The CDP Nationwide Mix-Tape Trade!

The CDP Nationwide Mix-Tape Trade!

It’s go time, kids!

After extensive laboring, uploading e-mail addresses and building one of those spinny-wheels with the Bingo balls in them, I have finally come up with the 18 pairings for the CDP Nationwide Mix-Tape Trade. Everyone that signed up has someone that they will create a mix-tape for, and in tune they have someone who will make one for them.

The pairings are as follows. The drawing was random; a co-worker picked a number, and I eliminated the names, ‘MASH’-style:

Benjamin will be making a mix-tape for CometStarMoon.

Blustacon will be making a mix-tape for Raif.

Cargirl will be making a mix-tape for Sherry.

The CDP will be making a mix-tape for Cargirl.

CometStarMoon will be making a mix-tape for The Missus.

Halo will be making a mix-tape for Benjamin.

HeyFakeDomsar will be making a mix-tape for Kenny Frankly.

JT will be making a mix-tape for Moe Greene.

Julia will be making a mix-tape for HeyFakeDomsar.

Kenny Frankly will be making a mix-tape for JT.

Kevin will be making a mix-tape for Halo.

Maus will be making a mix-tape for The CDP.

MikeHos will be making a mix-tape for Julia.

The Missus will be making a mix-tape for Will.

Moe Greene will be making a mix-tape for Kevin.

Raif will be making a mix-tape for Maus.

Sherry will be making a mix-tape for MikeHos.

Will will be making a mix-tape for Blustacon.

Wonderful. Here’s what we all do next:

1. I will be sending e-mails out to everyone over the next few hours, reminding them who they need to create a mix-tape for, and what that person’s e-mail address is. For example, your e-mail from me will look a lot like this:

“Maus, you will be making a mix-tape for the CDP. His e-mail address is communistdance@yahoo.com. Please contact him and get his mailing address.”

2. It will then be up to the creator of the mix-tape to contact the recipient and get their physical mailing address. For example:

“Hey CDP, it’s Maus. I’m making you a mix-tape, so give me your mailing address so I can send you some sweet-ass tunage!”

3. One you get the mailing address of the person you’re sending a mix-tape to, SEND IT! Everyone has a buddy; it would really suck if someone get left out because you suddenly decided to go deadbeat on them. My goal is to have ALL MIX-TAPES MAILED OUT BY FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7. Now that you know who you’re making a mix for, you should have plenty of time to whip it up and get it mailed out within 8 days. If someone gets left out, I’ll feel personally responsible, so please don’t make an ass out of me.

4. If you’re having a problem contacting anyone, an e-mail address is dead or anything else goes wrong, feel free to contact me and I’ll sort it out. I’m pretty neat like that. If everyone gets their mixes mailed out by Friday the 7th, everyone should get their packages in time to celebrate Rosh Hashanah in style. Of course, once you receive your mix-tape, sound off in the comments section so we all know the status of everyone’s packages.

5. Here are some assorted FAQ’s about the Trade:

Q: Does it have to be on a CD? I want to go old-skool, and put it on a cassette!
A: Although your recipient might not like it, you’re more than welcome to go totally 80’s and make a mix-tape the way God intended.

Q: What should I put on the mix-tape?
A: Anything you want! Here’s a great definition from Wikipedia:

“A mixtape, which usually reflects the musical tastes of its compiler, can range from a casually selected list of favorite songs, to a conceptual mix of songs linked by a theme or mood, to a highly personal statement tailored to the tape’s intended recipient. Essayist Geoffrey O’Brien has called the personal mixtape “the most widely practiced American art form,”and many mixtape enthusiasts believe that by carefully selecting and ordering the tracks in a mix, an artistic statement can be created that is greater than the sum of its individual songs, much as an album of pop music in the post-Beatles era can be considered as something more than a collection of singles.”

And here’s a paragraph from the book High Fidelity:

“To me, making a tape is like writing a letter — there’s a lot of erasing and rethinking and starting again. A good compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do. You’ve got to kick off with a corker, to hold the attention (I started with “Got to Get You Off My Mind,” but then realized that she might not get any further than track one, side one if I delivered what she wanted straightaway, so I buried it in the middle of side two), and then you’ve got to up it a notch, or cool it a notch, and you can’t have white music and black music together, unless the white music sounds like black music, and you can’t have two tracks by the same artist side by side, unless you’ve done the whole thing in pairs and…oh, there are loads of rules.”

I’ve created many a mix-tape for many a person, and I strongly believe that it’s not only a chance to share musical interests with others, but a chance to connect with them on a slightly higher plane than mere conversation. I take it really seriously though, so your results may vary. I used to put together 2-hour long cassettes with seamless fade-outs, perfectly timed side-endings and detailed instructions on how to correctly listen to it. Brilliance, yo.

