The State Of The CDP Speech – 2010.

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On the last nice day of Summer in Madison, I met up with local blogger Jesse Russell on the outdoor patio of the High Noon Saloon. We had a couple beers and talked Politics, Pop Culture and relationships, with a constant recurring theme of ‘despite all that’s wrong with the World right now, there’s so much that’s going right.’

It was discussion about coming to terms; fighting the good fight while prioritizing what was really important in day-to-day life. Jesse seemed to be in a really good place; he was dropping superficial anxieties in some areas while refining passion in others. There were goals, missions and final destinations. When something started getting him down, he’d stop to mention all the cool stuff he did that overshadowed the annoying minutiae. Perhaps this is the definition of Wisdom. I don’t know for sure, but I had a good time.

So, what’s next for the CDP?” he sincerely asked. I like it when people are genuinely interested in my projects, even if it embarrasses me to talk about them in real life. Even after two books and seven years of essays, I would never think to introduce myself as an ‘author,’ or even ‘writer.’

I’m quitting in February,” I said. “I want to focus on writing books full-time. Because of Social Networking and how we take in our information nowadays, nobody has time to read blogs anymore. I don’t even read blogs anymore. My traffic has slipped a bit, and it’s gotten to the point where it might actually be getting in the way of bigger and better things.”

My desire to take the next step towards full-time author was at a fever pitch this Summer. My second book was almost done, and I had a feeling that it was going to be a big deal (in a tangible sense). I had put a lot of effort, time and emotion into it, and it gave me a feeling of pride I don’t think I’ve ever really had with anything else I’ve ever created (even with the poop stories). It was a feeling that said “I want to do this for the rest of my life.” I’m assuming this is what Pride is; I don’t think I had ever felt it before.

And while the book didn’t exactly fly off the shelves like I wanted it to (‘politely dribbled’ might be the more appropriate term), the accolades have been universal and the kind words have been staggering. I make people laugh, I’m making a little money and I accomplished a goal that most do not. All in all, I was pleased with the outcome, and I’d like to do it again in a couple years. As far as blogging was concerned though, I felt that it had run its course.

So yeah, I’m quitting,” I said.

That’s what you say every year,” he smirked back. He was right. I think I’ve made this same threat for the last six years straight. I’m like the Mick Foley of Bloggers.

Yeah, but I really mean it this time,” I said in an empty threat sort-of-way to convince myself more than anything.

Give it one more year,” he said. “Think it over.

Okay.

Here’s the thing. Even when I started the CDP in 2004, just two weeks after turning 22, I knew I didn’t want to be blogging when I was 30. My aspiration was to accomplish certain writing goals within those eight years, challenge myself and have fun.

So I wrote.

I wrote books. I wrote essays. I wrote songs. I wrote poems. I wrote lists (and even more lists). I wrote more Pop Culture stuff than I could ever remember. I wrote letters and e-mails to hundreds of people. I wrote my first screenplay when I was 23. I wrote freelance essays. I wrote free essays. I wrote scripts for a web series. I even created a (somewhat regrettable) political cartoon and wrote over 70 strips. I wrote everything I possibly could, save for erotic Fan Fiction, but it’s still a real possibility I might whip something up along those lines. The Harry Potter franchise didn’t end the way I had envisioned, so I have a few ideas clanging around.

The point is, I’ve written a buttload of stuff, and while it was fun, I think I’ve more or less run my course in this kind of environment. It’s a decision I’ve mulled for a while. So here is what’s on tap for 2011:

1. 2011 is the last year of the CDP. I will not continue to do this into my 30’s. This isn’t any sort of disparaging remark towards anyone; it’s just my own personal benchmark and promise I need to keep. This is not a new revelation; it was always something I knew I was going to do.

2. While I currently have a 25-page outline for my next book, I have no intentions of doing any non-CDP writing in 2011. Like years past, I intend to make the CDP my top creative priority in 2011. In short, I want to make it as good and fun as it’s ever been. Revitalize the community, write quality over quantity and give you something you’ll want to come back for.

3. I have no format, schedule or plan for 2011. No lists, no recaps, no Mix-Trades and no deadlines. I will be writing funny stories I think you’d like to read, and that is all. I spent this entire year working feverishly towards a deadline I set for myself, and I have no intentions of doing anything of the sort for the CDP‘s last year. It’s more of a Victory Lap than a race to the finish.

