7.31.2015

Weekend Bike Rides and Rocking to Prep for Ireland and Burn Calories

This weekend looks to be fairly promising weather-wise, helpful in my quest to prepare for the week long bike trip to Ireland I embark on in a fortnight, with my RAGBRAI bike team, the CRAZY BIRDS.

On Saturday evening from 5-9 PM, I have a rock show to perform with the RITA WITTER BAND at the Ridge Bar in Ridgeway, WI. Ridgeway is on the Military Ridge State (Bike) Trail, so I am going to bike the 30+ miles to the gig, at a leisurely pace. The plan is for my awesome GF Deborah to drive my car, with bike rack attached and my music gear and change of clothes loaded inside, to the venue. If we play our cards right, we should be able to coordinate a roughly 4 pm arrival in Ridgeway. I’ll have to roll out of Madison on my bike about 1:30 PM at the latest, because I don’t plan to bike too fast. I just got my cruiser back from the bike shop (spoke repair), so I am going to ride the Green Machine to the show and hope no more spokes break (this is the third one, so I am getting a new wheel if another one goes... After the show, I’ll throw my bike on the bike rack and Deb and I will cruise home by car (probably with her driving, depending on how many Irish Ales I suck down at the show. You know cuz…training!).

Since it is not a super late show, I should get a decent night’s sleep. The Sunday morning plan is to bike out to the Riley Tap in Riley WI with my friend Sherry (not going to Ireland…though she is on TEAM CRAZY BIRD)) for the weekly pancake breakfast, and maybe forging on to Mt. Horeb WI for lunch at the Grumpy Troll if we are feeling motivated.

That should give me some decent weekend miles of bike training. I am going to cross train during the week, running the 5k round trip to work a couple times next week and bike commuting when I don’t. Next weekend, I am going up to the cabin again to hang with the fam, the last chance to see my sister, niece, and nephew before they head back to Colorado. I’ll get a 10 mile ride in around Shell Lake for sure and maybe try to do the 52 mile round trip to Stone Lake (a la Bike With Melinda Ride), weather permitting. That will be a good route check for BWM too, which I host over Labor Day weekend.

See ya.

A Fortnight and One Day

Tomorrow, I'll be a fortnight away from a week long bicycling trip to the Emerald Isle (Ireland). I am starting to gear up mentally for gearing up physically. The essentials are in place...

Passport
Smart phone (for photos and blogging)
Travel journal (for when smart phone is unavailable)
Power converter kit
Pens
Backup charger for smart phone

I usually begin my research on the place I am visiting during the fortnight prior, so that might happen. Or it won't. Sometimes it is fun to just wing it on the fly.

7.30.2015

Can I Get a Side of Insulin With That?

Dear Readers,

I ate too much at lunch today, and to be more specific, I ate too much refined sugary stuff.

I don’t dig that I did that. Free food at work is very dangerous, due to its irresistability.

It was a surprise baby shower for one of my coworkers. She was totally surprised.

A lot of people brought food and drink to share at the thing.

I had some salad and fruit, both fairly healthy. But I also had some cake, soda, peanut M&Ms, and a small piece of the weird rice crispy treat thingies.

I essentially poisoned myself…with high fructose corn syrup and sucrose.

Things to Do Before I Go to Ireland

There are some minor nuancy things I need to do before I leave for my Ireland trip in a couple weeks. One of those is to call my credit and debit card companies to let them know I will be traveling overseas so they do not suspend my cards when I start using them over there, thinking they have been pilfered by some rogue Irish identity thief.

I just got off the phone with a nice customer service lady at my bank and she got all my cards squared away for international use, after verifying my identity on several security metrics.

I write this post as a reminder to help my readers avoid headaches when traveling. Nothing is worse than having your cards suspended when you are overseas, especially if you, like me, are a lazy cheapskate who doesn't have a smart phone equipped with international calling capabilities (to resolve the issue at an odd hour with your U.S. based bank).

7.29.2015

Prepping for Ireland

Passport(s): check.
Power converter: check
Smart phone backup charger: check
Bike clothes: pending
Toiletries: pending
Helmet: check
Light: check

The Travel Writer Mindset

I have to put it out to the Cosmos that my dream life is to be a travel writer and travel all over the place writing about it and doing short videos about places and cool things in those places.

I put that out to the Cosmos in order to structure the time/space fabric to tilt me in that direction. There is this book called “Write it Down; Make it Happen,” which basically says that writing down dreams and ambitions makes them more likely to come to fruition.

That sounds pretty hokey to me, but there could be a rational scientific basis for this. It has to do with MINDSET and the creative process. If you believe something cannot happen, you will be very unlikely to act and think in ways that lead you toward the goal of making it reality. But if you believe something can happen by writing it down, you might take subtle actions and make certain choices and notice certain opportunities that you might not have otherwise.

So iteratively, over time, you could begin to create your own reality and sculpt the Cosmos in your general direction, with no hocus pocus touchy feeliness needed.

