Monday, February 8

My Anxiety Year.

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"I felt stupid. I felt that I had been coasting on the idea that I was a good person for 5 years. I remember what it felt like to feel good about myself, and it was about 5 years ago. And that flicker would help me get through tough times, but I remember thinking to myself...if I was watching this person in a movie, I wouldn’t be rooting for him anymore." – John Mulaney

I'm sure it's a defense mechanism, but when asked about my Anxiety, I always compare it to having a superpower. And it's true. Except for when it isn't.

As long as you can keep it at an absolutely perfect balance, it can actually do wonders for your life. Anxiety keeps my house clean. Anxiety pays my bills on time. Anxiety keeps groceries in the fridge and my albums alphabetized. Anxiety keeps typos out of ma essays. I never miss deadlines and I'm never late. Anxiety would never let me get away with such things. When I want to quit halfway through a project, Anxiety reminds me that I can't. Anxiety helps me do all the things I don't want to do, but have to.

What I'm describing, however, is an extreme exception to the rule. If this balance gets knocked out of whack even a fraction of a percentage, Anxiety will spiral out of control and ruin your life. Gum up the works. Shut everything down. Now, instead of merely keeping the house clean, you're vacuuming thrice a day and taking every minuscule scrap of trash immediately to the dumpster, because you don't want anything in the garbage can. Instead of paying your bills on time, you're balancing your checkbook after every purchase and refreshing your account information every five seconds until the transaction goes through. Instead of keeping food in the house, you're throwing everything out because they're within a week of expiring, and ordering take-out so you don't have to think about it anymore. Instead of not missing deadlines and staying punctual, you're cancelling appointments and calling in sick to work, because you have a full day of cleaning ahead of you.

I have done every single one of the above examples, and about a thousand more. It's not 'playful' Anxiety or 'quirky' Anxiety. It's the straight-up, documented, frustrating-as-all-shit kind, and I've been battling to keep it in balance for at least 25 years.

Remember this list? When I laid out just a sampling of all the weird rituals I had to do every day just to get out of bed and function? Well, note that it was posted over a decade ago. Now imagine having to live your life every day for over 10 years adhered to every one of these bizarre rules (and about 100 more I didn't want to share). Just reading the list is exhausting, let alone treating it as gospel.

Like I said, when the balance is off, it's bad, and your life can come to a dramatic standstill. I stayed as disciplined as I could for as long as I could; keeping blissfully optimistic with the 'Anxiety as Superpower' analogy. On good days, I could outperform anyone, but it was all due to these negative factors that were slowly deteriorating my body and mind. It took an incredible amount of energy just to stay 'normal' throughout any given day, but I didn't really realize it because I had been doing it my entire life. It was some Dragon Ball Z shit; I had a Power Level of over 9000, but after the battle I would need days to recover.

This was my normal. I knew it wasn't good for me, but I also knew that acknowledging it is a problem meant I was going to have to deal with it.

But...I'm getting older, and I'm getting tired. It's not a superpower, and I don't have the energy to maintain it anymore. Unless I'm able to keep up this pace in a more positive, less harmful way, I was going to fizzle out and quite literally die. I needed to slow down, try to learn more about myself, and try to rebuild myself from the ground-up to accentuate my personality in a more positive way. This couldn't be me anymore.

Okay. Where to start? Gotta take the leap. Gotta get better. Gotta stop lashing out. Gotta stop being moody and emotional. Gotta stop being unemotional and sociopathic. Gotta stop drinking to self-medicate. Gotta actually medicate. Gotta be there for my wife and friends. Gotta stop living in my head so much. Gotta not let my family drive me crazy. Gotta not let my past define and consume me. Gotta go through that stupid list one-by-one, and vaporize each and every goddamn quirk that's turning me into a husk of a man.

This is mostly what I did in 2015 instead of writing. I had to do it for my long term. It seemed like I wasn't doing anything. In reality, I was doing everything.

The process started slowly. I would just come home and attempt to unwind, instead of jumping directly into my post-work routine (which usually consisted of answering more e-mail from work). I allowed myself to sit on the couch (without vacuuming it), to play with the cats (without brushing them), to not vacuum immediately. Let's see if I can wait until tomorrow. And maybe tomorrow, I'd be able to wait another day, and so on. It was painfully incremental. It was therapy.

My brain didn't initially like this resistance. My philosophy when it came to discipline was that, once I fell off the wagon, I'd never be able to hop back on. If I skipped cleaning the house or some other mundane (yet irksome) activity even once, I'd instantly become a worthless, lazy bastard and never again have the motivation to do anything ever again. I thought if I slowed down, I gave up. I'm not much for middle ground.

But I stuck to it. I had no choice. It was an addiction thing; now that I actually acknowledged that I wanted to get better, it was then just a matter of conviction.

I won't get into the minutiae (that's for later), but I can honestly say that I'm currently better than I've ever been before. In fact, out of that initial list of 50 things I wrote so long ago, I currently still deal with less than 15 of them. Not too shabby.