That’s it. Let’s do this one more time. Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your week. I’ll be back in 2011 with the introduction to the CDP Victory Lap. Until then, thank you very much, and have a good one.

-Ryan J. Zeinert

The CDP’s Top 10 TV Shows Of 2010.

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I particularly enjoy today’s header design. I do awesome things every now and then, even if it is just slapping my logo over a retro photograph. It’s sometimes more fun than actually writing stuff.

Anyway, I hope everyone is currently enjoying a safe and happy Holiday weekend. The 2010 State Of The CDP Speech arrives on Monday, which is both the final essay of the year, but also a huge announcement concerning the very future of this-here CDP. I hope you come back for it; egg nog and smoked salmon will be served to those who request it.

Now, my 10 favorite TV shows of 2010. Enjoy!

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10. Mythbusters

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9. Conan

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8. The Office

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7. Community

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6. Louis

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5. Lost

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4. 30 Rock

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3. Modern Family

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2. The Walking Dead

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1. Friday Night Lights

I don’t care what you have to do, finding a way to get into Friday Night Lights will be worth your time and efforts.

You’re officially dismissed for Christmas break. Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your weekend. The CDP returns Monday with a huge State Of The CDP Speech 2010.

The CDP Year In Review – 2010.

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What did 2010 mean to you? Seriously, I’d like to know. While I accomplished much, I feel like I may have sleepwalked through the bulk of it, zombified by my own deadlines and routine. Judging by the current mindset and mentality of those around me, we’re all skidding collectively into 2011 on fumes; exhausted, beaten and completely unsure of what tomorrow holds.

It’s like an epic film, only in real life, that’s not as fun as it sounds. Mostly we’re just tired all the time.

In January, I made my intentions known to publish my second book by the end of the year. This became my top priority, dropping me into a self-imposed Boot Camp that I only emerged from just a few weeks ago. I think I wrote some good posts over the last year, and I’m certain that things happened on a national scale that effected me personally, but I’ll be damned if I can remember any of them right now.

I got up (most days), went to the office, went home, wrote a few pages and went to sleep. For nine straight months. I also may have drank a few cups of coffee, gotten drunk a few hundred times and took a shower or two, but that has to be the extent of my deviations. When I commit, I commit like a psycho. I created something in Aerating The Mashed Potatoes that I’m pretty fond of, but just like when I wrote Book #1 in 2007, the blog tended to get neglected at times.

Fortunately, The CDP Year In Review is here to remind us exactly what went down over the last 350-some days. Read along, click the links and have fun. You might learn something; I know I did.

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January 6 – Kicking off the year in style, I have four impacted Wisdom Teeth removed. I almost instantly develop an addiction to muscle relaxers, which actually may explain why I don’t remember too much about what else happened this year.

January 14 – I revisit a childhood memory: Digging a hole straight through to hell.

January 18 – Turning down the chance to murder another living thing says a lot about the character of a child.

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February 5 – The first Lost Friday of the final season, another thousand pages of jokes and captions. The only people on the planet that wrote more about Lost were the writers of the show themselves.

February 16 – The CDP turns 6. Its baby teeth are all messed up, but in a cute way.

February 24 – The CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade #7 arrives to much cheering and acclaim from music nerds on every coast.

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March 12 – My first (and last) Lost Friday Liveblog. This is fun to do, but I get the sneaking suspicion everyone else hates it.

March 17 – My Favorite TV Theme Songs. I’m officially out of things to rank.

March 26 – The greatest episode of Lost ever? The greatest Lost beard ever?

March 31 – Why (sane) adults don’t go to Cost Cutters.

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April 2 – Another great Lost Friday as the series begins to wind down. We started to come to the sad realization that almost none of our questions would be answered, which I actually found hilarious. Joke was on us.

April 20 – A little write-up I did about the Lost producers visiting Madison. They also wrote the new TRON movie, too.

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May 21Lost Friday – ‘What They Died For.’ So many deaths.

May 28Lost Friday – ‘The End.’ Faith wins the ‘Science v. Faith’ argument, but only in a fictional sense.

May 31 – Now that Lost is out of the way, I start catching up and focusing on the book. I debate calling Book #2 Pinkerton, but the Missus talks me out of it because she likes it when I make money.

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June 9 – Buy my old book before you buy my new one. Not the other way around, please. It’s a fine book, but I don’t want you to step backwards through my evolution as a writer. Then again, my mom liked the first one better, so I could be wrong on this.

