My dad's birthday is on Tuesday June 4th. He deserves a good gift, but I have no idea what he would like and he never is forthcoming with that kind of info. I will ask him anyway. It's not like Christmas, where the gift has to be a surprise. I will also ask my mom for some insight. In any case, I will write him a nice letter and include a check for the balance of the European bike trip we are all going on in October. My folks fronted the cash to confirm the reservations. I have the cash to pay them back, it just depletes my savings a tad.
June 4 is also my first Tuesday Jazz Night at Mason Lounge in Madison, as the house bass player. That's kind of paradoxical, because my dad is really into jazz. So he will at least be pleased to know I am doing that.
About all I got for right now. I will try to journalistically document my Eno Vino experience and let you know what I think. Hopefully, I do not acquire another stomach flu bug.
I wonder if this new blog format will generate increased traffic to my posts. I am adhering to Google's idiotic algorithm by putting titular text in the first line of the body of the post, which the Google search engine supposedly equates to the blog TITLE as far as strengthiness to attract traffic.
I am going to go practice piano until I leave for Eno Vino. But first, I have to place this magical backlink: Hells Angels News. It was a putatively good keyword for search traffic. Aka, junk traffic.
It inspired me to do a little bit of research about motorcycle clubs in general, and Hells Angels News was a good keyword term.
Season 3 of “Sons of Anarchy” is not as thrilling as I had hoped. Seasons 1 and 2 were much better. My drummer buddy Will says Season 4 is decent, but I am not there yet.
HIATVS band practice last night was pretty decent. The lads have clearly done a modicum of practicing on their own time. Most of the songs were tighter. There is still a lot of backstrokin’ to be tightened up, but it’s getting closer. HIATVS is more about theatrical presentation than it is about virtuosity of musicianship. Still, it would be nice if the musicianship were second nature so we could focus more energy on theatrics. I can’t complain too much though. At least the band rehearses together regularly.
I feel pretty good today. Yesterday, I was in the post recovery stages of mild food poisoning. My stomach had stopped hurting, but I still had achy joints and very sensitive skin, almost flu-like symptoms, but without the head cold component.
I don’t think I will be dining at Swagat Indian Cuisine ever again. “Sir, may I interest you in a smattering of poo with your meal?” I should tell my buddy Stefan to have his health department colleagues descend on Swagat like a ton of bricks. But whatever. I was there with about 8 other people, and none of them got sick. So I just lost the dysentery roulette I guess.
It is a light day at work today. I am probably going to largely goof off, though I will get all my work done.
Yesterday we had a meeting and upper management just infuriated me with their buffoonery. I held my tongue, but sometimes I want to just say, “Good sirs, if you have no idea what you are talking about, please shut up and let the experts do their jobs!”
Tonight is HIATVS band practice, and I am looking forward to it. I always have these high hopes that my band mates will have practiced the material at home and honed it to a biff-free state. This has never happened in the 1.5 year file of this band, but you never know. We do have a new drummer and he might be on top of things. They say the definition of insanity is repeating a behavior and expecting a different result. I am not insane, because I go to band practice fully not expecting a different result.
The only down side of having band mates who don't hone the material outside of practice is that it is a little embarrassing at the gigs when they biff. That's not to say I don't biff. But when I do, I feel horrible. That is weak sauce. So I try to minimize it by learning the material at home as best I can. Even when I think it is done, I practice it some more, until it is second nature. Then I can focus on the rock fu entertainment aspect of rocking.
There is a plus to having bandmates who don't hone the material. I don't have to try as hard to be biff free. I know that even if I have a few biffs, it will be almost negligible to the biffs of my bandmates. They would call me a khak for saying these things, but I view it as a challenge. If they really think I am a khak, they will go out of their way to prove me wrong...by practicing and tightening up their backstrokin'.
Rock-n-roll is too important to not be a khak about making it awesome.
One of my coworkers got a sweet new job in Colorado and this is his last day. So we took him out for all-you-can-eat Indian food lunch buffet. Normally, this neutralizes my rather awesome mental powers for most of the afternoon. Clark Kent’s power neutralizer is Kryptonite. But mine is all-you-can-eat Indian buffet.
But, today, the neutralization was not as bad. I think this is partly because I was able to secure the anti-dote, a dark roast coffee with soy milk from Barriques. I also chilled at the coffee shoppe for a while, regenerating neurons that would have suffered more brutal blows if I had returned to the workplace right away.
Even though I am largely unscathed by food coma, I am really glad I do not have to fight “awful music crimes” with my bass guitar talents right now, or even tonight. There is no HIATVS band practice tonight. It is usually on Wednesdays, but this week we switched it to Thursday. I will be ready to rock tomorrow. Not so much today.
Conversely, tonight I need to run through the songs for practice tomorrow. Otherwise, I may be the weak link in the chain on some things, and I don’t want to be the one who is weak sauce. I assume my band mates don’t either, and so they will also be honing their super powers in anticipation of the practice. No one wants to be the weak link in the chain mail of our rock. However, most of the time, someone has to be. It is possible that some of the songs could be totally biff free and awesome, because everyone tightened up their backstrokin’. But we have been recording all of our band practices for the past year and a half, and to date there has not been a single biff-free, demo-quality recording.
So that could change tomorrow. But assuming it doesn’t, someone in the power trio of rock will be labeled with the “weak sauce” moniker, even if it is unspoken. In some instances, I am fully happy to admit, it could be me. But tonight’s rehearsal of the songs at home should greatly insulate me from the bulk of biffage. I just hope my band mates are on the same page. Because if they aren’t, I may have to swoop in and patch of their biff holes.
I think the barrista at Barriques must have gotten a talking to about his perpetual surliness. He was trying really hard to be nice and accommodating to customers today. You know how some people are so surly that when they are nice it is very clear they are putting a lot of begrudged energy into maintaining the facade, but they still can't fully mask their innate surliness. It's like when overweight people try to conceal their overweight with baggie clothes. It fools no one. You are much better off to embrace who you are as a person and just be that, genuinely and sincerely. Maybe you are a douche. Be that. Someday you may genuinely and sincerely decide to be a nice person and stop being a douche. But until then, embrace your douchery and don't try to fake it. When you fake it, everyone knows it. It makes everyone involved feel awkward and uncomfortable. Just present yourself as you are so there is no ambiguity and everyone is on the same page.
