8.31.2012

10 Minutes - Last Call For Bicycle-ahol

Hi. It's Joe.

This weekend is BIKE WITH (OR WITHOUT) MELINDA, a fun social bike ride I host up here at the cabin every Labor Day weekend.

It's not too late to join the fun. But soon it will be. So I hope you decide soon to err on the side of fun and get your arse up here. The weather is supposed to be superb. I have web access, so just let me know if you are coming. It is a 4 hour easy drive from Madison.

Most people roll in on Saturday (that's tomorrow, and AAA says it is the lowest traffic time of the entire holiday weekend, because most people travel on Thursday or Friday), and we socialize by the lake, next to which the cabin sits. I picked up a variety pack of microbrews and generally everyone brings a little something to share. But otherwise it is totally free Labor Day weekend fun, with no competition for camping sites. We will grill out, so bring your favorite grillable items. Lots of other food will be available.

On Sunday we will ride bikes about 26 miles at a very social pace, stopping for breakfast and at a few establishments along the way to Stone Lake, where we will eat lunch. My mom and pops will drive a support car back from Stone Lake in case anyone does not want to bike the return trip (~54 miles around trip).

I will be trying out my bike boom box on the ride, so we'll have lots of tunes.

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Sunday night, we will have some more lakeside fun, and probably some jams.

Since Monday is a holiday, people can pack up and leave at their own pace. There is no urgency. It is a really laid back and relaxing end of summer event.

If you still don't want to come, then maybe next year...

I saw 2 bald eagles this morning when I kayaked out to the point. One of them was sitting in a dead tree and let me get really close before he took off and soared around on some thermals with another eagle. I did a little fishing, but didn't haul in any big catches.

Well, for those of you who are coming to BIKE WITH (OR WITHOUT) MELINDA, I look forward to seeing you tomorrow.

Time.

8.30.2012

10 Minutes - Once in a Blue Moon

Hi. It's Joe.

There will be a blue moon this month. It is either today or tomorrow. It doesn't really matter because I am writing this today and (unless you are a FB friend or Twitter follower) you are likely reading this tomorrow (it will seem like today to you though, and will actually be yesterday for me).

A blue moon occurs when there are two full moons in one month. I am assuming the actual BLUE moon is the second one that occurs at the end of the month. But on further thought, both could be called a blue moon, given that absent some major cosmic catastrophe scientists can predict future blue moons for many years into the future. So if you know there will be 2 full moons in a given month, why not call the first one a blue moon, as well as the second one?

Or is it just a convention to pretend everyone is completely ignorant of the predictability of the second full moon in a month so that everyone can feign excitement the last 2 or 3 days of the month, when it happens, even though they knew full well what would happen way in advance.

I mean, if I saw a full moon during the first couple days of a given month (except February), I would say to myself, "Oh, it's going to be a blue moon." But by saying it is GOING to be one, I am clearly referring to the second of the two full moons.

Well, there you go.

Time.

8.29.2012

5 More Minutes - Bike With (or Without) Melinda

Hi. It's Joe.

I host a bike ride social every Labor Day weekend up at my folks' cabin in the remote north(west) woods of Wisconsin. It's really a fun time. It gives me the opportunity to connect with my friends and family, and my folks get to meet the good people I fraternize with.

We can actually host about 8 or 10 people and we have had almost that many in years past. But people's priorities change. They get families and more and more responsibilities, always too busy to get out of the routine and get away from it all. I can understand, but it is too bad.

I wish more people would come. It's not that I misunderstand or underestimate their other priorities. I totally get it. But I feel a remorse that more people can't be exposed to this epic adventure on bikes. It's so much fun.

Shell Lake, on the shore of which lies our cabin, has, I am quite convinced, Native American healing powers. It is a clean, spring fed lake. There are black bears, eagles, loons, herons and other beasts. It's remarkably beautiful. There is an uninhabited island in the middle of the lake that is protected by the DNR. You can't even camp on it. But you can explore it by day. We have a row boat and a kayak at the cabin. It's great fun to row out to the island and hang out. Sometimes we do this on the Saturday of BWM weekend.

