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weird – Oh Honestly, Erin
Mar 142014
 

OMG, it’s Friday and I have some shit to get off my chest. TGFB (thank God for blogging?).

FIVE:

My friend Alex is hosting another Pittsburgh Guest Blogging thingie on April 1st and I stupidly signed up for it and now I’m all stressed out because I have no idea what to write, as usual. What should I write about!? My hopes and dreams? Places in Brookline where you MIGHT not find a discarded hypodermic needle? That time I robbed graves? Who even knows. I looked at the list of participants and naturally I only know 1% of the list because I’m a blogging recluse, and that gives me this weird Internet stage fright. Part of me is saying, “Try to be a normal person, Erin. Write something without swearing, Erin. MAKE SENSE FOR ONCE, ERIN.”

So, I’m going to leave it up to you: what should I ramble on about for my guest post on some poor man’s blog? Please, someone tell me before I ask Craigslist or call a party line.

FOUR:

ANDREA had to go and get me all worked up the other night by instigating my hatred for Alaska. She might be the worst BFF I’ve ever had! Now I’m all stressed out again. I feel like the climax of my life is going to be where Henry drugs me and when I wake up, he finally proposes to me then and in the same breath he’s all like, “SURPRISE YOU’RE IN ALASKA!” and then I fall off some disgusting Alaskan cliff into a sea of sickening glaciers because, why wouldn’t I?  That’s my life.

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THREE:

Something happened to Chooch’s finger at some point yesterday. I know this because as soon as I got in the car last night after work, Chooch was basically passed out on the backseat from loss of imaginary blood, whining, “OW MY FINGER” every time the car hit a pot hole. (Which is a lot. This is Pittsburgh.) I didn’t bother to ask what happened because HI I HAVE MY OWN PROBLEMS.

He came downstairs at 11:00PM while Henry and I were watching The Returned (which is a FRENCH TV show so there could be nudity at any given moment) and started whining about needing another Bandaid and I ignored him because Henry was there so…get the fuck up and bandage your son, motherfucker.

This morning, it was apparently still an issue? WTF happened to my kid’s finger?! Apparently not all that much. According to Henry, it’s only a hangnail wound. But you would have thought the entire thing had been blown off by a grenade the way he was carrying on every time his finger touched the water this morning! And then the whole way to school, he was making this anguished face and dry-crying, which is so annoying to me because obviously I’m the only person who can pull that off, and I kept begging him to stop looking like that in case god forbid someone sitting in traffic mistook it as abuse. So I kept trying to put my arm around him to comfort him (OVER A FUCKING HANG NAIL) and he was all, “OW! GET OFF ME! OW!” So I snapped and said, “For Christ’s sake, there is no way that hurts that bad! I get paper cuts almost everyday and I don’t run around acting like that….oh. Never mind.”

I gave him an extra maternal hug when we got to the school, making sure the principal saw, too, because I didn’t maim my kid’s fingertip, OK?!

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A short reprieve from incessant bitching. Thank god for teeth to brush.

TWO:

My friend Wendy is a Stella & Dot…consultant? Stylist? She sells jewelry. It’s a pretty fun line—if not severely lacking in rings with teeth and Jonny Craig’s face beneath resin—and I’ve been promising her that I would host a party, so I’m finally doing that in two weeks. Today at work, we sat down in her office to create the Facebook event thing, which she wrote and I kept saying, “Please don’t write that…everyone is going to know I didn’t write this….”‘redefine her style sessions’? What does that even mean!?” At least the event name is “Henry’s Stella and Dot Trunk Show” and she listened to me when, after she typed the line “my friend Wendy,” I told her to put quotes around the word “friend.”

It was really hard for me to sit there and watch Wendy create this event on my behalf because I’m such a control freak (only over weird things though; nothing important). My style is just a little more biting and derisive than hers; the way she wrote it made it sound like I was actually being nice to my friends and excited to see them, like “come on by and share some laughs!” WTF. I don’t want to share my laughs. Those are mine. Get your own. I kept thinking, “OK, here’s where I would have said something terrible about Janna. And right here is where I would have used some outdated LOLspeak and an obscure pop culture reference. OK, she emasculated Henry at least.”

I kind of wanted to write the party info as a free-style gangsta rap about how there are 99 ways to wear a scarf and around a dead man’s dick might be one.

I’m afraid this could be the gateway into harder hostess parties, like I might wake up one day and crave crudités and Tupperware towers. And you know what comes next. Reading cookbooks. Gross.

ONE:

CARROT CAKE M&M’S. Big ups to my friends Monica and Chris for the hook-up. Henry and I couldn’t find them anywhere but then Monica was all, “They’re on my dining room table, duh.” She bought an extra bag and gave it to Chris to bring to work for me and I ate almost half the bag right away. IT TASTES JUST LIKE CARROT CAKE. The M&Ms. Not the bag. So now I’m desperate to buy all of the bags before they go away since they’re just an Easter novelty, waiting to go back to heaven with Jesus. :(

I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do when they’re gone, that’s how empty my life is right now.

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Apologies for the capslock abuse, my people. I’m losing my mind. You know how I know for sure? I ALMOST TYPED “LOOSING.”

Aug 062010
 

The last prank I fulfilled was for my friend Bill who wanted me to call the real estate agent he used while looking for a space for his store. It seems that Bill does not think too fondly of her.

