Friday, February 15

Eat Me, Cake.

Grape Death Flavor.

A couple of weeks ago, I picked up Cake's 'B-Sides & Rarities' disk. Cake has been one of my favorite bands for over a decade now, and I wasn't about to let a collection of cover songs and throwaways slip my grasp, regardless of their previous mediocre album. One trip to Best Buy and $10 later, it was mine.

When I got home, I began tearing the CD out of the plastic as the Missus began to prepare dinner directly behind me in the kitchen. As I opened the jewel case, I was instantly hit with an almost indescribably putrid stench. It was as if a tractor tire decided to have sex with a jar of grape jam while a rouge turd worked them both over with a blowtorch and fine oils. It was hellish.

Not thinking for a second that this scent had wafted out of a compact disk case, I quickly turned around to see what the Missus was up to, and find a kind way to opt out of tonight's dinner plans.

"What...in the hell...are you cooking?"

"Nothing yet, why?"

As soon as the last syllable of the last word escaped her mouth, the molten rubber/jam jar/turd gangbang parade reached the inside of her nostrils. She recoiled, as we both stood there for a fraction of a second, completely dumbfounded and unsure of what was going on. It was only a matter of time before the accusations started to fling over which one of us had crapped in their respective pants.

Having never experienced such an unholy reaction to opening an album (with the exception of anything recorded by Something Corporate), we both cocked our heads and slowly wandered over to the open jewel case, as if it were a bomb ready to spew further noxious gas forth. I pressed my nose to the liner notes and inhaled deeply.

Have you ever been blasted with pepper spray? Well, I have, and this was as close as I wanted to get again. I immediately stopped breathing, my eyes began to water and my mouth dropped open. I was one-hundred percent immobilized; women seriously need to start carrying copies of this album around with them for protection. What in the hell was going on?

It was as if we were watching an alien being hatch from a giant egg on our breakfast bar. "This can't be happening!" I yelled. "What IS it!?!" screamed the Missus, hands pressed against her face. I didn't know at the time what had turned 'B-Sides & Rarities' into a virtual Pandora's Box of ass matter and anguish, but I also knew that it wasn't allowed to stay in the house any longer.

I grabbed a pair of tongs and threw the entire contents of the jewel case into the freezing cold garage. Whatever the problem was, it could work itself out there while me and the Missus began the slow and painful healing process back inside the house. She hit the computer and I reached for the Clorox 'kitchen cleansers.'

A few minutes later, we had determined through Wikipedia that the 'B-Sides & Rarities' album boasted a grape-flavored 'scratch-and-sniff' booklet (one of five different flavors). It is my assumption that the fine folks in Cake didn't exactly 'sample the wears' before these bad boys hit the assembly line, nor could accurately judge what the booklet would smell like after several weeks encased in shrink-wrapped plastic. No band that enjoys making money and pleasing fans could have been a part of something so heinous and wrong. Had I been driving a car when I opened that album, you'd probably be reading my obituary right now.

Still, two weeks after the incident, the case, booklet and disk continue to sit in the garage, atop a case of bottled water. Every day, I come home and give them a passing sniff to see if they had learned their lesson, and each day they continue to fail miserably. I refuse to have this...thing...touch anything inside my house or vehicle until every last microfiber of stink has been frozen out of it. I don't even care if the disk itself eventually shatters like a stick of baseball card chewing gum; it's not welcome in Headquarters until it resembles the normal and respected CD I thought I had purchased.

Each night, I wake up in a cold sweat imagining that it somehow made its way into the house, tainting my music collection, computer and office with its own original brand of Sacramento-based, grape-flavored nightmare fuel. If my iMac smelled like this album, you can bet your ass I'd be dragging it to the curb come garbage day.

Why, Cake? Why?




Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, February 14

Heart Is On The Floor; Why Don't You Step On It?

I'll Give You My Heart.

I have four quick things for you this Valentine's Day. Please enjoy, and remember to think of me, if only for a second, when you're making sweet love tonight. I appreciate it.

