10 Minutes - Ghouls and Goblins

Hi. It's Joe.

I am kind of costumed out, having celebrated Samhain since last Saturday until now. But I am still half heartedly costumed in a lab coat and a fake bandaged brain skull cap. The lab coat is pristine white, whereas it should be stained with faux gore. The exposed brain of the skull cap doesn't really make a lot of sense. But it should be enough to convince evil spirits not to try to posess me.

I had on my clever punny costume earlier today, for the costume party lunch at work. It was called "Frivolous Law Suit" and it involved wearing a suit with a bunch of frivolous bling, like beads and lei's. Onto the suit, I safety pinned some outrageous laws from various states, like Indiana's frivolous law that Pi = 4, not 3.1415. These are supposedly real laws. You would think Indianans woulds at least round it DOWN!

So there you have a synopsis of my Halloween. My favorite part was going up to Osh Kosh (begosh) to party down with Todd and Sherry last weekend. We watched a fun horror film called "Tucker and Dale vs. Evil," a comedy of tragically gory errors that results when rednecks cross paths with college kids near an abandoned cabin in the woods. Check it out on Netflix tonight or this weekend, if you have nothing better to do. It's worth it.


5 Minutes - The HIATVS ROCK-N-ROLL HOUSE CONCERT on 11/17 is a GO!

Hi. It's Joe.

I recently wrote a review of a toothbrush.

I never thought I would ever endorse a toothbrush. But I started using one the dentist gave me and it rocks harder than any toothbrush I have ever used before. I even look forward to brushing my teeth, which used to be a chore.

It's a Colgate "Wave" Comfort Fit toothbrush, with what seems like medium gauge bristles.

I know customizing toothbrushes is probably a very subjective thing, so my review probably isn't worth much. But for me, it is comfort city as far as dental care goes.

Speaking of things that rock, my band HIATVS successfully hit our ROCK-N-ROLL HOUSE CONCERT project funding goal via Kickstarter. A lot of people came through for us at the end. It was breathtaking and wonderful to see.

So now our house concert on Saturday 11/17/12 in Madison WI is a go. It is 6 to 10 PM. If you didn't RSVP via Kickstarter, don't forget to bring a dish to share or some beer (or $5 to the fund).

But if you did pledge a small donation, thank you soooo much. It is awesome that you are awesome.




10 Minutes - The Adventures of Mabel

Hi. It's Joe.

So, when I was back in Akron OH helping out my folks a couple weeks ago, I started doing some of the interviewing for their biographical memoirs that I am going to write.

I don't remember how we got onto the topic, but when my sister and I were little, my mom used to tell us a story called, "The Adventures of Mabel." However, I never remember there being a book.

In fact, the book was lost in a warehouse fire when it was in storage in Australia, soon after I was born. But my mom had grown up with this book, because it belonged to her grandmother with whom she was very close, and had the story largely committed to memory.

I'm not sure if I have all the facts straight on that, but it is along those lines, and this isn't the published memoir, it's just a blog post prelude to it, so there you go.

Well, as we got to talking about the lost Mabel book, my mom told me she was going to a book reading group at a local independent bookstore. While she was there, she had the shopkeeper look up the book. Amazingly, there are copies of this 1916 classic available. So my mom ordered one up.

I subsequently discovered it is available on Amazon too. But there is something more tangible about buying a classic book reprint at a local indie bookstore, don't you think?

Anyway, my mom is going to see if her recount of the story from memory is accurate once she gets the book. The storyline has some kind of magic whistle song that Mabel is privvy to in the story.

I can remember my mom whistling the song to me and my sister, but that is puzzling. Since it was a book from 1916, I am pretty sure it didn't come with an audio CD in the back cover. So how was my mom able to do the whistle?

Well, as I said, the book had been handed down from my mom's grandmother, and perhaps she had whistled the magic whistle tune to my mom enough times that she was able to duplicate it, and now it is a kind of meme that transcends the book entirely.

Being a music producer, I got to thinking I should have my mom whistle the tune into a microphone and then I can save it for posterity and maybe even base a song melody on it.

But if she can't remember it after all these years, not a big deal. But I'll bet you she remembers it. She's sharp.


10 Minutes - Take 'er Easy, Dude

Hi. It's Joe.

I am takin' 'er a little easy today at work. I realized the afternoon is pretty much consumed with a bunch of useless meetings. Also, when I got in this morning, half of my TO DO list was already done. That was largely because of my foresightful thinking last week to crank out a whole bunch of work way ahead of schedule. So all I have to do today are some light tasks.

At lunch I took a walk with my friend Holly to Starbucks. I got coffee, but didn't eat lunch. Instead I ate lunch at 2:30, after one of the overly long meetings I had ended early. I figured since I would have been in that meeting till 3 as it was scheduled, I could redeem the free half hour in any way I wanted. I chose to eat my garlic broccoli and compose this blog post until 3. The next meeting is at 3:30 and if all goes well, I will do a couple of meager tasks in that half hour interval.

I don't have a piano lesson tonight, though I am hoping to practice some piano. I need to tighten up some fingerings on Jazz Exercise #1 by Oscar Peterson. Then I will run scales and finger exercises. I should work on the solo for Bag's Groove and get that worked out. Maybe that won't be as hard as it seems, but it seems really intimidating right now. I not only have to figure out what Oscar Peterson is playing but also how to play it, with the correct fingerings and everything.

Tomorrow night some coworkers and I are getting together for a Halloween social. I came up with a group costume idea called "Frivolous Law Suits," which involves suits, frivolous bling, and stupid laws written on 3x5 cards, and safety pinned to the backs of our suits.



5 Minutes - Zombies in Regalia


Hi. It's Joe.

I'm in Osh Kosh. It's going to be a bloodbath. Halloween is always a fun holiday weekend. I always say I am going to avoid it. Then at the last minute, I get inspired.

There was one year when I decided not to dress up and I got deathly ill from Chinese food. Then I learned that the myth of Halloween started in the middle ages. It was believed that spirits of the deceased* rose up on All Hallow's Eve seeking to possess the living. But by dressing up as the deceased, the living could fool the evil spirits into thinking they were already dead. The spirits weren't too bright I guess.

Anyway, by not dressing up, I opened myself up to possession by evil spirits. Hence, the regurgititational activity that one time years ago. And since then, I always dress up for Halloween. Call me superstitious, I guess.


* Why do they call dead people deceased? Aren't they just ceased? Possibly, they could be desisted.

10 Minutes - House Concerts and Halloween Costumes

Hi. It's Joe.

It is a struggle to get people interested in the rock-n-roll house concerts that my band HIATVS throws. But the lack of peoples' interest in my musical genius and creative vision is perfect fodder for my creative writing, such as blog posts like this.

I decided to take a Halloween jaunt up to Osh Kosh today (Saturday) for the spooky celebrations up there. I am going to a "spooktacular" chili cookoff with Todd and Sherry this afternoon, and then probably help them with yard work before we get into costumes and go paint the town "dead."

Mwah ha ha ha.

It's funny that I enjoy helping other people do yard work, but I don't enjoy doing my own. My co-worker Holly and I were talking about this yesterday over lunch, when we went to Michael's craft store to get some costume paraphenalia. We want to start a yard work cooperative where you sign up to go do other peoples' yard work, and then other people come and do your yard work.

