10 Minutes - Wednesdays Are Hard(er)

Hi. It's Joe.

I played a full night of jazz bass at the Mason Lounge in Madison WI last night. It was periodically unleashed. That is to say, we busted out some tight jams on a few occasions and hacked our way through the songs most of the rest of the time.

Jazz at Mason does go rather late for a school night, but it is quite fulfilling and allows me to push the boundaries of my jazz theory in practice (improvisation). The issue isn't really that it goes late. Midnight isn't even horribly late. The problem is that when I get home, I am all wired up and energized from the rocking (jazzing?) and I will be inspired to work on jazz piano for a while. Then I do end up staying up too late.

I am announcing the launch of Guppy Effect v2.0 today. That is the new incarnation with Kyle and Mike. I am taking it in a new direction. It will still be high energy rocknroll with "thrice the rocking power of other name bands," but we will explore a wider diversity of song repertoire and I also want to play more alternative venues like house concerts and farm parties. Kyle is a good lyricist, so that should facilitate some song writing. I am good at composition.

Stay tuned for a Gupdate today announcing band happenings. GEv2.0 may play a farm party on May 4. GEv1.0 with Stefan and Peter is slated to play a birthday party and a fest, both in Delavan, in July.

HIATUS, my band with colleagues Brian and John, will kick off next Wednesday April 4. We are booked to rock and roll at Crivestivus on June 22. Mark it down.



10 Minutes - Astrophysics Day (in my head)

Hi. It's joe.

This morning, Wisconsin Public Radio had astrophysicist Neil DeGrassi Tyson on as part of their fund drive marketing promotion. He's a decent fellow, an intelligent and well versed popularizer of science. I have watched some science programs on Netflix, on which he was the host.

I am declaring today my own personal Astrophysics Day. I am feeling large and connected with the cosmos today. You know, the cosmos is in all of us, just as we are in the cosmos. The atoms in the molecules that make our material beings were all created in the lives of stars elsewhere in the universe. All, that is, except for a good portion of the hydrogen and a small amount of the helium and lithium. Although, most of the latter are only found in miniscule quantities in our bodies. Helium is a noble gas that doesn't react with much and eventually finds its way out into the atmosphere. So unless we are inhaling helium balloons to make our voices sound funny, there isn't much within us. Lithium is a trace element. We need a little bit to function normally, but besides a few manic depressives, most people don't carry a lot.

But most of the other atoms within us had to be formed in stars, through nuclear fusion, and subsequently cast out into the cosmos in violent supernovae, eventually aggregating into our solar system and planet.

Cool stuff.


2 Minutes - A Pantload of Jazz

Hi. It's Joe.

I just got done practicing a bunch of jazz bass for Tuesday night jazz at Mason Lounge this coming Tuesday. I used the words jazz and Tuesday twice in the previous sentence. Bad form.

I am going to practice the songs again tomorrow night when I get home from work. It is going to be solid and the jams will be tight.

Earlier in the day today, I practiced jazz piano. I am making decent progress on the jazz song Joy Spring. I am starting to move ahead faster and it takes me less time to figure out new sequences. I can play the head almost flawlessly, and the head a half step up decently. There is a bridge that I still suck on. But I have figured out how to do the chord sequence.

Well I hope to see you at Tuesday night jazz, if you are local to Madison WI. It is at Mason Lounge, 416 S. Park St. 9 PM to midnight.



10 Minutes - Jazz On Tuesdays (@ Mason in Madison WI)

Hi. It's Joe.

I have really been enjoying the Tuesday night jazz sessions at Mason Lounge in Madison WI. I sub for the regular bass player every other Tuesday and it is a great time. I get to rehash my jazz chops and also explore jazz theory more deeply, albeit on bass, but that applies to piano. It's just different.

Also, people really dig the Mason. I have never seen such good turnout on a Tuesday night. But I think I know why. Not only is it musically awesome, with some great jazz musicians, but they are also quite particular about their beer selection. They have 13+ taps, all with high quality microbrews from all around the world.

