Feb 032023
 

Billy, we got some straight up JAMS to listen to together today. During my work day, I tend to put on “retro synth” playlists on YouTube. Most of it is instrumental which is good for me because I need to con-cen-trate on what I’m doing or I will get yelled at. Probably not, but maybe. You never know. A passive aggressive call-out, at the very least. Anyway, I need to have background music on to block out the perpetually shrieking children next door, but if I play kpop, then I get way too into plus my ears will start subconsciously perking up every time I hear a word that I recognize and then I feel compelled to look up the lyrics to see if I was correct, and it’s just a whole thing that will deter me from the work at hand for a solid 10 or 20 or sometimes longer if I’m at that point inspired to get up and see if Give Me Five Thailand also has a cardio workout to the subject song.

See what I mean? I can’t Kpop and review engagement letters at the same time.

But synth is wonderful because it puts me in a very relaxed, comfortable zone. HOWEVER, every so often, a song with vocals will pop on that stops me dead. Here are some of the recent ones that I have been fully fucking with.

And this last one especially made me call out HENRY BRING ME MY ROLLER SKATES. It has become a sensation at work, too! Even GLENN liked it!

This is bigly inspiring me to want to have a party.

OK, it’s Friday night. An exceptionally annoying work week is officially behind me. Your girl is about to drink some wine and make a playlist for a party I will probably never actually move forward with because I am lazy and constantly distracted but at least I’ll have a sick playlist.

Jan 202023
 

Happy Friday. I have a lot of heaviness on my mind today so I thought instead of being a downer, I will do a Friday Five featuring songs from YouTube workout videos that….live rent-free in my head. Ugh, I can’t believe I used that. But yeah, something different! Mixin’ it up! This is also for my own selfish benefit because I am constantly having to Shazam these while working out because I can never remember!

Anyway, if you’re into FitTube then you’ll probably know some of these because all those FitTubers use the same royalty-free songs. #IYKYK

BUT SOME OF THEM ARE SO CATCHY, they should make a compilation of them called I Can’t Believe This Isn’t Top 40.

  1. We Can Be Fearless – Tomas Skyldeberg

 

2. Not Like Them – DJ Mayson

3. No Sugar Coated Love (Feat. Jowen) [Slct Remix] – Tape Machines

4.  One That Keeps Me – Larry Paz 

Fun fact – this is apparently the husband of Jo from GrowWithJo which is where I got most of these jams from. Her channel is good for when I need a filler workout but don’t want to get too crazy with it, and she always uses great music that keeps me engaged!

5. Perfectly Opposite – Carla the Great (Deek Cloud remix)

This was the only video I could find for this one and it’s not great, but the song is so good, and I wanted desperately to include it.

There was one that I really wanted to include but I can’t find it now in order to Shazam it and I’m tired of playing workout videos in the background while I’m non-workout working so perhaps we’ll do a part 2 someday.

OK bye bye.

Dec 282022
 

Kang Daniel "First Parade" World Tour 2023: Cities And Ticket Details

I treated myself (fine, and Henry) to tickets to see Kang Daniel in Toronto in March! This is by far the cheapest Kpop concert I will have ever attended – less than $100 for BOTH tickets. It’s at a small theater, and I got us general admission tickets for the floor (standing room only) after confirming with Henry that he was OK with standing, god forbid.

Granted, we now have to cough up the bucks for a hotel, gas, food, etc. since it’s in Toronto, but we both genuinely love Toronto so much and are always talking about revisiting. We actually almost planned a spontaneous weekend trip last month because Chooch wanted to eat at Doomie’s, and I was like, “Yeah, I could also go for some Doomie’s,” and just when we had Henry half on board, we realized that DOOMIE’S CLOSED. It’s only in LA now :(

I am so stoked to see Kang Daniel, though!! He was my favorite in Wanna One and I was so relieved that he was able to embark on successful solo career about their disbandment. He is truly thriving and every single comeback he’s had has been a banger.  I think my favorite is still Upside Down, though! It’s always got me hitting replay.

Henry is more of a “I know his name and that’s all” type of guy, but every time I played him another song the other night, he would go, “Oh. Yeah, I know this one, too.”

He’s just GOOD. I don’t know what else to tell you. I will say though that the first time we were in Korea, his former group Wanna One seemed to be more popular there than even BTS. There was Wanna One stuff EVERYWHERE. They were even on posters for some kind of Cheetos fried chicken, and each individual member was featured on candy bars.

This one was my favorite Kang Daniel song for quite some time. Every time I hear it, I scream to Henry, “DOESN’T IT SOUND LIIKE THAT ONE SHUDDER TO THINK SONG??” and every single time, he looks at me like I’m nuts and yells, “NO.”

I hope I’m not jinxing anything by talking about this mths in advance like I did with our 2020 Euro Coaster trip that Covid ruined. I’m just so excited to be going to a Kpop concert in a city that I love so much – I’m going to be watching YouTube videos of Toronto Vegan stuff from now until March.

Dec 032022
 

Oh my god, when I found out that NCT Dream was releasing a movie centered around their recent In a Dream concert, and that TWO theaters in Pittsburgh were actually going to be showing it, I bought two tickets immediately the day they went on sale. NCT Dream is the “younger brothers” to the main NCT unit, NCT127. I know, it’s confusing. SM Entertainment really does the most and their convoluted NCT conglomerate takes some time to really parse through. Basically, you can’t really be a moderate or part-time fan of NCT – you gotta be all in because there are so many moving pieces.

Anyway! I fluctuate between who I like more: NCT127 or NCT Dream. At this point, I have seen NCT127 three times (twice at KCON, and once at a full-fledged concert on their recent US tour) and I have seen NCT Drean NONE TIMES.

But I really think that they are my faves. They just make my heart so happy and I want all of the best things for them.

Watching this movie was going to have to be the next best thing to actually seeing them live.

Today was the day of the movie and I WAS FUCKING READY!!!

My Haechan pendant (designed by me, made by Henry) and a NCT lightstick necklace by the talented The Idol Collective.

My Cherry Bomb purse (this is actually NCT127) with my Renjun and Jaemin pins showing.

NCT Dream Dear Diary pin; Haechan Boom-era pin.

You guys, it didn’t occur to me until we got to the theater that I FUCKING FORGET TO WEAR MY NCT DREAM T-SHIRT. I HATE MYSELF.

“It’s going to be dark in there,” Henry reasoned. YEAH BUT…

P.S. We were only about 7 minutes away from home when Henry looked over at me and frowned because I WAS ALREADY STARTING TO CRY. Why do I have to feel so much?

“I should have brought Kleenex because I know I’m going to cry. I can’t help it! I care very deeply about NCT Dream. They’re on the same level as the cats and squirrels,” I said wailed.
Henry:

Henry mumbled, “Wow. So that puts me even lower.”

!!!!!

The girl in front of me took a picture of this so then I had to, too Henry sighed.

I sent this to Chooch, who was at work and “sadly” had to miss the viewing festivities. “Great, now I have to sit next to him while he eats popcorn in a silent theater.” Chooch and I are very much anti-Henry’s Mouth Noises.

