10 Minutes - Piano Tonight

Hi. It's Joe.

I just got done with an action packed day at work. I am ready to go home, but I thought I would blast out a 10 minute blog post before I do.

Tonight is the last official night of FAWM, as I mentioned. I could possibly write a song, and I may very well might. But I cannot guarantee I will be successful, so do not hold your breath.

I am just as inclined to practice jazz piano and get caught up on some Welsh.

Today I had lunch with co-FAWMer and future band mate Brian. Although we are both opinionated about the mechanics of bands, we also think alike as far as great idea. So I think it will be promising.

Some day, I would like to have just a single band that satisfies all my rocking needs. This band would have the following characteristics:

1. High energy rock-n-roll a la Cowboy Mouth.
2. A large repertoire of choice covers and originals.
3. A house party performance model.
4. A regular practice schedule.
5. A power trio, but with rotational instrumentation.

Once I get good at piano, I would like to be able to play both bass or piano in this elusive hypothetical band.

I have two band brands I need to find worthy products (bands) for. GUPPY EFFECT needs a new guitar/drum combo. I seem to leave pairs of drummers and guitarists in my wake, who work well together, like Wes and MG. But any time I lose one of the two, I end up losing both because they gel together over time.

I would also like to re-brand the JEEBUS PREEBUS moniker with new people. That one could be a power quartet. I think that would be alright. I asked these other dudes I have been jamming with if they would be cool adopting that brand. They weren't. So it is up in the air.

I might rebrand it as a 3-chord punk rock operation. That would be fun. All punk rock all the time, both originals and good covers, such as the following:

NOFX – Creeping Out Sara

Black Flag – TV Party

Rancid – Roots Radical

NOFX – Please Play This Song On The Radio

Green Day – In The End

Minor Threat – I Don't Wanna Hear It

And many many more.

See ya.



5 Minutes - Coffee Break


Hi. It's Joe.

Today is a good day, because I am ahead on work, I got a belly full of HuHot Mongolian Grill, and I got a decaf coffee with soy milk.

It's the last official day of FAWM, so I may write a song tonight. Because it is a Leap Year, tomorrow is the last unofficial day of FAWM. After work I am going over to Brian's house to FAWM out a last couple of songs.

We will upload them just under the wire before FAWM 2012 expires. If you want to scope them out, go to http://fawm.org/fawmers/cactusjoe.


I am heading back into work now. Talk to you later.



10 Minutes - Weekend, Thank You Very Much

Hi. It's Joe.

I have to wear my headphones and listen to music at work a lot more often.

I overheard some stuff today that would make an HR representative blanch.

Ethically, I have to confidentially report it. They have a way of doing that where I work, so I will have to look at the options on Monday.

I'm not going to mention anything more about it here. Suffice it to say, the new management from California does not share our midwestern values, if this is the way they operate.

Tomorrow, I have band practice with what I am calling GUPPY EFFECT MACH II for lack of a better name. It's me, John from work, Kyle, and Branden. Since it is the last weekend of FAWM, perhaps we can write a song as a band. But that takes a lot of time and wouldn't leave much room for working on the songs we already have. But we'll see. I am open to whatever they want to do.

I am hoping to do a lot of FAWMing outside of that band practice though. I don't believe I have anything happening on Sunday. I also want to catch up on piano. I learned a ton at my last lesson but I have not had much time to really practice it. So I will probably have to rehash at my next lesson. My first two lessons were 60 minutes, but maybe I will cut back to 30 so that I can digest a smaller amount of information between lessons.

I also need to work out this weekend.



10 Minutes - It's Time (for a Foosball House Party)

Hi. It's Joe.

I got this sweet Foosball table from a buddy a couple of months ago.


It's time to baptise it. So I am going to host a Foosball (and Rock-n-Roll) House Party.

All skill levels welcome. We will pair people off by approximate skill level and then have playoff games until it is down to the finals.

The winner will be privvy to some live music provided by rockers TBD. I am sure I can stir some up.

Of course, everyone will be privvy to the rocking, so I am not sure it is that great of a prize.

This is going to be about as much fun as when GUPPY EFFECT played at the Madison Capitols Ice Hockey Arena a couple of weeks ago, except now YOU will get to compete, not just spectate. Cool, huh? The rocking will be just as rocking, although perhaps a tad lower volume.

