Friday, November 9

I Want To Hurt You With My Body.

Don't even pretend that you don't want a piece.

It's Friday. My book is in limbo, we're getting snow this weekend and I'm throwing away money as if it were ribbon candy. There's really only one thing to do, besides murdering a transient for no good reason; get together with some friends and relax. Enjoy today's massive (No) Link Party, and try to enjoy your weekend. I'll have a ton of book news next week.

1. "Hey, what are you listening to right now?"

Here are the last 10 albums to digitally spin in my iPod. Some of them are great, most of them are not. Like fruit cocktail, or episodes of Heroes.

a) The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place - Explosions In The Sky
One of the most captivating and beautiful instrumental bands I've ever heard. Just saw them on Austin City Limits, and they blew me away.

b) Feelin' Kinda Patton - Patton Oswalt
Oswalt has almost instantly become one of my favorite current comedians. He's very much a 'why didn't I think of saying it like that?' comic.

c) Werewolves And Lollipops - Patton Oswalt
More great stuff from a guy who writes his jokes with punctuated brilliance.

d) Planet Of Ice - Minus The Bear
Not their best album, but still moody, sexy and drunken. The perfect make-out band.

e) The Difinitive Collection - Stevie Wonder
You can't really ever go wrong with Stevie. Unless he's driving.

f) Bang! - Nightmare Of You
A self-released EP from a criminally underrated band.

g) Think Tank - Henry Rollins
The first of many spoken-word albums I'll be purchasing from Mr. Rollins, out of fear he'll crush my windpipe with his thumbs.

h) Under The Boards - Saves The Day
What happened to these guys? What used to be my favorite band has turned into a parody of themselves. Get it together, Conley!

i) Musical Apocalypse In 16 Steps - Mixtape By HeyDomsar
This is a really, really good mix. It has a very dusk, 'Milwaukee' feel. Thanks, Domsar!

j) Reign In Blood - Slayer
The thrash classic from the masters. This album is just brutally amazing.

2. "Hey, what are you watching right now?"

Almost nothing. In trying to eliminate as much excess television as possible, I'm down to about twelve shows that I never miss (besides sports entertainment, which I try to keep to myself). Thanks to mid-season breaks, cancellations and writer strikes, this number should dwindle down to about five by the end of the year. I'm done with the dramas (not counting Lost), and I barely want to watch these shows, either.

a) The Simpsons
I was on YouTube yesterday, watching some local TV promos from 1990, when I saw a commercial for a 'new' episode of The Simpsons. I sometimes forget how insane it is to have a scripted television show run for over 19 years. The Simpsons is older than Cargirl!

b) King Of The Hill
Forget Family Guy, this is the show that won't die. For a good reason, though. I know that the right people watch King Of The Hill, but more people should know that it's really quite fantastic. Mike Judge is a subtle, satirical genius.

c) Ghost Hunters
A current tradition at CDP Headquarters is for Ben and Sherry to come over and watch Ghost Hunters in pitch darkness, and walk home afterwards. I wonder how that's working out for them, especially considering that winter is coming.

d) Dirty Jobs
Mike Rowe needs his own talk show like you wouldn't believe. This guy is a classy, instantly-likable pro, all the way.

e) Mythbusters
Still on, still awesome and still pissing off the Missus, Mythbusters is consistantly one of the best shows on cable television, even though they pretty much gave up on Urban Legends years ago.

f) Kid Nation
I don't think I'll watch another season of Kid Nation, but I've been seriously enjoying this first one. If you can find a way to watch from the beginning, it's well worth your time. I never realized I could hate children any more than I already did.

g) Carpoolers
Fred Goss, Bruce McCullough and the fat kid from Stand By Me. Need I say more? Nope!

h) My Name Is Earl
What amazes me about Earl is how dirty it is. In fact, it might be the dirtiest show I've watched in years. Plus, the kid that played Telly from Kids is on there from time to time. Watching him in a comedic role almost negates how much I hated him from 1995 to 1998. Almost.

i) The Office
Have the writers and producers been spread too thin this season? Beats me, but The Office is still one of the funniest shows on television. I also just found out that John Krasinski is only 28 years old. What a bastard.

j) 30 Rock
I'll be honest with you, 30 Rock deserved the Emmy for Best Comedy over The Office. The writing is razor-sharp, the cast is insanely good and it's as close to Arrested Development as we're ever going to get. Plus, Tina Fey is always welcome in my home.

k) Saturday Night Live
I was looking forward to watching The Rock host for the third time this weekend, but it looks like the show will be held off due to the writing strike. Hopefully, they'll just air the episode of the last time The Rock hosted.

l) The Ultimate Fighter
The Ultimate Fighter is like American Idol, only the contestants are competing for a UFC contract, and win by beating their opponents into submission. Why aren't you watching?

