Jul 082021
 

OK that title is pushing it because not all of the books I read in June were winners, let me tell you that right now. Well, here is the first half of the stack!

  1. The Divines – Ellie Eaton

The Divines

I guess this is dark academia? Maybe? Except that I actually liked it? Also, I’m not actually sure I know what the dark academia genre actually entails, but it’s about a girl in some private girls’ school in England. I mean, isn’t that how most of these synopses start out, lol. We bounce back and forth between the girl’s experience at school, to present day where she’s an adult and trying to come to terms with AN INCIDENT that we don’t really get the full picture of until toward the end of the book. Honestly, I thought that the writing was great and engaging, and I really liked this – the ending made me go “wow” and laugh.

I don’t know. This was good!

2. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – Taylor Jenkins Reid

32620332. sy475

STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING. NOW GO AND READ THIS BOOK. (Actually, finish reading this blog post first, I’m desperate for readers lololol.) Just like with Daisy Jones & the Six by the same author, I kept putting this off because I was sick and tired of Booktube qtipping their dick holes over it but then audio book became available on Scribd, and well….I fucking fell hard for this damn book. Similar to Daisy Jones, a fictional actress in her 70s is giving an exclusive tell-all to a writer, in which she reveals the history and stories behind all 7 of her husbands. You guys, how is Evelyn Hugo not real?? Taylor Jenkins Reid writes her characters SO FUCKING WELL that you will honestly forget you’re reading a fictional account of a fake actress’s life.

There isn’t a single boring part of this book and I lost my mind by the time it ended. And by that I mean it came oozing out of my eyeholes in the form of TEARS. Solid 5 star book, please someone make this into a TV show or movie (TV show would honestly be so good).

3. True Story – Kate Reed Petty

49017632

Man, I already forgot most of this lololol. I remember thinking that it was very ambitious and ALMOST well-done, but also very repetitive and too long. There was an entire chapter about a guy in a cabin that literally made me want to scratch through my skin because it was so dull. Also, every man in this book can get fucked by a barbed wire ice pick, for real.

4. Finlay Donovan is Killing It – Elle Cosimano

Finlay Donovan Is Killing It (Finlay Donovan, #1)

YOU GUYS if you’re one of those “beach reads” people, I would recommend this one. It was so entertaining, the dialogue was snappy, the plot was cute but dark, and the characters were so delightful, even when they weren’t supposed to be. Basically, Finlay is a crime novelist who gets mistaken for a hit lady and every other chapter had me shouting, “No no no that’s a terrible idea!” but then cracking up because oh, Finlay, how will you get out of *this* mess?

I’m so glad that this is going to be a series!!

5. Crying in H-Mart – Michelle Zauner

Crying in H Mart

Crying in H-Mart is lodged in my heart like a bullet of sadness. I knew that this had a lot of hype surrounding it but I would have picked it up anyway because it has H-Mart in the title and hello, that’s my favorite grocery store in the world.

I don’t even know how to talk about this book without crying like a bitch, but in it, Michelle Zauner writes about her relationship with her Korean mother, specifically what it was like to watch her succumb to cancer and scramble for ways to maintain the Korean side of her identity. If you’re into Korean culture (specifically Korean food), you are going to latch on hard to this book, the reading of which will be soundtracked by the sinister rumble of your stomach as Michelle describes food in PRISTINE DETAIL. But even if you know nothing about Korean things, this is still an amazing book that speaks honestly and from the sad bullet-lodged heart about strained and complicated relations between a mother and her daughter. I just thought it was so raw and beautiful and also, Michelle Zauner is the front woman of Japanese Breakfast, so if none of the other endorsements I gave you made you want to pick this up, maybe that will because Japanese Breakfast is A++++++++++.

6. The Girls – Emma Cline 

26893819

This is essentially a retelling of the Manson murders. I would recommend just reading Helter Skelter or something. I mean, this book was fine, but also kind of boring.

It did make me want to read more  coming-of-age books set in the 60s specifically during the FREE LOVE era but make it interesting, you know? I do think the book cover is striking. I give that a higher rating than the actual book, which again was FINE but just…not as graphic and bloody as I wanted it to be, I guess

7. What’s Mine is Yours – Naima Coster

54424592. sy475

Oh ho ho ho fuck this book so hard. I have debated whether or not to even spend a single second giving any type of review of this because I hated it so much. Like, I gave it a 1-star on Goodreads only because Goodreads doesn’t let you give you zero.

I only picked this up because TIME told me in the was one of the books so far in 2021. Well, fuck you TIME, you have SHITTY taste.

First, let’s talk about the characters. They could have all died in quicksand for all I cared. Not a single redeeming quality to ANY OF THEM. Every single person – UNLIKEABLE. And I get that sometimes we’re actually not supposed to like a character; OK cool but at least make that person INTERESTING. None of these people were!! They were like FUCKING SIMS. Two entire families we followed and not a single person to root for except for the FAMILY DOG and don’t even get me started on that!!

Now, how about the SLOPPY TIMELINE JUMPING. Wow. Some writers can really pull this off with aplomb (looking at you, Evie Wyld, my love). But this book had the most confusing timeline switches and it really didn’t even make that much sense to me. I had a really hard time following along (and I was eye-ball reading this, not doing the audiobook, so I can’t even blame it on the narration or zoning out), and if the whole reason behind this was just to be able to have a “reveal” or “twist,” well it wasn’t necessary because I thought it was pretty obvious very early on what was going on. But again – didn’t care.

And the matriarch of one of the two families was so shitty and trashy that I absolutely loathed every chapter that featured her. LACEY MAY  – what a fucking name. This is not a spoiler at all but the writing was so shitty that there were numerous mentions of LACEY MAY kicking the family dog in the ribs, but then in one of the later timelines, there’s a mention of her spending a lot of time at her daughter’s dog kennel because being around dogs made her think of their old family dog.

….oh you mean THE ONE THAT SHE KICKED???

It made no sense to me. I fucking hated this book so bad. Could not even picture a single character in my mind, that’s how one-dimensionally written they all were.

Oh and the book cover is ugly too.

Sorry if this is your fave, but I vacillated between being glad I read a library copy, and actually kind of wishing I owned the copy I read so that I could have ripped it apart and burnt it when I finished.

WOW I’M GLAD I’M ENDING THIS BLOG POST ON THIS NOTE BECAUSE NOW I AM ANGRY ALL OVER AGAIN AND REQUIRE A COOL-OFF WALK AT…9:57PM GREAT.

Jul 072021
 

The day before we left for our little 4th of July weekend road trip to the Cincinnati-ish area of Ohio, Henry happened to see in whatever newsfeed he gets on his dumb phone that Stricker’s Grove, a small family-operated amusement park outside of Cinci, was going to open to the public on July 4th – THE DAY WE WOULD BE IN THE AREA. Why does this news require CAPSLOCK, you ask? Because this place is only open 4 times a year (the rest of the time they rent out to corporations for company picnics, etc) so the two wooden coasters inside this small, roadside park next to a fucking cornfield are considered RARE CREDITS.

I did quick math in my head and realized that if we stopped here before hitting up King’s Island, one of those two coasters could be Chooch’s 150th, which would be way cooler than anything at King’s Island, which is easily accessible!

One hiccup though was that we had plans to meet up with Christina and their fiancée Katie before going to King’s Island in the evening. Luckily, they were both on board with the change in plans and we arranged to meet at Stricker’s Grove at noon, when they ALLEGEDLY OPENED.

As previously whined about in my liveblog from Sunday, we quickly learned that while the park was open at noon, the rides were not scheduled to operate until 3pm! Which would have been helpful had they put this info on their website and not just their Facebook page, because hello, not everyone is on Facebook! (Also LOL @ the fact that someone just realized two weeks ago that I’m not on Facebook anymore when it’s been FOUR YEARS (June 2017, baybay) so wow, that was truly a solid friendship.)

Also LOL @ the fact that Christina have literally not seen each other in person (and barely even spoken) since 2012 (2011, even?!) and the very first thing I said to them in lieu of “hello” was “CHRISTINA I DON’T THINK THIS PLACE IS OPEN?! GO ASK!!”

If you are a real one, you know that we ended up leaving and getting lunch at Hyde’s, and then returning at 2:30. And good thing we didn’t wait any longer because while the line to get ride tickets was short at that time (see above!), within an hour the line was practically snaking out into the parking lot which means nothing to you since you have no frame of reference as to the PARK LAYOUT.

Daddy Warbucks purchased enough tickets for Chooch and me to ride both coasters and the carousel. But then we still had to wait for the gate to the ride area to open! I was so pee-jiggy! I sat with Christina and Katie under a pavilion while Chooch played skeeball only to have his tickets thieved by some rural child / future farmhand.

Then I noticed that people were gathering by the gate so we all walked (well, mine was more of a “I WANT TO RUN SO BAD RIGHT NOW BUT I WILL POWER WALK LIKE I’M HEADING TO MY WALLSTREET OFFICE” psycho-gait) over to join the small horde. I was getting angry because people kept passing us but I was trying to be calm and normal for Katie so she shouldn’t be completely turned off by my abrasiveness. Also, she is recovering from a broken fibula (??? some leg bone??) and I was being compassionate and considerate to her slower-pace because yes Henry, I can be a nice person!

However, as soon as the gate opened, Chooch and I were like SEEYA WOULDN’T WANNA BE YA and blew past everyone. Henry was happy to have friends matching his pace this time around.

We decided to ride the smaller of the two woodies first so that #150 would be Tornado, Stricker’s main attraction. We were in line behind a young guy wearing in B&M t-shirt (that’s a coaster manufacturer for you all you non-nerds reading this) and Chooch wanted to ask him what his favorite B&M is but then didn’t because he was afraid he’d ask Chooch the same and Chooch couldn’t decide which one he’d choose.

See also: Chooch never initiates conversations with strangers.

We made it on the second train of the day and I was fully prepared for some back-crunching action, but HOLY SHIT – this little guy was smooth AF! I heard that it had been retracked in like, 2017 or 2018 I think and I’m not sure if they did even more recent work on it but that wood felt and looked fresh, like it just came straight from the roller coaster forest. I mean, the ride itself was a very tame kiddie coaster at best, but the fact that it was running like slippers on silk made it seem exceptional. We could NOT stop gushing about how surprisingly good it was! And they sent us through twice!!

Then we ran over to the Tornado while our FAN CLUB continued to stand in their little huddle, probably talking about Faygo flavors and not acting as the paparazzo that Chooch and I truly deserve. Anyway, here’s a picture in line with a cornfield behind him.  We only had to wait for train and then we made it on the next one! This place ruled! We literally knocked the two coasters out within 10 minutes. THE HUSTLE.

Again – what a fucking smooth-ass ride! Stricker’s props to you for taking premium care of your rides. Again with the fresh track feel, and not only that, but the coaster LOOKS good too. I don’t know what I was expecting – something akin to Blue Streak at Conneaut I guess?! That bitch is a real back-breaker.

Weirdly, Tornado didn’t seem to have any signage, at least not that I could see?! Maybe it was on  the road side? So I had to just deposit Chooch in some random spot in front of it for his commemorative 150th coaster photo op.

This coaster was really quirky and fun. I’m so happy we got this lucky chance!

And here’s the Teddy Bear cutie. <3

After this, it was CAROUSELFIE TIME! Woo! (Remember when people used to say “woot” all the time? I really disliked that. IT RUBBED ME THE WRONG WAY, one might say.) Stupid Henry needed to lean the other way but he’s rude, so this is an accurate portrayal.

I got my foot caught in that pole when the horse was lowering – it was actually scary. Also, Katie said my hair is very thicc and that made me happy. We are keeping Katie.

Not winning.

(Also, Chooch and Katie bonded over Pokemon here. Christina tried really hard to insert themselves into the discussion but Chooch was not impressed. Because he’s my kid.)

So then Christina was like, “OK I will win his love through materialism, just like I did with his mother” except that they failed here too.

We dragged Katie and Christina on Teddy Bear after this because they had enough tickets and I swore on Taemin’s military beret that it was NOT rough and wouldn’t hurt her leg.

Henry’s One Job was to take a picture of us all on this, but aside from a picture of his finger, and a close-up of the people in the front row, this was the only picture he managed to eke out.