June 14 – Speaking of mom, here’s one of the better essays featuring her dysfunctional relationship with me.

June 30 – Nothing like a borderline Nervous Breakdown to make you re-evaluate stuff.

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July 12-16My Top 30 TV Shows of the 90’s. Melrose Place mysteriously absent.

July 19-23My Top 100 Movies of the 90’s. It’s Pat!: The Movie mysteriously absent.

July 26-30My Top 150 Albums of the 90’s. Toad The Wet Sprocket mysteriously absent.

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August 2 – The 8th (and final) Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade. For now.

August 16 – My 2010 Emmy picks. I did very well, yet won nothing. I got what I deserved.

August 23 – My Annual Fall TV Preview delivers the goods once again. This is usually one of my favorite posts of the year.

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September 6 – I announce the title of my almost-finished book. The world collectively shrugs, says, ‘Wuh?’ and goes back to cleaning the refrigerator.

September 20-24My Top 50 Ska Albums of All-Time. I’m an expert; don’t dispute me.

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October 4The Walking Dead Friday replaces Lost Friday…for a little while. I commit to recapping 6 episodes, thinking for sure that the show would flop and be canceled. It becomes the biggest basic cable hit of all-time.

October 18 – The book is done. I have patience. I have drive. I have determination. Another goal accomplished…ladies.

October 22 – The cover of Aerating The Mashed Potatoes is revealed. The literary world scrambles to catch up with its pure beauty and Pop Culture brilliance. Lawsuits are flung from every corner of the globe.

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November 2Aerating The Mashed Potatoes is unleashed to an unsuspecting (and still unsuspecting) public. Apparently, people don’t like laughing until they piss their pants anymore.

November 5 – The debut of The Walking Dead Friday. I miss Amy already.

November 15 – My celebrity status can’t even sell out a Chuck-E-Cheese.

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December 10 – The Season 1 Finale of The Walking Dead Friday. Goodnight, sweet zombie.

December 13 – My favorite Tracks of 2010. Young Money’s ‘Bedrock’ is criminally overlooked.

December 14-17My favorite Albums of 2010. Not a fantastic year, but decent nonetheless. Just like the CDP.

Well, there you have it. 2010, revisited through the eyes of the CDP. Sound off in the comments section, enjoy your holidays and spend some time digging around and checking out some things you might have missed. We will return on Friday with a bonus post on December 24, as I count down my Top 10 TV Shows Of 2010. Then gear up for the 2010 State Of The CDP Speech on December 27, as we end the year with a big announcement.

Thanks much.

The CDP’s Top 20 Albums Of 2010 (5-1).

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The end of the year is approaching, which means that you’re probably currently inundated with thousands of lists and end-of-the-year countdowns concerning all sorts of cultural achievements. Well, here at the CDP, it’s no different, as today we finally conclude our list of the Top 20 Albums Of 2010.

Just a quick word on the validity of this list. It’s by no means a ‘definitive‘ or ‘good‘ list; merely a list of the 20 best albums purchased by me this year. I’m not Pitchfork, I don’t get free albums, and I don’t actively seek out things that would boost my indie cred. I’m just a dude, dudes, so take it for what it’s worth and enjoy.

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5. Titus Andronicus – The Monitor

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4. The National – High Violet

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3. Sleigh Bells – Treats

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2. The Tallest Man On Earth – The Wild Hunt

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1. The Hold Steady – Heaven Is Whenever

There you have it. Quick note: There were a lot of albums I didn’t listen to this year, which you’re more than welcome to tell me about in the comments section. However, please don’t explain to me in detail why this list is garbage. I don’t have the time or patience necessary this week to explain to you just how much of an asshole you’d sound like. I have a cold.

Before we wrap for the weekend, here’s a look at previous CDP Album Of The Year winners:

2003 Winner: The Weakerthans – Reconstruction Site
2003 Runner-Up: The Postal Service – Give Up

2004 Winner: Arcade Fire – Funeral
2004 Runner-Up: Communique’ – Poison Arrows

2005 Winner: Of Montreal – The Sunlandic Twins
2005 Runner-Up: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! – Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!

2006 Winner: The Velvet Teen – Cum Laude!
2006 Runner-Up: P.O.S. – Audition


2007 Winner: Arcade Fire – Neon Bible
2007 Runner-Up: Polysics – Karate House

2008 Winner: Girl Talk – Feed The Animals
2008 Runner-Up: Ra Ra Riot – The Rhumb Line

2009 Winner: P.O.S. – Never Better
2009 Runner Up: fun. – Aim And Ignite

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

Monday – The CDP Year In Review.