3. "Hey, what are you reading right now?"

Now that I'm done reading my book for the 50th (and final) time, I can focus more on the stack of magazines I've been accumulating for the last few months. Me and the Missus are subscribers to Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, Game Informer, Vegetarian Cooking, Esquire, Cat Fancy and probably something else that I'm forgetting.

I enjoy Esquire because it's catered to men who are slightly-to-obscenely outside of my Quality of Life range. Don't get me wrong, I'd like to live like these people, but I don't have nearly the cash or asshole attitude. I can't afford anything shown in the ads, I can't just waltz into town and purchase a $1200 suit, and I'm certainly not going to sell my car so I can buy a new watch, er- timepiece. Maybe someday, but until then, I'll continue to read Esquire in my pajama bottoms with a cat on my lap, and try really hard not to spill raw cookie dough onto the pages.

Finally, I recently read a Damn Interesting article on theories behind the 'Wedding Ring Effect,' and what guppies have to tell us about the prospects of snagging a potential mate. Good stuff.

4. "Hey, seen any good movies lately?"

Not really, but I did purchase the First Season of Metalocalypse on DVD. From Brendon Small, the creator of Home Movies, Metalocalypse is, in my opinion, the only reason to watch the Adult Swim block on the Cartoon Network. Hilarious stuff. Even more hilarious is that the soundtrack to the show, The Dethalbum, debuted at #21 on the Billboard charts, making it the highest charting Death Metal album ever. Wow.

Benjamin recently hooked me up with the 'Version Integrale' of The Professional (Leon), which I've been looking forward to watching for weeks now. I was frustrated when I saw the deleted scenes of the film that test audiences weren't too keen on, and the 'Version Integrale' restores the movie back into what it should have been. It makes it all the more better, which I thought was next to impossible for awhile.

Director Luc Besson = Genius.
12-year-old Natalie Portman's bob hairstyle = Chris Hansen-approved.

5. "Hey, what's up with the book?"

65 Poor Life Decisions is 'in the can,' as the kids say. I'm currently waiting for the publishers to put the wraps on a few things (ISBN, online distribution, copyright info, etc.), and it's all good from there. I had previously envisioned the book being released as close to the end of November as possible, and it's still a possibility, albiet an extremely tiny one. This is the first time that the book process has been completely out of my hands; now I'm just sitting and waiting like everyone else. As you can imagine, it sucks.

One burning question a few people have asked me is this: "Once the book is released, will you remove the original essays from, as incentive to purchase the book and reduce the number of cheapskates?" Truth be told, I don't know yet. To me, the CDP is what it is, and I've made next to no retroactive edits in the four years of its existence. However, the CDP might be taking on different forms and purposes in 2008; purposes which may require the house-cleaning of a considerable amount of backlog. As I move into writing books and other freelance articles full-time, the CDP might cease to function as we know it. To be safe, I'd just buy the book. Maybe two.

More updates as they come in, but I bought a bottle of brandy and a shotgun to keep me company in the meantime. I might as well get started on this whole 'self-destructive author' business while I have the free time.

6. "Hey, what are you doing this weekend?"

You know, I don't really know. For the first time in awhile, my weekend appears to be non-booked and open-ended, which makes me very happy. I figure I'll make the house slightly more spotless than it already is, pay my bills, balance the checkbook and go out to eat a couple times with the Missus and friends. Maybe eight hours of Guitar Hero III and a nap, just for good measure.

If the ISBN folks get back to me in time, I'll be receiving my 'test print' of 65 Poor Life Decisions in the mail this weekend, as the draft needs my final approval before it goes to print. Everything should be fine, unless I overlooked some key formatting issues, like margins or periods at the end of sentences

Such funny jokes. If anyone wants to meet up for a drink or go on a Toys-R-Us shopping spree or something, this would be a good weekend to snag me. In the meantime, I'll be checking local supermarkets to see if they're carrying Egg Nog this early in the season. Believe me when I say that sucking back that first glass of sweet, sweet nog is the greatest part of the winter for me.

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your weekend.

Tuesday, November 6

65 Poor Life Decisions - The FAQ.

65 Poor Life Decisions.

Hey, I'm releasing a book. You've got questions. I've got answers. I'm like Radio Shack, only with fewer spools of lamp cord.

"I'm an idiot. What's it called?" - 65 Poor Life Decisions. Even though some of my essays have happy endings and almost all of them have positive morals, they could have all been prevented by just being a little more diligent in my thought process. Plus, I like book titles with numbers in them.