I decided this wasn’t enough, so I called back today.

I hope her husband doesn’t inflict bodily harm to Manuel! It’s bad enough he’s already deaf.

Then last night at work, I found out that I could have an outgoing message, which an operator will read anytime someone calls my designated relay number. It goes something like this (but if you want to call for yourself, I’ll give you the number):

Hola. You have been reaching Manuel. Sorry that I am cannot hear the phone ring because I am deaf. Leave a message and someone will sign it to me.

Have a bueno cock.

I did this last night at work and then called to hear a male operator stutter as he read it. Then I quickly turned into that weird girl who laughs hysterically to herself. I had to bite my hand to stop cracking up.

I would just post my relay number onhere, butyou know. I don’t want any one to abuse it.

Henry is not amused by any of this and is .00005 seconds away from blocking Manuel’s number. :(

Aug 012008
 

So here I am, my last night at work, and I’m feeling alright. Everything has been pretty anti-climactic. When Eleanore left at 6, our big farewell-for-ever consisted of her tossing a "be a good girl" over her shoulder as she trudged away. Not even a hug. Really, Eleanore? We’ve sat together for a YEAR AND A HALF and not even a hug?

No really, I didn’t want one.

Joe left me with two peach Swisher Sweets, which made me happy. Thanks Joe! And Jenn, who used to work at night but has been on dayshift for the past year, left me a note in my mailbox and that made me smile. Thanks Jenn!

Tina decided she was leaving at 7:30 instead of toughing it out until midnight. This may be my last night here forever, but this is also the last night of evening shift (which is the main reason I resigned); you’d think we’d have had a party or something, the three of us. Maybe have a kegger in the parking lot, who the fuck knows. But apparently not.

As she walked past me, she paused and wished me luck and said that she wants me to send her occasional photos of Chooch. I said of course I would, and then as I heard the door shut behind her, something WEIRD happened. I mean, some crazy ass fucking shit — legitimate sadness happened. I even whispered, "Aw, Tina" quietly to my monitor. Then promptly slapped my hand over my mouth. It kind of felt like I had just been touched by an uncle AND LIKED IT.

I ran into Kim’s cube and blurted out, "I THINK I’M GOING TO MISS HER!" Kim laughed the word, "What?!" Then she got a good look at my sniveling face and exclaimed, "Oh my god, what’s wrong with you? You look like you’re going to cry!"

AND I FEEL LIKE IT, TOO. Tina, of all people. Tina and her gooey scabs. Tina and her codpiece. Tina and her man-stance. TINA I’LL MISS YOU.

Jul 212008
 

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

There was no real reason why we felt so intrinsically drawn to the sweaty laborer. He wasn’t good-looking, he didn’t sport a peg-leg, he wasn’t albino. He was just your average forty-something year old porch-builder with tinted eyeglasses, a farmer’s tan and a bushy moustache. I don’t even think he ever spoke to us. I mean, would you?

We would run from window to window, snapping pictures of him. Pictures from the kitchen, pictures from our parent’s bedroom, pictures bent around tree trunks. One day, Ryan even chased his truck up the street as he departed for home after a long grueling day of hammering nails and chugging Schlitz under the shade of a maple. I often wondered if our porch-builder had a good broad with a nice plump behind to nail, maybe cook him up a nice thick stew.

I’ll never forget the day we discovered his name was Gary. We ran into the house, erupting into shrieks and giggles. Our mom’s reaction was something akin to “Yeah, so?” accompanied by an eye brow raise. She always raised the eyebrow that bore a scar from when she was a baby and rolled off her bed, banging her face off the corner of the nightstand. I still can’t believe she never made up a better story, like how she was nicked by a gypsy’s butterfly knife the time she tried to steal cantaloupes off their wagon. When I was fourteen and viciously mauled by our psycho rabbit, you better believe I went back to school with a yarn about getting stabbed during gang initiation.

After a week of wasting film on this fine craftsman, we decided these clandestine snaps weren’t providing enough of a sociopathic rush. We needed more thrill, something that provided more of an instant gratification. When you’re young, you want souvenirs for everything you do: pocketed sugar packets from a truck stop diner, pebbles from the parking lot of the first sex shack your dad made you wait outside of, bloodied gauze from your first tooth extraction.

So the next obvious step clearly was to collect Gary’s cigarette butts and beer cans.

We waited until he’d go to his truck, then sprint out in the backyard like scavengers, picking through the grass in search of a butt or two. Once we accumulated enough to satiate our pursuant appetite, we brought our treasures in the house and stowed it underneath the couch in the family room. Like chipmunks storing acorns, crack heads hording rocks.

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

Unfortunately, the fun and games ended when my dad unearthed our stash of purloined memorabilia under the couch. Now, any other dad would have rightfully accused us of smoking and drinking. Luckily for us, my dad recognized the extent of our weirdness long before this incident, so he believed our tale and we escaped punishment. The downside was that he forbade us to continue our game and pitched our pirated keepsake, muttering something about how we were embarrassing him or something.

I often wonder what Gary is doing these days, and if he knew he was being stalked. Was he flattered? I asked my mom: she said probably not.

May 182008
 

I: Getting There

The night before we left, I had Henry look up lodging for Corey and me while I was at work, since I am helpless and had more important things to do. My only criteria was: close to venue and cheap.