The CDP’s Top 20 Albums Of 2010 (10-6).

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The end of the year is approaching, which means that you’re probably currently inundated with thousands of lists and end-of-the-year countdowns concerning all sorts of cultural achievements. Well, here at the CDP, it’s no different, as today we continue to count down the Top 20 Albums Of 2010.

Just a quick word on the validity of this list. It’s by no means a ‘definitive‘ or ‘good‘ list; merely a list of the 20 best albums purchased by me this year. I’m not Pitchfork, I don’t get free albums, and I don’t actively seek out things that would boost my indie cred. I’m just a dude, dudes, so take it for what it’s worth and enjoy.

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10. Girl Talk – All Day

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9. Josh Ritter – So Runs The World Away

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8. Ra Ra Riot – The Orchard

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7. Fang Island – Fang Island

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6. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs

What? Arcade Fire’s not #1? Not even in the Top 5? Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day; the countdown concludes tomorrow.

The CDP’s Top 20 Albums Of 2010 (15-11).

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The end of the year is approaching, which means that you’re probably currently inundated with thousands of lists and end-of-the-year countdowns concerning all sorts of cultural achievements. Well, here at the CDP, it’s no different, as today we continue to count down the Top 20 Albums Of 2010.

Just a quick word on the validity of this list. It’s by no means a ‘definitive‘ or ‘good‘ list; merely a list of the 20 best albums purchased by me this year. I’m not Pitchfork, I don’t get free albums, and I don’t actively seek out things that would boost my indie cred. I’m just a dude, dudes, so take it for what it’s worth and enjoy.

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15. The Thermals – Personal Life

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14. Ultimate Fakebook – Daydream Radio Is Smiling Static

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13. Delta Spirit – History From Below

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12. Gaslight Anthem – American Slang

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11. Yeasayer – Odd Blood

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day. The countdown continues tomorrow.

The CDP’s Top 20 Albums Of 2010 (20-16).

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The end of the year is approaching, which means that you’re probably currently inundated with thousands of lists and end-of-the-year countdowns concerning all sorts of cultural achievements. Well, here at the CDP, it’s no different, as today we begin to count down the Top 20 Albums Of 2010.

Just a quick word on the validity of this list. It’s by no means a ‘definitive‘ or ‘good‘ list; merely a list of the 20 best albums purchased by me this year. I’m not Pitchfork, I don’t get free albums, and I don’t actively seek out things that would boost my indie cred. I’m just a dude, dudes, so take it for what it’s worth and enjoy.

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HONORABLE MENTION – Weezer – ‘Pinkerton (Reissue)

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20. The Futureheads – The Chaos

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19. Vampire Weekend – Contra

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18. LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening

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17. Shout Out Louds – Work

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16. Stephen Egerton – The Seven Degrees Of Stephen Egerton

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day. The countdown continues tomorrow.

The CDP’s Top 15 Songs Of 2010.

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Welcome to Day 1 of a week-long celebration of all things music for 2010. Today, we focus on singles, as I countdown (and meticulously link you to) my 15 favorite tracks of the year. These are my personal favorite songs of 2010; I’m not a tastemaker and I’m not Pitchfork, so enjoy it for what it is.

Let’s go.

15. The Thermals – ‘I Don’t Believe You
14. Ke$ha – ‘Your Love Is My Drug
13. The Hold Steady – ‘Soft In The Center
12. The Futureheads – ‘Heartbeat Song
11. Sleigh Bells – ‘Crown On The Ground

The Thermals are consistently the hardest-working band in Rock, and while Personal Life didn’t infiltrate ears the way that The Body, The Blood, The Machine did, we still got a solid track in ‘I Don’t Believe You.’ I’m not a Ke$ha fan, but ‘Your Love Is My Drug’ was one of the only songs on the radio that I waited to hear, which is saying something. The Hold Steady continues to make fans and reinforce the grizzled ones, and ‘Soft In The Center’ is as therapeutic and vintage Craig Finn as you’d expect. ‘Heartbeat Song’ is possibly the catchiest Futureheads song yet, which is a near-impossible feat at this point in their career. Finally, Sleigh Bells gave us the loudest, most bombastic beat of the year with ‘Crown On The Ground.’ Listen and blow your speakers out.