1. JT over at Spork Nation has compiled a handy list of Valentine's Day tips for the man on-the-go. It's not too late to make things special! Head over there and take notes!

2. Have you seen Juno yet? Well, even if you haven't, you'll still get a kick out of the following clip, which features Arrested Development geniuses Jason Bateman & Michael Cera discussing the birds and the bees.



3. Valentine's Day is also the perfect time for me to share with you one of my favorite 'newer' music videos. The band is The Killers, the song is 'Bones,' and it's notable for not only being an awesome tune about getting it on, but also because it's the only music video ever directed by Tim Burton. Woah.

4. Finally today, we have our third and final YouTube clip, this time the masterful She Wants Revenge video for 'Tear You Apart.' When I think of icky, superficial and irresponsible love, I think of this song. From now on, you will, too.

Sound off in the comments section and tell me how you're spending Valentine's Day.

FRIDAY: The CDP vs. CAKE.

Wednesday, February 13

One Thousand, Four-Hundred & Sixty-Two Days.

4 Years of The CDP.

"Hey, you. This is my inaugural post to my brand new blog. It would be really nice of you to check back frequently for more updates and general banter. Feel free to then make an educated decision to continue to return here or not. Thanks."

With that, my introduction to the Blogosphere began on February 12, 2004. Unemployed, depressed, underweight and longing for a creative outlet, I decided to hop aboard a fad that I thought was already on its way out of popular culture. I had just turned 22 and had graduated from college, was in the midst of planning a wedding, scrapping for cash and quite certain that every decision I made was a huge mistake, along with every other decision I had made since graduating from high school.

Hey, what a perfect time to start a humor blog. I know; I'm just as surprised as you are that it stuck around.

2004 Design.
(CDP Screenshot - 2004 Design.)

At first, it was the very definition of a 'personal' blog, which is to say that it sucked.

I talked about what was on my mind; politics, music, television. The same stuff I talk about now, only with far less direction and far more unfunny bitching. My relatives would read and say nice things to me when I came home for the holidays, but that was about it. My audience was non-existent, my online persona wasn't established, and my 'real' life was still in figurative shambles.

On both fronts, things began to change slowly and surely with hard work and a clear head. I found my plateau. The traffic increased. I was married, got a nice job and started paying my bills on time. Sure, Bush was elected for a second term in 2004, but the Red Sox also won the World Series, so you have to take the good with the bad. As my personal life improved, so did the CDP.

2005-2006 Design.
(CDP Screenshot - 2005-2006 Design.)


People like to ask me if there was a specific point in time where I started to take the CDP seriously. As much as I'd like to tell people that I never take the CDP seriously, it's quite evident that I do. It's my baby. My chief hobby. I keep it as perfectly groomed as I can, I defend it when it does wrong and I speak highly of it when it's not around. I've always said that I'd shut the page down without a moment's notice if it ever became anything less than enjoyable for me, and I still reserve that right. However, four years later, and it appears as if everything is starting over again. I love it now like I did when I launched it, only now for completely different reasons.

Jerry Seinfeld once stated that there are 'four levels of comedy.' They are:

1. Make your friends laugh. (check)
2. Make strangers laugh. (check)
3. Get paid to make strangers laugh. (check)
4. Have strangers talk like you because it's so much fun. (does 'I can see your butthole' count?)

All I've ever wanted was to put on a stupid show and make people forget about how ridiculous life is, if only for a few minutes every day. As a child, I thought this would be accomplished through writing essays and books. As a youth, I thought this would be through a talk show or stand-up comedy. As I got older, I found limited success in music and live performing. As an adult, I realized that I should have just listened to myself as a child.

2006-2007 Design.
(CDP Screenshot - 2006-2007 Design.)

The Missus and other business-minded individuals beg me to attempt to maximize my traffic potential. Troll message boards, advertise everywhere, generate revenue by whoring out the CDP to whoever writes a check. The money is there, they tell me, I just need to snatch it up. I'd be a fool not to cash in on all of my hard work, readership and dedication.

