returned to the station before our ride even started, since there were four cars in front of us.

“They’re going to think we perished when they see that we’re not behind them anymore,” I laughed. And we found out afterward that they sent our car through empty since it was malfunctioning, so when the kids saw an empty car return to the station, they got scared. HAHAHA.

Anyway, I managed to not pee my pants this time but fuck, I laughed so hard that my face hurt (I know, I know, it’s killing you guys too). It’s such a satisfying ride!

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After that, I rode the Whip with Chooch and Katelyn, whose relief that we hadn’t actually perished on the Exterminator had worn off by then. It took us forever (read: 5 seconds) to get in line though because we couldn’t get around dumb Henry who was walking excruciatingly slow and totally Whip-blocking us. That motherfucker.

Every time our car would whip us around the bend, we would scream “WHIP SELFIE” because it’s imperative to be obnoxious at amusement parks. Also, because we had just taken a Whip selfie:

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The next day, I noticed that my Facebook friend Kelly had checked into Kennywood on Sunday as well, and I commented to tell her that I wish I had seen her. She said that she saw me speed-walking by when she was getting on the Whip, so it must have been right around this time. It made me laugh so hard to know that someone witnessed me being an impatient maniac.

Right after this, Chris, Chooch and I convinced Katelyn to ride the Swing Shot and she basically hates us forever now. As soon as the ride started, I remembered how horrible it is and screamed, “MY TEARS ARE REAL!” at one point, which I’m sure did wonders to ease Katelyn’s nerves. Henry, Kari and Ricky were watching from a table and said that looked like an actual cartoon during the whole ride.

I mean, she didn’t cry, but she certainly was NOT happy.

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Henry trying to escape.

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Then it was time for ice cream!! This is my favorite part of the day, food-wise. Most people will tell you that Potato Patch fries are the creme de la creme of Kennywood cuisine, and I won’t argue there because those are the most perfect french fries in the entire world. But I rarely hear anyone mentioning how delightful the Golden Nugget square cones are! You guys can get soft serve anywhere. Gimme my square-edged chocolate-dipped delight.

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Cone-dipping consternation.

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Sprinkle carpet.

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Henry and Chris were talking about how they used to think it was just a Klondike shoved into a cone until they saw the Golden Nugget workers actually cutting blocks of vanilla ice cream. It never occurred to me that it could have just been a Klondike, and Henry was like, “REALLY!? I THOUGHT IT WAS AN OBVIOUS ASSUMPTION SINCE KLONDIKE’S ARE FROM HERE!” in that belittling tone he loves to use on me, except I’m paraphrasing here because clearly “assumption” is too big of a word for him.

Fun Fact: Klondikes are apparently from Pittsburgh. I just learned this on Sunday because I’m seriously the worst Pittsburgher ever.

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This was right before the hardcore amusement park riders ditched us for Kiddieland. They were gone for an hour! (Don’t worry: Chris went with them.) The rest of us hung back and found ourselves in a discussion about Mr. Big, Extreme, and Meatloaf which met Henry’s criteria of “Anyone but Jonny Craig.”

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Ice Cream Brones.

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Look! It’s a Henry in its natural, agitated state.

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Gross, I know.

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Chooch is finally tall enough to ride the Sky Rocket, which is Kennywood’s newest coaster. It’s nothing too spectacular, but it does go upside down. Henry, Chris and I had to beg Chooch to go on it. It wasn’t the upside down-ness that had him scared, it was the first hill, an inversion, that was freaking him out. (And he didn’t even know that it was one of those launching coasters.) At one point, he sat down and put his face in his hands, but then he turned around and started to twerk. Hey, do what you gotta do, right? Twerk it out son.

There was a guy in line with us who had an apple tattoo and I wanted to sow him mine so we could be apple ink bros but Henry stopped that from happening.

Spoiler alert: Chooch made it through his first Skyrocket ride alive. His reaction was, “That was it?” I just kept screaming, “IT TICKLES!” the whole time and Chooch was like, “Please stop embarrassing us.”

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I asked Chooch for a quote expressing how he felt about riding the Bayern Curve with Katelyn and he said: “I’m a cat.”

So anyway, this was a hilarious moment for the rest of us because the Bayern Curve is one of those rides that pushes the front rider into the back rider so Chooch was like FML through the whole ride. It was incredibly rewarding to watch, as a parent who is verbally abused by her son on the daily. (His sass is off the charts these days.)

