Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Cool Kids HP Style.

I am catching up with the cool kids. Last night I finally went to see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (I refuse to say HPV - so Star Trekie, and it's also a virus). I thought the movie was enjoyable like the rest of them. I also respected that the movie strayed away from the book more than the past four, it keeps the book uniquely great. And the girl who played Luna Lovegod had the role down to a science... she was first-rate.

Right before the movie I went and bought the seventh book. Since I cannot read 800 pages in one night... this will take me a little time - I can maybe hang out in the waiting room of the cool kids' club.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Pierogi Fest 2007!

I finally did it! Yep, this past Saturday I finally got myself to Pierogi Fest in Whiting, Indian - and I dragged LP and Kefla there too. For those of you who do not know...

1. Pierogi are filled Slavic dumplings. My two favorite are potato and sauerkraut. Some people fry them, and some boil or steam them - I like mine steamed.

2. Whiting is located in the Northwest corner of Indiana, and considered part of the Chicago metro area.

Simply stated: We had a blast. It's good to get out of the city once in a while and go explore little towns. Whiting has this really quaint old downtown that closes main street once a year to celebrate the pierogi. The food was fantastic. The potato pancakes were over the top. And the people watching was top notch as well. I was a little disappointed that we missed the pierogi toss competition (I was ready to win) but it was taking place on Sunday. We also found out that most people's favorite part of pierogi fest happens Friday night with the Pierogi Parade which sounds like an absolute hoot. I'm wondering if it's like Mardi Gras, but instead of throwing beads they throw out pierogi - that would rock.

The little downtown clock.

The polka queens with Mr. Pierogi.

Yep, they even sold pierogi hats.

I hate mimes, especially mimes on purple rollerskates. Look how pissed off the guy to the left is, I thought he was going to punch the mime in the face.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Two Reasons.

Two reasons why I love the game of baseball... Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr. Both were inducted into the Hall of Fame today.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Two Movies You Didn't Like.

I appreciate crappy movies... some of my favorite movies would make most film critics barf (House Party 1 & 2 for example). When it comes down to it, give me a romantic comedy and I am set. So I recently rented two movies that I missed in the theater, and that most people told me not to bother with.

First up was The Break-Up which I mostly wanted to see because it was filmed in Chicago and the premier was at a theater on the same block as my work... kind of nifty. LP wanted to see it because Vince Vaughn is in it. Plain and simple: I liked it. Don't think I ever need to see it again, but I found it really entertaining and I became absorbed in the story. The downfall to the movie is that it is so negative... and I'm sure when people saw this in the theater they were not expecting 90 minutes of fighting and bickering (hello? it's called the BREAK-UP), but since I already knew this from all of my friends' piss-poor reviews I was well prepared. It's just a different romantic comedy, almost the anti- romantic comedy. I give it the thumbs up, or if that is copyright infringement, a B+.

The next movie I finally rented was Music and Lyrics. How could I have missed this in the theaters... I wanted to shoot myself. Any romantic comedy fan would have to put this on their must-see list, even if it did received mediocre reviews. Drew Barrymore and Hugh Grant... it's like King & Queen (or Princess, to Meg Ryan's Queen) of the romantic comedy. What a match up! And it's about a washed up 80's new wave pop icon. Come on people - it has to be good right? Right! I loved it. From the start of the movie with the most awesomest (yes, that is a real word) fake 80's video it is a guaranteed hit. The little jab at the new pop Shakira / Britney idols of today was a nice touch. And the song at the end brought out the true romantic touch of this movie. If you did not like this film you are a romantic snob... except for LP (she gave it a C+), since LP had to endure me singing "Pop Goes My Heart" for about a week after we watched it. I give this the big two thumbs up, or an A- (it's just not up there with Notting Hill or You've Got Mail so I can't give it the A).

Now aren't you all thankful I am not a movie critic... and super appreciative that I seldom write about movies on my blog. Have a good weekend!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Brown Line Stalker.

Have you ever felt like you are being watched, or even worse... followed? I sure have. And what is worse, I know who it is. It's the CTA. To be even more specific, I am being stalked by the CTA's Brown Line. The southbound train only, I have not problems with the northbound train.

Here's the scoop: I walk to work almost every day. Sometime I ride my bike, or skateboard, but mostly I walk. Since I am a creature of habit I tend to walk the exact same way each day. I walk under the Brown Line at Greenview & Roscoe every weekday, and when I do the Brown Line train always crosses over the track at the same time I am walking under them.