One of the things I had to realize about myself is that I will probably always be a shifty, anxious, weirdly-motivated dude who always is particular about certain things. Just because I fight it and take time for myself every now and again, it doesn't mean it's ever going to go away. I'm not going to lose the things that I like about myself. The work will always get done. The house will get cleaned. The bills will be paid. I will not sink the future of my life and my wife's simply because I want to sleep in and hold off a few errands until later in the week. I can just be a dude.

Anxiety is not a Superpower. It's a work in progress, and I'm not done by any stretch of the imagination.

But I gotta say, I'm feeling pretty damn super.

Monday, February 1

Please Don't Let Me Forget How To Read And Write.

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(School questionnaire, sometime in the late 80's. This is real.)

How was your 2015? Everything okay? We good?

My year was decent: I got a dog, got a new job, bought some stamps, quit my new job, used all my stamps, hung out with the Missus and drank about a thousand Tequila Sunrise's. Not too bad, considering that on a global scale, 2015 was just the worst. Moist garbage. Shit sandwich writ large. Nonetheless, over the next few months, I'll tell you all about what I was up to then and now, I promise.

My goal for the CDP in 2016 is simple: New content every week. That's it. I've been doing this for 12 years now, and while inspired motivation is a much more fun and creative outlet than deadlines and sheer discipline, I tend to do better with the latter over the long term. Motivation will let you down; discipline won't.

Also, people will let you down; TV won't.

Speaking of TV, I have a big project planned for the CDP this year. Similar to what we did with the Greatest TV Show of the Last 25 Years, only you don't get a say in the matter. So...more fun for me. It's TV History-centric. You'll dig it.

While my goal for the CDP in 2016 is weekly content, my personal goal for 2016 is to carry on with something I started in 2015: A little self-improvement, one horribly awkward step at a time. There are things I simply dealt with my entire life because I was either too lazy to change them or wasn't ready to deal with the consequences. Now that I don't have the energy or ambition to be an anxious, stuttering drunk anymore (and it was never charming), I knew I had to actually start taking care of myself (mentally and physically) before my heart, brain and liver simultaneously exploded.

Check this out. Today is my 34th birthday. I started the CDP when I was 22:

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There I am. Svelte. No tattoos. Dyed hair. Full of purpose and lean tissue. The world was my vegetarian oyster, and the cows were Swiss as far as the eye could see. I had just gotten married, just graduated from college, just snagged a new job and just started writing for a global audience. I was also super into tiny bottles of water.

You know, if I could go back in time and give this kid any advice, it would be to...actually, I wouldn't change a thing. Sure, I could tell him to do a pull-up every once in a while and to save his money, but shit, sushi is delicious and expensive and you can take medication for high cholesterol and it's genetic anyway so why even bother. The next 12 years are going to be fun, man: You'll make friends and publish books and get into Anime. Just cool it with the alcohol so you don't get stabbed.

Okay, maybe I'd tell him not to run that 5k in 2007, because it's going to leave him permanently injured and unable to jog ever again. And maybe I'd tell him to take a real vacation in 2008 instead of getting depressed and trying to drink himself to death in St. Paul. But even those things turned out okay. St. Paul is awesome and I never liked running to begin with. My road to self-improvement is paved like my personality: Picky, particular and erratic beyond comprehension.

But I'm gonna try. I really am, and have been. And it'll be fun to watch.

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Here I am at 34. Inked up. Natural hair color. Trade the water for champagne every now and again, but responsibly. A little thicker around the middle, but healthy and nothing a size Medium can't conceal. Still rocking the fake glasses and shiny forehead. Still working at the same office, albeit promoted a few times. Still hanging out with the same dorks from High School. Still listening to the same music. Still happily married to the dopest woman in the known universe.

Still making poor life decisions, and still learning. And twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom.

I'm looking forward to writing again this year, and I hope you stop by every now and again to see what I've been up to. Happy 34th Birthday to me, and Happy 12th Anniversary to the CDP. Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your week.

I'm on Twitter.
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Monday, January 11

Tell Pluto It's Not A Planet.

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The CDP returns on Monday, February 1.

Monday, August 31

The CDP 2015-2016 Fall TV Preview.

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Don’t call it a comeback; it's that time of year again!

For the 10th GODDAMN YEAR, the CDP is back with the rundown on nearly 60 new, returning and midseason TV shows. These are the shows I will be watching (or at least giving a chance to) throughout the season. All times Central, and the premiere and time slot information is as accurate as I could get. I also stuck mostly with national networks and basic cable, because the CDP is welcoming of those in all tax brackets and considers piracy a crime literally worse than murder (even worse than watching shows on your dumb phone).