Christina and Katie both agreed that it was a smooth operation and even gave Chooch and me the rest of their tickets so we were able to ride the flying dumbo ride even  though we actually wanted to ride some spinny thing but we needed two more tickets and Henry, his mouth twisting around a piece of hay, was all I AIN’T WAITIN’ IN THAT LINE FOR NO MORE TICKETS, RIDE THE DUMBO OR LEAVE.

I texted Henry and told him to take a picture of us, but as usual he ignored me because he was probably trying to act like a big shot in front of a new person (“I DRIVE AROUND ON A PALLET JACK, KATIE. DO YOU KNOW WHAT THAT IS? IT IS A PIECE OF FINE MACHINERY THAT ASSISTS ME IN LIFTING CASES OF JUGGALO JUICE, NOT THAT I NEED ASSISTANCE.“) so then I texted Christina and said, “Henry is ignoring me, take our picture” and .003 seconds later, they turned around snapped this:

Like, wow. The effort is…palpable here.

Anyway, hours later, they were like, “Oh shit, sorry I’m just seeing this text now” so they actually just happened to take that picture of us randomly, at the same time I asked. SO WEIRD.

That cornfield tho.

Chooch really didn’t want to sit together but I made him.

Stricker’s was really popping off by this point! Henry DEFINITELY wasn’t buying any more tickets now.

Stricker’s Crew.

Then we got us some patriotic ice cream. Mmm’erica.

Here’s Chooch with his skeeball ticket trade-ins.

He might’ve had enough for a full hand of digits had he not let some mulleted toddler snatch his tickets!

Then we sat under the pavilion again and chatted and I was trying really hard to not be rude by checking the time constantly but my internal Type A child was screaming, “MUST GO TO KING’S ISLAND. THE BEAST IS CALLING.” So eventually we had to say goodbye which was sad but I know that we will be seeing everyone again because it was such a nice, easy reunion and Katie is a true gem, so I only felt A LITTLE bad saying goodbye.

Tornado from the road! There is literally no fence around it.

This was the best picture I could get of the sign because Henry wouldn’t pull over and made me take it from the car window. The actual worst.

Anyway, what a weird little hidden gem outside of Cincinnati! If you’re a coaster fan, ya gotta try to get out there and get those elusive creds, and then go to Hyde’s for some pie.

Jul 052021
 

On our way from King’s Island this afternoon, we stopped at Rt 73 Diner in Wilmington, Ohio. It was a semi-rural looking area BUT I looked ahead and saw that they had VEGGIE BURGERS on the menu and I wanted that.

Chooch made us sit at one of the high-top tables which I never prefer but it was better than the tiny table we were also offered in between two giant parties of people. But that is besides the point.

When our waitress came over, it was pretty obvious she was borderline flustered. Then when she asked us how we doing, she responded to our reciprocation of the question with a very sarcastic, “Oh I’m doing just great.”

Henry blurted out, “you look great.”

“Really?” she asked, looking up from her order pad.

And you guys…

He fucking said, “No.”

No!!!

Chooch and I were ready to slide under the table to shield ourselves from the eye-daggers she was launching at Henry.

I didn’t even know how to save him from that one aside from explaining to her what I thought maybe had happened, which was that his first response was supposed to be matching her sarcasm, meaning she looked the opposite of great so that when she asked him if he meant it, he said no. But I honestly didn’t want to walk into that fire, backdraft-style. So instead I just mumbled, “coffee and water” when she asked for my drink order.

Henry was perplexed when she left and chooch and I finally were free to voice our discomfort. He had no idea that what he said was insulting!

“You might as well have just told her to smile more,” Chooch cried.

So then Henry was pretty much ducking every time she came near us and I was trying to overcompensate by bubble-wrapping our table with pleases and thank yous.

Henry had the poor timing of snagging her when she was en route to another table, and asking, “can we get some napkins?” She gave him a really tight smile and actually spun on her heels to go back and get us napkins which she didn’t SLAM into our table but she also didn’t set them down GENTLY.

“Wow she really hates us,” Henry said sheepishly.

“Yeah, you literally made her hate us right away, after the first thing you said!” Chooch yelled.

“Just don’t ever talk again,” I pleaded.

Then as we were leaving, Chooch stood up right as she was about to pass from behind him and almost made her slam into him.

For what it’s worth, she really did look great regardless of the quality of day she was having. She reminded me a bit of our friend Dawn from Castle Blood and Dawn is pretty AF!

(Also during this lunch, Henry was trying to tell me shit about the recent semi-derailment of the coaster El Toro in NJ. “I already told you everything you just told me,” I said. Henry said that I didn’t “do a good job” giving him the facts BUT LUCKILY a fellow man explained it better so now Henry understands. Is it still mansplaining when it’s man-to-man? Or is it just plain explaining?)

Henry left the waitress a hearty tip and then we ran out of there. My veggie burger was super good, though the jury is out whether or not she spit in it. Hopefully just in Henry’s burger!

P.S. one of the waiters (maybe the owner?) opened a large freezer behind the counter and there at least 15 boxes of BOSCO STICKS all stacked up in there. Whyyyyyy. They’re fucking haunting me!

Jul 042021
 

GOOD MORNING it is 7:00am and for the first time, we’re actually leaving the house when we said we were going to! We’re en route to the Cincinnati area for some King’s Island action and possibly some other fun! I guess I will live blog but the drive through Ohio is historically boring so we’ll see how that pans out?! First I have to finish a book in reading though. You care.

Haha j/k I forgot my purse so we had to turn around.

8:31am: HOLA I finished my big (That Summer – Jennifer Weiner). I liked it. Also we went to Sheetz about an hour ago and Chooch pulled an Erin and pouted about his breakfast burrito BEING DISGUSTING but then didn’t really tell us why other than it wasn’t heated up.

SHEETZ SELIFE WHAT WHAT.

9:27am: I do not appreciate that this piece of shit parked next to us at Loves.

9:44am: big microburst argument between chooch and me, perpetuated by the innocent action of me handing him an empty bag of Quest chips to put in the designated garbage bag in the backseat and he apparently WAS IN THE MIDDLE OF CLEANING UP A MESS and ripped the bag from my hands and let it flutter to the floor so then I snapped and he clapped back and Henry was like stop please and the song “Reminiscing” was on the Yacht Rock station so I spat something about reminiscing to back when I didn’t have a kid yet and henry was like WOW and the yacht rock station guy said something about how two is better than one and Henry bitterly mumbled, “not always” while looking back & forth between Chooch and me. Wow.

10:44am: speaking of yacht rock I feel like if there was a yacht rock prom, Michael McDonald would be a shoo-in prom king.

12:40pm: sorry, I forgot about you, Blog! We made it to Strickers Grove around noon where we met my old friend Christina and their fiancée Katie but the rides don’t start until 3???? The whole reason we woke up early was to go here before Kings Island because it’s only open 4x a year and there are two rare coaster credits we need but now we are going to eat first and go back ugh I hate when plans change!!

1:55pm: We had the most awesome waitress at Hyde’s and equally as awesome fries even though they’re crinkle cut and Henry bought me a t-shirt so I can rep Hyde’s even while in Pittsburgh BUT they didn’t have the one I wanted and I misunderstood what the cashier said so now I have a Hyde’s shirt that says Pie or Die on the back which I guess is cool and now I have something to wear to the pie party should I choose to have one this year.

The cashier had already gone back to the get the shirt in my size so I said “now I can’t change my mind, I’m basically married to this one” and Henry said, “I didn’t pay it for yet so you’re not married to anything.”

And I said YEAH I KNOW, IM NOT MARRIED TO ANYTHING. Thanks for the reminder.

2:17pm: Henry’s checking out whatever Christina is dragging under their car because every man feels compelled to point it out to Christina.

2:24:

4:58pm: You guys we just had a really great time at Stricker’s Grove even though it’s like 95 degrees out! And we got there just in time – about 40 minutes before the rides started running, and the lines for tickets were very very short. The lines were so long after the rides started. I’ll do a full recap in a separate post but it was really cool to get these two new coaster credits! Now we’re going to check into our hotel, change clothes, and head on over to King’s Island!

5:38pm: Having technical difficulties with our hotel reservation. But Henry was all AHA HERE IS MY EMAIL CONFIRMATION and what will happen next who knows but I want to stay here bc all of their art work is King’s Island-themed :(

Finally success! Booking.com didn’t send the reservation over to Hilton so they had to redo it but now we have a room and they upgraded us too!

7:14pm: We’re in line for Orion now so I think I will probably end this live blog either FOREVER or JUST FOR NOW.

I’m really just trying to ride the rides now, BRUH (sorry, I hate that word so much lol).

Jul 022021
 

Ughhh I’m still so annoyed about this day but I will still take time out of my v. important life to write about it I GUESS.

On Sunday, Henry and I toyed with the idea of driving out to Waldameer Park because they have a new spinning kids coaster and they retracked their best coaster, Ravine Flyer II. But Chooch was all, “Jim-Jim wants to hang out and he doesn’t have a phone right now so I have to sit here all day like a lady-in-waiting and hope that he stops by like he said he would.” Henry still wanted to go but it felt WRONG to go without my coaster cred-collecting partner in crime, so instead Henry and I went to Moraine State Park for a hike(ish).

I should have known immediately that it was a bad idea when we parked and were met with all these WARNING signs about HUNTERS and DEERS and ARROWS.

ARROWS!!!

I was NOT trying to get impaled by Daryl-fucking-Dixon that day so I was straight panicking about this and Henry kept stammering on and on about how it wasn’t deer hunting season and I was like, “THEN WHY ARE THESE SIGNS HERE” and he was like “YOU WILL BE FINE” and then I cried, “BUT WHAT IF SOMEONE IS OUT HERE HUNTING ANYWAY HUNTERS ARE DUMB” and he was like, “Well the chances of you getting hit by an arrow aren’t very good because they’d have to be aiming for you” and I was like, “BUT I AM NOT WEARING BRIGHT ORANGE LIKE THE SIGN SUGGESTS” and finally Henry said, “Look, if you get shot with an arrow it’s because someone was actually aiming for you, OK” and then we heard voices over yonder and I fucking screamed, “ARE YOU HUNTERS?!!?!?”

“You’re an idiot,” Henry seethed.

They didn’t answer me though.

Anyway, the trail we were on was boring We went over a stupid bridge over top of algae-laden water.

There were people kayaking there and I said, “Ew gross” and Henry was mad at me again.

Then we saw a bunch of signs about ticks and Lyme disease so I forgot about Death by Arrows because now I was too busy obsessing over blood-sucking ticks.

Everything was fine until we veered off the main trail to visit some butterfly garden thing and I wanted Henry to take my picture sitting on this pergola thingie and he was taking really ugly pictures of me so I snapped because it was still June and the case study I performed on myself several years ago proved that June is the worst month for my temperament. *shrugs*

So you know what I did? While Henry was peering into a pond and smiling at tadpoles, I ran away. Originally, I was just going to walk back to the car…

…except I got legit lost.

I mean, I had a sneaking suspicion that something was wrong when I started passing shit that I didn’t recognize, like a field with tall bird houses strewn about, a really terribly-stenched pond, and then suddenly I was walking UNDERNEATH A HIGHWAY!? I was really getting scared. Meanwhile Henry was texting me and even though I was scared I was still in Psychological Game Playing Mode so I wouldn’t give him straight answers. Also to be fair, I had no idea how to answer his “where r u” inquiries. This went on for about 30 minutes until:

Henry said he figured I went back to the car so he started heading back that way (except that he was actually going the CORRECT direction) and then he got nervous when he passed two people who also passed us when we were heading the other direction and he thought, “Oh great, they saw me going into the woods with a woman and now I’m coming out alone” HAHAHA I wish they had called the police! Henry would have been SO HAPPY since he fucking stans the cops so hard.

When we were finally reunited, I started laughing hysterically while Henry was stepping into a full-body frown and that’s basically what it’s like to be in a relationship with me: A GAME THAT GOES TOO FAR.

Then we went to get ice cream which was honestly the only thing I definitely wanted to accomplish that day and Henry knew that because the night before I said, “I don’t care what we do tomorrow as long as it involves me deep-throating an ice cream at some point” and then I also reiterated the sentiment when I woke up the next morning. I needed a cold wet treat like some people need church.

Henry took me to this dumb place that had TOO MANY CHOICES when all I wanted was soft serve so then my brain started to short circuit while looking at the menu and then I panicked and ordered a twist but now it suddenly didn’t seem good enough after being presented with OPTIONS.

LOLOLOL that dumb face.

