Friday, July 25

Dr. Forrester & Dr. Wily Will Rule My World.



I gotta tell you, this week is shaping up to be nothing short of a soggy nerd dream for yours truly. After the release of the genre-defining The Dark Knight, I now get an early peek at the Mystery Science Theater 3000 20th Anniversary DVD Collection, to be released in October.

It's...it's beautiful. Now that I think about it, I'm positive that this is what was in the briefcase in Pulp Fiction. If I were Jules, I wouldn't have given it up to Honey Bunny, either.

It's hard for me to believe that a show like MST3K is turning 20 this year, mainly due to the fact that it only went off the air four years ago (in rerun form). I've always placed MST3K right next to The Simpsons when it came to the greatest comedy television of all-time, and in a lot of arguable ways, it surpassed the animated series. Even though I have all of the episodes on tape, I will buy whatever they decide to sell me in that beautiful tin case, for old time's sake.



Finally today, I present to you the first trailer of the all-new Mega Man 9 game. If you're familiar with the incredible Mega Man franchise, you'll know that the first 6 installments were released for the Nintendo Entertainment System from 1987 to 1993. Mega Man 7 was released for the Super Nintendo in 1995, and Mega Man 8 came out for the Playstation in 1997.

Ten years later, the Capcom team has finally put the wraps on Mega Man 9. Take a look.



Yes, you just saw that, and yes, that's the new Mega Man game. For the Nintendo Entertainment System. Here, check out the cover artwork!



This is one of the coolest and more unprecedented video game stories I've heard in years, and I commend the Capcom folks for embracing the Mega Man nostalgia and creating a brand new 8-bit adventure. Wow; what a week.

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your weekend. More new stuff next week.

Wednesday, July 23

The CDP Dark Knight Giveaway Finalists!



It doesn't happen very often, but every once in a great while, Hollywood and the mainstream get something right. Absolutely, 100%, right-jab-straight-into-the-pant-bulge spot-on. I can say without a shred of uncertainty that The Dark Knight is one of those rare moments.

For the first time in over a decade, the biggest and most lucrative movie on Earth is also the best and most worthy of praise. The Dark Knight is nearly perfect; a film that is so above and beyond any 'Superhero' or 'Comic Book' film that it's almost an insult to call it one. Christopher Nolan and his ensemble cast of performers created a picture that, while I'm sure it will receive one or two, should never be followed by another sequel under any circumstances. They've put the finishing touches on a once-tanking franchise by devising the most perfect send-off of all-time; a movie that is on par with Titanic and the LOTR trilogy in terms of its cinematic experience and brilliance. It deserves to be followed-up by nothing; it's magnitude will be impossible to replicate in the Batman universe.

I'll say no more about the plot, scenes, tone, performances or storyline. It simply needs to be seen, and apparently, it's been seen by quite a few people, smashing opening weekend all-time box office records (suck it, Spider-Man 3!). The IMAX footage is breathtaking, Chicago as Gotham City is beautifully filmed, and Oscar nominations will surely follow for Heath Ledger and various other cinematic creations spotlighted in The Dark Knight. I'm also extremely proud of Christopher Nolan; a guy that once shot Following for a few thousand dollars is now at the helm of a film that could gross over a billion dollars. Good for him; he deserves it.

I'm fresh out of adjectives and descriptive paragraphs, so I'll close the book on this rant by posting the following photo, which accurately represents my unspoken feelings towards The Dark Knight:



Let's move on. We have Dark Knight theatrical posters to give away!

If you recall from last week, I launched a contest for CDP readers to come up with a new tagline for the CDP. For years now, I've been using 'Jumping The Shark Since 2004,' a phrase that was co-created by myself and CDP Original Gangsta, Paste. The time has finally come to retire said tagline and venture forth towards total Blog mediocrity and self-defeat. Achieving ALL, and soforth.

Before we get started, I want to mention a few quick things. First, the winner will receive a Dark Knight poster of their choosing and the distinguished honor of having their tagline grace the CDP sidebar until the end of time (or until we decide to do something like this again). I had said before that the First Prize winner would receive two Dark Knight posters, but I changed it to one because I wanted to recognize as many great entries as I could. I hope that the winner understands.

Secondly, the six finalists will be contacted by me via e-mail to determine mailing addresses and who wants what poster (First Place gets first dibs, and so on). I assume it'll take a day or two to sort everything out, and all packages should be in the mail by Friday.

Finally, it should be mentioned that I did the judging myself, and accepted no opinions or suggestions from any third party, including the Missus. I just chose what I thought was funny, indicative of the CDP and representative of the site as a whole. It was extremely difficult and I never want to do it again, so no hard feelings, okay?