There are usually some campfire jams. My mom makes a feast. The ride itself is slow paced but still challenging on Sunday, followed by more lakeside fun at the cabin. Monday, being a holiday, we clean up the place and roll out as it suits us. Part of the reason my mom likes BWM is that she gets some help tidying up the cabin before it gets shut down for winter. But that's really the only "cost" of the bike ride. That and gas to get there, and beer and grillable options if desired.

It's not too late to join the fun. Just saying...

Time.

5 Minutes - Let the Fun Commence

Hi. It's Joe.

Five day weekend starts tomorrow. Of course, it starts with an oil change and dropping Buddy off at the kennel. But none the less, it's MY TIME. The Man, in all his buffoonery, thought it would be a good idea to make all employees burn some PTO time. Mandatory or not, I'm not working, and that's cool.

I actually accomplished a bazillion things at work this short 3-day week and left early today, having kicked everything's ass.

Tomorrow, I have a fun lunch with some inner circle peeps. Then I am going to pick up my CSA veggies and head off to my BIKE WITH (OR WITHOUT) MELINDA party bike ride weekend.

Let's hope I remember everything, especially my new bike boom box.

Time.

8.28.2012

10 Minutes - Bike With (or Without) Melinda is Nigh Upon Us

Hi. It’s Joe.

This Labor Day weekend, much like all the Labor Day weekends since 1999, is BIKE WITH (OR WITHOUT) MELINDA, the fun social bike ride I host in northern Wisconsin at my folks’ cabin on a lake.

I suppose if you wanted to come, you would have let me know by now. But if you still want to come, there is room. Let me know fast, because my mom needs to know how many mouths to feed.

My car is in the shop. It’s not getting fixed, but rather diagnosed. It runs really well a lot of the time. Then every so often, it has a biff where it loses power and the dash lights up with alarms. Many times, if I turn off the car and turn it back on, the problem disappears entirely. But on Sunday, this little trick did not work and it was being a little bitch for a goodly amount of time. Luckily, I was close to home. I had driven to Lake Geneva earlier in the day and it was fine, although I had been running the AC to defrost the windshield. It was a rainy and humid day.

This biff that my car has seems to be tied to humid weather but also to use of the AC. If I use the AC while I am driving, then turn off the car, then start it back up with AC still on, the computer does not dig this and gives all kinds of electrical system warnings and shuts off the gas engine (for whatever reason). The electric motor still works but it is really sluggish and the transmission seems f-ed too.

But when the issue clears up, it runs fine with no problems at all. Maybe it just needs a new computer chip.

I don’t know. But I do know that I have to drive 4.5 hours up to the cabin on Thursday afternoon and so I would like to know my car is going to make it without issues. I know that if this thing happens on my way up there, I can pull over, turn off the car and turn in back on, and that will probably solve it. But if I knew the real problem, I could permanently solve it, if it was not too expensive to do so.

Anyway, BIKE WITH (O/W) MELINDA is on Sunday of the holiday weekend, but peeps usually roll into the cabin on Saturday and we chill by the lake. Weather permitting, we swim, tube, kayak, windsurf, or row. We grill out, have a few brews, jam some acoustic guitars, light a campfire if we are allowed (it’s a remote woodsy area).

People have the option to camp in the yard or throw their camping gear on the living room floor. This usually depends on how many people go.

Let me know if this intrigues you enough to get out of your comfort zone and go. I am going to have my awesome bike boom box on the ride.

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Time.

 

8.17.2012

12 Minutes - I Am Going to Osh Kosh (Begosh!)

Hi. It's Joe.

I am going to attempt to write for 20 minutes this morning, to make up for not doing my 10 minutes of free writing yesterday, like I should have. With medicine like antibiotics, you are not supposed to double up on a dose if you miss a day, so I probably shouldn't do that. But I am going to do it anyway.

Tonight I am going to Osh Kosh (begosh). I am leaving work at 3 PM to allow for travel. The two coworkers on my team are also leaving work at 2 and 2:30 PM, respectively. My coworkers both gave health/medical reasons for leaving early, even though HIPAA laws do not require them to disclose any health information of any kind, when or why. Plus it is no one's damn business. If you want to leave work early and all your work is done, then just go ahead and do it.

