12.31.2011

10 Minutes - Wisconsin Bound

Hi. It's Joe.

I am in the rental car back to Denver with mom and pops after an early morning wake up. Don't worry, I am not driving. Pops is.

I have very poor motor skills at 5:30 AM, a fact that I seldom have to contend with. It was a little bit difficult making breakfast. It is as if my neocortex is awake, but my cerebellum is stubbornly refusing to get out of bed. I think now, at about 7:20, it has begrudgingly restored full motor faculties to my hands, allowing me to post coherently on my smart phone, but you be the judge.

Today I am flying back to Madison WI and then I will have a brief respite before I have to go and play a NYE show with Baby Rocket. I really didn't want to play this gig but the rest of the band did, so I wasn't about to be the weak link in the chain, given that is my pet peeve in most gig situations (i.e., when everyone in the band wants to play a gig, except one hold out).

This morning we get to test the hypothesis that Denver traffic always sucks, even on NYE morning. The null hypothesis is, of course, that Denver traffic will not suck this morning. In any case, we left Manitou Springs CO, where my sister lives, a little bit before 7 AM just to make sure we are at the Denver airport no later than 9 AM. I will let you know how the experiment turns out.

See you soon, Wisconsin!

Time.

12.30.2011

10 Minutes - Or Maybe 15 Minutes, I Am Not Sure Yet

Hi. It's Joe.

This is my last full day in Colorado, specifically Manitou Springs CO, where my sister lives with my 6-year old niece and nephew, Millie and Ty. It has been a fun 12 days. I can't really call it a full fortnight, because I arrived on a Sunday evening and I am leaving on a Saturday morning, so if I am rounding to the nearest full day, I have to eliminate that first Sunday and last Saturday.

It has been a fulfilling time regardless. My quota of family time has a surplus that should last at least until April, when we may or may not come out here again for my niece's and nephew's 7th birthday. It is on tax day. Turning 7, or really any age under 10, is grounds for celebration, but turning 10 is really a milestone. Given my limited accumulation of vacation time, I may or may not make the trek in April 2012. If I don't, I am going to try to make it out here again next Christmas. However, I will plan to arrive BEFORE 12/21/12, the day the world ends, according to the Mayans.

Actually, that's according to the modern day doomsday naysayers...the ancient Mayans did not believe the world would end on that date, just that a new era would begin. It could be a zombie apocalypse, or it could be Judgment Day, or it could be that humanity finally wakes up and gets a clue that they are destroying the planet, and then they make some serious quality changes toward a more VALUES driven society, instead of a greed and personal-gain based one, which is very destructive. Plus, the 12/21/12 date is only significant on one of many different calendars the Mayans used. I am not sure the math even works out, according to a book I am reading about numbers. But the date 12/21/12 is still cool inasmuch as it has all those 1s and 2s in a seemingly orderly arrangement. But that order is subjective and not really relevant to anything special about that date.

Speaking of books, I am cranking through Richard Dawkins' "The Greatest Show on Earth." It is quite educational. A lot of the information is common knowledge (to me), but there are details I was not aware of. The nematode worm, Caenorhabditis elegans, for example, has less than 1000 cells in it's entire microscopic body, and this makes it a great scientific model for studying the embryonic development of animal cells. Researchers can label the cells and watch how they differentiate into muscle and nervous system and gut and reproductive cells. It's a great example of local genetic control manifesting an entire organism, using only the genetic code, without a divine hand or any kind of blueprint. He also clarifies the idea that DNA is not a blueprint, but a recipe. A blueprint can be reconstructed from the final product (think, building a house) with a few basic measurements. However, a recipe cannot be reconstructed from it's end product (think, baking a cake). In the latter example, there are many different recipes that will get you a cake in the end, even the same kind of cake. But the wording of the recipe can be different, as well as how the ingredients are put together. If someone gives you a cake, you cannot figure out the recipe from that. This is why you have to ask for the recipe when you taste a great cake, and why some recipes can be such great secrets.

In similar fashion, you cannot reconstruct the DNA of a human being, or even a nematode worm with less than 1000 cells.

Well, I went about 20 minutes, in the end. So there you go.

Time.

12.29.2011

10 Minutes - I Am Ready to Put 2011 to Rest

Hi. It's Joe.

My two weeks in Colorado is drawing to a close and so is 2011. I think 2 weeks is a perfect amount of time for a relaxing vacation. The impending conclusion of my winter break was evident this morning, when for the first time, I was not able to sleep in to my heart's content. I still got a decent night's sleep, but now responsibilities are starting to creep back in, very suggestive of my return to "real life" on Saturday.

