Hey readers,

One of the best parts about talking at a school is the Q and A session.  Most questions fall on a pretty predictable path: what's your favorite book?  How much money do you make?  Where can I find a fashionable sweater like that?  How do you manage to be both so clever AND ruggedly handsome? 

But occasionally, something special happens. 

Here are two of my favorite questions from my author visits. 

Question:  Is your ending such a disappointment because Disney made you change it? 

Answer:  No, that's a Ben Esch original disappointing ending. 

Question:  Why didn't the cops just drug test Dixie? 

Answer:  Because my book wouldn't work that way.

I love my job. 


 
 

Hey readers,

First of all, sorry that I haven't been posting much the last couple days.  I hate to make excuses (author's note:  that's not actually true) but here's some of the stuff that's been keeping me from spending the quality blogging time that you guys deserve: 

1.  My car started urinating oil. 

And I've been assured by people who know about this stuff that cars are not supposed to do that. 

2.  Beard maintenance. 

This takes up a surprisingly large portion of my working hours.  So, just consider that before you think about growing one of these things.  Sure, you'll look really handsome and awesome and awesome and stuff, but there's a hidden cost.

3.  I flew to San Francisco to talk to kids and find a new, non-oil urinating car. 

Finding a car was a no go, but I'm looking forward to talking at Capuchino High School in San Bruno tomorrow.  I'll let you guys know how all that works out. 

4.  I've been spending an embarrassing amount of time googling "Sophomore Undercover fan fiction." 

As of yet, the only link that comes up is an earlier post where I complained about there being no "Sophomore Undercover" fan fiction on the internet.    And in case you're wondering, the current lack of fan fiction hurts my self esteem exactly as much as it did the first time I wrote about it. 

But on the good news side of things, all around great guy and blogging phenom Tracy over at Crossing Chalk just posted a blog the other day that uncovered a striking physical resemblance between myself and a certain handsome movie star from "Role Models."  The link is here.  

I'll give you a hint, it's not Paul Rudd.  No, it's somebody way handsomer than that. 


 

Hey readers,

So I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I'm currently in the process of writing a middle grade novel.  This is a new experience for me, and most of it is pretty cool (author's note: may god punch me in the throat if I ever complain about this job) but one element that's been a little difficult to deal with is keeping the subject matter at least somewhere in the universe of age appropriate for fifth graders. 

For those of you who have read Sophomore Undercover, I'm sure you can understand why I've been having some difficulty with this.  

So, these video clips have been pretty helpful. 

 Why this scene is better without profanity:  Because Mr. Falcon would have been a much better name for the villain in Die Hard 2.  Or any villain in any movie in the history of cinema.  Seriously.  Try it out for yourselves. 

Why this scene works better without profanity:  Because the inclusion of monkey fighting snakes makes this video about a thousand times better.  Seriously.  This movie sucked, I think we can all admit that now.  But imagine how much better it would have been if instead of Samuel L. Jackson and the fat guy from Good Burger on a plane with a bunch of snakes, we got two solid hours of no holds barred combat between a burmese python and a chimpanzee. 

Sure, it probably wouldn't win any awards or anything, but that would be entertainment gold.  You know, provided that the chimp didn't get killed.  Those guys are really cute. 

Why this scene works better without profanity:  Walter destroys some kid's car as punishment because the kid both "found a stranger in the alps" and "fed a soldier scrambled eggs."  Call me crazy, but that kid doesn't sound like he deserves any punishment.  Hell, if anything, he's a hero.  So why's Walter so angry?  There could be a roller coaster ride of emotions in unraveling that mystery. 

Man...I'm pretty excited to see that movie now.
 

What I learned from these clips:  profanity isn't necessary for a good story. 

Though I do miss the meth jokes.  There's a surprising amount of artistic ammunition in those. 

