Friday, January 6

Maybe The Bluths Aren't Worth Saving.

(For those expecting a Lost Friday post today, I'm skipping it in lieu of something more important than reruns. Lost returns on Wednesday, January 11, and Lost Friday will return on Friday the 13th. Spooky.)

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You know, there are times when I watch Arrested Development where simple laughter just won't do. Every once in a while, their brilliant satire and darn-near Shakespearean wordplay transcend guffaws and teary-eyes, leaving only stunned silence and a shaking heads in their wake. It's just that good. In fact, I've often said that I wish I could create an award, just so I could present it to them.

Stop your wishing, loser, because the CDP Award is finally here!

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Well, it's more of a photoshopped image than an award, really, but it was all I could afford. It's the thought that counts.

Anyways, ain't it pretty? The CDP Award (or the 'Commie' if you prefer) will be handed out every week or so to anything that I think deserved it in the world of entertainment or pop culture. It's been a long time coming, as far as I'm concerned. The very first Commie is being presented to the cast of Arrested Development for their amazing Episode #309, 'S.O.B.'s'.

When Season One earned AD their much-deserved Emmy, I held off. When Season Two surpassed everyone's expectations, I still remained silent. Even the appearance of Franklin didn't budge me. But after watching Monday night's episode, a big thank-you was in order. Very few times in TV history does a show have the courage and wit to do something like this (Seinfeld & The Simpsons are the only two that immediately come to mind); essentially butchering a show to hammer their point across to those who don't understand. It doesn't matter if you thought it was their swan song or the worst thing they've ever done, you have to stand in slack-jawed awe in the way that these people handle themselves when their backs are against the wall.

There were way too many jokes and parallels to list here (feel free to list them in the comments section); I wanted to applaud my television when the episode was over. When this show leaves the airwaves, and it will...soon, we can only hope that something so groundbreaking and transcendent will take their place. Of course, we all know it will be replaced by Celebrity Boxing 3, but let's fantasize for a while, shall we?

Thursday, January 5

CDP Playoff Preview.

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(I'll be making merchandise with this logo on it soon.)

(WARNING: Football content abound!)

Before I get into the NFL business, a quick word on the Rose Bowl. I have never seen a game quite like the one played last night. It was an intant classic, and honestly the most exciting game I've seen in years. Hats off to both teams; they were amazingly fun to watch. Vince Young is my new favorite quarterback; he put on one of the greatest college football performances ever. Watching him play was like staring directly into the future of the NFL; a completely unstoppable captain. Did you see the numbers he put up last night? The guy's a freak, and I can't wait to see him play again. Let's move on.

Here's a brief playoff prediction rundown, for those in the know. These 10 games leading to Super Bowl XL are really shaping up to be some of the best in recent history. If you're in an office pool or just want to appear intelligent around your muscular-guy friends, here's the quick skinny (predicted winners in bold).

For all those who don't care about football, I'll be talking about Arrested Development tomorrow, so everyone gets a piece. I'm good like that.

WILD CARD WEEKEND.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com Washington Redskins/Tampa Bay Buccaneers Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Image hosted by Photobucket.com Carolina Panthers/NY Giants Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Image hosted by Photobucket.com Jacksonville Jaguars/New England Patriots Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Image hosted by Photobucket.com Pittsburgh Steelers/Cincinnati Bengals Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Home-field advantage should be just enough for the Bucs and Giants to advance in their first-round matches; expect high-scoring affairs in both NFC matchups. Mark Brunell and Clinton Portis will keep the Redskins into the fray right down to the wire, but won't be able to pull off the last-second victory. New England should be able to soundly handle Jacksonville on Saturday, and look for Pittsburgh to pull off one of the biggest upsets of the playoffs, when they bump off Cincinnati at home.

DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com Tampa Bay Buccaneers/Chicago Bears Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Image hosted by Photobucket.com NY Giants/Seattle Seahawks Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Image hosted by Photobucket.com New England Patriots/Denver Broncos Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Image hosted by Photobucket.com Pittsburgh Steelers/Indianapolis Colts Image hosted by Photobucket.com

In an old-school NFC Central matchup, Chicago's defense will put Tampa Bay out of commission early on in the game. Eli Manning will have the game of his career, but in the end, Seattle and Shaun Alexander will emerge victorious. New England will throw down a relative upset in Denver, when their playoff experience is too much for the Broncos. Pittsburgh will make their battle with the Colts an instant classic, but Tony Dungy's squad will ultimately limp into the AFC Championships.

CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com Chicago Bears/Seattle Seahawks Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Image hosted by Photobucket.com New England Patriots/Indianapolis Colts Image hosted by Photobucket.com

If my picks are correct, these two games will be amazing. The Bears will travel to Seattle and emerge with the NFC title after a defensive shutdown of the Seahawks' offensive line. Expect a low-scoring affair, with no more than a touchdown separating the final score. In an AFC battle for the ages, Tom Brady will fall to Peyton Manning in an exciting air battle in Indianapolis. With games like these, it's a shame that one of them has to lose, but in the end, the Colts will be hoisting their much-deserved AFC crown.

SUPERBOWL XL.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com Chicago Bears/Indianapolis Colts Image hosted by Photobucket.com

The Bears and the Colts will take the field together for Superbowl 40, but the night will belong only to Peyton Manning and his Indianapolis team. Putting the touches on an almost perfect season, the Colts will take what they have coming to them, and bring the Lombardi trophy back to Indiana. Expect Chicago to force a few early turnovers and put Manning against the ropes in the first half; leading to a fourth-quarter comeback that will make you forget all of the terrible beer commercials and ED ads.

There you go.

NEXT: AD Wins The Very First 'Commie' Award!

Wednesday, January 4

Year Of The Snake.

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Too Much Coffee Man is one of my absolute favorite new comic strips. I swear, every week he comes up with something that I wish I would have thought up, but didn't. There's not a lot of cartoons that hit the nail on the head with so much frequency, which is why I showcase TMCM here from time to time.

Thursday: CDP Playoff Preview.
Friday: The Very First 'Commie!'

Tuesday, January 3

Harry Potter-The IMAX Experience.

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I took the Friday before Christmas off, in lieu of some last-minute shopping and packing for the trip home. One of my errands that day was to run to the other side of Madison to pick up a gift certificate from The Exclusive Company, one of the better independent record stores in Wisconsin. At about 10am (after SportsCenter and a bowl of Clusters), I hit the road.

The trek to the other side of the city takes at least an hour, round-trip. I had to make this journey alone and without a CD player, as mine was on the fritz due to a massive wiring short in my car. I would later find out from my Father-in-law that it was merely a blown fuse, and it took less than 8 seconds and 25 cents to remedy the situation. I bet he worries about his daughter constantly when he's not around, and I really don't blame him.

I spent most of the trip singing out loud to myself and drumming on the steering wheel. That morning was particularly frigid, so my voice shivered off-key. It was then that I found out I do a very good Bright Eyes impression when the circumstances are right. I made a mental note of it and focused on the road.

Just then, my eyes caught a glimpse of a huge billboard on the eastbound side of the beltline. It was an ad for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I took the Missus to see 'The Gobb' the day it came out, for which she was pleased, but this billboard was a little different. They were going to be showing 'Gobb' at the only IMAX theater in the county.

This represented a moral dilemma in my eyes. Do I tell the Missus that she has the rare opportunity to watch a 4-story-tall Rupert Grint make dumbass faces into the camera for 150 minutes? Or do I keep my fool mouth shut, confident that she's content in just seeing 'Gobb-Gobb' on the little-big screen once in her lifetime.

I gave in and spilled the beans just as quickly as I could, and before you know it, I was attending the 7pm showing of 'Gobble-Gobble' at the Fitchburg IMAX-itorium.

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I had never been to an IMAX theater before; presumably because my Mother was afraid of them. The Missus, on the other hand, was an IMAX aficionado, hitting screens from here to Vegas in her short 22 years on the planet. She gave me a briefing before we got there, just so I didn't puke the instant I entered the theatre.

The show was sold out, which always spells trouble for any paranoid neurotic. To me, there's nothing worse than a sold-out kids movie that's also appreciated by college-aged nerds. It's almost like they're in a heated battle royale to see who can annoy me the fastest. Fortunately, I have the jump on them, as I get annoyed minutes before my ticket is even ripped.

If you've never been to an IMAX theater, imagine a film being projected off of the Washington Monument, while pressing your nose against the first-floor elevator. Oh, and since the action is super-sized, so are the prices. Two tickets to 'Gobble-Tron' ran us $22.50. Throw in a large popcorn, two sodas and some Junior Mints for yours truly, and we're talking close to $40. Add that to the fact that we've already seen this movie once before, and we've pretty much given $75 to the 'Robble-Robble' film franchise.

Before I get into the actual IMAX film-watching experience, I want to share my thoughts with you concerning the movie theatre itself. By following by 10 simple rules, movie theaters can be a much more rewarding and memorable experience for all the right reasons. I like to call it:

"Shut The Damn Hell Up And Sit Perfectly Still: Movie Theatre Etiquette."

