Neon Giants
9/23/2022 | 0 comments


On Tuesday the 13th, my sister, her friend Stella and I drove up to Santa Barbara in the afternoon. We got to my aunt Rosie's around 5:00ish and found her already there. We got Mexican takeout and had food and drinks in the backyard, the hot day finally cooling down a bit. From there we carpooled to the Santa Barbara Bowl and paid for parking nearish to the entrance.

We were seeing Nine Inch Nails, and doing so in Santa Barbara because their LA presence was limited to the first Primavera LA festival. And seeing them in Santa Barbara allowed my aunt to join us, so that was a nice bonus.

We got there just as opening act Yves Tumor started. Chalene and Stella and I waited in the merch line as my aunt went to the bar at the top of the hill to get a beer. Chalene got a bag, and Stella got a shirt and hat. I didn't want anything, so stuff acquired, we hiked up the hill to our seats. Yves Tumor was ok, but their sound was terrible, and I was afraid I'd have another bad sound experience. I also wished I'd remembered to bring ear plugs.

After they ended, we went up the hill to use the restrooms, and when I exited, they were in the beer line, so I joined them. I hadn't bothered with getting a wristband and wasn't sure if I'd be able to get a beer as a result, but Stella was able to buy two.

The show was just starting as we got through the line and started walking back to our seats.

The show was similar to others I've seen over the last few years, even down to some of the lighting cues. They sounded great, so no sound issues there at least. And they played "Heresy"! It's one of my favorite songs of theirs, and that was my first time seeing it live (in the eight times I've now seen them). 

  1. (with "The Only Time" breakdown)
  2. (David Bowie cover)

They played for about an hour and forty minutes, and it was a lot of fast-slow, standing-sitting. Reznor didn't say much, aside from introducing 'This Isn't The Place' as a sad song, and giving credit to the band members. Rosie didn't care for the strobe lights. The show had a hard 10:00 PM curfew, and they ended a few minutes early.

From there we dropped Rosie off and then drove back to LA, getting home a little after midnight.

Saw Scott for a couple of movies on Sunday. We saw "Pearl," which I enjoyed, and "See How They Run," which I did not enjoy. Tomorrow we'll be seeing "Darling Don't Cry" and the Bowie documentary "Moonlight Daydream".

Otherwise mostly cleaning and rearranging and getting prepared for Charissa to be here. She's coming in Wednesday morning and staying until she's sick of me. I had to get a new bed, but haven't set it up yet. I'm very excited, but nervous that she won't like it here or won't feel comfortable. I've got five days off next weekend, and we'll spend it adjusting and then taking a weekend camping trip.

The plans for the ADU were finally approved, so one step closer to that dream. The present's a little stressful, but the future is looking good.




Getaway Dinosaur
9/4/2022 | 0 comments


This Ain't No Picnic, Day 2

Sunday, August 28, 2022


I tried to get the earliest start possible, but didn't manage to leave the house until nearly 11:00. Before heading to the Rose Bowl, I went to Scott's house to get breakfast at El Sol with him. So my drive to the venue was different this time, and I thought I was supposed to get there via the 210 instead of the 134. Thusly I got a bit lost and didn't make it in until about an hour after I was initially hoping to.

I parked in different lot a bit farther away from the entrance, but getting in was again no issue at all, and this time I'd made it inside a bit after 1:30. This time I'd gone with a fanny pack rather than my backpack, and was glad for it. My first stop was again the ID booth, and I got my wristband with no incident. Charissa wasn't feeling well this day and didn't join me.

The first group I caught a small amount of was Michelle, who had a bit of a girl group thing going with four woman singers backed by a few guys in a band. They were ok, but not my cup of tea, so instead I went next door to the Back Nine stage to watch Mike Watt + The Missingmen. 

I hadn't seen any Watt projects before, so was excited to check out his bass playing. One of the members of the band was from Manhattan Beach, and another from San Pedro, so they could almost be considered a local band. Watt and the guitarist were fantastic, and I greatly enjoyed watching them play off of each other.

I walked to the Fairway, but Girl Ultra wasn't doing anything for me, so I instead walked back and went into Despacio. I enjoyed the music being played this time more, but alas I again didn't hear anything that I recognized in the half hour or so I was in there.

After Despacio I went back to the Fairway to see a bit of Nicki Nicole's set, as I'd heard good things about her at Coachella but hadn't seen her. She was fine, but again not really my cup of tea. 

As I headed back for the Greens stage, I picked up a tall boy of Hazy Little Thing and had half of my acid-dropped sour gummy worm once I'd arrived at the stage. I was quite excited to see Nothing, as I had not seen them before. The middle-of-the-day time slot wasn't ideal, but they still put on a good show. They sounded pretty good, but not great, but perhaps that was partly due to the not-great sound at the festival. They didn't play "Guilty of Everything", alas, but they did finish with "B&E" and that made me happy. Glad to have finally seen them.

After Nothing I went back across the grounds to use the restrooms in the far corner at the Fairway, which were generally empty and so my favorite use. And I got to watch some of Mdou Moctar as I went. I'll always remember watching him shake his fingers in the cold of the middle of the night at Desert Daze. A hot summer day fit the music much better. I found a shady spot to stand and watch for a while.