Tomorrow, I need to pack a box of stuff to send back to myself in Wisconsin. I didn't receive a lot of Christmas goodies, which is nice, but still more than I care to cart back via airplane. I'm also going to throw in a bunch of travel clothes that I shipped out here before I arrived. This is how I elude the charlatans at the airlines who want to charge people a fee to bring a suitcase with them. I am sick of charlatans, and although it is not an official New Year's Resolution for 2012, I am going to make considerable effort to avoid (as well as undermine) charlatans whenever I can.

When I get back on Saturday, I have to play a NYE gig with Baby Rocket in Madison WI. It doesn't pay very well, but well enough that my accountant will be happy. I think in 2012, I am going to also put the music business to rest. It is not very profitable and since I don't really have a profitable band to play with, it doesn't make a lot of sense. I am going to do more song writing and recording for possible licensing use, but that is consistently highly unprofitable, because my music is way too advanced for most music consumers today, and I don't want to dumb it down, just to make money.

Time.

12.27.2011

10 Minutes - Tame Caribou and Scenic Vistas

Hi. It's Joe.

Yesterday afternoon we all went to a holiday social at my sister's friend and coworker Ruth's house. I don't know what Ruth teaches at Colorado College, where my sister teaches Art, but I want to say it is something like English Literature. That is probably totally wrong. Anyway, Ruth has 3 kids and they are all really well bred, intelligent and conversational. I find that kind of maturity quite rare in Americans. Their father is first generation Serbian and he is a real character. I think the kids must get some of their cultural diversity and human character from him. Anyway, Ruth's son Nick lives in Madison, I found out, and so I told him to look me up some time. Of course, I also told him about my awesome rock-n-roll band JEEBUS PREEBUS, since he is interested in music.

The social had a lot of Paleolithic DIet friendly foods, which was good because I am spending this week phasing in my New Years Resolution fitness challenge to follow a Paleo diet for as long as I am able, starting January 1, 2012.

After we got home from the social, I read a good chunk of "The Greatest Show on Earth," by Richard Dawkins. I was reading the chapter on human evolution from ape-like ancestors, and it was fascinating, very difficult to put down.

I eventually did put it down though, and went to bed after watching an episode of SURFACE on Netflix. It's a TV show from some years ago about some kind of deep sea new species of monster that is taking over the earth.

I woke up earlier than usual this morning, unable to sleep. So I looked at my bank balances in an attempt to fall back to sleep. No dice. So I got up, re-heated some of yesterday's coffee and ate a largely Paleo breakfast. It consisted of a raw nut + raisin mixture (slivered almonds, walnut bits, and raisins) with banana and unsweetened soy milk (I am allowing legumes on this diet, otherwise it will be impossible to get enough healthy protein; recall that commercial agricultural meats are not paleo friendly...). The roughage quotient of the nut mix was pretty brutal, so I did add a little bit of agave syrup, on the assumption that hunter-gatherers would have occasionally eaten this, as well as honey. I also used some natural stevia herbal sweetener. I also re-heated the black bean and bison meat gruel I concocted a couple of days ago. It really filled me up and I am still not hungry, about 4 hours later. However, I think I am going to heat up a bit more of the bison and black bean gruel shortly. I need to use it up and it is yummie, as well as Paleo friendly.

I am looking forward to making my dad's chili recipe when I get back to Wisconsin. It is Paleo friendly, provided I leave out the corn and use a lean, wild caught meat or simulation (like bison, which is usually grass fed). I think fish might be something to experiment with, but fish chili might be weird. Wild caught fish is very Paleo friendly though.

Time.

12.26.2011

10 Minutes - Helium Isotopes and Swedish Hot Rock Sauna (Unrelated)

Hi. It's Joe.

My mom and pops got a digital picture frame from my sister for Christmas. I thought that it would be fairly user friendly technology, a great tool for my mom to work on overcoming her intimidation of 21st century technologies.

But these things are not as intuitive as you would think. Actually, they are pretty awesome and easy to use once you get the hang of it, but there is this initial steep learning curve that could be a hurdle to technophobes like my mom. Even my dad had a bit of trepidation once we got into it.

Last night, my dad and I had a late night conversation about nuclear fission and fusion, and the various forms of radiation and particles created in the different kinds of nuclear reactions. These are the kinds of conversations that serve as bonding between my dad and me. A good portion of the conversation was arguing about whether the common stable form of helium is helium 3 or helium 4. We eventually looked it up (it's helium 4). That's when I learned that there are other isotopes of helium, all highly unstable. The longest lasting is helium 6 with a half life of about 800 milliseconds. I suppose neutrons must be the particle emitted when helium isotopes 5 and above break down.

Yesterday was action packed. We went up into the mountains, to Woodland Park, CO, where my sister's friend Carl lives. He has an authentic Swedish sauna, a standalone wood fired hot rock one that opens to the brisk mountain air. It really cleanses your pores. After you get good and hot, you step outside into the cold to cool off. You can roll in the snow if you want to, but I settled for just rubbing some snow on my arms and torso. It's not as shocking as it sounds. You get so hot in the sauna that the snow doesn't actually feel cold. It melts almost as soon as it hits your body.

