5.29.2016

Quotient

"Your band is awesome. Whenever anyone hears you perform, they become instant fans."

"Really? That's cool. Then if we could just get some people out to our shows we might actually have some fans."

5.28.2016

80s Night

Deborah and I cruised downtown to eat at Pizza Brutta last night after I picked her up from work. After gorging on excessive amounts of delicious Italian food, permitted on our weekly dietary "free day" that runs for 24 hours starting at sundown on Friday, we decamped to Genna's Pub downtown for a some beverages. It was a beautiful, cool night, the threat of storms significantly subdued by a falling dew point. 

A former coworker had texted me that she was coming into town and wanted to meet for drinks, although she may have been abducted by aliens because she never materialized. What did materialize was a cadre of 80s themed revelers who came into Genna's while we were there.

"That guy looks like Magnum PI," I commented to Deborah about one of the guys in the 80s group when they arrived. He was mustachioed and wore a Hawaiian shirt. In fact, that was exactly what the guy was emulating, his girlfriend (dressed as Madonna) informed me. His mustache lacked adequate girth, but it was a fair effort on his part. A woman in the group wearing a Van Halen tee shirt (a la "The Wedding Singer") cut me in line to use the men's room, an admirably bold move that ultimately led to our reveling with the group for a little while.

After Genna's, Deborah and I indulgently went for dessert at Hubbard Diner - lemon meringue pie and a blue moon malt. Spectacular evening...

5.27.2016

Memorial Weekend 2016

I don't have many firm plans for this Memorial Day weekend. The only things set in stone are that I am hosting the Bos Meadery open mic on Sunday afternoon from 2-5 PM and that I'm the bass player assigned to the manifesting of a handful of Wilco (and predecessor, Uncle Tupelo) cover songs at Funks Pub around 7 PM Sunday evening.

I've penciled in some organized social bike rides for the early morning hours each day, but these are completely voluntary and secondary to higher priority diversions, such as Uber driving or inclement weather or both. I may squeeze in some Uber driving, but having already met my weekly metric for this, it too is flexible.

My friend and former coworker, Alex, informed me she will be in Madison tonight for a show and wants to catch up with me and another colleague, Danielle, over drinks in the early evening. I fully expect that to transpire, though I have no details as of yet.

Maybash music and camping fest is going on all weekend, but Deborah and I would only be able to attend on Saturday afternoon. Since none of my bands are playing, we would have to pay the full weekend entrance fee of $30/person and there are no single day passes, so it's a little cost prohibitive, even though supporting local live music is a worthy cause. It could still happen, but we will have to play it by ear as we see what the Cosmos throws at us.

Similary, Bratfest - the world's largest sausage fest - is also going on this weekend. Notwithstanding free admission, we have no plans to attend. The meat is underwritten by Johnsonville Brats, a company that also heavily underwrote the huge weener that governs Wisconsin, one Scott Walker. Deborah is still smarting, perhaps a bit dogmatically, from that whole Union busting thing Walker did, among other dickish things. The only attraction to Bratfest for me is that one of my preferred local bands, SUNSPOT, is performing at it. I could suspend my left leaning politics briefly to support them. However, they are slated to perform on Sunday at 2 PM, precisely the time that I will set down my goblet of mead and kick off the Bos Meadery open mic, one of the only inflexible obligations I have this weekend.

That being said, the alternate and much smaller sausage fest borne of Walker's and Johnsonville's tea bagging, Wurst Times Fest, transpires on Saturday afternoon, repleat with live music. It is considerably more probable that we will attend this than Maybash, not because of the talent representative of each, but rather because of the differentials in cost and distance from home. Wurst Times Fest takes place in downtown Madison, a considerably shorter commute from home than Rio WI, where Maybash happens.

In summary, I am basically takin' 'er easy this weekend, is what I am trying to say.

5.26.2016

Weekly Update

Yesterday morning, I biked downtown for my weekly meeting with my Mastermind accountability group from 10 AM to noon. The round trip ride was about 15 miles. The weather forecast called for rain at noon, but that didn't come to fruition. I got home about 1 PM and showered before heading out to get some pretty flowers and a gift for Deborah in the afternoon. We met a year ago yesterday and it has been a great year. En route to running my errands, I gave a couple Uber rides. The skies unleashed their moisture as I was heading to the mall to look for a nice "anniversary" card, but the downpour was brief.

