Top 10 Of Everything.

So, I was all set to create something huge, a culmination of everything that was anything this year. However, looking back only solidified the truth that 2004 really wasn’t all that good. In general, 2004 was terrible. War, natural disasters and another inbred hick in the White House.

2004 was a good year for me, though. So in the spirit of total and complete egotism (it’s my page, after all), I decided to do a top 10 list devoted entirely to pictures of me, Ryan Zeinert.

#10 – Ryan heroically overcomes writers block and unemployment.

I was celebrating my 3rd month of unemployment writing a screenplay, when I hit the wall. I think this photo perfectly expresses what I was feeling. Icky, unshaven and allergic to showering. Thank goodness I found a decent job, or I might be writing for a living.

#9 – Ryan masterfully imitates Bat Boy.

There’s this spot on the back of my neck that you’re not allowed to touch. For some reason, it makes me cringe, and all the nerves in my face contort, forcing me to scream in terror. This should be all the backstory you need.

#8 – Ryan drinks heavily at Thayers.

This was during out first trip to Thayer’s Historic Bed & Breakfast. I made sure that a bottle of Champagne was waiting in our room when we arrived. We had so much fun, we decided to get married for the sole purpose of coming back.

#7 – Ryan is a rebel, I’m told that the ladies like that.

If the sign says “Don’t Touch”, I’m still touchin’. The simple fact of the matter is that I’m dangerous, and you shouldn’t hang out with me unless you want to live on the edge. (I wrote a formal apology to the city of New Glarus, and sent them a check for $250 to remove my fingerprints from the ceramic cow.) This is without question the most rebellious thing I’ve ever done on camera, so don’t bother searching Google for “Ryan Zeinert sex tape”, or anything like that. Please don’t do that.

#6 – Ryan is a voice for the voiceless.

I run a little charitable organization from my apartment called “Tails of Giving”, which saves homeless and abandoned cats from a dangerous life on the streets. Through donations, we put up enough money for the cats to be fed into an incinerator, thereby eliminating the chances of creating more unwanted cats. I’m pretty proud of it.

#5 – Ryan becomes a terrorist.

Almost a year ago, someone was under the suspicion that I was a terrorist, or at least looked like one. This photo was all the proof that the Department of Homeland Security needed to put me on a torture jet for 96 hours. They attached a car battery to my unit until I gave them the names of my superiors. Good news is that I get to put one of those “POW-MIA” stickers on the back of my car.

#4 – Hello from 1961.

This bowling alley should be a historical landmark, not open for business. After bowling a lifetime-low score of 54 there, I realized that perhaps this place should be condemned instead.

#3 – Ryan shows his wiener.

I came home from work one day to find the Wienermobile parked right outside of my house, and unattended. I took full advantage of this, and took it on a joy ride until the Sun Prairie Police Department shot the tires out and pulled me out of the window. It was worth it.

#2 – Ryan hits on a headless woman.

It was the day before my wedding, and I decided that I should enjoy my final day of being single. Long story short, I woke up next to her, completely hung over and convinced that I was responsible for the absence of her head. To this day, the authorities haven’t found the rest of her, and I’m not talking.

#1 – Worst picture ever.

This is the ugliest, most disgusting, funniest picture ever taken of me. Sure, it’ll make you unattracted to me for the rest of your life, but you can’t stare at it for more than 5 seconds without laughing your ass off. To me, laughter is more important than looking good.

Well, what a fun trip down self-pleasure lane this has been. I can’t believe that you come here and read things that I have to say about myself. This whole thing is perverse and voyeuristic, and I’m not stopping until I have to. See you in 2005, where the CDP will return will all-new material and more of the same. I’m off to bed.

We Got A Winner!

As excited as I am about White Noise, I’m really looking forward to Ring Two, which will be released in March 2005. Sure, The Ring has been sequeled into oblivion in Japan, but I still think that the American remake was the best yet. The new director (replacing Gore Verbinski) was the same guy who did Ringu and Ringu 2 in Japan, so you’ve got to trust his vision. It might be a shot-for-shot remake or something completely original, and the studio’s not talking.