Q: I don’t know the person I’m sending the mix to? What should I do?
A: Well, this is really the point of the whole Trade. Express yourself and say hello through your mix. Who knows? You might make a new friend out of the deal. But probably, you’ll just realize that your taste in music is horrid. Be creative or be lazy; just do something and mail it out in time.

Well, I think that’s about it. Wait for my e-mail and go from there. Any questions, comments or concerns? Sound off in the comments section or drop me an e-mail. Let’s freaking do this!

MONDAY:
The 3rd Annual CDP Fall TV Preview!

Snap, Crackle, Poop.

I'm Gunna Puke My Pants!

When I began training for the ‘Book’n It Fun Run To Promote Literacy’ back in early July, my only hope was that I didn’t do anything foolish, like puke on camera or break my legs. And while there’s still no confirmed footage out there of yours truly ‘yodeling groceries,’ I did confirm my suspicions that my right tibia had been fractured.

Come to think of it, I haven’t thrown up since September of 2002. That’s a long damn time, considering that I have nightly heartburn and I’m guzzling gin as we speak.

If you recall, I developed shin splints in both legs during my training, which caused me to rest for 2-3 weeks prior to the race. As the date loomed, however, I began to overtrain, heightening the inflammation of my joints and also pulling my left hamstring in the process (that’s a red flag,).

Even though I was considerably hobbled on the day of the race, I ran anyway, resulting in 34 of the most painful minutes of my life. Makes sense, considering I was running on a broken bone, a pulled muscle and two severely inflamed joints. My ankles were so swollen after the race, they looked like your grandma’s ankles.

My mantra throughout the entire training process was “Don’t be a pansy,” although I replaced the word ‘pansy’ for something a little less blog-friendly. You get the point. I accomplished my incredibly stupid and not-at-all worthwhile goal and was about to pay for it for the next 6 to 8 weeks.

After two weeks of limping around, downing Ibuprofen by the economy bottle and pouring Jameson whiskey on my Froot Loops every morning, I finally decided to go to the doctor. By this point, there was acute pain in my right leg (far beyond shin splints), leading to numbness and tingling running up the back of my femur. At any moment, I was expecting the entire works to crumble like an oak tree that had been ravaged by termites.

I couldn’t walk around or stand up for more than a few minutes, I was acting like a real dick to my family and friends, and I was sleeping on the floor so I could elevate and ice the leg. Also, I was trying to refrain from accidentally booting the Missus in the ovaries in a fit of pain-induced rage while she slept. It was a rough 10 days.

There’s something about going to the Doctor that always seems to make your symptoms go away. Every time I find myself in the office, I have to try to explain that I felt bad yesterday, but for some reason I feel 100% better today. Come to think of it, a poor man’s health insurance should just consist of scheduling the appointment, watching the symptoms magically disappear, and then canceling the appointment later in the day. I understand that it’s an evolutionary tactic to not show weakness in the presence of dominant opposition, but I also knew that I wasn’t going to get any pain pills unless I convinced this guy that I needed them right away.

My Doctor in Middleton (The Best City In America, 2007) referred me to a Sports Physician downtown for x-rays, where after three hours of radiating and re-radiating, they finally determined that I had shin splints in the left and a fracture in the right. The x-ray technician kept messing up, so I probably got blasted with about 3000% more Tumor Juice than anyone should ever see in their lifetime.

I also appreciate that they make a point to cover my testicles with a lead blanket, as I can only handle one serious problem at a time. Something tells me that the sight of my gonads melting would have been a little too much for me to take on a Tuesday morning.

After the x-rays, the Sports Physician listened to my story, called me an idiot and told me I shouldn’t do a damn thing with my legs until after I had an MRI and was put on a rehab program. They also made me take my pants off and wear a pair of communal shorts that I’m sure hundreds of tiny men have hitched up over the years.

They were green and I was very embarrassed.

I also found out that I currently weigh in at 164 pounds with all of my clothes and shoes on. While I’m in good shape and look dead-sexy in a tight shirt (still a size Small), this is the most I’ve ever weighed and a good 50 pounds larger than I ever thought I’d be in my life. You have to understand that I tipped the scales at 112 pounds my Senior year, where my Gangly Factor (GF) was off the charts. I always sort of thought I’d be like that forever.

I also never thought I’d be sitting in a Doctor’s office, wearing someone else’s clothes while a Sports Therapist tells me that my tibia was broken. Oh, and I have a hedgehog in my living room. Jesus Christ.

