Oct 292018
 

I don’t have anything profound to say about the tragic and senseless events that the Jewish community and my city suffered at the hands of yet another hateful domestic terrorist. It’s not shocking, because nothing is shocking anymore: schools, concerts, churches, movie theaters – we are running out of places where we are safe.

And then it happened in my own city. In a beautiful neighborhood called Squirrel Hill that Mr. Rogers literally called his own. Where Jack takes a young Kate to an Alanis Morrisette signing at Jerry’s Records on This Is Us (except that wasn’t the real Jerry’s Records they showed BUT STILL).

It’s where I sometimes meet friends for breakfast and get delicious bread at the Asian bakeries, try to guess who lives in the big fairy tale-esque houses, and pass by Tree of Life synagogue on the way to one of our favorite cemeteries.

And now it’s on the map because some evil madman slaughtered a group of people for what? Being different? Believing in something different? Our whole city was attacked.

Fuck, it is still so raw. Today on the trolley, a small group of strangers opened up to each other about it and it felt bonding just being there to witness people coming together, like last week when a small clump of us were waiting to cross the street and witnessed some young guy, in a stupid hurry, run into oncoming traffic and cut in front of a turning bus so tightly that he had to BEND HIS BODY to keep from getting clipped by the bus. The bus driver laid on the horn and we all stood there for a split second, holding our breath, hoping that we didn’t just witness a Faces of Death scene, but then we all exhaled and laughed when we realized he made it. And I mean laughed, because we had so much anxiety to release. And it was really cool, like we were a club now, after sharing this near-trauma together.

That’s how it felt on the trolley too. That human connection that I usually shirk, but today I needed it.

Pittsburgh is a beautiful melting pot. Yeah, I complain about living here, but for being a little-big city, it’s got the best mix of people, you guys. And there is no room for racism, bigotry, prejudice, homophobia, misogyny – not in this city.

I’m heartbroken, angry, panicked, and frustrated. We have got to be better. We have got to beat the racists, misogynists, xenophobes, bullies – all of them. We have to put anti-Semitism back in the past. We have to get rid of this country’s volatile figurehead and all of the hateful rhetoric and smug, blatant White Nationalism that comes with him. He is stoking a very dangerous fire. Evil people feel way too invincible in this current social and political climate, but this is not “their time.” It will never be “their time.”

I’m going to vote my fucking face off next week and I hope you will too. Shit won’t change over night but at least it’s a start.

Oct 282018
 

 

Ohh Fright Farm, how I’ve missed you so. The great spooks, the amazing actors, and how could I forget? The hay ride! On a cold October night, my mum and I brought Janna with us to go to Rich’s Fright Farm. When we got in the parking lot, it was still light out and it was as cold as ever, so cold I could see my own breath. The line was very short, but of course Janna had to go to the bathroom. We got our tickets before she came back, so we decided to go wait in the line to get into the farm. She noticed us and started walking towards us, so we jumped in the bush, hoping to scare her as she walked by.  She of course spotted us, and our plan was foiled.

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What Chooch & I live for: HIDING FROM JANNA.

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On the bright side though, we were placed into group 2, so we got to enter the hay ride next! Of course we would have to wait, in the cold, cold atmosphere. The fire pits didn’t help my legs at all, my legs were the coldest part of my body. We waited for about an hour. In that hour we actually went into the gift shop, looked at an expensive Varsity jacket and sat on a bench for 50 minutes while listening to spooky music. Finally! The score board said 1! Group 1 was entering now, the group was awfully large for one group, even though a hay ride has limited space, we were still placed on. Janna, mum, and I were the only of Group 2 placed on the Group 1 ride. Despite that fact that I love hayrides, the hayride sucked. We were cramped and immobile, so we couldn’t turn around to see anything, all we could do was see what we missed as we drove away.

On the other hand, we were the first to enter the actual house! It was so fun because we had no one to catch up to and we were going too quick for anyone to catch up to us. My favorite part was when we were walking through a dark creepy room and my mom walked straight into a window! She hit her forehead really hard and then as a reflex, punched the window with her fist, making it feel even worse. Other than that though, when we were walking outside in the garden, the was a chainsaw guy and mum got so scared that she untied my shoe with her foot, pushed me into the chainsaw, then I countered and pushed her back. Janna and mum would not wait for me to tie my shoe, so I waited. They got rid of the slide which sucked, but I guess it was because people were getting hurt from it. When we walked down the stairs which replaced the slide, it led us to a carnival room. Before we entered we had to grab 3-D glasses because of the popping colors.

Lastly, we walked away from the house and into another line, but obviously the line was empty, since we were the first people! This section was called Paranoia, a blind maze. The idea of Paranoia is you wear a blindfold, while you hold onto a rope that leads you through the maze. This time though, the people were allowed to touch you, so I was getting tickled with a feather, and also horns were blowing in our ears. At points the rope would change into a fence, then into a gate, then into a pipe, so it was hard to follow. The people following us told us to duck right when Janna was about to hit her eye. She faced the same injury as mum.

Fright Farm was very good this year and the spooks were amazing! Obviously, my favorite part was when Janna and mum hit their heads!

Oct 272018
 

Part 3 is really just my excuse to keep dragging this subject out (amusement parks are my life force, OK?). So let’s just free-form this, pretend like you’re at my house drinking some French press coffee that we ordered Henry to make for us while I’m clicking through slides of vacation pictures and you’re probably not bound and gagged on my couch but who knows what mood I’m in that day.

THERE IS A SKELETON EATING THAT COOKIE.

Also, Henry stood in line at the Cookie Nook for like 30 minutes waiting for my latte and Chooch’s hot chocolate while Chooch and I hung out and were entertained by a spooky band and adorable dogs padding past us in costume:

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Mood music.

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Henry did NOT get any gator bites, but Chooch and I DID get some of the best black bean burgers we’ve ever had in our lives. Chooch was so excited that he started reading it off the menu to the lady in front of me who had the same hair color and jacket as me, so was like, “OK HONEY THANKS FOR THE 411.” Honestly though how hard is it for places to be like, “hey you, substitute this black bean patty on any burger if that’s what you want, no judgment.” I got the mushroom swiss option and sang “Baby Come To Me” when it was finally in my hands. Henry was pouting because he wanted HOT SAUSAGE but that was at a DIFFERENT food place so we were like, “We have our food now and you are no longer needed, we hereby dismiss you” but he was like, “JUST FORGET IT, I’LL GET IT LATER” and then sat there miserably while Chooch and I created a symphony with our chewing mouth-sounds.

It was so much more satisfying than the slice of cheese pizza I had earlier for lunch, which was good enough that it lured a man over to hungrily ask us where we procured such a RARE FOOD. He asked me and of course I didn’t know because Chooch and I left Henry to order our food alone while we rode the COSMOTRON which is basically just the Music Express, but inside a dark building.

This was one of the few times I was annoyed all day because when Chooch and I were getting in line, some hoolikids (THAT IS A YOUNGER VERSION OF HOOLIGAN IN CASE YOU DON’T HAVE MY DICTIONARY ON HAND) cut in front of us and instead of pulling them back, their jackass mom was like, “OH SORRY EXCUSE ME” and she cut too?! I mean, I get that you had to wait for your “Hubs” to dole out tickets but last time I checked, there’s no RESERVATIONS for the Cosmotron. So fucking rude. But I have learned to choose my battles and I wasn’t about to start kicking up shit in a short line for some moderate thrill ride and Chooch was like THANK GOD.

Of course, they were the last motherfuckers that got to go inside for the next ride cycle, so that was annoying.

Also, I was annoyed because when it was finally our turn, the GoGos “Vacation” was playing in there and I was really getting in an 80s mood, you know? And with the nostalgic way the park was decorated, the music really amplified those vintage feels. But then as soon as the ride started, the “ride DJ” switched it to that annoying Taio Cruz “Dynamite” song and I was extremely disappointed. Sure, all the elementary school kids were like woo hoo and throwing their germy hands into the air, but I yearned for the enthusiastic ride operators at Everland who made their own song and dance for one of their thrill rides and it was amazing and now I am spoiled forever and nothing will ever live up to that.

Creepy Chooch on the Round-Up.

While Chooch was riding this, Mr. I DGAF Where You Assholes Go finally found us after sending me a text that said “where r u.” DON’T SEND US AWAY BECAUSE WE’RE ANNOYING YOU AND THEN ACT SURPRISED WHEN WE LEAVE AND HAVE FUN WITHOUT YOU BECAUSE WE DON’T NEED YOU.

(Until it’s time for food, of course. Then please come find us.)

I was taking pictures of the Round-Up in action and some elderly Knoebels employee came over and said, “It’s more fun ON the ride” and then winked at me because all the old guys at Knoebels lover me because to them I still look young and fresh EVEN THOUGH I AM GRAYING AND WRINKLING. The old man I bought our Flying Turns picture from was so chatty with me and Chooch was getting annoyed because he hates it when people talk to me so he kept coming over to interrupt. God Chooch, let me have my moment to shine, ok? No one notices me anymore!!

One of the things we did after Henry told us to get lost was go on Gasoline Alley, the antique car ride. Kennywood used to have something similar called the Turnpike but removed it in order to put in a stupid small-scale coaster similar to Knoebel’s Impulse. It was closed all season, so that was awesome. Good job, Kennywood.

Anyway, I’ve been on some weak versions of this ride, but the one at Knoebels has a decently long track so you get to be out there for a substantial amount of time AND during October they put up some “haunted” scenes which come to life at night but then it costs extra and the line is outrageous and if we’re being honest, we are there to ride the Phoenix a million zillion times, you know?

But during the day, DOGS ARE ALLOWED ON THIS RIDE! How fucking precious is that?  Good lord, Knoebels, you do so many things right. There were two black pugs in line with us and I could practically see Chooch’s ghost leaving his body, he was so dead at the cuteness of this whole situation.

Psychedelic, man.

Here’s Henry, benchin’ it, which is what he did most of the day while we rode things. God only knows how many times he dozed off, too.

If you do go to Knoebels, don’t balk at the Haunted Mansion costing extra – it’s worth it. It’ll make you feel like a kid again. It’s a great old dark ride and it makes me yearn for Kennywood’s Le Cachot, which burnt down sometime in the 90s and was SHAMEFULLY never rebuilt. We used to call it “lick a shit” because, you know, kids.

I wish someone would build an amusement park with just all old shit in it, none of these big steel coasters or swinging pendulums. And you get a discount if you wear a fanny pack or your group wears matching outfits.

Knoebels at night is where it’s at, bitches!

US LOOKING ADORBS.

Chandeliers at the black bean burger place.

The Phoenix at night was the best, I can’t even get over it.

Here we are in the front row for the best ride of the night! Total darkness and complete disorientation! The line was still short too especially now that Gasoline Alley was doing the haunted thing. Most people seemed to be in line for that and the train, which also did haunted scenery, etc. That line was long all day.

It started drizzling a bit around 7:30 but it wasn’t too terribly bad, certainly nothing to deter us from continuing to churn our innards on rides like the Tilt-a-Whirl and the Paratroopers.

(Chooch and I hated a girl in front of us in line for the Tilt-a-Whirl and I realized that’s when Chooch and I are the most in sync, when we’re rolling our eyes at each other and mutually hating a person. This is almost ALWAYS in line for a ride.)

Get yourself someone who scowls at you the way I scowl at Henry…?

Guys, everything was fine while we were in this line and then the MOMENT it was our turn to ride, it started to rain harder. “Oh it won’t matter because we literally have an umbrella over our heads,” I told Chooch, but then the ride started and the rain instantly pelted us from the side and it was NOT PLEASANT. I had to pull my head over my head and ride with my head down to keep from drowning, essentially. We kept screaming, “SHUT IT DOWN! LET US OFF THIS! THE RAIN HURTS!” But that fat ass operator just kept us up there, and now I think I know what cars must feel like when they’re pushed through a car wash, I AM SO SORRY TO ALL THE CARS I’VE DROWNED BEFORE!

Henry was like, “Hyuk hyuk hyuk” when we stamped over to where he had sought refuge from the rain. There was not a single part of our clothing that wasn’t soaked all the way through.

Did you know that Knoebels has one of the largest carousels IN THE WORLD? I didn’t know that either until last week when I accidentally saw it on Wiki and if it’s on Wiki, it’s TRUE. Another true story is that carousels provide amazing shelter during a rainstorm.

The carousel organ music was changed to GHOSTBUSTERS for the Hallofestivities!

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👻👻👻

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We hid out here for a bit and were originally in line, but then I realized that the rain had slowed down…so because we’re knucklechucks, we still went on the Phoenix one more time. The rain had slowed to a drizzle so we thought it would be fine. This time we decided to ride in the last seat and of course there was some man in front of us who immediately started talking to me and I was nice enough but internally, I’m like, “Man, I have no energy for this right now” and then he said, “Is that your son? I can tell, he looks JUST LIKE YOU” and suddenly I was like, “I WILL TALK TO YOU FOREVER.” Do you know how many times in Chooch’s 12 years I’ve had to endure all of the “HE LOOKS JUST LIKE HENRY” comments? Nauseating. So when the rare occasion arises where someone actually says otherwise, well, hello new BFF.

