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.

Mar 192022
 

I was never super big into collecting enamel pins until I got into kpop and then suddenly had to buy pins commemorating even the most obscure “inside jokes” from my faves, like Johnny from NCT talking about how his dad invented coffee. A CLASSIC

Most of my pins are SHINee or BIGBANG biased, but I realized recently that I my collection is horrifically remiss of NCT pins so I treated myself a few weeks when one of the pinmakers I follow had a huge shop update. She’s in the UK so it took a bit to get in the mail but they finally arrived today and I was SWOONIN’!! Let’s look at them, shall we??

Haechan is one of two ult NCT Universe biases and Boom is one of my fave NCT Dream songs, so I had to get this one.

I’ve posted about my obsession with NCT127’s October comeback single “Favorite” tons of times on here since then so it’s not a shock that I desperately a pin to further express my love of this sweet ass jimmy-jam. Oh, you don’t remember? WELL HERE IS A LIVER PERFORMANCE FROM INKIGAYO:

JAEMIN IS SUCH A BIAS WRECKER FOR ME. I watch so many compilation videos of him being an absolute lunatic and I am just obsessed with his strange mind. Had to scoop up this We Go Up pin of him.

SURPRISE IT’S TAEMIN!

90’s Love is easily one of my favorite NCT U songs so I had to have this one too! I love love love these heart-shaped designs so much!! Also, I really need more NCT U songs that include both Ten and Haechan (my co-ult NCT biases!). <3

Um, if you live in My House / Pioneer Ave you will know that I have been stanning Renjun HARD of late so this pin is killing me! I really think that Renjun has the best voice out of everyone in the entire NCT universe and it has brought me to actual tears at times.

Now I have pins to display in my NCT127 Cherry Bomb purse!!! #ForeverYoung

OK so this was totally just an excuse to ambush you with NCT videos. Maybe there will be a quiz someday. You never know.

Mar 042022
 

I dunno why, but I hate the word “female,” yet here we are, being hypocritical for the sake of alliteration. What is my life.

In today’s dumb Friday Five edition, I want to share some of my current fave Kpop girl groups that have been helping me reach my morning goal of 6,000 steps before logging on to work. Usually I will jog in place while watching a Kdrama or I’ll do Kpop cardio, but sometimes I like to just put on Kpop videos and freestyle (sadly for me this is all Running Man and an occasional chest bump, with lots of JUMPING filler – that’s it,  that’s my dance move repertoire).

Also, I know you’re shocked that I actually pay attention to other groups than NCT! Especially with spring approaching, I’m more inspired to listen to the spunky girl side of Kpop. It makes me want to run in a bright green field,  while unfortunately probably sneezing because….spring. For instance, I’m blasting a 2022 Kpop playlist right now in order to block out the shrieks emanating through my wall from the fucking daycare facility next door.

OK, let’s kill this Friday Five. This bitch’s got other shit to do today!

  1. VIVIZ – BOP BOP!

Once I realize this was some of the girls from the recently disbanded GFriend, it made sense why it’s such an instant BOP BOP.

2. IVE – ELEVEN

I did a cardio dance workout to this song without ever hearing it before and immediately went to watch the music video afterward. This song is randomly in my head at given moment of the day. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 YOU MAKE ME FEEL LIKE ELEVEN. It’s such an interesting song structure too, how the tempo abruptly slows down before the chorus. Love it!  I hope these FEMALES stick around because this is some potential here. [In my head,] I’m in the industry, so I can say things like that.

3. STAYC – RUN2U

I was enamored with STAYC last year when they released “ASAP,” and I think I can now safely say that STAYC is a group whose comebacks I will continue to anticipate. Can I get a shout out for that truly awkward sentence?

 

4. KEP1ER – WA DA DA

When my brother Corey was little, he used to make this sign with his hands and growl, “DREADED TRIANGLE.” It was actually pretty nefarious. He was a scary little boy. Anyway, Kep1ar do a similar hand motion in their choreography and it reminds me of that. Chills. (He also used to call me B.I.O. and it was this big mystery until he finally revealed that it meant Bitch In Overalls. I mean, I did wear overalls a lot in high school. And I was a bitch, lol.

 

5. APINK: DILEMMA

Last but not least, one of my OG favorite girl groups since I got into Kpop just recently had a comeback and I have been so nostalgically awash in their nostalgic sound. I know that it’s cool to be all WE DON’T NO NEED MAN/WOMAN/OTHER but sometimes we really are pining and just NOT OVER IT too, you know? That’s where Apink excels.

On that note, I bid everyone a fair Friday. Take some time to stab a pillow with a sharp knife in your backyard this weekend.

Feb 192022
 

That feeling when you wait all week for the weekend and then it’s just a freezing cold snowy day so why bother doing anything, you know? Ugh my spring anticipation is off the charts. I keep seeing these big fat ass robins around my porch and they are bringing me hope. We were also teased with two mild days earlier in the week which was like walking out into a dopamine wonderland.

