Monday, October 26, 2009

PBenj's Movie Review: Paranormal Activity's scary movie season!  Last night, I went to see the movie 'Paranormal Activity' with my good friend Ray Pankey.

I do love a good fright!

Now, don't worry...there are NO spoilers here, as I am not one to give away movie endings!  I want you all to enjoy and experience it for yourselves.

The feelings about this movie are pretty split, with opinions ranging from very positive to some pretty adamant, 'I did NOT like it AT ALL' comments.

Personally, I am giving it 2 thumbs up!

However, it took me a few minutes to come to that conclusion.  The movie is one that made me think about it lonnnnng after leaving the theater.  Therefore, it was a success in my book!

So, Ray and I decided to go to an early evening showing, so that by the time we exited the theater it would be DARK and we could continue being spooked!

Ooh...exciting!  I forgot to bring a Boniva, so I was going to have to get through this on the bone-density that I currently had!

The movie wasn't too packed, which was nice.  The previews that were playing before the film started were all for other scary movies, and they were starting to scare the bejeezus out of me!  I was nervous that Ray was going to wet himself! 

For the most part, everyone was very well-behaved.

However, there was one couple down the aisle who decided to bring their kid!  WHAT THE....????

But isn't there always at least one clueless family?  The little boy looked like he was about 6-7 years old.  Way to go, genius family!  You probably just freaked out your kid enough so that he has nightmares for years to come.  Bravo to you!

The dad of this incredibly bright family also decided to answer his cell phone in the middle of the theater, and carry on a minute-long conversation during a part of the movie that was dead silent.  Either he was too stupid to know that you are supposed to turn your phones off, or he is just so incredibly selfish that he doesn't give a sh*t about others around him.  (I'm guessing it's both!)

Besides this specific family, it was a great experience!

The movie focuses on a young couple, Micah & Katie, who decide to videotape themselves around the clock in order to document paranormal activity in their house.  Katie has been haunted since she was a child.

Katie, as a character, gets annoying.
Micah is very nice eye candy!

The movie moves along at a very quick pace, and I found that I was never bored.  The entire thing was thoroughly entertaining! 

I went into this blind, not reading anything about it, or seeing any movie trailers.  Therefore, I was clueless as to what was going to happen.  From the beginning, they had me convinced that this was actual, real footage...but then there were a couple of scenes where the dialog was pretty cheesy and unrealistic, which made me realize that it was fiction. 

When the movie was over, there were a few people in the theater who let out groans, including the ridiculous lovely family down the aisle.  I even heard the dad say out loud, "Man, I want my money back..."

But for the most part, people were leaving the theater generally pleased. 

It amazes me that 'Paranormal Activity' was made on a budget of $15,000.  Yeah, that's right.  $15,000.
So far, the movie has grossed close to $70 million dollars!

I would say that the producers made a good investment!

Luckily, I was able to sleep soundly throughout the night last night, but that's because my apartment is already haunted, and I am used to the ghosts being silly...   :)

Either that, or the drinks I went out for after the movie kicked in!

So, in conclusion...

If you are looking for 'jumping out of your seats' thrills, then this movie isn't for you.  However, if you like that eerie, freaky, spookiness of a movie, similar to the Blair Witch Project, then you will really enjoy this film!

You will remain thoroughly entertained throughout the entire film.  Therefore, whether or not you like the ending or not, you will have a great movie-going experience. 

And just my humble opinion.

Friday, October 23, 2009

You can stand under my UMBRELLA-ella-ella....

Have you ever wanted to form an opinion about something, but just can't?  I have found a topic that I am kind of stumped about:  Oversized Umbrellas.

I know...that sounds like silly talk, but hear me out.

Walking down the busy downtown Chicago sidewalks on a sunny day can be annoying at times.  All those people...walking slowly, walking in all directions, coming at you from the left and the right.

But on a rainy day, it's a different story; having to dodge everyone's umbrellas.

Then inevitably, there is always someone coming right at you with a HUMONGOUS umbrella.  As much as you try to go around it, there is nowhere to go...and usually the person holding it doesn't give a rat's ass whether or not they take out your eye as it smacks you in the face!

Therefore, I sort of came to the conclusion that it is very rude to have these over-sized monstrosities while walking down a busy sidewalk!

(Come on, my fellow friends who work in a larger city with heavy foot traffic...You know what I'm talking about, right?  Back me up here!)

But after mumbling under my breath for a minute about how inconsiderate those people are, I think to myself, "Wow, it would really be nice to have one of those..." 


I do live in the Windy City afterall, and sometimes I end up just using my own small umbrella as a shield, holding it out in front of me to charge against the wind & rain coming straight at me!  One of those supersized umbrellas could really keep me dry!