Then that guy’s sons and nephew got in line too and we somehow became part of their family temporarily and they were asking us our advice on Gasoline Alley, if it’s worth the extra money and wait in the line, and I admitted that we had never ridden it at night for the Halloween thing but the nephew whispered to me, “SAY NO. SAY IT’S NOT WORTH IT” and he seemed like the kind of kid I could tolerate, so I said, “No. It’s dumb. Not worth it” but then this made one of the sons upset and he was like, “NO, DAD! I WANT TO DO IT!” and then the dad was looking at me like, “ARE YOU SURE” and I was really in the hot seat now, but he called Grandma to see what was going on and Grandma had already bought the tickets so that solved that. Whew.

I hate conflict.

Anyway, when it was our turn to take our last ride, we emerged from the tunnel (which they spook-out for Halloween!) and I immediately realized that OH SHIT IT WAS RAINING HARDER so that was a super painful ride on the Phoenix because I was choking on rain drops and also it felt like I was getting a bunch of cold paper cuts on my cheeks THAT IS HOW PAINFUL THE RAIN IS WHEN YOU’RE FLYING OVER PHOENIX TRACKS.

Still, totally worth it.

We bided our time in the Fascination arcade after that because it was really pouring at this point. Chooch had no qualms with this plan.

WALK AWAY, BITCH BOY.

Buying an apple dumpling in the rain, our last hurrah before leaving the park, drenched and cold, that night. Henry was like, “WE ARE ALL GOING TO GET SICK” and I was like, “WORTH IT” but I secretly hoped that we wouldn’t actually get sick and we didn’t! Because Knoebels wouldn’t do us dirty like that.

My new challenge is convincing Henry that he wants to go to Dollywood for Thanksgiving!!

Oct 252018
 

Hey guys hey: let’s take a break from the amusement park spam and watch some fun/creepy/haunting Kpop videos, because I am so fucking deep into the Hallospirit and that is all I want to be doing is splooging the black and orange and purple and green all over this screen and yes that rhymed because welcome to my new career as Hallopoet. I couldn’t be anymore in my zone right now even if I stepped into a pantsuit made from jack’o’lantern flesh and candy corn.

  1. Twice – TT

This was the very first Twice video I ever watched and I haven’t looked back since. A gaggle of cute girls, a catchy song, a haunted house, AND Halloween costumes? Yup. I’m snatched.

2. SHINee – Lucifer

You came to PLAY when you name your song after the motherfucking Devil, you guys. Fun fact: this song actually plays in the background of an episode of that American show Lucifer, which I have never watched, but maybe you watch it and now you know that you inadvertently listened to kpop so you might as well just surrender and watch the whole video.

3. BIGBANG – Monster

Sorry BIGBANG, you guys still look great even as monsters. G-Dragon and those icon devil horns tho, oh god I miss him please come back from the military now. They’ve had for you like 8 months, that’s enough.

4. EXO – Wolf

Off the top of my head, there are three EXO vids that fit this Hallotheme (sorry I can’t stop, I’m running on lots of caffeine and very little sleep), like one from sub-group EXO-K that starts with creepy chanting. But I went for Wolf because it makes me want to binge-watch Teen Wolf (especially since I never watched the last season because we cut cable and THAT MEANT NO MORE MTV…), but also I love the dance formations in this choreo, and the howling! I might blast this on repeat on Halloween to spike up the treat-or-treating mood, even though we never get any trick-or-treaters anymore. WHAT IS HAPPENING!?

5. Twice – Like Ooh Ahh

I know, I know, Twice, twice?! But look, they’ve got that playful horror aesthetic down to a science. I love this video because it’s teeming with zombies but it’s like, hard to even remember they’re there because Twice is so cute.

6. Red Velvet – Peekaboo

Guys, they’re hunting and killing pizza delivery boys in this video. Does it get more scary? DON’T KILL THE BOYS THAT BRING US THE PIZZA! Even aside from this, the song itself has a creepy feel to it, and any time I think of “peekaboo” it’s always in a horror context, like some ax murderer is looking at me through the other side of a peep hole or waiting for me in the backseat of my car.

7. Vixx – Voodoo Doll

Vixx is notorious for having a “horror sexy” concept, and I had a field day going through all their MVs for a good one  to share here today. So many to choose from! Stan Vixx, you guys – they are so good and moderately underrated as far as Kpop goes.

8. Block B – Jackpot

Are you afraid of clowns? Don’t worry, this video doesn’t have any creepy carnival visuals at all.

9. SHINee – Married to the Music

SHINee’s back…on this list again. This song has such a light, uplifting feel but then the video is like, going to a deranged dinner party and having your head chopped off. You know, typical.

10. G-Dragon – She’s Gone

Last but certainly not least, I gotta include my ult-bias G-Dragon, Mr. Kwon Jiyong, here on this list. He could chase me through a maze any day! I mean, I’d prefer he didn’t kill me at the end, but we could role play if that’s what he wants. I’m flexible.

So, there you go – some Kpop videos that stray away from the bubblegum aegyo (that means “super cutesy” in Korean you guys, get on my level) just in time to vibe with your October mood.

OBLIGATORY “PLEASE DON’T KILL ME, KPOP FANS” DISCLAIMER: These were just the first 10 that came to mind, not ranked in anyway, and I am sorry if I left off one of your faves!

Oct 242018
 

Me: what was your favorite part of Knoebels?

Chooch, no hesitation: Petting a Corgi!!

*********

Ok, that might be true, but Chooch was also super into collecting dropped ride tickets in an effort to get enough to force Henry to ride something (if you actually READ MY LAST POST you’ll remember that I mentioned you can buy tickets to ride shit if you know you won’t ride enough to get a full ride-all-day wristband’s worth) and playing this old-fashioned arcade game called Fascination, but we’ll get to both of those after looking at some beautiful “Autumn at the Amusement Park” snaps.

*fun fact: it took me seven tries to spell Knoebels correctly and I WORK WITH A KNOEBEL. What if I got some type of brain damage after my haunted house injury last week?!

Lol j/k I’ve been dumb since way before that.

We had to wait for a hillbilly family to get their pictures taken here first, because they CUT IN FRONT OF US. That’s one thing you should know about this park: it is shockingly WHITE. And I’m talking about the kind of white that also has a red neck. Basically, it was like being at Holiday World again, except more camouflage and less face tattoos. But the scenery at Knoebels is much more charming because you got those Pennsylvania mountains, etc etc. (Honestly, I put “etc” because I don’t know what else.) I was suddenly tree-obsessed and kept saying things, “Let’s go over this way so I can get a picture of those trees” and “I like those trees” and “That is a pretty tree” and “Should my next boyfriend be a tree?” and “I bet I could get a nice big elm to marry me, fuck you, Henry.”

See? Obsessed.

Knoebels also has a creek-thing with numerous little fairy-tale bridges to help you cross so that you don’t get your camo pants soggy.

ISN’T IT PRESH!? CAN’T YOU HEAR IT BABBLING?

I couldn’t get over what a gorgeous fall day it was. The weather forecast all week had a CLOUD WITH RAIN and said it was going to be like 45 degrees so I was ultra-sad but determined to still go and not complain because then Henry would do that annoying, “YOU’RE NEVER HAPPY” jiggity-jig and I hate that.

We didn’t even need our jackets for most of the day, which Henry loved because I kept dumping mine in his arms before racing to get in another ride line.  There is really nothing like riding roller coasters on a crisp autumn day, you guys.

OMG get me a minivan, a Pinterest account, and a Starbucks giftcard, I am officially a basic white bitch.

More of those stud-muffin trees, yeah, boy.

Chooch and I, in tandem, exclaimed that the “dog pounder” was a horrible name for a game…for so many reasons. He still played it though. And lost.

OK, now onto the riveting tale of HOW WE GOT HENRY TO RIDE A RIDE.

Chooch found two discarded ride tickets earlier in the day and decided to keep them just in case. I think it was like 50 cents worth, so there wasn’t anything they could be used for.

But then later we were in line for the Haunted Mansion and that ride actually isn’t included in the ride-all-day admission. I could probably just look up why but I’m gonna act like I know it all and say it’s because it’s a super classic pretzel-car dark ride and they use that extra cash to maintain it while also keeping the crowds at bay because I’ll tell you what, for as much as I love dark rides, I’m not paying to ride that bitch more than once.

And that’s some Erin Rachelle Real Talk, ok?

Chooch and I had exactly the amount of tickets we needed for a haunted joyride ($2.50 worth, I think?). I kept thinking we didn’t have enough and counted them over and over like I had a counting compulsion. Chooch finally was like, “LOOK I COUNTED THEM AND WE’RE GOOD, OK?!”

Meanwhile, Chooch found two more 50 cent tickets and scooped them up like they were bread crumbs and he was a boxcar kid scavenging for vittles. He held them with both hands and cheered openly, causing people in line to look at us and if there is one thing I hate it’s people looking at me.

“MAYBE I CAN FIND ENOUGH FOR DAD TO RIDE THE PHOENIX!” he cried, and some people gave us pity-smiles, like we were visiting from the poor house and sad ol’ dad was slapping around in his cardboard shoes, stinking of a gin bath and dreaming of having enough change to ride a rollie-coaster.

While in line, I noticed that the aforementioned Hillbilly Family was also in line for this ride and then I looked a bit too long and ended up witnessing Hillbilly Patriarch kissing his Hillbilly Maybe-Wife and I felt very uncomfortable.

It was not an attractive kiss.

It was the kind of kiss that could lead to baby Duck Dynasties.

Then Chooch found another 50 cent ticket and by this point he was acting like Charlie fucking Bucket. This one was slightly ripped, so we weren’t sure if it would be accepted, but I have to be honest here, I was secretly excited about Chooch being a ticket magnet.

We were in the second row of the serpentine queue at this point, with one more corner to turn before we were on the homestretch. This is when I noticed that there was another red 50 cent ticket, just outside of the line, nestled under a bed of leaves at the base of a tree trunk. I silently pointed it out to Chooch, who stupidly reacted, causing the people standing in that part of the line to follow our gaze and notice the ticket. I saw some old bitch point at it to her companion, but they couldn’t reach it. Several other people tried too but it was just out of arm’s reach.

I WAS GETTING NERVOUS ABOUT THIS NOW. I didn’t want anyone to get it before we looped around and made it to that part of the line but at the same time, I feared that we wouldn’t be able to reach it either, even though I know in my heart that Chooch and I wanted that fucking ticket more than anyone else.

YES, WE HAD RIDE-ALL-DAY WRISTBANDS. MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS!!!

I knew what I had to do and I hated that this was my only option.

I texted Henry.

I could see him from where we were standing in line and this made me even more angry because he was literally MOSEYING around with his hands casually clasped behind his back, looking at all of the food.

“OMG HE IS SO ANNOYING!” Chooch screeched.

Finally, Henry checked his dumbass phone and slowly meandered over to us, which was infuriating because could he not tell from the urgency of my texts that this was SERIOUS?! The line was moving fast and we needed him to come over to us so we could point out the ticket before it was our turn to go in the mansion!!!!

So here he comes, all dum-diddle-dee-dee, and we are frantically trying to explain to him why we need this ticket (WHY DOES IT MATTER?! JUST DO WHAT WE SAY!) and he was smirking.

SMIRKING, you guys.

Oh, I wanted to punch his dumb head.

And then, even with our excelsior directions, he couldn’t see the ticket. I was about to catapult myself out of the line and just get it my own damn self but then he finally walked over to the tree and like, laughed to himself?! Because this was FUNNY to him!?

Ugh, whatever. He finally picked it and Chooch and I tried to cheer quietly so as not to draw attention to our cheapskate selves but I think it was too late because have you even seen Chooch and I trying to perform covert operations? Yeah. We’re like elephants in a small box.

Whatever that means.

BUT NOW WE HAD $2!!!!!

And this is how we finagled Henry onto one whole ride at Knoebels! Look at how thrilled he was! THE RED LIGHTS CAME ON WHILE WE WERE STANDING THERE!

Chooch got all Parent Trap and said, “You guys can ride together in the back.” Now Henry was even more thrilled because you know how much I get on his nerves on a regular day, on solid ground, in the house, doing nothing. Now imagine me sitting beside him on a roller coaster. HOOOOO BOY WHATTA RIDE.

(Apparently, it cost $3 to ride the Phoenix, so Henry still had to buy $1’s worth of tickets, haha. Also, the ticket person at the Phoenix took the ripped ticket with zero fucks, but Chooch and I still ran ahead in case there was an issue because we didn’t want to be associated with Henry’s cheap ticket-pilfering ass.)