Here's my theory on this. Some people write because they need content to support their business investment (ie: blog). I write because I'm a writer and I have to write. The content is first and foremost, and I don't feel it right to make money off of the Internet real estate I've delicately manicured over the past four years. If I enjoyed marketing and bothering people, I could increase my traffic by 500% in less than a month, but that's never been my goal. I'd rather have 1,000 loyal fans than 100,000 superficial ones. I don't want hits; I want a community that you'd enjoy being a part of.

So keep them entertained, answer every e-mail, respond to every comment, send those packages out quickly and let people know that you appreciate them as much as possible, because there are over a billion blogs out there, and for some reason, they've chosen you as their favorite.

2007-2008 Design.
(CDP Screenshot - 2007-Present Design.)

I'm fully aware that this entire post has been a massive ego-stroke, but it bears mentioning that the CDP has allowed me to do things I've always wanted to do. Last week, a huge interview with me was featured on the second page of the Wisconsin State Journal. The week before that, I was spotlighted on television. Strangers say hello to me on the rare occasions that I emerge from my cocoon and venture out in public. My debut book is currently on back order, with no signs of slowing down. This is all barely scratching the surface of what I feel I'm capable of doing, but it's already more than I thought would happen, especially considering how this whole thing started.

I independently published my first book in November of 2007. Since then, I've made countless trips to the Post Office, stuffed hundreds of envelopes, popped about a billion bubble wrap capsules and autographed books until the Sharpie ran dry. Some people can't believe that I work so hard at something that nets me only a little bit of money in return.

My response? This isn't work. Never was work. Never could be work. This is a dream come true.

In the month of February 2004, I received 4 hits from visitors. In January of 2008, I received over 20,000. I don't know how this happened, but I sincerely thank everyone that holds some sort of responsibility towards it. If you promise to stick around and let me entertain you, I'll promise to only improve and work harder. I will begin pre-production on my second book in April of 2008, and I'm currently shopping around for literary agencies and publishing houses that want to work with me. This used to be wishful thinking; now it's just on the horizon, and I promise not to drop the ball.


The CDP is 4 years old today. Sound off in the comments section and let me know what keeps you sticking around. Thanks much.

TOMORROW:
The disgusting, effeminate Love Parade marches on, with Valentine's Day!


Monday, February 11

Lost Monday - "Confirmed Dead."

Lost Monday - Confirmed Dead.
Season 4 - Episode 2: "Confirmed Dead."

Another Lost Monday is upon us. We have much to discuss.

"Confirmed Dead" was an unassuming episode from a surface perspective, but considering the presumed sprawling and relentless layout of Season 4, it had serious integral implications in planting the developmental seeds of what is to be expected of the immediate future of the television series.

Er...

Can you tell that I've been working on resumes and job applications all week? I've found that the main trick with filling out job applications is to basically open a thesaurus to literally any page you want, and just start plugging those five-syllable words in, Mad Lib-style, with the intent to confuse your potential employer to the point of exhaustion. Once weakened and more than a little annoyed, you continue to pounce onto them with jargon and buzzwords until they have no choice but to hire you so you shut up and end the interview.

It's gotten me this far, and I don't intend to give up the routine now, much like how I roll into another week of Lost Monday. I hope you enjoy and appreciate how I tie everything together. Keep moving along with me.

That's For Visualizing Jacob's Cabin!
(Locke slaps Hurley across the face with the power of his mind.)

Four new characters have been announced, and none of them plan on getting the boot anytime soon. They are the bridge between the present and the flash-forwards; the new mystery as to what sorts of misinformation are being spread on the mainland concerning the crash of Oceanic Flight 815, and why certain people are trying to get enough information to sweep the entire incident under the rug. When the producers told us that rescue didn't necessarily spell the end of the series, they were absolutely right, and we were absolutely wrong for doubting them. This isn't Heroes, kids; our Lost pals know what they're doing.

It's thick and it's also meaty, so naturally, it's called The Thick & Meaty.