The day was hotter than the previous day, and much more crowded. As such, it was dustier, and I was glad that I'd decided to cover up with a hat and a mask. There were tons and tons of people wearing shirts for The Strokes, so many that I was almost tempted to stay and watch some of them. Their enduring popularity surprises me. Maybe some other day I'll see them again.

I went back to the Greens for Shame. I was very excited for Shame as I love their recorded music, but they're just not that good live. Their bassist was running around the stage and flipping his bass around his neck, but it seemed very unearned. Like, dude, the music isn't earning those moves just yet. The lead singer tried his darndest, but their music isn't particularly well-suited to 90 degrees and 5:00 in the afternoon.

I think it was at the start of Shame that I had the other half of the lsd gummy. Whether because I'd just had half or because of the mushroom liquid the night before, the trip wasn't going particularly strongly, so I figured it would be better to get the other half in sooner than later.

After Shame I went back across the grounds for the restroom and the band Wet Leg. I finished my hot, flat beer while watching them and got the can into the recycling bin. It was nice to be able to carry alcohol around anywhere, but as a result I took far too long to drink the thing. Anyway...

Wet Leg was enjoyable, and I love their album, but I wasn't really in the mood for them and am assuming they'll be at Coachella next year. So instead I went to watch some of Tinashe, a trip-hoppish r&b artist. I thought she was pretty good, nice voice and backed by a group of women dancers.

I left a little early to walk over to the Greens for Deafheaven. I hadn't seen them for several years, and not since they'd changed their sound. They were about twenty minutes late, which was the first time I'd seen any artist be late at all, let alone waste almost half of their set time. Left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth, as did George's attitude all around (at the end of the show he apologized for being late, but said that they play these things all the time, so we can just catch them next time). The new songs have some of those old Deafheaven passages of rhapsody, but I just can't get behind the singing. 

I was about mid-crowd for the show, but felt like getting out of the crowd as "Sunbather" started, so I watched the rest of the show from the hill between the Greens and the Back Nine, Deafheaven in one ear and Caroline Polachek in another.

Polacheck is another artist who'd gotten major hype at the most recent Coachella, but whom I had missed, so I was pretty excited to check her out. She definitely lives up to the hype about her amazing voice and hypnotizing performance style. I only got to see about half of her set, sandwiched between Deafheaven and Sparks as she was, and I would be glad to see more if given the chance.

Sparks was another of the main reasons for me attending this festival. I had never seen them before, and am honestly only a fan in passing, but they're one of the more intriguing acts out there as far as I'm concerned, so I was very glad for this opportunity to see them. And they were absolutely one of the major highlights of the weekend for me, and put on a show that was everything I wanted from them and more.

They put on a great show for a couple of older gentlemen. Russell's voice hasn't lost much, but he has some strain in his voice at the high end. Ron is an absolutely hilarious human being.  He had a great spoken-word song with backup singers, and even busted out a few dance moves at the end of the set. I was decently close and had a great mix of young and old people around me, everyone seemingly having a blast.


After Sparks I went to the restrooms by the 19th Hole, the dance stage I never bothered to go into. Four Tet and Floating Points were doing a DJ set and I was tempted to hang out to hear that (the line was wrapped around the small fenced-off stage area, and there was absolutely no getting in, and also not really anywhere to hang out outside of that staged area, so just listening wasn't a great option.

But Turnstile were playing, and I think they're great live and I quite enjoy their music, so I had no problem with going back to the hill overlooking Back Nine to watch the crowd go nuts. 

And people were absolutely going crazy down in the pit area. They did their thing where they stop the show and play a slow song and hand out water so people can cool down for a minute. It's always nice to see a group that cares.

I left five minutes early to walk over to the Greens to watch The Descendents. I'd seen a very small part of their show at FYF a decadeish before, but had otherwise never seen them and was glad for the opportunity. Fantastic musicians! And Milo is a highly entertaining front man. I would put them amongst the best musicians that I saw all weekend. My favorite song of their is "Clean Sheets", and I wasn't sure if they'd play it or not since it's so poppy, but they did! Quite happy to have seen them finally.

Went to the Back Nine again for Beach House. Beach House alone is always going to be bittersweet for me after that FYF with Hayley and Rudy. I tried to find a quietish spot to call Charissa, but she didn't answer the phone (it was after midnight in her time zone), so I left a message. The band sounded great and performed in darkness, silhouettes against a starry backdrop.

I wanted a good spot for Godspeed You! Black Emperor, so I left as Beach House played "Myth", the sound of the song floating over as I got as front and middle to the Green stage as I could without getting into the tighter crowd at the front. I'd hoped to get close enough to feel the sound waves coming off of the instruments, but anything I might've felt was cancelled out by the overly-loud speakers.

Godspeed has been one of my favorite groups for about twenty years now, and I'm always very happy to see them live. I love how they build and execute their songs. It wasn't my favorite setlist of theirs I've ever seen, and they didn't play "Peasantry or 'Light! Inside of Light!" which was one of my most wished-for songs of the weekend, alas. But they were still one of the best acts of the weekend, despite the bad sound. 

When they'd finished, I briefly thought of walking to the other side to see some of The Strokes, but I figured ending on a high note with one of my favorite groups (and beating the crowd out of there) was the way to go. Anyway I was right at the exit, so I wrapped up my festival.

