We Can’t Start It Again For Thirty-Seven Hours.

Calibrate your signal to mine.

Today, 65 Poor Life Decisions became available at many retailers nationwide, including Barnes & Noble, Target and Amazon (click the links for proof, yo). As I will not be breaking ground on my next book until June at the earliest, it’s good to know that I’m still getting fresh mileage out of my debut.

Friday, April 11, 2008, will hereby be remembered as the day that award-winning blogger, author and humorist Ryan J. Zeinert became a millionaire. I’d like to thank all the little people; midgets in particular. The first thing I’m going to do with my newfound free time is to go to every Target in Wisconsin, ask them to order 10 books for me, and never come back to claim them. That way, whenever I go to a Target with friends and relatives, it’ll look like 65 Poor Life Decisions is flying off the shelves.

People keep asking me what the next book is going to be about, which always stuns me. They act like I’ve been hoarding a Sci-Fi epic or period piece about postwar France in the Middle Goddamn Ages. I can assure you that the next book will be another steaming batch of personal tales drenched in failure, rejection, goofy nostalgia and getting hit in the pants with a clown hammer. Only this time, they’ll be funnier, longer and more expensive to purchase.

Also, it would be nice to not have to handle my own distribution and accounting, so I’m working on the technical aspect of things as well. When I first started writing, I didn’t think that I’d be walking stacks of hand-packed books to the post office 4 days a week, only to save every receipt and log all purchases into the most complicated Excel spreadsheet ever devised by man. I think that I’ve probably cheated myself out of a billion dollars through Auto Sum formula errors alone.

Which reminds me. I have exactly 4 (four) copies of 65 Poor Life Decisions left at headquarters, which means that I will only be able to personalize and directly handle four more orders. Once they’re gone, Lulu and the other listed retailers will be the best way to buy the book, although they will not be autographed or contain any free CDP merch. Click here if you forgot what the process was to order a piece of history.

Tomorrow night (Saturday), the Missus will be seeing Hanson(!) in concert, which means that I will be free to any and all suggestions that you may have concerning extracurricular activities in the Greater Madison Area. Let me know if you wish to have me make an appearance somewhere; preferably somewhere that makes a good Manhattan.

Thank you for reading. Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your weekend.

I’d Like To Five-Star You In Performance Mode.

Any fantasies of me becoming a Nerdcore artist vanished completely a few days ago, when I laid my eyes upon the above (fan-created) video for ‘Nrrrd Grrrl’ by MC Chris, who manages to say everything that I’ve ever wanted to say in a rap song in just under three minutes. Watch, listen, allow yourself to be amazed and find yourself humming it constantly on your way to work. It’s my new favorite song, and I’ve already listened to it 10 times since Tuesday.

When I went to Geek Kon 2007 last year, I kept my eye out for a girl like this. A girl like the incomparable Jean Binnel on Friday Night Lights. I wanted to see if my interpretation of the Perfect Geek Woman was actually attainable without compromise, fibbing or cosplay.

I learned something that day, and it’s a similarity that both the girl in the MC Chris video and Jean Binnel share, besides the cute hair, emo glasses, flawless tastes and everything else that makes them beautiful and worthy of my relentless stalking.

These women don’t really exist.

They never did. There’s no such thing as the perfect geek girl. You’re lying to yourself.

Jean Binnel is a fictional character on Friday Night Lights, played by the versatile and charming Brea Grant. And that girl in the MC Chris video? Well…I don’t know what she does for a living, but it sure isn’t wearing a Boy Scout uniform and forcing Star Wars figurines to kiss. Most women who look like this couldn’t care less about graphic novels and video games, and merely turned geek culture into a fashion. On the two occasions that I thought I had stuck oil, one girl was gay and the other one was a drug addict. That was the day I realized that geeks and ravers look stunningly similar at first glance, albeit polarizing when it came to musical tastes and the dilation of their pupils.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. ‘What about the Missus?’ While the Missus is indeed the perfect woman for yours truly, she’d be the first one to tell you that she doesn’t fit this category in any regard. She’s not a geek; she’s a punk. She takes clogging lessons, stomps my teeth on the curb when I deserve it and doesn’t care about what you have to say concerning fashion. That’s hot in a completely different avenue; she has chunks of geek girls in her stool, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

My point is rambling, mainly because I was just looking for a way to share that amazing MC Chris track with you, but it should be considered a public service to not embark on the expedition to nowhere that I’ve launched a hundred times, looking for something that’s not real.