And hey, if this preview isn't enough for you, feel free to take a trip in the Wayback Machine to see my 9 other Fall TV Previews:

2005-2006 Preview. (Lost! Malcolm in the Middle! Arrested Development!)
2006-2007 Preview. (King of the Hill! House MD! The Office!)
2007-2008 Preview. (Friday Night Lights! 30 Rock! Heroes!)
2008-2009 Preview. (24! My Name is Earl! Dollhouse!)
2009-2010 Preview. (Parks and Recreation! Modern Family! The Middle!)
2010-2011 Preview. (Community! Bob's Burgers! Louie!)
2011-2012 Preview. (Breaking Bad! The Walking Dead! Adventure Time!)
2013-2014 Preview. (The Goldbergs! Agents of SHIELD! Brooklyn Nine-Nine!)
2014-2015 Preview. (Gotham! Once Upon a Time! The Flash!)

…Yeah, I’ve reviewed a lot of television over the years. No sense in stopping now; let’s do this.

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6-7pm              America’s Funniest Videos - ABC (10/11)
6:30-7pm         Bob’s Burgers - FOX (9/27)
7-7:30pm         The Simpsons - FOX (9/27)
7-8pm              Once Upon a Time - ABC (9/27)
7:30-8pm         Brooklyn Nine-Nine - FOX (9/27)
7:30-10:30pm  Sunday Night Football - NBC (9/13)
8-9pm              Fear the Walking Dead - AMC (8/23)
8-9pm              The Walking Dead - AMC (10/11)
8:30-9pm         The Last Man on Earth - FOX (9/27)
9-10pm            Talking Dead - AMC (10/11)

THE SKINNY! - Comedy on Sunday night belongs to FOX, with the exceptional Bob's Burgers heading into their 6th season, which leads in to The Simpsons 27th. From there, the very underrated Brooklyn Nine-Nine (which won a Golden Globe for Best Comedy, but wasn't even nominated for an Emmy) sets the table for The Last Man on Earth, the Will Forte-helmed, post-apocalyptic comedy that pretty much needs to be seen to be understood, and I mean that in a good way.

And hey, speaking of post-apocalyptic, Fear The Walking Dead is currently off and running, boasting the largest cable premiere audience in Television history. Following a 6-episode Season 1, we lead into the highly-anticipated premiere of The Walking Dead, with Talking Dead bringing the night to a close with the soothing, dulcet tones of Mr. Chris Hardwick.

BUT I CAN ONLY WATCH ONE SHOW! - If comedy is your thing, Bob's Burgers is about as good as it gets. Otherwise, The Walking Dead is Appointment TV to end all other Appointment TV. And hey, there's always football. Football's fun.

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7-8pm              Supergirl - CBS (10/26)
7-8pm              Gotham - FOX (9/21)
7-10pm            Monday Night Raw - USA (Ongoing)
7:30-10:30pm  Monday Night Football - ESPN (9/14)
9-10pm            Fargo - FX (10/12)

THE SKINNY! - Fargo is one of my favorite movies of all-time, so like most, I was apprehensive when the miniseries version hit FX last year. However, it was spectacular, winning 3 Emmys and being nominated for over a dozen more. Over on CBS, they step into the Superhero market with Supergirl, a visually stunning (yet maybe a bit campy) effort (with Calista Flockhart!). And sticking with the DC Universe, the gritty Gotham returns for Season 2 over on FOX.

If sports (and Sports Entertainment) is more your thing, we have the longtime flagships Monday Night Raw and Monday Night Football on USA and ESPN respectively. WWE programming is more in line with superhero dramas than you may think, and the fact that ESPN's Chris Berman hasn't had a myocardial infarction yet should be a motivational tribute to us all.

BUT I CAN ONLY WATCH ONE SHOW! - Season 1 of Fargo was spectacular, but there are no guarantees the second time around. No chance I'm missing it, though. Gotham lost my attention a bit toward the end of S1, and Supergirl has the opportunity to wow, but I'm not holding my breath.

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7-7:30pm      The Muppets - ABC (9/22)
7-8pm           The Flash - CW (10/6)
7:30-8pm      The Grinder - FOX (9/29)
8-9pm           Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - ABC (9/29)
8-9pm           Scream Queens - FOX (9/29)

THE SKINNY! - I went into Season 1 of The Flash with mediocre hopes, and they ended up surpassing anything I thought was possible for a CW show. When my enthusiasm for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. began to wane somewhat (but not enough to cease watching altogether), The Flash became same-night Appointment TV for yours truly. An action-packed, bright series with incredibly lofty storytelling and a cast that has become better with each episode. I'm a sucker for Time Travel.

Two new shows arrive on FOX with The Grinder (a courtroom comedy starring Fred Savage and Rob Lowe) and Scream Queens (a Glee-meets-American Horror Story satirical horror-comedy I have high hopes for), but come on, what we're really looking forward to is the primetime return of The Muppets. A mockumentary-style sitcom detailing the Muppets' behind-the-scenes efforts to create a late night talk show starring Miss Piggy. I can't wait.