We were going to get Korean food for lunch today but I am so unmotivated. Maybe?

In other It’s My Life So That’s What I Write About news, a Verizon salesman came to our house last week. Of course, henry was upstairs when dude knocked and I have a firm Anti-Door-Opening Policy, so I fled with the cats upstairs and panted, “Henry! Someone! Door! Knocking!” I then proceeded to eat my dinner (oatmeal, my winter smoothie bowl transition) on the steps with Penelope, both of us cowering in fear.

But yeah, just a Verizon guy, trying to get us to switch from Xfinity. I knew that Henry wanted to do this anyway at some point but I still figured he’d be like “go away.” Except that he talked to the dude for like a solid 15 minutes.

“That guy was really cool,” Henry said later. “He used to be a journalist in Afghanistan!” Henry was fixated on this. So much so that he told the guy to come back the next day and he’d sign up. Why he didn’t just do it then, I have no idea.

Of course, the dude didn’t come back the next day at the designated time. Henry paced back and forth by the window like a fisherman’s wife watching for the ship, until 7:00pm came and went. “I guess he’s not coming,” Henry sighed, and then left to go to Lowe’s.

OF COURSE thee came a knock upon the door (shout out to Janna who was helping me film a video in English class and couldn’t remember her line of “someone is knocking” and blurted out “there came a knock upon the door” instead like some Dickensian savant) thirty minutes after Henry left. It was his Verizon Buddy’s partner, making good on the promise to return. Now I was saddled with this responsibility of signing up for Verizon!!! FML. I shouldn’t have answered but the guy was knocking so jovially and I knew, presumably, that it wasn’t going to be a villain, so I put my Big Girl Pants on and dealt with it.

Long story short, I was entertained for nearly 20 minutes by the tweedle dee and tweedle dum of Verizon. It was like amateur mic night and my front porch was the little known comedy club The Brookline Bellylaugher. Super nice guys though! And they were like desperately trying to edge closer into my house to get a better look, it was hilarious. Every time one of them would finish giving me some VERIZON IS BETTER THAN XFINITY factoid, they’d interrupt themselves to say, “OMG that thing is so cool!!” and then I’d have to turn around and try to figure out what they were pointing at. They both really loved the Mouse Attack sign.

If I wasn’t home alone in the middle of a pandemic, I would have certainly invited them in. But also, it was 8pm in February in the middle of COVID uncertainty, so I stayed inside the house and they stood back on the porch, and this is how we conducted our business. I signed up and completely screwed up the deal Henry was going to get, but it’s fine! These are things you have to expect when you leave the most helpless member of the household in charge of decision-making.

Luckily, Henry came home while they were still sitting in their car so he stopped them, like, “ho ho ho! Here I am, you promised me a $200 gift thingie, let’s talk about this.”

Anyway, everything is all ironed out I guess. The Verizon tech dude came to my house on Tuesday to do the installation and he too was like *POPPING EYEBALLS* as he walked through the house to the computer. The thing he liked the best was the Seoul subway sign, in case you were wondering.

Poor Taemin got bumped around a lot, but we are now Verizon internet customers, after more than a decade of Henry desperately wanting to switch but being unable to because I was in BAD STANDING with Verizon from a bunch of years ago when I had a landline through them and racked up a HUGE phone bill when I was in Australia and never paid it because I switched some fly-by-night service and that’s a whole other story that I barely remember now because what’s a landline, wow.

The installation also conveniently happened right smack in the middle of a training call I was on, so I had to keep saying, “Dawn? Hey, Dawn? The Verizon guy is here again, can you give me a few minutes?” and I truthfully don’t think she gave a shit either way lol.

I forgot that I took this picture last Saturday when Henry and I were in Brownsville (which apparently was a big deal and numerous people on Instagram were like WHY WERE YOU IN BROWNSVILLE because I guess Pittsburghers aren’t allowed to be there who knows). There was an abandoned church that I wanted to have my picture taken in front of because I liked the door (you never know with me) and one of the windows was broken so we could see this creepy basement scene.

I also forgot to post this from last weekend! It’s my new necklace from The Idol Collective. I love her jewelry and pins sooo much. I found her years ago when I was looking for BIGBANG enamel pins because at the time, she specialized in Kpop pieces but has since branched out to other things and I just love it all.

Look at this boo babe!! He’s OOAK. I set a reminder on my phone so when her most recent shop update went live, I could swoop in and snag him. I love being A WINNER.

What else happened this week….

We were watching some kid do an unboxing of NCT albums while talking about her biases.

Henry: Wow. Who *isn’t* her bias?” Me: I mean it’s really hard to not have like 10 NCT biases. Henry: I don’t have any. So it’s really easy, actually.

Shut up Henry. Everyone knows his bias is Jungwoo.