Henry buying his $1 worth of tix lol

Anyway, that doucher barely even smiled once through that whole roller-course, what a joyless dick! Meanwhile, I was slapping his arm and doing that Bobcat Goldthwait choke-giggle thing that I do when my giddy levels are reaching a boiling point. Ugh, I love when I’m having that much fun! The memories of that moments help me get through trolley commutes and random small-talk a little bit easier, you know?

The “Fascination” Fascination

One of the things that Henry does to  kill time at Knoebels while we’re being normal kids and riding things is hunker down inside the Fascination shelter. Fascination is some kind of old-fashioned arcade game that’s a cross between skeeball and Bingo, I guess that’s the best way to explain it. You get one ball to roll, and whichever hole it goes into, the corresponding spot on the screen will light up, so you keep doing it over and over until someone gets a full line, which makes their seat light up and a buzzer goes off, GAME OVER FOR THE REST OF THE LOSERS.

I had never heard of it until the first time we went to Knoebels because very few places have it anymore. Henry tried to insist that Kennywood used to have one but I googled that shit and he is WRONG. Apparently, Indiana Beach has it but I can’t remember Henry spending all of our money there when we went in 2014…

Anyway, Chooch didn’t remember this at all from the last several times we were there, even though I have pictures of him playing it. THIS IS WHY I KEEP TRACK OF EVERYTHING LIKE A NOSTALGIC PSYCHOPATH. I have photo-proof for almost every disagreement I have with Henry and Chooch.

A Fascination token and my signature shitty manicure.

Henry briefly taught Chooch the rules and then they went hogwild spending my future Korea cash while I sat in at a table that was out of order because I didn’t want to play. The hilarious thing about Fascination is that everyone in the room who is playing is involved in that round, similar to how Bingo works – you’re playing against the room. And some dude sits at an elevated desk and narrates what’s happening like he’s employed by fucking ESPN or something. It just cracks me up, especially when they do the special game called Cover All which is where, you know, you have to cover it all. So instead of getting the one line of 5, you have to get every light to light up. So he calls it like a fucking horserace, like, “Table 19 only needs 5 more, now Table 36 only needs 5 more too, they’re neck-and-neck!” And then of course this makes everyone super frantic.

Oh! And before the next game starts, you have to slide a token in the slot above your table number and then when the game starts, everyone’s tokens fall in. Henry and Chooch made me hand them tokens after every game and it was really annoying because Chooch especially was being super demanding and impatient about it so I kept getting nervous and dropping them.

But then, Chooch won his first game and the color commentator mentioned that it was “the hardest line to get” so Chooch was like WHATS UP NOW MOTHERFUCKERS, COME AT ME. And that was it, we lost him to the seedy world of Fascination.

LOOK AT HIS FACE. He has that Gambler’s Glaze to his eyes. I felt scared. He kept winning, and was the runner-up for one of the Cover Alls he played (he actually got his last ball in a split second after the winner and he was PISSED. I worried that he was going to light the place up with his psychic fury).

Family Fascination Selfie!

We ended up going back there toward the end of the night because it started raining and Chooch was like, “OH DARN, RAIN. OH WELL, I KNOW JUST THE PLACE TO TAKE REFUGE” and then ran there like a fiend. He won several more games and then spent an eternity trying to figure out what to cash in his tickets on (sadly, he didn’t have enough for ‘lamp’ or ‘crockpot’). Finally, I talked him into this cute Halloween cat stuffed animal which he gave to Calvin when we came home, and then he “splurged” and “did him” by getting A RECORDER after I begged him to get anything but A RECORDER. What a jerk!

“If I even hear you WHISPER into that fucking thing in the car, it’s going out the window,” I hissed in his ear with my nails dug into the back of his neck HAHA WHAT I WOULDN’T DO THAT TO MY KID OMG WHY DID I JUST TYPE THAT.

Meanwhile, Henry had this creeper hovering over him for at least five rounds and never felt his presence. He sadly didn’t bring Henry any luck because he didn’t win a single fucking game.

“Thanks for showing me Fascination,” Chooch said to Henry as we walked back to the car later that night, and it was the most sincere I think I have ever heard that damn kid. WOW, JUST WOW.

If you think this is my last Knoebels post, YOU IS A FOO. But the next one(s) will probably mostly just be pictures because I have so many! Amusement park pictures are my favorite things. Sometimes I lay in bed at night and scroll through my old Flickr albums of amusement parks and then fall asleep with a dopey smile on my crappy face. I am so precious.

Before I say goodbye, I would be a failure if I didn’t end this post with FASCINATION STREET, my favorite Cure song. I used to watch this video over and over when i was 19, wishing I could reach through the TV and touch Robert’s perfectly-pale face.

Oct 232018
 

It’s been a minute since we were last at Knoebels (like, 4 year’s worth of minutes!) so I started hounding Henry about going there again, probably while we were on our way from Holiday World in August, ha! Look, I really like amusement parks, OK? Especially the small, quirky ones and Knoebels for sure fits that bill.

The last time we were there was for their Hallofun event thingie, similar to what so many other parks do anymore: make the park spooky and continue to grab that cash into autumn. But what I like about Knoebels is that they don’t go for the high tech animatronic tricks or the low-brow gore – they are old school, like the way your church decorated for Halloween in the 70s and 80s and as you’re strolling about the park’s perfectly-foliaged paths on a clear autumn day, you sort of feel like Laurie Strode walking home from school, except that Michael Myers isn’t watching from behind a hedge.

And you’re probably wearing normal jeans, too.

I’m doing that thing again, aren’t I. That thing where I ramble and make no sense because I’m so excited to share pictures of another fucking amusement park. Le sigh.

What I’m trying to say is that stepping into Knoebels is like stepping back in time. I mean, my phone barely works there so it’s REALLY taking it back to some other decade.

Another reason why I love this place is, obviously, THE RIDES. Two outstanding wooden coasters, one small steel coaster, one wooden bobsled coaster, two dark rides, one of the biggest carousel’s in the world, and a handful of carnival midway stomach-churners.

But back to those wooden coasters…The Phoenix in particular is what made me want to go back so badly, especially after visiting Holiday World and getting bit by that coaster bug. Because for as great as those coasters were, I just kept thinking about how much I missed the Phoenix. I could barely even remember what it was like to ride it, other than that it gave me the extreme giggles. And really, isn’t that all you need to remember?

So I made Henry leave the house around 7:30 Saturday morning, even though he argued that it only takes 3 and a half hours to get there and the park doesn’t open until 12. But I guess he forgot that he has to stop to piss every 30 minutes, and then took a wrong turn, so yeah, it was a little after noon when we rolled up in Elysburg, PA. My work friends kept asking me, “Where is Knoebels?” and I was like, “Um, that way” and probably pointed the wrong way. But then I looked at  map finally because I had this great idea that we should also go to Philly the next day before coming home, because it’s “right by Philly and I want to go to Big Gay Ice Cream again” was my compelling argument, and Henry said, “KNOEBELS IS NOT ‘RIGHT NEAR’ PHILLY” and I was like, “Yes, it is, are you dum—-*looks at map*—-oh, it’s really not that close to Philly.”

I always forget that Pennsylvania has a northern part too.

Knoebels is one of the last free parks in America, which means any fucking Joe can waltz right on in and perhaps he only wants to take a whirl on the Paratroopers, he can just go up to one of the many ticket booths and buy whatever amount of tickets he needs. Rides range from like $1 to $3.50, I think? So if you know you’re not going to ride a lot, then skip the wristband and just get a book of tickets.

Henry LOVES this concept because it means he’s not a big fat waste of money like he normally is at amusement parks.

Another perk? DOGS ARE WELCOME. There were more dogs there on Saturday than babies probably and it was so goddamn precious, especially when they were in costume! Chooch wished he had more hands so he could pet more than 2 dogs at a time.

Chooch and I got wristbanded by an old man who asked me if my knuckle tattoos were prison tattoos and then looked at Chooch and said, “Did your mom kill a man?” What an early highlight!

Now that we had our wristbands, I ran straight to the Phoenix except that I couldn’t remember where it was because I hadn’t been there in five years, so a lot of zig-zagging was involved.

They turned the Phoenix’s tunnel into a jack o’ lantern! Chooch and I were endlessly excited about this!

We made it to the Phoenix before too much of a line had formed.Henry had us convinced that it was going to be SO CROWDED THERE and guess what? Well, it was, but not very many people were actually riding anything other than the train and antique cars so we never stood in line for more than 10 minutes except for the Flying Turns which was about 30 minutes because that’s still fairly new and a novelty.

Oh shit, you guys. Chooch and I grabbed the backseat for our inaugural ride and as we cruised through that tunnel, I was instantly reminded why I love this ride. It is fucking CHARMING and somehow extremely entertaining in spite of its simplicity – there’s nothing fancy about this track but there are so many humps that deliver major giggle-inducing airtime. Plus, it’s a lot smoother than I remember!

And it won the Golden Ticket Award for the world’s best wooden coaster of 2018!

I wanted to get all the coasters ridden ASAP in case Henry’s baseless prediction of it “getting so crowded” came true. Flying Turns was supposedly a 45 minute wait but I wanted to just get it done since we were right there and who knows, the line could get even longer! However, they had all three cars running, so the line moved steadily and we ended up only waiting about 30 minutes, as previously spoiled. And miraculously, no one in line with us was annoying.

They have the area around the line all decorated creepy-cutely so that kept us entertained.

My genius son didn’t get this one:

So, because this ride relies on gravity, all riders need to get weighed prior to boarding because each seat can’t exceed 400 pounds. You and your riding partner stand on a big metal square and get weighed with little fanfare — no one can see the results but the ride operators so it’s not a big deal, but I remember 4 years ago, standing in that line and PANICKING because I didn’t want to get weighed. I was telling Chooch about that because he didn’t remember riding it and I mentioned that I was around 40 pounds heavier then, and he was like, “REALLY?!” and I stopped for a second to let that sink in, but yeah, I’m 35-40 pounds lighter now than I was in 2014 and that’s really hard for me to wrap my head around because in my mind, I’m forever-fat.

Anyway, this is the world’s ONLY wooden bobsled coaster and it’s ridiculously fun! Also, a little precarious and I imagine all those anti-science people out there will think it’s God’s Will that keeps the cars from flipping over and nothing that has anything to do with physics, but OK. The rest of us know what’s up.

Here’s a quick video from some theme park Youtuber to give you an idea of what a cool ride this is:

I highly recommend the trip to Knoebels if you’re a coaster aficionado or desperate to feel like a Winter Olympian without putting forth any effort whatsoever.

Next up was Twister! Which we got lost trying to find! Knoebels is not the easiest to navigate, but I kind of like that because it makes it feel like something new every time, like a labyrinth with moving walls.

Anyway, look at that burly beast back there. He is a beaut, that one. I love the walk up the ramp where dead bodies hang from the rafters – it reminds me so much of the way my mom used to decorate our front yard when I was a kid.

I mean, for Halloween.

Not for some witchy sacrificial offering. OR WAS IT.

(She did just text me about the Mon City Witch Festival, so….)

Look at the skeletons!

In theory, Twister should whip Phoenix’s ass because it’s so much bigger, but this is a classic example of how bigger ain’t always better, baby. Don’t get me wrong, this coaster is fucking faster and, you know, twisty, but it lacks the personality and flair that the smaller Phoenix has in spades. We actually only rode this twice that day, which is kind of bonkers when I think about it now, but we were so preoccupied on riding the Phoenix until our eyes popped out.

Waiting for last seat on Twister.

The ride operators kept screaming FORTNITE and that was annoying but Chooch felt like they were sending him a signal.

Yeah, for a Dork Club meeting.

The last coaster we had to scratch off the list was Impulse, which is the newish steel coaster that wasn’t there yet during our last trip. It’s similar to Kennywood’s Sky Rocket except it doesn’t have the powered launch.

Here, you can see part of it:

(And dogs!)

The ride operator there at that time was dressed like a mad scientist and he was so funny in a dad-joke way. I always appreciate a good, entertaining ride operator. Papa H took pictures of us being adorable on it:

Overall, I’d give it a 4/10. I’m just not that into steel coasters anymore and this one was only thrilling for that first drop, and then the rest was just upside-down bullshit, but the real slow kinds of corkscrews and rolls, you know? I don’t like that. So, we only went on this one once, but again, the wait time was only about 5 minutes.

I’ll be back with more Knoebels photos because they are a’plenty!

(PS I lied – there is also a kiddie coaster but it’s not amazing like the Wacky Worm so I easily forgot about it. #kiddiecoastersnob)

Oct 212018
 

A collection of things from the drive home from Knoebel’s.

  • We ate breakfast at the Friendlys next to our hotel and I think this place is extremely overrated and I never feel satisfied, but Mom’s Dutch Kitchen up the road is closed forever so our options are Friendlys or gas station. Anyway, during breakfast, Henry flung syrup onto his shirt which resulted in a berating from Chooch and me, because we are hyper-critical of his actions. But then my next sip of water was too boisterous and I spilled it onto my crotch so Henry felt vindicated.
  • Before we left Friendlys, Chooch won a plastic orb from the claw machine and inside was a coupon for a free Fortnite sweatshirt but on the back, someone had written their number because you have to text them to redeem it?! This sounds creepy. It’s probably a bunch of 6th grade girls who bought bulk sweatshirts from the local craft shack and puffy painted “Fortnite” on them. Good luck, Chooch.

