Saturday, October 25

CDP Top 30 Of All-Time ('06-'08) - #6.

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#6 - "Everything Plus One."
(Originally Published June 19, 2008.)

High School Graduation.
(Me and the Missus at my High School graduation in 2000. I was as awkward as you'd expect me to be at 18, and the Missus was looking unbelievably hot in her Band uniform.)

Today, me and the Missus celebrate our fourth wedding anniversary. Allow me to reflect upon this in the nostalgic, personal and hilarious manner you have grown to expect and appreciate from Wisconsin author, blogger and humorist, Ryan J. Zeinert.

The very first time I became aware of the Missus' existence was when I was a Junior in High School. The Missus had an older brother named Tyler that I always found intriguing and intimidating, and we shared a Business Enterprise class during his Senior year. Tyler was a pretty hardcore punk; he wore the same hoodie covered with patches every day, screamed his guts out in a local metal band and appeared as if he was constantly high (he was). This always interested me, and I was perpetually looking for ways to talk to the guy; to infiltrate his world. Now that he's my brother-in-law, he's no more than a really nice guy I see from time to time that is endlessly interested in the Civil War and has a fear of loud noises and balloons. Funny how things turn out.

Anyway, I remember one day in the Business Enterprise class, while working on the latest copy of the School Newspaper, our principal barked over the P.A. with a list of people that needed to come to the Front Office. One of the names was one that I had never heard before, but her last name was the same as Tyler's. "Could it be that Tyler has a sister?" I thought to myself. "And how fast can I make it up to the Front Office to confirm this theory?"

As it turned out, Tyler did have a younger sister; a Freshman named Celia that I had somehow never noticed until the day her name was announced to me over that loudspeaker. I immediately needed to get this girl into my life somehow, and the whole thing started rather creepily, if I may say so myself. A friend of mine gave me a photo of Celia, which I hung in my locker before even speaking to her. There's a great song by a Milwaukee band called The Benjamins which contains the lyric: "I've got a picture of you that you didn't give me. Be careful." I didn't really understand the emotional worth of that line until I became a living example of it. Chances are that I was going to push Celia away before even saying hello to her, which was my style at the time.

The first time I laid eyes on her, I knew that I was instantly in trouble. She was alluring as hell; her eyes sparkled with rebellion and intelligence, and her hoodie was also covered with patches, but for bands that I actually listened to. She seemed angry all the time, and was a National Honor Society member that loathed the distinction and shunned anything that brought attention to her accomplishments and 4.0 GPA. This girl was dangerous, and it was as if she fell out of the sky to complete me. Truth was, however, that this wasn't the first time she had this effect on yours truly.

If you recall from my legendary essay, titled 'The Homecoming Quadrilogy,' you'll remember a chapter titled 'J. Crew & The Mystery Girl.' To give you the short version of the chapter in question, there was a beautiful girl that I had never seen before at my Homecoming Dance, and while I spent over an hour attempting to muster up the courage to ask her to dance, I realized that she was actually there with her boyfriend, leaving me heartbroken and destined for loneliness until the rapture. The M. Night Shyamalan twist to this tale was that the mystery girl in question was the Missus, and I would eventually go on to see her naked and marry her. Staring at her photo every day in my locker failed to click the connection in my cloudy, 17 year old head, but meeting her in person made me realize that fate was seeing to it that we end up together.

Apart from worshipping Celia from afar, the first time we officially spoke was in the Summer of 1999. Me and my friends ran into her and her friends at a punk show in Oshkosh, and I truly became smitten with her. She was bright and funny, tentative and shy. Reserved with moments of wide-eyed astonishment. She was either very deep, or astoundingly bipolar; either way, I was going to find out. I invited her to a concert that my band was to be playing later that month, and when she showed up, I felt like the luckiest guy in the world. Only problem was, she still had a boyfriend; the very same Mr. J. Crew that ruined my night at the Homecoming dance.

We all know what it's like to want someone that you can't have. It's a feeling that unites all of us in solidarity; the wretched, helpless, emotional longing and overtly-whiny pain that comes with wanting so badly to love and be loved in return. To combat this pain, you do what all teenagers (and adults) do when faced with such a cruel fate. You start acting really, really weird. You lock yourself in your room all day. You stop eating. Your poetry output increases by 400%. The Smiths suddenly become your favorite band, and you sit on your roof, shaking your fist into the night sky, wondering why God would put such a perfect human being in your life that you couldn't touch. To this day, few feelings are more dense, affecting and crazy annoying.

That night, at my band's concert, we did a cover of Green Day's 'Basket Case,' and I invited Celia onstage to belt it out. As I sat behind the kit and watched her studded jacket sway in front of about 50 of the drunkest kids I have ever seen, I felt way worse than I should have. This sucked. I wanted her.

When the show was over, I slurred in her ear, "Do you believe in fate?" I honestly can't remember how she answered, but it didn't matter. I believed in fate, and that's all that counted.

2001
(Me and the Missus (along with two other guys) conquer Wisconsin in 2001 with the power of Punk Rock.)

After the concert, I started to develop more of a speaking relationship with Celia. I became friends with her friends, we wrote letters and may have even exchanged a phone call or two. In retrospect, it's clear that Celia liked me at this point, but she was smart enough to know that friendships are ruined by relationships, and besides, she had a boyfriend in another city that was older, handsomer and richer than me. I hadn't a chance, so I stayed polite and remained the quirky background noise in her life.

To pass the time and dull the unbelievable pain this was causing me, I tried out other relationships that were almost instantly ruined by the obvious fact that I was hurting. I wanted to be with nobody but her, and it showed. My emo phase was at critical mass, only it was real, legitimate emotion (besides, the term 'emo' was barely a blip on the radar at the time). The peak of this came while I was at a concert with Celia and her boyfriend, and I had to stand behind them for the majority of the evening and not puke all over the bar. Soul-crushing, this was.

Fortunately, the cards were in my favor, mainly because Celia's boyfriend was an absolute prick with little-to-no redeeming social values. It was only a matter of time before he shot himself in the foot, and Celia took this opportunity to get out while the getting was good. She dropped the news on me while I visited her at the supermarket where she worked (which had the brilliantly original name of 'Food Mart').

MISSUS: "Hey, I wanted to let you know that I broke up with ____."

CDP: "Oh wow, really? Gosh, I'm really sorry about that."

(In reality, my stomach had gone ice cold, as I realized that nothing stood between us. It was scary as hell, and as someone who has never been dealt a fair hand, it almost made no sense.)

MISSUS: "It's okay. I'm happy."

CDP: "Let's go out for dinner."

MISSUS: "Okay."

To this day, Celia's ex-boyfriend is one of only three guys whom I would pummel with my bare hands if I ever saw in person again (The other two will be revealed at a later date). You may think that this is due to a long-standing and completely unnecessary grudge I hold against him for keeping Celia away from me for so long. Truth is, it has to do with a verbal confrontation we had shortly before they broke up. I won't get too far into it, but the guy didn't take too kindly to his relationship fizzling out, and he did some things to the Missus that I see no need to forgive. Furthermore, it's been a long time since I've hauled off and cracked someone that deserved it, and I think that my Homecoming story deserves a more heroic ending, even if it is nine years after the fact.

That night, me and Celia went out for a dinner at the best Italian restaurant I could afford with a $6 an hour job; Fazoli's (say what you want, those breadsticks are incredible). We spent the next few hours getting to know each other beyond the music, preening, posturing and various other crap that kids do to maintain the image they want to present to others. It was that night that I became aware that me and Celia connected on a far deeper level than what bands we thought were cool. Sure, I had no idea that she would be doing my laundry a couple of years later, but I still thought it was a good talk.

We tried to stay cool about everything. We tried to pretend that we weren't becoming a couple. We tried to act like all normal friends wrote ten letters a day to each other and drove to graveyards in the middle of nowhere just to talk. Truth was, we were hopelessly falling in love with each other, and it was so effortless that I felt as if it was almost too easy. The girl that I worshipped from afar, the girl that was always just a little bit out of reach, was now calling me. Writing me. Kissing me before classes and hanging my photo in her locker. It was too good to be true.

2001
(The Missus mocks my haircut in 2001, and I mock her choice in soda.)

The next few months were the most romantic and memorable of my life, as me and Celia took our love to the streets and became inseparable in every way. Food tasted better. I could listen to pop radio without crying. We made fun of everyone and everything in our path. Nudity was commonplace, and the sky rained down gifts of forgiveness and acceptance onto my person.

