Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Rambling Man

SHARPENING: A pencil. A good ol' fashioned, #2 pencil. My co-worker, when asked what office supplies we need, told our assistant he wanted pencils and a sharpener. I asked for the same. They arrived on Monday and I've seen a real lift in morale. I have it tucked behind my ear and my dress-shirt sleeves are rolled up to the mid-forearm and it's awesome.

ANTICIPATING: The return of Lost. If American Idol ain't yer thing and you ain't readin' my famous spunkybean recaps, well, be sure to read EJ's Lost intro (posted today). Read it. Review it. Quiz your spouse. Forward the article to friends and family far and wide. Do it. Not because you love me, but because you love Lost.

ANTICIPATING, PART II: spunkybean-dot-com ...THE WEBSITE. A real, live, grown-up website. Wait 'til you see it. You'll think I'm big timey and all. You'll envy me. You will ...admit it. Wait 'til you see it. Just wait. To you, it'll look like a hundred other websites you already enjoy me'll look like the child I never had. Yes. I was intent on naming my next child "spunkybean."

BRAGGING: I have a new nephew 12th nephew to go against 8 nieces. It's awesome. He's awesome. I'm happy for my bro and sis-in-law. His name is Spencer. Cool name, huh?

BEGGING: Stick with me and my American Idol write-ups. These early episodes ...well ...nothing's going on. My superior musical knowledge, opinions, and shtick will really shine in about two weeks. Shine like Paula's greasy, hangover skin, it will.

Monday, January 28, 2008

My Brother and the Securty Guard

Curious as to what you're about to read? It's a conversation between my brother, a grocery store manager, and his rent-a-cop. The original conversation is here.
The DonniEgo Community Theatre Players
The Crazy Conversation II:

G= The Security Guard B = My Brother

G: Hey did you see that girl with all the holes in her jeans?
B: No.
G: Yeah, if she was in the mall she would get kicked out. You know we do the security for *something*- Mall, and that is against the rules. It is distracting to customers. We would kick her out; she would have to go home. It was on the news, too, that we kicked her out of the mall.
B: Oh.

(later that day)

G: Hey, Don's-Brother. Ya know that hand basket over there? I saw it just sitting there on the register
B: OK.
G: Yeah, it had a broken jar of applesauce in it. I went to pick it up and I was like, "WHOA!!!" And you know you could smell it and I got it on my hands.
(my brother walks away)

"Hey you know they say you can find anything on the internet."
- As observed by The Security Guard

Thursday, January 24, 2008

American Idol, Chuck x2, and Celebrity Apprentice

REPEATING: Myself. You know the drill ...'click' on over to s p u n k y b e a n .c o m New

read my review of last night's South Carolina auditions, laugh (or smile wryly), forward to your friends, call your Aunt, and do ten push-ups.

For those new to this shamelessness on my behalf, I landed a writing gig at a new pop-culture web-site called My assignment is writing about American Idol.

My fourth installment is here for your reading pleasure - it's better than yesterday, I promise. Last night we saw a virgin (big surprise), two fat siblings, and Paula looking darn good in her 4-inch open toe pumps. Kapow!

REMINDING: Chuck is on twice, tonight. Is it a good move for NBC to burn their last two new episodes of Chuck, tonight, with a Celebrity Apprentice (read Nickel Guy's incredibly funny reviews at spunkybean ...Ep 1, Ep 2, Ep 3) sandwiched in the middle? It must really suck to work at NBC and, when asked to boost Thursday night's line-up, all you can come up with is nerd-humor and Donald Trump. How long until the networks start looking like USA and TBS and just run Seinfeld for two hours straight each night?

Where was I? Oh, yes. Watch Chuck.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

It's American Idol Day

s p u n k y b e a n .c o m New!

Nothing new from me, today, here. Instead, I direct your attention to the fabulously spunky Same drill as last week, folks, and a million beany thanks to all of you who (a) read my articles last week, (b) commented on them, or (c) just clicked on them to humor me. I'll take it.

For those new to this shamelessness on my behalf, I landed a writing gig at a new pop-culture web-site called My assignment is writing about American Idol.

