Thursday, October 30, 2008

Meet me in St Louis, Looie

"Leave unsaid unspoken

Eyes wide shut unopened

You and me

Always be

You and me

Always between the lines"

Sara Bareilles

I know it's been a while and I apologize but again fall on my common excuse that my life just isn't that exciting and I sometimes find that I have trouble mustering up words that I think you will find entertaining. Anyways we finished our fall outdoor volleyball season on Monday night with a 2-1 victory played in snow flurries and temps in the mid 20's. Not exactly what I would call ideal conditions for outdoor play but I refuse to complain cause it was still fun and I can still sweat in the cold. I did wear my first ever under armour type shirt and even though the owner was a school friend I don't get the hype.

Jacky and I traveled down to St Louis on Tuesday to pick up a bunch of sweatshirts and t-shirts from my brother Jay. Well that was one reason but the real reason we made the 12 hour round trip drive was to see Marc Broussard and Sara Bareilles in concert at The Pageant. Which is a wonderful venue just down the street from the first Sunshine Daydream in St Louis. It was a great show and as anyone who has read this blog knows I am a monster Sara fan. She did not disappoint at all. She was funny, respectful and thankful of her crowd, showed her keen sense of music awareness by covering the fabulous Counting Crows' tune Sullivan Street , and really made sure that everyone was having a good time. I know I gush about her, and believe me Jacky teased me a ton about how glowing I am, but Sara truly gets what being a popular musician should be about. It was such a highlight when she brought up both of her openers for a rousing version of Stevie Wonder's Living for the City.

Marc Broussard, who was fortunate enough to get his picture taken with Jacky, was the second opener and he is so talented and an amazing singer songwriter. I've praised him recently but really enjoyed seeing him live for the first time. Even got to tease him about his beloved LSU Tigers getting slammed by Georgia the previous Saturday.

I knew you guys would have been greatly disappointed if I had not made the effort to score some pictures with the star attraction. She was really gracious and went out of her way to sign cds and pose with her fans. Just can not say enough good things about her.

Your standard self shot facebook photo holding the camera myself. Also happy to get a photo with an artist that didn't look petrified that I was standing next to them (Mike Millls of REM and JT)

This is my first attempt at video so we' shall see how it goes . It is a short snippet of Sara playing her song City in St Louis shot on my camera.

So this weekend is Halloween everywhere but it is a major event in Madison named "Freakfest". It is a big weekend for the store and seems to have settled down a bit in that the riot police on horseback have not been needed the last couple years and the looting and glass breaking seems to have stopped. We can only cross our fingers like we do most years. I expect to see a whole lot of Sarah Palins walking the streets along with a bevy of naughty schoolgirls, nurses, librarians, angels, cats and rabbits. The weather is going to be magnificent which is far from the norm for Madison the last weekend in October. Plus the partiers get an extra hour on Saturday as the clocks go back.

I waited for the fitness update until the end. Short term I am still having some issues. I am working out hard, I'm smart I know what I have to do, and I need to travel less and cook at home more. Long term I'm in a good spot. I got a new driver's license today and I look better than 2003, even I can see that. It must be the tan :) Seriously I'm happy, I look forward to continuing, working hard, having fun and being a better person inside and out. Peace and VOTE!!! Jim

Saturday, October 18, 2008

October Road

"There's a slight conversation

Filled with hidden revelations in your eyes

Baby I'm so into you

Every whisper from your soul to my heart

Baby I know its true

You're a sweet little mystery sent to me from the stars

And that's the beauty of who you are"

Marc Broussard

I need to start today by giving a huge shout out to three long time Fitness Ridgers who wrapped up very, very successful stays in Utah. My friends Ronnie, Adriana, and Giselle ( all pictured here after conquering a tough hike) all stayed at the Ridge for a minimum of seven weeks and each worked their asses off both figuratively and literally. Congrats to the three of you for losing a combined total of 114lbs during your stays. Have fun in Youngstown, Puerto Rico and San Fran. and keep up the good work and don't forget to schedule a little "check up" next March at both the Ridge and Utah.

Sorry bout the sappy nature of the my previous post. All's good and I have settled in to a good spot in Madison with my workout partners, the support of both my new and long time friends, and lots of volleyball. Now if someone can call Al Gore and have him schedule some global warning for the upper midwest this winter I'll be a happy camper. Remember there are only 66 shopping days until Christmas and its never too early to start thinking about those people on your list. I am sure most all of those people would love a tie-dye, tapestry, or a hacky-sack and I know where you can find all of those things at a reasonable price.