The atmosphere and the quality beverages are awesome. Some of it may also be that it is on a Tuesday night. On Monday night, after your first day back at work, you might feel drained and not like going out. But by Tuesday you are back in the swing of things and missing the good time you had over the weekend.

The Mason abides.

This coming Tuesday, I am going to be playing bass the whole night. I am going to practice hard this weekend, especially on Sunday.

On Saturday, I am actually quite busy. I have band practice with the new GUPPY EFFECT v2.0 on Saturday afternoon from 2 to 5 PM and then at 6 PM, I am hosting a foosball party. We will play some foosball, drink some fine ales, and then have a jam session with available rockers.

I am going to try using a minimal drum kit upstairs, as long as we can keep the volume low. Mike says he will bring brushes or light/thin sticks. Having band practice right before the party was a stroke of genius on my part, in retrospect. We'll be all warmed up and the songs will be fresh in our heads, so there should be minimal biffage.

It is going to be a fun-arsed Saturday. On Sunday, I tentatively have a Match date. The lucky lady and I are going to meet at Olbrecht and mill about. Just a get to know you, not really a date. She likes it casual and so do I. Online dating is bizarre and kind of lame, IMHO. Not the people, just the process. Match is a lot better than POF though.

Well, I am rambling now.



30 Minutes - My Final Day on Facebook (and First Day of Social Sobriety)

Hi. It's Joe.

I am leaving Facebook today, a day before they "timeline" me. That is to say I am terminating my Facebook account. As an informed consumer, I have decided that timeline is a bad idea and I don't want it. My Facebook page is way too full of "friends" who are really barely acqaintances. I don't know half the people who claim allegiance to me in some way or another, and I certainly don't want them all surfing back to my earliest embryonic Facebook days in 2006. The past is the past and should remain so.

I have told my FB "friends" that if they want to keep in touch with me, they can bookmark or subscribe to this free interactive blog. It's a hub to my other sites and it's a cosmetic journal of the humdrum goings on in my life.

I figure this will take care of itself. The people who really care will subscribe, or at least bookmark this blog (which has been around for years...I am surprised more people don't read it).

The people who don't care or have no interest in staying in touch won't. So that's exactly what I want.

Then there will be a few mediocre folks who are just too lazy to bookmark or subscribe, even though it could be done with a single mouse click and costs nothing.

This gets to the crux of part of why I am leaving FB. I am trying to eliminate as much mediocrity from my life as possible. FB has become mediocre and increasingly a useless waste of time and brain power I could be repurposing for good and constructive things, like jazz piano and music generally.

Furthermore, I need to cull my circle of friends, both in real life and in the "social" media (which is rather antisocial, truth be told), eliminating the haters and the lame.

I have been on a mass media information "fast" for some time and it has really made me more productive, more constructive, better educated, less fearful of the world, and far less stressed.

It is time now to do a social media "fast." Maybe I will come back to it some day. I do have a little known secondary FB account that is exclusively for very close friends and family. By necessity it has to remain small, private, and anonymous. Otherwise, it would just become another clogged and obese social media monstrosity, totally defeating the purpose of eliminating my "public" account.

If you know of my other private FB page, then you are probably one of the aforementioned close friends or family. If you'd like to connect with it, consider the following:

1. Are you mediocre or lame?
2. Are you a hater?
3. What is one thing you admire about me?

If you answered yes to 1 or 2 or cannot answer 3, then you have no business adding me.

Since you have read this far, my other small and friendly FB site is /guppyeffect. There is a high standard to be "accepted" on that page. Decide if you can achieve that standard, and I will too. I will make you jump through hoops and if you are easily offended by rejection, I wouldn't even start down that path.

But I do appreciate that you took the time to read this far. For that, I will give you a few bonus points toward being in my small, elite and highly above average circle of friends. If you should choose to add my other FB, include a note with you friend request stating which one of my original songs is your favorite.

This is an idea I took from Art Paul Schlosser, who screens all of his FB "fans" this way.

If you can't answer, then you clearly do not know enough about me to qualify for social media interaction.

Good day.



10 Minutes - Tuesday Night Jazz Jam


Hi. It's Joe.