Henry: He’s not my bias, though! You just assigned him to me because that’s your way of getting to have an extra bias! Through me!

This might be partially true. Here are my NCT biases even though you didn’t ask:

  • NCT127: Jaehyun. It used to be Haechan and Jaehyun was my bias wrecker, but then I decided to make Jaehyun my official NCT127 bias, and you’ll see why in a second. (Because you care.)

Compilation of #JAEHYUN Magazine Interview Translation ♡ / Twitter

  • NCT Dream: Renjun. Bias wrecker: Jaemin

Watch: NCT DREAM&#39;s Renjun Wows With Gorgeous Cover Of Troye Sivan&#39;s “Fools”  | Soompi

maybe it&#39;s a kind of day — hufflepuff love — n. jaemin

  • WAYV: Xiaojun

230 XIAOJUN ideas | nct, nct 127, nct dream

  • Overall NCT Universe bias: Haechan and Ten

160 Nct ─ haechan. ideas | nct, nct dream, nct 127

Haechan was the first person in the NCT Universe who I really really really liked and latched on to. He has the most unique voice out of any of them. Honestly, he is so underrated as a vocalist in general.

Imagines and Stuffs — WayV Reaction to you doing a strip tease

Ten is a fucking dancing beast, and he is one of my most charismatic and fun to watch of all the members! Since he’s also a member of Super M, I got to see him in person back in 2019, where he also performed two solo songs and it was so fucking dreamy. He is one of the most mesmerizing dancers in the whole damn world. Also, he hates fruit to the point of being actually afraid of them which is hilarious to me.

There, now you know my NCT biases. I mean, there are 23 members overall! How can you have just one!?!?

In non-Kpop news, we finally got confirmation yesterday from the study abroad program that Chooch received *almost* a full academic scholarship for the summer program in Yucatan this July so what we actually to pay is minimal, thank god. We would have tried to make it work regardless because this will be a great experience for him and something that he can include on his college applications (do not want to think about this at all right now).

I asked Henry today if he thinks Chooch will be OK without us for 4 weeks.

“I mean, he’s never been away from us for that long! What if he can’t sleep at night because he misses us so much?” and the response I received from Henry was a silent “COME THE FUCK ON NOW” smirk. OK fine. Maybe it’s me who won’t be able to sleep hahaha ughhh.

Anyway, it’s amazing that he qualified for anything because this is the thing I mentioned a few mths ago where one of his essays sounded like it was written by a sociopath.

More Chooch news: he showed me a slideshow presentation he did for school wherein he eschewed capitalization and used comic sans. “It was an ironic stylization choice,” he shrugged. And the other day when everyone was ballistic because the Wordle word was so fucking aggravating? He got it on THE SECOND TRY. I know this because I was sitting right next to him before we left for school and I was so fucking pissed.

I started having sporadic electrocutions in one of my knees last week and I am totally fixated and wigging out, much to Henry’s chagrin because I always pull him into the WebMD abyss with me. Me: Feel my knees! Do I need more fat in them? Should I be doing cartilage stuff?

Henry: Yeah. Let me know how that goes, doing ‘cartilage stuff.’

Ugh, I hope it’s OK. It only happens sometimes, like I’m not in constant pain but I’m also super babying both knees now to the point where I am afraid to kneel, squat, etc.

Me: What if I have to get a cast?? I can’t use crutches!!! I’ve tried!!!

Henry: WTF, now your leg is suddenly broken? Why would a doctor put you in a cast??

Too late, I’m spinning out. It’s bone cancer. My knee cap is popping off. I have water on the knee. (Fun fact, when I was 10, I was convinced that I had this affliction after reading about it in the Merck medical journal that I kept on my night stand and then I went on vacation with my grandparents right after and proceeded to write about it ad nauseum in my vacation journal and it was not meant to be taken lightly but when my grandma read it, she was like, “OH HONESTLY ERIN” and then laughed herself to tears.

OK but 30(ish) years later, here I am! With a knee ailment! A veritable swimming pool atop my knee! Probably! Who’s laughing now, Grandma?!

I was going to end this with an NCT Dream video but you guy(s) are probably sick of that so I’ll give you a break. (For now!)

Feb 172022
 

I can’t believe I’m a full day late on this but Henry’s bias & our monstera namesake Wonho is back with a new series of body rolls backed by a BOP.

(I need to interrupt myself here to say that I actually can’t get behind calling songs “bops” and I don’t know why exactly. It always makes me think of buying Bop magazine from DiStefano’s pharmacy for the COREY HAIM content so you’d think I’d be down with the bop vernacular but I’m just so partial to JAM.)

Anyway – Wonho is fucking THRIVING on his own. Ugh I love him lots please go support this true gem.