Anyway, we sat outside in the 95 degree sun and I was so angry because we were right next to the highway and the wind kept blowing my hair in my face and every time I would stop eating to move my hair back, so much of the ice cream would melt!! And you know what I did?? I blamed HENRY and I blamed that dumb ICE CREAM PLACE and then I THREW MY ICE CREAM IN THE GARBAGE and stormed off to the car!!!

Henry had that “oh boy here we go” far-away trauma stare in his eyes (actually, it looks pretty much like the picture above) and the drive back to Pittsburgh was super icy. He kept trying to make me still want ice cream though because if there is one thing he is so great at in this relationship, it’s sabotaging my diet.

So he stopped at this place called CUSTARDS and we were in line forever and then I lost my shit because another window opened and the girl was like I CAN TAKE WHOEVER’S NEXT and that was US except that the old bitch behind us was like YA BOI IT ME and Henry let it happen! So you know what I did? I said loudly, “LET’S JUST GO” and stormed back to the car for the third time that day. He was so mad! Haha—that’s all I was trying to achieve, I just wanted him to show his true anger instead of being like YOU ARE SO CUTE AND CUDDLY WHEN YOU ARE ANGRY TEE HEE because that shit is so lame, just fight back with me until I get the giggles and then we can move on with the day and go back to pretending that I don’t have numerous psychological disorders (both diagnosed and not lolol).

But then he went back to being determined to get ice cream into my system in an effort to cool off my boiling blood, so he went to some Tastee Freeze shack near his work where we have gone numerous times before and I got a small twist in a DISH because the only thing I want dripping down my wrists is diamonds (j/k I’m into cheap costume jewelry but I recently remembered the time that my grandparents bought me a tennis bracelet and where the fuck did THAT go, I wonder).

Then I ate my ice cream and was fine for the rest of the day. (I think. That was 5 days ago at this point.)

Oh and Jim Jim never showed up, apparently, so we COULD HAVE went to Waldameer after all 😩.

Jun 302021
 

Me, my parents, & my brothers went to Cedar Point in August and stayed at the Radisson Inn. We went to the park the two days we were there and my dad & I rode all the rides, including Iron Dragon, Magnum XL 200, Corkscrew, Demon Drop, and of course Disaster Transport. A lot of the time our little “outing” was not all that great. But all in all I got to tell all of my friends about it. It was really kind of an exciting trip. 

That was what I wrote in my vacation journal after I went to Cedar Point for the first time in 1991 and boy don’t you wish I was still that succinct?? Also can we talk about how it was “not all that great” but also “really kind of an exciting trip”? Holy mixed signals. BECAUSE I KNOW MYSELF, I am able to read in between the lines and deduce that my parents probably fought the whole time, my dad and I probably fought the whole time, my brother Ryan and I probably fought the whole time, Corey was a baby and probably did nothing the whole time, and I probably had both parents tell me NO I’M NOT BUYING THAT FOR YOU the whole time.

Well, I will try to be short & sweet while telling you about the second day of our most recent Cedar Point “outing” which actually was ALL GREAT and I would have told all of my friends about it if I had any friends HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAugh.

Since we are Platinum Pass holders (pause for some fingernail blowing), we got up early on Monday so that we could be at the park by 8:30, which is when the parking lot opens. It was actually raining super hard when I woke up and I was straight panicking. Henry went out to get donuts since some hotels are still kind of “ehhhhh” about offering free continental breakfast since we’re still technically not out of the pandemic woods yet. All I wanted was a glazed and a sugar after that fuckarow with the vegan donuts in Maryland. Just keep it simple (stupid), you know? Henry can’t remember the name of the place he went to but it was some local joint and they really delivered. I mean, not actually delivered, he had to go and get them himself.

Chooch tried some of my glazed and declared that it was the best glazed donut he ever did have and I wouldn’t go THAT far but it was very good and satisfied my need for sweet morning carbs.

(Henry just shouted “House of Donuts” from the other room, so now you know in case you are ever in Sandusky and feel like smashing Chooch’s Best Glazed Donut declaration.)

By the time we ate our donuts, the rain stopped and the sky was turning blue! And when we got to the park,  there were only two cars in line in front of us at the parking booth thingies!! AND THEN SOMEHOW WE WERE THE FIRST, LITERALLY THE FIRST, PEOPLE IN THE PARK! They actually let us in a little bit before 9 and it was so exciting! Our game plan this time around was to hit Millie first since we didn’t ride it the day before. Steve (Steel Vengeance) isn’t included in early entry on weekdays so we didn’t even waste our time running there.

Millie!

There were these two little pre-teen girls who ran head of us and Chooch and I were cracking up because there was a third girl who was like, “I am not running” so they kept turning around and screaming, “COME ON KYLIE!!”

Chooch was like, “Dad is our Kylie.”

Oh man, Millie in the Morning. Better than a cup of fucking coffee. And we were on the first train out of the station!! I couldn’t believe how fantastic our day had started off. And, spoiler alert, it stayed that way. Like I said in my last CP post, I learned the hard way that the trick is to go in with low expectations. This park is so quirky because of it’s lakeside location (high winds can force them to shut ‘er down) and it’s called The Coaster Capital of America* for a reason, which draws hoards of people.

*(It is called that, isn’t it? lol.)

I grayed out on Millie!

Next, we ran over to Maverick. It was still testing so they hadn’t even opened the line yet, but a pretty decent one had already formed. However, they opened it up after about five minutes and by the time the line stopped moving, we were inside the main room of switchbacks and only had to wait for about 15 minutes. AND CHOOCH AND I GOT FRONT ROW!!

Also, I forgot to mention that when we were in line for Maverick the day before, Toto’s “Hold the Line” video randomly started playing on the TVs and I never noticed until that moment how much the singer resembles Hot Naybor Chris so I started screaming about it and Henry did that frown/smirk/smile thing he does when he doesn’t want to encourage me and Chooch tried to hold firm to his disapproval of my comparison until he finally couldn’t help it and he started laughing.

“YOU KNOW IT’S TRUE!” I screamed.

God, and then Maverick happened and that ride is just bonkers. As if I wasn’t already giddy!

We ran over to Steve after this. It still wasn’t open yet but a hefty line was starting to form so we hurried up and got in place. I had fun watching the family in front of us play Heads Up while Chooch did Chooch Things on his phone and overall ignored me. Henry actually was about 20 people behind us because he had to go to the bathroom first and I refused to wait for him; however, he was at a point in the line where it had turned back on itself so we were actually facing each other. When the entrance opened and the line started moving, he did something we are FULLY AGAINST and casually line-jumped and tagged along with Chooch and me as we moved past him. It was so obvious but he was pissed because he had witnessed half a family blatantly cut in front of about 50 people to rejoin the other half of the family, so felt like he was owed something I guess, who knows. I don’t think anyone really cared that much, tbh. But now I wished I had screamed LINE JUMPING IS CAUSE FOR REMOVAL OF THE PARK like my friend Christy and I used to at Kennywood when we were kids because we aimed to be the most obnoxious, something I CANNOT RELATE TO AS AN ADULT.

There are free lockers now in the queue and they are so cool! There used to be pouches on the ride where you could put your small items like keys and phones, but I’m sure people were fucking that up so they removed those and installed these super slick lockers and it’s really cool because the line splits – if you have NOTHING AT ALL ON YOUR PERSON, like you can’t even have stuff tucked away securely in a sealed cargo pocket – you can continue through a metal detector. Otherwise, your entire group is directed to the lockers, after which you can reenter the second line and basically I’m explaining this poorly but you barely lose your spot in line at all because they only send so many people past that point at one time.

I just thought it was super efficient and if you have ever been on Steve, you know that having empty pockets is an absolute MUST for safety reasons. This coaster is a fucking force of nature, you guys. I absolutely love it and found myself tearing up while we were in line (which was only about 30 minutes once the ride actually opened, and would have been less if fucking FAST LANE hadn’t opened at the same time, now that early entry was over).

I was getting RULL NERVY though because the sky had darkened and I swear I felt a few raindrops. I have only ridden Steve twice before and BOTH TIMES it broke down while I was in line. So I was like please let’s not make this a threepeat.

Oh good lord, this ride. It almost makes me want to understand physics and engineering, etc etc numbers and nerds.

Henry and Chooch went on the drop tower thingie which is basically the one ride that I will not ride at any park unless super-pressed because I find them unenjoyable. Besides, I thought it was funny that this was some weird FATHER/SON ride experience because when do they ever.

They were assigned seats and we supposed to sit together in a two-seat grouping but some old dude decided he was going to sit there so they ended up having to split up and Henry was really angry about this for a while even after they got off the dumb ride. I was watching it all unfold and it was pretty dumb. I guess the guy even asked Chooch if he wanted to sit with his dad and Chooch was like “Yeah…” and the guy was like “oh well” and pulled down his restraint lol the audacity.

Oh yeah! Chooch and I rode the antique cars while Henry waited for the Bosco Sticks cart to open. We have been trying to eat a fucking Bosco Stick since 2019 when Carrie was like, “You have to eat a Bosco Stick, they are my favorite things and we can’t be friends anymore if you don’t eat one.” We tried the day before but THEY CLOSED LITERALLY AS WE WERE GETTING INTO LINE. This time, they hadn’t opened yet because the cashier hadn’t showed up. So Chooch and I rode Sky Hawk (their version of Kennywood’s Swing Shot) and then the antique cars.

Here you can see Steve hulking in the distance like a dream boat.

Um, and here’s Henry hulking in the distance like a…nightmare barge.

Henry’s phone takes the worst pictures.

STEVE <3

Anyway we gave up on Bosco Sticks after this because who has time to wait for some mysterious cashier, you know?

Besides, Chooch had an appointment to get bit by a goose.

Literally.

“He didn’t bite me, I was feeding him!” he yelled later when he saw that I had tweeted about it.

“Yeah, feeding him your finger,” I verbally shrugged.

We got Dippin’ Dots instead of Bosco Sticks (we knew we were leaving around 2 and stopping for lunch so we just wanted something snack-ish) and I started dwelling on the fact that Dippin’ Dots are still around. Like, who would have thought their novelty was this long-lasting? It’s fairly incredible.

Back when I was super into writing fake poetry in high school, I even wrote a poem about it called DIP DIP DIPPIN’ DOTS. It was part of my KENNYWOOD SERIES. MAYBE I WILL POST SOME OF THEM ON HERE SOMETIME BECAUSE I STILL HAVE THEM PRINTED OUT IN A BINDER I KNOW YOU ARE SHOCKED.

In line for our beloved Spaghetti Noodle. I want to get one of those shirts made that have like a list of names on it – I don’t know what the origin is behind those, but for instance you might see one that says:

Ross &

Rachel &

Phoebe &

Monica &

Joey &

Chandler

You know what I mean? Those rando shirts? I want to make one that has our Cedar Point roller coaster nicknames on it.

Millie &

Steve &

Spaghetti Noodle &

…Maggie?

I dunno, I just made that last one up because I feel like I would want at least four names on it and we sure do love Magnum.

But yeah Spaghetti Noodle is fantastic and so underrated. This was actually the first time we had to wait in line and it was still only about 10 minutes, if even that. I busted my hand really hard getting into the queue for the front row though. I hit off the clasp (?) of the gate when I spun around while walking to say something to Chooch. The top of my hand hit it real hard and it didn’t break skin but it did something bigly to something underneath, that’s for sure, because I couldn’t make a fist for the rest of the day and it was, some might say, TENDER. I was worried I chipped a bone or something. I mean, I hit that thing so hard that it actually undid the lock and the gate swung open (it was the employee gate to get on the other side of the queues) and it made such a loud bang that I’m shocked no one bothered to even look over to see what the hell my dumb ass had done.

Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, it still feels kind of TENDER.

That was the last ride we rode that day. Then Chooch wasted money on basketball games and a CP hoodie, and we left. :(

Seriously, this trip completely redeemed CP for me and it’s actually one of my favorite parks now. Everyday I have been whining, “When are we going back to Cedar Point??” and I know we will probably go back at least one more time this season, but hopefully more! It was really nice to have gotten all of the coaster credits out of the way (minus the kiddie ones) and actually slow down the pace a bit, ride some flat rides, and enjoy the scenery!

UNTIL NEXT TIME, CP. I MISS YOU SO MUCH ALREADY.