(We know it’s Fortnite because the sign inside the claw machine said so, AND SIGNS DONT LIE.)

  • At messy driving through Pennsylvania in the fall is super pretty so that makes it less boring…sort of?

  • Not too long ago I read some Buzzfeed-esque list of the best roadside attraction for each state and they listed some hamburger joint for PA, because it was one of those places that has an “eat this oversized food item” challenge. I was so mad! PA has so many cool roadside attractions, like a freaking HOUSE SHAPED LIKE A SHOE, FOR GOD’S SAKE, and this was what made the list as the best?! Do your fucking research, dumbo list-writer.
  • oh wow so now apparently Henry won’t just give us pieces of his highly coveted Sheetz cookies. Now we have to barter with him?! We have to give him some of our snacks?! This is bullshit. I don’t like it when Henry revolts. Also, I get packs of hard-boiled eggs (don’t care if you think it’s gross) from Sheetz to eat as a snack instead of chips or whatever other nonsense (pieces of Henry’s cookie doesn’t count as calories Ok??!!) and this time when I was ordering my latte, the order screen said WOULD YOU LIKE TO ADD HARD BOILED EGGS TO YOUR ORDER like it knows me?! Why yes, Sheetz order screen, yes I would! Henry was like “You probably still have to take them from the cooler” because he wants to over complicate everything and just couldn’t imagine that they would give me hard boiled eggs with my latte but guess what motherfucker, they did. Two perfectly boiled eggs in a little soup container, so fuck off.
  • Now we’re laughing at Henry to the point of tears because he tries so hard to act cool but it always backfires.
  • caboose is such a weird word. We just saw a train going around a mountain and it was gross.
  • more gross things: SNOW.

Henry said it’s because we’re ON TOP OF THE SUMMIT DUR-DE-DEE-DEE.

  • omg henry is going on about how claw machines work and we’re not listening because we’ve heard him “brag” about this “knowledge” so many times. So many times. I think that’s what he actually did in the SERVICE: he was the military arcade claw machine mechanic.
  • Henry just told us he’s stopping at Pat Catans (craft store) on the way home and we’re rioting because he always takes so long there! He had the audacity to tell us he’s just gonna “run in and run out” and I yelled OH IVE HEARD THAT BEFORE YOU NEVER JUST ‘RUN IN & OUT. He is such a fucking SAHM when it comes to craft stores, you have no idea.
  • Then we drove past an ADULT STORE and Chooch and I both pointed to it at the same time and made jeering noises at Henry because that’s our thing – insinuating that Henry is an exotic dancer addict and he recently told me that he hates when we do that so THEN IT MUST BE TRUE.
  • this song just came on and I felt inspired to dance on the hood of the car (I didn’t though because the car is moving)

https://youtu.be/J1L3nDC4mEk

DO YOU FEEL THE SAAAAAAAME?!

  • We drove past another adult video store (this strip of highway is seedy AF) and Henry admitted that he’s been to that and we’re screaming. He’s acting like it’s no big deal, I think he thought it would be easier to just admit it, but now we’re like WHAT DID U BUY and he said he didn’t buy anything so I screamed OMG YOU STOLE? YOURE A SMUT STEALER! And Chooch is hiccuping now from laughing so hard while Henry is frowning his way to the nut house.
  • well guess who went to Pat Catans and took his good old fucking time? OH THERE WAS NO RUNNING IN AND RUNNING OUT. That’s ok because it afforded us time to steal the phone that he so stupidly left in the car and post a picture of some 1980s metal harlots on his Instagram. Chooch didn’t have time to finish the hashtag before Screamin Hank came back and caused a scene in the Pat Catans parking lot and then Chooch puked out the car window because he made himself sick from laughing.

  • Me, as we drove past a closed-down Gander Mountain: I’m surprised a place like that would go out of business. Isn’t it like a …conservative safe house?

Henry: *frowns for days*

  • Came home and saw that Penelope left one of her toy mice on my bed so I went to pick her up and tease her with it BUT IT WAS A REAL BABY MOUSE ONG FUCK YOU PENELOPE. So now our comforter is in a garbage can ready to be set on fire and I guess I’m going out to buy a new comforter today. FEELS GREAT TO BE HOME.

UPDATE: bought that new comforter I was eyeing up at Target, thanks Penelope!!

I guess Peenlop is living up to her full name: Penelope Ann Killer.

Oct 202018
 

This is, at least for me, always the fastest-moving month of the year and I hate that! Once October is over, the winter panic sets in. I hate winter. December-February can suck a hobo dick, man. And then choke.

We’re currently en route to Knoebel’s for their Halloween event thingie and instead of live-blogging I figured I’d just do an October Thus Far photo dump.

BUCKLE UP, BLOGARINOS.

  • I rarely get excited about western music anymore but Emarosa is finally making a comeback! They announced this limited edition vinyl bundle last week, only 50 being made, and you know I snatched that right up. I might be All Kpop All the Time these days, but when I was organizing my dresser drawers the other day (I AM LIVIN’ IT UP ON THIS STAYCATION), I realized that like 1/3 of my T-shirts were Emarosa. Groupie, I guess.

  • I was complaining the other day about how awful Instagram’s translation option is because anytime I translate from korean on there it is a MESS of words. For instance, when it was Hangeul Day, I wrote my caption in Korean and the translation said it was, literally, “Bunch of things, bunch of things.” THE FUCK, IG? People were probably like, “Yeah her Korean really seems to be coming along.” But then I had a validating moment when Bam Bam from the Kpop group Got7 posted a picture of himself with a bird and the caption was, in Korean, “ahgase” which means “baby bird.” That’s what they call their fans, like how BIGBANG fans are VIP and BTS fans are Army, etc. Instagram translated it to SON OF A BITCH. Really?! Even Bam Bam was like “why Instagram??” And that made me feel like I was part of a club you know? Well, now you do.

  • My mom came over last Friday night which was really nice because she usually just drops off cookies and cheese (the best things) and leaves but this time she stayed and hung out, yay! We don’t talk much about my grandparents house anymore since the 2016 trauma but she mentioned that the new owner is flipping it and has essentially gutted the whole thing, so it no longer has that goth aesthetic as seen in the photo above. I am crushed by this. I spent most of my childhood in that house and it really shaped who I am today (honestly, when my coworkers were looking at pictures of the interior, two of them were like, “Wow, things are really starting to make sense now” lol). Anyway, Val said that every time it storms, she hopes my aunt Sharon (R.I.P.) strikes it with lightning and I agree – if there was ever a time for that house to be haunted, let it be now.
  • Speaking of haunted houses, we binged The Haunting of Hill House last weekend and I really enjoyed it but more so from a family drama aspect. Parts of it were scary but I read something about how it’s scarier than Hereditary and I emphatically disagree, although there was one scene in episode 8 that made me jump real high (I was walking in place and home alone when it was on lol) and when Henry watched it later, he had a small jolt and that motherfucker NEVER gets scared. There were several parts of that house that reminded me a little of my pappap’s house so it was super heavy on my mind all weekend.
  • Remember how the phantom phone call thing happened on Monday? I attributed that to Haunting of Hill House FOR SURE but then also, Henry called to tell me that we had an order of padded envelopes on the way, and I was like “ok? Cool story” but HE NEVER ORDERED THEM. There was a scene in Haunting of Hill House where they were talking about them though and his phone heard and ordered them on Amazon. Logical explanation but still I can’t help but believe that we’re being haunted just from watching that show!!

  • And then Henry came home from the Asian market on Sunday with a bag of these things that ended up being water chestnut seeds but look like they could be door knockers from Hill House!!!

  • In non-haunted news, my BIGBANG shower curtain is here and I love putting my makeup on at the bathroom mirror and seeing G-Dragon’s intense gaze in the reflection. <3
  • Speaking of BIGBANG, I’m wearing my Made shirt to Knoebel’s today and I felt totally inspired and happy as soon as I put it on, yay fall weather! (My face is still dopey AF though.)

  • I appreciate that Henry tries to help me look like less of a derelict by pointing out typos on my blog because god knows there are APLENTY (who has time to proofread?!) but I was so offended when he mistook korean slang for a typo. What a motherfucker.

  • I had to take the trolley on my last day going into the office before October Staycation began and since it was my late shift, I was riding with all the mid-morning assholes who have no boundaries and give zero fucks about their music blaring out of their headphones, their screeching babies, or their dirty laundry phone calls. I couldn’t handle it and got off several stops early which meant walking across the Smithfield St Bridge but even though I have a pretty crippling fear of bridges I try to make myself walk across one every so often during my lunch break walks (I live in Pittsburgh; there are plenty to choose from) so that was fear-conquering exercise for that week. The bridge is really pretty at least!

  • Downtown Jesus Update: I saw him coming out of 7/11 with a Slim Jim in his mouth and this delighted me to NO END. I have people at work on Downtown Jesus watch now too. Sandy said he was loitering in front to the parking garage exit and she had to tell the parking attendant to maybe ask him to move; Nate texted me because he saw him inside the Wood St trolley station, and Joy came over to my desk to tell me that he asked for a light!! HE SMOKES?! “Did he sound weird?” I asked hungrily. “No, he sounded normal. But he didn’t say thanks!” Not very Jesus-y!! I wonder where he came from (I mean, aside from Bethlehem) because he seems to be relatively new to the downtown unsavories scene.

  • Here’s a random picture of Henry looking like a tourist while we killed time during Chooch’s weekly piano lesson.
  • YOU GUYS THE WORST THING HAPPENED TO ME. So Tuesday night I was like, “I am going to watch some k-dramas, bitches” to the cats but every time I clicked on the Drama Fever icon it kicked me back out to the Roku menu screen. I figured it was some Roku problem so I went to bed. But the next day, I opened Twitter and one of the Korean journalists I follow tweeted an article from Variety saying that DramaFever shut down all its servers forever, with NO NOTICE. Literally they were like “Thanks for 9 years, peace.” I guess they’re issuing refunds too but I am fucking devastated. When I say that 90% of the TV is etch is Korean drama, I am not exaggerating, and we watch ALL OF IT on DF, and gladly paid for it too. It was worth it to us! I guess it has something to do with them being owned by Warner Bros and AT&T recently buying it and the cost of Kdrama licenses skyrocketing due to sudden popularity, I don’t know it was hard to read the words through my actual tears. I called Henry screaming about it and even he was like, “THAT SUCKS” because I don’t care what anyone thinks Henry is super into this shit too and it even brought us closer together! Aw my heart, my heart, 내 마음!
  • Speaking of DramaFever, I think it’s pretty coincidental that this just happened because they were originally one of the sponsors of that shitty K-Expo thing we went to in NYC but pulled out of it and then all the people who paid a billion dollars for the good tickets were supposed to get a year subscription to DramaFever for free and WELP THERE’S ANOTHER THING THAT PEOPLE ARENT GONNA GET FROM KEXPO.

  • Chooch will be writing a review about this I’m sure but I wanted to talk about how Chooch and I went to Rich’s Fright Farm with Janna on Wednesday night (love when haunts are open on weeknights!) and I walked/ran straight into a piece of plexiglass because I thought it was the way out of the room and for a good two seconds I had no idea what happened but went into fight or flight mode because I thought maybe I was being attacked so as a reflex I punched the plexiglass and then, in addition to the motherhonkin’ goose egg thy immediately sprung from my forehead, I thought I also had a broken knuckle. Janna was like OMG YOU BETTER WATCH YOU DONT HAVE A CONCUSSION because she at least cared unlike Chooch who was like “WHY DID YOU DO THAT?” but I ignored him and instead asked, “Is my nose bleeding?” You guys, I fucking slammed my face GOOD. Like ring-of-cartoon-blue-jays-around-my-head good. I was trying to hide my bump with my hair which only made it harder to walk through the haunted house especially when we got to the clown section and had to wear 3D glasses while the floor beneath us was shifting. I don’t know how I didn’t continue injuring myself. But yeah, so far it was the best haunt of the season!

Well guys, I want to harass Henry a bit before we get to Knoebel’s so ciao for now!

Oh PS here’s the new IU jam. She is such a queen!

https://youtu.be/nM0xDI5R50E

Oct 192018
 

Crawford School of Terror

Crawford School of Terror is regarding a girl named Margaret who has a crush on her teacher, but he is dating another teacher in the building. Margaret gets jealous and kills the teacher he is dating. Now she haunts the school and targets anyone in the school.

To start, we, and by “we”, I mean my mom and me, walked down the steps into the gym which is where we get in line. Right of the bat I noticed a big black box in the relative corner of the gymnasium. We bought our tickets and walked into the line the crew members told us to enter. An older couple walked into the black box and all we heard was high-pitched screaming. We expected it to be very scary and jumpy in there, but it didn’t feel as nerve-racking as it was in line… We walked through the vast darkness of the “maze” while avoiding the sides because that is where the people jump at you and scream.