In the late afternoon, before Deborah got home from work, I practiced some Wilco songs on bass in anticipation of this Sunday's Memorial Day eve open jam at Funk's Pub, where a set of this band's songs will be showcased. Deborah and I made dinner at home and chilled on the back porch before I had to go to the Madison Music Foundry at 8:30 PM for a rehearsal of the Wilco material with the partcipating musicians, including Funk's jam organizer, Tyler. It went pretty well and we decided on arrangements we liked.

When I got home, Deborah and I watched a new TV show called "The Path," about a modern day cult and the trials and tribulations of a disgruntled member. The first episode was pretty good and we think we'll keep watching it. I had a weird and lengthy, but appropos, dream about Jeff Tweedy, the lead singer of Wilco, who was using the bands music to recruit people to his cult. But he had mixed feelings about exploiting and misleading people with his music, which is supposed to be sacrosanct.

5.14.2016

Covers

It was like someone flipped a switch. One day I enjoyed cover bands. Then I didn't anymore. There are probably exceptions. I look forward to hearing them.

Biking the Old Neighborhood

I'm in my friend Sherry's car and we are en route to La Grange WI for a bike ride, our bikes on the rack attached to the trunk, which used to be my rack. She is driving carpool since I drove us to last week's ride.

The ride today is taking place in the part of Wisconsin that was my old haunt before I moved to Madison and civilization. It's a scenic area that's fun to ride bikes around. It's unfortunate that the primate population in the area is hostile to humans. But if you don't bother them, they usually don't cause any problems.

5.09.2016

Brain Development


I woke up this morning to some strange noises coming through the bedroom window that overlooks our backyard. A couple of zombies had got themselves mired in the muck of the wetland area that starts just beyond our back fence. Most of the time the zombies work their way out of there and wander off, but with all the rain lately, it's swampier than usual. These two were getting riled up about their predicament and I knew they needed to be dispatched before their growls attracted more undead to the area.

"Can you take care of that?" Deborah asked sleepily from beside me.

"What is the date today?" I asked rhetorically. When she didn't reply, I continued, "It's May 9th...so technically it's my day."

She moaned grumpily.

"But I am nice," I said. "So I'll do it."

Deborah and I have a system to resolve disputes about chores and obligations. Odd dates are my days, which actually means I get to decide who handles the chore in question. She gets to be in charge on even dates. Being as it was an odd date, I could have made her do it, but I didn't want her to start her week grumpy at me. She works triage at the hospital and deals with infected patients all day, so she didn't need the added burden of braining a couple backyard rotters.

The muck back there was too treacherous for me to navigate safely, but the zombies were fairly close to our fence. One of them was pretty ragged, but the other looked newly turned, so I suspect the latter had been the former's victim some time during the night. Maybe the victim had been fleeing the ripe zombie and had gotten stuck in the muck, easy prey for the plodding predator in pursuit.

I couldn't quite reach them with the long pickaxe, so I used a rope to lasso them and drag them closer to the fence. I took care of the fresher corpse first, getting the rope around its neck and slowly dragging it out of the mire until I could bash its skull with my hatchet. I foolishly tried to use the same approach on the more decayed zombie, but it was so far gone that when I got the rope around its neck and pulled, its head came clean off and flew toward me, almost hitting me in the head had I not ducked in time.

I heard laughter as the skull rolled across our backyard and I looked up to see Deborah mocking me from the open upstairs bedroom window.

"That's not funny," I said, as I followed the rolling head across the yard. The zombie skull glared at me with its filmy grey eyes and gnashed it's teeth at me before I split it in two with the hatchet.

"Thank you, honey," Deborah said cheerfully from the window. "Do you think you could mow the grass today too?"

"It's still my day," I responded, picking up the two halves of cleaved skull and tossing them over the fence, where they sank slowly into the muck. "But sure, I can mow. You have to make breakfast though."

6 Word Novel


Zombies? Really? I fucking hate Mondays...

5.08.2016

Prohibition on Drama

Last night, I went to the Harmony Bar with my friend Sherry and her BF Tyler to watch my old country band, DRIVEWAY THRIFTDWELLERS, perform. It was a good show, although I was led to believe it was a CD release party for the band, which proved untrue. Deborah despises country music and any genre within two or three degrees of separation from it, so she did not attend as a consequence of that and also of having spent the day at some sort of Kentucky Derby related gala that tired her out. I can respect, even if I don't quite understand, Deborah's disdain for country music, because I have an irrational hatred myself for the genre known as folk music. I can't give you any objective metric for why I cringe at the sound of folk music other than a quantifiable feeling of pity for the human race that it must sometimes be subjected to this travesty. Some people claim to like folk music, but in my mind that is akin to when sub-Saharan African girls say they like genital mutilation. They may subscribe to the cultural tradition, but it is still morally reprehensible and wrong. See how irrational that sounds? Yet it accurately describes my feelings toward folk music. Not explainable, but absolutely true.

