…The Party’s Over. (Year Of The Me!)

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Hello there. This is the last post of 2005. Thanks for coming out. I must warn you, there’s rampant egotism and pretentiousness ahead; basically business as usual. Proceed with caution.

2005 was a busy year here at the CDP. You know, I did over 180 posts this year; about 1 every other day. That’s pretty good, considering that most of my posts run many pages. By “good,” I mean “very obsessive and sad.” Everyone needs a hobby, and mine is writing about insignificant minutiae and tiny life experiences. I love what I do.

But there’s a dark side. A very dark side. Like, so dark, you can’t even see where your key is supposed to go, and you end up putting a big gouge into the side of your Mom’s Taurus. That dark.

Around the middle of 2005, I started to get torn about what I wanted to do on this page. At first (February 2004), it was just an excuse to keep my creative writing chops sharp in case something ever came along (something did come along, for a bit). I told nobody about the page, and those who did know didn’t care. I got 4 hits a month and I could say whatever I wanted. I cursed and shed personal details at will. Life was good.

Then, things started to change. More people started to show up. Friends and relatives started reading. Co-workers would stop me in the halls and tell me how much they liked my latest post. Other Blogs started linking to me. Strangers started e-mailing me. I was getting hundreds of hits a day. The CDP was in the bloodstream, and it sort of freaked me out. In the grand scheme of self-important ‘net attention whores, I’m less than a stain on Wil Wheaton’s Dockers, but it was enough to change my style.

I had a wee audience, so I became instantly self-aware of what I was doing. I didn’t want to say bad things about people that might be reading. I was afraid to say anything negative or incriminating about work. I stopped talking so much about my real life, for fear that Internet psychos would show up at my doorstep or steal my identity. That tended to stifle my creativity. The outlet that allowed me to fully explore my hobby was the very same one that started to screw it all up.

So, like I was saying, in the middle of 2005 I changed my style a little bit. I took shelter in the safety of television conversations and album reviews. Pictures of myself turned into pictures of Tony Little, and I went from an online essayist to a pop culture commentator. More people showed up, but it made my time on here less and less enjoyable. I was doing whatever I could to bring people in while still writing what I wanted. It worked for a while, but I started to get really bored.

I’m sort of a shallow guy. When you’re in Elementary School, shallow people are referred to as the “Class Clown.” When I was younger, I would find out what got me attention in school, and rolled with it. I’m a comic at heart, and it always made me happy to see people laugh at my jokes. Sometimes, I would tell jokes that I didn’t think were funny, just because other people did. Sure, the laughs were still there, but it made me feel like a sell out. I try not to do that anymore, but you know that I do.

That’s what’s going on right now at the CDP. I don’t feel like I’m doing this for myself anymore. I used to type whenever I had a funny idea or story to tell. Now it’s like a job that I don’t get paid for. If there’s one sure way to destroy something you enjoy doing, it’s by turning it into a career. The attention-whore in me says that I shouldn’t mess with a good thing, but man, I have to.

I know exactly what you’re thinking. “Who cares? If you’re so miserable and tortured, do something about it, you self-absorbed prick. Stop writing. Better yet, why don’t you go outside and take in the actual world for a minute or two. Get off your high horse and find a rope just long enough to hang yourself with. Take your emo glasses, pretentious photographs and snobbery and stick ’em straight up your chute, because the last thing the Interweb needs is another sad asshole.”

You’re totally right. Sorry about that. I tend to take a lot of stock in the non-existent.

Doing something like starting a Blog takes a huge amount of egotism and pride. You tend to pour your heart into it (the good ones, at least). You value it more than anyone can understand, and you defend it when it’s insulted. You make sure it’s well-maintained, and you get sad when you say something funny and nobody laughs.

Why? Because it’s YOU.

2006 will be the start of something different here, but not too different. I’ve set a few goals for myself that I really want to accomplish, and there’s a rad new template on the horizon (a few of you have already seen it). I’m excited to start things over here, and hopefully do 180 more good posts. I’m not getting rid of any old posts or anything (for now), just looking forward and onward. Besides the 2 or 3 things I said I wanted to work on this year, I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to do. This is exactly what I want, and it’s been awhile.

I’m excited. I also said “I” 56 times in this post (count it). The Year of the Me has officially begun.

I will be attending New Year’s gatherings on Friday and Saturday. The switch will be flipped on the new CDP on the first of the year. Thank you so much for your support, and so long 2005.

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CDP Year In Review.

(Another year is almost in the books. The only true way to remember it, however, is through the eyes of someone else. Like me, for example. Now then, the year that was, through the eye of the CDP.)

January.

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Without question, 2005 started off horribly as my Grandfather lost his battle with cancer.

One year later, and it still hurts. The whole family feels it whenever we get together, and he’s not around. I’ve been pretty fortunate, as my young family hasn’t yet had to experience many losses in life. When a guy like this disappears from the planet, there’s a huge hole where he used to be. It can’t be filled, but you can learn to one day accept it. I go on for 100 pages about how amazing he was and still is, but you should get the point.

