1.10.2016

What is Today?

Chronologically, I am two days into my 48th year (or as I like to think of it, my second go round of being 24 and my third go round of being 16). On the calendar, my birthday was yesterday, January 9th, but since I was born in Melbourne, Australia, across the International Dateline, I would have actually entered this world on January 8th, 1968, in Wisconsin time, strictly speaking.

On Friday night, my original rock-n-roll band GUPPY EFFECT played my birthday party celebration at the Bos Meadery in Madison WI. It was an early evening show, 6-9 PM, which was a nice time frame for people to pop down after work, not too late. The weather wasn't awesome, it being January in Wisconsin and all. It was kind of cold and rainy, but at least it wasn't bitterly cold or a blizzard. Technically I was born in the summertime, since the seasons are reversed in Australia. I am not a cold weather person.

I got rockstar parking in front of the venue when I arrived there about 5:30 PM, and rightly so. Drummer Verge arrived about then too and set up his kit while I set up my bass gear. As it turned out, the Bos had a PA system, so I didn't need to set up the GUPPY EFFECT system, even though I had brought it. That was excellent and saved time. I had pre-ordered three extra large pizzas from the Glass Nickel pizzeria, a great local establishment, for the party goers and they arrived a few minutes before 6, perfect timing for the arrival of guests. I ate a couple of slices myself and then played a solo acoustic set of songs as CACTUS JOE starting about 6:30, while we waited for GUPPY EFFECT guitarist Stefan to arrive at the venue from work. He rolled in a few songs into my set and set up while I played.

The GUPPY EFFECT set started around 7:15 or so and rocked pretty much as best I can tell. Considering Verge only joined the band a month or so ago, we were rhythmically tight. He is a solid drummer and a fast learner. The Bos Meadery was pretty much filled to capacity, standing room only for a goodly amount of the time we were rocking. It was good to see so many people, some I had not seen in a while, and that the time frame of the show was conducive to people staying the whole time. That's definitely the kind of show I prefer. Plus, Bos provided the sound system and sound guy. That pretty much makes the Bos Meadery an optimal non-sh!tty music venue for any of my bands to play at, me thinks. They don't yet pay bands anything to perform there, but in this case, the way I look at it is that I traded my rock-n-roll services to rent out a venue for three hours to host my fabulous party. They provided the booze (mead and some canned beer), I provided the food and the live music. That's a win-win-win scenario in my book. What I might do the next time my band plays there is run an Indiegogo or Kickstarter campaign to raise the underwriting for food and some gas money for the band. We had two tip jars set up at the Bos show and I think the total was about $29, which paid for about half the cost of the pizzas I sprung for. 50% off great pizza is not bad. Thanks to everyone who threw us a bone or two.


After GUPPY EFFECT finished our set, my buddy Nick (who came out from Iowa to see us) jumped up on the drums to rock one tune with us, namely "For Your Love" by the YARDBIRDS. As an encore, GUPPY EFFECT reprised our rendition of "Gay Bar" by ELECTRIC 6. I'd say we probably got done rocking around 8:30 or so, which gave us a few minutes to chillax and socialize with the guests before we tore down our equipment and left. Another nice thing about early evening shows is that you are not getting done at 2 AM and then being bum rushed by the staff to clear the eff out. It was very relaxed and groovy. Of course, we still tried to get out of there as expediently as possible.

Nick and his fiancee Kristi were staying overnight in Deborah's guest room so they would not have to get a hotel or drive back to Iowa in the middle of the night. After we left the Bos, the four of us drove down the street to the Come Back In(n) (CBI), a divy little bar that sometimes hosts live music. One of my co-workers, Adam, had told me before I left work on Friday that his band was playing at the CBI that night, after 9 PM. Again, perfect timing. Adam's band was actually on set break when we arrived, so I said HI and then we got a booth and ordered some food, which we ate while Adam's band played there second set. Because it was my birthday, I indulged in a "grilled cheese burger." This is much like it sounds, a hamburger patty between two grilled cheese sandwiches. It was awful and disgusting and I ate the whole thing, along with Greek fries (French fries with salt, pepper, and malt vinegar). After that we went home and talked a while before retiring. On Saturday morning, we took Nick and Kristi to the Pancake House restaurant for breakfast before they hit the road back to Iowa. I spent a couple hours from 1 to 3 PM writing, per my Mastermind accountability group goals for this week, and then Deborah and I went to see the movie "The Big Short." It was pretty good, though I am still not entirely sure who the good guys were, if any.

When I was 24 (1992), half a lifetime ago, I would have been finishing up my last year of undergraduate college education as a biology major at the University of Akron (Ohio). I can barely remember it, but I know I was living in a crappy, roach infested house (actually they were those big black water beetles, even more disgusting than roaches in my opinion) with some roommates close to campus. If there is anything I would do differently, given a second chance, it would probably just be to study harder at school and not party as much. But I was young and you know, I am in a really good and positive place in life right now. So all my past choices and actions led me here and I cannot complain about being here. I have a beautiful awesome girlfriend, a bunch of fulfilling music projects, good health, good friends, freedom, and my humble basic needs in life are all pretty much met. Could my life be better? Not really, all things considered. Anything else would just be frosting on an already pretty tasty cake.

When I was 16 (1984), two thirds of a lifetime ago, I think my family was actually kicking off (or maybe finishing off) a year and a half living in Melbourne Australia. That was a pretty good time, in retrospect (I think I hated it then). I didn't much like going to school in Australia and I was just a dumb kid. There were a lot of bullies there, but also some good people. I don't stay in touch with most of them nowadays, but I am Facebook friends with a guy named Paul who was a good pal and still lives in Melbourne. He and I did a punk and heavy metal community radio show when I lived there and that's pretty much when I cut my teeth on punk rock, my favorite kind of music to this day. It's kind of serendipitous that both Melbourne Australia and Akron OH are known as pretty big punk rock centers of the world (SOURCE). Coincidence? Probably. I play in a punk rock band in Madison WI now called EDDIE ATE DYNAMITE. I wouldn't say Madison is a punk rock capital or anything, but it has a decent music scene. I have to quit writing this post now to go tackle another couple hours of focused writing toward my Mastermind weekly goals. Bye.

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