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Henry and I don’t get out very often, but we had tickets to the Where’s the Band? show on Saturday night and I was really looking forward to it. The tour showcases the solo efforts of Anthony Raneri (Bayside), Chris Conley (Saves the Day), Matt Pryor (The Get Up Kids, New Amsterdam, et al) and Dustin Kensrue (Thrice) and if you know me at all, you can guess that I was spittling all over myself when I heard it was coming to town.
We ditched Chooch with Henry’s mom and left for Mr. Small’s. I kept insinuating that it was a date, and I think it made Henry nervous, like he was worried he’d have to put out later or, God forbid, hold a door open for me. He at least knew he wouldn’t be expected to hold my hand during the show, because, you know, ew.
Arriving thirty minutes before the show was set to start, Henry pointed out that the marquee said the show was sold out. “I fucking told you it would sell out, you idiot!” I spat. I started getting really heated, tugging at my collar like a coal miner about to whale on his wife for not having dinner ready at 6:05pm, until Henry reminded me that we already had our tickets. “Yeah, thanks to me!” I yelled. And then I realized that it was ok to calm down and savor yet another moment of righteousness.
Inside, I was pleased to see that it was an older crowd. We stood behind a couple and when the guy put his arm around the girl’s back, I motioned to his wedding band and quipped, “You don’t see that very often at the shows we’re accustomed to, ha-ha” (and that’s how I laughed too–a staccato “ha” followed by another staccato “ha”), but Henry didn’t get it. “You know, because the people at most shows we go to aren’t legal for marriage” I explained, but he wasn’t paying attention to me ON OUR DATE so I don’t give a fuck if he ever gets another joke in his life.
We’re waiting for the show to start, and it’s a little delayed. So Henry, he tries to make small talk and suggests that he show probably sold out because the tickets were cheap. “Oh right, and it wouldn’t have anything to do with the lineup” I sassed. But he had the audacity to laugh and say, “Yeah, it’s the cheap tickets” which made me rant about how these guys that were about to bleed their hearts on stage are likely going to be legends by the time they die.
That only made Henry laugh even harder. But Henry, he’s old; he quit understanding music sometime right after the arrival of Quiet Riot.
The show finally started around 7:30, and I loved it because there was no frilly, flouncy bullshit. There was no waiting twenty to thirty minutes between sets, waiting for the next one to come out. One left, the next walked on. Just each dude and his guitar, so fucking vulnerable, but at the same time it made them look even bigger. I also liked how, sans band, their individual stage personalities were showcased alongside of their songwriting brilliance. It was interesting to see how they varied from each other, and while I was musing about this, and also the fact that I bet their mommies are so proud of them, I realized, “Yes, I’m officially old. I’m analyzing their showmanship and not wondering how big their weeners are.”
- First up was Anthony Raneri. I’m not the biggest Bayside fan, so he was the act I was least looking forward to. Well, from the first pluck at his guitar, he had me eating out of his. I bought a ticket primarily for Dustin Kensrue, but Anthony Raneri may have won my heart that night. Besides Dustin, he’d the only one who made me weep openly, and that was when sang the Bayside song “Don’t Call Me Peanut.”
This isn’t from the Pittsburgh show, but it’s the best quality video I could find on YouTube. When the song was over, I hoarsely whispered to Henry, “I want to kill myself. I want to fucking kill myself,” and he was like, “Yay! Please do!” While Anthony engaged in light banter now and then — like when he informed up that the next song he was going to play was political and that it’s such an exciting time in the country which predictably led to some heavy grumbling over in Henry’s corner– his set was fairly straightforward. He played the songs he came to play, and left. With my heart. There, I said it.
- Chris Conley was next and brought with him a set that was heavy in crowd participation. He took requests for each song, which turned into a screaming free-for-all. Henry’s musical memory sucks, and he kept asking me a million questions about Chris (I think he thought he was hot, I don’t know) and I kept saying, “He’s the guy from Saves the Day, you idiot. I have all their albums. You’re not going to like him.” And predictably, as soon as Chris sung the first estrogen-laced note, Henry’s balls were sucked up into his bowels.
Again, not from the Pittsburgh show.