Glad I went, and especially glad that I've finally done a Brookside show and can hopefully feel more confident about going to more in future, but the fest was honestly too expensive. But I mostly had a good time, though in the moment it didn't always feel that way, and I got to see a lot of cool shows that I'd been wanting to see and that's really what it's all about.





Getting out was easier than it had been the night before, and with there being no traffic this late on a Sunday night, I was home in about an hour from the end of the show. 

8/31/2022 | 0 comments


This Ain't No Picnic, Day 1

Saturday, August 27, 2022


I couldn't recall ever going to the Rose Bowl before, and certainly not as an adult. So I was quite anxious about the new venue experience. But I had Charissa on the line and in an earbud, a place she'd remain for just about the entire day.

Getting there only took about 50 minutes, leaving my house around 11 AM and going up to nearly the end of the 110 freeway. Finding the parking lot was easy, and I got a good spot near to the entrance. I sat in the car for a few minutes, trying to force myself to eat more of the flatbread I'd brought along for the ride. I finally left the car at about 12:30.

Getting it was the easiest experience I've ever had. They didn't even search bags, just waved us though metal detectors of some sort that they claimed would catch whatever they needed to. No wristbands, just a phone barcode.

I went first to ID check, since it was right there and had no line. They checker put it on my wrist too tightly, it was actually indenting my skin. I figured I'd find another in the music area, but it was the only one I ever saw, so after sitting in the grass for Isabella Lovestory's set (she was ok, techno pop DJ with a live singer for some songs), I went back to the ID booth to get a new wristband.

I went to a different checker, and the man greeted me with a "hello, young man" and I handed him my ID, figuring he might say something about my age since I'm not exactly young, but instead he looked at it, said, "oh, it is you," handed it back, and continued, "so how long have you been yourself?" I was caught off guard, of course, and replied "my whole life" before scurrying away. Charissa was very upset on my behalf, and would go on to write Golden Voice an email about the incident. It certainly stayed on my mind for the rest of the weekend, and left me with dysphoric thoughts for much of the time.

Hana Vu was playing the Greens stage near the entrance at that time, so I heard a couple songs as I walked to the ID booth and headed back to the back portion of the venue for Tre Amani. I thought she and the band sounded ok, but I wasn't really in the mood for their particular brand of indie rock.

The festival itself is essentially the return of FYF, a festival that essentially collapsed in the MeToo days (and from a bad lineup/expensive ticket price fiasco in 2018). Whereas the last FYFs were held at the Coliseum and wrapped entirely around it, this festival only used a small portion of the Rose Bowl itself for the entrance and a few real restrooms. The majority of the venue was on a golf course which veered off of a side of the stadium. It was already dead grass and sandy dust before we'd walked all over it, so I'm not sure what its status as a gold course for playing on is. There was a clubhouse in VIP, numerous sand traps to navigate, and a small pond. The main stage (The Fairway) was at the far end. The early crowd was sparse.

I stood in the shade of a tree for Tre Amani, who was decent. The day was fairly hot, so I stuck to the shade as often as I could. From Amani, I went back to the other large stage on the other end, called the Back Nine, for Lala Lala. I sat under a tree on the hill overlooking the stage. The venue was quite perfect for views and took great advantage of sloping hills, enabling the crowd to be always heading downhill, right up to the stage barrier. I enjoyed Lala's alterna-pop, but liked everyone enough that I figured I'd bounce around all day and see a bit of them all, as there was no one I really wanted to see all of until the night time.

From there, I went back to the Fairway and caught a bit of Dawn Richards, an r&b artist with hair done up in liberty spikes. I thought she had a nice voice and was putting a lot into her performance, despite the small crowd and early time.

Sets were on top of each other, only five minutes in between, so I stayed in my tree-shaded spot as Indigo de Souza started. She reminded me a bit of Alanis Morrisette, but with even more vocalizing. She had a nice voice and sounded good, and had similar folky vibey songs.

Went from there to the Back Nine for Enjoy, who were a little more raucous and loud than I was expecting. I'd noticed already that the sound wasn't great, and it was particularly bad for bass. Overly loud and muddled, which was a disappointment considering Coachella has such amazing sound.

After a little bit of Enjoy, I walked over to the Greens again, which was the small stage near the entrance for the more eclectic fare, and I watched the beginning of Godford, a DJ with some decent electric tracks.

The path I mostly traveled throughout the weekend from front to back took me past Despacio and The 19th Hole, a small stage enclosed by slatted boards where electronic artists performed. I was shocked by the length of the line to get into Despacio as I walked to Genesis Owusu, and was a bit afraid that I'd have another Yuma '22 situation on my hands and never get into the tent.

Owusu was good, and I'd see him again once he has more music out there.

I stayed where I was for the start of Julia Jacklin, whose music I'd quite enjoyed during the research phase.I found her to be a bit too slow to stay for the whole set, so I decided to see if I could get into Despacio. There was a small line to get in, but it went by very quickly.

Alas, Despacio's sound was also plagued by the too loud/too bassy problem. I didn't recognize any of the tracks played in the half hour or so that I was in there, alas. But a drum and bass track was played that had me very impressed with the sound of the drums, which just about sounded live, so Despacio still lives up to some of the hype in that way.

