Friday, August 3

Random Rules Friday.

Random Rules Friday!

Here's one that could use some reader participation in the comments section.

I've been listening to my iPod on 'random' this morning, and here are the last 20 tracks played; no skipping over embarrassing tracks allowed:

'Are You Experienced?' - Devo - Pioneers Who Got Scalped: The Anthology

(Devo is the best. I don't think there's another band out there that encapsulates my socio-political beliefs more perfectly than these guys.)

'Becky & The Girls' - The Automatics - The Automatics
(Early 90's Mutant Pop that's still just as much fun to listen to today. Think Screeching Weasel, but catchier know...good.)

'Is He Your Boyfriend?' - Antifreeze - Four Letter Words
(A Wisconsin pop-punk band that signed with Kung-Fu records several years back. I think my band played with them once or twice. Bleh.)

'Follow You Down' - Gin Blossoms - Outside Looking In: The Hits
(This song is great. I listen to it once every few weeks, and I never tire of it. The Gin Blossoms wrote some classic 90's rock songs.)

'The Party Song' - Blink-182 - Enema Of The State
(I haven't heard this album in forever. It wasn't all that bad, it was just seriously overplayed. I can still play this on the drums, sadly.)

'Jennifer' - Letters To Cleo - Wholesale Meats & Fish
(Kay Hanley = Better than you, and the voice of Josie & The Pussycats to boot! She has a great voice, writes great lyrics and is a Red Sox fan. Done.)

'New Blue Moon' - Traveling Wilburys - Volume 3
(I thought the best assembling of musicians on Earth would have played better music. Maybe it's still out there, but I haven't found it yet.)

'Strange Magic' - Electric Light Orchestra - Strange Magic: The Collection
(ELO is one of my favorite bands of all time. Jeff Lynne is an absolute genius in the studio, and wrote some of the catchiest and most memorable tunes ever.)

'Blue Moon' - Less Than Jake - Greased
(Another song I haven't heard in awhile. Less Than Jake covered the Grease soundtrack for some reason, and it's pretty awesome if you're a fan of the band.)

'Ashtray Monument' - Jawbreaker - 24 Hour Revenge Therapy
(For as much as I adore Jawbreaker, Algebra One took their formula and beat them at their own game. This is probably their best album, however.)

'Birds' - ALL - Live Plus One
(This is my favorite live album, because Ben is in the front row, and you can hear him on like, 5 different songs. Oh, and ALL rules.)

'Enough' - Dance Hall Crashers - The Live Record
(This is probably one of DHC's best tracks, which isn't saying too much. They were cute and catchy and all, but there were just too many better bands in the genre.)

'How's My Driving, Doug Hastings?' - Less Than Jake - Losing Streak
(Hey, another LTJ song! Losing Streak was the first LTJ record I ever bought, and their next release, Hello Rockview, is one of my Top 5 favorite albums ever.)

'On And On And On' - Catch 22 - Catch 22 Live
(Another ska track? At least it's a song from Keasbey Nights, the universally-accepted Greatest 3rd Wave Album Of All-Time, hands-freaking down.)

'A New Part Of Town' - Matt Pond PA - The Green Fury
(Matt Pond PA should be sharing radio and Pitchfork-space with Death Cab & The Shins. Why they aren't as popular is beyond me; they're just as good, if not better.)

'Zak And Sara' - Ben Folds - Rockin' The Suburbs
(Ben Folds has written some of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard. This isn't necessarily one of them, but that's okay. I still wish he'd get back together with Darren and Robert.)

'If Only' - Goldfinger - Hang Ups
(A lot of punks got pissed at Goldfinger when they put out a ska-influenced album, but I think that in terms of songwriting, this might be their best album besides Open Your Eyes.)

'The Sporting Life' - The Decemberists - Picaresque
(This song is great because Colin takes a typical, whiny-emo premise (I suck at sports), and crafts it the way only he can. One of the most gifted current songwriters, no doubt.)

'Broken Drum' - Beck - Guero
(For all intents and purposes, we should be completely sick of Beck and his schtick by now, but we're kind of not. It's the same feeling I have for the Beastie Boys.)

'Streetlights' - Josh Rouse - Nashville
(Josh Rouse is a dick, and I've only liked 4 of his songs. Still though, that's a far better percentage that Ryan Adams currently has in my book.)

So, my question to you is, what are the last few songs you've heard today? What did you play in the car? Hear on the radio? At work? There is no self-editing allowed; just the most recent songs, period, love them or hate them.

Sound off in the comments section and let us know the most recent songs in your head. Enjoy your weekend, yo.

Thursday, August 2

CDP Wayback Machine - Wedding Edition.

(Exactly one year ago today, I officiated my very first wedding for my aunt and uncle. Let's go back to the original post I wrote documenting that day in 2006, while I nap quietly in the corner. Shut the lights off when you leave, please.)

"The Wedding Post" - Originally posted August 2, 2006.

After a solid week of fighting the flu, I awoke in my Grandparent's den at 7am on Saturday. In less than nine hours, I was to officiate my very first wedding in front of 100 people.