It can’t hurt and it might help, is the logic there. So, dear Cosmos, I put it to you…I wish to sculpt you to my will to be a jet setting travel writer, and with this trip to Ireland coming up in a couple weeks, it is a great opportunity for you to present me with some options. If you just get me close, I can take it from there.

Thanks.

Lion Lives Matter

Some douchebag dentist from Minnesota went to Africa and killed a prized lion that was part of a scientific research project.

Yep. That sucks.

But not more than cops murdering innocent black people in the street for no good reason.

In fact, way less.

So why the focus on the cowardly killing of Cecil the Lion?

I suspect it is a combination of shame and distraction. People would rather focus on and decry the shameful killing of a defenseless lion than admit to themselves that they lack a similar outrage about the murder of their fellow innocent humans.

The more vocal people are about the lion, the greater their cognitive dissonance and thus their avoidance of the topic of their own lack of empathy for other people.

Plus, a lone dentist from Minnesota is an easier scapegoat than is our collective social ambivalence to human life.

Just a thought. Fallible at that.

7.25.2015

Lake Fun

Deborah and I woke up around 8 AM this morning, which normally would not be painfully early, but having gone to bed around 1 AM, in this case it was. And not just mentally painful but physically painful too.

The reason we got to bed so late was because a huge tornadic thunderstorm had developed north of Eau Claire WI during our drive north toward the cabin and was directly in our path. Weather emergencies on the radio and large blotches of red on the weather app on Deborah's phone compelled us to drive westward on I-94 to escape the path of the storm. The detour took us north from Menomonie WI on Highway 25 and this delayed our arrival at the cabin. On top of that, we had to sleep on the hide-a-way bed in the living room of the cabin because my sister and her kids were at the cabin and staying in the spare room. The hide-a-way bed is remarkably lumpy and uncomfortable and has a metal support brace that pressed through the thin mattress into my rib cage all night. The weight of Deborah and I also caused the mattress to dip in the middle and by morning my ribs and back were sore. I had slept, but it was not a painless sleep.

Anyway, we got up. I made coffee, always the first order of business. Deborah made herself presentable in the cabin bathroom. Eventually the rest of the family got up and we made some breakfast. Fruit and yogurt were the main staples.

After breakfast, Deborah and I decided to take the boat out and do a bit of fishing. Her back really hurt and so she didn't fish a lot and we didn't catch anything, but it was pleasant on the lake. Calm and sunny.

When we returned to shore in the boat, we swam a bit and I threw the ball in the lake so my dog Foster could get a swim and pseudo-bath.

Then it was lunch time. My sister made some sliced turkey and cheese sandwiches for everyone. After lunch, most of the family wanted to take naps, and they did. I worked on some art pieces while they slumbered.

When everyone got up, it was decided that we all go on a bike ride around the lake. All except Deborah, who declined in favor of taking it easy because her back and foot hurt. Not having Deborah on the bike ride around Shell Lake was unfortunate, because the family stopped to get ice cream and without Deborah there to keep me honest, I had a single scoop of ice cream in a waffle cone.

After we got back from biking, it was the perfect time of day to go fishing, so Deborah and I took the row boat out again. I taught her how to fly fish, rudimentarily, and she actually got a couple of strikes from fish, although I had forgotten to teach her how to set the hook with a fly rod. I caught a couple bass that were below the size limit for this part of Wisconsin, so I let them go. A bald eagle landed in a tree right by us and stayed there for most of the time we were fishing. I think perhaps it was hoping to secure its dinner in the form of fish discarded by us. However, we caught our fish on fake lures that do minimal damage to the mouth parts of fish. So no fish died in the making of this true blog post.

When we finished fishing and came back up to the cabin, it was nearly time for dinner. We had my dad's chili and some supplemental foodstuffs.

I am writing this after dinner and there is talk of card play soon.

What's Up?

Hi Readers.

It is time for me to once again check in and see how you are all doing. Leave a comment at the bottom of this post updating me on your life, or some interesting aspect of it. I spend a lot of time writing on this blog about the goings on in my life, because that's the only life I feel qualified to write about. But I am damn curious to learn about yours.

That said, here's my news. In about three weeks I am going to Ireland to bike around with some pals. Before that happens, I have some music igs, of course.

Most notably, this coming Thursday July 30, my punk rock band EDDIE ATE DYNAMITE will play a show at the Frequency in Madison with an out of town band called MONO IN STEREO and another local band called HELP DESK. Should be a good time.

On Saturday August 1, a fortnight before I fly across the big pond to Ireland, the RITA WITTER BAND is playing a show at the Ridge Bar in Ridgeway WI. We'll be kind of winging it at that show, since they are expecting about three hours of music and we have about 1.5 hours of solid material. I thought EDDIE was to play another show the weekend of August 8, but that appears to be off now, so I will probably go up to the cottage again and relax that weekend, the last chance to hang with my family before Ireland.

Ciao.

7.22.2015

The State of the World

Just when you think the collective American mind can't get any crazier...it does.

Take for example the train wreck that is Donald Trump. The more ridiculous he behaves, the more popular he becomes.