BUT I CAN ONLY WATCH ONE SHOW! - The Flash turned out to be so much better than I ever thought it would be; it's sincerely one of my favorite returning shows of the year. Also, Scream Queens has a ton of potential. But are you really going to skip out on a new Muppets show?

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7-7:30pm      The Middle - ABC (9/23)
7-8pm           Arrow - CW (10/7)
7:30-8pm      The Goldbergs - ABC (9/23)
8-8:30pm      Modern Family - ABC (9/23)
9-10pm         Nashville - ABC (9/23)
9-10pm         American Horror Story - FX (10/7)
9-10pm         The Ultimate Fighter - SPIKE (9/9)

THE SKINNY! - Wednesday nights on ABC remain comedy strong, with reliable favorites The Middle and Modern Family. Wedged between the two, is the secret weapon known as The Goldbergs, an absolute must-watch for any fan of the 80's and the abundance of Pop Culture nestled within. Funny, well-written, handled with care, nostalgic and Wonder Years-esque, Season 3 of The Goldbergs is an extremely welcome sight.

Arrow should return with a record audience following Stephen Amell's outstanding appearance at this year's Summerslam, and the soapy goodness of Nashville brings Season 4 (and their highest ratings yet) to the 9am slot. American Horror Story: Hotel (and Lady Gaga!) push the envelope in the 5th Season of FX's anthology series, and coaches Conor McGregor and Uriah Faber helm opposing teams of up-and-coming Mixed Martial Artists on Spike TV's The Ultimate Fighter. Wednesday is packed.

BUT I CAN ONLY WATCH ONE SHOW! - You watch The Goldbergs. Then you go back and watch every episode of The Goldbergs that you missed. Then you come back and tell me how awesome you think The Goldbergs is. The Goldbergs.

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7-8pm              Heroes Reborn - NBC (9/24)
7-9pm              Thursday Night Smackdown - SYFY (Ongoing)
7:30-10:30pm  Thursday Night Football - CBS (9/17)
9-10pm            The Player - NBC (9/24)

THE SKINNY! - Listen, Heroes. We have to talk. I'm convinced that the first season of this show had limitless possibility, and became one of the biggest examples of missed opportunity in the history of television. I have no idea how such a perfect idea could have been bungled so poorly. Nonetheless, we're getting another reboot, and here's hoping they can right past wrongs this time around.

Elsewhere, the NFL and WWE compete in similar timeslots, while the Wesley Snipes-helmed The Player takes on the world of gambling and...wait...Wesley Snipes?  

Blade? From Blade?

Okay, I'm in.

BUT I CAN ONLY WATCH ONE SHOW! - Both Heroes Reborn and The Player have the potential to be goofy caricatures of what we expect them to be (or maybe that's what we want them to be). We already gave Heroes a chance though, so I'm checking out The Player and remembering not to take it too seriously.

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Last Man Standing - ABC (9/25)
Dr. Ken - ABC (10/2)
The Amazing Race - CBS (9/25)
Hawaii Five 0 - CBS (9/25)
Blue Bloods - CBS (9/25)
Reign - CW (10/9)
MasterChef Junior - FOX (11/6)
Undateable - NBC (10/9)
Truth Be Told - NBC (10/16)
Grimm - NBC (10/30)

THE SKINNY! - Maybe you’re interested in one or more of the shows listed above. I, however, will be watching none of them. Friday is Sushi and Snuggles Night with The Missus.

You got your priorities, I've got mine.

BUT I HAVE TO WATCH ONE SHOW! - I suppose I'd watch Truth Be Told, if only because it's new and stars Zach Morris. NBC's placing of it on Friday isn't a great sign of their faith in its success, though.

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8-9pm                Ash vs. Evil Dead - STARZ (10/31)
8-9pm                Doctor Who - BBCA (9/19)
8:30-9pm           Guardians of the Galaxy - DISXD (9/26)
10:30pm-12am  Saturday Night Live - NBC (10/3)
11pm-2:30am    Toonami* - SWIM (Ongoing)

(*Toonami's current lineup consists of Dragon Ball Z Kai, Akame Ga Kill, Mitchiko and Hatchin, Sword Art Online II, Naruto Shippuden, One Piece and Attack on Titan.)

THE SKINNY! - Saturday, formerly a barren wasteland and guaranteed death blow for any series unfortunate enough to be planted within, is now maybe the most fun night on Television. Late Night brings us 3.5 straight hours of Anime courtesy of Toonami, currently the only Anime block on American Television. Also, we get Season 41 of Saturday Night Live, with Miley Cyrus, Amy Schumer and Tracy Morgan (in an emotional return) handling hosting duties for the first three weeks.

Who knows what direction Disney XD's Guardians of the Galaxy will take, but there's no way I'm missing it. Maybe my favorite superhero movie of all-time (The Dark Knight is close), I don't plan on neglecting myself the chance to see Star Lord, Rocket, Groot, Drax and Gamora on my TV again, even in animated form.