As soon as I got up from the couch, I took a photo of myself to document this joyous occasion.

Ruh-Roh, I'm still sick.
(Censored for your protection. I was an absolute mess.)

I had to get better, fast.

I had slept for about 18 minutes the night before. For one, I was terrified of what sort of fools I would make the bride and groom to be; as well as what I could do to further fling myself down the ladder of respect within my family.

It was about 80 degrees in the den, so my sleep was ravaged with sweaty nightmares and subconscious ramblings. I kept thinking I didn't have the ceremony written down or I had to add something very important at the last minute. For a second, I actually thought that God was making me sick on purpose because He didn't want me to pretend to be religious. He knew I didn't practice an organized religion or go to church, so perhaps a few stray viruses my way would set me straight.

Fortunately for the happy couple (and unfortunately for my mortal soul), I fought through that crap.

The Backyard.The Tent.

The setting was the backyard of the happy couple, and it was quite beautiful. My mom had taken her duties as Wedding Planner to the next level, creating a fantastic landscape and comfortable area for said wedding. There was even a deluxe Port-A-Potty. Very posh.

Too bad it was 800 degrees out. It was three hours before showtime and we were plowing through sunscreen and Deep Woods Off! like it was going out of style.

A Flower of Some Sort.Nother Tent.

As the wedding party scrambled around, setting things up before the guests arrived, I poured over my script for the millionth time, making sure it was exactly the way I wanted it.

Scriptin' It Up.

I've done public speaking before, and I'm decent enough at it when I have to be. It's not like I prefer it or anything; it's just that people naturally assume that I'd be comfortable addressing a room full of people for some reason. This probably has something to do with me essentially doing it every day on this page. However, real life doesn't have a Backspace button. So, if I were to get up on the podium and start swearing or wet my pants, that would pretty much be the end of it.

In the end, I just have to trust my material. I don't like to ad-lib very much and go off-course; I like to know exactly what I'm going to say and how I'm a-gunna say it. Makes me feel safe.

I didn't feel safe today.

Before I knew it, guests were taking their seats and the Missus was straightening my tie. I honestly remember my own wedding as less stressful; it probably had something to do with the heat. My wrists were sweating through my shirt, which cannot possibly be a normal and healthy thing.

I'm Going To Hell.
(I'm behind the podium, yo. Also, that's the groom with the flower girl, NOT his bride.)

At the start, I was standing up there alone in front of everyone. I could feel them judging me with their eyes. "Why are you up there? You're a fraud. A fraud." I thought I was going to throw up, so I stepped down just as the music started playing. The wedding party emerged, laughing and happy as can be. I saw how genuinely excited and laid back they were about this, and I couldn't help but share their sentiments. After all, hiring me was their idea; they wanted me there for one reason or another, so I just had to do what I did best.

"So, do you want to get married?" I asked them as they reached the podium.

15 minutes later, it was over. Everyone was applauding and crying, and the bride and groom were embracing each other as husband and wife. It was something I never expected to be a part of, and probably will never forget. From what everyone told me, things sounded perfect and everyone did a fantastic job. I took their word for it, because I couldn't think properly.

The Best Man looked at me and said, "Can we get trashed now?"


Good Jorb, Wedding Planner.

Things got a little blurry, so here are nine things of interest that happened at the reception:

1. At least 4 kegs were drained. My family comes from a long line of drinkers, and they didn't fail to impress. I drank a wine cooler, as I am a stunning pansy sometimes.

2. At some point in the evening, the bride and groom hopped into the flatbed of a truck and sped to the nearest bar for a shot. They didn't return for at least 45 minutes. We contemplated stealing their television.

3. My mom tells me that the truck that drove them to said bar had a DVD player in it that was airing a porno. I'm telling you, when you think Midwest, you should always think 'classy.'

4. While the bride and groom were gone, someone stole money from the many cards they received. The suspicion was that a drug-addicted friend of the family made off with the loot. Yup.

5. I got a taste of what it was like to be a Holy man, in that nobody wants to party with you. A lot of the people there didn't know me, and assumed that this was what I did for a living. Therefore, everyone sidestepped around me, hid their beer and didn't swear. This got very annoying after a while, but I embraced the unexpected respect.

6. Sometime during the night, a fight broke out. Death threats were made, hearts were broken and punches were almost thrown. I was sound asleep by this point in time.

Drink Eight Glasses Of Water A Day.
(I'm not fat.)

7. As I was sitting at a table with my wife and mom, my mom noticed a kid playing by one of the rock gardens. She said, "I think that kid crapped his pants."

Sure enough, the small boy was walking around, apparently straining to hold his pantal contents in his jeans. After watching him struggle for a few minutes, we stared in horror as he deposited said contents onto said rock garden. He walked away, certain that nobody just saw him set a pile of feces onto a decorative piece of landscaping.

After a few minutes, people started to take notice. A semi-circle formed around the rock garden, and people were trying to figure out what it was. Photos were taken. Eventually, the truth came out and people scattered, gagging and spitting out whatever happened to be in their mouths at the time. The boy was reunited with his mother, who changed his pants and took him home.