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The month started to get better, but not by much. My lunch got stolen from work following a massive pulled neck muscle that benched me for three days. Whilst depressed and sad, I had an in-depth analysis of mortality and death. Finally, we all had a gathering in Green Bay shortly before my birthday that lifted my spirits and got me ready for happier times.

February.

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On the 12th of February, the CDP turned 1 year old. We’re still not toilet trained yet, but we’re ashamed when we don’t make an effort to not poop our pants.

I turned 23 this year, and that once again got me nostalgic for crap that happened not 5 years ago. This inspired me to write a four-volume piece on my first job. In the series, I discuss the nature of the position, a brush with a murderer, a near-death experience and a run-in with the scariest guy I’ve ever met. It was an interesting job, and I’m glad that I had the chance to work there. Some day I will write a full-length book about it and get rich on other peoples’ problems.

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This was also the month that I started to grow my hair long. As it turned out, the “Year of the Shaggy” was kind of a bust, but it was a hoot while it lasted.

March.

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There’s a certain depressing quality in losing all of your money at a casino. What’s worse, when you do it a second time, you have nobody to blame but yourself. When something like this happens to you, it represents a moral crossroads in which you must choose what path your life must take. In my case, it caused me to sign up for a 5-mile run. Death was looming, and it had my name on her list.

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With NCAA March Madness in full-bore, I was reminded of the time that I caused one of the biggest sports controversies in Winneconne history. My bracket was shot, I lost $10 in the office pool and Kentucky made me cry again. Spring could not arrive fast enough. I bought an IPod and started training for my run.

April.

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Because I was burned out and tired, I handed the CDP reigns over to Gabe for a day. This would be the first and last time I would ever consider such a thing. Jokes are funny.

This was also the month that brought us the infamous “Eyeball Post.” Still one of the most popular posts ever, it hopefully brought awareness to unnecessary close-up photos of somewhat beautiful people.

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Meanwhile, back at work, I almost lost $27,000 and my job. Life is a fickle business sometimes. To cheer each other up, we spent the day at Wisconsin Dells, tricking a timeshare salesman to give us plane tickets to Hawaii. Depending on how much money I get back in taxes, we might cash these in come 2006. With so much on my plate this month, a recap was in order.

Man, the Sugar Puff Daddy had it going on! Using his mad skillz as a reference, I was on the prowl for Take Your Daughter to Work Day. And if that wasn’t enough, I managed to accomplish my 5-mile goal without having to go to the hospital. That was a big deal for me, and I still limp around when the weather’s just right.

May.

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Happiness comes in small packages. It’s a cookie or a Kit-Kat bar. It’s a kiss on the cheek or a nice compliment. Take them and appreciate them, or they will disappear. All this and more when I publish my self-help book, entitled, “I Hate You, You Freaking Idiot.”

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As I get older, I realize that it’s nice to go to the mall with your Mother. She buys you things that you can’t buy for yourself. Me and the Missus also celebrated our 2nd Annual New Glarus Day Trip. We’ll probably do this at least once a year until once of us is confined to a wheelchair. I ain’t pushin’ nobody nowhere.

June.

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June was unforgettable. Kind of.

You never forget the day that Tony Little shows up at your door and whoops your ass. No sir. The same goes for when you dream about beating the crap out of your Dad over a sleazy pair of women. Better yet, what about the time that you humiliate yourself in front of a co-worker? Not me.

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What’s really unforgettable is your first anniversary, especially when it doesn’t end in divorce. What’s really unforgettable is spending 8 days in one of the biggest cities in the world with 3 of your closest friends. Simply amazing.

July.

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The CDP’s 200th Post was pretty cool, too. You know, in a veryvery small capacity. This transitioned smoothly into me losing my freelance job due to “creative differences.”

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It’s not Toronto, but Mount Horeb isn’t without it’s charm. I think it might have to do with the Nazi hats.

August.

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This is what happens when a writer with OCD gets heat stroke. On the other hand, things aren’t always as they seem. Just when I think I’ve won you over again, I hit you with the most brutally honest and frightening post about myself ever. Never think I’m not honest. In the aftermath of this post, a lot of people expressed concern for my well-being, and others criticized my actions. Take from it what you will; just know that I never intended on having it taken so seriously. I’m just fine.

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The Missus picked herself a Fantasy Football team this year. They were awful, but they beat the Packers.

Just as August was spiraling into the gutter, Ben and Sherry saved it with a spectacular wedding.

September.

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For my money, there’s nothing better than taking sexy photos of myself with a cell phone. If anything, it turned me on to talking about something besides myself all the time. I have since retracted the statements I made in this post. Expect 2006 to be the Year of the Me!

Taking my new format in stride, my 2005 Fall TV Preview generates over 100 comments. My Lost Season Two Preview does just as well. I soon realize that pop culture is far more interesting than cats and mustard. Just then, Mutton Chop showed up and ruined the party for everyone.

