Henry and I went to get plant stuff earlier today in an area that’s about 45 minutes away from us and as we drove past this one shopping center, I casually mentioned that I have never been there. Henry said that’s untrue, that we went to a Subway there once and just like that, super vivid memories came flooding back and I screamed, “OH YEAH IT WAS WHEN WE WENT TO THAT ONE WEIRD PLAYGROUND AND BLAKE AND ALISHA WERE WITH US AND THEN WE WENT TO TCBY” and Henry was like “…………………”
I distinctly remembered the pictures I took that day and found them on Flickr. They’re from August 2009 and somehow, I NEVER posted them on here, nor did I even write about the day because I guess this was back when I had a life and didn’t blog every single fucking thing I did because I had a better understanding back then of the idea that NO ONE CARES.
Well, since I have no energy for anything else right now (I expended a lot of it on the squirrels, picking out flowers, and exercising, aren’t you jealous of my full life?), here are the pictures I took that day because Summer of 2009 Chooch was so fucking cute (and sweaty) and also Blake wasn’t a dad yet which is wild and now Alisha lives in ARKANSAS and probably does not miss me making her pose for stupid pictures.
So proud of these ground apples.
Seriously though this playground has a certain type of vibe, yikes.
Well, that was a fun trip down memory lane. Maybe I should start taking out my “real” camera more often like the olden days.
And speaking of Dance Gavin Dance (see: Blake’s shirt), their singer Tilian Pearson has a new solo album out and this video is making me CRAVE A DGD CONCERT.
Oh hello, there. It’s another bland Monday here in Pittsburgh! Henry’s phone just notified him of a picture he took three years ago today and as soon as he asked, “Guess what it is” I knew it was going to be from our first trip to South Korea and I immediately felt extreme sadness but also a sick need to actually see the picture and make my Hanguk yearning half past “sad boy Spotify playlist” more toward “rabbit in a pot” psycho ex-girlfriend.
I don’t make A LICK of sense anymore but who reading this even cares?!
Anyway, the picture he showed me was from the cable car in Songdo Beach, Busan and I felt such a warm rush of nostalgia (or possibly my first ever hot flash). I’m re-sharing this because it was such a pretty day and this post deserves more love.
Chooch: Did you write about how I found a dead crab?
Me: No, I didn’t know you found a dead crab.
Chooch, incredulous at my oversight: Yes! And then I buried it!!
God, maybe if he would share these tales on my blog like I’ve asked him to, I would know! And so would you!
After strolling along the Songdo cliffs for an hour or so, we made it to Ansan Park where one of the cable car loading stations was located. Guys, if you are ever in Busan, I highly recommend walking one way and taking the cable cars the other way—if you don’t like hills, then maybe take the cable cars up, though! That last bit was pretty laborious. We got the best of both worlds doing it this way and it was such an enjoyable way to spend a Friday morning! In fact, I don’t even think we argued at all?!
Before we boarded the cable car, Henry had to dispute the price with the ticket lady who overcharged us. I didn’t go with him because I was afraid he’d embarrass me. Aside from that little snafu, everything went smoothly! I read reviews online that said this place was not foreigner-friendly and I have no idea what they meant because this was Tourist Central.
Chooch was mad because he was trying to make an Instavid and Henry was junking it up with his booming voice so Chooch had to post it without sound, lol.
I’m generally terrified of cable cars but goddammit this was so worth it!
That fucking Peachy Boi. Did I mention that since we were leaving that day, we checked out of the hotel before setting off for Songdo, so once again Chooch and I had our entire Korean lives strapped to our backs while Henry carried nothing. Anyway, Chooch was hand-carrying Peachy Boi because there wasn’t enough room in either of our backpacks and he made me hold him for a second when we climbing the hill to Ansan Park. I dramatically opened my hand and let Peach Boi fall to the ground and Chooch started screaming like I just kicked a Corgi and Henry was like WHAT ARE YOU TWO DOING BACK THERE?!!?!?
You had to be there.
You can see the walkway over there on the left. I miss it!
Obligatory “Out Here in Busan” selfie.
FAMILY PHOTO, LOL.
We wanted to explore more of the area near Busan Tower after this, so we had to take another bus back. I was nervous that I didn’t have enough funds left on my T-Money card, and I kept panicking about it. Henry was like, “DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT” and for some reason, this became another Henryism that Chooch and I latched on to and we were doubled-over in an alley near Songdo Beach, crying in laughter, while Henry stormed off without us.
But guess what guys great news! I had enough funds to get on the bus.
The following portion of this blog post will be photos from our afternoon in Yongdusan Park and the surrounding areas.
You could never go hungry in Korea, guys. We are notorious for arguing over restaurants when on vacation because Chooch and I are so picky and I’m one of those people who will say things like, “It has a bad vibe” or “I didn’t like how the hostess looked at me” or “I don’t feel right in here” so then we leave and Henry is like FML and then we roam around like zombies forever looking for somewhere that meets our specific qualifications and I’m not going to lie, there have been times when we eat from a vending machine and then go to bed angry.
But in Korea, there are freaking food stalls and carts EVERYWHERE!
We ate at one of those aforementioned food stalls because I heard that Busan’s ttkeokbokki is different from Seoul’s, and it really is! The sauce is a deeper color (and supposedly spicier but like I mentioned before, I think I burnt my mouth to the point of no return because I rarely taste spice anymore unless it’s like something deadly) and the ttkeok itself is longer. I loved it! And I appreciated that the old lady who served it to me made the universal “very spicy, hot hot” motion, but I slurped those motherfuckers down like the world was going to end in 2 minutes.
Chooch had a plate of twigum (fried foods) and he was so happy because one of the options was a hardboiled egg, and this was how I learned that my son loves hardboiled eggs which I guess I would know if I spent more time in the kitchen?
That lady was so sweet!
I don’t know what Henry got. Chicken maybe?
Chooch got strawberry rolled ice cream after but I was holding out for more ssiat hotteok.
We didn’t go up into the tower but it was still fun to explore the area around it.
That “sorry I never told you all I wanted to say” heart lock, though… :(
We did some last minute shopping after this (I went into The Saem with the intent of buying one Choco Pie handcream, and then, $100 later….)
It just happened that way.
They have really cute guys who stand outside of the beauty shops, holding signs, and yelling adorable things to lure you in, OK?! And the salesgirl who followed me around wasn’t just suggesting things for me, she was literally telling me what I was going to buy and I was so weak, so so so weak. JUST MAKE ME PRETTY! I’LL DO ANYTHING!
(Jeannie did say that I looked 10 years younger when I came back though, so thanks Korea!)
In line for some ssiat hotteok!
I didn’t buy these and I have regrets.
Chooch bought a knock-off Supreme shirt while we were here because apparently I was supposed to supervise his packing before we left Pittsburgh and I did not do this so he was running out of clean clothes to wear, lol.
By then it was around 4pm and we had to head back to Busan Station and catch our KTX back to Seoul.
We hung out at Pascucci Cafe so Chooch could charge his dumb phone because god forbid he couldn’t watch YouTube videos for the entire 2 and a half hour train ride!
It was a whirlwind 24 hours in Busan and I really hope to make it back someday and give it a proper tour!
Oh why hello there. Warning: this is going to be completely scattered. I mean, when is it not. But you know.
Math Blasting Myself in the Foot
OK OK OK, listen. It’s no big secret that I was a Big Spoiled B when I was a kid. Good thing that didn’t shape who I am as an adult, amirite guy? Lol. So you’ll understand why I was SUPER PISSED when my Aunt Sharon, who was like my second mom and did her fair share in helping my grandparents spoil me rotten (hence the rotten apple tattoo I have on my arm), told me that her goddaughter Nicky was getting a computer for Christmas.
Now, I HATED Sharon’s goddaughter, probably because I didn’t really understand what that even meant to be a goddaughter, but also because she was only a year older than me and I was supremely jealous anytime Sharon did anything for her. (And it wasn’t even that often! Nicky’s mom was Sharon’s friend and they hung out so infrequently that I think I only actually met Nicky once or twice and just remembered that she was a GINGER.) Clearly, Sunday School wasn’t doing a great job with keeping the hate out of my heart.
So this was back when I was in 2nd grade, in 1987, and home computers weren’t what they are today, obviously, and I had never even wanted one until now that NICKY was getting one, what a dumb bitch! I wanted a computer too, suddenly! I mean, what–no, I had wanted a computer before Nicky, like since before I was BORN, what are you talking about, this wasn’t fair! I was already fuming about this, but to add salt to the wound, Sharon was like, “COME TO THE COMPUTER STORE WITH ME AND HELP ME PICK OUT A GAME FOR NICKY SINCE YOU ARE BASICALLY THE SAME AGE.” Oh.my.fucking.god. I was LIVID about this, like Firestarter-levels of fury. But I let her drag me along to this dumb computer store which no longer exists but we sometimes drive past its former location and every so often I have flashbacks and wonder where that dumb bitch Nicky is today.
ANYWAY!!! So we go to this idiotic store and I’m being SUCH A CUNT and rejecting all of Sharon’s suggestions. Then, I see this totally boring-looking game called MATH BLASTER and imagined Nicky tearing open Sharon’s meticulous giftwrap-job, expecting some Sharon-level present (Sharon always gave the best presents) but instead seeing some dumb computer game that was just an extension of school. Yay, now you can come home from school and do more school! Dumb bitch, that’s what you deserve.
So Sharon was like, “OK I trust your judgment” or whatever, probably something like that, and she paid for it with her CHARGE CARD probably or maybe wrote a CHECK, because 1986, while I stood there glaring, with my arms folded across my chest I’m sure because this was my standard pout pose. (It might still be, ask Henry.)
Imagine my surprise that Christmas when, after I already opened like 80 gifts because my grandparents loved me best, my Pappap was like, “OH WOW ERIN I WONDER WHAT ALL THESE GIFTS ARE” after unveiling a series of boxes clumped together off to the side of the sun porch, where we often celebrated our Christmases at my grandparents’ house.
My very own Apple II GS and a printer!
And then there was a smaller box, but you already know.
Turns out Nicky wasn’t the one getting the computer after all, that was just Sharon’s ruse to see….what kind of games I would want.
WHO’S LAUGHING NOW.
I don’t remember what made this memory pop into my head but the other night when Henry and I were getting ready for bed, I just started babbling about it and he was like “……………” and then I went to bed angry at the recollection of that FUCKING GAME. I was so bad at it!!
2. G-Dragon + Jennie
Is it true (okidokido)? At first I was like, “This seems false” because I just can’t picture him with someone like her, and you know obviously I’m SO CLOSE to both of them that I am qualified to make these types of assessments. My friend Veronica speculated that it could be a publicity stunt because maybe GD has an album coming out and I was like DARE TO DREAM because we VIPs are hungry over here, guys. BIGBANG needs to throw us a bone here soon.
