TPP in Self-Reliance Magazine

It’s a celebratory time of year.  Sunday was Mother’s Day.  Social media was abuzz all weekend with graduation announcements.  Wedding season is gearing up.  And summer vacation is just around the corner.

So is the 2022 TJC Spring Jam.  This year, I’m making the first portion of the Jam into a recital for my private music students.  That’s going to make for a fun evening, and I suspect it will boost attendance—all those parents and family members coming out to hear L’il Billy play his piano piece.

Last fall, I submitted a piece to Self-Reliance, a magazine about independent living, entitled “The Front Porch Concert: Opportunity for Musicians in The Age of The Virus.”  They accepted it and cut me a check some time ago, and I’ve been waiting patiently for the article’s publication ever since.

Much to my delight, I arrived home from a school event Saturday evening to find the Summer Issue, Issue #25 of Self-Reliance, in my mailbox.  There on page twelve is my article, taking up four beautiful pages.

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December Bandcamp Friday

Yep, it’s my monthly Bandamp Friday post!  I know it’s not the most exciting post in the world, but, by God, I’ve gotta try.  Can you blame me?  It being the holiday season, there’s never been a better time to buy my music, my merch, or my book.  Read on.

It’s the first Friday of December, which means it’s another Bandcamp Friday! That means it’s the best possible time to purchase my music.  Indeed, my entire discography (seven albums!) is just $19.98, a whopping 35% discount (just £15.01 as of 30 November 2021, according to Bing, for my British readers).  That’s $2.85 (£2.14) per release, the kind of deal you only get on cassette tapes at the gas station (or from yours portly!).

It’s also a great time to pick up my debut book, The One-Minute Mysteries of Inspector Gerard: The Ultimate Flatfoot.  It’s just $10 (and available in Britain, too).  Christmas is approaching, and with Christmas comes parties—and what self-respecting doesn’t have a White Elephant gift exchange?  Those almost always call for a $10 gift, and you’d definitely have one of the oddest contributions at the party.

For that matter, why not buy four or five copies to hand out as stocking stuffers to your friends?

Bandcamp began doing Bandcamp Fridays during The Age of The Virus, when most musicians (myself included) witnessed a catastrophic drop in their revenue.  Venues closed or stopped live music; parents withdrew students from one-on-one lessons; and private parties were cancelled, meaning fewer of those lucrative gigs.  Also, fewer live performances meant fewer royalties for songwriters.  It’s only $10

Fortunately, that situation is improving, and people are eager to get out and hear live music again.  Still, pitching in a few bucks helps immensely—and you get some good music in the process, too!

So, on with the sales pitch!  Here are my seven releases, in chronological order:

  • Electrock Music (2006, $5) – Twelve tracks from my senior year of college, all instrumental MIDI tunes.  I gave physical copies to my Fiction Writing Workshop class; I wonder if they still have those little homemade copies.
  • Electrock II: Space Rock (2007, $7) – I’m obsessed with the idea of the sci-fi rock opera (I actually tried to write one for piano and vocals back in 2012-2013, but never finished it)—it’s the most decadent, self-indulgent form of musical expression.  That was the driving spirit behind this rockin’ collection of out-of-this-world jams.
  • Electrock EP: The Four Unicorns of the Apocalypse (2012, $4) – My younger brother introduced me to a song call “Biomachinery” by some melodic death metal band, and the rhythm of that word inspired the lead-off track of this four-song cycle, “Cyborg Unicorn.”  Of course, the instrumental chorus of that track is basically Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll,” so it’s true what they say:  composers swipe from each other all the time.
  • Electrock Retrospective, Volume I: Dance Party (2013, $3.60) – I had a number of tracks stored up for a never-completed Electrock III, so I thought I would begin dribbling them out as part of repackaged “retrospectives.”  This first one, Dance Party, features “Robobop,” which is also a perk for $5 subscribers to my SubscribeStar page.
  • Electrock Retrospective, Volume II: Technological Romance (2013, $2.14) – Technological Romance features “Pwrblld (Ballad II)“—with apologies to Chicago’s “You’re the Inspiration.”
  • Contest Winner EP (2015, $5) – This album is my tour de force.  I recorded it in a real-life studio, overdubbing my vocals with my piano part.  It was an amazing experience, and these tunes are staples of my live shows (especially fan favorites “Hipster Girl Next Door” and “Greek Fair“).
  • The Lo-Fi Hymnal (2020, $4) – I started playing piano at my little Free Will Baptist Church a couple of years ago, and I began taking little recordings of offertory, invitational, etc.  I compiled the four very lo-fi recordings into a short compilation.  I’m hoping to record a second volume at some point.