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Remember when that insect almost killed me? I do.

My first unofficial Lost Friday was published, and I hit the road for Minneapolis.

October.

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My weekend in Minneapolis was incredible; Arcade Fire was earth-moving and the zoo made me love dolphins again. I don’t know what more you can ask of a city. I tried to put a new advice column up, but the public didn’t receive it very well.

I also shared with you the saddest Halloween story of all time, as the Lost Fridays started to rack up.

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Just in time for Halloween, we spent the day at a real-life haunted-themed farm. I slingshotted some gourds, we got lost in a corn maze; it was a great day.

November.

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Sweeps Month ended up being out most successful month ever at the CDP. I owe it mostly to Lost Fridays, but also to year-end festivities like the best comments of 2004, the Boycott Unity retrospective, and concern over the well-being of Gabriel.

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I hate the mall, but not as much as I hate Steven Avery.

After a super-sized Lost Friday, I came back with 50 things I’m thankful for, just in time for that Thank-holiday. The Missus also turned 22, and I gushed over her for a while.

December.

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The last new Lost Friday I did was also my most favorite, because it was composed 100% by me. The best comments of 2005 were locked and loaded, along with each and every one of my year-end music lists.

I also grew a beard. It ruled. I gave it a name. ‘Beardy’.

The best and worst of 2005 were discussed briefly, and we all parted ways for the holidays. Christmas was fantastic; I got more than I deserved, and it was great to see my family under the same roof again. That pretty much brings us right up to speed.

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Not only is this my second-to-last post of the year, it is also the final chapter on everything we went through in 2005. We’re through recapping and going on about recent nostalgia; now we can get back to moving forward again. That’s just fine with me, because 2005 wore me the hell out.

NEXT: The Final Post Of 2005: Turn Out The Lights…

Lost Friday – Christmas Edition.

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Another Lost Friday is upon us. We actually have much to discuss.

First off, a bit of business. Due to the holidays, there will be no Lost Friday on December 30. It will, however, return on January 6 to get us all caught up for Episode 10 on January 11. Hoo-rah.

Speaking of upcoming episodes, here’s a lengthy rundown of the next 4 new episodes, along with what you can expect to see in them. Sources have been gathered all over the interweb, and the validity is always questioned.

January 11 – 8pm EST – Episode 9.5: Lost: Revelation.

Discover the complete story of the grueling first 48 days on the island for the fuselage survivors and tailies after the crash of Oceanic flight 815.

Since the beginning, “Lost” has mystified and intrigued viewers with its interesting characters and unique style of storytelling. Season One dealt with the fuselage survivors, the hatch and a failed attempt to get off the island. Season Two continues these stories and also introduces viewers to the survivors of the tail section. “Lost: Revelation” puts these two seasons together in a linear fashion that provides an illuminating view on one compelling story.

See the sequence of the aftermath of the failed raft attempt, the opening of the hatch, how the tail section and fuselage survivors lived separately and the unwitting intersections of their lives, and how both groups ultimately collided in one catastrophic moment. “Lost: Revelation” offers new and avid viewers a fresh perspective, comprehensive and enlightening, in one of television’s most intriguing series.

(This obviously is going to be a recap before the premiere of episode 10. After taking 5 weeks off, giving us an extra hour of repackaged footage is the least they can do.)

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January 11 – 9pm EST – Episode 10: The 23rd Psalm.

Master Sgt. Crystal L. Anderson was an extra in a filming of LOST in Hawaii. She played a member of a church congregation. The scene was designed to depict the mental flashback of a character in the show named Mr. Eko, played by veteran actor Adewale Akinnuowy-Agbaje. Per an interview with a local army newspaper, she says Mr. Eko is “king of the warlords” in Nigeria. He enters the church with other warlords and asks his brother, a minister in the church, to ordain him as a minister. Everyone is frightened, knowing Mr. Eko’s reputation, and the church is cleared, so only two warlords, Mr. Eko and his brother, are left.

Mr. Eko interrogates Charlie about the Virgin Mary statue, Claire begins to lose faith in Charlie when she discovers his secret, and Jack is an interested observer when Kate gives the recovering Sawyer a much-needed haircut.

Mr. Eko’s upcoming flashback episode, titled “The 23rd Psalm,” will shed more light on why the character took a 40-day vow of silence on the island. And producers promise more info on that stick. “It has its own flashback,” [Damon] Lindelof quips.

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(Woah. If what the extra says is true, that would shed a whole lot of light on Eko’s past. His relation with the drug plane, along with his checkered past sounds like a fantastic flashback. And that hair cut only sweetens the deal. The idea that Eko was on the island before the crash is starting to solidify.)

January 18 – 9pm EST – Episode 11: The Hunting Party

Jack, Locke and Sawyer pursue a determined Michael after he heads into the jungle toward the dreaded “Others” in search of Walt. Meanwhile, Sun has a surprising reaction to Jin’s desire to join the search party, and Hurley and Charlie commiserate over the age-old conundrum of “what women want.”