P.S. The next day at work, I messaged Carrie and told her that I still haven’t been able to stick a fucking Bosco Stick in my mouth and she was like, “Do you mean cheese on a stick?” BECAUSE THAT IS HER FAVE THING TO EAT AT CEDAR POINT NOT BOSCO STICKS. I have no idea how I got it in my head that it was Bosco Sticks, and HILARIOUSLY we were at the cheese on a stick place for a hot second while Chooch was thinking about what snack he wanted.

Then last weekend I was looking at the menu of some restaurant about an hour away and THEY HAVE BOSCO STICKS. I feel attacked.

Jun 292021
 

There was a Pride event happening in Millvale on Saturday and when I saw that Bitchy Vegan Homo from Cleveland was doing a pop-up there, I sent Henry out on a quest for vegan baked goodness. Selfishly, I stayed home because PEOPLE. Honestly, if it was just a Pride event with no vegan stuff happening, I would have gone, but you add vegan stuff to things like this and it draws out all the vegan assholes, ISTFG. Henry was so pissed too because he even left the house well before the thing started at noon, got a good parking spot, and he said just as he was walking over to the BVH booth, some vegan biotch came power-walking out of nowhere, beat him to the booth, and loudly declared that she HAD A LOT OF STUFF TO BUY.

Oh man, I’m glad I stayed home. It sucks because I have lived a meat-free lifestyle since the 90s but have never ever ever felt like I belonged in that community, ESPECIALLY the vegan branch.

Nevertheless, Henry powered through and brought home a bounty of delicious animal-free treats.

Maybe it’s because I grew up with Rainbow Brite in my life but you cannot convince me that a cake will not taste extra-delicious if it’s rainbow-colored. I’m sorry. This cake made me feel like Starlite was taking me on a stroll through a motherfucking meadow in spring, OK

Starlite-Rainbow Brite , a little wish in the moonlight, sunbeams sparkle and shine, you&#39;ll always be a friend of mine! : 80sdesign

There’s just something about a pretty cake. I’m not saying it’s because I ate some of this cake that I ended up having a fabulous Saturday, but I’m also not saying I don’t believe in CAKE MAGIC either. (Those brownies were the unsung heroes though, holy shit, make me a retainer out of these brownies and watch me not care about flashing poop-smiles.

It’s 87 degrees in my house  you guys sorry if I’m slurring.

Later, I saw someone tag this neon rainbow sign on Instagram and got excited because it’s from Target and I declared that I needed it right then and there because I really appreciated the uneven arches and I knew exactly where I wanted to put it and Henry was like, “I GUESS WE ARE GOING TO TARGET” and so we did and I bought it and then I also went to the Vans store and bought new Vans in the shade PINK LEMONADE and I felt like I had literally showered in the sun’s summer rays that morning because everything was JUST SO PLEASANT AND GOOD. BREATHE ERIN BREATHE.

Also the girl who helped me with my shoes at the Vans store had tattooed knees and the most perfect chill disposition (a prerequisite for working at the Vans store, which means I could never work there because I CAN BE TOO UPTIGHT AND PEOPLE-HATING) and can you really ask for anything more in a retail experience?

This is what the downstairs looks like at night, I love it so much, being awash in color and mood-lighting.

Basically, it is always Pride up in here and I hope that this is a place where anyone would feel welcome and comfortable! Just….probably not on 90 degree summer days.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go back to sticking my head in the freezer.

Jun 272021
 

After we checked in to our hotel last Sunday night, I wanted to drive to where we could see Cedar Point because it looks so pretty at night and I wanted to try and get a shitty iPhone picture of it. Henry was all *grumble grumble grumble* and Chooch was like, “Yeah, you two have fun, I’m staying in with the Disney Channel.” Henry was so annoying about doing this but eventually found a marina park thingie where we were able to park and walk out onto a dock while old men were fishing and that was kind of creepy. It was SO DARK and I was pretty terrified because you could hear the lake water sloshing up against the pier and I did NOT want to fall in, also I kept having visions of a murderous fisherman a la I Know What You Did Last Summer coming out from the shadows and pushing us over – after stabbing us with his HOOK HAND FIRST, UGH.

OMG and then there was lightning and I was so freaked out but also couldn’t look away.

Then we went back to the room and crashed because we had to wake up early on Monday morning for Cedar Point, Day 2 EARLY ENTRY BABY!

Jun 262021
 

I will be the first to admit that I said a lot of mean things about Cedar Point after the less-than-awesome experiences we had during the 2019 season, BUT! I was willing to give it another shot now that things are normal-ish again and our Platinum passes are still valid. Also, my friend Carrie loves this park lots and I want to love it too! So we decided to give it another chance. Plus, Chooch still had three coaster credits he needed that we missed when we were there in 2019, so we knew we eventually had to suck it up and go back.

However! This time I lowered the bar, A LOT. We knew for sure that we didn’t want to go to a weekend, so Henry and I both took a random Monday off of work. But then Henry suggested that we leave the day before and stay over, that way we didn’t have to leave super early on Monday morning to get there by 9 for early entry, and we could even spend some time there on Sunday if we wanted. I agreed to this,  figuring that if it was super crowded on Sunday, at least we weren’t losing any money on parking and admission, and we could just walk around and be leisurely instead of worrying about the rides and crowds.

We left home around 11:30AM that Sunday and Chooch and I made it two hours in the car before having our first fight over the phone charger resulting in me screaming, “THANKS A LOT YOU JUST RUINED THIS ‘HOWARD JONES PLAYING ON THE RADIO WHILE I’M WEARING A HOWARD JONES SHIRT’ MOMENT!” Ugh.

We got to the park around 3:00. The weather seemed OK and based on the parking lot, it didn’t seem like it was going to be too terribly crowded! We saw that the wait for Blue Streak–one of Chooch’s elusive credits that really punked us HARD in 2019, I wasted so much time in this fucking line with NO payoff!–was only about 25 minutes so we hopped in line while Henry went off to do Henry Things (pee).

After about 10 minutes of waiting, the train ascending the lift hill STOPPED. Chooch and I made ARE YOU KIDDING ME eyes at each other. I couldn’t understand what was happening though because the ride attendants were still loading the train in the station and no one in there seemed uber-concerned that a train was just chillin’ on the lift hill. Then one of the ride attendants rad out of the station with a bucket and proceeded to jog up the lift hill to the waiting train, at which point a man in the third seat tossed something in the bucket. I dunno if it was a phone or a camera, but he definitely had something he wasn’t to have and they fucking stopped the ride because of him and I was INFURIATED. Not that they stopped the ride, mind you, but that some moron refused to follow safety guidelines in the first place. There is a reason they don’t want you to bring that shit on the rides, and it’s not because they care that you could lose it. It’s because PEOPLE CAN GET FUCKING INJURED. OMG I hate everyone, I fucking swear to god, I just want to ride roller coasters and there always has to be people ruining that for the rest of us.

And here’s why I was DOUBLY mad: as soon as the ride attendant made it safely back to the station, they resent the train on the hill and then a few drops of started to fall, which lead to the dreaded, “Ladies and gentlemen, operations are temporarily suspended due to inclement weather.” FUUUUUUUUCCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKK!!!!!! Of course there was a mass exodus, but Chooch and I decided to stay in line. I mean, we had to ride this thing eventually and the sky was still bright blue while it was raining so we felt confident that it would blow over quickly, and it DID but they still had to send like 10 test trains it felt like, so we ended up standing in that line, in total for nearly an hour I would say. Because of course as soon as they reopened the line for everyone, the Fast Lane people came running in like bulls and they were letting SO MANY of them on each train, it was fucking frustrating.

But, the whole time, I refused to let this get me down. I kept telling myself, “What else would you be doing if you stayed home? Watching YouTube videos? Going for a walk?” It was fine. I was at a fucking theme park, in line to ride a roller coaster. Breathe out the bitchiness. The one small relief was that we were in line with this big group of 12 and they were actually quite pleasant. We even managed to get on the same train as them, in the back row!

OMG fucking finally, here we are! On the Blue Streak! Was it worth it? I mean, no. But it wasn’t terrible! It was a fun little out-and-back but holy shit, this damn coaster always has a super long line. So I’m glad that we got it out of the way as soon as we got there, because it was like a monkey on our backs, for real.

The next coaster Chooch needed was Iron Dragon. I’ve actually ridden Blue Streak and Iron Dragon before, on one of the times I had visited as a kid. I was especially excited about this one because Henry decided to ride it too (actually, I think it was only because I dragged him into line by his arm).

I really like this coaster. I think my exact review was “That was so precious!” It’s very gentle and the views are beautiful. I like that it goes over the water!

The final credit (not counting the kiddie coasters which we didn’t care about this time) that Chooch needed was Maverick. This was the one that I was most concerned about because I have never ridden this one either and EVERYONE IN THE KNOW loves this damn ride and some people even go as far as to say it’s the best ride in the park. I wanted to know why! But in 2019, it broke down the first time we were in line during early entry, and then anytime it was running after that, the wait time was consistently at like, 75 minutes to 120 minutes. That’s a lot of minutes, fam.

Chooch always looks like this now when he’s with us. The age 15 is AWESOME!

Anyway, I know I said I wasn’t going to let people get on my nerves, but there were two families in front of us in this line (that may have been 45 minutes if it weren’t for Fast Lane!!) that were so fucking annoying. The ones directly in front of me consisted of a super-amorous parental unit (the father-half had A VERY EXPLOSIVE LAUGH) and their teenage kid who kept clinging to the dad and it was v. uncomfy. They kept engaging in moderate rough-housing which would almost always have one of them stepping backward into me and I was like PLEASE SOMEONE SWITCH SPOTS WITH ME I HATE THESE PEOPLE and no one would, and then the family in front of that family were very yokel-y and had a kid who insisted on sitting on the dirty ground the entire time, scooting forward on her butt each time the line inched ahead. The whole family just oozed laziness and I was like ERIN JUST STOP LOOKING AT THEM, WE ARE GOING TO BE A NICE PERSON TODAY REMEMBER so I tried to just watch the stuff that was playing on the TVs but then a JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE video came on and I started screaming I THOUGHT HE WAS CANCELLED but I guess not because too many white ladies like him, fuck Britney Spears, I guess. And then one of the guys behind Henry was like IS THAT HIS WIFE when Jessica Biel showed up in the video and I wanted to be like YES AND HE CHEATED ON HER but I reminded myself again that we were going to KEEP TO OURSELVES AND HAVE A GOOD DAY and not be ERIN BUTTINSKI.

I am trying to work on myself, you guys!!

From the Maverick line, I could see my BAE Steve (aka Steel Vengeance for the non-enthusiasts) and I was tempted to leave the line and succumb to Steve’s pull.

But I stayed in line and I’m glad I did because Maverick did NOT disappoint! BELIEVE THE HYPE! Holy shit. What a relentless ride! And the ops were bangin’ – they were running five trains and assigning seats like drill sergeants.

Afterward, Henry was hemming and hawing about riding Top Thrill Dragster. He didn’t get to ride it with us the last time because we shoved all of our stuff at him and ran into the queue, and he didn’t feel like fucking around with a locker. But since it was FATHER’S DAY, Chooch and I convinced him to get in line for that while we rode Magnum. (Time out to give a huge shout out to the Magnum crew because they run a tight fucking ship over there – super high energy!)

We still had time after that (Magnum was pretty much a walk on) so we decided to ride the Music Express because we realized that we’ve never ridden any flat rides (aside from that racing carousel thing) here because we were so busy trying to get all the coaster creds. It feels SO FUCKING FREEING to not have a mission now! We can just stroll about and hop on a fucking flat ride, take a twirl on the goddamn Music Express if we want!

Chooch is not sunburnt – that’s the filter I used!

Ugh, look how much bigger his feet are than mine! Also, I’m officially the shortest person in m household now.

That was fun! But we didn’t want to stray too far away after this because we needed to be available to take pictures of Henry’s Big Father’s Day Ride, lol.

His review: “IT WAS AWESOME.” Lol.

Then we just strolled around and enjoyed not having to beat any clocks or whatever.

It was getting close to 8 (when the park closed) and Chooch and I wanted to get a ride on “spaghetti noodle” a/k/a Wicked Twister before we left. When we were walking through the queue, some guy was yelling, “That’s BULLSHIT” because an employee measured one of the kids with a stick and deemed them too short. I get really mad when people take shit out on ride attendants. That guy is literally doing his JOB to keep you and your family SAFE. Why would you want to argue about that? They have height restrictions for A REASON. Go the fuck home if you’re going to act like a bitch.

