Wednesday, December 24, 2008
The CDP Interview: Year Two
Some of you may remember my initial interview with theCDP last year. If not, go check it out. I'll wait right here. I decided to do another one this year for a plethora of reasons, but mainly because every time I write about theCDP, eleventy billion new readers come my way, three of which will stick around. This should bring my level of readership up to approximately five. It would have been six, but Crazy Uncle Steve is not technically a reader since he is illiterate. He just likes the colors and pictures.
Anyway, theCDP wrote a book last year, which was the subject of the initial interview, and which I subsequently reviewed. The current interview, which was done last week, was meant to look back over the past year and see how the writing and publishing of a book changed his life. Instead, he chose to fill it with vulgar stories, algebraic equations, and a fabulous recipe for lasagna. Whatever works, I suppose.
I would like to thank Cargirl for hanging out with us, providing insight and questions, and also solving our major problems when the Stickam room we were attempting to use would not work.
Now, go grab a drink, sit back, and enjoy the interview.
JT: So…it’s been a bit over a year since the first interview…I have to ask, are you wearing pants this time around?
theCDP: I'm rocking my favorite pair, actually, and thanks for asking.
cargirl: Okay, JT you start us off.
JT: Second most important question, do you have a drink in hand?
theCDP: Yes. Tonight's beer is Schlitz. Schlitz: The Beer That Made Milwaukee Famous. Who knew that I loved the stuff? I like PBR, it only makes sense.
JT: Schlitz original is a great beer.
theCDP: It goes great with a handful of Tums, which is how I'm taking it tonight.
JT: Heartburn city, baby. You did it. You wrote, edited, and published your first book, 65 Poor Life Decisions. This is what most, if not all, of us in the blogging community dream of. Congratulations, man. How does it feel?
theCDP: It felt and still feels great; thank you for all of the positive support. It was a wonderful accomplishment, and it made 2007 and 2008 extremely rewarding years for me. 2007 was mostly hard work and the insanity of making everything come together, and the first half of 2008 was all of the fun stuff that comes with it. Once the Summer of 2008 rolled around, me and the Missus bought a new house, so my priorities shifted a little bit. Hence, I'm nowhere near the beginning of Book #2.
JT: Seriously, how did it feel, the first order that came in?
theCDP: Well, less than a week after the book was published, I had moved 100 copies, and it was quite surreal. I thought that I'd move a total of 100 a year after publishing. The support of my readers, friends, family, co-workers and the local press was incredible. That's where the lion's share of the original push came from. Because of that, I had instantly recouped my initial investment, so everything after that was just a pleasant surprise. Of course, things have tapered off a year later, but I still sell a few copies every few weeks, and it never gets old. It's truly one of the larger accomplishments of my creative life.
JT: You really do have a wonderful community surrounding theCDP. How the hell did you pull that off?
theCDP: I consider the CDP Network to be the smartest, funniest, most ruthless and yet the most compassionate group of readers on the web. I think it comes from the style of my writing, and the understanding that comes with that. Sarcasm, the questioning of everything around you, but the optimism and humor that comes with all of the ridiculousness in the world. The jerks don't stay around long, and those who do instantly find their place and make friends with the remainder of the community. I love it when I see people become Internet Friends because of the CDP.
JT: For a vegetarian hipster from the Midwest, you really do have a universal voice.
cargirl: I agree. You take the odd experiences of a vegetarian hipster from the Midwest and make them almost universal. Kudos on that, my friend.
theCDP: Thanks to you, Carly. You're a perfect example that I don't necessarily appeal to a specific demographic. I appreciate that a lot.
JT: Good point. Carly is 17 , theCDP is 25, and I'm pushing 30, yet we all love to read the same material.
theCDP: I'm an average guy that has average experiences, and tries to relate them in an extravagant yet completely relatable voice. When you can find that balance between personal revelation and broad understanding, it's a beautiful thing. I'm not an expert at it, but I try to get close every day. I've found that, for the most part, people don't like to hear other people complain. They want to hear about something that they can relate to, that makes them feel better about themselves and laugh their ass off. We're all in this together, and if I can write a story about a broken Sump Pump and drive that point home, all the better.
JT: You do that well. I'm going to assume you made a deal with the devil.
theCDP: I sold my soul to Ryan Seacrest.
JT: A minor demon, then. Back to the book...Is there any part of the process you would have done differently, either for your sanity or bank account?
theCDP: Good question, JT. Let me think. The editing process behind 65 Poor Life Decisions was nothing short of organized chaos. I had five different editors who all had their own ideas for not only how the book should flow, but how the English Language worked. I ended up not only editing the book, but also everyone else’s' edits. Oh, and Carly lets me hug her, too, so that's always nice.
JT: I would let you hug me, but it's a helluva drive.
theCDP: Fill the tank; I bet it's worth it.
