Valentine's Schmalentine's

Ah, Valentine's Day, or as it's more commonly know in America: Little Jewelry Boxing Day. Is there more of a commercial holiday than Valentine's Day? I mean, excluding New Year's, Martin Luther King Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veteran's Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day? I don't think so.

But what about flipping it on it's head, flowers be damned? Flowers Be Damned is actually the title of my gardening self care book, coming out late never. What about saying no to society, staying in with a bottle of wine, and just having a nice time with someone you care about? Is that not enough? When will these questions end?

Now. I've been single, cold, and wet for Valentine's Day more times than I've been with someone, and it seems weird to me to all of sudden listen to society. Society doesn't know me! Now sure, society generally knows "what's up!" But, I mean, for my sanity and yours, can we not? Whoops, I asked a question again. What I mean to say is I'm not going to blindly buy a single rose and some chocolate, even though I do love eating roses and putting chocolate in water. Because really, a plant is just a commitment between two people to watch something die together. And I'm not gonna do anything blindly because this isn't freaking Birdbox.

Then. It's the thought that counts. I’ve had countless thoughts that haven’t added up to squat. So fooey to your idea there, society. I call fake news. Valentine’s Day is kind of like fake news, in that President Trump never celebrates it. I don’t actually know if he does or doesn’t, but Melania doesn’t seem like th affectionate type when dealing with him. Nevertheless, thought only counts in horseshoes (am I getting that saying correct?). 

So. I guess what I’m saying is that it’s ok to end up like Jack at the end of the Titanic: Single, cold, wet, and roseless. Don’t be discouraged. It’ll happen one day, trust me, or my name isn’t Cupid (tears off mask and clothes, unleashes bouquet of arrows, and shoots everyone).

And This is What’s Leftover (Belated from After Thanksgiving)

Oh boy! This week, I’m going do a list, cause I haven’t done one in a while and it’ll be funny (probably).

Thanksgiving came and went, and this is what’s leftover:

- one loose fitting glove (check your pockets, folks)

- one PS3 controller that GameStop wouldn’t take for trade-in value before I bought a PS4 on Black Friday

- a turkey leg and half a container of stuffing

- many yet-to-be-used Bed, Bath and Beyond coupons (they never expire!)

-  a couple disposable razors to substitute for my good one that I forget constantly

- an unpunched, discounted NJ Transit ticket from the express train floor

Just that stuff for now. I’ll find more as I do a deep clean of the house. See ya!  

A New Podcast

Hello!!! It’s been a while, but look, it’s ok. I’m still here. And also, my brother is here. We’ve started a new podcast. After the debacle that was Shulmania (4 episodes of nonsense), we’ve combined heads and become Siamese. No, we’ve started again, this time, droning on monotonously about music and comedy (6 or more episodes of nonsense).

See, he goes to a lot of concerts. That’s not a humble brag, just a sad fact, because most of the time he’s alone. And I do New York comedy. Again, no humblebrag, just aggressive, yelling comedy, and also sad and alone.

But seriously, we talk all the shows out and even banter about music a little. If you like me, you’ll think this is ok too. If you hate me, that’s understandable. Just focus on relating to my brother. That’s what I would do.

Did I mention real guests? In the past, I’ve done impressions. That still happens but we also have real guests. It’s gonna be lit, if the kids will let me say that.

Please find this brocast here, using the tabs at the top, under podcasts -> To Whom it May Concert, for the time being, until we can figure out Adobe Dreamweaver and get that website up and running. Ok, that’s it for this update. Another coming soon?!? I’m ok with that. Listen to To Whom it May Concert by my brother and me. 

​2018 - It Was Hard Knowing You

2018, as a year, was like a bag of almonds: nuts! 2018, as a number, however, is even. But again, as a year, it was odd. It came in like a lion, and left like a lion still, but one that had done all of the hunting for its lion family and was now basking in the accolades of that post hunting rest. Oh, man, that rest after the thrill of catching something. We humans only know the feeling because we get it every time we find a last minute deal at a yard sale and then bring home the treasure. It really is the hunt that we love. Which reminds me, 2018, I’d like to wish you a happy new year and to say “go rot in whatever hell you crawled out of.”