Anyway, god bless Spaghetti Noodle. This ride looks so boring, like a one-trick pony, but it FUCKS ME UP every time. Henry was buying cookies while we were on this, btw.

We had JUST ENOUGH TIME to jump on Tiki Twirl, better known in my heart as the CALYPSO. Kennywood had one of these rides years and years ago and no one remembers it! People act like I’m nuts, so I wonder if they weren’t there for very long? In any case, I get really excited whenever I see these at another park because it’s one of my favorite flat rides.

We experienced another Bitch Dad yelling at a ride operator on this ride, because the ride operator opened the gate for all of us to get on and Bitch Dad was like, “I’m waiting for my daughter to come back in line, my wife had to take her to the bathroom” and the ride operator was like, “I’m sorry sir but we locked the entrance gate because this is going to be the last ride of the night” and Bitch Dad was like, “OK but I have to wait for my wife to bring my daughter back in line” and the ride operator basically repeated what he already said so Bitch Dad was like, “OK cool but can’t you just let them back in line” and the ride operator (who was like 19 btw, poor kid) said, “I would love to, sir, but I can get in trouble for that” so Bitch Dad spun around in a huff to leave and barked, “WELL I GUESS I SHOULD HAVE JUST LET MY DAUGHTER PISS ON THE RIDE THEN.”

Don’t these people ever get exhausted from being such cocksuckers to the service industry? I say thank you to ride attendants/operators when I get off of every single ride. Because seriously, thank you for helping me to have some fun in life. Thank you for showing up and doing your job. I’m sorry that you have to put up with fucking entitled assholes.

LOL, here’s Henry waiting for us. We were so worried that he was going to eat all of the cookies.

Wow, this little half-day at Cedar Point totally exceeded expectations. We got to ride lots of things, the weather was wonderful after that brief little rain shower, and we didn’t fight!

We went to a family restaurant called Dianna’s after we left because we were fucking starving. Chooch and I were wailing, “WE HAVEN’T EATEN SINCE WE  GOT LUNCH AT SHEETZ!” and Henry was like, “Yeah well I haven’t eaten since breakfast!” and I said, “What? Why didn’t you get anything at Sheetz?” and he said, “Because when we were there, I thought I had already eaten lunch, but I realized later that I was thinking of yesterday’s lunch.”

Maverick I’m sorry but that quote was the highlight of my day, lol.

Jun 252021
 

These are some things that happened way back in Baby Face Erin’s life that I still think about occasionally like wow what an impact, who knew.

The Acting Class

In the winter of 7th grade, my friend Liz convinced me to take some kind of acting class with her at the Pittsburgh Play House. I can’t for the life of me imagine why I would have said yes, if my mom forced me to do it or if Liz just made that compelling of a case for it. Because I have never in my life been interested in acting, not even when I was super little and my grandparents used to say I should be in soap operas because of the way I could turn on the tears (and it’s true even in present day that I am a master class in drama but ONLY ON MY TERMS, THANK YOU).

OK so now I’m taking these classes with Liz, I think they are on Saturday afternoons or maybe mornings, and the class is small and cold. I vaguely remember us being the younger people in the class and failing miserably when we had to pair up and shadow each other with our eyes closed. There were legit strangers in the class who succeeded in this exercise better than Liz and me who were, at the time, best friends and spent a ton of time together. Well, we definitely could not feel each others QUOTE UNQUOTE ENERGY, that’s for sure.

But the whole reason I’m telling you this now is that there is ONE INCIDENT involving ONE PERSON that flashes through my mind every now and then and I wonder now if it actually seared a bit of trauma into my brain. Anyway, here is what happened. There was one guy in the class who at the time seemed so old, like he could have been in his 20s, but now that I’m thinking about it I bet he was only around 17 or 18. One of our assignments was that we all had to make up a skit (and no I have no recollection of what my skit was, I either blacked it out or quit going before it was my turn to perform, either option seems very On Brand). The skit that the guy acted out for us involved a poker game that got super heated, explicit, and VIOLENT. I remember VIVIDLY that he was was swearing loudly, kicking over chairs, maybe he even flipped over the table?! I just know that I was TERRIFIED because it didn’t seem like he was acting at all, but it seemed like he was actually projecting some REAL LIFE aggressions onto us and I knew at that moment that:

  • this class was not for me
  • I never wanted to play poker

I also vaguely remember the acting teacher stepping in and gently putting a moratorium on the skit.

The reason I was thinking about this recently was because we were in the car a few weeks ago going to Buffalo and, coincidentally, Neneh Cherry’s “Buffalo Stance” came on and I always associate her with this time in my life because that same year she had released a new album that I used to play on repeat because IT WAS SO GOOD and I started playing some of the songs off it for Henry that day and he was like, “No, I really promise you that none of these songs sound familiar to me at all” probably because this was when he was in his COUNTRY PHASE and playing VOLLEYBALL with the GUYS AFTER WORK while I was in MIDDLE SCHOOL.

Anyway, my favorite song from that album was MOVE WITH ME.

This inspired me to message Liz on Instagram and ask her:

  • if she remembers this
  • did this even really happen

And she confirmed that yes, she too remembers it. We also reminisced about the time her mom took us to eat at the Elephant Bar after one of the classes, which honestly was worth the torture of those classes because that restaurant was the best place we had in our little area of the South Hills and I’m actually surprised no one rioted the day it closed. THE CEILING FANS WERE MADE TO LOOK LIKE ELEPHANT EARS, FOR CHRIST’S SAKE! THEY HAD THE BEST PEANUT BUTTER PIE! IT WAS LIKE EATING ON THE GOLDEN GIRLS’ LANAI!!

When the Elephant Bar closed, by dad went and stole the big metal ELEPHANT BAR PARKING sign and gave it to me. It was in my kitchen forever and now it’s in the garage. I’m hoping someday when/if I ever buy a house, to have a good spot to hang it. It’s huge!

Do You Even Know How To Answering Machine?

You know how when something humiliating happens to you, that’s always the memory that stays the most VIVID, like fucking TECHNICOLOR VISION, in your goddamn memory pouch? Never mind all those blissful, happy moments that you want to sew into your hippocampus like a serial killer patching up his lampshade with victim skin. This isn’t the MOST HUMILIATING thing that has happened to me by a longshot but it was one of the first ones that really made a lasting impression on me and I think about it A LOT, more than a normal human ever should, because I am just pathetic:

I was in elementary school, maybe in 2nd grade? 3rd? And I was calling my BEST FRIEND CHRISTY who never made me take an acting class, and for the first time ever, I was met with the fuzzy SORRY WE MISSED YOU greeting of an ANSWERING MACHINE. At the sound of the beep, PANIC SET IT. I had no idea what to do! So I hung up! Then I called back, prepared this time for the BEEP, and ready to say “HI CHRISTY IT’S ERIN CALL ME BACK” but instead I started talking before the beep!!! The THIRD TIME, I think I might have said “Hi Erin” instead of Christy, and then made some sort of painful, strangulated cry and hung up again. I so vividly remember doing this AD NAUSEUM because I wasn’t comprehending that my fuck-ups were STILL BEING RECORDED AND SAVED even though I wasn’t saying, “OK BYE” at the end. Like hello CHILD ERIN, answering machines can’t intuit when to step in and erase someone’s ERRONEOUS RAMBLINGS. Otherwise, we never would have gotten that classic FRIENDS episode where Monica leaves a message on Richard’s answering machine!

YOU KNOW!?!!

Yeah, so I left probably between 5-10 messages where I cut  myself off with frustrated exhales and screams and no one ever mentioned it to me but I bet her parents or older brother listened to them all and snickered before telling her to call her neurotic friend back and maybe consider writing her a script to use next time she calls.

I still panic to this day when I have to leave a message for someone, especially at work, thanks CHRISTY’S ANSWERING MACHINE.

In case you were wondering, my face was flushed and I was so disgusted with myself while writing this DUMB STUPID IDIOT MEMORY UGHHHHH BEEP.

Jun 242021
 

I thought of this tonight and felt a strong compulsion to repost the story about the time my friend Kristy convinced me to go to a Pittsburgh Passion game even though I hate football and it ended up being a fucking hilarious night and I even thought that maybe I would like girl football at least after that but nope, that didn’t stick. Also I can tell by that first picture that this was definitely before KpopX kicked my ass into shape lol ugh.

Anyway, here is that story. Ciao for now, my plump little bao. (I just said that to myself.)

***

20140713-153240.jpg

When I told people I went to a professional woman’s football game last Saturday night, the popular response was, “What the hell. You hate football!”

Truth! I really do hate football, and the only thing I hate worse than football is PITTSBURGH football. Boys or girls, I hate them all the same. No discrimination here. But when my friend Kristy asked me if I wanted to go and explained that she was only going because her friend Katie plays for the opposing team, the New York Sharks, and also that we were going to drink at the Smiling Moose beforehand, I was like, “Fuck yeah, I’ll go.” I get a lot of joy rooting for opposing teams! I’m like a sports hipster, I guess.

Besides, if I was going to go to a Pittsburgh Passion game with anyone, it would be Kristy. I don’t know why, but I stand behind this statement.

20140713-153232.jpg

Kristy even made this awesome sign to show support for her friend Katie! It was kind of adorable. I want to join some kind of team now or run for Congress so that Kristy will make a poster for me.

When we got inside Cupples Stadium, Kristy decided she didn’t want to sit in the middle of Passion fans, because Pittsburgh sports fans are a special brand of crazy. Like, bath salts crazy. Before we even made it to the stands, we stumbled upon a small group of Sharks fans with some assertive Passion broad who was trying to accommodate their seating needs. And by seating needs, I mean that they were asking to sit as far away from psycho Yinzer sports fans as possible. So we tagged along and entered the field with them, and that’s when I realized that one of the Sharks ladies was actually a part of the organization, so I started to feel really special, because that’s the type of person I am: the type that gloats when mascots or someone on a professional women’s football team payroll spends one extra nanosecond on me than the rest of the kids. It’s because I’m attention starved, OK? I will take flirtatious sentiments from anyone: in a fur-suit, NY Sharks shirt or prison jumpsuit, I don’t give a fuck.

Anyway, the Passion broad explained to us that she was unable to unlock the gate so that we could sit on the bleachers across the field from the Pittsburgh side, some lame excuse about how the Passion organization only paid for half of the stadium to be cleaned so they couldn’t have us getting our filth all over the other side of stands, too. However, what she was able to do instead was bring over extra benches ON THE SIDELINE so that we could still sit far away. There was some grumbling from the other Sharks fans about how they weren’t going to be able to see real well, but I was like, “Fuck yes.” Because if I’m going to have to watch some dumb football game, you better believe I want it to be on the field, like Jay-z.

(I don’t even like Jay-Z, but I wouldn’t mind living like him.)

While we were getting situated on our special benches, one of the Sharks ladies felt compelled to beg us to behave. Don’t distract the players, don’t get up and walk off the field during play, and basically just don’t breathe. Then she came back with her camera and yelled, “OK SHARKS FANS!” and everyone put their hands up on top of their heads like shark fins, and I had to whip my head around to look at everyone else’s so that I didn’t fuck it up because I’m a hand-gesture dunce.

“I wonder what the Passion sign is?” Kristy wondered out loud, making a diamond over her crotch with her hands. “Do they just like, masturbate?” And I died for the first of 87 times that night.

20140713-153301.jpg

Seriously, this was our view: a recreational lesbian’s field day. I cultivated no less than 8 crushes in the first five minutes of sitting down. It’s actually kind of surprising that Christina doesn’t play professional women’s football.

“Fair warning, my twin daughters play for the Sharks, so I might get kind of loud,” an older man who bore a mild resemblance to Laura Palmer’s Dad (but enough so that I would run with it for the rest of the night) said cordially as he sat down next to me. “Wow, Pittsburgh’s sure got a big fan base. Look at that!” he enthused, pointing across the field to the home bleachers. I thought he was being sarcastic, because there didn’t seem to be that many people there, but then I remembered that this was WOMEN’S football and we all know that no one cares about women’s sports.

20140715-000758.jpg

Passion’s Impressive Fan Base.

Did you know that the players have to pay for this shit themselves? It’s true! Kristy told me. And they all have to have regular day jobs too, unlike those fat NFL rapist douchebags. So I was able to overlook my hatred of football by convincing myself that I was actually there to support girls doing shit. Because I’m a girl.

20140713-154025.jpg

I took this picture when we returned after halftime to illustrate how sparse the Sharks section was.

