Friday, November 30, 2007


The CDP Interview

As some of you know, fellow blogger theCDP has written a book, 65 Poor Life Decisions. No, this is not my biography, rather it is a collection of his essays. He was kind enough to sit down with me last Saturday for an interview about the whole process. Since it was conducted via chat room, I have taken the liberty to rearrange some answers to make this flow more coherently.

His book may be purchased from Lulu, or directly from him.

To get the book directly from him, follow these instructions:

$21 includes an autographed and personalized copy of the book, shipping to anywhere in the nation and FREE CDP MERCH with every order. I'll accept money orders (payable to Ryan Zeinart) and well-concealed cash (at your own risk), but no checks, please. It's a really good deal; I've done the math. Make sure you include a return address, e-mail address and a name to make the book out to, as well.

PO Box 865
Sun Prairie, WI 53590

And now, the interview. With the man, the myth, the legend...theCDP...

JT: First off - are you wearing pants?

thecdp: I am, but just barely. It's Saturday, so all bets are off.

JT: If a train leaves New York, heading West at 75 mph, and another train leaves Memphis, heading east at 60 mph, what time will they meet? Show your work.

He chose not to answer this one, citing religious freedom, and drawing a giraffe instead.

JT: When did you first develop an interest in writing?

thecdp: I started writing short stories when I was about...gosh...6 or 7 years old...

JT: About dragons or unicorns?

thecdp: I liked the paranormal, Stephen King and whatnot, so I started writing horror stories. Mainly just to make my mom think there was something wrong with me....

JT: Nice. Did you ever write anything so scary you were afraid to read it again?

thecdp: No, but I've written a few things I never want to read again, for one reason or another. For every gem, there's a ton of crap, and I'm left to determine what is what. Around the 4th grade, I was pretty much the class clown, and I got in the habit of writing weekly comedy stories to please my classmates.

JT: Any angst-ridden poetry around junior high?

thecdp: Oh, God yes. My freshman year of high school, I wrote over 100 different poems, each one more terrible than the last. I don't write a lot of music or poetry anymore, but I'm still interested in it. It's funny, but not in a 'ha-ha' way. More like, "I feel really, really sorry for you."

JT: Especially the poor kids who go to open-mic night at the coffee house.

thecdp: Yeah. We have a open-mic downdown called 'What's your damage?' where people get on stage and read these awful poems from their teen years. It's hilarious and everyone gets a real kick out of it. One day, I will have the balls to do a few myself. I have plenty in the filing cabinet.

JT: That actually sounds pretty entertaining, if you're willing to admit what an ass you were at 15.

thecdp: I'm willing to admit that I'm an ass now; no worries whatsoever.

JT: Likewise. Did you ever entertain a career as a writer in high school?

thecdp: In high school, I was in a band, so I put most of my writing skills towards music. Also, I wrote tons of letters to tons of different women. It kept me sharp, and allowed me to appear sensitive and literary. I never wrote for the paper or anything, but I did acting, Student Congress and drama. You know....super-gay stuff.

JT: At least it wasn't ROTC or something...I was a tuba player in the marching band.

thecdp: Tuba is a difficult instrument to well as carry around during parades. You should be proud of yourself.

JT: I did it mainly for the chicks.

thecdp: Isn't that why anyone ever does anything?

JT: It's my only motivation in life.

thecdp: Now that I'm married, I pretty much only do things to make my wife content. Things never really change.

JT: Yeah...I know the feeling. When did you decide to start the CDP?

thecdp: I started the CDP in February of 2004. I just graduated from college, was unemployed and more than a little depressed. I started writing to keep in touch with friends and relatives back home, and it blew up from there. Essentially, it was a way to keep myself sharp and suicide-free, and I guess it did the trick.

JT: Has anyone ever been offended that you wrote about them on the CDP?

thecdp: I think in the over 650 essays I've published, only one or two people have ever been offended by something I had said. In both cases, however, I was completely right. There are two main rules that I follow whenever I write an essay: 1.) Nobody looks worse than I do, and 2.) I always learn something. I've strayed from the path a few times, but I always maintain a moral and stake my claim as the dumbest person in the story.

JT: Yeah, I'm always amazed at how much I can learn about myself by writing about myself.

thecdp: Sure can. This is therapy. This keeps me grounded. I don't write because I think I can sell some books and make a career about it, I write because I absolutely HAVE to. When I don't write, I become a mess. It's an addiction. These last few months, having to not write new stuff while pouring over my old stuff, has been hell to me. I cannot wait to sit down and write a brand-new book with brand-new essays. Seriously. I'll crank that thing out in two months.