So, that pretty much brings us up to speed. The MRI is next week, the follow-up appointment is the week after that, and I’ve been instructed not to further injure myself anytime in between. Once they get a good look at me, I’ll probably get a soft cast, some medication and a very busy wife. Until then, I’m limping on eggshells and avoiding concrete.

What I love more than anything is my mother, who still fully denies that there’s anything wrong with me. When I called her before the race and told her I was hurt, she called me a baby and said I was fine. When I told her afterwards that I was hurt, she said I was not. When I told her I thought I had fractured my leg, she again called me a baby and said I didn’t. Just today, when I told her about the x-rays, MRI and Doctor’s word that I had a fracture, she told me that a fracture isn’t the same as a break, and that I was exaggerating. Thanks for the compassion; I’ll remember this when I choose your nursing home.

Sound off in the comments section and attempt to make sense of all this. The CDP Nationwide Mix-Tape Trade will be in the spotlight on Friday; please read this and get on board if you haven’t already. We’re up to 18 names, so it’s already way beyond what I expected. Thanks.

I Can’t Keep My Eyes Off Of You.

Jameson Plug 7-Up Equals Best Friends Forever.

Kids, daddy had a long weekend, so please just look at these cool photographs while I sit in the dark and watch SportsCenter all day. You’ll notice in the above picture that regardless of how sloppy I get, I always manage to keep CDP Headquarters spotlessly clean.

Oh, and if you still want in on the CDP Nationwide Mix-Tape Trade, just follow the rules in the link and get on board. We already have about 15 folks signed up, so it’s already exceeded my expectations. More on this at the end of the week, along with a CDP Book update.

We'll Chain Her In The Garage And Charge Two Bits A Gander.

As promised, here’s another picture of yours truly in 1983 with ‘Shirley,’ my first pet and the largest cat I’ve (and you’ve) ever seen. If you want to see more of Shirley, just give this LARGE BOLD TEXT a clicky-doo. You’ll be glad you did.

People have been asking me where Shirley came from and how she got to be so large. Well, first off, we lived on a farm that housed over 100 cats during the busiest times. Wisconsin winters are cold and trucks have no brakes, so it’s survival of the fittest if you’re a homeless (let alone female) cat. Secondly, Shirley wasn’t fed kibble and given a warm cot made of hay bales in the loft or anything; she killed and ate birds all day, for God’s sake. Squirrels, woodchucks, maybe even a small horse if she pounced just right. She wasn’t a domestic cat; she belonged on Wild Kingdom.

And again, she was my best friend.

Your Mother Should Have Just Named You Laika.

Meet Laika, the newest addition to Headquarters and the Official Spokeshog of the CDP. At just over 6 weeks old, we’re getting her acclimated to the house and taking extra special care of her. Already, she snuggles with us when we watch TV, she runs for miles in her exercise wheel at night, and is about the size of a baseball when she’s all curled up.

She has her own special cage, but we let her out a lot, and the cats seem to really be interested in her in a non-food sort of way. Besides, she’s sharp as hell when she raises those quills, so that’s really not going to be happening anytime soon. We’ll be bathing her this weekend, and I’ll be videotaping it and showing it to you as it happens.

It's For Your Own Good; It's For The Neighborhood.

She’s alright. She’ll live 5 to 7 years, makes no noise, has no smell, is litter trained, eats cat food and cannot be hurt. She’d be the perfect pet if her quills didn’t penetrate the skin with extreme prejudice. The more she trusts us, however, the more that’ll stop happening.

Alcohol? 40 pound cats? Hedgehogs? What do you have to say about it? Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your Monday.

"Leave It To Me. We’re Checking Out."

I Need A New Muse.

1. After chatting with JT and Blustacon on Stickam Wednesday night, I got to thinking about something in regards to music. I’ve always been a fan of the mixtape, and I thought it would be cool if we could all participate in the CDP Nationwide Mix-Tape Trade. Here’s the skinny:

a) This is open to anyone willing to burn a music CD and mail it out to another CDP reader.

b) If you wish to be a part of it, you can throw your name into the collective hat by either saying so in the comments section, or e-mailing me at communistdance@yahoo.com.

c) If I get enough willing participants, I will draw names like a gift exchange, giving everyone one other person for which to create a mix-tape for. I’ll post e-mail addresses on the CDP for contact and mailing purposes.

We’ll go from there. If you’re interested, let me know as soon as possible so I can make this happen. Everyone likes getting stuff in the mail, listening to mix-tapes and being turned on to new music, so get on board and let’s use this blog to do something neat for once.

2. If the Milwaukee Brewers find another way to whiz the postseason down their leg again, I’m going to shoot a newborn kitten in the back of the head with a potato gun. That’s not a threat; that’s a promise. The Green Bay Packers are set for another disappointing year, the Milwaukee Bucks have been lowering expectations for a decade now, and Wisconsin doesn’t even have a pro Hockey team to bust on. The Brewers haven’t been in the playoffs for 25 seasons, and I’m simply refusing to wait another year. Get your crap together.