It's sort of this way with music too. I can promote the crap out of other bands and musicians that I like, but when it comes to promoting my own creative endeavors, I can't seem to find that same inspiration. I would say it is because I am too humble, if I was a humble person. But when it comes to my band, I am far from humble. HIATVS rocks an amazing live show.

I was able to pull together my "Death Swarmed Over" costume. I picked up a death hooded robe and a scythe (sp?) at a party store. Then at Michael's (see above) I found some plastic insects and some insect stickers. I used safety pins to affic the plastic bugs to the robe and hood. Tonight before we go out, I will affix the remaining bug stickers to the robe to complete the "swarming" effect. Then I will be "Death Swarmed Over."

Clever, eh?



10 Minutes - Halloween Costume Idea: "Death Swarmed Over"

Hi. It's Joe.

I come from a long line of pun loving males on my dad's side of the family. My dad is a punner, as was his dad, as was his dad before that. Actually, that is wishful thinking, I can't back that up, having never met my paternal grandfather or great grandfather. I must ask my pops about that, the next time we meet to do biographical memoir interviews. Maybe I can glean some info from my Pops via e-mail on that.

Anyway, in keeping with family tradition, I devised a punny Halloween costume that I fully plan to implement today. Over the lunch hour, which will actually be closer to a lunch two hours, a coworker and I are going to make the adventurous trek to the Party City costume store, not too far from work (but far enough to get a decent power walk in). I'll score a Grim Reaper costume, extra large mens size. Then, I need to find a whole bunch of plastic bees and wasps and potentially other insects, which I will affix to the outside of the reaper robe, giving the appearance of them "swarming" over it.

"Death Swarmed Over."

Clever, eh?

My genius is under-appreciated.



10 MInutes - There Is Something Wrong With the Intarwebs

Hi. It's Joe.

Is anyone else having difficulty accessing the Intarwebs tonight, Thursday 10/25/12, at least in WI.

I am starting to think there is a conspiracy afoot, and that worries me. I don't want to believe this is some local connectivity issue. In fact, I can't believe that. Because some sites are loading perfectly fine, like Facebook and Posterous (obviously). Some are just glitchy. Like Yahoo mail will load but if I try to download an attachment, it is as if the Intarwebs are ignoring my command.

No, it can only be one thing. The Intarwebs have become sentient and they are f-ing with us.

It is kind of sad to think that I am cursing the Intarwebs because I cannot access them. I don't need to access them. In fact, I am going to go read a book. It is actually probably good that I cannot access the Intarwebs. But this experience has made me realize, I am far to dependent on the Intarwebs for things that aren't even that important to my life.

I want to go on an Intarwebs fast to see if it can be done. But I am not going to start it until after Rocktober 31. That is the fundraising deadline for the HIATVS ROCK-N-ROLL HOUSE CONCERT, and I mainly promote that via the Intarwebs, specifically social media.

I'd post a link to the House Concert project on Kickstarter, but as it turns out KS is one of those blasted sites that is damned to hell for all eternity for not loading.

So let me know if you are having problems too. Maybe it is sunspots. It is my understanding that a massive solar storm was unleashed on Monday, maybe this is a residual effect from that. It was a class X storm, the most powerful the sun puts out. Although it wasn't aimed right at the earth, it was kind of heading in our general direction. Plus, the sunspot that threw out this magnificent storm is moving into a position that will face right toward the earth. The next storm it puts out could be a bullseye, like the massive Perfect Storm that is heading for New England right now.

In fact, the weather that dropped Madison WI's temperature 30 degrees today is probably part of the 3 systems converging on the east coast. The other two are Hurricane Sandy and a Nor'easter of frigid arctic air. I have to tell you, I have no problem with Mother Nature wreaking havoc in the United States. First off, we have been giving her a proper rogering for a long time now and she is a bit sick of it. Second, a lot of weather is predictable. Get the hell out of the way.

It's Thursday. The prefect storm is predicted to hit on Sunday. You have 3 days to find someplace to go enjoy yourself. If you don't, you are either ill informed, dumb, or lack the resources to leave wherever it is on the east coast that you are. That third group might have a case for not leaving, but the other two groups deserve their fate.


10 Minutes - Mockery

Hi. It's Joe.

My coworkers and manager(s) know that I am a vegetarian. Today there was a BBQ cookout at work, that they have every fall. They had veggie options and that was all well and good. But when I went to the bathroom, one of the managers was like, "So, Joe, did you have a brat or a burger?" Then he chuckled.

Notwithstanding that it was a completely unfunny quip, why such mockery? Who cares if I am a vegetarian and why is it the subject of workplace harassment? If I was gay, would someone remark, "So, Joe, sleep with any ladies lately?"

Of course they would, because they are insensitive douches and a bunch of them should be fired if they want to make this a better company. Because such comments reflect idiocy, and idiocy translates to poor quality work output. That's not just conjecture. I deal with the idiocy every day and the quality of output here is verifiably low.

I don't think mockery and harassment has a place here. It doesn't bother me that much because I know full well the managers are douche kabobs. They have to be. You can't get into management without some level of stupidity and douchebaggery. So knowing that I am better than them, it is impossible for them to tear me down in order to build themselves up.

But I still want them fired.



10 Minutes - A Decent Night of Jazz Piano Ahead

Hi. It's Joe.

I don't know if it is because of or in spite of the large, quadruple espresso shot, German chocolate cake soy latte I had this afternoon, but I am jonesing to get home and practice jazz piano all night tonight.

By all night, of course I mean until such time as I deem I need to go to bed.

Tonight would normally be a HIATVS band practice night, and Lord knows we could use the practice in anticipation of the HIATVS ROCK-N-ROLL HOUSE CONCERT on November 17th (for which, by the by, we are remarkably behind schedule on fundraising...CLICK HERE if you want to help). But my band mates had other priorities this week and next, and even though I can't understand that, I do respect it. For me, band practice is sacrosanct.

So even though I do not need any justification to practice jazz piano tonight, I know that I can fully indulge in it thanks to the time slot being open. I could also squander the time and watch Caprica on Netflix. I am almost done with the season, only 3 or 4 episodes left to watch. They are going to have to bust some ass to close some of the plot lines that are open. It could be doable. They have jumped ahead in time a few times during the season, leaving some gaps the viewer has to fill in by themselves.

I'm going home now. I am writing this at work, but it is time to go jazz it up.



10 Minutes - A Fortnight

Hi. It's Joe.

I get so sick of a-holes in the media gesticulating madly about how nail bitingly close the election is going to be in a fortnight. It's bullshit. How do they know? They aren't smarter than you. They don't have crystal balls. They don't even have regular balls. They are spineless and disgusting. They don't really know a goddam thing.

The truth is, they WANT the election to be a nail biter, because it's good for ratings in the mainstream media. Then people will tune in, justifying the advertising spent by the corporate underwriters of the mainstream commercial media.

It's not going to be a nail biter though. Somebody is going to win the election decisively, notwithstanding a ton of election fraud that no one pays attention to because they are too hypnotized by the election hype going on.

You want to know how I know the election is not going to be a close, nail biting race?

Math. Specifically, statistics. And more specifically probability.

