Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day

"Sometimes I wish that I could stop you from talking
when I hear the silly things that you say."
Elvis Costello

It has just been picture perfect weather this weekend here in Madison, great for the store, great for the marathoners running today, great for the people at bratfest who have consumed over 100,000 brats in the first two days, and of course, great for me :)

I had a wonderful time at the Meiko concert on Monday night. She was, as always, very grateful and appreciative of her audience and nice enough to take a picture with us. She has great taste in drummers as well, as she signed on Sara Bareilles' drummer for her tour. Now that guy has a sweet life traveling the globe with these girls and hearing their music each night. Although he joked that the tour bus for Sara beat the hell out of the tour van for Meiko.

I spent yesterday at Arlington doing my part to reinvigorate the economy by dumping my Rachel Alexandra money back into betting pools. But while the big filly was kind to me last week at the Preakness, I'm afraid that the midwest horses had me baffled. Still a fun, beautiful day in the box, even if the newcomer I dragged along had no idea what beginners luck was supposed to entail.

There's a new icon on the front page of the fitness ridge website. Look like anybody you know? Thanks to Natalie for working this up and thanks to Eric for implementing it. When I see it, I think I may be Homer Simpson's lost brother, smarter and cuter for sure but we share that food obsession gene....DOH! It's a click through from their homepage to the blog and I guess there's a chance if you're reading this you used it to find me. If so, go back to the beginning and you'll get a picture of why, and how the ridge became such a part of my life.

Here's a wrap up of last week. Ridger Richard Bath made a stop in Madison and got to watch a volleyball win Tuesday and enjoy some healthy PF Changs with us, well healthier than brats that's for sure. Speaking of volleyball a nice 4-0 week for me although we lost the second game of our match Wednesday. Mild mannered, non competitive Jim remarked to his team in between game 2 and 3 that he had "no intention of fucking losing this match" When they stopped laughing at me they proceeded to hang a 15-0 shutout on our opponent. Apparently I need to cuss at my teammates a little more often :) I love warm weather and I got out on the path this week, got into the gym, and of course out on the sand. It paid off as I dropped 3.2 lbs at my WW weigh in. Now if I can just combine a little more sensible eating, and no nights calling home for a designated driver, I just might get this figured out. I hope everyone has a fun, safe holiday weekend. Sorry Canadians reading this, you guys work hard Monday. Peace, Jim

Monday, May 18, 2009

Jim Time

"And though I miss you
But time is on my side
And though I need you
But you and onions make me cry"
It's Monday in Madison and it's going to be good night to be Jim. I have volleyball at 6:30 and than after a quick clothing change in the bathroom at Club Tavern I get to head down to the Majestic Theater to see one of my favorite new singers Meiko. Played four nights last week and went 3 and 1, losing the opening game in the Tuesday night league. That night will present challenges as the level of competition is high.

It seems to finally be warming up here in the mornings and although I have been in the gym fairly regularly since returning from Utah I haven't been getting out to jog before the gym and need to find the resilience to start getting up again in time to get on the paths. I also feel like I need to find a new main workout. I have been doing mostly 2 minute interval circuits. 2 minutes on the treadmill, followed by two minutes doing weight/sit-ups repeat 10 times. I have flattened the sit-up bench and am trying to do 2-300 at each workout. I was sure that my abs would kill me after increasing the intensity of the sit-ups but was walking around last week and thinking not bad. Of course, than I coughed and about collapsed in pain. But at least I know it's working :)

Jacky had a wonderful trip to London/Italy and got back last Thursday. She called it a once in a lifetime trip when she left, and after checking our bank account I was happy she had a trip of a lifetime. Not so happy that she is already talking about her return trip. Perhaps trip of a lifetime means something different to her than I. But knowing what I do about women, I am certain that the next trip won't be as expensive because exactly how many purses and pairs of shoes can one buy. Surely she is at the limit.....yea right :)

One thing we will be buying is a new camera. Our old Canon died in Italy and the new Nikon bought in Italy took a header in London so we are working camera-less right now. That may help explain why the recent blog entries are picture free.

I spent Friday and Saturday sporting my new pink ball cap that proclaimed "Alexandra the Great" I, in no way, thought I could pull off a pink hat but was pleasantly surprised by the look. Not to mention that my faith and wallet were both rewarded on Saturday when Rachel Alexandra became the first filly to when the Preakness in 80 years. I may have celebrated a little too much because my pink hat and I needed a ride home that evening at 1 am after using surprisingly good judgement and not getting behind the wheel.

I am getting a Ridge visitor tomorrow to Madison as Richard from Bermuda stops in town on his drive to Western Canada from Vermont. Hopefully he is the first of many others as Madison in the summer is wonderful. Could blame no one for not wanting to come the other 8 months out of the year. Want to say congratulations to the '09 graduates from UW who made it to the podium last weekend. Sorry that your school thought a cheat, swindler, and down right boob like Bud Selig was an appropriate speaker. Glad some of your parents wanted to shower you with gifts from Sunshine Daydream.