Special Like Me.

3. The book is coming along fine. Final editing will take place until the end of the month, followed by two more weeks of cutting, formatting and whatnot. Tack on another week for graphic design, and you’re looking at a release date of very late September. I won’t rush things if I’m not happy, so an early October release is becoming a possibility. We’ll see what happens.

The Missus wants the above picture to be the cover and title of the book, because I look completely and utterly handicapped. She finds this hilarious for whatever reason; to be fair, I was attempting to catch a basketball at the time. This will not be the cover or title of the book, just so we’re all clear. I’d have a hard time selling this to relatives and co-workers with a blatant joke at the expense of the mentally challenged right on the cover. It’s not good for business.

4. At the Lingerie & Pajama Party last night, I gave $100 worth of CDP merch away to someone who had no idea who I was, and didn’t care the least bit (I’m only assuming this because I left before the name was drawn). So much for being a local celebrity. Maybe I need to go into rehab or something before people really start paying attention to me.

$100 is a lot of money, so when this person found out they had just won a messenger bag, a mousepad, two t-shirts, a coffee mug and various other stickers and buttons, they cared not what logo was upon these goods. In fact, they probably just turned everything inside-out. I’ll be watching, though, and if I ever see one of my shirts on some starving African kid, I’ll be seriously pissed off. The night was pretty rad, but the best part was PWN1NG Jesse Russell at Ms Pac-Man.

5. I’ll be spending the weekend cleaning my basement and anticipating the arrival of our new hedgehog. You’ll get a full report on Monday. Sound off in the comments section, and have a great weekend.

My Best Friend Was A 40 Pound Cat.

This cat killed and ate my entire family in 1985.

In 1983, I had a cat that weighed more than I did. I consider this one of my raddest possessions, even to this day.

I was out sick yesterday, and I have a Doctor’s appointment today for my ankle, so please sound off in the comments section and talk about how much cooler things used to be before we got old and hurty.

Seven Days In Heaven.

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I’m back. Here’s what I’ve been up to, kids.

Friday – August 10.

At the office, I wrapped up everything I needed to do before my week-long vacation. It’s a shame that it’s almost a chore to take a vacation in a white-collar environment, as you’ll be arriving back to a mountain of paperwork, deadlines and phone messages. That all being said, I prepared for it as much as possible, and I think I succeeded as much as I could have. My desk was clean, my phone was unplugged, and all outgoing messages stated that I was dead.

Before punching out, I made a few copies of the rough draft of the CDP Book. I had 5 people set on reviewing it the following week, including myself. It was my idea that the rough draft editing would take place during my vacation, while I worked on other stuff and synced it all up afterwards. Of course, if everything always worked out the way I had planned it to, I’d be a Super Bowl-champion quarterback for the Washington Redskins that cried nickels.

I went home and immediately hit the gym. My 5k run was on Saturday morning, and I had to see how my legs were going to hold up. I had been on the injured reserve for over 3 weeks with a pulled hamstring and what appeared to be shin splints. I wasn’t about to back out of the race, though, so I hit the treadmill and almost instantly re-aggravated all injuries. As I limped back to my house, I started mentally preparing myself for one letdown of a vacation.

Saturday – August 11.

The alarm clock woke me up at 6am, which was the earliest I’ve gotten up on a Saturday in at least 5 years. I was limping around like crazy, but I refused to back out of the race. After a handful of vitamins and ibuprofen, the Missus gobbed IcyHot onto my legs and wrapped the pulled hamstring with an Ace bandage. I looked handicapped, but I was dead-set on crossing the finish line.

There were about 100 people lined up at the race, which was 3.1 miles of ‘all-terrain’ course. This simply meant that the race would be contested on dewy marshland and amongst dangerous sinkholes. Never let it be said that Sun Prairie wasn’t a modern city. Nevertheless, I stretched forever, lined up at the starting line with Benjamin, and when the gun went off, started on what was to be the most inspirational journey of my adult life.

I think I jogged for about a quarter-mile when things started to get bad. Very bad. I soon realized that it was not a manly and macho thing to run while injured, as it could pretty much destroy your life if it got bad enough. I would sprint until my legs went numb, then slow down to a walk. My legs hurt far more when I was walking, so I would start sprinting again until I went numb, and again back to a walk. Each time I did this, my legs got worse and worse, as the pinched ligaments in my ankles ground the bones against each other.

How far am I?” I asked an assistant on a hairpin turn.

About three quarters of a mile,” he shot back.