Chris told us a story about some crazy guy they saw that day, pushing a broken down car, who got angry when Chris and the rest of the guys asked if he needed help. “Yeah, you can get the fuck out of the way” and then apologized, saying it had been a rough day. So Chris goes, “I guess you’re just naturally sweet, right?” which apparently greatly offended the dude, because you just don’t go around telling guys in Cleveland that they’re sweet unless you want to get shot. It wasn’t that funny of a story really, but the fact that it was Chris Conley telling it made it so. It was right around that time that Henry got a call from his mom, saying that Chooch wouldn’t stop screaming and had apparently wedged himself in a corner and she wasn’t sure if maybe he was dying or what, so Henry took that as his cue to leave. “I’ll come back for you later,” were the parting words that drifted back to me in his anxious wake. Honestly, he booked out of there so fast, it was like a fucking echo. You lucked out this time, Henry J. Robbins, but next time you won’t be so lucky.
Chris ended his set by bringing out Matt Pryor to sing “At Your Funeral” with him. It was beautiful.
- I really like the Get Up Kids, but never had the opportunity to see them live when they were still together, so Matt Pryor is kind of this mythical character to me. Out of all four performers, he lit up the stage most of all. In fact, I admit to being more entertained by his rapport with the crowd than by his actual songs (most of which were super short. He summoned Chris from the wings to play the tambourine during one song. “Do you even know how to play the tambourine?” he dourly asked Chris, who turned toward us and pumped his arms in an exasperated “Are you fucking kidding me?” motion. Afterward, when Chris left the stage, Matt goes, “Chris Conley makes me so happy. Did you see him, all blissed out, playing the tambourine with his eyes closed? That dude is so weird.”
Pittsburgh people, put your fucking videos on YouTube already, shit.
Matt was wearing a newsboy cap at the Pittsburgh show, and he complained that it was his first time wearing a hat while on stage and he kept bumping it off the mic. “But I’ve been wearing it all day, and you know, once you commit to wearing a hat, you have to follow through.” Then he paused and realized, “Wow, I’ve been such a whiny bitch up here. They’re going to have to change the name of this t our to Diva Camp.” And I laughed so hard, you’d have thought it was my first time finding out about motherfucking Dave Chapelle or some shit; like if Matt had been closer, I’d have slapped him and maniacally shouted “OH MATT YOU CARD HAHAHAHA.”
Then he goes, and this is where I get all somber again, he goes, “Anyone here on a date? Well, these last two songs are LOVE SONGS. Just think of me as your BALLADEER for the evening.” But of course, what I heard was, “Erin Appledale is a loser and here by herself because she’s not awesome enough to go out on dates” and then a bucket of pig’s blood overturned and painted me pathetic.
Thank you, Matt Pryor.
- DUSTIN KENSRUE DUSTIN KENSRUE DUSTIN KENSRUE!!! Fucking Dustin Kensrue!!! I do not have enough superlatives in my pea-sized, fan-girl vocabulary for him. His presence is very god-like. He picks up his guitar and you hold your breath. That’s just how it is, unless you just don’t love music. His main gig is with Thrice and while they’re a powerful, unmistakably intelligent post-hardcore outfit, he is just as big and powerful and intelligent on his own. His solo style is alt-country and he even brings out his harmonica, complete with the around-the-head contraption, and I’m not like some raging harmonihomo, but good goddamn that man amazes me.
I was super pleased when he christened his set with an acoustic version of the title track from “The Artist In the Ambulance.” Stripped down, it just takes on a brand new meaning; it’s so raw and moving. That album is so personal to me because I associate it with Henry, when our relationship was still new and we were learning about each other. I remember driving around one Sunday, ending up in West Virginia with no destination in sight, and listening to that album. It was one of the first times Henry admitted to sharing somewhat of a partiality to a band I liked. So Thrice always makes me feel bonded to him, in some intrinsic way, because music is the biggest way I bond with people. I never told Henry this, so he’ll probably read this and be all “awww gosh darnit” but then he will act like it didn’t faze him. You know, the Henry Way.
So I’m standing there, by myself, next to a girl with her boyfriend who slurs, “Oh wow, [Dustin Kensrue] is so hot” and then proceeds to spend the entire set texting. And down a few heads from her is this gaggle of peacoated sorority whores who never stopped loudly conversing in their twatty faux-Valley Girl cadence . I mean, it was a goddamn ACOUSTIC SHOW, how loud do you really need to shout? That is when I realized that perhaps I prefer shows with a younger crowd, because those kids are there for the music. They show respect for the artists that have sacrificed so much just to be able to get up on a stage and play for us. Those kids, they don’t go to shows and stand with their backs to the stage, giggling with their tactless posse.
And that is also when I realized I didn’t mind the guy standing slightly behind me, who had taken on the role of Dustin’s backup singer and LOUDLY sang along to each and every song, even the covers, and in between pauses, he would shout little pieces of trivia about Dustin and Thrice to his very tall and curly-haired friend who evidently didn’t know much. Anyway, Dustin the Second and I were the only two people in our area who screamed loudly and applauded furiously after each song.