But no...I can't see myself getting one.  Mostly because I know that I would feel so guilty walking down the street with it, probably constantly moving it out of the way for people, apologizing non-stop to everyone that I hit. 

Either that, or I would hold it up SO HIGH in the air so that people can walk under it as they pass, that it wouldn't be effective anymore.

I believe they are called 'Golf Umbrellas,' not 'downtown Umbrellas.'  Which means that they are probably best suited for big, open spaces, like a golf course.  Or a park.  Or the suburbs.

Hey suburbanites, I know you are used to comfort and luxury in everything you do, but please LEAVE your big umbrellas in the burbs.  Thanks!

So, if I did come to some kind of conclusion to my intelligent thought nonsense and rambling here, I guess it would probably be that Oversized Umbrellas are fine in the appropriate places for them.  Or, if you are sharing it with a few other people.

You could just have 2 umbrellas.  A smaller, more appropriate one for the city, and then a larger one for your own neighborhood.

Or a parasol.

You know what i really want, is one of those clear umbrellas that come down on the sides really far.  Like a bubble.  That would be perfect.  Where can I get one of those?

So, what do you think?  Have you formed an opinion about this? 
Am I incoherently digressing again?    :)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Everybody, KARAOKE!

Last night, I attended the birthday party for one of my favorite people in the whole world, Rich Moen!  We decided to spend the evening singing Karaoke tunes and let me tell you...we had a blast! 

Once the singers started performing, and the drinks started flowing, everyone turned into a rockstar!  HAHA!

I am a big fan of karaoke.  I like doing a type of activity that allows people to let their guard down and just be silly!  It's SO much better than just going to a bar and standing around...

For a ham like me, getting up to sing a little ditty is something I am very comfortable with and need no coaxing.  HAHA!  But I realize that for others, it's not so easy...worrying about what others will think of them.  Will they look foolish?  Will people laugh at them?  Will they pick the wrong song?

As Randy Jackson & Paula Abdul like to say...Song choice is a BIG factor!

Well...Below is a Guide that i think you will find to be pretty much spot on! So, whether you are a rookie karaoke-er, or a seasoned veteran, this list can maximize your karaoke impact!  :)


1) The cherished (80s) rock songs - I stuck 80s in there because there are so many good ones from that era. Bon Jovi, Guns n' Roses (though be careful with GnR cause some of their songs are LOOONG), and hair bands like Poison or Def Leppard are great karaoke fun. Who doesn't like to hear "Pour Some Sugar on Me" in a bar? These work so well because we hardly hear these songs anywhere else these days.

2) The silly, yet fun pop songs - These work well because they're songs people secretly enjoy--and you might be surprised what people secretly enjoy. "Living La Vida Loca" by Ricky Martin is one that the crowd actually really enjoys. Other good ones are Ace of Base "The Sign," Spice Girls "Wannabe," George Michael "Faith," "Lady Marmalade" (for true singers) and if you're feeling really brave...try Wham "Wake Me Up Before You Go Go
3) The successful duets - Duets are tough. Most people avoid them, but there are a few that everyone loves. "Love Shack" by the B52s and "Summer Nights" from Grease will never lead you astray.
4) Journey - Everybody loves Journey. Even if you won't admit it, you love Journey. HOWEVER, and I stress this, don't try to sing Journey if you can't hit those notes or if you're tone deaf. The crowd will drown you out if you can't sing, but Journey is much more karaoke fun if the person up there can actually sing. The obvious ones are "Don't Stop Believing" and "Faithfully," but I've also seen some great renditions of "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)." Pick a song, any song. They're all bomb.
5) The songs everybody knows but forgot about - Bringing a song back that used to be popular is always fun. "Semi Charmed Life" by Third Eye Blind, old Elton John like "Crocodile Rock," or songs like Natalie Imbruglia's "Torn" can work well because people go, Oh yeah, I remember this song!! They make good karaoke songs for the nostalgia factor.

6) The girl anthems - Here you've got your female empowerment songs, and a few that are just awesome. Try some Tragic Kingdom-era No Doubt, Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats" (which is vastly becoming a crowd favorite and is the only acceptable "country" song to sing).
- Side category: The 80s girl anthem - Pat Benatar's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot," anything by Blondie, Cyndi Lauper, or if you really can't think of anything else to sing, Joan Jett's "I Love Rock 'n Roll."

7) The old school hits - These are the old dude favorites. But no matter your age, these songs are always good. Kicking it old school is always appreciated - Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong, or "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" are a few faves

8) The left field crowd pleasers - If you can sing for real and you're feeling crazy.... try some crowd pleasers most people wouldn't think to sing for karaoke. Like "Let's Get it On" by Marvin Gaye. Or some James Brown. Something that requires crooning or massive singing skills.

