Thursday, June 26, 2008

Hard to waterski on dry land.

"The summer wind, came blowin in - from across the sea

It lingered there, so warm and fair - to walk with me

All summer long, we sang a song - and strolled on golden sand

Two sweethearts, and the summer wind"

Frank Sinatra

It rained an awful lot here a couple weeks ago. I mean like Noah's Ark kinda rain flooding a lot of the Midwest. However, the Wisconsin Dells which is a huge summer tourist are in central Wisconsin has a problem with no water. One of the biggest lakes in the area, Lake Delton, overflowed its banks and cause a retaining wall to collapse, a road to wash away and finally the entire lake to empty into the Wisconsin River. We went up to look at it this week and take a few pictures.

Here is the bleachers from the dells water show that is going to have a very long summer.

Finally, the marina dry docks. The do hope to get the lake refilled by next spring. They were able to recover four guns from the lake bed so I guess there are some anxious criminals out there.

Let's get a fitness update since I think this is going to get linked to the fitness ridge blog. I am working out a lot. 5 or 6 mornings a week with my workout partner doing cardio/ circuit training/ intervals/weight lifting/ medicine ball sit ups. I would have thought the soreness that was in my body in Utah would have eased up but alas I was mistaken. I'm sore in the morning, I'm sore at night and I'm sore every time of move, other than that I'm good. Actually the only time I'm not sore is when i am actually exercising. I have been hoofing it a couple miles in the morning on the paths through my city. I have some new friends that like to follow me around. With all the rain the mosquitoes are taking over. A little OFF, a few swats and I'm on my way. However I do feel like an insect buffet line at times and a good buffet like the Bellagio not the crapfest like chuck'o'rama. Lastly still pounding out 3 nights a week of volleyball. If there is really one place I can feel the weight loss it is in the sand of the volleyball court. I move better, dive a lot, and throw a spike in every once in awhile.

I am now only a little over 8 weeks away from second trip to Utah. I am looking forward to actually being in better shape when I arrive, not having as many people with terrified looks on their face passing me in the dessert, and of course a good solid 1200 calories. Speaking of calories tonite I am going to Samba Brazilian Steakhouse in Madison with a dozen friends to celebrate my wife's birthday. These restaurants feature the happy gauchos walking around with spits of meat. I believe a couple dozen different kinds of meat. I'll let you know how many next time :) Should be fun. No booze, no potatoes so I think I start my meal at negative 500 calories right off the bat.
I hope everyone has a happy weekend. Let's go Spain in the Euro 2008 championship match. I'm seeing Steve Miller Band and Joe Cocker this weekend at Summerfest. Peace, Jim

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Summer Solstice

"When I try to show you this

Song is meant to keep ya

From doing what your supposed to

Like waking up too early

Maybe we can sleep in

Ill make you banana pancakes

Pretend like its the weekend now"

Jack Johnson

I spent Saturday night with my wife, good friends Bill and Sarah Dermody, and 40,000 other people at Alpine Valley Music Theater. And by theater they mean one big-ass indoor/outdoor amphitheater. The hills that went up from the stage were easily steeper than the hill I used to walk in Utah and I am amazed that with the combination of booze and gravity that I didn't see people tumbling down the hill all night long. Jack Johnson put on a tremendously entertaining show. This guy personifies everything that is right about music. He writes tremendously fun songs, addresses important issues in his music and is without a doubt in a very small group of people who can get 40,000 people to show up to see one guy play a guitar. He also made a point to let people know that money from the show was going to help families displaced by the recent flooding, had eco-green info groups and voter registration booths throughout the venue.

We had pretty nice seats about 30 rows up from the stage and dead center. Not quite as cool as our last two set of seats but still it was better than the hill where people at the top would need a telescope to see the stage.

Here's Jacky and I in a self portrait with our friend Sarah adding some background.

Here's some pics from our volleyball tournaments this week. We played in two eight team double elimination tournaments at Club Tavern, our volleyball home court.

Zach, Alex, and Luke. Alex went on injured reserve about halfway through game 2 when his knee blew out and is currently on crutches and limping around Bourbon Street waiting on an MRI this week.

Jenny and Elijah and Leah and a small bit of Jenn. Leah is also on the reserve list this year after playing the last couple years. She has a nine month engagement with a new addition to their family.

Another shot of Mrs T. and I. Looks like it's time for haircut and a shave.

Let's wrap up everything else. Starting with Volleyball where we won both of the tournaments. We were the favorites Monday night but not Wednesday and it was extra sweet beating a team that had beaten us twice this year. We won 4 matches each night, and we are playing really well. I had my tenth weigh in this past week at Weight Watchers and for the first time in my life I have wrung up ten consecutive weeks of losing weight. 32 lbs in the ten weeks I have been back from the Ridge, and really close to triple digits overall.

I have been contacted by a handful of people who have wandered onto my blog while investigating Fitness Ridge. I am happy to hear from you guys and happy to answer any questions you might have. Let me reiterate that it is a great, tough, program stocked full of friendly helpful people.

We have a busy week ahead; 3 nights of volleyball, Jacky's birthday party and Summerfest(more music). My parents bought a house with a pool in Venice Beach, Fl and I can not wait to visit but probably not until November. That's all the news from here. I hope you guys are having fun...Peace, Jim

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

REM in Chicago

"You've got all the right friends"
So do to the kindness of my good high school friend, Tom Scott,who has been the business manager for REM for 20 years My wife and I got to have a really cool backstage experience at the show at The United Center last friday.

Tom and I sporting the back stage passes.