And if you are real, please contact me with photographic proof, and I’ll write a song about you.

1,000 Words On Last Week’s SNL.

(Because I could rant about the history of SNL for 9 straight days if people found it entertaining.)

Christopher Walken’s most recent hosting stint on SNL was legendary; one of the best episodes I’ve seen in years. Nearly every sketch delivered, and had they booked a respectable musical guest (instead of the unfortunate Panic At The Disco), this might have been the best Walken SNL ever. Sketches like ‘Walken Reunion,’ ‘Surprise Party,’ and ‘Gardening Tips From A Man Who’s Very Afraid Of Plants’ were significantly funnier than their titles would suggest.

This was Walken’s first hosting stint in over five years, which I had to actually look up on Wikipedia to confirm for myself. It seems as if he hosts every year (he’s hosted 7 times, and according to Lorne Michaels, can host whenever his schedule permits).

Walken’s SNL brilliance lies in the fact that he’s amazingly skilled at live performance and stage. When he acts as if he’s off-script or about to break the sketch with his scatterbrain delivery, he’s actually fooling you. This guy knows exactly what he’s doing at all times, and it’s one of the reasons why we love the guy so damn much. Ever since he became known for being ‘the weird guy,’ younger generations seemed to forget just how brilliant of an actor Walken was and still is. Sure, Balls Of Fury didn’t help the argument any, but I won’t dispute a man that likes to work.

I also admire that they didn’t beat a dead horse and revive ‘The Continental,’ a once-brilliant sketch that has been running on nostalgic fumes since 1996. Most don’t know that ‘The Continental’ is a parody of the 1952 CBS series of the same name, which used a subjective camera view as lead actor Renzo Cesana spoke directly to the females in the audience. I’m sure it would have been a passable sketch, as Walken can solo-command any scene he chooses, but it wouldn’t have fit in with the theme of last week’s cast-heavy episode.

It doesn’t hurt that the current SNL cast is one of their more talented ensembles in a very long time. Bill Hader is a premiere impressionist, Andy Samberg is single-handedly bringing the YouTube fanbase back to the show, Kristen Wiig is on par with Gilda Radner as the funniest female in the show’s 33 year history, Will Forte and Jason Sudeikis are extremely versitile in their straight man/wacky man roles (I find Sudeikis to be my favorite cast member, frankly; his delivery is consistently hilarious and he reminds me of a smarter Will Ferrell), Darrel Hammond is the seasoned veteran, Amy Poehler practically stars in every sketch, Fred Armisen can quite simply play every ethnicity and role perfectly, Seth Meyers has stepped into the Head Writer position seamlesly and newcomer Casey Wilson is doing her best to keep up.

Keenan Thompson has been a strong performer since he was a child, but doesn’t always receive decent material to shine with. Same goes for Maya Rudolph, who actually left the show during the strike. Having the entire cast come out and do their own Walken impression during ‘Walken Reunion’ was hilarious and brilliant, in that they all sounded pretty good (Hader was uncanny as always).

I am, however, growing increasingly irritated with the obvious pro-Hillary stance that SNL has been taking since the Strike ended. For a show that’s quite aware of the effect they’ve had on past elections and overall swaying of the social landscape in favor of one popular candidate or the other, all they seem to be doing is a detriment to Barack Obama and his future presidential campaign against John McCain. I can only hope that SNL is swaying in this direction merely because Amy Poehler plays a good Hillary, and Fred Armisen drew some controversy (for whatever meager reasons) when he played Obama. The bottom line, however, is that the sketches are not funny, which is the main thing they should be focusing on.

McCain is playing it cool right now. That old, lumpy bastard is chilling in Europe, while his competition tears each other to shreds until there’s nothing left to do but swoop in and pick the bones. He may be tempermental, he may be old enough to die at any second (hell, he might have died while I was writing that sentence, for all I know), but he’s not an idiot.

I find Panic At The Disco adorable. Not ‘adorable’ in that I want to hug them until they break and bleed, but ‘adorable’ in that their recent attempts at being taken seriously have faltered into a rut of predictability and unoriginality that I should have seen coming from a mile away. I love it when a pop-rock band discovers acid and Sgt. Pepper, and all of a sudden they’re dropping the unnecessary punctuation from their name, wearing paisley and being accompanied by a horn section. That’s adorable to me, in that we’ve seen this no less than a billion times in the last 30 years. We’re all way ahead of you, Panic. You guys deserve a gentle pat on the head and a cluck of positive reinforcement; good luck being taken seriously, although, I must admit that I find ‘Nine In The Afternoon’ to be a fairly catchy number.