Of all possible outcomes, a nail biter has a pretty low statistical chance of being the actual outcome. It is only one outcome among several non-nail biting outcomes, all of which have a fairly equal probability of occurrence (distributed pretty evenly around the bell curve). There is a chance, but based on the probability of other, non-nail biting outcomes, it has a very low chance. That is to say, you will probably know who the next President will be before you go to bed on Tuesday November 6th.

Political pundits are jackasses who don't know a damn thing. They spout off to generate hype and frenzy. They want you to tune in for this nail biter that they know full well is going to be a sleeper. But they have to pretend it will be a very close race. Indeed, some of them want it so bad, they probably really believe it. The longer the thing drags on, the better the ratings.

It is a pretty simple thing to understand. Mainstream media is lazy. They don't want to do real journalism. They want to throw chum in the water and attract sharks (advertisers and the consumers who parasitize them). Everybody loves sharks. Nothing beats a good feeding frenzy.

The mainstream media remember the election in 2000, how it dragged on for months and the Supreme Court had to step in. They ate that up. They had their work cut out for them and they could just sit back and let the advertising dollars roll in as people sat mesmerized over perhaps the stupidest election ever.

It's like watching helicopters chase O.J. Simpson's white truck. There was not a single redeeming aspect of that whole situation. It wasn't educational, it wasn't even entertaining. It was just chum in the water, irresistable hype, and the mainstream media knows that the American public is powerless to resist it.

And one last thing. Obama is not that different from Mittens. They are both corporatists selling out to the highest bidder. Obama may fraternize with slightly less distasteful types, and he has values, that's clear. But the fact is, both men are restrained by corporate handlers. There is a very narrow margin of things they can do or say. Neither one has policies that will save America. Mittens may drive us off the cliff a bit faster, if he has his druthers, a la G.W. Bush style policies. But corporatism is fascism, no matter how you cut it, and both men are leading us toward the cliff edge. The only difference is that Obama is trying to slam on the brakes (the lines have been cut by bankers, oil men, and corporate crooks though) and Mittens is gleefully stomping on the gas.

What's your poison?



10 Minutes - Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig

Hi. It's Joe.

I am back in Wisconsin. When I left Ohio this morning, early, it was sunny. Things greyed up in Indiana and by Chicago it was all out rain. They should rename Gary Indiana to Shitsville Indiana. I am sorry Gary people. It is nothing against you personally. The view there just sucks and it smells bad. I am open to educating myself on what your town has to offer. Drop me a line.

After I got back, I made a relatively healthy dinner. I sauteed some greens from the CSA (beet and kohlrabi greens mostly) and made an egg fritter with the free range eggs from work. That reminds me that I have to pay the guy at work for the eggs. I was going to do that on Friday, but that's when I got the emergency hail to go help out my folks in Ohio. As it turns out, everything on the Ohio front is A-OK. Pops is doing well and he found out from his cardiologist that he is allowed to take Claritin for his raging allergies. He didn't think he was allowed to take antihistamines because they might interfere with his cardiac treatments. But his doctor OK'd it. I'm in danger of violating my dad's HIPAA mandated privacy right now, so I will stop.

I hope that everyone who reads this will vote on election day. It's real simple. Your vote is the only thing corporate America and the bankers cannot buy. I mean, they do buy it, psychologically, through their marketing. You don't think they do, but they do. That's why everyone thinks they only have a choice between the lesser of two evils, and Dem or a Rep. But there's actually a whole slew of people you could vote for instead. I am leaning toward Green Party candidate Jill Stein. She says everything Obama should say, but he never does.

I know, you are thinking I am just throwing my vote away. Well, take your vote and shove it right up your ass. Because I can do what I want with my vote and I do not want to vote for winning "losers." The corporate media have taught us that we only have two choices. That's psychological too. I know you don't believe that it is, but that's because they don't want you to believe that they can have such sway over your mind. But the fact remains, only 2 candidates, Obama and Mittens, are in your mind as viable. If everyone who didn't vote on election day because they can't stand the choices, instead voted for a third party, well the third parties would be a force to reckon with. Think about it. More than half of eligible voters won't vote because they just don't give a @#$% about the two options.

But by not going to the voting place on election day, they will never know that there will be like 12 presidential options on the ballot. The media never talks about that. Why not? Because they are underwritten by the same people whose interests are best kept by moderate corporatist Obama and uber ultra-corporatist Mittens.

A good day.


10 Minutes - Every Song is Sacred

Hi. It's Joe.

One of my band members recently asked me in a most indirect way if there are any songs on our setlist that I don't like to listen to. There really aren't, though there are some I don't need to listen to for learning purposes because I know them backwards and forwards. In the latter case, there is a danger of growing bored with some songs, were I to listen too them too much.

The question struck me as odd and I am not sure why. Do you have any ideas?



10 Minutes- A Sunny Fall Day in Ohio

Hi. It's Joe.

It's a nice early fall day in Ohio, sunny, breezy, and cool.

I'll be heading back to Wisconsin tomorrow, where it will be rainy, according to the weather forecast. But for the first part of my drive, it is supposed to be sunny and warm. At some stage, probably in Indiana, things will grey up and hopefully the driving is not too sucky.

In a few minutes, I think I will go for a stroll with my folks. My pops appears to have no ill effects from his surgery last Thursday, other than the minor vision anomoly, which seems to be clearing up on its own. His allergies have been acting up, but those too seem to be better today. So it looks like my presence was largely a placebo effect to reduce my mom's anxiety about the whole situation. I think it's working. I'll be able to drive back to WI tomorrow knowing that everything is largely under control here. It was nice to have a weekend road trip.

The only down side for me was that I had to miss a GUPPY EFFECT band practice today (Sunday) due to travel. We rescheduled for next Sunday. I may go to Iowa next weekend for some Halloween fun, but I will be able to get back for a 6 PM band practice on Sunday, no problem.

Buddy seems to be enjoying this trip to Ohio as well. My parents' two dogs, Ivan (the Terrible) and Sunbeam (the even terribler), are at the kennel because my folks did not want to tend to them during the post-surgery ordeal, which was wise. They, and especially Sunbeam, are a handful. Buddy on the other hand is super chillaxed and low maintenance. Eat, sleep, repeat. That's Buddy's manifesto. I sometimes wonder if dogs get bored. I suppose separation anxiety could be construed as a reaction to boredom. When a dog does not know what to do with itself and has no one to interact with, perhaps going berserk is the only way to channel their excess brain energy. Buddy must not have any excess brain energy, by this theory, because other than some minor barking when I leave the house (which is more a protestation that he wants to go with me than anything else, I think), he shows no signs of separation anxiety. Sometimes, when there is a thunderstorm, he will mill about the house nervously, and tries to keep closer proximity to me and whatever humans are present. But that is the only behavior out of the ordinary that Buddy has ever shown...I mean, other than biting 8 year olds kids in the face, but that only happened once when he was taken by surprise, so I think that was an outlier.



10 Minutes - I Gotta Get a Leaf Mulcher

Hi. It's Joe.

I am in Ohio visiting my parents and today I did some mulch mowing to clear some leaves from their yard. I have to get one of these things. It is basically a regular lawn mower, but it grinds up leaves into a fine powder. They disintegrate and fall back into the grass, essentially disappearing. In some places, where the leaves were thick, the mulch powder kind of piles up, but most of it disappears. It's like magic.