But I dunno, it seems like it could be true and if it is, it’s pretty fucking adorable. I mean, they have known each other for quite some time and I know a lot of us were holding out hope that it would be him and one of the girls from 2NE1 (though I personally shipped him with I.U.!), it doesn’t matter as long as both parties are happy! Honestly, when I saw I worry about GD everyday, I’m not being facetious.
Also, my coworkers emailing me to see if I’m OK with this is the sweetest thing ever!
3. Bobo Bobolinski
My dad was good friends with this dude who had 4 sons and the one that was my age was my dad’s godson (oh boy, here we go again!) except that I actually liked this kid. Our families hung out a lot at cookouts, birthday parties, etc., but the one who was my age, Shawn, was the one who was with us the most because even though he was the same age as me, he got along real well with my younger brother Ryan. Plus, you know, the whole godson thing – my dad was always inviting him to Kennywood with us and things like this.
Anyway, my mom texted me a recent picture of all 4 boys with their wives and I was like HOLY SHIT THEY ARE SO OLD, OMG THAT MEANS SO AM I. I haven’t seen any of those guys since I was in high school, because my parents eventually separated and then divorced, so there were no more fun hangouts, but seeing that picture made me miss those days SO MUCH.
Shawn was ALWAYS at our house during the summer of ’92 – it’s when we had a French exchange student staying with us and is still to this day the best summer I ever had. This was also the summer that my dad bestowed upon Shawn a nickname that has stuck so well, that I actually hesitated before typing “Shawn” throughout this entire section. One day, we had taken the dumb French kid to Laurel Caverns, which is like a rite of passage for kids in any kind of Scouts-type group and also just fun for a basic family outing too. While we were there, Shawn slipped and smacked his face off one of the rock walls of the cavern, inspiring my dad to blurt out, “Good job, Bobo.” Then later, I can’t remember if it was the same day or not because I actually wasn’t there for this one, my dad had Bobo, my brother Ryan, and that dumb French kid at a place called Ohio Pyle, where once again, Bobo slipped and smacked his face off of rocks, so now the name Bobo had solidified, now with the surname of Boboliski.
Now, this was also the summer of the Atlanta Olympics so this was the backdrop for many of memories that summer, most notably the time my BFF Christy was over and we were all casually watching gymnastics. I remember Bobo laying on his side on the floor, in front of the coffee table, and saying, “Shannon Miller is a good gymnast.” Literally, that was all he said, just some stale statement, superlative-free, about his opinion of one Shannon Miller. Well, too bad he said this in the presence of Christy and me because we turned it into the Love of the Century and ran around screaming “OMG BOB LOVES SHANNON MILLER!” for the rest of ever.
I have one super specific memory of Bobo in our basement, trying his damnedest to play Pacman (we had the actual arcade game) while blocking out Christy and me who were buzzing around him like the most annoying middle school flies, screaming love sonnets involving Bobo and Shannon Miller.
I just told Henry this story the other night and he was like, “Wow. You are the same.”
That’s Bobo on the far right, French dummy on left, Christy then me.
4. Speaking of the Olympics…
I hope that Covid fucks off because I want Henry’s mom to come over and watch the Olympics (if they happen this summer) so I can live-blog. I had SO MUCH FUN watching the 2016 summer Olympics with her.
You guys I am OBSESSED with the new SHINee album. It is QUINTESSENTIAL SHINEE and I cant listen to it without running spastic laps around my house. It is giving me that spring fever-ish zest for life where I want to just forget all of my problems and frolic through a filed of tulips or whatever bullshit you happy-go-lucky people do. So, in an effort to dispel good vibes, I’d like to send you off with two of my current favorite from their new album:
And they have been performing this song in addition to Don’t Call Me, and it too is a bop which is something I don’t normally like to say because it makes me feel like I should be hanging out with Taylor Swift fans or something but this song is so motherfucking upbeat and I’m ready to, I dunno, make Henry dance with me maybe.
SHINee are goddamn pop legends. Please support them!
Last night I was reminded of the time when I referenced cabbage in every blog post for an entire month and no one noticed. I asked Henry if he remembered that and he said, “Yeah….why? Did someone finally notice?” in an incredulous tone that implied disbelief that anyone still reads it. Whatever, Henry! So I was inspired to self-boost my blog stats by revisiting the cabbage posts from that month and in the process, I came across the post from the time I coerced Janna into going to a house show with me at a frat house in Oakland and then I started cracking up SO BAD at the memory of that night that I had to run upstairs and wake up Henry to laugh-wheeze in his face and he was like, “OK psycho, are you done? Then turn off the light.”
(I have to warn you that I pulled out some old vacation journals and that has also been cracking me up because I’m a fucking stand-up narcissist I guess, so be prepared for some of that shit coming up in the future since I have no life currently and am living in the past.)
OK anyway, this is from July 2015 and it was such a fun/funny/weird night.
Sometime last month, Kurt Travis posted that he was trying to book a house show in Pittsburgh. It was an off day for the headlining solo tour he was doing and if you’re a regular reader or have the misfortune of working with me, you may recall that I begged Glenn to let me offer his house.
Spoiler: he said no.
But luckily, some guy took care of business and promoted the house show on Twitter. My emotions ran a veritable Tough Mudder.
First, I was completely stoked because I haven’t seen Kurt since the last time he was with A Lot Like Birds and I think that was 2 years ago at this point.
Second, I was overwhelmed because a house show meant Kurt would be totally accessible and you know how ridiculous I get. BANDS ARE PEOPLE TOO, ERIN.
Third, the tiny modicum of adult rationality I keep buried beneath my abundance of wanton abandon managed to surface and I was concerned for my safety because this house is in collegeland and what if it turned into a HOUSE PARTY and I get roofied? DOES THAT STILL HAPPEN? I’m pretty far removed from all of that.
Fourth, I felt preemptively self-conscious because while I don’t FEEL old, for this particular music scene, I AM old. It would be much less easy for me to blend in at a house show.
Fifth, I felt panicked because every single person I asked to go with me said no. If this show was at a venue, I wouldn’t have even bothered asking anyone. I’d have just gone alone.
Sixth, whimpering pity party sadness that Terri, the only friend I have who even knows who Kurt Travis is, lives in stupid Philly.
Glenn and Todd were loving this.
“You’ll have to show us the stitches from where they take your kidney,” Glenn said before he left work on Friday.
And Todd was all, “I used to live in Oakland [where the house is located] and nothing good happens in any of those houses.”
Oh and before you ask, Henry said no before the details of the house show were even finalized.
I had a small glimmer of hope when I ran into Blake’s ex-girlfriend Shannon at the mall Wednesday night. She is acquaintances with the guy who booked the show and said she was certain he wouldn’t roofie me, but that she didn’t know any of his friends, so…. But then she said she might be there and I got really excited so she reiterated the “might” part.
My seventh emotion was that of RELIEF on the day of the show when Janna agreed to go with me.
I made Henry drop us off there because I wasn’t trying to add the stress of parking in Oakland to my teetering stack of worries. First, I made him do a case of the house, which was actually a row house that seemed to have zero activity going on around it. But then we saw a group of young people (probably 21?) walking toward it so Henry was like, “Get out.”
“Not until they’re gone!” I cried. I didn’t want them to see me getting out of my dad’s car, god Henry.
It was around 7:30, so…now or ever. Janna and I tentatively climbed the steps to Planet Vegeta (lol). The front door was open so I walked in and found some guy lounging on the couch in a room that was in your standard college kid state of haphazard uncleanliness, the promise of tetanus and rodent infestation lurking beneath every casually-strewn pizza box.
“Is this where the Kurt Travis show is?” I asked the comfortable man.
“Yep, it is!” he answered not in the apathetic manner I was anticipating, but in a friendly, inviting tone instead.
When I’m nervous, self-deprecation falls out of me like hot, salty ejaculate from the mouth of a hooker with strep throat. (Sorry for the porn-fingers.) I vaguely recall saying something about being “too old for these things hahahahah *kill me*” and he just laughed and said, “Everyone is out back. Make yourself at home!”
So, narrowly avoiding kicking a soccer ball through a window, we wound our way through the kitchen and out a screen door, where KURT TRAVIS was hanging out with the other bands. Small cliques of people were sitting around awkwardly, so add two more to the awkward party, I guess!
It was REALLY uncomfortable for about the first 20 minutes. I’m not going to lie, there was a split second when I considered leaving. But then Dylan, the guy who booked the show, came over to take our money and mark our hands with a green X. Someone put on an 80s playlist, Madonna first and then The Cure came on which calmed my nerves considerably. Especially when the music stopped because the owner of the phone it was playing from had to make a call, and when he came back, someone asked, “What should we put on now?”
“I was happy with The Cure, but whatever,” Kurt said in a way that meant “PUT THE CURE BACK ON.”
(They did not put The Cure back on, but whatever.)
Then Janna was like, “I really hate to have to do this—” and here is where I thought she was going to hold up her phone and show me that her Uber confirmation because SEEYA, this scene ain’t for me, bitch!
“—-but I have to use the bathroom really bad and I’m so afraid to go back in there.”
Oh, thank god that’s all!
But then I realized that this meant she was going to be leaving me out there, alone, OMG.
A minute later she came back.
“There’s no one in there to ask,” she complained.
“OMG, just go back in and look for the bathroom. I promise you that these people give zero fucks about a strange girl using their bathroom,” I said. It was bad enough that I was already the Old Lady at the House Show. I didn’t want to also become The Old Lady at the House Show With the Other Old Lady Who Shit Herself.
And so Janna forged her way back into the house and located the bathroom without even needing a map, as evidenced by the victory text I received from her that said, “I found it. Nobody here to care that I walked up here.”
Janna, conquering frat house floor plans, one campus at a time.
Meanwhile, I was leaning against Divorce.’s van, cracking the fuck up by myself, because what a fucking night already. It’s funny how this shit is normal when you’re 20 years old, but when you’re 35, every single second of it was fucking hilarious. I kept texting updates t o Henry, Corey, and Wendy, who actually said that she would have gone with me if she didn’t have to go to a wedding. AND SHE IS PREGNANT, YOU GUYS. That is a true friend.
Then a rousing game of hacky sack started up and I was silently praying that no one would kick it to me because I am a failure at hackying the sacks.
I texted Henry, “Some guy* is sitting in Kurt’s van, staring at me. He looks like a young Charles Manson, help.”