9) The dancing songs - These are the songs that are going to make people get up and dance. ABBA is great for this. Britney can also work, but it depends on the song. "Baby Got Back" is also a dancing gem, but make sure you know the words.

10) Anything singalongable - This covers any songs that people like to sing to. Weezer is a crowd pleaser, Madonna and Billy Idol too. People always enjoy "Sweet Home Alabama" too. Even though it's overdone, it's a fun singalongable song.


1) The songs EVERYBODY sings - If I never hear "Sweet Caroline," "Margaritaville" or "Brown Eyed Girl" ever again, it would be too soon.

2) The songs nobody knows - If your friends go "Huh?" when you mention an artist or song, it's probably not a good one for karaoke. Why it's even in the book is beyond me. People will be bored if they don't know the song you're singing. Old dudes are infamous for pulling these out.

3) No long slow songs - The biggest problem with slow songs is that they're painfully long. An old guy favorite in this category is Elton John's "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me." Anything with a similar tempo should be avoided, especially if it's 8 minutes long.

4) No more sad songs - Anything about dying or death or songs that make people cry should not be brought into a karaoke platform. Once, a girl sang "I Will Remember You" by Sarah McLachlan and then immediately went into "Goodbye to You" by Michelle Branch as her next choice. If you're depressed, don't sing karaoke.

5) The awkwardly sexual song - While "Baby Got Back" is fun*, don't think sexual songs fly with karaoke crowds. Once you get into "The Bad Touch" by the Bloodhound Gang or "I'll Make Love to You" by Boyz II Men, people start to feel uncomfortable (we actually sang the latter was AWKWARD). Another one to avoid is "I Wanna Sex You Up" by Color Me Badd. It's not funny- just awkward.
* This song is best sung when everybody's had a few drinks in them.

6) The rap songs, by someone who can't rap - This doesn't happen very often (most people know better), but I've seen it. Basically: White girls should not try to sing Snoop Dogg. I'm not being racist; I say this based on the fact that most white girls cannot rap. White guys also should not try Eminem songs. Just because he's white does not mean that you, normal white guy, can rap. Leave the rapping to the rappers.

7) Songs that are plain annoying - My favorite in this category is LEN's "Steal My Sunshine." When the song title comes on the screen, the audience GROANS. Groans. No joke. Stay away from songs people just don't like. Aqua's "Barbie Girl" would be another groan-inducing one. Creed and Nickelback also go in this category.

8) The 10 minute long song - I'm talking to you, "Bohemian Rapsody" and "Thriller." It sounds like a good idea because people like these songs, but trust 7 minutes, people are bored. Sure they'll sing along for a while. But these songs are Just. Too. Long. And absolutely no "Freebird" or "Hotel California" either!!

9) Songs with very little lyrics or long instrumental sections - Usually the only time this happens is after the 10th sake bomb, but it's a good reminder to know what you're singing before you put it in. Songs like "Tequila!" should never be karaoke'd. This also applies for songs like "Paradise City" by's got a forever and ever instrumental section right in the middle, making it a weird song for karaoke. "Love is a Battlefield" by Pat Benatar...same thing. Listen to your karaoke songs before you hit the bar.

So there you have it. 
Hopefully this will help you next time you are looking through those books, trying to decide on what to sing for your big number.

I want to give a shout out to M. Rose, funny writer and creator of this list, for making me laugh and providing excellent insight into effective karaoking.  This girl rocks and knows what she is talking about!  She wrote a really funny list of songs that work and songs NOT to sing.  Great job, girl!

Now everyone...go out there and knock their socks off!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Hopefully, This Will Make You Feel Smarter...

A blonde and a redhead went to the bar after work for a drink, and sat on stools watching the 6 O'clock news.  A man was shown threatening to jump from the Brooklyn Bridge, and the blonde bet the redhead $50 that he wouldn't jump.

Sure enough, he jumped, so the blonde gave the redhead $50.  The redhead said,

     "I can't take this, you're my friend."

But the blonde insisted saying,

     "No. A bet's a bet."

Then the redhead said,

     "Listen, I have to tell you that I saw this on the 5 O'clock news, so I can't take your money."

The blonde replied,

     "Well, so did I, but I didn't think he would jump again!"


Two blondes were in a parking lot trying to unlock the door of their car with a coat hanger.
First Blonde:

     "I can't seem to get this door unlocked!"

Second Blonde:

     "Well you better hurry up.  It's starting to rain and the top is down!"


A blonde asked someone what time it was, and they told her it was 4:45.  The blonde, with a puzzled look on her face replied,

     "You know, it's the weirdest thing.  I have been asking that question all day, and each time I get a different answer."


