Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

I raise a glass to the mess that is you.
and drink til I unbreak.
I want to glue you back together
'cause we're birds of a feather.
And leave destruction in our wake.
If we've got to go.
This is the way I want go.
Oh I'm going to die for your love...for your love.
Ingrid Michaelson
Just wanted to wish everyone the happiest of New Years and New Decades. I hope 2010 is an even better year for all of us. Here are some of my many memories of 2009.
My top 5 movies of 2009
5. It's Complicated. Very Funny, well acted, not much of a story
4. State of Play. A nice thriller
3. UP. Really cute and probably my favorite animated movie since Jungle Book
2. 500 days of Summer. Quirky Fun and different. Amazing story of lost love
1. Up In The Air. I loved this movie and would put it near the top of my decade list. The actors are brilliant. The story so timely and well told. Flawless in my mind. Pure Genius.
My Top cd's of 2009
When I started to write this list I was hoping that I could come up with 5 I came up with 2 and a half.
1. Ingrid Michaelson Everybody. Fabulous, well written, and well she was in my car so that's a huge bonus :)
2. Jenny Lewis Acid Tongue. I really liked this cd and loved her live show
3. Glee vol 2 The show is fun, the music really fun
4. Jim Vol. 1 Nothing makes me happier than when people make me cd's of music I will like.. Thanks Allison
5. Peace, Love, and Volleyball. Thanks Jaime....and thanks to Marissa as well
My top concerts of 2009.
It may not have been a great year for new music but it was a really great year for concerts.
5. Jenny Lewis @ The Barrymore My top show in a small Madison venue. Lively and much better than I imagined going in
4. Steely Dan Palms/Riverside Saw these guys twice and they were fabulous
3. Sara Bareilles at Schuba's in Chicago. My favorite singer, front row, in a 200 person venue. Never would have thought that day that I would have seen 3 better shows this year
2. Bruce Springsteen at the Bradley Center. The Boss is simply the greatest performer ever. This concert was fun and eye opening to the power of music
1. Billy Joel and Elton John at the Kohl Center/Wrigley Field. Raved after the first one, got amazing tickets to the second show and sang along to every song. Two consummate performers playing to their fans. Wasn't cheap but it was worth every damn penny, and then some :)
My Favorite moments of 2009
5. Having a serious bulky gym dude look amazed as I did 100 sit ups with the medicine ball followed by my trainer quitting after doing ten.
4. Ingrid Michaelson in my car.
3. Finding my old picture of me and Gary Williams and comparing it with the one this year
2. Scaling Camelback and heading into the vortex in Utah. A long ass way from my first "hike" at the Ridge.
1. Winning the Monday Night Volleyball championship. It had been decades since I had felt on a sports court as joyous as I did that night. Just an improbable comeback when we were beaten. I was so proud and still am of my teammates that night. It made me very very very HAPPY.
That's my wrap up. I had a wonderful year. Look forward to another great year in 2010. I made so many new and wonderful friends this year. I have so much to be thankful for. And that includes my return to Fitness Ridge on January 31st. I will be there 6 weeks thru March 14th, get to spend a week in Vegas with some of my life long friends and then March 21st thru April 4th back at the Ridge with my first triathlon on April 3rd. I am excited. Peace Love and Auld Lang Syne, Jim

Friday, December 25, 2009


Here we are as in olden days,
Happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more.

Through the years
We all will be together,
If the Fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.
And have yourself A merry little Christmas now.

Blane and Martin

Christmases come quicker and quicker each year. I can remember sitting here last Christmas' morning and writing an entry while Jacky and the dogs slept. And now one quick year later I am doing the exact same thing:) 2009 has been a fabulous year for me. These last two years have been without a doubt the best two years of the decade for me. Part of it is some of the changes I have gone through but the biggest part of it is the friends I have and the new friends I have made over these last two years. I'm still a work in progress. I'm still a big hunk of clay that needs to be chipped and sanded and buffed. I am, however, starting to grasp that if nothing else I get a whole lot of joy out of making people smile. I used to use it as an overcompensation for things I felt I lacked, and maybe I still do to an extent, but deep inside it is who I am.

