Friday, December 7

Best Geek Ever.

Best Geek Ever.

1. According to the fine folks at Dane 101, I am having the BEST WEEK EVER! The premiere Madison blog discusses the press and attention that 65 Poor Life Decisions has received in the last seven days, along with my current #1 ranking in the Bloggers Choice Awards. They even drop some quotes from my Spork Nation interview; giving my boy JT some love in the process. Thanks Dane 101; I truly am having the best week ever.

All I need now are some washed-up C-listers to mock me in front of a green screen; maybe do some animation where Mary-Kate Olsen pukes on me or something. I love that stuff.

2. Once again quoting directly from my awesome Spork Nation interview, the 'Blooking Blog' mentions me as a forerunner in the 'Blogger-Turned-Author' movement. They go on to discuss what I meant when I talked about "bridging the gap between bloggers and authors." It's a good read, you can check it out right here!

3. In local news, I received some respect and notoriety from the Sun Prairie Star, when they mentioned the release of 65 Poor Life Decisions. Like the previous link, they also quoted my "bridge between bloggers and authors" line. Sun Prairie has been my home for over five years now, and I greatly appreciate them taking the time to recognize my little book.

Hey, I'm in the paper again!

Also, it feels good to be in a non-police blotter section of the paper, free of all mentions of the words "exposed genitalia."

Next week will bring more press, more interviews and more sold books. My goal is to keep this feverish pace up until around Christmas Day, where I can hopefully drop dead into a punchbowl of eggnog while wearing a sweater with a snowflake on it. Best. Death. Ever.

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy the BEST WEEKEND EVER!

Thursday, December 6

I Have A Large, Thick Package For You.

Get your mind out of the gutter.
(A post about shipping packages through the mail? Surely, it can't be funny or worth my time, right?)

ACT I.

A few weeks back, I spent a long afternoon in my office, crunching numbers and determining just how I could create a mail order system for 65 Poor Life Decisions without going completely broke and cashew-cake insane. My theory was that more people wanted to order the book directly through me as opposed to Lulu, because they wanted autographs and whatever other free merchandise, cat hair and perfume samples I planned on stuffing into the padded envelope.

So I put the time in. I calculated the cost of ordering copies of my own book. I ordered CDP pins and magnets to include (free!) with every purchase. I stocked up on black Sharpies, packing tape and fat bubble wrap. I have so damn much bubble wrap that I took a nap on a pile of the stuff last weekend. It's a heavenly experience, but rolling around on it virtually guarantees that you'll wake up with the terror of a man who thinks he's being shot at.

So, I incorporated all of these shipping supplies into my overhead cost, and found out what I needed to charge the fans in order to generate a profit that was almost identical to the Lulu profit I would have gotten regardless. I was trying to keep everything honest and charge people the bare minimum for the personal touch. Much like a DIY punk band or back-alley meth whore.

The balance was perfect. I was happy. The Missus was happy. My iMac calculator widget was happy. I threw a ton of money at the issue and embraced the hard work. My numbers were correct, my logic was airtight and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that this was going to be worth it. And so far, it totally has. I've sold far more books via mail order than I ever would have simply through online sales. I keep forgetting that most of my fans live off of the grid, shun debit cards and dwell in tar-paper shacks in the middle of Idaho, clutching a shotgun in one mitt and a bible in the other. How they can relate to my essays is beyond me.

My mother works at the post office, and she was designated the duty of calculating my shipping costs. The plan was to send all the books out via Priority Mail, which was secure and takes approximately 2-3 days to ship anywhere in the nation. I needed to make sure it was cost-effective, however, so I gave her a call while she was on the clock.

"Hey mom, I need to know if I'll be able to ship these books out Priority and still make a profit."

"Okay, how much does your book weigh?" She asked me.

"Um...I don't know. About regular paperback book weight."

"I need an actual number, Ryan."

"Um...six."

"Six what?"

(indecipherable mumbling)

"I need a weight, or this isn't going to work."

"Oh, okay. Sure, coming right up."

I set the phone down and looked around the kitchen for something to weigh this book with. For the first time in my life, it would have been in my best interest to be a drug dealer at that instant. Those guys keep small scales in their wallets, for Christ's sake.

Just then, I remembered that the Missus recently purchased a small scale in which to weigh her pet hedgehog, Laika. After all the pissing and moaning I did about such a pointless purchase, karma decided to goose my knob and once again remind me that I'm firmly not in charge of anything. I needed that scale now. That all being said, it is pretty adorable to see Laika get weighed, sitting so pathetically in a bowl on top of the scale, being judged, pointed at and ridiculed by myself and the Missus.