A person went into the office kitchen one morning and found a blonde girl painting the walls.  She was wearing a new fur coat and a nice denim jacket.

Thinking this was a little strange, he asked her why she was wearing them rather than old clothes or an overall.

She showed him the instructions on the tin,

     "For best results, put on two coats."


One day, while a blonde was out driving her car, she ran into a truck.

The truck's driver made her pull over into a parking lot and get out of the car.

He took a piece of chalk and drew a circle on the pavement.  He told her to stand in the middle and not leave the circle.

Furious, he went over to her car and slashed the tires.

The blonde started laughing.

This made the man angrier so he smashed her windshield.

This time the blonde laughed even harder.

Livid, the man broke all her windows and keyed the car.

The blonde is now laughing hysterically, so the truck driver asks her what's so funny.

The blonde giggles and replies, "When you weren't looking, I stepped out of the circle three times!"

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hold on to your phone, chronic phone-loser!

As I was lounging around watching some football yesterday afternoon, I decided to log in to facebook to see what everyone was up to? 

Sure enough...I saw a certain facebook status that I seem to see every weekend:  Lost my phone, please send me your numbers!

Aww, that really sucks for that person.

You know that you see this same status update too!  It has become all too familiar!

Another one I've seen WAY more than should be is "dropped my phone in the urinal...need new one." 

WTF???  Why are you talking on your phone or texting while peeing? 

I mean, I would absolutely HATE to lose my cellphone, as it has so much information on it.  My email, my calendar, my contacts...  Gotta hang on to that tightly!

But I do understand.  In some moment of weakness, whether it is due to an overabundance of alcohol or not, these people let down their guards for a second.  And POOF...missing phone.

I am sympathetic to you, as we all have misplaced things here or there.  We are only human, right?

However, I find it difficult to feel any sympathy for those of you who are constantly losing your phones.  I'm sorry, but come on already!

Yeah, i said it!

We all know them.  "Lost my phone again...I don't know why this keeps happening."

Ummm...could it be that:
1) You are completely irresponsible, and don't think before you do things?
2) Or...maybe you're just a drunk who can't control yourself?
3) Or...maybe you don't use your own hard-earned money to pay for your personal belongings, so you don't value things as much?


I happen to be friends/acquaintances with a few chronic offenders.  And pretty much, they can be easily associated with at least one of the 3 qualifications I had just listed.  Or, all of them...

When I go out and know I will be drinking generously, there are 4 things that I place on my body to make sure that I have them with me at ALL times:  My wallet, my phone, my house keys, and my chapstick.  (the chapstick is a personal addiction of mine, so you can disregard that one if it doesn't apply to you.  he he...)

NOT inside a coat pocket, because that gets taken off and set down.
NOT held in my hands.
NOT given to someone else to hold for me.

But actually 'on my person.'  In my pockets, no matter how bulky they may look. 
At least then I have the peace of mind that they are there!

I want to help you.  Because I love you...and I know how awful I would probably feel if I lost my phone,

So, if you are someone who loses your cellphone quite frequently, then give this a shot!  Make the checklist, and run through it a couple times a night to make sure you still have everything! 

Then, go have another drink, with the serenity & tranquility that ALL is right in the world!  :)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Free Couch! - Emails from an Asshole



From Me to Juan:

Hi There!  You can have my couch if you are still looking for one.  Let me
know!  You can either email me or call me.

From Juan to Me: 




From Me to Juan:


The couch can seat three normal people, or two fat people.  I don't have any
pictures because my camera is broken.  (I didn't realize it was in the garbage
disposal when I turned on the switch.)

I am getting rid of the couch because my grandfather passed away on it a
few weeks ago.  Every time I look at it, I am reminded of it, and I would rather
it not be in my apartment anymore.  Just give me a call and we can set up a
time for you to come get it.

From Juan to me:


From me to Juan:

The couch is still in very good condition.  There are only a few minor
blemishes, but you can't really notice them.  There is a little bit of blood on
the couch and a pool of blood on the middle cushion from when my
grandfather shot himself.  I tried cleaning it with club soda, but it had really
soaked into the fabric by the time I found him.  The blood dried though, and
now it is kind of a brown-ish color that I think actually makes the couch look
better.  It is a brown couch anyway so you can't even notice it.

From Juan to me:


From me to Juan:

Why not?  I thought we had a deal.  Is it because of the blood?  You can just
turn the cushion over and nobody will have any idea. 

From Juan to me:


From me to Juan:

Don't put words in my mouth.  I never said it was covered in blood - it just has
a little blood here and there.