Jack-centric. Julie Bowen will guest star.

This episode features two guest stars, a wealthy middle aged Italian man and a gorgeous Italian woman who may possibly recur.

(This should be the big Jack-episode we’ve been waiting for. We might find out how the divorce and tattoos came to be. Also, it’s nice to see a good old-fashioned walkabout again.)

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January ?? – 9pm EST – Episode 12: Fire & Water.

Flashbacks will feature 8-year-old Charlie and 12-year-old Liam.

Charlie-centric episode that will feature his parents as well as his brother. We learn that Mr. Pace is a butcher. The episode will also feature Karen, the wife of a rock star (Liam?) and a British director.

(This may be the episode directed by Darren Aronofsky, but that hasn’t been confirmed yet.)

Apart from all those previews, I’ve collected a bunch of various Season 2 spoilers that you might be interested in. These have to do with upcoming episodes, or Season 2 in general. Enjoy.

1. Quotes from Lindelof and Grillo-Marxuach at a Lost convention: The plane did not crash by accident, it crashed for a very specific reason. But he dismissed speculation that someone aboard the plane caused the crash. The crash of the plane is explained before the season ends.

2. From Damon Lindelof: [Hurley getting a love interest is] definitely something we’ve thought a lot about and nothing that we wanna force. There are a couple women characters we’re introducing on the island over the course of the season who we do not know who they’re going to end up with. We’re doing 23 [episodes] this year. There is going to be a flashback story that fully explains the significance of all [Jack’s] tattoos and puts it into the framework of what was happening in his life when he got them. You’ll probably be seeing it in season two, but if not, very early in season three. Right now the plan is to do it this year. [23] is an important number in terms of the scheme of the show.

3. Lindelof reveals: [Season 2 will cover] roughly the next 45 or 50 days. We’re sticking to the same brand of storytelling and not taking bold jumps forward. Probably by the end of season two we’ll be in the range of day 90. The issue of what made Flight 815 crash is going to be dealt with in season two and definitively answered by the end of season two.

4. Damon Lindelof said: “Check out Marvin Candle’s left hand.”
(Dr. Marvin Candle has a fake hand.)

5. We’ll be seeing Locke soon in another flashback, this time in his wheelchair.

6. You’ll learn more about [why Ethan abducted Claire] this season.

7. As with the hatch, there will be more revelations about the Dharma Initiative, but it’s all going to come at times when it’s going to affect the characters most. You have not seen the last of Dharma, but it’s going to be a little while before you find out a little bit more. The Dharma Initiative was a communal research facility on the island. A lot of scientists and free-thinkers got together to do a lot of different kinds of research: psychiatry, zoology – and remember that with the zoology of the film you saw some polar bears. It’s possible there were some animal aggression studies going on there, as well as human psychology experiments and a whole variety of other things. The Dharma Initiative was founded by two peacenik Grad students who were trying to get to the bottom of a lot of mysteries about human behavior. There are six bunkers on the island, and they were devoted to a lot of different kinds of research. That’s going to open up a lot of different avenues for us to tease you with what the kind of research was, and how it’s evolved now that the Dharma Initiative seems to have fallen into disrepair. A lot has happened on the island and the Dharma Initiative is just the tip of the iceberg.

Well, that oughta do it for now. This is my last post before Christmas, so I want to wish everyone a safe and enjoyable holiday. The CDP will return next week with the last 2 posts of the year.

NEXT: THE CDP YEAR IN REVIEW!

Best & Worst Of 2005.

(Thanks to everyone who participated in this year’s list. I tried to make sure I got rid of all your typos.)

1. Favorite Album Of 2005.

CDP – If you want to see my favorite albums of 2005, allow me to direct you to my wack lists:

Best of 2005 (2004 Edition)
Best of 2005 (#20-#16)
Best of 2005 (#15-#11)
Best of 2005 (#10-#6)
Best of 2005 (#5-#1)

MISSUS – Since I can’t even remember what albums really came out in 2005, I’ll just say the ones that I remember and enjoyed more than vaguely.

Matt Pond PA – Several Arrows Later
Of Montreal – Sunlandic Twins
Nada Surf – The Weight is a Gift
Caesars – Paper Tigers

(CDP Edit: I’d like to mention that Several Arrows Later is a good album that wasn’t included on my list. It impresses me each time I hear it, and ‘Halloween’ is one of the best songs of the year.)

SHERRY LP – Suburban Sprawl and Alcohol

LP has such a kick-ass voice and incredible breath control (seriously, she can hold a note for like a minute). It’s something different from Kay Hanley, but it’s definitely just as rockin’!