Have some cool Jim Time planned for this week. Need to head up to Ho Chunk OTB to pick up some cash from my winning Rachel Alexandra bet. Get to, of course, get in the sand 3 more times and hopefully on the hardwood a couple times as well. Need to get back out on the paths and keep up the work in the gym. I get a night of trivia on Thursday at Claddagh Pub. I am heading down to Arlington Park this weekend for a day of live racing and hanging out in the private finish line box. This weekend is bratfest in Madison. 4 days of music and a couple hundred thousand sausages. As I stated before, no one can celebrate the the jamming of pork into a skin casing like the wonderful people of Wisconsin. It is 4 full days of live music, some local some touring, that is the draw for me and I can promise I will have less beer than brats and I am capping my brat intake to 2 over the weekend. Great in theory and let's hope also great in practice. I hope everyone has an exceptional memorial day weekend. Come Visit Madison!! Peace, Love and Brats, Jim

Monday, May 11, 2009


Come out Virginia, don't let me wait
You Catholic girls start much too late
Aw But sooner or later it comes down t0 fate
I might as well be the one
Darlin' only the good die young alive.
It's four o'clock in the morning.
Damn it, listen to me good,
I'm sleeping with myself tonight.
Saved in time, thank God, my music's still alive.

I'm a concert guy, anyone who reads this at all, is vastly aware that I go to dozens of shows a year. I have seen some amazing performances, I have seen some amazing artists, and I have seen crowds moved by what they are seeing and hearing. Last Thursday, it was a privilege to be part of the audience for close to four hours of fun, sing along, get in the aisles and dance,
showmanship and music that defines your life. Billy Joel and Elton John, both together and apart, just weaved the most fun filled nigtht of music I have ever seen. So sorry Jack Johnson at Alpine, James Taylor at Deer Creek, The Rolling Stones at RFK, Sara Bareilles at Schubas, Bruce Springsteen in the Orange Bowl, Chicago at Kings Dominion, Jackson Browne at Merriweather we have a new leader in the clubhouse.

I have seen Elton John in concert three time previously including last March in Vegas ( read about it in the old blog entries)and he puts on a rock solid show but I was unprepared for his effort Thursday. And I like Billy Joel. I think The Stranger is a top 20 all time cd. But I was unprepared for the music and show he put on. They did 4 songs together, than Elton did 12, then Billy did 12 and then they closed with 8 together. No breaks.

Setlist:Elton John/Billy Joel:"Your Song""Honesty""Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me""Ode To Joy" -> "My Life"Elton John:"Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding""Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting""Burn Down the Mission""Madman Across the Water""Tiny Dancer""Goodbye Yellow Brick Road""Daniel""Rocket Man""Levon""I'm Still Standing""Crocodile Rock"Billy Joel:"Prelude/Angry Young Man""Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)""Allentown""Zanzibar""She's Always A Woman""Scenes from an Italian Restaurant""I Go To Extremes""River of Dreams""We Didn't Start the Fire""Be Bop A Lula" -> "It's Still Rock N' Roll To Me""Only the Good Die Young"Elton John/Billy Joel:"The Bitch Is Back""You May Be Right""Bennie and the Jets""Birthday" -> "Back in the USSR""Candle in the Wind""Piano Man"

It was a marvelous night and I got to share it with lots of friend that were in attendance which made it all the more special. If this tour comes anywhere near you, please go see it.

Other stuff that's going on: Jacky has completed 2 days in London, 3 days in Florence and 2.5 days in Venice. The dogs miss her, I miss her and I think if she doesn't get home soon our atm card will melt. She heads to London tomorrow and Back in the USA on Thursday. Volleyball keeps rolling along and happily no heckling in my Wednesday or Sunday wins. Tuesday night starts this week so I'll be in the sand 4 straight nites Sunday thru Wednesday. 1o and 1 on the year so no real complaints unless of course you count that one loss :) The mighty trivia team The Crazy Waffles are on a roll as well with 2 wins and a second from our last 3 outings including our biggest win of the season last week at Babes. The final answer was sports events on a timeline. I also want to send thanks to someone who made me a cd this week. I'm all about spreading music and I love to make cds for people. I have made 100's of cds to get people in touch with new music or reconnect them with old music. When someone takes the time to put together a cd for me and goes out of their way to pick songs they know I will like I really really appreciate it. So thanks to you, whom I don't think reads this. All girls, mostly acoustic right in my wheel house and special thanks for reminding me how much I love Bonnie Raitt.