My grandmother died almost two weeks into 2018. That was hard. She was like a bag of almonds: a little nutty. She had been fighting illness, but signs were pointing to a speedy recovery. The speedy recovery turned into a speedy death, shocking me, the one who is 101 miles away from their immediate family and doesn’t always have a finger on the family matters pulse. I have a finger on the Family Matters pulse, though, because I’ve seen every episode of that show. The grim reaper seemed to ask for us by name, a little later, when at the end of February, my girlfriend’s stepmother died. Again, that was hard. I’d only gotten to know her a little bit over about a year and three months, but still, I’m terrible with death and found myself emotionally opened, like a sad bag of almonds. I still think of her every time I use that lint roller from my Christmas stocking.

2018 also saw the culmination of years of anxiety for me all being brought to a bursting point, a powder keg about to explode, at one time convincing me that I was sick with stomach cancer. I’m not, but for a few days, I generally thought I was. “Turns out, I’ve always had anxiety,” said the guy who couldn’t pee in a public restroom for 8 years. So, dealing with that has been exhausting and time consuming and expensive. But taking these steps to better myself now, when I’m crotchety, as opposed to later, when I’m old and crotchety, will make me better. Give me your CBD oil, your therapy, your breathing exercises. I’ll throw anything to the wall of anxiety and see what sticks, because I’m just like a bag of almonds: a tough nut to crack.

The end of 2018 put me into a job that I have little to no experience in: relationship doctor. Open and honest communication are like the penicillin and, I don’t know, Aleve?, of relationships. They can solve anything. Take two before bed every night. That and Mucinex; there’s something going around and it WILL clog you up. Hopefully, 2019 will get rid of these winter colds, and bring in those winter blues. Hello February and March, you old hags, how’ve you been? Because, when you think about it, relationships are a lot like a bag of almonds: salty, bulky, and purchased on a whim in the checkout aisle.

Let’s get at those New Year’s Resolutions. Yep, these are back, and I’m gonna hold myself accountable. Get ready, here we go:

  1. Write a spec script for Life in Pieces and Big Mouth.
  2. Write my own pilot script idea.
  3. Save money to travel to another country for a food based vacation.
  4. Write for a Late Night TV based show.
  5. Perform impressions and characters at at least 10 shows this year.
  6. Perform improv when possible and get into at least one festival with a team.
  7. Host a podcast with my brother and regularly update episodes and content.
  8. Manage my anxiety in ways that I haven’t before.
  9. Make money from performing or small jobs that don’t rely on my larger, time committing day job.
  10. Experiment with more salt and flavor while cooking.
  11. Declutter my room and certain aspects of my life that are in the way of my career and personal goals.
  12. Remain at my stable, current, comfy day job.
  13. Listen more, feel more, and live more.

Let’s start with 13. I know the tendency would be to do 19, but 13 is plenty. I’m good. Happy New Year.

Pet Peeve Proofing My Home for the Holidays

We all have pet peeves. The one that bothers me the most (more than the sketch versus skit debate) is a cute little bugger that gets into all of the shoes in my closet. Just kidding, shoes don’t fit in my closet because I have too much junk. Anyway, my pet peeve is one of the mistakes that is most easiest to make when it comes to addressing me personally, and no, it’s not calling me Joel. It’s adding a “c” to my last name, effectively writing “Schulman.”

Schulman is the type of name that you would find in church, on like a donations list. Shulman is Jewish and doesn’t like donating. Schulman teaches karate to young kids. Shulman teaches Krav Maga to frigtened teens. Schulman brings home the bacon from his marketing firm. Shulman doesn’t eat bacon. Do you get it? 