After the short maze, was an empty line in which we went through immediately. The person at the front of the line lead us into the teacher’s lounge, where we watched an overview of the Crawford School and also learned about Margaret’s doings. We were sorted into a group with the old couple who were in front of us and continued up the stairwell of many stairs. As we approached the very top of the stairwell, we were met by a creepy zombie-ish thing. This creature opened a door for us and we walked into the classrooms. For the most part, the beginning was the same as last year, there was a dark creepy room with a child sitting at a desk rocking back and forth. I expected her to jump up and scream, but she just sat there and kept rocking.

Then, we were sent to the principle’s office and he threw his book at the wall and screamed, “WHY ARE YOU ALWAYS VISITING ME!!!” He told us to leave immediately or else. He gestured towards an open cabinet that lead into a bathroom. The bathroom was very small and cramped, so I opened a stall door, and there you have it! An open stall that went into another room, a bathroom, again… This time though, a girl was staring at herself in the mirror and cried, “LOOK WHAT THEY DID TO ME!!!” There was blood writing on the mirror and the girl was all bloody as well.

Returning from prior years, was a hallway full of lockers. I remembered this part and dashed down the hall, not stopping to the loud sparks of the lights. At the same time though, we were light years away from the couple behind us, so now we were alone.

*RING* *RING*  It is lunch time!!! The lunch menu for today is human flesh and brains! But not for me! I almost got sacrificed for the food! I escaped through the freezer and entered a hole in the wall. There was someone around the corner of the hole who scared us. There was another hall, it was boring and uneventful, until we saw into the next room. Inside was a pig man chopping up meat. Human meat? Mum was scared and tried to push me, but I told her to face her fears. We stood there for about a minute and a half, until I shoved mum inside. The pig man scraped his cleaver against a metal frame, which caused sparks to fly out.

Finally, we exited the building and I could feel the change in temperature as soon as we stepped out. Crawford School of Terror was amazing and I recommend it to anyone in our near the Connellsville area. Although, the real scary part was when Henry forgot how to drive and turned right into a one-way street. Not only a street, but a HIGHWAY!

 

The Scream Factory

As soon as we pulled into the creepy, abandoned factory, I realized that this was going to be a fun and quick haunted house. My reasoning is that there was no line and the factory looked real creepy. The one staff member walked over to us and following him was a small, white dog. In the line, I saw in the distance Michael Myers! At first, I was scared, but then I realized he seemed nice. He showed us where to go to enter the haunted house and then ran ahead to go in to get ready. As soon as we walked in, it was decorated very nicely with smoke and boards that blocked up entry ways. The first person that came out was Michael when we walked through a door. I asked him, “What do you think about the new Halloween movie that is coming out?” and he said, “I love it!”

We departed and I said goodbye! My mum’s favorite room was the next one. It was a dinner table with human limbs lying on plates and in bowls. The people in the room asked if we wanted to have dinner and I replied, “No, I already ate.” Michael was waiting for us in a stairwell and he stabbed the air with his knife. We followed him again and I tried not to lose him because he could protect us. My mum and I learned that no room was left non-decorated. Even the rooms with no actors were decorated.

Eventually, we started to get sick so we had to visit the hospital. The doctor was standing like a crab on the operation table. He warned us to leave because he will try to eat us, but we were too late because he started to follow us. It was getting towards the end and we were standing in a stair well. The doctor guy was telling us that we should go, or we would die. We saw him. A chainsaw guy, trying to get the chainsaw started. We ran for our lives and everyone was following us, but the chainsaw guy. I guess he couldn’t get the thing working.

 

When we were finally out of the haunted house, Michael approached us and asked if I wanted to get a picture with him. Of course I said, “Yes!” because he was pretty much my best friend.

As a wrap, that was Scream Factory and I recommend it if you want a quick scare!

Oct 192018
 

I had a different post in mind for today but then my cat Drew and I just spent the last hour being terrorized by a thousand-legger / whatever those quick-moving basement bugs are called, and I am honestly afraid to take my eyes off the floor for very long because WE LOST SIGHT OF IT AND IF IT CRAWLS ON ME I WILL HAVE TO SET MYSELF ALIGHT. It ran across Drew’s back leg at one point she nearly jumped through the ceiling while I screamed like I was in the ultimate haunted house, and Penelope slept through it all.

OMFG WHY DID I JUST GOOGLE-IMAGE THOUSAND LEGGER NOW I’M CONVINCED I HAVE 78 OF THEM CRAWLING ON ME, POINT ME TO THE NEAREST GASOLINE CAN, I’M TOAST.

I mean, what I came here to say is: here is another Halloween costume memory. This one is from 2016 when Chooch had the brilliant-to-him idea of being a bullet with butterfly wings, a la Smashing Pumpkins, and pretty much no one got it, just like the year before.

Enjoyyyyyy! I’ll just be over here holding a blow torch and flipping over furniture until I find that fucker, otherwise I will never be able to sit down on my couch again, OMG CHILLS.

*****************************

I can’t remember the exact moment that Chooch’s costume lightbulb went on above his brainy head, but it was definitely fairly soon after Halloween 2015. He was going through a Smashing Pumpkins phase, and casually decided that he was going to be a bullet with butterfly wings for Halloween.

At first, I laughed really hard and gave it my Great Costume stamp of approval. Also, what a novel concept – knowing what he was going to be with ample time to construct the costume. Had this ever happened before?!

NO.

But then reality set in and I remembered that perhaps not many people would understand it, you know, since it’s not 1995/1996. So Henry and I tried to subtly change his mind, and really—how shitty of us. I’m glad that Chooch was committed to his idea and didn’t let us sway him.

Flash forward 8 months. It’s a week before Halloween and Henry still hasn’t started working on the bullet. I kept saying things like, “This isn’t going to be finished in time, is it?” to which his response was supposed to be, “OF COURSE IT WILL BE, ERIN!” and not, “I don’t know. Maybe not.”

Spoiler alert: Henry worked a miracle and got it done! At the last minute though, he scrapped the paper mache bullet tip he made because it looked too dildo-esque, and instead opted for a large balloon (the punching kind) which he spray-painted silver. It looked much better!

We waited until the day before to get the wings. We try to be as DIY as possible when it comes to costumes, but I was willing to splurge on the wings because I just wanted this to be done. So we went to Party City after Chooch’s piano lesson on Sunday.

SIDE STORY, unrelated to Halloween:

For as long as I can remember, I do this thing where I walk into a store or restaurant ahead of Henry and pull the door shut on him. It’s like my thing, and it pisses him off so much.

And our visit to Party City was no different. I walked in ahead of him and, without so much as a glance behind my shoulder, I shoved the door shut behind me. I mean full-force, as aggressively as possible, I gave that fucking door a Hulk slam.

I heard Henry say, “Erin!” but it sounded further away than it should have. So I slowly turned around and realized that there was a small woman behind me, looking totally stunned from having a GLASS DOOR SLAMMED SHUT ON HER. Fucking Henry had let her go ahead of him and then stood back to see how it would play out, what a motherfucker!

So then I was put in this terrible social situation where I had to profusely apologize to a stranger while trying to explain to her why that happened, how it’s just what I do, until I heard the words I was saying and realized I was making it so much worse.

SO MUCH WORSE.

Oh, Henry loved every moment of it.

I mean, it was bound to happen eventually.

Anyway, Chooch got his wings but not the pair I wanted him to get but whatever, DON’T LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER.

****

This year was Chooch’s last Halloween parade at school. I was kind of sad about it, but it isn’t how it was when I was a kid. The classroom parties aren’t shit because there are so many restrictions, and so many costumes are against school policy. So basically the parents gather around outside the school just to watch a 15 minute parade, where only some of the students are in costume because HALLOWEEN IS DYING, ISN’T IT?? Oh I just can’t stand it.

But, speaking of school policy, Chooch could 100% not dress up as a bullet at school. I mean, I didn’t need the rules and regulations paper that was sent home last week to remind me of that. So in my effort to find him an alternative costume that still involved his wings (they were $20 and I intended on getting as much use out of them as possible!), I found this lame social butterfly get-up, which I’m sure has been done to death at hipster Halloween parties, but it was a hit with the elementary set.

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So easy! And I can say that because I threw a huge temper tantrum Sunday night and went to bed at 8:30 on purpose so that Henry had to print all of the social media icons out, LOL I win.

Chooch loved it! Especially when he got to rip the musically icon off his shirt afterward and give it to his crush. Ugh.

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Meanwhile, this just served as yet another reminder that I will never fit in with other parents.

Oh! AND I GOT TO SEE HOT GYM TEACHER. Totally worth rubbing elbows with basic moms.

****

Later that evening, Henry came home from work and finally finished the damn bullet costume. I’m not exaggerating – it was 5 minutes to trick or treat o’clock and Henry was hot gluing one last thing to it.  Fucking amazing.

Originally, Chooch and Dimajio were going to go together but then Dimajio had to go over his cousin’s or something, I don’t know. I don’t keep track of kids. It was just as well, because Henry and I had to tag along with Chooch anyway because he can never Chooch a costume that doesn’t require handlers. We had to tie his shoes, make sure he didn’t fall down steps, get candy for him if it was in a bowl on the ground which required him to bend, fluff his wings, make sure he didn’t bust the balloon-top of the bullet….

It’s a tiring, thankless job.

It always puts us in the SMALL TALK crosshairs with other adults! That’s my least favorite part!

After a quick photo with the neighbor kid, we tentatively made our way down the street. I kept hissing things like, “This was a terrible idea” and “We should just go back to the house and he can wear the pig mask instead, we’ll think of something.” I was just so worried that he would get made fun of or just be completely disappointed that no one understood his costume.

But Henry assured me it would be fine and to stop whining before I gave Chooch a complex.

And it was fine! Papa H Knows Best, everyone! He didn’t get made fun of at all, and there were actually A LOT of adults who were like, “OH I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE.”

It helped that he was also wearing a Smashing Pumpkins shirt and was carrying a portable speaker that was playing the song on a loop.

Even one of my mom nemeses started cracking up and said, “I get it. I love it.”

So he was pretty damn proud of himself.


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One guy was like, “Let me guess….Iron Butterfly?”

“Close! It’s a music reference but you got the wrong band,” Henry laughed.

This was actually a fun game! We were like a traveling quiz show.

“He’s a bullet….but I don’t know what the wings are for!” one old lady grunted to another old lady after Chooch left their porch, and I just started cracking up.

People were actually excited for him to finally get to their house so they could try to guess what he was supposed to be! “These are the best kinds of costumes,” one lady said in between sips of beer. “We want to have to figure it out!”

At one house, I told the people that we had tried to talk him out of this costume idea but he was insistent.

“Well, good for you!” the one mom said to Chooch. And she’s right—good for him! I never would have had the confidence to pull something like that off when I was his age, no matter how badly I wanted it. Chooch is my fucking role model.

He got a few people who said “this is the best costume I’ve seen tonight” and one guy gave him a knowing nod and declared Chooch the winner of Halloween.

I’m pretty proud of him for coming up with this and sticking with it. Even though we had to constantly adjust his wings and do damage control. Perhaps Henry could have SPENT MORE TIME working on the LOGISTICS of the damn bullet.

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A photo of Henry making sure Chooch doesn’t perish inside his bullet. 

But….next year, I’m handing him scissors and a sheet and telling him to go to fucking town.

************

We walked down the street to Eat n Park afterward for dinner*. “I Missed Again” by Phil Collins was playing, so of course I had to loudly announce this, as is my forever-custom when I walk into an establishment that’s full of the sweet note-blossoms that churns forth from Sir Collins candied-throat.

“Oooh! I should go as a Phil Collins song next year! ‘In the Air Tonight’ maybe?!” Chooch shouted excitedly, to which Henry and I were like:

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*(And yes, I pulled the door shut on Henry when we walked in. “You’ll never learn your lesson,” he sighed.)

Oct 182018
 

Henry said he knew he should have trusted his gut, but after dealing with me wheedling away at his willpower for three weeks, he finally cried uncle and told me to go ahead and buy three tickets to K-Expo, a Kpop/K-beauty/K-everything event that just happened to be occurring in NYC the day after we were seeing BTS in Newark. I mean, it couldn’t have worked out any better! Plus, Henry even found a discount so we were able to save some cash on the tickets.

My promise to him was that if he agreed to go, I would get the cheapest tickets, because they were being sold in tiers, with P1 being the best and included all sorts of artist engagements which sounds great but at the end of the day, I just wanted to see the performances.

There were four smaller-scale groups/performers on the bill: The Rose, A.C.E., Kim Myungsoo aka L from the group Infinite, and the reason why I wanted to go so badly: Astro!