I created a Foosball Party Facebook invite, but if you are not on Facebook, simply RSVP to this post by commenting below.

When you RSVP I will give you the deets and directions.

Just remember, when the world seems really depressing, there is always Foosball.

Foosball is immune to THE MAN. He can't stop you from playing Foosball, even if he can stop you from voting without a valid ID card.



10 Minutes - A Long Weekend

Hi. It's Joe.

When I say a long weekend, I am referring to the fact that it was a 3-day weekend, not that it was too long. In fact, it was too short. But it was very relaxing.

I had my piano lesson tonight. I learned a bundle. Now I have to sort it all out. So much information. I am doing sequences and pentatonic scales over jazz chords.

I had the day off today because of President's Day. I ran a 5k with Buddy. I practiced piano in anticipation of my lesson. I ate some salad. But pretty much I just relaxed.

Yesterday, I did my taxes. Well, I handed off my tax documentation to my accountant, who will do my taxes. I also wrote a new FAWM song, as you know. Want the link again? Here it is - fawm.org/songs/27982.

The FAWMing took the better part of the afternoon and evening. But before I started in on that, I did a 6 mile power walk. It took 90 minutes and so I am counting it as 2 workouts toward my 5/week goal. I only achieved 4/5 last week though, when you count the two power walks I did over the lunch hour at work on Thursday and Friday.

Falling behind on Welsh a little bit, but not dropping it as a NY Resolution. I should get back on track with that this week. The current lesson is kind of tough, so it will be good to focus on it all three sessions this week.


10 Minutes - A Catchy Power Pop Song

Hi. It's Joe.

Tonight I spent a little more time than usual on writing a FAWM SONG.

I call this one Inadvertent Song, because it is kind of transcendent, about inadvertently writing a song for someone about why you would never write a song for them, if that makes sense. In essence, a song about someone who is not worthy of a song. Paradox.

Here's the link - http://fawm.org/songs/27982.

What else did I do today? I walked six (6) miles in 90 minutes. That's a pace of 4 mph. I took Buddy with me. I think he is sore. I gave him a big bowl of food for dinner in compensation for the grueling doggie workout.


What didn't I do today? I didn't practice piano or Welsh. I have my piano lesson tomorrow, but it is also a holiday from work, so I will have ample time to practice tomorrow. This FAWM song I wrote tonight took me a little while.

OK, well, have a great week.



10 Minutes - Guess What I Am Doing Today?

Hi. It's Joe.

You know what today is? It's NOTHING is what.

That is to say, it is one of those rare days when I do not have jack to do.

By that, of course I mean, I do not have anything that I HAVE to do. No responsibilities.

A ME day.

Of course, I have plenty of things I CHOOSE to do today. I am going to work out. I am going to practice piano, and I am going to write a FAWM song. If there is time left over, I might do something else.

I already wrote the lyrics to the new FAWM song, I just need to get my guitar part figured out and then I will post it HERE.

I wanted to get my 10 minutes of blogging out of the way. Recall from a recent post that I ordered from AMAZON the CD of Cowboy Mouth "Live at the Zoo." It's my favorite all time live album.

Well, apparently my laptop loves it just as much as I do. When I put the CD into it, to burn it to iTunes (in order to burn a backup copy of this primo record), the laptop refused to eject it. It would make ejection-like noises, then keep it.

I tried to eject it several times. A couple of times, it taunted me, pushing out the very edge of the CD for a split second, but not long enough for me to grab it. This Mac Power Book does not have any way to manually eject a CD like older Macs do. I was getting very consternated.

I basically had to hold the laptop sideways, with the CD slot facing toward the floor, and then while simultaneously pressing the EJECT key, I banged on the front of the laptop until the CD shot out. I was really worried I was going to lose the CD, after all the trouble I went through to get it (basically, buying an actual hard CD from AMAZON, which I almost never do, now that I have SPOTIFY).

Because I like this record so much, I am using it to do a lot of BACKLINKING to my other blog posts about Cowboy Mouth live. I am hoping that will get more people to stumble across this excellent record and buy it. Or at least go see a Cowboy Mouth concert, if they haven't already.

It will be a good experiment in focusing on one thing that I am super passionate about and SEO marketing the poop out of it. Because this album is worth it and I can talk it up like nobody's business. I actually don't care if people buy the CD. I just want them to know about Cowboy Mouth and go to their live shows whenever they can. They are unparalleled.