From there I went back out to the Back Nine's hill to watch Ying Yang Twins at Charissa's request. They had the crowd going crazy, and it was one of the largest crowds I saw that day, if not the largest. I will admit that I found them pretty fun, and sometimes I can enjoy watching crowds having a good time.

After that I went to the Greens to watch a little of Ethel Cain, whose music I can only describe as epic, building from quiet to crescendos and such. I didn't stay for long, and instead headed to Earl Sweatshirt, who was too plagued by bad sound for me to stay. Like I couldn't even pick his vocals out of the muddled sound.

So instead I went back to the Fairway to catch Courtney Barnett because I know she sounds amazing live, and at this point I just wanted to have a good set experience. And she was indeed great.

From there, it was back to the Greens for Magdalena Bay. They have some good songs, but I was finding them too poppy, loud and chaotic happy to stay for long, so instead I went to catch the end of Isaiah Rashad's set, as I was unable to see him at Coachella. I thought he was pretty good.

Stayed there for the start of Kaytranada, who was also very good. I would've definitely stayed for more, but I feel like I'll have a chance to see him again before I get another chance to see Circle Jerks, so instead I went to see Circle Jerks, stopping at the craft beer stand to pick up a hazy IPA from Mumford on the way.

Circle Jerks were fun, though I didn't think their songs were that great. They definitely had a few good ones, and even a couple I recognized, but I still left a little early to catch the start of Jungle's set on my way to see Le Tigre.

I'd had a vial of liquid psilocybin extract for over five years at this point, the last in a six pack. My memory was that the resulting trip come on fast, wasn't particularly strong, and was over quickly. So I poured the vial into my last finger of beer and drank it as I walked to the Fairway to get a good spot for Le Tigre.

I've been wanting to see Le Tigre since I got into them in 2005, one year after I passed up a the chance to see them at Coachella (on their final tour). I've gone on to become a big fan of Kathleen Hanna in all of her projects, and the announcement they'd be reuniting there was my main reason for attending this festival. So I went as close as I could get without pushing through the crowd, pretty much right at stage middle.

The three came out in colorful outfits befitting their personalities: Kathleen in a red dress with yellow leggings that went down to feeties, Johanna in green pajamas, and JD in red and orange shirt and pants. The screen behind them had the lyrics on them, but the video was started before the band was, so after noticing and rolling her eyes, Kathleen had them start the video and the song over so everything was synched up.

It was a fun performance, with lots of dancing and enthusiasm to make up for their amateur sound. All the members look amazing for being 50ish and had great energy befitting their songs. Johanna introduced a song as "Le Tigre's most controvesial" and I briefly wondered which one that could possibly be before they started in on "What's Your Take on Cassavettes?" and I had a laugh at that. Kathleen told a funny story about being "someone's plus one at the VMA's" during Bush II's presidence and wearing a "Fuck Bush" shirt and admiring Gwen Stefani from a distance (she's so pretty and cool and I want her to like me) while Stefani gave her the side eye, learning later that Stefani was married to the lead singer of the band Bush.

They played everything I was hoping to hear, minus "Much Finer". And played some things I wasn't expecting. Their final song was "Deceptacon", and the crowd went crazy and so many young women knew all the words, which made me wonder how is that their most well-known song? Overall I thought they were a lot of fun, and I'm very glad to have seen them, and they can be added to the list of acts I got to see in 2022 that made it probably my best year for live music ever.


Larger men had started to push their way in as Le Tigre was wrapping up, so while I briefly considered staying in my spot due to good view I'd probably have, I didn't want to be in a tight crowd, and was hoping to get out of the parking lot with slightly more ease, so instead I went out some distance from the front.

LCD Soundsytem continues to be one of the very best live bands, though at this point with no new songs in years, they seem a little going-through-the-motions. The crowd was rather small, and I felt a bit bad about how they've waned. "Losing My Edge" made me feel old, and that combined with the seeming dwindling  relevance of the group was bringing me down a bit (plus the dysphoria, plus Charissa being with me, but also very far away). The mushrooms had started to kick in strongly at the start of their set, surprising me with the strength and timing. And I was also tired and hungry on top of that, having not eaten anything since having eggs and half a flatbread before entering the venue.

I stayed to the end at 11PM, and as a result, didn't quite beat the crowd out of the area. It was no problem getting out of the parking lot, but the roads were crowded and I could only hope for the best when it came to getting back to a freeway. The only way I could go got me to the 134 W, and I knew exactly where I was from trips with Scott to see movies in Pasadena. It took less than an hour to get home from there.

Alas, I was a little too awake from the late shroom excursion, so I had a difficult time getting to sleep despite my exhaustion. I had to get up a couple of times to eat and drink, and don't think I managed to fall asleep until around 2:00.





Brotherly Love
8/20/2022 | 0 comments


Alright, well...

July 23 Scott came down to the South Bay and we got food before heading to a screening of "Nope", the new Jordan Peele movie. It was better than the Hands Across America movie "We", but not as good as "Get Out". It did have a decent twist to it, but also a lot of "huh? what? why?"

Then on the 29th I drove up to meet him early at the New Bev for a screening of "Brown Bunny" which I had never seen and knew by reputation. Vincent Gallo was there to give an introduction, where he spoke about the Cannes reception and said he hadn't seen the movie with an audience since then.