My third installment is here for your reading pleasure. Grab a cup of coffee (1/3rd caf, 2/3rd decaf in my case), put your phone on forward, read it, then walk around the office telling people about it. Or, as always, 'click' through so it looks like I generated alotta traffic. And then do it again, tomorrow.

Yours Idolly,
Don's Ego

Monday, January 21, 2008

Writing Bad

LAUDING: Breaking Bad on AMC. If I'd told you one-year ago, today, that by January 2008, two of my favorite shows would be on AMC, would you have said, (a) are you turning 67 this year, (b) you're crazy like a dacshund chasing a rabbit, or (c) would you have just thought it odd me making such a statement? Like, who cares says crap like that?

Next year, two of my favorite shows will be on The Oprah Network.

See ...I say things like that all the time.

Where was I? Ah, yes ...Breaking Bad. It's kinda weird to see Malcom-in-the-Middle's Dad playing a desperate, terminally ill meth-cooker, but he makes it work. His character is not much different than his Malcom's-Dad character - skittish, nervous, and on the verge of a complete crazy-man meltdown.

The premise, the characters, and the filming are, again, top-notch. Like Mad Men, I think AMC has another winner - if the writers ever stop striking, darn it! Or, I should say, if the nets and producers open their wallets!!! Pay those people and pay them now. I shudder to think what it's going to be like in about 10 weeks. I won't be well.

If you're reading this, it's not too late to get hooked on Breaking Bad. You only missed the season premiere and it airs again next Sunday and probably a half-dozen times throughout the week. Set your Tivo ...this show is great.

I'm never a fan of the wobbly cam, but it kinda works here.

AND LAUDING: Cloverfield. I know I'm the last person to actually be talking about this movie, but its a rare occasion that I get caught up in hype the likes of which surrounded this movie. I called my brother and we acted like we were back in h.s. as if it was essential that we see Cloverfield on its opening weekend. The camcorder-esque shooting of the entire movie didn't bother me and I liked this angle on the whole Godzilla-genre. Was there a monster? Yes. Was there running and screaming and buildings being smashed? Oh, yes. Was it cool? Totally. It's what going to the movie theater is all about. Big movie, big monster, big explosions, and big special affects - maybe some of the best since Lord of the Rings.

But, why am I writing about it ...I'll leave the juicy stuff to my fellow spunkybean writers ...Mr. B's review is here and a more in-depth look at the movie and JJ Abrams work will be along in the next day or two.

The biggest thing I took away from it was this nagging feeling that something actually happened in New York and I had just seen some incredible footage. It was meant to feel like people's personal footage we've all seen from 9/11, and I think the effect worked.

I thought the musical number right in the middle of the movie when they were walking on the train tracks was a bit zany and found it hard to believe anyone in that situation would start singing "Doo Wa Diddy", but I guess it was meant to ease the tension. It felt very forced.

ASKING: Why is everything I watched this weekend shot by non-steady cam or, as in the case of Cloverfield, a hand-held camcorder?

Who's excited for American Idol for four more hours this week, raise your hand!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

American Idol

Nothing to read here. But, lots to read at

My first American Idol column is there for your reading pleasure. I'll have to admit, it feels a little like wearing a new pair of shoes. I wrote feverishly and with great inspiration the last 10 weeks of Season 6 and it was easy because there were performances, guests, and voting. Writing for the slop-weeks and the auditions is a little different.

It's alot to read, I'll admit. But at least click through so it looks like I generated alotta traffic. Thanks. And then do it again, tomorrow.

Yours Idolly,
Don's Ego
p.s. leave a comment in the comments section ...its kind of a little competition going on over there, right now. :)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Skipping and Skipping

SKIPPING: The FedEx man brought my Blackberry 8830. A grown man shouldn't skip ...but I was. So much happiness in the world, today.

AND, SKIPPING: Not only is tonight the American Idol premiere, but upon my visit home at lunchtime I found roma tomatoes, cilantro, and peppers sitting on the counter along with two avocado. My wife stopped at the market, folks, and we're having a little Idol Viewing Party ...woo hoo! Salsa and guacamole will be prepared and will be consumed. Oh, yes ...Don also has a "Never Perfect Guacamole Recipe." Ask me about it.