It’s fucking Dustin Kensrue, ya’ll. His drummer is my fucking son’s namesake.
Out of all the guys that night, Dustin was the one who meant serious business. Instead of telling us stories about crazy tweakin’ men pushing cars or trying to egg the crowd into heckling him (seriously, someone said, “screw you” to Matt Pryor after he begged to be heckled, prompting Matt to take a swig of beer and dryly retort, “Ooooh, screw you. Good one.”), Dustin went off on fucking brilliant tangents about faith and spirituality and accepting the fact that he will never know everything there is to know, and it was so articulate that I won’t even try to paraphrase it, because we all know I’m practically illiterate. But here is the profound statement that Obsessive Texter’s boyfriend made about it: “He is like, so smart.” Word.
And then he played this song about his wife, wherein I lost my shit and gave myself Tammy Faye Bakker eyes.
Dustin ended his set, devoid of any bells and whistles, with the most heart-wrenching cover of “Round Here.” Now, I like the Counting Crows; I won’t try and act like I’m too elite to appreciate radio-friendly alternative. (Plus Jennifer Aniston dated Adam Durwitz and hello, she’s my fucking homegirl, whut.) But there was something very moving about Dustin’s rendition of it, that my heart felt constricted in my ribcage and I sobbed the whole way through it.
- Encore: Dustin and Matt re-staged and attempted to do a duet of Ryan Adams’ “Sweet Carolina,” but Matt was having tuning problems and had to run off stage to grab a new guitar, shouting, “I’m so fucking prepared for this” as he disappeared. When he came back, he mentioned that someone had told him he looked like a ’30s gangster in that hat, so he proceeded to talk out of one side of his mouth in this creepy Dick Tracy-esque drawl. It was nice, much-needed moment of levity after Dustin’s amazingly sovereign set. And when they finally sang the song, it was sweeping and gorgeous and gave me chills up my spine.
- Afterward, Chris and Anthony joined them for aJawbreaker cover, and thenNOFX’s “Linoleum” which I felt was a perfect note to end on.
I’m very grateful that I got to be there for such a wonderfully gut-wrenching night of music from some of the most revered men in today’s scene. I just wish I had been able to share it with someone, because the only thing worse than post-show depression is not having anyone to ruminate with. (Not that Henry is wildly known for his post-show ruminations, but you know what I mean.)
Fucking music, man.
[Note: Chooch was fine, just being a drama king because mommy and daddy left him with his grandmother, oh the horror. And for the record? If Chooch had been hurt, and not just overreacting to the fact that we weren’t home, I totally would not have stayed at that show. I’m not THAT terrible of a mother, no matter what you’ve heard.]
The eye-watering viewings of "Cars" have quietly dwindled down, being replaced by less frequent demands of "Blue’s Clues." I’m happy for this. He still plays with his cars though, which I support because it’s cute to watch him ram and crash them into Marcy’s fluff. However, the past few days he’s insisted on toting around a can of "Cars"-edition Campbell’s soup. Today he even held it out to us very urgently when we were about to leave the house, so Henry had to unzip Chooch’s backpack and let him plop it in. I mean, whatever makes him happy, but I’d prefer he’d stop playing with canned goods because those hurt much worse than plastic cars when chucked at your head. Also, he had a check-up yesterday and is now nearly three feet, placing him in the 95% percentile. Underneath his weight, the nurse wrote "uncooperative," which makes me laugh. He fucking hates that scale. Life can never be dull with Chooch in it.
So, it’s here! I’m freaking out! It came at a perfect time, because Henry was napping, so I shoved it over my fat head and crept up the bedroom to give him a nice little surprise. And by crept, I mean that I clambered up the steps on my hands and knees, pausing every other step to squeeze back pee. I couldn’t stop laughing, and I tried ever so hard to muffle it, but I only ended up making the inside of the pig’s snout very warm and moist.
Anyway, Henry was not sent spiraling into the land of heart attacks, like I had hoped. He rolled his eyes and quietly begged, “Please don’t show that to Chooch” (who was also napping), before rolling back over and pulling the covers up to his chin.
But I’ll tell you who WILL be taking up residence in the land of heart attacks: My boss, Kim. Everyone got to leave early Thursday night and I thought I was the only one still packing up all of my stuff. (Seriously, I bring half of my house with me in my giant purse, and then it takes me five minutes to stow everything back in it at the end of the night.) When I was finally ready, I went to round a corner, where Kim was hiding behind a wall like a child and lurched out at me. I dropped some stuff, that’s how startled I was. I startle very easily. So my plan is to stash the mask in my gigantor purse and wait until late tonight, when all the dayshifters have left and our department is left in silence. I’ll wait for Kim to go to the bathroom, and then I’ll hide behind the door.