PASTE

1. Sufjan Stevens – Illinois
2. Clem Snide – End of Love
3. Iron & Wine and Calexico – In the Reins
4. Wilco – Kicking Television (live)
5. If Songs Could Be Held – Rosie Thomas
6. Death Cab for Cutie – Plans
7. Nickel Creek – Why Should the Fire Die?
8. Headphones – Headphones
9. Ben Folds – Songs for Silverman
10. The Listener – Ozark Empire

(Kathleen Edwards – Back to Me, Eisley – Room Noises, and Boondogs – Fever Dreams probably should have all been on there.)

ANDREW SMITH – I noticed that all of my newer CDs are from 2004, but nonetheless my top 2 albums came rather obviously:

1. Mediocre at Best: The Lost Classics (B-Sides & Live)
2. Captain Salisbury and the Mystery Meats: Sargeant Salad vs Vegetable Vigilante

Both CDs take me back to a time when there was a rocking music scene and I had not a care in the world. The Mediocre at Best CD features the song “600 Days” that had lived only in my mind for over 3 years. Also features live versions of songs, like the “New Song,” that I had grown to love my freshman year of high school. While the CD was easily one ofthe most generous things I have ever received, it even came along with slew of patches, buttons, and other concert paraphanailia. Easily the best bundle of the year, likely the new milennia.

Captain Salisbury’s long awaited follow up to their 2002 self titled CD arrived 2 years after the band had broken up. The album features the track “Jet Set,” along with 5 other rockin new songs. While the CDs bring back even more memories of how I miss my high school days, they are a strong testament to two bands I miss dearly.

(CDP Edit: Thanks for the props, our massively swelled heads appreciate it.)

ERIN – I actually didn’t buy any albums at all this year, except the Funny Girl soundtrack which, well, you know me…..it’s not even new for 2005. I think I, as my music, am out of date.

2. Worst Song Of 2005.

CDP – Anything on the radio that didn’t have a real drummer, or anything on the radio sung by someone who uses a headset during live performances.

MISSUSWake me up when September Ends – Green Day

That song is tripe. Crap, rubbish, trash. I can’t even think of enough words to explain the way that song disgusts me.

SHERRY – I don’t know the exact title of it or the idiot who wrote it, but it’s the one with the chorus that has this little, high-pitched voice in the background singing, “On my Ooooooowwwwn!” It just makes me want to kill everyone around me! I mean, who ever thought that this would make a meaningful musical statement! Come on!

(CDP Edit: If you know what song she’s talking about, let it be known in the comments section.)

PASTE – Anything by Usher makes me want to jam pencils in my ears, especially his big hit which I can’t name.

ANDREW SMITH – Fall Out Boy – Sugar, We’re Going Down

It is possible to find the song catchy at first listen, but I think it helps to have your collar completely covering your neck. I can’t say I ever really hated this song until I arrived at La Crosse, when, for the first couple weeks, you could not escape it. But everyone here now has the “I knew them before they were on MTV” going for them. It’s ironic considering how trendy most people here are. They don’t know anything.

3. Favorite Song Of 2005.

CDP – My favorite radio song of 2005 was Feel Good, Inc. by Gorillaz (yep). My favorite song of 2005 in all was probably In This Home On Ice, by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!

PASTE – Favorite song of the first half of December 2005 is Holland 1945 by Neutral Milk Hotel.

SHERRY – LP – Wasted

I just can’t think of anything off of the radio. I didn’t even attempt to listen to what everyone else in the U.S. was listening to this year. It’s an awesomely awesome song with a rockin’ drum beat, and I could listen to it over and over again for the rest of my life.

(CDP Edit: Knowing Sherry, she will listen to it over and over again for the rest of her life.)

ANDREW SMITH – Gorillaz – Feel Good, Inc.

My somewhat guilty pleasure song. This song was incredibly catchy, and had the same effect on me as when I was a 6th grader and heard Tubthumper for the first time. I couldn’t get the song out of my head even though I had no idea what they were saying, at least for the first couple listens. I actually had no “real” favorite song of the year, but I did enjoy this.

4. Favorite Film Of 2005.

CDPBatman Begins.

I wasn’t really digging around for any indie masterpieces this year, and only managed to get to the theater about 5 times. Christopher Nolan is a genius, and I’ve loved every film he’s made in his still-early career. This is the best Batman movie ever; you hear me Tim Burton?

MISSUSHarry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

I recognize that I have done nothing but complain about this film since I saw it, but despite the “difficulties” I have with this movie, it’s still Harry Potter and therefore it’s still better than anything else.

PASTE – I didn’t see very many movies in the theater this year. Narnia was great once you get around the press-manufactured controversy and Disney’s seedy marketing strategy. They showed a trailer for it at my church, which made me feel greasy. There should be some indie-type film or doc I should mention, but I can’t think of any that came out this year that I saw.

SHERRYBatman Begins.

Christian Bale is so hot, and his acting is excellent. He turns me on with his commitment to his roles. I love his huge muscular arms in this movie. The whole Batman voice thing is kind of wierd, but the movie is 100,000 times better than the other Batman movies made in the 90’s.