Feb 082022
 

I had every intention of posting about this yesterday because this news has rocked my pathetic, lonely world but then I was actually TOO STRESSED/HYPER/EXCITED/NERVOUS about it that I did a bunch of YouTube workouts instead to blow off steam. Somehow, I was able to work and I even sent Carrie a message that said HOW WILL I BE ABLE TO WORK and she was like, “Well, their song doesn’t come out until spring so you might be okay today.” LOL.

Obviously I’m happy but it’s so bittersweet because of Seungri (actually I thought that Seungri had recently appealed and had his sentence reduced to a year and a half but what do I know  – nothing except that he WAS THE FALL GUY). Did you know that some of the Korean TV channels actually blur his face out whenever old BIGBANG footage is shown? It’s depressing.

And I just want TOP to be happy. He had said after he was discharged from the military that he had no desire to be a performer anymore. He has always been interested in art and I’m glad that he’s been given the freedom to pursue these other interests and ventures (it’s the least YG could do) and I hope that he only joins BIGBANG for future schedules if his heart is in it.

Also, I’m paranoid because YG has hinted around about this before. VIPs have been given nothing since 2018 when one single was released. They haven’t performed together as a five-piece since the beginning of 2017. I have never had the chance to see BIGBANG live, and will never, at this point, have a chance to see them as OT5.

Oh, the trials and tribs of a Kpop stan! I’m telling you, when I got into this, I had no idea how much heartache it would bring – but, more joy than anything else, so we’ll stay on this path.

I’m about to go jump on a napping Henry because I’m ready for my dinner-oatmeal, so I will leave you with the last song BIGBANG ever released with all five members, omg my dumb kpoppin’ heart.

Jan 052022
 

Korean YouTubers DKDK made this short-n-sweet doc on G-Dragon’s impact on not just the Korean music industry, but also international fashion. I watched it on my lunch break today and cried real tears because there is something magical and mystical about G-Dragon that just completely overwhelms me. I think a lot of have idols in our lives, be it an author, a film maker, one of the Beatles. I definitely have a handful of people who would render me absolutely star-struck and speechless if I ever had the good fortune to meet them, but there is something about G-Dragon that elevates him above even that for me. I promise you  that this isn’t just me being some basic fan-girl. I am genuinely fascinated of and inspired by him.

When I first got into Kpop, it became clear very quickly that the boy group BIGBANG was like, the kream of the krop, the k-top of the kpop. So naturally, the name that was the most prevalent in that scene was G-Dragon. And I remember thinking, “Who is this G-Dragon and why is he that great?” So I started watching BIGBANG music videos and of course I didn’t know who he was so now I’m googling “Who is G-Dragon” and “Why is G-Dragon so great” and now I’m watching guest appearances by G-Dragon on Korean variety shows and I’m watching an actual CNN interview with BIGBANG from like, 2012 or something, and oh, here are a bunch of solo G-Dragon performances and wow, people fucking love this guy and then bam – I got sucked in. I was under the Kwon Jiyong spell. I got it. It made sense. This man is the literal definition of charisma and swag.

And I don’t care how “worldwide famous” a certain other Kpop group is, because G-Dragon will always be the King and he single-handedly paved the way for the rest. And honestly, he is their idol, too.

There is one thing that this excellent video doesn’t mention and I think they were actually remiss to leave it out: G-Dragon’s utter respect for others, and his consistent 90 degree fold when bowing to others, regardless of their age or status in relation to his own. He just seems like he was really raised right. Good job, Umma & Appa Dragon.

But yeah, please watch this and maybe you can understand why I love him so much!

Dec 222021
 

You guys know I’m like super tightly-wound, right? OK then this next part of the GENESIS night will sound super on brand: So, when I bought the tickets back in May, I opted for the mobile option because I paid $$$ for this shit and am constantly at war with the USPS to begin with. The last thing they need is to lose my GENESIS TICKETS, you know? Anyway, I added the tickets to my Apple wallet a few months ago and noticed that there was no barcode on them like in the past. But then a squirrel probably came to the window and distracted me, so I didn’t think about it again until a few days prior to the show.

“DOES THIS LOOK RIGHT?” I screamed to Henry, who just shrugged and said he was sure it was fine. It didn’t “look fine” to me so I frantically googled “TICKETMASTER MOBILE TICKETS WEIRD HELP” and only found information on how they USED TO LOOK.

You know, with a BARCODE.

To be safe, I made sure I was logged into the Ticketmaster app because the barcode appeared on my tickets there. Then I kept getting all these  intense emails from the venue about the entry process, and learned this was actually a paperless ticket event so I guess I didn’t even have the option to get regular tickets? And then there was the BAG POLICY which had me stressed out too so I tried to make Henry measure my wallet, but he was like, “Um, this is fine. They’re not going to confiscate your tiny wallet” and I was like, “BUT THEY POSTED DIMENSIONS! DOES MY WALLET FALL WITHIN THOSE DIMENSIONS!” and because Henry is a Man who voluntarily took Industrial Arts in high school, he was able to just look at it and say yes.