PROMOTING: My good friend's photography business. I've linked his blog at the right for quite a while, now. I hope you're not going to tell me you didn't ever look at it ...if I have it linked here, it ain't for me. It's for you!!! I just want to make your lives better. Below is an example. He's based in Grand Rapids so check him out. Let him take pictures of you or something.

Today, Tonight, Tomorrow

GUSHING (TODAY): I woke up early this morning because I swore I heard the sound of reindeer hoofs on my rooftop. I looked out my window to see 2 inches of fresh snow, but my wondering eyes saw no sleigh or fat man in red. But I swear I could hear the faint sound of a FedEx airplane touching down somewhere in the Detroit area and I know what it's carrying.

This! My all new Blackberry 8830! The pain and suffering of the last 10-days is over and my company has decided to forgo fixing my old Blackberry and setting me up with this beauty. It's a "stylish way to get things done." Are you kidding me? How perfect. I'm stylish. I like getting things done. This is like my long lost twin. There's a tear in my eye.

PREPARING (TONIGHT/TOMORROW): For the big time. It's been a long seven months, but its back. American Idol. Tonight! I suffer for you people and I personally sat through three hours of pre-Idol coverage as televised by TV Guide Channel, E!, and some other cable network that seems to exist only to extend the brand of its network prime time shows. Tonight ...I watch. I listen. And America will be watching right along with me. Hopefully, tomorrow, they'll read what I have to say. I gotta admit, I'm a little nervous. I didn't start writing about Idol until the top-10, last year this is gonna be a bit different. I predict someone will put their hand by their ear as if they're wearing a headset favorite wanna-be-singer move ever.

DETOXING: From my uber-consumption of caffeine. My half-caff-half-decaff self-imposed intervention is going well. The first few days were a little foggy. I was irritable. It was the weekend and my family got the brunt of my DTs. But, this is going well. I hope my R.E.M.-sleep is getting better and when I come out on the other side that I'm better for it.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Lazy, Again

RELAYING: Sometimes things are too good to pass up. I like overhearing conversations, and this conversation courtesy of my brother is top-notch. My bro is a manager at a grocery store. He has a security guard and, as best I can tell, this security guard is like a real-life Janitor from Scrubs. I also gather he says "ya know" quite a bit.

Because my brother doesn't have a blog and because many people who read DonniEgo know my brother, and because this is a good bit of dialog, I'm taking it and publishing it. I apologize to my brother if he's been keeping solid notes of all his run-ins with crazy people and was going to write a book from said quotes. At least I could claim this was some good marketing, right?
The DonniEgo Community Theatre Players
The Crazy Conversation:

G= The Security Guard B = My Brother
G: Hey (brother's name), . I was wondering what kind of person would buy this book. . This guy, well dressed you know, oriental was looking at this book.
B: Oh.
G: He was, ya know, dressed well with one of those rings on from a college. He was looking through this book, ya know, like this. Ya know, when the person is intellectual, ya know how they turn the pages .
B: Yeah.
G: Yeah, I didn't want him to know I was watching him but, ya know, his hands were clean, not a working mans hands. I saw him looking at the ingredients on all the boxes, he was probably trying to keep on a diet. Probably a doctor, ya know ... ya know, thought the diet was in the genes? Ya know he was dressed real nice with a coat on and tie you think he might have been a doctor?
B: Maybe.
G: Yeah, ya know they say everything is in the genes ... your height, weight, cancer and even heart disease.
B: That's what they say.
G: Yeah. I was watching him read the book and now the book is still here, so I guess he didn't buy the book. Interesting to see what kind of people read these books, ya know, it's $30, but ya know he was well dressed and Oriental ... probably works in a hospital or something.
B: Yeah .
G: Ya know he had his hands well manicured and well dressed with his ring on probably from a college.
B: I don't know .
My brother hates this man but he tells me this is typical of many conversations he's had and the many more he anticipates having with Security Guard. With any luck, this can turn into some sorta DonniEgo serial.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I'm Going to Be Lazy Today

DECAFFEINATING: First, I'm a caff-head (TM). Like a crack-head or a coke-head, but for caffeine ...and for chocoloate chip cookies. The cookies ain't a prob. But, the caffeine, I see, is a huge problem. Allow me to explain.