As a statement to how hard they’re rolling with this new ‘we’re older, more mature and ripping off the Beatles…just like everyone else!’ formula, they performed ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies’ as their second song on SNL, only with a slower tempo, acoustic guitar and shuffling drums. It was seriously awful; one of the worst SNL performances I’ve seen since Ashlee Simpson 23-skidoo’ed her way into YouTube immortality. If you’re a pop-punk band, just be one. Don’t pretend you’re Brian freaking Eno. Write your catchy song, wear your eyeliner and make your money. Spare us your pipe dream of mining talent from a dry well, and don’t disrespect your fanbase by slagging your previous work. That’s what desperate people do. You should hear me belt out ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies’ when we sing karaoke, though. I flat-out destroy that thing.

My time is up. Sound off in the comments and enjoy your day.

Disintegration (Is The Best Album Ever).

McGovern's. Within stumbling distance from CDP Headquarters.

For the last few nights, I’ve been able to sleep with the windows open.

After five straight months of snow (over 100 inches worth; a Madison record), I cannot fully explain to you how good that feels. The beginning of April brings Spring, warm rain, moonlit walks and other assorted dashes of emo symbolism that represent a collective rebirth here in the midwest.

The end of April will also bring new responsibilities and freedoms for yours truly. I remember that there used to be a commercial on television here that advertised homes, and they always showed a young couple dancing barefoot in the living room of their first house. It might be the rain (or the whiskey) talking, but I’m totally going to do that the first chance I get.

It’s been a rough Winter, but we’re all still alive and gracious.

Move to Madison and have a drink with me.

Around The House. (Or ‘Four Floors Of Fail.’)

Floor 1.
STORY #1 – “You Should Probably Get That Fixed.”

Being a Home Inspector seems like a pretty sweet gig. You get to spend the bulk of the inspection explaining to the homeowner all of the things that you’re not allowed by law to monkey, tinker or fiddle with, and if you see anything that appears to be broken, you just look at the owner and say “You should probably get that fixed.” Don’t get me wrong, our guy was great and took strides to help us out, but I now feel confident that I could do similar work with no less than 20 years worth of training. It’s a money bin, damn it, and I’m diving in.

I honestly wasn’t prepared for how nerve-wracking the inspection process of our new place was going to be. You don’t want to find out that you purchased a lemon made entirely out of tin foil, hair and carbon monoxide, so every time the inspector tilted his head or furrowed his brow at an outlet or appliance, my body ran cold and I simultaneously clutched my wallet and heart. For all I knew, there was an expensive and elaborate deathtrap lurking around every intricately-drywalled corner.

As someone with absolutely no experience in the art of keeping a house from collapsing in on itself, my only concern for any error was the fear of my house exploding. It’s the only thing that made sense to me as a direct detriment to my well-being.

INSPECTOR – “It looks like they’re running gas through copper piping. That’s strange.

ME – “Will it make the house explode?

INSPECTOR – “See that crack in the foundation? It’s no big deal, but…

ME – “Is the house going to explode?

I also put on an Oscar-worthy acting performance as he explained to me the furnace and water heater. You would have actually believed that I understood even a microsyllable of what the man was saying. I swear to you, the day I move into this place, I’ll feel a level of isolated loneliness and frightened despair the likes of which I’ve never known. If anything breaks, no matter how small and simple to patch, it’s all over. I might as well board up the windows and join up with a traveling carnival, because I’m never coming back to fix it.

Floor 2.
STORY #2 – “Come Back To Me, Sherilyn Fenn.”

Why don’t they make dishwashers with an triggered light inside, like a refrigerator? I’m tired of reaching my hands into a darkened dishwasher every night, only to stick myself with a fork or some other undesirable glob of non-rinsed foodstuff. Come on, dishwasher technology! Evolve! Everything should have little automatic lights in them. Cabinets, toilets, closets, drawers, the whole lot.