Don’t get me wrong; I love the “c” in my first name. I just don’t like it in my last name. It doesn’t bother me as much if you’ve only heard my name said, and you guessed at the spelling, like a third grader. That’s excusable, I guess. But a lot of people who get it wrong, and you know who you are, stare at my name for a good chunk of time online. What’s your excuse? Trick question! There is no excuse! You’re excuseless! Don’t come to me with your holiday mix-ups and New Year’s Resolutions. Just get it right, after staring at my Facebook profile or workplace emails. Again, not singling anyone specific out, but you know who you are.

Happy Holidays!  

P.S. It’s S-H-U-L-M-A-N, for reference.  

I Gave Thanks...

Much like the Pilgrims hundreds of years ago, I found myself staring down into the precipice of what seemed like major lifestyle changes and shifts this fall. I wasn’t ready to separate church and state, but I was ready to make huge changes to my job, my living situation, and ultimately my comedy aspirations, like a bird flying south for the winter. Everything ended, and I said to myself and the air around me “Let’s get to changing!” Obviously, none of it panned out that way. Because there I was... and here I am. Nothing is different. But, instead of wondering why nothing is different, I’m gonna stop and say that I’m thankful for what I currently have.

When you really think about it, what do possessions, houses, and jobs mean in the grand scheme of things? The pilgrims didn’t have any of those things. They just had wild turkeys and land that was already colonized by Native Americans. That was enough for them, and it should still be enough for us. What’s a new iPhone, or a PS4 bundle on sale, or a new wallet and gloves from Timberland? Just new stuff. I posit that we should look around and take stock of the stuff that we already have and be thankful for that. So that’s what I did. I gave thanks for all of that, and then bought that new stuff that I just mentioned, because I can be thankful and commercial at the same time. Can’t I? Can’t we all? We can.

These times that we live in are downright frightening, I know. Trust me. People are infringing on everyone else’s rights and beliefs and it feels like there’s not a lot to be thankful for. Everyone is stressed, oppressed, and under duress. (Shameless plug; my Men At Work cover band Under Duress is performing at The Village Snowglobe for Christmas. Come see us!) What I can ask is that we all try. Try to be the best versions of of ourselves, the most thankful versions of ourselves, the most respectful versions of ourselves, in spite of how you act on Wild Turkey Wednesday or whatever. Trust me; it’s better for all of us. 

The Copper/Wool Anniversary

If you’re reading this, then you know what time it is. Welcome to Season 7 of Charlie Has a Blog (which I think is an actual show on the Disney channel, someone check me on that!). It’s been a fun 7 years so far. This past year showed signs of slowing down, with posts becoming more sporadic, about once a month or once every two weeks. That’s on me, my lifestyle, and my laziness. We all get lazy. We are naturally lazy, all be it idea-filled, lazy flesh bags just waiting to be told to go to sleep or take a break. Except for Lin Manuel Miranda. His work ethic is a mystery to us all.

As you may or may not know, Google says that the 7 year anniversary is the Copper/Wool Anniversary. That’s awesome, I think. Bring me all of the copper that you have lying around, so that I can sell it for money, essentially faking you out and pulling the wool over your eyes with my intentions. That just feels right to me, no? I think that’s what they mean. That’s why most marriages last 7 years and then peter out. Houses get stripped, and one of the members runs off with the loot. Look it up. It’s a fact. 

This all comes at a kind of serendipitous time,  as currently I’ve been trying to knit a sweater out of copper. It’s that seven year itch, because this copper sweater is like a Simpsons episode: a little itchy and scratchy. My blood, sweat, and tears have gone into this blog... and recently this sweater. It’s the 7th inning stretch, but without the stretching cause this copper material is unforgiving. Ductile my ass!! Also, the game is not ending at inning nine. This is the playoffs baby! Extra innings forever!

On a serious and exciting note, I’d like to announce that I am shifting the release date for new posts to Wednesdays. I did a soft rollout of it, and I think it’ll work. So that’s what’s happening. That’s the short and long of it. Watch me, for another year, as I unravel like the copper wool sweater I am in this world today. Now, very carefully, please pull this thread. 