I am sure people who are familiar with mulch mowers already know how awesome they are. I just have a regular lawn mower. It doesn't really mulch. It shoots stuff out the side.

I am going to cruise back to WI on Monday morning, hopefully avoiding Chicago traffic by passing through that region shortly after lunch, which seems to be the lowest traffic time of day there. I am keeping an eye on my folks to make sure their anxiety levels are stabilized. My dad seems to be recovering from surgery fine, but he has some bad allergies. My mom thinks it is from his C-PAP machine hose, which may accumulate allergens because of the air that blows through it constantly.

The folks have a wood burning stove and it is cranking away. I have been practicing piano on my grandma's old upright piano, which now resides at my folks' house. I am also catching up on some book reading, including the following:

Bart Ehrman's "Forged," a historical analysis of who really wrote the Bible.

Ed Dolnick's "A Clockwork Universe," a history of the Royal Society and early empirical thought (actually, way more interesting than it sounds...the likes of Kepler and Newton pursued science to try to understand God's plan, not to advance society. They were not atheists.).

Richard Dawkins' "The Extended Phenotype," a theoretical work about individual organisms NOT being the unit of natural selection.

Fascinating stuff. I still can't get my head around the idea that some people still think the Bible is the literal verbatim word of God. It's impossible. But some people swear they think every single word is true, and they'll believe it in the face of irrefutable evidence to the contrary (let alone the fact that it can be proven that today's Bible is different than the original and the books it contains are largely forged). At least Newton and them were open minded enough to believe that science was the way to understand God's plan for the universe. If God wanted to create an evolving life form that grew more and more complex until it was capable of sentient thought, the self-replicating nucleic acid molecule is a superb choice.



10 Minutes - Bible Belt

Hi. It's Joe.

I am in Ohio, the state that will probably decide the Presidential election in two weeks. I am voting the day of the election. I do not trust early voting. Too many opportunities for tampering, especially in Waukesha County. I am surprised no one went to jail after that found early voting ballot bags unsealed and wide open on election day. I believe in the death penalty only for election fraud. That is not the same as voter fraud, which is so rare as to be effectively non-existent. Election fraud is the bigger issue because there an individual person can do a lot more damage, destroying hundreds or thousands of ballots in a single swoop, and then calling it an "accident." Death to anyone who tampers with votes, accidental or not. I know that sounds draconian. So be it.

I am visiting my mom and pops for the weekend because my dad had major ablative heart surgery on Thursday and there are some minor complications. I am mostly here to alleviate anxiety and help out. I hope the weather improves. I was going to rake a bunch of leaves into the road for my folks. They have roadside pickup here. I wish they had that in Cambridge, where I live.

They do have a piano here, though. So I can practice jazz piano to my heart's content. I also want to start interviewing my folks for the biographical family history I want to write. That is, if they feel up to it. It might take their mind off of things. I need to get a AAA battery for my handheld tape recorder so I can record the interviews and transcribe them later.

I just realized I am expecting a package to be delivered to me in Cambridge one of these days. With my luck, it will arrive today or Monday when I am not there. It won't hurt anything if it sits outside for a few days, but I just don't want anyone to pilfer it. But if they do, I hope they need a large bottle of Norwegian salmon oil and a remastered version of "Oscar Peterson Trio + 1," a jazz masterpiece, more than I do.


10 Minutes - Ohio Bound

Hi. It's Joe.

I am going to Ohio this weekend. My pops had successful ablative heart surgery yesterday, but there were minor complications. Very minor, by the sound of it, but sufficient to overstress my aged folks and being the good son that I am, I will go try to ease the anxiety. It may be no more than a placebo effect, but that's OK if it works.

But it is also a free weekend for me and a good opportunity to spend some time with family. That is priceless. You can't put a value on it.

I few weeks ago, I decided I want to write biographical memoirs about both my parents. Something that can be handed down the future generations. I think it would be a fascinating story and an opportunity to learn about late 20th century history as perceived through their eyes.



20 Minutes - Kindle Won't Write Your Book For You

Hi. It's Joe.

Kindle is just a medium. It is a form of mass media. It is the last step in the process of writing a book for electronic publication, regardless of the other forms of publication you may want to use. It is in fact the publication step.

Publication literally means putting it into a final, permanent, and unchanging format for the PUBLIC. Once something is published, that's it. It's done. It's in stone. You can publish a new edition if you are not happy with the first one, but a new edition is a new separate entity. The first edition still exists until such time as you decide to terminate publication.

The bottom line is, you need to have your book done before you can publish it. There is no substitute for the hard work oif writing and completing a book. Kindle can't do that for you. Only wwhen your work of writing is as complete and perfect as it can be, is it ready for publication. Only then does Kindle, or any other publishing mass medium, come into the picture.

Kindle will not magically write and edit your book for you. That all has to happen pre-Kindle. You have to do that.

Would you release a half painted painting to an art museum? Of course not.

There is no harm in learning about Kindle and how to publish on it. But don't let that be a distraction. Sit your ass down and do the hard work of writing your book. Do it now. Get it done.

Then publish it. I want to read it.


10 Minutes - Don't Mess With a Guy on a Buffalo

Hi. It’s Joe.

On paper, it sounds like a pretty good idea not to mess with a guy who rides a buffalo.

I found this viral video very entertaining, mainly because of the creative use of songwriting to video. It almost seems impromptu. I enjoy watching this video about as much as I enjoy watching the honey badger.

Do you know what the difference between VALUE and MONEY is? I do. And I have a pretty good example of it to share.

Yesterday, I hosted two touring rock-n-roll bands at my house as they were passing through between Detroit and Minneapolis. My house is kind of an oasis in an otherwise wilderness-like region. I was happy to do it. I knew a couple of the guys and they are trustworthy. I gave them free reign of the downstairs foosball room. Surprisingly, they did not play foosball. I guess I can’t assume that everyone loves foosball. But they did use my band practice space for rehearsing some songs. I guess one of the bands is training members of the other band (from Japan – don’t speak a lick of English) on their songs, so they can sub with them. There’s a lot of band inbreeding going on. I am not certain the Japanese fellow understand what is going on, from the sound of it.

Anyway, that’s not my business or concern. What is, is my altruistic support of independent live music. Sure, these guys could have gone and found other sources of lodging on their tour. But it would have been stressful and possibly costly. I could provide a service, so I did. Pro bono. Because I like supporting musicians non-monetarily. I provide a huge value, but no money changes hands. It’s like I have tipped the band(s) with karma, not cash.

So, that was a bit of a circuitous way to illustrate the difference between VALUE and MONEY. I’d go pay money to see these bands live, but since I didn’t have that opportunity, I could at least provide them some VALUE. There is really very little cost to me. Like I said, these guys are trustworthy. They aren’t going to rob me blind when they leave. If they did, I would know who they were. I might have to do a little cleaning up after them. 10 dudes can leave behind an awful mess. I totally don’t know why chicks date us. We are gross and disgusting. But anyway, by providing some comfort to these hard working musicians, I have made the world a better place for rock-n-roll. And that benefits everyone.

Too bad more people don’t contribute VALUE to the world. It could make everything a lot nicer.


10 Minutes - Par Excellence

Hi. It's Joe.