*(I couldn’t figure out where I knew him from, because he looked so familiar. I was running down a list of bands in my head, but I couldn’t place him in any of them. Turns out he was helping with merch on this tour and I recognized him because the Blue Swan scene is so small and I’m always seeing him pop up on Instagram and Twitter because he’s friends with pretty much all of those bands. I am way too immersed in this scene, help me, I’m drowning.)
Around 8:15, divorce. was ready to start and everyone was ushered down a precarious set of spiraling concrete steps into a tiny basement, and then the night proceeded to go from 100% awkward to 100% FUCKING AWESOME.
These guys are from here (Pittsburgh), and that makes me proud because they are just the kind of passionate, gritty emo/grunge band that I find myself often craving. I’m keeping on an eye (and an ear, oh ho!) on these ones. They’re gonna go places.
I already can’t wait to see them again!
After their set, everyone retreated for the cool air. We sat down in the parking lot and Janna complained about being sweaty and wanting water. That’s not being very punk rock, Janna.
While we were waiting for Save Us From the Archon, Janna and I talked about looking for new jobs, trying to get out and do more things, and Chooch. It occurred to me that we were sitting in a back lot with a bunch of people 10+ years younger than us passing around bowls and drinking cans of cheap beer, while we were talking about grown-up life bullshit.
It’s ridiculous that this post is so age-focused but please remember that the music scene I’m into is young and I really am an anomaly.
And then Janna said, with just a note of surprise to her tone, “I liked that band! They were good!”
“Well duh, Janna. I don’t like sucky music!” scoffed my music-snob alter ego. Seriously! If people would actually pay attention to what I say, then maybe they would be listening to good music, too. NO ONE TAKES ME SERIOUSLY! #pityppartyonpioneeravenue
This was my second time seeing local mathcore favorites Save Us From the Archon. If you don’t like any music along the lines of post-rock, then you probably definitely won’t like SUFTA. Me? I think they’re brilliantly gifted musicians and, as someone who has no musical talent (save for playing the clarinet moderately well in middle school), it blows my mind watching their hands and fingers move and trying to work out in my feeble mind how they play such crazy-technical shit that makes my chest feel like an alien is about to punch its way out. It’s a frenetic, metal-tinged meltdown in all of the best senses.
(Needless to say, Henry was not sad that he was missing them. We saw them last year at the Hail the Sun/Stolas/Icarus the Owl show at Smiling Moose.)
There was a girl nearby who looked in awe and said, “OK, I am definitely learning how to play the guitar.” That made me happy.
While SUFTA was playing, the sun had set, so we retreated from the basement to an absolutely beautiful, mild night. There was even a slight breeze and it felt so fucking good after sweating in that basement. “It’s practically winter out here!” I said to the girl who wants to learn the guitar and she agreed and THAT IS HOW YOU TALK TO PEOPLE, APPARENTLY. I’m relearning these things.
Some young guy walked past us and said, “I have to sit down; my legs are killing me.”
I laughed and said to Janna, “God, who’s the old person now!?”
You guys, that’s Kurt going nuts during Adventurer’s set, no big deal. He kept grabbing the mic and singing along. It’s fucking refreshing that there is so much camaraderie and passion between bands. They told us that Kurt is their mom, which is adorable because you can tell that he looks after the young bands he take s on the road with him and I JUST WANTED TO CRY because I’m an emotional wreck even on a good day. Add amazing live music to the mix and I’m suddenly a house wife watching a Nicholas Sparks movie.
(By the way, Adventurer? They’re a three-piece post-hardcore band from Michigan. Go get stoked on them, NOW. Kurt doesn’t just take any run of the mill band on tour with him.)
Oh god, and then Kurt. I’ve seen him twice with Dance Gavin Dance, three times (at least) with A Lot Like Birds, and once by himself when he was on Jonny Craig’s solo tour in 2012, but none of those times even come close to being as perfect as this was. It doesn’t get much more intimate than seeing a singer you respect that much…..in some dude’s basement.
Adventurer acted as his backing band, and there was a hilarious moment where Kurt hunted down Steven (Adventurer’s guitarist) and kept trying to kiss him until, at last, he was successful and everyone cheered.
He sang “Desperate” and I was like *HEART EYES* because that song punches me in the gut every time.
At one point, Kurt brought up the fact that he was the oldest person in the room, I can’t remember why it came up now. But we made eye contact when he said that and I shook my head “no.”
“If anyone in this room is older than 31, raise your hand.”
I raised my hand.
“You??” he said in a shocked tone, which let me tell you, I truly appreciated. “No.”
“Yep. I’m 35!” I announced, and everyone craned their necks to get a good look at the token old broad.
Kurt shook his head and smiled. “Damn, I thought for sure I was the oldest one here! OK then, I dedicate this next song to you!”
O M F G.
In that moment, I was filled with gratitude that Janna was there as a witness. FINALLY, BEING OLD WORKED IN MY FAVOR!
(I still don’t feel old though. And I was showing more signs of life than half of those comatose motherfuckers last night!)
Kurt asked, “Anyone here like The Cure?” There were only two of us in the basement who answered affirmatively. Kurt told us that when he was a kid growing up in Sacramento, his mom was a dancer for Reebok and Adidas and he would often accompany her on drives back and forth to LA, where he would spend a lot of time listening to The Cure, specifically “Disintegration.”
“This next song was heavily influenced by The Cure,” he explained, before playing “Everything Is Beautiful.”
Meanwhile, Steven had stepped on glass or a syringe or who knows what and a small pool of blood had formed on the basement floor while the tour manager ran to get a first aid kit. And he just kept right on playing.
Kurt declined Steven’s request for him to kiss it.
I don’t even know what else to say about this night other hearing his beautiful voice within a small cinderblock-walled room was something that I will never forget and I definitely would have lived to regret it had I not gone, just like I still to this day regret missing a Frank Turner house show in 2010 because I had just started an evening assignment with a temp agency, ugh forever. I remember that I considered calling off and Henry, who rarely says no to me, gave me a Look that said, “Are you fucking kidding me, we’ve been poor as FUCK for the last year, you are GOING TO THIS JOB AND YOU ARE GETTING PAID.” Ugh, sometimes Henry has a point.
After the show, I waited semi-patiently while two guys fan-girled in Kurt’s face, because I had decided that I was not leaving this house without officially meeting him. And saying, “Can you sign this?” after I bought his EP from him in 2012 does not count.
“It was totally worth being the oldest broad in the room for this,” I said, trying not to gush.
“I couldn’t believe anyone here was going to be older than me!” he laughed.
Then Janna popped up from out of nowhere and said, “I’m older than her, just so you know” and I was like “GTFO YOU ARE NOT GOING TO RUIN MY MOMENT!” so then she retreated into her hole and I went on to tell him that I’ve always been a huge Dance Gavin Dance fan, and I obviously love his current band A Lot Like Birds, so it was worth enduring a potentially awkward situation to see him that night.
He graciously thanked me AND THEN GAVE ME A HUG!
He told me a little bit about the tour, and how he was said that In Angles couldn’t be there tonight (and I was sad too because I have been listening to them ever since he first gave them a shout out on Instagram) and it’s just really awesome how humble he is, and always ready to support and promote other bands before talking about his own. He is a real diamond in this scene.
I didn’t want to keep him any longer, so I wished him safe travels and then Janna and I headed out of the basement.
“Way to steal my moment, Janna! God, I was waiting for you to pull out your cane to prove you’re older than me!” and Janna laughed but I was serious!
Then Henry and Chooch rolled up and I screamed in Henry’s face, “KURT TRAVIS DEDICATED A SONG TO ME AND HE HUGGGGGGGGED ME!!!” Henry was like “…..” but Chooch had a ton of questions about this, because Chooch gets it, you guys.
It was utter perfection.
In fact, it was better than rolling cabbages down a hill toward Jonny Craig bowling pins.
P.S. In case you care, this is my all-time favorite Kurt Travis song even though it’s a Dance Gavin Dance song:
P.P.S. I survived and my organ-count is the same as it was Saturday morning, so in your face, GLENN!
You guys, Sugar Spell Scoops has returned from their much-deserved January hiatus, just in time for Valentine’s Day! Their cupid-approved comeback featured 6 flavors, but I managed to repress my inner pig and only ordered 4. I try to reason that I’m giving other people a chance. It is literally Pint Panic during these pre-orders, you guys. Their ice cream is highly sought after and their winning reputation has been growing with each release. So, if you don’t sent a reminder on your phone and sit there hitting refresh like you’re trying to buy Blackpink concert tickets, then lolololol have fun eating your SO Delicious.
Be My Valentine is their Feb 14th spin on their famous Dunkaroo flavor, which was the first scoop Chooch ever got from Sugar Spell and I remember having flavor-remorse that day because I of course liked my choice but after he gave me a taste of his, I was straight up coveting it. So now I always make sure to snag a pint when it’s part of a pre-order! This version has chocolate Teddy Grahams and pink funfetti buttercream frosting swirls which honestly disengages my self-control and I just want to sit in a dark closet with my pint and spoon it into my slobbering mouth with my bare hands.
Chooch proclaimed Burnin’ Love as his favorite – it’s chocolate ice cream with mini chips, cinnamon and cayenne pepper. Woo boy, that subtle throat burn is perfection! Also, I have said this on here before and I’m not just being hyperbolic but Sugar Spell makes the best chocolate ice cream I have ever had and it’s even more incredible when you remember, as that rich chocolate pillow of flavor melts on your tongue, that this IS VEGAN.
AMBROSIA!!! I was determined to get this one because my mom made ambrosia for every summer cookout we had when I was growing up – to this day I’m always like “YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG” if I go to someone else’s party and they don’t have a big fucking bowl of ambrosia (or strawberry pretzel salad! If you can’t have both, at least pick one!). I did a whole post here last summer about summer picnic salads. It is actually stupid how on point this ice cream version is.
Perfect Matcha is obviously matcha, but also stawberry rose ice cream topped with rose petals! It’s mine all mine because neither Henry nor Chooch like matcha (well, I think Chooch is ok with matcha but he doesn’t love floral flavors in food) and oh baby this is so refreshing. It’s just the right amount of rose without leaving you with that cloying, accidental perfume inhalation taste in the back of your throat, you know what I mean? Sometimes, floral-flavors can be too heavy-handed, or they can just catch you off guard and leave you with a choking fit in the middle of a temple on a Hare Krishna compound when you imbibe water without knowing it had been steeped with an entire rose garden even though your FRIEND JANNA tried to warn you.
Ah, Sugar Spell – welcome back. You were missed!
Next up in vegan food pre-orders, Onion Maiden’s occasional pop-up The Ramen returned this weekend, and I excitedly pre-ordered two bowls of spicy ramen for Chooch and me, and then the Flower People cheesecake which we will get to in a second….but first – RAMEN CLOSE-UP:
Now let’s get into this cheesecake! It’s made with ube & peach cashew cheesecake, with a soft helmet of cashew cream, chamomile, raspberry dust, and coconut.
