Five Days Until The Rapture.

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On Tuesday, one of these belongs to you.

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New High Score! Achievement Unlocked!

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This week marked the 25th anniversary of the Nintendo Entertainment System’s release in America. So what better way to honor one of the greatest cultural moments of the 20th Century than to pay homage on the cover of Aerating The Mashed Potatoes, my newest book and the most singularly-awesome thing I’ve ever accomplished in my entire dumbass life.

The cover was created by myself and Aaron Miller over at DifferentDamage.net. Mostly Aaron, as he took my vision (‘Make my book a Nintendo game RIGHT THIS INSTANT’) and helped make it a reality over the course of nearly four months this Summer. There was no template for this; he worked his ass off, and from what I can gather (we corresponded solely through my legal team), did all of this by hand. The back cover (not shown) also follows the retro NES style to perfection, substituting ‘gameplay footage’ stills with childhood photos and other various nostalgic goodness. I damn nearly wept when it showed up in my mailbox, and I still owe him more money than I currently have in my savings account.

I should also mention that Aaron designed the current CDP template and merchandise you see on this very blog, so please consider him for your next web or graphic design project. He’s seriously the best in the business, and his rates are stupid cheap. Thanks buddy; you should know that a copy of this book will probably go in my coffin.

I think the cover represents the inside material quite well. An adequate mix of nostalgia, pop culture, early-mid-life crisis cynicism (25 years ago?!?), and humor. As I edited the finished product, I was surprised at just how many pop culture references show up in some of the newer essays. It’s 250 pages, there are 50 essays, and more than half of it will be brand new to even the most comprehensive CDP fan. The new stuff is among some of the best material I’ve ever written, including some personal essays that should leave you simultaneously laughing and shaking your head in bewilderment. I won’t give anything away, but with titles like ‘The Condom’ and ‘The Time I Got Molested,’ I think you get the picture.

The writing/compiling/binge drinking process started back in January and ran smoothly up until June, where I hit the wall creatively and brought everything to a halt. Having experienced Writer’s Block before, I knew it was akin to surviving a bear attack: you can’t fight back, you can only play dead until it gets bored and shuffles away. So play dead I did. Broadly speaking, the Summer of 2010 was easily the least productive stretch of my entire adulthood. I listened to old records and played a billion games of Tetris for four months straight, and even that seemed like a struggle at times. That all being said, the block passed and I finished the tedious process with plenty of time to spare.

As was the case with 65 Poor Life Decisions, I’ve decided to once again go the self-publishing route. I should mention that I don’t self-publish because I’ve been rejected by bigwig literary agents. In fact, I’ve never submitted a thing to a literary agency. I just like the punk rock aesthetic of a 100% DIY venture. It keeps me busy, motivated and in control, and that’s more important to me than a pile of blow-off letters and rewrite requests. I write a book, you buy it from me, and nothing gets in between us. What’s better than that? Money? I highly doubt it.

Speaking of money and punk rock, I want to also mention that despite the economy taking a massive poopdump in the last three years, I made sure that Aerating The Mashed Potatoes cost just as much as 65 Poor Life Decisions did back in 2007. Even the mail-order is going to cost the same, and I consider this a big moral victory. Self-publishing won’t make anyone rich, so I instead focused on what I could do to keep everything as cheap as possible without going into hock. Whether I succeed or not is yet to be determined (Hint: That’s going to be up to you).

In keeping with the community aspect, if you run a blog and want to spotlight the book, interview me or do anything else that might send some traffic my way, just let me know and I’ll be there. I’ll be mainly promoting the book through the usual channels (CDP, Facebook, Twitter, local publications, crack houses), so any additional press is extremely appreciated. The support I received the last time around was humbling, and sincerely made a difference. I thank you in advance.

The only thing left to talk about is, “When can I buy it, and where?” I will have the answer to that next week. Here’s a hint: Soon, and here.

Until then, sound off in the comments section, critique the cover and enjoy your weekend. I’ll also answer any questions you may have about the book (except the ones about getting sued by Nintendo). Thanks much.

You Can Do Most Anything.

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Aerating The Mashed Potatoes is done!

This Friday, I will be revealing the cover of my long-awaited second book, along with the official release date and many other answers to burning questions. You’re only a few weeks away from getting this book in your hands, and I couldn’t be more excited about it. I’m like a puppy that’s two seconds from peeing on the rug.

I started this project at the beginning of 2010, with the goal being that I’d publish before the end of the year. However, thanks to a healthy blend of insomnia and megalomania, it looks like we’re going to finish almost two months ahead of schedule. I feel that the book is an across-the-board improvement on 65 Poor Life Decisions, and I can’t wait to get it out there for you.

