Thursday, December 29

...The Party's Over. (Year Of The Me!)

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Hello there. This is the last post of 2005. Thanks for coming out. I must warn you, there's rampant egotism and pretentiousness ahead; basically business as usual. Proceed with caution.

2005 was a busy year here at the CDP. You know, I did over 180 posts this year; about 1 every other day. That's pretty good, considering that most of my posts run many pages. By "good," I mean "very obsessive and sad." Everyone needs a hobby, and mine is writing about insignificant minutiae and tiny life experiences. I love what I do.

But there's a dark side. A very dark side. Like, so dark, you can't even see where your key is supposed to go, and you end up putting a big gouge into the side of your Mom's Taurus. That dark.

Around the middle of 2005, I started to get torn about what I wanted to do on this page. At first (February 2004), it was just an excuse to keep my creative writing chops sharp in case something ever came along (something did come along, for a bit). I told nobody about the page, and those who did know didn't care. I got 4 hits a month and I could say whatever I wanted. I cursed and shed personal details at will. Life was good.

Then, things started to change. More people started to show up. Friends and relatives started reading. Co-workers would stop me in the halls and tell me how much they liked my latest post. Other Blogs started linking to me. Strangers started e-mailing me. I was getting hundreds of hits a day. The CDP was in the bloodstream, and it sort of freaked me out. In the grand scheme of self-important 'net attention whores, I'm less than a stain on Wil Wheaton's Dockers, but it was enough to change my style.

I had a wee audience, so I became instantly self-aware of what I was doing. I didn't want to say bad things about people that might be reading. I was afraid to say anything negative or incriminating about work. I stopped talking so much about my real life, for fear that Internet psychos would show up at my doorstep or steal my identity. That tended to stifle my creativity. The outlet that allowed me to fully explore my hobby was the very same one that started to screw it all up.

So, like I was saying, in the middle of 2005 I changed my style a little bit. I took shelter in the safety of television conversations and album reviews. Pictures of myself turned into pictures of Tony Little, and I went from an online essayist to a pop culture commentator. More people showed up, but it made my time on here less and less enjoyable. I was doing whatever I could to bring people in while still writing what I wanted. It worked for a while, but I started to get really bored.

I'm sort of a shallow guy. When you're in Elementary School, shallow people are referred to as the "Class Clown." When I was younger, I would find out what got me attention in school, and rolled with it. I'm a comic at heart, and it always made me happy to see people laugh at my jokes. Sometimes, I would tell jokes that I didn't think were funny, just because other people did. Sure, the laughs were still there, but it made me feel like a sell out. I try not to do that anymore, but you know that I do.

That's what's going on right now at the CDP. I don't feel like I'm doing this for myself anymore. I used to type whenever I had a funny idea or story to tell. Now it's like a job that I don't get paid for. If there's one sure way to destroy something you enjoy doing, it's by turning it into a career. The attention-whore in me says that I shouldn't mess with a good thing, but man, I have to.

I know exactly what you're thinking. "Who cares? If you're so miserable and tortured, do something about it, you self-absorbed prick. Stop writing. Better yet, why don't you go outside and take in the actual world for a minute or two. Get off your high horse and find a rope just long enough to hang yourself with. Take your emo glasses, pretentious photographs and snobbery and stick 'em straight up your chute, because the last thing the Interweb needs is another sad asshole."

You're totally right. Sorry about that. I tend to take a lot of stock in the non-existent.

Doing something like starting a Blog takes a huge amount of egotism and pride. You tend to pour your heart into it (the good ones, at least). You value it more than anyone can understand, and you defend it when it's insulted. You make sure it's well-maintained, and you get sad when you say something funny and nobody laughs.

Why? Because it's YOU.