 

Hey readers,

I’ve never really reviewed anything before, and to be perfectly honest, I don’t really feel all that comfortable starting.  I’ve had Sophomore Undercover out there for about a month now, and the reviews have ranged from the very complementary to the uhh…opposite of that. 

And that’s cool.  I didn’t write my book for the reviews.  Oh no.  I wrote it because I wanted to give the world the greatest gift of all.  The gift of laughter. 

Also, I get paid.  And pretty much anything that keeps me from real work is A okay with me. 

That being said, today I would like to start a new segment on the blog: The Dictionary Test. 

Let me show you how the Dictionary Test works: 

The Dictionary Test:  Would I rather watch/read/eat X or have someone hit me in the junk with a dictionary? 

It’s a pretty simple standard of measurement, but I think it works just as well as stars or thumbs up or whatever .  Let’s give it a whirl.

The Dictionary Test #1--Rachel Getting Married 

DOES NOT pass The Dictionary Test. 

And it doesn't pass The Dictionary Test by a pretty huge margin.  Like, I’d even use one of those ginormous dictionaries they keep on stands in the libraries if it meant I’d get those two hours of my life back. 

Wow.  That movie was a bummer.  I guess it looked good and everybody acted well and Anne Hathaway is hot in a pale, junky sort of way (author’s note: not too many women can pull this look off), but I’ve picked up a kernel of knowledge or two over years and I feel pretty confident saying this: any movie with a ten minute scene about loading the dishwasher is going to suck. 

Man...sorry I got so negative there.  It's just that dishwasher scene really got me fired up.  I think I need to do some push ups or something. 
     

 

Hey readers,

So, there are a couple things that are really popular in the rest of the world, but I have never really understood: 

1.  Soccer. 
2.  Chicks with facial hair. 

But, this video here has really gone a long way towards bridging the culture gap. 

That clip was from a movie called Shaolin Soccer which along with the value menu at El Pollo Loco, dogs in neckerchiefs, and the scone rack at Trader Joes, ranks right up there on the list of things that make me ridiculously happy.

So, if you haven't seen this movie, do yourself a favor and watch some kung fu priests play soccer for some reason or another (author's note: Shaolin Soccer isn't big on plot.  No, it's big on joy). 

Still  need some convincing?  Well, would a ten minute highlight reel of the movie set to Vannila Ice songs change your mind? 


I love the internet. 

 

Hey readers,

I had never really heard about Mitch Hedberg until a couple months ago, and holy crap have I been missing out on something amazing. 

Here's a video just so we all know what we're talking about. 

Now I don't know about you guys, but I think that is goddamn hysterical.  And also true: Koala bears are adorable. 

Though I'm pretty sure in real life it wouldn't be that awesome to hug one. I mean, it's been designed by nature to climb up trees and stuff, so that means some pretty gnarly claws, and I've made it one of my general goals in life to keep things with gnarly claws a manageable distance from my face. 

So, on that note, I'm pretty sure that Koalas are pretty much like the raccoons of Australia.  Cute to look at and all, but turn your back on them for one second, and they'll tear your nose off. 

But enough about Koalas.  Let's get back to Mitch Hedberg. 

Me and the LOL Brother have taken to sitting in the living room and reading print out of Mitch Hedberg jokes to each other.  Okay, part of this is because we can't afford a flat screen, but mainly it's because that Mitch is that funny. 

Here's some more Mitch Hedberg videos.

Author's note:  I had no idea that Elvis Costello was British.  But more importantly, why is that blowing my mind so much?  I'm confused. 

Mitch died a few years ago from a drug overdose.  I kinda debated about including that little tidbit, because I didn't want to bum everybody out. 

Author's note:  Because that bummed me out quite a bit.  

 

Now, before we get any further with this blog, I think I need to make one thing absolutely clear. 

benjaminesch.com has a firm stance against animal cruelty

That being said, this video of Lou Ferrigno dressed up like Hercules and slapping the sweet bejeezus out of a bear made me really, really happy. 