JT: I bet it was hell. How hard was it, going back over old essays, and picking what to keep, what to cut, and what to rewrite?

thecdp: It was mixed. I had over 650 essays and 1800 pages to sift through, and I ended up with 65 essays on 298 pages. So yeah, it was a huge undertaking. There were essays that got cut just seconds before I sent the book to print. At the last second, I got a bad feeling about them, so we had to update the cover, title, PDF, everything. Just the sifting and cutting took a couple of months. The editing took almost less time.

JT: Wow. Which one stands out as your favorite?

thecdp: My favorite essay? Hmmm...I like the essays that would make good movies. Ones like "No Scents Whatsoever," "The Homecoming Quadrilogy" and "My First Job" always strike me as interesting and resonant with others. Other times, I prefer the off-the-cuff essays that I think nobody will care about, that ends up being super-popular. "Tackling Reggie White" comes to mind.

JT: That one is actually my personal favorite.

thecdp: Well, there you go. Just like I was saying. You never know what stories people are going to jump on, and that was a very pleasant surprise for me, to know that other people felt good reading about that moment. I'd be a bad marketer, because I can never tell what's going to work. I just go with what I like, and hope it sticks. It was a crazy childhood moment, and sitting down to think about it really brought the memory back.

JT: I was in awe of how well it was written, how much feeling was conveyed in it. I still say you should submit it to Sports Illustrated.

thecdp: Thank you, sir. Now that I've published it, Sports Illustrated. wouldn't want it. They'd get sued. :)

JT: That would be awesome. If you won the suit, I would want one of those football phones.

thecdp: Yeah, and one of those tiny-beer dispensers.

JT: That would be nice also. When did you decide to turn the essays into a book?

thecdp: I had been thinking about it for a couple years now, and finally in May, I realized that now was a perfect time. The Missus convinced me to get my priorities together and work on a big project, and she was right. I've been putting the hours in since May, and now we're only 6 days away.

JT: What made the timing right in May? Write something long and meaningful. I'm going to get a beer.

thecdp: I was thinking about all these things I wanted to do on the CDP. Podcasts, viral videos, books, things like that. I was thinking so much about everything that I overwhelmed myself and didn't want to do ANYTHING. The missus got my head on straight, told me to take things one at a time, and pick the project that I felt was the most important. I felt that the book was something that I had been thinking about for the longest time, so I went for it, with the idea being that I could release the book on her birthday, November 27. I was three days off, but she forgives me.

JT: That, my friend, is a hell of a gift. My birthday is September 9th. Just saying.

thecdp: Thanks. Furthermore, I want this book to be the closing chapter in this stage of the CDP. In 2008, expect to see new, different and hopefully interesting things.

JT: I'm intrigued. Any hints on what direction you're taking?

thecdp: Well, I started the blog because I wanted to write books some day....I consider this book the bridge between blogger and author, and I want to move further over to the 'author' side of the equation. Keep the blog, but separate the two just a little bit more. My next book will be 100% new, non-blog material. Which should be a lot more appealing to...well, everyone.

JT: Got it. Oddly enough, I started Spork Nation because I was trying to write a book, and felt it was too disjointed, so it became a blog.

thecdp: Blogs are a good way to get your head on straight. Write about the little things, notice the big things and expand on them thusly. It's also a good way to see what's working and what isn't. Instant feedback.

JT: Are you ever taken aback by how popular the CDP has become?

thecdp: Yes. Every day. When I started out, I was getting 4 hits a day. Now, I get 10,000 every month. This is a drop in the bucket when it comes to massive-scale blogs, but to know what people are interested by my essays is an honor every day for me. Writing a book is a dream come true, and the CDP readers made it a reality, no doubt about it. So no, I'm not jaded just yet.

JT: You do have a very loyal group of readers, and thankfully some of them have started coming to visit me as well.

thecdp: The people I've met, the e-mails I've received and the way I've been treated is incredible. Yeah, I'm also really happy that the CDP Network has expanded in that way, as well. Fans of my page are becoming fans of each others' pages. It's the unity and sense of community that rules to me. This interview, for example. It will cross-promote both of our blogs, which is good for everyone.

JT: I prefer some of pur readers to people I know in real life.

thecdp: I agree. My friends and relatives are already far too sick of my crap to visit every day.