My wife's company recently introduced a caffeinated carbonated beverage to help with your metabolism. It compliments their weight loss shakes and chews and is intended to curb your appetite a bit and give you a li'l extra pep for yer workouts. My wife asked me to look up how much caffeine is in a Mountain Dew or a Coke. Thanks to the internet, I found it in a jiffy.

Her sports drink has about 50 milligrams of caffeine. And here's some caff levels of some other bevvies...
  • Coke 35 mg
  • Diet Coke 47 mg
  • Mountain Dew 54 mg
Moving onto the sports drinks...
  • Red Bull 76 mg
  • Enviga 100 mg
  • Full Throttle 144 mg
  • Monster Energy 160 mg
  • SoBe No Fear 174 mg
And now I am not proud to admit I drink, at least, 6 or 7 cups of coffee each day - probably more like 8 or 9 cups, actually. So here's where my personal intervention begins...
  • Home brew (I brew and drink 30 oz of coffee each morning) 400+ mg (I'm low-balling)
  • Caribou, 12oz 200 mg
  • Starbucks Grande (which I'm known to drink right after lunch and throw in a depth charge, which is a shot of espresso and can add 50-75 mg) 300+ mg
Starting immediately, I'm going to begin ordering everything half-caff-half-decaff. It's a start. It must be done. The Mayo Clinic's website told me so...
"If you're like most adults, caffeine is a part of your daily routine. But more than 500 to 600 milligrams of caffeine a day, or about four to seven cups of coffee, can cause restlessness, anxiety, headaches and other problems. Know how much caffeine is in your diet. You may be consuming more than you think."
Hmmmm. 500 to 600 milligrams a day. Interesting. Yes. Oh! Not good. I'm at about 1300 milligrams of caffeine each day. And I'm 5'5" and 165.

So, I'll begin in earnest to curb my caffeine intake ...but I'll never give up my McDonald's and my chocolate chip cookies. NEVER!!!

: Someone forwarded me something and rather than forwarding onto everyone, I'm just linking it here. I'm always glad when I get things like this, none of the pictures are of my family. Cuz I'd hate if I got laughin' about a really good zinger at my expense.
List of the Day (click me)
Also, my local newspaper asked for a guest columnist to chime in each week on the contestants and the show. If ya know anyone ...

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

OK. This is it! Time to Put Up or Shut Up!

REITERATING: As I've said before ...the good thing about a blog is that you have a record of your goals and objectives. The bad thing about a blog is that you have a public record of your failures.

I've been talking about the scripts I'm writing. I even, actually, started writing them. And then I see this article:
This Guy + Your Script = ???
Well, there you go. Somewhere in New York City there's a guy, sipping red wine, smoking a cigarette and choking back disgust at the endless, uncreative piles of scripts he's being handed. Actually, he's bought 14, it seems. So they're not all hapless.
"Most writers don't want to be famous. Most of them don't dream of being rich. What they really dream about is telling their story. They put their heart on the page every day, and they want that story told."
Mr. Meistrich is sitting there, waiting for me. He'll give me a knowing smile as I stumble up to his booth and spill my pages all over the floor and scramble to rearrange them. He'll say something like, "Don't worry, bro. Just tell me your movie idea."

And that's how the greatest movie you've ever seen will find its humble beginnings.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

How is it Helping?

AMERICAN IDOL: Is in the batter's box. And for those who read my blog exclusively for the American Idol recaps each week during the long, cheesy seasons, I thank you. It is for this reason I'm now a full-time writer over at spunkybean. My first of 127 articles appears, today! I hope you read it. I hope you forward it to your friends. I hope you check back every week. I hope you add it to your RSS readers. I hope the addition of musical instruments doesn't completely ruin this show.

PIMPING: Vox Acerbus. Before I go any further, let me redirect you to Vox Acerbus. Do you loathe the U-scans as much as I do? You're not alone. When I see someone making great sense, I feel compelled to point it out.

ASKING: How are Stewart, Colbert, Letterman, O'Brien, and Leno helping the writer's cause? I realize each host dedicates an ample amount of time pledging support to the writers and their cause, and I understand there are camera men, directors, and producers whom these men all feel a certain amount of loyalty to and by coming back to work, the "talent" has ensured the staff all get paychecks and can pay for Christmas. I get that. But as entertaining as Conan and Colbert were, I'm not certain this is helping.