5 Minutes - Frosting on the Cake

Hi. It's Joe.

I already did my 10 minutes of blog posting today, so this is frosting on the cake. Perhaps you can think of it as karmic capital toward those days when, for whatever reason, I fail to do my 10 minutes of blogging.

I write to tell you the fabulous news. Today I received in the mail the CD I ordered from Amazon, Cowboy Mouth - Live at the Zoo.

As you know from a prior post, it is a record I have been listening to a lot on SPOTIFY at work and it is probably my favorite live album. They are definitely my favorite live band, just so much fun. This record captures the live energy really well, and you can really imagine yourself at a CM show, especially if you have ever been to one. I think I might even have been at this one. At the very least, I was at a Cowboy Mouth show at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, where this live record was recorded around the time that I lived in Chicago. But who knows or cares. The point is, this rocks.

I give the producers of this record, whoever they are, a lot of credit on making this great album.

Now I have another great album to listen to in the car on my way to work when I get sick of listening to jazz piano, which I am still hardcore learning.

Right now though I am going to go write a FAWM song. Then I may practice piano or I may go to bed. Earlier this evening, after work in fact, I went to the Crossroads Coffee Shoppe in Cross Plains WI to hear some live acoustic music. It was good shite.

There was this one guitarist who was using a loop station to get some tasty sounds and his guitar noodlings were very Peter Mulvey-esque. But when I asked the guy if he was a Peter Mulvey fan, he said he did not know of him. Instead, he cited Leo Kotke as an influence.

I suspect Leo is an influence on Peter Mulvey too, so maybe that is where the semblance lies.


10 Minutes - Blizzard of Unexpected Proportions


Hi. It's Joe.

Southern WI was not supposed to see any snow today, only rain, and it is quite probable this mini-blizzard may turn into snow later on today.

But it is a bit alarming that we were not supposed to get ANY snow and we are getting quite a lot of it right now. So if the weather geologists and their high tech computer models could be wrong about the current weather, isn't it probable that they are wrong about the weather forecast for the rest of the day?

I don't want to think about this topic anymore.

I made an amazing discovery this morning. More aptly, some new facts came to light. These facts were always true, I just hadn't registered them in my consciousness.

They will prove to be some most excellent facts.

I have nothing on my calendar for tomorrow. It is truly a day off. A ME day. I can sleep in, I can catch up on weekly goals, I can write a FAWM SONG (maybe more than one), I can go to a coffee shoppe, I can learn some songs.

On Sunday, I did commit to doing my taxes with my accountant and rocking with BABY ROCKET MACH 2.

But then I found out that my workplace recognizes President's Day (on Monday) as an official holiday. So I actually have another day off.

I do have my piano lesson Monday night, but now I will have a lot of extra time to prepare.

I think the weekend will go something like this.

Saturday - 90 minutes of moderate exercise, 60 minutes of piano, and 60 minutes of Welsh. These activities will be in addition to whatever else I want to do.

Ditto for Sunday. Ditto for Monday, interspersed with whatever the heck I wanna do.



2 Minutes - A FAWM Song About Open Mic Night

Hi. It's Joe.

I hosted Open Mic Night tonight at the new Waterhouse Coffee Shoppe location in Lake Mills WI.

On a whimsy, I used it as the inspirado for a FAWM song, which I wrote in under 10 minutes after I got home.

It is called, strangely enough, OPEN MIC NIGHT. You can listen to it HERE.




10 Minutes - A Struggle

Hi. It's Joe.

I am having some moments of weakness this week on my goals.

It is just a crazy time at work, and so I am staying late to get a lot of stuff done.

When I get home, I am pretty spent and by the time I make dinner I am tired.

I just want to relax and let my mind go all soft in places.

Last night I only did 40 minutes of piano practice, rather than my usual hour.

However, I did write a FAWM song. It's not a Grammy winner or anything, but my goal was to crank one out, so I did. It is called, "God Hates the Checkered Whiptail Lizard."

I did Welsh on Monday night. That is coming along. But I did nothing tonight, except work late.

Normally, Wednesday night would be FAWM co-writing, and prior to January it would have been JEEBUS PREEBUS band practice. That band fell apart. For all you naysayers about JEEBUS PREEBUS, good for you. You were right. Happy now? But for all you people that loved it, stay tuned. Another band or bands is/are in the works.

