Lost Friday – "The Life And Death Of Jeremy Bentham."


Season 5 – Episode 7: “The Life And Death Of Jeremy Bentham.”

Once again, Lost Friday is upon us. We have much to discuss…quickly.

I’ll be cutting you loose a little early today, for two main reasons. One, I’m currently packing my bags for a mini-vacation to Minnesota. I’ll be back on Tuesday, and I hope to spend a relaxing four days sleeping, shopping, drinking, writing and all the other things that I normally do at my house for free.

Secondly, this episode was amazing! Since Day One, I’ve always adored Locke-centric episodes, due to the fact that not only is Terry O’Quinn a tremendous actor, but the character of John Locke is honestly the most tragic in television history. His awful life plays out like a Shakespeare play; just his story alone would have made for a fantastic TV show. It’s no wonder that he wants to stay on the Island so bad; look what happens whenever he’s on the mainland.

Let’s go.


(Hey, you know what this show could really use? This guy! This guy is exactly what this show needs right now. A guy that looks, talks and acts just like this guy. Man, I love this guy. From the first moment, where I saw him acknowledge Jack in the airport for approximately three seconds, I said to myself, I said, “Self, it sure would be nice if we could see more of this guy, because I think he’s just the tops.” That’s what I said to myself about this guy.)


(Why You Should Smoke After Every Meal – Page 60)
(Why Women Shouldn’t Have Jobs – Page 48)
(Why Colored People Smell Funny – Page 88)
(Why Children Should Be Beaten After Every Meal – Page 61)


(“With his HoverRound, John Locke is free to see the world!”)


(Stephen Hawking’s grocery list.)


(“Hour 36 of listening to ‘We Built This City’ on a constant loop – Subject is delirious; practically begging for death.”)


(Becoming a fake Canadian is the best thing that’s ever happened to Locke off of the Island. Personally, I like how Americans constantly piss on and mock Canada…until we get a President in office that we don’t like. That’s when Canada suddenly becomes this heavenly refuge of peace and fairness that we threaten to move to every other week.)


(The long-awaited sequel to ‘Driving Miss Daisy,’ ‘Driving Mr. Locke.’)


(“Sorry, John. The only man I answer to now is Jimmy Carter.”)


(Could it be? Could it really be? Is it? It IS! It’s…it’s…)


(“WWWWWWAAAAALLLLLLLT!!!!!”)


(Abbad0WN3D!)


(“Well, let’s see how my progress has been going so far. Sayid said no, Kate thinks I’m insane, Hurley thinks I’m a ghost, my driver got murdered and I was just in a serious car accident. So far, so good.”)


(“JACK YOU DONT UNDERSTAND BEN LEFT AND SPUN THIS WHEEL AND SENT THE ISLAND THROUGH TIME AND EVERYONES IN TROUBLE AND EVERYONES GOT BLOODY NOSES AND I HAVE TO SAVE EVERYBODY BY BRINGING EVERYONE BACK SO I BROKE MY LEG AND SPUN THE WHEEL AND THEN WIDMORE GAVE ME A PASSPORT AND THE GUY FROM FRINGE TO DRIVE ME AROUND BUT THEN HE GOT SHOT TEN TIMES AND YOU GOTTA BELIEVE ME!”)


(“Don’t you ever…EVER…say that to me again. Reese Witherspoon is a wonderful actress and a national treasure; end of story.”)


(“I can’t live in a world without BSG, so I won’t even try.”)

So ends another week of Lost Friday. Sound off in the comments section, tell your friends and enjoy your weekend. In case you missed them, here are links to every Lost Friday so far this season.

Have a good one, and….be here Monday.

Season 5 – Episode 1/2 Review.
Season 5 – Episode 4 Review.
Season 5 – Episode 5 Review.
Season 5 – Episode 6 Review.

Mayors Of Brantford, Ontario.

We here at CDP World Headquarters try our best to keep our fingers on the pulse of young America: The current trends, Internet Phenomenons, lulz0rz or what have you. The following meme was e-mailed to me by CDP Network alumni and all-around good guy, Mike, and I got such a kick out of it that I had to share it with you.

