Quit Your Day Job? But...I Like It.

I don't want to quit my job. But I see what this guy is saying. You should spend your life doing what you love, not slaving for someone else. Someday you'll be dead. Then you'll wish you had pursued something more meaningful. Well, actually probably a short time before you are actually dead, since after death you can't really much wish or think or do anything. And if on some slim chance there is an afterlife, you won't really care if you wasted your life, because you'll have an eternity to make up for it.

But what if there isn't an afterlife?

Self employment has its perks, and I fully endorse it, having done it for a while myself. But it is hard work, so you really have to love and be passionate about what you want to do, or you simply won't have the will or energy to do it day in and day out for many hours.

For me, that is music. But my second choice is writing. I spent about a year and a half as a songwriter, and I worked hard at it. But songwriting is prohibitively competitive, even for good songwriters like me, and the people you have to deal with are the pits. There are way more songs out there than there are opportunities for songs, and everyone wants to exploit you. However, the same is not true for writing. Most people CAN'T write and new writing is always in high demand. There is as much new writing as there are new things to be written about, and in technical writing this is growing exponentially (you gotta love science).

So you don't have to quit your day job to be a writer, and you can find a pretty good full time position because you have a lot of choices. If you are good and work hard at it.

The entire time I was doing the songwriter thing, I made myself blog for 10 minutes each day, and it greatly improved my writing skill. How do I know?

You are still reading aren't you?


A Rocking Weekend

My band GUPPY EFFECT played it's last "official" show last night, Saturday 11/26/11.

It was a great show, very rocking. There were a lot of people there and they enjoyed us.

It is great to get paid money for doing something which is essentially the funnest thing in the world, playing danceable upbeat rock-n-roll for a room full of festive holiday people, which is what these people were - most of their bellies were probably still distended from the Thanksgiving feasts two days prior. We played our cult classic rock holiday song GINGERBREAD (ZOMBIE) ARMY, which was fun. Would you do me a favor and click on the song thumbnail image in the upper right of this post?

GUPPY EFFECT is now my "unofficial" band, meaning no investment in the business end of it is required and I can direct my mental energy to other endeavors. I will have to let my accountant know that 2011 is the last year that the IRS will have to deal with me and my music production business. After this year, it will become a hobby again.

We will play a handful of reunion rock shows in the future, I presume. Indeed, the venue we played at last night would really like us to book some dates in 2012. So we will probably lock in the dates and prepare a set list of material in advance, dress rehearse it a couple of times before the event, then rock the crap out of it. Also, there is talk of GUPPY EFFECT jamming a handful of tunes at my rock-n-roll birthday house party on 1/7/12.

My new rock-n-roll cover band project is JEEBUS PREEBUS. This is a fun 4-piece with a chick singer. Right now we are still developing our business plan and building song repertoire, so it is too early to start keeping track of income and expenses. The band uses an electronic drum kit and since that allows us to control the volume of the music very nicely, with no loss in performance energy, we have been hosting house parties. This is really nice because the beer is free and we can also book our own dates, without relying on what is available with the local music venues. Plus, we can play early and not have to be up till all hours. Plus, when we host the parties at guitarist AquaMunkee's house, all our music gear is already there, because that is where we practice. And we can leave it there after the show, so no hauling gear home.

I really like the house party model. We will probably have to play a few paid gigs at bars in order to fill the band fund, which will be used to buy beer and snacks (always free at the parties). Our lead singer gets the employee discount at a Madison microbrewery, so the beer is top notch. But we can choose what venues we want to play and look to get paid a decent price. None of this door gig crap for JEEBUS PREEBUS. I hope other bands emulate this model. Then maybe we can get some leverage on the charlatan music venues around here. But e-drums are kind of the key (or no drums at all) because to play at house parties, you have to keep the volume down, so the neighbors don't call the cops. We would only need to play 2 or 3 bar gigs a year to get enough funds to pay all the expenses for the house parties, including the beer and probably our gas money too. We'll have to talk this all out and come up with a budget. House party attendees are encouraged to bring a side dish or some beverages to the parties to share, and there is a $5 suggested donation too. We'll see how it goes.