It was so rich and dense that I willingly shared it with Henry.
We ordered two pieces though so you might catch me eating while crying in the shower because I’m going through some emotions lately HAHAHA ugh.
Anyway – back to Ambrosia Talk. Whenever Sugar Spell announced that as a flavor, I started a conversation on Instragram with Amanda (Sugar Spell’s mastermind) about how nostalgic this is and she told me that her grandma used to make a variation of it called Frog Eye Salad, which I have never heard of and became immediately obsessed as soon as Amanda mentioned that it contains PASTA.
She sent me the veganized recipe she uses and when I passed it on to Henry, he was intrigued enough to make it last night. I am here now to tell you that it is delicious and the pasta gives it the BEST texture!!
SO GOOD! And it’s not overly sugary or heavy so it makes a nice snack or a breakfast side (I may have done both today lol).
I think by now most people who know even a little bit about me probably have heard me mention Wildwood at least once. Considering I haven’t actually been there since 1991/1992, it’s kind of astounding how much of an impact this damn boardwalk tourist town has had on me! One of these years, I’m going to return and it’s probably going to be a big letdown because nothing is ever as good as it was in our childhood memories.
I found a bunch of vintage snaps of the boardwalk when I was moving all of the photos I saved from my grandparents house into photo boxes and first I was like WILDWOOD IN THE 70S FUCK YEAH! But then I was like, “Wait, my family went to Wildwood before I was born??” so I texted my mom and she was like, “Oh yeah we used to go all the time.”
WHAT THE WHAT HUH HMM? Literally never knew that! I thought it was something special that my mom and grandparents eagerly concocted after I was born, like they did a pre-Google search for “super fun places to take our new granddaughter” and Wildwood popped up as a brochure on a travel agent’s formica desk. But nah, they had just “always” been vacationing there and now newly-born Erin was just a TAG-ALONG.
But whatever. Wildwood was the best part of my summers in the 80s, even if my family had an ENTIRE PAST HISTORY of vacationing there without me.
“We used to take great-grandma,” my mom told me LIKE IT WAS NO BIG DEAL that my great-grandma whom I barely knew (she was from Yugoslavia!!) walked this very boardwalk!
I don’t know whose pictures these were, or what exact they were taken, but they make me so happy, ugh.
I just noticed that the little girl in the yellow is my aunt Susie!! That means these are maybe even from the 60s!?
Fuck. This just makes me want to go and listen Bruce Willis’s version of “Under the Boardwalk,” which I used to listen to all the time on a cassette player on my grandparent’s sun porch while playing with my grandma’s Bingo chips and stampers with my childhood friend Amy and yes, she was real, not imaginary and I just had a STRONG FLASHBACK of reenacting a scene from Another World that involved some character named Chad that I guess I must have been obsessed with??
Well, that’s all I have for you on this very blah February Friday. I have to work late shift today and Henry’s grandkids are being exceptionally loud and cry-y on the other side of the wall and then my own kid is also super annoying and energetic today as well and I am ready to snap the fuck out ok byeeeee.
The other night, I was watching the episode of Schitt’s Creek where Stevie has a Sarah McLachlan poster in her apartment and I was reminded of the fact that I have not listened to Sarah McLachlan (accidentally catching a few notes of one of those depressing animal commercials soundtracked by Eyes of an Angel doesn’t count – that song will never be the same again) on purpose since I was probably 19 or 20. I was home alone for a bit on Sunday and decided to remedy that while having COZY BOOK TIME. So I put on Fumbling Towards Ecstasy and immediately felt like some other, long-repressed Erin had resurfaced and suddenly I wanted to put on a flow-y skirt with sandals and tuck a daisy behind my ear.
(Fun fact: I used to wear long skirts all the time, even when just hanging out at home, but then some of the guys I worked with at the meat place made low key rapey comments and would ya look at that, I’ve only worn pants for the last 20 years. Huh.)
My Sarah McLachlan obsession started accidentally when I was in high school, scamming Columbia House and BMG – you remember those ads where you could choose 10 CDs for a penny or whatever? I think eventually they upped it to “for the price of one CD” but I took advantage of this SO MANY TIMES. And if they didn’t have anything I wanted, I would just choose random stuff that looked cool. That’s how I ended up with Fumbling Toward Ecstasy and whatever album she had that came out before that one.
What stands out the most to me is that F.T.E. was that rare album in the 90s where it was 100% listenable the whole way through. Oh man, I can’t tell you how many times I bought a CD back in the day only to realize that the only good song was the radio single. I guess that’s why cassingles were so popular back then! But F.T.E. was like a deep tissue massage for my brain. My bedroom senior year of high school in 1996 was super cozy and vibe-y – I had all kinds of strands of lights, lava lamps, neon, a deep purple carpet and foiled wallpaper. Those TicToc kids don’t have SHIT on my 1990s boudoir! And goddamn, that album got a lot of play time back then. I was super depressed most of the time so this shouldn’t be too shocking.
Anyway, all of that is fine and dandy, but the one thing that pushed its way to the forefront of my mind yesterday while floating down this aural memory lane was that Psycho Mike made fun of me SO HARD for liking Sarah McLachlan. It was “so gay.” I have this strong image of us standing in the basement of my parent’s house, next to a spare dining room table, while he mocked me about it and I know what you’re thinking, “Wow, Erin this is the second time in less than a month that music has made you write about Psycho Mike sounds like SOMEONE is still hung up” and you know what, you’re right! I am not over that toxic relationship. I still have nightmares, for Christ’s sake! He did a real number on me and I probably still require several years of therapy!
But then, and this is the part of my memory that’s hazy, it was either the cheerleader he met at the juvenile psychiatric facility he was sent to in 1997 and temporarily dumped me for, or the girl he starting dated two years later after we had officially broken for good, but one of them also really like Sarah McLachlan so then he suddenly did too. Fuck you, Psycho Mike.
[I also went through a brief Jewel phase back then which I forgot about (purposely blacked out?) until last week when Chooch and I walked to 802 Cafe and “Foolish Games” was playing. Wow, I had a physical response to that one, that’s for sure.]
Later on, I heard the tail end of Duran Duran’s “Come Undone” wafting down the steps from the radio in my bedroom so I was like OH SHIT MY JAM and hurriedly put the video on YouTube while assisting Henry in Valentine Land. As soon as that ended though, I had Sade’s “No Ordinary Love” queued up to play.
“What’s making you listen to Sade?” Henry asked, probably confused by the sudden deluge of music with English lyrics.
“Well, because I just listened to ‘Come Undone’ by Duran Duran and that will always be connected with ‘No Ordinary Love’ in my head because they were both popular around the same time and it reminds me of when my bedroom was arranged in a certain way that I loved.”
Henry gave me that “…ok” smirk so I continued to explain. “Actually I hated it at first because my mom waited until I was on vacation with my grandparents to rearrange it and then I came home from Europe, jet-lagged, to a strange room!” I cried incredulously.
“Yeah, that doesn’t make me feel sorry for you,” Henry sighed.
I need to learn to read the room.
And then I went back to my Sarah McLachlan loop which made Henry ponder about Lilith Fair.
“Didn’t you go to Lilith Fair?” he asked.
“Are you sure?” he pressed, looking so fucking sure of himself.
“Pretty sure I would remember attending Lilith Fair,” I said in that teenaged tone spiced with the perfect amount of derision and condescension that I reserve just for him.
“Hmm,” Henry sighed, staring into space. “….did I go to Lilith Fair…?”
And then we spent the next 35 minutes trying to remember Ani DiFranco’s name and had a huge fight because I put on “Uninvited” by Alanis Morrisette and HE DIDN’T KNOW WHO IT WAS.
“HOW DO YOU NOT RECOGNIZE HER VOICE,” I screamed, like this was a personal affront, equivalent to not knowing my middle name or Kpop bias.
“WELL IF I DIDN’T KNOW THIS SONG BEFORE, I SURE KNOW IT NOW!” he yelled after the 4th different live version of it played on YouTube.
I really wish I had more pictures of my old bedroom, is my main takeaway of the weekend’s music memories. Oh, and that I need therapy to work through the Psycho Mike stuff. (“I don’t think I’m over the stuff Psycho Mike did to me” I said to Henry and his response was a very dry, “wow, no shit.” LOLZ.)
We usually have a small clock-radio playing lightly in our bedroom at all times, dialed in on some inoffensive station that plays more “classic” Top 40 with the occasional current hit sprinkled in for good measure. Basically, it’s dentist office tunes, where one minute you might be blessed with some deeply nostalgic Depeche Mode track, and then just as quickly annoyed by some Miley Cyrus shit-song. I just like not knowing what I’m going to walk into each time I enter throughout the day (and sometimes I can even hear what’s playing from downstairs, prompting me to scream over the TV “ooh it’s my jam!” to which Henry scowls, “How can you HEAR that?!”).
All of this is to say that I was awoken one morning last week by the opening acapella pining of Tonic’s “If You Could Only See” and with tears spurting out of my eyes, I was suddenly drop-kicked back to 1997, the autumn after senior year, sitting in a lobby of the McKeesport YWCA waiting to take my GED test because yes, I was a high school drop out. There was only a month or so left of senior year, I was in a shitty relationship with a psychopath, I had zero support or understanding from my family, I had been grieving my grandfather’s death for over a year with no reprieve, and my mental state was largely ignored. Back then, as a 17-year-old brat, I chocked my decision up to rebelling, trying to get a rise from parents who didn’t pay attention to me. It wasn’t drugs, I wasn’t a teen mom, I wasn’t failing (I was on the fucking honor roll lol) – I just made a stupid, knee-jerk, stubborn decision to not get out of bed anymore because being in those halls made me feel like I was going to scream. I would realize later on that I had a sort of mental breakdown and my ability to make “normal people” decisions had taken a back seat. I was literally lost.
Choices were made, amigos and chingus.
Fast forward a few months: my friend Christy, who knew that I was better than that, urged me to get my GED so that I could at least get a job. I had nothing else to do – all of my friends had gone away to college and I was just toiling around with Psycho Mike, on the verge of making the leap from rich suburban girl to legit white trash. So, why not? Let’s GED this bitch up.
And that’s how I wound up in the McKeesport YWCA, striking up conversation with a super cute and hilarious guy whom I felt SO STRONGLY was The One but now I can’t even remember his name. Dante? Damien? All I remember is that he was super into computers (“I like taking them apart and putting them back together,” he said and I thought this was dumbest yet most interesting thing ever, like OMG can I watch?) and planned on going to school for that, and he lived in the nearby town of Dravosburg.
