May 302022
 

I was looking for something that we could do Sunday morning to kill time since Six Flags doesn’t open until 11 and OH BOY-O did I find just the thing!

Apparently, there is a place called Stanley Park a few miles away from Six Flags and the reason why this is relevant to my interests is because it’s known for having a large population of BLACK SQUIRRELS. Seems that some dude in the 40s was gifted with several black squirrels from Africa or something?!

This place is referred to as Black Squirrel Town on Roadside America and there even used to be a local store where you could by souvenirs but now it’s online only, I guess.

Obviously we needed to go here, and Chooch suggested that we grab breakfast sandwiches to eat there. (Actually, that’s already what I had wanted to do but you can’t even tell Chooch that you had the idea first, god forbid.)

So we went to some place called Baker and the Bean or something and it was a nice place! Someone working there mistook Chooch for someone in one of their classes so that was weird.

They had huge snickerdoodle cupcakes so we scooped one of those up to split between us.

It was ok! The icing was very thick and heavy cream cheese which was unexpected but not the worst.

Sat on a bench at Stanley Park and wolfed down our sandwiches (I only ate half because I was in such a hurry to see the squirrels!!) and then ran down a path into a wooded area where it was a SQUIRRELPALOOZA.

There were definitely black squirrels but way more Mr. Gray Guys. They were all running around and chirping at each other and for a second I was actually concerned that we might get attacked. It was like a wooded wonderland in this park though!!

Chooch has always been obsessed with geese and ducks so he was more into that portion of the wildlife free-for-all. These guys were so friendly! The geese in Pittsburgh are borderline aggressive. And that’s not even when there are babies around!

We spent about two hours here and it was worth every second – I could have easily spent more time in this wildlife paradise. The squirrels! The geese! The ducks! THE CHIPMUNKS!! I swear, we hadn’t seen chipmunks in Pgh for years and years it seemed but then started noticing them again within the last two years at the cemeteries – not in our neighborhood though. They are super scared of people though and zip past us with nary a shred of curiosity.

At this park though, we were basically stalked by the chipmunks! They kept running up to us waiting to be fed I guess. Henry went to the car to get change for the goose feed machines and found a lone peanut and some pieces of dehydrated strawberries and bananas.

(I kept telling Henry on the way there that we needed to stop and get peanuts or something but he was being a real STICK IN THE MUD* about it and kept mumbling excuses like, “We don’t even know if there are really going to be that many squirrels there.” OH OK so we only feed squirrels if there are…what, more than 5 of them? OK Cuz.)

I could never get my neighborhood Mr. Gray Guys to come this close to me! I wasn’t able to hand feed this babe, but he did get super close and kept hopping all around me until I finally just tossed a piece of banana to him.

But you guys, the chipmunks!! Chooch and I were both able to hand feed some and Chooch even got gently nibbled by one!

This picture sucks because Henry took it with his broken-ass phone, but here I am feeding a peanut to a chipmunk!! This might be “whatever” to a lot of people but I am animal-obsessed and have always been jealous of Snow White (lol), like I wish bluebirds flew around my head like a crown of flowers, etc.

Here please enjoy a boring video compilation I made:

On the way out, Chooch said, “Look there’s a lady reading a book in the rose garden. That could be you.”

TOTALLY! I would go there every god damn day if I lived in that area. It was IDYLLIC.

Oh! I forgot that one of the best parts was when Henry almost fell down the steps and then Chooch and I took copious liberties of reenacting it/mocking him.

It’s how we show our love.

Today, I went to the Black Squirrel website and bought a magnet!! I LOVE STANLEY PARK.

May 102022
 

People. Listen. You know that I am a SLUT for Rocky Mountain Construction. One of my bucket list items is to ride every RMC in the world because they are actually works of art.

One of the most controversial RMCs of late is Iron Gwazi in Busch Gardens Tampa. It was originally a dueling coaster called Gwazi, which was notoriously rough and a prime candidate for the RMC treatment. It was like HUGE NEWS in the coastersphere when Busch Gardens officially announced that it would definitely be happening. I think this was in 2019, and it was slated to open for the 2020 season.

Welp. We all know about 2020.

So then it was pushed to 2021 but ended up SBNO (standing but not operating) for the entire season. I looked GREAT though! Seemingly complete, but you know, you just couldn’t ride the damn thing. I remember at some point during the summer of 2021, there were videos circulating of IRON GWAZI TESTING!

But then nothing.

The park finally announced sometime that fall that it would be officially opening in March 2022. We had actually tossed around the idea of doing a Florida park road trip last January, but omicron was still rampant so we nixed that idea. It was for the best though because I don’t think I would have been able to handle being that close to such a magnificent RMC without being able to ride it.

Imagine my screaming when we solidified our spring break plans and I finally let it sink in that I WOULD BE RIDING IRON GWAZI less than a month after it opened!! (I mean, GOD WILLING.) The world’s steepest and fastest hybrid coaster! (As of this posting anyway!)