This week I am phasing in the Paleolithic Diet that is one of my New Year's resolutions. My dad has a kickass chili recipe that is very Paleo, if I allow legumes in my diet, which I will as a protein source. I can make big batches of chili to last for days, and that should make this diet a breeze. I will probably get sick of chili after a while, but my dad's recipe is award winning (in theory...I should have him submit it to a chili cookoff).

Time.

12.24.2011

10 Minutes - Christmas Eve Is Not The Time To Reveal That The New Testament Is Largely a Forgery

Hi. It's Joe.

Happy Christmas Eve.

I went grocery shopping with my mom and pops this morning. That was a mistake. It was a madhouse out there, with everyone doing their last minute food and present shopping. I do not know why I even went. I guess I wanted to get out of the house. But it was hell. Hell!

I am sure that when I die, if there is a Hell (and I am most assuredly destined for it), it will involve me having to do last minute Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve...FOREVER. That would truly be just punishment for not accepting Baby Jesus as my lord and savior. Fire and brimstone I could handle all day long, but imprisonment in an American shopping mall on Christmas Eve would truly be absolute torment.

My niece and nephew, Millie and Ty, respectively, had a holiday pageant at their church today (my sister is not religious but she is trying to instill some values in the kids). It is kind of a hippie church. Not quite as liberal as the Unitarian church, but close. Lots of hipsters and lesbians, etc. In any case, it gave me an opportunity to test my hypothesis that if you bring a paperback version of a Richard Dawkins book into a church, it will immediately burst into flames.

Sadly, that hypothesis was disproven, not withstanding a "triple dog dare" to God to go ahead and spark up the pages of that Dawkins book I brought with me to read during the superstitious mumbo jumbo that transpired. What would Baby Jesus do?

Maybe it was because this church was too liberal. If I brought the book into a Baptist church, maybe then it would explode into flaming ash, but then, so would I...

God, I am so going to last minute Christmas shopping American mall no parking gridlock traffic freezing rain HELL.

Time.

12.23.2011

10 Minutes - Flotsam on the Sea of Other People's Agendas


Hi. It's Joe.

Today started out passively enough. I was awoken by the morning play sounds of my nephew and niece, Ty and Millie, respectively. I took my time getting up, made some breakfast eggs with black beans and bison meat, reheated yesterday's coffee and brewed some more. Then I read for a spell, mostly "The Greatest Show on Earth" by Richard Dawkins, a book about evolution.

Some family drama was happening in the background during this time as my relatives debated what to do today. My mom decided to go on a morning walk and she took my 6-year old niece, Millie, along. But she forgot to tell my sister that Millie was going with her, so my sister briefly freaked out about where her daughter was and went out looking for my mom and Millie, because my dad and I didn't know Millie had gone with my mom either. When they left, I had been in the bathroom. But my niece had not, in fact, been kidnapped and everyone eventually came back.

At that point it was decided that my parents and I would take Ty and Millie to Garden of the Gods (my sis lives in Manitou Springs, CO) for some hiking whilst my sister went to her massage appointment. We took the kids to lunch at a Mexican restaurant after the hike and then met up with Kate and her friend Ron at a movie theater, to fulfill a 3-day old promise to my niece and nephew to go to the Muppet Show Movie. It was lame, but not as lame as I expected, because it wasn't as stereotypically Disney as are other Disney movies. But it was sappy and wet and weak on plot.

After the movie, we reconnoitered (sp?) at the coffee shoppe formerly known as Boulder's (but now called Golden Hills or some crap), and then my mom took me to a mountain outfitters retail store for new hiking shoes. I donated my old ones to the homeless. Santa will probably hold off on giving me coal for that.

Then we came home and ate dinner and now we are sitting around talking with that ever present classical music emanating softly from the Bose wave radio in my sister's kitchen.

Time.


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12.22.2011

10 Minutes - Festive Relaxation

Hi. It's Joe.

The smell of crock pot soup cooking pervades my sister's house in Manitou Springs CO. She is using a handheld blender to turn cooked vegetables into a thick soup base, to which she will add more fresh vegetables and meat, along with herbs and spices. I have never seen anything like it, but the reason she does it this way is that her kids, my 6-year old twin niece and nephew, won't eat some vegetables in intact, fully visible form, such as zucchini, mushrooms, sweet potato, and celery. So she cooks and blends these vegetables into a delicious-smelling (to my nose) slurry, to which she will soon add the child-friendly vegetables, potatoes, corn and the like, along with a meat, probably chicken.

My niece and nephew are playing, completely oblivious to the culinary trick being played on them. They will be none the wiser and a slight bit healthier as a result.