 

Hallojeans: a short story

When I finally came to, the beating had stopped, but I could sense that the torturing had yet to begin. "Where are we?" I asked. "Shut up," said my girlfriend, smacking me across the mouth. I spit up some blood, shocked that I still had any left inside me. "We're here." I looked up, read the sign, and mouthed the words silently: Thrift Shop. I knew I was in trouble. We entered the store, me, scared and confused, and her, grinning like a school child, but one that tortured animals in the backyard to pass the time.

"You can't bring that in here," a guard proclaimed, pointing at my backpack. "But, this all of my things," I cried. "Give it to the man," she said, waiting for me to do it before she did it for me. "Help me," I mouthed at guard. His million mile stare cut my soul in half as he turned and placed by bag on the floor. "I know why we're here," I said, turning back to her, trying to muster as much calm as I could manage. "I figured you needed a little persuading," she chimed. "And if I run right now?" I asked. "I'd catch you, cut your legs off, and do this the easy way." Right then, I knew the only way out was through.

I walked Death's Row of old clothes, contemplating my options. "I don't wear jeans," I pleaded, thinking maybe this was all a big misunderstanding. "You will," she told me. The coldness with which she operated was that of an ice sculptor, skilled in manipulation and coldness. "This will be good for you," she comforted. It was about as comforting as a used tissue. See, I don't wear jeans, especially ones that other people have worn. Jeans are like the Yoko Ono of clothes; they break up any good ensemble, and they're terrible at singing.

We arrived at our destination quickly, swiftly, like she'd been here before, dumping the bodies of all the men she's forced to wear jeans. Peering through the clothes rack, I swear I saw two dead eyes looking back at me. I was racked with fear. I felt a tap on my shoulder. “Ahh!!” I screamed. “Don’t wuss out on me now, try these on. They’re acid washed,” she said, shoving jeans into my face. “Please don’t wash me with acid. That never ends well in the movies,” I begged. “Not you, the jeans, it’s a style.” “There’s nothing stylish about jeans, you monster. It’s like the fabric died and is constantly experiencing rigor mortis.” Slap. This one hit me hard across the right temple. I backed up, tripped, and landed in the changing room. She quickly blocked the door and barked “Change!”

Trapped inside, I felt around for a light but didn’t see one. Why is there no light in here? I thought. I slowly undressed, and as I sat down, I could feel the cold, haunted bench raise each hair on my body one by one. The jeans slid on a little to easily, like deviled eggs into the mouth of someone who enjoys eating deviled eggs. A rush of air blew by me, and I swear I heard it say “You’ll die in these jeans, hahaha...” “What’d you say?” I asked loudly. “Nothing, idiot, just finish up. There’s a line,” she said with no emotion. I knocked, the unspoken cue for someone to do something on the other side of a wall. I walked out, wiping blood from head and standing there for her to ogle. “They fit,” she remarked. “I know,” I said. “We’ll take them.” I felt light headed, not knowing whether it was due to the loss of blood or the fact that I was forcibly being made to buy jeans. “Change back and let’s go.”

She escorted me to the front of the shop, pressing what I suspected was the gun she’d flashed me at breakfast into my side. “Act natural, dummy.” I stopped wobbling back and forth and walked straight, knowing my fate had been sealed the moment I asked “Whats that gun for?” at breakfast. “I bought it at a gas station. I asked for 12 gallons of unleaded and 12 gallons of lead,” she said as she slammed it onto the back of my hand. That’s the last I remember until 15 minutes ago. She drugged my orange juice.

At the counter, I made the purchase, under duress and cringing the entire time. I felt the gun dig in even further as the card was swiped. I said “Thanks, can I have bag back now?” Out of nowhere, the security guard from before appeared, handed me my bag, and stood there again, staring daggers through my palpitating heart. “Help me,” I mouthed again, but before he could answer, his brains hit the cashier as the loudest noise I’ve ever heard deafened me. He slinked to the ground and started pooling blood at my feet. “You didn’t see that,” she said. I nodded along with the cashier, you was already taking the next customer. Retail, am I right?