IT STARTED WITH RENJUN RIGHT OFF THE BAT AND MY TEARS JUST FELL FREELY.

You guys. I thought there was no way for me to love these guys any more than I already did, but then I spent two hours with them in a theater and my heart was swelling to the point of explosion. This concert was a huge deal for them because it was at the Seoul Olympic Stadium, which is like the PREMIERE venue for artists to perform at in Seoul, it’s what they all aim for. It’s also only their SECOND concert (like, full concert of their own and not just like festivals, etc.) and the first one with Mark, who had “graduated” out of NCT Dream before they had their first concert because originally, NCT Dream wasn’t a fixed unit. It was intended to be a fluid unit with revolving members under the age of 20. So once Mark had his 20th birthday, he “graduated” out of NCT Dream. The fans did not like this one bit and demanded that SM reconsider, bring Mark back, and keep NCT Dream as a fixed unit with the original 7 members. Eventually, SM caved, put Mark back in and promised that the current lineup would be the forever-lineup.

Yeah, I was a mess at most times throughout this movie. My nose was running bigly and my stomach hurt from trying to silent-cry when I wanted so badly to big-sob. And I know you’re wondering: Henry only fell asleep once at the very end, for “like a second,” he said. To be fair, he legit likes them but will honestly fall asleep at any given opportunity. He would probably also fall asleep during a Ted Nugent biopic.

I’m glad that this was available in Pittsburgh and that I was able to go. Yes, it emotionally wrecked me but it was amazing to see so many of their songs as they performed them at their concert in Seoul. I am so proud of them and the huge crowd they drew!

Since the World Cup stuff is happening currently, I’ll end this with a video of them performing Trigger the Fever, which was the official song of the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2017 (whatever that means) and Mark actually has a songwriting credit for this!

And here they are performing it at the soccer thing in 2017 (minus Jaemin because I think he was injured):

They were so young!!!

Afterward, Henry and I went to Angkor for some Thai food and I tried so hard to rehash the entire 2 hours but he barely had anything to say and just nodded a lot, but you know, that’s just Henry.

Sigh.

 

 

 

Oct 262022
 

My weird side-angled view, lol. The advantage was that we got to see NCT before anyone else though!

Ever since the NCT127 concert two weeks ago, I have been putting off writing about it because (a) I’m still riding that high and frantically searching YouTube for fan videos from the concert and (b) I don’t even know how to begin! I feel like I always start these things by saying some wishy-washy sentiment like, “It’s so hard to explain…” but you know what? No, it really isn’t so hard to explain because I bet any person reading this can relate in some way to that fucking euphoric feeling of seeing your favorite band, especially if it’s one that you don’t get to see very often or haven’t seen at all before, and then that inevitable crash of post-show depression that follows. This is what connects us! We might not agree on the band/group/etc. in question, but the feeling is the same.

So…you know exactly how I felt on this night of October 13th, 2022, and also right now as I relive it!

I am honest to god quietly crying right now (and also laughing at the fact that I’m crying!) because I love these boys so much. I want to protect them and I want all of the good things to happen to them.

I first saw NCT in 2017 at KCON NY (actually was in Newark though, at this same arena!). They were still rookies then and I only knew a little about them. At that time, I was wholly-invested in their big brothers, SHINee, as you might know! But when Chooch and I saw them on this stage that night, I was blown away. I started paying close attention to the music and MVs after that, but it wasn’t until maybe 2018 or 2019 when I also started watching their content.

If you don’t know, most Kpop groups put a TON of extra content online. YouTube is full of “comeback parties” and vlogs of their daily lives. I think what really hooked me was watching all of the vlogs that NCT127 filmed while on their last US tour in 2019. I already knew all the members by that point, but that was what solidified me as a card-carrying NCTzen (their fangroup name!). Seeing them on this stage that night, in real life, after spending the last several years obsessing over them, learning the members of ALL NCT units, hemming and hawing over who is my latest bias, and just rooting for them with my whole heart, it was a lot. It was a lot for everyone there that night, I think! The number of tears that I shed and screams that scraped my throat that night…that was also a lot.

♥SETLIST♥

  • Interlude: NEO Zone
  • Kick It
  • Lemonade
  • Cherry Bomb
  • Elevator (127F)
  • Dreamer
  • Love Song
  • Another World (Taeil Solo)
  • Love Sign (Taeil & Haechan duet)
  • Run Back 2 U (Jonny, Taeyong, Yuta, Jaehyun dance performance)
  • Highway to Heaven (English version)
  • Breakfast
  • VCR: Running 2 U
  • Vibration (Mark solo)
  • Moonlight (Taeyong solo)
  • The Himalayas (Mark & Taeyong rap duet)
  • VCR: Lipstick
  • Lipstick (Jungwoo solo dance)
  • Focus (with Johnny solo dance break OMFG)
  • Lost (Jaehyun solo)
  • Butterfly (Yuta solo)
  • The Rainy Night
  • White Night
  • Back 2 U (AM 01:27)
  • The Reason Why It’s Favorite (Doyoung solo)
  • Favorite (Vampire)
  • Regular (English version)
  • Love on the Floor
  • Paradise
  • Touch
  • Love Me Now
  • Sticker
  • Faster
  • 2 Baddies

ENCORE:

  • Dreams Come True
  • Promise You

(And now I’m crying again. Cool. It’s fine. This is fine. I’m fine.)

Every single second of the night was my favorite. But if I had to choose several isolated moments:

  • HAECHAN. Literally, seeing Haechan in real life was everything. He’s my ult bias across the entire NCT universe, and it was hard for me to focus on my actual NCT127 bias (Jaehyun, who started out as my bias wrecked only to be in danger of being wrecked himself!). Haechan is just…this is so fucking lame and I’m going to sound like a grandma from the 1960s, but he is JUST SO DAZZLING. His movements, his face, his HONEY VOCALS. No one sounds like Haechan. No one. He is OOAK.

OMG this part! OK so I tried really hard to avoid videos from the LA show that happened the week before this because I didn’t want anything spoiled. So I had no idea that they did this super cute lightstick dance to “Breakfast”! I was SCREAMING.

I’m just going to put this out there, but I think Mark and Taeyong’s chemistry together as rappers is like a New Gen T.O.P. and G-Dragon. Their rap styles are so distinct that even if you aren’t a NCTzen, you can spot an NCT song by the rap line alone. Anyone who says Kpop is homogenous either isn’t paying attention or doesn’t want to accept the fact that there is a wealth of talent in South Korea and frankly, their artists are just performing at levels that Western artists can’t touch.

OK LOVE ON THE FLOOR. (And poor Taeil’s shoes preventing him from climbing up.)

This is nowhere near as incredible as it was when they performed it in Korea and Japan because the US just can’t handle those kinds of stages, I guess, lol. But this was still…yeah.

The last song before the encore was 2 Baddies and I swear it felt like the arena suffered structural damage from our maniacal screaming. THAT SONG. THAT FUCKING SONG.