This is one area where I diverge from professional game busters, also known as pickup artists. They encourage people, usually men, to put on a facade and trick women into valuing them as potential mates. I understand the logic. But it's insincere and not genuine. It is like trying to sell a cheap knockoff as the genuine item. Women want the genuine item, not knockoffs. Just look at the success of the brand name women's apparel and accessories companies. A lot of people are fooled or cajoled into buying the knockoff, but there is always buyer's remorse when this happens. That is true with designer handbags and relationships. That is not to say you should not try to be a better person. Chicks still want the quality value guy. But focus on improving yourself, not fooling people into liking you. If you are good at pickup artistry, then by all means embrace that and be fully genuinely a pickup artist, realizing that faking it to get women into bed is your talent. But realize also that your relationships will be short and shallow. Eventually the woman will see she got a cheap knockoff and go looking for the authentic item. If you are OK with that, great! If not, then be something else.
Conversely, I carpooled today with my good pal and coworker Neptune. Neither of us gives a crap what time we get to work and we don’t care about traffic. We spent a good part of the time determining what animals our coworkers remind us of. Hooded seals, pit vipers, mountain gorillas. A very enjoyable way to spend a commute.
I would say people should carpool more often, but I can’t back that up. Neptune and I should carpool more often, because we have fun doing it. But I suspect most people are boring and unfun. This is probably why so few people carpool. Neptune and I rarely carpool, but when we do, there is a good chance we might blow half the morning at Ella’s Deli, rather than proceeding directly to work. And that’s cool.
I actually prefer bike commuting over car pooling. Neptune said she wanted to get a bike, presumably to also be able to get around without a car. Wise. I bike pool with a buddy Mike sometimes. He tends to ride a little too hard. I like to take it at a leisurely pace. I understand why he likes to hammer out the commute as fast as possible. It allows more time to stop for coffee en route to work. It’s a good logic. But I would rather just start riding earlier, and take it nice and easy.
I think I will bike commute this Friday, weather permitting. I have been lax on biking this week because of bad weather. I am going to power walk today though, to secure my quota of exercise. I hit my quota of three (3) 45-minute workouts last week. I actually exceeded it. I got in two 60 minute power walks during the work week and when I was dog sitting up in Oshkosh, I took all the dogs out (in batches) for a 90 minute walk around the UW Oshkosh campus.
But here it is Wednesday already and I have not done anything. So a power walk is much needed today. And tomorrow. And on Friday, if for some reason I am unable to bike. I still have the weekend as a cushion, and I will surely take the dogs out for some dog park action. Thus, I think I will be covered.
The office manager at work wants to do some kind of corporate brain washing today at 11 AM. So I think this would be a great time to get out of the office for a power walk. Much better use of my valuable time.
p.s. Note that in the reformatting of my blog writing style, I am also no longer ending posts with "Time" because that no longer makes sense if I am not timing them and not including the time it took to write them in the title. Follow?
But first, I need to tell you something.
I am making some changes to the way I do this blog.
I have been starting most of these blog posts with "Hi. It's Joe."
I am stopping that practice. I read something about the way Google indexes blog posts, which said that they use the keywords in the first sentence of a blog post as a proxy for the TITLE of the post. So all this time I have been starting my posts with "Hi. It's Joe," I have just been indicating to Google that all my posts are titled "Hi. It's Joe."
Now, I can't even verify that, but it makes sense. Google sucks, because if this is true, it forces writers to get to the thesis of their post in the first line of text, which pretty much quelches creativity. Sometimes a writer might like to preamble the thesis of the post with some human interest information. That is totally legitimate, but the writer may lose a lot of traffic from people looking on Google for posts about that very thesis. Google pretends to be smart and cool, but they are kind of just mainstream and conformist. I give them a thumbs down.
I am also going to stop putting "10 Minutes" in the post title itself, for the same reason. I am not sure how Google rates the title of a post, if it is using the first line of the post as a proxy title (more idiocy from Google). But the 10 Minutes is just an indicator of how long it took me to write the post and that is almost always totally irrelevant to the thesis of the post.
I also had a habit of putting my monetizing Amazon thumbnail link in the first line of the post body. That was probably also giving Google bad cues as to the nature of my posts. Or maybe it was helping, since it was Amazon. I doubt that though. Now I am going to put my monetizing thumbnail links to Amazon a bit further down in the post, like I did above.
I hope you like the new format, and realize that it is all because Google sucks. I am doing my best here. I also added a backlink to Spiritual Coaching in that first line of the post body. I think Google looks for backlinks early on in the post body too. I am backlinking to spiritual life coaching for the simple fact that I did not go into Market Samurai and seek out new SEO keywords this morning. I could also backlink to another blog post I wrote called BEST FRANK ZAPPA.
I am at work right now. As usual, I got most of my work done way earlier in the day, and I am just kind of gradually time releasing the output over the rest of the day, so I can write blog posts and do other things.
I had a relaxed time up in Oshkosh dog sitting for Todd and Sherry. Tonight is Jazz Night at Mason Lounge and I will stop by for a spell because it is the last night that the former bass player is performing before he moves to California. I take over next Tuesday and I hope I can manage it, because it will mean some late Tuesday nights and tired Wednesdays.
My plan is to get good sleep on Monday night, as well as go into work a bit late on Wednesday mornings. This coordinates well with Wednesday night band practice, because I have to stay in Madison a bit later on Wednesdays, and I can let the dogs out later on Wednesday morning.
There is nothing particularly believable about the show "Sons of Anarchy." But I do like it. I like the idea of a family or a clan looking out for their own in the face of a system that does not accept them. However, the lawlessness would really never fly, not even in a backwoods town outside of San Francisco.
That said, I am probably about as protective of my inner circle too. This is especially true at work. My team is awesome and we are forced to work in an environment that is rotten and does not cultivate us creatively. So we fight the system. Retribution is demanded when someone from "the system" messes with us. Usually the perpetrator is upper management, either making poor decisions that undermine our work or trying to bear false witness against my team when they drop the ball because of poor planning.
There is also "an eye for an eye" when it comes to lost time conversational incidents at work. We are there to do a job and when management runs interference to obstruct us from doing so, we require compensation. That's why we came up with a scale called "giving ourselves a raise." When we have to deal with BS, we have a rubric for how much comp time we are required to get. This serves as a deterrent to management to not hassle us. The more they hassle us, the more they have to comp us. So if they want more output from us, they need to hassle us less.