Millie just played the homemade "bugle" that my mechanical engineer dad made from 9 feet of rubber tubing and a store bought funnel. Only the mouthpiece is from a "real" brasswind instrument, probably a trombone. Truth be told, it is more like a French horn in design, but lacking valves. He made three of these jerry rigged instruments in total, and on 2 of them he punched some holes in the rubber tubing to allow for changing key and playing different notes, as valves would do.

Classical music still plays continuously from the Bose wave radio in the kitchen. Any attempts to turn this off are foiled within minutes by someone turning it back on. And futile attempts to change the station are met with prompt veto and swift action to return the ambient music in the house to its karmic perpetual state of "Hits of the 1680s." Classical music is alarmingly distracting. You wouldn't think so, because it seems like such innocuous background music, but it is also rather complex and interesting, especially to creative minds like mine.

Time.

12.21.2011

10 Minutes - Garden of the Gods in Manitou Springs CO

Hi. It's Joe.

In about a half an hour, my dad and I are going to hike around at Garden of the Gods, a nature park in Manitou Springs CO, where my sister lives. That means later today, I will be posting some scenic pictures on my FACEBOOK page. So let's see if that leads to any friendship requests. I think most of the people who read this are already my FACEBOOK friends, so I wouldn't place any money on that.

This morning, I ate cereal and drank a bunch of coffee, whilst I read a few pages of "Blood of the Prodigal," a novel by P. L. Gaus. It is set in the Amish community of Ohio, and even though it is a novel, it is educational. The author grew up around the Amish and really knows their culture well. They are kind of secretive and distrusting of the English (that'd be you and me, unless you are Amish, in which case you are unlikely to be reading this post). That's kind of the gist of the plot of the book. A couple of guys are trying to track down a kidnapped boy and getting information from the Amish is like squeezing blood from a stone.

My sister, my mom, and my niece and nephew have taken a trip to Denver for some reason. My dad is repairing the second-hand trumpet we found at the thrift store on Monday. It was in fairly bad shape, but totally reparable according to my horn-playing father. For $45, you can't complain (the same model is selling for $500 give or take on E-bay). We are going to give the trumpet to my nephew for Christmas, hence the expeditious repairs now being undertaken. We also found a decent kids' acoustic guitar for $9. It has decent intonation and it is only missing one string. The missing string is the high E string, which I generally think is a useless string anyway. But I am a bass player, so who am I to say?

Time.

12.20.2011

10 Minutes - A Calm Day

Hi. It's Joe.

It is a calm and peaceful day in Manitou Springs, CO. I am taking a break from doing nothing right now to type out this blog post.

It is not exactly true to say I have been doing nothing all morning. I ate breakfast, drank some coffee, contemplated ways to prove the Goldbach Conjecture, determined that 1,234,567 is a prime number, and read a few pages of Richard Dawkins' book, "The Greatest Show on Earth," about evolution.

You read a little Dawkins and you soon realize that it is almost impossible to deny Evolution as a natural process in nature, unless you just willfully choose to do so for religious reasons. Generally, though, religious fundamentalists seem to avoid Dawkins altogether and damn him from afar for reasons other than his scientific brilliance. This way they can avoid his persuasive presentation of scientific evidence on grounds other than the facts, and protect themselves from messages that would cause chaos across a broad spectrum of their cognitive landscape. One can make the claim that Dawkins is a dick towards religious fundamentalists, but that character flaw has no bearing, relevance, or correlation to his scientific knowledge and writing ability.

The rest of the day looks to be more of the same. I think at 2:30 my family is going to the elementary school my niece and nephew attend for a holiday party.

Well, that's about all I had to write for now. Ciao!

TIme.

12.19.2011

10 Minutes - A Colorado Blizzard

Hi. It's Joe.

There is a blizzard coming to Colorado. But it is not coming to the part of Colorado I am currently in. Thanks to global climate change, the blizzard is sweeping across the southern plains just south of here. That includes NM, OK, TX. The southeastern part of Colorado will just get nicked by the top part of the megastorm. Here in Manitou Springs, we will probably get a couple of inches, but it is so dry out here that the snow literally "evaporates" within hours of falling. This transition from solid to gas is called sublimation in chemistry and occurs in low pressure environments like the Rocky Mountains, especially when the air is bone dry.

My brain is going to turn to mush over the next two weeks of holiday vacation. I am utilizing almost all of my accrued vacation time from work. When I get back to work in early January, I am going to have to hit the ground running because a bunch of stuff will be coming due the month after I am back. But for now, let's not think about work at all. Let's read books and go see things and mill about and generally loaf. Sound good?

Good.