I have two songs nominated for BEST SONG OF THE YEAR at the Madison Area Music Awards for 2012. You can go listen and/or vote for them at www.themamas.org. Click where is says VOTE HERE. Or if you want to save a step: www.broadjam.com/mama.

I think you have to pay $5 one time only. That will be a deterrent for some people. Lame people. Because that is the whole idea. They don't want a bunch of morons voting. They want people who are invested in local music and who care about it. The $5, by the way, goes toward buying musical instruments for schools. So when you contribute and vote, you not only help out local bands and musicians, but you directly undermine Republican efforts to defund schools and dismantle our culture.

I'm getting off track. The point was that I did not do jack shite tonight. I am rationalizing that by the fact that I normally would be doing non-goal things anyway. But tomorrow I have open mic night, so it is unlikely I will achieve a goal tomorrow night either.

On the other hand, I am going to power walk 3 miles at lunch tomorrow with a co-worker. That will count toward my fitness goal, but it is not enough. That will be my first workout of the week, making it unlikely I will get my quota of five.

However, I have been eating a lot of vegetable salads this week, and that's healthy.



15 Minutes - Cowboy Mouth Live at the Zoo (Lincoln Park, Chicago)

Hi. It's Joe.

With SPOTIFY and all the available live music online, it is rare that I buy CDs anymore (though, I do use music streaming sites that pay royalties to artists).

But today I bought Cowboy Mouth's CD, "Live at the Zoo." I found it on AMAZON.

There are a couple reasons for this. One is that I have been listening to this album a lot on SPOTIFY (Cowboy Mouth – Live At The Zoo) at work. It's an amazing live album from the best live band I have ever seen. It really captures their live energy well and it fuels me at work when I need to get a lot done and block out the annoying banter of those around me who aren't as busy as me. You should go listen to a couple tracks on SPOTIFY right now:

Cowboy Mouth – Jenny Says

Cowboy Mouth – Light It On Fire

Another reason is that I was at this show. Well, I can't say that for sure. There were several Cowboy Mouth shows at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago that were recorded. I may have been at THIS ONE.

But even though the show from which Cowboy Mouth – All You Need Is Live was taped was a great live show, it isn't quite as good on CD as Live at the Zoo is. The producers, for whatever reason, cut a lot of the good stage banter and tried to edit out the cuss words in sad and pathetic ways that totally decimated my fond memories of the live event.

The main reason that I bought this CD though is that I drive a 2001 Prius that does not have web streaming or MP3 capbilities or satellite or any of that nonsense. It has a good old fashioned CD player that works great. I need to be able to crank this record when I am driving in Madison WI during rush hour so I can forget about all the losers ruining the roadways.

I am probably going to burn a CD copy of the album when I get it, then store the original in a lock box for safe keeping.

Because if I was stranded on a desert island and could only have one record (and some form of media with an infinite power supply to play it on), this is the record.


10 Minutes - A Very Fulfilling Weekend

Hi. It’s Joe.
I finished the book A Universe From Nothing by Lawrence Krauss, which my folks gave me for my birthday.
I would like to read it again, to fully get my head around why quantum physics predicts the formation of an inflatable universe like the one we live in. But I am probably going to digest the first reading for a while.
So if you want to borrow this book and read it, I would gladly pay it forward, provided you promise to give it back when you are done. It was a gift after all. Just shoot me an e-mail if you know it, or leave a comment below on this post along with your e-mail and I will get back to you.
This past weekend was amazing. On Saturday, I performed at the new location of the Waterhouse Coffee Shoppe in Lake Mills WI at noon. You should really check out the new digs if you live in Lake Mills or are just passing through. It’s a fully functional live music coffee shoppe now, with an actual “nook” for musicians to perform in. In the old space (about ½ block away), the musical acts had to move tables and chairs out of the way. The new design also has the added bonus of being self-amplifying and the acoustics in the room are great.
On Saturday night, GUPPY EFFECT reunited for an awesome show rocking the Madison Youth Hockey Association annual fundraiser at Capitol Ice Arena. The party was in the mezzanine overlooking two ice hockey rinks, and they had a class B (for beer?) liquor license, so it was a really good time. We played later than we thought and made a lot more money than we thought, even including the raffle tickets we bought, in hopes of winning some cash or prizes (we didn’t).
I was sore and tired on Sunday morning, so that is always a telltale sign that I rocked super hard.
Because of work, I was not as successful last week at completing my New Years Resolution goals with Welsh and jazz piano. But I did get a few practices in. I was lax on workouts too. I promise to remedy that this week. I am going to do Welsh tonight after my singing lesson.