The feeling of suddenly loving someone and being loved back is the most addictive and potent feeling in the world; it's what married folks refer to as 'The Spark.' We all want to experience 'The Spark' non-stop, that's how amazing of a feeling it is. Hell, marriages end because of people jonesing for 'The Spark.' For the time being, our Spark was cresting over us like the second wave of a DMT trip, and it was unlike few things I've experienced. We had built this dream together and were standing strong forever; nothing was going to stop us now.

But there were roadblocks.

For one, I had a lot of bad habits to shake off. The women I had previously dated allowed me to get away with such obnoxious habits as wearing bowling shirts, listening to Rap Metal, not reading books and generally being a douchebag. Celia, on the other side of the coin, was prone to bouts of craziness. Many a night, I would have to sit on the phone for hours and take barrage after barrage of accusations that, in retrospect, had almost nothing to do with my moral character. Mostly, they were just because I would forget to call or something.

Hmmm...maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all.

I could imagine Celia's late-night revelations, while sleeping on the floor of her constantly-messy bedroom. "My God, I'm dating a.....dude! A real-life, acne-speckled, Limp Bizkit-listening dude! I'm so much better than this! I've read The Catcher In The Rye 18 times! There's a Screeching Weasel patch on my jacket! I saw the Descendents live when I was 12 years old! How could I have possibly ended up with this lowlife?"

Back at my house, I was having similar moments. "I should have known she'd be insane. I mean, look at her. She's beautiful, she's too smart for her own good and she sees through absolutely everyone. Nobody like that can stay uncrazy for long; it's impossible. It's only a matter of time before she stabs me to death with an Olive Fork, and I'll deserve it for trying to hard to acquire her. Fate is a cruel bitch, and I had it coming."

The fights we had during the first year of our relationship were some of the worst we've ever had. I punched walls. She broke antiques. I cried a little. She cried harder. The arguments were more so than any fight about money, work, time management or any other 'adult' problems we've faced since then. Teenage emotions cannot be reasoned with, and the superficial things we argued about in 2000 seemed worlds more important than the crap we shuffle around in 2008. That's the way it always is; when adults tell you that you'll look back on the things you worried so much about as a teen and get embarrassed, don't listen to them, because at the time, they're the most important things in the world. Hindsight is for losers; live in the present, and never feel bad about the things you hold dear, regardless of how big of a pansy it makes you look like.

2002.
(In 2002, the Missus was still beautiful, and I was still wearing braces. Ignore this, please.)

Anyway, me and Celia had experienced our first year of courtship, which had taken us from the top, to the bottom, and back to the top as far as our love for each other went. I graduated from High School in June of 2000, and decided to do absolutely nothing with my life until she graduated in June of 2002. During that time, I worked at the Hardware Store and socked away enough cash for us to move to Madison and go to college. Who said I'm not responsible?

Well, I'll be paying off the student loans until the end of time, but hey, we own a house, so suck it.

In the span of those two years (2000-2002), we had started a band and toured all over the state of Wisconsin. We released an album, experienced celebrity on the lowest of levels and got engaged. I began to realize that we were capable of taking on anything that stood before us, and I knew we were ready to take the next few steps into eternal adulthood: Living together, College and Marriage.

In 2002, we moved to Sun Prairie, and the rest is history, it would seem. As you're well aware, I graduated college in 2004, launched the CDP in February of the same year and married the Missus that June. I also realize that I don't have a single CDP essay about my time in college. Weird.

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(In 2008, the Missus owns you, and I've done what I could to salvage my dignity.)

We've been married for four years, and we've been a couple for almost nine. I'm proud of this, and I'm proud of my wife. Never mind the fact that she buys me groceries and makes sure I don't leave the house with grape jelly on my pants, but I'm proud of what she made me. If you, the CDP reader, find me the least bit interesting, alluring or worthy of sharing a beer with you, you can thank the Missus for whipping me into shape. In tune, the Missus can thank me for turning her into a more patient and logical soul, even though I still always have to help her calculate the tip everytime we go out to eat. We're still working a few kinks out, it would seem.

I will spend the bulk of our anniversary in my garage, itemizing a ton of old clothes and pants that we've accumulated and subsequently discarded over that last decade. As I do this, I'm reminded of an episode of The Simpsons, where Marge and Homer spend their anniversary at the dump, looking for a new motor for their refrigerator. It makes me laugh, and as I look at the remnants of our past, comprised of faded shirts, CD's, books and toys, I'll do so with the comforting thought that I'm one of the luckiest guys that I know.

If you had asked me in 1999 where I'd be in ten years, I would have given you some dumbass answer that I actually believed was the truth. I would have told you that I'd be a sports broadcaster for ESPN, or perhaps still working at the hardware store, making six bucks an hour and living in my grandparent's basement for eternity. In reality, I live in a big, new house with my wife of four years, and my non-intrusive office job gives me the financial security and free time necessary to pursue my ever-evolving career as a writer. None of this would exist without the Missus, and quite frankly, it can all go away forever as long as I still have her with me.

2007.
(Taken the first day we got our iMac in 2007. We're the biggest idiots you'd be privileged enough to meet.)

This essay was more than a little masturbatory and probably uninteresting to anyone who isn't Celia, but screw it, this one's just for her. Just consider yourself lucky that I don't write stuff like this every day, because I totally could and I totally wouldn't get sick of it.

Happy 4th Anniversary, Celia. I love you more than everything plus one.

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day.

Friday, October 24

CDP Top 30 Of All-Time ('06-'08) - #7.

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#7 - "Free MySpace Poetry."
(Originally Published October 9, 2006.)

Free MySpace Poetry!

Are you a sensitive boy or girl on MySpace? Are you pining for that perfect piece of poetry or prose that will perpetuate your pathetic pomposity? Do you want to appear emotional and deep, but just don't have the effort and creativity?

Look no further!

We here at the CDP have composed Free MySpace Poetry just for you! Simply choose the piece that best represents your suffering, lifeless and eternally tortured soul; then copy, paste and watch the friend requests roll in!

Beginner Section.

BEGINNER SECTION.

Example #1 - Four-Line Sonnet (ABCB):

My heart cries so loudly,
From the tower, I shall fall,
And wait for my sweet Prince(ss),
To suck the tears from my eyeball.


Example #2 - Haiku (5-7-5):

Never say goodbye
To the girl (boy) you hold so dear
Just kill them instead.


Example #3 - Limerick (AABBA):

My soul is a flawed creation,
When it's padded with pink insulation
That makes my skin itch,
And I cry like a bitch
When my TiVo records the wrong station.


Example #4 - Rubaiyat (AABA):

Tonight I'll slit my wrists in two;
Anything to prove that my love is true.
But I suppose I should just begin
By simply saying hello to you.


(Fact: MySpace is owned by the Fox Network.)

Intermediate Section.

INTERMEDIATE SECTION.

Example #5 - Cinquain (ABABB):

The moon was as full as my tummy
When we left the Chinese place.
The Egg Foo Yung was yummy,
Even though I despise their race.
(I need a pointed hood to hide my face.)

Example #6 - Terza rima (ABA BCB...):

I'm sporting gorgeous Emo hair;
Admiring my reflection in the mirror.
Why is life so unfair?

Why has God put me here?
With my expensive clothes and credit cards?
Everyone thinks I'm a queer.

Example #7 - Ottava Rima (ABAB AB CC):

You have to take those photos down
From your gallery on Flickr.
Your Elementary School graduation gown
Is making my heart beat quicker.


Your profile says that you live in my town,
And now I'm feeling a bit sicker.

Please don't let me end up on Dateline.
No, please don't let me end up on Dateline.


(Fact: 35-54 year olds make up 41% of MySpace users.)

Yep, that was me.

ADVANCED SECTION.

Example #8 - Rondelet (A4b8A4a8b8b8A4):

When I'm with Mom
She buys me things I can't afford.
When I'm with Mom
Not Communist like Vietnam.
A hat, some gum, a new skateboard
I'll tell you, sir, I'm never bored
When I'm with Mom.

Example #9 - Petrarchan Sonnet (A8BBA8 A8BBA8 C8DE C8DE):

This girl's been on my mind again.
Last name Portman, first name Natalie;
Cooler than a million Mortal Kombat fatalities,
But I can't use cheat codes to win.

She rules over my heart again.
Like a sovereign principality.
Ying to my Yang in this duality.
Sieze me like eminent domain.


I saw her on the bus today.
I said "I loved you in The Professional,"
"For a twelve year old, you looked quite well."

She blasted me with pepper spray.
And I headed over to the confessional

Because Catholic boys go straight to hell.