10. Shout Out Louds – ‘Can’t Explain
9. Titus Andronicus – ‘The Battle Of Hampton Roads
8. Yeasayer – ‘Ambling Alp
7. The Tallest Man On Earth – ‘The Wild Hunt
6. Arcade Fire – ‘Ready To Start

‘Can’t Explain’ hit me at the right time this year; the Shout Out Louds always seem to show up when I need them the most. Titus Andronicus arrived on my radar out of nowhere, pretty much throwing all caution to the wind with their ambitious and fearless second album. ‘Ambling Alp’ is probably the track I’ve listened to the most this year, to the point where my wife essentially hates it (totally my fault, there). The Tallest Man On Earth absolutely blew me away with ‘The Wild Hunt,’ making me an instant fan with his beautiful songwriting and lyrics. Finally, Arcade Fire didn’t wow me this year with The Suburbs, but lead-off single ‘Ready To Start’ is as good of an epic as anything off of Funeral or Neon Bible.

5. Delta Spirit – ‘Bushwick Blues
4. The National – ‘Bloodbuzz, Ohio
3. Cee-Lo Green – ‘F*** You
2. Josh Ritter – ‘Change Of Time
1. Sage Francis – ‘The Best Of Times

Any of these Top 5 could have been #1; they’re all amazing to me in their own way. ‘Bushwick Blues’ is so purely honest and driven, that when I first heard the song I stopped everything I was doing, bought it on iTunes and listened to it 10 more times. ‘Bloodbuzz, Ohio’ encompasses everything I love about The National; driving home to see the relatives for Thanksgiving instantly put the song into vividly depressing perspective (which caused me to get all misty-eyed). ‘F*** You’ will get plenty of well-deserved accolades this year, so I dropped it to #3 in favor of more personal favorites of mine. I will say, however, that Cee-Lo is a genius, probably crafting the most universally-adored hit since ‘Hey Ya!’

Josh Ritter threw everything but the kitchen sink at ‘Change Of Time,’ which ended up working like a charm. The tale of an insecure, unsure man having a vivid nightmare, only to wake up next to his beloved and once again feel peace and confidence, is woven like only Ritter (a master lyricist) can. The line ‘I had a dream last night/And when I opened my eyes/Your shoulder blades, your spine/Were shorelines in the moonlight‘ is as beautiful as anything I’ve heard all year. I could easily write five pages on this track alone, but I’ll just let you listen to it and discover what it means to you.

Finally, I gave #1 to my sentimental favorite, Sage Francis’ ‘The Best Of Times.’ Every now and again, you stumble across a song so good, so personalized and so indicative of your personality, that you wish you would have written it yourself. I’d say this feeling has encapsulated me maybe five times in my life, and it did for sure when I first heard ‘The Best Of Times.’ I’ve always enjoyed Sage, his lyrics, flow, delivery and non-stop cynical attitude towards…pretty much anything and everything. I understand this, and I understand ‘The Best Of Times.’ So will you.

Before we go, a quick look at previous winners of the CDP’s Song Of The Year:

2003: ‘Such Great Heights’ – The Postal Service
2004: ‘Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)’ – Arcade Fire
2005: ‘In This Home On Ice’ – Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!
2006: ‘I Will Follow You Into The Dark’ – Death Cab For Cutie
2007: ‘Intervention’ – Arcade Fire
2008: ‘Here’s Looking At You, Kid’ – The Gaslight Anthem
2009: ‘Sleepyhead’ – Passion Pit

Thanks much. The Top 20 Albums Of 2010 starts tomorrow.

The Walking Dead Friday – "TS-19."

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Season 1 – Episode 6: ‘TS-19.

The final Walking Dead Friday of the season is upon us. We have much to discuss.

Well, that went by quick, didn’t it? As a general rule, I find 6-10 episode seasons of television sort of a rip-off; a hipster tactic used by premium channels to increase DVD sales and generate rabid off-season yammering and/or longing within the pages of Entertainment Weekly. From a marketability standpoint, it’s a good, albeit annoying business model (you have to enjoy making people hate you). From a supply-and-demand standpoint, it’s drug dealer-esque bullshit. Short TV seasons are the McRib of televised entertainment.

That being said, The Walking Dead doesn’t necessarily fall into that category. AMC knew that they were taking a huge risk with a zombie TV show, and the 6-episode order was all they were willing to write the check for. Understandable, considering that the product was a niche, gruesome, apocalyptic horror story that had no ending and was based on a comic book. AMC had every right to be hesitant; this could have easily been the biggest flop of the year (even bigger than My Generation and whatever Joss Wheadon’s working on for 2011).