WHAT’S UP NOW, MOUTH?
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Remember when I said that Chooch mostly made it through the day without tantrum? Well, that’s because he was waiting for the VERY END, when the park was closing, to project his exhaustion and hunger on the fact that Henry wouldn’t buy him Dippin’ Dots because Henry is a terrible person who doesn’t feed his children. He was outright CRYING about this and it was so annoying and disgusting, so I guess 8 is not the magic age where kids stop acting like spoiled assholes in amusement parks.

We left the park and Henry fed him a burger and miraculously, Chooch was fine.

“Ugh, he’s so much like you,” Henry muttered.

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As always, it was wonderful spending a day with the Handa’s and Ricky being there was an added bonus even though he MADE FUN OF ME a lot and even when he was just saying regular things to me I think he was still making fun of me but sometimes I’m too dumb to realize.

I feel like I’m forgetting lots of things.

And now we get to do this all over again at a different park on Thursday, wooo!!!

P.S. We never made it on the Black Widow. Chooch and I were in line for approximately one minute before he said, “So….maybe I should just wait until I’m talk enough to ride ALL of the rides here*. And then I’ll ride the Black Widow.” Then he ducked under the railing and left me standing there alone.

*(There’s only one ride he can’t ride yet and it literally never running every time we’re there.)

SONOFABITCH. All that positive thinking I put myself through, for what.

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Jun 112014
 

MY BLOG IS BROKEN.

Or maybe just sprained. It’s been acting weird since yesterday and my nervous tic is blogging so I have been chewing on my fingers! Ugh. I’m not even sure this will post.

I mean, it’s not like I have a ton that I need to say/type but…compulsion. #blamehenry

Actually, I do have a ton I need to say/type because this is my Internet Diary, wah. I feel like if I had to, I could give up all social media (Facebook would be the easiest) but I think I would have a stroke after the first week of no blog.

Here is a picture of Chooch:

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We still haven’t eaten dinner together since I switched to daylight because I keep forgetting we have no family values.

Tomorrow maybe my blog will work long enough for me to write about my brother’s birthday <3.

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Jun 082014
 

It was a relatively low-key Saturday night here at the Oh Honestly Household. Chooch had already gone up to bed (which means he went upstairs to watch YouTube videos on his phone for another 2 hours) and Henry and I were watching the Stanley Cup finals (GO KINGS!). Around 11:00PM, there was a hideous crash/boom/squeal right outside of our house.

Right away, we knew it was a car accident.

The street we live on is a pretty busy one and a lot of the houses here don’t have driveways (luckily, ours does). When I moved here back in 1999, one of the first things my then-neighbor said to me was, “Never park your car in front of the house. Especially on weekends. There are a ton of drunks that drive on this street.” Shit, was she ever right. I have seen so many accidents from my living room window, it’s insane. Recently, someone hit a parked car down the street from us so hard that they pushed it all the way into our front yard. I always tell my friends to park across the street in the church parking lot, because you just never know. I mean, we had the mirror ripped off of our car two days after we bought it because we stupidly left the car parked on the street for “just a second.”

Anyway, back to Saturday night. We heard that sickening crunch of car-against-car and Henry flew out the front door, forgetting that he was in his underwear, to see what had happened. Then other neighbors (i.e. The Hot Naybor Chris Family) began to emerge from their houses as well, so Henry ran back inside to put on his pants, but don’t worry, he was back out in time to take total control of the situation.

We quickly deduced that a car had been speeding down the street and plowed into a parked Lexus (sucks to be that car owner) next door and then tried to keep driving even though the entire wheel and tire of his car had broken. So he made it an additional two houses up the street before putting on his flashers and getting out of the car. He was drunkenly staggering around his car, running his hands through his hair, in total panic-mode.

Meanwhile, Tourette’s happened to be moseying along the sidewalk, coming back from wherever it is that people like him go to (poker night with Purple Pants in a pizza parlor basement?), and he totally paused to become a spectator! I was so excited, you have no idea!!! But oddly, of all the times where it would be appropriate for him to shake his fist and cry, “You motherfucker!” he blurted out no such obscenities and instead stood calmly at the end of our sidewalk, contributing to the community powwow.