Laura Palmer’s Dad was a pretty laid back guy and I didn’t mind that he was trying to lure conversation from my clamped mouth because was mildly charming. But then 10 seconds into the game, he fucking EXPLODED with rage and bulging forehead veins.

“PAIGE!!!! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!!?!?!? CONTAIN!!!!! WHERE’S THE D?!?!?!?!?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME, REF?! WHAT WAS THAT!?!??! HEY REF, YOU NEED TO BORROW SOMEONE’S GLASSES BECAUSE YOU CAN’T SEE!”

And on and on and on. Kristy slowly looked over at me and we totally lost it. At this point, he was standing on top of the back of the bench, leaning against the fence behind him for balance, and every time he yelled, it sounded like angry jets were being launched from his throat and into my ears. And then another dad on the bench next to us joined in, the two of them volleying disparaging reviews of the ref’s competence back and forth between them in their thick New York accents. Laura Palmer’s Dad kept marching over to the Sharks bench and reaming out his daughters, Paige and Jenna, but it seemed like poor, fuck-up Paige was taking the brunt of it. She just stood there with her head down, shoulders rolled forward, probably wondering when she was going to have time to finish digging her dad’s grave in the woods.

Please, please, please watch this dumb video.

Laura Palmer’s Dad was screaming so hoarsely, that I feared he was going to have a stroke. I was honestly afraid to turn around to see what he looked like while verbally battering the entire Sharks team and officials. I half-expected to catch him deep-throating an entire horse out of unchained anger.

20140714-214639.jpg

I kept getting misted with Haterade every time he screamed too, so now I can say Laura Palmer’s Dad showered me.

Meanwhile, my brother Corey was texting me because he saw my video on Instagram, so then it became even funnier to me, knowing that it was this funny to Corey, also. You know who definitely didn’t think it was “that funny”? HENRY. I kept texting him with a play-by-play to NO RESPONSE. He was just jealous because he wasn’t there and he probably knew it was only a matter of time before I fell in love with Laura Palmer’s Dad. I mean, he was totally my type. I bet he has sexually harassed an impressive amount of secretaries in his day.

Or Henry was just sleeping.

20140713-153320.jpg

Laura Palmer’s Dad in a rare moment where his lips were demonstrating what some people might recognize as “a closed mouth.”

20140713-153329.jpg

What? You guys don’t take shoulder selfies?

The other angry dad is standing next to the guy stroking his chin, who was actually with Laura Palmer’s Dad but not nearly as loud. Occasionally he would bellow “SHARKS!” but I felt like it was more because he didn’t want Laura Palmer’s Dad to be disappointed in him, too.

20140713-153348.jpg

Here’s one of the twins getting berated.

20140713-153408.jpg

And the other.

He reallllly wanted them to “contain it,” whatever the fuck that means. And see, that was a big problem, not understanding the game and terminology. I would have to wait for my Sharks peeps to cheer or clap to know how to proceed, but sometimes I was confused because the Passion fans would also be clapping and I thought we hated each other? Anyway, when one of the Sharks got the ball-thing and started booking it down the field with no one close enough to stop her, I knew to stand up and do jump-y things and yell. And I also knew that when things weren’t going our way, to blame the refs. That’s universal. And if I hadn’t known that, Laura Palmer’s Dad would have taught me real fast.

The Passion scored enough times for the speakers to bleed out “Girls, Girls, Girls,” “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” and “Single Ladies.” You know, just in case we forgot we were at a girls football game.

Too bad we were losing pretty good (I guess?) by halftime. I was pissed when we came back from not getting stabbed during our halftime drinks at Jack’s because KRISTY lied to me and we were LATE getting back to a sporting event I don’t even care about, except for when I do, so we had to stand off the field and wait for the quarter thing to end before going back to our dumb bench. THANKS, KRISTY. I was so concerned that we were going to be ostracized from our elite Sharks section. But as soon as the clock turned to 0:00, I speed-walked across the field back to our bench.

“Hurry! I don’t want to get in trouble!” I kept hissing at Kristy. And approximately 3 minutes after I said that, Laura Palmer’s Dad and Other Official-Hating Dad came together to throw a joint temper tantrum so histrionic that the ref literally turned toward us and screamed, “NO! YOU SUCK!” blew his whistle, made a violent motion with his arms, and stomped off the field.

The fucking ref stopped the game and stormed off, you guys. IT WAS FUCKING FANTASTIC!

But….then the Sharks lady (I learned after the game that she is the CEO or CFO or COO or some acronym equally as important) marched over and said sternly, “I told you that you had to knock it off. Ref wants you gone. ALL OF YOU.”

Laura Palmer’s Dad said, “No! You guys stay. I’ll take the hit on this one.” MY MOTHERFUCKING HERO. Oh god, please let me be Laura Palmer’s Dad wife. Oh, who am I kidding. Laura Palmer’s Dad’s penis coozy is good enough for me. He can scream at me to contain the D all night. Yell at me like I’m one of your disappointing twins!

“Ref wants you ALL gone!” Important Sharks Lady repeated. So we all got up and dejectedly walked off the field, Kristy with her rolled-up Sharks poster, basically the entire Cupples Stadium watching.

20140713-153422.jpg

 

This is what Womens’ Football Game Ejection looks like.

And just in case one of us was planning on resisting the ref’s request, two cops were sent out to make sure we left peacefully. It was the most ridiculous thing ever and I was so afraid I was going to pee from laughing so hard.

“Womp womp,” Kristy said with mock sadness into her rolled-up poster, and that just made me laugh even harder.

 

Once we were off the field, we all kind of stood in a cluster, laughing nervously by the concession stand. I was glad to see that Laura Palmer’s Dad was also laughing about it and not snapping metal rods over his legs in fury like I had anticipated.

“Sorry guys,” he said, with a shrug and then he flashed that good old Laura Palmer’s Dad smile at us and I melted. UGH HOW CAN I BE MAD AT THAT.

By then, one of the Passion broads had learned about what happened, so she decided to intervene. I guess because it was the ref who kicked us out and not the actual Passion team, she let us back on the field. They tried once again to get the gate unlocked for us, but then realized no one had the key. So the compromise was to move one of the benches further away from the field and have one of the cops babysit us.

“I feel like a red-headed stepchild,” Laura Palmer’s Dad laughed as he helped drag the bench away from the rest of the benches. Kristy and I opted to sit on his bench rather than return to our original spots, because I wanted him to see that we were IN THIS BITCH TOGETHER.

I just like being a part of things, OK?

Anyway, the game resumed after the ref rubbed the hurt out of his butt, and it didn’t take long for the two dads to get all fired up once again.

“OH NOW HE THROWS A FLAG!” the other dad bellowed, his voice cracking under the weight of the sarcasm.

20140713-153429.jpg

This was right after the ref called an illegal formation, whatever the fuck that is, and that set off Laura Palmer’s Dad and his Partner-in-Scream-Hemorrhaging all over again, to the point where I thought for sure they were going to cause us to make the 11 o’clock news. FUCK YOU AND YOUR ILLEGAL FORMATION, REF!

20140713-153442.jpg

Our babysitter.

20140713-153452.jpg

This lady refused to leave when we got kicked out. I guess that’s her daughter. She popped her shoulder out.

20140713-153500.jpg

And then, after it was all said and done, Laura Palmer’s Dad STOOD ON THE FIELD, yelling for his daughters’ attention. He was relentless.

I LOVE THAT IN A MAN.

During the final minutes of the game, “Girl On Fire” warbled out of the cheap sound speakers, and we just lost it. I wish they had put as much effort into their concession stand offerings as they did with the girl-centric stadium anthems.

Anyway, the dumb Passion beat the Sharks and I’m 99.999999999999999% sure it was fixed. We hung around after everyone left, watching the Passion do some sloppy Electric Slide thing to a really terrible pop song while the Sharks sat in a slumped huddle and cried. For a girl who hates football, I felt surprisingly really sad. Once the Sharks started to mill around on the field, Kristy and I went over to say goodbye to Katie, who hugged me twice which I thought was really nice of her but I think she was really just using my torso as a Shamwow for her sweat.

“What was going on over there?” she asked us, and we got to giddily tell the story of Laura Palmer’s Dad, a story that I look forward to retelling over and over and over again for the rest of my life.

SHARKS 4 EVA.

 

Jun 232021
 

Hello. Here you will find the last half of the books I read for Asian Read-a-Thon. I hope that you will look at this and find a book or 8 to read. OK I’m out. Cook on, mothercheffers.

10. The Last Story of Mina Lee – Nancy Jooyoun Kim

The Last Story of Mina Lee

Holy shit is this book depressing. Girl finds mom dead in her apartment. From there, the chapters alternate between the daughter trying to figure out what happened to her mom, to the mom in a past timeline where we see her journey & transition from Korea to America in the 80s. It’s your classic “children can’t see their parents as people with their own lives and history until it’s too late” type of storyline, and it hits hard. I liked the mom’s chapters better because she was such an interesting character and the daughter was just kind of like, “Oh darn, mom was a person I had no idea and now she’s dead oops.”

11. Yolk – Mary H.K. Choi 

43562313. sx318

This is the third book I’ve read by Mary H.K. Choi now and dare I say she has become one of my favorite authors? The voices she feeds into her characters feel so real and effortless that they are real people you know, and you can HEAR their voices. The dialogue is punchy and realistic, and even when the characters show shittier, darker sides of themselves, you still can’t help but root for them. You have probably not watched the Korean drama Reply 1988, but two sisters in that show reminded me SO MUCH of our main characters in Yolk. To say they’re estranged is maybe a bit too drastic, but they definitely, as two young women in their early 20s, are not regular fixtures in each other’s lives. Until one finds out she may or may not have cancer. But even with subject matter that heavy, Choi manages to bring levity and humor into the situation and you can’t help but fall hard for these people. Or maybe you can, Henry probably could. But he’s heartless and not easily moved by much.

12. All You Can Ever Know – Nicole Chung

All You Can Ever Know

This is a memoir about a Korean woman who was adopted as an infant by a white American couple. One of the Goodread reviews said something along the lines of “this was good but should have just been an essay” and I agree with this because it did feel very repetitive at times, though it’s so very important for us to read about and try to gain more of an understanding of how difficult it is for minorities to grow up in America, let alone ADOPTED minorities. These children essentially have their culture and heritage robbed from them and, as an American bystander, it might seem like “the prospect of a ‘better’ life” is all that matters here but imagine how lonely it is to be the only one in a family who looks different, to the point where you feel like you don’t fit in there but then you’re also not “x”-enough to fit in with people of your own ethnicity.

13. American Betiya – Anuradha D. Rajurkar

American Betiya

Oh the anger I felt while reading this (not because the book was bad). Basically this cool Indian girl starts clandestinely dating some cringey, clingy, super problematic white kid because her traditional family has a strict no-dating policy while she’s in school, but she’s like eff that this creepy toxic asshole is totally into me and who cares if his friends are mildly racist and they all call me Princess Jasmine and then he makes me wear traditional Indian wedding garments before fucking me what he’s so not fetishizing my culture AT ALL.

You guys, I was screaming. Fuck that guy. This girl had the sweetest, most caring family and her grandma is visiting from India and all her mom wants is for her betiya to set up a goddamn Zoom call so they can talk to the grandfather in India but she’s too busy trying to make her emotionally abuse boyfriend happy and ew, just ew. I hated him so much.

This book is meant to make you burn up inside and it did its job.

14. A Very Large Expanse of Sea – Tahereh Mafi

A Very Large Expanse of Sea

Another book to get the blood boiling! This one takes place shortly after 911 and our main character here is a Muslim girl – Shirin – starting a new high school, but same ol’ racism and microaggressions. Oh and not just from the students – hoo boy no no no.

There is also a romance in this one but the love interest, Ocean, is actually not a fetishizer and his feelings for her are fucking pure.

Oh, this book pumped up my heart to Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon proportions.

15. The Hole – Hye-Young Pyun

The Hole

This was a quietly creepy psychological thriller about a Korean man, Ogi, who is recovering from a car accident in which his wife was killed, and now her mom is acting as his caregiver. He’s basically confined to his room and left to ruminate upon his marriage while the mother-in-law neglects him and starts digging holes in the garden.

I don’t really know what else to say about it. It was OK! But I think I was expecting it to be more scary.