How bout those football scores from this week. BYU (sorry Eric, Cam, Emily, John, and most everyone else at the Ridge) went on the road played a real team and got completely exposed as not-BCS worthy. Holy Disaster at TCU. Maybe the Las Vegas bowl vs UCLA again. Still time to jump on the Utah Utes bandwagon. And the always mystifying Terps won their fifth straight game and third game this year vs. a top 25 team. Now if they can stop losing to miserable teams maybe they will have found something. Speaking of college sports. The third Friday of October brings the start of college basketball season and of course time for all of us to start hating Duke again.

Some new music as well this week. Today's quote is from bluesy singer-songwriter Marc Broussard. How have I missed listening to this guys music? If Stevie Wonder, Elton John, and Carole King had a love child his name would be Marc Broussard. Go buy his cd Carencro and thank me later. How bout this double feature Sara Bareilles and Marc Broussard in St Louis on October 28th. Good thing I'll be in gateway city on "business" that day.

This week is Breeder's Cup week which I know means nothing to most of you but to horse racing fans like myself it's like a two day Super Bowl. Look for me to spend two days at Prarie Meadows racetrack in Altoona, Iowa betting the simulcasts of the races from Santa Anita. To say I am completely unprepared for this year's running would be an understatement. Hopefully that's good news because all the time I spent preparing the last couple years has proven fruitless. I am expecting big days from the European imports of which there will be many. Hope all is well in your neighborhood. Peace, Love and Happiness, Jim

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I love the fall

"And you can tell everybody this is your song
It may be quite simple but now that it's done
I hope you don't mind
I hope you don't mind that I put down in words
How wonderful life is while you're in the world"
Elton John
Let's wrap up last weekend. Saturday was an amazingly perfect Indian summer day in Madison. It really was too warm to call it perfect football weather, but it was damn close to perfect tailgating weather. We did the best we could but we are not perfect tailgaters, in the sense that some of the people tailgating around us had ridiculous set-ups, complete with bars and bar stools, or pop up grills, or full stereo systems cranking the UW marching band. We had the only TV around which led to a very long day and night of watching football, eating lo-cal jello shots and having an exceptional good time. The game? you ask. Didn't actually see a play live, and the Badgers suffered their worst home loss in a decade 48-7 to PSU, but I'm not a fan and the game was merely an excuse to tailgate so I was content.

Quite a few random people have nicely made comments that I look good. They love to ask how much weight I have lost. And I love to answer "quite a bit." They always seem to give that look that says they want the number but I don't like to share that number because it's just a number and there's plenty more where it came from. They also want to know "Do you feel different?" Well of course I feel different I've lost over 100 lbs. But the difference to me is I get around tons better, I'm up for trying anything, and I'm just more comfortable being places and doing things. Volleyball is so much better, Walking distances is so much better, not feeling out of place or worrying about what people think or who I could be offending is much better. Do I feel different inside? No, not really. I feel like I am the same person. I have the same thoughts, I still obsess over food but in a better way, I still get nervous going new places, I still go out of my way to make sure everyone feels included and is having a good time, and I still feel naked without a hat. Am I an inspiration to others? People tell me I am, but I'd rather people were inspired by who I am, than by the mere fact I lost weight. My weight has defined me for so long and how people perceive me, that the mere fact I have lost some of it doesn't seem inspiring to me. If it helps other people who are struggling I'm glad for that, but I also know truly inspiring people overcome struggles not of their own making, and make the world a better place.

Speaking of Volleyball I have played more volleyball in the last week, than I have ever before. I have made the transition indoors and love playing on the hardwood. My knees like the sand better but the rest of me likes the speed of the indoor game. I played 3 times for two hours last week and just love it. No major plans for this weekend. Still nice enough to get outside and walk/jog. The leaves are in amazing color which is good, and they are piling up on my lawn which is not so good. I had a decent minus 4 lbs this week at weight watchers but still not back to the leaving Fitness Ridge number. I bought a bunch of new clothes this week in a size I haven't worn this century. I am looking forward to handicapping the Breeders Cup next weekend. And John McCain has stopped running ads in Wisconsin because he is hopelessly behind here so my TV viewing is slightly better. I'll be glad when they all stop running election ads. Hope all's well wherever you are reading this Peace, Jim

Friday, October 10, 2008

Hello, It's not me!

"So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains
And we never even know we have the key"
The Eagles
As I picked out today's music quote it occurred to me that maybe I had used this exact quote before. I'm certainly way too lazy to read through my previous 70 or so posts to find out if I have used it. So I figured I would make this offer to my loyal reader (s). If I ever duplicate a song lyric, and I will no doubt do it one day, the first person who posts a comment saying I repeated the lyric gets a free Sunshine Daydream t-shirt.