I’ve really started to stan Astro pretty hard recently and thought it would be cool to see them while they’re still a smaller group. Henry got on board because he doesn’t mind the music but there was the promise of Korean food vendors so he was OK with throwing down for tickets, and then Chooch saw that there would be games and that was enough to win him over.

Henry had it all arranged. We’d check out of our hotel in Newark early Sunday morning, park at the hotel he booked for us in Jersey City, and take the train right over to Pier 36 in New York. All we knew was that it’s on the East River, right across from Brooklyn. The event wasn’t supposed to start until 11am so we figured we could roam around and sight see until then, check out the Brooklyn Bridge, try not to get taken. You know, regular tourist shit.

Let me tell you something: for about a month leading up to the BTS concert, I felt sick to my stomach. Nerves, you know? I always get that way when I’m going to see someone I like a lot and this was a pretty large-scale concert, so I was all worked up over it. But every time I thought about attending K-Expo the next day, I calmed down. I was really looking forward to this one without getting worked up. I just had this feeling that it was going to be a really chill event, so I felt relaxed every time I thought about it.

WOW, I HAVEN’T BEEN SO WRONG ABOUT SOMETHING IN A LONG ASS TIME.

I woke up really early that Sunday and it was a good fucking thing too, because I had mindlessly opened Instagram, as one is wont to do, and the first post I saw, right there at the top, was from the organizers of K-Expo: All That Korea. It said that there was a last-minute venue change and now the event would be held at Melrose Ballroom in Queens.

“Queens?!” Henry cried. “Now I have to figure out how to get to QUEENS?!” He was frantic and I was, at this point, rushing around the hotel room with wet hair, tossing things into my luggage so we could check out and get a head start.

Oh, did I mention that at the last minute, I splurged and bought Chooch and myself tickets to the Red Carpet event? So, KCON does this too and I always wanted to go but it’s only included in the higher tiered tickets, and it’s just basically where you get to watch the groups literally walk in on the red carpet and get interviewed. I was excited that K-Expo was doing this too, and it was only $20 so I figured K-YOLO or whatever.

Well, according to the JUST RELEASED event times, check-in for P1 and the Red Carpet was at 9am.

9AM YOU GUYS.

It was like 7:30 by this point and Henry was fucking flying down the highway from Newark to Jersey City. Luckily, the staff at the Holland Hotel were awesome and gave us really great directions to the train station.

“Where the hell are we going again?”

Pretty proud that we taught Chooch at an early age not to fear public transportation in other cities. He was a pro at the Seoul subway system by the time we left Korea! I wish I had gotten an early start with it instead of relying on cars all the time.

Also, while waiting for the train, I kept staring at that 333 Grand sign and realized that I now see Hangeul in everything.

Apparently, there was work being down on one of the stations, and as a courtesy, all passengers got a ticket for 2 free subway rides after we exited in New York!

I wanted to do the touristy “gasp and swirl” when we emerged from the bowels of the train station into Oculus (where the NJ transit and NYC transit systems meet) for the first time, but we had a fucking subway to Queens to catch. Basically, we just followed Henry.

My first impression of the NYC subway was “IT’S JUST LIKE MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN!” I loved it. And there was some elder-goth sitting across from us and we kept making eye contact. She was on the phone and I was certain she was talking about us, too, because we were so clearly non-New Yorkers, so I was thrilled when Henry was like, “THIS IS OUR STOP, GO.”

When we were emerged from the subway (we had to walk down this long, empty and 100% creepy corridor and even though I was chanting, “WE’RE GONNA DIE WE’RE GONNA DIE” I secretly loved it), I was like, “WOW SO THIS IS QUEENS. SO THIS IS WHERE DAVID BERKOWITZ HEARD THE DOG AND DID THE KILLING.”

Because most of what I know relates to horror, murder, Kpop, and Days of Our Lives.

I looked at the time and it was only a little bit after 9am, plus Henry said the walk to the venue wasn’t very far so I started to calm down finally and enjoyed the time we had to make fun of Henry before we got to the place and suddenly realized that we needed him to buy us stuff. That’s how it works with us, it’s a cycle. We always bite the hand that feeds us until we need him to buy us a toy or a concert ticket and then our tunes changes RIGHT QUICK Y’ALL.

I knew we were headed in the right direction because we were behind two girls with Kpop accoutrements on their clothing and purses. Yeah, I see those dangling kpop idol Chibis. And then we heard a burst of maniacal girl-screams from over yonder, so I knew the venue was near.

And here is where everything took a turn.

I asked some K-Expo staff members at the front of the venue where to go to register for Red Carpet and she very distractedly said, “Go to the end of that line.” I looked over and saw a handful of people standing at the other of the venue, so we began to walk over there, thinking that was it, but then quickly saw that the line turned and went all the way down the block and then turned again onto another street. We just kept walking and walking, with no end of the line in sight.

Finally, halfway down the next block, we reached our destination.

“Holy shit,” I mouthed to Henry, who frowned his response back to me.

It was one long-ass motherfucking line at 9:00am.

And the best part was that no one knew what was going on! NO ONE! And then the  goth lady from the subway rolled up! SHE WAS FIVE PEOPLE BEHIND US IN LINE! We died!

As much as I know you would love a play-by-play of our time in line, I will break it down for you quickly:

  • We stood in line for over 2 hours. Oh yes, over 2 hours, when the Red Carpet was supposed to happen at 11:00 and NO ONE WAS INSIDE YET.
  • Some guy kept coming out of his house and he was PISSED that there were people lining up on his block. So pissed that at one point, he pulled out his phone and recorded all of us and then apparently called the police, who had already been called numerous times and this I know because—
  • —some All That Korea guy who looked like the villain in a K-drama with his slicked back hair, pastel suit, and bare ankles sauntered down the sidewalk and started yelling at us to stop blocking the sidewalk (THAT HIS PEOPLE TOLD US TO STAND ON, THANK YOU) and that if the cops were called again, he was going to have to SHUT IT ALL DOWN.
  • Some girls behind us were having a passive aggressive pissing match over who has had the most kpop experiences and one of them raised her voice and said, “BTS ISN’T EVEN IN MY TOP 1O SORRY BTS FANS.”
    • But then later, she was listening to Taemin’s “Move” so I turned around and said, “OK I HAVE TO GIVE YOU THIS” and handed her a sample of one of my Taemin Valentines that has my card shop info on the back and then we started talking about our biases and she was pretty cool but if you ask Chooch, he will tell you that it was awkward to watch.
  • Henry had to leave our line and go stand with strangers in a different non-P1, non-Red Carpet line and he was not happy about that but it was honestly a highlight for me.
  • Some total d-bag New Yawker meathead from the Melrose Ballroom repeatedly trolled the sidewalk, screaming at all us to move over and I was like, “Buddy where the fuck do you want us to go?” Also, HOW MUCH OF A NUISANCE COULD WE HAVE TRULY BEEN?! A bunch of fucking KPOP FANS.

Finally, sometime around NOON, the line began moving and staff members came around to scan our tickets and give us our wristbands. We passed this great sign on a creepy store and then also passed creepy Henry who was standing in a line full of young Asians. He wasn’t hard to spot with his dumb beard and Everfresh hat. Chooch and I cracked up.

After Chooch had his (SPECIAL EDITION! – he’ll never let us forget) Snapple confiscated by the same meathead bouncer who was screaming at us earlier, we made it inside the ballroom and my initial reaction was, ‘…..oh.”

It was just a nightclub, and not a very big one at that. Pier 36 had a capacity of 5000 and this one was 1,040ish (I only know this because we were standing across from a plaque near the entrance at one that had the capacity on it. I figured they much have moved venues because they didn’t sell enough tickets but there sure as fuck seemed to be more than 1000 people standing in that line out there.

Also, I saw a screenshot later on of Pier 36 responded to someone bashing them on Instagram and according to THEM, All that Korea never paid them, which is allegedly the real reason there was a venue change.

INTERESTING.

The Red Carpet started before they even got all of the P1/Red Carpet ticket holders inside, so they were REALLY off to a great start. It started pretty soon after Chooch and I got inside, when Jeff Benjamin, a writer for Billboard and self-proclaimed kpop expert came out and totally bored us with a bunch of small talk about himself. Wow, he was fucking douchey.

But then one-by-one, the artists were called out, and everyone’s phones shot up into the air.

First, we had The Rose. Admittedly, all I know about them is that they’re an actual band and that Joan went to see them with Ashley on one of the Joan Day vlogs. (If you would have told me three years ago that I would become someone who watches vlogs on YouTube, I’d have punched you in the throat; yet, here we are.)

The Rose!

Next came A.C.E. – I think they are so great! There were A LOT of people there just for them, too. Like, a lot a lot.

AND THEN ASTRO! I was so stoked for them! I might have cried a little bit, especially when Cha Eunwoo spoke English!

He’s the fourth guy from the left.

Kim Myung-soo was next and honestly, he seemed mildly irritated to be there, and I would later learn that all the artists were definitely feeling the bad vibes that All that Korea was emitting.

Here’s my snippet-collection!

After the Red Carpet, which literally only lasted for about 20 minutes, we found Henry standing against a wall behind us. Apparently, they let all the riffraff in before the Red Carpet was over so Henry got to see the end. We decided to check out the upstairs, which is supposedly where all  the vendors were, i.e. the “expo” portion of the event.

WOW. It was fucking hazardous up there to say the least. It was U-shaped up there, because it was essentially the balcony-area for the venue below, so people were pushing and shoving, trying to get through and I thought I was going to have a panic attack. It was awful, and also there were NOT 20-30 vendors as promised. We saw maybe 5 on the one side we were able to make it to, and then as we attempted to make our way back to the other side, we passed by the bar and I overheard one bartender ask the other if there was going to be food, and the other bartender laughed and said, “No.”

Wait, what? It wasn’t even 1PM yet! This thing wasn’t going to be over until after 9, and they weren’t going to have ANY food available?! We went back downstairs to see if there was reentry, and by this time, even more people had been stuffed inside there. Staff members were screaming at people to not crowd the stairwells and those people were all confused because there was literally nowhere else to stand.

And then one of those asshole bouncers told us no reentry, in a rude way that was expected by this point, so we went back inside and stood, pressed against a wall, by the entrance and watched as even more people were being let in. This was, ironically, when I first noticed the capacity plaque on the wall.

I was actually having a hard time breathing at this point because my mind was reeling with all the different ways we could perish inside this building. First of all, it was very clearly a safety hazard and I cannot for the life of me believe that the Melrose Ballroom was allowing more and more people to flood the room. Second, there was NO FOOD—how does that even make sense!? It’s one thing if this was JUST a concert that started at 6, then we wouldn’t expect there to be food. But this was billed as an “Expo” with “food vendors” and now there were no food vendors and absolutely no announcement from All that Korea telling us so.

I just kept imaging someone screaming and starting a stampede, and I know I’m a super selfish person but there was no way I was going to endanger my kid’s life by making him stay there in a building stuffed past capacity, with nothing to eat all day long, and no where to even stand or sit comfortably without fearing for your life. So I made the executive decision to leave and that is what we did, without looking back.

It sucked because that wasn’t a cheap thing for us and it was something that I was looking forward to, but come on, let’s be real. It was a clusterfuck and the fire marshal should have been called.

Later that day, I checked Twitter and Instagram and knew we made the right choice: people were PISSED. There was no clear separation of the different ticket tiers, so some people who paid $300 were relegated to the back of the room while some of the basic bitches who only had P4 (what we had) were all the way at the front. The artist engagements sounded like complete disasters, causing the artists to continuously apologize because they felt so bad things weren’t going smoothly, the P1 people were promised signed posters and they got ones that just had the signatures copied, one of those meathead security guys ended up getting fired because a video of him being racist toward the groups went viral, people were passing out, some people even went to the hospital.

Oh, and they decided hours after we left to honor reentry once they realized that, hmmm, maybe the whole “no food” thing might be an issue, but people were saying that they weren’t even able to move in order to get out of the venue, that’s how packed it was.

A bunch of people are trying to get refunds, even though it clearly states “no refunds” on the website, because when you really look at it, it’s a classic case of false advertising and they are being so shady about it. I got a canned response to my complaint about how they could have just canceled it but they did what they could to make sure fans still got to see the artists they love, etc etc, and therefore are not going to honor requests for a refund and I was rolling my eyes all the way to the Better Business Bureau website.

I don’t know what will happen. At the end of the day, I’m happy that I got to see the artists during the Red Carpet event and that we salvaged the day by having fun in NYC instead of risking our lives (not even being dramatic here) inside a shitty venue that when you google it, “Melrose Ballroom shooting” is one of the first things that comes up. But lesson learned – I will never attend another event “organized” by these chucklefucks.

Oct 172018
 

Being off work this week, I didn’t expect to see Chooch much at all because he always has places he “needs” to be after school. However, I was graced with his presence both Monday and Tuesday, but it turns out that’s just because the stupid Teen Center where he loafs (lol, such a dad word) is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, and he’s on the library blacklist until Saturday.