That’s it for now, but the CDP is going to be bustling from now until probably Christmas, so remember to stop back as soon as you can. Sound off in the comments section; see you Friday!

Once You Go Zombie, You Never Go BRAINS!

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On Halloween, the six-episode First Season of The Walking Dead premieres on AMC. This adaptation of the wildly successful comic namesake looks to be Television’s saving grace this season; a zombie apocalypse TV show hasn’t really ever been done to these depths before.

So, I’m excited. I read the comic, I like Frank Darabont, and from what I’ve seen of the show so far, it looks through-the-roof awesome. So much so, that The Walking Dead just might be the thing to fill the void left by Lost last season…and you know what that means.

The Walking Dead Fridays.

I’m dusting off my recapping skills for Season 1 of The Walking Dead, so be sure to come back here every Friday following each episode for some old-fashioned CDP awesomeness, Zombie-style. I’m looking forward to it, and I hope you are too.

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day. News on Aerating The Mashed Potatoes is coming soon.

The CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade 8 Wrap Party.

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So, the CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade 8 came to an end a little over a month ago, and I want to once again thank everyone who participated and created such awesome pieces of art. Same goes for anyone who’s ever participated; I always appreciate the effort, and I’m consistently blown away by some of the neat things you guys come up with. It’s been a lot of fun.

The winner of the Trade this time around is TJ, for her ‘Write Back Soon!’ Mix. It was the perfect combination of artistic originality and superb track selection. As you may remember, TJ’s prize is a free, autographed copy of Aerating The Mashed Potatoes (my new book), which is set to be released by December. It was hard to pick a winner, but she really nailed it this time around. Great job.

Before, I said that this would be the last Trade I do- at the very least, the last one for a while. I’m still sticking to that for the time being for many reasons: I have a lot of other projects I plan on launching in 2011, I have a book to promote, and quite frankly, the Trade has left a bad taste in my mouth due to all the deadbeats.

If you were one of those people who always got a Mix sent to you on time, consider yourself lucky. If you were one of those people who sent out their Mix on time, every time, consider yourself awesome. However, there were people out there that got shafted every single time; people that put a lot of time and effort into their creations, only to get nothing in return. Conversely, there were people who signed up for the Trade and consistently made nothing. Even though I swore that I would publicly out these people, I never did (couldn’t bring myself to do it), but I saw it in the e-mail exchanges every time we did a Trade, and it bothered me. To put it another way, it infuriated me.

The late-senders and the excuses were always well-justified, and we all understood that. However, there were some who signed up knowing full-well that they had no intention of making anything for anyone, either because they were too self-absorbed to consider the feelings of their recipient, or because they sucked at organizing their lives so much that they couldn’t block off 45 minutes over the course of two weeks to whip something up and throw it in the mailbox. Anything was better than nothing, but they just couldn’t make it happen, even though they made a commitment to do so.

My tipping point was when I found out that one guy got shafted three times in a row by three different people. That’s straight-up bullshit, and I felt that sort of thing reflected poorly on me personally more than anything. I treated people like adults; I didn’t check up too much or send cranky e-mails to people. Apparently, I should have held more hands.

So yeah. In the end, the deadbeats ruined it for everyone. The 5% that pooped on the party. I’m not interested in ‘banning’ people from future Trades (I have no intention to run the CDP like a clique), but I can’t trust certain people to come through for the rest of you amazing Mix creators, so I’m going to throw in the towel for a while and let things sit. I’m also not interested in changing the format, so don’t bother sending me ideas to make the Trades more idiot-proof. Give me time to grumble, and I’ll bring it back when the time is right.

It’s been a lot of fun, though. Personally, I’ve received nearly 100 Mixes, each more fantastic than the next. I’ve been exposed to dozens of new and classic artists, and I’ve held artwork in my hands that I would have never been intelligent enough to create on my own. The amount of heart and personality that goes into a well-crafted Mix is a thing all its own, and that was the whole point of the Trade to begin with. My CD cabinet, once a sterile and alphabetized affair, now looks more like a handwritten scrapbook compiled by interesting people from each corner of the nation. I didn’t think for a second that this would be the outcome of doing something like this, so each package in the mail was an extremely cool experience for yours truly.

The Trade was a natural extension of the CDP community, and the bulk of you nailed it with flying colors. Thank you for what you did for me, and what you did for each other.

I have a big announcement next week concerning an upcoming CDP project that I think most of you will really dig, and the book is so close to completion that I can taste it (it tastes mainly like paper). The remainder of 2010 is going to be a lot of fun; sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day.