I understand that they have their schedules, and I have mine, and they are probably just crossing paths. So I started thinking this was a bit strange when it would happen at least four times per week, usually five. I mixed up the times I left work, by five or ten minutes. I would sometimes change my route to work, but still walk under the Brown Line at Roscoe & Greenview. Nothing changed, the Brown Line going southbound would still be crossing over the tracks when I walked under. Really. I'm not making this loony story up.

So you still don't think I'm being watched by the southbound Brown Line train? Back in April I was running late to work and when I was a couple blocks away from the tracks I thought there was no way this train would be passing by me this day... and sure enough when I was about a half block away the train was stopped on the track just waiting for me. Right when I walked under the train rolled ahead. Hello? Psycho train! The Brown Line does not run every five minutes, anyone who has had to wait for it can tell you.

I'm not sure what to do... what can I do? Call Oprah? Maybe. But now the story is out in the open, traveling the internet. Maybe now they will back off. And yes, it did go over my head when I walked to work this morning.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A Harry Journey.

I'm a fan of the Harry Potter stories. They are a fun read, and the movies have all been entertaining. But I am not one of the Harry Potter freaks that dresses up and gets all geek-out about something new Harry.

For the record: I have not bought the new book, but I will. I have not seen the newest movie, but I will.

So my only Harry Potter story I have dates back to 2001. The first movie was coming out and there was a ton of hype about it. I had never heard of Harry Potter, so I decided to go over to Powell's Bookstore a buy the first book. I felt a little dumb hanging out in the kiddies section of the store, but I found the book and left (there were not big Harry Potter displays like there are now). The next morning I got on the bus, found a seat, and started to read. The woman in front of me turned around when she noticed what I was reading... it was the same book she was zipping through. She asked me how many times I had read it, which I informed her that I was a Harry Potter virgin. Let me tell you - this was a totally normal person (from the look of it) not some homeless loner gypsy. This woman put her hand on my hand and said "Enjoy the magical journey." Really? People really say that kind of crap? On a bus?

After that I put the book down for a couple days since I was very certain I did not want to turn into that kind of a person. Eventually I read the book and enjoyed it - but I keep my distance from letting myself turn into a Harry-geek.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Price is Drew?

So Drew Carey is going to be the new host of The Price Is Right. Does anybody care? Really? And if you care, do you like the pick? Is there someone better in your mind than Drew Carey?

I grew up with The Price Is Right, but I'm not one of these "die-hard" fans that started talking about the show when Bob Barker announced he was leaving the show. I only watched the show when I was home sick, or skipping class in college. I really could care less if the show went off the air or not. It's a game show people... if anything it makes you dumber.

BUT, I will say that I think they should of just ended the show when Bob left. No one will ever be able to replace him. Maybe Wayne Newton.

Friday, July 20, 2007


In honor of Cherry Ride... I think we should give out an award, maybe multiple awards for the Paul Poons of the world. Cherry Ride introduced us all to the crazy, mysterious, and intriguing world of Paul Poon back in March, and he even worked on the Paul Poon drink. Talk about dedication to the Poon. He could be considered the creator of the Poon. That's Poontastic!

Since March the phrase Paul Poon has interred my vocabulary, and it has yet to leave. Mostly I use it to describe some dork... loser.... wanna-be... etc. Or if I cannot think of someone's name I might call them Paul Poon. So for me, and hopefully for you, the Paul Poon is here to stay. Let's all embrace the Poon. We could make shirts.

Since most of us are so busy at work these days (uh...) I thought we could come up with some Paul Poon award categories. I'd like to call them the Poonies - there's just a nice ring to Poonies, don't you think? Maybe these can be yearly awards that take nominations all year around. And then at the end of the year Recken can list the Top 5 nominees for each category. See... this is coming along. Come on folks... think think think... join the team.

My first nomination, in the category of "Biggest Public Dispay of Dorkness" goes to the this Spider guy (below photo).

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Decemberists Jumping The Shark.

Last night a group of us met at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park to see The Decemberists play with Chicago's Grant Park Orchestra.
The best part:
1. It was free.
The worst part... well it's a three way tie between:
1. It rained.
2. It was super duper crowded.
3. It was boring.

