10 Minutes - A Universe From Nothing and a Memorial Weekend Belated

Hi. It’s Joe.


This weekend will be fun. It’s the weekend after Memorial Day, so I will be pulling a fast one on the holiday-mongers who were clogging the roads and competing with each other for tourist attractions last weekend. I think that’s the way to do it. Everyone is all holidayed out from Memorial Day and so it should be open season on just about everything this weekend.


My parents are coming to town tonight or tomorrow. I am pretty sure they will roll in tomorrow, taking it easy on the roads between Ohio and here. On Saturday, the weather is supposed to be superb (this represents the only risk to having a tourist-free weekend…if the weather is nice enough, people will still get out and enjoy it). I think we will go to the Madison Farmers Market, followed by a leisurely bike ride around Lake Monona in Madison WI with a bicycling group.


On Sunday, I am hosting a house concert and foosball party from 2 to 6 PM. I had high hopes that a lot of people would come, but as it turns out a few of the people who RSVP’d in the affirmative have now suddenly found themselves double booked. Isn’t that interesting?


But the rocking and the foosball are for sure happening. Mike from GUPPY EFFECT is also bringing a fresh batch of home brew beer for the sampling. GUPPY EFFECT is going to play some, and then if there are other musicians present, we will do some open acoustic jams between bouts of foosball.


I might put Buddy in the kennel, since he is not good with people and plus my parents’ 2 dogs will be there. That is a lot of doggage and canininity. Neither of those two things are actual words. I made them up.


I watched a lecture on YouTube last night of physicist Lawrence Krause talking about the nature of the universe and how it will end. It gave me bad dreams. It turns out we live in the worst possible universe for a good future outcome, in like 2 trillion years. Check out his book that I thumbnailed in the upper right of this post.




10 Minutes - Memorial Day Fun

Hi. It's Joe.

I am sitting out on my screen porch, listening to distant thunder from the severe thunderstorms barreling across Wisconsin right now. It's relatively calm here in Cambridge, just drizzling. Earlier it got quite windy, but that was about it.

The temperature has dropped considerably and it feels really nice. The next few days are supposed to be superb and I hope I can bike commute a few days this week, although various bands are making that less likely. But F them. I'll bike if I wanna and they can wait.

This afternoon, I went to a BBQ at the home of Wisconsin Democratic Senator Mark Miller who is up for re-election this year. My drummer in Guppy Effect, Mike, is his son-in-law. Cool, huh? I can't vote for him because I do not live in his district. But a week from tomorrow I get to vote Scott Walker out of office and to vote Lori Compas into the Senate. That is going to feel mighty good.

I am really tired of douchebag corporate charlatans getting elected to public office. We need to take it back and voting is the political process for doing that. If that fails, we can stone the parliament until all the crooks resign and then jail the bankers, like Iceland did (and now their economy is booming...it's a great story of the little guy wresting control back from the oligarchs. Google it!).

I also had my piano lesson today. It went OK but I am really challenged by my current assignment. As with all things I set my mind to, I will conquer it. My teacher gave me a book of Oscar Peterson transcriptions and I am going to try to learn a phrase or two of these songs each week.

I should probably quit all my bands and focus on jazz piano, but maybe after I get a little more advanced on jazz piano.



10 Minutes - Impertinent Boy

Hi. It's Joe.

I was reminded this week why I have a problem with authority.

It's not all authority. Just douchebag authority. Some authority is cool, like if you are an authority on evolution or something. Douchebag authority is when someone tries to wrongly assert their will over others. When I am faced with such douchebaggery, I tend to become impertinent to a fault.

If you want the gory details, shoot me a message and I'll link you to my private post on what went down. It's not that big of a deal really, but I got kind of creeped out by it. It was highly uncool, but not surprisingly so. There are a lot of uncool people out there.

This is Memorial Day weekend. I am doing a whole lot of whatever the hell I want. I practiced an hour of piano tonight. I am struggling with my new assignment, but chugging away none the less. My lesson is on Monday afternoon, two days hence. I will put some hardcore practicing in tomorrow morning as well.