BUT I CAN ONLY WATCH ONE SHOW! - Saturday is all about what your obsession happens to be. Horror? Sci-Fi? Marvel Universe? Sketch Comedy? Anime? Pick your favorite and run with it. It should be fun no matter what... the trailer for Ash vs. Evil Dead, though. This is gonna be awesome.

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8-9pm       Better Call Saul - AMC (2016)
7-8pm       The X-Files - FOX (1/24)
8-9pm       Lucifer - FOX (2016)

THE SKINNY! - Having watched the trailer for Lucifer, I see a lot of Constantine parallels in the storytelling and main character. Not to mention that it looks visually beautiful and will be sure to piss off more than a few Parents Television Council types with too much time on their hands. For that alone, I'm in.

Better Call Saul is as good as TV gets, no question about it. I'm hoping for an Emmy sweep this year, similar to Breaking Bad, and the 13-episode Season 2 arrives in early 2016. Season 1 was a masterfully-crafted origin story of sorts, and I expect S2 to get slightly darker and more murky as Saul slowly continues his transformation from small-time con man to Black Belt slimeball.

Finally, we have the highly-anticipated, highly-hyped, I-cannot-believe-this-is-actually-happening, 6-episode return of The X-Files. One of the greatest shows of the 1990's, and one of the most influential Sci-Fi shows of all-time (particularly regarding bringing Sci-Fi to a mainstream audience), Mulder and Scully return for equal parts overarching mythology and monster-of-the-week adventures. Awesome.

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10:30-11:30pm   The Late Show w/Stephen Colbert - CBS (9/8)
10-10:30pm        The Daily Show with Trevor Noah - COM (9/28)

THE SKINNY! - I didn't know who Trevor Noah was before I heard he was taking over for Jon Stewart at The Daily Show. Then I watched his episode of Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, and I was absolutely floored with his story, humor and work ethic. The dude is special, and he's going to be a perfect successor to a throne that requires a ton of responsibility and a passion for politcal satire.

...Speaking of taking over the throne of an extremely-respected host, Stephen Colbert will be stepping behind the desk that David Letterman called his home for decades. I'm very much looking forward to seeing an out-of-character Colbert, still willing to be as weird as he wants to be, in the spirit of Letterman and Conan O'Brien before him. I can't say I make it a point to watch Fallon, Kimmel or Seth Meyers on a weekly basis, but I'll definitely be DVR'ing Colbert for at least the first month or so.

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10. Glee (FOX)
9.  Utopia (FOX)
8.  Two and a Half Men (CBS)
7.  Resurrection (ABC)
6.  The Following (FOX)
5.  The Mentalist (CBS)
4.  Revenge (ABC)
3.  Constantine (NBC)
2.  Hannibal (NBC)
1.  Parks and Recreation (NBC)

THE SKINNY! - Leading into the 2015-2016 Fall TV season, we said goodbye to a few notable shows, either due to cancellation or mutual Series Finale. Shows like Glee, Two-and-a-Half Men, The Following, The Mentalist and Revenge waned a bit as the seasons piled up, while Utopia, Resurrection, Constantine and Hannibal weren't able to secure a large enough audience early on.

However, Parks and Recreation was able to end on their terms, and rode off into the sunset the same way they arrived: Perfectly. With some of the best comedy writing (and maybe the greatest ensemble cast) in Sitcom History, Parks and Recreation survived a touch-and-go first season to become as good as The Office and 30 Rock before it.

Bye bye, L'il Sebastian.

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Are you like me? Do you want to watch the same exact programs that I do, in the perfect order, every week? Well then, this is for you. What follows is my personal weekly Live and DVR TV schedule, featuring all Prime Time shows included* in my Preview, 4 hours a night, 7 nights a week. I am not responsible for any divorces or losses of friends as a result of following this schedule:

(*Midseason/Nightly/Late Night shows and football not included. Get in where you fit in, yo.)

6-7pm - America’s Funniest Videos (LIVE)
7-7:30pm - Bob’s Burgers (DVR)
7:30-8pm - The Simpsons (DVR)
8-9pm - Fear the Walking Dead/The Walking Dead (LIVE)
9-10pm - Talking Dead (LIVE)

6-6:30pm - Brooklyn Nine-Nine (DVR)
6:30-7pm - The Last Man on Earth (DVR)
7-10pm - Monday Night Raw (LIVE)

6-7pm - Once Upon a Time (DVR)
7-7:30pm - The Muppets (LIVE)
7:30-8pm - The Grinder (LIVE)
8-9pm - The Flash (DVR)
9-10pm - Fargo (DVR)

6-7pm - Supergirl (DVR)
7-8pm - Gotham (DVR)
8-9pm - Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (DVR)
9-10pm - The Ultimate Fighter (LIVE)

6-6:30pm - The Middle (DVR)
6:30-7pm - The Goldbergs (DVR)
7-8pm - Scream Queens (DVR)
8-10pm - Thursday Night Smackdown (DVR)

6-7pm - Arrow (DVR)
7-8pm - Heroes Reborn (DVR)
8-9pm - Nashville (DVR)
9-10pm - American Horror Story (DVR)

7-7:30pm - Modern Family (DVR)
7:30-8:30pm - The Player (DVR)
8:30-9:30pm - Doctor Who (DVR)
9:30-10pm - Guardians of the Galaxy (DVR)
10-11pm - Ash vs. Evil Dead (DVR)

Pow. 30 shows, 28 hours of TV, 7 nights a week, 4 perfect hours a night. It's...gorgeous.