As such, I gave no formal reason for leaving work early. It's only weakly medical (stress relief) but it could be medical and thus there is no reason anyone needs to know about it. So they can go pound sand up there ass. People are too afraid of management. If management called me out on my reasons for leaving early, I would tear them a new sphincter. Why would they, except to be douches?

Anyway, I need to be in Osh Kosh by 6 PM and it's a minimum 3 hour drive from Madison. I also need to pick up 2 pounds of 100% grass fed beef on my way home, as well as feed Buddy and take him out.

Buddy is going with me to Osh Kosh. I am going to an indie horror film with Todd and Sherry. Then I am staying over and we will go to the OK Farmers Market in the morning before I head home to prep for the BABY ROCKET gig at Nautigal on Saturday night. We are getting free food at the gig, which is a private party for a yacht club. Rich people. Ugh!

Well, I have written about all I want to write right now, and it only took 12 minutes. So I am sorry if you did not get your double dose of me today. But perhaps that is for the best. If you are in Osh Kosh tonight, let me know and we will hook up.

Time.

8.15.2012

10 Minutes - Power Walking and Temp Tatts

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Hi. It's Joe.

I power walk at lunch sometimes with my coworker Holly who has 3 kids. Yesterday, when I went to the craft store with my other coworker peep Alex, I picked up a bunch of temporary tattoos (pirate imagery mostly). Having way more than I could ever use, I palmed off some tatts on Holly to give to her kids.

Temporary tattoos have a lot of value, especially for kids. They are only about $5 for a 50 count of them in a variety of designs. Now, let me first say I am not a greedy man. I am happy to give away temp tatts for free in exchange for the priceless value of joy that it will bring the recipient.

But I am also happy to sell temp tatts for $1 a piece at live rock-n-roll shows. When I say "sell," I really mean "suggested donation." But I figure if my band is going to pour out our hearts and souls for people, for FREE mind you, then what is the harm in offering some high joy value to people in the form of a very low cost item in exchange for a nominal $1 tip?

I am not going to deny anyone a tatt if they don't have a dollar. But if the emotional value of a tatt + the awesomeness of our band is worth a $1 tip, shouldn't people have the option to throw a bone or two my way? I think so.

I might try this at an upcoming show. People love temporary tatts.

Time.

8.14.2012

10 Minutes - The Week Thus Far

Hi. It's Joe.

On Sunday, I think it was, I wrote a post outlining the week ahead. Thus far, it has pretty much gone to plan.

I wasn't going to vote this (Tuesday) morning, but I ended up doing so anyway, just in case. It was a total waste of effort. It may have been enough of a distraction to cause me to forget my bike saddle bag (pannier) at home when I drove to Mike's on the east side of Madison to bike commute to my west side day job. But I might have forgotten it even if I had not voted, I don't know.

What I do know is that there was a strange irony in forgetting my pannier. Last night I took extra care to pack my work clothes and shoes and some luxury non-essentials like my cell phone charger and some deet in it. I also put my bike rack and bike on the car so that in the morning, I could jet away quickly and have a more leisurely morning experience.

I did have a more leisurely morning experience and I did jet away quickly - so quickly in fact that I totally forgot to load my pannier in the car.

Luckily, my buddy Mike, with whom I bike commute, had some loaner clothes for me to borrow at work. Everything else in my pannier was non-essential. I did not even need my work access badge, since my friend and coworker Alex let me into the building.

I had my cell phone and wallet in the pocket of my bike shorts, thankfully, so I had those. My cell phone charger is nice, but not necessary. When my cell phone hits about 50% charge, I will shut it off to save the battery in case of an emergency later.

Time.