Speaking of music I saw two concerts this week that really epitomized most everything that is
both great and bad with live shows today. The first show was rock legend Todd Rundgren. He played in a 1,000 seat venue, $26 ticket price, maybe 350 fans. He had a full band, no opening act, and played 19 songs. Of the 19 songs 12 were his entire new cd called arena. 2 were covers of other artists songs and of the 7 remaining tunes one was a mainstream hit. He chided the audience for requesting songs and told them they would need anger management classes when he was done. These are his fans and he is talking down to them. His signature hit "Hello, it's me" was nowhere to be found and it seemed he took pleasure in denying his audience what they wanted. Shame on you Todd Rundgren. Easily one of the most disappointing shows of the year.

The next night I got to see young singer songwriter Matt Wertz. He played to a crowd of maybe 200 in a venue built for about that number. Ticket prices were $16 and he had an opening act, and a full supporting band. I was easily the oldest person at the show as at least 80% of the audience looked to be UW students. Matt Wertz had a lot of fun, completely engaged his audience, talked about Madison, let his audience choose songs, and played snippets of Bob Marley, Cheap Trick, Colbie Collait, Taylor Swift, and Michael Jackson. He was genuinely excited to be performing and regenerated the faith in live music I had lost the night before. Go buy his new cd Under Summer Sun or bug me and I'll burn a copy if you promise to buy one of his other cds when you realize how good it is.

Some other tidbits from this week. I went back to Weight Watchers this week and it seems that somewhere between Ivins, Utah and Madison, WI. I swallowed a cinder block. I get to spend the next couple weeks getting rid of the last week. Oh well, I didn't expect the number on the scale to be the same number I left in Utah but I'll get it back. I played indoor volleyball for 2.5 hours Wednesday afternoon. It is a different game than the sand version. You move so much quicker and jump much easier. I think it had been over a decade since I had last played indoors and that part about jumping, well it was a new thing landing on the hard ground and my knees reminded me of that for the next two days. Undefeated Penn St, and their legion of crazy Pennsylvania people and one really old coach come to Madison this weekend and I am tailgating most of Saturday for only my second tailgate in my time in Madison. Should be fun and the temperature is expected to be in the mid-70's. Perfect fall day. And I hope it's perfect wherever you are. Peace, Jim

Saturday, October 4, 2008


"There are mountains and hillsides enough to climb

There are oceans and rivers enough to cross,

Enough to last till the end of time.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love

It's the only thing that there's just too little of

What the world needs now is love, sweet love,

No, not just for some but for everyone"

Burt Bacharach

So it's a fall saturday in Madison and of course that means football. The Ohio St Buckeyes are in town for a night time game and the city braces for the onslaught of drunken badger fans. Also in town this weekend is the Midwest Harvest fest which is a 3 day rally for legalization of Marijuana. We also wrap up the World Dairy Expo which brings a ton of people into town to celebrate cheese, milk and cows. Now we'll get some people in the store from the first and third groups, but that middle group is right in our wheel house and should make it a busy weekend at Sunshine Daydream.

I really had a pretty strong case of the Fitness Ridge post-partum blues this week. I felt like I was deserting the friends I left behind, especially Adriana who has three weeks left and arrived the same day as me. I also miss the staff, miss the feeling of being part of a "team" struggling together, and miss the structure of the program. But that's part of life and you can't live at the Ridge forever unless you marry into the owners family and that's not going to work for me. I am hoping to stop feeling sorry for myself, and get a lot more serious this week. I have workouts scheduled next week with my workout partner Karen. The weather should be slightly more friendly( it was cold here this week), the Brewers should be eliminated so I wont have to hang out in bars to be with my friends, and I'm ready to win my bet with my friend Alex ( first to lose 20lbs but I have to lose 25 as a handicap).

I have a pretty fun week ahead, and the busier I am the less likely I am to sit around and eat out of boredom. Volleyball game monday, Todd Rundgren concert tuesday, Matt Wertz concert wednesday and big tailgate next Saturday for the PSU-Wisconsin game.

I was happy to hear that there were a few changes being implemented at the Ridge. Even though no matter how hard I begged I couldn't get them implemented before I left, I feel like I left a few gifts for my future camp mates. They have started grilling on friday afternoons and at first it was going to be boca burgers but after a petulant temper tantrum about the merits of boca I was told that yesterday was ground turkey burgers. I know that Paige has added some tennis rackets, and basketballs to the fitness equipment at the Ridge. I got some basketball in when I was in Utah. Unfortunately I left behind enough bricks for a new dorm. And finally my Ridge sources say a pool volleyball net is on the way. And let me just say it well take a team to yank me out of the pool if that is indeed the case.

One last word about today's music quote. It takes a very special person to identify the "hitmaker" as Burt Bacharach. There was no one that supplied more singers with hit songs in the 60's and 70's. He's gone on to own and race champion race horses and recently has taken the reigns in trying to get states to allow jockeys to race at a more humane weight. He is one of the good people and still gets out with his orchestra and entertains. Love, sweet, love Jim