But before we get to it, please check out that title photo again, because I worked on the damn thing for at least an hour. As you can surmise, my Photoshop skills lie in between that of an autistic baby, and your average, garden-variety hobo.

“Create Your Fantasy Band Name & Album Cover.”

1 – Go to Wikipedia and hit “Random:”
The first random Wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2 – Go to Quotations Page and hit “Random Quotations:”
The last four or five words of the last quote on the page is the title of your first album.

3 – Go to Flickr and hit “Explore The Last Seven Days:”
The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4 – If you have the time, spend five minutes in Photoshop and mash it all together.

It’s quick, easy and fun. I especially appreciated my random selections, as they actually created an album that I wish existed:

Seriously, I have like, a dozen albums that are dead ringers for this thing. It’s got Jade Tree written all over it.

So check it out, have a little fun and enjoy your day. Lost Friday returns with a vengeance next.

The Basement Treadmill Of The New Millenium.

Wii Fit was going to save my life.

Like most, I instantly heralded Wii Fit as a brilliant masterstroke, along with the fine, efficient Japanese workhorses responsible for such an ingenious and useful product. After all, here was a video game conglomerate using its powers for good. Inventing the cardio-friendly Wii wasn’t enough on its own; they actually went the extra step and attempted (and succeeded) to make exercising super fun and original.

It was, for me, one of the brightest spots of 2008. While American car companies were busy blowing smoke up our asses about going Green, while simultaneously begging for billions because they missed the Green Boat years ago and watched their consumers turn away from a fleet of obsolete automobiles, here was a multi-billion dollar company that saw an open and evolved market, tackled it in a new and exciting way, and also slimmed down a few fat-ass gamers in the process. Wii Fit was a success in every possible way.

I purchased Wii Fit mere days after it was released. In an almost identical fashion as to how I stumbled upon a Wii, I was in the right place at the right time, threw it into my cart and hit the road. Wii Fit was going to change me. It was going to save me the cash of buying into a Health Club, save me the burden of packing a duffel bag and leaving my home, track my progress, whip me back into fighting shape and be a whole lot of fun in the interim. $100 well spent, if you asked me.

My first week with Wii Fit was a complete success. I plowed through the Yoga poses, mastered the balance games, jogged in place, worked up a sweat and lost nearly three pounds in the first eight days. I had an after-work routine in place, and much like the first week spent in a Health Club, I felt extremely good about myself. I finally found something I could stick to; something that worked for me.

Almost a year removed now, and Wii Fit sits underneath my television, nearly as new as the day I bought it. Apart from two unrelated and random workout sessions (including one that took place while I was eating a slice of thick-crust Domino’s pizza), I haven’t touched the thing since the first week I bought it, and I’m not alone.

Human beings like the idea of Change. We love planning for Change; we love fantasizing about the end results of said Change, but tend to forget about the middle part which requires the most effort. We’re more than happy to throw hundreds of dollars at the Health Club membership, the jogging outfit, the new shoes, the water bottle and iPod; but when the time comes to put that preparation and positive attitude towards…you know…the thing that gets you from Point A to Point B, we tend to lose steam and once again attempt to determine the Path of Least Resistance. After all, preparation for positive change is the funnest part.

We all certainly know how to spend money. Spending money is easy, and we love finding excuses to do it; excuses that make us feel like we’re accomplishing something noble. In this case, a new iPod or track shoes won’t suck the belly fat off of our torsos or tuck the second chin back into our necks all on their own, but the idea that they will is present when we justify our rationalizations. After all, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right, right?

In this regard, the Wii Fit tucked under the television is the Basement Treadmill of the New Millennium. The Bowflex that we hang our clothes on. The NordicTrack that we sold at a garage sale for $20, which now sits unused in someone else’s’ basement. And why? Was it because we lacked the self-control and determination needed to commit to an act as difficult and tedious as weight loss and muscle conditioning? Was it because we realized early that we were in way over our heads; that we didn’t fully realize how much we had to break our irresponsible daily routines to make way for such dedication?