I can relate to that mentality. Of course, ours is a non-violent mentality and does not involve motorcycles. It simply involves protecting our own from management by whatever means necessary. Largely, we have been successful, because management is weak sauce. They use fear and intimidation to get their way, but when you actually stand up to them, they back down amazingly easily. It's actually kind of sad. They really don't need to back down, but they do.
I am wrapping up a Memorial Day weekend of dog sitting for Todd and Sherry up in Oshkosh. I pretty much just chilled, read books, wrote some blog posts. I went and saw "Return of the Living Dead" at Time Theater on Saturday night, with a friend. I took the dogs on some long walks through the UW Oshkosh campus, which is just about four blocks east of their house. It is a nice campus, somewhat urban. Unfortunately, it is surrounded by a college student slum of low rent housing that is not kept up very well. The OK City Council ought to pass some ordinances about students not sh!tting where they sleep. It's unbecoming.
Of course, I was a young and insensitive college student once. Fraternities and sororities are kind of like motorcycle gangs too, looking out for their own but generally ignoring the greater community around them, so it ends up going to hell, just like the town of Charming does in "Sons of Anarchy."
You like how I brought this post around, full circle. I can't say I did not plan that. But I can say I did not consciously plan it. It just happened. I try to have a goal to bring blog posts around full circle whenever possible. Sometimes it works and sometimes not.
I saw a music fest posted on Facebook that someone invited me to. There were dozens and dozens of bands on the lineup. I realized I don't understand the need to cram a million bands into a weekend music fest. That's quantity, not quality.
I am a quality kind of guy. I'd rather have less bands at a fest who get to play longer and really show us what they got. Playing in a band myself, I know that if you only have 30 minutes or so to perform, you can barely get warmed up. 90 minutes is a much better time slot. You can really build things up, then bring everything to a maximum by the time you are done, and leave the audience with a shiny glow from the rock-n-roll oils and perfumes you just firehosed all over them.
When I see a million bands on a lineup, it doesn't appeal to me that much, even if there are some bands I really want to see. I would feel like I am not getting the full experience of that band, only a teaser. Plus, I have to wait through a bunch of bands I probably won't like as much, for the same reason. I am sure they are perfectly good bands, but like my band, they probably need a decent slot of time to throw a killer show.
I would say maybe a dozen bands and give them all at least 90 minutes to play. Also, don't rush the bands. Allow for 30 minutes between sets to change over the music gear. If you don't want dead air, play iPod tunes or have two stages in rotation.
I am still up in Oshkosh. I took all the dogs out for a nice walk around the UW Oshkosh campus. It's a nice campus, though the slummy college housing around it leaves a lot to be desired. It goes back to what I was saying in a previous post, how sometimes college kids have an adversarial relationship with the town where their school is, so they "shit where they sleep" so to speak, knowing they are not going to be staying once they are done with school. In a bigger city, this happens less, because the students are more in tune with city life, and might even end up staying there, after their academic tenure is done.
I have no idea if that is true. I am just speculating. Well, I am going to go do some dog care now.
I am having to write this blog post in Word because the computer I am on is remarkably slow at loading my Blogger page. So I am going to compose the thing here and then hopefully paste it into Blogger when the page finally loads.
I am in Oshkosh, dog-sitting for my good pals Todd and Sherry. There are 5 dogs here and 4 of them are Boston terriers. Todd and Sherry have Bella and Corella, two female Bostons. They are also fostering a Boston named Frankie for the WI Boston Terrier Rescue. The WBTR is where I got my Boston, Foster (aptly named), who is also here, along with my other dog, Buddy, a black lab mix.
Dog sitting them is fairly easy. It just takes a while to get them all fed and walked. In the meanwhile, I am practicing piano and reading, pretty much taking it easy. In a little while, I am going to head down to Main Street Oshkosh and get dinner with a friend, then we are both going go see “Return of the Living Dead” at the Time Theater, a non-profit, community-run theater that shows campy horror flicks, albeit usually on Fridays (Friday Fright Night).
In a couple of minutes here, I am going to go start getting ready. But I wanted to crank out a post before I do.
I took a power nap at noon today. It was great. It’s pretty quiet here in Oshkosh. School’s out for summer, so there are no college kids noising up the place. I don’t have anything against college kids. They just tend to be a bit idiotic sometimes. But they are young. I was young and idiotic once, so I am tolerant of it. Unless it becomes excessive, then action must be taken. That is what keep the Oshkosh police in business during the school year. I wonder if they downsize their police force in summer, or if the townsfolk step up and fill in the mischief niche left vacant by the college kids.
It is strange how some college towns have a bad relationship with their universities and some don’t. Oshkosh and Whitewater both seem to be adversarially oriented with respect to their student populations. On the other hand, Madison WI has a well integrated college population. Maybe it has something to do with the size of the city. When the city is big enough, the student population is relatively small and unnoticed. But the UW in Madison also seems to offer a lot of community activities for the local residents.
Well, the clock just chimed, telling me it is time to wrap this up. Still no action on the Blogger front, so I don’t know how I am going to post this. Maybe I will have to e-mail it to myself for now.
I can kind of relate when people say, "It's lonely at the top." When you excel at something and surpass everyone else at that thing, you end up alone. That is to say, you have left everyone else in the dust, and most of the time, they have no desire to catch up, even if they have the ability to do so.
I play in some decent rock-n-roll bands, but I have noticed a troubling trend: lack of momentum.
One of my bands will get together and have a great practice. Then we won't practice again for months and everything we gained is lost and we have to start over from scratch, basically. A band can't operate like that and succeed. It's a waste of time. Usually the lack of momentum on practices has to do with people not making time to practice in their busy schedules. I can't blame anyone for that. But it still precludes having a successful band. When bands don't practice regularly, they are always playing catchup. It's pointless to book any gigs when the band can't even make time to learn and practice songs.
Another problem with bands is "playing to the gig." This is when a band books a gig, then freaks out to get ready for the gig, stagnating on momentum to learn new material because they are all consumed by putting on the gig. When a band is all consumed by a gig, it is a sign that the band has zero bandwidth for making progress. The solution to this would seem to be not booking any gigs, but then the band gets lazy and doesn't practice at all. And having a band with no gigs is weak sauce. It's a catch-22.