Obviously we made a beeline for Iron Gwazi as soon as we arrived at Busch Gardens on this beautiful, sunny Wednesday in April. It is right near the entrance too so that was great! Now that I’m thinking back to this day, I don’t even remember walking through the gates. I mean, we definitely did, but I have no recollection of it AT ALL. I just know that we got there a little bit after the park opened and I was so nervous that everything was going to be crowded already.

LOL. Janice. Please. Iron Gwazi was a motherfucking STATION WAIT.

A STATION WAIT.

Can you even!?!?

And not just for our inaugural ride. It was like this all day long. I think the longest we waited MIGHT have been 25-30 minutes but that was just because we wanted the front row.

LOOK AT THE FRONT OF THE CAR THOUGH!!

And I loved all of the greenery around the queue, and the polynesian-esque roof thingies. I am very cultured. Look at me go.

I love this picture of us so much!

OK let’s back up, Brenda. The line attendant was assigning seats but anytime we asked for the back, they were just like, “That’s fine” which cracked me up. I love a backseat ride on an RMC, and this was no exception. Broken record here, but I am not good at explaining roller coasters so I will just say that this was 100% worth the hype and I got off the damn thing feeling INVIGORATED. Like most RMCs, this bitch is RELENTLESS. It makes you feel like you’re being yanked around on a leash, or riding out an avalanche down a mountainside. From the first drop, you’re just careening at breakneck speed, unable to even contemplate the elements you’re whipping through.

And it only got better and better with every ride as the day went on.

Here’s how you know RMCs are the real ones: Henry does not often re-ride coasters, but he always gets back in line for an RMC.

This is Henry agreeing with what I just said up there.

I rode once with Henry in the third to last row and this broad in the dress was right behind us yapping at the back of my head the whole way up the lift hill, and on one hand I was agreeing with all the super hype shit she was saying about air time, etc, but she was more annoying than anything else. Especially when we arrived back on the brake run and I said to Henry, “OK, that sealed it for me. I like this better than Steel Vengeance,” and it was almost like she heard me and was purposely squawking to her husband about how Steel Vengeance is still superior because it’s a longer ride, and OK I’ll give it that, but Iron Gwazi did more for me in a shorter amount of time than SteVe.

Also, SteVe is RARELY re-rideable. That motherfucker always has a huge line every time we’ve gone to Cedar Point, except for when it’s down.

Which is often.

So this is why I’m ranking Iron Gwazi higher – the entire experience from the queue to the ride itself was just a bit better than SteVe in my opinion.

Chooch and I got right back in line and this time opted for the front and that dumb bitch got in line right behind us so we had to endure her being a THOOSIE IN A DRESS again but at least since she was in line for the same row as us, that meant I wouldn’t have her screeching behind me again.

She was the only person who annoyed me all day (aside from Henry, natch) and honestly, she wasn’t even that bad.

EW, DAVID.

Henry liked Iron Gwazi so much that HE BOUGHT THE DAMN HAT. Chooch got a t-shirt. I got nothing and I have big sads over that. I should have gotten at least a coffee cup or something!

This was the last BIG COASTER that we had to check off the list for this road trip and it was really like saving the best for last.

Ugh, but VelociCoaster…

No, Iron Gwazi….

Yeah, but those VelociCoaster night rides…

OK but Iron Gwazi’s insane elements…

Yeah, I can’t decide. Those are two very different coasters and ride experiences. Can it just be a tie!?

This was our 8th RMC (just Henry’s 6th LOLOLoser) and it’s safe to say that RMC still owns my heart. This trip had Chooch replacing B&M with Intamin for his favorite manufacturer, but it’s still me and RM sittin’ in a (hybrid) tree.

Mar 302022
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Mar 282022
 

In more “Chooch bought a 3D printer” news, he printed me a topography map of South Korea and it is so beautiful, so perfect, so meaningful. I  knew as soon as he handed it to me that I wanted to make it into an art piece because it’s just too special to lay around on a desk or in a drawer. Or on the floor once a cat discovers it on some surface and desperately needs it to drop to the floor. (Actually, in the above picture, Drew just couldn’t resist slowly touching it with her paw when she thought I wasn’t looking. Cats, amirite.)

We had several oval frames laying around because we always always always buy frames from Goodwill whether we’re in the market for them at the moment or not because you never know, bro. Henry painted it pastel pink and I found this gift wrap that I saved from a traditional Korean jewelry box store the first time we visited (which, at the time of this writing, was exactly 4 years ago; HOW). To be super exact, the box I bought for Barb was wrapped in this paper and after she opened the gift, she asked me if I wanted to keep the paper and I snatched it off her, like, “I THOUGHT YOU’D NEVER ASK.” It’s been chilling in a box in my closet all this time, patiently waiting for its time to shine.

Well, gift wrap, that time be now.