JT: My new job will give me more freedom. Don't tempt me.
theCDP: I also wish I would have had more time designing the more technical aspects of the book, but by that point, I was under the gun to release it by the end of November 2007.
JT: What do you mean by technical aspects?
theCDP: Formatting, the design of the cover, promotions; pretty much anything that didn't have to do with the guts of the book. That was all done in less than two weeks. I've found that regardless of what's inside the book, nobody will care if you don't get them to actually open it first. Everything we did with this book was our first experience with it, so while I know the next one would be twice as good, it will probably be completed in half the time.
JT: I know I posted a review of your book, as did others. Was it hard to read any of those? I mean, I basically called you a flaming douche nozzle, if I recall correctly. Did you want to burn down my house?
theCDP: Of course not; I sort of am. For the record, I read pretty much every review I stumbled across, and they were, for the most part, really nice. I remember one guy said that his only criticism was that the book was 400 pages long. I don't know what book he was reading, though, because mine was 300. It probably just felt like 400. All of the criticism was warranted: it was a good first effort and a sign of better things. I knew going in that would be the consensus.
JT: He got the Director's Cut. What are your plans for book numero dos? I’m going out on limb and guessing that you’ll be writing a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure series about the Lincoln Assassination. Am I right?
theCDP: Close. The McKinley assassination.
cargirl: Thanks for clearing that up, the blogosphere has been amiss with rumors.
JT: Man, I love those Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books. CG, do you remember those?
theCDP: I have about 20 of those, personally.
cargirl: Yes. Like Goosebumps. Those didn't scare me as much as the CDP essay about when you were in the rain and your tire was messed up. I think I got that right. Maybe I'm blending stories.
theCDP: Well, the truth of the matter is....and this is the first time I've stated this publicly.....There's a good chance that I might be...rather quiet in 2009.
JT: Oooh...there's something the blogosphere doesn't want to hear. How long of a hiatus are you thinking?
theCDP: Well, the CDP is closing in on the 5th Anniversary and 1000th post, both huge blogging milestones, considering the overall volume of my page. And...if you'll allow me to be a little masturbatory and philosophical for a second... My goal is to tell stories. And sometimes, different creative mediums are necessary to tell different stories. Sometimes, the best way to tell a story is to just write it onto paper. Sometimes, it's writing a song. A painting. A poem. A screenplay. Whatever medium gets your point across the best. I've written poetry. I've written a screenplay and actually filmed it. I've written and performed songs. And most recently, I've written almost 1000 funny stories and published a book of them. I feel that I might be at a point where I determine what the next best way is for me to tell stories. Quite frankly, I don't know what's left.
JT: Way to avoid the question, Mr. President.
cargirl: That only leaves...
theCDP: Carly's right...I'm turning to hardcore porn. The final frontier.
cargirl: Do you see yourself making things more official? As in, getting bigger, doing more branding and marketing and becoming a professional? Or do you plan to keep that folksy quality that we all grew to love?
theCDP: Not particularly. For me, it's always been about telling the story; making it work. Doing it and crossing it off the list. Magnitude is never an issue with me. The completion of the task is the reward. Don't get me wrong, this book helped me buy my house, but it was just a surprise bonus of writing funny stories.
cargirl: So CDPingtonPost or DailyCDP aren't coming any time soon?
theCDP: Whatever allows me to keep bothering people with stories about sump pumps exploding and teenage rejection.
JT: Are you saying that you're somewhat burnt out and in need of a sabbatical? Or are you saying that your future, and the future of theCDP are uncertain?
theCDP: I'm not burned out, but I might be in line for a change. I'm not trying to be aloof on purpose; it's something I've been thinking about for months, and I'm still not 100% sure of the future of the CDP.
JT: Sweet Jeebus, you're going to have kids.
theCDP: I'm not having kids right now, I can promise you that for sure.
JT: I know, it was just too easy of a jump to make.
theCDP: I might bring back Ryan's Ween.com. Remember that?
cargirl: No. I must not have been born yet.
JT: I'm going to have to go with no.
theCDP: Quick story; I think neither of you were around for that. In November of 2004, I was disgusted over the re-election of George W. Bush, like most of us were. In lieu of this, I started a side-blog called Boycott Unity. It was a daily political comic strip (yeah, I did a comic strip, too). Well, I was very proud of these strips, but nobody would visit the site. It was like pulling teeth to get people to check out this new project that I was doing and really pleased with. I was getting sick of sites that featured trash, viral videos and porn dominating traffic instead of what I believed were more worthwhile ventures. I was just getting frustrated with the fact that people liked garbage more than decent attempts at humor and satire. So I created a social experiment called Ryan's Ween. And yes, it was a porn site featuring me.....sort of. I promoted and marketed RyansWeen.com as a sort of straight-guy porn site. Log in and look at photos of me in various stages of undress. Of course, none of these photos existed; I was just paying attention to the traffic that came into the site. And wouldn't you know it; RyansWeen outperformed both Boycott Unity and the CDP week in and week out.
cargirl: Oh God, why wasn't I alive for this?