He sent me info for Red Carpet Inn, which had rooms for $49+tax. It was located in New Jersey, and it was only 3.5 miles away from the Wachovia Spectrum, where the Cure was playing Saturday night.

I quickly emailed him and said I’d take it.

“You realize this place isn’t going to be nice,” Henry chided in his reply. The user ratings all said, “You get what you pay for,” and I was OK with that because the more money I saved, the more shit I could buy throughout the trip, like Slim Jims and crack.

“Don’t you dare even think about calling and complaining,” Henry said the next morning, as he armed me with directions and SoyJoy bars.

Corey arrived at my house at 10:00 and, between filling up the gas tank with liquid gold and taking out some cash for the turnpike, etc., I managed to spend $71 before we even left Brookline. 

For the 300+ miles on the Pennsylvania turnpike, Corey and I mainly reminisced about  past displays of family dysfunction, which included Corey’s favorite Father-Daughter fight in which I screamed in my step-dad’s face that I wish he’d get his head cut off by the log splitter we had in our backyard. Corey was laughing, and I was too but the whole time I was thinking, “Yeah, but this was a stepping stone in the rickety path of dropping out of high school.”

I forced Corey to listen to a special mixed CD I made just for the trip, and he sarcastically cheered every time Chiodos came on. However, he is now obsessed with Dance Gavin Dance, which is more than I could have hoped for. However, I ridiculed him every time he disagreed with my musical tastes, you know, like every other obnoxious music snob does.

My favorite moment was when Corey told me he was going through my step-dad’s cell phone and discovered naked pictures of my step-dad’s girlfriend all bent over the back of the couch. Ten minutes later and it was all, “Remember when you found naked pictures of Daddy’s girlfriend?” and then we laughed all over again.

I’m not used to being the responsible one in these trips. My role is usually to wedge my fat ass in the passenger seat, armed with my vacation journal, beverage and snacks, switching up the music like it’s my destiny. Also, flirting with truckers and being  Annoying: Road Trip Edition. But this time, I had to pay attention to shit, like how the car was doing on gas, if all the tires were intact, all while keeping a general sense of where the fuck we were. Oh, the pressure. Corey was in charge of the directions, but every time I would ask him where we were, he’d stare ambivalently at the map and kind of shrug. So then I would call Henry and ask, “Hey, how much farther do we have?” and he’d get all mad because I wouldn’t be able to tell him where we were since I can’t read a map and then he’d have to go and turn the computer on (he was letting it rest while I was away) and by that time I’d be all, “Oooh we’re going through a tunnel! Bubbye!”

Directions-wise, it was smooth sailing until we made it to the Philly exits and had to get off the turnpike. Corey would play with my emotions by saying things like, “We need this next exit, No wait, next one. No wait this one!!” leaving me mere seconds to swerve onto the ramp. I screamed the whole way across the Ben Franklin bridge and somehow managed to take the wrong exit, which dumped us blindly into some small town called Gloucester.

 

 

We stopped at Coastal to get gas and when I started to get out of the car, an elderly employee came over and started pumping it for me. I learned later that night that it’s like, some weird law that all New Jersey gas stations are full service, and you would think that with me being such a fucking princess, I’d have really embraced this small display of pampering, but instead I panicked because I didn’t  know the protocol — was I supposed to tip him? Cheer him on? Wait silently in the car and pretend it’s not making me feel like an entitled White Person to have a Mexican work for me? I kept asking Corey but he was all, “I don’t know, this is weird and I think he hates us and I want to go” so we sped away when he was through.

I had to call Henry once again so he could get us to our motel (at this point, I didn’t even know the name of it) and our conversation went something like this:

 

Henry: What are you near?

Me: A black lady in really high boots.

Henry, sighing angrily: What are you near?

Me: A chocolate covered pretzel store.

 While Henry was busy trying to find out where we were, I pulled over and Corey ran into the chocolate-covered pretzel place to ask a local for help. Henry kept asking me for street names, and I would answer him with very important information, like:

“Ew that guy just looked at me!” and “I hope Corey buys some delicious confections while he’s in there. The sign says they’re the best.”

Corey returned with directions at the same time Henry found us on a map. To keep Henry’s ego from deflating, I chose his directions and proceeded to doubt him the entire time, saying that I should have listened to the pretzel lady’s directions instead, which caused him to yell back and say things like, “I AM NOT THERE. I AM IN PITTSBURGH. I CANNOT SEE WHAT YOU ARE SEEING.” Then he was all, “Fuck you, find it yourself,” and hung up on me.

Both sets of directions ended up being right. The pretzel lady said we’d know we were there when we saw the Pennant night club and Weber’s burger stand, and by golly she was right.

II : Red (from blood stains) Carpet Inn

“It looks like a concentration camp,” Corey groaned as we pulled into the Red Carpet Inn. It was the kind of place that people retreated to after their slum lords evicted them; the kind of place where people crept off to have lunch break affairs; the kind of place that had mattresses broken enough for people to appropriately OD on. Corey and I just may have been the only legitimate travelers staying there.

If you can, try to remember back to the last time you emptied fifty-eight ash trays in the center of your living room and then steeped it with Pine-Sol and the musty stench of your Aunt Mary’s baby doll collection. Yeah, you remember? Well, that’s what it smelled like it in the closet-sized check-in office.