JT: As someone who was around in the days of dial-up modems, pre-AOL, I'm constantly amazed how much the world has changed.

thecdp: I agree. Last night, my wife wanted to know what Kenny G's real name was. In two seconds, I knew the answer. I couldn't have done that in 1993. See how much better off we are?

JT: Now I'm curious. What is his real name? Now I'm curious.

thecdp: Kenneth Gorelick That's.....terrible.

JT: Yikes. No wonder he went with "G."

thecdp: Yeah, that's a pretty disgusting last name for a guy that plays a horn for a living. I hear that he's hilarious live.

JT: Huh. Never woulda thunk it.

thecdp: Like, genuinely funny. Shows what I know.

JT: I used to have to scour local BBS's for grainy pictures of Cindy Crawford in a bikini, now I can get directions to her house and sleep in her shrubbery with just a few clicks.

thecdp: Exactly. I can't imagine what it's like for kids now. Back in the day, finding a basement full of Playboys was the holy grail to a 12 year old. Today, a google search will destroy any sense of wonder or accomplishment...I'm just saying.

JT: It's true. There is no sense of mystery. So...big time author, adored by millions...what's the next step? Multi-media magnate? International playboy? Pirate captain?

thecdp: I'll lay out my 5-year play to you...Release the book on November 30, promote and market the book until February...Take a month off of the CDP, redesign the page, all merch and whatnot...come back stronger than ever...Keep the blog strong while writing Book #2...release Book #2 at the end of the year or early 2009...Profit. Retire to a log cabin in the middle of nowhere, emerging only to collect my check from the mailbox. Never been seen or heard from again. Die.

JT: I like it. Will you grow a beard and wear overalls, smoking your corn-cob pipe?

thecdp: You'll never find me without a jug with three X's on it. All the good authors do it.

JT: I don't know why I assume you'll be buying a log cabin in Kentucky, as opposed to Aspen.

thecdp: I've been to Kentucky, it's an allright place. Nowhere I want to retire, though. Overall, I just want to keep creating new and funny things.

JT: Well, man, I don't want to take up too much of your Saturday afternoon. Anything else you want to get off your chest? Where you buried the bodies? Deep dark family secret? Your social security number?

thecdp: Write to live, live to write. Meet new people, expand the empire and stay happy with this great hobby. This has been a good 4 years, but we're just getting started. Hopefully, those that have made the trip worthwhile will stick it out for the long haul. And I can't thank you enough for the interview. This was a neat idea, man.

JT: It's been fun. Alright, buddy. Thanks for taking the time, this will be a fun post.

thecdp: Yeah, thanks again! I'm looking forward to reading it. Go Clemson!

JT: Hell yeah. Thanks, man. Take care, and tell the Missus hello.

thecdp: You got it. See you later!

I originally intended for this to take a more humorous slant, but it's hard to do that when someone is as sincere about something as theCDP is about his book. We still had a good time with it, and I was too engrossed in the conversation to finish more than one beer. I was also slightly late to a party I was supposed to go to, and I'm never late.

I hope everyone enjoyed this as much as we did. Now go buy the book, it's a perfect stocking stuffer.

JT out.

Saturday, November 24, 2007



Game Day, bitches.

JT out.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Happy Thanksgiving!

This is what happened at my house last night. It's a yearly tradition with Kyle to get completely shit-hammered on Thanksgiving eve, and we are sticklers for tradition, especially when booze is involved. I am proud to report that, after numerous games of beer pong and Street Fighter II Turbo, there are only 2 beers left in our beer fridge, eight in the regular fridge, and an empty bottle of Everclear is in the kitchen, which no one is claiming responsibility for.


JT out.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


You're my boy, Blu!

Last weekend, BluStaCon, one of my regulars readers, and I made a gentleman's wager about the Clemson/Boston College game. We agreed that whoever lost had to pose for a picture wearing the winning team's colors, and that the picture would then be posted here on Spork Nation.

While I originally meant to post a picture of him in orange, let it never be said that I don't back up my wagers 100%. Seriously, ask either one of my bookies.

So here I am, wearing the closest things I have to Boston College colors.


JT out.

Monday, November 19, 2007


CDP Nationwide Mix Tape Review

A few months ago, I agreed to take part in the CDP Nationwide Mix Tape Trade. We all swapped tapes (CDs, actually) and most of us also sent a copy to the CDP, out of our gratitude for him being awesome. He agreed to review them and post the reviews, then the reviewing got shelved while he finished up his book, 65 Poor Life Decisions. It releases on November 30, and is an excellent stocking stuffer, as it also has GPS and MP3 capabilities built in*.