Thick & Meaty.

IN FLASHBACKS.

The episode starts with a submarine trolling along the ocean floor. They find what appears to be the wreckage of Flight 815, which has obviously been planted there for the purpose of covering up something. We then see the news footage being broadcast presumably across the globe, as the 'wreckage found/no survivors' news spreads faster than fine Knott's Berry Farm Jam.

This is as good of a time as any to introduce everyone to the four new characters to everyone's favorite stupid island. Eyes and ears, people:

Staples Doesn't Deliver To Their Location Anymore.
(This organization is so evil, they don't even allow office furniture. Or other employees.)

Daniel Faraday - He's a physicist that weeps upon seeing the 'discovery' of Flight 815. We don't yet know why this is, as he's far too jittery and flaky to shake any sort of logic out of him.

Miles Straume - Asian semi-psychic. Likes to point guns. Dislikes Benjamin Linus. Talks to the dead. Enjoys robbing ghosts. Hates drugs.

Charlotte Lewis - British. Seems aware of the Dharma Initiative after locating a Dharma collar around the neck of a polar bear skeleton in Tunisia. Wait, what? Seriously? Damn.

Frank Lapidus - Was supposed to be the original pilot of Flight 815. Loves Hawaiian shirts, alcohol, beards and being the Lawnmower Man.

(Special Consideration) Naomi - Matthew Abbadon recruited her and the other four on this mystery trek to locate the island, presumably to track down Ben Linus. Dead, dead and more dead. She's dead.

ON THE ISLAND.

Me Drink More Scotch!
("Hello, liquor store? Yeah, can you deliver a quart of scotch directly to my liver?")

Daniel is pushed out of the crashing helicopter, poops his shorts and chutes onto the island, to instantly run into Jack and Kate. Things get awkward, as we quickly find Daniel to have the social skills and poker face of a drunk baby. The three of them talk about guns, satellite phones and blinking vests, stare at their feet and scramble for conversation.

On the beach, Sayid is reminiscing about killing people, when Juliet approaches and does that crooked smile thing that she's incapable of not doing. They decide that they might want to prepare for the new arrivals to the island, so they stock up on rifles and buy a French Silk pie.

Back with Daniel, Jack and Kate, they continue to have a bizarre dance and power struggle, as they find a Biohazard box that seemingly fell out of the chopper. They grill Miles on why he's armed, and he spills that 'saving them isn't their primary objective.' Just then, Locke stabs him in the back and he dies twice.

As a side note, the network should do a huge spin-off, where John Locke shows up on multiple ABC shows in one night, randomly killing supporting characters just before they say something important.

Home Arone.
(Macaulay Culkin barely beat out Miles for the lead in 'Home Alone,' and he never quite got over it.)

They all catch up with Miles, who is relaxing on the shore with a broken neck. He pulls a gun on Jack and Kate, after it's revealed that Naomi gave him the 'I've been murdered' distress signal. Kate insists that Locke killed her, and he's not quite right in the head as of late. Miles wants to view Naomi's corpse, so he can pull his John Edwards magic and get to the bottom of this freak show.

Thanks to Sayid and Juliet's insatiable urge to shoot guns, they ambush Miles and Daniel, allowing Jack and Kate to get the jump on them and steal their weaponry. They all head into the jungle to find Charlotte, who they are tracking via satellite phone, along with keeping an eye on an eBay auction for collectible Precious Moments figurines.

Meanwhile in Team Locke, John is trying to detour the group over to Jacob's cabin for some tea and potential eternal damnation. During this exchange, Locke lets it spill that he's pretty much taking his orders from Zombie Walt, because he's now old and tall enough to crush Locke's windpipe with his thumbs.

Thank Goodness.
(Karl does the world a huge solid and sterilizes himself.)

Charlotte is almost instantly taken aboard Team Locke's Cavalcade of Insanity, for which she is none too pleased. In order for them to not be tracked by the remainder of the rescue crew, they take her satellite GPS and attach it to Vincent, who immediately urinates onto it and buries it near the shore. Dogs are awesome.Wait, I'm sorry. It was actually Desmond that urinates on and subsequently buries the GPS. Aussies are awesome.