I just love it so much. It brings actual tears to my eyes. I still can’t believe how much of an impact this country and its culture has had on me over the last 6 years. I’m sure it’s very annoying and strange to some, but when I think back to 2016 and how miserable, low, depressed, traumatized, angry, and just honestly even in bad physical shape I was, I am ever so grateful to that fateful Christmas Eve in 2015 when I accidentally stumbled upon KpopX Fitness, even though it took a full year for it to give me that hard push down the rabbit hole to what ended up being an entirely new lifestyle. It literally started with me searching “hiphop cardio dance” on YouTube.

(Shocking, but no I didn’t “discover Korea” because of BTS.)

I made the right choice that night. So maybe some people might think this is a weird obsession or find it hard to understand, but I see it as the catalyst to me making big changes that may have potentially saved my life. When I say 2016 was bad for me personally (obviously also politically), I am not exaggerating. I didn’t think I could ever bounce back from the trauma I went through that year, but Kpop and learning about Korea gave me something to be excited about. So, you’ll understand when I want to surround myself with mementos and art from Korea; it’s very symbolic to me and when I’m having a bad day, I clutch my experiences and memories that I made on those two visits like an emotional support stuffed animal.

It’s like those people who love the beach so much, they hang flip flop art around their house. I just took a step further and hung a giant light-up map of the Seoul subway lines on my wall. You know, for example.

I also like that the paper is gently wrinkled just like my face.

I think it really adds something different to this wall! Plus, we hung up the Old Crafty Man’s bunny!

Underrated corner, to be honest.

While I was at it, I framed this old photo of my grandparents from the 90s in a frame that I finally brought home from work. It used to have fake blood sprayed on the glass, with a picture of Sweeney Todd’s wife and kid inside, which I used for Todd’s Halloween motif the first year I ambushed my coworkers with covert Halloween decorations based on their names. And of course Todd got the Sweeney Todd theme and had no fucking idea what was going on. I even made disgusting meat pie things!

So many things around my house have fun stories but I never get to tell them because I’d need to have visitors for that HAHAHAHA ugh.

Well, that’s all I have to say about this because if we’re being honest here, today was the day of NCT Dream’s comeback and I need to get back to sitting here with my mouth open while watching YouTubers reacts to the video. I don’t pretend to have a glamorous life, you guys. Fair warning, I will probably spam the fuck out of this space with NCT Dream fan-swooning tomorrow.

Anyway, I miss interacting with people so if anyone happens to read this, tell me about an item in your house that is special to you, and why. I love reading about things like that!

Mar 222022
 

The other day, I received the sweetest gift in the mail from my friends Nix and Dustin! It came at such a good time too because I was having a shit week, feeling like no one liked me, you know, real insecure bullshit that happens from time to time. But then I opened this package and it felt really nice to know that people who only know me from Instagram thought of me! (I did meet Dustin once though! He came to my last Pie Party in 2017!)

First of all, the way the package was addressed filled me with joy right off the bat:

Did I ever tell you, Dear Blog, that I am called “Kelly” practically on a daily basis from people outside of my work department (and sometimes from people IN THE SAME DEPARTMENT, which is pretty soul-crushing). I swear to fucking god I have such a complex over this. I know it’s an “honest” mistake or whatnot but how hard is it to actually look at the full name of the person emailing you?? Aigoo, the perils of having two first names.

Anyway, you might remember that I started going by Erin Appledale sometime in 2007 or 2008 when we drove past an “Appledale Farm” on the way to Lakemont Park or something, and I was like “THAT’S IT. THAT IS MY NEW SURNAME SINCE IT WILL NEVER BE ROBBINS BECAUSE HENRY WILL NOT MARRY ME.” This was back when I was really into lomography and started an Etsy shop just for my prints called Appledale Snaps.

All of this is to say that I am back to seriously considering getting my name legally changed to Erin Appledale because just let me live in peace.

Inside the package, shit got even better!

Yo. A Cedar Point scarf, complete with a WICKED TWISTER PIN?? And a vintage book called White Knuckle Thrills, loaded with old pictures of coasters and other amusement park sundry? YES, PLZ, this is so apropos for Erin Appledale! And the best part was that I opened to right to the page about Comet at Six Flags Great Escape, which obviously recalled fond memories of our trip there during Labor Day weekend when we saw Henry’s doppelganger!!

Oh man, it never gets old!!!

And let’s back up a bit and talk about that WICKED TWISTER pin! Cedar Point actually just removed it last fall, and when they announced that the last day of operation would be Labor Day, we made a spontaneous trip out there in late August to get one last ride. It was bittersweet! Chooch and I loved that coaster so much. He lovingly dubbed it Spaghetti Noodle. It was terrifying and thrilling. I actually liked it so much more that Top Thrill Dragster.

I always am kind of flabbergasted when people see something and think of me. I guess it’s my inferiority complex shining through (weird for a Leo). But this surprise package really made me feel special and I appreciate it so much! I am going to wear that scarf so much next winter.

This also really got me excited to ride coasters again – hopefully our season will start back up in April. We do have a road trip planned for spring break but we have such bad luck with spring break trips these last several years that I am hesitant to even say anything more because if there is one thing we learned from 2020: no plans are set in stone.