I was in hell. My legs have never betrayed me before, and now they were shutting down. Giving up. Leaving me for dead in the marsh, with the mosquitoes and morbidly obese women passing me up. On a day when my cardio, my heart, my breathing, my lungs and my brain were in peak physical condition, my legs decided that they needed a trip to the hospital.

I was going to quit after the first mile. I wasn’t dumb or prideful enough to seriously injure myself for the sake of finishing a goddamn fun run. What idiot would do something so ridiculous? Walk away and life to fight another day, right?

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I finished 50th and it took me 37 minutes. I spent the rest of the day on the couch with an ice pack, and when I went to bed, they felt surprisingly well. Maybe I dodged a bullet.

Sunday – August 12.

My muscles were still a little sore, but not sore enough to avoid the Missus’ family reunion back up north. The cruel joke about family reunions is that you fraternize with nobody new, instead opting to sit with the same folks you showed up with. We spoke to two people and left an hour later.

Afterwards, my father-in-law and I installed an iPod-2-Car system in The Wild Stallion 4.0. I could now listen to my iPod in the car with CD quality sound, and I didn’t have to worry about a power surge blowing it all to hell. Speaking of which, Apple had been looking at my destroyed iPod for 3 days now, with no signs of what they planned on doing with it. At least I was prepared for its arrival.

Monday – August 13.

My first ‘official’ vacation day was a productive one. Taking the ‘working vacation’ title seriously, I awoke at 6am, ate a good breakfast and got down to work. I edited 100 pages of the rough draft, uploaded over 60 CDs to iTunes and spent less than an hour on the interweb. In all reality, I was more productive than I normally am at work. My legs seemed to be getting better, and I ignored them for the time being.

When the Missus arrived home in the afternoon, I was a proud guy. I had made major progress on the book, the house was spotless and I seemed to be making a full recovery from the 5k. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe this would turn out okay after all.

I open my inbox and saw an e-mail from Apple. They were sending me my iPod back because they claimed that they ‘could not duplicate the symptoms I had described,’ and the machine was in ‘factory working order.’

The damn thing couldn’t even turn on! What does Apple think, that I just get off on mailing working products to their office for no reason? That I spent $65 on a warranty plan because I wanted to trick them into looking at a mint-condition piece of electronic equipment? Already, I was preparing for them to send me back an untouched iPod, still blown out and still broken.

Tuesday – August 14.

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I worked hard on Monday, because I wouldn’t be able to work on my book for the next day and a half. Today, me and Benjamin were heading out to Maplewood, Minnesota for the Reel Big Fish/Less Than Jake concert. We were spending the night in a hotel just stumbling distance from the club, and we were on the road at 11:30am.

Luckily for us, the I-35 bridge collapse didn’t affect our trip, and we checked into the hotel at around 4pm. It was just us guys for this trip, as our wives have far better taste in music than we do (well, not Sherry, but the Missus for sure). The girl who checked us in started talking to us about the Democratic debates she was watching on CNN for some reason, specifically mentioning the gay marriage debate for a good 2 minutes. I was wondering why she would bring up such a touchy subject to a couple of strangers, but as we walked down the hallway to our room, I thought I had figured it out.

Hey Ben…do you think she thought we were gay?

Um…..yeah, maybe.”

If we were really gay, wouldn’t we have just gotten one bed?

Yeah, I suppose. I really don’t want to talk about this.

Fair enough. So….hot tub?

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The hotel was fair enough, but the Myth Nightclub was top-notch. This was normally one of those places that would never let us in on a normal night of the week, but since we were ticket-holders, they pulled back the velvet rope and sat us in the VIP Lounge. Sort of.

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Against All Authority, Streetlight Manifesto and Reel Big Fish were amazing as always, but Less Than Jake stole the show. Their theme for the tour was ‘The Price Is Right,’ so their stage design and props reflected that. They had audience members come up and play ‘Less Than Jake Plinko’ to determine what songs they were going to play in their set (on the bottom of the Plinko board, there were pictures of all of their albums. whichever album the chip landed on, they played half of that album). After that, they had an audience member ‘spin the big wheel’ to determine the set for the second half of the show. Chris was a tremendous MC, and the crowd was going nuts for the entire show. I haven’t seen them in 6 years, and this may have been my favorite time around.

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Me and Ben are at an age where we can still attend and enjoy punk shows, but only now we get to sit in the back and drink while all of the kids go nuts on the floor. It’s a good trade-off; my leg was starting to act up, anyways.

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When the show was done, we headed back to the hotel and hit the bar. Apart from the sad, young bartender and 4 of the loudest drunks I’ve ever seen, we were the only two around for the night. We quietly drank our drinks in the corner and made our way to bed at around 12:30am. Our attempts to order a pizza failed, and my dinner was a Pop-Tart from the vending machine.