In the afternoon on Sunday, I am going to a "Science Pub" to hear an evolutionary scientist speak. It's at an Irish Pub, and you know how I dig those. After that, I have GUPPY EFFECT band practice for a while. I will practice piano again on Monday morning, before my lesson. I should be in decent shape. But it is a lesson, so if I am not 95%, that will give my teacher more things to teach me about.

I am getting surprisingly adept at the various scales that go with jazz chords. Still a bit slow motion, but definitely getting into my brain faster.

I planted a small garden today. 6 tomato plants and 3 pepper plants. I joined the CSA again this year, so I do not need a very big garden. It is more of a distraction. Hopefully, I can keep the weeds at bay.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a scorcher, at 95 degrees for a high. I hope the new seedlings dig the heat. I do believe this year will see most of the United States catch on fire from global warming. If it does, I hope the climate change deniers apologize for being douches all these years.

My neighbor got a new puppy named Holly. It's very rascally, with a shy but amiable temperment.

Well, that is all I got for now. See ya.



10 Minutes - Memorial Day Weekend Fun Stuff

Hi. It's Joe.

I bike commuted today. Tomorrow, I plan to bike from Cambridge into Madison to attend the Farmers Market and perhaps a political rally for Tom Barrett. My bike commuting buddy Mike is married to the daughter of Wisconsin Senator Mark Miller, Chandra, who also biked with us today.

I am hoping I can get Mark Miller to come to my foosball house concert on June 3. Mike said there could be a pretty good chance of that if it were not for the fact that the recall election is on Tuesday June 5, and Mark Miller may be quite busy with campaign stuff over the weekend. But I still hope he can come. Apparently, he knows quality beer and Mike is bringing some of his home brew to the social for us to sample.

My mom and pops will be here that weekend and I think they would get a kick out of meeting one of the Wisconsin 14. I know I would. But I know he has to go out and do good for the world, so my party might not be on the top priorities list.

But please everyone who lives in WI, VOTE ON JUNE 5!

Work has been a little disappointing lately.

It's not the work itself. That is quite fine and enjoyable for the most part.

It's more of a quality issue with people. That is to say, it is disappointing to find out that the quality of management is quite substandard. I suppose it is generalizable enough that to become a manager, you need to be a douchebag, willing to step on the heads of others.

But it is still always jarring to me when the fake facade is pulled away and the truth is revealed.

I don't tolerate lying, and I was bald faced lied to by management at work today. Twice. Well, once each on two different topics during the same conversation.

I'm a much more uppity employee than I used to be at my last job. Always civil and polite, but sometimes outspoken. I should have been that way at my last job too. Lesson learned.

When I see something that isn't right, or is unjust, I speak out. This is not because I think that by speaking out things will change. Management is a behemoth that once set in motion is almost unstoppable.

But moral and ethical standards run strong in me. It's probably why I am not destined for management. I think I could be a leader, with vision, who leads by example. But I could never be a dickhead and a liar, the two prerequisities for management. Managers are just muscle. Brawn without brains.



10 Minutes - Laid Back

Hi. It's Joe.

I did not bike commute today, due to jazz night last night, which had me up until about 2 AM. I needed to get the maximum amount of sleep possible. Since I got a good night's sleep on Monday night, the 5 hours I got last night did not bother me much today as far as fatigue, except near the end of the two hour meeting of soul sucking death at work. After the meeting, I had to go restore my soul with a spot of lunch away from the workplace. Management never ceases to meet my expectations of total lameness.

Anyway, the time I would have spent biking was spent catching some extra ZZZs. I am not going to bike tomorrow either, or if I do it will be a short one either during the day or from a location closer to work than usual. One of my bike commuting coworkers lives not too far from work, so maybe she will let me park on her street. I will have to find out what the parking regulations are in various parts of Madison WI. I have been lucky thus far. Both the parking options I have so far are also on my bus route, so that if perchance I cannot bike for whatever reason, the bus is an option.