As Sweeps Month draws to a successful close, I want to thank you for making December the biggest month EVER here at the CDP. We had 2100 visitors this month, which is pretty damn nice as far as I’m concerned. Hopefully, we can keep it that way, or maybe even more. Maybe if I actually got some dry hump movies up and running, we could really reel in the kids. Based on the search terms, that’s what they want. I wonder who would be willing to make such a film.

On New Year’s Eve, I’ll be spending a quiet evening with the Missus, then we’re heading up to Green Bay on Saturday to spend some quality time with Benjamin & Sherry Jenkel. Celia and I took next Monday and Tuesday off, so we’re looking ahead to a nice 5-day vacation. We shall accomplish nothing.

Since we’re on the subject, will people stop bitching about the Packers, for God’s sake? We must be the only fans in the nation who complain about our team even after they win the Division for the 3rd year in a row, and are heading for a 10-win season. They have a #3 spot in the Playoffs, they get a first-round home game after losing 4 of their first 5, and they’re capable of beating any team in the league. Give me a break. The Packers are NFC North Champions again, and even if they lose in the first or second round, cut them some Goddamn slack. Brett Favre has had a year that would push most men to suicide, instead he’s thrown 28 touchdowns. I’m sick of this crap. If you don’t care about football, that’s fine, but don’t complain about your favorite team when they play well. If you want to coach the team, fill out an application.

So, I got a Game Boy Advance for Christmas (The Retro Classic NES Design that was super-limited edition), and I also got the original Metroid game to play on it. In 1988, I was a Metroid master at the age of 6. Now, I might as well be a paraplegic. I can’t play it to save my life, and it’s embarrassing. What happened in the last 16 years that would make me suck at a classic video game? I shake my head in disgust every time poor Samus explodes into pieces, thinking that there was a more simpler time when I could have saved her. Maybe it’s because I’m married now, or that there’s a war going on or something. I’ll be buying Super Mario Bros. 3 for it very soon. (In case you’re wondering, I don’t play my GBA when I could be spending that time with Celia. I know better.)

I’ll be back before the end of the year with “The Top 10 Of Everything – 2004“, and don’t forget to check out the offensive comic masterpiece that is Boycott Unity. Until then, here’s Bat Boy:

AAB-A-GAH-DAH! (Have a good day.)

A Cure For Insomnia.

(Monday, December 27, 1999 – 11:27pm)

Here I sit. 11:30 central time. I am cold. I am lonely. I wish I wasn’t alone. Does anyone share my sentiments? I’m not one to complain, it’s just that with every evening growing more and more frigid, wouldn’t it be nice to know you have someone? Someone you know will always be there to comfort you and keep you warm. At least more of a companion than a computer monitor. It’s times like this I regret the choices I made in the past. The choices that got me here to this state of unrevivable apathy. Blind to the frost that shrouds my basement window at ground-level. Jaded to what is going on outside of it. Deaf to the silent tapping of keys and calloused to the freezing sheets that protect me from the elements. I am quiet. I try not to think about much of anything, but darkness is the imagination’s playground. My mind becomes a carnival of a past gone wrong, of lost love, and of love not yet found. The opposite sex is merely a surface problem on the body of a human shell, yet in times like these, it becomes more of a primal need. Why must I want what I can’t have? Why must our minds revolve that way? Why can’t I just stop thinking and drift into slumber? I am shivering much too violently and my heart is knocking so loudly on my brain’s door, it has no choice but to let it in, and keep it company. Give it coffee. Try to calm it down, and warm it up from its hypothermic state. The heart is weak to the elements, and the brain is strong. Yet in almost all cases the heart is in control, and the brain is simply a passenger, accepting whatever it is left with. But the heart is blind, and knows no logic. It is a guaranteed mishap. Even though we all know this far too well, we continue to let it plague us every waking moment. This leaves us only with peaceful dreams to rely on. Wonderful alternate reality. Anything can and will take place at this, the least productive of times for the body. As soon as you come to terms with your surroundings, you have already forgotten. I continue to shiver, but I can’t tell now, as I am too used to it. I try not to think about her or my life. I just want one evening where I can sleep and not worry about anything else. However, that is my curse. I have seen far too many sunrises due to my lack of acceptance. So the next time you see that one true thing, don’t hide it. Let it be known, and shout it from the bell tower. It will be all worth it for some sleep.

