12.31.2014

My 2014

Facebook has this meme now where they compile a bunch of pictures you posted on your wall in 2014 into a little memoir calendar kind of thing.

They got mine totally wrong. They give you the option to edit it and choose different pictures and captions and things, but I mean they got it so horribly wrong that it would have been prohibitively time consuming to fix. So I just deleted it.

Plus, I have this blog. I have been posting to it fairly regularly, often with pictures. If anyone really wants to view my 2014 (and honestly, I think that FB meme was more for peoples' own self indulgence than anything...I know I have no interest in looking at other peoples' years in review), they can take a trip down memory lane via this blog. There's an archive of past posts over there on the right sidebar, if you scroll down to PAST OUTBURSTS.

Since this is the very last day of 2014, and my workload is light at work, I think I will take this opportunity to peruse some of my prior 2014 posts and summarize my year for you right here. How does that sound?

My 2014 actually started off pretty crappy. I made a pledge to myself to pretend the first three months of the year didn't actually happen, so I am going to honor that by not even delving into those toxic waters.

Suffice it to say, things started looking up about mid-March when I emerged from the spiritual funk of the mentally and physically brutal winter. Free from THE MAN for a couple of weeks before I began a full time contract writing gig in April, I flew out to Manitou Springs CO to be with my extended family, who I severely neglected during the dark first quarter of the year.

I returned from Colorado rejuvenated and ready to kick life in the pants. The weekend after I got back, the country band I often play bass with, DRIVEWAY THRIFTDWELLERS, went into the studio to record a five (5) song EP. That was fun. I fully expected the EP to be completed and released before the end of the year, and for a while I was getting frustrated that weeks and months were passing with nothing to show for our hard work in the recording studio. But now, as 2014 draws to a close, I have let that go completely. I have freed myself of the expectation that there will be an EP and my mind is at peace. I have done everything I could possibly do to make the EP a reality and now it is in the hands of others. If the completed EP manifests itself some time in 2015 or beyond, my expectations will therefore be exceeded and that will make me joyous.

In March, I became a true Free Agent in the Universe, beholden to no one, and I continue to enjoy that status now. I did pretty well for myself financially in 2014. The contract gig pays well and offers me the flexibility to take time off when I need to. Since it is an hourly role, though, when I don't work I don't get paid, so there is an incentive to work as much as possible to keep the underwriting coming in for my art. My boss and team are super cool, appreciating the quality work I bring to the table and keeping it chill.

I had a cold in March and April that lingered on forever. I remember that, because it was in late March that I had to go on Obamacare, due to being a free agent. That meant switching doctors (yes, Obama did biff that one...badly), which was a bit of a pain in my arse, but my new doctor was excellent and also good looking.

In February of 2014, my band GUPPY EFFECT started attending a Sunday night open jam stage at Funk's Pub in Fitchburg WI. I started live streaming the musical performances on a free Ustream channel. Unfortunately, my band wasn't as thrilled with this Sunday musical outlet as I was and they soon lost interest. I still attend it when I can and run the live stream. It's not a particularly well organized open jam, but the people who come are fun and the venue treats the musicians very well. It definitely benefits the venue more than the musicians though, so the latter are there as amateurs having fun, not professionals making money. That's perfectly fine, as long as everyone recognizes that's what it is and that it won't ever be anything else. I wish more people came to it, because it's great fun. I realized this year that a large majority of people tend to be homebodies for whom a Sunday night is time to decompress (from what?) and get ready for the week ahead. This apathy affliction seems to impact the corporate 9-5 working stiffs the most. However, I look at it as a nice way to extend the weekend activities out a couple more hours BEFORE having to return to the weekly grind. Sleep when you're dead, I say! Well, I don't actually say it. I don't even actually mean it. People gotta do what they gotta do, is more my philosophy of life. You can only change YOU, not anyone else. But let's not get too far afield.

I did a lot of writing in 2014, although my book(s) has/have yet to be written. I developed a few ideas. One was the creation of two fictional brothers Biff and Chet (kind of ego and id personas, respectively), who can tell my stories via their experiences. I am a little bummed that I did not make more progress on the book, just to be brutally honest. I can say I was doing research, and that's important, or I can say I had many irons in the fire, with music projects and day job, but the reality is that I am experiencing a lot of RESISTANCE to book writing. Resistance is basically a fear of failure that prevents you from doing something because you could not bear the idea of failure at that thing. On the bright side, the more resistance you have to doing something you are passionate about, the more certain it is that that something is your right artistic path. The obvious irony is that by avoiding the task at hand and procrastinating, you are guaranteed failure, because the art never comes to fruition. So I need to really work on destroying my resistance in 2015, and that is kind of a resolution. There really is no choice. I am guaranteed failure if I do not write and publish one of more books. Other people do it. WISHFUL THINKING gets you nowhere. Only WISHFUL DOING matters.