Well, of course not.

Besides, it’s Wii Fit’s fault for not planning our exercises and scheduling everything out for us like a real-life Personal Trainer would. Taking away the variables of variety and allowing us to slack. Not literally pulling us off of the couch and onto the Balance Board. Calling us obese when we first stepped onto the scale. Not our fault, nope. Besides, I don’t have time for this. I need to look for instant results; I’ve heard that getting your stomach stapled can be done on an outpatient basis now!

This is typical, normal, and indicative of moments we’ve all probably experienced at least a dozen times. It doesn’t mean that you’re a loser or quitter (well, it kind of does, I guess); it just means that you weren’t up to that particular challenge at that particular time. Maybe another time, maybe a slightly different challenge. Hey, if it needs to be done, it’ll get done. Millions of years of Human Evolution have brought us to this point; we’re a versatile bunch and we’ll damn sure rise to any challenge…eventually.

Most of us- not all of us, but most- have a basement treadmill. A Wii Fit that’s still in the box. Some sort of glaring monument to our lack of commitment to something that, at one time, seemed so important to us. Something we’ve turned our backs on because it was too difficult. Because our priorities have changed. Because we stopped caring. Because we’ve lacked the determination and foresight to maintain an eye on the eventual goal.

One of the reasons that we’re so prone to turn our backs on something we’ve failed at is to save face. After all, who wants to admit personal defeat? The frustration here lies not in the money spent on a toy that’s not being used, but the embarrassment in knowing that the toy reminded you of your shortcomings as a person. We don’t like to be reminded of that stuff, and rightfully so. Who would want to admit that they’re just not motivated and determined enough to lose the weight, quit smoking, become a better spouse or merely lay off the meth a squinch? After all the effort, all the optimistic, borderline-delusional glimpses into our future, to fall short is usually too much of a bummer to revel in for an extended period of time, so we just make a pithy excuse and move on to our next project. And why wouldn’t we? It’s an instinctual defense mechanism; I’m not going to let a goddamn toy remind me that I’m weak. I’ll return it and buy a game that I can win. I’m still in charge, here.

In these instances, we’ve been taught that this is the precise difference between winners and losers in Life. Losers do exactly what I described: make an excuse for their shortcomings, tuck tail and run. While winners do the opposite and valiantly fight back, persevere and shine through. They throw the cigarettes in the trash. They flush the cookies and meth down the toilet. They strap on the sweatbands and make that Balance Board their Prison Bitch for the next eight months straight. Truth is, however, it ain’t that black and white. There can be a certain degree of nobility in quitting, and there can also be failure in the perception of individual success.

The perfect personal example that springs to my mind was my big health kick of 2007. After competing (and totally succeeding) in my first 10K run in 2006 (on a last-minute dare, I might add), I realized that not only was I able to knock out anything that I could put my mind and body into, but that I was kinda sorta good at it, too. So in 2007, I literally hit the pavement running, armed with the optimistic knowledge that I’ve seen the top of the mountain once before, and I could probably do it again in half the time with the proper motivation.

A month later, and I was diagnosed with shin splints in both legs, and a fractured tibia that I actually ran three miles on before completely blowing it out during a 5K. From that day forward, there’s still considerable pain in my ankles when any pressure is applied, and my running days are as good as over. Like it or not, I’m probably never going to be able to compete in distance running ever again; something that I was once pretty good at. So I threw the track shoes and jogging pants into the closet and moved on, happy as a Christmas Clam that I pushed myself that far and saw what I was made of. It wasn’t the happiest ending imaginable, but I emerged from the fiasco stronger than ever, based solely on the fact that I went outside of my comfort zone (and straight into Physical Therapy and an MRI machine). I failed miserably on an external level, but boosted my confidence and self-faith exponentially.

So, what’s the point, here? What’s to be learned from these experiences; these little tests of self-will? Is it about picking your battles wisely, or merely the lessons learned from their outcomes? Probably a little bit of both, provided you at least make a concerted effort to take something positive away from every success or failure.