Somewhere else on the island, Frank wakes up from his rough helicopter landing, sees a cow and shoots a flare, making this scene one of the cooler things I've seen in a long time. When Charlotte sees the flare, she insists they follow it to rescue Frank, but Benjamin jacks Karl's gun and caps her twice in the chest. She was wearing a bullet-proof vest, however, and Ben gets a much-deserved ass-whipping.

Pssshhh. Way to go, Karl. You've lost your gun privileges forever.

Benjamin's borderline-childish attempts to not be found by the rescue crew leads us into todays Question Of The Week.

Question Of The Week.

"Why Is Ben Such A Wanted Man?"

A. Invented a car then runs on the blood of Republicans and Faith Healers.
B. Can explain the ending of 2001: A Space Odyssey without the aid of illegal narcotics.
C. Throws a 95 MPH knuckleball.
D. Knows exact location in Alamogordo Desert where all those ET games for the Atari 2600 are buried.
E. Poops Godiva chocolate.

Of course, the correct answer is, "Can beat Bubble Bobble with just one life."

Thanks for playing Question Of The Week; let's get back to The Thick & Meaty.

People Are Going To Notice This.
(Naomi has this weird talent where she sleeps with her eyes open. Forever.)

Jack and company make it to Frank first, who reveals that he landed the plane with limited explosions. Sayid claims that it's in good shape, but he tortures the helicopter just to see what kind of additional information he can get out of it. The chopper's not talking, but his point is well-taken.

As Juliet takes care of Frank's massive head wound, he realizes that she wasn't on Flight 815, which sends the rescue crew into a complete bitch-fit. Miles lets everyone know that they are on the island to find Ben, which he proves by displaying a photograph of Benjamin wearing a dress, smock or something equally fruity. Honest to God, I've seen that photo 10 times, and I still have no idea what he's wearing.

Back with Team Locke, most of the crew is choosing straws over who gets to execute Benjamin. Ben claims that he has information that they will lose should they split his head open like so many ripe honeydew. Locke asks him about the Smoke Monster, to with Ben replies with standard dumbassery. He does, however, know a lot about Charlotte, to which he attributes to having a spy on their rescue freighter.

Smash cut, episode over.

Great stuff, good new characters, good story development and no hanging around the house. I know we're only getting one half of this season for awhile, but I'm still looking forward to each awesome week just the same.

Hey, speaking of awesome...here are Five Awesome Things!

5 Awesome Things.

Five Awesome Things...About the five new Lost characters.

1. Daniel - Gives me the confidence that there is someone out there more awkward than I am.
2. Miles - Greatly raises the odds of a Jin/Miles Kung-Fu showdown, and a potential roundhouse kick or two.
3. Frank - Another disheveled, old dude with an out-of-control beard. Need I say more?
4. Charlotte - In my book, a woman with red hair and a British accent is incapable of fail.
5. Naomi - Meat is still fresh and not at all stringy. Will make a terrific roast.

Break out the cardboard and Sugar Hill Gang; it's time to Break It Down!

Break It Down!

4 - The Oceanic Airlines number that was shown during the news broadcast is an actual number, and if you call it (which I did for the sake of thorough reporting) you get the following recorded message:

"Thank you for calling the Oceanic Airlines Flight 815 Hotline. Information is updated as the investigation proceeds. Investigations are thorough and as such may take a period of time to complete. At this time we do do not have any additional information regarding crashed Flight 815. If you are a family member or relative of passenger on Oceanic Flight 815, we are sorry for your loss. Detailed information is given during the daily family briefings. This briefing updates families on the progress of the investigation, and allows for questions to be asked of the medical examiner or coroner and other parties connected to this investigation. Please contact your accident coordinator or call back later for more information."

So, nothing too amazing, but still a neat viral marketing tool by the folks that more or less changed the game when it came to breaking the fourth wall. Respek!