Just then, the Perp began drunkenly pacing up and down the sidewalk and at one point, it looked like he was going to run before turning around, crouching on the sidewalk for a moment, and then getting back into his car.

“He’s going to run,” I observed, but one of the neighbor girls said, “He ain’t going nowhere with his wheel broken off!”

“No,” I argued. “He’s going to literally run. I can tell.”

So then Henry got to be a HERO and call the POLICE, who are basically his favorite people in the whole entire world second to those Air Force fellas and broads. And just as Henry was hanging up with the 911 dispatch person, the perp got out of his car and started to walk/run up the sidewalk, away from all of us. So Henry got to CALL THE POLICE AGAIN!

“Yeah, I just called,” he said, quickly reiterating the pertinent details. “Well, it’s a hit and run now,” Henry said excitedly, flexing his imaginary war medallions. “YES, HE’S ON FOOT AND FLEEING THE SCENE!” So then one of the neighbor girls decided she was going to follow him, barefoot, in spite of her mom’s protests. That was stupidly exciting, too.

It was at this point that I realized Henry and Tourette’s were hanging out with a bunch of pajama-clad, braless broads. I quickly crossed my arms over my chest.

“Where are the cops!?” Tourette’s cried. “I know for a fact that there are four of them down the street at the gas station parking lot right now, drinking coffee!” And then he made a series of unhappy grunts. Finally, a cop rolled up with the lights on and Henry practically shoved everyone out of the way to lean into the window and scream, “HE WENT THATTA WAY!” and then he completely gave an inaccurate description of the Perp. So the cop sped off in the direction of Henry’s finger and we all cheered because it was exciting, OK?

Soon, we were joined by my deceased cat Don’s grandma (her cat Teddy knocked Marcy up back in 2000 and that’s where Don and Willie came from) from four houses down. We compared horror stories of all the accidents we’ve collectively witnessed on this street, and then she decided to walk up to the Perp’s abandoned car and start rooting through it.

Logical.

“You drink and you drive and you drive and you drink and you drink and you drive,” Tourette’s began rambling to no one in particular.

I took this opportunity to fetch Chooch, who of course was still wide awake and watching lame videos in his room.

“I thought that noise was just Daddy breaking something in the kitchen as usual,” Chooch mumbled, hastily stepping into a pair of jeans so that he could join the growing throng of Nebby Debbies outside in the lawn.

“Who owns that car?” our neighbor Ruth asked.

“It’s the guy visiting the blond lady who lives in that house down there,” Henry said with his chest sticking out. “He’s from Virginia.”

“How do you know?” I asked him, furrowing my eyebrows.

“I don’t know,” he stuttered. “I saw the guy pull up when I was cutting the grass. He’s Asian. And he has Virginia plates.”

“Cutting the grass,” you guys. I’M SO SURE. And not from the binoculars in the attic window.

“It could be a rental,” Neighbor Daughter said, recently returned from her citizen’s arrest mission. But Henry argued that it wasn’t a rental and told her all of the reasons he knows this, the number one reason being we’re basically Budget Rental’s best customers because our car is a piece of a shit. This was like the nest night ever for Henry because he got to brag about knowing things that no one would typically give a shit about.

(And I still don’t.)

Just then, the cops came back and they had the Perp! I cheered with an overdose of faux-enthusiasm.

“He wasn’t going nowhere,” the main cop laughed. Even his laughter had a Yinzer-accent. “He’s piss ass drunk!”

Henry told the cop that he knocked on the car owner’s front door several times to no avail and then explained again that the car belongs to her visiting friend and we’re all like, “OK we get it, just put in next month’s Brookline ‘zine, why don’t you.” Fuck, Henry. Maybe you should just move to Wisteria Lane.

“Maybe they’re busy,” the cop said with a sleazy wink and then laughed so hard, donut crumbs shot out of his mouth. And then he took Henry’s official statement! Talk about the best belated birthday gift of all time: Henry got to be a motherfucking witness to a hit and run. HOT DAMN.

Oh, you want to know what I was doing this whole time? Just the usual: getting in the way and giddily laughing alone the whole time. I even jumped and clapped a few times because sometimes living on this street rules. LOOK AT US ALL COMING TOGETHER IN THE NAME OF JUSTICE!