Wednesday – August 14.

The drive back home was boring an uneventful, as I90 from Minnesota to Wisconsin offers absolutely nothing but truck stops and way stations. We made great time, though, and I was back at Headquarters by 3pm. I made a point to pay all of the bills and clean the house before the Missus arrived. I had really missed that girl; I think we’ve spent a total of 5 nights apart in the last 8 years, so I’m not used to it at all. If anything, it made me realize just how much I need the Missus around.

I looked at the rough draft a little bit, but was happy to know that the other 4 folks were editing like crazy. The two of us spent the night in front of the TV, and went to bed early.

Thursday – August 15.

My leg muscles had healed, the swelling was gone, and a new pain started to emerge from my right ankle. This was a centralized pain, and whatever it was was clearly pinching a nerve. The numbness and tingling ran all the way up the back of my leg, and I couldn’t put hardly any weight on it at all. Luckily for me, this was still my vacation, and I was spending it in my office with my book and a tall glass of Pomegranate juice. I know how to live!

At around 11am, the doorbell rang. It was a DHL deliveryman with my iPod. I shook my head as I signed for it, knowing full-well that it would be less than an hour before I was sending it back out again. I tore the box open, clawed through the bubble-wrap, yanked my busted iPod out and hooked it up to my iMac to find….

Power!

It worked now. Seriously. It was the same iPod and everything. Apparently, I must be an idiot. I limped back to my book and settled in, beginning to doubt my basic sense of logic.

Friday – August 17.

I took it easy today, as I had finished editing the book at around noon. Besides, my leg was a mess and I had to mentally prepare myself for the Sun Prairie Sweet Corn Festival Opening Day Parade. The Missus loves a good parade; I would prefer a tumor on my cerebrum.

Nonetheless, the weather was beautiful, the parade was tolerable and the Greek dinner we had was pretty great. Afterwards, me and the Missus (along with Ben and Sherry) did some shopping for our Nephew’s upcoming 1st birthday on Saturday. I was in a surly mood, mainly because I hurt like hell, and also because the Missus made the executive decision to purchase a pet Hedgehog for the house. She’s picking it up this Saturday, and I was not consulted. I was furious and not the least bit willing to pretend I wasn’t. Who does something like that?

Saturday – August 18.

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Evan’s birthday party was great. He got a ton of clothes, toys, books, DVDs and attention. He was also the best-behaved child in the room. Sad, considering that there were 11-year-olds about. The cake was tasty and and the salsa was to my liking.

When we got back home for the night, me and the Missus (along with Ben and Sherry) drank the night away and tried to ignore the pummeling rain outside of Headquarters. Sure, there was a flood warning for the entire night, but when was the last time Sun Prairie flooded? Surely, this was not going to effect us one bit. At 1am, I stumbled into bed; the cracking of thunder sending me off to sleep.

Sunday – August 19.

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My basement had no less than a half-inch of water in it when I woke up. After running around like crazy to do damage control and survey the scene, it was determined that I had lost a few posters, an old video camera and a mattress. Yeah, it sucked, but it could have been worse. We moved the litter box into the Rumpus Room for the time being, and are looking forward to 7 straight days of rain to raise the water level by another inch or two. I can’t wait.

With all of my rough draft feedback in my possession, I’m able to start the final draft edit this week. After I catch back up at the office, that is. Besides the situation in the basement, everything went about as well as I could have hoped for this last week. It wasn’t all good, it wasn’t all bad; it was my mediocre life in a nutshell.

Oh, and my right leg? A Hairline Fracture. I had broken my ankle during the race, and had been walking on it for the past week. I’m making an appointment with my physician today, and we’ll see what happens. If I’ve been able to walk on it for 7 days, I can go another week if need be.

So, what have we learned this past week? What have you learned? Sound off in the comments section, welcome me back and get caught up.

Worst Vacation Ever.

USA! USA! USA!

I’ll be on vacation all next week.

Where will I be going? Nowhere!

Well, sort of. I took the next week off so I could (theoretically) put the finishing touches on the long-awaited CDP BOOK that will be (theoretically) dropping in September. In addition to that, I’ll be (theoretically) running a 5k on Saturday (tomorrow, fools), heading out to Minneapolis on Tuesday for the Less Than Jake/Reel Big Fish/Streetlight Manifesto/Against All Authority show, attending my Nephew’s 1st birthday next Saturday and making my fifth consecutive appearance at the Sun Prairie Sweet Corn Festival next Sunday.

It’s barely a vacation at all, but I’ll probably get some Mini-Donuts out of the deal at the Corn Fest Carnival, so I’m sold.