After the lights came on, I reluctantly made my way out of Section 127 into the swarm of NCTzens, and found Henry creepily leaning against a wall. He immediately started whining in real time to me about his seat sitch and I was just like, “Bro-ski, I do not CARE, let me SAVOR THIS MOMENT without dropping your bitchy anvil on it.” Fuck!!

Once we got outside, Henry’s mood had totally seeped into my skin so then I was feeling mopey too but he finally realized that he was, once again, ruining my life, so he quickly swerved and said, “Hey come on, let’s go stand over there and wait for NCT to leave. I didn’t call the Uber yet.” I made him suffer for a few more minutes before finally walking over to the area near the loading zone. We found out by accident that this is where the artists leave the arena back when we saw Stray Kids, because it was taking us so long to get a ride back to the hotel that we just happened to still be standing across the street when their cavalcade of black vans pulled out.

We must have only waited for about 20 minutes, but it was chilly and drizzling. Still, it was totally worth it to stand with my fellow NCT stans in total anticipation of not being able to see anything aside from our distorted reflections in the rain-streaked tinted windows.

Yeah, it was worth it.

Henry was even nice and gave up his spot to an older lady who was so appreciative – Kpop Dads know when to take one for the team, you know?

I didn’t realize this until days later, but apparently Aespa was in the first van!

(Um OK I’m crying again, hold please. What is my problem lol.)

Oh man, what a night. I hate Newark so much but I would make (Henry make) that drive 127 more times if it meant even seeing NCT for a minute. They are so special to me, it makes me feel actually physically ill.

When we got back to the hotel, someone on our floor had Haechan peeking out from under their door and I was so jealous! I do sometimes wish that I had friends here who were into this but I guess Henry will do. And my one and only kpop friend (Veronica in LA!) and I made a pact that we WILL be attending a kpop concert together in the future. I suggested that we just go to Seoul and see NCT127 there and she did not say no, lol!

Do I regret spending $DONTMAKEMESAY.IT on a ticket? NOPE. I will never, ever regret spending money on music.

(Or vacations and amusement parks!)

At least I will die rich in experiences lol.

(Probably while lying in the fetal position on the futon Chooch throws into the corner of his basement for me because I’ll be too poor as an old retired* lady to live on my own.)

*(Or to retire.)

[DISCLAIMER: None of the YouTube videos are mine. The Flickr ones are, though.]

Oct 232022
 

While I was having the best time over in Section 127 with my new NCTbestie from Boston, Henry was having a very different experience in his section 210. When we parted ways, I told him to send me pictures proving that he was actually in his seat and not actually just spending the concert hiding in the bathroom or wandering the empty hallways like a predator.

He sent me a selfie right away:

LOL why does he take selfies like this?!?!? You can see that he was almost at the very very back of the arena. I think there was only one row behind him.

I guess that was his view before his night took a turn.

I was busy talking to my new friend and switching between screaming my throat raw and weeping while waving my light stick. Meanwhile, he was blowing up my phone with these whiny texts that I pointedly ignored:

But then he TAGGED me in an Instagram post?! HE WAS THAT WHINY that he had to go to these extra lengths to bring my attention to his tragic seating situation by CALLING ME OUT on social media?!

Wow. He must have been mad. Let me also be clear that this is all because I bought the ticket for him on the drive there instead of letting him wait until we got to the hotel so he could do it himself. I didn’t want to take the chance!

The ticket was only $60 (you know, BEFORE Ticketmaster added their mysterious fees that their Board probably uses to purchase human blood to sip from antique chalices) so he can’t really complain that much!!

Apparently, he moved seats twice and it didn’t matter because people kept congregating in the aisles and ok, THAT would piss me off too. I mean you have to expect that people will stand at concerts. I stood for the whole thing! (Except during the Ments and interludes where a video would play to distract us while they disappeared for wardrobe changes.) you’re excited to see your faves and you want to stand for them! It’s normal.

But Henry doesn’t want to stand at concerts. I dunno I guess I can see both sides.

The next day, he was slowly revealing more and more of his experience on the drive home. There was a married couple nearby that he immediately hated. He said they reminded him of these AWFUL people we used to know from Live Journal, Regan and Lance. They were world class assholes. They apparently became friends with other people that he hated (I think the ones who were standing) and now they have plans to go see Ateez together, and then one of them had a roommate who was on the other side of the arena but then she ended ip coming to their side and also stood in front of Henry.

The only exception to the people Henry hated was a young Korean guy and his girlfriend. The guy had classic noonchi, apparently, and asked Henry if he could see because, according to Henry, he shot ip as soon as NCT came out and never stopped singing and dancing through the whole thing while his girlfriend sat down and ate. Henry was OK with this guy.

Henry wasn’t able to see the stage at all EXCEPT for when Johnny took his shirt off and danced in a cage because his section was super Johnny-biased and this caused “a lot of movement” in the crowd so then he was able to see, lol why is this so hilarious to me?! Imagining Henry being like, “oh thank fuck – at least, of all the things happening tonight, I can see Johnny’s striptease.” Henry said his favorite part was watching Taeyong trying not to laugh.

Here is the best video I could find of this song lol:

Henry said his favorite song of the night was Highway to Heaven, which he said with no hesitation so it must be true:

Neither of those videos are mine!! I didn’t really record any full songs (except for Cherry Bomb and Back 2 U!!) and also I was sitting up in the balcony section so who wants to see those anyway.

On his bias Yuta’s solo: “I didn’t even get to see it but you can put that one in if you want.” Lol ok Kpop Dad calm down.

Henry doesn’t like that Yuta doesn’t get enough lines. “He has a nice voice!”

“I liked ‘listening’ to it, how about that? Visually, it was very unappealing. Not NCT127’s fault.” – Henry’s very informative review. And then: “I wish I knew that girl’s name.” (In reference to the MAIN SWAYING VIEW-OBSTRUCTOR  who reminded him of Regan.)

“I should have Nugent’d her.”

 

Oct 202022
 

It’s been almost a week since the NCT127 concert and I still haven’t really lost that glorious buzz.

The concert started at 8 so I decided we should leave our hotel by 6:30 because sometimes it can take FOREVER to get inside a Kpop concert. There were a bunch of other NCTzens staying at our hotel also and several of them were waiting for their rides at the same time. Ours came first and I giddily called out, “HAVE FUN TONIGHT GUYS!” and they all happily waved and yelled YOU TOO and this is the difference between Kpop and the other scene I came from because I would have been probably met with a scowl or eyeroll if I had done that to a bunch of scene kids lol ugh. With Kpop, there is no age limit. Young Kpop fans don’t look at broads like me and call us Grandma or assume that we’re just there with out kids. I have never had a bad experience with any Kpop fan (except for BTS fans lol they are the most toxic people, trust).

Our Uber driver dropped us off around 6:45 or so and I was surprised at how short the line was to get in! We opted for the opposite side of the arena this time because it took us SO LONG to get inside for Stray Kids. There were about 8 separate lines to get into 4 doors so it was still not the fastest moving line, but it was ok!