Example #10 - Shakespearean Sonnet (ABAB CDCD EFEF GG):

When the world comes crashing from above,
I'll meet my maker, face to face.
He'll ask me how I lived and loved,
And I'll reply, "On MySpace."

I'll tell Him how I stayed indoors,
Adding friends and searching names.
Taking photographs of liquor stores,
With my tears just out of frame.


"MySpace is no more than spam!" He'll exclaim.
Brushing the black hairs from my eye.
"In all My creation, I've never seen something so lame."
"I'll see to it that Tom's friends all die."

I understand now, why He was so stern with me.
From now on, I'll only visit the CDP.

(Fact: He who dies with the most friend requests...still dies.)

Feel free to use as many of these as you want; I'll leave it up to you if you want to credit theCDP.net or not. I'm just here to help.

Thursday, October 23

CDP Top 30 Of All-Time ('06-'08) - #8.

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#8 - "Adventures In Cyber Sex."
(Originally Published March 12, 2007.)

The following post is rated:
The following post is rated TV-14.
For sexual content and dialogue.

PART 1 - THE PRESENT.

During a lunch break last week, I was playing pool on Pogo, as I'm sometimes known to do. On the rare occasions when I play against another human player, I refuse to chat with them in the sidebar, as I'm far too focused on winning the game and voiding myself of all human contact. I'm far too old to be 'chatting' with anyone, let alone someone who lacks all basic grammar skills and wants to beat me at pool. Both pride and dignity are on the line, here.

As luck would have it, this day was a little different. I was minding my own business, shooting pool against my silent robotic opponent, when it was suddenly replaced by a living, human being. The screen name was like, xXxSk8erBaBy996xXx, or something to that effect. I took limited notice and continued my game, as she started yapping to herself in the sidebar:

xXxSk8erBaBy996xXx: hay baby

Silently, I focused on my game. I knew she was trying to confuse and disorient me, thus giving her an advantage on the pool table. Little did she know, she was dealing with a skilled and unshakable veteran of the green felt. I wasn't going to be like all those other losers. Not today.

xXxSk8erBaBy996xXx: wanna cyber?

Just as I was focusing on nailing the 9 ball in the side pocket, my right eye slowly wandered over to the sidebar and noticed this little nugget of sinister information. Against my best judgment, I spoke up.

theCDP: No. I want to play pool.

xXxSk8erBaBy996xXx: RUgay?

theCDP: That's not important. I'm on lunch and want to play pool.

xXxSk8erBaBy996xXx: i wanna play 2 lol.

"That's it," I thought. "I'm outta here."

This particular game of pool was for all-important Ratings Points, however, so I didn't want to leave and get a loss put on my record (I already know that my priorities are messed up, so don't bother mentioning it). Instead, I remained calm and continued playing.

xXxSk8erBaBy996xXx: wat do u waant to do 2 me?

theCDP: I want to finish this game and eat a Pop Tart.

xXxSk8erBaBy996xXx: nooooooo

theCDP: Yeah, that's what I'm into these days. Pop Tarts are all the rage.

At this point, I knew that I was either being screwed with by a messed-up woman or a very messed-up man, so I just stayed coy and toughed it out. If you ever think that you're conversing with a beautiful woman who likes to talk dirty to strangers in Pogo chat rooms, you might want to seriously re-evaluate your life.

xXxSk8erBaBy996xXx: im horny

By this point, I was looking over my shoulder to make sure nobody was around. I've never felt dirtier playing a game of pool in my life, save for that one time at my Dad's bar, when I was playing against a drunk woman whose tube-top fell around her waist about three shots in. True to drunken form, she refused to remedy the situation until the game was over.

xXxSk8erBaBy996xXx: i said im horny.

theCDP: You know, I seriously doubt that.

xXxSk8erBaBy996xXx: oooooh i am baby

Shaking my head, it was now my objective to out this person for the fraud and impostor that they were. I really don't like being manipulated, especially considering that I've never met someone who was a better manipulator than myself. You just can't beat the master.

xXxSk8erBaBy996xXx: how old RU?

theCDP: How old are you?

xXxSk8erBaBy996xXx: 14

Instantly, ice water filled my veins. It was as if someone had dangled a gargantuan spider in front of my computer monitor that had TNT for legs and cocaine where its body should be. I shot my legs out and flew back in my chair, clicking on anything that even remotely resembled a red X. I've seen Dateline; I know what they do to horrible people like me in jail. I'd be passed around like currency, nicknamed 'Vasoline Dream' and fitted for a pink riding crop.

I was already imagining Chris Hansen showing up at my house that night, clutching the Chat Log and asking me just what I thought I was doing acting this way.

"I just wanted to play pool! Why, God? Why?"

I did nothing wrong, but I was still too sick to eat that Pop Tart. My afternoon was ruined.

Yahoo! - 1994
(This is what Yahoo! looked like in 1994, in case you weren't around for it.)

PART 2 - THE PAST.

The main focus of this post was to tell the story I'm about to tell you now. What happened last week merely reminded me of this long-forgotten tale.

This must have happened, gosh, over 12 years ago. It was in an AOL chat room during the early days of the Consumer-Friendly Internet. It came during a time when I was at least willing to attempt to be a completely different person online. An alter-ego that wasn't afraid of women, didn't mind getting naughty and knew exactly what to say.

You know, an asshole.

I should interject here and state that I'm simply awful when it comes to Dirty Talk. I can't do it; I never have and I never will. There are just some words out there that make me blush and giggle like a schoolboy every time I hear them (titmouse, woodcock, titpecker), and it will probably always be that way. I wish I could sit here and tell you that I'm an absolute stud when it comes to each and every facet of gettin' it awn, but we both know that's just not true.

At the end of the day, the Missus doesn't need me to be shouting obscenities or whispering sweet nothings, because she usually likes to ball gag me, instead. I married her because she knows that I cannot play The Mating Game to save my sorry, dumb ass, and she's totally cool with it.

Sometimes, she even lets me stay up late and watch TV. With cookies!

Internet-wise, I'm not capable of typing something that I wouldn't be able to say out loud to someone. I'm a man of facts, not a man of fantasy, and slipping into a fake and dirty persona is almost impossible for me. Even in 1995, when I couldn't wait to be a different person than the loser I had become.

I guess that's how I was raised; stacked to the rafters with guilt and shame, pushing all lustful feelings into the pit of my stomach until I eventually went out and skinned some hooker alive.

But on this night, I was ready to dip my toes into the fast-evolving world of cyber sex. It wasn't long before I realized that I had no business being in the pool in the first place.

SexyInsomniakGrrrl: A/S/L?

theCDP: 18/M/CA, you?
(In reality, I was 13 and lived in Larsen; an unincorporated town in Wisconsin.)

SexyInsomniakGrrrl: 21F/MA

theCDP: Das' cool.
(Go Red Sox! I was feeling better already.)

SexyInsomniakGrrrl: Wat u do for a living?

theCDP: I'm a writer. You?
(Okay, the lies were coming easier now. I was in the zone!)

SexyInsomniakGrrrl: Stripper
(Beautiful! The role playing had begun, and I was poised at the ready. She was probably a 45 year old man, but I wasn't in the mood for reality at this point. Lie to me, baby!)

theCDP: Rad!

SexyInsomniakGrrrl: Did u jus say 'RAD?'
(I sometimes forgot that I was the only kid in the world who said 'rad' in 1995.)

theCDP: Sorry. I guess I'm an idiot.
(That was strike one. I really didn't want this super-hot fantasy stripper to ditch me, so I had to focus.)

SexyInsomniakGrrrl: um....ok

theCDP: So...do you have implants?
(I wasn't going to waste any more time with 80's surfer talk and chit-chat; I went in for the kill. Besides, that's a tactful enough question to ask a stripper, right?)

SexyInsomniakGrrrl: nope, 38DD all natural.
(Now we're getting somewhere. I put in Green Day's 'Insomniac' album and shut off all of the lights.)

SexyInsomniakGrrrl: and I'm only 5'3"
(Um, okay. Even as a rookie in the cyber-sex game, I still think that she should have throttled back a bit. Either she was completely full of it, or she was 400 pounds, fantasy or not. I left it at that.)

theCDP: Wow.
(This was the sound of me officially running out of things to say. I honestly never thought the conversation would go this way. Furthermore, I was feeling ickier by the second.)

SexyInsomniakGrrrl: Yea, they like bowling balls, lol

SexyInsomniakGrrrl: Wanna go bowling?
(Oh, what a move! A metaphor! I get metaphors! Of course I want to go bowling!)

theCDP: Hells yeah!
(It took silencing every intelligent voice in my head to write that. Sometimes you have to write like a typical idiot if you want to be treated like a typical idiot. This was one of those times.)