An easy (and free) way to support me is to “follow” my Bandcamp page and my Amazon author page.  I post updates about new merchandise, new music, and other interesting offers about once a month to the Bandcamp page, and new books will pop up on my Amazon page as they’re published.  It’s a good way to keep up with the latest news on my musical adventures.

Another free way to support me is to turn off your ad-blocker.  The site delivers several thousand ad impressions monthly, but most of those are blocked, which means they don’t pay out.  You can usually find the ad-blocker as a little widget or icon in the upper-right-hand side of your browser; click on it and it will usually give you the option to “pause” or stop the blocker from running on this site.  I know ads are annoying, but seeing a few DuckDuckGo ads helps out in an incremental way.

Even if none of that entices you, no worries!  I’m just glad to have you here, reading my self-indulgent garbage and my lengthy advertisement posts.

Happy Friday!

—TPP

November Bandcamp Friday

It’s the first Friday of November, which means it’s another Bandcamp Friday! That means it’s the best possible time to purchase my music.  Indeed, my entire discography (seven albums!) is just $19.98, a whopping 35% discount (just £14.64 as of 1 November 2021, according to Bing, for my British readers).  That’s $2.85 (£2.09) per release, the kind of deal you only get on cassette tapes at the gas station (or from yours portly!).

I’m also sitting on a lot of great, but unsold, Spooktacular merch, including my shocking original painting “The War on Halloween.”  If the price tag is too rich for your blood, contact me and we’ll work something out.

It’s also a great time to pick up my debut book, The One-Minute Mysteries of Inspector Gerard: The Ultimate Flatfoot.  It’s just $10 (and available in Britain, too).  Christmas is approaching, and it’s a great time to read absurdist, ludicrous detective stories by the fire (or to give as gifts—why not buy four or five copies to hand out as stocking stuffers to your friends?).

Bandcamp began doing Bandcamp Fridays during The Age of The Virus, when most musicians (myself included) witnessed a catastrophic drop in their revenue.  Venues closed or stopped live music; parents withdrew students from one-on-one lessons; and private parties were cancelled, meaning fewer of those lucrative gigs.  Also, fewer live performances meant fewer royalties for songwriters.  It’s only $10

Fortunately, that situation is improving, and people are eager to get out and hear live music again.  Still, pitching in a few bucks helps immensely—and you get some good music in the process, too!

So, on with the sales pitch!  Here are my seven releases, in chronological order:

  • Electrock Music (2006, $5) – Twelve tracks from my senior year of college, all instrumental MIDI tunes.  I gave physical copies to my Fiction Writing Workshop class; I wonder if they still have those little homemade copies.
  • Electrock II: Space Rock (2007, $7) – I’m obsessed with the idea of the sci-fi rock opera (I actually tried to write one for piano and vocals back in 2012-2013, but never finished it)—it’s the most decadent, self-indulgent form of musical expression.  That was the driving spirit behind this rockin’ collection of out-of-this-world jams.
  • Electrock EP: The Four Unicorns of the Apocalypse (2012, $4) – My younger brother introduced me to a song call “Biomachinery” by some melodic death metal band, and the rhythm of that word inspired the lead-off track of this four-song cycle, “Cyborg Unicorn.”  Of course, the instrumental chorus of that track is basically Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll,” so it’s true what they say:  composers swipe from each other all the time.
  • Electrock Retrospective, Volume I: Dance Party (2013, $3.60) – I had a number of tracks stored up for a never-completed Electrock III, so I thought I would begin dribbling them out as part of repackaged “retrospectives.”  This first one, Dance Party, features “Robobop,” which is also a perk for $5 subscribers to my SubscribeStar page.
  • Electrock Retrospective, Volume II: Technological Romance (2013, $2.14) – Technological Romance features “Pwrblld (Ballad II)“—with apologies to Chicago’s “You’re the Inspiration.”
  • Contest Winner EP (2015, $5) – This album is my tour de force.  I recorded it in a real-life studio, overdubbing my vocals with my piano part.  It was an amazing experience, and these tunes are staples of my live shows (especially fan favorites “Hipster Girl Next Door” and “Greek Fair“).
  • The Lo-Fi Hymnal (2020, $4) – I started playing piano at my little Free Will Baptist Church a couple of years ago, and I began taking little recordings of offertory, invitational, etc.  I compiled the four very lo-fi recordings into a short compilation.  I’m hoping to record a second volume at some point.