And then the tow truck arrived! OH WHAT A NIGHT! Henry loves talking to men of these sorts of vocations! While the cop went back to his vehicle to write up the report—-or Instagram his Styrofoam coffee cup, who knows—Henry and the tow truck driver got to stand around and make idle conversation about the damage done to the Lexus. I kept hearing Henry “hyuk hyuk hyuk’ing” so they must have been getting along pretty well. I just asked Henry what else they were talking about and he claims the tow truck driver was telling Henry about how busy of a night he had the night before. OK HENRY, SURE, WE BELIEVE YOU. You weren’t talking about car crash porn AT ALL.

The cop thanked us all and I overzealously said you’re welcome! because standing around outside doing nothing other than not wearing a bra deserves appreciation, but no one could hear me over Henry’s bristling moustache and rippling ego; it was clear that no more excitement was going to evolve from this particular episode, so everyone started to wander off back to their homes and Tourette’s lumbered off into the horizon with whatever mysterious bag he had been clutching the whole time.

“Yinz have a good night!” the tow truck driver called out to us. I have never been called “yinz” so much in one night. God love Pittsburgh.

“True or false,” I demanded later when we were getting ready for bed. “This is the most excitement you’ve had since THE SERVICE.”

“It wasn’t that exciting,” Henry sighed.

Oh, but his weener told a different story.

 

 

 

 

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Jun 072014
 

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This morning, we were on the way to Chooch’s piano lesson when he started cracking up from the backseat. I figured he was watching some lame YouTube video, which he is wont to do, but then, in the voice of a hick derelict, he blurted out, “These dead broads ain’t gon’ bury themselves!”

And that’s when I realized he was reading my blog.

OK, not technically my blog, but a photo book that I made a few years ago about one of our visits to the Westmoreland County Fair. A box full of some of the shit I brought home from work was in the backseat with Chooch, and he had pulled that book out of it and started reading it unbeknownst to me.

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So this book is essentially my blog post from that fair, compiled with photos and additional commentary into a Shutterfly book. This was back when I was all gung-ho about turning all of my county fair posts into photo books (I made two and then gave up; I can’t sit still for that long). And now Chooch was reading it and honest to god laughing so hard, he was crying.

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On one hand, I was like, “YES! THIS RULES! MY SON THINKS I’M FUNNY!” But on the other hand, I was like, “Oh fuck, did I put any fucked up things in that book?” OK, let me rephrase that: “WHAT KIND of fucked up things did I put in that book?” I mean, eventually, he is probably going to start reading my blog. It’s really weird and awkward to think about it, because I have quite literally accounted for his entire life thus far, right here on this blog and my old LiveJournal. I can only imagine how surreal that’s going to be for him, especially when he realizes that MOMMY HAD A LIFE BEFORE HIM.

But let’s face it: I’m kind of an asshole on here. I swear a lot. I use sex metaphors whenever possible. I write disparaging (THOUGH LOVING!) sentiments about Henry. Maybe these are things that a kid shouldn’t read until adulthood? Just putting my parenting cap on here for a sec.

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However, it’s not like he currently has some glorified image of his mother. He knows mama ain’t no Donna Reed. We have real time banter with each other that’s not unlike the things I might write on here, it’s very uncensored and laid back here in our peasant shack,  so I don’t think he would be too shocked by very much. Obviously, this isn’t to say I’m going to coo, “Here, 8-year-old, let’s read aloud from Mommy’s disgusting blog before bedtime.” He’s got a few more years left before that becomes a reality.

But until that day, it’s nice to know he’s not only a fan, but he knows what “cacophony” means! Henry probably doesn’t.

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Jun 062014
 

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This was his “I’m scared to know what you got me” face last night.

So today is Henry’s birthday and he’s FORTY-NINE, WHAT. I’m surprised he hasn’t already been playing the age card to get out of things like Warped Tour and amusement parks, but I will say that one of my gifts to him is that I’m going to see Circa Survive alone next month. I figure that’s something he would want, a “Sit This One Out” coupon.

I mean, I’m not always heartless. Or a dick, which is why I put on my Sweetheart cap the other day and painted him something sentimental (ugh):

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He didn’t cry, but he did do that weird mouth-twist thing that he does when he’s being overwhelmed by emotional sensations and is afraid of sacrificing whatever speck of masculinity he has left by expressing how his heart FEELS SO FULL OF LOVE RIGHT NOW. So instead, he hugged me and jokingly said, “I mean, it’s no blow job, but….”