SexyInsomniakGrrrl: So....wats your avg bowling score?
(What? Average bowling score? What was she referring to? Did I misunderstand? Were we actually talking about bowling now? Gosh, this cyber-sex stuff is hard! Not wanting to look like an idiot, I came up with the best answer I could think of.)

theCDP: Oh, about 280.
(That'll turn her on.)

SexyInsomniakGrrrl: Wow, u must like big girls!
(Oops, strike two. I silently nodded my head and began to wonder what I was doing here in the first place. How could it be that I was actually a far smoother talker in reality than in fantasy?)

theCDP: Sorry, I lost track of the metaphors.
(Stupid me, breaking character again. Why is this so difficult for me? Think man, think! You're a writer, damn it! Get literal!)

SexyInsomniakGrrrl: well, try and keep up or youre gunna miss out!

theCDP: Yes, ma'am.
(Even in a fantasy world, I was coming off like the biggest loser alive. Maybe there was just never any hope for a guy like me.)

SexyInsomniakGrrrl: Sooo....wat you wanna play?

theCDP: I don't know.
(I was getting depressed at this point, because I really didn't know. Scrabble and Jeopardy were my top two choices at this point, as there was no chance whatsoever I was going to make this work for me, despite all the effort in the world from my new stripper friend. I guess I was just a loser, and no amount of distance between me and the world was going to hide that.)

*SexyInsomniakGrrrl Has Signed Off.*

Take your fantasy and shove it.

PART 3 - THE FUTURE.

Do people honestly chat anymore? I had no idea that these avenues still existed in such a massive quantity until I started watching the Dateline specials last year. I guess no matter what my ego may convince me of, trends don't simply disappear just because I've moved on from them (see: Punk Rock, Meat, Zubaz).

What was once a mecca and cornerstone of the Information Superhighway now resembles more of a graveyard than anything. Chat rooms now are full of young people who have just connected to the Internet for the first time, and older people that possess a 6-figure porn collection. In that regard, I guess it's just like the old days, only much creepier now that I'm older.

As far as I go, I never fully learned how to properly seduce a woman with my words. Sure, people tell me that I have a halfway sexy radio voice and I can make anyone laugh, but I just can't help but use these powers for good instead of evil. If I'm not allowed to be honest, I crash and burn, and everyone around me knows it. As far as I'm concerned, it's better for me this way.

When me and the Missus started dating, we spent a lot of time together chatting online. As our relationship and feelings for each other grew, so did the overall tone and mood of our conversations. This came naturally for me, as everything I was saying was the truth, and I knew what was waiting for me on the other end of the fiber-optic cable.

Perhaps my unwillingness to adapt to fantasy and suspension of disbelief is an illness, instead of an advanced evolutionary trait? Perhaps I shouldn't feel sorry for everyone able to turn off their conscious every once in awhile; perhaps they should feel sorry for me?

I don't know for sure, but I'll tell you this:

I'm never playing pool again.

Wednesday, October 22

CDP Top 30 Of All-Time ('06-'08) - #9.

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#9 - "Talking Sex With The CDP."
(Originally Published October 12, 2007.)

I'm Too Emo For Color.

I was reading Pointless Banter the other day, when I saw Kevin re-answering teen sex questions originally published in Seventeen magazine. His theory was that teenagers needed real-world answers to their real-world misconceptions and troubles concerning romance and intimacy, and Seventeen just wasn't doing the trick. Never one to pass up an opportunity to steal someone's idea, I asked Kevin for permission to plagiarize and officially hopped on board.

This week's topic is 'Kissing.' I took all questions straight from About.com, and replaced the terrible answers with my own, along with a little real-life experience. You're welcome, and you don't even have to thank me when you're getting more free kisses than Richard Dawson.

Damn, I'm old. Let's go.

1. When is it okay to give somebody a first kiss? Is it okay to kiss on the first date?

The Facts: Personally, I've never kissed someone during a first date, but it wasn't for a lack of trying. You're supposed to kiss when you both feel you want to kiss, and if it means 10 minutes into the night, so be it. On the other hand, if it takes a few weeks, that's fine, too. Just make sure it's mutual and not forced. This is supposed to be an original and unplanned thing; don't think there's a script you need to follow. If you're a whore, be a whore. Don't lie to yourself or your date. Lying is a bad way to start off a relationship; far worse than being easy.

The Story: I once shared a first kiss with a girl in the parking lot of a police station. We had been driving around for hours because she didn't want to go home, and we pulled in at around 2am because I was running out of gas. She was shooting hints in my direction like crazy, but they mostly deflected off of my thick, Neanderthal forehead. Eventually, she said "You know what? I can't take this anymore!" and proceeded to straddle me in the driver's seat. For the next 5 minutes, I mainly tried very hard to keep my eyes peeled and not get arrested.

2. How can I tell if he/she wants me to kiss him/her?

The Facts: If a girl wants you to kiss her, she'll lay the positive hints on pretty thick. If she doesn't want you to kiss her, you'll get equally rejective hints. Anyone who thinks that females are the masters of subtlety when it comes to romance are seriously misguided, and maybe even a little slow. Just keep your head up and don't read too deeply into every little movement. Focus on the sure things.

If you don't know for sure, you might want to ease into the situation with a little bit of suave honesty. "I really want to kiss you right now," seems to get the job done if the mood is tense enough, and since it's not phrased in the form of a question, you'll be able to pick up responsive cues from your date beyond a simple 'yes' or 'no.' Take what is given to you, and don't force. Trying too hard to get a kiss on Monday will make it all the more difficult to get one on Tuesday.

If you're trying to figure out if a guy wants you to kiss him....you know what? If you're a girl, you can pretty much do whatever you want. Don't worry about it; he wants to kiss you. Concerning same-sex relationships, I would argue that the advice is pretty much the same, just slightly more adorable.

The Story: I once had a girl sing me the entire 'Shoop Shoop Song' (It's In His Kiss) to my face, and still I didn't get the hint that she wanted me to kiss her. Eventually, she just kind of grabbed me before I had a chance to make another dumbass mistake. I used to get womanhandled a lot, because I was an idiot with decent fashion sense. I'm a married idiot now, which mainly means that I'm lonely a lot. Gives me time to write stuff, though.

3. How do I politely put on the brakes when my bf/gf starts pushing kissing to the next level?

The Facts: If you're a girl that wants to slow things down, you just need to remember a few things about dominance and pacing in a relationship. What you must understand and take advantage of is that you're in control of the romance, always. You hold the key, you control the future and make the decisions, you just probably don't know it yet. Once your boyfriend realizes that nothing will happen without your approval, he'll start treating your opinions with a little more respect. A few nights of cold showers and soggy sheets will set him straight in no time. Be honest; tell him to take it easy. If he knows what's good for him, he'll lay off.

If you're a boy that wants to slow things down, just be honest and direct. You're going to get dumped, no matter what. Women don't wait, because they don't have to. For every girl that you want to slow things down with, there is an entire line of guys just begging for the chance to speed things up. You're screwed, but at least you have your dignity. Try not to cry in front of her parents when they're driving you home, though.

The Story: When I was young, inexperienced and slightly embarrassed with my lack of skills, I wanted to slow things down quite a few times myself. My thought was that I'd look like an idiot if I didn't know what I was doing. I now know that a girl will not mind at all if you suck at making out. What they will not tolerate is rejection and stagnation. It's considered hurtful and insulting to make them wait, and again, they really have no reason to hang around for your self-esteem to perk up.

I've since learned to just strap in and do a terrible job. At least you went for it, right?

4. I have braces, is there a trick to kissing with these things on so that neither one of us gets cut?

The Facts: Yeah, just be gentle. Don't get all teeth-bumpy and whatnot; that's pretty gross, braces or otherwise. Your partner will learn that it's not a good idea to lick your molars when making out (or ever), and it will be a complete afterthought in just a few minutes of practice.

The Story: I wore braces for...gosh...at least 5 years, and I cannot recall a single time when they came into play on the smooching field. Again, just don't be a pig about it. If you're both wearing braces, however, I can't really help you there. That's just dangerous, not to mention, nerdy as hell.

5. My bf/gf has bad breath which makes kissing not so fun, how can I let him/her know without hurting his/her feelings?

The Facts: Nobody wants to be near someone that smells like ass and cat food, much less accept their tongue inside of their throat. However, not everyone knows that they are offensive to everyone around them. These specific people are called 'single men,' and need to be treated like children to properly educate and train.