2006 will be the start of something different here, but not too different. I've set a few goals for myself that I really want to accomplish, and there's a rad new template on the horizon (a few of you have already seen it). I'm excited to start things over here, and hopefully do 180 more good posts. I'm not getting rid of any old posts or anything (for now), just looking forward and onward. Besides the 2 or 3 things I said I wanted to work on this year, I have absolutely no idea what I'm going to do. This is exactly what I want, and it's been awhile.

I'm excited. I also said "I" 56 times in this post (count it). The Year of the Me has officially begun.

I will be attending New Year's gatherings on Friday and Saturday. The switch will be flipped on the new CDP on the first of the year. Thank you so much for your support, and so long 2005.

Tuesday, December 27

CDP Year In Review.

(Another year is almost in the books. The only true way to remember it, however, is through the eyes of someone else. Like me, for example. Now then, the year that was, through the eye of the CDP.)

January.

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Without question, 2005 started off horribly as my Grandfather lost his battle with cancer.

One year later, and it still hurts. The whole family feels it whenever we get together, and he's not around. I've been pretty fortunate, as my young family hasn't yet had to experience many losses in life. When a guy like this disappears from the planet, there's a huge hole where he used to be. It can't be filled, but you can learn to one day accept it. I go on for 100 pages about how amazing he was and still is, but you should get the point.

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The month started to get better, but not by much. My lunch got stolen from work following a massive pulled neck muscle that benched me for three days. Whilst depressed and sad, I had an in-depth analysis of mortality and death. Finally, we all had a gathering in Green Bay shortly before my birthday that lifted my spirits and got me ready for happier times.

February.

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On the 12th of February, the CDP turned 1 year old. We're still not toilet trained yet, but we're ashamed when we don't make an effort to not poop our pants.

I turned 23 this year, and that once again got me nostalgic for crap that happened not 5 years ago. This inspired me to write a four-volume piece on my first job. In the series, I discuss the nature of the position, a brush with a murderer, a near-death experience and a run-in with the scariest guy I've ever met. It was an interesting job, and I'm glad that I had the chance to work there. Some day I will write a full-length book about it and get rich on other peoples' problems.

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This was also the month that I started to grow my hair long. As it turned out, the "Year of the Shaggy" was kind of a bust, but it was a hoot while it lasted.

March.

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There's a certain depressing quality in losing all of your money at a casino. What's worse, when you do it a second time, you have nobody to blame but yourself. When something like this happens to you, it represents a moral crossroads in which you must choose what path your life must take. In my case, it caused me to sign up for a 5-mile run. Death was looming, and it had my name on her list.

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With NCAA March Madness in full-bore, I was reminded of the time that I caused one of the biggest sports controversies in Winneconne history. My bracket was shot, I lost $10 in the office pool and Kentucky made me cry again. Spring could not arrive fast enough. I bought an IPod and started training for my run.

April.

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Because I was burned out and tired, I handed the CDP reigns over to Gabe for a day. This would be the first and last time I would ever consider such a thing. Jokes are funny.

This was also the month that brought us the infamous "Eyeball Post." Still one of the most popular posts ever, it hopefully brought awareness to unnecessary close-up photos of somewhat beautiful people.

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Meanwhile, back at work, I almost lost $27,000 and my job. Life is a fickle business sometimes. To cheer each other up, we spent the day at Wisconsin Dells, tricking a timeshare salesman to give us plane tickets to Hawaii. Depending on how much money I get back in taxes, we might cash these in come 2006. With so much on my plate this month, a recap was in order.

Man, the Sugar Puff Daddy had it going on! Using his mad skillz as a reference, I was on the prowl for Take Your Daughter to Work Day. And if that wasn't enough, I managed to accomplish my 5-mile goal without having to go to the hospital. That was a big deal for me, and I still limp around when the weather's just right.

May.

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Happiness comes in small packages. It's a cookie or a Kit-Kat bar. It's a kiss on the cheek or a nice compliment. Take them and appreciate them, or they will disappear. All this and more when I publish my self-help book, entitled, "I Hate You, You Freaking Idiot."