The GED test was spread out over two evenings, and we both arrived too early on each evening, hanging out in the lobby and talking before the doors to the testing room opened up. On both nights, we were the first to finish (I might have giddily rushed through it so that I would have more time to talk to him) and I remember distinctly sitting in this alcove/balcony area during the breaks we were allotted each night, and he even chivalrously sat with me while I waited for my ride after the testing was over, talking like we had known each other forever. He gave me his number, and when Psycho Mike picked me up after the second night of the testing was over, Mike was of course enraged to find me talking to another guy. I remember stopping at Firehouse Videos that night on the way home m to rent Dario Argento movies, and then having a huge argument in the basement of my parent’s house. I didn’t even care because meeting the new guy was a sign: I had incentive to dump Psycho Mike. Because in my stupid high school drop-out brain, having a rebound guy was better incentive than, I dunno, protecting myself from further abuse?! Teenagers are so FUCKING DUMB.
But then I couldn’t find GED dude’s number! And I hadn’t given him mine! I even called my friend Justin who also lived in Dravsoburg and asked him if he knew him, told him the whole Shakespearean dilemma, and could he locate this guy? Could he give him my number? Dravosburg is small, right?!
Justin said he would see what he could do, which was nothing because at the end of the day, we may have been “friends” but we were also “exes” and he wasn’t on board with pimping me out I guess.
So I never talked to that guy again, but I thought about him occasionally for the next several years, particularly anytime I would hear that Tonic song, which was popular at that time and for whatever reason, I associated it with him.
I did end up, obviously, dumping Psycho Mike but it wouldn’t be until another 6 months or so. And what would have happened if I hadn’t lost that guy’s number? How would that have changed the trajectory of my life? Would I have still met Henry? SO MANY QUESTIONS!
Hilariously (but not), several years later, now with Henry as my boyfriend, I had decided to go to college. In order to enroll at Pitt, I needed my high school transcript which made me so fucking nervous because I had never seen them and wasn’t really looking forward to taking that awkward and painful stroll down memory lane. I had to pick up the transcripts in person and I can remember bursting into tears in the parking lot afterward – I had actually graduated high school. After all of that, all of the passive-aggressive shaming my dad put me through, the childish bullying I endured any time I ran into enemies from high school*, the hassle of going to McKeesport and taking the GED exam, I had been a high school graduate that whole time. I remember back then, a friend telling me that there was a seat saved for me at commencements but I didn’t believe it then. I guess it was true.
*[Notably, the time I was at Denny’s with my friend Brian and that broad Cinn I mentioned recently, and two dumb bitches I hated more than anyone (I didn’t know about Trump yet) stood next to my booth in order and plunked quarters into the Claw Machine. “I’m really good at this,” Mindy said theatrically and extra-loud, as though her cunt friend Christine wasn’t standing RIGHT NEXT TO HER. “I went to college.” At this, they both collapsed into red neck chortles. OH BURN. So you went to college to learn a skill that requires you spend $1.00 on a 5 cent plushie? COOL!]
Anyway, both of those bitches are miserable and basic.
I was a mess in 1997: I was suicidal, directionless, hopeless, I saw no future for myself. So I chose some controversial paths, but those paths miraculously spilled me out into a pretty good spot in life. I made my own awesome family, I have a handful of loyal and amazing friends, and I have a decent job which maybe I’m not passionate about but that decent job affords me to focus my free time on things I AM passionate about. I dunno, I think I’ve done ok for myself in spite of some abysmal choices.
If I could only see all of that back in 1997.
LOL, see also: deep thoughts inspired by an ok song.
Because there is nothing else to do but read books and daydream about the past, I was recently thinking about how we used to actually go and do really fun shit (for me) and then I would interview Henry about it later for my blog and he would rarely give any more than 2 word answers so I would have to use CREATIVE LICENSE and make up my own answers for him, and wow, those days were fun. Maybe I will try to think of a reason to interview him here soon (a conversation on Covid? DIY discourse) but until then, please enjoy the time we went to Warped Tour in 2016 and I tried desperately to get opinions out of him. (WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE MORE HENRY INTERVIEWS? You can read them all here!)
Much wow, this was Henry’s 8th Warped Tour (I think? I don’t feel like counting, but it’s less than my official tally that’s for sure because I’m more legit than he is). What this means is that he is basically a seasoned, grizzled pro at this point. Let’s ask him some questions about his long-term relationship with Warped Tour and if he plans on siring any illegitimate children out of wedlock with them, too. JUST LIKE HE DID WITH ME.
Do you plan on siring any illegitimate children out of wedlock with Warped Tour?
Say that again!? [WRITER REPEATS QUESTION.] I don’t know. Is that even possible?
There were several times when I went off on my own during the day. What did you and Chooch do that I missed?
We just walked around and got some Twix [they had a booth there] and Chooch spent some time in the water tent. We saw a little bit of Cold Rain but then he saw some vendor and then we ventured off. I don’t know, we just walked around and then he kept wanting a bucket hat. [There were some merch booths selling them because nothing screams POP PUNK like a bucket hat?]
Out of all the Warped Tours you’ve attended throughout the years, give us your top 3 worst moments.
Great, now I have to think. [He is seriously thinking about this too OMG. No wait, he’s watching something about the Kennedy assassination. No, he’s thinking again!]
#3. I don’t know what year it was, but having to listen to Katy Perry sing.
#2. Whatever year it was when it was 1000 degrees there and it was miserable. [I know what you’re thinking: Isn’t that every year?? But this one year it was actually so bad that someone died, I think, maybe.]
#1. Breakdown 2016. [You guys I think he’s referring to the 87 times I wanted to leave last week because I’m emotionally cracked.]
If you had a booth at Warped Tour, what would you be selling?
Individually-wrapped prunes. [LOL JUST KIDDING THAT WAS ME, THE WRITER, ANSWERING FOR HIM.]
Huh. What would I sell….[Literally, he has no imagination.] I don’t know. Let me think about that one.
[TWENTY MINUTES LATER] Your art, and meat products, because there’s way too much vegetarian shit there.
[Um, if he’s referring to the ONE tent that Peta2 has there, then yeah: SO MUCH.]
Kevin Lyman, the founder of Warped Tour, asks you personally for a list of bands to forever blacklist. I guess he feels an affinity to you because you’re both middle-aged with probably have the same amount of callouses. Anyway, what bands are on your list? GO HOGWILD, BOO.
[Wow, this just in: Henry doesn’t care when disgusting, misogynistic bands like FALLING IN REVERSE and ATTILA play at Warped Tour, that’s why they didn’t make his list. Oh OK, privileged white male! Way to use your god-given Caucasian penis for good.]
It’s the morning after Warped Tour, i.e. DEAR DIARY TIME! What do you write on the back of the Faygo Red Pop label* about this year’s experience at Warped Tour?
I can’t have secrets and then tell you! [I won’t stop looking at him until he answers.]
When you look at me like that and start typing, it scares me. I don’t like your line of questioning. Too much thinking involved. Why can’t it just be yes or no answers. [Ew he just told me he doesn’t like my attitude?!]
*[That’s what I imagine Henry’s diary to be: a clump of Faygo bottle labels crumbled into a ball and punched under the mattress.]
OK fine, pretend like it’s a postcard that you’re sending Chris & Monica from the great bustling parking lot that is Warped Tour:
Is this a new question? Why would I write Chris and Monica a postcard?
[I’ll start it for you: DEAR CHRIS AND MONICA]
[I just asked Chooch the same question since Henry’s brain is creaking and smoking as he tries to think. Chooch would just write: ‘Sup.]
Dear Chris & Monica,
Having a great time, as always. [I think he’s sarcasming.]
Brought my A&D ointment which I have been applying liberally right around the TENDER AREAS inside my thighs. I wanted to wear booty shorts today but I had to wear regular-lengthed basic white man shorts on account of all the CHAFING. Thought we were going to leave early because Erin was being a psycho but then somehow we ended up staying later than ever before, wtf guys. I got to eat an ice pop and it reminded me of the days when I was a paperboy except that it cost approximately $8 more. Um, I bought my work-husband the Masked Intruder CD not because I’m thoughtful or anything but because he is my dom.
[OK fine, I might have taken some liberties after the “having a great time” line because I was tired of him sitting here saying, “Um…..uh…..”]
You seem less irritated about having to chaperone Chooch and me than you have in earlier years. Can you confirm this is because you’re sufficiently dead inside, or do you secretly LIKE WARPED TOUR now?
I think it’s a little bit of both. I like some of it and I’m pretty much dead inside because of you and Chooch.
But you hated Bled Fest – why?
I didn’t hate Bled Fest I just didn’t like it. I never said I hated Bled Fest! It was just too hot—and it wasn’t my type of music!
[Let me translate this for you, because I’m well-versed in reading between Henry’s blue-collared lines: Not enough booty shorts.]
Talk about how you’re able to sleep every year through super loud, heavy bands (the lucky bands this year were Secrets and Waterparks):
I don’t know it’s just something I can do.
[WOW GET THIS MAN ON AMERICA’S GOT TALENT.]
If Warped Tour was around when you were a teenager, what bands would you have liked to see in the line-up that was probably printed in the PITTSBURGH PRESS along with the date that the tickets went on sale so you would know when to go to KAUFMANN’S at CENTURY III MALL to buy them. I’ll just go ahead and start you off with Ted Nugent:
Probably ZZ Top
The Guess Who
[ED.NOTE: Don’t post pictures of illustrated weeners on Facebook because you will be reported for it and it will be removed, even if it looks like a Simpsons’ weener.]
Speaking of weeners, last year, that ginger-fuckerbitch Jonny Craig got kicked off Warped Tour for flapping his weener at his merch girl. Would you rather have Jonny Craig’s weener flapped in your face at such a close proximity that it gets tangled up in your beard, or would you rather get caught flapping your own weener at Jeffree Star and have him paint it with his lipgloss line? You can be honest, I won’t tell anyone:
Really? You’re not going to tell anyone? Pfft. [He just mumbled “Boy, you’re having fun with this.”] Probably the latter because I don’t like Jonny Craig.
Bradley [from Emarosa] hugging Chooch [during their set. Don’t worry Henry, I’m here to beef up your answers].
ON THE REAL HENRY, like how giddy do you get when Bradley talks to us?
How WHAT? Giddy? I don’t. I don’t need to get giddy; I have you two that get giddy and quiet.
[Oh OH, Bradley is totally his #mce (Barb, that means Man Crush Everyday).]
In closing, what advice would you give another dad who is going to Warped Tour with his kids for the very first time? And don’t say “Drop them off”:
Well that was going to be my answer, drop them off. Since I can’t say that….um….bring lots of cash for merch and food. I don’t know what else….but I’m sure you do.