I am not going to do jazz night full time anymore on Tuesdays. The other bass player is back into the swing of it from whatever projects he had going on. So now that I know a bunch of the songs, I will just be on retainer if and when they need me to sub for him. This is good, because it is a lot of travel and a big chunk of time for extremely measly pay. I am not in it for the money, but if it is a choice between giving up 4+ hours of my Tuesday night and putting miles on my car for peanuts vs. getting a good night's sleep, not having to drive and haul gear, and accomplishing other chores at home, I would often choose the latter.

I may still go to jazz night and guest jam on a song or two, on my own terms, if they let me.

Believe it or not, I am at work now, staying late to avoid traffic. I am going to end this and go home now.



10 Minutes - I Do Not Understand This Weather

Hi. It's Joe.

I can't complain. The weather is phenomenal, especially for biking.

But it is a little bit "erie" I think is the best term to describe it.

This whole week is going to be pretty close to how I imagine the weather in both Heaven and Hawaii is most of the time.

I bike commuted today. I rode in with Mike of GUPPY EFFECT. After work, I had my (probably) last and final vocal lesson for a while. My teacher is doing some crazy prestigious opera thing in New York City (New York City!?). I could have taken more lessons with the sub she lined up, but with RAGBRAI and all the other chaos in my life over the summer, I figured it is one less thing to worry about if I just put them on hold.

Anyway, that was a tangent. The point was that after work I had to bike commute back via my music lesson and this worked really well. I followed a really tasty path southeast over to Fish Hatchery Road, where the Madison Music Foundry is located (and also where my lesson is located).

After my lesson, I explored some alt routes that I had seen on Google Maps, getting slightly lost but learning in the process. This is what I have come to call "getting out of my comfort zone." I believe the only way to learn useful new things is to push your boundaries a little, or even a lot. What I learned here is that I could take Post Road through a subdivision and hook up with the little know "Cannonball Trail" that shoots me down to the SW Commuter Trail, which then carries me all the way into downtown, where I hook up with the Lake Path that takes me back to Mike's house, where I usually park.

Yes, it is true. I do not bike to work all the way from Cambridge. That would take a prohibitively long time, although I do plan to do it at least once before RAGBRAI in late July, similar to the way marathon runners run a marathon prior to actually running the official marathon (still not sure why they do this, but I think it is a mental thing).

I am playing jazz at Mason this Tuesday night (5/22/12). But I think I am not playing it next Tuesday. It's a lot to ask of me to do it every week, and the pay is insufficient to warrant me not taking vacation from it whenever the hell I want. This week I don't want. Next week, I do. Boundaries.



10 Minutes - A Total Eclipse of the Sun (But Not Here)

Hi. It's Joe.

There was a total eclipse of the sun today, on the west coast.

Even though I had to watch it online, it was still pretty cool. One of the coolest things about it is that it hit Asia on Monday 5/21 (tomorrow), but then crossed the International Dateline into today (5/20).

It went back in time. That's wicked cool.

I played a fun music show today that made me reflect on my musical options. There are not as many as there used to be and the quality is suffering in places. I might have to get right out of my comfort zone and try something totally new. We'll see.

I am bike commuting a few days this week. Tomorrow, I am going to see if I can bike to my music lesson after work in a timely fashion. It's at 5:30, so I may have to leave work about 4 to allow for getting lost en route. Madison is great for biking and has tons of bike paths and lanes and routes, but sometimes they are not marked very well.

I think I am going to cruise down the SW Bike Path, hook up with the Capitol City Trail and then take a few low traffic roads when I get over near Fish Hatchery Road.

Otherwise, I will just cruise straight back to my car on the east side of Madison and drive to my lesson. But that would be less adventurous.

I went to the Farmers Market yesterday and got 2 pounds of local organic ground bison. I used 1/3 pound of it in my stir fry tonight and it added awesome flavor to it. I should get a lot of yield out of the bison meat at that rate. It was $7/pound, which means I am using about $2.33 worth per stir fry. But I only ate about half the stir fry, so we are talking about something like $1.16 per meal. And that's if I eat as much as I ate tonight, which was a lot, because it was damn yummy.