I've got 10 rockstars, not including myself, at my house tonight. They are members of a couple of awesome touring bands, passing through on their way to Minneapolis for a show. One of them is my buddy Bryon from Ames IA. I enjoy being able to host rockers on tour. Cambridge isn't exactly a rock-n-roll hotspot, but it's a nice oasis between hotspots.

I had HIATVS band practice tonight. I can't lie to you, I was a little bit disappointed with it. But I am learning to just go to my happy place now. I can't do anything other than improve myself as a rocker and learn my parts. It is up to the rest of the band to learn theirs, bottom line. I can't magically make them sit down and learn their parts. Only they can. I am just glad I have a band that likes to have regular weekly practices. Not that it seems to do an ounce of good for tightening up on songs. But we can usually pull it together decently enough for the shows, and I guess that is all that matters. Being the perfectionist I am, decently enough is not decent enough. But that's my problem. I can only change me. I have to be the change I want in the world. That means I can make sure I am holding down my parts, and that's all. By the same token, a band is only as strong as its weakest link. Happy place. Happy place.

I am thinking a lot more about songwriting and recording, which is good. I am going to do that this winter, since the gigging schedule is largely (and aptly) on HIATVS. It does not look too promising for a rock-n-roll house concert on 11/17/12. The interest level we need just does not seem to be there. But honey badger don't give a @#$%. If people want a rock-n-roll house concert, we will give them one that kicks them in the face. But if they don't, I have a ton of other stuff I can be doing, and I would much rather do those things than set up a bunch of gear to rock a house concert that no one really wants. I know that sounds negative, but it's the reason we have a house concert project, to determine if the commitment is there from our friends and fans. If it is, we will give them a show they won't forget. But if they have other things they would rather be doing, I totally respect that. Most people don't realize how much time and effort goes into a house concert or how important it is to support local live music and especially alternative music venues like house concerts. Aren't people tired of going to crappy bars late at night to hear bands?

Happy place. Happy place.



10 Minutes - Pre Band Practice Feastage

Hi. It's Joe.

I am at my band HIATVS' eatery of choice, the Roman Candle pizzeria in Middleton WI. We love eating here before band practice on Wednesday nights, which this is. I am never disappointed with the quality of food and service. Sure, pizza is not the healthiest food, but it is not the worst, and when you get this kind of quality, the choice is clear.

We want to someday get a sponsorship from Roman Candle for our band. They can name a pizza after us and give us a kickback on every pizza that sells, toward our tip jar. Then we will promote them at every show and order their pizzas for the house concerts.



10 Minutes - Writing

Hi. It's Joe.

I did some journal writing last night, with a pen in an actual paper journal.

This was inspired by the Kindle Publishing class I took through UW last night. I would not actually recommend the class. It was kind of low budget and I am not sure I learned all that much. But I did learn a little bit. The nice thing is that the class was supposed to be about 5 hours long, but ended up only being 2.5 hours, so I got home at a decent time.

Last night I had a weird dream where I was a prisoner on a train. I ended up having to shoot all my captors. But even then, I was still on a train and it was going through a desolate wasteland. So it didn't make any sense to get off the train anyway. Weird.

I may have been kicked off the fence about who to vote for in a few weeks. The Green Party candidate Jill Stein was on WPR yesterday. She was eloquent and said everything I always want Obama to say, but he never does. Like jailing bankers and cutting defense and helping the middle class. She sold me when she said the middle class should not have to accept austerity while the bankers and oil companies are bathing in Benjamins (rolling in cash). Think about it. The stock market is doing great, even as we have high unemployment and lowering wages. Those are the only facts you need to know. I realize I am throwing away my vote, but the Democrats are failing to uphold middle class values and are selling out to their corporate donors. No amount of corporate money can buy my vote. It's the one thing I have that has VALUE independent of money, and I can spend it however I want. There is no point anymore in voting for the winning "loser." So I shant. It's a symbolic vote, but the alternative is just to stay home. Almost half of the eligible voting populace will, in fact, stay home. But just imagine if half the voters voted 3rd party. The Rs and Ds would get a run for their money. In any case, my one vote isn't going to sway any elections. I don't really care who anyone else votes for. My hands will be clean. Obama should be able to crush that tax evading, money laundering, middle class hating crook, "Mittens."

Please make a pledge of $1 or more to the HIATVS ROCK-N-ROLL HOUSE CONCERT project. We have less than 2 weeks to hit our funding goal and we have only raised 25% of what we need. Tha band doesn't even get any of the money. It all goes to underwriting the party with a hefty amount of pizza, free beer, and fun. Then again, the whole point of having this project is to see if there is enough interest out there in having a rock-n-roll house concert. A lot of effort goes into a house concert and we don't want to make that effort if there isn't the interest from our friends and fans. Win-win.

Thanks in advance.



30 Minutes - 12/21/12 Part 4

Hi. It's Joe.

Heather and I had biked about a mile down Oakton Road northeast of Savanna IL, when a group of five people, 4 men and a woman, appeared in the middle of the road, blocking our path. They had guns and were wearing paramilitary-looking camouflaged clothing.

The road was heavily wooded on both sides, so there was little in the way of avenues of escape other than turning around and biking away from the people. That wasn't an option for us, so we got off our bikes and slowly approached them. They did not look happy to see us, and held their guns at the ready, though not pointing them at us.

Buddy was minding his own business peeing on trees and sniffing around in the woods nearby, but he seemed completely disinterested in the strangers.

Heather still had her sheriff's uniform on and had a gun in a holster on her belt, which was plainly visible. A couple of the people eyed it nervously, but Heather made no move to unsnap the holster restraint or even put her hand on the piece.

Instead, she raised a hand slowly in greeting, keeping the other on her bike handlebars to stabilize it, and addressed the armed party.

"A good day to you," she said firmly, standing tall. "I guess you have all heard the news. I'm Sheriff Donaldson, from Wisconsin. Can we have a word?"

The people looked at each other, inquisitively, and then a man with a bald head stepped forward.

"We're not much interested in dealing with law enforcement," the man said. "Much less cops from Wisconsin. What brings you here?"

"We're in the same boat as you," Heather said. "Not here to cause any trouble, just looking for some people of interest as regards our current circumstances. You think we might ask you all a few questions?"

"Maybe, if you let us ask some first," the man said.

"Fair enough," Heather replied. "But could I at least get your name?"

The man hesitated a moment, thinking, then said, "Bob." One of the other people in the group chuckled.

"I'll gather that's not your real name," Heather said at once, her face growing stern. "But that's fine. I can call you Bob. What do you want to know?"

"Mostly if you are Christians," Bob said, mostly looking me up and down. I guess I didn't look as trustworthy in my jeans and hoodie as Heather did in her uniform.

"And why would that be important?" Heather asked.

"Well, this thing that's happening, whatever it is, it seems to be some kind of Revelations thing from the Bible. So we are looking for non-Christians and Jews, to do our part in the war against the heathens, if you know what I mean."

I rolled my eyes, realizing then that this was a group of Christian white supremacists. The shaved heads on Bob and two of the other men now made sense.

Bob continued, "You both look...white. Are you Jews?" With that, he hocked up a loogie and spit it sideways into the grass by the side of the road.

