Friday, March 7

"Do You Know Who You Are?"

Do You Know Who You Are?

So, here it is. The big secret. The reason that I've been downtrodden, ill, douchebaggy and unreasonable all week. I'm letting it spill because there's really nothing left to lose.

I interviewed for a major promotional position at my office on Tuesday.

This position has been weighing heavily on me for a couple of weeks now, turning me into an unfocused, emotional zombie around the house and causing the CDP to slightly dip in quality (either that, or I've fallen in love; the symptoms are about the same). What better way to shake off the funk than to completely air out my problems through the very public forum I've created for the sole purpose of leaving my actual problems behind?

The advancement between what I do now for a living and what I will potentially be doing for a living is massive. So massive, in fact, that...well, let's just get right into it, shall we?

What I do for 40 hours a week now is a job. I do what I need to do, and when I get home I shake it off and live the life I want to live. The money is fair, the work is easy enough and I enjoy coming to the office in the morning. Should I get this promotion, however, it would now be a career. Overtime. Business trips. Round-the-clock suits and ties. Handshakes and toothy grins. You know, that kind of person. The kind of person that has fought his or her entire life to get to that deserving position of power, and are truly content in being remembered after death as a businessman and professional. I respect that; I really do.

I, on the other hand, have been pulled into this void through forces beyond my control. On my first day with the agency in 2004, I spent most of the day sweeping out a supply closet while wearing the nicest suit I owned at the time. From there, I answered phones, opened mail, worked the Hearing Impaired switchboard and was essentially given every job that nobody wanted to do. I was so low on the totem pole that most employees thought I was a Summer intern. When I came back to the agency after getting married, most people had forgotten who I was.

I didn't mind it. In fact, there are days where I wish I was still sweeping that closet. Days when I wish I had less responsibility, and could gracefully back out of adulthood and go back to my grandmother's basement and sleep until 2pm.

But I worked hard, made friends and got noticed. I was promoted two times in the next two years, dusted myself off and was thrown into an office. I was given more work, answered to less people and made more money. Through it all, though, I maintained the attitude I walked in with. 'Pay the bills and go home.' 'This isn't really my job,' I naively thought, 'this is just what I do so I can write in my spare time.' However, with the upcoming decision being made about the fate of my employment, this is far more than a change in scenery and duties. This is a life change that will effect everything.

I’m constantly reminded that if I get this job, it’ll all be ours. The finished basement, the tropical vacations, the retirement security, the American Dream; all of that stupid, pointless crap that I seem to care so damn much about. Had I just been content to function as a meager, struggling author for the remainder of my 20's, I wouldn't care less about that sort of hedonistic rubbish.

Truth is, however, that I'm not much for struggling, and no decent, married man would turn down the opportunity to make things better for his family, regardless of if that means sacrificing a little bit of his aspirations. In fact, I would theorize that this decision eventually dawns on every responsible adult at some point in their lives. When is the right time, if any, to set the dream aside? Everyone knows how much I oppose selling my blog out, so it would make sense to think that I'd have a moral issue with selling my life out. You'd be right, too. I've been aching like you wouldn't believe the past few days, completely unsure of everything for the first time in many years. I'm a smart guy, why is this so hard for me to understand?

The pros are as follows. This job will give me the financial security I need to advance fully into the world of successful adulthood that I was quite certain would never happen to me. We can buy the nice house, keep two nice cars in the garage, amass a hefty nest egg and lay to rest any issues we might have had in the past when it came to extra cash. Dare I say it, we may even be able to start a family. For a guy like me, that grew up kind of poor and barely graduated from High School, this is far more than I need or deserve to be happy on a superficial level. I'm extremely conservative when it comes to preparing for the future, and this position represents the harmony and peace that I've never felt when I fall asleep at night (albeit boring and lacking individual character).

Which brings us to the cons. First off, this job is hard, okay? As someone who has defied the odds and enjoyed almost every day of work for the last four years, taking a step into oncoming traffic feels a little dangerous, illogical and potentially lethal. What if I hate it? What if I can't hack it? What if I come home every day like a miserable 1950's dad, hassling his wife for dinner and pouring glass after glass of straight Brandy, counting down the seconds until I have to throw the tie back on and do it all over again? I'd hate myself, and I'd hate that I let my employment negatively effect my life at home, which is something I take pride in never doing. I can't turn into that type of person; my 1987 persona would travel forward in time to stab me while I slept, due to me turning my back on all the things that I was put on this planet to accomplish.