Fortunately for fans of new and interesting programming (along with fans of the comic), Frank Darabont and company nailed it. Not only was The Walking Dead the biggest hit in AMC history (bigger than Emmy/critical powerhouses Mad Men and Breaking Bad combined, based on some projections), it was pretty damn good to boot. No more than two episodes into the truncated, 6-episode season, a 13-episode second season was ordered right proper. All was right with the world again. The Walking Dead isn’t going anywhere, and neither are we.

Today, however, we have no idea when Season 2 will even begin filming, let alone premiere on AMC. Nope, today we can only look back at our 6th and (sadly) final episode of Season 1, and wait patiently for word as to when we can expect Rick, Carl, Squarehead, Bignose, Beardhat, Susan Powter, Old Andrea, Mute Sophia, Crossbow Redneck, D-Von Dudley and Generic Baseball Team Glenn to continue in their wacky misadventures.

Let’s go. Bring on THE THICK & MEATY!

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In a flashback sequence, we see Shane attempting to free Rick from the hospital during the outbreak. As it turns out, he really did think that Rick was dead, but still barricaded the door as a way to keep him from getting munched and reanimated.

Back at the CDC, Dr. Jenner lets the survivors in, only if they submit to a blood test. We find out that he might be the only person left in the tri-state area, if not the entire nation. During a drunken, celebratory dinner, Jenner explains that everyone else essentially fled or committed suicide once the outbreak got heavy. He opted to stick around in an attempt to ‘do some good,’ which we saw go up in flames the week prior. Jenner really looks like Biff from Back To The Future, but it turns out that he was Jim Carrey’s fake best friend in The Truman Show. Now you know.

That evening, the crew drunkenly showers and stumbles to their sleeping quarters (the scene of Shane chugging from a whiskey bottle in the bathroom looked all-too-familiar to yours truly). Dale comforts an existential Andrea, certain that there’s nothing left on Earth, which seems like a safe bet at this point. Look on the bright side: Courtney Love is almost assuredly dead, and Roller Derby is back in the PBR can-littered grave where it belongs.

Rick runs into Jenner, admitting that he was running out of hope before he found the CDC. Jenner tells him that everything’s going to be okay, then laughs maniacally and rubs his palms together. Not sure what that meant. Jenner also tells Rick that the French were the last to hold out for an answer when the outbreak hit, which has to be a lie, right? I get the feeling they surrendered as soon as they saw the news bulletin.

Shane corners Lori in the Rec Room for a bit of a confessional. ‘How can you treat me like this?’ he asks, insisting he didn’t lie to her about Rick being dead. He drunkenly makes a move on Lori (more like a dry thrust, really), who then scratches him up and causes him to seriously re-think his pick up strategy. He leaves in a huff.

This should be how every commercial for Southern Comfort should go.

The next morning at breakfast, Jenner leads the crew into the research center, where he explains the outbreak a bit further. Turns out, the virus infects the brain. Well, I’ll be damned. More importantly, we see that Jenner knows something the survivors don’t: This is a suicide mission. Jenner knows that the generators will power down in a couple hours, causing the building to self-destruct. Umm, is this really how the CDC looks or operates? The place runs on gasoline, but they have a HAL-like robot that responds flawlessly to every voice command?

As power starts to shut off, the crew scrambles to fix it. Jenner seems content on exploding. TS-19 was his wife, and he’s pretty much ready to join her at this point. Shane wants to kill him, but Rick intervenes and clocks him in the snoot. Shane, may I suggest taking out your frustrations by writing a song? How about ‘I got punched in the nose for sticking my face in other people’s business.’

After some swift negotiations, Jenner allows the survivors to escape to the ground level, but he tells him that they won’t be able to get through the secure doors. Jacqui stays behind with Jenner, tired of running. Just as the rest of the crew begins to run out, Andrea announces that she’s giving up, too.

In the CDC lobby, they’re struggling to find a way out, when Carol remembers that she pilfered a grenade from Rick on the day he arrived. They detonate it, which blasts out one of the windows. Freedom, yo.

Back in the basement, Dale pleads with Andrea to leave with him. She eventually gives in, with seconds to spare. Jacqui and Dr. Jenner accept their fate. As the CDC explodes, the survivors marvel at the rubble for a few brief seconds, before once again leading their convoy into the unknown.