We started dating when mixtapes were being phased out by mixed CDs, and he actually used to make me some of those before we lived together. They were filled with synthpop that he would download for me in an effort to show me how computer savvy he was. See? Even Henry once used music to win my heart. Before we were dating and were just platonic co-workers, he made me a Cure screensaver, totally out of the blue, and that’s when I knew I had him by the weener.

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I guess he liked it OK because he took it to work to put on his desk. (Or so he says.)

Happy birthday, Henry! I don’t care if you’re 70—you’re still going to Warped Tour.

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Jun 042014
 

For a brief moment on Friday, I freaked out and wondered if I made a mistake by accepting the new position at work because OMG change. I hate change. Henry can attest that change turns me into a crazy person. However, I do actually adapt to it pretty fast, so I know I will be fine.

And that is how I got to the point where I haven’t been able to stop smiling at work all week. I have been pretty unhappy here for awhile now and I’m excited to be moving over to a new group and learning new things instead of being under-utilized and left to rot in a fake office.

Also you guys? Guess where I’m moving? RIGHT IN FRONT OF GLENN, HAHAHAHA. Today he told me that he thinks this is a joke, like a social experiment or something and I’m like, “No, buddy. This is real life. WE’RE GOING TO HAVE SO MUCH FUN!” I want to wear a picture of my face on the back of my head so he has to look at it all day.

And on that note, here are some other things making me happy this week:

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The new Emarosa single is finally available on iTunes and it is so goddamn good! Even Marcy is like, “Go download it now, motherfuckers.” Rise Records is still being all tight-lipped about the album release date, those assholes. I’m dying over here! Meanwhile, the Slaves album leaked, LOL. I don’t feel bad for them at all. /scene girl rant.

The weekend also made me happy! Chooch had a good piano lesson (I like his piano teacher so much, she’s the cutest) and then we did the roller rink party which was fantastic as well. Later that evening, I got to hang out at my friend Alex‘s house for the first official meeting with some local bloggers regarding a ‘zine we’re about to start churning out. I’m excited that I get to work with this awesome crew while stapling together paper and pretending it’s 1994. I sense some good times ahead. Even though “we have no idea what we’re doing.”

Thank you, Alex and Kelly, for providing us with cheese and pizza, and Katrina and Heidi for bringing the most amazing homemade chocolate brownie cupcakes and (not homemade) mango beer, respectively!
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Chooch, in serious cupcake-eating mode the next morning. I think he is a fan of Katrina.

We spent Sunday morning at my cousin Danielle’s house while Henry donned his car mechanic hat, and then afterward we went to Frank & Shirley’s, which is awesome if you have a desire to eat somewhere that doesn’t take credit cards*. I always get a grilled cheese and it is good, because it’s Frank & Shirley’s, home to the cigarette machine that was my savior when I was an underaged smoker.

*(Barb, the resident Frank & Shirley’s expert, was quick to point out that F&S’s has been accepting credit cards for MONTHS now. SORRY BARB! God.)

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Forced PDA.

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I was obsessed with that old lady in the background. You can’t see it, but she was wearing a headband that matched her dress and I practically burped, “I WANT TO BE JUST LIKE HER WHEN I’M AN OLD LADY!” But let’s be real, I’ll probably be wearing rags and pushing a shopping cart full of cats. :(

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Later that night, Blake and his girlfriend Shannon came over for an impromptu piano lesson and several non-riveting rounds of Pokemon. I knew Chooch have been moderately interested in Pokemon off and on over the years, but he is suddently like OMG PLZ SOMEONE PLAY THESE CARDS WITH ME! And I’m sorry, but no. Just no. I’m not falling into that trap. So his big brother obliged after Chooch facetimed and texted him all weekend.

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At one point, Chooch decided that they needed some Pokemon music on in the background and that, along with an allergy-headache, was pretty much the only downside of the whole weekend.

Happy things. The end.

 

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May 282014
 

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

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

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

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

Because that’s what douchebags do.

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

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

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

No, Jonny Craig is terrible.

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

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

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

My obsession can be broken down like this:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Really awful things.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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