Furthermore, and arguably the most important on a personal level, is that fact that I will no longer have the time, resources and capabilities to continue writing and pursuing creative ventures like I do right now. The CDP will cease to exist as you know it. The creation and eventual publication of my second book will have to be relegated to 'hobby' status. In essence, I will need to put my 'real' job at the top of my priorities list, which is something I have honestly never done. I'd still write to make myself happy, but it would go without saying that most of the dream would be over. The stressors of work would have no choice but to come home with me, effectively draining me of whatever creative juices were left for the written word.

I have yet to determine what this is a clash of. Is it a clash between childhood and adulthood? Responsibility and irresponsibility? Security and pursuing your true path? Logic and heart? It's probably a combination of everything, and it's taking a far greater toll on me than I thought it would. If I get the job, this is the decision I'm forced to make. If I don't get the job, nothing changes and I'm left to wonder what could have been. I don't know what's worse.

It disgusts me that I let things like this have such emotional control over me. I think we all have this feeling from time to time, though. What was just a week ago supposed to be a nonchalant, 'we'll see what happens' interview, has now turned into something that I have absolutely no set opinion on, and will leave me with an equal amount of happiness and regret no matter what.

As I poured over my resume, cover letter and references before the interview, I listened to the Lifetime classic from 1996, 'Jersey's Best Dancers,' on my iPod. I couldn't help but to laugh at the irony of enjoying nostalgic, hardcore emo-punk from my teenage years, while prepping myself for my biggest foray into professional adulthood yet, sporting a tie and tucked-in $70 shirt. The blue-haired kid that bought this album at the age of 18 would be so embarrassed to see the 26 year old whore he turned out to be.

Then again, the 26 year old is pretty embarrassed of the 18 year old, too. He didn't understand what it meant to have a wife, constant monthly bills and increasing pressures from every corner of his waking day. He didn't know what it meant to be a responsible husband, corporate professional and a son that his mom could be proud of. How dare he step in and criticize something that he has no business attempting to understand? How dare he hold me back?

In a perfect world, I'd be a successful author. However, I'm intelligent and jaded enough to understand that I shouldn't be holding my breath. I should take what I can get. I should grasp that brass ring, accept the security and responsibility I've worked so hard for, and screw those hopes and dreams that eventually get us all nowhere. I can't do it, though.

I just can't do it.

Thursday, March 6

Max Headroom, Captain Midnight & Vrillon.

Today's theme is 'Broadcast Signal Intrusion.' Up top, you'll see the infamous 'Max Headroom Incident.'

Here's 'Captain Midnight,' one of my personal favorites.

And finally, here's the bizarre 'Vrillon Transmission' from 1977.

Enjoy, big things arrive tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 5

The Dream Master Of Cheeseburger Ceremonies.

I'm smack in the middle of a terrible week, so I can't say that I have anything original for you today. However, please enjoy the above clip that I've mined from the YouTube vault; an advertisement for the Freddy Krueger 1-900 number. Watch it....if you dare!

But hey, if being frightened isn't your thing, you can always kick it old-skool and give MC Hammer a ring. I'm sure he could use the company.

After all of that chatting with MC Hammer and Freddy Krueger, it might be a good time to head on over to the Golden Arches for a late-night snack with our old friend, Mac Tonight.

My YouTube Channel is awesome, and I plan on sharing more of these with you in the future when I'm too apathetic and emo to write new jokes. Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day.

Tuesday, March 4

CDP Mix-Tape Exchange #2 Wrap Party. (Part 4)

Mix-Tape Trade #2 Wrap Party.

For the last couple weeks on the CDP, I've been extending my thanks to everyone who participated in the CDP Mix-Tape Exchange #2; especially all those who took the time to send a personal mix out to yours truly. I'm currently in the process of listening to over 17 different mixes from CDP fans across the nation, and it's been quite fantastic. The theme of Exchange #2 was 'Love,' and you guys didn't fail to deliver.

The last time we did this trade, I had enough time (and not enough submissions) to review each and every track of each and every mix. While I simply don't have the time to do that again, I still promised that I would spotlight (albeit briefly) everyone who sent a mix my way. Today, I shall continue said spotlighting, by pulling some mixes at random and giving them a run-down. I'll do this until every ego has been properly stroked to the best of my abilities. Enjoy.

Caveman's Mix!
LOVE MIX #13: 'Caveman Love.'