We  had to wait for a man in front of us to check in, which provided us with the idle time necessary for a complete giggle breakdown. It started with Corey, who had to bring a fist to his mouth to stifle the laughter. The old woman on the other side of the bullet-proof windows shot us dirty scowls and I tried to bury myself in a Chinese take-out menu that I lifted from the counter. Corey tried to hide his laughter by turning to look out the window, nearly knocking over the “Free Use for Guests” 1980’s-model microwave off it’s shaky stand.

After receiving no pleasantries from the clerk, not even a nicotine-ravaged “Welcome to New Jersey,” we had our key handed to us and  found that our room was the last one in the row, and luckily for us the door wasn’t visible from the lot. A small vestibule with a flickering overhead light had to be entered to find our door. It was the perfect setting for a late night mugging, stabbing, gang rape, tranny hooker wardrobe change.

 Once inside, I was relieved to find that the room itself wasn’t too bad. It seemed to be clean, as promised by the hand-written note left on the desk, declaring that some broad named Lillian cleaned it with her own bare hands. There were some stains on the towels and sheets, along with the standard array of cigarette burns dotting the shower curtain.

 The lone window in the room gave us a view of the lustrous grounds behind the motel. I looked out and, oh good, saw two shacks — just perfect for stowing murder victims, a troupe of Romanian sex slaves, and bricks of cocaine. Personally, I liked to hope that the Holy Grail was in there somewhere, shoved in the anus of a drug mule.

 The bathroom light seemed a little short-winded, so I walked back to the front desk to request a new bulb. On my way there, one of the residents — a young guy in a brown t-shirt — emerged and sat in front of the door, lighting up a cigarette and staring me down. Probably he was trying to gauge if I was a potential client, maybe trying to size me up for my preference — coke, pot, meth, grande-cocked Mexicans. Hopefully he was checking out my boobs, too.

Back in  the office, I had to ring the bell multiple times, praying that I wasn’t interrupting some underground cock fight or sex party, before the no-nonsense old desk clerk came out of the back room. When I told her the bathroom light wasn’t working very well, she impatiently shook her head and said, “No, it works. You gotta leave it on for about five minutes, let it warm up.” I started to thank her, but she had already turned her back on me.

“I don’t think that old lady in the office likes me,” I whined to Corey, chaining the door shut behind me.

“Well no shit. We were practically laughing in her face when you were checking in.”

A few minutes later, a domestic dispute broke out in the parking lot.

May 122008
 

Today, I took Chooch over my friend Jess’s. Usually I don’t have a car during the day, so whenever I go out with Chooch, Henry is with us too. But today was the day of Independence, so I loaded Chooch and all his shit in the car and after fifteen minutes of struggling with the car seat straps and retrieving all the shit I forgot in the house, we were finally ready to go.

We had to stop at CVS first to pick up some stuff for Jess. Apparently, Chooch is perfect when Henry takes him to the store. But with me, it’s always game time, so he was trying to get me to spin in circles and then wanted me to sit on the floor with him and he was pulling me in a trillion directions so I ended up having to hold him while we were in line and some old man was causing a ruckus over toilet paper and I was like, "Just pay for it, asshole, can’t you see I’m holding a eighty thousand pound toddler?"

After we left, I called Henry to tell him I appreciate him, because I can’t imagine being a single mom and having to do this shit on my own all the time. I get frazzled easily so I was nearly in tears, after struggling with the car seat again, and I think I ended the phone call by whimpering, "And I’m pretty sure his shoes aren’t on right." Pretty much the jokiest mother ever. Seriously, I’m useless. Unless it involves running around, screaming, and making up monster voices.

I even texted a heartfelt  "I<3u" to Henry again, out of desperation, and I think it had an effect on him because he bought me a new camera. Yes Henry, I’m keeping you. A proposal might be nice, too, though. Just a suggestion.

Jess just had a baby a week ago and named him Gavin. It was Chooch’s first time around a baby.  He was enrapt, confused, suspicious, annoyed, enamored all at once; his head was probably very near-explosion. Naturally, the first thing he did was go straight for the soft spot with his fist. He kept saying, "Baby!" and doing the sign for it. Then he was trying to tickle him, I think? I don’t know, but he was stabbing the baby with his finger and saying "diddle diddle" and it was weird. Usually, he puts up a good struggle when it comes time to have his diaper changed, but when he saw Jess changing Gavin’s diaper, he pulled me off the couch and said, "Uh-oh, pee" and patted his diaper. Then he layed down, willingly, on the floor, and remained calm and still while I changed him. If only it was always like that.

He started to get annoyed at the lack of attention, though. His remedy for that was standing on his head, slamming into walls, and performing a small sign language show for us. Then he would fall on purpose and say, "SOWWY!" Yes Chooch, we’re watching you. Yes Chooch, you’re amazing. I think it was his way of saying, "That baby is ok, but let’s not bring one home." Chooch, I just got my fat ass down to a size medium, so don’t worry: there are no babies in my future.

 

May 052008
 

Or: Henry’s son Blake and my friend Sarah are good sports.

Blake wore a Chiodos shirt and I was happy.

At least I didn’t have to worry about their stilettos getting slurped into the mud.