I did forget to mention, I believe my grandfather defecated on the couch
when he died (the paramedics say it happens all the time.)  I cleaned most of
that up, but once again the couch is brown so you won't even notice it.

And this probably isn't a big deal, but he also had a cigar in his mouth and
when he died it set part of the couch on fire.  On the plus side, it did burn
away some of the old urine stains that the couch had on it.  The couch no
longer smells like urine.  It kind of smells like a barbecue, which is great if you
love barbecues.

From Juan to me:


From me to Juan:

Why would you waste my time if you weren't going to take the couch?  I'm sick
of having to deal with people like you.  I'm just trying to get rid of a decent
couch, for free, and still people are wasting my time.

From Juan to me:


From me to Juan:

Would you be interested in the grill I am selling then?  It is a CharCooker 500
and has three burners.  Two of them don't work because my grandfather shot
at the grill when he was drunk, but the middle burner still cooks food really
well.  I'm asking $400 for it, and for you, I'll throw in a couch for free.

From Juan to me:


Emails from an Asshole!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Please Don't Make Me Listen to That...

How do I say this in the nicest way possible?  Hmmm...
I don't want to come across as mean, or rude, but,


There.  I said it!

I know, I know...That makes me sound evil, but I'm sorry!  I hate the sound of children singing.  Always have.  Even when I was a kid, I couldn't stand it!

Please, Don't ask me to listen to your child belt out a number.  There is nothing worse than when a co-worker or friend makes the whole room stop for us to listen to the new song that Susie learned.  I know, Susie is the cutest little girl in the whole world, but I would rather listen to nails on a chalkboard than to hear that amazing frail little voice sing the entire Star-Spangled Banner.

Seeing a kid perform in a Talent Show?  UGH!
Kids Karaoke?   The WORST!
Going to a musical for kids under Junior High Age?   OH GOD NO!!!

Now...i honestly don't mind it when a kid is in his/her room, singing a random song about 'pooping their pants' or something.  I can handle that...  and it's kind of funny.  :)

But listening to a child perform?  Are you kidding me?

Hey Ellen, Oprah, Jay Leno and whoever else puts child musical stars on their talk shows...  I know that you are trying to win over the mothers as fans, so I get it.  However, I can't help but wonder whether you are ready to claw out your eyeballs too when these young'uns are booked as guests on your shows.

Even when a 9 year-old DOES have a great, mature-sounding voice for their age, they still don't have a clue what they are singing about!  When a 6 year-old girl gets up on stage and belts out an emotional anthem like "All By Myself" or "I Will Always Love You" and smiles the entire way through it, oh God...where is the remote control?!?

I would love to believe that this 6-year old has lived enough life to feel the emotions that they are singing about. 

Have you heard of "Kidz Bop?"  It's this album full of modern-day radio hits, but they are sung by children (I guess children like hearing other children sing.)  You gotta love the children's version of "When I Grow Up" by the Pussycat Dolls!

They also do a version of "Just Dance" by Lady Gaga.  There is just something a little sick and twisted about hearing a adolescent sing the line, "wish I could shut my playboy mouth..."

Look.  There is always a chance that I will have a child of my own one day, and I will be SO in love with him/her that I will learn to enjoy the over-pronunciated lyrics and the Britney Spears imitations. 

But, I doubt it.

And when my child would perform in school musicals or holiday performances, I would definitely be there to support him/her, but inside I will probably be wishing that my kid had helped design the set or worked on lighting or something...

By the way...Did I tell you that I love YOUR child though?   :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

My Tivo is Changing...Fall TV Report!

Hello to you!

Whenever the fall television season starts up, I always add a bunch of new shows to the TiVo to see if I will fall in love with them and want to continue watching, or whether they will be a big waste of time. 

In the past few weeks, my TiVo has been backed up, as I record more than I have time to watch!  However, this past week I have been able to get completely caught up, thanks to all the 'lounging' time I have done a couple of days before running the Chicago Marathon and a couple days after while recovering.

Speaking of the marathon, I was able to finish the entire thing running!  YAY!  Even though I was cramping up pretty bad in the last couple of miles, I still finished with a pretty decent time of 3:38:25.  YES! 

But anyway...

Here are my thoughts on television this season...

I should first start with my FAVORITE new shows:

Modern Family - ABC
Cougar Town - ABC
FlashForward - ABC

I guess ABC wins, in my opinion, for best new programming!  All three of these shows have me hooked!  Modern Family and Cougar Town are so ridiculously funny, the kind of laugh out loud funny that I want from a sitcom.  And there is no laugh track that tells you when you are supposed to laugh, letting you decide what's really funny!  OOH...I love these shows!

FlashForward is a great mystery.  Very fast moving, and the characters are engaging.  The individual storylines mesh very well into the big picture.  I can't wait for this week's episode!