Oh mercy, where do I start?

This was written by me, 5 years ago tonight. To keep a long story from running any longer, I was in a pretty dark spot in my life, and I wasn’t really sure what was going to happen next with me. There were a lot of things crumbling all around me, and I was slowly breaking down. If the selfish, “pity-me” writing style didn’t give it away, I was in High School and I was sad. There.

I don’t bust this thing out every year because I consider it a good writing of mine. Oh, heaven’s no, most of it makes no sense. This is because I hadn’t slept in days, maybe weeks. (“Battling insomnia and fighting wars that I can’t win”) Sure, I got an hour here and there, but I honestly couldn’t sleep to save my life. I would spend most nights driving around and wondering what I was doing with my life. (“I filled my tank 3 times this week”) If it isn’t obvious that sleep deprivation is something that has affected the way I carry myself, may I direct you to the entire movie I wrote about it.

Winneconne bridge, passing foreigners and passers-by
2 AM, a Sunday night, the headlights heavy on my eyes
And now I’m all alone, a world away from home
Vacant sights and yellow lights, I guess I really should have known
What is my purpose here? What was I sent to be?
Asking questions to the stars never made much sense to me
But I know they’re all I’ve got tonight
You are my shelter, moonlight

What’s important is that I was writing about Celia. At this point, we hadn’t really met. This woman was tearing me up at the time and she didn’t even know it. Instead of just introducing myself like most normal people do, this was my formal hello to her. I posted it on a message board that she and her friends liked to frequent. (The board has since been overrun with Spam and the like, it’s really not worth the visit.) Nobody knew who I was writing about, they just thought I was an emotional loser venting at midnight to nobody. (They were right.) However, this was enough to worm my way into her life, and soon we began chatting on the very same page. This led to talking at school, and eventually spending time with each other out of school. In a few weeks we were going out, in a few more weeks we were in a band together, and as I speak we are celebrating being a married couple for 6 months.

We’ve known each other for 5 years now, and I couldn’t be more of a different person than who I used to be. I was all set for a mental and physical crash of epic proportions in 1999, but she showed up and changed all that. We were exactly what the other needed, and she filled the passenger seat in my Buick Somerset like nobody else could. How many people can say that the entire season of Winter reminds them of their wife? I can, and although it’s bittersweet to relive memories passed, I couldn’t be happier in any other situation.

Now I can finally sleep. Goodnight.

Worst Christmas Ever.

So, here we go. We have 6 stops in 3 days, and we pull out of Sun Prairie at 10:30am sharp on Friday. We have all the gifts wrapped, the time schedule down, the cars full of gas and the cats properly fed. We’re mentally prepared for dealing with people we don’t want to talk to, physically prepared for the running around, and have already compiled a list of quick-witted comebacks concerning any of the following:

  • Our hair color.
  • Being a vegetarian.
  • Our marriage thus far.
  • Why I wear glasses that I don’t need.
  • Having a baby.

Truly, this has the makings of the worst Christmas ever. For starters, I’ve completely alienated one side of my family this year. When I changed my last name, the Olson’s sort of got pissed off, even though it was none of their business. I don’t know if they’re still seething, but I’ve been doing my best not to pour fuel on the fire. I won’t be attending Christmas at the Olson household this year, but I will be stopping by to see my Grandmother on Sunday. I’m doing whatever I can to show her that I’m grateful, while keeping firm that I made the right decision. This is a difficult balance when you’re dealing with a family of stubborn Norway folk, but I’m the same exact way.

Enough of that, time for nostalgia. A few things have changed at the Zeinert household, as well. If you look at old Christmas photos taken there, you’d probably not be able to make anything out through the thick fog of cigarette smoke. Somewhere along the line, they finally realized that we were all going to be dead soon if people didn’t start smoking outside. It helped make the pictures clearer, and certainly increased our life span. Old photos will also show you more of a rampant alcoholism than now. Sure, the Zeinerts will kick back a beer or glass of wine this weekend, but a picture from 1989 will show you nothing less than a yuletide can pyramid almost rivaling the decorated tree next to it. It was a sight to behold for someone as young as me at the time.

