8.31.2011

10 Minutes - Bike With Melinda is Soon

Hi. It's Joe.

My annual Labor Day bike ride, BIKE WITH (OR WITHOUT) MELINDA, is this weekend. We have room for one or two more people, but it's about full. Let me know if you want to come and have a very fun weekend away. Possibly the funnest.

GUPPY EFFECT played at Delavan MetalFest last weekend. It was a bit of a disappointment. The organizers failed to secure BEER and since this is Wisconsin, very few people came. It was mostly the bands and a handful of their friends, largely high school aged, since they can't drink anyway. I am so sick of playing crappy gigs, especially when they have so much promise and then fail utterly.

But we did rock, for what it is worth. So did most of the other bands we heard after our much too early 2:30 PM set. Stefan and I left about 5 PM because my buddy Matt Alba was playing a coffee shop show at Waterhouse Cafe in Lake Mills.

On Sunday, I once again performed at Laura Stone's Music Show in Lake Geneva WI. I have played there two other times, once with Stefan. The only downer is that it is in Lake Geneva, which would otherwise be a cool town except for the mass of Illinois tourists who swamp and thus ruin it. It has this over-populated lake that they all come to and clog up with their motor boats. I guess they don't have any cool lakes like WI has in Illinois. But its popularity also ruins it. It is one of those catch 22s. Parking sucks until the tourists start to go home about mid-afternoon.

That said, the turnout was pretty good at Carvetti's, where the music show is hosted. So good, in fact, that I thought the bar could stand to give the music performers a free drink or two. But the greedy bastards wouldn't. Laura Stone was super cool though and bought me a glass of vino.

Time.

8.29.2011

10 Minutes - Singing Lessons

Hi. It's Joe.

I got to the Madison Music Foundry a little early for my singing lesson, so I am taking this opportunity to post a post.

I am restarting vocal lessons with Caitlin Cisler, now that she is back from her summer singing workshop in Colorado. I was taking this class via the UW over the summer. I think it improved my pitch a lot more than my actual singing skill and power. It may have helped my range too, because I noticed it is a lot easier to sing the high part on "Green Eyed Lady" by Sugarloaf now than it used to be.

Maybe I will work on "Green Eyed Lady" with Caitlin since it is a pretty easy one, lyrically. However, I usually play it on bass and I only have my guitar with me tonight.

I always forget to bring my water bottle to my lessons. I should, because it is really dry in here and that hurts my singing voice.

Time.

8.26.2011

10 Minutes - Carpooling, Evolution, and Heavy Metal

Hi. It's Joe.

Today is one of those rare mornings when I don't have car pool, so instead of limping through rush hour traffic on the beltline in Madison WI, I'm going to use the time more productively to post here and generally take it at a leisurely pace. What the heck, it's Friday!

I am not entirely sure why my carpool mate prefers to religiously follow the herd of commuters into work at exactly the right time to catch the worst of the rush hour traffic mayhem. He doesn't have to. We have core hours at work, which means as long as you are accessible between 9 AM and 3 PM, they don't care how you break up your day. We totally don't have to be at work as early as 7:45, like we usually are. The worst rush hour traffic in Madison is from 7:30 to 8 AM. He could also leave work later, since his wife picks up his daughter from daycare.

But then, I shouldn't complain. Because we alternate driving days, I am effectively getting 100 MPG on carpool commute days to work. I drive a Prius that normally gets about 50 MPG. So with him driving every other day, I am saving even more on gas. That's almost worth the snails pace leg of the commute on the beltline. Of course, we don't pool every day. On Mondays, I usually have a music lesson or class after work in Madison, so I can't pool. Those days are nice. I can go in later, avoid the bulk of the traffic, and because of my lessons, I go home well after the commuter traffic has died down. But it is rare that we don't pool at least 4 days a week. Today (Friday) is another exception because my coworker wants to bug out of work early.

I finished reading "The Blind Watchmaker" by Richard Dawkins, and should be able to intelligently discuss its contents with Caitlin. We have kind of a study group of our own going where she is trying to educate me on Creationism and I am trying to educate her on evolution. I doubt we will ever see eye to eye on the origins of life on earth. But at least we will understand the foundation of the two polar opposite beliefs. Mutual understanding is always a good thing. A part of me believes that the truth will reveal itself through education, but another (more realistic) part of me understands that human beings are extremely good at the willful suspension of disbelief. I'm no exception. Evolution does seem hard to comprehend sometimes. Human brains don't grasp such huge time scales and such small increments of genetic change. We also tend to disregard or minimize information that doesn't fit our pre-existing belief system. The nice thing about evolution is that it is based on math and science, probabilities and evidence from nature. Creationism, I think, requires a deviation from the Laws of Nature and a "hand of God" that can make inexplicable things possible.