[Yeah, I do: FORGET ABOUT HAVING ANY AUTHORITY, OPINIONS, OR FEELINGS THAT DAY BECAUSE IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU, IT’S ABOUT YOUR KIDS, SO STEP OFF, DAD.]
It was announced recently that GOT7 has parted ways with their OG label, JYP. It looks like they’re signing one by one to new labels, I read that Mark is coming back to LA to try his luck at a solo career here in racist America, and Jin-Young might be focusing solely on acting….while I will continue to support each member in their new, individual endeavors, it is going to take me a long time to mourn GOT7 as a whole! Each member posted the above picture on their individual IG accounts with #GOT7FOREVER and you better believe it was a “no mascara” day for me after that.
They were one of the first groups I grew to love through kpop cardio. They were/are Chooch’s bias group. They are CRITICALLY UNDERRATED. Please, I beg you, forget about BTS for one goddamn second (they are not the best there is!!) and give GOT7 some love. Their dancing is FIERY and their looks have always been stunning. Visuals always killing it. Vocals? Better than “your faves,” fight me.
Here are some of my favorites:
SarahKpop made one of my favorite kpop dance workouts to this song, which was how I first heard it!
When this song came out, it was seared into my brain for a full year.
THE COLORS, VOCALS, MOVES. ALL THOSE BOOKS?!!? (OK here come the tears lol.)
This makes me want to punch things!
I love their cute aegyo side, too! Also, this song has such a sweet message.
This is one of my ALL TIME faves.
We (a/k/a me, myself, I) made the last minute decision in June 2019 to buy tickets to their Toronto show and I am so fucking relieved and grateful of that decision as it would end up being the one and only time Chooch and I got to see them perform live.
The first time we were in Seoul, we even staked out JYP in hopes of catching a glimpse of them, like true Kpop sasaengs!
Anyway, here also is what is supposedly their last performance as GOT7, from the Golden Disc Awards earlier this week; the second song they perform is my current favorite, which I posted about a few weeks ago:
I know that in the grand scheme of things, this is probably the best thing for them. They weren’t treated well by JYP and now they’re finally free of their contractual chains to pursue other avenues to happiness.
OK I have to go now that I have thoroughly depressed myself. If you watched any of these and liked one or whatever, let me know since I am sad and need friendly banter. LE SIGH!!!!!!!!!
The latest episode of Handmade By Henry saw him working diligently with fun fur because in my mind’s eye, I could not picture my Monster Squad poster framed any other way!
And by the way, The Monster Squad was one of my favorite movies when I was a kid. My friend Amy L., whose grandparents lived on my street, used to come over my house after school so that we could watch the shitty copy that my mom recorded for me on a blank VHS, probably from HBO, because we both had the hots for Rudy. I STILL HAVE THIS TAPE! It has Monster Squad scribbled on it in CRAYON on a ripped piece of MASKING TAPE. The very beginning of the movie was cut off by those goddamn black and white squiggly lines that were ubiquitous with VHS, and it wasn’t until years and years later as an adult that I finally got to see the movie in full, after I bought the DVD, lol.
Another fun fact about me and this movie: there’s a super beloved scene where one of the kids says, “whoa…wolfman’s got nards” and that was actually a quote on my checks back when people used checks to pay for shit. When I started dating, he was like, “….really?” I had checks for another account to and those ones said “gave all the vampires back to god” which was a line from a Cold song, lol. I really liked having personalized checks OK?!?!
Honestly if you’ve never seen this movie, please do yourself a solid and rectify that immediately!
OMG I FORGOT MY BROTHER RYAN AND I EVEN NAMED OUR PET RABBIT “RUDY” AFTER ONE OF THE CHARACTERS, THIS MOVIE HAS REALLY IMPACTED MY LIFE MORE THAN I THOUGHT LOL.
I also got this bitchin’ Pee Wee’s Big Adventure art piece from Billy Lilly on Instagram (his art is so pop-tastic and fun!). My kitchen was legit begging for this! This movie is also a huge part of my life and is one of the few movies that I quote from probably on a weekly basis if we’re being real with each other here (are we? I AM ALWAYS BEING REAL WITH YOU!).
In fact, I was training a new person at work last week and all I really knew about her was that she enjoys going to rodeos and I was trying to make small talk so I said, “The closest I’ve ever been to a rodeo is Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, haha” BUT SHE HAD NEVER SEEN IT SO THERE WAS JUST AN AWKWARD SILENCE.
I’m not really sorry for my gratuitous kitchen PDA because if you guys knew how shitty it used to be and how much I hated it, you would be in there doing precious floor-angels on that arcade rug, too. You really would.
That big empty area above the spice rack will one day be the spot of the pinball back glass. Henry finally ordered lights for it! But now we’re in the throes of Valentine season and drowning in orders from our card shops, so I guess all projects are on hold. :(
Out of everything, I think the neon sign is still my favorite. The kitchen would go down about 87 notches without it!
I actually make myself food now because I don’t hate being in there! I mean, the food I’m making isn’t anything beyond scrambled Egg Beaters and perhaps a can of soup or a microwaved sweet potato for dinner, but Henry is like WOW LOOK AT YOU GROWING UP!
I love that I can see Pee Wee from my desk while I’m working!
I’ll end this with a picture of this little sweetie, Penelope <3
Miss Margie just seems like she was (is!) so fucking cool. Also, I want to know why she was mad at that broad, and if she followed through with sending back all her stuff COD.
Anyway, I have mentioned Nelson Sullivan on here before but he was the OG vlogger, filming the daily lives and exploits of his friends (mostly artists – like Warhol and Keith Haring!!, drag queens – RUPAUL!, and club kids – James St. James and Michael Alig!). He died in 1989 and his videos were recently acquired by some art gallery in NYC and they uploaded a large portion to YouTube. I fell down the rabbit hole over the summer and became obsessed – I know, this is soooo off brand, right? – and even included a framed photo of him and my favorite “costar” of his videos, esteemed Village Voice critic Michael Musto.
I used to videotape my friends and family relentlessly in the 90s and watching Nelson Sullivan’s videos makes me miss those days, and also how people were just naturally more social then too. My friends and I would go out and talk to ANYONE, we gave zero shits. We made friends at Denny’s and gas stations and movie theaters and at red lights and and and. Social media and cell phones have ruined everything. Did you know that I was super against cell phones?! I really was. My mom bought me some basic Nokia one in 2001 and I only had it for a few months before it broke, but it drove me nuts because it rang CONSTANTLY and I hated that I was suddenly always available to people. It took another five years for me to cave and buy a new one, and that’s only because I was about to have a baby and figured that having a cell phone would be the responsible thing to do.
And now Covid has taken whatever social instinct I had on reserve and drained it. OMG will I ever be able to have small talk with strangers ever again!? Maybe there’s a Skillshare course I can take…online…to relearn how to talk to people…offline.
Where was I?! Oh. Nelson Sullivan. Then I developed a really sick fascination with club kid Michael Alig. I knew the whole Party Monster story – kind of – and when it eventually occurred to me that the Michael Alig from Nelson’s videos was THE MICHAEL ALIG who murdered a club kid / drug dealer in the mid-90s and chopped up his body and dumped it in the Hudson, I was SHOOK. I guess because I had been watching these “intimate” videos of friends hanging out and what not, you start to think “hey I know that guy” and then when you realize that one of them is going to murder someone 10 years later IT IS WEIRDLY JARRING.
I never had any invention or desire to watch Party Monster when it came out but here I was all these years later making Henry watch it with me.
Anyway, shortly after Xmas 2020, Henry was like “btw that Michael Alig guy died” and of course he was annoyed that not only did that headline come up in whatever feed of his, but that he recognized the name thanks to my brainwashing.
Then I texted Janna because I dragged her down into this weird club kid abyss with me and she said that she too had seen that headline and meant to text me.
It’s kind of weird how the dots of life connect because I remember being a teenager, maybe in middle school, and watching the Geraldo (I think?? I guess I should go back and revise that to VAGUELY remember!) episode in the early 90s with the NYC club kids and not even knowing that Michael Alig was there and then not even realizing I had seen him once on TV whenever Party Monster came out (actually I’m not even quite sure that I knew it was based on real life events now that my brain-muscle is starting to warm up). And then even MORE years later, I’m watching literal home videos from the 80s where he makes cameos.
And now he’s dead.
Anyway, I think about this video a lot too, when Michael Alig had a giant party at McDonalds – you have no idea how much these videos make my heart ache for the 80s. I think I would have been REALLY COOL IF I WAS OLDER IN THE 80s and not in elementary school!!! Like I could see picture myself hanging out with Miss Margie and Michael Musto and Nelson and…well, probably not Michael Alig…I really feel like I was born too late…but then with Kpop I feel like I was born too early…UGH I CAN’T WIN.
When Covid is over, I’m having a giant party. Probably not at a McDonalds though. Taco Bell, maybe. Also I need to get all of my old videos transferred to the computer so I can make Chooch watch them and see how totally annoyingobnoxious cool his mom used to be.
Anyway, this isn’t what I intended to write about today but you can’t always reason with obsession and fixation. Also, that was two videos and if I were a real blogger, I’d edit the title of this blog but I’m not so I won’t.
Between coronavirus and this latest uprising of Jim-Bobs, I have been calming myself by looking at pictures of happier times. I know it was only a year and a half ago that we went to Tokyo DisneySea, but it might has well have been another lifetime ago.
We could all use some photos of one of the happiest places on earth, so I’m re-sharing them here. I fucking miss theme parks, you guys. But, perspective, etc.
Friends, foes, family, foresters: I am here to tell you that I have nothing bad to say about DisneySea. Honestly. It was the one day from our vacation where we didn’t fight ONE SINGLE TIME. The park opened, we walked in, and it was like the air was being pumped with happy gas because even though it was 100 degrees, we genuinely liked each other that day.
We’re not Disney people but this park had a huge impact on us! And this might sound like a cop-out, but there is really no way I can illustrate just how magical this place is, aside from sharing photos. So let’s peruse my collection together, shall we?
DisneySea is built next to the Tokyo Bay and has seven themed “ports of call” areas. I’ve heard that this park is billed as the Disney for adults, and even though there is a huge (and BEAUTIFUL) indoor kids area, I can definitely see how this is true. There is one area that made me feel like I was in Cape May and I loved it which is hilarious because when I was a kid, we always took a day trip to Cape May during our Wildwood family vacations, and I was always so miserable about that. I hated Cape May as a kid! All my grandma wanted to do was shop and all I could think about was how I missing out on prime time riding rides on the boardwalk. (Morey’s Piers ftw.)