I've got another project focused on original music almost exclusively. It is called UBERGROOP, and this band project has no set timeline. We are just going to write some songs and maybe record a few. If we do play gigs it will be a long way in the future, probably opening for someone or joining a bunch of other bands some night at the HIGH NOON SALOON.

Sometimes I Like to Wear a Viking Helmet Around the House

It's true. Sometimes I put on a Viking helmet and lounge about my house. You can never be too sure when a berserker frenzy may be required of you. Better safe than sorry.

I am thinking about wearing it at work sometimes when my workload is particularly challenging. Berserker frenzies are great for battle axing your way through a lot of technical documentation.

Like I always say, whatever helps you get through the day.

The 2 Minute Reader is for YOU!

This is the Blogger rendition of the famous "2 Minute Reader" blog on Wordpress.

We create the posts at Posterous, and then it gets automatically published to Wordpress and Blogger. The content is the same, so the choice is yours which medium you prefer.

The 2 Minute Reader is your quick and dirty "breakfast cereal" reading. If you have your laptop on the kitchen table and you don't want to read the Cheerios box for the 800th time, pull up the 2 Minute Reader and be marginally more entertained.

I tell you this for two reasons. 1. I love you. 2. I needed to post this post to test my Feedburner subscription feed is working.

Admittedly, this post would not be here if it was not for #2. But I really do love you.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Negative Nellies

Have you ever known someone who was a Negative Nellie (aka Debbie Downer)?

I have, and it always puzzles me. Here are people who moan and complain about all the problems in their lives, and then doesn't understand why their lives are full of problems.

It almost seems like these people thrive on negativity, or at least that their negativity feeds on misfortune and grows.

I don't really believe in the power of positive thinking, rationally.

But at an emotional level, I totally do. It doesn't make any sense that your frame of mind could alter your reality, but it does seem to be the case for some people, myself included. I think it is a manifestation of vision, through action. Maybe it is rational, but just subconscious and incomprehensible at the level of everyday life.

I am a very positive person. I rarely complain and if I encounter a problem, I don't talk about it, I solve it. I am constantly envisioning positivity, and you know what? My life is really positive and good.

When I meet people who are negative, I try to flip everything they are complaining about into a positive, or offer some solutions. But they seem resistant to this, or tell me that my solutions will just cause them more problems.

Usually I give up and just smile and be as positive as I can. I am fairly immune to other people's negativity, and maybe this comes across as uncaring. But I do care. I just can't do anything for them and I am not willing to let their negativity suck my positive life force away (what some call "energy vampirism"). Only they can choose to look on the bright side and be positive. I try to lead by example, but negative people don't seem to be able to see the cause and effect between a positive attitude and positive circumstances.

Not too long ago, I was out of work. I could have been negative about this circumstance, but I wasn't. My prior employer was terrible and my boss sucked (total energy vampire). I had some savings I could live off for a while. I turned my low income status into an opportunity. I applied for low income energy assistance and the utility company (via a government program) replaced my furnace and hot water heater for free.

That seems like the clearest example I can think of as my positivity manifesting positive circumstances. But this happens to me all the time.

I have been envisioning a new rock-n-roll band concept that I want to do for a long time, and little by little it has been coming together. Now, I have a great band very close to the vision for it that I had.

When I see a girl I like, I envision being with her, and more often than not, this comes to pass.

Good things happen to positive people. I can't explain why, but my observations suggest it is true.

Also, daily exercise is great for mood and positivity. So if you are looking to improve your moods, start there. Please don't start by complaining to me. I really cannot help you. Only you can help you. I have given you the tools.

Mediocre vs. Awesome

There are 2 kinds of people (actually, 3 kinds, but let's discount the total losers for purposes of this discussion).