10 Minutes - Rockspawn

Hi. It's Joe.

GUPPY EFFECT reunited to play one awesome show last night. It was an annual fundraiser for the Madison Youth Hockey Association at Capitol Ice Arena in Middleton, WI. Huge party.

Admission was the purchase of at least one $10 raffle ticket, with the chance to win a $3,000 grand prize as well as many smaller cash prizes and gifts.

But what made the party awesome was the people who were there. We played in the upper level mezzanine overlooking two ice hockey arenas, with games going on for most of the time we were playing. Since it was for youth hockey, there were a lot of kids at the party early on, until they had to leave to go to bed. These kids were great (albeit messy) and we let them help us when we were setting up the lights we borrowed from Clay of BABY ROCKET. They chose the colors. We also had them running "security" during the show, making sure everyone stayed back from the stage so they would not trip over wires.


As payment, I gave all the kids a download card for my song GINGERBREAD (ZOMBIE) ARMY. I want to say I taught them the Sign of the Goat, but as you can see from the picture above, they already knew it (and "perma-grimace" too!). 

After the kids and their parents left, the die hard rock, beer, and hockey fans stuck around to party with GUPPY EFFECT till all hours. Mary and Bob, who own the Capitol Ice Arena were amazing. They really loved us and partied with us well past the time we were supposed to stop playing (11 PM). I think we rocked almost non-stop (we paused only for prize draw(r)ings) until about 12:30 AM. Then we just had to quit, although I think some of the people would have stayed later to drink the free beer.

GUPPY EFFECT put on a highly fun and theatrical show. One of our best, I would say.

Amazing party. I wish you could have been there, whoever you are. Unless you were there, in which case, leave a comment below about what a great time you all had.



2 Minutes - Show Up

Hi. It's Joe.

While it is true that a band has to do more than just show up, that is really all that is needed if you make lunch plans.

I have zero patience for people this week because of stress.



10 Minutes - Foosball Party?


Hi. It's Joe.

I am thinking about hosting a foosball party on Saturday March 24, complete with rock-n-roll jams.

What do you think about that? Would you come? Answer by commenting below.

It would be kind of like a now defunked Jeebus Preebus house party, except without Jeebus Preebus. Probably it will be a loose aggregate of GUPPY EFFECT and whatever power trio rises from the zombie attacked corpse of Jeebus Preebus.



2 Minutes - Due Diligence

Hi. It's Joe.

I did an hour of piano practice tonight. 20 minutes of sight reading and 40 minutes of running jazz chord inversions up and down with my left hand.

Counting my hour long piano lesson with my new teacher last night, I have 2 hours logged for this week on piano. However, I am not going to count the lesson, I decided. So I have officially logged only one hour and will need to practice two more times this week.

I worked out once already, and I am hoping to get up early tomorrow and work out again. But that means I gotta hit the hay now. I am officially 1/5 on workouts for this week. 0/3 on Welsh, but I will probably do that Thursday night.


10 Minutes - Piano Lessons

Hi. It's Joe.

I am in my new building at work. I have a new boss and a new cubicle (with a window, so I guess it is a slight upgrade). Today I will get a new computer, a fairly decent dockable laptop, which will also give me mobility.

Last night I had my first piano lesson with Eric, my new teacher. Since it was an hour lesson, I am going to count it toward my weekly quota of three hour-long practice sessions. However, I am very eager to start practicing what he taught me, which was basically improv stuff, exactly the kind of stuff I want to know.

Eric is a phenomenal piano player. I am amazed how good he is and it seems difficult to believe I will ever be that good. But I am dedicated to practicing and if he can transfer his skills to me like a Jedi Master, then I am confident I will at least get pretty decent with time.



5 Minutes - Everything is Disintegrating

Hi. It's Joe.

My computer is down. My meeting was canceled. I feel lost at sea. What am I supposed to do with myself if I can't work or go to meetings?

I guess I will work on my goals today. My employer makes us put goals into a computerized system so they can track our progress. I wish a guy could just do his job without mindless hassles.

I am very stressed right now.