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Well, there you have it. The scoop on my personal Fall TV schedule, for the 10th year running. Set your DVRs, sound off in the comments section and enjoy your week. I was gone for a while; it's good to be back.

Don’t forget to tell me the shows you plan on watching on My Twitter and over on My Facebook. And hey, go buy one of my books while you're at it. Thanks much; have a good one.

Friday, August 28

200 Channels And Nothing But Cats.

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Over 10 years.

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Over 600 shows.

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Thousands of hours in front of the television.

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Enough research and obsession to warrant an intervention.

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The CDP returns Monday, August 31 with the 2015-2016 Fall TV Preview.

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The scoop on over 60 new and returning shows, for the 10th year running.

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Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your weekend.

Friday, January 9

The Top 20 CDP Essays (2012-2014).

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Here are the Top 20 CDP Essays from 2012 to 2014, in bite-sized form. Click at will and enjoy in moderation.

'The Greatest TV Show Of The Last 25 Years.' (April/May 2014)
Week 1 - Week 2 - Week 3 - Week 4 - Week 5 - Week 6

#20 – 'The Walking Dead Friday.' (Seasons 3/4)
S3-E9 Review.
S3-E10 Review.
S3-E11 Review.
S3-E12 Review.
S3-E14 Review.
S3-E15 Review.
S3-E16 Review.
S4-E9 Review.
S4-E10 Review.
S4-E13 Review.

#19 – 'Shining Like A Beacon From Coast To Coast.' (2/25/13)

#18 – 'Stanger Danger.' (11/11/14)

#17 – 'The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective Television Fans.' (9/13/13)

#16 – 'Aren’t You Gonna Smile For Me?' (2/18/13)

#15 – 'Today I Am 30.' (2/1/12)

#14 – 'Time To Meet Your (Sandwich) Maker.' (7/19/13)

#13 – 'Burning For You.' (2/17/14)

#12 – 'Nuclear (Nielsen) Family.' (3/11-15/13)
Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5

#11 – 'Let’s Go To The Hospital.' (4/15/13)

#10 – 'The Funniest Thing I’ve Ever Seen.' (2/7/12)

#9 – 'If Love Is The Answer You’ll Hold, Hold On.' (6/19/13)

#8 – 'Waiting For October.' (10/29/13)

#7 – 'Have A Super Sonic Day.' (9/15/14)

#6 – 'Don’t Call It A Comeback, I’ve Been Here For Years.' (2/11-12/13)
Part 1 - Part 2

#5 – 'It’s Great To Be Eighteen.' (2/6/12)

#4 – 'The Great CD Swap Of 2000.' (5/7/13)

#3 – 'Dad.' (6/14/13)

#2 – 'The UW-Whitewater Swim Team.' (2/8/12)

#1 – 'Eat The Fish Head.' (2/10/14)

Thank you.

Friday, January 2

Two Minutes Of 2014.

Here's a thing I wanted to share with you as a kind of final haymaker punch to the frustrating year that was 2014.

There's this app called 1 Second Everyday. You put it on your phone and start shooting video. As much or as little as you want, for as long as you want. After a certain amount of time, 1SE will string all of your clips together into tiny increments, giving you a frantic video patchwork of your last month, year or whatever. It's a cool idea, works like a charm and never crashed on me. I think it costs a dollar.

Near the end of 2013 and deep into 2014, I tried to remind myself to shoot some video everyday for my 1SE project. I'm not the type to capture a lot of photos and video when experiencing something interesting, and sometimes I would just grab a few seconds of me petting the cats, but I did manage to put together about 120 seconds of usable footage. It's mostly sushi, cats and beer, but I cannot think of a more accurate snapshot of how I live my life.

No, seriously. A lot of sushi, cats and beer.

So anyway, here it is (after a few tweaks and adding some music). Take it or leave it; I just couldn't bear to have it sitting on a hard drive. Turn up the sound, watch and enjoy.

So long, 2014. For real. The CDP returns with more new stuff shortly.

Wednesday, December 31

2014 CDP Year In Review.

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What did you do this year? I grew a beard once!

Anyway, here it is; the entirety of 2014, through the eyes of the Communist Dance Party. Click liberally and have fun tonight. I will be at home with a glass of wine, playing Cards Against Humanity with my cats. You're not invited, only because I don't have enough chairs and don't want to put the leaf in the table.