16. Goodbye, Vitamin – Rachel Khong 

Goodbye, Vitamin

OK not only was this one of the best books I read for Asian Read-a-Thon, it was also one of the best books I read all year and is a new instant favorite. As someone who reads a lot of different voices and genres, it’s sometimes hard for me to pinpoint exactly what KIND of book I like, and this is it. This writing. This is my JAM.

(LOL shit here I am the day after I posted this, realizing that I never even explained why I like this book or what it’s even about. Oh well, click the link I guess?! According to Goodreads, I updated twice during the reading process to say “This book is 100% my style” and “My soul had left my body.” So, there you go!)

17. Year of the Rabbit – Tian Veasna

Year of the Rabbit

This graphic novel is HEAVY AF. Just looking at the cover of it is making my eyes well up. It’s horrifying and actually scarier than any horror novel I’ve read because this was TRUE. REAL LIFE. HISTORY. I didn’t know much about the genocide in Cambodia in the 70s, but now I do. This graphic novel did not hold back. It follows various members of the author’s family and the unreal horrors they endured (and not all overcame) in their efforts to escape Phnom Penh and start a new life as refugees. Totally sobering and heartbreaking, and especially infuriating to find out that only recently – nearly 5 decades later – have the people involved in the Khmer Rouge takeover been convicted and sentenced to life in prison—most of them are already dead and the ones who are still alive are already in their 80s.

I guess justice is justice, but damn.

This was definitely the heaviest, saddest graphic novel I have ever read.

18. Anna K: Away – Jenny Lee

Anna K: Away (Anna K, #2)

I needed to end the read-a-thon with something light and luckily my copy of the Anna K sequel came in just in time. Anna K is a modern retelling of Anna Karenina mashed up with some Gossip Girl vibes. I mean,  it’s OK, but I don’t really think it’s AS GREAT as the hype claims. However, I did like this one because Anna K is, well, away. And not just away anywhere – she’s in Seoul! So I really enjoyed those chapters but I gotta admit, the side characters are so vapid and I know, I know – that’s the point, but they can be vapid while still being interesting. As it stands, I just really don’t “love” anyone in this series except for Vronsky, but well, if you know you know.

My other issue with this book isn’t with the book itself but the narrator of the audiobook, Jenna Ushkowitz (of “Glee” fame). Because the main character Anna is Korean American, there are some basic Korean words tossed around, ESPECIALLY when she is in Seoul. Jenna’s pronunciations are extremely jarring and took me out of the story every time. Now, I understand that Jenna is Korean, but adopted when she was a baby by an American couple, so I don’t hold this against her but I’m kind of wondering how this was allowed to pass. Am I being nitpicky? I promise you, I fucking PINKY SWEAR, that I am not trying to be all know-it-all-y about this, I mean, my knowledge of the Korean language is BASE LEVEL. But!!!! I watch A LOT of Korean programming to the point where I know what it sounds like when someone is saying an extremely basic word like “halmeoni” which means grandma, and I have never heard it pronounced the way this narrator says it and it bothered me so much. It was like listening to Henry try to say “gochujang” on repeat. Am I being dramatic? Probably! But this really kind of brought the book down a coupla stars for me.

Jun 212021
 

Oh hi hello annyeong, it’s me, Erin R. Kelly. I am home now from a whirlwind trip to Cedar Point and have many many many things to say about that but first I want to give a shout out to this bitchin’ small lake town in Ohio named VERMILION. It’s about 30ish minutes outside of Sandusky (home of Cedar Point, le duh), and just super fucking adorable and quaint. We actually stopped here on the way home from another Cedar Point trip in 2019 but it was a Sunday and nothing was open expect for a Hungarian restaurant that had nothing for vegetarians except for pretzels which would have been fine if Chooch and I didn’t require a full meal every now and then (i.e. when Henry remembers).

We stopped here to eat for real this time and then walked around for a bit and I do not usually think, “BOY I COULD LIVE HERE” but the thought did cross my mind once until I remembered: OHIO HAS WINTERS AND THERE IS A THING CALLED THE LAKE EFFECT, NOPE, NO THANKS. But it was a nice and breezy 70 degrees up in that piece today and that lake air kind of brainwashed me for a minute or two. Here are some pictures before I go upstairs and hit the hay HARD-LIKE.

#SmoothMove

We ate at Big Ed’s and can I just say once again how fucking exciting it is to be eating in restaurants again?! The power of vaccinations! We chose Big Ed’s because their menu boasted, DOWNRIGHT INSISTED, that they served VEGGIE BURGERS.

However, when Chooch tried to order one, the waitress’s face fell into a GOSH DARNIT expression as she relayed the bad news that they had unfortunately JUST RUN OUT OF THEM. So I asked if they had grilled cheese, which wasn’t listed on the menu, but she said they could do that for us and I was like THANK GOD LADY BECAUSE THIS PLACE IS THE FUCKING BEES KNEES (seems like something they’d say in Vermilion) AND WE DON’T WANT TO TAKE OUR MEAT-FREE BUSINESS ELSEWHERE.

I didn’t really desire a grilled cheese because Chooch and I both had one for a late dinner the night before after leaving Cedar Point at a very suspect family restaurant that wasn’t very satisfying and had no vibes of any sort but we did have a very nice waitress named Carey who made the experience OK; sometimes the waitstaff really does make all the difference and it was the same case here, too, because our waitress was so nice that we didn’t want to be like FUCK YALL CARNIVOROUS TOWNIE BITCHES and walk out.

Plus, this place was a whole ass retro mood (ruined only by the inexplicable need to be playing COUNTRY MUSIC instead of like, Frankie Valli or that 1950s “Lollipop” song on repeat). Henry even found one of his old lunchboxes on display. (This was after he divulged in the car that one of the first CDs he bought was MR MISTER – it was a big day of Henry Stuffs.)

I appreciated that my coffee came in this old floral cup. And the grilled cheese was better than DIANNE’S FAMILY RESTAURANT or whatever the place in Sandusky was called, who cares. However, the fries were better at the “who cares” place, BUT! Don’t get it twisted because they still weren’t “the good kinds.” I have a very specific french fry palate.

This place is like, renown for their ice cream and SODA PARLOR bullshit. Like, they have egg creams (had this one time ever in 1998 at a diner in Philly after the Dracula’s Ball and t’was not for me.) and PHOSPHATES which even Henry had to google because I guess even though he is old, he is not old enough to know the simple pleasures of stool-spinning at the soda fountain after school with Sally, sipping on PHOSPHATES.

They also had a milkshake that Henry ALMOST indulged in, called the Green River and I sort of wished he had ordered it but I’m also glad that he didn’t because I kept thinking about the Green River Killer. (I mean, I make serial killer for not-a-living, so come on.)

After we ate, we strolled around town (“to digest,” I always say because I am an Old Person now). It was seriously the most precious place, even though every wall had may flies stuck to it. I don’t know if that’s what they were but it’s what Henry said and he knows everything, so. May flies.

Look at this quaint little Ohio Venice!

There was some informational placard about this light house but I got bored.

Just looking at Lake Erie. We’ve seen it before, but you know. Lake Respect.

After Chooch realized I was taking pictures, ugh.

And then I caught him mid-stretch, looking like he’s reciting some epic Shakespeare soliloquy to the lake.

He is not happy about this picture. Good thing the brat doesn’t read my blog.

And then we left and continued our drive home! I don’t think we fought at all, either! A miracle, really.

Maybe that’s why I’m so tired right now–from containing all of my tempers.

Jun 202021
 

Hello and welcome to Father’s Day 2021! Since Chooch and I failed at Henry’s birthday earlier this month, I figured we better step it up. I found this LOG THAT GROWS SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS so of course I snatched that up because I love eating mushrooms and Henry likes growing things lately, so that seemed like a win/win.

OMG this fucking log is so HEAVY!! But it didn’t seem like it was “enough,” so I thought we better also do some elementary school caliber Father’s Day art project. Henry doesn’t drink hot beverages so a custom coffee cup was out of the question, but he DOES drink iced tea and iced coffee, so I screamed, “TUMBLER!” at Chooch who was like, “OK that’s great but I’m actually in class right now so if you could NOT scream through the house, that would be so chill.”

You have to know that once I get an idea in my head, it’s all I can think about until the thing is actually tangible so I started working on it right away. We knew that we wanted the background to be pretzels because our Him Man loves himself some pretzels of all varieties.

Remember when I had Henry take a picture of Chooch and me jumping? I told him it was because I needed it for my brother’s birthday and he said he didn’t think anything of it, just figured I was doing something weird as usual, lol.  Also included: Henry’s ult bias Cha Eun-Woo from Astro, a Rip-It can since he sometimes drives a Rip-It van for work and people ALWAYS stop him and try to buy some – it’s so bizarre, Ted Nugent, a water tower from where he used to live in the SERVICE, a plane that was supposed to be an AIR FORCE plane since Henry can always identify military planes in the sky, and GOCHU-JOHN because that’s how he pronounces gochujang. Also the pretzel background doubles as his favorite color – brown.

Then I wrapped it in the circulars which is his favorite part of the mail and I always throw them out before he gets a chance to see them lol.

He was really scared this morning when I thrust each box at him, lol.  The log had him extremely perplexed but the tumbler made him do his TRYING NOT TO SMILE smile!

Like it says in the caption – when he was admiring his new tumbler, Chooch asked him, “what kind of plane is that?” Henry squinted at it and said, “Well, it’s not American…” HAHAH I think I just googled “war plane” and never even bothered to check what it was actually was.

I was also going to include a picture of Hot Naybor Chris on it but I was afraid that Henry would never take it outside the house for fear of HNC catching him with it and wondering why Henry’s sipping cold brew out of a vessel bearing his visage.

Also, I texted my dad a picture of us at Wildwood from 1985. He might not be my bio-dad, and we may have had some BIG UPS AND DOWNS especially in my teen years, but we get along wonderfully now (actually, ever since I moved out at age 18!!) and though we may not share blood, I definitely share a lot of the same quirks as him, that is FO’ SHO’.

And now we’re about to head out to Cedar Point for today and tomorrow, with the lowest expectations as possible because: Cedar Point. This has to be THE WORLD’S most unpredictable amusement park, honestly. Maybe we’ll even let Henry treat himself to a soft pretzel or two.

Jun 192021
 

Honestly, after the miserable donut morning and the psychotic hotel switch the night before, I wasn’t even in the mood to go to an amusement park. Yeah, me, being ambivalent toward the promise of roller coasters. That’s when you know my seasonal depression is visiting (it hits me in June nearly every year for some reason and I truly don’t understand it). But Henry was like, “No. We are here and we are going” and I was FULLY PREPARED to have a shitty day, to be bumping elbows with surly crowds, to endure 60+ minute wait times.

But you guys. Six Flags America was fucking presh. I mean, I’m still operating under the impression that Six Flags is essentially the Wal-Mart of amusement parks, (change my mind in July, Six Flags Great Adventure) but I will say that compared to that shitty one in Darien Lake, NY, this one in Maryland was a HUGE step up. And hilariously, this is the one that usually gets the most hate from the coaster community!

Basically, the park is only “beautiful” in the entrance area. I thought their little main street was so cute! The rest of the park was OK, much nicer than Darien Lakes, but it’s that damn DC comics branding that turns me off.

Still, it felt more like being at an amusement park than Six Flags Darien Lake. And nearly every single roller coaster was a walk-on or station wait! This was perfect because we were only there to ride the coasters, so we didn’t have to stay all day, which had Henry making prayer hands because he didn’t want to be driving home in the middle of the night.

I don’t really have too much to say about it because we were only there from around 11:30 – 3:00 and didn’t eat or really stop at all to rest. It was constant running from one coaster to the next. I did stop once to pee and am happy to report that the restroom was clean and there was a very pleasant attendant in there keeping things sanitized and we had a friendly convo about the weather while I washed my hands and avoided looking at my frizzy hair in the mirror.  The weather that day was only in the high 70s/low 80s but it had that air of MIGHT STORM SOON all day.

Also, we didn’t eat there because true to most theme parks, the food was $$$ and none of it seemed exceptional. I mean, $12 for one slice of pizza? Hard pass. Even the soft pretzels were like $7 so made the mutual decision to get all the riding done and then eat outside the park at a restaurant (A RESTAURANT!!! IT FEELS SO GOOD TO SAY THAT AGAIN!).

