Friday, August 10

Worst Vacation Ever.

USA! USA! USA!

I'll be on vacation all next week.

Where will I be going? Nowhere!

Well, sort of. I took the next week off so I could (theoretically) put the finishing touches on the long-awaited CDP BOOK that will be (theoretically) dropping in September. In addition to that, I'll be (theoretically) running a 5k on Saturday (tomorrow, fools), heading out to Minneapolis on Tuesday for the Less Than Jake/Reel Big Fish/Streetlight Manifesto/Against All Authority show, attending my Nephew's 1st birthday next Saturday and making my fifth consecutive appearance at the Sun Prairie Sweet Corn Festival next Sunday.

It's barely a vacation at all, but I'll probably get some Mini-Donuts out of the deal at the Corn Fest Carnival, so I'm sold.

In amongst all of this, I need to buy tickets to the Monday Night RAW! taping that will be in Green Bay this September (I already got tickets for the Milwaukee date), mail my busted iPod back to Apple so they can send me a new one, find a suitably classy outfit for the upcoming Pajama & Lingerie Party on the 23rd, snag a birthday present for Evan and pray to Jeebus that I don't get injured on Saturday.

Oh, and I need a haircut, too. I look like a straight-up Dick Factory when it gets shaggy.

After all of this, you'll notice that I really don't have any time to put towards my...er, book. I'm ignoring that glaring fact for now, instead opting to trudge forward and act like I'm on pace to accomplish everything and then some. It's almost certainly not going to happen, but I never expect anything greater than complete failure when I try to do something nice for myself.

You'll also notice that everything I'm spending time on could easily be eliminated if I just didn't give a crap. My life depends on none of these tasks, but I pretend that it does so I can complain about stuff. I'm a bad Buddhist.

So, screw all of that static. For the sake of sanity, here's what I plan to do with the CDP BOOK over the next 10 days:

Today, I handed rough drafts out to approximately 5 close friends and loved ones. Over the next week, they will pick the book apart, circling errors and making notes of anything they find unnecessary and unfunny. While they're busy doing that, I'll be crafting new introductions for all of the essays to be published in the book (75 as of today, and about 340 pages). I will also determine the order of the essays, write an overall introduction, updated table of contents and all other formatting crap that comes with self-publishing your own book.

I'll also start throwing together basic designs for a cover and title. People keep asking me what the name of the book is, and I seriously don't know. It'll be the very last thing I do before it goes to print (put your suggestion in the comments section). These tasks will take me all week, if not a little longer.

At the end of the week, I'll get those 5 drafts back, and cry for several hours over all of the red ink and negative criticism. I'll wish my friends dead, throw all of my work away and set my pants ablaze.

Or, I'll take what they have to say into consideration, making last-minute edits, cutting like crazy and tossing out around 5-7 of the worst-received essays. From there, I'll have the essays done, the order laid out, the contents, introductions, headers and footers written to my liking. I'll be so close, I can almost smell the wood pulp now.

It'll be a 6x9 paperback book, approximately 350 pages with around 70 essays. An exact price hasn't been set, but it'll be within the $16-$19 range. It needs to be for me to make even a scrap of profit. If I can sell 300 copies, I'd be the happiest guy in the world.

I don't like to push deadlines once they are set, so I'm gunning for my initial September release date pretty hardcore. I also want to get this over and done with, so I can start working on new stuff, instead of staring at terrible essays I wrote 3 years ago. I also realize that I'm not a very good promoter of my work.

You'll remember that I started working on this at the beginning of the Summer, and the CDP has changed considerably since then. I want to thank everyone who's stuck it out with me for the last few months; we're almost there, and I can promise big things in store for the future.

We're getting there; I'll see you next Monday. Clearly, I'll have a lot to talk about.

Sound off in the comments section; let's see if we can break 100 comments over the next week. 'Oot!

Thursday, August 9

My iPod 'Asploded.

Hi, Gabe.

ACT I.

Last week, I noticed that there weren't sounds coming out of my iPod when I pressed the buttons. This troubled me. Normally, when I pressed the buttons, sound would come out. Good sound.

Since my car doesn't have an AUX input (or a CD player), I've been listening to my iPod through an FM transmitter. Basically, it means that I hear my iPod tunes through a static radio frequency. It hardly ever works, the sound quality is embarrassing and any drive through multiple counties is an excruciating ordeal. Living in a city as large as Madison, merely driving to work means that I'll be toggling the transmitter for 18 of the 20 minutes I'm on the road. Still though, 2 minutes of music time is equivalent to 3.2 Descendents songs, so the trade-off isn't all that bad.

What I was unaware of is a little thing called a 'Power Surge.' You may have heard of such a thing in regards to your television and computer. You buy special outlets to protect your expensive electronics from welding themselves to the nearest metal surface every time lightning strikes near your home. Why, just last week, a Power Surge blew out my TiVo. Everything went dark, numbers started flashing and strobing; I seriously thought that I was about to get abducted by aliens. Power Surges are the real deal; but I didn't realize that they can happen in your car, too.

To make a long story short, I plugged 'Poddie' into the cigarette lighter before I started the car, and when I hit the ignition, it exploded. A device of its delicate size and power, Poddie didn't have a prayer holding up to the amount of energy produced by an '01 Mercury Sable (The Wild Stallion, v4.0). It was utterly destroyed; taken out behind the woodshed and manhandled like an eight-dollar Amsterdam whore. Remember when John Koncak tried to guard Michael Jordan in the 1995 Eastern Conference Finals? I think you get the point. P.W.N.3.D.

I was pretty upset. While I always treated Poddie with the utmost respect and care, I neglected to see the warning on the FM transmitter box that read, "There's a more-than-likely chance that this product will lead to the instant destruction of the very device it has been created for." In fact, I'm pretty sure that it never said that on the box at all.