The resized image above looks like hell, but you get the jist of the cover. I enjoy the idea of taking a minimalist, stripped-down cover and making it look like some kid ruined it with a red crayon. In this case, that kid would be me, tying into the theme of making bad choices at a young (or any) age. For the record, that drawing was one of the first of my life, dating all the way back to August of 1986.

"What's in it?" - The 65 best posts in CDP history, broken up into 7 semi-chronological chapters with all-new introductions for every essay. It also includes a new foreword, afterword and many other things that make books worth reading. It's 298 pages of goodness in 6x9 paperback form. Anything that was lacking or out of tune the first time around has been re-vamped and transformed into something worth spending money on. Really, it looks amazing.

"How much will it cost?" - $15.95. Since Lulu is functioning as my print & distribution company, they get most of the cut. Please understand that I attempted to make the price of the book as low as possible without completely removing myself from the royalty equation. Also, $14-$17 is the standard price for just about every paperback book on the planet, so it's all good.

"Where can I buy it?" - You'll be able to purchase a copy of 65 Poor Life Decisions through the following distribution avenues:

1.) Through I will have a huge link on my page 24/7.

2.) Through Just search for my name or the book title.

3.) Through Same deal as Amazon.

4.) Through whatever local and indie bookstores that decide to carry it. If you know of a store in your town that might be receptive to selling 65 Poor Life Decisions, let me know or let them know. I'll make it happen. I'll be handling the Madison/Midwest market; the rest is up to you.

5.) Directly through me. I'll be selling copies straight out of CDP Headquarters, which I'll be able to autograph and doll-up to your choosing. Just send me the cash/check/paypal and I'll send you the book. How punk rock is that?

I wanted to leave this avenue open for people who a) don't like to buy things from the Internet, and b) wanted me to sign the book or give them free CDP merch as a way of saying thanks. I might even cover shipping if I think you're super rad. This is something that I wanted to do no matter what sort of distribution I had, so I'm happy I can do it without going to jail. DIY is what this venture is all about. No compromising, ever.

(Also, note that there will be links directly through the CDP in which to purchase the book online. With companies like Amazon and Barnes & Noble helping my distribution, there will be no way to not order it online. Trust me, you will not be left out of the loop when 65 Poor Life Decisions becomes available. In fact, you just might be begging for me to shut up about it.)

"When is it coming out?" - Soon. Very, very soon. An exact release date will be available any day now, as the United States government, various copyright agencies, ISBN people and Lulu all take turns wasting everyone's time. I've done my part, now we have to wait until they do theirs. Self-publishing is an amazing tool of the Internet age, but the red tape is just as thick as ever.

"Did you thank me in the book?" - Yeah, I probably did! You should buy a few copies! Seriously, I made a point to thank everyone that has linked to me, frequently commented, positively supported the CDP or my book-writing venture.

"What can I do to help?" - As the release date gets closer, I'll be creating cute, little banner ads that you can display on your blog if you want to. Also, tell everyone that you think would care about the book, send links out to all of your friends and favorite message boards, and for God's sake, buy a copy! It's all you can do, and it'll make a huge difference. This book wouldn't exist without my regular readers; please consider it your book, too.

As for me, I'll be on the promotional scene, hitting hundreds of web sites, submitting books to newspapers for review, doing interviews, spending hundreds of dollars off of the top and reminding everyone of how awesome I am.

My goal with the CDP was always to gain fans one at a time through nothing but solid material and a devoted, non-superficial fanbase. I don't gather fans through blogrolls, adverts or constant marketing, and I'm very proud of that. It's allowed me to gather a fantastic and organic fanbase of interesting, organic people that aren't here today, gone tomorrow.

However, when it comes time to promote a book that will not only put money in your pocket, but perhaps change your career altogether, you have to get a little more aggressive and socially aware. I plan on straddling that fine line between intelligent promotion and outright whoring. Should be fun.

"So, what's the goal?" - I've fantasized about selling anywhere from 10 to 1000 books over the course of the next year, and I'll honestly be happy with any number in that range (or beyond). What I want to do with 65 Poor Life Decisions is at least break even financially (self-publishing a book is quite a large personal investment), increase awareness of my writing and of the CDP, and open new avenues for my next big writing project. I consider this to be my 'foot in the door' for the literary, non-blogosphere world, and it's the very beginning of what will hopefully be a lengthy writing career. This has been many years in the making, and it needs to be looked at as the start of something good, not the end.

"What's next for the" - For now, it'll be the same as always. Down the road is anyone's guess.

