Family Ties, humor

Brace Yourselves. I Just Got Another Email From My Mom.

You probably just stopped having nightmares over last week’s email from my mom, Babs. Remember that one? With the deer carcass? Babs had emailed graphic, carnage-ridden pictures to me, describing how her neighbor had strung up a dead deer only yards away from her back porch.

Then, a couple of days later, Babs emailed again, saying she’d bought us tickets to see Spank!, the 50 Shades of Grey parody/musical.

Surely, you’re thinking, in such a short amount of time, Jules’ mom couldn’t possibly electronic-mail any more atrocities?

Nay, chipmunks!

Behold!

Dregs from the crawl space 1-28-13 002

Wait for it.

Subject: This Almost Killed Me…

I’m almost done with the eaves clean-out. It was a cross between a Chucky movie and a 30’s dust bowl.

Opening some of the last boxes was very scary. The mother [squirrel] nest wasn’t the straw [I’d seen] on the floor, but inside a box disguised as Christmas storage.

And the choices of nesting material? That was found in a stuffed animals/dolls box. Yup, the doll is missing her face! Plus lots of the pink insulation from the ceiling.

This was such a gross job.

xox Babs

attic-nest
Oh look! It’s my box of Christmas treasures! F&*#%^& squirrels!
Cabbage-Patch-doll-attic
Well at least my children’s momentos are safe and sound… OH FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT’S HOLE-Y.

Obviously, Babs needs her own blog. Or a new storage space.

Chipmunks-Babs

What’s your least favorite / grossest household job?

P.S. – You have until NOON EST TODAY (Wednesday, January 30, 2013) to enter my latest giveaway – you can win custom artwork from Julie Maida!

Giveaway Junkie

Finally! Another Giveaway. And This One is RAD.

NOTE: This post is not sponsored. Well. Except by me.

It feels like it’s been a thousand years since I gave away something. Or, you know, a month. I love giving away somethings.

Cue Rachel from Rachel’s Table.

Wow, I just really, really can't imagine a world without avocados. I would totally give up on life. I would.
Wow, I just really, really can’t imagine a world without avocados. I mean… why bother? With even one more day?

No, no. I’m not giving away Rache. Nice try. She’s mine.

I saw her on Monday (we have totally taken our friendship to the next level), and you can should must check out the rest of our adventure on her fabulous blog.

She gave me a fantastic Christmas present (see? Next. Level). “The kind of gift,” I told her, “that makes every day better!”

Booya.

Jules-Julie-Maida-coasters

Those are custom ‘stache glasses tile coasters! Yes! Handmade just for Go Jules Go! For when I put down my vodka / champagne / beer! Well, ha ha, I’m sure I can find another use for them!

I love them.
I “mustache” you to admire these coasters.

Julie-Maida

Rachel explained that she worked with Julie Maida, a talented artist out of Fredericksburg, VA, to make these coasters. Julie owns the best first name ever maidasomeart, and specializes in wedding gifts and nursery art. She describes her work  as “affordable, (mostly) utilitarian art.”

Julie’s been featured in Stitch magazine and locals can find her at Ponshop Studio in Fredericksburg. She also blogs at juliemaida.com.

Rache and Julie in front of Ponshop.
Rache and Julie in front of Ponshop. Don’t forget my stein, ladies.

Just a few of Julie’s treasures:

Julie-Maida-lovebirdssculpture

Julie-Maida-redbirdbowl Julie-Maida-bamboo2 Julie-Maida-birdcagecoasters1 Julie-Maida-bluemonogramM2 Julie-Maida-peacockcoasters3

I took one look (okay, lots of looks) at my new coasters and thought, “Wouldn’t it be amazeballs to give away something like this on my blog?” I contacted Julie and here we are!

The Prize

Custom artwork from Julie Maida (value: up to $40 US incl. S/H). That’s right! Work with Julie to design something that’s allll you, baby. Coasters, wine charms, jewelry, wall art, bowls, sculpture, trivets, etc. Once you decide what you want, Julie will work her magic and then ship your prize to you!

How to Win

Tell me, in the comments section below (or email me), a favorite “drunk person” story – you don’t have to be the drunkard. If you are, it’s okay, because you have a chance to class it up with some custom art.

Mine involves a couple of unruly chipmunks with the key to the liquor cabinet. Obviously.
Mine involves a couple of unruly chipmunks who stole the key to the liquor cabinet. Obviously.