Mar 192022
 

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

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

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

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

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

SURPRISE IT’S TAEMIN!

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

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

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

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

Mar 082022
 

When I saw an NCT U “7th Sense” shirt on Etsy several weeks ago, I bought it with no hesitation – buyer’s remorse weighs heavily on me so I usually end up abandoning my shopping cart more often than going through with the transaction – manic shopping is actually one of the few characteristics of bi-polar disorder that doesn’t apply to me. As soon as it arrived, I tried it on and was all Heart Eyed Noona over here. I couldn’t wait until the weekend to wear it out! Because my life is so boring that I literally do not leave the house until Saturday AND MAYBE NOT EVEN THEN.

I wanted Henry to help me get a good picture of it so that I can get a discount from the Etsy seller (he promised!) because he other amazing Kpop designs that I need.  But then Henry was quick to remind me with no words needed that he sucks at taking pictures but excels at capturing my worst sides/angles/scowls/jowls.

We went to the Round Hill Cemetery on our way home from our dumb SaturDate and luckily there were witnesses there so we both stopped JUST SHORT of actual murder when bitching at each other over these dumb pictures.

We could have stopped with this one, only a few minutes into the “shoot,” if Henry had done a better job making sure my jacket wasn’t covering part of the shirt, Ihatehimsomuch.

Getting angry.

  1. I like this Hipstamatic filter and rarely get to use it but apparently it comes in handy when you need to block out your miserable mug.
  2. My purse is actually an NCT Cherry Bomb purse! The other side has a clear vinyl window so you can display your NCT enamel pin collection. I love that I’m like, “I RARELY BUY THINGS” but then I’m also like, “WILL PAY A LOT TO PREORDER A PURSE DESIGNED BY A PIN MAKER IN SINGAPORE THAT I MAY OR NOT EVER RECEIVE.” Spoiler alert: I obviously did receive it but it took like half a year. I paid for it in the fall of 2019 and then covid happened which delayed an already drawn out process.  #WorthIt

I was so over it.

All of this was going on while Henry’s phone was in the car so when we finally went to leave after nearly killing each other, Henry had like 87 missed calls from Chooch who “assumed” that we were picking him up from work and you know what they say about people who ASSUME.

(LOL, when I was a kid and heard that saying for the first time, I thought it was the greatest thing ever and was so excited to use it all the time, not knowing that the person I heard it from – probably a teacher – didn’t invent it.)

Oh well, that’s all for now. It’s only Tuesday and my brain is the perfect consistency for oyster crackers. I don’t know why I said that. What does that mean? My brain is chowder? OMG THAT MADE SENSE AFTER ALL.

OK. Bye. Stan NCT.

P.S.!! I forgot that Chooch and I saw this when we were at SM Town in Seoul!!

Feb 222022
 

I used to be really into going to major FOODIE type of restaurants, but lately I’m looking for something a bit more down to earth than sitting in a candlelit room with yuppies, having the essence of hickory and truffles elegantly farted into my face by a haunted accordion. I mean, that shit is cool for a second but sometimes I just really want to eat comfort food in some small town dive with the local yokels, you know what I’m saying?

I guess this is our current version of “going out on dates” since Chooch has ditched us for That McDonald’s Life. Not gonna lie, it’s been nice to get out of the house and neither of us are opposed to driving out of Pittsburgh so it’s been nice to see non-Brookline sights. Even rural shit, I guess.

For this weekend’s diner date, I let Henry choose. As usual, he chose poorly. It was some place called G&G’s or something else equally auto body-sounding. It was in VANDERGRIFT, whatever that means, and at first I was like, “OK G&G’s, I see you. Let’s goooo” because it was situated squat in the middle of an adorable small-town street (actually, it was on the corner) and it looked cute! Not all like tires were getting rotated in the back!

Except that it was PACKED and not regular-PACKED, but TIGHTLY-PACKED. So as soon as we walked in and put our name and number on the list, I felt panicky. I mean, I’m getting less OMG about eating in restaurants during The Bad Times, but I’m not OK with crowds still. And I really didn’t want to sit in the middle of so many small-town mouth breathers just for the sake of a grilled cheese that, let’s be real, would be devoured within 4 bites.

Since the host had my number, we went back to sit in the car. There was nowhere to stand in the little foyer without jutting your buns into the face of diner.

We had only been waiting in the car for about 10 minutes before I started getting RULL antsy and “don’t they know who we are”‘ish, so Henry was like, “OMG fine let’s find somewhere else to go, fuck me for trying to choose a place without your consent.”

THAT’S RIGHT, BITCH.

I ended up finding a place through my nemesis Yelp that was allegedly “9 minutes” away. At first I was like, “I’m not sure about this place, it has taxidermy” which is obviously completely off-brand for me. But at the same time, it was the kind of DARK LOG CABIN vibe I was yearning for and just didn’t know it.