By the time you get to a certain point in a relationship, you'll be able to just be honest about it and let your partner know that they taste like crap. In the early stages, though, it's best to just offer them some gum or a swig of grain alcohol beforehand. If they get it, they'll get it. If they don't, then you might want to stop kissing them for a while until they get their hygiene under control.

The Story: Now that I'm married, the topic of bad breath isn't an issue. Brutal honesty has long-since replaced tip-toeing around a sensitive subject. If we're in bed and things take a turn for the smoochin', we'll stop to brush our teeth or hit the mouthwash. You really should always be doing that before you go to bed, though. And flossing. You gotta floss.

Before marriage, though, I used to go out with a smoker. While I hated the habit (borderline retarded and unrelentingly idiotic) and forbid her from smoking in my car, it was impossible to fully remove the smell of cigarettes from her maw. She knew that it was an issue that I held some objections to, so she was nice about it and carried Tic-Tacs everywhere we went. It didn't get the job done, but I was willing to compromise.

Also, I never went out with someone who wasn't previously aware of my OCD and fear of germs, so it wasn't like they were thrown for a loop when I freaked out over something of this magnitude.

6. Is kissing somebody else when you are in a relationship considered cheating?

The Facts: To me, cheating is defined by your significant other (along with your overall level of happiness). If he or she thinks that something is symbolic of unfaithfulness, then you need to follow those rules as a caring partner. If he or she thinks that going to a strip club is cheating, then you might want to lay off the lap dances. If he or she thinks that watching pornography is cheating, then you might want to hide the cable bill next month. It's a sliding scale that's all at the mercy of your partner, and you pretty much have to follow it for as long as you're with them. It doesn't matter if you think what you did is cheating or not.

However, your partner needs to stick to the rules they set at the beginning of the relationship; no changing the game halfway through to accommodate their side of an argument.

The Story: My sliding scale of adultery breaks down like this. If the Missus wants to do something that she wouldn't want me to do, then we're going to have to sit down and talk about it. Our relationship dictates a certain level of respect and not-acting-like-a-douchebag, and we keep communication channels open to maintain that trust.

A few months ago, the CDP sponsored a lingerie party at a local nightclub. The Missus didn't want anything to do with it, as nudity, scantily-clad masses, bondage and other various forms of debauchery were set to take place. She knew why I was going, though, and also knew what I'd be doing while I was there (sipping Sprite, watching football, shaking hands and playing Ms. Pac-Man), so it was all good. Had she been offended by my attendance, I wouldn't have gone, because once again, you need to follow the scale of your partner.

So, do I think that kissing someone else is considered cheating? To me, it depends on the circumstances, which I'm about to go into with this next question...

7. If I kiss somebody in the heat of the moment does that mean I have to start a relationship with him/her?

The Facts: Look. Things happen. Some people look at casual kissing no further than casual hugging. Some people hold far more importance to the act. It really all depends on who you smooch.

The Packers won the Super Bowl? George W. Bush ate a shotgun on national television? These acts may be emotionally moving enough to cause you to plant one on anyone within planting distance. In these cases, it's an admission of joy, just like a hug, and should be treated as such. It really has nothing to do with the kiss itself.

A few years ago, I got drunk at Ben's wedding reception and kissed his neighbor's dog. You don't see us going out, do you?

The Story: On my last day of High School, I was approached by the younger sister of one of my friends. I guess she had a crush on me, and assumed that this would be the last time she was going to see me. Without saying a word, she pinned me up against the lockers and stood me straight up with a hard kiss on the lips. She grinned and exhaled out of her mouth like she was possessed, walked away, and yeah, I never saw her again. I understood why it happened, and I allowed it to be as such. She deserved to be reckless, and I deserved a no-strings-attached kiss.

This would have been the end of it, had I not been going out with the future Missus at the time. She was slightly less forgiving, and this girl in question knew that I was taken. Not so cool. Strings were attached, and feelings were hurt. Make sure that doesn't happen, and you're kissing someone who is aware of your nonchalant feelings beforehand.

Things happen, though. People kiss people. It's okay as long as nobody gets hurt (see above), and it stays innocent.

8. Why do I sometimes get red and tender patches around my mouth after kissing my boyfriend?

The Facts: He needs to shave a bit closer. It's called whisker burn, and it's almost unavoidable in feverish, teen make-out situations. Take it a bit easier, or suffer the pointy caress of a crappy, teenage mustache. As you get older, you'll soon realize that romance is chock-full of uncomfortable positions and red, tender patches. They never discuss that sort of stuff in the movies. Friction equals heat; it's basic Physics.

The Story: If I don't shave, I typically don't get kissed. Simple as that. The Missus expects certain things from me, and looking like a caveman is strictly forbidden with the punishment of no naughty business. So, every time I look myself in the mirror each morning, I'm faced with a very important question. Do I want to please my wife, nurture the love and respect that I have for her and be rewarded with the pleasure of her close company today? Or, do I want a beard?

9. Is kissing your pillow really a good way to practice?

The Facts: No, not really. The human head and mouth has little to no similarities to a pillow. If you don't already know that, you're going to be very surprised once you start having sex.

If you must, practicing on your arm is better, because it's made out of skin that's warm and attached to a living body. It doesn't hurt to bend your arm and give that crease in your elbow a go, too. If you want to work your tongue into the mix, it doesn't matter what you do, because it's not going to be like the real thing (we'll be discussing sex at a later time, by the way). If you're simply shooting for form and pacing, you might want to try kissing a stuffed animal; anything with a face, really. Just not your brother or sister, please.

The Story: When I was a kid, I practiced like crazy. I practiced on my pillow, my arm, stuffed animals, the TV set, Cindy Crawford posters; you name it, I was pressing my lips against it. Not so much to simulate what it was going to be like, but mainly to throw myself into that fantasy and hopefully prepare myself for as little embarrassment and humiliation as possible. I can't remember if it did the trick, but I've never gotten anything less than praise throughout my life.

I can still tie a cherry stem in a knot with my tongue, which is admittedly a super-greaseball thing for a 25 year old to be doing at bars, I must say. I'll never do that in front of company again.

10. I kissed a friend of the same sex, does this mean that I am gay?

The Facts: Nope. Not even a little bit. I've kissed many of my guy friends, typically for humorous purposes, dares and the like. Don't start questioning your sexuality until emotions start coming into play. The act itself is borderline meaningless.

The Story: When we were all in our teens, myself and Ben convinced The Missus and Sherry to kiss each other. They had been friends since early childhood and never once did it, so me and Ben thought it would be really hot and cute to see those two finally lock up. When they did, it was the single most deflating and un-sexy thing I've ever seen. I don't know how they pulled it off, but it was a total letdown. We haven't asked them to do it again since, nor do we plan to.

Me and Ben continue to kiss on a regular basis, however.

So, there you have it. 10 tips and answers to your burning questions concerning the Act of the Kiss. Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your weekend.

Tuesday, October 21

CDP Top 30 Of All-Time ('06-'08) - #10.

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#10 - "A Life Without Tires."
(Originally Published April 24, 2007.)

A Life Without Tires.

At 6 o'clock this morning, I heard my wife's cell phone ringing.

Wiping the crust out of my eyes, I pinched myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming and rolled out of bed. Just seconds ago, I was celebrating my incredible and inspirational win at the PBA Championships, rolling yet another perfect 300 game; my 19th perfect game overall. This occasion was all the more historic, however, because I had been shot in the ankle by a rival bowler just prior to the tournament. I saw through the pain and persevered though, hoisting my trophy while "We Are The Champions" played and I was carried off by my legions of fans. This was all happening in slow-motion, of course.

Yes, this is what I dream about. But I was awake now, and the phone was still ringing.

We didn't make it out to the phone in time, so the call was dropped. As we both goose-stepped around the kitchen, hypothesizing as to who it might have been on the other line, my cell phone began to ring. Clearly, someone was trying to get a hold of us now, and it couldn't wait until after The Price Is Right. Hell, it couldn't even wait until Regis & Kelly.

"I wonder who died," I said to the Missus before I answered.

People don't call you at 6am with good news. It's always bad. Trust me, since the birth of the telephone, nobody has ever been rushed out of bed because their friend won a tin of jellybeans at the County Fair two towns over. That kind of story can wait until after brunch. Nope, I've never gotten a call between the hours of 2 and 6am that I've looked forward to, nor will I ever.

Naturally, I was cringing when I said hello. I was waiting for the sobs of a grieving relative on the other end of the line. Either that, or the sound of a Federal Marshall informing me that they were in my driveway, and I should just come out with my hands up before they put a large hole in me. I even checked my bare chest for the red laser dot.

"Hello?"

"Hello!" chimed a voice far too cheery for an early-morning phone call.