1. I Want To Hold Your Hand - The Beatles
2. The Luckiest Guy - The Magnetic Fields
3. Love Song - Sara Bareilles
4. Hold Me Now - The Polyphonic Spree
5. A Kiss Is Just A Kiss - Frank Sinatra
6. Love Me - Elvis Presley
7. I Walk The Line - Johnny Cash
8. Brandy - The Looking Glass
9. Imagine Me And You - The Turtles
10. Love Shack - The B-52's
11. I Feel Love - Venus Hum & The Blue Man Group
12. Somebody To Love - Jefferson Airplane
13. Fell In Love With A Girl - The White Stripes
14. Somebody To Love - Queen
15. Jungle Boogie - Kool & The Gang
16. Brick House - The Commodores
17. Disco Lady - Johnny Taylor
18. Violin Concerto No.3 - Mozart

(I was surprised at how old-school Caveman went with the bulk of his choices, but he made it flow decently and threw in some mix-tape classics. He claims that this was his forst foray into the world of mix-tape creation, so we should give him a round of applause for doing it on such a public scale. Huzzah!)

Benjamin's Mix!
LOVE MIX #14: 'I Know Where You Sleep.'

1. Every Breath You Take - The Police
2. Creep - Radiohead
3. Subway Song - The Clash
4. Strange Currencies - R.E.M.
5. Stalker - Sonic Youth
6. One Way Or Another - Face To Face
7. Tyler - Toadies
8. The Most Important Part - The Paper Chase
9. Stripped - Rammstein
10. Stalker - All
11. I Want You - Elvis Costello
12. Stalker Song - Some Dude On The Internets
13. My So-Called Life - The Ataris
14. I Married My Stalker - Goldfinger
15. Honey Peeps - All
16. Voyeur - Blink 182
17. Skatanic - Reel Big Fish

(When Benjamin found out that he was making a Love-themed mix for another guy, he decided to go all-out and create something ridiculously uncomfortable with his 'Stalker Mix.' It's a good mix, focusing mainly on songs about obsession, peeking through windows and mailing dead animals to those that you love. This is the exact reason why me and Ben are such good friends.)

Sherry's Mix!
LOVE MIX #15: 'Carrot Duff's Mix Tape.'

1. I Wanna Hump You - Chixdiggit
2. Back For The Attack - The Impossibles
3. One Day You Won't Be Here - Rocky Votolato
4. Don't Go - Go Sailor
5. When We First Dated - One Eighty
6. Thank You (For Not Being One Of Them) - Mr. T Experience
7. Together Forever In Love - Go Sailor
8. Non-Linear Summer - The Gadjits
9. Passenger Seat - Death Cab For Cutie
10. This Land Is Mine - Dido
11. Oh, Angelina - The Impossibles
12. Change Of Scenery - LP
13. You Dirty Rat - Letters To Cleo
14. Love Soon - John Mayer
15. So Sorry - Feist
16. All I Have (Demo) - LP
17. Until I Say So - Drag The River
18. February Stars - Foo Fighters
19. Your Summer Baby - Kay Hanley
20. Only Of You - Green Day
21. That Special Girl - The Ataris

(I found Sherry's mix to be especially warm and fuzzy, as most of these songs were enjoyed by myself back in the 1999-2001 'back in the day' era. This mix reminds me of better, more innocent times with good friends and theoretically better music. Thanks for the memories.)

Julia's Mix!
LOVE MIX #16: 'Imaginary Love Story.'

1. Just My Imagination - The Temptations
2. If She Wants Me - Belle & Sebastian
3. Every Night - Paul McCartney
4. I'm The Man Who Loves You - Wilco
5. Lovin' In My Baby's Eyes - Taj Mahal
6. To Be Alone - Sufjan Stevens
7. Such Great Heights - The Postal Service
8. You Send Me - Otis Redding
9. You've Really Got A Hold On Me - The Beatles
10. Lost Cause - Beck
11. Another Lonely Day - Ben Harper
12. Please Do Not Let Me Go - Ryan Adams
13. Say Yes - Elliot Smith
14. Let's Stay Together - Al Green
15. Crazy Love - Van Morrison
16. I Will Follow You Into The Dark - Death Cab For Cutie
17. The Luckiest - Ben Folds

(When I received Julia's mix in the mail, I was absolutely blown away by the amount of work and original slant she took on the theme. Enclosed was a short story describing the lifespan of a passionate relationship, using the 17 listed songs as a chronological soundtrack. Amazing stuff, and equally wonderful song selection. It's almost as if the Mix-Tape Trade has turned into a nationwide competition to see who puts forth the most work and originality to create a true piece of art. I should offer a cash prize to the winner next time around. Kudos.)