I am playing jazz night this week at Mason. The following week I am going to road trip to a secret locale and thus won't be playing jazz. I am going to practice some jazz piano Monday and Wednesday nights, in anticipation of my lesson next Monday. At least, I think I have a lesson next Monday. It is Memorial Day Monday, so I am not sure if my teacher is going to be around. I wouldn't be, if I was him. I would be off having fun somewhere. But for me, piano is fun, so I will be here.

I am going to here some sort of archeopaleontologist talk in Madison next Sunday, of Memorial weekend. I might also hit the ALT BRATFEST in protest of Johnsonville Brats' official Bratfest.



10 Minutes - A Superb Saturday Morning for Madison Farmers Market and Biking

Hi. It's Joe.

This morning I awoke at Buddy's insistence and had the immediate epiphanous notion to go to the Madison Farmers Market. Not only that, but I also wanted it to involve some biking.

Because I am trying to figure out good bike commuting routes for this summer and because I am training for RAGBRAI (bike ride across Iowa) in July, I drove to the east suburb of Madison WI called Cottage Grove, to the small parking lot where I usually catch the bus on days that I take the bus. I had my mountain bike (with one slick road tire and one knobby) in the back seat.*

I biked down Buckeye Road, following the green bike route signs until I hooked up with the Capitol City Bike Trail that shot me right down to the state capitol building square where the Farmers Market is located. I had in mind to gather fixings, hunter-gatherer style, for a paleolithic style chili. I scored some ground venison, organic peppers, and wild asparagus. I also got some ground bison. The rest of the fixings, mainly beans, crushed tomatoes, and spices, I already have at home.

The Farmers Market was super crowded today, what with UW-Madison graduation going on, some kind of tribute to the U.S. troops at the Capitol and simply awesome, albeit slightly warm, weather. I definitely got a mega-dose of vitamin D from the beating sun.


*Note: It should be noted that both my mountain bike and my road bike fit fairly nicely in the back seat of my Prius, if I take off the front wheel. However, my favored bike, the comfy cruiser, does not. To take the cruiser requires using my bike rack, which is an extra step I try to avoid if possible.


10 Minutes - Bike to Work Week

Hi. It's Joe.

I am going to sleep like a baby tonight, I think. It was a fulfilling but exhausting week. Let me tell you about it.

It was Bike to Work week in Madison this week, where the Bike Fed of WI promotes bicycling. I was able to bike commute on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday (today, although you might be reading this on Saturday, if you are an e-mail subscriber).

It is a bit far to bike commute all the way to Madison from Cambridge, where I live. But I trimmed some mileage from my car by driving to the east side of town, parking near a buddy's house, and biking in. I actually biked in with said buddy last Friday, but he is out of town this week.

Tuesday and Wednesday, I met one of my coworkers downtown and we commuted in. For the return trip in the evening, we went a bit of a scenic route, because she lives on the SW side of town. So we explored two different evening routes those days. On Thursday, I could not bike because of open mic night. But she did, and she took an alt route as an experiment.

Today, I was the one who commuted solo. I explored a slight alt route along west University Avenue going in. This was more research for the return trip, which involves some left turns across traffic. The alt route kind of solved that issue but there is a lot of bad construction going on on University, so it is only a benefit for the return trip back to my car to go that way.

After work today, some coworkers pubbed it on down to Claddagh Irish Pub. The weather was phenomenal and we sat outside on their patio. I had been able to crank out all my work ahead of schedule and thus hit the pub about 3:30 PM for some sanctioned (by me) "team building."

About a quarter till 5, I bike commuted it back downtown through campus, which was a total insane madhouse because everyone is graduating this weekend. I don't fathom why people want to drive under those conditions. It was bad enough on a bike. But I have done it before, so I can't gripe too much.