It wouldn't be a Christmas post without me complaining about winter. It has a chilling effect on me both literally and figuratively. Our weather has just been bizarre as can be these last few weeks. A foot and a half of snow, followed by arctic temperatures, and now Christmas rain and freezing rain. It makes a greyhound unhappy :)
I really like to spend this time of year thanking the people who have had a big impact on my life this year. I don't want to leave anyone out so let me start by saying. Thank You to everyone. Everyone who reads this, Everyone who stepped out onto the sand with me and everyone who stepped onto the sand on the other side of the net. Everyone who went and saw live music with me and, everyone who took the time to make, copy, or recommend some music for me. Thank you to everyone who watched some sports with me, dragged me to a game, cheered for Rachel Alexandra, or consoled me after a Terp loss. Thank you to everyone who inspired me this year and believe me that is all of you. Every single person with whom I interacted at the Ridge. You people are truly unbelievable. You inspire me in your actions and your words. I see you do things I can't imagine and then I revel as you make me do them with you. The world is a much better place because of the people at Fitness Ridge, of that I am sure. Thank you to all my friends in Madison you just make my life so much more fun. My best friend used to be my TV and while I still like the guy you guys blow him away. Thank you to my family, my two dogs and most importantly my wife. She has put up with me being gone for a ton of time these last two years and is nothing but supportive as can be. Meli Kalikimaka to you and enjoy your trip to the Kokua Festival in Honolulu. There should be a joyous scream when she reads this :)
I do need to give some extra special shout outs. To my volleyball teammates I can not wait to climb back into the sand with you guys. To the people I share my trivia travails with Paul, Sara, Jon, and Allison thanks for the brain exercise each week I love it. To my workout partner Karen who opens up her gym to me and sweats with me. To the staff at Fitness Ridge you guys make me feel like family and I can't wait to see you. To a few special people who have not only inspired me to try this sprint triathlon but who promise to push me so that I don't completely embarrass myself. Thanks Jen, Linda, Sharon, Paige, John, Nancy, Matthew and especially my Utah workout partner Eric.
Speaking of the sprint-tri. Now would be a good time to invite all of you to join me in the race. The race is Saturday April 3rd in St George Utah. a short two hour drive north from Vegas.If you are going to be at the ridge that week sign up. If you want to come to Vegas and watch the final four which is that weekend sign up. If you have always wanted to try something like this but were afraid you'd finish last sign up..... you wont finish last in this event. If you have had a few too many of these or a few dozen too many( seriously those things of which there are only one on the plate, chow mein noodles, butterscotch, cashews and chocolate are like crack) sign up this will motivate you to get rid of those holiday lbs. You guys are all welcome and I would love to have as many people as possible join me in this adventure. If I am doing this there is no reason not to join in the "fun".
Peace to everyone. Here's to an amazing next decade. I will be starting to 2010 by once again buying Powerball lottery tickets for the first drawing of the year to share with my readers. Anyone who leaves a comment gets to join in the festivities. I will split all the winnings with anyone who leaves a comment between now and the end of the year. You know you are going to feel awfully silly if for some reason we win and you didn't leave a comment :) Merry Christmas, thanks for being a part of my life. I love all of you and wish you nothing but Peace, Love, Great Music, Lots of Wins, Endless Fun, the Warmth of the Sun, and Joy in the coming year, JIMMY T.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Snow, Freezing Rain, and Negative Temperatures

Let's enjoy it while we can
Won't you help me shed my load
From the dark end of the street
To the bright side of the road
Van Morrison

Wanted to start this week off with a couple birthday wishes to two really good friends. Paul Schwartz who had a milestone birthday, and Sara Hanson who has quite a few birthdays ahead of her before she catches up to me. We spent Paul's birthday watching John Sebastion of The Lovin' Spoonful perform, however one wouldn't know he was a member of Lovin' Spoonful because he chose not to do any of those songs. Please old performers, we pay the money for the memories, not to hear what new irrelevant music you have conjured up. Spent late night celebrating Sara's birthday in downtown at the Great Dane Brew Pub. The party happened to coincide with the last day of the semester at UW. The bar was packed with crazy Christmas sweaters, binge drinking students and of course one old dude. He went from feeling young and spritely at Jon Sebastion to feeling old as dirt at the Dane.

Well lets face it I complain a lot about the Madison winter weather. And now it has apparently made me insane. I have convinced my workout partner that we needed a new goal to motivate us when I return to Utah. So, and to be honest he really needed no convincing, Eric and I will be competing in the April 3rd St. George Sprint Triathlon. Just so there is no misunderstanding what this entails it's not exactly the Hawai'ian ironman. It is a .5k swim, a 16k bike, and a 5k run. I have no fear of the swimming part of it. Have a great fear of the biking seeing as the last time I was on a bike that actually moved the first George Bush was in office. And I'm not afraid of the run/walk because I will most likely have wrecked my bike prior to that so I won't have to do it. I have run one 5k race and that was in 1984 as a junior in college. I think I finished last unless you count the one person so disgusted they were behind me they dropped out. We have enlisted the fabulous triathlon trainer Ms. Paige Corley to be our coach and principle motivator for this undertaking. My only instruction to her being try to make it so neither of us die on the course, especially me. So I will be trying to do something that I have never attempted before, never thought of doing to til yesterday, and can't imagine I will want to do again. Special thanks to Linda M. who suggested that I try this and to Jen M. who inspired me by doing this same race this fall.

Here was my first day of triathlon prepping. I don't foresee doing bike work before Utah and certainly not outside on the roads where I need to do it.