It was drizzling a little bit, but I didn’t care – I’m not delusional enough to think that anyone in NCT was going to NOTICE ME SEMPAI and I certainly wasn’t tryna impress Kpop Dad over there. Haha.

IN THE RAIN, HAIR FRIZZING.

I purposely didn’t bring a bag and Henry only had his wallet so we cleared security in record time. I hate how shitty the world is. When we were recently there for Stray Kids, the various jewelry and accessories people were being told to remove was mind-blowing. I would have loved to have brought in my Cherry Bomb purse but it has chain straps and I also would have accessorized with my NCT enamel pins but I feel like if you can’t wear a spiked choker, why would they let you in with MINI DAGGERS OMG.

Once we got inside, we (lol, “we”) ran straight to the merch stand upstairs. The line was BLESSEDLY short and I was able to snag the shirt I wanted in about 5 minutes. Much better than standing in that long-ass “early merch” line we saw earlier that afternoon. The line snaked all through the courtyard of the Prudential Center!

You didn’t ask BUT HERE IS THE SHIRT I BOUGHT:

Luckily, I already have an NCT light stick because the guy that was 3 people ahead of me bought the very last one – they took it right off the display and put it in its box for the dude. Henry actually bought me the light stick last year for Christmas because I kept screaming about how I just KNEW NCT127 was going to come here in 2022. Good thinking, Henry, you smart, grizzly ol’ NCTzen, you.

I know it’s hard to see, but this was the crowd of people trying to get in on the other side of the arena! I’m so glad we got lucky with the doors we chose.

So, this is the part where my heart was acting like it was on a bunch of new designer street drugs at a 1996 rave. I was A BALL OF NERVES. You guys, NCT! I was about to see them! LET’S GOOOO! But also, HOLD ON, I’M NOT READDDDDDY!

We had a good while to kill before getting our (very separate) seats, so since I was in a bigly competition with some stranger named Marisol in the FitBit Workweek Hustle, I made Henry do laps around the Prudential Center with me. When I say I know this place better than the hockey arena in my own city, there’s really no hyperbole to be found. Not even a crumb of it behind my molars. So weird how many times kpop has brought me to this place.

Anyway, we kept seeing the same people over and over, including some of the people who were waiting for a ride outside of our hotel! It’s so strange how once you home in on certain faces, your eyes find mystery ways to find them again and again. I also saw the guy who brought the last light stick about 4 times and every time I pointed him out, Henry acted like he had no idea who I was talking about. At one point, I kept trying to move over to let the person behind me pass because it sounded like they were in a big time hurry and the scuff-squeak of their boots kept getting closer and closer to the point where I was afraid they were going to walk up my back. Finally, I side-stepped in time for a tiny Asian girl in a school uniform and big white boots to pass me in the aforementioned big time hurry. I laughed and said, “I’ll probably see her 87 more times tonight now.”

I didn’t have my wallet so I made Henry buy an Angry Orchard for us to share and he bragged because on one of our cycles around the Prudential Center, she smiled at him and that apparently means they’re FRIENDS now. Mmm. Then we did this adorable photo shoot, lol.

Henry looks like he’s mad to be there (I sent this to my mom and she called me pathetic, I guess because everyone assumes I dragged him there against his will, as if he’s not a NCTzen whose bias is Yuta – HE CHANGED IT FROM JUNGWOO! This is brand new intel!) but he was actually just mad because Ticketmaster is a shady web of scammers so he had to get a really shitty seat one row from the last row possible because it was the only ticket we could afford after I spent …. I don’t want to say it again … on my ticket.

We took one last victory lap around the Prudential Center. I loved seeing all the crazy outfits people put together for the show. One of NCT’s main colors is lime/neon green and this was the dominant color of the night for sure.

Around 7:45 I decided it was time to part ways and take our respective seats. I could tell immediately that my view was going to be obstructed because my section was too close to the side of the stage BUT I was the first row of that upper section so at least I wouldn’t have the token Tallest Person in the Room in front of me.

My ass wasn’t even all the way in my seat yet when the girl to my right IMMEDIATELY said hello. I was like, “OK good a friendly person who is also here alone” so I engaged. I know weird right? But sometimes tiny fragments of my lost personality come back to the surface and inspire the small talk. She is from Boston, her bias is Jungwoo, and SHE IS 17, of fucking course.

“My dad is here, but he’s sitting over there,” she said, motioning to the other side of the arena.

“Mine too!” I cried happily. Then she said her dad’s bias is Yuta and I started to get paranoid that her dad and Henry are the same person.

She asked me who my bias is (“Across the board? Haechan and Ten. Specifically NCT127? Jaehyun.” to which she nodded approvingly) and how long I’ve been a NCTzen (“3 years, but have been following them since 2017.” – for those wondering at home.) and it was fucking wonderful, having someone who speaks my language! I admitted that I’m an old hag and that my main fave is BIGBANG to which she asked, “OT5 or OT4?” and I was honest and said OT5 because give me Seungri or give me death. We talked our faces off until NCT127 came on and you know who didn’t come up once because we’re real Kpop fans? BTS lol. It was a safe place for real.

About 3/4 of the way through the concert, the girl on her other side made contact with her and that girl was only in her 20s probably so my new friend who could be my daughter dropped me like a hot potato and that was fine because SHE KEPT MAKING COMMENTS AND ASIDES about every single thing happening and you know what? I just wanted to stand there and oscillate between weeping quietly and shrieking, “OMFG!!!!!!” every time and to be honest I couldn’t hear what she was saying that well anyway!! Honestly though, everyone around me in SECTION 127 (!!!) was wonderful and I have no complaints (Henry can’t say the same but we’ll let him tell his version another day – he even has pictures haha).

The girl sitting to my left was a SUPER great seat mate – she was so quiet, watching the whole concert through her binoculars and only ever screamed when Taeyong was talking. Oh yeah, and she was also The Big Hurry Girl in the school uniform and stompy white boots who almost mowed me down.

TO BE CONTINUED!

Oct 032022
 

It is COZY TOWN up in here these days and I’m alright with that even though I do really miss wearing shorts everyday. I’m not opposed to the shorts-n-hoodie look but it’s just a bit too nippy for my wussy legs to handle the exposure. As it is, I’ve been walking around the house with a throw wrapped around me like a toga, trying not to think about how it’s only going to get worse.

Anyway, it’s Monday and I’m feeling free-flowy, so let’s just talk about things that have been going on, etc. etc. tra la la la.

Such as, my new drawer pull! OK back up. So when we re-did the kitchen, we got this counter thingie from IKEA. Because it’s IKEA, it didn’t come with cabinet knobs or a drawer pull for the middle drawer. We took care of the cabinet knobs quickly by using the same style we used on our wall cabinets, adding pictures of Michael Jackson, Boy George, and Rick Astley to them, because of course.