10 Minutes - I Love It When I Am Vindicated

Hi. It's Joe.

It is always a good feeling to be vindicated. For years I have been arguing that healthy whole foods are not more expensive than processed and junky foods. A USDA study just came out that proves me right.

In the absence of good empirical data and quality studies, the mass media have promoted the speculative (and erroneous) idea that junk food is cheaper than healthy food, even though that defies logic. It costs money to process a food from it's natural state into a "value added" packaged good devoid of vital nutrition vs. simply transporting the raw food to the end user. That's not even talking about the cost in terms of nutritional value or the health care costs of junk food.

A reason for this misinformation is that the agro-industrial food producers have politicians (campaign funds) and the media (advertising dollars) in a stranglehold. The processed food industry has promoted this idea to the public, and in the absence of good data, the government and journalists have had no reason to question it (corporate charlatanry has never been a basis for skepticism in America).

But now there is data and it proves me right. Don't believe the hype. Share this information with your friends. Buy healthy food and avoid corporate junk.

See also: Agriculture Department study concludes healthy diet is less expensive than junk food.

A good day to you.



10 Minutes - Bike to Work Week in Madison WI

Hi. It's Joe.

I had an awesome bike commute into work this morning with a coworker. What fun! We met downtown at the Monona Terrace along Lake Monona. Then we took the "bike elevator" up to the top so we could get over to the Capitol Square, where we shot down State Street and then hooked up with the lake bike path that goes through the UW Madison campus, eventually spitting us out on Old Middleton Rd that goes all the way to the Barriques coffee shoppe in Middleton, where we got coffee and chilled (literally...it was windy) for a while before biking the last leg to our workplace on the west side of Madison. I am grateful that my workplace has a locker room with showers.

Tonight I will bike commute back downtown a different way, via my coworker's house. It will probably be slightly longer, but that's OK. As long as I am home by 7 pm to let Buddy out before jazz night, all will be swell.

I hope to bike commute tomorrow, but with jazz night I am sure to be very tired in the morning. I need to get home to bed ASAP.

I can't bike commute Thursday because of open mic. But Friday I will bike commute and then I have an ice breaker date after work.



10 Minutes - Average Joe's

Hi. It's Joe.

I have to go and get my life force sucked away in about a half an hour, but I am taking advantage of this calm before the storm.

Over the weekend, I thought of an interesting idea, along the lines of Cactus Joe's Couch Concert. It would be called Average Joe's and involve interviewing average people to get their life story and discover interesting things about them. I expect it would be a YouTube video series and that there will be a lot of things about average people that are way more interesting than what Kim Kardashian and other pop culture icons have going on. When you think about it, pop culture icons pretty much have the same banal things going on...sex tape drama, divorces, bathing suit faux pas.

Stay tuned.



10 Minutes - Happy Mother's Day

Hi. It's Joe.

I talked to my mom and my pops on the phone for Mother's Day today.

You should really appreciate your mom all the time, and your pops too for that matter. But having a day to reflect on it is good.

My mom has progressive values and that is probably where I got them from. So that is one of many things I appreciate my mom for.

According the the Howard Bloom book I am reading now (see thumbnail), progressives really should be in the minority and conservatives should be in the majority. Progressives are society's innovators, risk takers, and outside the box thinkers. Conservatives are, by definition, conformity enforcers (Bloom's term), resisting change from the status quo. According to Bloom, when times are good, you want more conformity enforcers to keep the good times rolling. But in times of unrest and scarce resources, you want to let the innovators take over, finding new resources and new ways of doing things. It's an interesting idea and probably why the conservatives seem to dominate, even though their values are not very good. Fear keeps people wanting to maintain the status quo and not take risks. Hatred of the risk takers is also used by conservatives to keep the progressives down.