"Um, hello? Who's this?" I said back. I was so groggy and out of my element, it could have been my doppelganger on the other line, and I still wouldn't have recognized the voice.

"It's Sherry."

"Sherry who? Are you a telemarketer? Because if you are, you just ruined an awesome Bowling Dream, lady. You should be ashamed--"

"I hate you."

As it turned out, it was our lifelong friend (we signed a contract) and new neighbor, Sherry. Apparently, she destroyed her tire on a pothole yesterday, and awoke to find it flat just before she was heading out to work.

I was quite aware of the pothole in question. We have a PetSmart on the East Side of town that has nothing short of a living, breathing sinkhole in the parking lot. I've seen ice cream trucks disappear into this thing, and Sherry thought she could just speed up and go over the top of it.

Now, her right front tire was shredded and she was late for work. It needed to be changed, but she didn't know how. Ruh-roh!

Sherry's husband Ben was working two hours north at the time, so she called me. I get the feeling that she must have called everyone she had ever met in her last 22 years on Earth before she settled on dialing my number asking for automotive assistance. I'd rather attempt to explain the ending of 2001: A Space Oddesey to a dog before even considering popping the hood on a car.

"Hey, do you know how to change a tire?"

So, there I was. Standing in the kitchen in my boxer shorts, six in the morning, approaching a huge crossroads in my path to becoming the least dependable person on the Goddamn planet.

"Um....no."

Yeah, that's right. I never learned how to change a tire. Oh, I know I should learn, you can save the lecture. It just has never come up until now. I always figured that when I finally got a flat tire, I'd just leave the car for dead and settle into whatever town I happened to be in at the time. Maybe get a job at the local grocery store; start a new life. A life without tires.

"You don't know how to change a tire? But you're a man!"

"Yeah, but just barely. Here, talk to my wife."

My Father-In-Law could change a tire in his sleep, so we arranged to have Sherry call him up. If anything, he'd tell her to call a tow truck and shuffle back to bed, much like me and the Missus were about to do. Guilt and feelings of worthlessness were plaguing me, but I didn't know how to change a tire, therefore I had no way of really helping her out.

Trust me, she did not want me to come over there and start tinkering with stuff. Within 30 seconds, I'd have a pulled groin, the bumper would be completely removed for some reason, and two other tires would be flat. I was actually doing her a favor by leaving her out to dry.

As I was getting ready to go to work, I was feeling like a real douche nozzle. I felt like I had let down a friend that had a certain amount of faith and respect in me. I mean, if you let someone down once, chances are they're not going to ask you again if they need help. It may have been the easy way out, but I honestly didn't want that. I may be functionless and lazy on the surface, but deep down, I want to be the person you call when you get locked out of your apartment. When you need a pickle jar opened. When you need to put your cat to sleep. I want to be that guy, but I refuse to take the necessary steps to be in that position of responsibility.

Looking in my bathroom mirror, I looked back at myself and scowled. I was a turd.

An hour later, I pulled out of my driveway and headed off to work. Down the street, I saw Sherry, still sitting in her car, looking pathetic and talking on her phone. Sure enough, her tire was still seriously flat; and sure enough, I still didn't know what to do. I pulled in to let her know that I was a monolithic loser, and she shouldn't ask me to do anything for her ever again.

As it turned out, she was waiting on a tow truck, and she would be charged a little for them to come out and throw the spare on. However, because she was a Saturn owner, they would replace and take care of all the other stuff at the dealership for free. I guess there are some perks to driving one of the worst cars on the road today (don't tell her I said that; her car is way nicer than mine). In the end, she was just a little late for work, and probably out about 20 bucks.

This was a big deal for me, though. Karma isn't good to me, and I knew that this meant that I was going to get a flat tire of my own...and soon. I'd probably deserve it, too.

Furthermore, this meant that I needed to start accepting more adult responsibilities now that, you know, I'm 25 stupid years old, and I've lived on my own since I was 18. How I've made it this long without crashing and burning is beyond me, and I realized that I didn't want to find out.

I buy self-cleaning litter boxes because I'm too lazy to provide basic turd-scooping needs for my cats. I live in apartments and condos because I don't want to do any lawn care or landscaping. If anything breaks in the house, I call a maintainence guy to come over and fix it. The last time I looked under the hood of my car, it was to change the brake fluid, and it took me over 5 minutes just to find the right hole to dump the liquid into. I have jumper cables in my trunk that still have the 'Happy Birthday!' tags on them, and my wife already knows not to call me when something goes wrong.

For God's sake, is there anything more unappealing and sad than a guy who can't do these things? I mean, it's absolutely pathetic. This flat tire was the wake-up call I so desperately needed to function at the base level as every other guy in the world. Yes, it took a borderline-emergency situation to make me realize that I was completely unreliable.

Hey, if you need a Haiku or poem written, you know who to call! Can't remember the name of that one guy that used to be on that one show? I'll be there in a jiffy! For everything else, forget about it! You know I can't get my hands dirty! So what if I only live 50 yards away! Hell, do you know how long it took me to write this entire story? An hour. I can yank a hilarious and meaningful essay out of absolutely nothing in less than 60 minutes, but I can't work a freaking wrench?

DAMN!

Yes it was just a flat tire. Sure, it wasn't even my flat tire. But it made me a better person.

After work tonight, I'll hit the gym for an hour. Then I'll spend an hour in my garage, forcing myself to become a tire-changing machine.

It's the least I can do.


HOW TO CHANGE A TIRE:

1. Find a safe spot to pull over. If you're on the freeway, pull over as far onto the shoulder as you can. Don't park in the middle of a curve, where approaching cars can't see you from far away. Also choose a flat spot; jacking up your car on a hill can be a disaster. If you have a manual transmission, leave your car in gear. Be sure to set your parking brake!

2. Turn on your hazard lights. Get the jack, wrench, and spare tire from the trunk of the car and bring them over to the tire that is flat. Use other tools or supplies if needed.

3. Use the wrench to loosen the lug nuts. You may need to remove the hubcap. Don't remove the lug nuts at this point; simply loosen them by turning the wrench to the left (counter-clockwise). If the lug nuts are really tight, try placing the wrench on the nut and standing on the wrench arm to use your full weight on it. You can also try hitting the wrench arm with a rock.

4. Use the jack to lift the vehicle off the ground. Different car models may have different places to put the jack; consult your owner's manual for specific locations. Once the jack is securely in the correct spot, jack up the car until the tire is about six inches off the ground.

5. Remove the lug nuts and pull the tire off the car. Make sure to place the lug nuts in a pile that won't get scattered, and pull the tire straight toward yourself to remove it from the wheel base.

6. Place the spare on the car. Line up the lug nut posts with the holes in the spare, and push the spare all the way onto the wheel base until it can't go any farther.

7. Put on the lug nuts. Don't put them on tightly, just make sure they're on enough for the spare to stay on the car for a moment.

8. Lower the car back to the ground. Use the jack to bring the car back down to ground level. Remove the jack from underneath the car.

9. Make sure the lug nuts are tightened. With the car back on the ground, you can now tighten the lug nuts. Rather than tightening them one by one in order, start with one lug nut, tighten it about 50%, move to the opposite nut (across the circle) and tighten that one about the same amount. Keep tightening opposite lug nuts gradually in turn until each lug nut is as tight as it can be.

10. Put your flat tire and tools back in your trunk. Make sure you don't leave anything on the side of the road.

Monday, October 20

CDP Top 30 Of All-Time ('06-'08) - #11.

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#11 - "Grumble, Alone, Grumble, Polysics."
(Originally Published October 24, 2007.)


PART I.

As you may remember from a few weeks back, I all but whizzed myself when I heard that Polysics, The Greatest Band In The World, were coming to Wisconsin for the first time ever. I instantly grabbed two tickets, a VIP parking pass for The Rave in Milwaukee (you don't want to park too far away; it's in a punchy and stealy part of town) and I was all set.

Polysics were in America because of the ironic and embarrassingly-titled 'MySpace Music Tour,' but I was happy nonetheless. Tickets were $20 each, but after $15 for parking and $7.80 apiece for a handling fee (purchased online and printed by myself, mind you), I had broken the $70 mark to see an opening band play for no more than a half hour.

HelloGoodbye and Say Anything we co-headlining the show, and that mattered to me about as much as the surviving members of RATT getting back together; it seems like a fun idea beforehand, but the true weight of your poor decision is felt upon hearing that first, unfulfilling chord of sadness and regret. HelloGoodbye write catchy songs and they're uber-popular right now, but they still haven't figured out how not to be terrible in a live setting.