But that motherfucking drawer. I knew I wanted to use something ridiculous as a drawer pull, and I kept looking on eBay for various 1980s relics. Nothing felt right though so we had to live with opening a cabinet first in order to pull open the drawer. Chooch flipped his shit a few weeks ago. “I’M SO SICK OF THIS DRAWER WHY CAN’T ANYTHING IN THIS HOUSE BE NORMAL” so I sidled up next to him and said, “I’m so glad you brought this up, Sonny Boy, because look what MOTHER just purchased on eBay!” and then I showed him this BANGIN’ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Burger King kids meal toy.

“I don’t know what that is,” he mumbled, brushing past me to return to his lair.

Henry attached it to the drawer the other day and  I am so satisfied with it and my chintzy-ass fucking house that I don’t own. (LOL OK fine that’s a lie, I am decidedly not satisfied with this house as a whole, that’s for sure.)

I had dinner with Marlene, Megan, and Debby the other night at Bonfire, which I had never been to before and was pleasantly surprised when I walked in and was greeted by Chooch’s old piano teacher, Cheryl! I had a really nice chat with her, and was finally able to address the elephant in the room: her name change, which Chooch had randomly told me about years ago but I was never sure if he was trolling me or not, so as she was walking me over to my reserved table, I blurted out, “So I’ve been meaning to ask you, DID YOU CHANGE YOUR NAME TO LAVENDAR?” and when she confirmed, I said, “OK I wasn’t sure if I could trust my kid or not, so I’m sorry that I have been still calling you Cheryl for 80 years,” and for some reason she thought the “80 years” part was really funny so I think I’m forgiven.

Then I got to introduce her to my crazy work pals once they arrived. I miss the days of Chooch’s piano lessons, but I’m glad she’s back in Pittsburgh!

Anyway, she wasn’t our server though – we had someone named Amanda and I had a mild crush on her because she was very no-nonsense and firm with us which appealed to me. I like to be verbally rough-housed in restaurants sometimes. I mean, THERE’S A TIME AND A PLACE, etc.

It literally took us an hour to order, so I’m sure Amanda was motherfuckering us up and down in the kitchen. I had the mushroom and kale flatbread and let me just say that I have never actually had a flatbread that I felt writing home about but if I had a pen and paper and a stamp and envelope with me, this would have been the one. It was actually so wonderful that I am still thinking about it a little and wish that I hadn’t let Henry have my leftovers as payment for dropping me off and picking me up although it’s a good thing because I had too much to drink and actually had the spins that night :/

It was nice getting to witness Debby and Marlene’s sibling-esque banter again though! They both retired in 2021 and are living their best lives now. I took over some of the stuff that Debby was responsible for and let me just tell you, I am, on my best days, the dime store Debby knock-off. And on my worst days, aka today, I’m barely a Goodwill bin Debby. Sigh.

On my bill, I scribbled, YOU ARE SO AWESOME AMANDA in the scrawl of a town wino, and I wonder if she could pick up on THE FLIRTY UNDERTONES.

(Did I mention that the cheese on my flatbread was like FONDUE? Holy shit.)

Drew, chillin’ with Buddy. Everything was fine until I said, “Drew, do you wanna let Buddy in the house and you can share your toys with him?

Speaking of Buddy, Girl Buddy was visiting the other day and I had my hand out with walnOOts in it and before I had a chance to hand her one, she came over and, in an attempt to help herself from serving platter of a palm, she BIT MY FINGER. Well, “bit” is hyperbolic. But my fingertip went into her mouth! We made eye contact immediately and it was as if she realized what she was doing, that my fingertip was not FUDZ (that’s their word that they share with the cats for “food,”) and she released me with no damage done. Henry was like a fountain of frowns though.

I got this Suspiria shirt recently and it’s perfect to wear to haunted houses <3 Suzy Bannion forever. (I used to always spell her last name as Banyan and truthfully, I like that so much better, but whatever. It’s not *my* movie.)

We also worked on the new carouselfie wall this weekend. I decided months ago that I lowkey hated the first version of it. I hated the wall color and those stupid flowers were so, well, stupid.  I bounced around several different ideas but then you know what? I went with my old tried and true: stripes. I fucking love a striped accent wall. Yeah, we have a lot of them in this piece, but oh well! (OK really only five, that’s not THAT many.)

I picked two colors at Home Depot almost immediately and then as Henry was taping off the wall later that day, he realized that my project had very quickly become “his” project. “It’s because you’re so good at painting stripes, sweetheart,” I mumbled while watching NCT content, probably.

Then I was like, “Oh and btw, now ‘we’ need to repaint the picture frames too.” LOL. I’m sorry, but now that the wall was changed to pink and green, the frames clashed! I chose solid white and he was actually happy about that. Like, when do I ever choose white for anything?? But in this case, I think it was the best bet, YOU KNOW?

The final touch was a strip of pink neon. We’re not done hanging frames yet, but you get the picture! The best part is that now that they’re spaced closer together, there’s room for more. And you know I have a lot of carouselfies planned for next year!

I like having themed areas, I dunno. Organized chaos, and all that.

In non-NCT127 KPOP news, I am beyond stoked that EXID is back!! I thought that they had disbanded for some reason but then they came out of nowhere with this banger and I am so pleased. They will always remind me of my early days in the KPOP scene, and Hani is one of my all-time favorite girl idols. I love her so much. And I just saw in the comments that they funded this comeback themselves?! Literal queens.

Well, that’s about all I had on my mind so I will see my way out now.

Sep 012022
 

Today I’m going to tell you about one of two times in the span of a week that I sobbed like I was auditioning for a soap opera.

I’m not proud of my behavior, but I also CAN 100% JUSTIFY IT OK STEP OFF.

It all started last week when my best Kpop friend Veronica DMd me on Insta. She had randomly noticed that she had a Ticketmaster email in her SPAM FOLDER.

Announcing NCT127 US DATES.

Two of them, to be exact. LA and Newark.

At first I was like OMFG yessss! So excited!

But then it quickly dawned on me that only two dates meant that tickets were going to be EXTRA HARD to procure. It’s already Hunger Games for a regular Kpop tour, just a bleak landscape of scalpers and Ticketmaster price gouging, preventing the true fans from getting the best seats possible without their parents having to take out a second mortgage.

Tickets for Newark were slated to go on sale Monday at 3pm, so from the moment I read Veronica’s message until Monday, I was a mess of stress, a web of sizzling nerves and heart palps.

Henry came home Monday afternoon in an effort to help me get tickets. I thought he was going to be late, but he strode in around 2:30, totally carefree, pep in his step, while I was sitting at the computer burping up stomach acid and running my hands through hair slick with PANIC GREASE. I threw myself at him and wailed, “I KNOW I’M NOT GETTING TICKETS. I’M NOT SEEING NCT. I’M NOT GOING.” And then I just started sobbing like a three-year-old who needs a nap but doesn’t know it.

I think you know the hell that is Ticketmaster. I won’t get into the nitty gritty, but that waiting room bullshit is so stressful (like, they could at least play some Chuck Mangione or something, even Kenny G for God’s sake) and the fucking QUEUE is insulting. Henry and I both had 2000+ bitches in front of us, and by the time it “our turn” to buy tickets, everything was already resale or TICKETMASTER PLATINUM.