I hate him.

Even at dinner that night, I was low-key on edge about the ticket thing. When Corey was in the bathroom, I checked my TicketMaster app AND IT WOULDN’T OPEN BECAUSE IT SAID I HAD NO INTERNET CONNECTION. So I was frantically Kakao’ing with Henry who suggested that I restart my phone so I did AND THEN IT LOGGED ME OUT OF THE APP TOTALLY. I literally could not get in to access the tickets so now it was Apple wallet or GTFO.

My only consolation was remembering that it was going to me and about 8465 elderly people in the same boat, and Henry reassured me that there would probably be plenty of people there to help. Who even am I?? One pandemic and suddenly I’m a concert n00b.

I finally admitted my concerns to Corey when we started our walk from Bae Bae’s to PPG Paints Arena but if was also worried about this, he did a great job hiding it. The walk itself was nice and brisk – I knew I was going to cold in that denim jacket but getting a picture of MATCHING SIBLING JEAN JACKETS would be worth it so I only complained a little.

Eventually, we began encountering other GENESIS fans along the way. You could just tell. I mean, one middle aged guy was playing Invisible Touch on his phone and gave us a head nod. Another middle aged guy yelled to us, “I NEED A JOINT HAHAHAHA” as we were waiting to the cross the street and it was so obvious he was only saying it to us in hopes one of us would be like, “OMG HERE YOU GO FELLOW GENESIS FAN” lol.

Anyway!! We finally got to the arena and forget what I said about being so cold because now I was SWEATING in anticipation of someone banging the gong when I attempted to scan my DEFECTIVE tickets. I was on my tiptoes, craning my neck to see if anyone ahead of us had the same-looking tickets and while most people had the barcoded ones from the Ticketmaster app, I did see someone with one that looked like ours. Then we got closer, I saw that the scanner had two options: a spot to hold your phone under to scan the barcode, and a spot up above where you just tapped your phone if you had one of the SCARY NON-TICKET LOOKING TICKETS like we had.

It took all of .0002 seconds to get in and Corey was like, “Honestly, I wasn’t worried at all.” OK COOL THANKS, BRO, GLAD I COULD TAKE ON THE WHOLE BURDEN FOR THE BOTH OF US, LOL.  I was still buzzing after that but then we got in line for merch and my anxiety finally transformed into actual excitement. It’s not easy being me sometimes, you guys. It really isn’t.

Corey and I both snagged a t-shirt (duh) and I also bought an art poster which is my favorite thing to buy at shows and I get so excited when they’re available! I didn’t even care how much it cost. This is pretty likely the last chance we will get to see Genesis (Phil said as much himself) so I was sparing no expense!

This was taken right in front of our seats so you can see that we had plenty of people-free room! If it was a hockey game, we would have been right behind the glass and over a bit to the right of the goal. It was really comfortable! Corey, being a Tall Person, was grateful that he had adequate leg room.

I was so pleased with this picture because the lady who took it for us was really determined to get the right shot. “I got some of the stage in the background,” she said knowingly, and we were both so happy with it!

“Remember when we went to see The Cure and that person took that really awkward picture of us turning around in our seats?” I asked Corey when we sat back down. Of course he remembered, how could he forget? IT WAS SUCH A TERRIBLE PICTURE AND SO AWKWARD TO POSE FOR:

I sent this to Corey after I got home later that night and his response was: Glow Up of the Decade, lol.

We had about 30 minutes to people watch* before the show started and Corey continued to gush over his ample leg room. I looked around and said, “Yep, this is exactly how I pictured it when I bought the tickets, right down to the garbage can positioned right in front of us.”

“Really??” Corey exclaimed.

“No!” I laughed. But that fucking garbage can would prove to be a NUISANCE as the night went on.

*(In case you were wondering, the median demographic for Genesis was definitely 55-70. I knew even I’d be one of the younger people there but I was actually kind of surprised at how few “younger” people I even saw!)

The lights went out a little after 8:00PM and Corey and I were practically foaming at the mouths. I was flabbergasted at how many people were still casually milling about, THROWING AWAY THEIR BEERS IN THE TRASH DIRECTLY IN MY LINE OF VISION, and just taking their good ol’ time getting back to their seats. And you know this was annoying to me because I used the word FLABBERGASTED. I don’t just drop that word down lightly, mmkay Brenda.

Anyway, I truly do not have the words to write a proper review of this show because my emotions are still overwhelming me. First of all, Phil Collins is ill and the fact that he even found the strength and drive within himself to carry out these shows is beyond imagination to me. I mean, what a boss. However, it was extremely sad to see him looking frail, and remaining seated through the duration of the concert. He seemed to be struggling at times with his vocals as well, but just being under the same roof as him was an incredible honor.