Let's get on with it! Here are my Top 15 CDP Tagline submissions (out of well over 100; thank you!). The Top 6 receive one of the following four theatrical posters from the biggest and best movie on the planet, The Dark Knight! Enjoy.



#15. “So Good, It’ll Make You Want To Slap Your Momma!
- Submitted by Wigglycito (via e-mail).

#14. “It’s Almost Like Having Real Friends.
- Submitted by Hilbelink.

#13. “The Place That Gives You Taste.”
- Submitted by Kate.

#12. “Wisconsin’s Fourth Best Export.”
- Submitted by Maus.

#11. “Bigger Than Jesus And Cereal Combined.”
- Submitted by Emily.

#10. “Putting The Bomp In The Bomp-A-Bomp-A-Bomp Since 2004."
(Swears No Involvement In Putting The Ram In The Ram-A-Lam-A-Ding-Dong)
- Submitted by Caveman.

#9. “If You Can Find A Better Blog, You’re A Dick!
- Submitted by Ephland.

#8. “Your New Mancrush.”
- Submitted by the Slackmistress.

#7. “Rock Out With Your Pop Culture Out.”
- Submitted by Bruce.

#6. “Quirky And Awkward. On Purpose.”
-Submitted by Caitlin. (WINNER!)

#5. “Making Your Day Better Since 2004; Like Alcohol.
-Submitted by Cargirl. (WINNER!)

#4. “Where Fun Goes To Die Since 2004.
- Submitted by Maus. (WINNER!)

#3. “Awkward Slow Dances With Pop Culture Since 2004.
- Submitted by Emily. (WINNER!)

#2. “Rocking Pop Culture Since 2004.”
- Submitted by Kate. (WINNER!)

#1. “Welcome To The World’s Largest Dysfunctional Family.
- Submitted by Caveman. (GRAND PRIZE WINNER!)

There you have it. Like I said, I'll be contacting the six finalists by e-mail shortly to sort out what's going where. I want to thank everyone once again for playing along; I expect a few of these to end up on CDP merchandise in the near future. Congrats to the winners!

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day.

Monday, July 21

CDP Headquarters: The Photo Tour.



I'm never going to be on Cribz, so I figured this would be the next-best thing.

Approximately three months ago, I noticed a change in my sleeping patterns. I realized that I was no longer waking up from sweaty, screaming, pale-faced nightmares about going hopelessly bankrupt and earning additional income by spoon-feeding broccoli soup to billionaire businessmen in the bathroom stalls of the I94 interchange waystation near Oconomowoc. It seemed that, for the time being, I was feeling rather secure in my finances.

This optimistic feeling had to stop immediately, I proclaimed, so we moved out of our apartment and bought ourselves a condo. The idea of a condo was a perfect fix for us, as we wanted all the benefits of home ownership, but had no interest in lawn care, gardening, snow removal or anything else that needed to be done outside. It was a no-brainer.

I'm happy to report that the nightmares have since returned twofold.

We currently live in an unassuming little neighborhood in the deep, busy heart of the Madison area, which is just the way I like it. The street is buzzing with children, young couples and dogs, each making me happier that I don't have too many windows that face the street. I can walk to the park without being bothered by panhandlers, there are deer in my backyard and the geese appear to be multiplying at a freakish rate. Despite all of this, I'm never less than five minutes from the most urban recesses of Wisconsin. At its core, that's one of the beautiful parts of living here. Well, besides the fact that everyone here gets to drink PBR for free.

It's true; Wikipedia it.

Anyway, I had been getting a lot of questions from friends and relatives about our new place, and I decided that the best way to shut everyone up in tandem was to do an online photo tour. If eavesdropping and making fun of my material items is the sort of thing that you get off on, then this is the post for you. Otherwise, you might just want to skim through the photos and leave work early to see The Dark Knight. Whatever makes you happy.

Before we get started, I should mention that the following post might also be hell on a dial-up connection; it's about 25 photos total. Tally-ho!

The Living Room.


(I was watching a celebrity golf tournament when I decided to take these pictures. Jesus.)

Right off the bat, I should mention that the bulk of the decorating was done by myself with the Missus' approval. She typically knows that I'm looking out for the best interests of the house, and my modern tastes offend her a lot less than the bulk of my additional tastes for things, such as alcohol, emo music and clothing from Express Men.


(Damn, Ray Romano sure got fat.)

We're rocking 5.1 Surround in all corners of the room, Airport Express allows us to listen to our iTunes library in any room of the house, and the TiVo makes sure that I don't miss a minute of the million-plus hours of MMA programming there is on Spike TV. We purchased Wii Fit last night, so the coffee table has been moved in front of the fireplace so we can properly rock the yoga poses without breaking anything.

The Dining Room.