I only miss eating meat on Christmas day. Every year, I would rub my hands with delight waiting for the giant smoked Salmon to be set in the buffet. There it would sit, splayed open like a school science project, being slowly picked and nibbled to death as the day wore on. It was divine. Now I find myself rejecting slices of cheese that may have brushed up against a sausage link, because I’m an asshole. It doesn’t mean I’m not enjoying myself, though.

It’s funny how random things tend to stick with you. I keep reminding myself of a picture taken of my Cousin Scott, when he was about 6 years old. He had just unwrapped a Sesame Street “Light-n-Learn”, and was proudly displaying it for a photograph. There he is, smiling away, holding a box that couldn’t be more upside down. It’s hilarious. In all of my childhood photos, I just look like I need a sandwich stuffed with Ritalin. It’s a shame that the majority of the pictures taken of me were when Don Majikowski was big here in Wisconsin. Was there any particular purpose for shaving lines into the side of your head? Maybe it helped him run faster into football obscurity.

At the Zeinert’s, we’d open presents one at a time, youngest first. Once the kids were done, they were sent away to play with what they got, while the adults did their thing. Usually, every year they would all pitch in to get Grandma & Grandpa something nice. It was never hard to make Grandma cry on Christmas. She was usually doing it before we showed up. Coming from a guy who has seen this woman in action on Christmas morning, I’m surprised she even had the energy to cry. If I had the money, I’d buy the 2 of them anything they wanted. I swear to Christ, if I won the lottery tomorrow I’d buy them a new house. Anything without steps to climb. Of course, I didn’t win the lottery, so they’re going to get something much smaller from me. She’ll still cry about it, though.

It’s times like this that you become very grateful for the company you keep. I’ve got my own life now, but on December 25th you get to step back into what you remember as a kid. The idea of tradition states that something is done symbolically every year in honor to something else. In this case, the birth of Jesus, but also the coming together of people you know and love. (For more insight on coming together, visit Boycott Unity.) The notion that I can step back in time every year with the same people on the same day, and be happy, is beautiful.

15 years ago, I would have asked for a video game system. This year, I’m asking for a vacuum cleaner. This year, I get to stick around when the kids have to leave. Each year, I have to wait a little longer to get to my presents. Each year I get less and less, but I enjoy it more and more. When I was younger, I’d take my Christmas money to the mall. This year, I’m using the money to pay off my credit card. This year, I’ll pass on the salmon, but I’ll have a glass of wine.

It’s going to be the best Christmas ever.

(The CDP will return after the holidays.)

My Project Jacket In The Attic.

I took Thursday off so I would have a 4-day weekend. Initially, I was going to use that day to finish up my Christmas shopping, but I completed that way ahead of schedule. What will I do with my day off?

7:15am – Celia wakes up for work. In true supportive Husband fashion, I get up with her and watch the repulsive horror show that is “Good Morning America”. Sip orange juice as Diane Sawyer tells me that our children will be dead by the afternoon thanks to terrorists. Turn to “The Today Show” and realize that sometime last year, Katie Couric became a Botox-riddled alien. Vaguely recall meeting her while shopping at a mall in London.

8:15am – Celia leaves for work. I tell her that I have a big day planned.

8:17am – Fall asleep.

11:30am – Awake on couch, still holding half-empty glass of orange juice. Angry because I slept through “The Price is Right”. Take a bath with the door open to see if my cats like the water.

Noon – Order a sub from Cousins. Balance my checkbook and pray that I get $80,000 for Christmas or I’ll have to file bankruptcy. Get mail, throw away all Christmas cards that don’t contain money or a comical family photo.

1:00pm – Nap.

2:30pm – Alphabetize CD’s. Finally integrate both of our collections. Can already hear Celia yelling that The Shins and Sean Na Na shouldn’t have to be in such close quarters with The Stereo and Soul Coughing. Remind myself to go to Best Buy and purchase new CD.