I looked at Heather and she at me. We hadn't had a need to get acquainted with each other's religious status, other than knowing we were not Rapture worthy, if that is what had happened to all the disappeared. We both shook our heads and then I said to Bob, "I guess not."

"Well, that's good," Bob said. "You both look like white folks. But are you damn atheists?"

I sighed, then looking Bob in the eye I said, "Bob, if you would have asked me that yesterday, I probably would have told you yes. But today the dead are waking up and people are disappearing in what looks to be a kind of Rapture type of scenario. So, I gotta tell you, Bob, I can't really tell you what I am right now, but atheist probably isn't it. I'm definitely giving religion some serious thought right now."

The bold answer seemed to throw Bob into a quandary, so I continued. "Now, Bob, I can see that you and your people are on some kind of mission here, and that's swell. My friend and I are also on a mission, and as far as I can tell our two missions don't seem to conflict or interfere at all, and we're going in opposite directions. So I see no reason why all of us can't just be on our way, eh?"

Bob looked back and forth between Heather and I for a few seconds, then he turned back to his party. "I reckon we got no quarrel with them," he told them. They all nodded and mumbled in the affirmative.

"Go in peace," Heather said as we walked slowly past the white supremacists, before we got back on our mountain bikes and pedaled into town.


10 Minutes - Sunday

Hi. It's Joe.

Very lazy Sunday. I have my Kindle Publishing class tomorrow night after work. It's going to be a brutal 5 hours of learning, two back to back classes of 2.5 hours each. I will have to make sure I bring some food to eat at the break, and get a decent lunch to keep me going. I will probably need some late night coffee too. It sucks that I have to work all day, then go to that class. But I am looking forward to it.

I went and saw SUNSPOT perform at the Capital Brewery yesterday afternoon, after a decent bout of jazz piano practice. I practiced jazz piano today too. I don't have my lesson tomorrow because of the Kindle class, so I have a whole week extra to work on my stuff. I am rocking the Bach minuet right now. I know that is not jazz, but it is helpful for finger dexterity. I am also getting better at the Oscar Peterson jazz exercise #1. That has been challenging me for a while, but I am definitely making progress now.

I talked to my mom and pops today on the phone. That was nice.

I am going to go do a little more piano now, then get an early night, because tomorrow is going to be a long day.


30 Minutes- 12/21/12 Part 3

Hi. It's Joe.

Heather and I loaded my Prius full of her unbelievably many guns and ammo, some canned food, and water for our road trip down to northwestern Illinois, to seek out my evangelical Lutheran ex-girlfriend, Jill, and her family, in hopes of finding out what this Rapture thing was all about, or at the very least getting some guidance from the most religious people I knew.

Heather brought her police radio and as an afterthought, I put my bike rack on the back of the car, so we could take our mountain bikes with us, just in case the roads became impassable or we had an emergency and needed non-motorized transportation. That led us to throw in a few other accessories, like backpacks and tools. There was barely enough room for my dog Buddy in the back seat.

"Does Buddy really need to come?" Heather asked.

"I'd feel terrible if anything happened to him," I said. "I mean, he's a very sensitive dog. Plus, you never know when man's best friend might come to the rescue."

Of course, I knew full well Buddy would never even consider coming to my rescue, but it sounded good. He was a decent watchdog, in any case, protective, with a ferocious and intimidating bark.

"I'll trust your judgment on that," Heather said. We got in the car, with me driving, and took off.

Heather navigated with a map, while simultaneously scanning channels on her police radio.

"I think backroads southwest to the Mississippi will be best," she said. "Then we can follow the river down to Savanna."

We took country roads to avoid towns, where we knew the undead would be massing in their search for food, probably obstructing roads. This meant we put more miles on my car than expected, so even with a full tank of gas, my Prius was starting to get low on fuel as we crossed the border into Illinois on County Highway O, which became Highway 4 in Illinois.

We were still a decent ways east of the Mississippi, but we were kind of taking the path of least resistance to get to Savanna. We encountered a few small hordes of zombies crossing the road like cattle, but they seemed surprisingly disinterested in us, gazing at us with confused, somewhat fearful looks. Nothing about this Rapture and zombie apocalypse seemed as accurate as the cultural mythos would lead us to expect. The police scanner reports told us that the undead were slow moving and mainly interested in survival, much like the living. Some people had started killing zombies, even though they posed little apparent threat.

The low fuel light on my Prius pinged as we crossed Highway 20, a busier road, just west of Elizabeth IL.

"I think we have about 30 miles to Savanna," Heather reported, scrutinizing the map.

"I think the car has about 50 miles of gas left," I replied. "We should make it. But, we have the bikes if we need them, and it's not far now."

We drove into Savanna on the wrong side of town from where Jill, my ex, and her family lived. The streets were full of cars and undead. It was like a disaster area. Seeing it would be impossible to get through town by car, I turned around and we navigated our way along country roads to the northeast. I parked the car in the woods up a dirt road, a decent way out of town so as to not be seen by wandering undead and/or survivalists.

We loaded our backpacks with some water, food, and a couple of handguns each, locking the remaining heavy artillery in the trunk of the car. I let Buddy out of the car, off leash and we got on our mountain bikes. I knew Buddy would stay fairly close to me.

Then we began to ride the 3 or 4 miles to Jill's neighborhood in town.



30 Minutes - 12/21/12 Part 2

Hi. It's Joe.

Backing out of my garage, I saw my sheriff neighbor, Heather, and waved at her. She was in her cop uniform, and she walked over to my car.

"We're advising people to stay indoors," she said, somewhat sternly but not imperatively.

"Are you going on duty?" I asked. She hesitated, then said her shift was starting in a couple of hours.

"I figured I had better get ready in case I was called in."

"You aren't going to work are you?" I asked.

"No." She said, then started to cry. I put the car in park and got out. I put a hand on her shoulder and she looked up. "Denny and Holly are gone." She put her head against my shoulder and sobbed.

Denny and Holly were her husband and daughter, respectively. I let her cry for a couple of minutes, then I gently took her by the shoulders and pushed her away so I could look at her.

"Were they Raptured?"

"I...don't know. I guess so. There's no other explanation."

"What do you know of the situation in town?" Our subdivision just outside of Cambridge WI was somewhat isolated.

"Apparently, the dead are rising and seem to be mostly eating."

"Eating people?"

"Not exclusively."

"But I thought...zombies..."

"They are just hungry," she said. "They just seem to be famished from not eating all that time while they were dead. I mean, if you hadn't eaten for years, wouldn't you be hungry? So they are overwhelming grocery stores and stuff, rampaging through, eating everything in sight. But there's some cannibalism too, or zombism, if you want to call it that, mostly just people getting in the way of the feasting hoardes of undead. From what I am hearing on the police radio, emergency responders are steering clear of the hoardes and telling the living to stay away from food sources. Unfortunately, when people go into survival mode, they want to go get food and gas and stuff."

"I am going to level with you," I said. "It's the end of the world."

I let that sink in and then I said, "So I know some people who are religious experts down in Illinois, my ex-girlfriend and her minister dad. I wasn't able to call them, but I am going to drive there. If anyone knows what is going on, they will. I've got nothing to lose."

"Why don't you just go to a church in town?"