(Following the infamous 'Cheetos incident' of 2007, I'm no longer allowed to use the MacBook.)

Both the table and bar were purchased from the same place, and on the day of delivery, the company brought the wrong table to our doorstep; some cumbersome, massive glass monstrosity that wouldn't have fit in our relatively tiny dining area after a million years of clever interior design and HGTV tips. The bitch of it was that we had to live with it for a week while the company sorted the mix-up out. Side-stepping around it was a nightmare, because I knew that if I managed to fall through it, I'd be the new owner.


(The Dining Room seats 6, which is funny, since I don't know 6 people I'd want in my home in unison.)

The door on the right leads into the basement, which I didn't photograph for this tour. You pretty much know what a basement looks like; there are a couple of windows, a water softener, some litter boxes and about a hundred storage bins. The plan is to finish it in a few years; maybe throw another bathroom and den down there, but in all honesty, it'll have to wait until I have an extra ten grand to piss away.


(I couldn't tell you the wood or marble used on this bar, but I do know that it weighs 3000 pounds.)

No photos behind the bar, but I can assure you that it's fully stocked with various wines and whiskeys. I even intend on getting a mini-fridge back there so I don't have to run over to the kitchen to make drinks. Sort of defeats the purpose of a bar. The vintage glass bottles and ice bin were given to me by my Great-Grandmother, which I think is really cool. The coasters aren't visible, but they match the Lichtenstein print on the wall.

The previous owners of the home put the hardwood in, for which I am eternally grateful. It separates the living room from the dining room, matches the furniture perfectly and gives me a reason to tell people to take their shoes off before entering. The first person to scratch it will be cut with my sharpest knife.

The Kitchen.


(Monkey towel, meet penguin towel. Penguin towel, meet monkey towel.)

The kitchen is one of my favorite parts of the house. It's spacious, bright, full of storage and is the first place you step into when you enter the house. It goes right out to the garage for easy carrying of groceries, and contains a guest bathroom (not pictured) that keeps people out of my own. I didn't like the idea of a bathroom in the kitchen when I first toured the place, but now I think it rocks. The sink is at least a foot deep and the fridge has more features than my car, although it's constantly empty.


(For ruining my shot, Tinker will receive a serious beating this evening. For shame.)

In this shot, you can get a glimpse of the front door, the stairway, the kitchen bathroom and entryway into the living and dining rooms. Hey, there's a cat in there, too. The Salvador Dali print on the wall was purchased by me for the Missus on her 18th birthday. She had nowhere to hang it at the time, but I knew that it was only a matter of time before we were living together. Also, it would have looked slightly out of place next to all of her Hanson memorabilia back at her parent's house.

The Media Room.



(Sadly, these are no longer alphabetized. Some day I will return to you, gentle discs.)

Now that I no longer purchase CDs, I fear that this is all the larger that my collection will get. Even so, I don't want to sell any of these; I like to come up here and rifle through them when I'm drunk.


(Lookout! Records had very frame-able music in the early 90's.)

Our Media Room is on the second floor, in between my office and the master bedroom. Those Simpsons photos were painted by the Missus, which I really like. I don't have a ton of vinyl (maybe 100 total, only 30 of which aren't in the basement), but I like to keep the better ones upstairs so I can bust them out from time to time. I have a USB turntable in the linen closet, which currently serves me absolutely no purpose.


(When the Missus is gone, I like to come up here and pretend that I'm something more than a drummer.)

All of those marked VHS tapes in the bottom row of my DVD case are MST3K episodes that I've collected throughout the years. Every episode, every special, even most of the commercials are intact. I'm more proud of that than my electronic drum kit sitting just to the right of them.

I'm more of a TV guy than a movie guy, so you can tell that my collection is lacking a little bit. In fact, the bulk of those DVDs are television shows. There's more crap in the basement that I couldn't fit cosmetically into this room (the keyboard being the most vital), but the biggest compromise was not being able to play my acoustic drums in my condo (I mean, I could do it, but I'd be arrested in mere minutes). The electronic kit is a decent compromise, and you can see that I've hooked up my stereo speakers to it for maximum and proper rocking power.


(I use 'anti-vibe' sticks, if only because I think that sounds dirty.)

I've said this before, but I'm a lefty that plays a right-handed kit. I also normally play double-bass, but I haven't yet hooked my pedal up to this kit. I can run it through my headphones when I play late at night, and the iPod can be plugged into the AUX jack, so I can drum along to my favorite songs. The only downside is that there's a lot of different power sources surging through this outlet, and I tend to get slightly electrocuted from time to time. Small setback for rock stardom, I suppose.

Bathrooms/Laundry.


(The toilet is in the middle cabinet.)