Shows that I have REMOVED from my TiVo...

I was excited about the remake of Melrose Place.  The very first episode was great.  I liked the idea behind the murder mystery, but then the second and third episodes were dull.  They were so slow moving, and I found that I really just didn't care about any of the characters.  Therefore, DELETE.

Gossip Girl - Now, i know that some of you are ready to shoot me in the head over this, but I've just lost interest.  I do enjoy the show, but I guess I just got tired of watching people make such irresponsible choices, and then act like they didn't know the consequences were coming. DELETE.

Heroes - I used to really like Heroes.  I was attached to the first season, even though it would get slightly confusing at times.  However, since then, the show has gotten WAY confusing...and there is too much going on, with too many characters.  And, if you miss a week, then you might as well just hang it up trying to get caught up.  DELETE.

America's Next Top Model - I used to enjoy this show in the past, but Tyra and her group of weirdos have made this unwatchable for me.  None of the models who win ever become 'top' models, and when I heard that this season was all girls under 5'7, please...gimme a break!  DELETE.


Shark Tank on ABC is a great new show!  I am addicted to watching people come in with their ideas and either getting shot down, or walk away with the potential to make millions!  LOVE IT!

The Real Housewives of Atlanta - I can't get enough!  Don't be Tardy for the Party!  Enough said...

Glee - I really enjoy how lighthearted 'Glee' is.  Such a feel-good show, that finds a way to touch at your emotions.  I like it...I can't say that I 'love' it yet, but i really do enjoy the mindless television fun.


Desperate Housewives - I STILL love the gals on Wisteria Lane, and if you stopped watching, then you missed an excellent last season...and a great beginning to this season!

Ghost Whisperer - Yes...I do love me some ghost mysteries!  Jennifer Love Hewitt is beautiful, and even though there is an underlying storyline, you don't have to follow it.  You can jump in whenever you want for a good scare.

Brothers & Sisters - The disfunctionality of the Walker family is what gives them their charm.  Nobody has a perfect family, no matter how hard you may try to make it look like you do.  And...Sally Field can play any role and make it totally believable.

Project Runway - Lifetime, you have done a great job.  Designers, Make it work!

And of course, some DISAPPOINTMENTS:

So You Think You Can Dance - Enough with the auditions already!  Geesh.  I feel like we are going on our 5th week of auditions.  They are NOT that exciting.  I wish the show would actually just choose the dancers and start the season with the Top 20.  OR...just skip the auditions altogether and have a TOP 25, or 30.  I would rather watch that then more auditions.  I have to admit, its not so bad in the summer when there isn't much else on.  I don't like SYTYCD as a fall program.

CBS as a network - Hey CBS, you are not fooling any of us!  Your shows are all the same!  How many crime dramas can a person take?  Your whole programming is CSI, CSI Miami, NCIS, NCIS Los Angeles, Cold Case, Criminal Minds, Numbers, etc....   Gimme a break!  It's basically all the same shows with different lead characters.


V - I remember watching the original miniseries back when I was a kid.  It scared me, yet intrigued me.  I really hope that ABC does justice to the remake, which starts up in a couple of weeks.

I guess ABC wins this year, for me!  I would say that the majority of the shows I TiVo are on this network. 

But of course...all of this is just my humble opinion.  

Monday, October 12, 2009

Things to do at a Drive-Thru Window

1. Say "Amen" after you say your order.

2. Order a large cheese pizza.

3. Terminate the order by saying, "Remember, we never had this conversation." and then drive off.

4. Tell the order taker a rival fast food place is down the street and you're going with the lowest bidder.

5. When you take your order say "surprise me!"

6. Spell out your order.

7. Change your accent every three seconds.

8. Ask to rent a burger.

9. After ordering say "and once your done throw it out and do it again cuz you won't get it right the first time!"

10. Start your order with "I'd like. . . ". A little later, slap yourself and say "No, I don't."

11. Ask if there is a warrantee on your meal.

12. Order with the radio turned up at full blast.

13. Ask if you get to keep the bag. When they say "yes" start crying with happiness and call your whole family to tell them the big news.