I hope she cries.
Gumpopper, rummaging in purse: I can’t find my pack of gum.
Gumpopper: Oh never mind, here it go.
Annie was in the grade below Uncle Otis and he would flick daisies at her during recess. She never noticed him, mainly because he was poor, but also because she liked black boys and Otis was, well, very pale. And had a small peepee.
Uncle Otis continued to pine for Annie, all the way through high school. Even after Johnny Maplebitch gave her genital warts, his heart still pitter-pattered down Lovelorn Lane. Even after, at age sixteen, Annie was impregnated by a salesman shilling Swiss Army knives and gained fifty pounds that she couldn’t shake, Uncle Otis would still feel a horde of butterflies molesting his insides at the mere mention of her name. Even after Annie joined a religious mountain top cult and was brainwashed into sewing up her vagina, Otis yearned to be the one to rip out the stitches.
At age eighteen, Uncle Otis was offered the job of a lifetime, joining a carnival caravan as a gum-wrapper sweeper. In his mind, he would let himself be engulfed in this job, saving each and every penny and dime, until he had a nest egg large enough to return to town, scoop up Annie, and deposit her into their new house, which even would have its very own colored television, and a pinwheel near the front stoop.
But you know how these love sagas pan out: Some shit always has to go down. Someone dies, someone cheats, someone gets caught masturbating with a candlestick, because Lord knows there’s more than the candle pourers can keep up with so what else are you going to do with it? Give it a wig and call it daughter?
I’m not too clear on the details, as I’m sure pertinent facts have gotten lost in translation through generations, but from what I’m told, the salesman caught wind of Uncle Otis’ great American dream and sent an anonymous telegraph stating that Annie had been murdered by the town meat cutter, after being confused for a bovine.
Uncle Otis snapped, just completely went ape shit all around the camp site. He ripped suckers straight from the mouths of conjoined twins, urinated in the cotton candy maker, fucked a chicken or two; he was destroyed, sanity annihilated. The carnival director was forced to serve him his walking papers, because the dwarves were starting to cry.
Otis binged on moonshine while trying in vain to fight off chimeras of Annie, frolicking through the junkyard next to the campsite. He’d squint and rub his eyes, probably give his face a few sharp slaps, as you would too if you thought you were seeing the ghost of your one true love. She would eventually fade away just as fast as she had appeared.
It didn’t stop, though, no matter how much booze Otis would gulp. He couldn’t take it anymore; it was too torturous. So late one night, after all the lanterns had been snuffed around the camp, Otis sneaked back in and rummaged through the prop chest, tossing bowling pins and barbed hula hoops over his shoulder, until he finally unearthed what he was seeking.
Making a hasty sign of the cross, Otis closed his eyes tight and swallowed the sword. This was tragic because Annie had not actually been murdered, contrary to Otis’ belief. Salesman lied to keep Otis at bay!
So my friend God was like Aw, hell nah and made Otis into a vampire, because if he hadn’t, then all the other suicide-by-sword-swallowing vampires would cry foul and God would have another revolt on his hands, like the time when that big-chested broad had half of her back flesh torn off by a zombie and God was all, “Aw, she’s too pretty to be a zombie” and instead turned her into a fairy princess. Shit like this doesn’t sit well with some residents of the afterlife. But you probably know that.
[Reposted from LiveJournal, because I can.]
This week, I’ve been working four 10-hour shifts because the system will be down on Friday, which means no work. The only way we were allowed to come in early today was by agreeing to make an appearance at the social. It wouldn’t have been so bad if everyone from evening shift was there, but only Bob and I were retarded enough to come in early and eat shitty hors d’oeurves. The night crew is treated like pariahs when immersed with the dayshifters, especially when our pack is broken up.
Bob wasn’t there when I arrived, and I desperately wanted to get it over with so I got Bill, who’s on the dayshift now, to go up with me. Tina promised she would too but then copped out at the last minute–asshole. Bill had already been up there once and therefore knew of the horrors in store for me. He tried to warn me that it was really crowded up there in the cafeteria, but the prospect of being buffeted in a field of holiday cookies helped me soldier on. Unfortunately, my hunt for cookies was kiboshed by a battlefield of gabby dayshift employees stuffed into a small and overheated cafeteria. I think I whimpered, “I’m going to cry,” three times to Bill. I’m not a social person. Perhaps in a group of three, I am. But I hate walking into a crowd, especially one that’s all loud and a’titter and blocking all of the spreads.