For the record my 1st day of tri prep:

30 minutes treadmill at 3.0 1.5 miles

1 Hour personal training
5 minutes treadmill
30 side medicine ball lunge/squats
50 up and down on the box with the medicine ball
2 4 minute heavy bag sessions
reverse crunches and sit ups to opposite raised foot These suck
40 medicine ball sit ups
4 trips up/down 20 stairs with medicine ball above my head
41 Medicine ball sit ups
4 trips up/down 20 stairs with medicine ball above my head
back forth over 1 foot hurdles in the sand hitting the volleyball

Don't forget only 9 days of Christmas shopping left and Beatles Tshirts, posters, blankets and mugs make wonderful gifts. This is my good friend and
volleyball teammate Tanya who truly dressed the part for her Christmas party. I am all about Christmas cheer and she personified it. Tis the Season and its the only thing getting me through December, well that and the chance to be the the biggest loser/finisher at this year's St George Triathlon. Peace, Love, and Happy Chanukah. jim

Friday, December 11, 2009


It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Soon the bells will start
And the thing that will make them ring
Is the carol that you sing
Right within your heart
Meredith Wilson
It seems just a week ago I was writing about how temperate November had been and how maybe this winter wouldn't be so bad after all. Well a funny thing happened on the way to my moderate winter. Blizzard came to town and not the kind with pieces of candy and cookies in them you get at Dairy Queen. Madison had its biggest snowfall in 29 years as 19 inches of the powder blanketed the city on Wednesday. I'm not exactly sure when I became a giant wuss when it comes to snow fall and especially driving in the snow but it certainly has happened over the years here. I hate driving in snow, and the roads here have not begun to clear after this massive snow. Today my 12 minute drive to my new gym took me a little over half an hour. It was the first time I had been out of the house since Tuesday and my first decent sweat of the week. And just to be cute Mother Nature after pounding us with snow thought it would be fun to drop our temperatures below zero. The plows can't get the ice off the roads and the salt does nothing to melt the 3 inch thick layer of ice that is now on most every secondary road.

Here is State Street in downtown Madison, home to Sunshine Daydream. Just the kind of weather you want to get out in a walk around and do some Christmas shopping :( You can always take a bus, well if the bus can stay on the road. Speaking of buses. My wife and her friend flew back into Chicago Wednesday evening after five days in Puerto Rico where she was nice enough to complain of the heat causing her to sweat. I had planned to make the drive to Chicago to pick her up but instead I thought I would give her an early Christmas gift of a one way bus ticket back to Madison. I am Mr. Thoughtful.
Is there any good weather news. Of course, I get to spend about half the winter in Utah having booked my next trip to Fitness Ridge for the last day of January thru the middle of March. Lord knows I need the help. I am so different in the winter than I am in the summer. I'm not sure if it is seasonal depression or seasonal boredom but I have been unproductive for the last month. I need sunshine, I need to be outside, and I need sand volleyball. I have watched more TV in the last month than in the previous 6 months combined. That being said I did enjoy Mad Men season one that I wiped out this week thanks to the blizzard.
I got to see Colbie Caillat in concert last weekend. A small venue and a special shout out to Stephanie who was at the Ridge with me in September for making the trip up to see the show with me. Now Colbie I know you have only two cds of music to choose from, but 1 hour and 20 minutes of playing time is an embarrassment to people that know how to entertain a crowd. Oh well everyone can't be The Boss.
Two weeks until Christmas. Still time to have a productive December. My personal trainer kicked my butt today. Basketball, lunges, running up stairs, and just 'cause he loves me a new 18lb medicine ball for my sit ups. Who knew 6lbs could make such a huge difference, that ball is heavy. I hope the weather is nice where you are. And as always tie-dye makes an excellent Christmas gift. Peace, Love and NO SNOW..please, jim

Thursday, December 3, 2009

On Wisconsin

I'm singing this note 'cause it fits in well
With the chords I'm playing
I can't pretend there's any meaning here
Or in the things I'm saying
But I'm in tune
Right in tune

I spent the last couple days taking in some fabulous college basketball. Drove 6.5 hours from Madison to Bloomington, Indiana on Tuesday morning to see my beloved Terps defeat the Indiaina Hoosiers. Got in town in the afternoon and got a chance to say hi to some old friends at the team hotel, and got to thank Eric Hayes for the tickets to that night's game. Dragged along my good friend Paul for the journey and he responded by taking me to the Wisconsin Duke game on Wednesday. A couple things about the trip. Assembly Hall is a historic college basketball arena. It is also the most poorly designed arena I have ever been in. Concrete walls, a balcony that overhangs blocking the view of the scoreboard, and almost no seats behind the baskets. The architect might I have drawn his plans in crayon.
Here is the before and after scene at the Kohl Center, which happens to be a wonderfully designed arena :) The atmosphere was really good, slightly short of great. Mainly because Wisconsin made a money grabbing decision and put all the student seating behind one basket. When the students are on the sidelines they make the rest of the crowd more intense. But congrats to the Badgers on what many were calling the biggest win in the history of the arena.

Thought I would throw these two pictures up side by side. The first is from 2005 and the other is from Tuesday. Gary Williams head coach of the Terps has aged gracefully although the stress of coaching seems to have made him slightly shorter. :) We are, as I type, getting our first real snow of the season. 3-5 inches of wet, moist, crash inducing, depression causing, pain in the ass snow. Jacky heads to Puerto Rico tomorrow where she will see Adrianna whom I met at the Ridge in 2008. We Fitness Ridgers are everywhere!!! I am certain they will laugh, and share a large tropical rum filled toast to me and the snow. Hope all's well, Jim