Deadline

12 NOON EST, Wednesday, January 30th.

I’ll announce the winner on Friday, February 1st, 6am EST.

Thanks, Julie and Rache!!!! (I’m sorry. That fourth exclamation point was uncalled for.)

Blogging, I'm Going To Chop My Ear Off Any Day Now, Music

Hitting the Right Note

I woke up at 8am this past Christmas Eve. Late, for me. I’d been up ’til midnight, doing something I’d never done before. Something mortifying. I stared down the clock. My family was coming over at 2pm and my To Do list was more ominous than a week without vodka.

I headed straight for my lap top. For the first time in 5 months, I skipped my morning writing. This was more important. Far more important. The reason I wrote a journal to begin with.

My heart pounded.

I can’t do this. I know I promised myself all year I would finally do this, but I can’t. I just can’t.

I stalled. Checked email. Facebook. My mouth felt dry.

I have to. I have to do it.

Let me back up.

I was 7 years old when The Little Mermaid was released. It was November 1989. I sat on the living room floor of our little Cape Cod, wearing out my VHS copy by rewinding “Part of Your World” over and over again. I paused it every five seconds, and wrote out the lyrics, line by line.

When I was sure no one could hear, I sang along.

What would I give to live where you are…

I sang with longing. I felt like Ariel. Dreaming. Wanting the impossible. In the end, her voice earned her just that.

When I was in 4th grade, my music teacher asked for volunteers for one-line solos during the holiday concert. I raised my hand, heart racing. She plunked out the tune on the piano as I sang, “Up on the housetop reindeer pause…”

“Let’s try again,” she said. By the third time, she not-so-subtlely moved on, leaving me to wonder what I’d done wrong. My classmates said nothing.

Could I really not sing? One simple line? Even with the notes played for me on the piano? This was bad.

All lies.
All lies.

When I stood in front of all the parents the day of the concert, I tried not to fidget, even though I felt faint. I sang my one-line solo as best I could, and afterwards, my mother praised, “You sounded like an angel.” No one else complimented me.

“You have to say that,” I grumbled, afraid to believe her.

By 12, I’d taught myself how to play the piano, barely, and when no one was home, I sat at my great-grandmother’s ancient upright and played the songs my parents listened to. John Denver. James Taylor. Carole King.

I was terrified someone would find out. Not only were the songs I secretly adored lame, old fogey music, I heard my voice. How weak and flawed and uninteresting it was. How bad my timing was.

At 15, I bought a karaoke machine, took guitar lessons and even tried writing songs. I toyed with the idea of sharing them. I didn’t.

“I thought that was the radio,” my sister said, when she heard me in the shower one day. She was never long on compliments, and I kept that gem tucked away with “You sing like an angel,” hoping against hope that maybe, just maybe, I could actually do this.

In college, I studied writing, believing it was my true passion, and then landed a well-paying corporate job. I married a musician. Time passed. 25. 26. 27. 28. My life felt off, like I was trying to break in a pair of shoes that would never fit.

I obsessively watched singing competitions, comparing myself to the contestants, always coming up short. I subscribed to an online karaoke service, and heard only off notes and lackluster tone. I thought about how I couldn’t sing and play an instrument at the same time. About my crippling stage fright.

It’s hopeless. Laughable. Not even worth admitting. Move on.

In February 2011, I started this blog, and in July 2012, I began doing creative unblocking exercises I’d learned long ago, courtesy of The Artist’s Way. Pretty soon it was impossible to hide from myself.

Fast-forward to Christmas Eve morning. I sat at my lap top, frantically sorting through the dozens of clips my first husband, Peppermeister, and I recorded the night before, battling 30 years of “I can’t.”

But you can. Do it. NOW.

At 9am, I hit Publish. And then something miraculous happened. My heart immediately lightened. The hardest part was over:

I had posted a video clip of me. Singing. On my blog.

Jules singing
I call this one, “This is the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever done so please don’t judge me.”

I made light of it. Like I hadn’t been steeling myself for an entire year lifetime.

I didn’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable by sharing just how monumental that was. Though Peppermeister’s a musician, we’d never tried this before (I know. Ridiculous). We tried for nearly 3 hours to get it right (I really, really hate admitting that), but even in the published clip, I hit a bad note, missed a cue, sounded tired.

It didn’t matter.

I had finally admitted what I wanted. I’d taken the first breath of my new life, wondering when I got so melodramatic how I’d survived before.