Jeebus Preebus, my new party rock-n-roll band, had an excellent show at our holiday house party last Saturday. I thought it was biffier than our first show, but it had more energy. The people at the party really liked it. I got some good compliments on my rendition of Ben Fold's "Fired." We have a good selection and variety of cover tunes and our one original, "I'm a Clown," is a hit single.

Pretty soon we are going to add another original of mine, called "Roundhouse." You can listen to it here.

Time.

12.16.2011

15 Minutes - New Year's Resolutions

Hi. It's Joe.

This week I am willfully failing on my fitness challenge to do five 45-minute workouts per week, although I have been successful every week since I started, just after Halloween.

Due to a funeral up here in Duluth, MN, I knew I would have little chance to fulfill my weekly quota of workouts. But it would not have been impossible, just stressful. I had an extra workout from last week to carry over, so that was one. Monday night I had band practice, so that was out. Tuesday night, I could have worked out, but instead I worked late, because it was busy at work and I knew it would be a short week because of the funeral.

Wednesday night, I had to get ready for this trip and also clean up my house, because when I get back on Saturday, I won't have time to do much cleaning before I go to Colorado.

There's a fitness room at this Econolodge that my parents and I are staying at. I could have worked out here, but I didn't bring any gym clothes.

I might squeeze out a workout on Saturday before I go to Jeebus Preebus dress rehearsal for our big rock-n-roll house party. This would not be a last ditch effort to try to achieve the challenge this weekend. It would just be for energy and because I want to.

Anyway, my fitness challenge will be drawing to a close, officially, at the end of December. As such, I am starting to think about my fitness challenge for the new year. I am pretty sure it is going to be sticking to a Paleo Diet, the healthiest diet known to (and for) humans. You see, it's basically a diet based on our genetic evolution as a higher primate. We are genetically adapted to eating whole foods and lean meats obtained from nature in their raw state. We are not genetically adapted to eating grains, sugars, or processed agricultural foods of any kind. As a result, these latter foods are biologically toxic. This crappy diet correlates highly with the poor health and higher chronic disease incidence of Americans who eat it, and that's pretty much clinical fact.

Following a Paleo DIet will mean that I won't eat a lot of meat, because a lot of meat is not obtained from nature, it is manufactured artificially through genetic engineering and grain feeding.

I can probably find grass fed beef and bison, maybe some free range chicken and eggs. I also won't eat much grain, with the exception of brown rice. I think Native Americans cultivated and ate rice, so from a hunter-gatherer perspective, it is probably borderline. But it is great filler for the vegetable soups and stir-fries I will be eating a lot of.

The other problem is cooking oil. I recently discovered that most cheap store bought olive oil is crap, sometimes mostly canola oil with only a fraction of olive oil. And yes, this goes for extra-virgin olive oil too. So I will have to find some authentic (and expensive) olive oil. But when it comes to diet you can pay now (healthy food) or pay later (medical bills). That's my theory.

Time.

12.15.2011

10 Minutes - I Am in Duluth, MN

Hi. It's Joe.

I wish I could say I was in Duluth, MN for a good reason. But sadly it is for a funeral tomorrow in NW Wisconsin.

Still, I'm technically "on vacation," so I may as well learn and enjoy. Duluth is the sister city of Superior, WI, just across the river (St. Croix, I think). It's a major Great Lakes port area, very industrial and merchant marine. I'll bet it is pretty cool in summertime. But right now it is blustery cold wintertime.

Tomorrow, my parents (whom I met here) and I will drive to Ashland WI for the funeral. Weather permitting, I will drive back home (near Madison WI) early Saturday morning.

On Saturday early evening, my new rock-n-roll band JEEBUS PREEBUS is hosting a holiday house party. The band will play a bunch of catchy rock songs. There will be food, snacks, and free beer.

I don't know if you are going to be around, but if you are, I really hope you can come to this great party. Jeebus Preebus is pioneering a new model of awesome live music, that no longer needs or relies on lame dive bar music venues late at night. We host the parties and the venue is a house, comfortable, friendly, warm. Even the bathrooms are clean. We start early and the music is usually done by 9 pm, so the rest of the time we can party, and still get an early night.

Time.

12.14.2011

10 Minutes - There Will Be Rocking. Oh Yes. There Will Be Rocking.

Hi. It's Joe.

I heard there is a new movie coming out called ROCK OF AGES. I do not know, but I suspect it may be based on the Broadway musical of the same name. I glean this from the fact that the trailer for the movie uses a lot of the same songs as are on the musical soundtrack. But that's only circumstantial evidence.

What I do know for sure is that my new band JEEBUS PREEBUS is hosting our Holiday Rock-n-Roll House Party this Saturday 12/17/11 and you should really try to come, for all of the reasons cited HERE. It's from 6 to 10 PM and because it is a house party and we are the hosts, it is seriously going to rock. Not only is it at a HOUSE and not a BAR, but the beer is also completely and absolutely free (suggested donation, totally optional, is a side dish to share, though we will happily take cash tips too!).