You guys know about this, right? Just another way for TM to fucking price-gouge by being THEIR OWN SCALPERS. It’s so fucked up, I can’t even….

I was fully prepared to throw down a pretty penny for a floor seat, but they were already up to $4000.

I can’t.

I wish.

But even if I could.

Would I?

That’s a shit ton of $$$.

Sorry: $$$$.

So then I was like, “OK, if I can’t get the floor, then I’ll take the next section up. But those were all Platinum by then, and every time I would click on a seat, I would get the frustrating, “We’re sorry, someone else us beat you to it” message AND I WOULD FUCKING RAGE OUT.

At one point, I screamed really loud and threw my mouse across the desk and Henry had to put his hands on my arms and say, “OK. EASY.”

Finally, I panicked and paid entirely too much a seat in the first row of section 127 (127!!!!) which is not where I wanted to be.  I could have waited to see if resale tickets would go down as the date gets closer, but when it comes to Kpop I don’t gamble. These groups have expiration dates and military enlistment is looming for some of them.

I thought I would get a chance to see SHINee, and look what happened.

I thought I would get a chance to see BIGBANG, and look what happened.

So, I spent a lot of money, but even though it made me sick, I can’t say I regret it because NCT127 is my #2 group, you guys. (BIGBANG and SHINee now share the honors for being #1.) So, I splurged.

I didn’t realize just how much stress over this my body was carrying until after it was all said and done, and it almost felt like static electricity lifting off my body. It was insane.

Henry had retreated to the bedroom for his daily after-work nap by this point, confident that I was pacified and that the kitchen knives wouldn’t need to be confiscated. Stress now replaced with frenetic, nervous energy, I followed him up there, threw myself down on the bed and wailed, “HENRY I DON’T CARE IF I SOUND LIKE I’M 16, I JUST LOVE THEM SO MUCH AND WANTED TO BE AS CLOSE TO THEM AS POSSIBLE, NOW HOW WILL JAEHYUN HEAR ME SCREAM HIS NAME??” I flung my arm across my forehead for good measure.

Henry casually said that we could try to find them in NYC afterward, and I got really excited about that, BECAUSE ONE TIME WE ACTUALLY DID SEE A KPOP GROUP IN NYC, but then he said he was kidding. :(

I let myself wallow a little bit. I ate ice cream out of the carton with whipped cream. And then once I came back down to Adult Land, I was finally able to realize that I was lucky I could afford one overly-inflated ticket (um, my one ticket was 3x what Corey and I paid to see Genesis, so…) and the big picture is that HELLO I AM GOING TO SEE NCT127!!

So then I sniffled, “Alexa, play NCT127” and straight-up sobbed when “Favorite” came on because I AM GOING TO SEE NCT127!!!

Poor Henry has been periodically checking to see if he can find a cheap nosebleed seat for himself (I am not making it up when I say that he likes them!) so hopefully he can also go. I’m still also holding onto hope that they announce more US dates (they did say “more dates coming soon” but this is a world tour so that doesn’t necessarily mean more North America dates ugh.

I love that Kpop is finally acknowledged and not treated like a joke so much anymore here in this shitty country, but I also hate it because now it’s so hard to get concert tickets!

I woke up Tuesday morning feeling like a brand new person though, and that’s when I realized just how stressed I was over buying a ticket. It just….shouldn’t be that way. Ticketmaster needs to, I dunno, go to prison.

Oh and in case you were wondering, the other time I sobbed like Susan Lucci was the weekend I had COVID. I was so emotionally depleted to begin with, so when I realized that my new FitBit, which Henry had just set up for me that day, had LOST ALL OF MY STEPS AND 3/4 OF THE STEPS FROM THE DAY BEFORE, REMOVING MY STAR AND BREAKING MY 2 YEAR STREAK, I fucking lost my mind so hard that I started LOUDLY CRYING while home alone. Like, full body-racking sobs, real tears, all snotted up.

Over a FitBit.

I called Henry and basically threatened his life, so he came home and spent 45 minutes researching the inner workings of FitBit and (mostly) fixed it then had the audacity to request a THANK YOU from me? AFTER HE CAUSED THIS? I clearly was very sick and my body need to cleanse by way of Ugly Cry, so this was the opportunity I chose to let it all hang out. A choice, for sure.

BUT I’M GOING TO SEE NCT127!!!!! I’LL GET TO USE MY LIGHTSTICK IN PUBLIC!!!!

Aug 182022
 

Today is a great day! First, my NCT127 bias has released a solo MV and it is exceptional as expected. Jaehyun is such a secret weapon. Oh my god, the tone of his voice. Scoop me up, I’ve melted.

And then! It’s my KING’s birthday! G-Dragon! Kwon Jiyong! Is it weird that I’m over here in America, thinking about how much I hope he’s having/had a great birthday? Being his fan has been a wild ride. I love him so much!

How can you watch this and not want to stan?!!

In other news, this week has been d-r-a-g-g-i-n-g. I am so run-down from all the shit we did over the long weekend (even took a Covid test because I panicked, but no – I’m just good old tired I guess). I have so much to recap still but am zapped of all energy, ESPESH in my brain. I think my age is finally catching up to me.

I’m looking forward to having NO PLANS this weekend. I just want to go for a cemetery walk, read some books, get some lingering house stuff done, annoy Chooch, nag Henry, maybe watch a horror movie – you know, HOMEBODY THINGS.

That’s it for now. Look for copious coaster recaps in the near future. Wow, so exciting.

Aug 112022
 

I can’t believe I missed Duran Duran Day yesterday! I even saw it on the work calendar earlier this week and was all geared up to Simon Le Bon the shit out of my coworkers, but alas. Here we are, a day late and a…Duran short.

This is super cliché, but my all-time favorite Duran song is Hungry Like the Wolf. I was just a small tot when it came out, and it’s one of those songs that still triggers an emotional response in my brain and belly, and I want nothing more but to be transported back in time, riding to my Pappap’s house in my mom’s red Pontiac with the McD’s sweet and sour sauce stains on the backseat, ready for a long summer day of swimming. Ah, to relive the 80s!

My dad had several Duran Duran CDs in his garage music collection and I can remember sneaking in there during one of our many STAND OFFS and “borrowing” some of them to make mixed tapes with in the mid-90s.

And another strong memory involving this song was the time in high school when I accompanied Lisa to get her bellybutton pierced in Oakland. Her mom was also there since Lisa was a minor, and Lisa’s older friend / former babysitter Kim who I thought was SO COOL back then but then learned as an adult how decidedly NOT COOL she is when we had briefly reunited. Anyway, I had my camcorder with me because that was basically an extension of my arm back then, and I remember walking down the sidewalk and screaming I LOVE THIS SONG as we walked past a parked car with Hungry Like the Wolf emanating from within. (This is yet another reminder to get all of my old home videotapes converted – HENRY HELP WITH THIS PLZ AND THANKS.)

To this day, when I hear this song, I have to pause and take it in, marinate in that 80s new romantic synth bath. It just never gets old to me, and that opening laugh makes me giddy every time.