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#1 - Charge more for tickets. Double the price, I don't care. Kids and adults alike are going to movies without any intention of even watching them. If tickets were $25 apiece, less fools would show up, and only those who really cared would be in attendance. This would bring more film lovers out of the woodwork to pick up the slack, and the industry wouldn't miss a beat. There are already high-class theatres across the nation that are having much success with this formula.

#2 - With the aforementioned jack in ticket prices, they can do more to make the theatre a comfortable place. Wider lanes, comfier seats and a larger menu could all boost profits. Put in a vertical row every 5 chairs, so losers who can't hold their urine aren't always stepping on your feet and getting in the way. Install tray tables and serve pizza, burgers and fries; they're quiet foods to eat, and nobody will think of hurling them at others, because they will cost $18 each. Again, some theatres are already doing quite well with this shift in consumerism.

#3 - At showtime, the doors lock. Nobody can get in and nobody can get out. If you have to whiz or grab a bag of Goobers, you can leave, but will not be permitted back into the theatre. Screw the 'vertical row every 5 chairs' business, because once you sit, you're not standing until the credits roll.

#4 - If someone 'reserves' a row of chairs by placing personal goods on them, such as coats or concessions, you are allowed to not only take their chairs, but you may also help yourself to their things. In the real world, the concept of 'savie-savie' is strictly forbidden and stupid, and for all intents and purposes should be punishable by death.

#5 - If you applaud or cheer for a trailer or the start of the film, you will be asked to vacate the premises. Your ticket will not be refunded.

#6 - Each chair will be equipped with a motion and audio sensor that measures how many times you shift, talk, stand up or kick the chair in front of you during the course of a film. If you exceed the set number of parameters for your specific chair, it will explode.

#7 - Before entering a theatre, your picture will be taken and electronically linked to your ticket stub, which you will swipe on the armrest of your chosen seat. If you decide to switch seats, talk, answer your phone, or do anything that will otherwise disrupt the experience of those around you, the movie will instantly stop and be replaced by the picture of you. The viewing audience will then have the option to ask you to leave or make your chair explode, depending on the majority vote. They will then be provided with your license plate information and home phone number.

#8 - The MPAA will alter its rating system based on demographics. G,PG,PG-13,R and NC-17 shall now be included with 'Everyone under 21' and 'Everyone over 21.' This will give viewers the luxury to not have to see the film in the company of children or teenagers, or vice-versa. Parents may accompany their children if they are under 13, and alcohol will be served at 'Everyone over 21' shows. Beer will cost $13 a bottle.

#9 - If you are under 13, you will buckled into your seat. If you are over 13 and can't sit still, your chair will explode (see previous rules on chair explosion).

#10 - In between each chair, optional dividers will be provided, much like those used on Jeopardy.

If cinemas would start adapting just a few of these rules into their gameplan, I'm sure they would notice an immediate change in sales and morale.

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We were sitting in a row just behind 7 children all under the age of 5, accompanied by adults who were louder than the kids were. To the left of us, a young couple who fell asleep in each others arms 30 minutes in, and to the right of us were three of the loudest college nerds I've ever seen.

These grown men and women were going on about how cool it would be if theatres introduced 'Smell-O-Vision' into the viewing experience. They were talking as if they had come up with a radical new idea, while the Missus kept muttering, "Polyester! John Waters already did it with Polyester in 1980! Aaauugh!!!" (For the record, John Waters used 'Odorama' as an homage to 'The Scent of Mystery,' a 60's movie that is to this day the only 'Smell-O-Vision' feature in existence. Now you know.)

The best thing about the IMAX is that once the movie starts, it's deafening. Nobody can talk, because you can't even hear yourself think. I remember the usher saying something about 12,000 watts of power, which is large enough to run a small radio station if my math is correct. Sadly, once you get over the fact that the screen is really, really big, it just becomes another movie. Watching 'Gobb-O-Matic 5000' was nice even the second time around, and when the film was over, I was in a much better mood than when it started. I don't know if this had to do with the experience itself, or the fact that I was now stone deaf and blind.

In conclusion, watching a movie on an IMAX screen that's not made specifically for an IMAX screen (like space exploration or natural disaster documentaries), is nothing too special.

However, during the bathtub scene, Harry's nipples were the size of doorknobs, so we all had that going for us.

Sunday, January 1

The Resolution.

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Oooh...it even has that 'New Blog Smell.' It's sort of like a cinnamon-pine; I hope you like it. Welcome to 2006, and welcome to the brand-spanking-new CDP!