P.S. – We’ve been practicing. So watch out.

Have you had any big “Ah hah” moments? What do you want to be when you grow up?

Uncategorized

Cleanse Your Palette In 3 Easy Steps

So maybe a little deer carcass wasn’t what you were expecting when you so kindly sailed over to Go Jules Go this past Wednesday.

Fair enough.

I thought I’d make it up to you with a few nuggets of undeniable hilarity / adorable-ness.

You’re welcome.

3 Step Palette Cleanser

Step 1 – Read the email I just got from my mom (click to enlarge).

Screen Shot 2013-01-17 at 6.02.29 PM

Step 2 – Look at this picture.

funny-bear-talking-phone

Step 3 – Know that I’m hanging out with Rachel’s Table again on Monday, and Will share her hotness with you forthwith.

Rache-Jules-RiverHorse-empties
Want beer. Like beer. Beer good.

What websites do you frequent when you need a little pick-me-up?

Animals, humor

Deer Neighbor: I’m Not Okay With This.

DISCLAIMER: Animals were hurt during the making of this post. Really hurt. Like Bambi’s mother hurt. 

This weekend, Babs, my mom, sent an email with two troubling pictures attached. The email was entitled, He Finally Snagged One.

She was quite put out, because her neighbors recently constructed what she called The Gallows in their backyard. Every time Babs set foot on her porch, this monstrosity was in plain sight.

Before I show you these pictures, you need to understand that my parents live in suburban New Jersey, in a town full of white-collar yuppies who take the local train into Manhattan for work. They shop at Pottery Barn. They buy artisanal bread. Their kids play lacrosse.

In my parents’ world, the world in which I grew up, people have graduation parties and swing sets in their back yards. They do not have…well. This:

Gallows occupied 1-13 003

Gallows occupied 1-13 004

I’m sorry, Babs. If it makes you feel any better, now that Peppermeister and I are out in western New Jersey, we have deer in our backyard every day, too.

Of course, they’re still alive…

Do you have any neighbor horror stories? No? Any good venison recipes?

Blogging

A Comedian’s Survival

Tig-Notaro-Live-SlateThe other day, my bloggy BFF, The Byronic Man, suggested I listen to a comedy album by Tig Notaro, called Live (as in, chipmunks live in burrows, not Saturday Night Live).

“If you think you’re ready for the next level,” he prefaced, probably to guarantee I’d listen to it. (Just as I’m sure he knew I’d try a sazerac after he put that picture on his blog.)

Tig-Notaro-AVClub
Tig Notaro. Not Byronic Man. (You see, that’s funny because she jokes about looking like a man on the album.)

Byronic Man, no stranger to excellent stand-up comedy himself, went on to explain that Live wasn’t supposed to be an album, Notaro was just performing in a club at an open mic/showcase. A couple days earlier, she’d found out she had cancer in both breasts. “She just starts talking about it,” he told me. “It’s incredibly funny and raw and moving. There’s no polish – she repeats herself, there’s long pauses, she tries to change the subject. It’s like what humor can be in the darkest of times.”

James Rebhorn. Toldja.
James Rebhorn. Toldja.

As soon as I heard her voice, I recognized it. Notaro first appeared on the scene in Last Comic Standing in 2006. Since then, she’s been everywhere from late night talk shows to The Office to the stand-up circuit. She’s like the female James Rebhorn of comedy. You know. “That guy/gal! In, like, every movie I’ve ever seen! …What’s his/her name?” She’s also got Louis C.K. on her side – he’s the one who pushed to turn the Live show into an album.

What made Live so powerful wasn’t just the complete and utter sincerity. It’s what Notaro infers when she says she just can’t bring herself to tell the old jokes. Or even the ones she prepared for that night.

“It’s weird because with humor, the equation is tragedy plus time equals comedy,” Notaro says early on, with a sardonic edge. “I…am…just at tragedy. Right now.”

Reality had taken over, and she just needed to speak from the heart. No filter. And guess what? It was still one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard. In fact, it was this very ‘in the moment’ quality that made it so. So much of the comedy we see is rehearsed, the timing perfected.

“It’s okay,” she lightly reassures an audience member who’s nearly in tears on Notaro’stig-notaro behalf. “It’s going to be okay. It might not be okay. But I’m just saying. It’s okay. You’re gonna be okay.”

At the risk of demeaning Notaro’s very heartbreaking situation and profound performance, I think what happened to her that night happens to every comedian, or every person for that matter. There comes a day when the old methods don’t work. But often times, very unlike Notaro, we’re too scared to try new ones.