8. After the party, a storm blew through that uprooted the tents and destroyed the CD player.

9. The bride's cat was wearing a bowtie.

None of that last stuff was really my fault, so I still think that the wedding was a complete success. Anything that goes wrong at a reception is blamed on alcohol and instantly forgotten the next day.

It should also be noted that as far as weddings go, I've been an usher, a groomsman, a best man, a groom AND a officiant. This is what's known in the wedding business as 'Batting the Cycle.'

Will I do it again? I don't know. All I know is that I couldn't be happier for my uncle and new aunt, and I wish them nothing but the best from here on out. I'll see you at Christmas.

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your Thursday.

Wednesday, August 1

Heinz Is Magic.

Straight from the ever-so-slightly troubled minds at Killer Sandbox Productions, here is Spot #2 of 3 in the Heinz 'Top This!' commercial contest.

If you recall from Commercial #1 in the trilogy, I threw a voice-over onto the end graphic. I intend to do the same with this commercial sometime this week. For full effect, just imagine me saying, 'Heinz's magic' over the last 2 seconds of footage. Dee-lish!

The third-and-final commercial should be up next week, and then we shall wait to see if any of the creations netted us a cool $57,000 (I've demanded 10% of the total prize money). In all reality, the first commercial is the money spot, and the remaining two are just exercises in bizarre bahavior; mainly because Ben thinks it's funny that the judges have to watch them. I couldn't agree more.

If you've noticed, I've been blogging 5 days a week, and keeping the 'humorous personal essays' fewer and farther between. There's a method to this, trust me. I'll explain later.

Enjoy your Wednesday. Lost back on yet?

Tuesday, July 31

Living On A Kernel.

Such Funny Titles.

As you may or may not know, my wife's aunt and uncle run a wildly successful produce distribution in the Northeast Wisconsin area. Anyone who cares the slightest bit about sweet corn in the Fox Cities is aware of Allen's Allenville Produce. It's a Midwestern institution, and you should probably stop by some day.

Just last week, a friend was manning the produce truck, taking money and helping out a large group of satisfied customers, when a private car rolled up with two men emerging from within. One of the men was carrying a handgun on his waist, and the other guy was Jon Bon Jovi.

Seriously. I guess he had played a show up north the previous night, and was traveling along his way when he decided he really wanted some sweet corn. According to eyewitnesses, he's very handsome but very, very short. Sounds about right.

I'm going to stop here, because I'm laughing too hard. We've finally surpassed the acceptable level of absurdity on this page. I apologize.

Monday, July 30

Where Something Happens, and Doo-Doo-Doot-Doo.

I Call The Gun Lamp!

I'm keeping this quick and relatively joke-free. It's been a long weekend, and I want to go to bed.

The Simpsons Trivia Contest was last Thursday night at The Old Fashioned in downtown Madison. My team arrived in character, in uniform and ready to destroy the 19 other teams in our way of Pop Culture immortality.

Beautiful Downtown Madison.

The Old Fashioned was top-notch, sporting Pabst Blue Ribbon specials, copious cheese plates and an awesome waitstaff. I've never been there before, but I'm totally going back the first chance I get.

PBR. A Wisconsin Tradition.

Once the 20 teams got situated at about 9:15pm, the contest got down to business. Me, the Missus, Sherry and Nathan 'The Ringer' Comp put our collective heads together and started picking apart the contenders and pretenders.

We're Ready To Roll.

There were 9 rounds of 10 questions each. Jesse Russell, the MC, was working hard and making sure that the whole thing went off without a hitch. I appreciated his efforts; it went really well, and I also enjoy it when he links to the CDP on Dane 101.

I Only Drink Classy.

The winner of each round got themselves a mini-prize and the overall winner won the cash (around $100, from what I could tell). After losing the first two rounds to 'Team Bitey,' The Hank Scorpio Experience started to pick up steam, eventually winning 3 individual rounds before the end.

As the rounds went on, Us and Team Bitey were fighting neck and neck for 1st place, as the remaining competition started to slowly drift further and further away from us. Considering the collaborative minds that I saw when I entered The Old Fashioned, I didn't think we'd be doing this well going into the final round. Nathan Comp was our savior. This guy was an absolute ringer, answering every question I didn't know. I seriously thought he was cheating for a second; that's how rad it was.

I Know Nothing.

Nine rounds and two mini-prizes later, the results were in.

We had finished 2nd to Team Bitey.

By two points.


We Made Off Like Bandits.

Nonetheless, it was a lot better than I had envisioned, we had a great time and got our admission fee back. We also won a Simpsons DVD and a frosted mug that I'm drinking Newcastle out of as we speak. Next time, we're taking everything; I guarantee it.

Thanks to everyone who put the contest on, it was cool as hell. Can't wait to do it again; maybe Mystery Science Theater 3000 trivia next time?

We also saw the movie on Friday night, and I quite enjoyed it, although the white-trash theater crowd didn't laugh at a single highbrow joke. Either way, I was as satisfied as I could be, and I certainly recommend it.

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your Monday.