We actually had a good time just sitting in the rain talking. Life is so busy sometimes that it's hard to find time to just sit and relax and enjoy hanging out with friends. The show was boring, so everyone around us started talking, playing cards, drinking 40's, looking at their tattoos. I saw lots of buttcracks. And WAY too many 80's new wave dressers. Not good.

So I brought up the idea that The Decemberists just might of jumped the shark (if you do not know this term you can go to jumptheskark.com). Yep, I'm calling this the top of them being good. They might become of more popular, but I think the good, catchy, well written songs are done. Just look at their last record - what a snooooozer. You think you like - but you don't. Come on... be honest with yourself... it's just an avaerage album.

Thank you Decemberists for coming and playing Chicago for free... that was kind of you. But I am revoking your "indie cred" right now... you are on Capitol Records and you are touring now playing with big city symphonies - that is not very indie at all. Jump that shark.

Hopefully Cherry will email me the photos taken at the show last night... good times.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Thank You Cubs Fans.

I just want to send out a quick thank you to the Cubs fans who were sitting around me at both Giants vs. Cubs games this week. This is the first time I've gone to Wrigley Field for a Giants game and have not heard the following statements:
1. Fag. 2. Faggot. 3. Hey fag, why don't you go back to Frisco. 4. Frisco sucks... fag. 5. Yourafag. Fag.
Thanks for making my two days very special. Sure, the Cubs won since the Giants stink this year... but I am still glad I am not a Cubs fan.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Not Gone Fishing.

This photo has big smiles, a little cleavage, and lots of action... and death. This is what major summer blockbusters are made of (minus the fish). It even has a little humor since I am sure the name of the boat is Catch 22. Do you think these people fishing have ever read the book? Maybe.

I have never understood why people enjoy fishing. I have fished in streams, lakes, ponds, and also in an ocean. I have caught plenty of fish. And I just find the whole experience extremely boring. And stinky. I am all for hanging out with friends, drinking beer, being by the water, relaxing... by why ruin it by fishing?

Sure some may say that a baseball game can be boring, and that is just time hanging out with friends... but it's not fishy stinky. At least it shouldn't be. Maybe I am just too much of a city dweller to appreciate fishing. Hmmmm.

Monday, July 16, 2007


Not sure if this is going on everywhere... but in Chicago mopeds are way in. The hipper than hip indie rock kids have revived the moped this summer. Not Vespas. Not any old scooter. And in no way a motorcycle. Mopeds.

On Saturday in front of Hot Doug's there were at least 50 mopeds lined up next to each other on the street. A sort of bike gang... but not tough and scary. More like dorky and stinky.

I so wish I would of had my camera on me - it was a good photo opportunity. And the best thing we over heard while waiting in line was "You don't know shit about mopeds duded!" Classic.

So go to your local garage sale and pick up your moped so you can be cool and hip too.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Things I Learned in the Sunday Paper.

1. Some of the new words added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary this year include: Bollywood, sudoku, crunk, and ginormous. I pretty excited about the ginormous addition since I use that word a lot.

2. Springfield, VT beat out Springfield, IL to be "the" Springfield to host the premier of the new Simpsons' Movie. Crap!

3. If you get struck by lightening while on the phone or listening to an mp3 player... you could have worse damage. Duh.

4. Harriet Miers blows.

5. Jim Gilmore ended his run for the Presidency. Another Republican gone. Bummer.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


Today LP and I took my cousin from NYC, her husband, and one of their Chicago friends to the Garfield Park Conservatory to see the Niki in the Garden exhibit. They covered the conservatory with these huge sculptures by Niki de Saint Phalle to you can climb, sit on, and interact with. Way fun.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Yuppie Puppie Punches.

Since I don't have much to write about this morning... well nothing exciting or super funny or even intelligent... I am sharing a story from LP. I received and email from LP this morning that there was a fight on her bus ride to work this morning.

OK... I will admit I first thought it was some gang-bangers going off on each other. LP does go through a few blocks of a tough neighborhood, and there has been a couple incidents on the CTA buses in the past few months - including a shooting which killed one and injured a handful.

So I felt like a dumbass when she told me it was between a couple yuppie men... who I guess did not have their All-Bran this morning. One was complaining about the other talking too loud on his cell phone. And this brought on the fight? Yep. The guy must of not been regular. Poor irregular guy... taking out his bowel frustration on a rude public cell phone loud talker.