I mentioned in my last Tokyo post that DisneySea doesn’t use an app for Fast Pass, so when the gates opened, we had to walk-run (there are friendly Disney employees everywhere reminding you politely not to run and I already knew this from watching videos so I speed-walked like a good girl because maybe you don’t know this about me BUT I HATE BEING YELLED AT even if it’s someone just kindly reminding me not to do something I’m doing, I will take this and escalate it in my head and get totally butt-hurt and then I will keep replaying the moment until I’m convinced that I was yelled at.
I’m insane and my issues are plentiful.
Anyway, our plan was to pass up Toy Story because it’s identical to the one in the US, grab a Tower of Terror fast pass, and then speedwalk to Journey to the Center of the Earth for stand-by. This plan worked wonderfully!
Mysterious Island was amazing!! The theming blew us all away.
I was prepared for Journey’s line to be outrageous but stand-by was about 30-45 minutes! That ride was goddamn amazing but my favorite part was when Henry ripped his shorts when he was getting into the car!
(Unfortunetely, his rip wasn’t as disastrous as it could have been, and even though it was large, it was still unnoticeable. Ugh.)
I will have a separate post to talk about the rides and food, so let’s just keep looking at the glorious scenery, shall we?
Seriously, would you look at this area? I think we just ooh’d and ahh’d over everything for the first 8 hours of the day.
I’m not sure where all the people went that we saw when the park opened, because it didn’t seem very crowded that day. Don’t get me wrong, some of the bigger rides had really long standby wait times as the day went on (Toy Story and the brand new Soaring were basically big no’s if you didn’t have a fast pass, and we didn’t want a fast pass for any of them), but we weren’t fighting our way through hoards of people on the paths or in the restaurants. It was actually pretty weird.
And whenever we did have to stand in line, it was pleasant because people in Japan are polite and orderly. It really was like being in an Utopian amusement park.
Even though we were able to ride all the rides we wanted to, this park could still easily be a 2-day park, because there is so much to see and eat. The facades were so detailed and the shops in each port of call had different merch. Also, we didn’t see any of the shows because that’s not important to us, but if we had been there for a second day, I definitely would have penciled that in because this park inspired me to care about these things!
…and then we found out where all the people were, lol. There’s a big pirate show that happens several times in the main entrance area and people seemed to just loiter there all day. Also, it was August 1st when we were there, and that was the day when the new theme and merch came out, so I think the enthusiasts were there just for that. We walked past a lot of people who were hanging out in that area with like 8 bags of merch!
Meanwhile, all I cared about was getting my ears (the process of choosing a pair is painstaking but I went with Oswald and Chooch got Dumbo ears and then instantly had reGERTS because it was, again, 100 degrees that day and now he was essentially wearing a terry-cloth headband, good job, dingus.
Venice Vibes, Very.
Basically just an excuse to sit down.
I wanted to jump into this water so badly that day. Did I mention it was 100 degrees?
Did I mention we were also in Japan?
You think you know humidity in America, but you don’t.
LOOK AT THIS CHILDREN’S AREA!!! It was inside Ariel’s Castle and majorly air-conditioned. We definitely took our good ol’ time strolling through this piece.
And the gift shop was inside a whale!
Again, I’m not a Disneyphile but shit, I wanted to buy everything I saw.
In all serious though, I couldn’t stop ogling the majesty of this castle. The detail was sickening!
Halfway to heatstroke.
If you looked at those tiny tiles close up, you’d find little Mickey ears, Flounders, and other assorted hidden Disney sundry.
I can’t imagine standing before this and not being totally enchanted.
Some areas of DisneySea are under construction and from what I understand, it’s in preparation for next summer’s Olympics. Getting a bit of a face lift, I guess! Some of the coaster enthusiasts I follow on YouTube were super annoyed about this when they visited a week before us, but it didn’t take very much away from our visit. If Journey to the Center of the Earth had been outright closed, then my tune would be very different!
Henry, reapplying sunscreen.
LOOK AT THIS VIEW! Also, that water was making me hallucinate. Or was it the sun. I don’t know, but I was feeling delirious.
(Don’t worry! We stayed hydrated all day and guess what? It was easy to do so because food and beverage prices were CHEAP there! I was shocked. I mostly kept refilling an empty bottle at various water fountains, but I did get tempted several times to partake in flavored drinks because, Tokyo. There was some fizzy grapefruit sports drink that was SO REFRESHING.)
You know a park is legit when even your kid keeps stopping to take in the views. I’m a very GO-GO-GO type of person at amusement parks, but this place made me want to slow down and relax.
My kimono-thing was protecting my skin big-time, yo.
Obsessed with this tree.
The theme for August was Pirates Summer and we were there for the first day of it, so that was pretty cool! I purposely ordered a dessert at one of the restaurants just so I could get a collectible plate, so I guess I’m a Disney person now.
This fountain is iconic because it’s the first thing you see when you walk through the entrance. Also, we tried to get Henry to buy a pair of ears but he is too much of a lamer, I guess. Now no one will believe that he actually had a good time!
Some Instagram models were doing an amateur photoshoot here so then we had to do one too.
Did I ever tell you about how Chooch despises Chip and Dale because they’re so much more popular than Bambi when it comes to Disney merch and sometimes, from afar, he will think he sees something Bambi-themed only to get closer and see that it’s Chip and Dale. So when he saw this Chip, or Dale?, at DisneySea, he had a moment of rage. I wanted him to get in line for a picture but he was like Chip (or Dale?) can go fuck himself.
(Personally, I love Chip & Dale. I had one of their videos in the 80s and it was the kind that came in the giant padded case. I watched it all the time!)
The Aladdin area was so beautiful, I could have cried.
But Mermaid’s Lagoon had my heart. Those under-the-sea aesthetics really snatched me, you guys.
I wanted Chooch to make friends with all these children but he was like, “I just want to touch the water, not make power moves.”
I’m such a Disney fraud that I didn’t even know who Duffy was until I started researching this park.
SHIT YOU GUYS. JUST OMG THESE LOOKS. If DisneySea was a kpop group, then Mermaid’s Lagoon would be the visuals.
Although the Arabian area wasn’t exactly horse face, either.
DisneySea at night is a big fat mood. My heart was actually fluttering.
We stayed until the park closed and yes, we were fucking BEAT but it was worth every second we were crucified by the sun.
I’ll have one more Disney post to recap some of the rides and foods, so look forward to that, or don’t!
Once we were off Disney-soil, Chooch and Henry were free to argue over directions and fare machines again, so that was fun.
How you doing today, Lucy? You good, Mary? OK cool because I got a fun pandemic decorating tale for you today so if you wanna just go ahead and fluff your tuffet – go on, I’ll wait.
I think I mentioned in here recently that I really wanted to clean up the little hallway area upstairs (when I say little, I MEAN little – there’s just two bedrooms and a bathroom up there so the hallway is basically a rectangular block). There used to be this big, wavy metal shelf at the top which was fine when I lived alone but then HENRY moved in and started leaving random tools and other masculine sundry on the shelves, and then I accidentally put too many photo albums and journals on it and it always kind of looked like it was one hard gust of air away from toppling. Plus, Drew kept jumping on it and it was just a crisis waiting to happen.
Then I got the idea to make it the Cure corner, because with that Seoul subway sign’s impending arrival to the wall behind the couch, my Robert Smith self portrait was going to need a new home and it wasn’t going to be tucked away in the attic, believe me! This was one of my first eBay wins in 1999 and I paid too much for it to rot away under a pound of cobwebs.
So then it turned into, “Hey Henry, what if…” and this is the one thing I always say that makes him visibly clench, well, that and “I have an idea.” That one probably gives him angina though.
I think that Henry is really just in some weird Bob Vila groove now though because not only has he been tinkering away at my projects, but he’s also been fixing things on his own, too. Like things that I didn’t even realize were broken because I’m not an adult. He like, put in new plugs and stuff. In the walls. I don’t know, but he was doing stuff OK?!
All I did was tell him that I wanted to do this and he was like “OK” and took down the shelf and then asked what color the wall will be (at this point it’s more like “what shade of pink will this wall be?” and then he went to Lowe’s and got the paint and then, like, actually painted straight away and then when the first several panels of faux-plants arrived, HE HUNG THEM. Like, without me even having to nag! Has he finally realized that this is all it takes to keep the whine away?!
The first phase, it looked like this, and even then I was enamored! But I had a firm, clear vision of what I wanted the end result to look like, so we pressed on. First, I knew that I wouldn’t be happy with the picture hanging up there as it was. I should have reframed that thing years and years ago instead of leaving it in the plain metal frame it came in, but if ever there was a time…
We had recently bought a picture at Goodwill specifically for the frame because I planned to use it for a different project. It was too big for the Robert picture so we tried to find something comparable in a smaller size but we are still in the pandemic after all, and I’m extremely uneasy about being in stores, so after two tries, we quit. Then Henry was like, “You know, I could probably just cut down that frame you like and make it work” and I was like THIS IS WHY I STAY WITH YOU.
Literally, what can’t Henry do!? (Aside from completing my Seoul subway sign.)
FUCKKKKKKKK it is so beautiful, like something that would ACTUALLY be at the top of the stairway to Heaven.
The view from below.
Then FINALLY last night we had everything else that was needed: three neon lips and a strand of LED lights, and Henry got to work.
YES. YES, HENRY, THIS WILL DO.
Haven’t decided which other of the myriad Cure memorabilia in my collection will go on the adjacent wall. I also have a small table that used to be downstairs, and I’m painting it cherry red with a pink top that has sequined lip patches adhered to it, so look forward to that, Mary.
I couldn’t have asked for anything more once Henry lit this bitch up, but then he went rogue and installed an LED bulb in the ceiling fixture. HE DID THIS OF HIS OWN ACCORD!!!!
So now the whole corner is awash in pink! I imagine him standing in an aisle in Lowe’s, looking at the bulbs and muttering, “she wants pink? Oh, I’ll give her pink.”
Like I said, I really think the man is broken.
I want to get some extra fake foliage from the craft store and make some drip off the bottom so it looks like less of a severe cut-off there.
The print has a portion of what would become the lyrics to A Letter To Elise, which would be released on the Wish album.
“Could you make it so that the Cure is constantly wafting out of a hidden speaker somewhere up here?”
“We’ll see,” Henry mumbled. So I guess we’ll see, Lucy!
(Sorry, I’ve been doing Paul Eugene workouts again and he’s always talking to some imaginary Mary and Lucy and now I’ve picked it up like a bad tick.)
Yesterday Chooch came downstairs and said, “I have to write a memoir in my creative writing class” and before the words even had a chance to hit the air and cool down, I was bounding up from the couch and shouting, “DID SOMEONE SAY MEMOIR?! THAT’S MY SPECIALTY!”