Blake was atop a train for this and I was so nervous that a) he was going to fall; b) someone was going to see and call the cops. But then I was like, well, if he falls, maybe he’ll be knocked out long enough for me  to steal his Chiodos shirt.

"Sarah, I only see you once a year, but I’d love to take your picture." And she didn’t think it was weird at all, which is why we’re friends in the first place.

More Photos Here.

 

May 022008
 

Awhile back, I had the moronic idea of slapping together a photo shoot because I apparently really like torturing myself with projects that don’t amount to anything in the long run.

I placed an ad on Craigslist and several girls responded. I emailed back and forth with some of them and they seemed very cool and eager to do  this. They understood that it wasn’t for some glamour magazine spread, but perhaps they’d walk away with new pics for their MySpaces, who knew.

Then something happened. Something by the name of Chuck. He responded with great zeal and boasted that he’s been known to slip into a dress on ocassion and he’d gladly slap on some lipstick too if I wanted. I was like, sure whatever dude, just please show up.

Chuck began emailing me every day, like the cyberspace version of my Aunt Sharon, offering little suggestions here and there. There would always be a sentence starting with "What if…." Some of his ideas were cool, but then he was starting to get too alt porn on me.
 
I ended up canceling the shoot because the weather was shitty, but Chuck asked if we could meet at the location and go over some ideas, get to know each other, etc. Of course, I made Henry come too. Chuck showed up wearing a Steelers pullover and ballet flats on his sixty-year-old man feet. Dude, Chuck was OLD.
 
He was nice, though. We tossed around some ideas, yet they all seemed to veer into the direction HE wanted to take it. "We can make the girls wear mustaches. Let’s dress like fairies. Let’s be naked." <—Chuck’s ideas.
 
Then he told me I was weird and I was like, "Wow, I’ve officially hit rock bottom."
 
Afterward, he began emailing me about this nineteen year old model he knows named Jeanne. Jeanne is into alt porn and lingerie. I kept reminding Chuck that I wasn’t trying to get all Suicide Girls with this. I didn’t even need a real model, just a BODY willing to put an animal mask over their face. Bottom line. He kept trying to get me to call Jeanne and I kept saying, "Yo Chuck, bro, listen up — I don’t even call my FRIENDS. No way am I calling some stranger to talk about some dumb ass pitchure takin’ idea I had."
 
So Chuck played the middle man and tells me, "Jeanne is concerned there are too many girls that will be there. Would you be willing to stay after and just shoot Jeanne and me?" Oh, I’d love to. LOVE TO. Because that’s what would truly make my world turn, taking racy pics of you, Chuck. Of YOU.
 
Finally, last week, I sent out an email to him, one of my fake addresses, and two of Christina’s, stating that straits are so dire that I was forced to get a second job, leaving me with NO FREE TIME. No photo shoot, sorries.
 
He replied immediately and said that’s too bad, but he’s also free on Fridays and Mondays.
 
I ignored him.
 
He emailed again and asked if he could email the other "models" to see if they want to work with him on his bizarre genderbending assignment.
 
I ignored him, so he emailed my fake address and Christina’s two addresses anyway.
 
I was one of the people who was going to work with Erin at the photo shoot this Sunday that was cancelled.  If any of you would be interested in possibly working with me in the future please send a reply to this email.  I’ve basically been into gender identification stuff.  anything weird and pulls ones focus as to how gender is socially viewed.  Sometimes it involves full crossdressing , 50% crossdressing , or maybe just 33 1/3 % crossdressing or poking fun at how gender is usually viewed. I love the 40’s fashion look so i get involved with that a little.

Erin is a great girl with a lot of talent and I wanted to work with her but being that this was just for fun she was unable to commit.  From time to time photographers contact me with an interest in doing a shoot with me and I was just contacted by a professional photographer yesterday who is interested.  If any of you are interested in doing some professional work for your portfolio and also helping me out with some of my stuff just let me know.
 

if i don’t hear back from you i promise i won’t bother you any more.
 
Then he emailed me asking to borrow my sacred tutu that Merry made me.
 
I ignored him.
 
Finally today he emailed me again:
Hi Erin,
Needless to say I’m a little disappointed about the cancellation of the shoot but I understand and under the same circumstances I would have done the same thing.

I was just thinking, your photo projects seem like a lot of fun and you have not only the photographic skills and talent but you seem to be responsible and a pretty good organizer.  You should try to pull some girls together for a shoot but charge them for you time and a cd.  If you got three girls and charged them $20 for your time plus $5 for the cd that’s $25 a piece and if you got 3 girls together for the shoot that would be a total of $75.  That’s still not a lot of money but I think anyone who was looking for a free shoot can fork out $25.

The other thing is, I ran across this article a while back about this female photographer who photographs nude men. These’s nothing illegeal or immoral going on.  She’s been doing it for 25 years and she’s married.  I’m sure there is a market for that in Pittsburgh.  Men are  basically exhibitionists. Maybe it sounds sleazy but I think it’s pretty cool.  You could probably make some pretty good money doing that. Judge for yourself from the article.
 

I AM NOT A PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER, nor do I have the credentials to pretend to be even close to one. This was supposed to be for fun. I would feel like an asshole making people pay me when I can’t guarantee that anything is even going to turn out! I’m using toy cameras for Christ’s sake. And why does he keep trying to lure me into the world of nudity?
 