On the way there, that fucking G&G motherfucker had the audacity to call me to tell me our table was ready. Cool fucking story! I was mad that they called and not texted (you know, with their restaurant landline) so I refused to answer out of principal. They called right back! Jesus, why are you sweatin’ me, G&G?? Get a life!

Anyway, we rolled up to BONFIRE and I was like, “OK, this is nothing to look at from the outside” and then immediately upon entering, we were cock-slapped in the face by a wall of stale cigarette stench because the steps to the basement LOUNGE was right next to the entrance. I was tempted to go down there and check in on the sad sacks crying into their beers, but there’s always next time.

The front room was empty aside from a table of OLD MEN REGULARS who told us to just go ahead and sit down. I had lowkey Blue Flame-circa-1984 vibes,  to be honest, and even though I still was MEH about the DEER HEADS everywhere, I was really feeling like this was the place that I was meant to me, fuck you G&G. (And you too Henry for suggesting that dump.)

Henry immediately headed straight for the bathroom while I chose the one booth that was situated right next to a beam on one side – Henry’s side, lol.

The waitress came to get our drink orders and she was so adorable in a cowgirl flannel and Princess Leia buns. She said she loved my sweater and I sang, “I THINK I’M GONNA LIKE IT HERE” in my best Annie impersonation while Daddy Warbucks was pissing in the john.

“How was the bathroom?? Was it cool??” I cried after Henry returned and finally managed to get situated in the booth without having to slice off part of his gut first. (And yes, I was a good orphan and ordered a stupid unsweetened ice tea for him in his absence.)

“Not really, it was just a regular bathroom,” he said. “Nothing special.”

“OK well I’m taking my phone anyway just in case,” I cried as I rolled out of the booth toward the restrooms. Henry never thinks anything is special so I’d be the judge of that.

It was OK! Kept up the dead animal theme.

Back in the LODGE, Henry ordered cole slaw and something called Texas Toenails or something from the appetizer section of the menu – he was really flexing that Faygo salary. Meanwhile, someone sitting at the Old Man table had a ringtone that sounded like the horn of one of those mini-big rigs that the SHRINER’S drive down my road during the Memorial Day Parade.

Hold please, while I find an example.

LOL I just caught Henry looking all around for the sound.

Every time that notification went off, I pictured one of the old guys paying the check and then peeling out of the Bonfire lot in his bitchin’ Shriner mini-car, honk-honk motherfuckers. Why was this so stupidly funny to me??

I finished the word search in like 5 minutes or less because I am actually a prodigy at word searches in case you never read about me in the local Pennysaver or whatever. Also, Henry thought our server’s name was Audible and definitely not Autumn.

Dude, this grilled cheese was just what I needed. And I stole some of Henry’s fries which were JUST THE WAY I LIKE IT. Yeah, I could handle the whole HUNTER’S LODGE vibe a lot better if all the dead animals were fake. I felt like a hypocrite gushing over how JUST MY STYLE that place is! But it’s true! I love dark/dim restaurants. Sigh.

Meanwhile, there was a steady stream of old country classics playing, as expected. I don’t like country at all but if I’m going to be stuck somewhere enduring it, I would definitely prefer the stuff from the 70s and early 80s, like Kenny Rogers or Dolly Parton shit you know? So I wasn’t mouthing off about the Bonfire soundtrack at all. However, at one point, this one song came on that made me straight up drop my grilled cheese.

“OMG I HAVEN’T HEARD THIS SONG SINCE I WAS LITTLE AND IT’S BRINGING BACK HIDDEN MEMORIES, MAYBE OF MY BIO-DAD???” I hissed across the table because god forbid any of the deer heads heard me baring my soul. There was literally no one else around us but them. :(

It was that I WOULDN’T HAVE MISSED IT FOR THE WORLD jam and I was like on the verge of spurting out tears.

Henry couldn’t remember who sang it, and I’m certain I probably new knew, so a quick Shazaam learned him  that it was Ronnie Milsap.

“Oh, I never would have guessed that,” I scoffed. “I don’t even know who he is, just his name.”

“RONNIE MILSAP?!” Henry repeated, like OK I already said I know the name, just not really who he is but cook on with your irritating reiterations, Chef Dick. And then, “THE BLIND COUNTRY SINGER!!!??”

The way he said this, totally blurted it out across the table in this serious, frenzied way like he was the friend I phoned and he was telling me the winning answer.

We locked eyes for a moment just as the SHRINER NOTIFICATION went off 4 times in succession at the Elder Table and I just lost it, mid-chew, about to spit out a glob of grilled cheese cud onto Henry’s glasses. It was the most hilarious 3 seconds I’ve experienced in quite some time, Henry’s dire Milsap description followed by clown horns. I was choking at that point, tears streaming down my scrunched up fat face, and even Henry started laughing but I don’t think he knew why.

OMG I will never forget RONNIE MILSAP ever again except for when I started to write this portion of the blog post and had to google “Who sings….” because I totally forgot.