20 Minutes - Parsimony Defined in Practice (Occam's Razor)


Hi. It's Joe.
The parable of Occam’s Razor, if there is in fact a parable of it, describes cutting away all of the non-essential elements and leaving only the important parts. Parsimony means, more or less, that the simplest explanation of all the observable facts is the best one. Parsimony is not the same as Occam’s Razor, but Occam’s Razor can be used to arrive at the simplest possible explanation.
In any case, both of these things are only loosely relevant to the lesson I learned this morning.
I bike commuted today. I also decided to vote at the last minute, which turned out to be a non-essential function. As an aside, I wanted to make sure there weren’t any good people who needed my vote. There weren’t. I briefly considered voting amongst the bad people in the Republican primary, but that also seemed like a waste of time.
Back to the story. The last minute decision to vote may have been what distracted me from remembering to put my saddle bag in my car before driving to my buddy Mike’s house for the commute into work from the east side of Madison. I did not realize this oversight until I was arriving at his house.
My saddle bag contained my change of clothes and shoes for work, a small toiletries bag (with deodorant stick), and assorted other (as it turns out) non-essentials: my access badge for work, a cell phone charger, a bike light, a bike computer, a spare tube, sunscreen, and deet.
When I got to Mike’s I assessed my predicament and determined that if Mike had some spare clothes for me to borrow, I could still bike with him, instead of driving back home to get my stuff.
All I needed were: decent shorts, a t-shirt, dark socks, and a small towel. He had these items in my size. I threw them in a plastic bag and bungeed them to my bike rack. I had fortuitously put my cell phone and “wallet” in my biking shorts, and my bike lock key is on my keychain, so I had those things with me and was covered there.
Other than deodorant stick and proper shoes (I normally wear suede slippers at work anyway), I had everything I needed to avoid having to wear my bike clothes at work. I did have to wear my bike sandals at work today, but the black socks, notwithstanding the total fashion faux pas, worked ok with them. There is a shower at work and as long as I don’t sweat too hard, I should not be offending anyone with B.O. today.
So, what I learned is that I can actually get by with a lot less stuff than I normally take with me on my bike. And I think this applies to life in general. You can accomplish the same success with less.
My bike computer is a nice to have, but it doesn’t get me where I am going any faster and I already know the mileage and time it takes to commute by bike, on my usual routes. The bike light is not even really a nice to have, because the chances of me ever needing it are almost nil. It is always light out during my bike commutes. The extra bike tube in my saddle bag is way overkill, because I also have a spare one on my bike, along with tools to change it. My coworker Alex met me at the door at work, so I did not need my access badge. I don’t need to charge my phone today if I turn it off most of the time to save the battery. Even if I did wear down the battery, I could borrow a charger from a coworker.
So there you go.
Time.

8.12.2012

10 Minutes - The Week In Advance

Hi. It's Joe.

Rather than a week in review, I will do a week in advance. If all goes to plan, this will be an action packed week.

MONDAY: I pick up Buddy from the kennel. Then I go to work. I am supposed to go running at lunch, 3 miles. I have my piano lesson at 5:30 pm followed by a totally unnecessary BABY ROCKET practice from 6:30 to about 8 or so. Long day.

TUESDAY: If the weather is nice, I will bike commute. The evening should be all mine, except that I will need to practice for Wednesdays jazz gig a bit. There is also the slimmest chance I will be jamming with the band LUBE. But more on that in a later post.

WEDNESDAY: Work, then jazz gig at Come Back Inn from 5 to 7 PM with Charlie Painter and crew. Come. It will be fun. If I am not too beat when I get home, I will practice GUPPY EFFECT v2.0 material.

THURSDAY: Buddy goes to the vet at 7 AM for some vaccinations. Then I go to work. In the afternoon, I pick up my CSA veggies before heading over to HIATUS band practice at 6 PM, for like 3+ hours. We have no gigs on the books, but they will come and it is best if we keep up the momentum.

FRIDAY: Work. Then, if all goes well, I am going to cruise up to Osh Kosh to see an indie horror flick with Todd and Sherry and stay over there.

SATURDAY: I will probably spend most of the early part of the day practicing GUPPY EFFECT v2.0 material before heading to the Nautigal Bar in Madison to rock a private party with BABY ROCKET.

SUNDAY: Marathon GUPPY EFFECT v2.0 practice starting at noon. This will be the acid test of if we are ready to rock a full night of tunes the following Saturday, August 25, at Carps Landing in Lake Mills. If we aren't, then I may call in backup troops to make sure we put on a great show (opening set by GE v1.0). I kind of want to do that anyway, so that v2.0 can play just the most solid and crowd pleasing material. But the other members of the band don't see it that way, so I defer. Clearly, I want the show to be a success, whatever it takes to achieve that. If it isn't, I will re-assess things after the show.

So, I'd better hit the hay if I am going to conquer the ensuing week.

Time.