An easy (and free) way to support me is to “follow” my Bandcamp page and my Amazon author page.  I post updates about new merchandise, new music, and other interesting offers about once a month to the Bandcamp page, and new books will pop up on my Amazon page as they’re published.  It’s a good way to keep up with the latest news on my musical adventures.

Another free way to support me is to turn off your ad-blocker.  The site delivers several thousand ad impressions monthly, but most of those are blocked, which means they don’t pay out.  You can usually find the ad-blocker as a little widget or icon in the upper-right-hand side of your browser; click on it and it will usually give you the option to “pause” or stop the blocker from running on this site.  I know ads are annoying, but seeing a few DuckDuckGo ads helps out in an incremental way.

Even if none of that entices you, no worries!  I’m just glad to have you here, reading my self-indulgent garbage and my lengthy advertisement posts.

Happy Friday!

—TPP

Lazy Sunday CXXXIII: Inspector Gerard

It was a long, grueling week at work, including a Saturday morning spent proctoring the SAT.  It was one of those weeks where my job and my various sidelines all coincided to leave me utterly exhausted.  Anyone who has ever worked a job knows the kind of week:  seemingly everything must be done at the same time.

Well, self-promotion never ends, and after working myself weary this week, I figured I’d make another attempt at schlocking my various wares to you, my faithful readers.  As such, it seemed like a good weekend to revisit my book, The One-Minute Mysteries of Inspector Gerard, and my various blog posts about it.  Also, some of my students learned of the book this week, so it’s on my mind (and currently only $10 in paperback):

  • Inspector Gerard eBook is Coming 1 April 2021 (Out NOW in Paperback)!” – Ah, yes, the first, excited post announcing the arrival of Inspector Gerard to the world.  At that time, the Kindle edition had not yet released, but was available for preorder.  I actually did pretty well on those, and, of course, enjoyed the initial surge of book sales from friends and family with the announcement.
  • SubscribeStar Saturday: Inspector Gerard Preview” – The day after my announcement, I posted three Gerard stories, “Dial ‘M’ for Malfeasance,” “Sleazebag in the City,” and “Inspector Gerard and the Video Rental Caper” to my SubscribeStar page.  Considering I was selling the paperback version for $15 at the time, that made a $1 a month subscription a pretty good deal.
  • Lazy Sunday CX: Inspector Gerard Reviews” – Soon enough, the reviews—mostly from blogger friends—began pouring in.  I think most of the reviewers “got” the book, and I even got a shout-out in a mailbag episode of Z Man’s podcast after I mailed a copy of the book to him.  I really appreciated the reviews.

Christmas is just around the corner—why not take the lazy way out and buy yourself or a loved one a copy of my absurdist book?

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

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***NOTEThis link is NOT a subscription to my SubscribeStar Page; it is for a one-time donation/tip via PayPal. To subscribe to my SubscribeStar page, use this URL:   https://subscribestar.com/the-portly-politico***

October Bandcamp Friday

It’s the first day of the best month of the year!   My annual Halloween Spooktacular is tantalizingly close—just twenty-nine days away!—and my interest in horror movies now takes on a seasonally appropriate veneer, instead of just the odd obsession of a potentially deranged individual.

It’s also another Bandcamp Friday, which means it’s the best possible time to purchase my music.  Indeed, my entire discography (seven albums!) is just $19.98, a whopping 35% discount (just £14.76 as of 28 September 2021, according to Bing, for my newfound British readers).  That’s $2.85 (£2.10) per release, the kind of deal you only get on cassette tapes at the gas station (or from yours portly!).