Pretty  much anything Duran Duran did in the 80s is my personal preference, but tailing Hungry Like the Wolf for my favorite is this masterpiece that they released in the 90s which I always associate with the way my bedroom was arranged at the time – bed to the right of the doorway, facing the window – which my mom did while I was in Europe with my grandparents. Every time I hear that song, I can imagine myself laying on my bed and watching the video on MTV on my teeny tiny white TV on the wavy metal shelf that I STILL HAVE as an adult. 

Anyway, I love when so many childhood memories are attached to a band.

P.S. My aunt Susie had the most majestic Simon Le Bon bouffant back then too – Simon Le Bouffant?

Jul 072022
 

Hello muffins. I am a wreck over here with Chooch’s impending departure approaching – I have been trying not to think about it but this morning when I was brushing my teeth I started crying really hard LOL shhh don’t tell him.

So I’m interluding a bit to drop some of my current favorite Kpop jams on here because I need a feel-good moment or ten.

  1. Aespa – Life’s Too Short

Did you know that Aespa is Henry’s current favorite girl group? Well, they are. Anyway, this is my lowkey anthem lately. Everything else sucks but inside my bubble, we’re keeping it light and fun. It is the only way I’m getting by.

2. Winner – I Luv U

WINNER IS BACK, BOY-O!!! I can stare dreamily into Jinu’s chocolate eyes again! This song just screams SUMMER PARTY to me. I love Winner so much! There is no one else like them. The high-pitched “YOU-oo” reminds me so much of a 1940s Disney cartoon. COMMENT IF YOU AGREE.

3. B.I. (feat.DeVita) – BTBT

I think it was during our Memorial Day weekend trip to Six Flags New England that this song came on a million times and I never tired of it ONCE.  I desperately miss him being in IKON but I love that he’s thriving on his own (like Wonho!!!). Support this man.

(This is SUCH a summer night vibe.)

4. Kang Daniel & Jessi –

I mean, this has been THE YEAR for both K.Dan and Jessi so it only makes sense that they’d collab. (I originally just wanted to type a line of fire emojis for this one.)

5. Nayeon – Pop

OK finally JYP has given this Twice powerhouse a solo. THANK YOU, JYP.  This is everything that made me fall in love with Kpop in the first place. Doesn’t this make you feel good?!

6. Hyolyn – Waka Boom

Literally my queen.

7. Sunmi – Heart Burn

Oh my fucking god the 60s aesthetic in this video and Sunmi’s signature breathy vocals and Pippi Longstocking-esque hair?! I’m screaming!! She’s touring this fall and it pains me to  know that I am probably going to have to miss it else Kpop bankrupts me.

8. Junny (feat. ChungHa) – Color Me

The synth, the vocals, the visuals, the CHUNGHA CAMEO (she has a comeback soon too – all of my GODTIER female soloists are coming back almost all at once and I could just explode!).

9. Seventeen – Hot

I mean this is a summer no-brainer. (Also I have been saying this since like 2016 but I really think this is the year that I learn all of the members of Seventeen, lol. There are only 13, and I know all 23 of NCT so I got this, right?)

10. Treasure – Jikjin

OK this isn’t super new but it has been in my head all week and it gets me so hyped. I need to learn all of their names soon-ish too Not a single bad track from Treasure! That’s YG for you, though. Quality over quantity, lol ha ha …. ugh. (VIPs and BLINKS know the pain of stanning YG artists.)

OK there’s 10 songs for you to maybe find one or two that appeals to you! Who’s shocked that there is NO NCT here?!?! Only because they don’t have anything super new, lol.

Jul 012022
 

I’m one of those people who suffer through buyer’s remorse with the littlest of purchases. The number of times I’m returning items of clothing that I could technically consider a necessity but also regret spending the money on is actually quite ridiculous – ask Henry, he’s the one who always gets stuck making the return lol.

But with concerts, I’m always willing to make the splurge. I do have to be pickier with Kpop though because seeing kpop shows ALWAYS involves a road trip. Pittsburgh sucks. Unless it’s a Korean classic rock band, then maybe Pittsburgh would book them. Because I live in a shit city, there have been tons of kpop concerts I’ve sadly had to pass on (like Twice – I would have loved to have seen them again since I only saw them briefly at KCON 2018!). And I have been admittedly also holding out bigtime for NCT127 to announce a US tour (I mean, congrats on the DOME TOUR guys that’s fucking amazing but can you come back to the US next please??) because I am prepared for them to TAKE IT ALL.

However, I haven’t seen a Kpop concert since November 2019 (Super M!!!) and have only been to one other non-kpop concert since COVID Days.  So I got tired of waiting and made the unilateral decision to buy tickets for me and Henry to see Stray Kids in Newark.

The tour had originally sold out pretty quickly but another Newark date was added so we got tickets for that one – and even then, it was slim pickings and exorbitantly priced even for our so-so seats. But I have genuinely liked Stray Kids since their debut (saw them at KCON 2018 too) and honestly had zero REGERTZ after completing the transaction. In fact, it was the opposite – I felt light and GIDDY.

And as it got closer to the date, I felt even more giddy! I forgot how fantastic kpop concert anticipation is! Chooch had the opinion of taking the second ticket but when he learned that the show was in Newark, he said, “Nope. I’m good.”

Because Newark sucks. Hard. Almost every Kpop concert I’ve gone to has been there, ugh.

We ate dinner nearby at Urban Vegan and then walked over to the Prudential Center where an unorganized frenzy of lines had already formed. Henry was like WHAT IS THIS and I was like “welcome to Kpop concerts, Gramps!” It wasn’t nearly as bad as KCON at least, where Chooch and I were seriously afraid we’d miss the start of the show because it took so fucking long to get inside. This wasn’t MUCH better though because people were just crawling through security, literally acting like it was a lazy walk along the bayou and not an obstacle to overcome before getting inside the arena. OMG, the shit that people try to bring in, like sis – you’re going to a concert not a goth sleepaway camp! Leave the spikes and backpacks full of WHO KNOWS WHAT in the car??

I mean, staff was walking up and down the sidewalk when we were still outside, yelling out everything that wouldn’t be permitted inside, and yet —

Anyway! We eventually got through because I didn’t have a purse and Henry left his spiked collar in the hotel.

Then we stood in line for merch and made friends with the people around us. Everyone kept trying to look behind the curtain into the seating area because there was all kinds of screaming happening and us seasoned fans were like “they are definitely not on stage yet” because it wasn’t 7:30 yet (name a big concert that actually starts on time) and the fact that the screaming was happening in waves told me that they were probably just flashing photos of Stray Kids on the screens to get the crowd stoked. I was not falling for this fire drill because I wanted to buy a T-shirt before they sold out just like the lightsticks!

Made it to our seats about 15 minutes before the show started. Everyone around us was grand. No beef with any of my section mates!

Our view wasn’t too bad considering we were trying to be somewhat frugal! Oddly, no one in the rows below us stood up not even once, so Henry The Old was super into that.