In any case, we watched a couple sets of the show before heading home. At that point, I was fairly spent myself from an action packed day of social bike riding in southeast Wisconsin. The three of us had congregated at Sherry's at 8 AM that morning to carpool in my car with our bikes to Dousman WI, where we joined about 60 other cyclists for a 28 mile round trip ride to the Glacial Drumlin trailhead in Waukesha WI. There, we feasted on Mexican food and drink. We didn't get back to Madison until about 5 PM and my futile attempt at a power nap was forestalled by Deborah's return home and some subsequent socializing with her family (to wit, her parents had returned from their winter hiatus in Florida and we went over to their house to welcome them home).

As we pulled out of the parking lot of the music venue in Tyler's car, we saw a commotion on the sidewalk in front of the establishment. A pitifully intoxicated woman, covered in her own regurgitate, was collapsed in the gutter struggling and failing to regain her feet as her comrades futily attempted to assist her. Notwithstanding this bit of pathos, the day had been fantastically enjoyable and I was thankful that the inebriation fueled drama happening outside the car was happening to someone else. Is that cold? I don't know. But that is a consequence of having one of the strictest drama free policies in the world. If more people exercised strict prohibitions on drama, the world would be a better place, generally speaking.

5.07.2016

Chimichanga Biking

This morning, I got up at the uncharacteristically early hour of 6:30 AM and, after drinking a large cup of fortified* coffee, set about prepping for the day's bicycling adventure, the Chimichanga Ride.

I donned my bike clothes and loaded my cruiser bike onto the rack on my car, then spent a few minutes chatting with Deborah until about 7:30 when she had to get up to go work out and I had to hit the road.

I drove across town to the east side of Madison WI to my friend Sherry's house where she and her BF Tyler put their bikes on my rack and loaded their bike gear and themselves into my car. We carpooled to Dousman (pronounced DOOSHMAN) WI by way of a breakfast stop at the excellent Crema Cafe.

I had biffed on RSVP-ing the organized social bike event from Dousman to Waukesha but the ride leader, Ron, let me sign on regardless. It was a bit chilly as we rode the 14 or so miles along mostly paved bike path to our midpoint destination, El Estacion Mexican Restaurant in Waukesha (food so authentic that Donald Trump wants to put a wall around it). We had a great lunch there, complimented with margaritas and Dos Equis beer. There were about 60 people on the ride in total, but due to differing travel speeds, people arrived at the restaurant in a staggered fashion, so we didn't represent a burden to the wait staff.

The ride back along the same route was much warmer and we made a pitstop for coffee at Mama D's coffee shoppe in Wales WI before arriving back in Dousman and loading back up for the car ride home. We got back to Madison about 4 PM, fairly road weary but quite satisfied with the day's fun. I am relaxing on the back porch as I write this and I might go take a power nap for a little while ahead of tonight's plans to go see a couple bands. Ciao.

5.03.2016

Outing

I emailed Deborah at work: Let's not do OTF tonight, unless you already signed up. Let's just chill and talk instead.

OTF is Orange Theory Fitness, a health club she belongs to, as do I for a few more days. I canceled my membership soon after getting it, when I realized it wasn't the right kind of workout for me and I am just riding out the membership period I already paid for (the arm and leg that OTF exacted from me made working out challenging).

She replied back a couple minutes later: Sounds good.

I had just returned home after a day of book writing, punctuated by short periods of Uber driving. It was 4:30 and Deborah wouldn't get home from her day job for another hour yet. So I cooked up a couple turkey burgers and steamed some broccoli for a late lunch, since I hadn't eaten since breakfast, and filled the rest of the time eating it while mindlessly surfing channels on TV.

When the garage door opened, signaling Deborah's arrival, the dogs went berserk with glee, something they do with far less enthusiam when I come home.

"Hey, baby!" I greeted her as she came into the dining room adjacent to the kitchen.

"Hi, honey," she replied.

"Puke," I joked at our sickly sweet salutations. "So...I had a thought."

"What?" she enquired, removing her purse and lunch bag from her shoulder and putting them on the table.

"What do you think about biking somewhere nearby for date night and we call chill and talk?"

She pondered for a moment. "We could do that," she said. "I need to change."

"Why?" I asked.

"Because I can't bike in these clothes."

"OK. While you are doing that, I will go tune up your bike."

"Where do you want to go?" she asked.

"Is Stamm House open today?"

"No. Not on Mondays," she replied. "Monk's?"