I saw this video at filmdrunk.  Filmdrunk is spectacular, by the way.  Give them a look. 

I'd say more about this video, but I don't really see how I could improve it in anyway, so I'm just going to sit back and reflect for a second. 

Reflecting. 

Still reflecting. 

Holy crap was it awesome when he threw that bear into space.

OTHER NEWS: 

I think I'd like to get a podcast going.  Any suggestions for guests? 

 

Hey readers,

So I know that this blog has been kinda focused on writing and book release parties and stuff, and I'm not gonna lie: I'm kinda getting a little bored with all that. 

Don't get me wrong, book release parties and signing books and stuff is all really fun, but it's really kinda hard to get across the excitement of the event in blog form.  Well, we actually got a video in the works that's gonna try to do that, but maybe we'll just give it a couple weeks before we dive back into those waters. 

For now, I think I'd like to get this blog back to being focused on the stuff that really matters to me.  The important things in life.  The important art, news, and people that shape the times we live in.   

I, of course, am speaking of Frankenhood. 

1.  Charlie Murphy plays the mad scientist. 

I don't know when it happened, but I like Charlie about ten to twenty times more than his brother Eddie right now. 

Actually, I think I'm pretty sure I know exactly when it happened.  Here's what I remember about Eddie Murphy from the last five years: 

Meet Dave
Norbit
Dream Girls
Shrek the 3rd. 

Damn...that is a murderer's row. 

And I'm not gonna look at Charlie Murphy's IMDB page, but here's what comes to mind when I think about him: 

I think his work pretty much speaks for itself. 

2.  Bob Sapp plays Frankenhood. 

For those of you who don't know, Bob Sapp is a failed football player who moved over to Japan and got really famous for being ginormous and punching people in the face in the MMA stuff they got going on over there. 

Also, I heard a rumor that he's really into collecting cats. 

Like, you know how Ernest Hemingway was into cats to a really weird extent?  Yeah, so him and Bob Sapp have that in common. 

Feel free to drop that in conversation should the opportunity present itself.   

Author's note:  I really want to be famous in Japan. 

 

Hey readers,

So this is going to be a blog where I thank people.  Just so that you're ready for that. 

Okay, first of all, the release party in Los Angeles happened, and it went way better than I expected.  I don't know, maybe I have low self esteem about parties or whatever, but I always kind of assume that nobody is going to come when I set up a party type situation. 

I'm thinking this all stems back to my birthday party in seventh grade where 1 of the 15 invited guests showed up.  I'm guessing you think that was pretty sad, and you know what?   You're  right.  It was exactly that sad. 

Author's note:   a big thanks to Jason Tufts for showing up to my birthday party.  It would have been pretty depressing to drink that twenty four pack of Mountain Dew by myself.


Well, the reading on Saturday  went quite a bit better than my 12th birthday party. 

In fact, we got a pretty sizable crowd to show up, and that was awesome on many levels. 

And here are some pictures to prove that. 

This is me reading.  It's a bit more exciting in real life. 

And here are people listening to me reading.  Also, big ups to Daniel "Montgomery" Wilson for the fine picture taking. 


Here's where the thank yous start. 

1.  A big thank you to Stories for letting me read and sign books.  For any of you who live in the Echo Park area, this is a really cool spot to hang out and buy books and rock a muffin or grilled cheese.  Just keep that in mind if you're in the area. 

2.  A super huge thank you to all my friends for coming out to the release party. 

3.  An extra large to largish thank you to Deborah Bass for publicist excellence and cookie baking skills. 

4.  And a husky sized thank you to Paula Yoo for blogging about the release party. 

Paula's blog is here

And in case you're wondering if that's the same Paula Yoo who wrote the very fantastic novel Good Enough and also played the violin on an episode of the "The Two Coreys" and along with her brother David, forms half of the greatest sibling literary tandem in all of young adult fiction? 

Yes, it's totally that Paula Yoo.