4:00pm – Wear hole in carpet from couch to kitchen to bathroom. Repeat until suicidal.

4:30pm – Afternoon nap.

5:30pm – Clean house, make bed, change dishwasher and litter boxes. Pretend I’ve been doing housework all day. Change clothes I was sleeping in the night before.

6:00pm – Celia comes home, and I begin to function like a normal human again. Nap.

Hey, how many times do I have to plug Boycott Unity before you go and check it out? Get in on the ground floor of the future of Stick Figure political cartoons.

TOMORROW! The Worst Christmas Ever!

Just Like Heaven.

I know someone’s going to take my spot
I know that you’re going to be a star.

On Saturday evening at about 5:30, Ben and Sherry came over to our place. We ate at the Olive Garden, and headed down to Mad Planet in Milwaukee for the big Benjamins reunion show. It was about 4 degrees out, and the snow was whipping around with the 30mph wind. It was hard to keep the car on the road, and there were patches of ice here and there. I was pretty happy once we finally got to park.

Once there, we met up with Lindsay, who I owed an apology to.

The Saltshakers got the night going. They sounded good enough, but the whole time I was secretly worrying that the bass player’s pants were going to fall off at any minute. This paralyzing fear sort of took away from the mood.

The Etiquette was up next. I had never heard of them before, and they rocked pretty hard. The singer did a spot-on Billy Idol impression for a cover of Rebel Yell to close the set. That’s all you need to know.

You’re not so sure about me, I can tell
But you know me better than anyone
And I’m just lame
You’re so great, you know
A total shooting star
I think you’re wonderful
You’re wonderful, you’re wonderful.
The Benjamins took the stage as if 3 years never passed. I snagged their setlist, and here it is, in almost correct order:
Weather’s Here, Wish You Were Beautiful
Sophia On The Stereo
Dr. Frank Was Right
Boxcar (Jawbreaker)
Riverwest Creeps
Gave It Away
Just Like Heaven (The Cure)
3,720 To 1
It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (R.E.M.)
Little Tin Heart
My Name Is Jonas (Weezer)
I have never seen a crowd of people so happy to see a band in my life. Every word of every song was screamed right back at the Benjamins, sometimes overpowering the PA. I was having my own private bliss as well, enjoying myself without bothering anyone else, I hope. Mad Planet was packed with swaying bottles of Blatz, the screaming didn’t let up for a second, and they sounded as tight as they ever did, considering that they’re all almost full-blown alcoholics.
A stack of mixtapes brought me closer
And I know that it’s a modest melody
That sent you out to find the perfect guy
But found you crashing into me.
They played just about every song they had ever done, peppered with covers of some of my favorite songs. I think that in order to be in a good Wisconsin band, you have to learn Boxcar by Jawbreaker. It’s a law. Just Like Heaven pretty much sealed the deal for me, and there was nothing that was going to bother me for the rest of the night. Not the sasquatch in front of me with a swaying girl under each arm, not the drunk chick in front of Sherry with her shirt off, not even the insanely loud PA that’s still ringing in my ears as I type this. I flat out had a blast.
Let’s not blow it right now
Let’s not do something we’d both regret
Never is a long time to wait for you
And I’m not getting any younger.
It should also be noted that I had not one drink that night. I had a Bellini at the Olive Garden, but that was it. I drank water at the show, keeping with my solemn vow to never have more than one drink in a single day ever again. Or at least until something else comes up. I mean it.
When the show was over, we quickly said hi to Ben, the bass player, and headed out the door. Lindsay had left about 10 minutes before us, and we thought she was as good as gone when we stepped outside into the -20 degree wind chill. We then saw her standing on the streetcorner, waiting for her ride. When I realized that she had been standing there for over 10 minutes, I almost started bawling. We stood shivering with her until Anthony showed up, and started the long trek back home.
I had a dream that I wrote a song for you
And you just sat back and laughed
I can’t sleep to save my life
I guess that’s what I get for…
The snow was patchy, and there were sheets of glare ice on the highway. The road salt had covered the lines, so people were all over the place. We had to go about 45 most of the way home. By this time it was 3am, so staying awake wasn’t the easiest thing in the world. Me and Celia passed the time with a mature discussion on parenting. Surely, it’s easier to philosophize about children when you don’t have any of your own. It’s nicer that way right now. At about 3:30 we got home, and enjoyed our desserts from the Olive Garden. We incoherently babbled to each other until about 4:30, when we realized that we should probably go to sleep. Sherry had to work a full day on Sunday, and they had to be out of our house by 11:30.
I am an angel
And quite the rock star, too
Did you ever in your life
Think you’d end up with someone like me?
That pretty much brings you up to speed. I plan on milling around in my pajamas all day, watching football and eating random things. I have a 3-day work week starting on Monday, and then I’m off for Christmas. Boycott Unity will have more cartoons next week, and you can expect more things here at the CDP, as Sweeps Month enters the home stretch. Have a good one, I’m going back to bed.
The show was fantastic.