"Yeah!" I exclaimed. We had gone to Monk's Pub for brunch the prior Saturday to celebrate her son Devon's birthday, and quite enjoyed it. It wasn't far by bike.

I threw the dogs out in the backyard and went to the garage to assess the condition of Deborah's bike while she went upstairs to get ready. Her bike was in great condition for not having been used all winter. Even the tires were almost fully inflated. I topped them off with the bike pump and went back into the house to get ready myself.

"Do you think I will be warm enough in this?" Deborah asked. She was wearing a white hoodie.

"I think so," I replied. "If you wear some bike gloves."

"How will that help?" she asked.

"Because you lose a lot of heat through your hands when you bike," I answered.

We could only find one of her bike gloves in the garage after a fair amount of searching, so she wore one of mine on her right hand, albeit much too large.

We rode south a few blocks down Park Street and jumped on the Pheasant Branch bike trail behind the Kromrey Middle School, heading west along the paved and winding path. That took us all the way to Deming Way by Costco and we cut across the grass median into the parking lot by Monk's.

"It's not as busy as Saturday," I commented as we entered the pub.

"Well, it's a Monday," Deborah said. "It's bound to be busier on Saturdays."

"Hi!" the hostess greeted us. "Just the two of you?"

"Yep," I replied.

"Would you prefer a booth or a table?"

"Booth," I answered, looking at Deborah to see if there were any objection, and finding none we followed the hostess to our table.

A few seconds later, a waitress arrived and welcomed us warmly.

"Can I start you off with something to drink?" she inquired.

"Do you have diet Sierra Mist?" Deborah asked.

"We do," the waitress confirmed. "One of those?"

Deborah nodded.

"And for you, sir?" the waittress asked, turning to me.

I wanted a beer but had not yet looked at the drink menu.

"Why don't you get her soda while I look at the beer menu and I will decide when you come back?"

"Perfect," the waitress said and left. I picked up the beer menu and perused it until she returned with Deborah's soda.

"Did you decide?" the waitress asked.

"Yeah," I said. "I think I'll do the Monk's Amber house beer."

"16 or 22 ounce?"

"Let's do the 22 ouncer, what the heck," I said.

"You got it," she said.

"Do you know what you want?" Deborah asked me. I nodded and she said to the waitress, "I think we're ready to order."

"Sure. What can I get you?"

Deborah ordered a salad, as she healthily usually does. I got the grande burrito, because it had looked good when Devon ordered it the prior Saturday.

"That's a lot of food," Deborah commented on my order after the waitress left to put it in. "A lot of cheese."

"I'll scrape the cheese off," I lied.

The food and my beer were served up in short order. The burrito came with fries. The other options the waitress had offered up as sides were pub chips or tater tots. In retrospect, I probably should have asked if steamed vegetables were available as a side, even if they cost extra. In any case, the food was good.

Deborah and I talked about our plans for the week.

"We should book the flight to Ohio tonight," I said.

"I thought you said it is better to book on Tuesday," Deborah aptly noted. I had heard on some travel show or another that the airlines put out their travel deals on Monday nights, so ticket prices sometimes dipped on Tuesday.

"That's true," I said. "Well, tomorrow is going to be pretty busy, so I don't know when we'll have time. I guess I can look in the morning and see if the tickets are cheaper, then book them if they are."

It was my turn to spring for date night. I polished off my beer and we left.

"It's cold," Deborah shivered as we stepped back outside.

"Only because you drank all that cold soda," I noted.

We took a shortcut home through the neighborhood and rounded out the rest of the evening watching TV before going to sleep.

5.02.2016

Current Events

This morning, I did yard work for a couple hours. Then I had a fairly busy afternoon of Ubering. Now I am making a spot of dinner and if all goes well, Deborah and I will do something fun for date night tonight.

I had thought about doing a social bike ride with some peeps tonight but it is on the far east side of town - I am on the west - and it didn't make a lot of logical sense to drive my car a long way just to bike. That kind of defeats the purpose...

I suppose I could have biked to the bike ride, but again, illogical. I would probably bike more miles just getting to and from the starting point than the length of the actual ride itself.

In any case, tonight is really the only evening available for date night. I am helping Stefan move some furniture tomorrow night and GUPPY EFFECT has a band meeting on Wednesday night. Thursday night I have a writers group meeting (which reminds me...I need to submit for that). Then it will be the weekend already and that's booked up with Mothers Day shenanigans for Deborah. I have a bike ride on Saturday.

GUPPY EFFECT played a good show last Friday at the Frequency opening for a couple other bands.