In amongst all of this, I need to buy tickets to the Monday Night RAW! taping that will be in Green Bay this September (I already got tickets for the Milwaukee date), mail my busted iPod back to Apple so they can send me a new one, find a suitably classy outfit for the upcoming Pajama & Lingerie Party on the 23rd, snag a birthday present for Evan and pray to Jeebus that I don’t get injured on Saturday.

Oh, and I need a haircut, too. I look like a straight-up Dick Factory when it gets shaggy.

After all of this, you’ll notice that I really don’t have any time to put towards my…er, book. I’m ignoring that glaring fact for now, instead opting to trudge forward and act like I’m on pace to accomplish everything and then some. It’s almost certainly not going to happen, but I never expect anything greater than complete failure when I try to do something nice for myself.

You’ll also notice that everything I’m spending time on could easily be eliminated if I just didn’t give a crap. My life depends on none of these tasks, but I pretend that it does so I can complain about stuff. I’m a bad Buddhist.

So, screw all of that static. For the sake of sanity, here’s what I plan to do with the CDP BOOK over the next 10 days:

Today, I handed rough drafts out to approximately 5 close friends and loved ones. Over the next week, they will pick the book apart, circling errors and making notes of anything they find unnecessary and unfunny. While they’re busy doing that, I’ll be crafting new introductions for all of the essays to be published in the book (75 as of today, and about 340 pages). I will also determine the order of the essays, write an overall introduction, updated table of contents and all other formatting crap that comes with self-publishing your own book.

I’ll also start throwing together basic designs for a cover and title. People keep asking me what the name of the book is, and I seriously don’t know. It’ll be the very last thing I do before it goes to print (put your suggestion in the comments section). These tasks will take me all week, if not a little longer.

At the end of the week, I’ll get those 5 drafts back, and cry for several hours over all of the red ink and negative criticism. I’ll wish my friends dead, throw all of my work away and set my pants ablaze.

Or, I’ll take what they have to say into consideration, making last-minute edits, cutting like crazy and tossing out around 5-7 of the worst-received essays. From there, I’ll have the essays done, the order laid out, the contents, introductions, headers and footers written to my liking. I’ll be so close, I can almost smell the wood pulp now.

It’ll be a 6×9 paperback book, approximately 350 pages with around 70 essays. An exact price hasn’t been set, but it’ll be within the $16-$19 range. It needs to be for me to make even a scrap of profit. If I can sell 300 copies, I’d be the happiest guy in the world.

I don’t like to push deadlines once they are set, so I’m gunning for my initial September release date pretty hardcore. I also want to get this over and done with, so I can start working on new stuff, instead of staring at terrible essays I wrote 3 years ago. I also realize that I’m not a very good promoter of my work.

You’ll remember that I started working on this at the beginning of the Summer, and the CDP has changed considerably since then. I want to thank everyone who’s stuck it out with me for the last few months; we’re almost there, and I can promise big things in store for the future.

We’re getting there; I’ll see you next Monday. Clearly, I’ll have a lot to talk about.

Sound off in the comments section; let’s see if we can break 100 comments over the next week. ‘Oot!

My iPod ‘Asploded.

Hi, Gabe.

ACT I.

Last week, I noticed that there weren’t sounds coming out of my iPod when I pressed the buttons. This troubled me. Normally, when I pressed the buttons, sound would come out. Good sound.

Since my car doesn’t have an AUX input (or a CD player), I’ve been listening to my iPod through an FM transmitter. Basically, it means that I hear my iPod tunes through a static radio frequency. It hardly ever works, the sound quality is embarrassing and any drive through multiple counties is an excruciating ordeal. Living in a city as large as Madison, merely driving to work means that I’ll be toggling the transmitter for 18 of the 20 minutes I’m on the road. Still though, 2 minutes of music time is equivalent to 3.2 Descendents songs, so the trade-off isn’t all that bad.

What I was unaware of is a little thing called a ‘Power Surge.’ You may have heard of such a thing in regards to your television and computer. You buy special outlets to protect your expensive electronics from welding themselves to the nearest metal surface every time lightning strikes near your home. Why, just last week, a Power Surge blew out my TiVo. Everything went dark, numbers started flashing and strobing; I seriously thought that I was about to get abducted by aliens. Power Surges are the real deal; but I didn’t realize that they can happen in your car, too.

To make a long story short, I plugged ‘Poddie’ into the cigarette lighter before I started the car, and when I hit the ignition, it exploded. A device of its delicate size and power, Poddie didn’t have a prayer holding up to the amount of energy produced by an ’01 Mercury Sable (The Wild Stallion, v4.0). It was utterly destroyed; taken out behind the woodshed and manhandled like an eight-dollar Amsterdam whore. Remember when John Koncak tried to guard Michael Jordan in the 1995 Eastern Conference Finals? I think you get the point. P.W.N.3.D.