A couple of his shorts played first, one that wasn't much more than him kissing a beautiful girl in different locations, another that was a white screen with music, and then also the Buffalo '66 trailer and a clip from Ebert and Roper where Ebert talked about having changed his mind about the film since Cannes and its recut.

The movie itself was difficult to watch, controvery aside, due to being slow and rambling and having lots of long shots through the windshield of a driving van. Gallo's character was in a complex spot, and I struggled to come up with coherent thoughts about the whole thing once done watching it. I would call it exploitative, especially considering he was writer and director and producer and star, but the film itself isn't easy to write off or dismiss and has something to say at least.

The next week Scott was away for work, but he came back on a Thursday night, so we went to Kettle for a late night nosh, both hoping to get a bran muffin, but there were none left, alas. So I got a carrot cake muffin and french fries.

Then last weekend I went up to his place for El Sol before going to see "Bodies Bodies Bodies", an A24 horror comedy that uses modern Twitter talk and the toxicity between the shallow characters to drive the mayhem. It was ok, but had an amusing reason for the whole situation to go down.

After that, he drove us across town and we saw "A Love Song" in Santa Monica at the Royal. Dale Dickey was very good in the role, though the plot was very thin. Wes Studi was also very good in his role. It was nice to see a mature film about folk in their 60s struggling with issues plaguing almost every age.

AFter that we walked to a Japanese section of town and ate at one of the dozen or more restaurants to choose from. I got vegetable coquettes, which were delicious but unfilling. I just didn't know what to order, but I'd go back and try something else another time.

This morning (Saturday) he drove down and we got La Playita before hitting up a Target and then taking a half hour walk before he was off again to see another movie in Santa Monica. It hadn't even occurred to me to join him until he'd left. Oh well.

Meanwhile Charissa and I have continued to spend house on the phone with each other every day. She sent me a box of Philadelphia style soft pretzels, as well as a package that she put together including a framed photo of us kissing (which unfortunately has me as the focus), the sweetest note I've ever gotten, and a comfy old shirt of hers that smells wonderfully of the vanilla scent she likes to wear.

We've been powering through TV series. Besides finishing "Umbrella Academy", we've also watched all of "Stranger Things" and the new "Sandman" series, though neither of us particularly enjoyed that one. I will concede that "Stranger Things" eventually becomes a very good show. We're now going between "Doom Patrol" and the animated "Harley Quinn".

Today she's on a plane to Dallas and will start her new job from the road on Monday morning. Alas, no more hanging out with her from morning to night, at least not during the week.

Next weekend I have the "This Ain't No Picnic" festival and will finally be living the dream of seeing Le Tigre live. Can't wait!




Electric Sunshine
7/24/2022 | 0 comments


Last weekend's trip was a whirlwind, and much of it runs together in my mind. I'll try to reconstruct what we did as best I can.

We'd parted on a somewhat anxious note the night before (I made one too many jokes about her not picking me up at the airport), but were back to texting as normal in the morning, excited to see one another. Chalene dropped me off at the airport around 9:30 AM, and I made it in with an hour to spare.

I needed coffee and food and stopped at the Coffee Bean, my best option in my terminal. Food options were limited and pricey, so I ended up with an egg and cheese muffin with bacon on it. The coffee I sipped on until loading time, at which point I dumped a travel bottle of rum into it, making it basically undrinkable. Still I sipped on that during the flight and ate my whole sandwich, ingesting bacon for the first time in about twenty-five years.

The flight was uneventful. I passed the time by reading our text messages from the beginning and made it only about halfway through by the time I'd arrived in Philadelphia.

I grew more anxious as I approached the ground transportation area exiting the airport, wondering how I'd spot her in a crowd. Just as I expected to start looking, she was there. I spotted her dress first, the black floral one that I like, and she stepped into me and gave me one of the best hugs I've ever gotten, and certainly the best greeting I've received upon stepping off a plane. It felt great to embrace her and be embraced back, and I told her how good she smelled. She said she immediately knew me from my eyes.

We walked to her rental car and she couldn't take her eyes off of me. I'd warned her I'd be awkward initially, and indeed was. I looked back in glances at first, the intensity of her stare a bit too much, very flattering but also something that I needed to ease into. We split a bowl with her travel bong, and then headed out of the parking structure.

Through a friend of a friend, she'd gotten us an Air BNB that allowed us to stay closer to the city, about twenty minutes from the airport. It was a small place, but perfect for us. We hugged again upon arrival, and exchanged first kisses, but I was still too much in awkward mode. So we got settled in and ordered Chinese food for delivery and finished season 3 of "The Boys". I got a tasty sesame tofu dish. By the end of the night, I was feeling more comfortable and maintaining eye contact better.

I had trouble sleeping that night, the coffee I'd sipped on the plane coming back to haunt me. I also didn't have my normal Benadryl and melatonin to fall back on, so it was a pretty restless night for me. 

We were very lazy Saturday. I was tired and not feeling up for much, and anyway I just wanted to stay in with her. I had my leftovers for breakfast and felt no need to go out into the muggy hotness of outside. The tables had turned, and she pointed out that I was now the one staring at her. My awkwardness was melting off and being replaced with a new comfort and familiarity.

We finally ventured out in the late afternoon, walking about ten minutes to a Mexican restaurant called Sor Ynez. It was kinda hipster but had good food and drinks. It was attached to the Neon Museum and shared a door with it, but the museum was closed by the time we were finished.