Plus, as I understand, many of the big shows are negotiating their own side deals which undermines the efforts of the Union.

Stewart did have the best "a-ha" moment (for me, anyway). He boldly (and sarcastically) showed a screen-cap of his show on iTunes and its $1.99 price tag. Huh? He explained that it was a shipping & handling charge. He pleaded with the public to understand it was the bare minimum required to deliver such convenience to us, the viewer. But of course it was the best point any one of the late-nighters has made ...why the $1.99? I have no problem with networks charging it ...the world is supply & demand. But the writers should have their hand in their two and get a few sheckles.

UPDATING: My new coffee grinder is quite nice. My morning coffee is simply wonderful.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Nothing Much to Say

AMAZING RACE: So much to say, so little time. Each week it seems I'm involved in a bit of an angry blog-off with the Queen and Nickel Guy. They'll have to beat me to the punch this week. I said I was bored and I got cab-driving in a foreign country, robot-fighting, and flower-smelling. Does that sound boring? The cab-driving was pretty good, but it still didn't send anyone over the edge of sanity's cliff. No one cried. No one threatened to quit. Bad Dad is trying to be a better father and person. TK continues to smuggle pot onto airlines and into and out of foreign countries - because I've never seen anyone remain to calm in all situations. Fun, fun, fun. Happy, happy, happy.

Though, looks like next week there is some snipping and snapping. And I think they have to wrestle with live tigers.

I wish.

RETURNING: American Idol is back in 8 days!!! Have I mentioned I'm writing for spunkybean? Well, then let me also mention my very own American Idol Preview will debut tomorrow morning. Don't worry ...I'll remind you.

ALSO RETURNING: Jericho (CBS) ...February 12th ...10pm. I like the Tuesday time slot. Doesn't interfere with my other Tivo commitments - assuming the writer's strike will be done, otherwise the 4-hours of Idol each Tuesday will be an issue.

REPLACING: The battery in my wife's athletic heart monitor. I mention this because I'm proud of her starting a boot camp (and scared for her at the same time). I also mention this because I got the batteries replaced at House of Watch Bands. Everyone working there was a caricature, and there was a dog wearing a diaper - the other two dogs were not wearing diapers. Yes. There were three dogs in this store. And ...2 parrots. And ...a giant fish tank.

ALSO REPLACING: My coffee bean grinder. And my coffee maker filters. I fully expect to be enjoying one of the best cups of coffee I've ever had 'round about 8pm tonight. All is good, now, but this morning was a rough start because I ended up having to grind my own beans using a knife and cutting board. I did not get the beans quite fine enough and the coffee was weak ...WEAK!!! (like this blog entry)

SPORTING: Sports shouldn't effect my mood, right? But it does. MSU struggled in their hoops win against Minnesota this weekend and I hear Nietzel's wrist is hurting. That'll mean very little to most reading this, but it sucks. Further, the Pistons looked pretty hapless against the Celts. At home, no less. Granted, we'd won 11-in-a-row (yes, I say "we" like I'm a member of the Pistons) and we did play the night before, but still. I was really hoping for a win so national headlines would be less about the Celtics and Boston and Boston and Boston. People hate Detroit and we're the butt of many jokes, but the nation should be rooting for us because we have a legit shot at keeping the Patriots, Red Sox, and Celtics from all winning championships in the same year.

You don't wanna see Ben Afleck's mug at all these events and either do I. You better pick a side, America.

SEEKING: Have I mentioned spunkybean? Oh ...right. Yes ...well ...we're looking for a sports authority. Sports is pop-culture and we could use someone for a weekly column. Do you know an out-of-work or would-be writer who is also sports buffs? Leave a comment here or email me.

: Something. Darn it. I had something really funny or insightful I thought of while sitting at a red light. So much for timing.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

New Year's Hesitations

I put my boxer shorts on backwards, this morning! How does a 34-year-old man do something like that? I think I'm picking up bad habits from my 3-yr-old ...he's prone to similar mistakes. What's that? No ...I wasn't drinking last night. Perhaps it's fitting given my backwards logic on resolutions in '08.