Jeebus Preebus is pioneering a new house party model of rock-n-roll shows to completely undermine the lousy dive bar music scene. At house parties, people are there for one thing and one thing only. To rock out and have a good time. Plus, we can make our own rules and everyone drinks free. You can even stay overnight. What bar will let you do that? I ask you...

Well, my 10 minutes is up. I must retire. Early morning tomorrow. I have to drop Buddy at the kennel, then I am heading up to Duluth, MN for a funeral. Then I get back around midday on Saturday, at which time I will don my rock battle regalia and proceed to AquaMunkee's rock fortress for dress rehearsal and party prep. It's going to be non-stop action from here on out, though mostly driving in rural WI in December (sucks!). The weather is supposed to be relatively decent for the next few days. I probably just jinxed it. Don't smack me!

Time.

 

10 Minutes - There Will Be Rocking. Oh Yes. There Will Be Rocking.

Hi. It's Joe.

I heard there is a new movie coming out called ROCK OF AGES. I do not know, but I suspect it may be based on the Broadway musical of the same name. I glean this from the fact that the trailer for the movie uses a lot of the same songs as are on the musical soundtrack. But that's only circumstantial evidence.

What I do know for sure is that my new band JEEBUS PREEBUS is hosting our Holiday Rock-n-Roll House Party this Saturday 12/17/11 and you should really try to come, for all of the reasons cited HERE. It's from 6 to 10 PM and because it is a house party and we are the hosts, it is seriously going to rock. Not only is it at a HOUSE and not a BAR, but the beer is also completely and absolutely free (suggested donation, totally optional, is a side dish to share, though we will happily take cash tips too!).

Jeebus Preebus is pioneering a new house party model of rock-n-roll shows to completely undermine the lousy dive bar music scene. At house parties, people are there for one thing and one thing only. To rock out and have a good time. Plus, we can make our own rules and everyone drinks free. You can even stay overnight. What bar will let you do that? I ask you...

Well, my 10 minutes is up. I must retire. Early morning tomorrow. I have to drop Buddy at the kennel, then I am heading up to Duluth, MN for a funeral. Then I get back around midday on Saturday, at which time I will don my rock battle regalia and proceed to AquaMunkee's rock fortress for dress rehearsal and party prep. It's going to be non-stop action from here on out, though mostly driving in rural WI in December (sucks!). The weather is supposed to be relatively decent for the next few days. I probably just jinxed it. Don't smack me!

Time.

 

12.11.2011

10 Minutes - Sunday Night Brain Mush

Hi. It's Joe.

I think I overdid it on working out the past two days.

I did 90 minutes at a medium pace on the stationary bike trainer today and yesterday, exceeding by 45 minutes my weekly fitness goal to do five 45-minute light/moderate workouts each week during the holiday months of November and December (I did two 45-minute workouts earlier in the week).

I haven't failed any week since I started this challenge. But I have a feeling I might fail this week, if I am not able to workout at the gym at work.

Monday night I have rescheduled JEEBUS PREEBUS practice. Tuesday night is a possibility, but I did sort of commit myself to go to an open mic night. Wednesday night also has potential. But Thursday and Friday I will be traveling. Then on the weekend, I have a JEEBUS PREEBUS show on Saturday and I go to Colorado on Sunday.

So, if I am to succeed, I will have to time manage carefully. What I have going for me is my one bonus workout from this week that I can carry over into next. So I really only have to accomplish four 45-minute workouts this week.

I had my vocal lesson today and got some good singing tips. I need to practice them because I do not have my next lesson for a whole month.

I hope you can come to the JEEBUS PREEBUS HOLIDAY HOUSE PARTY this weekend.

Time.

10 Minutes - Physical and Musical Workouts

Hi. It's Joe.

This afternoon, I spent 90 minutes on the stationary bike, accomplishing two of the five 45-minute workouts for this week, as part of my ongoing fitness challenge. It was a fairly light/moderate workout, which is the goal of this challenge. I got my pulse up to about 125 bpm. The idea is to do workouts that are achievable and not overly strenuous that they deter me from doing them.

After the workout, I made dinner, and then I spent a fair amount of time in my music studio, practicing songs. My new rocknroll band, JEEBUS PREEBUS, has a holiday house party show next Saturday, 12/17/11. I practiced the more challenging songs, as well as the new song for this week's practice, "Backstrokin'" by Fatback. It's 70s funk. We play some of that in this band, but also a whole variety of other stuff. I play a few songs on drums in this band. I practiced those and they are really coming along. I worry sometimes that I practice too much. Not for my sake, but for the sake of the band. I don't think they practice as much as me, outside of our weekly practices. So I feel like maybe the amount that I practice has diminishing returns if the rest of the band isn't as driven as me. But there isn't a lot I can do about that. My goal is awesomeness, and I can only lead by example. I would not settle for less. So I practice hard to be as good as I can be. A person can only make their small piece of the universe better. It is up to everyone else to do their part.