I don't really have any solutions. My only solution is to take the laissez-faire approach and let the chips fall where they may. I can't invest any mental energy in scheduling practices and booking gigs, because it inevitably leads to let down. So I let my bands figure it all out. I make myself available and I learn the material I am supposed to learn, but that's all I can do. It's kind of depressing.
I am looking forward to Tuesday Jazz Night at Mason Lounge though. It will be a late Tuesday night and I will be tired on Wednesdays. But at least it's a weekly gig, which forces the jazz group to rehearse regularly (even though it is a "live" weekly practice) and hone the material so they can put on a good and biff free performance. It's not a formal band per se, and to be sure, they tend to fall into patterns of playing what they know, and not really pushing themselves. But at least there is momentum, gigs, and by default regular practices.
I am pretty sure that regular practicing is essential to a successful band that wants to move forward. The problem is, very few people place enough importance on band practices to make this happen. For most people, the band is a trivial hobby and almost everything else in life takes priority over it. So if a band does not make weekly, or at least fortnightly, practices sacrosanct, it will probably go nowhere.
That is to say, there are a lot of bands out there. The ones with momentum will, by natural selection, excel and leave the weak sauce and apathetic bands in the dust.
This is the way it should be, so I am not complaining. But a musician needs to recognize when they are investing in a lemon and try not to do so.
Sometimes I think about becoming a life coach.
I was thinking about what credentials you might need to do lifestyle coaching.
It seems to me that a high quality life is the main criterion. Happiness, good friends, good job, creative outlets, basic necessities covered, relatively distress free (eustress is ok).
I definitely have a high quality life in my opinion.
But conversely, I am a very non-conformist kind of person, and even though I think non-conformity contributes to my having a better life (avoiding mainstream weak sauce like pop music, mass media, and conventional "wisdom" - an oxymoron), I don't really fall into the demographic of what I envision would be the demographic of people looking for a life coach.
On the other hand, my success is probably tied into breaking with convention and being a skeptical realist, as much as it is possible to do so with the limitations of the flesh.
I am also an atheist, and most people are not. I titled this post "Spiritual Coaching," because I believe it is possible to be spiritual in the very loose sense, even while not being religious or even believing in spirits, ghosts, angels, and their ilk.
That said, I have often thought that demons and angels are a good analogy for bad and good things, respectively, in life. Demons and angels don't actually exist in reality, but they can still exist in the mind. I read a book once where people would have demons that latched onto them and convinced them to commit crimes or do drugs or get tattoos (Old Testament forbids it). It was a Christian themed book, and so the "reborn" characters in the book were protected by angels, who were able to see the demons digging their claws into people.
Biologically, this is actually not too far from the truth. I can't remember who wrote about the TRIUNE BRAIN in psychology, but before I post this I will go find it online and put a thumbnail in the upper right. But basically, humans are animals and we evolved from other animals over billions of years. Our higher thinking brains are a fairly recent evolutionary development, and we still have a reptilian brainstem that we are somewhat beholden to (fight or flight, sex, hate, fear...that kind of thing).
A lot of emotion, and particularly bad emotion, comes from the brainstem and even though people don't like to admit it, emotion overrides the higher human brain 90% of the time. This is illustrated just by looking around. Most people don't have all the facts and many are willfully ignorant. As a result, they rely on emotion and gut feelings to get by. A lot of the time this works, but sometimes it doesn't, and that can be disastrous.
For example, when the issue of abortion comes up in politics, some people will behave based on this single emotional issue, and vote for douchebag politicians they disagree with on every other issue. Because they are so emotionally tied to the abortion issue, the reptilian brain completely overrides their ability to reason.
This is also the basis for racism and discrimination. Hate and fear are potent "demons" and they often kick the asses of our better "angelic" qualities. So if you analogize the reptilian brain as the "demon" brain and the neocortex (human brain) as the "angel" brain, it kind of works on the spiritual level.
But let's be clear, it is an analogy. It works for our purposes. Freudian psychology works for some purposes too, even though it is totally fabricated.
Anyway, I think I could be a good lifestyle coach. I may not be very similar to a lot of the people seeking spiritual coaching, but I think I could teach them how to strengthen their angelic brains and become better people, thus avoiding demons and having a better life.
What do you think?
p.s. I said I would put a thumbnail to the works of the guy who came up with the "triune brain" idea in the upper right. But the only stuff I could find online was an overpriced textbook. So, instead, I put a cool and related book by Carl Sagan up there, called "The Dragons of Eden." Enjoy.
Hi. It's Joe.
I am a single guy and I don't really have a problem with that. But some people do. I can't lie to you...I really cherish my freedom and independence.
I have encountered quite a lot of people who seem to think it is better to be in a relationship than to be happy. This is easy illustrated by just looking around at all the bad relationships and the high divorce rate. Many people succumb to the social convention of evaluating there own self worth by whether they are in a relationship, as if they are more worthy because someone "wants" them, even if that someone treats them poorly. Meanwhile, in a bad monogamous relationship, these people are missing out on possible healthier relationships with other people. Such people are serial monogamists hopping from one mediocre relationship to the next without actually evaluating why they do that or what they really want.
I don't subscribe to that. I would like to be in a healthy, loving long term relationship with someone who self actualizes me as a person. But I would rather be single than in a bad relationship. When I am single I can develop myself creatively and become a better person so that when the right person comes along, I will be ready.
I do not willfully choose to be single. I willfully choose to be me and not sell out or conform to society's norms and conventions, which are often bogus.
Please feel free to disagree.
For a lot of years, I did not like the band, THE DOORS.
But then one day, I started to like them, and after that I was hooked.
As with any band, they have a lot of crappy music and their music tended to get crappier as time went on and they sold out more and more to the record label suits.
But their good music is superbly good. I have always been most fond of their debut, self-titled album, THE DOORS. I suppose because it was their debut work, it was raw and pure and unadulterated by mainstream media. Every single song on that album is pure Doors.
All the albums that came later had a few good songs, usually not the mainstream radio play tunes, and a few mediocre tunes. But that first album is consistently kickass. If, by some strange twist of events, you are unfamiliar with The Doors and want to get acquainted with their music, I can only fully endorse their debut album, to fully appreciate them as a band.