On a far more superficial level, when I changed the name of this blog from GoGuiltyPleasures! to Go Jules Go last year, I was preparing for a broader bloggy life. Humorous writing beyond my love of guilty pleasures. I never thought I’d get tired of chipmunks or ‘stache glasses. And I promise, on many levels, I never will. But sometimes it’s really, really hard to tell the old jokes.

So while, in my lucky, privileged world, I occasionally push the boundaries of this little blog that changed my life, I really hope you’ll take thirty minutes to listen to Live. You know. If you think you’re ready for it.

Bloggers: Do you ever feel like you’re ‘faking it’ on your blog? Bloggers/All: Who are your favorite comedians and why?

Photo Credits

  • #1 – slate.com
  • #2 – avclub.com
  • #3 – zuguide.com
  • #4 – fastcocreate.com
Movies are Magical

In With the In Crowd…Or Maybe I Just Had A “Cinemacoma”

Chipmunks, can we start by having a little moment of truth?

I am not cool.

But this weekend I did something cool.

I am still not cool.

And I’m cool with that.

On Saturday night, Babs (that’s my mom. See? Not cool) and I drove to Brooklyn for a screening of the short comedy film, Cinemacoma. Cinemacoma was written by Vanessa Marlowe, and produced by Maria Soccor, two amazing women I met during the My Parents Are Crazier Than Yours (MPACTY) pilot episode shoot. They both have impressive resumes, and quite frankly, I’m glad I didn’t know this when we first met.

Babs and I left insanely early since we had no idea where we were going, and wound up with 2 hours to kill. The neighborhood seemed pretty dicey. I’d gone online and found a hipster-y pizza place nearby, so was fairly certain our lives weren’t in danger. Babs was still skittish about the mean streets of Brooklyn, but I convinced her to walk “just one more” block while I diligently explained the meaning of hipster:

“You know like those girls in purple jeans with the wool caps that dangle jauntily from the backs of their heads? And guys with scarves, lots of scarves. And facial hair. Like if yuppies and hippies had a baby. It’s like… they’re like what Hot Topic is to punk, you know? They’re trying so hard to look like they’re not trying at all. Like what the hell is badass about shopping at the mall and paying $30 for tights with holes in them? …I don’t think I’m explaining this very well. But trust me. You’ll like this restaurant.”

We ignored panhandlers and souvenir shops, and opened a nondescript door labeled Barboncino Pizza. A thick, red velvet curtain slapped us in the face. It was heavy. Babs tripped. We shoved the curtain aside, and there lay a sprawling, posh, exposed-brick, hip-ass pizza place. We had stumbled down the rabbit hole, seen Oz, arrived at the pearly gates, or something.

Barboncino Pizza, photo courtesy of http://newyork.metromix.com.
Barboncino Pizza, photo courtesy of http://newyork.metromix.com.

The rest gets a little hazy, because I swear I really did see God: I had my first sazerac (rye whiskey and bitters, neat, with a lemon peel twist, thankyouverymuch). I’m pretty sure the last 30 years were just training for this drink.

I almost forgot I had a blog. ...No. No, that would never happen.
I almost forgot I had a blog. …No. No, that would never happen.

When 8 o’clock rolled around, Babs and I stumbled walked a few blocks to LaunchPad, a multi-purpose space that functions as a childcare facility by day, art gallery/film screening venue by night. We chitchatted with Maria and Vanessa briefly and took our seats.

Launchpad during art showing. Click for photo credit.
Launchpad during an art showing. Click for photo credit.

In Cinemacoma, Vanessa plays a women who’s watched too many movies, and can only speak to her husband in film quotes. It was a fantastic showcase of her impressions. During the Q&A session after the screening, Vanessa explained that she’d originally written Cinemacoma as a spec script for Saturday Night Live.

Needless to say, keep an eye out for these two.

No. Seriously. Start by watching Vampire Diaries – Maria just scored a 4-episode role! Yes. She is going to rub elbows with THIS:

ian-somerhalder-gq-feature-01

Do you ever feel like you’re cheating and hanging out with the cool crowd? …And, um, how do you define “hipster”?

Disclaimer: This post was not sponsored; all opinions expressed are totes my own.

Disclaimer of the above disclaimer: I really wish I was getting paid to mention these joints. Do any companies sell pre-made sazeracs?