This has been a busy, trying and slightly more stressful week than normal for yours truly, so thanks for not stringing me up by the heels for not bringing the funny for a few days. The second half of the week will get me back on track.

Thanks much. Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day.

Monday, March 3

Lost Monday - "The Constant."

Season 4 - Episode 5: "The Constant."

Another Lost Monday is upon us. We have much to discuss; I'm jumping the shark this week!

A bizarre and meandering episode begets a bizarre meandering review, so I apologize in advance for this week's Lost Monday not staying incredibly true to form. Also, I'm more than a little hung over. There's no such thing as poor professionalism when you're writing for free.

I, my friends, had a wonderful weekend. Madison hit 45 degrees on Sunday, allowing a lot of snow to melt and make way for a fresh batch early this week. We're making minimally positive progress into Spring, but it's just enough to keep me from deep-throating a shotgun. I'll take it as a small victory. I also quite enjoy the obliterated back roads and nine-foot deep sinkholes that accompany them as the temperature rises. If I can make it to April with all axles and shocks in proper working order, it would be an absolute miracle.

Me and the Missus also looked into a condo we wished to purchase, and it appears as if we're teetering on it being a possibility. So, if you notice me selling out like crazy over the next few weeks, singing soda jingles and getting '' tattooed on my forehead, don't get too upset, just know that it may be moving me into a bigger house. Punk or not, I need equity if I want to survive this recession. Our next President will need the following four years to right the wrongs of the previous eight, so he or she* won't be depended on by myself to make sure I don't starve to death under an overpass.

*Not going to happen, sorry.

Johnny 5!
(I like how the guy that was in Short Circuit died when his brain short circuited.)

On Saturday night, I drank some of JT's moonshine and fell asleep at a Pizzeria Uno, giving me a very small window of sobriety in which to do my weekly Lost research. I'm actually happy about this, as I'm sure that message boards are being flooded with nerd arguments about Lost jumping the shark for the 18th time with its bizarre, time-traveling ways. I needn't be involved with such rubbish; I can assure you that Lost will be just fine, regardless of if 'The Constant' thrust us further into sci-fi territory than we've ever been before.

Such fickle fans we are. Considering all of the non-nonsensical bunk we put up with on a daily basis on Lost, as soon as they come forward and give us a theory as to why things are so messed up, we instantly dismiss it as hooey and demand a second opinion. Shame on you! Sci-fi has always been in the background of Lost, although most of the strange events on the island seem to have a semi-logical and reasonable explanation. As the story moves forth, you may have to start believing more and more unbelievable things.

Sorry 'bout that.
(Within a matter of two weeks, Daniel ruins the show.)

Furthermore, any and every Desmond-centric episode allows the writers to go hog-wild with insanity, and some of the things we saw shouldn't be analyzed any longer than the next couple days. Desmond is a little soft in the head, and not everything we see him do should be viewed as the gospel truth and the future of the television series. It appears as if the writers use Desmond episodes as a vehicle to bust out all of the crazy stuff they know wouldn't fly during any other character-themed episodes, and I don't have a huge problem with that.

This episode contained no flash-forwards nor flashbacks, theoretically. It was more of Desmond's conscious getting warped because of the polarity of the Island to the rest of the Earth, and going on a time-traveling mission to save himself and the rest of the survivors.

I pooped 'em!
(Desmond realized that he was slightly off-course when he saw a dolphin approach the helicopter.)

Yeah, I'll admit that sounds pretty stupid. And in reality, it kind of is. As I was watching the episode, I kept getting more and more concerned with my beloved Lost, especially the intelligent spin they put on seemingly paranormal and unexplainable elements. The truth of the matter, however, is that this episode was a brilliant piece of television, containing fantastic acting by Henry Ian Cusick, ridiculous jump-cuts and editing, a truly emotional love story and at least two brain aneurysms. That's good TV, right there!

I'll be honest with you; I'm not a big sci-fi fan. In fact, as I get older and write more and more non-fiction, I've grown to be quite disgusted with it. I think that writing Science Fiction is cheating on a creative level, because any plot device that you throw against the wall can be explained away with little to no rationality. If a realistic story isn't working for you, just throw a spaceship, some aliens and a made-up galaxy into the mix, and you're set to go.

("Time Travel? Are you f***ing kidding me?")