Take a minute and look around. There's new links, new sections, a new introduction post and new comments. For my Obsessive-Compulsive friends, you'll notice that all of the links have been alphabetized (with the exception of 'Enjoy!'). To help eliminate BLAM!, you have to be registered to post, but it only takes a minute and will only affect a couple of you. I've been working on this for about a month (it's a custom template), so if you see anything that isn't working correctly, let me know and I'll fix it.

Speaking of BLAM!, it's been given a small Wiki Entry. I didn't put this there, so that's pretty cool, regardless of if I invented the term or not. I'm taking over the world, one made-up word at a time.

Let's get down to business, and talk New Year's Resolutions.

Most people sniff at the concept of a New Year's Resolution, simply because it's a tired and ultimately tragic concept. Every year, good-willing people promise themselves to lose weight and vacation in Hawaii, only to gain 20 pounds while watching Montel and shoveling Pringles into their yaps; sobbing in their hands and wearing a plastic lei. Just thinking about it makes me tear up.

I'm not one of those people. When I decide to do something, I do it. Each year since I graduated High School, I try to give myself one good challenge to hold myself to. In 2001, I swore off caffeine forever. In 2002, I swore off meat forever. In 2003, I...well, I can't really remember what I did that year, but in 2004 I graduated from college, got married and wrote a screenplay, so it all evens out. In 2005 I ran a 10k. These aren't light resolutions, mind you. These are all pretty much life-altering circumstances. I'm proud of myself when I do these things; they keep me stable and in control of my life. I like that.

Now that 2006 is here, I've been kicking around various ways to further improving myself. Culturally, I'm keeping sharp. I'm doing a lot more reading, I purchase over a hundred albums a year and I make certain that I know what's going on in the world. Living in the state Capitol, I'm able to keep a close eye on Wisconsin politics and progression, while enjoying some of the finest vegetarian restaurants in the world. I'm in a good place with all of that.

I consider myself a decent husband, friend and roommate. I take care of my half of the duties, and I kill spiders when they sneak in from the deck. I'm responsible enough with my money (the Missus and I just put a load of it towards student loans), and we're looking to get a new car by the end of the year. I'm in a good place with that as well, for the first time in a long time.

Besides alcohol (which I use responsibly nowadays), I take in nothing to alter my consciousness; not even medication unless I'm quite ill or in pain. I've always seen drugs as a good escape for people who couldn't make sense or keep up with the earth; or those simply too distanced from it to care. Of course, anyone who smokes in this day an age is a weak idiot, plain and simple.

I have my vices, though, and that's what I like to focus on. In the past, I tackled my carnivorous, hyperactive, lazy and socially bankrupt ways, and always won. I still have a long way to go.

First and foremost, I've got anxiety issues (what? you do?). Just last week, I was at a very busy mall with the Missus, and she noticed that my hands were shaking like leaves. I'm actually surprised she didn't notice that 6 years ago when we met. My neurosis isn't bad enough to make her life miserable, but I'd sure like to cut down on some of the annoying crap that I do during the day (you remember the list I made, don't you?). A lot of what I do actually helps me out. It allows me to keep a clean house and a decent work environment, and I always stay on task and refuse to waste time. Between you and me, I don't really want to get rid of that. That resolution will have to wait until I'm washing my hands 36 times a day

Secondly, I curse way more than I should. I try to keep the CDP as clean as possible, because I have a certain image to uphold and I don't want to embarrass my Mother. Get me alone with the Missus or some friends, however, and I lose all coherency of the English language and let the obscenities fly. This is not good, and I will be taking strides to see to it that I tone it down for 2006. I plan on doing it in stages. Every week, I will eliminate one swear from my vocabulary. Eventually, I'll run out of nasty things to say, and I'll be free.

The main reason that the cursing thing has bubbled back into my thoughts is that I'm playing video games again. The John Madden football franchise has been with me since 1992, which means that it's basically the longest friendship I've ever had with anyone. Old Man Madden's never let me down yet, but we have our spats when it comes to winning and losing football games.

Next to driving, nothing makes me angrier than whizzing a video game down my leg. Ever since I was a child, I've been finding new and creative ways to curse and smash a controller against a stucco wall. Now that these damages come straight out of my pockets, I need to learn to lighten up a tick. The first step is to stop swearing; the anger management thing should all even out later.

I'll keep you posted on how I'm doing with that. It's an official resolution now, so I'm sticking to it.

Secondly, and this is sort of a generic and typical resolution, but I really want to get more in shape than I am now. Sure, I eat right, can run a few miles at a time and fill out a small t-shirt like nobody's business, but there's a lot more bone than muscle on my arms. I looked at myself in the mirror the other day, and started saying positive things to the reflection, like I do most mornings:

"You look amazing."
"You're going to knock 'em dead at work today."
Don't forget to flush, handsome."