I definitely let the tears roll on occasion, but it didn’t fully hit me until the next morning, when I just broke down and sobbed while making breakfast to my usual soundtrack of Tonight Tonight Tonight (seriously, I’m always “Alexa, play Tonight Tonight Tonight” and it’s miraculously one of the few times she will deliver without incident).

 

I didn’t really hate anyone at this show except for the people who kept walking off and onto the floor during the whole entire show. Like, you can’t wait until later to get another fucking beer? Because the last time I checked, fucking G E N E S I S is up there performing for YOU and you’re just gonna walk out to get another IC Light. Wow. Just, wow. My favorite part was when these dumb fucks would come back and proceed to stand in the open space between our section and the last row of seats on the floor and the ushers were too fucking old and ambivalent to tell them to go back to their seats, so then we’d be staring at the backs of drunk Yinzers for a minute before they regained their bearings and staggered to their seat.

But then there was a middle-aged man and his father in the last row of the floor section and they were so fucking adorable with their father-son air-drumming that it canceled out how angry all the in-and-out beer and bathroom break people had made me. (Honestly though, I know how much those floor seats cost and you better believe I’d be holding my pee until Genesis said “No for real this is it, look, we’re taking a bow” and the lights came on.

For me, the highlights were definitely Tonight Tonight Tonight (I have VIVID childhood memories soundtracked by that song) and Mama.

LOL my attempt at getting a picture of Phil’s son on drums. What a prodigy!

This one time, I was standing in line for a haunted house and decided to assign very specific laughs to my friends for us to perform as we ran through the haunt. My laugh was Tom Hulce’s shrill chortle from “Amadeus” (I WAS SO GOOD AT IT), I taught Janna how to emulate the toe-curling throat scrape of the Sleazy Furnace Guy who had recently made like three appearances at my house around that time and it was just A Whole Thing really, and because Christina is so creepy in general I appointed to them the coveted Phil Collins mirthless laugh/groan from “Mama.” So basically, the best one.

This song just hits every time.

SETLIST

  1. Behind the Lines / Duke’s End
  2. Turn It On Again
  3. Mama (!!!)
  4. Land of Confusion (Phil’s intro to this song referenced the current state of the world making this song relevant and there was a video of toilet paper falling from the sky and people marching with face masks on; also I was obsessed with / terrified of this music video when I was a kid, lol)
  5. Home By the Sea (I was imagining Phil was shouting SIT DOWN to all of the PEOPLE LEAVING THE FLOOR OMFG SIT DOWN)
  6. Second Home By the Sea
  7. Fading Lights
  8. The Cinema Show
  9. Afterglow
  10. That’s All
  11. The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
  12. Follow You Follow Me
  13. Duchess
  14. No Son of Mine
  15. Firth of Fifth
  16. I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)
  17. Domino
  18. Throwing It All Away (Watching people throw their endless cans of beer away all night gave new meaning to this one)
  19. Tonight Tonight Tonight (!!!)
  20. Invisible Touch (PEOPLE WERE LEAVING DURING THIS SONG!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!??!!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?)

ENCORE

  1. I Can’t Dance
  2. Dancing With the Moonlit Knight
  3. The Carpet Crawlers

It was a wonderful show, you guys, and felt very symbolic that Corey and I got to see them together because it felt kind of therapeutic, five years after the 116 Gillcrest Trauma. Music really does heal, and Phil Collins / Genesis really helped scab over many of our emotional wounds, that is for fucking sure.

****

Henry and Chooch were sleeping by the time Corey dropped me off but I woke them and made them watch several video clips from the night (I took very few pictures and videos) and the very next day, Henry framed and hung my Genesis print because sometimes, he just knows the things that are important.

Action shot of The Hanging. (I actually took this to send to Chooch who was incessantly blowing up Henry’s phone about something stupid and I was like STOP BOTHERING HIM, HE IS DOING HIS CHORES. Kids, amirite.)

OMG *tearing up*

I love this wall! Every framed picture is a print from various concerts. I love collecting these! I have a ton of other ones too but I kept all of these ones together because they are the same size. So now every day, I get to walk past this and smile at the memory of seeing Genesis.

I saw Genesis! <3

Dec 202021
 

If I had better blogging habits, I could have written this after I got home from the show and called the blog post TONIGHT TONIGHT TONIGHT, but alas, I am an ambivalent fake-writer and here we are, an entire week later.

Quick back story: I have loved Phil Collins and Genesis since I was in the single digits of age, although I’m certain I probably could differentiate between Genesis and the works of a solo Phil until I was a teen in the 90s. My grandparents always had the radio on in their kitchen and being the early 80s, you were bound to hear “Sussudio,” “In the Air Tonight,” “Invisible Touch,” etc etc. I particularly loved “Easy Lover,” the Philip Bailey and Phil Collins collab. I saw Phil Collins in the mid-90s when I was a teenager (with my friend-at-the-time Keri, who ALWAYS HAD A HEADACHE), and much later in life, I had the pleasure of attending a Mike and the Mechanics show, but I never had the opportunity to see Genesis.