You know me pretty well by now. My entire life (and subsequently, my entire writing career) has been about making mistakes and learning from them. Stumbling ass-first into bad luck and attempting to laugh it off. Bruising up the ego a bit, but remaining intact as a constantly evolving human being. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s all one huge defense mechanism set in place to keep me from stepping in front of a cement mixer, but hey, sometimes that’s all we have.

So, here comes the part of the essay where I attempt to tie this in somehow with the Inauguration of our new President, and the current message of self-motivation for the long-term outcome of positive national and global change.

Let’s be real. We probably won’t live to see an Earth that somehow got Global Warming under control through a massive Tipping Point concerning major ecological and environmental breakthroughs. We probably won’t live to see an Earth where things like racism, homophobia and ethnic stereotyping become truly obsolete, instead of merely ignored (and don’t pretend it’s not). For you agnostics and atheists out there, we certainly won’t live to see an Earth where the irrelevance of un-evolved religions are left in the Stone Age, ushering us into a veritable Renaissance of culture, forward thinking and global peace. For these reasons alone, it may seem for some like a waste of time to venture along this rough evolutionary path, knowing full well that we’ll never be able to visualize and reap the fruits of our labor. Just do whatever makes you feel good and doesn’t hurt anyone in the process. Live your life, take care of your family, and that’s it.

But it has to start somewhere. It has to start sometime. What better place than here? What better time than now? Rage Against The Machine was right, man! Why didn’t we appreciate them before they broke up and kind of got back together again when the royalty checks ran dry? Damn!

Look, we’re a nation of nearly a billion people, and it’s almost frightening how easy it is to make a drastic difference and change the perception of the majority. Hell, depending on what you believe, you probably represent the majority right about now (and believe me, I feel just as uncomfortable about that as you do, assuredly). Not to get too philosophical and sentimental here, but on Inauguration Tuesday, I felt as if I finally saw the official beginning of the 21st Century. The New Millennium, to me, finally began in January of 2009, and it brought with it the idea that in the face of failure and uncertainty, there were lessons to be learned and optimism to be mined from their experiences. Still no jetpacks or Hamburger Earmuffs, but I feel like we’re finally in the Future that I envisioned as a kid.

And quite frankly, I very much preferred the symbolic start of the 21st Century in comparison to the actual January 1 of 2000, which found me vomitous, reeking of vodka and passed out on a filthy mattress in an unfinished basement after being duct-taped to a hot water pipe. True, sad story.

I’m going to wrap this up before the preaching gets any thicker than it already is, but I’ll say that things never evolve if they never up and fail. Things never change if you ignore them and take them for granted. The Wii Fit can’t help you if it’s tucked underneath the television; the treadmill can’t help you if it’s in the basement; the major changes that we want to see made in our world can’t happen if we just assume that someone’s handling it for us. If you fail, you fail. At least you know what you were capable of. This life isn’t a dress rehearsal; if there’s something you’ve always wanted to do, but for whatever reason, abandoned it out of fear of failure or situational apathy, why not now to try again?

Spring is coming. Do something. Anything. It doesn’t matter how insignificant it appears.

Me? I’m pulling the Wii Fit back out.

Lost Friday – "316."


Season 5 – Episode 6: “316.”

Well, now we’re getting somewhere.

One of the things about Lost that we forget from time to time, is that there’s about 25 more episodes left, and that’s it. Sure, it may sound like a lot, but remember that they have an assload of loose ends to tie up before pulling the plug. Tonight was another giant leap forward, mainly in that they took another giant leap into the past. Season 5 has been all about waving the Nerd Flag, exposing the true intentions of the show and trying their hardest to keep everyone along for the ride, and they’ve done an unreal job.

Now let’s make fun of them again.


(Jack comes to the sudden and horrific realization that he forgot to purchase a Digital Converter Box for his kitchen television.)


(“WAAAAAALLLLLLLT!!!”)


(“Damn it, Hurley! There’s Saltines back at the beach; let them go, man!”)


(“Huh-huh…we totally did it last night.”)


(“Hey Kate, remember last night? When we did it?”)