THE BLIND COUNTRY SINGER.

JOHN WAYNE SHIT.

SAW SHIT.

OK somehow I ended up feasting on coconut (WHY DO I ALWAYS TYPE COCOCUNT AT FIRST???) cream pie three weekends in a row, and I have no regertz. This one was so good and totally my style!! I knew as soon as AUDIBLE was walking over playing a sample of THE LAST BUCKAROO* with my slice of pie in her hand, that this was going to be a winner. For starters, it had WHIPPED TOPPING. And the actual coconut cream was fresh and homemade-tasting and not snot-textured and vanilla pudding-y which is my least favorite kind and sadly the kind that Janna and I had two weeks ago at that other place I was obsessed with but already forgot the name of.

*(I literally just googled “What are names of classic western books” lol)

This is where all the CIG STENCH was emanating from.

Oh shit, I should have checked the menu to see if they have SHIRLEY TEMPLES because this totally seemed like the type of establishment that would.

Anyway, I am smitten with this place. I want to go back soon-ish and check out the BACK ROOM which seems to overlook A GORGE. Or maybe just a slight hill.

I might have my birthday dinner here so stay tuned for an invitation. The Watering Hole area would probably be a great place for an AFTER PARTY. If I send you an invitation, you better show up and say I WOULDN’T HAVE MISSED IT FOR THE WORLD.

 

 

First round of Shirley Temples on Chooch!

Feb 192022
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What else happened this week….

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

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

Shut up Henry. Everyone knows his bias is Jungwoo.

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

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

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

Compilation of #JAEHYUN Magazine Interview Translation ♡ / Twitter

  • NCT Dream: Renjun. Bias wrecker: Jaemin

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

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

  • WAYV: Xiaojun

230 XIAOJUN ideas | nct, nct 127, nct dream

  • Overall NCT Universe bias: Haechan and Ten

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feb 082022
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feb 062022
 

Maybe you* can relate, but I have been caught in this frustrating cycle where I am home almost constantly and desperate for social interaction, but then when I think about scheduling any type of plans with anyone, I immediately feel exhausted and just resort to my shut-in tendencies. And then an hour I will complain about being bored and having no friends.

*(You know. You.)

I can’t tell if this the new COVID new, depression, winter, laziness, or all of the above, but last week I was determined to make plans and keep them. So I Kakao’d Janna and said, “let’s go to lunch this weekend” and she was like, “yes” and then I was like, “shit now we have to choose a place” and somehow, my random Yelp map travels lured me to the town of NEW EAGLE where a family restaurant by the name of HILLS RESTAURANT resides.

We’re not on this side all that often, but we do go out that way during haunted house season, and Chooch and I were just in that area last spring for GEOCACHING ugh. All I’m trying to say is that I have somehow never noticed this place in all the times I’ve driven on this road but of course HENRY knew what it was immediately and has even eaten there like 50 years ago which sounds like I’m exaggerating until you remember that Henry is, you know, many years my senior.

I don’t even know what made me click on it when I saw it on the Yelp map, but as soon as I saw pictures of the interior, I imprinted on this bitch immediately. So I sent it to Janna with prayer hands and she was like “yes let’s go here” and that is how normal people make plans, or so I hear.

The only downside was that it’s like 40 minutes away which is kind of weird to drive that far for just a basic lunch but sometimes you gotta just make a meal into an adventure, amirite?

We met there at 12:30 and I was lowkey acting like I was about to meet a blind date inside, that’s how anxious and giddy I was. “You go first,” I said to Janna who was probably just like *EYE ROLL* but I couldn’t see because I was behind her since I made her go first, remember.

Look at that cool tile!! I felt like I was in a subway station and I loved it. Also, we were the youngest diners, so that felt good, too.

LOOK AT HOW CHEERFUL THIS IS! I blurted out the same to the waitress as she was filling the cups. “I try to make sure they never match,” she said with a smile, and my heart was bursting.

Of course, I had to send photographical evidence of my coleslaw to Henry, who was back at home slagging away at projects lol. #PoorHenry says the studio audience in unison. 

Grilled Cheese check: look, I knew I wasn’t going to get a gourmet TOASTIE (that’s what they’re called in ENGLAND, isn’t it??) and am more often than not haunted by lousy diner grilled cheeses (um, the last time I went to Hyde’s in Cincinnati, it was literally two slices of baby-sized bread FOLDED OVER and the one half only had like a corner of a cheese slice on it –  you can kindly CLICK HERE to see a true life photo of that monstrosity. But I have been to Hyde’s enough at this point in my life to know that you don’t go to Hyde’s for a grilled cheese,  you go for the MOTHERFUCKING PIE, PEOPLE).

But the grilled cheese I received on my plate today straight from the HILLS KITCHEN was exactly the kind of grilled cheese I expect to get at an establishment like this. I know it’s going to be basic, but basic doesn’t mean skimpy, you know? And this grilled cheese was just right! The menu said it came on Texas toast and IT DID! I have ordered many falsely advertised grilled cheeses! And it had more than one slice of cheese, which was evenly melted under the bread. (The points  sticking out from the bread weren’t melted, but I didn’t mind.) And the tomato I requested as an add-on was a beefy boy! Yeah, I was please with this.