In most societies, the odd and different tend to be persecuted. It's a natural biological tendency for maintaining status quo. Individuals gravitate toward the average in the society, because the average has the most likelihood of survival. But when conditions change and the average is no longer enough, the innovators swoop in and adapt the society to a new norm, which then become the average until things change again. It turns out that what humans see as "beauty" in other humans is not, as you might intuitively think, a rare extreme, but actually an average. The more attractive someone appears, the closer to the generic average they are in physical appearance. Not too skinny. Not too fat. Not too tall. Not too short. Proportional features. Think about it...



10 Minutes - Partial Bussage

Hi. It's Joe.

I had a nice bike ride into work this morning with my buddy (and Guppy Effect drummer) Mike. I was totally going to bike part way home with him as well, but when I came out to my bike this afternoon, I had a flat tire. So I decided to take the bus back. Mike was going to ride a different way anyway, due to after work plans, so I don't feel like I am deserting him. If I did, I would go through the effort of changing out the tube. But after a long day of work, I didn't want to.

And it was a long slog today at work. The document was not heinous that I was working on, but it is a new document and now that they have us working in MS Word again, every new document is an exercise in tortured patience. Once it is drafted, future updates are usually fairly painless, but the initial creation and formatting is a chore.

Anyway, enough about work. I just wanted to let you know, dear reader, how the bike commuting misadventure went. A little disappointed at not biking home, but not disappointed enough to warrant changing the tire. I left my bike at work and I will pick it up tomorrow when I have to come to Madison for another bike ride in the AM (using my other bike for the ride tomorrow, but I will have my bike rack on the car).

I may go to the farmer's market in the early AM tomorrow, but it is going to be a mad house because the weather is supposed to be superb.



5 Minutes - My Checklist For Biking to Work Tomorrow

Hi. It's Joe.

I am going to bike part way into work tomorrow, from the east side of Madison WI to my workplace on the west side of town. I want to make sure I am fully prepared, so I am going to write out my checklist here:

Spare tube.
Lock (with key).
Bug spray (in case I have to stop to fix a flat).

Backpack with:

Work clothes (and slipppers instead of shoes because they are lighter).
Bike clothes for ride home.

That should do it.

What did I forget?


15 Minutes - Bussing Today and Biking Tomorrow

Hi. It's Joe.

I only did a 7 minute post yesterday, so I owe you 3 minutes, dear reader. I am compensating you with this post, which will include a bonus 2 minutes.

The prior paragraph presumes, of course, that you need and long for my blog posts, which I know to be false. They are a courtesy for you, even though they are clinically proven to improve your soul.*

I am on the bus to work. I got my 10 ride bus pass in the mail. I am going to read my library book when I am done posting.

Tomorrow, I am going to attempt a ride in to work on my bike with GUPPY EFFECT v2.0 drummer Mike. That is to say, I am going to drive to his house on the east side of Madison and we are going to bike from his house to Middleton, where we both work. That way, I can learn a good route through town, part of my research for when I bike the entire way from Cambridge to work in Middleton this summer. Hopefully, I can do it more than once. I estimate that it would take me about 2.5 hours at a decent but not insane pace on my commuter bike. Incidentally, I need to get that tuned up here pretty soon.

I am going to have to take a backpack to work with me when I ride my bike tomorrow. It will have my work clothes in it, as well as bike shorts for the ride home after work. I should probably leave a set of work clothes in my office (cubicle) for when I bike.

RAGBRAI, here I come!


*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Association. These blog posts are not intended as a substitute for the administration of food and/or drugs.


7 Minutes - Problem Solving

Hi. It's Joe.

I have noticed sometimes that if you let a person work through a problem they are having and solve it themselves, it is better for both you and the person. I guess this is sort of like the "teach a man to fish" parable and I have been on both sides of it myself.

I have nothing more to say on that.

I have band practice tonight. It is with Guppy Effect. I am going to try to head out of work about 4 pm to "team build" for a while before heading home for practice. I am pooling with the band part of the way home, because I took the bus this morning and my car is parked on the east side of town. It's on the way for drummer Mike to drop me off after we get Kyle.

But first, I must survive a grueling meeting. Thank goodness I have pretty much completed my work for today.