What better time to spin my classic hit “Ghostly,” a spookily unhinged ballad in creepy 3/4 time, or the electronic opus “Zombie Unicorn,” featuring irregular multi-meter insanity and shades of Saint-Saëns?  They’re on Contest Winner EP and The Four Unicorns of the Apocalypse, respectively.

Not in the mood for spookiness?  Then enjoy the boppy, poppy fun of perennial fan favorite “Hipster Girl Next Door“—or the pleading piano-pop balladry of “Greek Fair.”

Are your tastes inclined in a more heavenly direction?  Then check out The Lo-Fi Hymnal, a love letter to hymn singing and playing recorded on over a tiny phone microphone.  Trust me—it’s better than it sounds!

In short, ’tis the season for merriment and fun—and for forking over your hard-earned cash to support the blogger, musician, and teacher you love:  me!

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The Inexorable Forward March of Bandcamp Friday

Yes, poor readers, here it is again: another Bandcamp Friday.  Other than one of the earliest times I posted about this glorious monthly holiday—during which Bandcamp waives its usual commission on sales through its site—I don’t know that I’ve ever made a sale hawking my musical wares via the blog.

Well, if at first you do not succeed, pester, pester again (alternatively, doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity, but all musicians are a bit crazy… right?).  Also, with my lovely new readers from the British Isles, it’s never been a better time to bilk them out of their hard-earned pounds sterling.

Fortunately for them—and you, my fellow countrymen!—my entire discography (seven albums!) is just $19.98, a whopping 35% discount (just £14.50 as of 1 September 2021, according to Bing).  That’s $2.85 (£2.07) per release, the kind of deal you only get on cassette tapes at the gas station (or from yours portly!).

Read More »

The Return of Bandcamp Friday

After taking off during the long summer months, Bandcamp is bringing back Bandcamp Friday today, and continuing it the first Friday of every month through the end of 2021.

For those that have forgotten—or steadfastly ignored my many, many, many, manymany posts about it—Bandcamp Friday is when Bandcamp waives the 15% commission they usually take on sales through the site.  So, if you buy, say, Electrock EP: The Four Unicorns of the Apocalypse for $4, I get almost the full $4 (PayPal takes a small cut still), instead of $4 minus $0.60 to Bandcamp.

Another, more dramatic example:  if you buy my full discography at $19.98, Bandcamp doesn’t take their $3 cut, so most of that goes directly to me (again, minus the transaction fee PayPal assesses).

Bandcamp began doing Bandcamp Fridays during The Age of The Virus, when most musicians (myself included) witnessed a catastrophic drop in their revenue.  Venues closed or stopped live music; parents withdrew students from one-on-one lessons; and private parties were cancelled, meaning fewer of those lucrative gigs.  Also, fewer live performances meant fewer royalties for songwriters.

Fortunately, that situation is improving, and people are eager to get out and hear live music again.  Still, pitching in a few bucks helps immensely—and you get some good music in the process, too!

So, on with the sales pitch!  Here are my seven releases, in chronological order:

  • Electrock Music (2006, $5) – Twelve tracks from my senior year of college, all instrumental MIDI tunes.  I gave physical copies to my Fiction Writing Workshop class; I wonder if they still have those little homemade copies.
  • Electrock II: Space Rock (2007, $7) – I’m obsessed with the idea of the sci-fi rock opera (I actually tried to write one for piano and vocals back in 2012-2013, but never finished it)—it’s the most decadent, self-indulgent form of musical expression.  That was the driving spirit behind this rockin’ collection of out-of-this-world jams.
  • Electrock EP: The Four Unicorns of the Apocalypse (2012, $4) – My younger brother introduced me to a song call “Biomachinery” by some melodic death metal band, and the rhythm of that word inspired the lead-off track of this four-song cycle, “Cyborg Unicorn.”  Of course, the instrumental chorus of that track is basically Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll,” so it’s true what they say:  composers swipe from each other all the time.
  • Electrock Retrospective, Volume I: Dance Party (2013, $3.60) – I had a number of tracks stored up for a never-completed Electrock III, so I thought I would begin dribbling them out as part of repackaged “retrospectives.”  This first one, Dance Party, features “Robobop,” which is also a perk for $5 subscribers to my SubscribeStar page.
  • Electrock Retrospective, Volume II: Technological Romance (2013, $2.14) – Technological Romance features “Pwrblld (Ballad II)“—with apologies to Chicago’s “You’re the Inspiration.”
  • Contest Winner EP (2015, $5) – This album is my tour de force.  I recorded it in a real-life studio, overdubbing my vocals with my piano part.  It was an amazing experience, and these tunes are staples of my live shows (especially fan favorites “Hipster Girl Next Door” and “Greek Fair“).
  • The Lo-Fi Hymnal (2020, $4) – I started playing piano at my little Free Will Baptist Church a couple of years ago, and I began taking little recordings of offertory, invitational, etc.  I compiled the four very lo-fi recordings into a short compilation.  I’m hoping to record a second volume at some point.

An easy (and free) way to support me is to “follow” my Bandcamp page and my Amazon author page.  I post updates about new merchandise, new music, and other interesting offers about once a month to the Bandcamp page, and new books will pop up on my Amazon page as they’re published.  It’s a good way to keep up with the latest news on my musical adventures.

Another free way to support me is to turn off your ad-blocker.  The site delivers several thousand ad impressions monthly, but most of those are blocked, which means they don’t pay out.  You can usually find the ad-blocker as a little widget or icon in the upper-right-hand side of your browser; click on it and it will usually give you the option to “pause” or stop the blocker from running on this site.  I know ads are annoying, but seeing a few DuckDuckGo ads helps out in an incremental way.

Even if none of that entices you, no worries!  I’m just glad to have you here, reading my self-indulgent garbage and my lengthy advertisement posts.

Happy Friday!

—TPP

Monday Morning Movie Review: The City of the Dead (1960)

Regular readers know that I have a penchant for schlocky horror movies.  Knowing this fact well, Audre Myers, a regular contributor at Nebraska Energy Observer and a frequent commenter on this site, e-mailed me last week with a recommendation to check out Shudder, the horror streaming service.  She isn’t the first to recommend the service—a colleague of mine has been singing the service’s praises for several months, but I kept putting it off for the same reason folks are slow to subscribe to my SubscribeStar page:  whenever I thought to sign up, I didn’t have the time to do so.

Regardless, Audre sent along a YouTube video by Jade The Libra, a woman dressed like a witch and talking about which stores tend to put out their Halloween decorations first.  Jade is some kind of Shudder affiliate, and entering promo code “JADE” gives new subscribers a free month of the service.

With that enticement—and without the lame excuse of lacking time—I signed up for the annual membership.  Since subscribing (just about five days ago), I have pretty much only watched Shudder.  If I weren’t paying a mere $2.15 a month for Hulu—and sharing it with three or four family members—I’d probably drop it entirely in favor of Shudder.  After all, other than Bob’s Burgers, I pretty much only watch horror and thriller films on Hulu (as well as plenty of weird sci-fi flicks).

But I digress.  That cloying endorsement of Shudder is my long way of introducing the subject of this week’s Monday Morning Movie Review, which is the second flick I viewed on the service.  The film is 1960’s The City of the Dead (known as Horror Hotel in the United States—I like the original title better), a story about a coven of witches who have taken over the town of Whitewood, Massachusetts.

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Supporting Friends Friday: Jeremy Miles’s New Book is Out Now

One of the joys of blogging and creating is the opportunity to support my buddies’ work.  I’ve been blessed to be associated with quite a few prolific and ingenious individuals, and while I have spent many a Bandcamp Friday hawking my digital wares, I’m excited to take this Friday to showcase a friend’s work.

My real-life buddy Jeremy Miles (who also maintains a blog) has released his latest book of poetryHindsight: Poetry in 2020.  It’s available in paperback, hardcover, and Kindle editions, at (as of 8 June 2021) $15, $25, and $2.99, respectively.  I’ve ordered the paperback version and eagerly await its arrival.

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