Reaffirmation or not, I've got small arms, and they should be meatier. My legs and torso are okay, but I need larger arms to complete the package (heck, a new face wouldn't hurt, either). When I played the drums constantly and slung 50-pound bags of dog food over my shoulders 8 hours a day, I was packing some serious cannons (mm-hmm, ask anyone). Now, not so much. This doesn't seem like too hard of a resolution. All I need to do is keep doing what I'm doing (check!), and just spend a little more time lifting heavy things (and mate!).

My goals are officially in order. I feel better already, and that's half the battle. Yo, Joe!

Let me know what you like/dislike about the new page, and share your resolutions with the crew. Thank you for choosing the CDP in 2006.

Welcome To The CDP!

Welcome To The CDP!

Greetings, first time visitor (or forgetful regular in need of a reminder). Welcome to the CDP. It's nice to see you looking so well. Sit down and let me get you a glass of your favorite carbonated or powdered beverage (Tab? Tang?). I have something to share with you about this very page.

The CDP is a humorous personal essay/pop culture/current event/indie hipster snob site started by yours truly in February of 2004. Instead of looking for a job after graduating from college, I starting pouring a lot of free time into this page. Now that I'm married and have a decent job, I spend even more time devoted to it. It's especially nice to work on it while I'm at the office, because in essence I get paid to do so.

In case anyone from the office is reading this, understand that I'm kidding, and you're no better anyways.

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This is me. I'm that guy. I run the CDP.

I was born in February of 1982, and I grew up in a very small town in Wisconsin. I had no neighbors and an endless yard that bordered on endless cornfields and endless wooded areas. Our family owned a historic farm that I helped out at from time to time. We had pigs. Every now and then, I would get to wrestle and hold them. It was a pretty sweet deal, until a figurative meteor crashed into our barn and we were forced out of our home. Somewhere in amongst the bouncing from house to house, I gained a sister and my folks split up. I called it a wash, and moved on with my new life.

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I was a full time public scholar from 1986 to 2000. Somewhere during that span of time, I got a nasty concussion, spent two weeks in England and met a few people I still hang out with today. I was a straight 'C' student, mainly because there was no reason or motivation to do any better. I had more important things to do, like play the drums and plod through a series of awful period haircuts.

I'd tell you more about what went on with me during the 90's, but that would mean sacrificing most of my blog material in the introduction, and that would be just plain stupid. Throughout my page, I do a pretty good job of filling in the gaps, though. The best showmen keep their audience wanting more, and it would be a shame if you left so soon. Tang refill?

By the time I graduated high school in 2000, I was engaged to the Missus.

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That's her in the backseat. She's the Missus, and she's awesome. She's a little younger than me, so after I graduated high school, I waited a couple years for her so we could move together and go to college. I worked at a hardware store in my hometown until 2002, and we eventually moved to Madison together.

The Missus got a job here right away, so we could live on macaroni & cheese 7 days a week without having to work as a low-grade escort. Things were rough at first because we were young and flat-ass broke, but it all smoothed out once I realized that the Missus could kill me if she really wanted to. I grabbed myself a degree in recording, sound and music technology that sits unframed in a filing cabinet, and got myself a job of my own to pay off the loans.

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We picked up a couple cats and a hedgehog along the way, and lost 5 fish and 2 mice. We also got married in June of 2004.

As of today, the Missus works in an expensive building in downtown Madison, and I am an Exam Administrator with the State of Wisconsin. I make sure that crooked professionals (like doctors, nurses and real estate agents) don't get their license and hurt you. If you live in Wisconsin, you should thank me for making your life a little safer. It's clearly not what I want to be doing with my life, but show me someone who's living their dreams, and I'll show you someone who's a jerk. Or Tony Little, if you're really lucky.

Enough about me, let's talk about me and my page.

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The CDP started out as 'The Communist Dance Party', but was shortened for legal reasons. The link remains the same, but the mesquite flavor has been improved by at least 10%. Also, I don't have to explain the joke to my concerned relatives anymore.

I normally talk about myself through current and nostalgic essays. Pop culture plays a major role (TV and music, mainly), although I'm currently making a living telling stories about my own life. Click on the link, and start looking around.

You can contact me at communistdance@yahoo.com. I'm an ordained Reverend and I can legally officiate weddings in the state of Wisconsin. I'm also not kidding.

Thanks for stopping by, and take a minute to look around. I'm sure you'll eventually find something that makes you happy. If you don't, you can go straight to hell. Get out of my house, and give me back my Tang.

-The CDP
December 2005