 

10 Minutes - A Borrowed iPod Shuffle


As you may recall from a prior post, if you've been following this blog fairly regularly, I lost my iPod Mini many moons ago.

This weekend my sister was kind enough to lend me an iPod shuffle for use until such time as I either find my lost Mini or acquire something of comparable usefulness. That was most kind of her, don't you think?

I am planning to use it to test out my new bike boom box, if and when it arrives. Cross your fingers.

Time.

10 Minutes - Cabin Fever

Hi. It's Joe.

Actually, cabin fever is when you need to get away from the cabin and do other things. I don't have that. I am quite content to chill at the cabin.

Yesterday, whilst fishing with my niece and nephew, we saw one of the bald eagles that lives out by the point, the promontory of land that juts out into the lake just past our cabin property. It flew out across the lake, large and majestic. I think it may have been a juvenile, because it looked like it had a black head, not a white one.

I have not seen any black bears, not even the one that lives near our cabin and often raids the garbage cans and bird feeders. I kind of like seeing them, at a distance, the same way I like seeing tornadoes at a distance. I can appreciate nature's raw beauty without its raw power punching me in the solar plexus.

It's about noon on Sunday. I am probably going to cruise back home to Cambridge this afternoon about 4 pm so that I don't have to drive at night. In the meanwhile, I might go on a bike ride. Or I might go out in the kayak. The lake is really still today, but there is talk of some storms moving through. I would not like to be out in the middle of the lake when a gale whips up. But if I am, so be it. Nature's raw power can punch me in the solar plexus.

Time.

8.11.2012

10 Minutes - Fishing and Biking

Hi. It's Joe.

Slept great last night. Cabin sleep is peaceful sleep. So quiet and serene. The air mattress was a bit squeaky and woke me a few times when I rolled over, but I made up for that by sleeping close to 10 hours. That's not to say the air mattress is the only thing I can sleep on at the cabin. In fact, there are plenty of beds, but my whole extended family is up here and so all the other beds are taken.

This morning I ate a grainy healthy breakfast of steel cut oats and Cheerios, with unsweetened soy milk and some flax powder and walnuts. Then we went on a bike ride around the lake with my cousins from three cabins down. We stopped at the coffee shoppe, where I learned all about oil refining from cousin Jackie's husband John. He works at a refinery in Superior, WI.

At the coffee shoppe, I ate a veggie wrap that was excellent, and drank some coffee.

When we got back from the bike ride, my nephew Ty and I went for a quick swim in the lake to rinse off. Then we did a little fishing. I caught two very small bass and I let Ty take the hook out of the bigger one and release it. We fished for quite a while and I got some sun.

We came back up to the cabin and ate a snack. I had a banana and some corn chips. Ty ate a granola bar. It is just about nap time now, so I thought I would crank out this post before that. It's not a very exciting post, because everything up at the cabin is very relaxed and laid back.

But this might be a good time to remind my readers about my bike ride, BIKE WITH (OR WITHOUT) MELINDA, which I host over Labor Day weekend at the cabin. The bike ride itself is on Sunday, Septmber 2, this year. But people come up to the cabin on Saturday and hang out, eat tasty food and sometimes jam on acoustic guitars. Then we get up at a leisurely pace on Sunday morning and ride bikes about 25 miles to Stone Lake WI, where we get lunch. Some people bike back while others take the support vehicle, depending on biking strength. But either way, we usually stop at some establishments along the route, going out and coming back. Very social, not a race. I hope you can come.

Message me for deets.

Time.

8.10.2012

10 Minutes - Cabin Time and Meat

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Hi. It's Joe.

I am up at the cabin. I drove up this afternoon and it felt like kind of a long drive even though it was fairly uneventful.

My mom knows but does not like that I have gone vegetarian. This is probably why she passive-aggressively added some shredded turkey to the tofu dish she made for dinner. I ate some of it but tried to pick out the tofu and avoid the turkey.

I got a little fishing in and so did my niece and nephew with their kiddie fishing poles. We caught nothing. I did have one strike but I missed it. Smallmouth bass probably.

Last night I socialized with some coworkers new and old, and I ended the night chilling with good pal and awesome chick drummer Wendy of SUNSPOT. We are going to do a songwriting exercise together and may run a halloween costumed half marathon in mid-October, culminating with a thriller dance (our idea).