I owe you 3 minutes, dear reader.



10 Minutes - I Could Zippety Doo Dah You a Blog Post

Hi. It's Joe.

I voted in Wisconsin today. My choice of Democrat to unseat Scott Walker was Kathleen Falk because she is staunchly pro-union and also a woman. We could use less testosterone in government.

I realize the odds are against her, in part because the sheeple of Wisconsin would be more comfortable with a Tom Barrett vs. Scott Walker re-match. The collective mentality is that they want to reverse their buyer's remorse after the last election. But I don't vote based on the group think. I vote for what is right. That's why I voted for Ron Paul in the Republican presidential primary. He is the only true conservative and even though we agree on very little (I am a progressive and all), he deserves to be the Republican candidate.

I did write in Tom Barrett for Lieutenant Governor. I think he would make a good running mate with Governor Falk. But even if Barrett wins the primary, maybe he will ask Falk to be LG. In any case, Walker will be oustered in June. Yea!

I am proudly wearing my "I Voted" sticker, notwithstanding the incorrect capitalization of the word "voted." The bus driver commented on my expedient early voting activity. I am taking the late bus to work today. We'll see how it goes.



5 Minutes - A Two Part Post, Part 2

Hi. It's Joe.

Yes. I am back writing the promised second installment of my 2-part blog.

I am going to vote for Kathleen Falk tomorrow morning. It is recall primary election day.

Then, I am going to take the bus to work. In fact, after I post this, I am going to go check the bus schedule and make sure I know when it is coming. I am going to read my one remaining library book. I did not finish the last one before it was due back, in spite of taking the bus several times to read it. But it is on hold for me again. So if I can get through this one, that's great.

I had my singing lesson today. It was OK. We are going to start working on some lower volume songs so that I can work on not singing so loud. She thinks this will improve my range, for reasons I do not fully understand.

I am going on a "purification" diet kick for the next two weeks, starting today. Essentially, a lot of vegetables and fruit, cutting way back on junk. I need to ramp up the fitness for RAGBRAI training. I am going to do a bike ride next Saturday morning. I am hoping to get a couple of runs in over lunch this week, at work.

I am not playing jazz this week, because the other bass player is doing it. However, I may stop down for a spell and check it out after Mad Toast Live, which is the main reason I can't stay in Madison late for jazz. I have to get home to let Buddy out. I think he is feeling better. He was having the runs for a few days and he had a sore on his left foot that I think is now healing thanks to antibiotics from the vet.


5 Minutes - A Two Part Post

Hi. It's Joe.

This is going to be 2-part post, for the simple reason that I only have five minutes to spare and I promised my readers 10 minutes of quality bloggery daily. Yes, BLOGGERY is a word, because I made it one. Most baboons would probably agree according to an article in the most recent Science News about word recognition in baboons.

Anyway, I have my singing lesson this week. Tomorrow is primary election day in WI. I am going to vote for Kathleen Falk as my choice to run against Scott Walker in the June recall election. I like her style as well as her politics. I think we could use a little less testosterone-induced posturing by politicians, and a woman governor might be just the ticket. She may not win, but the math is pretty simple. No matter who runs against Scott Walker, they are bound to win. I can be pretty comfortable voting for her knowing that whoever is picked gets to kick Walker out.



10 Minutes - Severe Thunderstorms

Hi. It's Joe.

Severe thunderstorms are pounding through my area right now. I enjoy a good storm. I also like that my dog Buddy does not freak out from storms, although he does get a bit clingy, needing to be near people when they happen. But if that is the extent of his freakout, then I am OK with it.

I found a falafel recipe, but the falafel didn't turn out as well as I had hoped. It is a bit crumbly. The only thing I can figure is that my egg to garbanzo bean ratio was too low. But it can't have been off by much. I'll need to search the web for another recipe I guess. I might make chili today. In fact, I am sure of it.