Fingers Touching Knees Through Holes Of Ripped Jeans.

Okay, time for the big, tiny surprise.

But first, the cartoons on Boycott Unity will start again on Monday. I hope you’re enjoying them, because I enjoy making them. I’m taking the weekend off, though. Tonight I’m going to the Benjamins reunion show, then Ben and Sherry are spending the night. The show is 21 and over, so if the people at the door give Sherry any crap, I guess we’re going home. My hope is that we can run into one of the Benjamins and have them hook us up. We’ll have to see. I’ll let you know all about it on Monday.

So, here’s the big news…. I’M PREGNANT!

This is little Tanner Dakota. I’m due in late June, but you could never tell by looking at me. I’ve stopped smoking, eat lots of fruits and veggies, and drink lots of Tang. I consider this my little miracle, because me and Celia were on the verge of divorce before this little guy came along.

Sorry. I’ll tell you the real news now.

As of last Wednesday, I became a contributing writer to Madison’s very own Core Weekly newspaper. Core Weekly is a new arts & entertainment paper published by Capital Newspapers, who publish the Capital Times. It’s specifically designed for college folk, ages 18-25. I had been in contact with the director for a few weeks now, and finally met with him a few days ago. We hit it off, and I signed on the dotted line. I’ll be reviewing CD’s mostly, but he’s down with almost anything I want to pitch to him. It’s a paid position, which is always nice, and Core Weekly is read by over 60 THOUSAND people every week. Once their web page gets up, it will be read by a lot more. Their offices are on State Street, and I’m working on reviewing my first CD as I type this.

I got to this position through a few phone calls, a ton of e-mails, and a few sample reviews I sent to them. Eventually, I got put on a list of people who do the same thing as me, and went from there. Initially, I was worried that this paper would just disappear after a while. That was when I found out they were funded by the Capital Times, which means wide distribution and plenty of cash and promotion. You can’t go anywhere in Madison without seeing a Core Weekly. Last night at Noodles, I saw people reading them at 4 different tables.

So, I’m working for the most widely circulated hipster newspaper in the state. Once the ball gets rolling, I’ll obviously keep you in touch with how things are going. I have it worked out with them so I can put my CD reviews on here, as well as in Core Weekly. Who knows? I might either get a lot more work at this, or I’ll get canned after one terrible review. I’m excited as hell, and pretty proud of myself. As you can tell, I spend every chance I get writing stuff. I write stories, screenplays, hundreds of Blog posts and songs, cartoons and a children’s book in the works. My idea is quantity over quality. I just flat out like to do this, and it never mattered to me if anyone else thought it was worth a damn. I’m not a very talented writer, but I always want to do more and try different things. Just the thought that someone would pay me even a quarter for something I wrote makes me pretty content. Thanks a million.

Oh, I know what you’re thinking. “But Ryan, I don’t live in Madison. How will I ever be able to read such a lovely paper that’s showcasing your work?” I’ve got that taken care of. When an issue comes out that I’m in, I’ll snag an extra 10 or so to give to friends and relatives. You look out for me, and I’ll look out for you. (I don’t have to pay for them.)

I guess that’s all I wanted to share with you today. If I do get pregnant though, you’ll be the first ones to know. Any questions? Hit me up in the comments section.