"A couple reasons," I replied. "First, I'll bet a lot of people are heading for the churches and it's going to be a cluster @#$%. Second, I don't know the people there, not being much of a church goer; they could be frauds. But I know my ex's family and they are trustworthy and extremely strict Christians. If this is a Bible thing, they will know what is going on and what to do." I wasn't so sure about the last part, but I sounded confident when I said it.

"Wouldn't they be Raptured, then?"

She had a point. "Maybe," I said. "But if so, then I will know this is a Lutheran thing, because that's what they are. But if it's a Catholic thing or something else, they might still be here and being fundamentalist Christians, they will know the guidebook backwards and forwards."

"You mean, the Bible?"


"I want to go with you."

"Are you sure," I said. "From the sound of it, it could be a suicide mission. Like I said, I got nothing to lose."

"I'm a cop," she replied simply. "I have a uniform and credentials. But more importantly, I have a shitload of guns."

"I'm sold," I said, smiling approvingly. "Go get the heat and let's hit the road."



10 Minutes - 12/21/12

Hi. It's Joe.


I guess the Mayans, Biblical Christians, and low budget horror movie buffs weren't kidding around. They were just slightly off on the facts. I was awakened by the clock radio this morning blaring an emergency broadcast system warning. The usual Wisconsin Public Radio programming pre-empted by an announcer saying something that seemed like it was from "Night of the Living Dead."

I think she actually said, "It is hard for us to believe what we are reporting right now..."

I got up and without thinking about it grabbed the 12 gauge from the closet and dug out some shells from a dresser drawer. The power was still on and my cell phone was charged, but when I tried to call my family to see what was going on where they were, I could not get through, as you might expect. Either the towers were down or everyone who was still alive was trying to make calls.

I expect the latter was probably the case, because according to the radio, not very many people had been "raptured." But apparently the dead were rising, at morgues and hospitals, and even clawing their way out of graves. I know this sounds totally cliche and certainly there is no scientific basis for it. In any case, it seems a little too late to convert to Christianity.

I only knew one fundamentalist Christian well, an ex-girlfriend from a couple of years ago, who lived in northwest Illinois. I couldn't get through to her on the phone either, and cursed myself for not having a landline phone. But who does these days?

I figured I didn't have anything to lose driving the 150 so miles to Savanna, IL, to see if she had been raptured. If anyone would have been, she and her family would have. My Prius was full of gas, so I knew I could easily make the round trip. I fed my dog Buddy and then loaded him, the gun and ammo, and a few non-perishable food items and water into the trunk of the car.

I'll update you from the road.




10 Minutes - So Many Charlatans

Hi. It's Joe.

If an increase in charlatanry is correlated with America's descent back to 3rd world status, then we are well on our way. I thought Obamacare was supposed to do something about health insurance company bad behavior, but they are worse than ever.

This week was an eye opener at work, as my team came to the stunning realization that all quality processes are pretty much out the window. It's like our co-workers' minds were erased in some kind of freak radiation accident.

I just finished watching "The Walking Dead" season 2 on Netflix. It was getting a little out of control there at the end. I was expecting it, but when the zombie killer with the two armless and jawless zombies chained to her showed up at the end, I was simultaneously annoyed and excited. It was over the top (annoyed), but I want to see what they do with that in season 3 (excited).

The fact that the dead can now rise without being bitten by a zombie also needs some explaining. They tried to explain it by saying all the living are carriers of the infection, but that it is dormant until they are bitten or they die. I don't know, I think that is compiling too many zombie origin themes into one show. Anyway, it's a good show. Scary. Perfect for October.

And speaking of October, or if you will, Rocktober, my band HIATVS only has until the end of this month to hit our project funding goal for the rock-n-roll house concert on Saturday 11/17/12.

Won't you consider making a small pledge donation to the cause, even if you can't make it to the show? We'd appreciate it, and reward you many times over in the future, karmically speaking. We are a little behind schedule for hitting the goal, so every little bit helps. Think of it like a tip jar.



5 Minutes - Piano Time

Hi. It's Joe.

I am about to leave work and go to my piano lesson. I find piano lessons interesting. When I am practicing at home, I feel like I do quite well, because no one is watching me. But when I am trying to play something in front of my teacher, I get all nervous and my brain goes to jelly. I want the music I am playing to become second nature, to where I almost don't even have to think about it. Even though I am getting better all the time, that second nature aspect seems elusively out of reach.

Today I had a band lunch with HIATVS. I enjoy that band. There is only so much a band can do when they play covers exclusively, but we do them in a very clever way, and the presentation is always superb, usually in the form of a HOUSE CONCERT, which is different than a crappy dive bar.

After my lesson tonight, I am going to pick up a mass of frozen vegetables at the grocery store, along with some dog food for Buddy. I have been trying to eat vegetables more and cut back on fried stuff. Even though I use olive oil for frying almost exclusively, it can't be too healthy to fry everything, even if it is vegetables. So I have been steaming or boiling the frozen veggies and eating them that way, with just a drizzling of healthy olive oil (which I also need to buy) and some romano cheese and garlic salt (a very small amount, just for flavor.

Frozen vegetables are supposed to have more nutrients than fresh vegetables from the store because they are flash frozen soon after harvest and retain more nutrients than vegetables that sit on the grocery store shelf for a long time, slowly losing vitality. I feel healthier, but honestly I cannot back up that belief about the higher nutrient value of frozen vegetables.

You be the judge: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/7374249/Frozen-vegetables-more-nutritious-than-fresh-vegetables-says-report.html



10 Minutes - Coffee on Sunday Night is Not the Smartest Idea

Hi. It's Joe.

Granted, it is only 9 PM. But I had wanted to get an early night tonight, and I am not sleepy thanks to the big cup o' joe I drank earlier. Or maybe it is partly attributed to the mild power nap I took too. But I did not think that nap was all that potent or long.

I had a fulfilling but fatiguing weekend up in Osh Kosh (begosh), where I attended the Indie Horror Film Fest there. Some really good films too. The highlight for me was probably "A Cadaver Christmas." It was funny and Evil Dead-esque, and the writer/director is the cousin of a friend of mine. I was going to buy the DVD at the fest, but the film recently got distribution, which means the filmmakers themselves are no longer allowed to sell them. I guess that is a good problem to have.

The fest went from noon to midnight on Saturday 10/6 and that is a long time to watch non-stop movies. The nice thing though was that they had a lot of short 10 to 15 minute films that provided nice respite from the feature length ones. "A Chance in Hell," about Nazi zombies was a very well done short film. Not sure if you can find it online or not, but go look. Pretty scary.

Anyway, didn't get a lot of sleep on Saturday night, due to a bunch of people staying at my friends Todd and Sherry's along with myself. I had earplugs in, but somehow I was sensitive to the activity of others. Not that I cared, but it was interesting. Todd and Sherry made some yummie egg sandwiches.

Anyway, I am going to go and read some science articles to try to doze off. I have my piano lesson tomorrow and I feel like I have made some progress. A week from Monday, I have my kindle publishing class, so I am excited about that, even though I won't be able to have my piano lesson that night because of it.

Don't forget, the HIATVS ROCK-N-ROLL HOUSE CONCERT is on Saturday November 17th. RSVP now before it is too late. The dealine to confirm is Rocktober 31.


10 Minutes - Midwest Indie Horror

Hi. It's Joe.