I didn’t even know my brother Corey was a fan until we were mired down with the task of cleaning out my Pappap’s house in 2016 and I got the kitchen stereo to work again. Naturally, I tuned it right to a lite FM station and we were giddy, scrubbing floors and chucking piles of magazines and newspapers into plastic bins to a soundtrack of the BEST soft rock from the 80s. Of course, we heard tons of Phil and Genesis during our laborious days and nights in that house. Giddily making Instavids backed by Phil, Prince, and Mr. Mister was one of the few bright spots during a very, very dark year for us. I even made out with a bunch of Phil and Genesis albums from my aunts’ record collections, and Corey had a custom Phil Collins birthday cake made for me that year:

An Impromptu Birthday Dinner

Then last spring, Corey texted me a HUGE ALERT that Genesis was coming to town. and for the first time since 2019, I found myself having a nervous stomach and The Sweats while waiting in Ticketmaster’s bullshit virtual queue. I got us two tickets in the first row of one of the sections near the floor, which I tried to plan strategically not knowing how the state of Covid would be come December (turns out, worse than last spring) and these seats would put us in a position where we wouldn’t be fully surrounded by people. Then came the months and months of waiting, wondering if the concert would get canceled, praying that Phil, who is already in poor health, would be OK. Believe me, if he had decided to cancel the tour, I would have been bummed, sure, but also I would have been relieved because is this even safe for him!?!? Protect Phil Collins!!

Finally, Genesis Day arrived and I did a pee-jig by the front window, waiting for Corey to pick me up. When he rolled up into the driveway, I barely even said goodbye to Henry before flying out the door like a spaz. As soon as I flung the passenger door open and popped my head inside, I noted that Corey was wearing his jean jacket.

“OMG SHOULD I WEAR MY JEAN JACKET TOO??” I screeched, and he yelled, “YES!” in the tone of LE DUH.

So I crashed back into the house and wheezed to Henry, “COREY IS WEARING HIS JEAN JACKET SO I HAVE TO WEAR MINE TOO.”

“You’re an idiot,” Henry mumbled, as I maniacally traded my fluffy blue coat for denim.

I knew I would probably be cold since the plan was to eat Bae Bae’s and walk to PPG Paints Arena from there, but it would be worth it for the MEM’RIES, I just knew it.

Corey has never been to Bae Bae’s before, and it’s been a hot minute since I was last there, to be honest, so I was happy to be back. And even happier at their mask policy and the fact that the dining area was nearly empty. Thank you. I’m back to being SUPER SKEEVED OUT by eating in restaurants, and if we’re being honest, I guess I never really stopped being skeeved out, vaxxed or not.

During our dinner, Corey was raging because nearly every song that came on was a Top 40 “hit” that he absolutely hated, and I lamented the fact that a Korean restaurant was playing basic white people tunes, to begin with. Now granted, Bae Bae’s is very much Korean American fusion, but I do approve of it because I feel like it’s a good gateway to ease vanilla palates into the wild & crazy world of, I dunno, pickled and ferememted banchan. I mean, they don’t have the proper name for their “glass noodles” on the menu, and the first time I went there and called it by its God-given name of JAPCHAE, the guy behind the counter did a double-take, like, “You know?”

In most traditional Korean restaurants I’ve been to, they play actual Korean music! Granted, that’s predominantly Kpop though lol so I’m sure that’s not appealing to everyone.

ANYWAY! The whole reason I’m bringing this up is to tell you that I cosigned all of the verbal hate mail Corey was spitting to these dumb western artists, ALL BUT ONE:

CHARLIE PUTH. I was unaware that Corey hates him so much, but I have a complete guilt-free obsession with C.Puth. Sorry, little bro! We did agree though that Phil Collins is one of the few musicians that you can say you like to pretty anyone and no one is going to try and make you feel shit for it. Like, even in high school, when everyone is trying SO EFFING HARD to be the most, I never got dogged for my unwavering and blatant love for Phil. (I got DRAGGED when I went through a disco phase in middle school years before that shit made a comeback and became “cool” again, lol.) I think that most humans are in rare solidarity when it comes to the legendary status of Mr. Collins. I’m sure there’s the rare breed out there that “OMG can’t stand” In the Air Tonight, but I thankfully do not know them.

In fact, after Chooch was The Smashing Pumpkins’ “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” for Halloween when he was in 3rd or 4th grade, he suggested “being ‘In the Air Tonight'” for the next Halloween and I was like, “HOW THE HELL—-OK. LET’S DO IT” but then he moved on to something else by then, sadly.

But I digress….

Meanwhile, going to a concert together definitely had Corey and I feeling nostalgic for the time we road-tripped to Philly in 2008 to see the Cure, so we reminisced about that a lot during the evening and then the next day, I realized that we also ate out of take-out containers at a restaurant during that trip, just like we did at Bae Bae’s!

