Blogging, Giveaway Junkie, Movies are Magical

If This Were My Last Blog Post

Firelands by Piper Bayard***In celebration of my friend Piper Bayard‘s new book, FIRELANDS, she’s holding a pretty epic contest for both bloggers and readers (seriously – the prizes will blow your chipmunk stripes off). Check out the details here (deadline: July 19, 2013). Bloggers can enter by publishing apocalypse-themed posts. So, ah, hopefully it goes without saying, but: This is my submission.***

I recently watched a movie starring Steve Carell and Keira Knightley, called Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. In the opening scene, a polished, upbeat radio DJ announces:

Once again, if you are just tuning in… The final mission to save mankind has failed. The 10 mile-wide asteroid known commonly as Matilda is set to collide with Earth in exactly 3 week’s time.

The black screen fades to a close-up of Carell (“Dodge”) and his wife in their car, staring straight ahead.

And we’ll be bringing you up-to-the-minute coverage of our countdown to the end of days, along with all of your classic rock favorites.

Cue: The Beach Boys’ “Wouldn’t It Be Nice.”

Best.

Opening.

Ever.

I want my last blog post to be like this movie. Dark. Funny. Romantic. Complete with a dog named Sorry.

Sorry's got regrets. Oh yes, he does.
Sorry’s got regrets. Oh yes, he does.

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is disturbingly realistic in so many ways. No cell phones. Traffic jams. Looting. $8.50 for a bottle of window cleaner.

Total lawlessness.

It begs the question: How would the world spend its last days? Would there be time for reflection? Regret? Time for anything but? Would there be time for new connections? They say live every day like it’s your last, but when it’s everyone’s last? What then?

What would I say to you, dear Chipmunks, if it was all about to go up in flames?

Jules-apocalypse

Yeah, okay, so what? My last blog post and I’m petty ’til the end. Sue me. Go ‘head. Try to find a lawyer right before armageddon. It’s honesty that gets you through those pearly gates, Chipmunks. Remember that.

Bloggers: What would your last post look like? Bloggers/All: What would you do the day before the apocalypse?

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FIRELANDS

Available from Amazon in Paperback and on Kindle

Also in e-book at Barnes & Noble and Kobo,

and at iTunes for iPad and mobile devices.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Kvetching

Scenes From A Swimless Summer

Having a pool sounds great, doesn’t it? Especially this time of year, when it’s nearing 90-degrees Fahrenheit (and 1,000% humidity) in New Jersey.

Pool-Problems-1-fantasy

Hub #1, Peppermeister, and I were thrilled when we purchased our first home in 2010 – there was an in-ground pool in the backyard! We knew nothing about pools, and weren’t sure what lay beneath the forest green tarp, but hoped it was salvageable. We scraped together our last hopes, dreams, blood, sweat and pennies to open the pool that summer. We assumed things would get easier after that.

Here’s a brief recount of the last month.

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EXT. GO JULES GO’S HOUSE – DAY 1

JULES: We need to do all of the shrubbery trimming BEFORE we take off the pool cover this year.

Pool-Problems-2-shrubs

~*~*~*~

INT. GO JULES GO’S HOUSE – DAYS 2-5

JULES: I just dumped another $100 of shock in, and emptied the vacuum 12 times, but it’s not going to get clean if we can’t keep the filter running.

PEPPERMEISTER: I’ll replace the <blah blah whosiwhatsit widget gauge thingamajig blah blah>. For the third time.

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EXT. GO JULES GO’S HOUSE – DAY 6

PEPPERMEISTER: Filter still not working. I called Pool Company #1.

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EXT. GO JULES GO’S HOUSE – DAY 12

PEPPERMEISTER: Did Pool Company #2 come? You made sure to ask them what they did this time, right?

JULES: Yes, they think we need to replace the handle thingy? And you need to call Hector.

Pool-Problems-4-handle

~*~*~*~

EXT. GO JULES GO’S HOUSE – DAY 20

PEPPERMEISTER: So it turns out all of those problems with the filter were because…we needed a new filter.

Pool-Problems-5-filter

~*~*~*~

EXT. GO JULES GO’S HOUSE – DAY 27

JULES: I got the backwash to work, but can’t get the filter back on.

PEPPERMEISTER: Where did you put the DE powder?

JULES: In the skimmer basket by the pump.

PEPPERMEISTER: That’s not where it’s supposed to go.

JULES: But I watched three YouTube videos! THREE!

PEPPERMEISTER (dialing Pool Company #2): Yeah… uh-huh…okay… yeah… we’ll try that. (adjusts black knobby thing by one of the pipes) Well, now it’s working. But clearly it wasn’t a problem with the filter.

JULES: You’ll have to show me how to do that.

Pool-Problems-6-magic

~*~*~*~

INT. POOL STORE – DAY 29

CLERK: Can I help you?

JULES: Yes… I need alkaline.

CLERK: How low is it?

JULES: Umm… 6.8?

CLERK: That would be your PH, not your alkaline.

JULES: Oh right, right, of course! The alkaline is like a greenish-yellow on the test strip. Maybe more like a baby puke.