(“Kate, can you answer me a question; my mind is a little foggy. Did we totally do it last night?”)


(If there was a complex, scientific nerve center underneath every Catholic church in America, the resulting Black Hole of Irony would disseminate every living being on the planet.)


(“I’m trying to deliver a passionate monologue, here; stop worrying about if I’m going to run into that swinging pendulum or not.”)


(“Evil…ACTING!”)


(Even after death, Locke still comes through with those Coldplay tickets he promised Jack.)


(“I forgot to tell you that your father is an omnipotent, Godlike being that controls the Heavens and Earth. Musta slipped my mind. Keep the shoes.”)


(“If you must know, I tried to kill Penny and Desmond pounded the living crap out of me. Now are you going to send a cab or not? Okay. Thank you. Love you, too. Bye.”)


(At least we know that Locke is going to have that delicious, Smokehouse flavor.)


(“Hey John, wake up. Me and Kate totally did it last night!”)


(“Hello, sir. I am delivering a line of seemingly random dialogue so you will recognize me next week, when I’m unceremoniously blown to pieces on the Island. This is what they call ‘Foreshadowing.'”)


(“Sun! So glad you made it! Did you hear what happened with me and Kate?”)


(“Look, dude. I bought all 78 of those seats, so I expect to be given all 78 of those meals.”)


(“I’m serious, Ben. And her neck totally tasted like strawberries. High-five.”)


(“Hey Lapidus, Autopilot this bitch for a second. I nailed Kate!”)


(“STUPID, STUPID, STUPID! AAAARRRGH!”)


(This photograph marks the first and last time that Vodka and Shoe Polish will ever share the same rocks glass.)

This concludes yet another historic Lost Friday. Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your weekend. The CDP returns on Monday, like it always does. In the meantime, check out links for previous Lost Fridays this season.

Season 5 – Episode 1/2 Review.
Season 5 – Episode 4 Review.
Season 5 – Episode 5 Review.

This Concludes Our Broadcast Day.

The above footage comes to us courtesy of my buddy Benjamin over at Killer Sandbox Productions. And when I say ‘courtesy,’ I mean that he works for NBC 15 in Madison and took the footage directly from the editing room.

When you’re a TV History nerd like myself, something an inconspicuous as the death of Analog Television is a major event for you. I had been waiting almost a decade for the switch to be flipped, and at 11:55pm on Tuesday, NBC 15 decided to go out in style, killing the signal with the old school Indian Head Test Pattern, one of my personal favorite images (and a CDP logo for almost three years).

I care about Television history so much, that I actually wanted to sync up the unveiling of the new CDP design in conjunction with the Analog/Digital switch, but got spooked when rumors of a pushed-back deadline went into motion. Either way, I’ll add this moment to the ever-growing list of historic pop culture that I’ve been able to see in my lifetime. Goodbye rabbit ears, goodbye tinfoil on the antenna, goodbye shimmying around the Living Room for hours on end to get a good signal.

Goodbye Analog. Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day; Lost Friday arrives tomorrow.

No More Entertainment #1 – False Representation.

10 Bands With Names That Are Significantly Better Than Their Music.

Be it due to misdirected irony, poor planning, or merely a grossly incorrect estimation as to the overall quality of their music, the following 10 bands have hereby been accused of False Representation:

The Get Up Kids
Atari Teenage Riot
Bear Vs. Shark
Cradle Of Filth
Crystal Castles
Drag The River
Vampire Weekend
!!!
The Dandy Warhols
The Arctic Monkeys

10 Bands With Names That Are Exactly As Awesome As Their Music.

Be it due to an overabundance of musical genius, too much (or not nearly enough) time on their hands to think of a name, or simply more smartass snobbery than the average hipster, the following 10 bands got it right, in every possible way:

The Zombies
Zoinks!
Ultimate Fakebook
Teenage Fanclub
Smoking Popes
The Mr. T Experience
Interpol
Electric Light Orchestra
The Dead Milkmen
Brainiac

10 Bands With Names That Sound Exactly Like The Music They Play.

Be it due to the Gods and Goddesses of perfectly-named bands, without so much as a hint of misrepresentation and an acute knowledge of their individual sound, the following 10 bands sound precisely as they have been marketed (for better or for worse):

Mr. Bungle
The Muffs
Pansy Division
The Sundays
The Go! Team
DragonForce
Explosions In The Sky
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
Man…Or Astro-Man?
The Minibosses

Add your selections in the comments section, start the conversation and enjoy your day.