ERIN – I only say The Aviator, North Country, Elizabethtown, and that may be it although the year is not over and I intend on seeing Rent as soon as possible. So far Elizabethtown is superior. It is a fine mix of Orlando hotness and cinematography. I loved it, and just so you know that I’m not an idiot, my brother Steve (who is super cool) loved it as well and considers it also a favorite of 2005.

ANDREW SMITHBatman Begins.

I am a huge Batman fan and I didn’t feel the last run of movies really did him justice, especially the last two. It was much darker as well, and as realistic as a super hero movie could really be.

The only problem with Batman Begins was the lack the showstopping quotes from Mr. Freeze in “Batman and Robin:”

Cop: “Please show some mercy!
Freeze: “I’m afraid my condition has left me cold to your pleas of mercy.”

Mr. Freeze: “Ice to see you!

Mr. Freeze: “What killed the dinosaurs? The Ice Age!

Sorry.

5. Best Book Read In 2005.

CDPBlink – Malcolm Gladwell

MISSUS – Could this be any more predictable…Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. What could be better than learning about the young Lord Voldemort?

ANDREW SMITHHarry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

I find the Harry Potter books just keeping getting better with each new installment. There is also so much up in the air after this one, mostly on Dumbledore’s instincts, that it will be very interesting to see how the next one plays out. I have really enjoyed that the books progressively have gotten darker.

ERIN – I read “Eats, Shoots, and Leaves” and it was awesome for all of those English fanatics out there. I also read some other good ones like The Turn of the Screw, Dictionary of the Khazars, and some other great books that I had to read for school like She’s Not There and My Year of Meats. All excellent, reading is awesome!

SHERRY – I didn’t read a whole lot of interesting books this year; most of them I read were for school and on music education. But I did enjoy The Da Vinci Code. It turned me on to the concept of Jesus being married and having kids, etc. It will have you salivating at the thought of being able to turn to the next page and reading the next chapter.

PASTE – I don’t read very often, but here’s what I read and am reading:

Blue Like Jazz: Non-religious Thoughts on Christianity -Don Miller

The first couple pages are available to read on Amazon. Any description I make of it will probably make it sound like it sucks, which it doesn’t at all.

Mediated: How the Media Shapes Your World and the Way You Live In It – Thomas De Zegontita

A friend of mine is using this in the high school philosophy class that he teaches. Fascinating commentary on pop culture in the last several decades. First sentence: “ASK YOURSELF THIS: did members of the Greatest Generation spend a lot of time talking about where they were and what they did and how they felt when they first heard the news from Pearl Harbor?”

6. Favorite TV Show Of 2005.

CDP

#10 – Saturday Night Live
#9 – Malcolm In The Middle
#8 – Supernatural
#7 – Mythbusters
#6 – My Name Is Earl
#5 – Night Stalker
#4 – The Office
#3 – House
#2 – Arrested Development
#1 – Lost

MISSUSLost. I am very glad that my mother turned me on to it.

But for laughs, I reckon I’d have to say The Office, because that show almost makes me cry every week. Michael is the saddest human being ever.

Best NEW show? Nightstalker. Enough said.

PASTELost, duh.

SHERRYLost! I can’t tell you how awesome this show is; there are no words to describe it (refer to Ryan’s posts on Lost).

Arrested Development– This is the only time when I laugh histerically at the TV. Not many things amuse me the way this show does.

ANDREW SMITH – This year, my favorite show to watch was “The Office.” A lot of fans of the original BBC version didn’t really give the show much of a chance in the beginning, but I really feel the show has surpassed all expectation. I don’t think they could have done a better job at casting, and the little subtelties between the characters really make the show even funnier. It may be hard for me to justify it being the best show of 2005, as it is a remake, but I find it funnier than any show on TV this season. My Name is Earl is definitely heading up my list, though.

ERIN – I only watched TV for about three months total of this year so I’m no longer a good judge of TV since I can’t watch much anymore besides my daytime soaps.

(CDP Edit: Best run-on ever!)

7. Best Or Worst Moment Of 2005.

CDP – I’ll be devoting a post to this before the end of the year. Sit tight.

MISSUS – Worst – Gabe’s urinary blockage.

Close Second – Having to give Gabe his medicine.

Best – The day when we realized Gabe’s mouth was no longer rank.

I realize these are not nationwide or worldwide events, but my world is really quite small.

Best THING about 2005 is that a Harry Potter book AND movie both came out. That just plain rules.

ANDREW SMIFF – Best Moment – The turn around of the Brewers, most notably the Twins game in which Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks each homered.

The Tony Little Geico commercial (self explanatory).

Hurricane Rita not hitting Houston.

Worst Moment – Obviously Hurricane Katrina has to be up there.

Ted Thompson mailing the season in, in order to rebuild. We are automatically a contender with Brett at quarterback, and he deserves to at least be sent out with a shot. Put some pieces around him, what’s the difference if we rebuild in a couple years when we won’t have one of the greatest QBs of all time. This makes me mad, but its nowhere in the league of Katrina.