Tomorrow, I have my singing lesson at 3 PM. I usually have it on Monday, but I changed it to Sunday because Monday is the only day that JEEBUS PREEBUS can practice this week. I am always willing to adapt in order to maximize rock-n-roll potential.

I need to get one more 45-minute workout in tomorrow, to accomplish my five for the week. I will probably end up doing another 90-minute workout and count the extra 45 minutes as a bonus toward my goal. I am only allowed to roll over one workout into the next week, as part of this challenge.

Time.

 

12.08.2011

25 Minutes - Muscles, Music, and Slippers

Hi. It's Joe.

I received in the mail the suede slippers that my parents got me for Christmas. I then proceeded to wear them to work today. So comfy. These ones look much more like actual shoes than the fur lined camo ones my parents got me last year (and which I also wore to work almost every day).

There is something comforting about wearing slippers at work. The main thing is that they are so much more comfortable than formal business footwear. Work is stressful enough without the added consternation of unhappy feet. With these slippers on, it is smooth sailing at work. I am content in almost any situation, a long meeting or a heavy tech writing load. I highly recommend that everyone wear slippers at work. Another thing is that it is kind of reminiscent of working at home, which I used to do. Then, I wore slippers AND pajamas all day, while I wrote music, did freelance, and blogged.

If you are going to wear slippers at work, it helps if they look like shoes. Both these pairs of slippers that I have are rubber-soled and durable on the outside, like shoes, but fleecy warm comfort on the inside. Plus, they are easy on/easy off. No laces, yea!!!

The older pair are still going strong, but being camo colored, they stand out at work as being a strictly non-business piece of apparel. My job doesn't see me interacting with a lot of outside clients, so it is perfectly fine to wear them. However, my boss just loves to taunt me about the camo slippers. These new ones are beige leather (suede) and they go with most of my loose fitting work pants (I think...I am color blind so sometimes I don't always match that great). Unless you look closely, it is hard to tell they are slippers. They are loafer-esque.

Today, I worked out for 15 minutes in the gym at work, doing purely weight lifting. I am not counting it towards my weekly fitness challenge, because it was not 45 minutes, or even the minimum 30 minutes (high intensity) required by my challenge. But I simply cannot lift weights that long. For one thing, my muscles go to jelly after a short while and I can't even lift anything after about 15 minutes. Plus, there are only three (3) exercises that I do when I lift weights - curls, bench presses, and...I actually do not know what the third one is called, where you pull down on the bar attached to the pullie and touch it to your shoulders. That last one is really two in one because I do a few reps behind my head and a few in front, the latter being more like rowing because I lean back when I do that one (the pullie cable is more perpendicular to me than parallel).

I still have to get 3 more aerobic workouts in this week. I plan to get up early tomorrow and kill one. But if I fail, I can do it Friday night as well. Then my Saturday and Sunday are wide open and even if I don't do a 90 minute double workout, I should have no problem finding the time for two 45-minute workouts. Anyway, enough talk about working out.

I had to reschedule my next vocal lesson to Sunday (from Monday) because my new rocknroll band, JEEBUS PREEBUS had to reschedule their weekly band practice to Monday (from Wednesday). We have our JP holiday house party gig on 12/17/11 and it is our last show before we go on vacation. The weekly practice is actually not the dress rehearsal for that show. It is just our regular weekly practice. We are learning "Backstrokin'" by Fatback for Monday. I should have ample time to learn it this weekend too. Our dress rehearsal is actually slated for the Saturday of the gig, in the afternoon. I normally do not like to do same day dress rehearsals, but with this band I don't mind because they rock.

In the upper right of this blog site, I have placed an AMAZON widget containing samples MP3s of some of my music. You can click PLAY and hear a bunch of 30 second samples of my tunes. If you like any, you can download them.

Time.

12.04.2011

30 Minutes - Fitness and Music

Hi. It's Joe.

This evening I did a 90-minute workout on the stationary bike, completing my five 45-minute light/moderate workouts for this week. I had to do 90 minute workouts today and yesterday to catch up, since I had not worked out since last Monday. That was poor planning on my part. But I still made it.

I allow myself to count a 90-minute workout as two 45-minute workouts for that day, but that's the max. Like I couldn't do a 135-minute workout in one day and call it three 45-minute workouts. But I much prefer daily 45-minute workouts anyway. This week was an exception and there was no excuse for it except procrastination. But I knew when the procrastination had to end in earnest to meet the weekly goal, so that is something.