And... are there any new names for Yuppies? Yuppie is such a 80's term, but I cannot think of anything to replace it.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

FredSox Frustration.

Yes, I am playing softball again this summer but there is a reason I do not write about it as much as I did last summer... we never seem to play. Really. Our season started on May 15 (eight weeks ago) and we have only played three games... of which I have only been at one. One!

We changed the team name to FredSox (from Indy Team 7) this year, and we also changed the day we play to Tuesday evenings. Most of our team thought Tuesdays were a better option and instead of complaining (since I really liked playing on Saturdays) I went with the flow. I'd rather play a few games instead of no games. There seems to be a majority of the team that works in the Loop... which is closed to Grant Park (where we play) - so it makes sense. I play softball for fun... it gets me outside and a chance to meet new people. I usually don't play on the field where I want, but since everyone wants to play the infield I get to learn to play the outfield. It's fine... it's a new challenge for me.

But it just seems like Tuesdays are cursed. Looks like we'll be playing into September... and we are supposed to be done by now and starting the playoffs.

May 15: opening night, we have a bye.
May 22: cancelled, due to tents on the field for some festival.
I skipped a White Sox game for this... and then the softball game was cancelled a couple hours before the game started. So I missed out on softball and the White Sox game. Grrrr.
May 29: loss, our first game and I was on my Memphis trip.
June 5: cancelled, due to rain.
I skipped another White Sox game for this... and the softball game was cancelled a couple hours before the game started. It had stopped raining, but the fields were too soaked to play on. So again, I missed out on softball and the White Sox game. Grrrr.
June 12: win, the only game I've played and I did well.
June 19: win, I went to the White Sox game instead.
June 26: cancelled, due to rain.
July 3: no game, Taste of Chicago was going on which uses our field.
July 10: cancelled, due to rain.
Yesterday was sunny all day... and then a 5pm thunderstorms came and washed out our 7:30pm game. Grrrr.

Our jerseys.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Simpsons' Movie.

When I saw the Transformers movie, I must say the highlight had to be the preview for The Simpsons' Movie. It had the entire theater rolling with laughter. It looks absolutely fantastic. I've always been a fan of The Simpsons, but stopped religiously watching the new episodes more than five years ago. My Sunday nights seem to be filled with getting things ready of the week, or going to bed early... not watching The Simpsons.

I am blown away by the marketing campaign for this Simpsons' movie that is coming out. I am sure the people that are behind the marketing had a blast with it... and I must say they have done it sooooooooo well. From the 7-Elevens turning into Kwik-E Mart (genious), to the soundtracks coming in a donut case (you don't get that with a download), and even the "life size" Simpsons sitting on the bench at movie theaters so you can get a photo opt with America's favorite animated family.

I hope the movie is good as the hype this marketing stirred up. It has to be... right?

Here is a link to where the 12 Kwik-E Marts are located: http://www.7-eleven.com/kem.asp

Monday, July 09, 2007


I love to take naps... it's one of the weekend activities I looked forward to. I just seem to need a good nap at least once a week. It recharges me... and I will admit I usually wake up kind of cranky (because I never want nap time to end).

until Yesterday I made the mistake of taking a nap at 6pm... on a Sunday evening. Big mistake. I did not get up until after 10pm. We even had friends over that evening which I did not see because I was so deep in my nap that I could not be waken up. So this made me feel refreshed and not so cranky... I became cranky when I could not fall asleep that night and ended up watching TValmost 4am. Boooooo. I am super tired now.

Naps are good... but should be taken in the afternoon.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

A Long Long Day.

Friday I took the day off work to enjoy an entire day at the ballpark. The White Sox were playing a double header against the Twins (we call them the Twinkies). The first game was starting a 1:05pm and the second game was a 7:11pm start. This double header was due to a snowed-out game in April.

I was pretty amped about my day. The first game I went to by myself since last minute LP had to go into work. But going to game by myself is not such a bad thing... since we have season tickets we have go to know the people around us. There is people to talk to and keep me from being the lonely Niner at the ballgame.

This turned out to be the ass kicking of a life time... and it was in both games. The first game was a 14-20 loss and the second game was 0-12. Yes, this was baseball - not the Bears vs. the Vikings. Ugly Ugly baseball... that dragged on and on. Even the Twins' fans there complained about how bad the first game was - no pitching for either team (but at least their team won).