Some people will disagree with me, and to some extent they will be right.
People tend to be most influenced by the music they hear first from a given band. I would wager, if your first Doors experience was, say, their second album, then you would swear that the best Doors album was their sophomoric effort and you would probably rate their debut as lackluster at best. I'd probably then be a dick and tell you I thought you were a fool, and that you should go home and listen to The Doors' first album repeatedly. But I would just be giving you grief. Because art is inexplicable, and if you truly believe the second album is a godsend, then no one can convince you otherwise.
I would go so far as to say the first song on the first album, "Break on Through," is probably their best song ever. It goes back to that hypothesis about liking what you hear first and totally supports the fact that you probably think the first track on the second album is their best song, if that is the first Doors album you listened to, and you started it playing at track #1.
Google is in trouble. They think they are God's gift, but they've kind of algorithmed themselves into obsolescence. They are so busy trying to modify their search engine algorithm to exclude charlatans trying to game the system, that they have now excluded artists such as myself who write excellent web content and offer it up totally for free in a completely optional and unspammy way.
However, I am not going to react and try to get my avid readers to SUBSCRIBE. Because that, ironically, would be spammy. And Google has forced linchpin artists like me into a corner because of their ever evolving algorithm. They have lost sight of the forest for the trees and the forest is being devastated by the wildfire of their own creation.
On June 4th, I will, for a time anyway, become the house bass player for Tuesday Jazz Night at the Mason Lounge in Madison WI. To kick it off, I proposed that the jazz group learn Frank Zappa's "Peaches en Regalia," which is a spectacular song.
It is an instrumental, which makes it conducive to the jazz group. It doesn't have a lot of room for improvisation as recorded, but I'll bet we could open it up to a jam somewhere. I need to explore that as I am learning it over the next couple of weeks.
I saw some video footage of that tornado in Oklahoma. It was gigantic. 200 mph winds, they said. That's the kind of wind you get in the storms on Jupiter, not Earth. So it is no wonder the thing was so destructive. Weather like that is going to be the norm as the globe warms.
It kind of makes you think about the past. When the dinosaurs were around, the climate was a lot warmer than it is today. There must have been some really bad weather then. A lot of climate change deniers use the rationale that the earth was once a lot warmer to deny our current climate problems, or at least minimize them.
Here's the problem with that argument. Yes, the climate was once much warmer. And guess what? Humans did not live then. They could not have lived then. And if we warm our climate any more, soon we will not be able to live now. This is because crops will die and we won't be able to sustain our population. It will be the end times.
Hi. It's Joe.
I power walked down to the Roman Candle pizza joint in Middleton WI for lunch. Our boss is out of the office today and although my team is cranking away and getting our work done, there is less need to keep our extra-office activities on the DL. Our boss is actually pretty understanding of the need for mental and physical stress relief throughout the day. It is middle management who is douchy about it, and that makes perfect sense if you think about it.
My boss oversees 4 people, all of them awesome and hard working - my writing team of three and an engineer who does a ton of work for other people. However, the office manager above him oversees a ton more people, something over half of whom are total buffoons. The office manager has to respond to the lowest common denominator, which has a hefty dose of weak sauce due to the buffoons.
So even though my team is kickass, the buffoons ruin it for everyone when it comes to avoiding childlike behavior and being adults. Thus, the office manager treats us all like lazy incompetent children and that is why my team hates him with all our might, even while we totally understand why he has to be the way he is. It takes an exceptional person to focus on improving the weak sauce and leaving the good people alone to do their good work. The office manager is not exceptional and there is nothing wrong with that, provided we are all on the same page, and I think we are.
There is seldom an occasion in life where more cowbell does not help matters.
A rare exception is when my band plays at a show and an extraordinarily drunk person tries to administer the cowbell. Then it is painful for everyone.
But most of the time, when administered by a skilled hand, more cowbell improves everything.
On Sunday, my band GUPPY EFFECT v1.0 had a rehearsal in anticipation of our upcoming show at ROCK-N-ROLL FEST in Delevan WI on June 15th.
My buddy Brian, who sings and plays guitar in my other band, HIATVS, is going to guest sing (sans guitar) with us at that show. So he joined us at practice to run through the five or six tunes we are going to perform with him as guest frontman. It was superb.
Some of the songs have instrumental sequences, during which, in addition to other theatrics, Brian (aka AquaMunkee) is going to pound out some cowbell.
We are doing Black Betty with Brian and during the jam sequence of that song, there is a lot of room for cowbellage. Same goes for the solo section of "Eighteen" by Alice Cooper.
We are NOT...and I want to make this very clear...NOT performing "Don't Fear the Reaper" by Blue Oyster Cult. That would just be too cliche. Saturday Night Live used that particular song because it has that driving rhythm that is so amenable to cowbell. But as the popularity of the SNL cowbell skit illustrates, more cowbell is applicable to all aspects of life.
More cowbell is my philosophy of life. When something is lackluster or "weak sauce," you can metaphorically suggest that it "needs more cowbell," and people will understand what you mean.
MORE COWBELL is an analogy for awesomeness. When something is not as awesome as it should be, give it more cowbell.
More cowbell can be literally applied to rock-n-roll music, but it can be metaphorically applied to anything that is not as awesome as it should be.
When someone asks you for a critique of their project or their art or the size of their butt, you can say, "I think it needs more cowbell."
It's a polite way of saying it is not quite 110% and that you think it could be better. But it is not insulting or brash.
Are you following my logic here?
What are your thoughts?
As I said in a recent blog post about red winged blackbirds, I wanted to write a post about Boston terrier adoption. So I did, albeit more an experiment in SEO than anything else.
If you click that link in the paragraph above, it will take you to my post. I don't want to say much more about it here, because this is actually just my daily 10 minutes of free writing, and since I already wrote the Boston terrier post on my other blog, why repeat myself.
Today, GUPPY EFFECT v1.0 is conducting an experiment. It is an experiment that I am confident will have a desirable outcome, but an experiment none-the-less.
AquaMunkee, the guitarist extraordinaire of my other band, HIATVS, is going to sing 5 or 6 songs with GEv1.0 at our show in Delavan WI on June 15th. He is only go to front the band as a singer, sans guitar, although he will most assuredly take control of the cowbell at some point. He is quite the showman and without the added burden of a guitar slung over his shoulders, I think he will completely blow people's arses out at the show.