To Here Knows When.

Three Sundays ago, me and the Missus were on our way out of the Alliant Energy Center, having just witnessed the brain-melting awesomeness that is the Mad Rollin’ Dolls Roller Derby. The day was beautiful; an unseasonably warm morning brought Madison out of its cocoon of Winter jackets and unfashionable hats. The day was also made beautiful by the fact that it was my quiet, uneventful and arrest-free 27th birthday. I felt good, I felt young, and I was looking forward to heading home in time to catch the Super Bowl and gorge on various dips, beers and cheeses.

The Missus offered to drive my car home, and as we pulled onto the street, we instantly recognized that something was wrong. Not wrong in a “Life is a series of random, unrelated events that means nothing and ends when you die” sort of way, but wrong as in “I think the car may have exploded a second ago.” The whirring sound of rubber tire meeting non-rubber metal in an unholy alliance of black smoke and dangerous maneuvering got us back off of the road in a heartbeat. Pulling back into the parking lot, we saw that the left rear tire was flat and shredded into oblivion.

“Happy Birthday!” shouted my friends in unison from the backseat. Assknobs.

As I was twisting the jack, loosening the nuts, blackening my hands and dirtying my favorite jeans, it struck me as quite the coincidence that this was not only my second flat tire in six months, but in the same exact wheel well, too. I chalked it up to bad luck and got us back on the road in less than five minutes; a new personal record.

Driving on a 55MPH donut is an anxious experience to say the least. Not only are you trusting what amounts to nothing more than a pretend wheel on a Big Boy car, but you have to trust that you did everything right when changing the tire in the first place. If it should, I don’t know, sproing completely off of the axle and launch itself into Lake Mendota whilst navigating the beltline, you’d have nobody to blame but yourself when receiving your blood transfusion back at the hospital of your health insurance provider’s choosing.

Stupid birthday. Stupid Super Bowl.

The next day, I took Monday morning off of work and slowly rolled my way over to Broadway Tire on the opposite side of the city. For me, Broadway Tire represents a necessary evil, as they’re the closest game in town whenever I have a vehicular emergency. However, they’re rude, yell at you like you somehow damaged your only mode of transportation on purpose, and pretty much leave you at their greasy mercy.

“Hi. I have a flat tire.”
“(already angry) What happened?”
“Well, I don’t really know. The tire was flat in the parking lot.”
“(angrier still) How far did you drive on it?”
“Um, not really far at all. Maybe 100 yards or so.”
“(angry and incredulous) Well, how did you get here, then?”
“What? I put the spare on…(muttering to myself)…you freaking moron.”
“Alright, pull it in; we’ll take a look at it.”
“Will do. Say, I just got that tire here less than six months ago, and…”
“(reading verbatim from sign behind counter) 30 warranty on all tires!”
“(wide-eyed)…I see.”
“Jesus, what in the hell did you do to this tire? It’s shredded!”
“Nothing. I mean, I don’t know; that’s how I found it.”
“You’re telling me that you didn’t drive on this?”
“For the last time, dude, I stopped driving as soon as I noticed it.”

We then exchanged accusatory glances until the phone rang and startled him.

A 30 day warranty on tires sounds nothing short of worthless, but nonetheless, I had nowhere else to go. They slapped a used tire into the left rear wheel well, charged me a respectable 36 bucks, and I was back at work by 10am.

Done and done, correct?

Bzzzrtt; wrong answer.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Missus came home from work, and while still in the garage, began to inquire about the mystery tire they had applied to the Wild Stallion v4.0.