Still, I was optimistic. The Greatest Band In The World had finally brought their carnival of Japanese insanity to my doorstep, and I wasn't going to let cash and a potential mugging stand in the way. Nothing, nothing, was going to get in between me, Polysics, and complete happiness.

But, boy was I tested.

PART II.

Fate doesn't want me to enjoy things. I've known this for years now. Anything that I look forward to is almost instantly met with failure, shattered hopes and potential jail time. To combat this assurance that I'll never get what I want, I've learned to cultivate happiness from other, smaller avenues, such as Skittles commercials, or when the neighbor kid falls off of his skateboard and snaps his wrist in two. I'll take what I can get, and you would too, if even the sure things in life let you down on a minute-by-minute basis.

The first snag came when I found out The Missus couldn't come to the concert with me. She had a medical sleep study scheduled for that evening, and if she canceled, she wouldn't have been able to get back in until the war in Iran was over with. Besides, it's never good to stop breathing in your sleep, so I understood why this was more important than watching foreign people in orange suits.

"No problem," I said. "I'll just find someone else to take the extra ticket. How hard can it be? I don't even want anything for it." I felt good, knowing that I was going to give a free Polysics ticket to a friend, and have a travel buddy to boot. I quickly got on the phone and tried to brighten someones day.

PART III.

Eight people.

Eight goddamn people turned me down. I don't even have eight friends; how was that even possible? I was giving away a $35 ticket, offering to drive and pay for gas; hell, I'd even let you rest your head on my shoulder if you fell asleep on the way home. Why was this so freaking hard?

So, when the night of the concert finally arrived, I was on my own. I had to drive to and from Milwaukee (about 75 miles) alone, and worse yet, I had to attend a concert by myself. A concert in which I'd be seeing my honest-to-goodness favorite band, and having absolutely nobody to share the experience with. I cannot fully describe how sad that is.

You seem like a well-adjusted person. Someone with a lot of friends. Someone who has never had to go out to dinner by themselves. Someone who has never had to go to the movies alone. Certainly someone who has never lived a lonely enough existence to go to a concert alone, right?

Well, I'm not like you. I'm a writer with anxiety issues, I'm good at losing old friends and I suck at making new ones. Defiantly and more than a little pissed off at the world, I hopped into The Wild Stallion v3.0 (with 2 tickets), and hit the road. At least I could sing out loud in the car without anyone making fun of me.

PART IV.

I say this as someone who's been to The Rave about 60 times, but I hate that place with a blistering passion. Their security sucks, they oversell shows, they let people smoke even though it's clearly banned throughout the building, soda costs $5 a cup and it seems as if assholes are attracted to the place like a maggot to a turd. Perhaps that's just the entire city of Milwaukee in general, beats me.

Outside of the venue is no different. My friends have been mugged, we've had things stolen from us, we've had car windows smashed in and we've been hassled by bums and beggars too many times to mention. It's like they built a crack house and decided to let bands play in it. Sadly, they're one of the only games in town when it comes to bigger-name acts in Wisconsin, so I'm always there for some reason, grinding my teeth and sucking back a $5 glass of ice cubes.

I'll say this, however, their VIP parking is rad as hell. For $15, you get to park about 10 feet from the front door, right amongst the tour buses and security. Nobody screws with your car and you get to stand in the vicinity of whoever happens to be playing that night. For me, it was HelloGoodbye, which was cool, but not as cool as if it were Polysics. Now that I've seen Forrest Klein up close, I still want to simultaneously tell him he writes a catchy song whilst punching him straight in the snoot with a raised third knuckle.

So, alone and parked next to the tour bus, I walked into the venue with both of my concert tickets. I figured there would be some sad kid hanging around without a ticket, and I'd bound in and save the day like a pale, sweaty, Knight of Sadness.

No dice. It figured.

PART V.

It was pouring outside, so I wore my faux-leather jacket into The Rave, as I was pawed at by two different security guards and barked at like I already did something wrong. Even though I wasn't drinking tonight, I still got myself a wristband to show the scene kids that I was old enough to murder them and probably get away with it if they decided to give me a makeover or something.

One of my tickets was ripped in the lobby, and I was escorted into the bar area, where everyone was being corralled while Polysics wrapped up their sound check in the main hall. Through the window, I could see them tuning their instruments and rocking out like there were 10,000 people in front of them, even though the room was empty. I made a note to remember how awesome I thought that was, and I hope you do, as well. For a band that's been together for over a decade, it made me smile to know that they were still so energetic and passionate about their music. I knew I was. Even though they are one of the biggest acts in Japan, they are virtual strangers in America, and were forced to open for 3 sub-par acts and pretend that they didn't have a problem with it. Good for them.

"Wow, it's really going to happen," I said to myself. "They're really here."

Now that I was amongst about 50 sweaty kids in a stale bar, I started to get a little hot. I decided that I wanted to put my jacket back in the car. No problem, I figured, my car is just outside the door. I don't see why anyone would have an issue with--

"Where do you think you're going?" Asked a security guard that was both younger and thinner than I was. I could have picked this guy up by the ankles and shook the change out of his pantaloons.

"Um, I'm just putting my jacket back into--"

"No re-entry!" I heard, shouted in unison from three different guards, who were now circling me like I had a lit stick of dynamite. Woah.

I tried to reason with them. "Listen, I'm right outside that door, if you--"

"Forget it, man!"

"Fine," I said, suddenly realizing that I had an extra ticket in my back pocket. I decided that since I was already unhappy and they were unreasonable enough to not stamp people's hands for re-entry, I decided to screw with them a little bit.

I got right in the guy's face and said, "F*** this s***, I'm leaving."

"So long," said one of the fatter dudes. "Don't try to come back in."

"Yeah, we'll see about that," I shot back.

Confidently, I strided over to the car and threw my jacket into the backseat. I stood in the rain for a bit, watched a few cars go by and took in a breath of the night air. I laughed out loud to myself and shook my head at the bizarre way the night had begun. Then, I threw the doors of the venue back open and got back in line.

The fat guy recognized me. "Hey man, I thought I told you that--"

I wagged the extra ticket in my hand, gave him the biggest jackass grin I could muster, and said, "Hey, look what I found!"

It was almost, almost, like a Mentos commercial. If the guard would have broke into a smile and playfully shook his finger at me, it would have been divine. Instead, he roughly tossed me out of the line, tore my ticket with malice and sent me back into the bar. I was still smiling.

Yes, I'm aware that I essentially spent $35 to place my jacket in my car. Don't remind me; I'm trying to be a smug prick, here.

PART VI.

Aware of how much money I was out and how miserable I was, considering I was about to see Polysics, I made the most (ie: worst) of the evening, and I plopped down my first $5 of the night for a tablespoon of Sprite. I found the closest wall to lean against and waited for the doors of the venue to be opened. There, I eavesdropped on many conversations, watched juveniles make out and shook my head in disgust for what had happened to the scene I had loved so much as a teenager. The punks I could handle; these kids were just silly. Punk never goes out of style; these kids were purposely out of style. Whatever; at least I'm not going to look back at photos of myself and get all embarrassed at how much of a monumental tool I was at the time.

These kids think it's funny to make the same fashion mistakes that their parents made, but what they forget is that the ironic humor of the statement is long gone, replaced with the sad realization that this is actually the style you're stuck with, now. How does it feel to be the punchline of your own joke, butthole?

I'm not bitching because I'm out of touch, don't get me wrong. I'm just saying that there's a huge difference between the super-watered-down scene of the 90's, versus the super-watered-down scene of the 00's. I don't mind the music at all (I own both HelloGoodbye albums, actually), I just grow weary of people defining themselves by what they listen to, or (God help them) wear. I don't consider myself an Indie snob or anything; just a guy that has gotten over trying to project an image of himself through dress or song. IT'S NOT REALLY WHO YOU ARE. I'm sure of it; I was there and I came to that conclusion right around my 20th birthday.

A haircut doesn't make you sensitive. A t-shirt doesn't make you insightful. A band doesn't complete you spiritually. If you think they do, then you need to look in the mirror for a second without trying to snap your photograph at the same time.

PART VII.

I secured myself a spot right up front, as I now knew that Polysics would be opening the show. Next to me, two girls and guy were chain smoking and constantly brushing their patented 'MySpace Hair' out of their black eyes. The guy looked more androgynous than the girls did, and he was wearing an unfortunate shirt about dancing or 'jamming' or whatever. Like Patton Oswalt says, being hip apparently means wearing the dumbest t-shirt you can possibly find, confident that your hipster status will offset the sheer douchebaggery of whatever trash is hung around your neck. Watch that clip, it's hilarious.