Well, I think that about wraps it up for now. If there are any, any additional questions you want answered about 65 Poor Life Decisions, sound off in the comments section or shoot me an e-mail. If you're someone who thinks you can help me in promoting my book, want to set up anything in preparation for the release, have a good idea or just want to cheer me on, I'm listening.

Thanks, and enjoy your day.

Monday, November 5

Lucky Strike.

Lucky Strike.

Like most fans of television and film, I've been closely following the impending Writer's Guild strike. For a lot of people, this is extremely bad news. Current televised entertainment is on the verge of shutting down until God knows when. Your favorite shows might go on indefinite hiatus while royalty and distribution fees are compromised by those fatcats in Hollywood. Television might be on the verge of a new Dark Age, much like the 'Yes, Dear' Period from 2000 to 2006.

The good news? The CDP is here to help.

I am proposing, effective immediately, that I take over the head writing and producing duties of every major television show in the nation. I won't ask for credit and I won't ask for time off. Saving Hollywood will be a tough job, but I'm ready to go at it alone. I never really worked well with others anyway.

Desperate Housewives? I'm your man with the scandal. Lost? Come on, who knows more about that show than I do? Gray's Anatomy? Hell, I could poop out an entire season of sex-fueled medical dramatics over the course of a three-day weekend. I'm a writing machine and I'm ready to work for you, all for a reasonable and affordable non-union fee.

You really can't afford not to take a chance on me. What's the worst that can happen?

I've been told that because they are in daily need for topical and current humor, late-night talk shows will be the first to feel the wrath of the writers strike. No problem. Here's a few quick-fixes that will last for years if need be.

Show - Late Night With Conan O'Brien

Target Demo - 18-24 year olds, typically inebriated or otherwise medicated.

Quick Fix - Conan plays a different board game with Christopher Walken each night. You won't even need to edit this one. One hard camera, a couple microphones and some lighting. Broadcast live and worry not about plummeting ratings, my babies.

Show - The Tonight Show With Jay Leno

Target Demo - 25-49 year olds that have forgotten what humor is supposed to be.

Quick Fix - Each night, Jay gives away one of his prized vintage cars until the strike is over, or until he retires from The Tonight Show in 2009. The car will be given away to one member of his audience, as a way of thanking them for even showing up.

Show - The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson

Target Demo - People whose remote control batteries have died.

Quick Fix - Honestly, it's pretty clear that this show has been operating without writers since Day One. I wouldn't change a thing.

Show - Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Target Demo - Same as Conan, only significantly less educated.

Quick Fix - Sarah Silverman shows up and just spews random profanities and racial slurs into a lone mic for 60 minutes a night. Seems to be working good for her so far.

Show - Late Night With David Letterman

Target Demo - Anyone up at 11:30 Eastern.

Quick Fix - David just cracks wise with his interns, band leader and audience members. Hey, it might be stupid, but we're in crisis mode, here-- wait, he already does that? Every night?!?

Show - Last Call With Carson Daly

Target Demo - The asleep.

Quick Fix - At least once a week, Carson invites Satan onto the show and discusses the deal he made with him in exchange for talentless fame, wealth and the chance to have sex with Jennifer Love-Hewitt.

Just like that, the CDP has single-handedly saved Late Night.

Lucky Strike.

Just because I'm not writing fiction on my page, don't let that convince you that I'm not awesome at it. Here are just a handful of suggestions as to how I'd make prime-time rad again.

Show - Heroes

Premise - Regular people become superhumans, and yet it's all pretty boring.

Quick Fix - 60 minutes of Hayden Panettiere and Kristen Bell in front of a blue screen, dancing to 'Hungry Like The Wolf' with images of previous Heroes episodes projected behind them.

Show - House, MD.

Premise - Dr. House is a troubled, grumpy medical genius with a fake American accent.

Quick Fix - Turn it into a reality show where the actors attempt to actually treat individuals with a one-in-a-billion medical anomaly. Seriously, what's the worst that can happen?

Show - Lost

Premise - I still don't know, really.

Quick Fix - No more shirts for anyone. Good for the ladies as well as the gents.

Show - Friday Night Lights

Premise - The most amazing television show on God's green Earth, you neanderthal idiots.

Quick Fix - Explosions In The Sky plays over the top of every episode, while the cast just mimics arguing with one another and breaking things. Maybe a few football scenes, too.

Show - Saturday Night Live

Premise - Live, cutting edge skewering of current events through sketch comedy.

Quick Fix - Um.........oh, crap.

Whatever, dude. I'm officially throwing my hat into the ring. Hollywood, look to the blogosphere to find your next generation of selfish, non-union writers. I'll be waiting for you, and my bags are already packed.