8 - This episode took place on Christmas Eve, 2004. This means that Christmas should be at least eluded to vaguely in next week's episode. I hope that Ben and Rousseau didn't draw each other for Secret Santa, because that would just be awkward. On a positive note, Claire doesn't have to come up with anything to give Charlie. Too soon?

15 - Desmond, Jin and Sun were not in this episode. Inexcusable, but it does make you wonder what the three of them were up to. My guess? Dance Party in the Dharma rec room.

Get Steamin' Mad At Ghosts!
(Dirt Devil: Helping People Communicate With the Dead Since...wait, what?)

16 - This is the first episode that showed a flashback from the perspective of a dead character (Naomi). Good thing, too, otherwise I would be slightly more baffled by what's going on. How the writers plan on filling all the gaps in without some serious changes in structure seems almost impossible at this point.

23 - Abaddon is a bad, bad dude. We don't know what he's doing or who he's working for, but he saw it necessary to wrangle a few idiots together to search for Benjamin and whatever was left of Flight 815. He then bothered Hurley at the nuthouse, which is just adding insult to injury, if you ask me.

Or, if you're Hurley, it's like adding butter to cereal. Zing! The streak continues!

42 - Charlotte finding the polar bear with the Dharma collar in the Tunisian desert hurts my head. By this point in the run of the show, they've answered a lot of questions, but there are still hundreds of them that are standing on the front porch with their junk hanging out of the their bathrobes. When Lost wraps up for good, their legacy will be measured greatly by how many of these questions go unanswered.

Spoilers Ahoy! Cover your eyes! Divert your attention, nerds! Here comes The Preview!

Episode 3 - The Economist.
("Help! I somehow got stuck inside the vending machine again!")

1. Episode 3 of Season 4 is titled "The Economist." It is Sayid-centric, leading me to believe that he is one of the 'Oceanic 6.' There will be flash-forwards involved, and a whole slew of torturings, if Sayid has any say in the matter.

2. The official press release from ABC reads: "Locke's hostage may be the key to getting off the island, so Sayid and Kate go in search of their fellow castaway in an attempt to negotiate a peaceful deal." Hopefully, someone will take Locke's knife away before talks begin.

3. Expect Kate to run into some trouble dealing with Team Locke. The shooting script called for her to pull Hurley out of a locked closet, and exchange some heated words with Sawyer. As long as we don't have to put up with more of Sawyer and Kate exchanging heated bodily fluids anymore, I'll allow it.

I'll Out-Crazy You 'Till The Cows Come Home!
("Listen buddy, there's only room for one crazy, bearded drunk here!")

4. The following information comes from some terrible writer that snuck a peek at the script:

"'The Economist' will have Sayid as a main character, and will show his after-island life. We'll be in Germany, and his girlfriend is called Elsa. She seemed very intrigued about Sayid's 'secret job.' He refuses to talk about it. On the island, there will be a scene in which some losties will go to "Othersville" and notice some noises. Kate will realize that the noise is coming from a house - pointed in the script as Juliet's house, and she'll go and check it. Then, she notices that the sound is coming from the closet; and finally finds Hurley stuck inside. Locke and Sayid are disagreeing about the best way to discover more about the "new visitors": while Sayid wants to go to the ship with Charlotte and appears that she'll get a boat to get back to their HQ, Locke prefers to trust in Ben, who said that he's got a spy on the boat. Kate will want to go to somewhere - not mentioned on the excerpt I read - but Sawyer, not wanting her to go, won't stop her; but will also show her his disappointment."


5. If you're involved with the CDP Nationwide Mix-Tape Trade, get your mixes in the mail as soon as possible! We want as many folks as we can to get their mixes by Valentine's Day. Thanks.

Well, that looks to be about it for this week. Thanks for reading, sound off in the comments section and send any erotic photography to communistdance@yahoo.com. As always, here are links to all of the Lost Mondays you happened to miss so far this season. Cheers.

Lost Monday - Episode 1 Recap.