My bathroom is connected to my office, and it's more or less off-limits to everyone. I keep it as minimalist as possible, and the shower contains what could be the Holy Trinity of manly cleanliness: Bar of soap, body wash and shampoo. Nothing more, nothing less. On the counter sits only the necessities and accessories that I need to merely survive another day.


(Divert your eyes!)

I had to take a picture of our laundry closet, mainly because the front-loading washer is amazingly badass. I'm too scared to even look at it, and I refuse to learn how it works. It's one of two things that I flat-out refuse to do around the house, as opposed to the 50 that the Missus refuses. I consider it a fair trade.


(I made a point not to photograph the beautiful bathroom insanely cluttered with bottles of things.)

The Missus' bathroom was far too messy to photograph, so I just took a creative shot of her tub. She has a fancy-pants whirlpool in there, and I've been told that I'm not allowed to use it when she's not around. I'd rather not know her reasons.

The CDP Office.



(I'm a 26 year old man.)

My office also serves as a spare bedroom for those who...who am I kidding? I wouldn't let anyone spend the night at my house. It should also be noted that the Master Bedroom was not photographed, as I didn't want my other-worldly masculine pheromones to waft through the World Wide Web and spontaneously make every female reader pregnant.


(The CDP: Collector of gumball machines, lucky cats and heads.)

Although you won't see most of it, I tried to make my office a modern and mature version of what my bedroom would have looked like in 1988. Lots of toys, games and diversions, but nothing messy or out of place. In a way, I guess that's the theme of the entire house. Fun, yet refined in a completely unrefined way. Classy yet childish; like Stephen Colbert.


(PGA Tour Golf for the Sega Genesis is the most addictive game ever made.)

In the front corner of the room, next to the bed, sits this entertainment center that cost me $20 when I first moved out of my grandparents' basement. I can proudly say, however, that everything you see on the shelves (approximately 9 devices) is simultaneously hooked up to that television despite the lack of receiver. No waiting, no hooking things up and no digging for games (we'll get to that later); just the hum of electricity and a further shortening of my attention span. I daisy-chained everything. Why I take more pride in things like this, as opposed to...I don't know...changing the shingles or changing the furnace filters, is beyond me.


(A claw machine, WWE merchandise and a Japanese Pac-Man game. Ladies?)

This is my writing desk, and it faces a nature preserve (we'll see that soon) below. I mainly use this desk to balance my checkbook, mail letters and transfer stuff from my laptop. The view is nice enough, but I'm one of the few people that would rather open their windows in the morning and see a Best Buy mere inches from their face. I grew up in the country, and I left for a reason.


("What's the use in making fun of everything? We're all alone in this pathetic world anyway.")

Emo Tom Servo keeps an eye on everything while I'm away on business. Loves the Smiths.



One half of my office closet is devoted to a decent-sized hunk of my retro video game collection. The Wii and PS2 are in the living room, but upstairs is where the NES, Atari 2600, Sega Genesis, Gamecube, Intellivision and ColecoVision get to shine. Before I moved, all of this stuff was disorganized and in danger of being lost forever. Now, it's nothing but quick access for instant gaming satisfaction. I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I plan on throwing a retro video game tournament at CDP Headquarters before the year is out. Better clear your schedules for the rest of 2008, just to be safe.

Oh, and the other half of my closet contains filing cabinets, important papers and about a thousand pages of crap that I never should have written. It's not worth our time.


(Mac will rule the world someday...oh, wait, it already does. D'oh!)

I suppose this is where the magic happens. As you can see, I was in the midst of sorting through a stack of CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Exchange entries when this photo was taken. Also note the Zoltar machine in the upper-right hand corner (that really works!), and the MST3K mousepad. My computer wallpaper is a photo I took of the unimaginably endless and brutal Winter of 2007, mainly because it reminds me to enjoy the Summer and accomplish as much as possible while I still have the chance. When you live where I live, you're on an 8-month window of what you can feasibly get done each year.


(Plants. Nature's plant.)

The view from my deck is a protected Nature Preserve, which is something I wasn't aware of until after we bought the place. The Missus tells me that not only is it beautiful, but it's also good for the resale value of the condo. I take her word for it, because every time venture out there, I get bitten by at least a billion mosquitoes. This Fall, however, I plan on sitting out here every night with my notebook, writing my next book until either the ink runs dry or the snow starts to fall, whichever happens first.

So, there you have it; a decent and in-depth look at about 70% of CDP World Headquarters. Direct any questions, comments or concerns to the Comments section or my e-mail address at communistdance@yahoo.com, and also direct any harsh criticisms of my decorating taste straight to my butthole. Thanks for playing, now get the hell out of my house.

Wednesday: The Dark Knight Poster Giveaway Finalists Are Revealed!