The cold winter of 2014 extended well into April, if my blog posts around that time are to be believed. This was caused by something the lamestream media coined the POLAR VORTEX (PV). The PV delayed my ability to bike commute to my new contract job. I was still living in Cambridge WI then and my job was on the far west side of Madison, meaning a painful commute sometimes on the Beltline Highway in Madison WI. One strategy I had to avoid the horrific Wisconsin commuters was to load my bike in/on my car and drive to the east side of town, then bike commute the rest of the way in, accomplishing a decent workout simultaneously with my commute (who says I cannot multitask?). In late March, I had also registered to ride RAGBRAI, the week long bike ride across Iowa, in 2014 with my bicycling team, TEAM CRAZY BIRD, so I needed to get some training rides under my belt. The winter eventually did end and the evil PV became a friend when it brought an unseasonably cool summer to Wisconsin (along with some of the worst thunderstorms I have seen in a few years). It wasn't long before I was out on the bike doing social weekend and weeknight rides with friends. I joined the Capital Brewery Bicycling Club later in the summer, even though 90% of the members are very douchy arrogant elitist bikers. But once I realized I could disenfranchise them from my life pretty easily (they ride fast, I ride slow), it didn't bother me. Plus, I got a steep discount on a sweet looking Capital Brewery bike jersey.

My dogs Buddy and Foster are doing well. Buddy had a couple of surgeries for ass cancer, but he seems to be doing well now. He's 14, so he doesn't have a lot of time left, but his quality of life is good. Foster is about 10 and still a rascal.

In May, I sold my house in Cambridge WI and bought a new one in Madison WI, which I moved into on the first of July. The house selling and moving experience was very stressful (packing and real estate charlatans), but I pounded through it thanks to help from a lot of good friends and became a Madison progressive (my people!) on July 1, 2014. Although much of June was consumed with moving chores and activities, I still found time to bike and play music. My college (grad school) band SINEMA reunited for a show in Ames IA in early June. That was fun and I met a woman that weekend named Lisa, who I am pretty sure is my soul mate even though we hardly had any time to hang out and get to know each other. You know how sometimes you just "feel" a connection? Well, we both did. Then she up and moved to New Jersey (this plan was already unstoppably in the works when I met her). We connect on the Facebook now and then. Obviously, life goes on and you can't wait around for destiny, so who knows what will happen. The fact that I thought that was an important point to bring up in this blog is telling. It just popped into my head... HIATVS, another musical side project, also reunited to play at my house warming party in Madison in August. That band, as its name suggests, is always on hiatus because the guitar player moved to Iowa and has a family occupying most of his time. But we periodically fire up the rock-n-roll engines and play a house concert or other alternative venue.

Most of the early part of July had me focused on settling into my new digs in Madison and working to refill the depleted coffers from that ordeal. Because I was closer to work, I could bike commute a lot more, as well as do more after work biking activities that were off limits to me when I had lived in faraway Cambridge. I saved a lot of money on gas too. In the middle of July, my old college buddy Shawn came into town for a biology conference and we painted the town red (not really...but there was a street fest that fortuitously was happening coincident with his arrival). July culminated with RAGBRAI in Iowa and it was a phenomenal time, as always. My friend Sherry did the bike ride for the first time and after an initial couple of days of being overwhelmed, she loved it and had tons of fun. We saw Lance Armstrong up close and personal and Sherry even put a team sticker on him. We have pictures. I was sad when it ended and I had to go back to work.

I started running more after RAGBRAI. I don't like running, but it is a good workout. My hip joint got a little bit inflamed initially, but with practice and ibuprofen, it was manageable. In August, I took a couple of forays up the our family's cabin in northern Wisconsin to hang out with the family. Sherry came up with me the weekend before Labor Day and we biked the BIKE WITH MELINDA (BWM) route. I host BWM at the cabin every year with friends, but this year no one wanted to go, so on Labor Day weekend, instead of biking, I ran the 10 miles around Shell Lake WI. My regular running in August had me in pretty good shape and I was victorious. There were also some more good bike rides around Madison in August and into September, before it started to get cold.

In mid-August, I started doing a little bit of volunteer work at Madison community radio station WORT (89.9 FM). I am basically archiving shows online and I don't even need to go into the radio station itself. I should probably add that to my resume one of these days.

I saw King Crimson perform for the first time in September and also experienced my first actual incident of bicycle road rage that month. I took a five week piano class via the UW that was useful and more to my skill level. I am starting to practice piano more now that it is winter and I am indoors. January and February of 2015 should see some piano progress on my part.

At the very end of September, I flew out to Akron OH and bought my mom's hand me down 2009 Prius and subsequently "gifted" my old 2001 Prius to my dear friends Rachel and Bryon in Iowa, to help them out financially. I totally got my money's worth out of that old Prius and having them take it saved me the hassle of trying to sell it. It was a trusty car and I felt good knowing it was going to the loving home of friends. It was nice to visit my parents, albeit briefly.

In October, I joined the punk rock band EDDIE ATE DYNAMITE and geared up for Halloween, the last good holiday before Christmas. Buddy had a second cancer surgery, and probably the last one of his doggie life, because if it comes back a third time, that probably spells his demise. Like I said, he has had a good life and I want it to be a high quality life up until the end.

A bunch of cool stuff happened in November, but all of it was inconsequential in relation to my extended family's trip to Australia, November 22 - December 10. It was awesome, and I hope you followed (or will go read) my blog posts travelogging the trip.

After I got back, I played my first show with EDDIE ATE DYNAMITE on December 13, and we have our second one ever TONIGHT, celebrating New Year's Eve at the Frequency in Madison WI.

This past week, I took a bit acting role in a low budget indie horror film production. That was fun. I'd like to involve myself in more of that in 2015.

I am ending 2014 on an all time high, which I guess makes sense since I started it on an all time low (Law of Averages).

Some other cool things happened in 2014 too, but that's a decent enough overview, and I am late for my workout. I have to get in an hour of bike trainer aerobics before I head out for the NYE giggage tonight. Leave a comment or question below.

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