14.  Imitate the order taker's voice.

15. Amuse the order taker with little-known facts about country music.

16. Ask if they have any idea what is at stake with this meal.

17. Doze off in the middle of the order, catch yourself, and say "Where was I? Who are you?"

18. Ask for the guy who took your order last time.

19. Take a picture of the person at the window.

20. Hand the person at the window a box of pizza and say, "that will be $7.95

21. If he/she suggests anything, adamantly declare, "I shall not be swayed by your sweet words."

22. Start the conversation with "My order at McDonalds, Take 1, and ... action!"

23. When they repeat your order, say "Again, with a little more OOMPH this time."

24. When you'ge given the price, say "Ooooooo, that sounds complicated. I hate math."

25. When they say "Will that be all?", snicker and say "We'll find out, won't we?"

26. Wear a detective suit and pass the person at the window a briefcase and then drive off.

27. Don't say a word.  Just stare.

28. Add "Mc" to the beginning of everything you say.

29. Ask for chicken nuggets without the chicken.

30. Ask them how many fries do you get in a Large.

31. When you get to the food window make sure you are facing directly forwards, say nothing, have a creepy grin on your face, and then slowly rotate your head to face the server. Take the food calmly, slowly rotate your head back, still grinning, then drive off

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Marathon MADNESS!

Ok, I apologize for the lack of posts this week.  However, I am very grateful to all of you who noticed, and have been asking me for a new posting.  :)

I guess it's because I've only got one main thing on my mind this week...and that's REDEMPTION!

It's like when an opponent beats you. all you are focused on is coming back and whipping his ass!  That's my relationship with the Chicago Marathon this year.

Last year, the 80 degree temps kicked my butt, causing me to cramp up and dehydrate.  Even though I still finished it, I am focused on kicking some major marathon booty this year!!!

And by kicking it's ass...I mean, hoping to wobble across the finish line eventually.  hahahaha!

Did you know that hottie Ryan Reynolds ran the New York Marathon last year?


They say that the first half of any race is run with one's body, and the second half with the mind.  I am DEFINITELY counting on this being true this year, as I am not sure how long my legs are going to hold up!

So, if you see me around the end of the race, and I look delusional...then please feel free to slap me silly, and snap me back into it!  LOL!

However...there is NO CHANCE of me quitting!  They would have to drag me off the course unconscious...and then some!

'Paul...why do you run these long races?', many of you have asked....

Well, I have to be careful discussing this because it could come across sounding very pretentious.  I started off thinking that if I could run long distances that I could always be in this Zen state, able to bring peace to the world!  Sure, i do feel like it has made me a better person, but in many ways I am still the same old punk that I've always been.

I realize that to many of you, running is a miserable 2-3 miles motivated only by fitting into those size 29 waist jeans!

I COMPLETELY understand that!  I love pizza.  I love ice cream...i don't want to get fat.  Isn't that why many of us started in the first place?   :)
I also run because:
     - My legs are starting to look really nice!
     - I have a subscription to Runner's World magazine. (might as well put it to use...)
     - Ryan Reynolds did it. (B'okay!)
     - My close friend Tony does.  He's really nice.
     - Buying new shoes every few months makes me really happy
     -I like regularly seeing that old man who sits by Montrose harbor and waves at me.

But also because:
     - Who doesn't want to do something extraordinary?
     - It helps me to forget about what a loser I really am.
     - Once you cross the finish line, it can't be retracted.  You officially made it!


Here's a list of the other people that I know for sure are running the 2009 Chicago marathon as well.  Perhaps you know them:

Tony Verzino
Ben Zumsteg
Daniel Tabib
Jake Stigers
Michael Newcomb
Sarah Altman
Michael Mowers
Aaron DeWinter Williams
Josh Bray

We would all love it if you came out to support us.  So, if you are free...the race starts at 7:30 downtown, and will be winding through 29 different Chicago neighborhoods.  Click here for the course map. 

There is a post-race party with food, drinks and live bands, so if you would like to meet any of us at the finish line, that would RULE!

If you aren't able to make it to watch the race, you can still track any of us by getting updates either through email or as text messages of where we are on the course when we hit certain splits.  Click here to sign up for runner tracking.

3 days to go...Let's do this!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Sweet Videos to Brighten your Monday!

Hello and welcome to a new week!

Every once in a while, a nice, fun, light video is all you need to see to help brighten your day!  So, in order to start your week out on the right foot, I have 2 WONDERFUL videos for you. 

You may think they are normal 'whatever' videos, but when you are done watching them...I promise that you will be smiling a little bigger on the inside!  :)

Video #1

I know that many of us are sick of hearing, "I Gotta Feeling" by the Black Eyed Peas, but you will like and appreciate all the hard work that these students put into making this video. 

Video #2

It's funny how something so stupid as watching a biker High-Five people who are hailing cabs, can really make your day!  This video is so dumb that its great. 


Friday, October 2, 2009

Are You Feeling Smart Yet?