Now I am reading "Mere Christianity" by CS Lewis, the counterpoint to the Dawkins text. It's actually a pretty easy read, although some of the assumptions are questionable. But this is why we discuss stuff, Caitlin and I. I am sure Caitlin feels negativity towards Dawkins' explanations of things as well. It's a shame that the world has become so dogmatic in its beliefs that people can't accept contradictory information anymore. That will be the demise of humanity. Not that I'm any less dogmatic about science, reason, and evolution. But at least I am aware of the problem. That's a start.

Tomorrow, my awesome rocknroll band GUPPY EFFECT is going to cover a classic 70s heavy metal album in its entirety at Heavy Metal Fest in Delavan WI. I can't wait. It is going to be a good time. It sucks that the organizers of the event suck and dropped the ball on funding, but everyone pulled together and decided we will ask a $5 suggested donation to pay the sound guy and gas money for the bands. We are all about the rocking, not the profits.

Well, the lemmings in Madison are probably just about to work now (it's 7:45). So I am going to end this and get going. It is going to be a hellish but fun day at work. I will relish it the way Ghengis Khan relishes pillaging a Chinese village.

Time.

8.21.2011

5 Minutes - Baby Rocket Show and Guppy Effect Band Practice

Hi. It's Joe.

It's a beautiful day out and my awesome band GUPPY EFFECT has band practice today. We are going to practice the 70s classic heavy metal album that we are going to perform at Heavy Metal Fest in Delavan WI next Saturday, August 27.

I really wish that Guppy Effect had a larger following because the band is amazingly good. Every time someone hears us live for the first time, they tell us how awesome we are. Some of these people become follow up fans who come to other shows, but most don't.

I think the main reason is because we are rockers, not business people or charlatan PR/marketing types. We specialize in rocking an unparalleled and unprecedennted rock show every time we play. The product itself is flawless and consistently amazing. We just aren't trained to promote or sell the product.

As such, we play fewer but higher quality shows (quality vs quantity) and we try to play venues where there will be a lot of people. Private parties are the best. People are already there to have a good time and Guppy Effect's rock just takes it to a whole new level of excitement and fun.

On Saturday, Rocktober 8, Guppy Effect is going to rock the birthday party of Clay Rehm, guitarist for Baby Rocket, the other band I play bass for. It's going to be a blast. Ken of Baby Rocket drumming fame will be at the party, so you can bet there will be a Baby Rocket set at some point during the party.

The attached pics of Baby Rocket band members are from the show we played at the Nautigal in Madison last night. That was also a private party, for the Madison Yacht Club. Those yuppies can really unleash the fury when it comes to rock-n-roll partying.

Time.

http://www.guppyeffect.com
http://www.babyrocket.com

Sent from my Samsung Transform™

8.14.2011

2 Minutes - I Am In Colorado, But No Meteors

Hi. It's Joe.

I am in Colorado, and thus closer to the sky.

But there will be no Perseid Meteors for me tonight.

It's cloudy and the full moon is obscuring what little "blackness of space" served as the canvas for the astronomical meteor storm currently pummeling the upper atmosphere of planet Earth.

But I am in Colorado, and that's cool. I will be here until Tuesday, when I fly back to Milwaukee.

I am visiting my sister. I have a rental car. It wasn't cheap. I flew into Denver. That's about 90 miles from sissie's. It probably would have been cheaper all around if I just flew into Colorado Springs, which is pretty much where she lives. Actually, it's a suburb of Colo Spgs called Manitou Springs.

Time.

8.13.2011

1 Minute - Last Plane Out of Omaha

Hi. It's Joe.

The title of this post sounds like a song title.

But regardless, I am about to board the last flight out of Omaha for the day, according to the departure screens at the Omaha airport.

I am glad I had a 3.5 hour layover between my flight from Milwaukee to Omaha that was delayed 2.5 hours due to weather. Otherwise, I would be stuck in Omaha overnight and have to try to find a flight to Denver tomorrow.

Anymore, it almost doesn't make sense to book a flight without a minimum 3 hour layover if you don't want hassles. Either that or pay more for a direct flight, because with the airlines, you can pay now or pay later, but you always pay.

Time.

8.01.2011

5 Minutes - Down Two More Pounds

Hi. It's Joe.

The 4 Hour Body slow carb diet is still working for me.

I started this about two (2) weeks ago or so and I am down from a starting weight of 225 to 217, as of this morning (Monday).

This was amazing to me, given that my free day was on Saturday, and included both pizza and ice cream. On Sunday, I adhered to the diet strictly, and found that I wasn't very hungry most of the day. I had beans and eggs for breakfast on Sunday, and a salad with beans for lunch. But after that I wasn't hungry for the rest of the day, and but for a handful of almonds, while driving back from the cottage, I did not eat again.

So far so good.

As I have said before, I am not trying to do anything different as far as physical activity, while I do this diet. It's a controlled experiment. I do whatever activity I would normally do. I don't want to confound it by changing two variables, only one.

This weekend did include a couple of decent walks, some wind surfing, and some leisure swimming. But overall it was nothing out of the ordinary.

I feel great too.

Time.