Unable to ignore him any longer, I replied and told him of these concerns, and also reminded him that my tutu was not storebought, but something that is very precious to me, so no he cannot borrow it. I also told him that unfortunately, my desire to follow through with this project in the future has been diminished because what started out as a fun thing has been weighed down by too much stress and too many details that have veered away from my original concept and vision.
 
I got an email back saying that it’s OK, he understands and that he’s buying a yellow baby doll dress today and if he paid me $50 would I photograph him in it?
 
THIS ISN’T FUCKING GLAMOUR SHOTS, BITCH.
 
Bob brought up the horrifying possibilty that Chuck might still show up on Sunday, since he lives so close. "What if he brings his own people and tries to steal your idea, and then sees you and everyone else there? You’ll have to tell him the truth then."
 
I considered this for a moment. "No, I’d still lie." It’s like sit-com in me, I’m telling you. Even when I want to tell the truth in these ridiculous situations, I find myself weaving alternate truths. It’s what happens when I panic. I’d make a great President.
 
I don’t have a problem with cross dressers or nudity or old people who are into both of those things, but I DO have a problem with pushy people trying to take my reins from me. Back the fuck off, asshole. This is mama’s gig, go sit down.
 
Big Bob at work told me that the problem with being harmlessly weird like me is that it’s like a gateway for sickos. I’m not sure what he meant, and I don’t particularly think Chuck is a sicko, but I think the lesson I learned is to not post on Craigslist. Maybe stick with MySpace.
 
Apr 292008
 

 

 My crazy aunt Sharon offered up my grandma’s porch for Chooch’s birthday party. Of course, she was in charge of the guest list, which she was adamant about keeping short and sweet. I was afraid to invite Henry’s kids for fear of suffering her impatient huffs and sighs. In fact, I was afraid to even invite MYSELF. But I kept my cool because the whole point of having it there was so my grandma could attend.

However, Henry was so turned off by the whole thing that he just had his mom and sister come over our house Friday night for cupcakes. (And also because we segregate our families. Completely not normal.)

In the end, I demanded that Janna and Christina at least be able to come. They’re my best friends and it would have been weird without them.

 And of course, at the last minute, Sharon called me to see if Henry’s kids were coming.

"No, I didn’t think I was allowed to invite them," I said, slightly snottily. Christina was sitting next to me and her eyes kind of widened. She told me later that she was afraid I was about to ignite some sort of family warfare, moments before the start of Chooch’s party.

"Of course they’re invited!" Sharon said sweetly. "You guys will only be here for an hour, what do I care who comes?"

Oh did I mention that? The party was only allowed to be an hour long. I joked on the way there that probably we’d pull into the driveway and Sharon would hand us cake slices in to-go bags and send us on our way. But I wasn’t really joking.

 

 

In typical Sharon fashion, she gifted him with a bunch of stuff that no kid would ever want for his birthday: A cars wastebasket and shower curtain complete with cars shower rod hangers, and a bath mat with…blue daisies on it.

Oh.

"Does he like flowers?" she asked.

Don’t all two-year-old boys like flowers? Like any other kid, he demands no less than five Lalique vases in his room, filled with the most pungent bouquet of daffodils. In fact, we just had him at the hospital last week, having a bunch of lilacs extracted from his nose.

We all kind of glanced around the table at each other, slinging "WTF?" expressions every time Sharon would turn her back. I mean, for a two-year-old? Home decor?

My grandma ended up having a bad headache (or so Sharon says; I think she’s holding her hostage), so she was unable to leave her bedroom. Chooch went in to visit her, and I gave him a dandelion from the yard to give to her, which Sharon took credit for. Then after meeting her socialization quota for the month, my mom wandered off into the den  to watch the Pens game. (Yay, Pens, btw.)

 

In the end, all that mattered was that Chooch had fun, Sharon was actually personable and didn’t kick us out after one hour exactly, and there was good cake, of which I ate plenty (with the Pennsylvania Vanilla ice cream I bought all by myself and with my own money!)

 

 

Apr 142008
 

Holy shit, sad!Eleanore’s not here tonight, which is a blessing (it’s quiet!) and a curse (it’s quiet!) all at once. I’m not missing the way she tapdances upon my nerves, but now there’s NO ONE sitting near me so I can’t swivel in my seat and start talking.

Except to myself.

So I took a picture of myself which I’m going to print out and tape up in front of me to make the conversations more legit.

My friend Amelia sent me a surprise package today which completely made me squeal. It came at the best time, too — I was just leaving for work when the mail girl hurled it upon my porch. Asshole.

I dare you to pull out my crown, Gummi Heart.Hidden under a mound of that sparkly silver ribbon stuff that my cats love to eat then regurgitate was pretty much a mother lode of odds and ends; in other words: stuff that someone weird like me would covet. In addition to a black baby doll, a pair of doll arms, a roll of b&w 120 film (which I needed!) and two small handmade notebooks (scribbling has already commenced) was a giant gummi heart, the kind of delicious treat that I’ve always wanted a Valentine to place into my outstretched hands, perhaps with a pack of Garbage Pail Kids for that extra special touch.

The back of the package says:

THUMP THUMP BEAT BEAT

MY HEART FOR YOU

THAT’S OH SO SWEET.

Who doesn’t want that?? Skinheads, animal sacrificers, and Kathie Lee, that’s who.