I put together my mix, sent it off, and waited like a giddy little schoolgirl for his review. Well, over the weekend, it finally happened. It was recommended that he wait until the weekend, as this mix is best enjoyed with a few cheap beers. He chose to go with Jameson, but the sentiment is somewhat similar.

Without further ado...the review of Beer Drinkin', Hell Raisin'.

Front Cover

Inside Cover/Track Lisitng

Coming up soon, the results of my gentleman's wager with BluStaCon, a loyal reader, and another edition of that thing where I type stuff I heard at the bar. Please help me out with a better title for that.

JT out.

*No, it does not.

Friday, November 16, 2007


So What if I'm an Idiot...

It's that time again...time for the semi-regular posting of random things said at the Idiot. I've been spending most of my time in the kitchen lately, so it's mostly our smart-ass remarks and less drunken rambling than usual.

I'll start off with a little gem from yours truly...

While talking to one of our delivery drivers...
JT: Well, don't get to be 28, divorced, and cooking in the kitchen at the Village Idiot by making a series of good choices in life...

One of the tickets that came into the kitchen only had the name "Jesus" on it for a description.
Brian: Do you think we should charge him for this? I mean, he is related to the guy who created isn't it kind of his already?
Drew: Shit...could you imagine if he had to pay property taxes?

Harris: In case anyone is curious, the bottom of the oven is extremely hot. For example, I would not recommend putting your thumb on it.

Some random white trash asshole came over to the waitress' station, causing a scene...
Billy Ray: Hey! Why the hell can't we get a goddamn waitress at our table?
Meredith: I'll be right there, we're just very busy tonight.
(it's true...Wednesday is trivia night, and after 8:00, we're at capacity if not over. Normal people realize this means waiting more than 2 minutes before screaming at people.)
Billy Ray: I don't care! I have eight thousand dollars in my pocket, and you're telling me I have to wait???
Meredith is giving him a look that clearly shows she does not care, or believe him. In my opinion, if you actually do have eight thousand dollars in your pocket, in a bar, you're either in Vegas, a retard, or both.
Moses: Whoa...did you just say you have eight thousand dollars to spend?
Billy Ray: (looking smug) You heard me.
Moses: Go spend it elsewhere. Get the fuck out.
Moses is my hero.

We were also extremely busy last night. University of Virginia's women's basketball team was playing in town, and they called in a food order for delivery to the Colonial Center. However, it wasn't for x number of pizzas, or x amount of wings. It was twenty-seven distinctly different orders. It took close to three hours to prepare everything. We're not slow, it's just that our kitchen is not equipped to push an order that large out. Not only that, but a few of them blatantly ignored our menu, and ordered things we don't have. We had a good time with it.

For example, we have plenty of sandwiches to choose from, but we don't have options on bread. No wheat bread, no parmesan bread...just bread. We're not Subway. Also, we do not serve french fries or fruit salad. While we do serve pizzas with white sauce and pesto sauce as a base, we do not sell these by the slice. All of this is on our menu. It became a bit of a lottery to see what we could substitute that was remotely close.

Needless to say, in all the confuion, a few orders were screwed up in house. This was a hell of a build up for my final quote, but I felt it necessary for my pride...

After I burnt the third or so pizza in a row...
Moses:'s a good thing you're pretty.

Alright, kids, enjoy the weekend. I'm off to God's Country to watch my Tigers play Boston College. I've got a good feeling about this one.

Also, I'm trying to name this semi-regular feature. Make your suggestionsin the comments section.

JT out.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007



The City of Columbia has already started hanging the Christmas decorations from lightpoles downtown. All of the major "big box" stores have had Christmas decorations out for weeks, some since the day after Halloween. I'm hearing carols and Mannheim Steamroller in stores already.

Did everyone forget about Thanksgiving, the third best holiday of the year? (Behind St. Patrick's Day, and Halloween, respectively.) Thanksgiving is the day with the best food, and some of the best football. It is a day where no one has to worry about giving or receiving disappointing gifts, or listening to the most annoying music ever created on the planet earth, perhaps even the solar system: anything by Mannheim Steamroller or the Trans-Siberian Orchestra...also, John Tesh.