(Only downside was that the waitress didn’t bring us ketchup since neither of us ordered fries and I typically require a giant pool of the stuff on my plate so that I can dunk my grilled cheese into it before each bite, but I didn’t feel like calling the waitress over to ask for it. If my Pappap were still alive, he’d have dinged a knife against his water glass repeatedly to get her attention, just kidding, he only did that shit at Blue Flame because he was pals with all the waitresses and loved to eff with them lol.)

While we were still eating, the waitress came over and asked if we’d be having anything else, so I blurted out, “do you have coconut cream pie???” because the menu and website SAID THAT THEY DO and Janna and I both love CCP. (I have never called it that before but didn’t feel like spelling it out so instead I used an acronym and then spent all these letters forming words explaining the obvious. I am a Writer.)

“We have one slice left,” she said, not realizing that she was basically uttering the words that could end Janna’s and my friendship.

Janna and I looked at each across the table. “I’ll fight you for it,” I said, while Janna The Mature asked, “What else do you have?”

The waitress ran down the list and some of the other ones sounded good too so I brilliantly suggested that we order the coconut and another one, and then split each. 12 YEARS WORKING IN THE CONFLICTS DEPARTMENT, LADIES AND GENTS AND OTHERS.

“I’ll let you two decide and come back in a few,” the waitress said, realizing that she didn’t have time to stand there for this heavy discussion.

“OK, but save the coconut for us please!” I called after her, wondering if she could detect the coating of panic & desperation hanging on my voice.

A few minutes later, the waitress came back and asked if we decided. I asked Janna if she knew which other pie she wanted to get and Janna was like, “Should we just get the coconut and that’s it?” and I was like, “Oh. Ok. Sure,” but deep down I was like, “NO I AM A PIE PIG AND REQUIRE TWO SLICES IF WE ARE SHARING.” So we let the waitress walk away and then Janna IMMEDIATELY said, “Dammit, that raspberry cream one sounded good—-” and I was already crying out, “EXCUSE ME!” to the waitress so we could tack on the raspberry slice too. Crisis averted!!

Good thing too because the raspberry cream ended up being better than the coconut! Look, the coconut was fine, but it was not my favorite kind of coconut cream pie. I prefer the inside to be more of a whipped coconut filling and less pudding-y, and I definitely prefer my slice to be topped with a whipped wig, not a meringue mountain. To this day, I don’t think I have had a better coconut (literally have type cococunt every single time) cream pie than the ones served up at Grant’s in Millvale. That pie deserves its own TV show.

BUT CAN WE TALK ABOUT THE BATHROOM AND ITS GOLD GLITTER SINK??

LOL.

Hills was decently busy when we arrived, but we stayed all the way up until they closed at 2 (two other old ladies did too!) like total rude asses. I blame Janna, who had to go to the bathroom. I had actually paid a few minutes prior to 2 but then had to STAND THERE AND WAIT FOR HER while the waitresses were like, “Cool thanks for finally leaving the table so we can clean up your mess now” but don’t worry I left a nice tip because what a great place with even better service.

We’re almost counter-sitting age! I bet a lot of old men have bitched to each other about their nagging wives while sitting on those stools and slurping down cups of black coffee.

Chooch would have been so stoked about the WIFI sign because that’s always the first thing he checks when we go to a restaurant.

Well, I think was a great lunch spot! I haven’t been to a restaurant since December (I’m still leery!) so I’m glad I broke my “eating out” strike for this place. Then, as I was about to get in my car to leave, Janna asked me some innocent question about NCT127 and it was like getting a POWER UP in Super Mario Bros. My brain, now flipping over to its Korean side, completely disregarded the original plan of “Lunch is over / get in car / drive home” and told my legs to walk back over to the sidewalk where Janna was standing.

“OK LET ME EXPLAIN HOW NCT WORKS” I said all breathily because talking about Kpop makes me get into HEAVY PANT MODE. So we were still having NCT class while all of the waitresses started to come out and leave. Then we were the only ones left in the parking lot and I’m sure Janna was like, “I WISH I HADN’T ASKED.” Lol.

OH FOR CHRIST’S SAKE, I just realized that I failed to check at the register for Hills merch!!!

P.S. You know what else is good on grilled cheese? HOT SAUCE.

Jan 102022
 

As previously mentioned, Henry and I have been going through the tedious and boring chore of cleaning out the attic. Not surprisingly, some historic gems have been unearthed, like this shirt I bought in 1998, perhaps from Hot Topic back when Hot Topic was just regular old mall goth as opposed to whatever den of commercial crap it’s become over the years (don’t they literally seel Spongebob merch there?? 1990s Hot Topic would have never…). Or it might have been from Slacker, which was (is? I think it still exists) a shop on the Southside where you could get cloves and BDSM accouterment, lol. I definitely bought clothes from there on several occasions during my Fake Goth phase but I mostly bought novelty cigarettes to smoke with my purple cigarette holder.