My throat felt constricted and I lost the ability to speak more than the same word over and over. My vision blurred and I momentarily lost sight of my mission.
My shepherd Bill directed me to a table with vegetables and several variations of bruschetta, but then I remembered that I just wanted cookies. “Cookies?” I asked. So he showed me a table that had a punch bowl and one lone picked-over platter occupied by several cookies. I thought he was kidding when he said it was all that was left, but his eyes did not lie.
Apparently, my intense distaste for public interaction rendered my hearing powerless, leaving Bill to have one-sided conversations.
I grabbed two sad oatmeal cranberry cookies (wtf? but they were good), one for me and one for my boss Kim who had to miss the social because of school, and Bill and I retreated back downstairs where they keep us processors locked away.
Fifteen minutes later, Bob came over and asked, “Hey, you ready to go up there now?” and I was like, “Jesus Christ dude, I waited for you but you were late.” Erin don’t wait for no homies. But then I felt bad because he’s still kind of new and he swore he was stuck in traffic. So I groaned and then went back up with him. I waited for him to ladle some festive punch into a styrofoam cup and then hoped we could leave.
“This punch is good,” he said. I agreed and added that it was fizzy, as well.
“Maybe we should stay, just for a little while,” Bob said. So we stood awkwardly off to the side, in semi-silence, not knowing anyone else up there. I saw an IT guy that replaced my mouse, and I’m oddly attracted to him even though he has a slight scent of hoppy aftershave.
“So, fishing, huh?” Bob’s going fishing this week. “Is it the kind where you cut the hole in ice?” I asked, trying to be social. So he talked about fishing for awhile and then we got bottles of complimentary foot lotion (wtf?) and left.
Socials can suck a dick.
There’s a poinsettia on my desk. What am I supposed to do with that?
“I love the smell of the dirt road after a fresh spring rain.”
“I love the smell of the asphalt in front of my mansion after a fresh spring rain.”
Pilar and Caspar had been friends for eighteen years. In their youth, they sat together on the bus to and from school and talked about baseball and goat milking. They pulled the hair of the girls they liked and drank chocolate milk from straws. Caspar always finished his carton first, slamming it down on the cafeteria table in a loud crush of championship, and then ran off to French kiss the girls whose names were scrawled across Pilar’s notebook.
“I love the smell of steamed asparagus,” Pilar said, giving a little grunt as he peddled his bike up a slight grade.
“I love the smell of my urine after I eat asparagus,” Caspar challenged, peddling just a few revolutions faster.
In tenth grade, Caspar convinced Pilar to steal tampons from Greta’s knapsack. When Greta bled through her white knickers later that day, Pilar collapsed under the weight of his guilt and turned himself in. He was suspended for a day and was forced to clean the sweat from Olaf’s desk seat. Olaf was the fattest boy in school. He liked to wear short denim cut offs.
“I love the smell of my puppy’s feet. It smells of buttered popcorn,” Pilar smiled as he glided his bike to a halt at the ice cream shack.
“I love the smell of the cold hard cash in my hand after my puppy wins a race. It smells of win,” Caspar said, reaching the bike rack seconds before Pilar.
Planning for college, Caspar convinced Pilar to be his roommate, making him promises of parties and girls and infinite bottles of rufies supplied by Caspar’s cousin Jake, who worked in a factory making fly strips as a front. But every time Caspar returned from class, he was greeted by a sock dangling from the door knob. By the third week of fall semester, he ended up moving back home and commuting.
“I love the smell of my office after my desk has been Pledged,” said Pilar, squinting at the colorful ice cream menu.
“I love the smell of my office after my Swedish masseuse has rubbed me down with the finest essential oils,” said Caspar, after ordering before Pilar.
Pilar showed up at Caspar’s apartment three years ago, after finding out that his papa had been having an affair for two decades with Brenda, the bar maid from the inner city. Caspar listened to Pilar cry for a few minutes about how his entire childhood was built on a foundation of lies and infidelity. When Pilar was in the bathroom, vomiting up his heart ache, Caspar jogged to Pilar’s old childhood home to take advantage of the newly single woman’s vulnerability.
“I love the smell of pistachio ice cream,” Pilar happily divulged as he gave the dripping bulb of frozen confection a hearty lick.
“I love the smell of pistachio ice cream after I’ve fucked your wife.”
Henry lost some of my entries when he moved my stupid blog over to a different thing and now I really feel like bashing his ugly fucking face in. He won’t apologize either. I have to go back and fix the html on every entry now. Fucking douchepie.