“Honey? Are you sure that they put the right size tire on your car?”
“What? Why?”
“Well, your car is all…crooked.”
“Oh, God. Hang on, I’ll be right out.”

Sure enough, my entire car was now slanted downwards toward the left rear axle, indicative that the belligerent, rude and inattentive folks at Broadway just up and put the wrong size tire on to spite me. However, the measurements were correct and the tire was legit; the whole works were just crooked for some strange reason. The mysteries were starting to pile up, but I didn’t want to think about it, so quite frankly, I ignored them. If I should ever get diabetes, you can bet that I’ll deny the symptoms right up to the point where they start sawing my foot off.

Friday morning was freezing, probably five below zero when I left the house at 7am. I got about a mile away from my house when I once again heard the sound of rubber flapping off-balance. I turned down My Bloody Valentine and gave a listen.

“This seriously cannot be happening.”

Seconds later, I began to lose control of the car, and quickly turned into the parking lot of the new Target that they’re in the process of building right next to CDP Headquarters (I’m pumped at this prospect for a number of reasons). As I got out of the car, I couldn’t believe what I saw.

Flat, shredded tire. Left rear wheel.

For the second time in five days (and the third time in six months), I was once again on my hands and knees, changing the same tire in the same wheel well. I called up the Missus to let her know what was going on, and she told me she would drop by the parking lot on her way to work, just to make sure that the jack didn’t snap and mush my body flat underneath the car. I also called my boss and took a personal day, because I was all set to limp back into Broadway Tire and tear each and every one of them a brand-spanking-new butthole for my troubles.

The ranting came fast and furious when the Missus showed up. It was so cold outside that I had to wear a stocking cap that I keep in the trunk for emergencies, which caused my still-wet hair to meld and freeze into the most embarrassing shape possible (think A Flock Of Seagulls meets the Unibomber). “I can’t believe this! Those jerks sold me a lemon tire! They owe me! I’m sick of changing tires! This sucks! My life sucks! Morrissey was right! Aaaugh!”

It was at this point where I took the newly-shredded tire off of the axle, and made the discovery that solved all of the looming mysteries in a big hurry. A jagged, glistening, razor-sharp hunk of shrapnel sticking straight out of the wheel well, right where my rear coil springs had apparently snapped and broken.

“Uh…oh…”

Allow me to slingshot you back through time, and recap what exactly happened to my car. I had been more or less driving in a deathtrap that was secretly gearing up to end my life in the stupidest possible way.

Six months ago, my rear coil springs unknowingly snapped while driving through a construction site, initially flattening my tire, which was replaced, chalked up to accident and forgotten about. At some point during the week of the Super Bowl, the broken springs had somehow shifted, sending a chunk of twisted metal just enough into the path of the left rear tire to rub against it for hundreds of miles, slowly wearing it to pieces until it just came apart…like, say, in the parking lot of the Alliant Energy Center after a roller derby. When the Broadway guys replaced the tire, they never bothered to notice the spring problem, but did seem shocked that what looked like a typically-flat tire could be so mangled. The snapped springs continued to be ignored, leaving my car to look crooked and tipped sideways, just like the Missus noticed on Wednesday. The broken coil then worked its magic on the new tire, until finally striking oil on Friday morning, once again shredding it during my morning commute.

Mystery solved. I felt like an automotive Dr. House. I also knew that I was about to write a very, very large check to a mechanic.

So, for the second time in a week, I attached the donut to the Wild Stallion, this time driving to Capitol Ford for a long day of repairs and complimentary popcorn. New springs? Check. New struts? Check. New tire and alignment? Check and mate.

Total cost? $900.

To keep myself from committing suicide, which was my initial solution for this problem, I’m left to focus on the positives. For one, I didn’t get killed, which is always a reality when it comes to car problems. Secondly, nothing had to be towed or shuttled anywhere (except for my carless ass), which is always a tremendous pain in the wenis area. Thirdly, I had just begun an Emergency Savings account for situations like this no less than days before the explosion, and most of what I had in there covered the overall costs.

Could have been worse, I suppose; it could have happened on my birthday.

Hey, wait a minute…