She said that day (May 16) could be considered our two month anniversary, and I asked what she was counting as day one, and she said it was when I texted that I'd be her boo if she wanted that. I told her that she was amazing and cute and I was so happy to have her as my girlfriend.

We stayed in that night, a little liquid courage helping to loosen me up and become more comfortable still. We got started on "The Umbrella Academy" and ordered cheese fries and two shakes and instead got two orders of cheese fries and zero shakes. I discovered I couldn't get enough of kissing her. I slept much better that night.

We weren't quite as lazy on Sunday. Time was already running short for us. I wanted coffee and breakfast food, so we walked to Primary Plant Based, a nearby vegan restaurant. I had coffee with oatmilk and a fake sausage breakfast sandwich with potatoes, and there was so much food that I saved for later half of my meal and much of hers too.

We stayed inside the apartment for the hot part of the day, resting and recuperating. In the afternoon we ventured out again, driving to a bar called The Garage to enjoy a couple of drinks. From there we got the single largest slice of pizza I've ever seen (so large that we had a split a single slice) from Lorenzo and Sons, and then got water ice from Mama Mia's Italian Ice, thusly fulfilling my goal of trying water ice. I got mango, and the flavor was so intense that I was unable to finish a small cup and had to save some for later.

We could feel time running out by Monday morning, and getting things done felt more pressing. After a lazy morning, we went to Reading Terminal Station, a large indoor market with tons of offerings and all the air conditioning that we needed. First stop was the coffee stand, then Charissa got some walkin'-around pickles before I settled on Molly Malloys for brunch. I had eggs, potatoes, biscuit and bacon (she had the bacon) with an IPA and sipped on my coffee a little too late into the day, but it was delicious.

Stands were closing by the time we left, the day outside still insufferably hot. We had just a bit of time to relax and get ready once we'd gotten back, then were back on the road to meet her mom for dinner at Pasta Fazool, an Italian restaurant in Hatboro. I was quite nervous about meeting her mom, but she turned out to be a sweet, no-nonsense sort of person. I tried to not be awkward, but am not sure how well I managed that. Anyway it went well, and as usual there was nothing for me to be too anxious about.

It poured rain on the drive back to the apartment, which was a bit scary on Pennsylvania's pothole-riddled roads.

The time pressure only increased on Tuesday morning. We got a late breakfast at Urban Village Brewers, splitting a huge order of truffle fries. I got a milkshake IPA and she had a sip and conceded that it wasn't terrible like all the other IPAs she'd tried.

After that we went to the Mutter Museum, as I felt somewhat obliged to visit and wanted to see it again after the many years since I'd been. It hit older me a bit different, now feeling closer to things that could go wrong than I'd felt as a younger person. Before I'd not wanted an abominable fetus to ever grow inside of me, whereas now I'm hoping to not host some cancerous tumor or malignant growth.

After that we went back to the place to change and then drove down to Plymouth Meeting to a restaurant named Plaza Azteca to meet her best friend Jon, his wife Alea, and their young sons Owen and Elliot. I was of course nervous about meeting more people, particularly as she'd mentioned Jon was a bit protective and wanted to make sure I checked out as a person. But of course they were both lovely people and we had a nice evening, even if Jon did get a little interview-ish at times.

Our last night was bittersweet. I woke up early, but then went back to sleep and ended up sleeping longer than she did. She told me she cried before I woke up, and then cried again when we were together. I held her and asked if it was too soon to tell her I loved her, and she said she'd been hoping I'd say it since I arrived. I told her I'd been wanting to say it for weeks, but didn't know the rules. All weekend long I'd been asking what the rules were, and she'd been telling me there were no rules. We spent the rest of the morning saying "I love you" to each other.

We grabbed coffee-to-fo at Starbucks on the way to the airport, and talked a bit about what might come next. For now, it was back to distance. As we neared the airport, Tears for Fears' "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" came on the radio, and I lost it at the line "nothing ever lasts forever". We both cried again, my arm across her back and her hand on my knee. The many parting hugs, kisses and "I love you"s were still not enough. I made it to my gate with twenty minutes to spare, and those minutes felt like wasted time that I could've spent with her.

I tried to hold onto the lingering moments, to commit them to memory, how good she smelled and tasted, how soft her lips and skin felt, the love and care in her hugs. How hard it was to leave. I read through the next half of our messages, the time again going by quickly. I messaged her again the moment we'd landed, letting her know I'd made it back safely, already missing her physical presence.

I was home about an hour later, and had never been sadder to arrive home before in my life.





What's your favorite word?