I set the book on the pink scale and read the display. "Nine ounces, mom."

"Great. Priority shipping will cost you about $2.10 a package."

"Awesome! That's exactly what I wanted to hear. Listen, if you're not busy this weekend, we'd love to invite you over for-"

(click)

Happily, almost merrily, I went about the number-crunching process, setting everything around the shipping specifications and reaching perfect monetary harmony between myself and the CDP faithful. Content, I curled up on my bubble wrap and dreamed sweet dreams of success and stray firecrackers.

ACT II.

The next morning, I took my first three mail order packages to the Post Office. They were stuffed to the brim with books and swag, sporting beautifully-printed address labels and expertly packed with love and care by yours truly. I felt good; like I was finally ready to reap the benefits of my hard work. While most people waiting in line were looking angry and impatient, I smiled like a dog that had all common sense bred straight out of him. I didn't care one bit; I was mailing my own books out to people who paid money for them.

"I'd like to ship these out Priority, please." I grinned ear-to-ear, while the man behind the counter slit my throat with his icepick stare (see? I can get literary, too!)

"No problem, douchebag!" He shot back. At least, that's what he wanted to say to me.

(bleep-bloop-button pressing-blorp)

"That'll be $8.95, please."

Hmmm. $8.95 sounded a little expensive, considering that it should have been around $2.10 a package, even taking into account the lightweight CDP merch, as well.

"Um, $8.95 for everything?" I asked again, just to make sure. I mean, I wasn't happy with the price, but it would still be okay if I cut some corners and-

"No, it's $8.95 each."

Pee instantly shot down the pipe with the reckless abandon of a fat kid on a waterslide, spraying the inner panel of my brand new jeans with little remorse. I saw my royalties vanish to the point of actually losing money for each book mailed out. It was over.

"Oh, man. There's got to be another way. I was told that Priority would cost-"

"It's $8.95 each for Priority," he snapped back. He had heard enough complaining today, he didn't need me in there whining because I didn't know how to read a kitchen scale.

"Damn. Is there any cheaper way I can mail these out? You see, I'm mailing out copies of my first book. You may recognize me from a little blog called the CDP. Why, just yesterday, I was voted the #1 Pop Culture blogger in-"

"Sure," he shot back. "You can send it as a Media Mail package. It costs $2.10 a package, takes 10 days to deliver and just gets thrown away if the address is wrong."

He looked up at me and smiled, knowing full well that he just slammed me, Postmaster-style. He knew I was screwed, and I knew I was screwed. Because of my error, I was now forced to mail my books out with the delivery equivalent of a rickshaw being towed by a quadriplegic. Slow, unreliable and embarrassing.

"Let's do it that way, then," I exhaled.

The old woman behind me in line perked up. "You know that you're standing in a puddle of your own urine, right?"

"Leave me alone," I said, as my Sketcher boots squished off into the sunset.

ACT III.

The second I got back home, I e-mailed the future recipients of the Media Mail books, letting them know what had happened, and that the delivery might take a little longer than expected. I also called my mom to let her know that one of us had messed up with the numbers.

"Hey mom, you messed up!"

"No I didn't, turd. I got your book in the mail today. It doesn't weigh 9 ounces, it weighs 1.8 pounds."

"Really?"

"Yeah, really. Priority shipping for 1.8 pounds is $8.95 a book."

"Crap. This is really going to put a monkey wrench in my money making scheme."

"Of course, you could just send them in a Priority envelope for $4.60. You do know that, right?"

"Pardon?"

(click)

So, here's the deal. It turns out that anything you can cram inside of a Priority envelope (not box) will cost $4.60 to ship to anyone in the nation within 3 days. Nobody bothered to tell me this until the last minute, because everyone within the United States Postal Service loves to watch me flirt with suicide. Including my mother, sadly. The shipping will continue as planned, you'll get your packages on time, and I'll still be rich.

More importantly, I think me and the Missus have been mis-weighing Laika. I don't know if there's a clinic for morbidly obese hedgehogs in the tri-state area, but I sure as hell hope so.

Please sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day.

Wednesday, December 5

Superficial Jackasses, Meet Your New Leader.

Suck it hard, so and so.