My peeps are good peeps.

Anyway, I was tired out today and now I am getting an early night. The cabin is very relaxing, although my family is watching the Olympics right now and that is utterly annoying. My folks just got a well put in at the cabin so no more bottled water. We can drink right out of the aquifer once the disinfectant chlorine clears the pipes.

I brought a bunch of CSA vegetables up to the cabin and I hope my dad uses some of them when he makes his vegetarian chili tomorrow.

Time.

8.09.2012

20 Minutes - Bass Amplifiers Are Cool


Hi. It's Joe.

I titled this blog post "Bass Amplifiers Are Cool" for two reasons.

The first is that bass amplifiers ARE cool. Without them, electric bass players such as myself would find ourselves significantly hogtied when it came to rocking out in a live music setting (even though we can still do the direct line in thing when recording...).

The second is that Niche Chick, the affiliate marketing blogger whose e-mail list I am subscribed to, said that the bass amplifier niche is a good one to promote. That is not what I am doing here, because this is not my affiliate marketing blog.

I usually don't promote any niche, unless it is something I am passionate about, and to tell you the truth, I am pretty passionate about bass playing, which covers the domain of bass guitar amplifers. It is unlikely that this blog is going to garner much traffic from people looking for good bass guitar amps, but just in case it does, I have provided a thumbnail image above that will take people to a starting place for finding good ones.

Last night I practiced piano for an hour, focusing on the left hand bass line kind of stuff. I am still far from “there yet” but I think I did make a little bit of progress. Eventually it will come. Only practice can get me there and I know from experience that given enough practice, I can get there. Still, nothing comes second nature for me on piano. I think some day it will.

Tonight I am going to try to practice for an hour as well. I am going up to the cottage tomorrow (Friday) and I won’t have another opportunity to practice for next Monday’s lesson until Sunday night, unless I want to bring my electric piano with me, which I sure don’t.

I am behind on biking activity too. I bike commuted into work yesterday, but then it started to rain in the afternoon and didn’t let up. I could have biked in the rain. I should have biked in the rain. But instead, my co-worker Alex gave me a ride back to my car, which was parked over by my buddy Mike’s house on the east side of Madison. She was going that way for a dinner date anyway.

As a result, I had to drive in today. I have the option to go on a social bike ride tonight along the Glacial Drumlin bike trail at 5:30 PM. But this will cut into piano time tonight. Plus, there is an after-work team building exercise going on today at a local establishment that I would like to attend.

Thursday night is usually HIATUS band practice night, but due to the fact that we have no more gigs on the books and both of my other band members are out of town, we don’t have it this week. That’s lame, but also kind of good, because it frees me up for other things.

GUPPY EFFECT only has one Sunday marathon practice before our gig on Saturday August 25 at Carps Landing in Lake Mills WI. That’s unfortunate. I am considering splitting the show between GUPPY EFFECT v1.0 and v2.0, if v2.0 is cool with that. It means less total money for the individual performers, but more artistic freedom to perform only songs we are solid on. v1.0 lacks solidity due to being on hiatus and not practicing regularly and v2.0 lacks solidity due to no one having time to practice. So if we pool forces, we could put on a kickass rock show. If we don’t, it will be mediocre at best (keeping in mind that my “mediocre” is far above the average for most live bands…it’s a personal high standard that I have).

Time.

8.07.2012

20 Minutes - My Brain is Back

Hi. It’s Joe.

I think I may finally have fully recovered from RAGBRAI 2012. Ever since I got back from the 400+ mile bike ride across Iowa on Sunday July 29th, I have been running non-stop, getting ready for gigs and playing catchup. Yesterday was the worst. I was so tired at work after a weekend of rocking and socializing.

But last night, I got an early night. I put ear plugs in and I took two ibuprofen (makes me drowsy). Then I read a Science News article about cosmic rays until I dozed off and the magazine fell onto my face. I slept great for a goodly 7+ hours. My brain feels like it is working again, sharp and fresh.

I bike commuted this morning. Given my early night, I was tempted to bike commute the whole way from Cambridge to Middleton, WI. But when the alarm went off at 5 AM, I decided to hit snooze a few too many times and catch those extra ZZZs. So I did my usual partial commute, driving about half way to park my car and then biking the rest.