It is a rare day off from band practices, so I think I will have a marathon session of piano practice. I got an issue of science news in the mail Friday, so I am going to read that as well as my one library book, Howard Bloom's "Global Brain." Bloom has a decent grasp of the biological foundation of human behavior and the interconnectedness of things. Group selection seems like a natural theory if you can free yourself from western reductionism, which says that all the individual parts exist in isolation and sum to a whole no greater than the sum of the parts. Group selection allows for a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. Think about a beehive as an example of group selection. The parts work only for the whole, but the group is essential to the existence of any parts. Without the group, the parts are irrelevant.



10 Minutes - Cheapass Coffee Taste Tested

Hi. It's Joe.

I love stuff like this. A panel taste tested a bunch of cheapass coffees and it is good to know that cheap coffee can still taste good. Because that is what I buy.

They didn't taste test the brands I typically get. Although I sometimes get Folgers, if it is a best value, this wasn't the best tasting. I wish Hills Bros brand was tested. I often get that.

It looks like 8 O'Clock Original Coffee is about the best, from the way this article describes it. What do you think? Leave a comment if you have had this brand before. I will probably pick up some of this the next time I am at the grocery store. It doesn't come in as "bulk" sizes as some of the canned stuff, but I like the pseudo-gourmet quality of buying coffee in "the bag." The Bagman should be pleased.

The Cafe Bustelo and Melitta brands sound pretty good too, although I rarely see them at my grocery store. I will have to look more closely next time.

When I lived in Chicago, I used to get Dunkin Donuts coffee some mornings before catching the train. It was quite good, although I still think McDonalds has the best coffee I have tasted to date. I don't like much of what Mickey D's offers for food, but their coffee is alright. And this is probably by design.

While I am one of those people who will only buy a coffee at McDonalds, I am sure many people include it as part of a larger order of fast and unhealthy food.

I guess this constitutes one of my rare posts on this site that is actually about coffee.



10 Minutes - Break at Irish Pub

Hi. It's Joe.

I've devised an excellent team building mechanism at work, for my inner circle of close coworker friends. Meet at the local Irish Pub at least once per week, usually about 3:30 or 4 PM. That's it. I can make a strong business case for this.

First, it strengthens the work team. It lets people bond and blow off steam over a pint of ale. The Europeans are well aware of the social benefits of pubbing.

Second, it improves productivity. If you are determined to get to the pub in the afternoon, you crank on work to make sure it gets done. There has to be a work ethic and responsibility for the pub concept to work. If you hate your work and use it as an escape, that is no good.

This is why the pubbing has to be "off the books." As soon as it is sanctioned by management, it becomes an excuse to elude work, and that's anathema to the whole idea. So keeping it cloak and dagger ensures that productivity is not affected (and may actually be increased) and that it is not exploited and perverted by management.

Well, I promised you another post today, so here it is. I just finished some team pubbing with my coworker who shall remain anonymous in keeping with the nature of the exercise.

See you later.



5 Minutes - Fun Times To Be Had By All

Hi. It's Joe.

I am going to post again today, but I only have time to do 5 minutes right now.

Last night was jazz night. It rocked (jazzed). The jams were tight.

I came into work late today and I will also stay late. I like working after hours when the place is quiet and I do not have to hear the whiners and complainers over the cube walls. I get a lot more done.

I am going to power walk at lunch today. There is a Wednesday night bike ride tonight, but I am ill prepared to go. Plus I have a lot of work to do. Next week for sure.



10 Minutes - In a Meeting

Hi. It's joe.

When I was in primary school, I used to get punished for doodling in my notebooks during class. I resented that and it gave me a phobia about expressing myself through art. It's too bad that the authority figures in school thought that curbing my graphical efforts was grooming me for a productive professional career in later life. They should have spent more time making classes more engaging.

Now, in boring meetings at work, I doodle to pass the time, most of which does not require my input at all. I may as well be productive, is I have to be here. I guess you can think of it as rebellion against wasting my valuable time. Someday these drawings are going to be famous.

It only takes a minute to download my pics, and when they are priceless works of art a few years from now, you will be glad you did.