Thanksgiving is a day for celebration, for eating twice your body weight in assorted foods, for drinking too much beer while watching football, for passing out face down in the guacamole. Christmas is a day for spending too much time wearing goofy sweaters that were given as gifts last year, pretending you love the new sweater you just got (I personally am not a sweater type of guy,) and trying desperately to think of an excuse to leave and go back to your own house, where you can remove the sweater, drink too much beer while watching football, and pass out face down in the guacamole.

How is it possible that I am already sick of a holiday that is over a month away?

JT out.

Thursday, November 08, 2007


Dear Mother Nature:

What the hell???

Last week, we had high temperatures in the mid-eighties. For the past two nights, we have had freeze warnings. I don't mind cold weather, when we ease into it gradually. I hate cold weather when it goes from flip-flop weather to wool sock weather in the span of 72 hours.

I am convinced that Al Gore and Mother Nature have teamed up to really screw with humanity. First, lovable, teddy-bear-like Al Gore makes us think that, due to global warming, we will all soon be living in a tropical paradise, sipping fruity beverages out of coconut shells while stunning Hawaiian beauties do hula dances in our back yards. At least, I think that was the point of his global warming thing. I only skimmed a few articles, then let my intuitive thinking take over.

Naturally, I took all of my winter clothing and burned it, never foreseeing the need for it again. I would have donated it to charity, but I saw no point in giving homeless people more crap to wheel around in their grocery carts that they would have no need for, thanks to greenhouse gasses and cow flatulence. Then I went to my local warehouse store and bought a fifty gallon drum of tanning lotion. All seemed well with the world until Monday, when I learned of the freeze warning. Freeze warning? What happened to my rum runner and grass skirts? I'll tell you what happened: an evil conspiracy.

I believe that Al Gore and Mother Nature concocted this cruel prank, probably at the behest of Wal-Mart. They get everyone all hyped up with abnormally high summer temperatures, glamorous documentaries, and promises of pina coladas, and them bam!, Mother Nature drops the cold, cruel fist of winter on us. What do we do, as a nation? We turn to Wal-Mart, our low cost leader, and replenish our supplies of coats, hats, woolen underpants, and socks with pictures of reindeer on them. While there, we also buy a blender or two, in the hopes that our never-ending summer may one day be a reality.

I would love to know what kind of kickback Al Gore and Mother Nature are getting. They'll soon be wealthy beyond their wildest dreams, and run away together to the land of Shangri-La. Meanwhile, we working stiffs will be singing Jingle Bells and drinking hot cider like chumps.

JT out.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


The Human Experiment.

Hi. I'm ignoring all of the safety warnings ever. Throwing caution to the wind. As of right now, there is a guy that I only know by the name of "Justin" sleeping on my futon.

Let us start at the beginning, shall we? My Tuesdays are always long days. I start from my house, and spend between seven and eight hours on the road, not counting the time I spend servicing my accounts, taking inventory and making sales calls every Tuesday. At the end of the day today, I decided to stop by the Village Idiot, where I work most nights, for a quick beer.

As you may imagine, the bar is relatively empty at 4:30. As I stood at the bar, waiting for Moses to hand me my second beer, the guy next to me struck up a conversation. It turns out he lives not too far from my old house in Greenville, SC, and we have some similar interests. Since I am waiting for Melissa to meet me, I gladly pass the time with Justin. I learn that he is going through a "quarter-life" crisis. He is somewhat newly married to a woman ten years his senior, and has three step-children. One at fifteen years old, and a set of ten year-old twins. I never learn the gender, as his speech is beginning to slur beyond recognition.

He is going through what so many twenty-somethings go through. Not too far out of college, testing his wings, he has gotten into more debt than he meant to. Bills are tight, and the holidays are approaching. He has chosen to take a somehwat different approach to the typical "stay at home and spend no money" stance. He is on a three day bender. This is day five. He has left his wife and home in Greenville to hang out with a friend in Charleston, SC for a few days. Somehow he wound up in Columbia. The details escape me, as his speech is severely hindered. I do know that he has nowhere to stay and cannot operate the simplest of motor vehicles.

I am at a loss. I meant to have a few carefree beers and retire for the evening. Instead, Justin is in the other room. I firmly believe that he is a good person. However, as a precaution, I have locked the doors that need to be locked and hidden the keys. In the morning, I will drop him off at his car and go about my day. I'll keep you posted.

JT out.

Update: Melissa and I survived the night, and Justin has been dropped off back at his car. He barely remembers meeting me 5 PM on a Tuesday.

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