Between games the park was cleared out because not everyone had tickets for both games. This was a pain, but I ended up going to a local Sox bar (First Base) in the Bridgeport neighborhood with the two brothers we sit next to at the park. This sadly was the highlight of the day.

A crummmmmmmmy day of baseball. I could of gone to work.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Happy Birthday Great... Uh.. Americans.

I am taking off the day to go watch a double-header at Sox Park. Should be fun... hope the White Sox win at least one. Doubtful.

I wanted to use my blog today to reflect on today's two big birthdays. George W and 50 Cent both have a birthday today. That's right. And both have a secured a place in American history... not necessarily a good thing. I am so hoping they get together and party tonight - that would be a site to see. Another day I am so proud to have these true America Idols in my life... uh...

Thursday, July 05, 2007


Every Independence Day I watch the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Competition... until they start eating. Watching it makes me feel ill, so I leave the room for 12 minutes and then return to see who won. For the past six years it has been Takeru Kobayashi, who came out of no where... and really change the competition forever. Before Kobayashi it was only super obese dudes who won, then a skinny guy from Japan won the title. And won it for six consecutive years.

Until yesterday, when Joey Chestnut won by eating a record 66 hot dogs in 12 minutes (and not barfing). The best part was at the end the crowd cheering "U.S.A." and then Joey being draped with an American flag. The title of biggest hot dog pig was once again held by an American. It was like we had just won World War 3.

I love the U.S.A because we all have this need to win everything. It's funny. We all have a little part of this in us... and that's one reason why so many people around the world dislike us. Even our little American hippies and anarchists that hate America... they all want to win so badly and be number one (smoke the most weed, drop the most acid, burn the most logging trucks, etc). So what better way to spend Independence Day by watching an American win a hot dog eating competition. Nice!

* I ended my day by watching Lil' Bush. Classic!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

4th of July.

4th of July is here... so that means a big Hollywood Motion Picture. This year it's Transformers. I give it a C+. I was never was into the Transformers as a kid... so maybe that is why it's not a B- for me. And it's way too long.

Happy Independence Day!!!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Remaking. Doing Wrong.

Last night I watched the movie Angels In The Outfield... because I am a total sucker for baseball movies. Many of my favorite movies are about baseball. In case you are wondering, my favorite baseball movie is the original Bad News Bears (1976). This was not the terrible 1994 Angels movie with Christopher Llyod and Danny Glover... no no no, this was the original version that was released in 1951. The original is so much better. It's about the Pittsburgh Pirates. It's simple and charming. If you ever see if you will wonder, like I did, why anyone who ever remake the film.

This re-do of classic films is something that gets to me. Is the film industry running out of good, original ideas? There have been so many classic films remade that I'm surprised someone allowed them to be made. Doesn't the film industry have a board that could stop the remaking a films that were just fine, even fantastic, the first time?

I know there are plans to remake Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds, and also plans to remake The Warriors. Maybe they are even done by now and just waiting release. Why would anyone remake a cult classic movie like The Warriors... or re-do an Alfred Hitchcock film - hello? he is one of the best film makers to ever live. And now they are remaking Hairspray... John Waters better be getting massively rich for this to happen.

From Planet of the Apes to Psycho to Poseidon to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre to even my beloved Bad News Bears. When will it end?

Monday, July 02, 2007

The Weekend Wrap Up.

So the weekend was not over the top exciting... but maybe that's why it was such a good one. As I get older I think I appreciate simpler things, although I still notice (and I am reminded by others) I have a hard time relaxing and sitting still.

1. Went to View & Brew and saw Hot Fuzz. Drank High Life. Thumbs up.

2. Did some grilling and played Scrabble in the backyard while enjoying a perfect summer evening. A neighborhood cat (Smokie) came and hung out with us. A huge June bug landed on my shoulder and scared the living shit out of me. Guess I still don't like large bugs.

3. Saw the Narrator play at the Beat Kitchen. Good times.

4. Went and finally saw Knocked Up. Fantastic! My brother told me it's even funnier if you have kids. LP and I always talk about going to the movies and never do. This weekend we saw two movies. Nice.

5. Saw Sara Evans at Grant Park. We showed up late so we were really far away, but she sounded good.

I love the winter... but a weekend like this past one could make me a fan of summer each and every day. It reminds me that I did live in California for 20 years.