So today is the experimental rehearsal for that incarnation. In a few minutes, after I complete this post, I am going to go practice my bass in anticipation of this. Naturally, GEv1.0, being veteran rockers ourselves, will be immune to the arse explosions that will be suffered by the innocent and defenseless rock music fans at the Phoenix Park Bandshell in Delevan on June 15th.
The event in Delevan is called ROCK-N-ROLL FEST and will also feature one of our (and your) favorite bands, SUNSPOT.
GUPPY EFFECT is my brand, and it is a brand of experimental rock-n-roll. So we are going to experiment, and much like an experiment in an organic chemistry lab, when you mix volatile things together, you can expect an explosion. If all goes well, we fully expect an arse explosion at the show.
Hopefully we can get another practice in with AquaMunkee before the rectal destruction on June 15th. But even if we don't, the damage to colons should be extreme and directly correlated to the power of magnitude greater rock-n-roll that will be unleashed with AquaMunkee on the mike.
I am going to go practice now, but first a little keyword research on the subject of "cowbell." I fully expect to write a blog post about cowbell soon. Stay tuned.
A light load at work on Friday afternoon, inspired me to cruise up to Oshkosh last night for another Friday Fright Night at the TIME Theater.
The movie was campily atrocious, as they usually are. That is what makes them so much fun. The movies are free and the TIME makes all their money on concessions, including beer.
But they do not charge an arm and a leg for popcorn ($1 for a decently sized brown bag of it) or beer ($2 for a 12-ounce can of it).
It's enjoyable, and you can go out in downtown Oshkosh afterwards if you want to, although last night we did not want to. And by "we" I mean Todd, Sherry, and me.
We chose instead to go back to the Todd Mahal and watch a DVD of another campy, but well done, horror flick, "I Didn't Come Here to Die." I saw this at the Oshkosh Indie Horror Film Fest in 2011. It was great.
I need to place a real quick backlink to "red wing blackbirds," and then call 'er done.
I just wrote a blog post about red-winged blackbirds (aka red wing blackbird). This is largely an exercise in SEO, but I do have a biology degree and some ornithological knowledge.
I had this idea to research and write about a topic every day. I don't know if I will be able to do it every day, but I will try. When I think of a topic, I enter it into an app I have that bum rushes Google and finds relevant search terms that people might use when researching this topic online.
I use this keyword as part of my blog post title and URL, so that when people are searching the topic, they may more likely find my brief summary of the topic.
A brief summary might be exactly what they are looking for, and when I research the topic, I am doing so because I am interested in it and the information I gather and publish will most often be information that I would like to know when I am researching a topic.
So red-winged blackbirds was this morning's topic. Next time, probably over the weekend, I will cover the topic of Boston terriers, since my new dog, Foster, is a Boston, and my good friends Todd and Sherry in Oshkosh have two of them, and would probably appreciate the information I am able to gather and present, though they probably already know a great deal about the subject.
That last sentence was a really run on one.
In any case, I am sure a lot of people out there are like me, they have just bought or adopted a Boston terrier and they want more information about these lovable little smooshed-in-faced dogs.
I was going to bike commute today, so I got up extra early to make time for that. Unfortunately, it is pouring rain and storming and the forecast does not look sunny at all today. It is really coming down right now. Biking would have been a bad idea.
I was alternatively going to take the bus and do some writing on my book idea, JUICE YOUR LIFE, about Corporate America.
I could have biked into work today. I didn’t, because I thought I had my piano lesson tonight. As it turns out, my lesson was postponed to next week. The weather outside is perfect for biking. But it should be pretty decent tomorrow too, so I am planning to ride tomorrow. Tomorrow is the morning that we have our document meeting at work, so I need to probably do the short route, or else get a really early start.
Hi. It's Joe.
I read a decent article today about closing. This is also known as launching. You have to close the deal or launch the product if you want to be successful in life. You can't do nothing and hope the world just knows what a good person you are. Being good is fine. But it is not enough. It is not good enough. You have to manifest your goodness in action. You have to DO.
I sometimes joke with my piano teacher that I notice a high correlation between practicing the piano and getting better at the piano. This is actually though the crux of the matter. If you want something, you have to do something about it to get it. I want to be a jazz piano player someday. I could talk all day long about wanting to be a jazz piano player, but that won't make me a jazz piano player. What will make me a jazz piano player is playing jazz piano, or at least practicing the piano with the goal to someday be a jazz piano player. That is the doing.
I have a goal to write a book by the end of the year. I will achieve this goal by doing it. It is like anything else. You can think about and even talk about doing something, but until you do it, you can't close the deal or launch the product.
Conversely, writing is in some sense doing when it comes to something like putting out a book. The exercise of writing is the practice of writing, to hone the mechanics of writing. That will serve to make the book better for my readers, because the writing will be a higher quality. But the book will only launch when I write the book. And that is what I will do, if all goes to plan.
To do anything worthwhile takes quite a bit of doing. You have to be passionate about it to put in the hard work of doing all the time until whatever it is you want is done. This may be to achieve something (close) or produce something (launch). Many people give up. This may be because they really aren't passionate about it. But more often than not, they give up because they fear failure. That is, it is easy to blame external factors for not doing and not achieving. When you want to do something worthwhile, there is a fear in everyone that it won't succeed. So some people give up before they are done so as to avoid failing. But the real failure is not closing or launching in the first place.
Do not fail. DO.
It is 11:35 AM. My plan is to start rocking at noon. By rocking, I mean a couple of hours of piano practice followed by a couple hours of bass practice, the latter in anticipation of GUPPY EFFECT v2.0 Mach 2 practice at 5 PM. We are going to try something new. Drummer Mike is a taiko Japanese drum player. We are going to incorporate said drumming into the rock-n-roll. There are three songs we are going to try in the new format. I feel bad for Mike because he has to lug a buttload of drums to my house now. But he wants to, so there is not a lot I can do.
I am firing up the writing stuff again too, making a more diligent effort to do these free writes for 10 minutes daily, at a minimum. I am going to do some minor updates to my band blog pages here soon, to give everyone a heads up on what is happening. Some stuff is happening. I am possibly forming a new band with an ex guitar player named Phil. We'll see how that goes. Phil is kind of driving that effort. I have my hands full with the business end of my other bands, but I can spare some bass skills and backing vox for that band. He is kind of the front man for that band, which is nice. It gives me a break from fronting.