I had my bike computer on today. It is 18 miles of driving to my car parking spot in Cottage Grove, just east of the Interstate on Buckeye Road. From there, it is a 17 mile bike ride through downtown Madison, along the lake through the UW campus, then up Old Middleton Road to Middleton and my work place.

So, now I know the parking spot I use is almost exactly half the distance to work. I usually bike commute home a slightly different and more bike friendly way. In the morning, there is less traffic and people are generally civil. But in the late afternoon and evening, there are a lot more cars on the road, and the people in them are annoyed and grumpy after a long day working for THE MAN. Then, they have to sit in traffic congestion, which adds insult to injury. I can totally understand their ill tempers, but I cannot tolerate them taking it out on an innocent biker. It sucks for them that I can zip past all the traffic in the right bike lane, but they made a choice to drive. They could make a choice to bike and breathe some fresh air and get some exercise at the same time. They brought their misery on themselves, and I am not to blame. I am just doing what’s right for me. My life. My rules.

Anyway, the route I take home adds a couple more miles to the route, so it is closer to 19 or 20 miles back to my car. Thus, taking the round trip mileage for the whole day on average, I am biking about 36 miles or so and driving about that same distance. Every day that I bike commute this way saves me about 30 miles on my car. I try to bike commute thrice a week, so I end up saving about 90 miles on my car. My car is a Prius, and I get about 45 miles per gallon with a bike on the back (when I ride my commuter bike, I have to throw it on the bike rack because it does not fit in the car like my road and mountain bikes do). So every week that I meet my bike commuting quota, I save 2 gallons of gas, which is about $8 at the current price of $4/gallon ($3.999/gallon is the same thing…).

That’s 4+ cups of Barriques coffee paid for. Boom. Goodbye.

Time.

8.06.2012

10 Minutes - Don't Eat Cheese Before Bed

Hi. It's Joe.

My words of wisdom for today are, "Don't eat cheese before bed."

This might not be true for everyone, but I sleep horribly with a belly full of cheese, waking up a lot and generally feeling crummy.

That said, I was really tired today. I just could not keep my mind awake. I think I am still recovering from RAGBRAI. It did not help that my weekend was action packed, culminating in a Mallards Baseball Game in Madison WI on Sunday night, part of a work function.

I have my piano lesson tonight, just a short 30 minute one to get back into the swing of things. I am out pf practice because of the bike ride and I have only practiced once since I got back. I need to get more tips on left hand bass lines for piano.

The nice thing is that I have a lot of time available for piano here these next two or three weeks. HIATUS does not have band practice this week because my band mates are out of town. GUPPY EFFECT does not have another practice until Sunday August 19, the weekend before our v2.0 debut show at Carps Landing in Lake Mills WI. We are going to have to make that Sunday a marathon rehearsal because I think it is the only one we have before the show. We have not been able to pull it together as far as mutual schedules that work for everyone. But they are all good players and we have agreed to all practice our individual parts at home in advance of that practice so when we get together it should go seamlessly.

BABY ROCKET has a Nautigal show on Saturday August 18th. We might squeeze in a practice before then, but that band does not really need to practice. It is all standard generic cover songs everyone knows backwards and forwards.

This weekend of August 10-12, I am going up the the cottage to hang with the fam. I am going to have to fall ill on Friday so I can skip work. Since they robbed me of my vacation time, I have no alternative but to redeem sick. Not my burden to bear if management has no idea what they are doing (they think they do, but they don't).

Well, off to my lesson.

Time.

10 Minutes - A Weekend to Remember

Hi. It's Joe.

The great big massively humongous HIATUS rock-n-roll show at Capital Brewery on Saturday (8/4/12) went off just about as well the the landing of Mars rover "Curiosity" on the surface of Mars. Many variables had to come together just so, and they all did. We were slated to perform from 6 to 9 pm, and Mother Nature got all the rain out of her system between 3 and 5 pm that day. Granted, it was during the stormy period that we had to set up our music gear and soundcheck, but the stage was totally weatherized and when the time came to perform about 6, the sun was back. It ended up being a real nice night.

I saw some friends I have not seen in a while, like Matt Alba and Adam Thomas, as well as awesome photographer Tami Legler (see http://www.facebook.com/guppyeffect for pictures from the show).