We got picked up at 6 pm in a Secret Service tricked out SUV and driven directly into the under belly of the United Center. I held the door for four guys walking in that turned out to be Modest Mouse but I was clueless. Backstage before the show is fairly locked down. I would say there was a dozen or show guests as oppossed to after the show when there was around 100 or so. First person I met was Mike Mills who had a 70's picture of Joe Namath on his id and the name Joe Willie. He said he got tired of looking at himself all the time and opted for Broadway Joe instead

The National was going on stage next and I really wanted to see them. The manager for REM had gotten us six seats in the 6th row dead center. I was really impressed by this band. Very tight, high energy, great tunes
After the National's set we went backstage for dinner. The had a room set up with a hot buffet/cold buffet/ carving station dessert station beer, wine etc. The guys from the National came into eat dinner and seemed really friendly. Peter Buck came over and thanked us for taking the time to come to the show...WTF are you kidding me thank you for playing. His girlfriend was the only "family member" of the band who was in attendance. They said they were waiting to take them to the Europe leg of the tour because thats more fun. I wandered out to the stage to see Modest Mouse and watched a few songs from the side of the stage. They are not really my cup of tea, but the crowd was into them and the REM team was really happy that they had agreed to open as ticket sales had been strong for this tour.

After Modest Mouse there was another 30 minute break. They had a vip lounge where all the members of the band and about 5 support staff and a dozen guests were hanging out. The Security guy came in about 15 minutes before the show and escorted everyone to their seats. REM doesn't allow anyone near the stage during the show.
Chicago, IllinoisJune 6, 2008(1) Band entrance (0:32)(2) Living Well Is The Best Entrance (3:22)(3) These Days (3:36)(4) Begin The Begin (3:35)(5) What's The Frequency, Kenneth? (4:01)(6) Pilgrimage (4:04)(7) Banter (0:51)(8) Hollow Man (3:02)(9) Animal (3:59)(10) Man-Sized Wreath (2:42)(11) Intro (0:55)(12) Ignoreland (5:02)(13) The Great Beyond (4:00)(14) The Great Beyond (reprise) (0:51)(15) Accelerate (4:09)(16) Houston (2:06)(17) Michael story (1:55)(18) Electrolite (4:19)(1) The One I Love (3:48)(2) The Final Straw (4:31)(3) Find The River (4:36)(4) Let Me In (3:43)(5) Walk Unafraid (3:54)(6) Orange Crush (3:44)(7) Horse To Water (2:15)(8) Bad Day (4:35)(9) I'm Gonna DJ (2:05)(10) Encore break (3:58)(11) Supernatural Superserious (4:31)(12) Pretty Persuasion (3:58)(13) Barack Obama endorsement (2:26)(14) Losing My Religion (5:04)(15) Fall On Me (3:12) *(16) Banter (2:37)(17) Man on the Moon (5:26)* w/Johnny Marr
After the show they had a reception room set up for guests of which there were plenty. Michael Stipe told the wife of my friend that he saw us out their all night long when he was singing. We were around for about 20 minutes when the SUV took us back to the hotel. Peter Buck was already in the hotel bar. We had breakfast the next morning with the bands manager and they were all catching a charter flight to Toronto. Each member of the band has their own bus but they would be hauling the crew to the next stop. They travel party is around 45 people, with stage workers brought in at each stop. It was a really cool night, but you can see the business side very easily and while you think its exciting to the band and their support it's just another day at the job.
Saturday afternoon I hopped a flight from Milwaukee to DC to get my teeth work finished. I got to spend a great night with a bunch of friends at the Cracked Claw, got to spend some time with my mom sunday morning, and at a cookout at another friends home sunday night. Monday I got to sit in National Airport for 4 hourse waiting for my delayed flight, get home at 6:30pm and pick up another volleyball win at 8:30.
A couple of friends shout outs and thank yous:
To Tom Scott and his family: Thank you for an incredible friday night in Chicago. Thanks for making the trip north to see us and thank you for your generosity. I can not say enough about how impressed I was.
To Timmy Dunn: Thanks for saving me 3,000 on my dental work and shuffling your schedule to accomodate me. I am really impressed by your practice
To Danny, Dan, Rag, Dave and Fran thanks for coming up to the Claw. Some of my fondest lifetime memories are hanging out with you guys. You always make me laugh and I'm glad we could make some money as well.
To Danny and Doc thanks for having me over to your house for thousandth time for dinner. I really miss the fun times I had in your house.
I hope everyone else is well. Madison and all of Wisconsin is drying out after massive rain. All else is well and I hope it is with you as well. Peace, Jim

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Sheryl Crow show

"Chasing dragons with plastic swords,

Jack off Jimmy everybody wants more"

Sheryl Crow

Well it's wednesday night in Madison and Myself, my lovely wife, my workout partner Karen, and my really good friend Jenny went to see Sheryl Crow. We had amazing front row seats. She played all of her hits and even brought Madison native Rick Neilsen of Cheap Trick out on stage for a rousing rendition of "I want you to want me".

A couple other little updates for you. I feel damn good on the volleyball court. My 3 teams are 6-0 monday, 8-1 wednesday, and 3-0 tuesday. I am heading to Chicago friday to see my good friend Tom Scott and the band he represents REM. Saturday I fly to DC for 48 hours I get my new 3 unit bridge in my mouth monday morning and return to Milwaukee monday afternoon in time for monday night volleyball. I had my seventh weigh in since returning from Utah this week. I have lost weight each week which is awesome for total of 26.2 lbs lost since returning and close to 90 lbs overall. I hope everyone has a great week. Peace, Jim