I am in Osh Kosh (begosh) and just concluded a marathon-athon (that's like a whole 'nother level above a marathon) of midwestern indie horror films at the non-profit Time Theater in OK.

My buddy Stephen's cousin had a film in the fest. It was called "A Cadaver Christmas" and it was hilariously campy, in an Evil Dead kind of way. It will be released to the public on Tuesday.

Another good one at the fest was "A Chance in Hell" about Nazi zombies resulting from experiments in the concentration camps. There were a lot of other films too, many of them short. Some were good and some not so good. And by not so good I merely mean kind of slow going and hard to follow.

But every film had its core fans who dug it. I really liked "Collapse" which was like a zombie film but had a cool twist.

My mind is quite spent and I am shortly bound for a restless and nightmare filled sleep at Todd and Sherry's. Todd and Sherry have an old and somewhat out of tune standup piano, so I was able to practice some jazz in anticipation of my lesson on Monday. I have been doing a whole lot of practice, and I will do a whole lot more on Sunday (tomorrow...or perhaps today, depending on when you are lucky enough to see this post link on Facebook or what have you).

Are you geeked for the HIATVS ROCK-N-ROLL HOUSE CONCERT on Saturday November 17th?

I sure am. I think a lot of people are, but many of them don't know that the absolute cutoff for RSVP-ing to the house concert is Rocktober 31. That's because we will need a couple of week's to organize, and if we do end up canceling it for lack of interest, we need to let the handful of die hards know.

I have to find a way to attract more friends who appreciate the massive effort to maximally rock-n-roll that my bands put forth.



10 Minutes - Happy Fall Morning and Zombies

Hi. It's Joe.

If we did live in a world backdropped by zombie apocalyptica, mornings like today would be joyous not just because of the crisp brilliance of the weather, but also because the principal danger to life and limb would be significantly slowed down by the cooler temperatures.

The undead, being cold blooded, are sluggish when it's cold out. In the summer, when it's really hot, their body temperatures can reach or exceed that of the living, due to the heat generated by bacterial decay. When they are warmed, they are fairly intimidating, and fast. This is why most survivors head north in summer. In the fall, the bolder survivalists risk heading south to take advantage of being the first to gather supplies for survival. Most assume they can evade the slower moving cold zombies, but they need to be vigilant.

Yes, I am going to Osh Kosh this weekend for the OK Independent Horror Film Festival, featuring films made in Wisconsin. It's also Oktoberfest on OK this weekend. I will be hanging out with my good pals Todd and Sherry.

So far, my band HIATVS has only garnered interest from 3 people for our proposed rock-n-roll house concert on Saturday November 17th. We dearly love those 3 party loving people, but it's not enough to make the investment in holding the house concert, as much as we don't mind rocking out our hearts and souls for just 3 die hards.

Most people don't realize how much effort goes into hosting a rock-n-roll house concert. Setting aside all the many weekly band practices HIATVS has to hone their theatrical fun rock skills, we need to find a house that has the space and can handle the rocking. Then we need to haul in all the music gear and set it up. Then we need to spring for good beer (never crap) and food, which is where most of the suggested donations go (the band gets no money).

We just can't make that kind of commitment if our friends and fans don't have the interest level.

And that's actually AWESOME. This house concert project model is win-win, because unlike playing at crappy bars, HIATVS can decide to perform or not perform based on interest level. In this case, we may have picked a bad weekend to rock.

But that said, if you are on the fence about attending a house concert on November 17th, get the hell off it and decide! Ha ha.



10 Minutes - Romanesque

Hi. It's Joe.

At work today, I had lunch with my guitarist Brian and we talked about maybe trying to get a sponsorship for our band from the Roman Candle pizzeria in Middleton. I have been consistently impressed with the quality of food and service at this place. The staff are awesome.

And since my band HIATVS often hosts rock-n-roll house parties with free food and beer, we thought why not have the BEST possible pizza to go along with the BEST possible beer (from Capital Brewery in Middleton, which we also should consider for sponsorship).

I attended an after work team building social with my friend Alex (who I work with) and her sister Madeline (who I don't work with, but who I like because she is cool like Alex). We were talking about relationships in the car, and I realized that I hold an extremely high standard for the women I want to date. It's not entirely my fault. I have dated some spectacular women, and though the reasons we parted ways are varied and sundry, they are neither here nor there. What matters is that I am not willing to settle for less.

Would you take a new job if it was a demotion with less pay? Of course not. So why would you settle for anything less than awesomeness in the people you date?

Well, I'll tell you why. Because it is not that simple. And my analogy above is not entirely accurate. Dating someone new is not like taking a job doing the same thing you were doing before. What you were doing before was not working. That's why you aren't dating that person anymore. It is more like taking a totally different job, doing something you have never done before, getting outside your comfort zone, and finding higher value in the new relationship.

But in any case, every relationship should augment who you are as a person, not diminish it. A good relationship should be greater than the sum of the parts, not less than it. You should feel like you can be yourself and especially grow and self-actualize in a relationship. And the beauty is that you will KNOW when it is the right person. You'll feel it. That's what chemistry is.

And I will go out on a limb and say that it is OK to have expectations of the person you date, provided the other person can naturally meet those expectations, without trying or faking. If they have to change or sacrifice to meet those expectations, then the rule above about being yourself and self actualizing is violated for at least one member of the relationship, and that's bad for the synergy of the whole. That's no good.



10 Minutes - Trimming the Fat and Value Adding

Hi. It's Joe.

I am certainly not the greatest rock-n-roll performer in the world (that's Cowboy Mouth). But I do a decent job of it and I think my rock-n-roll band performances have a lot of value. I think friends and fans of my bands agree. We do a lot to create a fun social musical experience.

That is why my band HIATVS refuses to play at shitty dive bars everyone hates. Instead, we host our own social rock-n-roll house concerts and it has become increasingly successful because people enjoy the friendly and inviting house party environment, the free food and beer, and the ease of parking etc.

Our next house concert is on Saturday 11/17/12 and instead of the usual BYOB and potluck format, we are asking for a suggested donation of $5 from everyone to underwrite the free pizza and beer we are going to get with the money raised. It's a small price to pay for the awesome value of a HIATVS ROCK-N-ROLL HOUSE CONCERT.

But the beauty of this format is that you don't have to agree.

Maybe you don't think there is any value in a rock-n-roll house concert. In that case, you don't donate or participate. And that's actually AWESOME.

We only want people at our house concerts who want to be there. It makes it more fun for everyone, including the band, who incidentally don't get paid anything from the suggested donations. It all goes to the party food and drink. Of course, we partake of the festivities along with everyone else.

But there is VALUE to the band in playing a show to a house full of people who truly want to be there and have invested in it. We don't need money if we have value.

I hope that makes sense and I hope you'll come enjoy a rock-n-roll house concert with us on November 17th.



5 Minutes - House Concert Project

Hi. It's Joe.

I launched the HIATVS ROCK-N-ROLL HOUSE CONCERT project this morning. It's pretty cool.

Already got a couple of pledges. The video I put on the site is pretty crudely low budget, but it does reflect our musical insanity, I think.

I have my piano lesson tonight. I still suck but I practiced a lot and I am getting better. Scales mostly. Also some classical stuff and a little bit of the Oscar Peterson Jazz Piano Exercise #1 that I have been working on for a while.