My plan today was to create a new blog post and then gradually fill it up with writing in between tasks at work. I wasn't going to put a time limit on it, because it would really be in progress all day.
I never did that though. I actually had a decent amount of work to crank through (now completely done and in someone else's court). Also, my coworkers decided to have a conversation about porn that made me throw up in my mouth a little bit. So I put my headphones on and called up the heavy metal radio station on SPOTIFY to block them out. It also blocked out one of my coworkers who I think has the black lung. He melodramatically coughs up a lung about 10 times a day. It gets worse in the afternoon. I wish he would just puke the thing out once and for all. It doesn't seem to be getting any better. Maybe he has TB. I mean, it's possible...
I am meeting a friend for dinner tonight. That is not until 5 and it is 4:30 now. So I have ample time to write my usual 10 minute post. She lives not too far from work, which is where I am right now, even though I am not doing any actual work. I need to give myself a few minutes to map her location, because I am picking her up.
I think my boss is getting pressure from above to make a lot of unilateral decisions that affect documentation, mainly serving to complicate matters. If these decisions were the result of regulatory or quality control requirements, I would be fine with them. But I do not think they are. They are poorly thought out and random.
That's why I think my boss is getting pressure from above. He doesn't usually make bad unilateral decisions like that, since he knows we have multiple internal clients that are stakeholders in our documentations processes, and any changes often affect them. So this means he is getting improper guidance from upper management, and I am pretty sure I know exactly who it is. Upper management is so out of touch with the workers on the ground.
Anyway, I took the proposal he had and ran it by the relevant stakeholders. As expected, they rejected it as a cumbersome burden on their documentation goals. I agreed and reported back to my boss the concerns. We'll see what happens. No one ever listens to the documentation experts (my team). If they did, we would revolutionize this place.
It's not for lack of demonstrating the better way to do it. We have prepared a demonstration. It was clear and it illustrated perfectly how much better it would be. But mediocre management prevailed, taking the easy path, not the better (yes, a little bit harder, initially) path. Typical.
I have adopted the approach of just going to my happy place when this happens, which is my fattening bank account. On the bright side, if they adopt their mediocre plan, there will be a lot more work for everyone, and that means job security. Still, it would be nice if people did the right thing every once in a while.
I am just one guy. But I am a well calibrated reality analyzer.
I am not especially fit, from a Darwinian standpoint.
But I am mentally and physically very healthy and stable, for the most part.
Actually, it is more that I am just more adaptable to physical and mental stressors.
I attribute this to a fairly healthy lifestyle. I eat a good diet compared to 99.9% of Americans and I exercise a decent amount.
This wasn’t always the case. When it wasn’t the case, I am certain I was less adaptable to stress. When external stress was low, I adapted fine. When it was high, I adapted less well. As a result, I tended to avoid stressful situations.
But nowadays, I do not shy away from stressful situations. I shy away from stressful people. But that is my way of adapting to people who will never be able to deal with me in a non-stressful way.
Some people thrive on stress. I am not one of those. I strive on efficiency, competence, and rapid problem solving. No news is good news, is my philosophy.
When I worked at the vitamin company, I had access to an adaptogenic supplement called Rhodiola. It was good stuff. It wasn’t a stimulant. It just helped to deal better with mental and physical stress. It gave me focus. To the extent that stress drains one of energy, it gave me energy.
It’s a challenge to find songs that work for my band HIATVS. Basically, it boils down to no one wanting or being able to sing some songs. We really should make a potent effort to find a lead singer. Otherwise, we are always going to have this limitation.
I need to briefly mention outdoor flowers and front garden ideas, as part of my SEO backlinking experiment.
I may as well mention “sara cooking games” whilst I am at it.
I had a spinach salad for lunch at Roman Candle in Middleton WI.
Today was like a summer day.
I even got a little sunburned and heat stroked. Well, not too much heat stroke, I guess. I drank plenty of water. But it had to be close to 85 degrees today, and after that never ending winter, it felt like Mother Nature just skipped spring and went straight on through to summer.
I predict it might be another brutal summer, what with global warming and all. I mean, unless there is no global warming and most of the scientists are wrong. But reality waits for no one. So if there is global warming, I think it will be a brutal summer.
I'm off track. I bike commuted about 35 miles in total today. That doesn't include the couple of miles I rode at lunch, when I met my guitarist buddy at Abuelos. When you bike a lot of miles, you can justify consuming a lot of tasty Mexican calories, and that is exactly what I did at lunch today. I think we annihilated two whole baskets of tortilla chips. On top of that I had four enchiladas with two scrambled eggs on top.
Anyway, I did my long route for the morning commute. I drive to Cottage Grove WI with my bike on the rack of my car and park there. I park in a subdivision there, which I biked through to get to Cottage Grove Road. It has a decent bike lane. I cruised down the hill and stopped at my bank for some cashola. Then I jumped on the bike path, which currently has a slight detour due to bogus construction. I could swear that construction companies are getting more and more brazen about just closing off thoroughfares without caring about the inconvenience to people, both bikers and drivers.
To their credit though, the detour was well marked. Once I was around it and back on the bike path, I followed it downtown and up King Street, by the Capitol building in Madison. There's construction blocking the road on King Street too, but the sidewalk is thankfully open. I biked around the Capitol Square and part way down State Street, turning left onto University Ave.
Normally, I would continue on State and wind my way through campus along the lake shore path. But the construction crew working on the Memorial Union building are totally inconsiderate khak blasters and it is almost impossible to get through there now.
It's kind of fun urban bike commuting up University though. The bike lane is right smack dab in the middle of the road, with cars on the left and busses on the right. Quite a thrill ride. Plus, the car traffic is usually backed way up in the morning. I am a little bit ashamed to admit I get a very satisfied feeling whizzing past the ornery and frustrated commuters stuck in traffic. They made a choice to drive. They should have biked.
The University bike lane eventually exits right and then bikers have to wind their way through campus some more. As I exited, some khakass garbage men were trying to stop traffic so their garbage truck could back up. I decided I had had enough of douches blocking my way, so seeing a gap, I shot through, ignoring the garbage man, who yelled at me. Whatever dude. It was actually kind of a perilous situation for bikers there, so I did the right thing, but I set off a chain reaction, because at least two other bikers followed me, further infuriating the garbage man.