I was pretty upset. While I always treated Poddie with the utmost respect and care, I neglected to see the warning on the FM transmitter box that read, “There’s a more-than-likely chance that this product will lead to the instant destruction of the very device it has been created for.” In fact, I’m pretty sure that it never said that on the box at all.

So, my iPod was ruined. Butchered. Ball-gagged and sodomized. I didn’t worry too much, however, because it was still under a 1-year warranty from Apple. With that in mind, I marched it right over to the local Apple Store for a replacement the very next day.

ACT II.

He wasn’t wearing a lab coat; that should have been my first warning sign.

If you’ve never been to an Apple Store, all of the employees either walk around with lime green polo shirts or long, white lab coats. I think they do this so they’re easy to spot, look like a cohesive and intelligent unit, and create yet another way to express superiority over non-Mac folks. It’s a good marketing ploy; I spent most of my visit watching YouTube clips of myself on an iPhone.

Like I said, my representative was far too stylish to be burdened with a lab coat. Actually, scratch that. I think the problem was that he didn’t really work there, because he hadn’t the damnest clue what I was talking about. Every question was met with a dumbass stare and a look like I was creating my own language of beeps and clicks as I went along. Furthermore, he was one of those douchebags that thought I didn’t try basic troubleshooting before I showed up. My teeth were already grinding before he spoke.

Idiot – “What can I do for you today, sir?”

Me – “Oh hai thar. My iPod isn’t responding. It’s under warranty, so-“

Idiot – “Is the Hold switch on?”

Me (stunned) – “Um…no. You see, what happened was-“

Idiot – “Did you reset it?”

Me (pressing lips together) – “I can’t reset it. It won’t turn on at all. There’s absolutely no response whatsoever.”

Idiot – “Well, let me give you a flier that goes over basic troubleshooting…”

(Idiot hands me a printout from the very same Troubleshooting web page I was on that morning, called ‘The 5 R’s.’)

Me – “Yeah, I’ve already done all of that. It won’t turn on at all.”

Idiot – “Let me hook it up to our computer and check it out.”

Me (shaking head in disbelief) – “Fine, but it won’t recognize it.”

Idiot – “Sure it will.”

(4 seconds later)

Idiot – “Your iPod doesn’t seem to be responding.”

Me – “I slept with your Mother.”

Thanks for doing your job, ya’ ween. To make matters worse, he refused to answer any of my wife’s questions, nor find someone else to answer them for her. He sincerely deserved a swift boot to the ballbag with extreme prejudice, and I was the man for the job, but I had forgotten to wear my ballbag-kickin’ boots. He got lucky.

ACT III.

I was about to find out that my one-year warranty didn’t really cover anything at all; it was merely a window of opportunity to purchase Apple Care, a support service offered to those who spend the $60 within their first year of iPod ownership. At this point in the conversation, though, I was more than willing to write a check to make all of the bad noises go away.

For my $60, I get to mail my iPod back to Apple so they can take a peek at it. They might fix it, they might send me a new one, or they might give me the finger and tell me to stick it. Seriously, this is what your money (and your warranty) gets you; the mere task of cracking Poddie open and determining what I’ve known for over a week now. I also saw a disclaimer that read ‘Does Not Cover Accidental Damage.’

Wait, what? So you’ll only cover the repairs if I break it on purpose? I didn’t even realize that non-accidental damage even existed! What in the hell is going on, here?

Poddie shipped off to Apple yesterday, and there’s a very good chance that I’ll never see it again. In the meantime, I’m listening to my 1GB Shuffle (‘Artie’) and making sure that I start the car and wait 6 hours before plugging it in.

As far as the FM transmitter goes, I’ll be through with that as soon as I find out what Apple decides to do for me. There’s a kit that you can install that essentially gives you an AUX input in your car, so you can listen to your iPod at digital quality. It costs $200 for purchase and installation, but it’ll be worth it to listen to my entire record collection in The Wild Stallion.

Thanks for listening, Emocat. You’re always there for me.

Emocat feels bad about the iPod.

“No problem, man.”

Better Than Catsup.

Here is the third and final commercial in the Killer Sandbox Productions ‘Top This!’ Trilogy. I think you’ll agree that Ketchup is better than Catsup, but only by a little bit.

The featured cat is Tinker, who is the most beloved living thing in the entire world to me besides the Missus, and maybe my Mom if she decides to cover the $115 I just put on her Express Men card. ‘Dem boxa’ showts sho’ run a lotta’ chedda’!*

Have a good day.

*The boxer shorts that I purchased were slightly more expensive than previously estimated.