Anyway, he actually decided that he’s going to write about one of our trips to Korea as his topic! You have no idea how much this pleases me because usually, he picks really stupid shit like “that one time I was playing Pokemon Go and got a [insert dumb name of a stupid thing].” Or the time he had to write about something that changed his life and I was like “KOREA?!” but instead he wrote about when he watched the episode of How I Met Your Mother where Lily hates the sound of people chewing and then he realized that he also hates that and it amplified it in his mind so now he actually hulks out any time Henry is closer than 2 blocks away while eating. Even if it’s just a marshmallow. (I can attest though that Henry has a way of taking the softest most unassuming foods and sexualizing them with his mouth, ugh ew ew ew especially bananas, I’m SHUDDERING RIGHT NOW.)
I was cruising my blog archives and found this Chooch-centric post about our last day of the first trip, where we did a bunch of shit he wanted to do, and I was inspired to repost it. When you have a blog, you can do things like that. I’m laughing to myself now, but it’s a laughter void of any mirth because I just a memory of the time this dumb bitch started an e-feud with me on Twitter and was like, “AND ALL YOU DO IS WRITE ABOUT YOURSELF!!!”
GOLDEN PIZZA AND NORAEBANGS: See also: Chooch’s Last Day in Seoul 2018
Can you tell that I’ve been supremely dragging my feet with these posts? I know it’s annoying to everyone else that I have approx. 87 posts about a 10-day trip and that we’ve been home for over two months and I still haven’t closed the book on it, but you have to remember that I’m the girl who can stretch Warped Tour into 6 blog posts plus a gratuitous Henry Interview Extravaganza.
And I’m not even sponsored!
So on that note, here is what we did for the rest of our final full day in Seoul, holy shit I didn’t expect to start crying as I typed that, yet here we are.
For the last night, we finally gave in to Chooch’s desire for SUPER KOREAN FUN TIMES, which involved pizza (specifically, “gold” pizza, more on that in a bit) and noraebang, which is Korean karaoke (literally translates to ‘song room’). Let’s be real, you can’t go to South Korea and not partake in some noraebang because it is a super popular pastime of native Koreans. There are noraebangs everywhere, on nearly every street, in alleys, in every neighborhood and district.
But first, he had to suffer through last minute souvenir shopping in Insadong, haha. What every 12-year-old boy wants!
This was when Henry abandoned us in Insadong because he wanted to exchange more money and Chooch somehow inherited two balloons from some people promoting the Alive Museum and then some older Korean man came over and tried to pretend-steal one from Chooch and even with a language barrier, we all managed to have a great big international laugh and these are the heart-warming things that happens when Henry abandons us.
The plan after Insadong was to walk back to the hotel, where Henry would meet us later with pizza procured from a place that Chooch had zeroed in on the day before when we were walking to the palaces. We figured we’d just eat in our room and then set off to Myeongdong for noraebang.
But then Henry came back and was like, “DON’T GET TOO EXCITED” because the pizza was just REGULAR, not GOLD. Apparently, the menu that Chooch saw was for a pizza place that was there previously and now this new one had a different menu which was all in Hangeul and hey you guys, I spent many months leading up to this trip trying to get Henry to learn how to at least read it and he was all, “I DON’T NEED NO HANGEUL.”
Yeah, until you do!
Anyway, Henry felt obligated to buy a pizza from this joint because he had already frustrated the guy working there enough I guess, and it was great pizza, you guys! It really was. But it was extremely similar to American pizza and it was not want we wanted. We wanted that Korean flair.
So we decided to venture on out to the Cheonggyecheon Stream where we saw a place called Mr. Pizza on our second night in Seoul.
But first! We got no further than across the street from the hotel before I realized I left my subway card in the room so Henry obediently went back inside to get it. For some reason, like we need a reason, Chooch and I were nearly peeing our pants in anticipation of seeing our hotel room light turn on, I don’t know why this was such a crucial comedic moment for us, but then it never happened because Henry was all, “I didn’t need to turn it on.” Whatever. At least Chooch nabbed this frameable picture of Henry on his way back to us:
I can only imagine what Chooch and I looked like to passers by, as our raucous laughter caused us to fall into each other like drunks.
This reminds me that I never talked about (lol, like this is a talk show) how we accidentally got lost from Henry the night before on our way to Hongdae. We were walking to one of the Jongno subway stations when Chooch and I stopped to look at jewelry in a store window. I thought dumb Henry knew we stopped but he kept walking and by the time we looked up from the window, WE WERE ABANDONED.
This was like the theme of Korea now that I think about it.
Anyway, we were mildly panicked because there were two subway stations near us and weren’t sure which one he was going to, so we chose the closest one and waited.
And eventually, this happened:
He didn’t realize we weren’t with him anymore until he turned around to hand us our subway cards.
“You couldn’t tell that you didn’t hear us laughing anymore?” I asked.
“No, because I block that out,” Henry mumbled.
Random alley picture because I don’t even want to forget those narrow Korean alleys that pop off once the sun sets.
When we got to Cheongyecheon, we were excited to see that another night market was going on! It was so tempting to just pig out on all the food vendors there, but we had a fucking pizza to scratch off the Korea bucket list, goddammit. To Mr. Pizza!
Gold pizza level achieved!
So, one notorious thing about Korean pizza is that “gold crust” means that it’s made with sweet potato — I fucking love sweet potato but nothing is better than Korean sweet potato, my friends. It’s like candy. Also, corn! Somehow, corn is as synonymous with pizza in Korea as pepperoni is here.
I just asked Chooch what his Mr. Pizza review is and his eyes got all bugged out. “Yum,” he said, with a very ‘duh’ inflection.
But yeah, so worth it and I’m glad we didn’t settle on the other normal pizza!
I just also asked Henry if he liked Mr. Pizza and he said, “Yeah!” with an actual modicum of enthusiasm because he’s trying to keep me from leaving him so he’s suddenly Boyfriend of the Year.
Also, I was excited because I got to push the button on the table to get the waitress to come and bring us a box! I always wanted to push the button!!!
Afterward, we took the subway to Myeongdong. I chose Myeongdong for our final night because that area rules and we hadn’t experienced it at night before then.
“Are you sure there are noraebangs here?” Henry asked, and I was like, “Uh yeah, le duh” because where aren’t there noraebangs, is the real question. Funny though how as soon as you’re looking for one, they’re suddenly gone, like those little trolls from Labyrinth were flipping over the signs before we walked past. Also, I did notice that most of these places don’t have any English on the signs, so unless it’s a really big, touristy noraebang with big windows in the front to let you see in, you might walk past 59 of them without ever knowing. So if you’re planning to go to Korea and want to sing your face blue in one of these joints, look for this word: 노래방
We eventually found one (not like we were bored looking for one though; Myeongdong is so freaking vibrant and upbeat at night, even on a Sunday!) called Sing Sing. When we walked in, Henry was like, “OH” because it reeked like a dive bar and was pretty dark and creepy, but I loved the atmosphere! It felt more authentic than the shiny, bright ones in Gangnam and Hongdae. This one felt like a place where locals would hang out, and we were definitely not the only ones there.
Henry paid the nice boy approximately 20,000 won for an hour and he lead us into our own private room, gave us a brief tutorial on how to work the remote, and then let us have our privacy to hold faux Produce 101 auditions.
Chooch’s first song was a goddamn Maroon 5 song and we were like, “Oh.” Then he sang something else that was dumb too, while I flipped through the book to find him something cool to sing.
Guys, the rooms even come with tambourines.
I had no intentions of doing any singing because I’m just not into that. And that’s when I saw it.
“Even the Night’s Are Better” by Air Supply.
Air Supply, you guys.
“Henry, you’re singing this with me,” I ordered, tossing him a mic and punching in the number.
“Wha—?” he stuttered, and then the song started and he was like, “Are you kidding.”
I immediately launched into my famous brand of shriek-singing on top of a bed of throaty giggles, while Henry mumbled along, and Chooch stared at me with the most appalled and disgusted look on his face.
“WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT!?” he cried when the song ended.
“God, I forgot how great I sing!” I said, and Henry was just like, “No.” I think it brought back his PTSD from all the Saturday nights we spent at McCoy’s on karaoke night. I think my crowning moment was the time I sang “Old McDonald Had a Farm” and called for audience participation. The weathered broad who ran karaoke there, DJ Danger (lol), haaaaated me with such a passion and actually got to the point where she would make executive decisions and veto my song choices.
WELL THEN DON’T PUT THEM IN YOUR SONG BOOK, BITCH.
Anyway, back to noraebang, we also sang SHATTERED DREAMS and Chooch was like WHAT IS HAPPENING AM I HALLUCINATING, OR….
“Ugh, I wish they had Skater Boi!” Chooch groaned, flipping through the book 7800 times. I knew they had it because I saw it but I lied and said they totally 100% did not have that song or any other Avril Lavigne songs because she has a lawsuit out against noraebangs, but then I felt bad and said FINE HERE IT IS, SING YOUR DUMB HEART OUT.
But the grand finale was Chooch and me dueting with….
CAN YOU GUESS?!?!
CALL ME MAYBE.
Oh good lord, we were so sweaty by the time our hour was up, and our stomachs hurt from laughing so hard, and my throat hurt from going ham on Air Supply, and it was just the perfect way to end our time in Korea. I especially loved how we could hear people singing in other rooms every time we paused to find our next song.
It was so good! Don’t skip out on noraebang if you’re in Korea! DON’T!!
Here I am in the noraebang bathroom!
Here’s Chooch under the noraebang sign!
We capped off the night with ice cream from Milky Bee.
My hand looks so weird here. Henry’s pose, tho.
On our walk back to the hotel from the Jongno subway station, we stopped at a snack shop and I stocked up on some Korean candies for my International Candy Pumpkin at work and had to snap this picture because I’ve had some these corn sticks in there before and at first my work friends were skeptical but then grew to love them.
OK, maybe “love” is a stretch, but they ate them. There were so many different varieties in Korea! Back at the hotel. Chooch and I collapsed and Henry did all the packing while muttering things like, “Just lay there, assholes. Sure, I’ll do everything. Don’t help me.”
I don’t even know how to end this. This was so much more than just a vacation, though. It was a dream come true and a really amazing thing to experience with my little family unit. But, all good things, am I right? We’re hoping to go back again next summer, because there are other cities we want to explore in addition to Seoul and Busan, and plus there was so much in Seoul alone that we weren’t able to get to.
So, if you read all of these or followed along with us on Instagram, thank you! You’re the real MVP!
“OMG I don’t want to hit ‘publish’ on this because once I do, it’s done. It’s over. It’s really over,” I just wailed to Henry. “UNLESS YOU WRITE YOUR OWN RECAP!!!!”