Hope everyone went to the bathroom, because they’re not stopping until DISNEY WORLD!

Smash cut, Season over.

You know, when this episode started, I was extremely worried at what might transpire. I didn’t want things to get too technical or, um…bleep-bloop oriented, and the futuristic CDC represented almost everything I hate about modern Science Fiction. Fortunately, things settled in for the better, the place blew up and our crew is back on the road.

As merciless as it may seem, the only way The Walking Dead can stay good is if our survivors are never safe. I don’t want to see a scene where a zombie peeks into the window of the Grimes household, only to have Rick casually draw the blinds and return to the game of Scattergories on the coffee table. I don’t think that will captivate six million people a week.

Enough jibber-jabber, it’s time to PICK YOUR BRAIN!

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1 – So, Shane really did think that Rick was dead, which seems like a real game-changer concerning what kind of a person he is. Sure, he’s deviant, troubled and dealing with his frustration in woefully incorrect ways, yet he’s more sympathetic now than ever. I mean, think about it. The only bright side to having all of this shit go down was that he somehow ended up with the woman he always wanted, only to have her almost immediately taken away from him. It’s a mixed blessing to say the least.

2 – There was a real ‘Lost Season 2’ quality to this episode, with the underground bunker and the lone man keeping the world safe and whatnot. The unfortunate appearance of the ‘All-Seeing Eye Computer’ really bothered me with its cheesiness, although the climax sort of made up for it. The difference between the two is that the Lost technology made sense. The hatch computer was old, rickety, made mistakes and could have actually existed (even if everything else on that stupid Island was impossible). For the CDC to have a HAL-9000 running the show seems like a good way to waste taxpayer money.

3 – Quote of the night: ‘The world runs on fossil fuels. How stupid is that?’ Even though The Walking Dead isn’t a George Romero production, the longing to make political statements in Zombie entertainment always shines through.

4 – I hope I can accurately explain this to you without A) Sounding misogynist, or B) Sounding insane. It’s a little something I call the ‘Kari Byron Paradox,’ and how it relates to The Walking Dead season finale.

Amy was easily the cutest character on the show. There was no comparison, really. However, now that she’s dead, I found myself strangely attracted to Andrea, even though nothing had changed with her look or overall character. I wanted to know why this was, and I started to realize that I always seem to make an involuntary decision about one particular female I want (or need) to be attracted to in a TV show or film, even if I wouldn’t normally find this person attractive in real life or outside of the show/film in question.

Kris Williams was easily the cutest member of Ghost Hunters, although I’d be the first to agree that she’s not astoundingly cute (or even really ‘TV Cute,’ if there is such a thing). Nonetheless, I became attracted to her whenever I’d watch Ghost Hunters, because nobody else on the show came close. It’s sort of a hormonal Stockholm Syndrome. So once Kris left to join Ghost Hunters International, I suddenly (and frighteningly) became attracted to Amy Bruni, because she was the only woman left. Had she not been there, I would have had to choose the most attractive man (which in this case was Britt Griffith). I couldn’t simply not have someone to be attracted to; the decision is always made for me, whether I like it or not.

Kari Byron is sort of cute, she’s a good artist and she stars on Mythbusters, one of my favorite television shows. However, she’s attained Geek Goddess status over the last few years, simply because there aren’t any other women on Mythbusters to pay attention to. In the light of day, she’d be just another face in the crowd; men wouldn’t bat an eyelash if she made a living in dishwashing detergent commercials instead of a Discovery channel juggernaut. But since she’s the only eye candy in town with no competition (besides Jamie Hyneman), our infantile male brains play tricks on us. We think she’s a lot more awesome than she really is, and the Kari Byron Paradox just accidentally explained nearly every bewildering crush I’ve ever had on someone.

So anyway, I like Andrea now. And if she disappears, I guess I’ll start to subconsciously like Lori or T-Dawg. I’ve accepted this, and understand there’s nothing I can do about it. Part of becoming Wise is accepting the things you cannot change about yourself.

5 – Season 2 will be 13 episodes, and early projections indicate a premiere date of October 2011. That’s a long-ass time from now, so you may have to face facts that this might be the last Walking Dead Friday ever. It was fun while it lasted, kids, and I thank you very much for reading along with me.