The first kind of people are the mediocre. Having lost the will to live, they settle for lame and put in the bare minimum to get by. The fire of life for these people has been peed on, and they passively accept their lot in life, devoid of passion.

The second kind of people are the awesome. They don't let the world get them down and they don't let anyone tell them they can't succeed. They go above and beyond the call of duty for personal satisfaction, even when there may not be any additional material rewards for doing so and they resist and shun conformity to society's (very mediocre) conventions. The fire of life is a bonfire for awesome people and it is fueled by a never ending zeal and passion.

Society, by definition, is mediocre...the averaging of all the individuals who make it up (remember, we are discounting the losers here, who push the average ever downward). So, society frowns on awesomeness. Awesome people make everyone else, and the society in general, look bad. Even the famous people are mediocre when compared with society's truly awesome individuals, many of whom are quietly working behind the scenes.

Step 2 - DMV Pass

The DMV passed the test to renew my DL within 30 minutes or less, notwithstanding the initial fail when the first DMV office I stopped at was closed. I did not include transportation time in this calculation.

My new DL was handed to me 29 minutes after I officially began the test.

The WI DMV passed their test and will be granted a license to operate in the forum of public opinion.

I can now also vote in the Walker recall election in the spring, without issue. So shove you Jim Crow laws up your arse WI Republicans!

Step 1 - Fail

So I went to the nearest DMV office to work, where they only renew licenses (no testing), because that is all I need to do.

Closed on Mondays and doesn't open until 10 AM other days. I was there at 9:45, so a double whammy since it was Monday too. We will call that 2 FAILS.

Next, I proceeded to the State Office Building DMV office, a main branch. I am there now. I was expeditiously processed to get my license photo taken and my number shall be called shortly.

We'll see what happens next. Thus far, 20 minutes of the maximum allowed 30 have transpired.

WI Drivers License Renewal

Today, I am going to attempt to get my WI drivers license renewed.

By way of educating you about the process and how easy or hard it is, I am going to blog about it here.

Stay tuned.

Basically, this is just a simple license renewal. No special circumstances. A reasonable person might expect it to take 30 minutes tops, start to finish.

We shall see.

Phone Hacking Hilarity

My buddy Brian got his Android phone hacked (he has since turned on his security settings).

The hacker then tried to gmail chat with my other buddy Sparx, who figured out it was a hacker pretty fast.

What he said to the hacker was hilarious, and here it is...see also http://sparxmind.com/hijacked-email.

7:52 PM Brian: Hey
are you there ?
7:55 PM sparx: yes. hi!
Brian: am not too good
sparx: no? what's up?
7:56 PM Brian: I'm stranded in Manila Philippines with my family
got mugged at gun point last night
7:57 PM sparx: manila? i thought you just left for puerto rico last night
Brian: No
I was hit on the head but getting better
all cash,credit card and phone was stolen
7:58 PM sparx: did they take your wheelchair? can you still move around?
7:59 PM Brian: thank God we still have our life and passport safe
8:00 PM sparx: your wheelchair though, do you still have it? do you still have the meth you smuggled in your wheelchair's frame?
Brian: our return flight leaves in few hours but having troubles sorting out the hotel bills
i need your help
sparx: if you lost my meth i'll fucking kill you
Brian: yes i need your help
8:02 PM sparx: there's still an hour until the swap. there will be $80,000 in the breifcase. take out what you need to get back, i'll consider it a loan
8:03 PM *briefcase. sorry, can't spell.. got pretty pissed when i thought you lost the product
8:04 PM still there?

That kicks ass.


No one questions the quality or quantity of my work. I do a good job and I crank stuff out with an eye for quality. Get it right the first time and you will save yourself a lot of grief later. This translates into time saved...time that can be used to write blog posts like this one.