CLERK: How many gallons is your pool?

JULES: Does 50,000 sound like WAY too much?

CLERK: Well just how big is your pool?

JULES: Pool-sized?

CLERK: You probably have 20,000. You’re going to need to balance the alkalinity first, then the pH. You’ll need 1 lb of this for every 10,000 gallons.

JULES (to self): Well played, math and science. Well played.

CLERK: You’re gonna wanna add half this bag, then wait an hour, then the other half, wait an hour. Then add half of the second bag, wait an hour, then the other half, wait an hour. Keep the filter running the whole time. Tomorrow morning, test the water, then add half of this pH.  So you won’t be swimming today.

Pool-Problems-7-test-strip

~*~*~*~

EXT. GO JULES GO’S HOUSE – TODAY

JULES: I tested the water. The alkaline is baby puke color again.

PEPPERMEISTER: I think I’m done with the pool.

~*~*~*~

What are your summer peeves and/or pay-offs?

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Uncategorized

Campaign Goes Live!

It’s my very first reblog! I was saving it for someone special. I hope you’ll join me in supporting the uber-talented Myra from My Parents Are Crazier Than Yours, through donations and/or words of encouragement, as she raises money in order to continue her amazing web series! Go Myra Go!

My Parents Are Crazier Than Yours


My fellow appreciators of dysfunctional comedy,

Today, hot off the presses and right to you – the brand new campaign to fund the next 5 episodes of “My Parents are Crazier than Yours” is LIVE!

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/my-parents-are-crazier-than-yours/x/3530339

It was with your help that the pilot episode was born – now at almost 80,000 hits on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5qFiKjkpgg&feature=youtu.be
I want to do it again – bigger, better, funnier and more dysfunctional than ever.

Donors to the cause get some great perks, like a visit to the set and time with the cast, your crazy parent stories live on video, t-shirts, small roles, and even producer credits.

I thank you for your love and support. If you can’t contribute financially, help me spread the word through Facebook, Twitter and email. It all counts!!

P.S. stay tuned for my next blog entry about my parents fighting in public.

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/my-parents-are-crazier-than-yours/x/3530339

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humor, TV Junkie

Who Wants To Be A Studio Audience Member?

I’ve lived in northern New Jersey my entire life, which means constant access to pork roll and Bon Jovi some pretty cool stuff, like the myriad New York City happenings, a mere 25 miles away.

It’s easy to take this proximity for granted; I’ve only met a few other people who leverage one especially cool perk: Television show tapings!

Babs (my mom) is one of those people.

Daily-Show-tix

That’s right, Chipmunks! On Monday, Babs and I saw a taping of The Daily Show! Okay, The Daily Show Lite. While Jon Stewart is off coloring or basket-weaving or directing movies this summer, John Oliver, a Daily Show correspondent, is hosting.

Watch out, Jon. He's good.
Watch out, Jon. He’s good.

“Nice!” you’re probably thinking. “Why doesn’t everyone do this?”

Hey, great question, you. Shows with studio audiences are usually desperate to fill the house 5 days a week, so tickets are easy to come by (with some exceptions).

But.

While the tickets are free, they still have a price: Shows overbook, so even if you’ve reserved tickets, you have to [take off from work and] arrive early to pick them up – several hours before the taping begins. Then you have to return later, get back in line, and wait some more.

In any kind of weather.

I'm the moron in dark blue jeans in 90-degree heat.
I’m the moron in dark blue jeans in 90-degree heat.

And there’s still no guarantee you’ll actually get in.

The-Daily-Show-Abandon-News-Sign
The studio entrance.

Which is why it’s important to get drunk resourceful. For example, find a mom Babs who won a poop-ton of lottery scratch-off tickets from a radio station:

The-Daily-Show-scratch-offs

25 lotto tickets: $50. Post Scratch-Off Carpal Tunnel Meds: $80. Winnings: $4. That face: Priceless.
Booze: $30. Lotto tickets: $50 free. Winnings: $4. That face: Priceless.

I imagine this waiting game is similar to childbirth. You forget about all of that boring, painful, hot, sticky, gross stuff once you feel the love. (I bet it’s exactly the same, am I right, parents?) Cue the ice-cold studio and geeking out.

Daily-Show-Babs-Jules-audience

One of the only shows I've ever been to where they allowed pictures during designated times.
One of the only shows I’ve ever been to where they allowed pictures during designated times.

You also forget about all of that waiting when the audience warm-up act starts picking on your mother (note: the following is based on actual events, a la Rescue 9-1-1):

The-Daily-Show-warmup-2

The-Daily-Show-warmup-1

You DEFINITELY forget about that waiting when the host gives the audience a personal hello, sincere thanks, and answers questions.

Daily-Show-John-O

And you totally, totally, TOTALLY forget about that waiting when you spot yourself on TV that same night:

Didja miss me? Okay, fine, that wasn’t really fair. Let me help ya out:

The-Daily-Show-audience1
Especially epic since The Daily Show almost never features their audience on the live show.