(“All the librarians hate me! I don’t even do anything there!” he cried incredulously when explaining to me his latest banning. This time, his sentence is for two weeks and “Denice” hates him so much that she even intercepted him when he popped into the library last week to use the water fountain. “I was CHOKING, my throat was SO DRY! They wouldn’t even LET ME HAVE A DRINK!” he wailed. I don’t even want to know what goes in that library, but his latest offense couldn’t have been THAT bad because that damn library has our phone number and no one called.

And by “our” number I mean Henry’s number, lol.)

After he finished his homework on Monday, we decided to watch a horror movie. We settled on “Open House,” which is part of Netflix’s cache of shitty horror. It wasn’t the greatest, but it was home invasion and that always gets me good. Chooch and I bonded over it because it’s centered around a mom and son; the dad recently died when he went to the store to get eggs (AND HE FORGOT THE MILK THAT HIS WIFE ASKED HIM TO GET) so when Henry said he was going to the store later that night, we were like, “WE WILL GO WITH YOU. WE DON’T WANT YOU TO DIEEEEEEE.”

Of course Henry was clueless because he’s never part of our things.

So we went to Giant Eagle with Henry, which he loves because it guarantees he’ll spend 5x more money and get treated to a grand finale of Chooch dramatically reading tabloid headlines in the checkout line.

We made Henry buy some ugly squash hybrid because it looked like a corpse and he was not thrilled about it and I just looked in the kitchen and noticed that it’s gone so apparently he cooked it already and I ate it without even knowing?!!?!?!??!!?!?!?!?

Chooch came home after school on Tuesday too and after he did his homework, we were bored because Henry still wasn’t home from work so I was like, “Let’s go for a walk” and Chooch was like, “OK” and then I also grabbed the camera on the way out the door and Chooch was like, “Wait—I didn’t agree to this” but then he was posing with nary a cue from me because this is his second nature, guys.

He’s a poser.

Henry drove past us on his way home from work and covered the side of his face, pretending like he doesn’t know us. OK HENRY, YOU’RE SO COOL.

We walked down Brookline Boulevard and I wonder if people in Brookline are like HERE COME THOSE WEIRDOS AGAIN like we do about people in Brookline. I mean, it’s almost always the same people carousing the boulevard and we’re part of that, when you think about it.

OMG WE’RE LOCALS.

Henry saw this picture asked, “WHERE IS THAT” like he was all paranoid that we’re hanging out at some drug shack or something.

On the way back home, we saw two of his jerky little ex-friends who we hate because they think it’s cool to use various “gay” slang in a derogatory manner, and they harassed one of Chooch’s friends and called him fat, then got all aghast and offended when Chooch stood up for the friend. I already hated the one kid and he knows it, so both of these little brats got all nervous when they saw me walking with Chooch, and Chooch and I started giggling.

Oh, the best part is that they’re only in 4th grade, hahaha. I stared them down once from the front door and Henry was like, “Wow, you’re bullying fourth graders. I’m so proud of you.” Whatever, Blake hates them too!

The best part is that they try to prank call Chooch but they call Henry’s phone, thinking it’s Chooch’s, and leave the dumbest messages like, “Hi this is the drug store. Come to the Teen Center if you want to buy weed.” Like, OK dumbass 4th graders, good job.

The Teen Center is open today so I probably won’t see Chooch right after school but he better not be TOO LATE because we’re going to Rich’s Fright Farm tonight with Jannnnnnnnnnnnnaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

(I have a lot of pent-up energy. I love being off work but good god damn, I am not great at being alone!!!)

Oct 162018
 

After our voyage across the Brooklyn Bridge, we headed back to One World Trade Center, which is where we started our day hours and hours before. (The next blog post will talk about that, says the Queen of Writing Out of Order.)

First, we stopped at St. Paul’s, because it’s humanly impossible for me to pass a cemetery without stopping. Le duh. Duh to the max. Box of duhs.

I was low key grateful that the church was open because I had to pee pretty bad. We had to go through security inside the doors because this is America but I was happy to discover that the two security guards were super personable and just a general pleasure to interact with, even though one of them was desperate to talk to us about the Pirates and we had to do the universal “no speak this language” Arm X.

The inside of the chapel was bright and beautiful. It actually had more of a court room feel to me than that of a church. Chooch and I sat down for a bit to take it all in while Henry paced around the perimeter alone, almost like he’s afraid to be too close to us inside a church?!

I didn’t realize the part St. Paul’s played during the aftermath of 9/11, but apparently the doors were open to the cops, firefighters, paramedics, and other volunteers who needed a rest. The pews have since been removed and replaced with chairs, but one pew was on display in a back room; it had grooves and gouges in the wood, mementos left by the uniforms and equipment of the people sleeping there.

After all the walking we had done that day, we really needed a good sit, and this was a really welcoming place.

More 9/11 mementos. My eyes were heavily sweating in that room, man.

There was a guest book that Chooch and I signed because if there is a guest book, we’re leaving our mark. There was a spot to write a message so I said “put hashtag blessed. No don’t. Put bless up. No don’t. Put—-just don’t put anything.”

We’re really bad at signing guest books. I signed one in a chapel at Dollywood and Henry was so clenched, not knowing what I was writing, but it was just, “Hey God, please bring Dance Gavin Dance back to Pittsburgh.”

And now here are some pictures of buildings, including the amazing rib-like structure of Oculus, which is an amazing piece of architectural art that houses the World Trade Center station. We were staying right across the river in Jersey City and this was how we commuted in that morning. It was a pretty amazing experience when we emerged into the center of Oculus, that’s for sure! Chooch and I exclaimed like Farm Kids’ First City Trip while Henry was just like WHERE IS THE BATHROOM.

Every angle of this joint is just mesmerizing…and also a bit terrifying. It’s like contemporary prehistoric art.

SORRY, I WAS OBSESSED. SO LOOK AT THESE PICTURES.

Chooch is such a great sport about posing in front of walls, but Henry acts like he’s being fisted by hipsters.

It took a minute to get this picture because we had to stand in line behind all the Instagram models.

LOL, Chooch and I realized that Henry was asked to some girls’ picture and we were almost peeing ourselves because everything Henry does is funny to us (but, you know, at Henry’s expense).

Finally, I had pussyfooted around it long enough and it was now time to see Ground Zero. You guys, there are no words. I think the one thing we can all agree on as Americans is that 9/11 was one of the worst tragedies we have experienced as a modern nation. I still can’t believe it, even though I can so plainly and distinctly remember exactly where I was and what I was feeling when it happened.

The melancholy in the air at Ground Zero is really indescribable. Chooch and I traced some of the names with our fingers and just, for once in our lives, stood there quietly. Henry was around somewhere, being unaffected and cold-hearted.

NOTHING BOTHERS HIM!!!!!???

Oh look, here he is, ready to leave.

From right inside Oculus. I was so disoriented at first and though these people were on the roof but then I realized they were just outside, on land (lol), and we were below ground-level. I’m a smarteeee.

Inside the ribcage, yo. There are also a bunch of stores inside, like some trendy mattress store that Chooch tried to get us to go into with him because he is obsessed with mattresses and pillows. We of course kept walking while Chooch flounced right inside and sat on a bed. He said the salesgirl was awkwardly starting to talk to him but then actual customers came in so she set her sights on them and Chooch got to test the firmness of the mattress in peace.

His interests are extremely varied and sometimes domestic, like when he goes on and on about the exact Samsung fridge he wants.

Good thing he placed in “advance” on his latest PSSA test results because that boy’s gonna need to earn himself a good scholarship so he can furnish his future McMansion with the best mattresses and fridges.

And just like that, our day in NYC had come to an end, but not before standing in line to buy a ticket back to Jersey City behind a bunch of people who could not seem to figure out how the fare machines worked and it brought back sweet memories of our first subway experience in Seoul, SIGHHHHHHHH.

And then we almost died when the escalator dropped us off onto an overcrowded platform with nowhere to go and we almost perished on the escalator. I had flashbacks to being 4-years-old and getting my shoelace caught in an escalator at a casino in Atlantic City and OMG WAS I GOING TO GET SUCKED INTO THE ESCALATOR? I NEEDED MY PAPPAP TO SAVE ME LIKE HE SAVED ME IN ATLANTIC CITY! Spoiled: we ended up surviving, but it honestly felt like being in a zombie movie.

Another fucking adventure, though!

Oct 152018
 

Dear Blog,

My annual October Week Vacation is here and I spent the weekend preceding it binge-watching The Haunting of Hill House which was fine all weekend but then I forgot that I would be home alone once the work week started. And it started off real spooky.

LET ME SET THE SCENE.

It’s 7:00AM and my alarm goes off. I have to still wake up early even though I’m on vacation because god forbid my seventh grader can get a grip long enough to wake himself or dress himself. I mean, at least he can shower himself, but what happens after that is a landslide of bad decisions and color-blindness that have him stepping into tattered clothes and mixed patterns. The other day I was working from home and stupidly let him do his own thing, and that’s how, hours later, I got the shocking reveal of his Friday outfit when he came home that evening: a really nice polo shirt paired with…..sweat pants with a hole so big between the legs that calling them crotchless wouldn’t be a stretch.

So, Mommy is still clearly needed.

I had to definitely be up and ready with him this morning because he has some presentation today at school that requires him to dress nicely, which is something he thinks he knows how to do, just like washing the dishes, which caused us to have a huge row last Saturday night when I realized he was putting food-caked plates into the strainer, grandma Judy-style.

I get out of bed to wake him up and notice that his phone alarm is also sounding, but a lot of good that did considering it was on a chair outside of his bedroom and the ringer was turned down low. I shut it off and set it down on a table in his bedroom and woke him up. We bickered for a bit, like we do, and then he reluctantly slammed himself into the bathroom to take a shower. I picked out a dumb shirt for him since he already had his pants ready (sans holes!) and stupidly thought I could lay back down.

STUPID THOUGHTS! Chooch, now out of the shower, pointed out that the smoke alarm was making a weird noise. Now, the other day it was beeping so we knew it needed new batteries, but then I didn’t hear any more beeps over the weekend so I assumed that Henry did his Man About the House duty by changing them, and I thought nothing of it. But now, it was making a weird metallic sizzle, like a growl, and I started screaming IS THERE A FIRE OMG WHERE IS IT?! and Chooch was like, “THAT’S NOT WHAT IT WOULD SOUND LIKE IF THERE WAS A FIRE, JESUS CHRIST.” So I had to climb onto the chair that Chooch’s phone was originally on, pull the alarm off the ceiling and hit it with the heel of my palm.

That seemed to work.

I put it back on the ceiling and proceeded to go back into my room so that I could maybe eke out another 15 minutes of rest.

But then it was all, “WHAT DID YOU DO WITH MY PHONE!?”

I yelled back that I put it on his blue table and he volleyed the sass-ball right back into my court with, “NO YOU DIDN’T. WHERE DID YOU PUT IT.”

Guys. If there is one thing I hate, not just in Mom Life, but in ALL LIFE, it’s being accused of something I didn’t do. EVEN IF IT’S JUST BEING ACCUSED OF BEING WRONG. And this is what lights the fuse on nearly all of my Fight Bombs with Chooch. In fact, if you have ever spent any time with us, you probably have witnessed at least one of our notorious WHO WILL GET THE LAST WORD tournaments. It’s like March Madness but we’re the only two teams and it just gets more and more heated.

So now we’re doing this over his stupid phone, which I KNOW I left on that dumb table in his room. My boiling blood catapulted me out of bed and I stomped into his room with that particular kind of rolling rage that only a mom can know, and I slammed my hand down on the corner of the table and shrieked, “I PUT IT HERE. YOU OBVIOUSLY TOOK IT.”

“Maybe it fell on the floor!” he screamed back, hysterics cracking his dumb prepubescent voice.

“WELL DID YOU LOOK?!?!!?”

“NO!!”

So now he’s doing a half-assed sweep of the floor next to his table while I’m screaming about how I rue the day I ever gave him a phone and I just want to fucking go and lay down BUT NO GOD FORBID WHY SHOULD I EVER GET THAT LUXURY, I SHOULD HAVE JUST WENT TO WORK.

Meanwhile, Chooch needed a belt for the pants he was wearing today and Henry was supposed to handle that AND HE DIDN’T OF COURSE BECAUSE WHY WOULD HE. Also, Henry left his stupid phone here so we couldn’t tag-team him with emasculating phone-scoldings like we normally would when he fucks up our mornings. I WAS SO ANGRY THIS MORNING!

Chooch stormed off downstairs to presumably look for his phone even though I hadn’t gone downstairs yet this morning and he was SO ADAMANT that it was me who lost his phone. By this point, I figured I was up for the day so I put my contacts in and changed into my exercise clothes. Now Chooch was back upstairs.

“CAN YOU CALL MY PHONE AT LEAST,” he asked, looking like he was on the fringe of conflagration because you know how no one can be without their phone for more than 5 minutes.