We walked outside. The bright sunlight hit me square in the face, and I tripped over my own two feet, spilling $9.00 acid washed jeans on the side walk. While on the ground, I got the idea that saved my life. Quickly, and without hesitation, I grabbed the jeans and whipped them up and into her face. They wrapped around her head, both legs going in different directions. Using all the energy I had left, I ran. I felt a few bullets whizz by me, but luckily I turned a corner and out sight. I kept running, getting lost in an out of crowds. But I didn’t stop. I kept running. And running. And running.

Happy Halloween!

Come Fly with Me

I did some flying last week. I kind of felt like a flight attendant, because I only went to where I was going for a day to make a couple hundred dollars. Going, I flew Delta Airlines, which had its share of delays, but who emailed me on Saturday night to apologize. Coming back, I flew Frontier Airlines, which is like Spirit Airlines if they ever decided to get their shit together, and it was still problematic. It's one of these pay for your flight, pay for your seat, pay for your carry-on type airlines, which is essentially "mile high" way robbery.

Was it nonstop to New York? Sure: each flight was nonstop from the departure to the layover to New York. I don't mind layovers; they're a good excuse to eat dinner, no matter what time of day it is. Have dinner anyway! But in this case, it was actually dinner time (complete coincidence), so I sat down sight unseen for a meal, which is to say that the server never saw me seated at the restaurant because they were so busy. I moved inside, off of the moving walkway, and got a seat. Better? Not really. But I at least I ate dinner, the correct layover meal, and boarded the second flight.

I've never been on a plane close to a person who's gotten sick before, but two rows up and across the aisle, a woman ralphed so hard that I named her the Karate Kid. This caused the row she was in, and the row behind her, to disperse, like cockroaches in the daytime, or snakes on plane, like in the movie Pulp Fiction. That row behind her moved behind me, taking up residency and kicking my seat until I finally had enough and got up, grabbed my things, and left the plane cause we arrived at the gate. The flight attendants were preoccupied with the innards of Ralph mucho, so my free water was nowhere in sight.

What're you gonna do, amiright? Nothing. Face the bumpy, rocky, final Frontier flight on a late Friday night into New York City. Was it worth it? Yeah, I had fun. Not on the flights, but I had fun. That ground stuff was cool. The air stuff not so much. Fly 'til you puke, that's my motto.

All's Faire in Love and 2018

As I rode back from my fourth day at a Renaissance Faire this year, I took great comfort in knowing what it feels like to be a nerd in high school. I never, in million years, intended to go to a Renaissance Faire even once this year, because except for the food, knick-knacks, games, comedy, dressing in costume, beer, and crazy old accents, it's really not for me. But, when the significant other that you love says that they are acting in one for two months over the summer, you say "How long?!?" and "Wait, I have to do this too?" Why?"

I've been to one before, but that was years ago on like a school trip. So excuse me if my memories from high school are a little fuzzy... what... am I on trial here? I remember it being fun and didn't I buy a top that you spin using rope? Or the mini chalkboard? One of those, definitely. Anyway, having been now, where I do remember it, it was even better. It really is a magical place.

Speaking of which, this leads me into my next point, segueing nicely from what was just said, I would like to do magic at a Faire. Hit me up for those medieval card tricks and cups and balls. I gotchu! I can make anything disappear, even an audience! (Oh brother, get this guy off stage...) I'm serious, though. You may ask how I would get out of my full time job and go do this? But just think about it? If I could get out of a full time job for 2 months, that would be the greatest escape act ever!!!

Here's what I'm trying to say: I appreciate Renaissance Faires a lot more now than I did when I was younger, which maybe is called growing up, but also is called my love of having fun. Cause that's what you do there. The turkey and beer makes a really good treat and the lovely performances and people dressed up make it fun. It's like Comic Con, but old timey British. Brit Con. Don't get that confused with Bit Coin, although both are full of stock characters (does that joke land??) Well, nothing left to say except "God Save the Queen!"