During a lunch break at the office yesterday afternoon, I clicked on the 2008 Bloggers Choice Awards page to see how things were shaking up. The CDP fared pretty well for itself in the 2007 contest, finishing in the Top 15 for the categories of 'Best Blog About Stuff,' 'Best Pop Culture Blog' and 'Best Humor Blog.' I was extremely happy with the showing; it sent a lot of extra traffic my way and made me realize that yes, my blog was resonating with people across the nation.

However, I was well aware of my limits. I'll never rake in a million hits a day with my funny stories, pop culture references and daily observations. I'll never be able to topple Wil Wheaton (hey, who would want to?) and Perez Hilton (despite his inherent lack of everything) in their specific categories, nor would the CDP ever rise through the ranks to become a household name, like PostSecret or I Can Has Cheezburger. I understood that going in, and it doesn't bother me one bit. My goal with the Bloggers Choice Awards has always been to rub elbows with big shots, get some additional traffic and see where I fit in.

That being said, my half-chewed vegetable panini tumbled directly out of my slack-jawed mouth upon seeing this pop up on my computer screen:

Suck It Hard, Perez.

That's the CDP, my personal blog, currently sitting at #1 atop the Bloggers Choice Awards in the 'Best Pop Culture Blog' category. #1 out of over 1100 nominated blogs, mind you.

Well, I'll be damned.

Yes, yes, I understand. The 2008 contest has barely gotten underway. Yes, I will tumble back to the bottom by the end of the week. Yes, I will eventually lose the award to someone who blogs for a living. I get that entirely. My blog barely covers pop culture anymore.

However, today I will rejoice and celebrate my three seconds of Internet Immortality. For nobody will ever take this fleeting instant away from me. The one moment that I was briefly recognized as the Greatest Pop Culture Blogger in the World.

Current Bloggers Choice Awards Standings For 12/04/07:
Best Pop Culture Blog - Ranked #1 out of 1153.
Best Humor Blog - Ranked #5 out of 1557.
Best Blog About Stuff - Ranked #4 out of 3276.
'The Blogitzer' (Best Writing Ability) - Ranked #3 out of 756.


To vote for me in all four categories, visit the links at the bottom of the sidebar. Thanks for all you've done already. If you only have one nice deed in you for the day, I'd really rather you purchase my book.

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your Hump Day.

Tuesday, December 4

Please Don't Shake The Lava Lamp. Thanks.

We have a paper Christmas tree this year.
(Paper Christmas trees are better than you by a long shot.)

1. The mail orders for the book are starting to come in, and will be fulfilled by me no more than one business day after receiving payment (lucky for you, I live 100 yards from the Post Office). I'm shipping one book per envelope, so if you paid for two books, you'll get two different envelopes. I'm also shipping no nude photos per envelope, so if you paid for three books, you'll get no nude photos.

2. I'll have more book press, reviews and interviews on the horizon, and I will make every scrap of them available here on the CDP. Not so much for you, but for my mom and what few close friends actually care about my limited accomplishments. The Missus has sent press releases out to local publications and newspapers, which may or may not be a good thing once initial reactions of the book start coming in. You don't want to promote a flaming turd any more than is absolutely necessary.

3. I plan on promoting the book pretty hardcore until around the end of the week, where the CDP will start its year-end activities (Albums Of The Year, Year In Review, Best/Worst Of 2007, etc.). For those who are wondering when I'll get back to the funny, you'll get your wish starting Monday. I've been waiting to get back to funny stories quite a bit, myself. Talking about myself in interviews has been a lot of fun, but I'm looking forward to talking more about myself in the recently past tense. It's just a totally different feeling, you know?

4. If you've been thinking about buying some CDP merch, know that they will undergo a complete overhaul in 2008, and none of the current line will be available. So, if you've been hankering for a CDP messenger bag or mousepad, you'd better do it before they're gone at the end of the year. Buy some CDP merch right now!

5. At my office of employment, I've recently developed a taste for the egg salad sandwiches they stock in the break room vending carousel. Because of this, co-workers and associates have accused me of being insane, having a death wish or just possessing horrid taste in lunch items. For me, I love egg salad, but even when made correctly, you can pretty much expect an afternoon spent on the toilet. However, I had a lucky streak with the 'wheel of death,' and started to get cocky, thinking that nothing could hurt me.

Well, that all changed yesterday evening. If you need me today... just don't need me today. I have to rest, drink plenty of fluids and scotchtape my asshole back together.

You know, I wasn't going to use that joke, but I found it far too funny not to type. I hope you understand and appreciate the internal struggle I had with it. Much like the struggle I had with 18 pounds of flaming lean tissue vacating my colon at light speed.

Please sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day.