(This was an all-cereal joint called Cereality and I honestly can’t believe it’s not still around, even though my choice of “every chocolate cereal and then top it with Whoppers” made me so sick on the drive home.)

OK I’m ending this here. I had a long evening of being annoyed by the MALES in my house and I would like very much to just spend the rest of the night reading a book. I’ll be back tomorrow for Part 2, sound good? Good.

Nov 272021
 

Hi hello how goes it. We are in some Tennessee town outside of Chattanooga and we have on some incredible radio station that played JACKIE BLUE and then this INSTRUMENTAL song came on and I was in so much pain because I wanted to snap my fingers along to it so bad but I cannot snap my fingers, in case you didn’t know. I was born without the ability.

Anyway, I became instantly obsessed because it made me picture all my squirrel Buddys on the porch having a peanut party and I couldn’t stop laughing. But then I went to this band’s wiki page and it’s actually SAD because the song was actually an instrumental b-side to the a-side song which featured the lead singer Cliff Nobles’ vocals, but it was the INSTRUMENTAL that took off and became a huge hit, peaking at #2 on Billboard in like 1968 or some other old-ass year.

Cliff Nobles ended up working in construction after his music career ended which makes me sad because now he is dead and will never know that I have become obsessed with him and a song that he had no part in.

Also we ate breakfast at Donut King Tastee King Donuts (came here 6 mths later to proofread this and correct the damn donut shop name, #professional) which I picked only because it has a cute logo BUT NO MERCH.

It was just ok but I wanted an egg & cheese on a biscuit on they were like NO BISCUIT, CROISSANT so I had it on a croissant instead and the whole time I ate it, I wondered why no one wants me to have a biscuit on this trip because at dinner in WV last night I also ordered an egg sandwich which was supposed to come on a biscuit but it came on TOAST instead.

Also they put like a THICK SHEATH of pepper in the middle of the eggs this morning and I was almost having an allergic reaction.

Now we’re on our way to Atlanta!

Nov 212021
 

I bought my very first ever monstera plant last January, with very little confidence or faith that I wouldn’t let it wither away into a brown crisp. I’m so hit or miss with houseplants and have killed an embarrassing about of cacti even. (Succulents and cacti are actually NOT THAT EASY TO MAINTAIN for most of us people, honestly!)

Also, quick back story: Henry kept calling it a Monsta X plant because there is an awesome Kpop group by that name. So then I officially dubbed him Wonho after our joint-bias in that group (even though he is no longer in Monsta X and is currently living his best damn life as a solo artist!

Observe: Wonho last January on the day we saved him from dumb Lowe’s.

And here he is last week, November 2021. What a beast!!

You can see that he is soaring over the buffet now.

He is so lush and has strong big boi energy.

I do talk to him every day (along with the cats, squirrels, my other personalities, the computer screen and basically any inanimate object I encounter throughout my sad and lonely work-from-home days) and I guess what they say is true re:talking to plants etc.

Wonho actually lives in a corner with several other large houseplants and that space looks like a mini rain forest, and that makes me feel calm. I never would have thought I’d be a plant bitch yet here we are: first came succulents and now this.

Hey, let’s check in juman Wonho!

How it started (as a rookie in 2015).

And um…how it’s going. *fans self*

Whenever I exclaim, “holy SHIT Wonho is getting so BIG,” Henry always asks, “Which one?” Because truly it could be either.

Ok um on that note 잘 자요!

Oct 252021
 

A few months ago when SHINee’s “Don’t Call Me” MV came out, my fellow Shawol Veronica DMd me and was straight bugging over Minho’s “sick of all your trash” line. I love Veronica for this because sometimes I don’t initially picked up on these things because I’m too fixated on the beat, the dancing, the visuals, etc etc. So I had to go back and relisten.

It cracks me up every time I hear it now!

Anyway, a few weeks ago, Veronica was saying she wished there were T-shirts commemorating this iconic line and in my head I was like FUCK U HENRY FOR NEVER BUYING ME THAT SCREENPRINTING PRESS or whatever the fuck.

But then I was like OH HOLLA there is something I can make her…

Goddamn I was cracking up when making this card. His gritted-teethed grimace! The trash bags!

I really am grateful for the inspiration Veronica wafted my way because I have been in a card-making slump these last few months. I have so many ideas but the mental lethargy is real, yo.

If you’re a SHAWOL or know a SHAWOL that would enjoy the absurdity of this paper product, I do have it listed in my Etsy Kpop Card shop.

And here’s the “sick of all your trash” video!

Sep 292021
 

Please tell me, how is a bitch supposed to get a single thing done when she’s maniacally dancing to this song on repeat.

Asking for a bitch.

UPDATING THIS TO ADD HIS COMEBACK STAGE PERFORMANCE ‼️‼️‼️