(CDP Edit: I like the way Andrew thinks. Katrina was a horrible incident, but the Packers season wasn’t without its heartbreak. In fact, it’s brought me much more personal trauma than pretty much anything this year.)

SHERRY – Best- Flipping off the White House and saying,”Impeach Bush” with 300,000 other people surrounding me who also know how corrupt and evil everything had become in the anti-war march in Washington, D.C.

Worst- All the people being ignored after Hurricane Katrina, and having to pay the price for the government’s stupidity in sky-rocketing gas prices.

Personal Best – Getting married… again! I had the wedding of my dreams with all my close friends and family watching; I never want to go through it again.

PASTE – It’s kind of obvious, but Katrina was the most affecting in that it raises so many different types of Big questions: Racism, poverty, Gov’t responsibility vs personal responsibility, Federal gov’t vs local gov’t, environmental impact, nature vs. man, reality vs. what’s reported, bureaucracy in the face of immediate need, Fox vs Arrested Development, etc…

(Thanks again for pitching in, and continue the conversation in the comments section.)

NEXT: SHOW ME YOUR SHORT LIST.
THEN: LOST FRIDAY!

Top 20 Albums Of 2005 – Part 4 Of 4.

After more than a week of posts, general banter and chit-chat, we’ve finally come to the end of the countdown. Here are my top 5 albums of the year, for your consideration and approval.

Each of these 5 albums are breakout performances in one way or another. For 3 of the bands listed, it was their debut album. For the other 2, it was their career-defining moment. In either case, these 5 bands represent the hopeful present and future of indie music in all facets and sounds. Good for them; they make me want to never pick up an instrument again.

Let’s go.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com #5 – The Decemberists – Picaresque

“The Decemberists are what Arcade Fire wants to sound like when they grow up,” sniffed an indie critic when Picaresque came out. He’s right, too. Where Funeral‘s main topic of conversation was the death of youth and rebellion to the monotony and acceptance of adulthood, Picaresque embraced the freedom and wonder of a fleeting adolescence. From another era altogether, the Decemberists travel the high seas and remember their travels and accounts via troubled sing-along. Led by the brilliant Colin Meloy, we’re offered a glimpse of a well-established and respected band simply adding to their legacy.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com #4 – The Go! Team – Thunder, Lightning, Strike

Thunder, Lightning, Strike is the Paul’s Boutique of the new millennium. When asked to describe the cut-and-paste sound of the Go! Team’s debut album, I’d say, “Pretend that you’re listening to the radio. One station is playing 70’s soul. Another station is playing hip hop. Station three is playing theme songs to 70’s TV shows. Still another station is playing hopscotch and cheerleader jams. Take the dial and spin it from right to left for 45 minutes, and you’ll get Thunder, Lightning, Strike.” Breathlessly energetic and full of non-stop action, the Go! Team will have to move heaven and earth to out-do themselves when they enter the studio again next year.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com #3 – Architecture In Helsinki – In Case We Die

You’d assume that with a name like Architecture in Helsinki, the 8-member collective would hail from Finland. Not true, smartass. Actually, this multi-gendered group comes to us from Australia, single-handedly apologizing for Silverchair and Paul Hogan in one fell swoop. In Case We Die is non-annoying twee at its absolute finest; a hand-clapping cuddle party with countless instruments and multiple vocalists. If one track doesn’t suit you, the next one will bore a hole into your skull until the next time the Democrats take office. Diverse and brilliant, In Case We Die is a textbook example of indie done perfectly right.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com #2 – Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! – Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!

This is how an album is supposed to be made. The New York quintet recorded, produced and released their self-titled debut without any label or manager assistance. Through live shows and word of mouth, they gained a cult following, leading to a glowing review on Pitchfork. Much like Funeral, CYHSY! became an internet phenomenon, causing the band to run out of merch and start a sold-out headlining tour without any booking agents or press kits. They have since signed to a label that re-released this debut to a wider audience.

I don’t know what I can tell you about this album that would do it justice. It’s an indie rock album. It has guitars, bass, drums and vocals among other things. It’s warm and nostalgic, yet new and trendsetting. It’s abraisive and gentle, reminding you of the best moments of your past without having actually been there at all. Just purchase it and give it a try. You’ll be amazed at how something so simple can grow on you.

Drumroll please…

Image hosted by Photobucket.com #1 – Of Montreal – The Sunlandic Twins

Oh, Kevin Barnes, you magnificent bastard. You’ve done it again. Last year, Satanic Panic In The Attic nearly took home CDP Album of the Year honors, but Of Montreal just couldn’t be stopped in 2005.

My story with The Sunlandic Twins starts in April of last year. I got an advance copy to review for the newspaper, and didn’t enjoy it much. After SPITA, it didn’t seem like Sunlandic could hold a candle to it. My review reflected this, and I sort of slammed the record. However, as is the case with critics with deadlines, I didn’t have enough alone time with the album. Like a fine wine, Sunlandic blossomed and bloomed with psychedelic melodies, danceable beats and insanely deep production. To break from what Of Montreal was known for and create something like this took…well, it took a lot of balls, and Kevin Barnes is the undisputed master and king of testicular girth.