The following people signed this petition:

Hespera "(No!)"
bena "(forgiven)"
barcode "(excellent exercise, I like it, but it's too difficult for me )"
joseph "(haid)"
HoboEnigmaMe "(Veggie Egg Rolls ...Mmmmm)"
tar-nuh "(hai)"
Cerra "(No.)"
Sludge "(Edification)"
northern lights "(filament)"
Raaji "(succulent OR hibiscus)"
cenobite "(burgle)"
snodogj "(cunt.)"
bodybuilderef "(yes)"
Pheonix "(babydoll)"
bubbadduck "(fuck)"
instigator "(penis)"
prettypinkkitty007 "(constitute)"
ParadoxBaby "(paradox)"
wyrd "(megszentségteleníthetetlenkeskedéseitekért)"
wela meohewa "(fabulous )"
karakins "(Luxurious)"
Sara_Timberlake "("cunt"...it's a very powerful word.)"
sam gideon "(wrought)"
Kaitlyn "(ineffable)"
bridge "( )"
Kyrenna "(wanderlust)"
SIN "(ubiquitous)"
iFeLLdown "(caramelldansen.)"
supercute "(ubiquitous & esoteric)"
kaz "(Hi!)"
BendtheGlass "(embolism)"
Stupid_Girl "(doi)"
choice "(paradigm)"
Curt "(awesome)"
.caitlin. "(Flaps)"
ShaggyDope "(the most versitile word in the english language, fuck.)"
Bexi "(fuck)"
LittleOne83 "(Restitution....it's a work thing!)"
AshleyBrass "( )"
samma "(Flutter.)"
shutup "(ohhhhh)"
-Matt- "(fuck!)"
merrry "(Stitch-my husband's nickname)"
jaymazing "(clavix)"
Pure-Fiction "(Hello friend!)"
Orgasmic Fantasy "(moist)"
rarr.ae "(chimerical! i just figured it out about a month ago. yours?)"
rayneofsorrow "(manuver)"
Whitespace "(Perspicuity.)"
wiccan3 "(That's what she said... -referring to dodgy things only though-)"
VEAL "(sphincter)"
sane "(sasafras)"
Diskonnektie "(ej thankuu. god, you've had a suspension, what's the feeling like)"
Katkutia "( )"
Shevek "(klem)"
IronChef "(twat just say it and it makes you smile)"
eva "(swell, counterintuitive, longing)"
yarddog "(one of these I HAVEN'T signed!)"
xaqari15 "(zowie)"
strawberry "(douche)"
ducttapedave "(i like frood.)"
Jeanna "(dang'it)"
aniorange "(rosebud)"
Calamity "(pantaloon)"
ashbat "(BEVERAGE)"
Scenester "(awesometastic)"
KatePrayer "(motherfucker)"
edcunard "(inchoate)"
Lizzard "(FUCK!!!)"
ambrosia "(hey thnaksfor saying hi i'm new to iam and am a little lost!!)"
Jake "(I don't have just one. I just learnt "coquelicot", though.)"
paulo4127 "(bollucks)"
chemically_lobotomized "(cockamamie - yay for House fans!!!)"
JuuL "(Berserk)"
EoniAbstract "(projection)"
Sad Squid "(i do say awesome a lot. seriously...a lot. )"
deadly pale "(atemberaubend - nicely hard and with a cool meaning)"
snoogans "(fwang)"
scamp "(onomatopoeia always makes me giggle)"
Ernest "(uncertainty)"
goomy "(honeybunny)"
Mr.me "(Finkelstein)"
vizante "(needle)"
freakz "(champingnon)"
lost girl "(smooshed.)"
bexrox "(rain)"
tlw "(I still pick animals over people. At least they care.)"
Mangaartist "(I have a lot, I LOVE English words, it isn't my 1st language.)"
PiercingBunny "(Shit!)"
sugarNspice "(sweet)"
level3stud "(undulating)"
allison_scout "(heebeejeebee's)"
TripleHelix "(Syzygy, because it's structurally perfect)"
firstluff "(scadink " move it a scadink to the left")"
Rumball "(philanphropist)"
ununseptium "(authenticity)"
Holly Bo "(Spork)"
an0nymous_vamp1re "(Ni)"
Della "(It's a toss-up between "maelstrom" and "dichotomy.")"
jazzybean "(proper - i'm cornish )"
bruxa "(I'm old Gregg!)"
hobo soup "(moist.)"
Satans_Angel "(schooch)"
manini "(love)"
amberlynne "( )"
helanus "(weasel!!)"
KIVAKA "(love)"
tyger burning bright "(why?)"
radical kiba "(snarly)"
jonathandoe "(hella)"
Zee "(Smock!)"
Nermal "(Shenanigans)"
The Hektik1 "(cheedle )"
MrNoModifications "(Feierabend)"
s_a_h_mommy "(flibbertigibbit)"
Golem37 "(Cooter)"
fetch "(gravy)"
postblue_ "( )"
fuck_life "(RAD)"
brokken "(what ever word fits?)"
Blood Roses "(ambiguous)"
Lofty "(Seriously. )"
hailshimmer "(New favourite is AHOY!)"
Daddy "(Sharks!)"
vivica "(GollyGeeWillakers!!)"
Mentabolism "(Fantastic)"
yurmomnaked "(fuck, shit, or cunt)"
JustJen "(Fastidious )"
brute "(your calvin and hobbes tattoo is the best thing i have ever seen!)"
xdollfacexpiex "(Cunt I know it's bad but I love it!)"
*Stitch* "(so many good ones...um i'm going to say taco)"