JT: Also, as far as I can tell, this site no longer exists...not that I've been off looking for your ween.
theCDP: I shut the site down after I made the point to myself, and shut down Boycott Unity a week after that. Neither of them exists. Just the CDP now. So, remember this, kids. It doesn't matter if you're the funniest or most well-written blogger in the country, you just cannot compete with a nipple. Ever. I've come to terms with this, and I have a nice social experiment to show from it.
JT: That's the exact same advice my grandmother gave me at Thanksgiving.
theCDP: I got the same advice from your Grandmother, actually. Burn!
JT: I fail to see the burn. She's a wise woman.
theCDP: You'd think that this was a sad story, with the moral of 'don't bother trying. But you have to do what you feel you need to do. And I feel I need to communicate. People won't necessarily remember the things that you said to them, but they'll remember how you made them feel. This is my goal, by any means necessary. And if it means unplugging from the CDP and painting pictures and learning how to swim, then so be it.
JT: Come down to SC; spend a while at my parents Lake House or Beach House, and I'll teach you to swim. Also, I'll say this: I would hate to see theCDP fade, but I recognize the amount of time, effort, and heart you've put into it, and you've made this crazy interweb a better place.
theCDP: These interviews never go the way you want them to, do they, JT? I'm not particularly funny sometimes.
JT: Nope, but I wouldn't have it any other way, my friend.
theCDP: I appreciate that, JT. And I'm not going anywhere for now. I have the conclusion to my Top Albums of 2008, then the Year In Review and the State of the CDP Speech to round out the year. And the Fifth Anniversary of the CDP is in February, which is a pretty awesome thing, if I may say so myself. Not so much that I kept a blog for 5 years, but a blog that I've updated 1000 times since then.
JT: It is, especially with what you've done with the place.
theCDP: It smells like freshly mown grass at all times. Then Carly turns 18 in March, so I guess I'll have to be around for that.
JT: Can I still call you Jailbait?
cargirl: That's Miss Jailbait to you, sir.
JT: In the words of one of my idols "WHAMMY WHAM WHAM WAZZLE!"
theCDP: Bill Cosby?
theCDP: RAZZAH FRAZZAH PUDDING POPS
JT: Slurms McKenzie from Futurama.
theCDP: Oh yeah, the Slurm episode!
JT: It's what I yell out as loudly as possible in bars when I'm drinking with my friend the Cap'n. Melissa hates it. A lot.
theCDP: Can't imagine why. :)
JT: You haven't lived until you've been out on the town with the Cap'n and Sloshy. Any final questions, comments, or crudely drawn pictures of monkeys?
theCDP: Lemme think....America is in an extremely historic time right now, for both amazing and terrible reasons. This is an opportunity for all of us to evolve and take control of anything we choose. So allow yourself time to think about what you want, and....f*** it...make it happen. Why not now? Bleep that, if you don't mind. My mom reads this stuff. I'll get a phone call.
JT: Done. My mom quit reading a long time ago.
theCDP: You're a good man, JT. And I appreciate the interview. Maybe my mom did, too. I should ask. Then I can bring back all the porn I've been stockpiling of myself. My family represents the fragile thread between my dignity and the lowest form of celebrity.
JT: I smell the return of Ryan's Ween.
theCDP: Awesome sentence right there, JT. I have no idea how to respond to that.
JT: Son of a bitch...Let's all just forget I said that, okay?
cargirl: Aaaand, it's over.
theCDP: I agree. That's a fitting end if I've ever heard one.
JT: Cheers. Thanks, kids.
theCDP: JT, you're the man times ten.
JT: Shit. This interview would be nothing without you.
theCDP: Alright. Goodnight kids. If you need anything from me, you know where to find me. Thank you so much.
JT: Word to your moms.
There you have it kids. Breaking news on two fronts. theCDP may be going on hiatus in 2009, and I'm starting a new job as of January 1. More on that later.
For now, finish your drinks, and have a pleasant Christmas Eve. I hope Santa is good to all of you girls and boys.
Another great interview for the second year... TheCDP.net is without a doubt one of my favorite blogs to read well that and fleshbot
JT, you do realize that your blog will now not only see increased hits from the CDP interview itself, but also for the keyword "Ryan's ween." I hope you're comfortable with that.
Very cute interview :)Post a Comment
I like how Carly just chimes in during the interview like she's thecdp's wife or something.
I like how Carly just chimes in during the interview like she's thecdp's wife or something.