So I did, all the while barking things like OH FOR FUCKS SAKE and YOU RUINED MY MORNING and WHY DO I HAVE TO DO EVERYTHING because these are things that real mature moms say. I dialed his phone and we sat there waiting. No ringing.

“YOU PROBABLY HAVE THE RINGER TOO LOW!” I screamed, recalling that when his alarm was going off earlier, I could barely hear it.

“CALL IT AGAIN!!!” he yelled, and now we were standing in the hallway, while I held up my phone to show him that I had dialed it, but still — no ringing.

I hung up and we went right back to grabbing each other by the horns when suddenly my phone rang.

We stopped and looked at my phone.

It said it was him.

Chooch.

Chooch was calling me.

“ARE YOU FUCKING WITH ME!?” I cried, and he shook his head no, eyes all wide with fear.

So I answered it.

And on the other end…

a tiny, tired voice said hello back to me.

I nearly dropped the phone, but Chooch grabbed it from me and he too said hello, only to have it returned with the tired, questioning voice of a kid.

He threw the phone back at me and I disconnected the call.

I backed into the corner and started screaming, “IS THIS YOU?! ARE YOU DOING THIS!?!?” because Chooch is always finding new ways to prank call people, but he was just as scared as I was.

Just then, my phone rang again.

Chooch’s picture popped up on my screen, just as before.

My whole fucking body went ice-cold, my goosebumps were more like gooseMUMPS.

I hit “decline.”

And then I got a text.

“Why do you keep calling me?”

Chooch and I were fucking SCREAMING at this point. I WATCHED THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE AND NOW I’M BEING HAUNTED TOO. I ALWAYS KNEW THIS FUCKING HOUSE WAS HAUNTED. THERE HAVE BEEN LIKE 5 PEOPLE OVER THE YEARS WHO HAVE TOLD ME THAT THEY FELT UNEASY BEING HERE. MY OLD FRIEND KERI WAS SUPPOSED TO LIVE WITH ME WHEN I FIRST MOVED IN BUT THEN SHE HAD A WAKING NIGHTMARE ON MY COUCH THAT THERE WERE CHILDREN HANGING FROM THE BASEMENT RAFTERS AND THEN SHE HAD HER FIRST EXPERIENCE WITH SLEEP PARALYSIS AND DECIDED NOT TO MOVE IN. SOME GOTH KID WAS HERE ONCE AND EVEN GAVE ME SOME KIND OF PROTECTION STONE AFTER TELLING ME THAT HE FELT WEIRD VIBES COMING FROM MY BASEMENT.

AND I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN AFRAID OF THE ATTIC WHICH IS A FINISHED THIRD FLOOR SO YOU WOULD THINK IT WOULDN’T BE SCARY BUT IT IS!

By now, I was getting ready to just go to work because I didn’t want to be home alone, and at the same time my mind is reeling, wondering if I should call my estranged friend Brian who is closely affiliated with the Catholic church to see if he knows anyone who does exorcisms.

But then I realized that the text I got piggy-packed off of an old collection of texts from Chooch. We recently got him a new phone number and when I added it to his contact info on my phone, I forgot to take his old number out, so even though I was texting him on his current number, my phone was defaulting to his old number when I called him. And then Chooch found his phone DOWNSTAIRS because he fucking TOOK IT DOWN THERE when he went to look for the belt that HENRY DIDN’T FIX.

Oh, we laughed, you guys. Our crippling fear brought us back together as Mother and Son and we lovingly said our goodbyes when he left for school.

But now that strange kid who has Chooch’s old Text Free number is probably all scared, wondering who the fuck was calling him at 7AM.

He needed to get up for school anyway. You’re welcome, strange kid.

 

Oct 142018
 

All I can say is, thank god we are a family acclimated to walking. Anytime we visit a different city, that is all we seem to do. But for us, it works! Having an open itinerary makes me feel less rushed and more open to spontaneity, which is something that I find I struggle with at home lately.

So after we ate lunch and got ice cream, we just causally strolled around Soho and perused some boutiques. There was one shop where a French woman was selling a bunch of vintage-looking shit but she had these kind of cool purses shaped like a woman’s face with sunglasses, and Henry was like really adamant about buying me one which was weird because he usually isn’t one to want to buy me gifts so the sirens were going off, like was he cheating on me or something? But it turns out if it was just because our other plans fell through so now he was like, “Here, spend this money somewhere else.” Wow, what a gentleman. Anyway, I ended up not liking the purse once the lady took it off the rack for me to see better, because it turned out it was baseball-themed and I don’t care about baseball one way or another, so then the broad was, “Here is one in a different color” but it was still baseball-themed?! So then Henry was like, “Maybe this one then?” and now I had THREE PURSES in my hands and I did not want a single of them but I felt so pressured! I just kept murmuring over and over, “But I don’t want one” and then luckily the broad turned her attention to another customer who was questioning a scarf so I dumped the purses on the table and ran out of the door.

We went to several other shops though and I got a ring filled with candy and Chooch bought a cool t-shirt from ESNYC. This is the girl we bought it from and she was so nice and cool and I wanted to be friends with her but I’m old and uncool:

(This picture is from the ESNYC website, I didn’t take it.)

All of the shops we went into made me think of when I was in 8th grade and an avid reader of Sassy Magazine (like every alternative teenage girl in the 90s) and one of the issues had a fashion spread with crazy Mad Hatter-style hats (which I was totally into and had several that I bought at Merry Go Round; I had so many that when we had Crazy Hat Day in 8th grade, I swapped them out three times during the day, lol; I was really into outrageous hats) and FUNFUR OVERALLS. You guys, I wanted these fucking overalls so bad. They were from Antique Boutique in NYC and of course, this was back when you couldn’t go on a computer and get everything you saw in a magazine, so I begged my mom to take me to New York but SHE NEVER DID.

I just googled Antique Boutique and it’s CLOSED FOREVER.

Ouch my heart.

I guess it’s just as well because I’m not cool enough anymore to pull any of that off. If I were, I’d have bought one of the totally crazy repurposed t-shirt dresses I was drooling over in one of those shops, ugh. They were so 1980s new wave, I’m dying on the inside just thinking about them.

Here’s a picture of Chooch recording some Vine tribute that I don’t understand.

HASHTAG STUPID!

Things you stumble upon when you opt for the Walk Blindly Thru the City tour itinerary.

Drooling over architecture never gets old to me. Even in Pittsburgh, there are moments when I’m walking around and notice something cool that I somehow have always missed, a baroque* facade or an old ad painted on the side of a brick building in an alley. So I was more than content to walk around taking pictures all day long.

*(LOL like I know what I’m talking about.)

It was around here (dunno where exactly “here” was) that we realized we were very close to the Brooklyn Bridge. Our original plans for that day included waking up early to see the Brooklyn Bridge, so even though it was late afternoon at this point and prime-tourist time, we figured it was still worth experiencing, because YOLO or whatever.

Do the kids still say that?

Probably not the COOL kids.

Like the girl who sold Chooch the shirt.

On the way to the bridge, we were distracted by some lively commotion in a little plaza. Turns out there was some type of street performance going on and I wasn’t very interested because it wasn’t beautiful Korean people busking in Hongdae (#spoiled), but Henry was all, “Yo ho ho, let’s go see what’s going on, we have all the time in the world, after all, yippee-ki-ay.”

There was some troupe of, I dunno, break dancers? And one of them was going to jump over some lone Canadian broad that was pulled from the crowd but then he decided that he needed to make it more dangerous so now they were pulling out men from the crowd, and I knew, I just knew that:

  • This was going to involve a money collection
  • They were going to choose Henry

DING DING DING. I WAS RIGHT ON BOTH ACCOUNTS.

I knew this because Chooch got dragged into something similar a few years ago at the art festival downtown, where a group of hustlers masked as street performers were going to show us something really cool but NOT UNTIL WE DONATED. I can’t even remember what the actual trick was now, but Chooch was stoked to be part of.

So now, there are nine people up there and I’m like, “The fuck is someone going to jump over all of them?” OH, THEY HAD A PLAN, ALRIGHT.

First, they went around with bags and at first I thought they wanted everyone to put their phones in there so that we couldn’t record so I started to panic because OMG DON’T TOUCH MY PHONE IT’S AN EXTENSION OF MY BEING. But no, it was simply money-swindling time.

When they got to me, I was like, “Hey man, you took our money man” and pointed  to Henry  because I can’t remember the last time I had cash on me. So I guess the goal was to get TWENTY DOLLARS from everyone. TWENTY DOLLARS!!!! I could buy a fucking kpop album with that or three fancy ice cream cones or like 7 Kakao emoticon packs! SOME PEOPLE WERE ACTUALLY GIVING THEM $20!!! I know this because every time it would happen, the person that collected would scream, “STOP THE  MUSIC!” and then give that person a shout out and it was so crazy to me because I am a TIGHTWAD when it comes to this stuff.

This was like the ultimate NYC tourist trap, you guys. Why are people so dumb!?

Well, they didn’t stop there. They also singled out each “volunteer” in line, and some of those assholes also gave $20!! I couldn’t believe it. Then I started to panic because no way was Henry going  to do that but the difference between him and the people in the crowd is that EVERYONE WAS WATCHING.

So, first, when Henry is asked where he is from, he says “Pennsylvania.”

Not “Pittsburgh.”

But “Pennsylvania.”

So the guy in charge goes, “HAHAHA WELCOME TO CIVILIZATION” like we’re from the fucking hills and not a legit city, oh I was so embarrassed.

And then, AND THEN! He gave them SEVEN DOLLARS.

So on one hand I’m like, “Thank you for not giving them tomorrow’s lunch money” but also I’m like, “GREAT NOW THEY THINK WE’RE POOR PEOPLE LIVING NEXT TO A CREEK IN RURAL PENNSYLVANIA AND YOU DIDN’T MAKE AS MUCH OFF THIS MONTH’S MOONSHINE BATCH AS  YOU THOUGHT YOU WOULD, HENRY!”

Still, it was worth it to get this video of him repeatedly having his ass slapped in front of a crowd of strangers in NYC!

One of my friends asked on Instagram why he was moved to the side and I was like, “Oh because that’s the POOR PERSON line.” Only the suckers who paid $20 (allllll foreign tourists btw) got to move to the front of the line, so this was how they weeded out the line, making it more realistic to jump over.

BRAVO, STREET HUSTLERS.

The guy who pops up at the end of Chooch’s video up there is the ring leader and the one who acted like he was going to do the jumping through the whole routine until the very end when some guy who didn’t participate in the act at all got up from the sidelines and completed the jump.

“You really thought that other guy was going to be the one jumping!?” Henry exclaimed, incredulous. “Did he really seem like he was in shape for that!?”

Wow, Healthy Hank. You’re one to talk!

So, $7 poorer, we continued on to the Brooklyn Bridge, which was, of course, jam-packed with tourists. I felt like we were part of a herd of cattle marching off to the slaughter house.

There were tons of people desperate to get that Instagram-worthy shot but we weren’t fucking around with that. I was like, “JUST STOP HERE *snap* OK KEEP WALKING.”

I mean, come on now. No one was going to stop walking just to get out of someone’s frame, but fauxtographers were still getting all huffy, having their amateur photoshoots bombed by passers-by.

Did you know that I’m desperately afraid of bridges? I am. And I live in a city that is literally known as the city of bridges. I force myself to walk across one every week on my lunch break and it has been helping me a little bit. (Although there is a pedestrian bridge that goes from the North Shore to the Point that always gets me good — I was on it two weeks ago and seized up when I got to the middle; my heart was crashing against my ribcage and I started to get light-headed, and then it began to rain. It was pretty fucking terrible.)

While my legs were a bit wobbly as we crossed the Brooklyn Bridge, I was still able to make it halfway without having a full-blown freak out.

It was still pretty scary though.

I think I would have been scared if we were on it alone, if that makes sense.

It really was breathtaking and worth the hassle of getting dinged at by bike bells and jostled by distracted tourists.

LOL, freshly-spanked Hank.

Some guy was on the middle of the bridge with his albino boa constrictor and asked if anyone wanted to hold it. Chooch shot his hand up into the air and did the whole “Ooh! Ooh!” eager school boy routine.

“That’ll be $10,” the snake’s owner said to me and I was like, “HAHA BOY BYE.”

Chooch was all sad but dude, no. We can go to stupid Cheeseman’s Haunted Hayride and he can hold like three different snakes at the end for free! This is NYC, boy, of course you can’t hold some bridge snake for free.

Henry’s stupid elbow.

Oh, Brooklyn Bridge, where you can’t even take a picture of a plaque without some stranger being in the shot.

Anyway, that was the first half our spontaneous afternoon in NYC. I was heartbroken that our original plans fell through, but really grateful that we were able to make the best of it and let Chooch scratch some shit off the ol’ Bucket List. I didn’t get to do a lot of domestic travel when I was a kid, so I’m glad that we’ve been able to do these things with Chooch. HE BETTER SPEAK FONDLY OF IT WHEN HE’S AN ADULT.