During my extendo workout yesterday, I finished reading the novel "The Girl Who Played With Fire," by Stieg Larsson. It was a decent book. The only critique I have is that the author openly gave away who the killer was about 2/3 of the way through the book. He could have saved that for the end without altering the plot, I believe. I can't give away the ending, but it was also a little bit far fetched during the climax. Those things aside, it was a fun read and since it takes place in Sweden, I learned a little something about Swedish culture along the way.

During today's workout, I watched two episodes of Mad Men on Netflix. This is a show about Madison Avenue advertising executives during the sixties. The human drama is interesting enough in itself, but the writers also make a point to show how American culture was back then in the context of historical events going on. Right now, Vietnam is picking up. No one is really interested in it, except for the young people, because it affects them. For everyone else, it is a mild diversion. That isn't too different from today.

I wonder if Iraq and Afghanistan would have lasted as long as they did if we had the draft during Bush's admin. I try to keep politics off this blog, but I think a lot more people would have been against sending troops if those troops were their own kids, and not someone else's. Just saying.

I recorded a song yesterday. Just the music. It was a song I have had in my head for a long time but never recorded and it still needs words. BABY ROCKET played a mediocre show in Lake Mills WI last night. We weren't mediocre. We rocked. But the scene was mediocre. We were competing with a Badger football game and the people at the bar were not really interested in music. We were going to wait until the game was over, but the owner made us start during the 4th quarter and I think that was a bad choice. The Badgers won, and we were all wearing WISCONSIN vestments to blend in. But the game was a nail biter and so I think people were disgruntled when the owner turned off the sound to the TVs. In my opinion, I think the sportscasters are a bunch of self-important buffoons who like the sound of their own voices. Have you ever listened to the things they say? Probably not, but I did a little bit last night and it was asinine. They are completely full of crap.

Needless to say, a lot of people left after the game was over, so we were playing for a fairly empty room (the people who stayed were only marginally into the music). I didn't really care. For me it was a paid band practice, and we did get a nice chunk o' cash for the evening. It was draining though. Clay was kind of bummed by the turnout, but I told him to think of it as a paid band practice and he liked that idea. We get paid to rock socks, not to be beholden to a bunch of drunks in a bar. If they don't appreciate awesomeness, we can't change that. So we tested out some really new songs we had not really ever played as a band together. It went well. Ken is a great drummer and he improvises amazingly well on songs he doesn't really know. We were only a power trio last night, with no keyboards by Gina. I like the more raw and simplified sound of the three piece, but we did get some comments from people that they wanted to see Gina (mostly men, go figure!).

Today I slept in really late and I didn't drive my car anywhere. It was awesome. I did a whole lot of NOTHING (except workout and watch Netflix). Sometimes you need a day of rest.

Time.

12.01.2011

20 Minutes - Making Things Happen

Hi. It's Joe.

More important to me than money is VALUE. I think this is true for most rational and moral human beings, although many people erroneously equate money and value. Money is sometimes a proxy for value, and when it is, people can get by using dollars as a guide for what has value. But it is a fairly poor proxy, especially if you can't recognize the occasions when value and money are not equal.

The holidays are a good time to make this point by way of example. At Christmas, most people spend a lot of money to buy gifts and presents for people. Usually the value is more in the giving than the monetary value of the gift itself.

My family has moved away from commercialism and material value. Rather than buy a lot of gifts at Christmas, we just try to spend time together. That's the value of Christmas. This year we are going to meet up at my sister's in Colorado. Our plan is to do fun things, share in the cost of meals and activities, and generally be happy. It will cost us very little, but the value will be immense.

Another area where money and value aren't the same thing is with my new band JEEEBUS PREEBUS. We host our own house parties where we invite friends and then rock out our hearts and souls in a very fun and theatrical way. We don't do this for money, we do it to create a value experience for our friends. They get to see an entertaining (but low volume) rocknroll band in a clean and friendly smoke free house party environment with nice like-minded people, tidy bathrooms, and FREE BEER, which we supply. People can even bring their kids, and the shows are early enough that people aren't out to all hours.

Our basic idea is if we create an experience people value (as compared to a noisy and unfriendly bar with filthy bathrooms and expensive beer), people will be drawn to it. We are fine with telling people that if they find the experience a value, they can contribute a donation to our band fund, to support future house party events. But it is totally optional and we don't expect it.

On the other hand, if people don't find sufficient value to continue supporting Jeebus Preebus house parties, we will eventually stop doing them.

We provide an alternative rocknroll party experience. If their is a desire for this kind of value, people will come and it will be good.

To this end, the Buy Joe a Cup o' Joe fund is currently being re-purposed to the Jeebus Preebus band fund. That is my (and your, if you donate) contribution to value and a more rocking world.

I hope you can come to a JP house party soon. Bring friends. You will love it. See http://www.jeebuspreebus.com for the upcoming house party deets (date, time, and location).

Happy Holidays!

Time