I had the pleasure of interviewing this genius months down the road as they brought their tour into Madison. We talked about critics and reactions to the new album; for me a silent apology to him for not appreciating the record on first listen. He was shy and soft-spoken. Brilliant and thoughtful. My interview made up for the dismal critique, and their live show was one of the best times I’ve had all year. Barnes sheds all inhibitions when he takes the stage, breathing new live into his already textured beats and complexities. It was amazing.

The Sunlandic Twins pulls off the impossible, in that it’s a wonderful album about wonderful things. Normally, depression and despair write the best music, but in the case of Barnes, starting a family was the topic of conversation for the new record. Tracks like “So Begins Our Alabee” and “The Party’s Crashing Us” may have sounded disposable upon first listen, but they are still two of the best tracks I’ve heard all year. This album leaves me positively giddy in wait for the new one, which is about the nicest compliment I could give to a working musician.

The Sunlandic Twins is the CDP‘s Album of the Year. What do you have to say about it? Sound off in the comments section, and thanks for checking out my list.

NEXT: THE CDP YEAR IN REVIEW!
BEST/WORST OF 2005!
TOP 10 OF EVERYTHING!

(If the comments aren’t working for you, feel free to comment in the previous post.)

Link Party – Year End 2004 Edition.

Before we get into the business of recapping the year that was, here’s a trip back to the year before the year that was, courtesy of the CDP Wayback Machine and general apathy on my part.

Away we go!

1. Here was my Best & Worst list for 2004. Do I feel the same way now as I did then? I’m not really sure, but it looks like I put a lot of work into it. This is why I asked people to chip in this year. I’m a shiftless, lazy jerk who no longer cares.

2. Here was my Year In Review. In this list, you can look back to the very start of the CDP, and find out every little detail of what transpired last year. Highlights include the Red Sox winning the World Series, spiraling into a horrible unemployed depression, and a wedding or two.

3. Here’s a little insight into Christmas 2004 with the CDP family. Nostalgia is fun when it’s funny.

There you go. Check that out this weekend, and the CDP will return on Monday with a ton of Christmas and year-end hijinx.

NEXT: TOP 20 ALBUMS OF 2005 – #5-#1!

Lost Friday – Rerun Edition Rerun.

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(For all of you who don’t have the luxury of living in the north, here’s what a ‘blanket of snow’ looks like at CDP Headquarters. 7 inches and counting.)

Another Lost Friday Rerun Edition is upon us. Blee blave bluch bloo bliscuss.

Listen kids, enough of this crap. I’ve got Christmas shopping to do. As much as I’d like to sit here and talk about hatch-this and Desmond-that, Eko-where and Dharma-what, I really need to get out of the house for a few hours and spend some sweet state employee-earned cash.

It’s not like I’m happy about it or anything. I’d love to do nothing more on my Friday off from work but mow down dozens of Oreos and play Madden ’06 until the Missus comes home, but the real world is calling, and it wants me to go broke or die trying. (That’s the title of my new movie, produced by MTV films.) Drinking a bottle of wine alone in front of the fire is going to have to wait until after I fill my wobbly cart with gift cards, overpriced knick-knacks and CD’s by bands that suck.

And don’t get me started on this snow. It’s bad enough that normally intelligent and well-meaning people turn into savages that can’t drive every December. Throwing a blizzard into the mix is nothing short of a soccer mom riot waiting to happen. Normally this would intrigue and excite me, but I have things to do today, so there’s no time to dwell on the possibilities.

The simple fact of the matter is that ABC is running Lost reruns until January 11, and unless a cast member spontaneously combusts or gets arrested for drunk driving (say…?), there’s not too much to report. Next week, I’ll be talking more about unanswered questions and theories and whatnot, but for now, my checkbook finger’s getting itchy and Best Buy’s callin’ my name.

I wouldn’t leave you hanging, though. Whet your appetite with a dozen of my previous Lost Fridays:

SEASON TWO – RERUN EDITION: VOLUME 3
SEASON TWO – EPISODE 9 REVIEW
SEASON TWO – EPISODE 8 REVIEW
SEASON TWO – EPISODE 7 REVIEW
SEASON TWO – EPISODE 6 REVIEW
SEASON TWO – RERUN EDITION: VOLUME 2
SEASON TWO – RERUN EDITION
SEASON TWO – EPISODE 5 REVIEW
SEASON TWO – EPISODE 4 REVIEW
SEASON TWO – EPISODE 3 REVIEW
SEASON TWO – EPISODE 1 REVIEW
SEASON TWO PREVIEW

Oh, and here’s a quick glimpse into what I’ll be doing today when I’m not standing in line at the mall:

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Sweet.

NEXT: TOP 20 ALBUMS OF 2005 – #5-#1.