I turned left into a parking lot that hooked me back up with the sweet bike path on the north side of campus. This I followed to Whitney Way, at which point it becomes a bike lane again, along Old Middleton Road, but a good one and traffic is fairly light there. No detrimental crossings.
I should add that there was one other detrimental crossing after the garbage truck incident. This one in hard wired and infrastructural. Where the bike path crosses Highland Drive (I think), there is a pedestrian crossing. But the right of way is designed to totally favor cars. Luckily, there is a median strip. So when traffic from the left clears, you can make it to the median, then continue on when the traffic from the right clears. Drivers are khaks there though.
The bike lane on Old Middleton gradually narrows, then disappears, but the road still leads to Middleton, and that is where I work, basically. I saw my friend Chandra (wife of drummer Mike) at the Barriques coffee shoppe in Middleton, but Mike had already continued on to work. I did not stop for coffee today. When I do the long commute, I am short on time. I made it to work where there is a shower. I bathed and dressed and rocked my work day as always.
Commuting home, I took the slightly longer south route, which goes south to the beltline highway, then east along a short bike path and a block or so of residential 'hood to Odana Road, which mostly has a fat bike lane. From Odana, I hook up with the Southwest bike trail in Madison and take that northeast back into downtown. That crosses John Nolen Drive at the lake, then I head north through the despised Marquette neighborhood (khakass traffic cops who are predatory dicks and douches...but usually only to cars, which I like, unless I am in a car!).
Today I experimented, to avoid the aforementioned bike path construction. I stuck to the lake and followed the residential roads until they dumped me out in Olbrich Park. There I followed the sidewalk/bike lane to Walters Street, which connects with the bike path a couple blocks up, and beyond the start of the construction zone. Then I was golden.
I followed the path back to Cottage Grove Road, turned right on Acewood and wound through to Buckeye Road, which is a straight shot back to my car in the far east side subdivision.
Very satisfying. I have biked Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday this week. Due to predicted rainy weather, I am taking a day off from bike commuting tomorrow. This jibes well with the fact that Thursday is after work happy hour with coworkers at the Capital Brewery. Not that I couldn't bike there, and probably actually should, but driving ensures I don't drink too much and that I get home at a decent hour to let the dogs out.
This week is Craft Beer Week in Madison WI. Maybe it is Craft Beer Week other places too. I don't know. But what I do know is that I am going to be doing some fun activities this week that may loosely correspond to Craft Beer Week events.
Take today, for example. It is Saturday May 4th. Just as soon as I finish this post, I am heading to the east side of Madison for the Mobcraft Brewing Grand Opening Release Party. I really have no idea what Mobcraft is all about, but it sounds entrepreneurially fascinating and I hope to learn what it is all about. After that, I am meeting some friends for a social at Tex Tubbs Tacos, which is supposedly having a Star Wars themed craft beer related thing going on. Don't ask me. I am just going for tacos. But it will probably be interesting.
Today turned out to be a good day. It was supposed to rain all day, but now it is kind of partly sunny and nice out. I have Market Samurai running a diagnostic for the keyword "gardening." I saw a lot of people out and about doing gardening today. I should do some gardening. But since I joined a CSA, I am not very motivated to garden this year. I like gardening. But I also like a lot of other things better than gardening. That includes jazz piano. I practiced a bunch of piano today (ironically, a classical piece). I am pretty focused when I practice. The trouble is finding enough time to practice. Gardening takes valuable time better served practicing piano.
Yesterday, I posted a blog post titled "Sara Cooking Games." I only mention that, because I need to anchor a backlink to that keyword phrase in THIS post to amplify my search engine ranking for the other post. Actually, that probably won't even happen. But this is an experiment in how well Market Samurai works for finding good keywords for SEO.
This post is a test.
I (with the lyrical contribution of Art Paul Schlosser) co-wrote a song called SARA.
You found this post because you most likely searched for "sara cooking games" in Bing or Google.
How do I know that?
Long story, which I would be happy to tell you some time.
But suffice it to say, I hooked you and got you here.
Now, I need to keep you here, and make you forget that you were actually on a mission to seek out information about "sara cooking games."
It's working. Because you are still here.
And I am going to convince you now to give up your quest for "sara cooking games."
LISTEN to this song. It will change you. It will mesmerize you. You can search "sara cooking games" later.
It is really inconsequential compared with the awesomeness of this song.
Of course, some of you are here because you subscribe to my amazingly awesome and well written blog that makes SEO people so jealous.
The rest of this post is for you. Hopefully, the random people searching for "sara cooking games" online realize how amazingly mesmerized they have just become (still reading?) and subscribe to this blog as a result. Many won't. But some will. And the ones that don't will be sad when the ones that do become amazingly rich as a result of simply subscribing, and occasionally reading.
Yesterday, my boss asked me to be totally honest about a question he had. So I was. Brutally. He had an inane request, no doubt instigated by upper management, to get someone to take notes for him in a recurring weekly meeting.
In total honesty, I told him I was not his secretary and that I was also a horrible note taker. I suggested he bring a handheld tape recorder to the meetings, tape them, and then save the audio files to the work server. When people asked him for notes, he could just refer them to the audio.
You see, corporate America is bullshit. People take notes and record minutes, but not a living soul ever reads them or does any follow up. Unless they are weak sauce procrastinators looking to waste some time. But even then, there are way better ways to waste time at work. One way is to stop down to the pub.
Hi. It's Joe.
My band HIATVS is covering the Electric 6 song, "Gay Bar." It's a clever song and fun, albeit only two chords. I think it will be a crowd pleasing hit. I am singing it, but there is room for harmonies. I am looking forward to band practice tonight.
Ironically, I was at a gay bar last Saturday. I went to the Mad Rollin' Dolls roller derby and they invited us to their after party at Plan B in Madison, which has a reputation as a gay bar. It is also a ghay bar, with an H, in that it is a weak sauce dance club. I didn't get hit on, but I did get sucked into a bachelorette party.
I have been doing some socials around Madison lately and getting to know a few people. They are good people, some of them.
Mike of GUPPY EFFECT v2.0 had an idea for a rocking band that incorporates Japanese taico drums. Cool with me, as long as it rocks.