The-Daily-Show-Audience2

Psst: If you’re in the New York City area and would like tickets to a Daily Show taping, check out this page.

Have you ever been to a television show taping? If not, would it be worth all of that uncertainty and waiting to you? What show tops your list?

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

“I Do”-Wop

When my BFF, Jenn, asked how things were going in Plural Marriage-ville, she was surprised by my answer.

Here’s a taste of why.

Third-Hub-band-1

Third-Hub-band-3

Third-Hub-band-4

Third-Hub-band-5

Hubs-band-Ed

Third-Hub-band-7

Third-Hub-band-8

Third-Hub-band-9

Third-Hub-band-10

Third-Hub-band-11

Third-Hub-band-12

Hubs-Band-b

Hubs-Band-correction

Third-Hub-band-15

Hubs-Band-other-correct

Third-Hub-band-17

3rd-Hub-band-slide18

3rd-hub-band-v2

Hubs-Band-final-correct

Third-Hub-band-21

Julesbandpost

Third-Hub-band-23

Third-Hub-band-24

Have you ever been in a band, or wish you had been? Any groupies out there?

P.S. – Special thanks to Jenn, and to those of you who suggested The Hubs form a band. Less special thanks to Hubs 1 through 3. Now cut that sh*t out.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

New Jersey is breathtaking, PSAs, Uncategorized

6 Things You Need To Know Before Taking Up Hiking

Alternate titles: R.I.P. Big Toenail; I Can’t Feel My Butt; Who Needs Heel Skin, Anyway?

I logged 17 miles in hiking this weekend, Chipmunks. (And I saw you! Yes. I saw my first chipmunk since December!)

Local hiking splendor.
Local hiking splendor.

You’re probably wondering who I am and what I’ve done to Jules. I have a confession. When I’m not drinking and Googling bacon recipes, I like to go outside and get my sweat nature on. I can’t stand running, and cyclists make me think devil thoughts, but give me a dirt path, some shady trees and a mountain view payoff, and I’m there faster than you can say, “Does this trail mix have chocolate chips? Because that’s really the only kind worth buying.”

Mt. Monadnock, 2005.
Mt. Monadnock, 2005.

It’s been a while since I’ve hit the hardcore trails , but in order to combat the three B’s (boredom, bumming and broke-itude) that have slammed me lately, I decided to get my Timberland mojo back. I’ve been tackling the relatively tame local trails over the past couple of months, and had planned on spending the summer working up to trails like the steep ‘Stairway to Heaven’ in northern New Jersey, with the ultimate goal of hitting Mt. Monadnock in New Hampshire this fall.

But.

The stubborn Taurus in me had other plans. “Did the 6+ mile loop again today,” I told my first husband, Peppermeister, on Saturday. “Doing 10 tomorrow.”

Hike-1-prep

Then I picked this trail:

Hike-2-map Hike-3-description

Then I drove an hour there. I was ready and rarin’ to go.

Hike-4-stache-potty Hike-5-Tammany-trailhead

6 Things You Need to Know Before Taking Up Hiking

1. Just because a sign seems to promise bears, this does not mean you’ll finally carry out that long awaited convo with the Shakespearean meme bear.

Hike-6-AT-bear-sign

Hike-7-Shakespeare-bear-meme

2. Hiking Guide Books ‘under’ embellish.

Hike-10-book-lies

3. By mile 7, you will not look like someone from an LL Bean catalog. Even though everyone else you encounter, inevitably, won’t have broken a sweat.

Hike-8-exhausted Hike-9-handsome-Uncle-Jesse

4. In New Jersey, you can run, but you can’t hide. From cicadas.

Hike-11-cicada

5. Some Most times, you’ll see some cool ass shiz.

Hike-12-dead-snake

Hike-13-heliport-view

hiking-14-SunfishPond-rocksHike-14-summit

6. You will have every right to come home and do nothing but act superior, drink champagne and eat all of it. Just… all of it.

Hike-15-celebrate

Is there a sport / activity you think is borderline insane, but you love it anyway? Or one that, no matter what, you’d never be caught dead doing?

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Blogging, Chipmunks Forever, Vlogalicious

You’re Not Going to Believe This Shiz.

Something happened recently, Chipmunks. Something so mind-frenchingly miraculous, only a moving picture show could capture it:

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You heard saw right.

A man named Chip Monck is following my blog!

This is not a joke. Nay. This is the best thing to ever happen to me, apart from discovering chocolate-covered bacon:

Chip-Monck-comment-follow

So let’s all give a warm welcome to Chip Monck at MANagING maNIA!

As if that wasn’t enough, I’ve found a new bloggy soul mate! Dawn at Fit to Teach! Look what she just emailed me:

I told her I need to get married all over again. Luckily, I have no plans to stop at a mere 3 spouses.
I told her I need to get married all over again in order to include ‘stache glasses. Luckily, I have no plans to stop at a mere 3 spouses.

Lastly, some shout-outs to my video blog accessories crew:

Do you have any questions for a man called Chip Monck? I have a thousand. Any favorite people or blog names?

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