Last year I was so impressed that I could register a lower number every week on my weigh ins at weight watchers. I so wanted to duplicate it this summer. After losing 8lbs my first week, my second weigh in was +2/10ths of a lb. Are you kidding me? I forgot my keys and my wallet in my pocket, left my hat on, and should have gone to the bathroom before that. Oh well it's just a number and while I wish it was quicker going down, I'm in a really good spot right now. I feel good, I'm having fun. I have made so many new friends this year, and I have no complaints, this is after all going to be the GREATEST SUMMER EVER!!! Hope it is for you too. Peace, Jim

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Why don't you hit it to someone else?

So, I won't hesitate no more, no more,

it can not wait I'm sure

there's no need to complicate our time is short

this is our fate

I'm yours

Jason Mraz

You make it easy, it's easy as 1,2- 1,2,3,4

There's only 1 thing 2 do 3 words 4 you- (I love you) I love you

There's only 1 way 2 say those 3 words and that's what I'll do-(I love you)

I love you.

Plain White T's

Sometimes you see really fit people and you think to yourself that they have it so easy, but they don't have it any easier than the rest of us. They are just a bit more dedicated and work at it better. Two stories illustrate my point. I was out to dinner/trivia last week with nine people. Easily the fittest athlete at the table was eating the healthiest food. He had a salad and seemed dismayed when it came with tortilla chips on top of the salad. The guy picked off every last one of them and then proceeded to discard the yolks from the eggs in his salad. Me I couldn't stop staring at the nachos on the plate of the guy next to me and made sure I reached my paw in a couple times to grab a handful. They tasted great but I was almost embarrassed to be eating those in front of the guy eating yolkless salad. Atleast I didn't reach over and grab the discarded yolks. :)

I spent some time in Utah working out with the owner of the Ridge and he bemused to me that the guests think he has it so easy, but he faces the same demons as the rest of us. He was commenting that he was trying to burn a minimum of 1000 exercise calories a day and trying to shake off some winter lbs. To me I figured some people are just born lucky, but I know it's not luck that keeps their hands out of the nachos.

I had a blast at Arlington and was completely shocked by the outcome of the Derby. The Oaks on Friday was one of the most staggering, convincing races I have ever seen. Rachael Alexander turned in a breathtaking performance that would have put her in the winner's circle on Saturday if she had opted to take on the boys. Mine that Bird's win on Saturday and the way he ran the other colts off their feet was as shocking a race as I have ever seen. I have no idea where that effort came from and I couldn't bet this horse to win if they let me bet the race right now. Racing maybe the sport of kings, but those hillbillies from New Mexico with there 9 thousand dollar horse now have the most desired trophy in all of racing. The Dubai sheiks have put hundreds of millions of dollars into their quest to capture the Derby and yet all the money in the world can't pry that trophy out of the hands of the happy clan from New Mexico. Congrats to them.

I saw Jason Mraz and the Plain White T's in concert on Sunday night in Madison. It was a really fun high spirited show. The horn section Mraz brought with him really funkified the night and the crowd sang along and danced the entire show. That show is really high on my list of favorite concerts. Speaking of shows I picked up a half price ticket today to see the Dueling Piano Men, Billy Joel and Elton John in concert Thursday night in Madison. I have seen Elton several times and love his showmanship. It wil be my first time seeing Billy and I am really looking forward to it. And half price still cost very close to $100 for the night.

Here's a snippet of Jason playing I'm yours in Madison Sunday:

So after our volleyball game last night the ref said to me, "I have never seen you get upset, you're always the happiest, most laid back guy around" Here's what pissed me off. We split our first two games and I was serving in the rubber game. The other team had 5 really good players and one who was weak. Guess where I'm serving the ball? Some lady from the sidelines yells out at me with attitude, "Why don't you try hitting it to someone else?" My reponse was, "why don't you get on the court and I'll hit it to you" I'm not trying to embarass anybody, but you step on the court be prepared to have balls come your way. I used to be that person the opponents would hit at and I'm better because of it. Sorry this isn't pee-wee sports and I'm a tad bit competitive and by tad I, of course, mean hyper. To the fan's credit she came up and apologized to me afterwards and offered to buy me a drink. I think her comments bothered the player more than me hitting to her. By the way we won the third game 15-11 to run our monday night record to 3-0.

I don't have any new pictures to add and won't for a couple weeks as the camera is currently travelling around Europe. Jacky arrived safely in London yesterday, and leaves for Florence tomorrow. We are trying to limit our talking to ten minutes a day as the cost is 99 cents a minute, but I am pretty sure I heard mostly art, art galleries and more art in those ten minutes today. Jacky is going to have the summer of her life and it all kicks off with this trip. I'm not jealous at all, but I am damn happy she is getting a chance to live out this lifelong dream of hers. I figured I'd throw up this picture of the real Sweet Baby James and an admiring fan. I hope everyone has an awesome week as always Peace, JT