Question:  If you could live forever, would you and why?
Answer:  "I would not live forever, because we should not live forever, because if we were supposed to live forever, then we would live forever, but we cannot live forever, which is why I would not live forever."
Miss America 1995
Heather Whitestone

"Whenever I watch TV and see those poor starving kids all over the world, I
cant help but cry.  I mean I'd love to be skinny like that, but not
with all those flies and death and stuff."
Mariah Carey

"Smoking kills.  If you're killed, you've lost a very important part of your life,"
(During an interview to become spokesperson
for federal anti-smoking campaign.)
Brooke Shields

"If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure."
former President
Bill Clinton

"Half this game is ninety percent mental."
Philadelphia Phillies Manager
Danny Ozark

"It isn't pollution that's harming the environment.  It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it."
ex-Vice President
Al Gore

"Can I Get a Boniva?"
"Don't Threaten ME with a good time!"
Blogger Extraordinare
Paul Benjamin

"I've never had major knee surgery on any other part of my body."
University of Kentucky Basketball Forward
Winston Bennett

"We don't necessarily discriminate.  We simply
exclude certain types of people."
ROTC Instructor
Colonel Gerald Wellman

"The word 'genius' isn't applicable in football.  A genius
is a guy like Norman Einstein."
NFL Quarterback
Joe Theisman

"Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest
crime rates in the country."
Washington DC Mayor
Marion Barry

"That lowdown scoundrel deserves to be kicked to death
by a jackass, and I'm just the one to do it."
A congressional candidate in Texas

"Your food stamps will be stopped effective
March 1992 because we received notice that
you passed away.  May God bless you.  You may
reapply if there is a change in your circumstances."
Greeneville, South Carolina
Department of Social Services

Thursday, October 1, 2009

I Can Almost See It...

As many of you know, I injured my knee a couple of weeks ago.  Officially, it is a lateral ligament sprain.   Many of you also know that I am a runner, and I am planning on running the Chicago Marathon in less than 2 weeks.

This injury couldn't have come at a worse time. 

I have been busy, focusing on rehabilating my knee...constantly icing it, 'BenGay'ing it, wearing a brace, stretching it, doing the proper therapy exercises, etc...

Rehabbing is harder than actually training for the marathon!  Geesh!

Every time I apply pressure on my right leg, I feel the pain.  I am seeing some improvement; however, I am now down to 10 days away.  Ten days til the marathon...and I am starting to lose hope. 

I have been very patient, and it's been hard.  I want to get out there and start running again, to prove I can do it.  But i know I shouldn't. 

I'm not giving up hope completely.  I am still planning on completing this marathon!  It may take me forever, and I may have to walk most of it, but I haven't trained all summer for nothing.

Last year, I learned a lot about myself while training for the marathon. 
This year, in the last couple of weeks I am learning even MORE about myself having to train through this...

In the words of the great philospher...Miley Cyrus:

"Ain't about how fast I get there.  Ain't about what's waiting on the other side...
It's the Climb."

I'm sure that many of you are thinking, "Big Deal, Paul.  It's just another race..."

To some people, it may be.  But not to me. 

You see, I started running a few years back because I was dealing with bouts of depression.  When I would start to feel pretty low, I would go for a run, and then it seemed like I could solve all of my toughest problems in my head. 

Running releases endorphins.  I know that running has kept me sane, kept me going.

Two years ago, I made a goal for myself that I would be able to complete a marathon.  I did it last year...and in the process I discovered a newfound confidence, a self-worth that I didn't have before.  It has become my therapy...

So, you can imagine how awful these past 2 weeks have been, not being able to run at all.  I am pretty discouraged, yet have tried to hang on to some hope that my knee will heal itself.

I know it will heal eventually...but I am running out of time.  10 days to go...

"I can almost see it. That dream I'm dreaming, but
There's a voice inside my head saying, you'll never reach it"

At this point, I am hoping for a miracle.

I grew up very religious, very spiritual, but i admit that I have sort of come to this conclusion in recent years that religion is all a bunch of baloney.  I don't really even know if I believe that there is a God anymore, and that the bible is full of bogus stories.

However, at this point, I am not above trying a little prayer.  If miracles are possible, then  I really hope that I get one...

So if you believe in miracles, or the power or prayer...can you please say a little prayer for my leg to heal?  I am trying to keep an open mind here.

I am really hoping that in the next 10 days, my knee heals up enough...and that my legs will be really fresh and I can still finish with a great time.  You never know...

Which means I CAN'T give up yet.  I will still keep rehabbing...I will still keep eating well and stretching...

I am Proving something to myself here!  Proving how strong I really am.  Proving that I can conquer adversity.

"The struggles I'm facing.  The chances I'm taking
Sometimes might knock me down, but...No I'm not breaking.

I may not know it, but these are the moments that
I'm gonna remember most
I've just gotta keep going"

Now, if you'll excuse me,  I need to apply some more BenGay...   :)