Here are the coasters Chooch and I rode that day (managed to get all the credits because unlike Darien Lake, everything was running!!!):

  • Firebird – a B&M floorless. This was apparently the very first B&M coaster and was originally a stand-up coaster, but was converted to a floorless in 2019, so this is relatively new! It was also nearly a walk-on for us. It was OK but after hate-eating all those donuts, probably wasn’t the best first ride? Still, pretty cool history! (You can see it in the picture above.)

  • Joker’s Jinx: HOLY FUCK this was wild. I knew going in that it’s basically just a clone of the Flight of Fear coasters at King’s Island and King’s Dominion, except that those are indoor. I liked both of those versions well enough, but Henry and Chooch don’t, so I thought for sure Chooch wasn’t going to like this one much either. But WOW did this one feel different! First of all, the launch was so intense that it nearly made me drop my bowels. I expected the launch but it still somehow caught me off guard! Oh man, we laughed and laughed through this whole ride. So good, definitely a favorite of the day!
  • Superman: Ride of Steel: Six Flags is notorious for cloning their rides, so the mirror image of this one is also at Darien Lake (it’s actually the one that some guy was ejected from several years ago, which is another reason why Darien Lakes leaves a bad taste in my mouth). We didn’t get to ride the one at Darien Lake anyway though because the line was consistently a 90-minute wait, running one train, and continuously breaking down. But here at Six Flags America, it was A WALK-ON, two trains were running, and ops were efficient AF. Anyway, this coaster was great and I actually would have liked to ride it a few more times, but we had to hustle. THIS WAS NOT A DAY OF LEISURE. Oh yeah, this was one of two rides that Henry actually rode that day, and this was even after we ditched him while he was in the gift shop next to the entrance, looking for eyeglass straps. Just to illustrate how empty the queue was – he was able to piss around in the gift shop and STILL make it into the station queue with us since. “Wow, thanks for waiting, assholes,” he said, shaking his head dejectedly.

  • Roar: Wow, this woodie sucked. It’s crazy how many REALLY GOOD WOODEN COASTERS we’ve ridden, and how it makes the lesser-thans super apparent. This ride was weird in general because there was a security guard who was like, miming to us which seats to go to and I was like, “But can we go to the back?” and he just looked at me and I was like, “If you are saying something to me from behind your mask, I sincerely cannot tell” and finally I was like, “I don’t fucking know what this guy is saying, let’s just take the back row” so we did but Henry allowed him to assign him a seat because HE COWERS BEFORE AUTHORITY. Hilariously, when Henry climbed across the seats to put his man purse in the cubby, two kids decided to change seats and took his, but by that point, the lap bar had come down so Henry was trapped on the other side of the platform and literally every single ride attendant was ignoring him until finally they unreleased the lap bars so he could get a new seat RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME AND CHOOCH, like we told him to do from the get-go but he was too worried about disappointing the Blank Security Guard. Seriously, this was the only weird/negative experience we had all day. The attendants on this ride were so emotionally distant.

  • Mind Eraser: Ughhhh I was dreading this one. Every coaster enthusiast HATES these Vekoma SLCs (suspended looping coaster) because they’re head-bangers but I honestly hate them because they terrify me. I hate that dangling feeling! But Chooch needed the credit so in line we went. We had a fun interaction with this one couple whose young son was FLIPPING OUT about not wanting to ride and they were just an adorable family, TBH, and even let us go ahead of them WHICH ENDED UP BEING BAD because our train STOPPED ON THE LIFT HILL. This is a fucking SUSPENDED COASTER, YO, so we were just up there dangling like the devil’s dingleberries and I began to panic IMMEDIATELY, like, how would they get us down from here?? A normal coaster would have you climbing out and walking down the steps at the side of the lift hill, but how would we do that?? Would we need to be rescued like Annie, grabbing on to Punjab’s unraveled turban?! But then after 15 seconds (felt like 15 minutes), the lift hill chain powered back on and we finished our ascent. And then….the ride was absolute terror. I hate these rides! I always feel like my feet are going to bang off the support beams! When our train returned to the station, the crew was totally taunting us and asking, “SO DID YOU HAVE FUN WERE YOU SCARED OMG” and Chooch and I are fairly certain that they made our train stop at the top on purpose because so many people on it were crying about being scared when we were still in the station, and if that’s the case, OMFG that’s fucked but also kind of hilarious to be trolled that mercilessly? That crew was pretty awesome. It was a party atmosphere for sure on that ride.
  • The Wild One: Ugh another rough wooden coaster. This one was even worse than the other.  Nothing to report aside from the fact that there was a large family (number-wise, not weight) who was all split up in line, and the patriarch was so maniacal about getting to the front of the line, it was actually concerning. The line was not long AT ALL but he was being so impatient. Chooch and I got to skip the line because the ride attendant was looking for a group of two and as we walked down the station to get in the cue for the second-to-last row, the crazy dad LIFTED HIS SON OVER THE RAILING so he could ride with whatever lady family member was waiting to get on the same ride as us. I was like, “Dude, you need to calm the fuck down.” I can’t believe no one called him out for doing that – I mean granted, it didn’t affect much because the lady was going to be a single rider otherwise, but still, you can’t just drop-kick your kid over a railing like that!? Anyway, we ended up getting the back row after all because we were splitting up the lady from two other family members and they understandably wanted to ride in a group so she asked if we could switch and I was like, “This is the best day ever” because you know Chooch and I love that back seat vibe. Then!! And this is the best part! Before they let us go, one of the ride attendants asked the kid who was punted over the railing to get out of the train so that he could be measured AND HE WAS TOO SHORT! And do you know the lady family member who was with him was like, “Oh well, bye” and didn’t even get off with him! So this smol child had to go stand by the exit alone and wait for his entire 247382347 member family to finish riding this dumb coaster. And now crazy dad was screaming from the line, “WHAT HAPPENED?! CAN’T YOU JUST LET HIM RIDE IT ANYWAY?” and Six Flags was like, “No sir we cannot do that, that is how the dude got ejected & killed at Darien Lake because the ride attendants were like SURE MAN WITH NO LEGS THE SIGNS SAY YOU CANNOT RIDE THIS BUT SINCE YOU ARE SAYING  YOU CAN, ALL ABOARD!” So then crazy dad was like, “CAN I TAKE HIS PLACE?!” and they were like, “No you cannot, we are sending this train now, wait for the next one bitch.” It was intense. Actually, there was more action in that line than on the actual ride, which actually injured Chooch because it was so rough and he banged his elbow or something I can’t remember since it didn’t happen to me.

  • Batwing: We tried to ride this one earlier, after Ride of Steel, but it was down. I was worried that it would be down for the day, and of course, Six Flags’ app is worthless and doesn’t tell you ride statuses or wait times on their app!! WTF. I imagine the bigger ones probably do?! This would end up being one of only two legit lines we had to stand in all day, and it was still only about a 20-minute wait, which must have been unusual because I heard some girl say, “I literally cannot believe we’re standing in this line it’s so long it’s never like this.” But WOW were ops efficient on this one! They were REALLY doing the most and apparently that particular crew had won awards (THEY HAD BANNERS SAYING SO!). First of all, you can’t even go up to the station until an attendant assigns you a number, and then you have to tell the attendant at the top of the steps what that number is and they will show you to your row. I was so nervous that I would forget the number when it was our turn, but it was literally #1. Chooch was like, “I mean, if you screw this up….” and don’t worry I still almost screwed it up because I kept walking past the first row even after the lady was like “here is your row” and it was very clearly marked with the NUMBER ONE.  ANYWAY, this ride was terrifying. It’s a Vekoma Flying Dutchman, so after you get in, the seats fall all the way back so you’re facing upward, and that’s how you climb the lift hill – literally looking up into the sky and having no idea how much farther you have to go and I was FUCKING SCREAMING. Then as you start to go down, the train flips over so you’re facing the ground like you’re legit flying and it is…not really what I was trying to experience. I felt so helpless and like we were going to slam into the ground. I also had major deja vu feelings and afterward realized that this is a replica of a ride that Henry and I rode YEARS AGO when Henry I went to Six Flags / Geauga Lake in Ohio – it was called X-Flight then and eventually moved to King’s Island and renamed Firehawk, but ultimately was closed in 2018. Chooch loved it and I will admit that it was relatively exhilarating but I am learning that I prefer REALLY GOOD woodies (like anything RMC touches, Intamin prefabs, those fucking animals at Holiday World, The Beast in King’s Island, etc)
  • Ragin’ Cajun: OMG this was so annoying because it was literally the last credit Chooch needed (we skipped the kiddie coaster) and of course the first time we tried to ride it, it had broken down. I wanted to still get in line because the maintenance men were there and they were sending test cars, but the young man guarding the entrance would NOT let us even though there was a small line leftover from the people who had already been in line and opted to stay even after the thing broke down. I was like, “WHO ARE YOU TO  TELL ME HOW TO SPEND MY TIME, SIR” but really I only said that in my head because I was exhausted from all the other raging I had down that weekend. (OMG I JUST REALIZED THAT THIS RIDE IS RAGIN‘ CAJUN HOW APROPROS LOL). When we came back later though it was working again but the line was stupidly long – I would say we waited for about 45 minutes which seems SO FUCKING EXCESSIVE for what is essentially a Crazy Mouse but I am here to tell you that this version of it spun way faster than ANY Crazy Mouse I have ever ridden. I remember someone saying that in a YouTube video about this park and I was like, “OK it’s probably not that crazy though” but HOLY SHIT it was out of control! Chooch said he actually thought it was malfunctioning. I couldn’t get my eyeballs to stop ping-ponging afterward, it was fucking insane. And when we got back to the station, it was that MEAN KID again who wouldn’t let us wait in line when it was broken down and he said something to me but I couldn’t hear him because he was wearing a mask but I’m pretty sure he was chastising me for unbuckling my seatbelt before the car was fully back to the platform and you know what, fuck off SIR.

Anyway, I think this was Chooch’s 145th coaster!! Wow, truly one to remember.

Oh! Not ride-related but the Maryland/Virginia area is having a huge cicada infestation (I kept calling them Jon Secadas and Chooch would say, “Huh?” and then Henry would mumble, “He doesn’t know who that is, Erin” and instead of explaining it, I just kept right on calling them that) and I mean, THEY WERE EVERYWHERE. My friend Jiyong had told me about this when I saw her last month because she had recently visited her friends in Maryland and I was like, “It can’t be that bad” but WOW OH WOW. Luckily, they’re harmless and they don’t particularly creep me out, but the possibility of one slamming into our face while riding coasters was a very real concern. Outside of our first hotel that I hated, there were so many Jon Secada shells on the ground that it actually sounded like we were stepping on autumn leaves. NOPE. JUST CICADA EXOSKELETONS.

Then we left and ate a late lunch/early dinner at Silver Diner which boasted a FLEXITARIAN MENU and I actually wanted to cry. Usually if we go to any kind of diner or standard American cuisine restaurant, we consider ourselves lucky if they even have a veggie burger option on the menu. Usually, I have to be grateful for a fucking veggie wrap. But this place had SO MANY Veg/Vegan options mixed in with meat foods for Other People, that it was actually hard to choose.

I ended up getting this cauliflower sandwich which was OUT OF CONTROL. It also felt good to treat my body to real food since all any of us had to eat that day were ANGRY DONUTS. And we had a very nice waiter! The whole vibe of that place was super mellow and the food was fantastic – it was really such a great way to end a successful Six Flags adventure and I’m super glad we didn’t end up going home that morning because my bi-polar inner voice was talking for me.

TO SUMMARIZE: Would I go back to this particular Six Flags? OK real talk: Only if they had a new coaster. But I did enjoy my time there! Most of the rides were mediocre but I could have ridden Joker’s Jinx and Ride of Steel many more times and I would have liked to hit up some flat rides too if we weren’t on a time crunch. This wasn’t the kind of park where I could see myself being “leisurely” at, you know what I mean? There really wasn’t any place to sit on a bench and enjoy the scenery.

The next Six Flags we have lined up (and the original one we planned on going to this summer) is Six Flags Great Adventure in NJ and I’m really interested to see if this one is more aesthetically pleasing than the other two. I have a feeling it might be, and it’s definitely larger PLUS IT’S THE HOME TO EL TORO which I have been desperate to ride ever since riding T-Express in South Korea, which was the ride that reignited my love for coasters in the first place, and El Toro is built by the same manufacturer! SORRY, I WILL GO DORK OUT ABOUT THIS ON MY OWN TIME NOW.

But first:

(Fun Fact: when I was a kid and this song first came out, I thought he was saying “every time we eat together” for the longest time.)