Well, that’s it for now. Sound off in the comments section, enjoy your weekend and catch up on the entire First Season of The Walking Dead by checking out the links below. Be sure to come back all next week, as we count down our FAVORITE ALBUMS OF 2010. See you then.

Season 1 – Episode 1 Review.
Season 1 – Episode 2 Review.
Season 1 – Episode 3 Review.
Season 1 – Episode 4 Review.
Season 1 – Episode 5 Review.
Buy My Book!
The CDP on Facebook.
The CDP on Twitter.

The Walking Dead Friday – "Wildfire."

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Season 1 – Episode 5: “Wildfire.”

Another Walking Dead Friday is upon us. We have much to discuss. Let’s make this quick; I’ve got a Christmas roast in the Crock Pot, and if I don’t baby it for the next 22 days, it’s going to come out all soggy and anemic.

Time’s-a-wasting. Let’s get to THE THICK & MEATY!

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As dawn breaks, Rick attempts to communicate with Morgan via walkie-talkie. “Atlanta isn’t what we thought,” he says. “It belongs to the dead now.” Strangely enough, this is exactly what my Dad said in 1987, as we drove through Georgia on our way to Disney World.

Andrea is keeping watch over Amy’s dead body, presumably waiting for her to turn. The other survivors are busy making sure that those killed in last night’s attack are properly butchered and burned. When they approach Andrea and declare Amy a security risk, she brandishes a gun and gets all feral.

It’s around this time that we realize Jim has been bitten during the attack. Jim downplays this, but naturally everyone freaks out and demands he be killed. Rick recommends venturing into Atlanta to see if the CDC is still operational. It could be their only hope to save Jim, or it just might send them all into a horde. Shane suggests going to a nearby Army base, but nobody really wants to listen to him anymore. Cowboy hat always beats baseball cap when it comes to who’s calling the shots.

Dale consoles Andrea. A weird romance begins to bloom. A few minutes later, Amy begins to reanimate and stir. Andrea apologizes and shoots her in the head. Happy birthday.

As Rick and Shane dig graves near the campsite, Shane chastises Rick for not being there when the attack started. Rick says that they’d all be dead without the guns he obtained. Shane is on the verge of a tantrum. May I suggest poetry to calm the nerves?

Who would have thought the Apocalypse
Would capture for me what I covet the most?

If Rick is the Bloods, then I must be the Crips
‘Cuz I still love Lori more than toast.

Okay. The crew begins to prepare for the trip to the CDC. Jim is fading fast, which is a shame, because he seems like a really good actor. Shane pleads with Lori to make Rick change his mind, but she’s still pretty pissed off at him and feeling guilty about the woodland sex and whatnot.

As Rick, Shane and Dale sweep the forest for walkers, an argument brews. Rick tells Shane that “If it was your family, you’d feel differently,” which is the Apocalypse equivalent of a ‘Yo Mama’ joke. Shane snaps, saying that he kept them safe while Rick was gone. “I looked out for them like they were my own,” he says. When a noise draws Rick away, Shane finds himself aiming his shotgun at him. Dale catches this act and sort of comes to the realization that this whole thing probably isn’t going to end well.

En route to the CDC, the convoy stops when the radiator hose in the RV bursts. Jim begs them to leave him behind, which they eventually do. “I want to be with my dead, gross, zombie family,” he pleads.

We see that the CDC is being occupied by a man named Dr. Jenner. He speaks into a camera, fairly confident that there’s nobody left on Earth to hear his message. He says “It’s day 194 since Wildfire was declared,” giving us a little insight as to how long this has been going on (quite a while). He seems to be working on brain and tissue samples in an attempt to cure or at least stop the outbreak, but he mucks everything up and his work is obliterated in a decontamination explosion. If I had a nickel for every time I was on the verge of curing reanimation, but spilled a beaker into a petri dish and everything exploded around me as I was locked in a decontamination chamber, I would have retired seven years ago.

Rick and his crew show up to the CDC, and after a few tense minutes where it looked like the place was abandoned, Dr. Jenner opens up the security walls and lets the survivors in.

All the writers, on the other hand, are left to die in the street. Smash cut, episode over.

We’re two days from the Season Finale, so don’t miss it. Sound off in the comments section, check out the below links and enjoy your weekend.

Season 1 – Episode 1 Review.
Season 1 – Episode 2 Review.
Season 1 – Episode 3 Review.
Season 1 – Episode 4 Review.
Buy My Book!
The CDP on Facebook.
The CDP on Twitter.