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In February, I returned for Season 10 of the CDP by telling a story about who I was, where I've been and where I was going, all brought on by the unholy consumption of a giant shrimp's head at local sushi bar. I also took the time to once again mention that I've been doing this shit for over a decade now, which could mean that I'm suffering from any number of neurological maladies, narcissism being the least of my concerns at this point.

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The Winter of 2014 was long and exceptionally bitter, which meant that I needed to fix my fireplace if I were to remain comfy and tastefully romantic with the Missus during the long February evenings. Of course, I know nothing about natural gas or fireplace repair, so the whole thing was more or less like defusing a bomb (Spoiler: I didn't asploded).

If you can believe it, I was still recapping The Walking Dead up through Season 4. Seriously; I had to go back and double check, because I had absolutely no recollection of this whatsoever. Turns out, it was still pretty funny, although I'm pretty sure nobody liked these particular captions but me.

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In late March through mid-May, the CDP embarked on one of the biggest Pop Culture meltdowns in history, as 128 television shows fought for your vote to determine the Greatest TV Show Of The Last 25 Years.

As the weeks rolled on, the votes piled up, the upsets were fierce and the debates swept through the comments, Facebook and Twitter like wildfire. I spent most nights tabulating votes right until midnight, when a new round would start and a new slew of votes came rolling in. I had never turned the page over to you peeps like that before, and despite all the bitching, it was a ton of fun.

In the end, I was able to see through an idea I had been kicking around for two years, and despite my perceived grumpiness through it all, it was freaking awesome and I plan on doing a similar tournament sometime in 2015. You've been warned.

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After six straight weeks of non-stop updates, I took a month off to pet cats and gain weight, two talents I desperately need to monetize for the good of my future. However, I returned with something I felt was important: A plea to help out my nephew. And after several months of getting the word out and thanking a lot of extremely generous people, I'm happy to say that he raised enough cash to receive his service dog. How cool is that?

August was Rerun Month, as I reheated my Top 100 Simpsons Episodes list in honor of FXX's 2-week-long, 'Every Simpsons Ever' marathon. In the end, I think I DVR'd over 100 episodes.

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September was busy, as I kicked things off with my Fall TV Preview, always one of my favorite posts of the year. If that wasn't enough, I had an existential breakdown in the parking lot of a Sonic, and I was also busted having an illicit affair with a younger woman. I never said I was a role model.

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Finally, I went full Old Man Mode in my scathing rant on a local news station's uncanny ability to make mistakes during every single nightly broadcast. And to round it all out, you just saw my Best Of 2014 list no less than 24 hours ago. 

I can't say I had the time to blog as much as I wanted to in 2014, and I certainly didn't put forth as much stuff as I have in years passed, but I'm aware of it and hope to be a bit more prolific in 2015. Less Social Media, more CDP. That's my motto for...oh, at least the first 10 days of the new year, if I had to guess. That's about as far as I conciliate my resolutions until they melt away in a sea of comic books and Spotted Cow.

Thanks much, and Happy New Year. Sound off in the comments section and let me know what you'll remember most about 2014. The CDP will be back for Season 11 before you know it.

Tuesday, December 30

The CDP's Best Of 2014.

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Aaugh! I overslept! Quick, before 2014 ends, I have to tell you about all the stuff I liked! Read it before it expires! No time to explain! Go, go, go!


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Honorable Mention - Black Mirror (Audience/Netflix)

It didn't premiere in 2014, but it did become legally available in America this year, otherwise it would have been #1 with a bullet. Go watch it immediately.

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Honorable Mention - Too Many Cooks (Adult Swim)

It's a shame Too Many Cooks can't be nominated for an Emmy. Or can it? In my opinion, it exists as a love letter to Television; that's all you really need to know.

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15. The Simpsons (FOX)
14. Constantine (NBC)
13. Community (NBC/Yahoo!)
12. Adventure Time/Regular Show (CN)
11. Gotham (FOX)

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10. American Horror Story: Freak Show (FX)
9. Attack on Titan/Space Dandy (Adult Swim/Toonami)
8. The Flash (CW)
7. The Goldbergs (ABC)
6. Louie (FX)

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5. Agents of SHIELD (ABC)
4. Brooklyn Nine-Nine (FOX)
3. Bob's Burgers (FOX)
2. Fargo (FX)

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1. The Walking Dead (AMC)

Much like a zombie apocalypse, you cannot stop The Walking Dead; you can merely hope to contain it. The ratings are insane, the cast is on fire, and the show itself is as good as it's ever been.


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Guardians of the Galaxy

Hand down, the most fun I've had at the movies all year, and an instant classic from the Marvel Universe. Saw it twice. The Missus saw it 4 times. Bought the soundtrack. Bought the action figures. Bought the comics. Bought in, entirely. Well done, all around.