Now, some people take the opposite approach. They think it is better to look busy and produce a large quantity of output, without concern for quality. Maybe they view it as job security or something. By not doing a quality job up front, they guarantee themselves a lot more work (and stress and headaches) in the future.

What kind of person are you?

Corporate Overlords

Why is corporate management so stupid?

It seems like common sense that a company would want happy, content, and minimally stressed employees, outside of the sadness, discontent, and stress of the actual job itself.

These would be things like maximizing amenities and minimizing useless busy work.

My company was recently bought out. Prior to the merger, employees were expected and encouraged to do quallity, useful work. How much time it took was not as important as achieving maximum QUALITY. Quality work was recognized and rewarded.

There were not very many rules and regulations beyond producing quality work. The work environment was relaxed so employees could focus on WORKING and TEAMWORK without stressing over things like dress code and how many hours they put in and clerical busy work.

This created an environment of trust in management and high company morale. Employees felt like they were appreciated and they were motivated to do their work and focus on the task at hand. There was accountability only to your team, your peers, who were counted as equals. That was powerfully motivating, because you didn't want to let down your team.

The new management has destroyed and shattered that. Their company philosophy is essentially "look busy at all times" regardless of quality and demands of workload. As a result, morale is low and employees are nervous/stressed all the time. You feel like you can't take a breather to relax and collect your thoughts. You feel like you are being watched and QUALITY is no longer about the work you produce, but rather how you present yourself and what font you use for e-mails.

Of course, you know me. I civilly disobey. I don't succumb to fear and I am calling corporate management's bluff. I wear jeans when I want to and I don't do useless and unnecessary busy work. If I finish a task and have time left over, I organize my remaining workflow and prioritize what I will work on next. Once I do that, if I still have some time left over, I might go to the in house gym, which they haven't taken from us yet (but I could see them restricting available times that the gym is open and other such nonsense). Exercise helps me relax and gives me an energy boost to be more productive.

I don't want to be a thorn in management's side, but the ball is in their court. They can chill out and relax and all will be well. They should probably lay off some managers, because if they are doing unnecessary work to look busy, then they are draining resources.

They probably won't though. Corporate management is hard to cull once it is established. This is how busy work gets encouraged. Look busy enough and people will assume you are important even though you are just a productivity destroying leech on the system.

New Band Kickoff Tonight (and What You Can Do About It)

I heard on the radio today that adding the keyword phrase "what you can do about it" to a title or description is an old school search optimization tool. So I might start adding that to all my blog titles now, just to piss off search optimizers everywhere.

I suppose that will piss you off a little too. And me. So I imagine I won't keep it up for long, but we'll see.

What I have been keeping up on is my fitness challenge to do five 45-minute light to moderate workouts per week, for two months (Nov-Dec). I am going to start 5/5 for this week in about 20 minutes.

At 6 pm tonight, I am hosting the first band meeting and jam for a possible new band I want to start to replace my old band GUPPY EFFECT. It has drummer Peter from GUPPY EFFECT (and myself, obviously). It also has a former GUPPY EFFECT guitarist named Kyle and a lead singer buddy named Branden.

This band will be totally different from GUPPY EFFECT. I am hoping it will emphasize original music and play covers only if they are severely mutated from their traditional format. Most of all, it should rock.

Tonight we will brainstorm over pizza and then jam a few tunes we all sort of kind of know. Should be fun.

New Band on the Scene


There is a new band on the scene.

Or perhaps there is a new scene altogether. I don't know.

Why is it called "a scene?"

That sounds like a scene in a movie.

I think what it means conventially is a public space where you can "see and be seen." But obviously that is spelled differently.

I think it must be some esoteric reference to a movie scene. If you are hip to the scene it means you have more than a background bit or cameo role.

You are a major supporting actor or maybe even a main character.

If you are "on the scene," then you are cool. If not, you are nobody.

What are your thoughts on that? Comment below.

Anyway, this new band is on the scene and if you don't want them in your scene, they will create their own scene to see and be seen.

What do you think?