I also quickly realized that the only teenagers dumb enough to smoke cigarettes that night were either skinny guys or fat girls. Interesting to me and nobody else, I presume.

Already a little upset with the fact that I was alone, broke, old, hassled by security, alone, old and alone, I got another chance to get furious when the emo boy in front of me threw his lit cigarette behind him without so much as looking, striking me in the pant leg. The girl he was with saw what happened, and she tucked her head under her over-sized trucker cap and turned the other way, thinking that I would see her as someone too cute to kill with my bare damn hands.

It looked like she told him what had happened, and they skittered and giggled like it was some inside joke that I didn't get. Apparently, they didn't think I noticed what had happened. However, when I looked up after stomping the smoke out, they noticed the fire in my eyes and got visibly scared when I stepped up to them, puffed my chest out and stared them down.

Politely, but not to be taken lightly, I said "Look next time." I made it clear that under no circumstances was I in the mood to laugh off an event like having my pants lit on fire.

They silently nodded and turned back towards the stage. They didn't look back or light another smoke for the rest of the night. I didn't feel the least bit bad.

If it would have been 1994, the kid that tossed his smoke at me would have done it on purpose, we would have gotten into a fistfight and emerged best friends. Nowadays, the guys are too fruity to even be outward jerks. They're all passive-aggressive (read: female) about it. I understand that you make yourself look sensitive and cute to attract women (worked for me), but you eventually reach a plateau where you're more feminine than the girls you hang out with, and you just become another friend of theirs. No sex, no making out, not even a glimpse of a bra, simply because you didn't know where to draw the line when it came to being girly.

Someday, I'll publish an advice manual dictating exactly how cutesy you can get with a girl before you blow your chances of going out with her. It'll be like a Jeff Foxworthy act for indie kids:

"If you're wearing her eyeliner...you just might be a blah-bloo-blah."
"If your hair takes longer to style than hers...you just might be a blee-blah-blort."

PART VIII.

Okay, so where are we? Oh yeah, the show hasn't even started yet, has it? Damn.

Taking a quick look around before the lights went down, I realized that there were probably 50 people in the entire venue at this point. It was like one of those surreal dreams where your favorite band plays in your living room, just for you. It was finally happening. After all the years, the millions of yen I've dropped for their imports, all the support and waiting, Polysics lunged onto the stage and proceeded to tear up the lower level of the Eagles Ballroom like Godzirra busting through downtown Tokyo.

It was everything I thought it would be. I wasn't bothered by anyone around me and they played with as much energy and heart as I've seen in the hundreds of YouTube clips I've memorized. Their shortened set list consisted of almost everything I wanted to hear them play, and there were around 10 other kids in the audience who were just as excited as I was. Everyone else was converted by the end of the set, feverishly clapping along and pretending they could understand what they were saying. It's an amazing thing to watch a band win over a room, but that's exactly what Polysics are doing each night of the MySpace Poop Pants Music Tour.

Good for them; I don't want them to be my little secret anymore. I want everyone to know how amazing they are. I want them to be wealthy and free to make spastic music until the end of time.

For those 30 minutes, it was all worth it. The money, the loneliness, the jerks and the hassle. I'm usually not the type of person who can set his baggage down long enough to enjoy something fleeting, but I did this time around, and it was the best decision I made all night. Polysics owned with a capital 'P,' and although I had nobody to share the experience with, it mattered not for a moment.

PART IX.

Once they said goodbye and exited stage left, I was once again alone and angered by everything around me. The douche who hit me with the cigarette earlier in the evening was exclaiming something along the lines of "Yay! Japanese people!," and I wanted to hurt him and his ignorance badly. Instead, I walked around The Rave and took in the sights.

I bought some Polysics merch that would have cost me a fortune to obtain online, told the guy to keep the change and headed back to the bar. On the way, I got a glimpse as to what entailed a 'MySpace Pedophile Breeding Ground Music Tour.' Rows of mobile computers, all set to MySpace, were there for you to go online and view bathroom mirror photos of your loser friends. On the other side of the lobby was a 'makeover' station, where honest-to-God stylists were sitting kids down and doing their hair. I breathed deeply, shook my head and got a beer. Maybe if I were drunk, I'd care less and learn to just go with it more.

As I slowly sipped, leaning against the wall as the next band set up their equipment, I realized there was someone leaning next to me. A young woman, maybe 18 years old, decked in black and sporting a cute haircut, supporting her broken leg on a pair of crutches. I glanced over to her and she smiled back; for a second, I think we both became aware of the humor of the situation.

Just then, Young Love, the second band on the bill, started playing their special blend of crap-pop. They were terrible; just the stalest, blandest, scene-est schlock you can imagine. I cannot fathom how these guys can go on after Polysics night after night, fully aware that they've just been smoked by one of the best live acts on the planet. I wondered how they slept at night, and I secretly hoped that their bus would explode.

Screw HelloGoodbye. Screw Say Anything. I'm leaving.

PART X.

I just couldn't take it anymore. I couldn't take the fact that I was alone. I couldn't take the fact that the music was terrible and I couldn't take the fact that I was in a room full of people I wouldn't even consider inviting into my home. It was depressing, the money was already spent, and I'd had it. For the third time in the evening, I passed my security guard friend, tossed an ice cube at him while he wasn't looking, and hit the road. It was nice to see my car right outside of the place.

Driving 75 miles home in the rain, I thought hard about my experience, and came to one logical truth about my current state of living. If it weren't for my wife, I'd be in a serious heap of trouble.

It's no wonder that single people go out all the time; it's lonely being single! For as reclusive and secluded as I pretend I want to be, this night was sheer torture, and I wasn't about to forget that feeling. I hadn't seen the Missus in around 16 hours at this point, and I knew that I wouldn't see her again for another 20 (we've seldom spent more than a day apart in the last 8 years). I made a point to understand how it feels to live and function alone and without my better half, as to remind myself that I don't want to live that way, regardless of what my Id has to say on the subject. I need that girl with every fiber of my being.

When I got home, the house was empty and quiet, leaving me with nothing but tinnitus in both of my ears. The note on the kitchen table reminded me that yes, the Missus misses (ha!) me and can't wait to come home. It was around 10pm, and I decided to go to sleep, even though I had the next day off. I was done.

I slept in the middle of the bed with the cats, and hoped that she was okay at her study.

PART XI.

For the Missus, her night was going about as well as mine was. Her sleep study was supposed to begin at around 9:00pm, but they finally set her up at 10:30pm, which is way beyond her normal bedtime. After all the electrodes were stuck to her and the monitors were properly tuned, she attempted to settle down for a good night's sleep; at least, as good as one can have in a medical facility with people charting your every move and breath.

At around 12:30am, one of the nurses burned a pizza in the break room, causing the fire alarms to chime throughout the building. All of the subjects (including the Missus) had to be filed out into the parking lot, in the middle of the night, while the fire department showed up and assessed the situation.

As she stood alone, wearing a paper gown and still hooked up to all of the machines, she groggily said "Is this part of the study?" I can only assume she was thinking of me at that point as much as I was thinking of her back home.

They got everyone back into the building after it was determined that they didn't know how to shut off the fire alarm. The Missus tells me that she fell back asleep at around 2:30am, the shrill buzz of the sirens still echoing through the building. Something tells me that when they go over her results, they'll determine that her sleep was a little troubled. I'll be damned; I think they owe her another study.

Meanwhile, I was catching the end of Monday Night Football in my pajamas, pondering just how pathetic, fat and sad I'd be if I were single.

PART XII.

On the rare ocassions that I'm left alone with my thoughts, I get a little philosophical about my state of being (as seen in this epic rant). I always try to learn something about myself every day, and give myself some sort of daily moral to fall asleep with. For the night I had just experienced, I once again was reminded of the emotional worth placed in friends and loved ones.

When you're bad in prison, they throw you in solitary confinement. Think about that for a second. When they want to punish you in prison, they force you to be alone. Clearly, being alone is not something humans were meant to handle all that well. We're a living organism, and if we get separated from the pack, we'll wither and die. Or, most likely, go on a killing spree. I was out of my element for maybe 12 hours, and even that was enough to inspire this melodramatic essay.

I probably come off as needy in this. Clingy. Unable to be by myself. Nope, that couldn't be further from the truth. I love spending time on my own; it's why I write, it's when I read and it's when I do my deepest thinking. When it comes to sharing life experiences, however, it becomes readily apparent that experiences only matter if there's someone else to share them with.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Good memories will disappear unless they are shared. Remember that, even if it's the only thing you take from this.

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day.