Myko "(fhqwhgads)"
Miss Gabrielle "(Bloody, Bah!, and Pissy.)"
phoenixxx "(smarmy)"
Raphael EN "(hiricow !)"
oddbod "(pain)"
GnomeChomsky "(triflin')"
angelicfruitcake "(Snout! Or crocodile...)"
HighLevel "(Goeiendag)"
Sugar "(Apoplectic)"
cadaver "(guillotine. my bf's current favourite is verisimilitude)"
autumn "(Moist)"
rusu "(Bubble. But I use the work 'wanker' an awful lot.)"
MizzGrell "("Crap")"
DragonHeart "(pie!)"
shadowsidetattoos "(cheers dude, like your tatts)"
steveinthesun "(DESKS)"
SamanthaM "(tits)"
vonfaust "(at the moment 'homonymn')"
Bot "(Bitchin')"
DrGreenThumb "(Hella)"
Mike Dimas "(fun)"
residue "(Swiss Army Knives ftw!)"
Killer Bee "(Dang- because i once heard a 19 month old say it )"
Blitzkid196 "(queue.)"
DreamsOfJade "(pervert. i dont know why. just is hhaahahahaha)"
dejennarate "(efficacy)"
atatattoo "( )"
Dawnie "( )"
nadineynuisance "(cunt)"
Hollywood "(triceratops)"
jessecake "( )"
Malvenkemo "(My favourite French words are pneu and pamplemousse. )"
namicoj "( )"
Stitch Faced Angel "(Strudle)"
pierced-boy "(love)"
Dreadlocksmile "(apocalyptic)"
doxgukka "(monkey)"
george_the_ballerina "(saucy)"
xJessiCUNTx "(cunt)"
Chronics "(cunt)"
Povallsky "(See, I was thinking of getting an adamantium helmet...)"
clubberdude1981 "(Merge)"
Fuzz "(Cuntwhapple)"
Cmhionn "(Skwerl)"
11 "(Murmel)"
The_Voodoo_Dolly "(abso-fucking-lutely)"
ColeMine "(discombobulated)"
Emily Post-Punk "(slyboots)"
Tovie "(quixotic)"
nekokichi "(cunt)"
:with love and squalor: "(conundrum)"
KnifeInTheMarathon "(suamaetrepanofiadaputa)"
BeccaMonster "(Wonky)"
ookumbubbleoo "( )"
Chadgrisly "(Obscure)"
majikan "(kutjes)"
the pierced russian "(fuck)"
Nero "(kluge)"
Amadahy "(aight)"
evilpixie "(discombobulate because it has Disco and Bob)"
ShesSoVaVaVoom "(kumquat)"
Mythology "(outlandish)"
ColdSweat "(Cockbadger)"
fluffyreptile "(cooder)"
dboard9 "(Nipples.)"
brian.johnson "(prehensile)"
Morgue "(Turmoil)"
Jemma.m "(flannel!)"
())crayon))> "(sleep)"
Somech1ck "(fuck)"
DIY'er "(Arrrrrr!)"
livid "(llama)"
AnotherBleedingHeart "(therefore)"
EziliGede "(fuck-nut)"
Kid Presentable "(crapshoot)"
Crowned Dragon "(pernicious)"
nufger "(success)"
jody "(murder)"
blackwinghalo "(spanakopita)"
Funky "(funkadelic)"
FauxPas "(Indubitably)"
Chevo "(FUCK)"
Knulp "(quark)"
chickadee2084 "( )"
Caroline June "(Litotes)"
Auryn "( )"
Celticgent "(YES.)"
soulmom "(shenanigans & bombardment)"
second place "(snow)"
Snow White "(crumbs, cunt and jinkies)"
TattoedMat "( )"
XkuruX "(irrelevant)"
asphixiation "(Coitus. Why isn't it used more now? Thanks for signing!)"
SVEN "(thats money)"
shpluck "(portal)"
verve729 "(Soliloquy)"
kermee "(stuff)"
Jinxed "(No)"
Alledria "(currently it's "effusive")"
fieryn "(epitome)"
Jareb "(cunt.... sorry, but i love it!!!!!)"
Hail "(boobies)"
MartiniBuiltForTwo "(fuck- or trepidation )"
asparagus "(banana)"
DrLouLou "(Hello hello!)"
Leroy "(Smeg)"
blackandblue "( )"
ConchyMcBleed "(brrrmmmm)"
MsNightingale "( )"
dazedeagle "(shit. I say it all the time, I have a shit problem.)"
Elfling "(thank you for the birthday wishes!!! )"
Melissa "(shitass)"
little_miss_pirate "(bangle)"
christina bo bina "(bologna!)"
perpetual "(chicken eye and seductive)"
luckyshamrock "(whiplash and i like guttersnipe too)"
no_pants "(Blech!)"
JennaG "(ooze)"
Stardust "(achtung- a German word that sounds like projectile vomiting =D)"
color me blood red "(shit)"
indigo_dream "(quite)"
dopesong "(anaesthetic)"
Kittie.Lee "(Audacity)"
Glow "(Monty Python??? I never made it through any of them.. I suck. )"
The_Prophet "(Antidisestablishmentarianism)"
filosofadelaspollas "(hullabaloo)"
kit33 "(Twitterpated or Incognito)"
GypsyDissident "(Cooch)"
ctlnpg "(diminutive.)"
Cerberus_the_dog "(Shag)"
deadinblood "(rediculous)"
Jenna Saisquoi "(discombobulated)"
TMHahn "("fuckheads" has been relevent recently.)"
ivy "("fuck" for t3h w1n!!!)"
solocard "(moist...)"
Mrs Wolf "(Innigkeit)"
deadvin "(exudate)"
OneOwner "(supercalifragilisticexpialidocious)"  

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