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Honorable Mention - Guardians Of The Galaxy: Awesome Mix, Vol. 1
Honorable Mention - Radio Ready Wisconsin: Lost Power Pop Hits 1979-1982

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5. Scott Reynolds - Stupid World
4. Ozma - Boomtown
3. Masked Intruder - M.I.
2. Run The Jewels - Run The Jewels 2
1. Weezer - Everything Will Be Alright In The End

I don't lie when it comes to my music lists. If I didn't listen to it, I won't rank it. Unfortunately, I didn't listen to a whole lot of new records this year, so while I remained honest with myself (I truly liked all of these albums), I fully understand if you don't want to value my opinion anymore when it comes to modern music. In fact, I strongly encourage this behavior. I don't value my opinion, either.


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I read no new books in 2014, but probably read about 10-12 total pieces of book-like literature throughout the year. This is going to sound weird, but 2014 was the year I became re-obsessed with the JonBenet Ramsey murder, so I actually read 4 books specifically about that topic:

Foreign Faction - James Kolar
JonBenet - Steve Thomas
Perfect Murder, Perfect Town - Lawrence Schiller
The Cases That Haunt Us - John Douglas

...Yeah, I think I went in a little too deep this Summer. I was having nightmares and stuff. The Missus was concerned. Worse still, I'm not yet 100% sure I know what happened. Shit is maddening. Let me know if you want to theorize about it, because I have about a billion pages of theories for you. Screw Serial; this case is still plenty important.


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Mario Kart 8 (Wii U)

I suck at Mario Kart 8. Suck out loud. I can't seem to get any better, either. I still love it to pieces, regardless. The Wii U looks beautiful with its (finally!) HD output. The music, track and cart innovations only add to the playability. Whether I'm good at it or not, Mario Kart 8 remains one of the heaviest hitters in Nintendo's arsenal.

Hey, we made it with time to spare! Sound off in the comments section, Facebook or Twitter, and let me know what your favorites of 2014 are.

Tuesday, November 11

Stanger Danger.

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A few months ago, the above graphic popped up on my TV screen, causing me to spit out an entire mouthful of Blueberry Morning in a fit of wheezing laughter.

NBC 15 is my local news channel of choice here in Madison. I like the anchors, I like their approach to reporting, and most importantly, my good friend is employed there. I don't bust people on the Internet much for their grammar, but I snapped a 'Stanger Danger' photo so I could text it to my employed friend and engage in some good-natured ribbing regarding the nonexistent proofreading staff of NBC 15. I also joked that I would continue sending him photos like this every time they screwed up, because spelling errors were bad, and he should feel bad, even if he had nothing to do with it.

I was kidding. I don't pay close enough attention to the news to notice this stuff unless it's literally 50 inches across like the one above.

But then, a funny thing happened: They kept screwing up, and I kept noticing.

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(On the raod again. I'm convinced this is what began the Milwaukee Brewers' cursed tailspin right out of the Playoffs.)

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(Gotta watch out for that wet wather, weather or not you care about the whether.)

It didn't take long for my friend to no longer think this was funny. Perhaps he has a limited Data Plan when it comes to texting; I thought this was hilarious and refused to quit. Besides, I've got nothing better to do.

Now, I watch the news maybe three times a week, and I only pay attention to it about once a week. So by my calculations, considering how many times I was seeing stuff like this, there are approximately 18 thousand errors on NBC 15 every minute of every day.* It felt like every time I looked up at my television, something very wrong was being projected back at me.

(*Your math may vary.)

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(Yes, the headline is worrisome and we should be focused on what's important. But I couldn't sit idly by while 'nealy' floated across my TV screen like a turd in a pool. We can worry about the budget later. Or never. Hey, it is Wisconsin after all.)

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('Occasional' is a difficult word to spell from memory, I'll admit. Fortunately, Spell Check was invented 30 years ago.)

According to my friend (and from my logical deductions), working at a local news station is a fast-paced, deadline-chasing race against the clock. There sometimes isn't enough time to, you know, look at the monitor before you hit that 'sumbit' button that publishes your work to the airwaves. I get that; but man, the errors just kept on a comin'.

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(Sumbit. So you didn't have to, I went to that website. It's available for purchase, as it currently doesn't exist on this or any other planet.)

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(I've looked at this one about a dozen times and I still have no idea what message it's supposed to convey. It may, in fact, be a broadcast from another dimension where it snows in August and nothing is what it seems.)

I eventually gave up on snapping a photo every time I saw an error (they certainly haven't stopped). My friend was threatening to bash my skull in with a crescent wrench, and the whole thing began to make me sort of depressed as well.

I mean, look. If you're in the market for a cheap proofreader, NBC 15, I'm your guy. I'm an insomniac with OCD and a valid Driver's License. Just run the copy by me beforehand. It wouldn't take any more than 10 minutes, 15 if I had been drinking the night before.

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Please hurry.

Sound off in the comments section, rightfully call me a hypocrite because of all the grammatical errors I've made over the years, and enjoy the rest of your week.