My RAGBRAI buddy and teammate Chuck Schuman cruised all the way up from Illinois ( a 2 hour drive) and brought his family to watch HIATUS rock. I was quite thrilled, because I totally had not expected him to come, even though I know he liked my rocking on RAGBRAI.

My sister came down from the cabin with my niece and nephew and they caught about half the show. My rendition of "Message in a Bottle" by The Police was superbly performed, as were most of the other songs.

All told, a really great time.

Time.

8.03.2012

10 Minutes - My Smart Phone is Dumb

Hi. It's Joe.

Last night, my Android smart phone went into a coma, known in the vernacular as a "boot loop." I had to go online and learn how to do a safe start of the phone. It is no easy task. You have to hold down 3 buttons and then it takes you to a system menu where you have a limited number of options for restoring your phone to functionality. Unfortunately, the only one of the options that worked was the most drastic (after trying the less drastic ones). I had to totally wipe and reset my phone to factory defaults.

Thanks to the fact that Androids are Google based, most of my contacts were easily restored when I logged into my Gmail and Facebook accounts and re-synched everything. However, I will need to manually update my settings and restore a few apps, such as Posterous, which I am using now. That's a bit of a pain, but not as much of a pain as using a Blackberry like I used to have. I totally understand why BB is going out of business. They suck.

In any case, my phone is functional again and now much faster. It had been bogging down a lot. A clean wipe probably gets rid of a lot of clutter on the hard drive and empties all the ROM.

Androids use a removable SD card for media like pictures and music. So that stuff is also safe when you do a factory reset. In fact, the SD card from my previous Android works in this phone and still has old pictures on it. The old phone also has a spare battery I can use as a backup. I should charge that and keep it handy.

Time.

8.02.2012

10 Minutes - At Band Practice

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Hi. It's Joe.

I am at band practice and I have just about 10 minutes to spare while our guest guitarist (for Saturday's awesome rock show) gets his mountain of completely non-essential music equipment set up. So I am typing this post and enjoying a post work Rustic Ale from Capital Brewery, which is where, as synchronicity would have it, our awesome rock show on Saturday will be happening.

I had a good day at work. I had a monthly meeting with my new manager who is so much more awesome than my previous one. He actually wants me to work on useful and productive things instead of useless and administrative ones. But enough about work.

It sounds like we have a shite ton of people coming to the awesome rock show on Saturday. That's the benefit of the Law of Scarcity. We only perform infrequently, so when we do it is a rare treat for people and they don't want to miss it. In fact, we don't even have another show booked after this awesome one on Saturday. Maybe we won't ever book another one, and that's not just a ploy to panic people into coming on Saturday for the possible last HIATUS show ever. It's the truth. We are called HIATUS for a reason. We are always on hiatus unless the conditions are just right for us to play a show.

And playing a kickass show at Madison's awesome Capital Brewery, partying with all our favorite peeps, is just such a conflagration of synchronicitous factors.

I can't wait.

Time.

8.01.2012

10 Minutes - Lots of Rock-n-Roll Going Down

Hi. It's Joe.

Tonight I have GUPPY EFFECT v2.0 practice after work. I feel a little bit behind on practice because of RAGBRAI, the week long bike ride across Iowa last week. Although I performed with several bands during the ride, it wasn't useful for the new songs my bands are learning for upcoming shows.

I would like to add three (3) fairly rocking but easy Police songs to the mix. One of them, "Message in a Bottle," I know fairly well because HIATUS plays it. I also want to do "Next to You" and "Can't Stand Losing You," but I need to refresh them. I used to play them in the past, so they should come back fast.

Tomorrow night, which is Thursday night, I have my usual weekly HIATUS practice and I feel pretty solid on most of that material. This is, however, the last rehearsal before our massive gig on Saturday. I want to throw down the gauntlet at that show, so that means going above and beyond the call of duty on song learning so we can push the envelope of stage antics without worrying about biffage.

I had a really nice long lunch date yesterday. I am not going to say anything more about it for fear of jinxing it, but suffice to say, we have another date on Friday. Then if she comes to the gig on Saturday, the seduction will be complete (her seduction of me, that is, to be clear).

Time.