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As I get older, I realize that it's nice to go to the mall with your Mother. She buys you things that you can't buy for yourself. Me and the Missus also celebrated our 2nd Annual New Glarus Day Trip. We'll probably do this at least once a year until once of us is confined to a wheelchair. I ain't pushin' nobody nowhere.

June.

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June was unforgettable. Kind of.

You never forget the day that Tony Little shows up at your door and whoops your ass. No sir. The same goes for when you dream about beating the crap out of your Dad over a sleazy pair of women. Better yet, what about the time that you humiliate yourself in front of a co-worker? Not me.

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What's really unforgettable is your first anniversary, especially when it doesn't end in divorce. What's really unforgettable is spending 8 days in one of the biggest cities in the world with 3 of your closest friends. Simply amazing.

July.

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The CDP's 200th Post was pretty cool, too. You know, in a very...very small capacity. This transitioned smoothly into me losing my freelance job due to "creative differences."

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It's not Toronto, but Mount Horeb isn't without it's charm. I think it might have to do with the Nazi hats.

August.

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This is what happens when a writer with OCD gets heat stroke. On the other hand, things aren't always as they seem. Just when I think I've won you over again, I hit you with the most brutally honest and frightening post about myself ever. Never think I'm not honest. In the aftermath of this post, a lot of people expressed concern for my well-being, and others criticized my actions. Take from it what you will; just know that I never intended on having it taken so seriously. I'm just fine.

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The Missus picked herself a Fantasy Football team this year. They were awful, but they beat the Packers.

Just as August was spiraling into the gutter, Ben and Sherry saved it with a spectacular wedding.

September.

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For my money, there's nothing better than taking sexy photos of myself with a cell phone. If anything, it turned me on to talking about something besides myself all the time. I have since retracted the statements I made in this post. Expect 2006 to be the Year of the Me!

Taking my new format in stride, my 2005 Fall TV Preview generates over 100 comments. My Lost Season Two Preview does just as well. I soon realize that pop culture is far more interesting than cats and mustard. Just then, Mutton Chop showed up and ruined the party for everyone.

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Remember when that insect almost killed me? I do.

My first unofficial Lost Friday was published, and I hit the road for Minneapolis.

October.

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My weekend in Minneapolis was incredible; Arcade Fire was earth-moving and the zoo made me love dolphins again. I don't know what more you can ask of a city. I tried to put a new advice column up, but the public didn't receive it very well.

I also shared with you the saddest Halloween story of all time, as the Lost Fridays started to rack up.

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Just in time for Halloween, we spent the day at a real-life haunted-themed farm. I slingshotted some gourds, we got lost in a corn maze; it was a great day.

November.

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Sweeps Month ended up being out most successful month ever at the CDP. I owe it mostly to Lost Fridays, but also to year-end festivities like the best comments of 2004, the Boycott Unity retrospective, and concern over the well-being of Gabriel.

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I hate the mall, but not as much as I hate Steven Avery.

After a super-sized Lost Friday, I came back with 50 things I'm thankful for, just in time for that Thank-holiday. The Missus also turned 22, and I gushed over her for a while.

December.

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The last new Lost Friday I did was also my most favorite, because it was composed 100% by me. The best comments of 2005 were locked and loaded, along with each and every one of my year-end music lists.

I also grew a beard. It ruled. I gave it a name. 'Beardy'.

The best and worst of 2005 were discussed briefly, and we all parted ways for the holidays. Christmas was fantastic; I got more than I deserved, and it was great to see my family under the same roof again. That pretty much brings us right up to speed.

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Not only is this my second-to-last post of the year, it is also the final chapter on everything we went through in 2005. We're through recapping and going on about recent nostalgia; now we can get back to moving forward again. That's just fine with me, because 2005 wore me the hell out.

NEXT: The Final Post Of 2005: Turn Out The Lights...