So now instead of doing actual work, I’ll be overdosing on candy organs and sticking doll parts in things, which is much better than Thursday night, when I listened to Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge* for six hours straight and dreamt of slowly draining the blood from my veins. Thanks, Amelia!

(*I know, what the fuck, right? More proof that I’m secretly sixteen.)

Apr 032008
 

Southgate House

The night before I left Pittsburgh, I started to lose my voice at work. I had been sick all week with some kind of throat thing and general congestion, but nothing was stopping me from seeing Xiu Xiu. By the time we left Huddle’s Café, I possessed the vocal prowess of a dying frog and began coughing my lungs up all over the grimy streets of Newport. My gift to ye, Kentucky.

Christina and I jaywalked back to the Southgate House at 9:00pm. The ticket person wasn’t there yet, so we loitered in the hallway with several other people who were all staring listlessly at the wide array of concert posters plastered along the walls. I took clandestine pictures of the people in front of us because at the time, it offered more enjoyment than conversing with Christina.

It wasn’t until around 9:45pm that the ticket people finally filled their seats behind the table and we got to enter the ballroom area of the building. Small round tables were scattered around the room, and we grabbed the last empty one near the stage. If I had any foresight into how much time we were about to spend at that table, I’d have lugged in a La-Z Boy on Christina’s back.

I’m not really offended by indie/hipster types, the dominant populace of the venue that night, but Christina developed an immediate disdain for the girls with Pocahontas-style headbands and messy half-ponytails. "I was just thinking that some of these girls are cute, but the fact that I know they’re assholes ruins it for me."

Xiu Xiu

It’s people like Christina who keep our nation from kicking prejudice. Okay, and me, too.

It wasn’t until 10:30 that Thao with The Get Down Stay Down took the stage with their inoffensive brand of indie-folk. In other words, it was pleasing to the ear, but boring. It made me feel really hungry though because I couldn’t stop thinking about how they would have sounded so much better if they were the house band at a restaurant and my back was toward them while I shoved spaghetti-wrapped forkfuls into my gaping maw.

Then I started to think about how I hadn’t eaten in five billion hours and my nose was starting to run and I couldn’t stop coughing and I really wanted to die. Plus, my aging body isn’t used to attending 21+ shows that don’t start until after 10:30 at night and so I kept yawning and resting my cold-stuffed head on my hands and basically illustrating how NOT to act if you don’t want everyone to know you’re the token square at the show.

Also, probably you shouldn’t use words like "square," either.

During Thao’s set, a Super Tall Guy meandered over to the throng of people that had slowly collected at the front of the stage, obstructing our view completely. I didn’t care, because I was only there to see Xiu Xiu, but we still got pissy about it because that’s what we do at shows, us old people — we bitch and complain about those goddamn kids with their long fucking torsos and mop-topped heads that make better doors than windows. When the second tallest guy in the room sauntered up behind him, we lost it.

Then the two most annoying girls in Kentucky wandered over and stopped, naturally, directly in front of our table. I’m not sure exactly why they chose that particular spot, but there was feet upon feet of empty floor separating them from the stage. I thought that maybe they were deliberating where to go, but no. No, they planted their feet down, staked the floor with a flag bearing their name, and stayed there during the entire set. They even gradually migrated further back until the one girl’s asscheeks were nearly resting on the edge of our table. Christina suggested using the threat of rape to get them to stand elsewhere and then tried to slip one of my Moo cards in their back pockets. The one girl wore an ugly tweed blazer and seemed to be confused with where to place her feet; she kept shuffling them like a deck of cards, but then I noticed she was also swaying and slightly moving her arms, and that’s when it occurred to me she might be dancing. A male friend joined them later and he danced as though he was listening to Yacht rock.

I’ve never been more embarrassed to be white.

The next band to play was Why?, short for Why Are They Still on the Stage Oh My God Kill Me Want To Die Please End It All Now WTF Do They Think This Stage Is Their Summer Time Share? Turns out Why? is originally from Cincinnati and 75% of the people there that night were there to support them specifically. We’re talking everyone they knew from college. People from their sixth grade study hall. Bus boys who may have once refilled their water at Olive Garden in 1997. Their parents. 

Before the inaugural note even had a chance to resonate in the atmosphere of the room, the crowd went fucking apeshit. People were clotheslined against the balcony, frantically waving in the air, lips moving along with the lyrics. The crowd in front of the stage amassed a head count that quadrupled what it was for Thao.

It sounded like they said they were only playing three songs from their new album, but after ninety minutes of relentless xylophone malleting, I realized what they meant was, "We’re going to play three songs from our new album, ten songs from other albums, some B-sides, I’m going to try and sing the Star Spangled Banner and then give up when I forget the lyrics after the second line [this really happened], and then if we start running out of material, I’ll sing a song I wrote when I was four about how dogs sniff butts and girls have vaginas and I think I might too."

They would tease us, Christina and me. They would say things like, "We’re going to play one more song," and we’d exchange looks of utter relief, thinking there was a God after all, Christina would kiss her imaginary rosary, but then after that one last song they’d start playing another song that sounded like the song two songs before the last song that was supposed to be their last song and why did they have to have so many songs? I was getting sicker, coughing harder, speaking less. I even fell asleep a few times because it was after midnight by this point and I was TIRED.