It's Tuesday night and I am at the Mason Lounge jazz jam. This is my off week. I played a handful of songs but the other bass player, Stephen by name, played most of the night. I enjoy spectating and watching Stephen play bass. I get some tips from watching him play. All bass players are different, it seems like.

I will be the principle bass player next week, if all goes to plan. But even if it doesn't, it is still a really fun time on Tuesdays. This club, the Mason, has all these great esoteric beers. I like sampling them. I had a Belgian sour ale. It was like a beer and a cider combined. Almost like a mead. It was at once despicable and delightful. I wanted to hate it, but I couldn't, even though it was highly unconventional.

My buddy, Kyle, played some trombone at jazz jam tonight, and so did this trumpet player friend of MG's. I think his name was Simon. Horns add a lot to the jams. But it's always a mellow time here no matter what.

I really want to get good at jazz piano. That will be super fun to be able to lay down the jams on keys. But I really suck right now. I like doing the jazz bass at Mason because I am decent at bass and it is a good way to comfortably explore jazz theory on an instrument I know.

But the piano makes a lot of sense in my head. It is just hard to translate what I hear into action. Fingers don't listen. Actually, bass makes less intuitive sense when it comes to jazz improv. It is just a lot of moving pentatonics around the neck. Not that the bass doesn't have patterns, but just that they lack a good context.

The keyboard has a context because all the keys are logically and mathematically related.



10 Minutes - The Week In Review

Hi. It's Joe.

I played jazz again last Tuesday at the Mason in Madison, WI. It was my second time and I was a lot better than the first time, having had more time to practice. I thought it was pretty rocking (jazzing?) and there were a few good jams. We somehow filled 3 hours of time with music and still had some songs left over, so I guess it is going alright.

The other bass player wasn't there this last time, so I played the whole night. I am starting to get some improvisational chops back the more I practice. It's fun to improvise.

I wish I would get better at piano faster. I practice a lot. Everything makes perfect sense in my head, just not in practice. It doesn't seem to stick. There is no muscle memory developing. I do not know what the problem is. But I keep at it. I refuse to admit that I might just not be cut out for piano. Maybe after a certain amount of time, if I am not better, I will admit this. But not right now.

We were supposed to go guerilla bowling at lunch today, but an excessively long meeting kept us from it, so we just had lunch at the Irish Pub, which is gearing up for St. Patrick's Day this weeked.

In typical anti-holiday fashion, I shant be drinking. I might go to the High Noon Saloon and hear a band on Saturday night, but I do not know yet.

I am reading Genius of the Beast by Howard Bloom, which I got from the library. I need to focus on reading it, because I only have it for 2 weeks.

Well, I am going to go and practice piano.



10 Minutes - Musically Intensive

Hi. It's Joe.

Guppy Effect is rising again.

That is to say the Guppy Effect brand is rising again. Obviously, I can't replace the unique rocking qualities of Peter and Stefan. But neither can I let the brand name languish just because that incarnation is on permanent hiatus.

So, I have repurposed the brand name to apply to the power trio of former GE guitarist Kyle and drummer Mike. The brand of high energy rocknroll won't change, just the personnel lineup.

This tends to be the common trend with Guppy Effect, where I transition through guitarist/drummer pairs that work well together. But they always remain a pair because that is how they function best.

I am calling this new incarnation of GE, "Guppy Effect v2.0," to distinguish is from Guppy Effect v1.0 with Peter and Stefan. V1.0 has a couple shows this summer.

So stay tuned.



5 Minutes - Friday

Hi. It's Joe.

It is Friday afternoon.

I am chilling at Sprechers with my work buddies, Stephen and Eric. This is not unusual for a Friday, but we are celebrating our newfound work ethic.

And that's really all.



8 Minutes - Someone Please Save Me From This Meeting

Hi. It's Joe.

I am in the most soporific meeting ever. It is sapping my life force away. It is two hours long and we are watching a Powerpoint presentation being narrated by a guy on the phone, who is actually thousands of miles away in California.

It is such a boring topic and this guy has no energy or excitement in his voice at all. I could totally power nap to this guy's voice.

He seems to have the uncanny ability to slow down time.