I posted this picture on Instagram and someone was like “sorry Henry didn’t have fun” and first of all, he did though? Well, as much fun as his Old Man Heart allows him to have. But second of all, there is literally no band in the entire world that will elicit any type of happy, energetic, exuberant reaction from Henry. He is HENRY ROBBINS, King of Showing Nothing. President of the Frowning Nations. Leader of the Ambivalent Army.

(Not BTS Army lol fuck outta here.)

As expected, they opened with Maniac and I was SUPER STOKED! The relentless screams around me were giving me so much life and energy and being under the same roof as these 8 stupidly talented guys had me losing my mind!

Whatever these blow-up leg thingies were, they were extremely startling! I didn’t even notice them being blown up!

I was internally exploding when they performed God’s Menu!!!! I really think this is my fave SKZ jam.

Literally the only “uhhhh” part of the whole evening was when they left the stage and it was “GAME TIME” – a video played on the screens and anytime the camera landed on someone in the crowd, they had to replicate whatever pose one of the Stray Kids was making in a picture. That part alone had me wishing I had a big hat to hide under, but the second game was even worse because it was a CHOREO game and I was like HOLY SHIT IF THIS FUCKING CAMERA LANDS ON MY UNCOORDINATED ASS, ISTG….while at the same time I was praying for it to choose Henry, lol. We both made it out unscathed, thank god. Henry was like I DO NOT LIKE THIS ONE BIT and I was like WELCOME TO KPOP WHERE YOU’RE EXPECTED TO ENGAGE AND PARTICIPATE. There was a very small window in my life where I would have been ok with this, and that was probably ages 14-19.

So…standard kpop stan age, haha.

Henry’s review of the Stray Kids concert: He was surprised that he knew most of the songs but only knew the names of the songs if they put it on the screen, he thought that they talked too much (lol that’s every Kpop concert, Gramps!), and he thought someone else was Felix (the only member he knows) until halfway thru the show 😂

He looks blank in all these pictures but he swears he “watched it all” and that it was “good.” His favorite song is Thunderous and he insists on singing the wrong lyrics in spite of my corrections, like a total dad. 😆

Anyway, this was a big deal because as I previously mentioned, usually when I go to Kpop concerts, Chooch goes with me and Henry just drops us off and sleeps in the car or explores the local grocery stores of whatever city we’re in, haha. Henry does like Stray Kids but is not really into the concert aspect of this lifestyle so it was kind of a big deal to get him to go.

There was another dad in the row in front of us. I asked Henry afterward if it looked like he was having fun and Henry cried, “He left for like a full hour!”

I’ve never been great at remembering the set list but I looked it up and this seems accurate for any Stays out there who desperately need to know:

  1. MANIAC
  2. VENOM
  3. Red Lights (THIS KILLED ME DEAD, HOLY SHIT, THE ROPES!)
  4. Easy
  5. ALL IN
  6. District 9
  7. Charmer
  8. Back Door
  9. Lonely St.
  10. B Me
  11. Side Effects
  12. Thunderous
  13. DOMINO
  14. God’s Menu (THIS MIGHT BE MY #1 BUT IT’S SO HARD TO CHOOSE)
  15. CHEESE (SOOOO INTO THIS PERFORMANCE LOL)
  16. YAYAYA
  17. ROCK
  18. Waiting For Us
  19. Muddy Water
  20. Silent Cry
  21. Hellevator
  22. TOP
  23. Scars
  24. Double Knot
  25. TA
  26. Victory Song
  27. MIROH (THIS SONG IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE “GIVE ME FIVE THAILAND” KPOP WORKOUT ROUTINES!)
  28. Star Lost
  29. Haven

I know I’m missing crucial information but I will come back and edit this as needed. I just really wanted to get it off my plate while it was still fresh from the oven that is MUH MIND and also because we’ll be gone all weekend. I’m really trying to be better at writing in this thing in a timely manner instead of waiting like 3 weeks to recap a trip to an amusement park or whatever.

The only bad part of this whole day was afterward when we had to STAND IN DOWNTOWN NEWARK for nearly an hour trying to get a Lyft or Uber back to the hotel. But other than that, what a beautiful night. I didn’t even hate our hotel room. And now I stan SKZ even harder and would certainly consider myself a legit Stay at this point!

May 232022
 

When GOT7 left their agency in January 2021 after their contract was up, they swore that they weren’t disbanding and would come back as GOT7. As much as I wanted to believe them, it was hard to because if you are even kind of into kpop, you know the inevitable heartbreak of stanning a group only to have them disband after their contacts expire (usually after 7 years). So many of the groups I loved when I first got into this lifestyle have disbanded and it still makes my heart burn when I think about it! (Sistar, Miss A, 2NE1, Infinite….and can we not talk about the limbo state of BIGBANG?)

Anyway, somehow GOT7, even with the members all scattered in different agencies, managed to pull off what everyone said could never happen. THEY CAME BACK AS 7 MEMBERS. They fucking kept their promise!

This song is SO GOOD and the video is serving up visuals on 7 silver platters. I feel so content right now! GOT7 were one of my first kpop loves, especially from a kpop cardio standpoint (lol) and also one of the best concerts of my life. 

OK ONE MORE: Here’s a live performance because I CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF SEEING THEM TOGETHER.

Mar 302022
 

I waited two entire days to post about NCT Dream’s comeback in order to prevent the entire post looking like a gang of toddlers took over.

Because I was excited, guys. Even now, I am screaming these words in my head maniacally as I type them, but you can’t tell, can you? No CAPSLOCK abuse here.

(You can do this, Erin. Be professional. Be-be professional.)

Early Monday morning, NCT Dream dropped their second full-length album, Glitch Mode, and the video for the eponymous first single. Let’s take a morning pause with our fresh cup of coffee to watch this together, shall we? I haven’t already watched it 87 times.

I love that SM doesn’t shy away from super different, unique, not always immediately accessible songs. Very few groups could pull something like this off, and NCT Dream is 100% one of them. Glitch Mode is wild, Mary. It’s already jarring (in all the good ways) and then 갑자기 metal breakdown!? WHAT? IN KPOP? Yes. That happened. And it brought out my old post-hardcore sentimentalities. 

If you want something more slow-jammy, they got you covered there too. This is my current favorite song on the album OMG (OK it’s becoming hard for me  to stay composed now):

But this song is a close second – it makes me want to hostilely speed skate through the neighborhood, knocking over everyone that gets in my way while imagining them to be various people who pissed me off during the work day. (Namely all the people who call me KELLY. I almost made it through the day yesterday without that happening, but nope. There it was. Post-lunch email. “Hi Kelly,”….OH FOR FUCK’S SAKE.)

 

There are other songs that I want to highlight too but I will keep calm and kpop on in private. I don’t know what the b-side will be yet that they’ll perform during the promotions, and I can’t wait to to find out!! I live for this shit – waking up every morning and watching the latest music show performance. It keeps me young, Cliff.

But I will end with NCT Dream’s debut, because it’s really awesome to see how they (and their talent!!) have grown – I think Jisung was only 14 or 15?!?!:

just really love this group. They have kept me afloat during some Dumb Adult Days, that’s for sure.