During one song, the singer stopped and said, "That got messed up, so we’re going to start that verse over again," and the crowd went wild. "YES PLAY IT AGAIN! WE LOVE YOU! WHY? FOREVER!" Clearly, Why? is a band of local heroes. Then to our horror, someone would shout, "PLAY ONE MORE SONG!" and dozens of people would follow and Christina would shout, "NO DON’T!" loud enough for both of us since my voice was completely gone by then and no one actually retaliated against Christina’s protests but I wasn’t ruling out a potential beating with orange-stuffed socks after the show. She kept shouting, "XIU XIU! WE WANT XIU XIU!" to counter the pleas for more songs, and I was relieved that I taught her how to pronounce their name. (Shoo-Shoo, not Zyoo-Zyoo.)

Look, they were a decent band. Probably I’d have written a glowing review if they kept their set down to a thirty minute maximum. You know, since they weren’t HEADLINING.

What I’ll always remember about Why? is that the world’s most huggingest couple stood in front of our table and used their music as the soundtrack for all the hugging and lower back-caressing they shamelessly engaged in. I’ve seriously never seen two people spontaneously embrace with such nauseating passion and urgency. The man was about to leave to get a beer and they hugged as though he was never coming back.

By the time Why? left the stage, it was nearly 1:00am. I looked at Christina with sad eyes and croaked, "I don’t think I’m going to make it." But then Xiu Xiu came out and started setting up, reminding me that I had driven five hours to see them. Even though I was so sick, probably had a fever, may have been hemorrhaging from all the forceful coughing, I still marched my ass up to the front of the stage because I’d be damned if any fucking hugger or tall Indian-sweatered douche was going to block  my view. Christina stood behind me, just in case I succumbed to the sickness and fell to the floor, I guess, and we watched curiously as Xiu Xiu dragged their carnival of instruments onto the stage. They had a gong, a hand-pumped piano, some weird Casio-looking keyboard that was played like a clarinet, a flute, whistles.

Xiu XiuCaralee of Xiu Xiu gave her synth one last fiddle and then they started playing. As soon as the singer, Jamie Stewart, opened his mouth to utter the first string of lyrics, wrapped with dramatics and dipped in pain, I turned to look at Christina. I’ve never before seen so much of the whites of her eyes and her lip was slightly curled back, exposing her teeth. She looked fearful, like she had just walked in on her mom fucking a dwarf. The room buzzed with dulcet tones of chimes and electronic beeps while Jamie’s voice would fluctuate between anguished whispers and short phrases spoken in a staccato’d monotone before launching into soaring crescendos that socked the breath out of my lungs and made my heart ache. The mood would go melancholy again, lyrics murmured with delicacy, mellow strumming of a guitar, only to jar the crowd with unexpected crashes and stangulated shrieks.

Jamie had a tower of cymbals in front of him and he would occasionally grab a fat drumstick and sweetly tap at them. He would start to walk away, only to turn back and lunge at the cymbals, violating them with frantic beatings while shouting, "Oh my God oh my God oh my God" into the mic. His face would contort into the primal twisting of a killer, sweat dripping down his temples in rivulets. I forgot about being sick. Though I was still using the edge of the stage to keep myself from folding.

Xiu Xiu

Xiu Xiu’s music is dark, bleak, unsettling. I admit that if I’m driving alone at night and one of their songs comes on, I’ll usually skip it because it makes me shiver and instinctively toss furtive glances over my shoulder.

During one song, Jamie fell to his knees and continuously screamed into the mic while scraping a metal washboard, his tortured soul was vomiting angst and passion all over the stage, and it was one of the most satisfyingly horrifying things I have ever seen. I was telling this to Collin and he looked confused, having heard one of Xiu Xiu’s songs before. "But they don’t sound like a heavy band," he argued. A band doesn’t have to be playing Viking metal to earn the right to belch out blood-curling cries. Don’t let Xiu Xiu fool you into thinking they’re some cute little indie art band, because they made me want to hold my mommy’s hand.

In 2004, I wrote this in my LiveJournal:

When I listen to Xiu Xiu, I drift off into a different realm that’s occupied by talking antique dolls that reside in a pastel village surrounded by millions of miles of open pastures and no neighboring towns. I’m dressed like a ballerina with a thick ribbon tied around my neck, only it’s tied too tight and I run around scratching my neck, trying in vain to remove it, while people roam around me with vacant smiles and backward limbs. And even though the sun is shining, the sky is dark.

Then I come upon a tiny steeple and the singer from Xiu Xiu speeds out on a unicycle and starts singing "Clown Towne" in my face while throwing over sized lollipops at me. His smile is so wide and then I notice that it’s because the sides of his mouth are ripped. Then he starts stabbing me while albino midgets stand around giggling and throwing confetti.

And then I’m raped by a mannequin.

But I still listen to Xiu Xiu. I kind of like feeling disjointed.

Four years later and I still feel the same way. By the time their set ended at 2:00am, I was wide awake and wanted to rehash every single moment of it the whole way back to Christina’s house. Of course, as we walked out, I overheard people complaining about not getting what they wanted. "They didn’t play ‘Fabulous Muscles!’" some people griped to each other. I scowled at the complainers as I walked out. They could have played the same song over and over for the entire set and I still would have been grateful at the opportunity to see them. It easily secured a slot in my Top Ten Best Shows.