I was really into smoking back then.

What a brag.

But yeah, as mentioned off and on in this garbage dump of words over the years, I went through a solid goth phase from probably 1998 to 2001, except that it was mostly just the music that I liked to enjoy in the privacy of my own home while chatting with Internet friends on Darkchat who probably were actual legit goths with an Ann Rice and Poppy Z. Brite library, and not a POSEUR like me lol.

I don’t think I ever wore this shirt more than twice. Once was definitely post-Dracula’s Ball. I had been wearing a corseted dress all night and this was my CASUAL GOTH LOUNGE WEAR that I changed into apparently. Probably made sense at the time? I have a vague recollection of changing into it in a parked car at like 1AM.

Anyway, Henry was like WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO WITH THIS. For a split second, I nearly put it in the donate pile. But then I reconsidered. There might be opportunities to use it for costumes or photo shoots, see also: it’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.

Of course, I couldn’t resist temptation and had to try it on. You know, just to see if I would feel inspired to dust off my Black Bible goth CD compilation (and then also search the house for something on which to play said CDs…)

I still have the choker that I was wearing in the OG picture and knew exactly where it was too, so recreating this photo was a breeze except that as usual, I was being the Queen of Not Fully Understanding the Assignment and therefore had my hands facing out instead of up.

Wow you guys, I’m happy to report that this shirt is FUCKING COZY. I had no idea! Probably because I was drunk any time I wore it in the past so why would I remember a shirt’s comfort level.

Please enjoy this picture of me with GOTH MICHAEL BOLTON, after me and this broad I was friends with at the time (actually, I had only just met her IRL after sort of knowing her from Darkchat and decided, “Yes, Stranger Lady, I shall get into your free candymobile and attend a goth dance party in Philly and then you will promptly meet some old man who you become convinced is a real life vampire and proceed to sloppily make out with him leaving me to wander around alone and stumble into a veritable DRUG DUNGEON.”

Anyway, Goth Michael Bolton was the sidekick of Real-Life Vampire (but probably actually IT Guy) so I got stuck with him while that broad (with whom I actually stayed friends for several years but she is actually one of the most toxic, habitually-lying people I have ever met) giggled and acted amazed while Real-Life Vampire added HTML to his WebTV email address.

(I actually wrote about this night for a writing assignment when I was taking a creative non-fiction class at Pitt and I got an A but the last time I re-read it, my whole body cringed. I can’t believe I was actually in college for writing lol. )

Speaking of that broad, here she is on another night when we went to this guy SHADOE‘s apartment for dinner and she was like “OMG please let me borrow that shirt, I like this guy so much” and then we got there and she was like, “OMG I DO NOT LIKE THIS GUY” after meeting him in person, yet proceeded to let him tie her up and cut with a huge knife??? IN FRONT OF ME???

Anyway, blood-letting aside, I thought this guy was lovely and we actually stayed friends for quite some time after he found out that she was married and a pathological liar.

It’s also super surprising I even still have this shirt in my possession considering I let her borrow it and she was the most untrustworthy person in the whole world. (Although she did help me get rid of this guy I thought I was in love with from the aforementioned goth chatroom Darkchat and thought that yes, it would be a great idea for him to use his mother’s miles and fly here from Vancouver only for me to immediately feel smothered and creeped out by his constant need to serenade me with Joy Division songs while crying.

My life was very different pre-Henry.

Clearly.

Also, I can tell you that in that picture up there, she was either pouring a glass of Tequila Rose or Manischewitz wine, because those were our go-to alcohols back then, I guess??

Also x2, I was really into cropped rug-like sweaters during those days. I had one that was yellow and my friends Jon and Justin loved calling it the Big Bird shirt. I saw that these were back in style again recently, maybe two or three winters ago, and I almost bought one from the junior’s section of JC Penney’s lol.

Also x3, Shadoe if you’re out there, I miss you. Hit me up. You were a real one. :(

And here’s a close-up of The Choker, which I actually bought from a vendor at the Dracula’s Ball. It’s hilarious to me how much of an impact that one night had on me, evidently. I mean, I have a scar because of it, and if you read the linked post up there, YOU WILL KNOW WHY. #ClickBait

Well, we barely made a dent in the attic cleaning project, so who knows what else I will find? CHECK BACK SOON – lol.

Edited to add this outtake, which cracks me up because you can see my VERY GOTH FitBit:

Jan 052022
 

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

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

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

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

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

Dec 222021
 

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

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

You know, with a BARCODE.

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

I hate him.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Really??” Corey exclaimed.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

This song just hits every time.

SETLIST

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

ENCORE

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

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

****

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

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

OMG *tearing up*

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

I saw Genesis! <3

Dec 202021
 

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

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

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

An Impromptu Birthday Dinner

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But I digress….

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

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

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