The Missus, in her quest to convert every bulb in the house to fluorescent, has done a good job of saving energy and money, in that I don’t even bother turning lights on anymore. Seriously, what’s the point? Fluorescent bulbs take so long to warm up, that by the time they finally decide to lurch and flicker into action, I’m already napping in a different room. Furthermore, they click and buzz so much that I always feel like I’m in a David Lynch movie. At any moment, I expect some chalk-faced goon to show up at my door with a videotape of myself watching the very same videotape that he handed me.

(EDIT: I’ve recently been informed that some newer dishwashers have lights inside. Way to go!)

Floor 3.
STORY #3 – “If Calories Were Cash, I Would Still Be Dead.”

Before sitting down with our mortgage lender last night, I was asked to make a copy of my most recent bank statements. Not being one to pay close attention to where my money is going, I saw this as a good chance to dig through my 2008 purchases and see where I could tighten the belt a little. What I saw shocked, embarrassed and forced me to vacate my bowels in anger.

No less than $150 spent each month on sub sandwiches, bagels and ice cream. Seriously.

Sub sandwiches.


Iced creamery cream with cream sauce.

$150 a month.

Don’t bother wanting to jump through the screen and punch me right now; I’m digging a bent paperclip into my wrists as I type this. I absolutely could not believe how wasteful I was concerning office lunches and desserts alone.

Never mind all the alcohol and concert tickets. Never mind the HD cable and internet. Never mind any other luxury. By simply bringing a salad to work and saying no to that Mint Oreo Blizzard every night of the freaking week, I could save enough money to either power my house for a month, score a good amount of cocaine or snag myself an hour with a low-end escort.

I’m sorry. I really am. Just to prove how sorry I am, I will be putting a dry-erase board in my new kitchen to remind me just how much money I’ve pissed away every week in empty calories and honey-nut cream cheese. My Esquire lifestyle shall continue unhinged, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to keep allowing so much cash to be pooped away for no reason. How disgusting, especially considering that I don’t even like bagels all that much.


Floor 4.
STORY #4 – “Like MacGyver, Only For Poop.”

Part of the reason we spend so much money dining out is our laziness when it comes to grocery shopping. It’s a necessary evil, and I don’t even mind it all that much, but when the food runs low and the apathy begins to skyrocket, dragging yourself into the Pick & Save is about as difficult as beating Duke University in a ‘suck’ contest.

Yes, I know that I recycled that joke. I didn’t think you’d mind.

Me and the Missus theoretically go grocery shopping once every three weeks. We buy big, stock the cabinets and take comfort in knowing that we won’t have to do it again for awhile. Our neighbors and contractual Best Friends Ben and Sherry, on the other hand, shop on a many-times-a-week basis, much like the Italians or French. Most afternoons, I can spot Sherry riding her bicycle home from the market, sporting a sundress with a stick of bread and fresh vegetables protruding from her pink basket.

She rings the bell and I wave kindly from the porch.

I don’t know if you’ve ever waited over a month to buy groceries, but it’s quite the feat of human achievement. You’ve reached a point in your de-evolution that not even the instinctual threat of starving to death will peel you from the couch to easily remedy and ward off disaster. It gets sad towards the end, however, when you’re digging through the remnants of your pantry, deciding between boiling up the dented can of white hominy or the Spaghetti-O’s with the fuzz on them. Still though, laziness and apathy trudge forth for another 5-7 days.

Unavoidably, the grocery store strike always comes to a bitter end. Not when you’ve finally had enough of eating crap that was too embarrassing to even donate to the Food Drive. Not when you’ve run out of money to order pizzas every night. Not even when you start to eye up the moist cat food in the basement.

Nope, the strike truly ends when you run out of toilet paper.

Game over, dude. You’ve lost. Look, I’ve gone a day without food. I’ve also gone a day without toilet paper, and I can say without a shred of uncertainty that I would rather temporarily starve than to glance over to the bathroom rack and see a bare, plastic toilet paper holder. What a helpless and tragic moment it is to know that you’re about to do something horrible. Congratulations; you’re MacGyver now. Good luck getting out of this jam. It’s why I no longer own any white socks.

Typically, all I need is about one life-altering experience in a toilet-paperless house before I leap in the car and head for the nearest market. Preferably one with clean stalls.

Hump Day Dance Party.

The group is Justice, and the track is ‘DVNO.’ I’ve been enjoying the hell out of this video recently, as I’m an old nerd with a penchant for 70’s and 80’s television production company bumpers. Hope you enjoy it, too.

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day.

TOMORROW: “Will It Make The House Explode?