When it comes to creative writing, there's nothing more lazy and cheap than creating your own world (what?). Made-up languages, quests for various elements and one-piece unitards are ludicrous and not at all brilliant. Crowning yourself the God of a realm that you've created for yourself isn't genius; finding a new way to make the world we all live in seem fascinating and epic is.

That's why I enjoy Lost, and that's why we were all a little concerned when things started to get wonky last week. "Please don't get stupid! Please don't get lazy! Please don't explain things away with nonsensical, non-rational plot devices! You're better than this, Lost! BETTER!"

So here's the skinny. I won't dwell on it too long, because there's nothing all that funny with this episode, and I wouldn't want anyone to think that there was a ton to talk about.

Might want to call Digger's Hotline next time.
(Penny Widmore gets electrocuted by her wireless phone.)

Frank's helicopter ventures slightly outside of the 305 degree heading, and Desmond's prolonged exposure to electromagnetism starts to scramble his brains. His conscience starts to bounce back and forth between the present and a specific day or two in 1996; almost exactly 8 years prior. As we soon find out with Minkowski, this is an illness that can effect anyone within earshot of the island; due to the time-warping powers it possesses.

Yeesh, it hurt to write that last sentence. Give me a second to collect myself.

Desmond's freaking out, but eventually starts to figure out what's going on with help from Daniel on the island. Daniel seems to know what's happening to him, as he has been researching this anomaly for quite some time (it also seems to be the reason he wanted to go to the island in the first place). He instructs Desmond to visit himself in the past the next time he bounces back to 1996.

I have a PHD in Douchebagology.
(Apparently, Daniel was a PHD in Douchebagology at Oxford.)

1996 Desmond visits Daniel, where they work together to save his ass. Daniel informs Desmond that his brain will explode should he not be able to find a 'constant;' a familiar link between the past and the present. Desmond realizes that Penny is his constant, and emotionally finds a way to reunite with her in the present day, saving his life and giving Penny the hope that they will see each other again.

Anything else that happened in this episode was either rubbish, or will be explained in greater detail next week, I can assure you. All of the calculations, theories and insanity all amount to this: TIME TRAVEL IS NOW A VIABLE OPTION ON LOST. Take it for what it's worth; I know I will. At its core, 'The Constant' was a love story that introduced the theory that the Island is operating on a slightly different clock than everywhere else in the world.

That's it. There ain't no more.

Great, you broke the show.
(Perfect. Officially nothing makes sense anymore. Thanks, notebook!)

When Lost hits you with something like this, you have to just wait another week and see where it takes you. No, the entire show won't spiral out of control. No, the time-travel motif won't thrust the series into a bizarre world where we're expected to believe increasingly sillier things (although we have been doing just that for four years now). It was just a trippy episode that answered a question, raised a new mystery and brought some depth to an already-great character.

Shake it off. We're going to be okay. You still like Lost. Let's talk about next week's episode, shall we? SPOILERS AHOY!

The Other Woman.
(Every morning, Ben and Locke would watch Good Morning America and wait for Diane Sawyer to take her top off, but each day they were left more disappointed.)

- Episode 6 will be titled 'The Other Woman.' It is Juliet-centric and will be told via flashbacks.

2 - The official press release from ABC reads: "Juliet receives an unwelcome visit from someone from her past and is given orders to track down Charlotte and Faraday in order to stop them from completing their mission -- by any means necessary. Meanwhile, Ben offers Locke an enticing deal."

3 - This is going to be a good one. We're venturing into a new and dangerous DHARMA station: The Orchid. Juliet's flashbacks will deal with the death of her hubby Goodwin at the hands of Ana Lucia, and we'll see her relationship with Jack include more kissing into their daily routine.

4 - Despite the fact that all of Juliet's flashbacks take place on the island, you can plan on seeing Charles Widmore make a cameo. His connection to the island has always been theorized as being quite huge, and we'll get a taste of that next week.

5 - Aside from Goodwin, we'll see the return of Others Ethan and Tom. Good; I really like Tom.

And with that, I'm out of here. Sound off in the comments section, send erotic photography to and catch up on far-funnier Lost Mondays by following the links below. Thanks much; enjoy your day.

Lost Monday - Episode 1 Recap.
Lost Monday - Episode 2 Recap.
Lost Monday - Episode 3 Pop Crunch Recap.
Lost Monday - Episode 4 Recap.
Lost Monday - Episode 4 Pop Crunch Recap.