I guess the 3rd of January is about as long as you can go before making known your New Year's Resolutions. Here goes...

RESOLVING: I resolve to not make New Year's resolutions this year. Now, now, now ...that's not a cop-out. It's a real, honest non-resolution-resolution. Rather than make a list of resolutions mapping out my pending failures (which are all that resolutions tend to be, with me), instead, when I think of something I'd like to do, I'm going to do it.

I'd like to lose 10-pounds, for good. I'd like to have defined pectoral muscles. I'd like to be able to run 3-miles. 5-miles. Maybe even 10-miles. I'd like to listen to the complete, collective works of Bob Dylan. I'd like to read Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. I'd like to read Catch 22. But resolving on January 1st to do all these things is a recipe for failure, you see?

So, instead, I simply want to resolve to do things I want to do. It worked very well for me in the 2nd-half of '07. I wrote a reality show concept and pitched it to an actual Hollywood producer, I started writing on my blog more earnestly, I started writing two movie scripts and thought of a third, and I helped launch a website.

This morning I ate apple slices and a half-a-banana for breakfast. I hope I can commit to NOT hitting McDonald's or Jimmy John's at lunch - which I'm apt to do - and, instead, grab a salad and some granola.

If there's anything the 60+ self-help books have taught me over the past decade, it's this:
"Do or do not. There is no try." -Yoda
Yes, Yoda said it ...but it's as simply and accurately stated as the 15,000+ pages have attempted to say the very same things. These books all "try." The books "try" to motivate me and change me. I "try" to apply the principles. But in the end, the "try" is worthless. What I "do" is what matters.

So maybe that is my resolution ...I'll do more. I'll do more things in 2008 than I did in 2007.

LISTING: Some of the things I really hope to "do" follow:

* I'd like to do a better job at getting my money's worth from Netflix. I've had the same two movies in my possession for 2 months ...the wrong sequel of Pirates of the Carribbean and The Departed (EDIT: finally watched The Departed! Awesome. I want to call someone a "townie" or a "southie." Also, Mark Wahlberg stole that movie. He was awesome!)

* I'd like to be able to do 50 push-ups at one time.

* I'd like to start walking again ...this will be both good for me and for my dog - if she makes it. She had a slip and fall recently and is suffering with a back injury. Though I've never been a big fan of my dog, I'm sad to see her acting so old and in-pain.

* I'd like to learn about and listen to Bob Dylan.

* I'm going to create an internet hoax and forward it to everyone I know with the sole goal of having someone forward it back to me. Even better, have Snopes take the time to debunk it. I'm thinking of describing a new crime where criminals back up your dryer vent while you sleep, waiting for you to be unconscious, and then break in and steal your stuff. I'll preface it with "this is 100% true" and "my cousin is a cop in Ypsilanti, MI and he's seen this happen 5 times already this winter."

* I hope I find inspiration to, next year, write a Christmas story-slash-family Christmas card. Ever since I read David Sedaris's Holidays on Ice two years ago, I've resolved to do this. To date, none such card or story has been written. And then I go and meet the Nickel Guy and find out he's been writing stories for years and he even sent me his 2007 version ...which both entertained me and depressed me by further pointing out my lack of follow-thru.

* Finish my three screen plays - or at least write the stories - and start pitching them to people in Hollywood.

* Read one book per month.

* Use the word/verb "stomach" in place of "eat"

* Buy a laptop

* Do some stand-up comedy, again

* Make spunkybean a real, true voice on the web

* Dress myself correctly.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Hard to Stomach Being Back at Work

A friend sent me an article about the upcoming election. I didn't read it. I just can't stomach political talk, yet.

I think more people should use the word "stomach" instead of "eat," "dine," or "handle." But mostly as a synonym for eating.
"Where will you be stomaching, tonight?"

"I'm starving! I really need to get something to stomach."

"Gosh! That was the best lasagna I've ever stomached."

"I'll have to move a few things on my schedule, but I could stomach a meeting on the 12th."
There! THAT's a New Year's resolution I can stomach. I resolve to use the word "stomach" more often. More resolutions to follow.

Also to follow ...20-ideas for blog entries I never used in '07.