So, my iPod was ruined. Butchered. Ball-gagged and sodomized. I didn't worry too much, however, because it was still under a 1-year warranty from Apple. With that in mind, I marched it right over to the local Apple Store for a replacement the very next day.

ACT II.

He wasn't wearing a lab coat; that should have been my first warning sign.

If you've never been to an Apple Store, all of the employees either walk around with lime green polo shirts or long, white lab coats. I think they do this so they're easy to spot, look like a cohesive and intelligent unit, and create yet another way to express superiority over non-Mac folks. It's a good marketing ploy; I spent most of my visit watching YouTube clips of myself on an iPhone.

Like I said, my representative was far too stylish to be burdened with a lab coat. Actually, scratch that. I think the problem was that he didn't really work there, because he hadn't the damnest clue what I was talking about. Every question was met with a dumbass stare and a look like I was creating my own language of beeps and clicks as I went along. Furthermore, he was one of those douchebags that thought I didn't try basic troubleshooting before I showed up. My teeth were already grinding before he spoke.

Idiot - "What can I do for you today, sir?"

Me - "Oh hai thar. My iPod isn't responding. It's under warranty, so-"

Idiot - "Is the Hold switch on?"

Me (stunned) - "Um...no. You see, what happened was-"

Idiot - "Did you reset it?"

Me (pressing lips together) - "I can't reset it. It won't turn on at all. There's absolutely no response whatsoever."

Idiot - "Well, let me give you a flier that goes over basic troubleshooting..."

(Idiot hands me a printout from the very same Troubleshooting web page I was on that morning, called 'The 5 R's.')

Me - "Yeah, I've already done all of that. It won't turn on at all."

Idiot - "Let me hook it up to our computer and check it out."

Me (shaking head in disbelief) - "Fine, but it won't recognize it."

Idiot - "Sure it will."

(4 seconds later)

Idiot - "Your iPod doesn't seem to be responding."

Me - "I slept with your Mother."

Thanks for doing your job, ya' ween. To make matters worse, he refused to answer any of my wife's questions, nor find someone else to answer them for her. He sincerely deserved a swift boot to the ballbag with extreme prejudice, and I was the man for the job, but I had forgotten to wear my ballbag-kickin' boots. He got lucky.

ACT III.

I was about to find out that my one-year warranty didn't really cover anything at all; it was merely a window of opportunity to purchase Apple Care, a support service offered to those who spend the $60 within their first year of iPod ownership. At this point in the conversation, though, I was more than willing to write a check to make all of the bad noises go away.

For my $60, I get to mail my iPod back to Apple so they can take a peek at it. They might fix it, they might send me a new one, or they might give me the finger and tell me to stick it. Seriously, this is what your money (and your warranty) gets you; the mere task of cracking Poddie open and determining what I've known for over a week now. I also saw a disclaimer that read 'Does Not Cover Accidental Damage.'

Wait, what? So you'll only cover the repairs if I break it on purpose? I didn't even realize that non-accidental damage even existed! What in the hell is going on, here?

Poddie shipped off to Apple yesterday, and there's a very good chance that I'll never see it again. In the meantime, I'm listening to my 1GB Shuffle ('Artie') and making sure that I start the car and wait 6 hours before plugging it in.

As far as the FM transmitter goes, I'll be through with that as soon as I find out what Apple decides to do for me. There's a kit that you can install that essentially gives you an AUX input in your car, so you can listen to your iPod at digital quality. It costs $200 for purchase and installation, but it'll be worth it to listen to my entire record collection in The Wild Stallion.

Thanks for listening, Emocat. You're always there for me.

Emocat feels bad about the iPod.

"No problem, man."

Wednesday, August 8

Better Than Catsup.



Here is the third and final commercial in the Killer Sandbox Productions 'Top This!' Trilogy. I think you'll agree that Ketchup is better than Catsup, but only by a little bit.

The featured cat is Tinker, who is the most beloved living thing in the entire world to me besides the Missus, and maybe my Mom if she decides to cover the $115 I just put on her Express Men card. 'Dem boxa' showts sho' run a lotta' chedda'!*

Have a good day.

*The boxer shorts that I purchased were slightly more expensive than previously estimated.

Monday, August 6

Win $100 Worth Of CDP Merch!!!

On Thursday, August 23, the High Noon Saloon in Madison will be throwing a Lingerie & Pajama Party! Shed your clothes to raise money for St. Vincent De Paul, and win fantastic prizes!

Doors are at 9pm, and there will be 3 DJ's performing, along with Madison caburlesque cuties, Foxy Veronica's Peach Pies!

It costs $10 to get in, but you'll get $3 off if you take off your street clothes at the door and donate them directly to St. Vinnies! There will be music, spirits and a classy time had by all.

The CDP is sponsoring this event, and to celebrate, we'll be giving away a CDP Gift Basket valued at over $100! Shirts, mugs, mousepads, messenger bags, stickers, buttons; you name it, it's in there!

If I go the entire night without meeting a new CDP fan, please understand that I'll be ruined. Do not let this happen. Other sponsors for the event include Dane 101, Credit Covers, Context Clothing and A Woman's Touch. Saucy!

Ben from Killer Sandbox Productions will be joining me as well, rolling tape and filming the whimsical happenings. Do say hello; I'll be the guy dressed like Hugh Hefner in 1965 with a mound of Martini olives under my chair. Ben will be the guy with the camera; don't bother him while he's working, please. He sleeps naked, so I honestly don't know what he's going to wear.

Click on the flier for a huge version of it, and direct any questions to me either in the comments section, or via communistdance@yahoo.com. Come out, drop some inhibitions and say hello!

Oh, and if you can't make it out and want to pick up some CDP Merch anyway, please visit The CDP Store!