It's not because he is a viable candidate for President. It's because, like a train wreck, people are compelled to watch. They can't turn away. It's theatrical entertainment for the bored, apathetic, and misdirectedly pissed off.

7.21.2015

I Both Like and Need Writing

I find writing both cathartic and therapeutic. When I don’t write a blog post for a few days, I get antsy. When I do write them, I feel good, generally speaking.

I am not sure which direction the cause and effect goes in. Do I write because I am feeling good? Maybe. A case could at least be made that when I am feeling bad, I am less motivated to write, causing a correlation between writing and feeling good, though not a one to one cause and effect, or…dare I say it…cause and AFFECT?

Hehehehe.

How about that Bernie Sanders, whose net worth is pretty low compared with most of his Congressional and Presidential-Wanna-Be peers?

Transitions

Things are happening. Things are changing. Things are good.

7.16.2015

Toilet Seat Credits

As a man, sometimes I leave the toilet seat up. Until recently, I have been a bachelor living alone for a long time, which meant that this disregard for the status of the toilet seat was never that much of a problem.

When I would visit my parents, my mom would sometimes give me grief about it. She had spent over 50 years training my dad to put the seat down. But most of the year, I live alone in my own house.

When I peed at my folks’ house, I would think to myself, “I need to put the seat down…I need to put the seat down,” willfully trying to remember to do it after I finished my business. But over the course of my micturition, sometimes my mind would wander to other unrelated thoughts and by the time I was done, I would forget I was trying to remind myself to do it.

I recently started dating someone, and last weekend we took a road trip up north to my parents’ cabin for some R&R with the folks. It didn’t take long for my girlfriend and my mom to gang up on me about my toilet seat transgressions.

“You know,” I said, by way of protestation. “I get dinged whenever I leave it up, but I never get credit for all the times I remember to put it down.” It was true. When my mom or GF visit the bathroom and the seat is down, they have no way of knowing who was last in the bathroom. It could have been me or someone else. Thus, credit for proper toilet seat positioning cannot be attributed to anyone. But when it is up, then it is clearly my fault, since the women would never leave it up and my dad has been trained (though I secretly suspect he might leave it up when I am visiting because he knows I’ll be blamed).

After we got back from the cabin, I had an idea. I started telling Deborah, my GF, whenever I successfully remembered to put the toilet seat down. I wanted credit for my successful adherence to bathroom etiquette.

“Hey, I just wanted to report that the toilet seat is in the fully down position following my most recent foray into the bathroom,” I would say, or something to this effect, which amused Deborah, an added advantage to improving my reputation as a toilet seat putter-downer.

I discovered another advantage to gaining toilet seat capital as well. I could redeem toilet seat credits against other misdeeds.

“Hey Deborah…I left a couple of dirty dishes in the kitchen sink, but I am going to go ahead and redeem a toilet seat credit toward that, if that’s cool?”

Amazingly, it was. Although I don’t think I will be able to exploit this discovery to its full advantage…

7.14.2015

I Need a Rest

Life is engaging me furiously. Last night Deborah said something along the lines that I seem to have inexhaustible energy. I do have good amounts of energy. But it is exhaustible. I am running a little low and need to chill out a bit tonight, perhaps via some meditation.

Why I Had to Unlike Wisconsin Public Radio Programs on Facebook

My life is pretty good and stress free. I like to keep it that way.

Lately some developments in American politics have been adding to my stress levels, primarily the increasing number of moronic, ideological buffoons jumping into the Republican Presidential Clown Car (including crook and liar Scott Walker and failed red haired bozo Donald Trump).

Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR), my main source of objective, credible news, has not applied a baseline filter for buffoonery on coverage of these idiots, as if they are credible, ethical, and viable contenders for the White House. They do not apply proper investigative fact checking in their reporting, but merely regurgitate the ridiculous statements of these crackerjacks without question.

I can no longer entertain that, and thus have been forced to indefinitely disenfranchise WPR programs from my social media outlets.

When they decide to take the 2016 Presidential race more seriously, I will consider re-activating my social media connection with them. My stress level has a threshold and WPR exceeded it. That's all it is. Nothing personal.

A good day to you.

Whatever

I am a little stressed by some things. But I am choosing to let it go and be Zen.

7.13.2015

Monday

Today was a rather typical Monday. I spent the morning at work bookkeeping so as to report to my boss in the early afternoon, with accomplishments and hurdles/questions. I picked up my dry cleaning over lunch. After work, I made a stir fry for Deborah and myself. Then I wrote some stuff for a couple of hours. Now I am going to bed, because I have to take Foster to the vet early in the morning for a teeth cleaning. Boom.

Who Gets Backstage Passes at the MAMA Awards?

Last night, I attended the 2015 Madison Area Music Awards, representing my punk rock band EDDIE ATE DYNAMITE, who were nominated for Best Hard Rock/Punk Performer of the Year. We were up against three other good bands in this genre, including our faux arch rivals, metal thugs LORDS OF THE TRIDENT.

In keeping with our mock rivalry, we planned some stage antics, in the event that one of our bands won the award. The video of said antics appears below. In order for us to properly pull off our plan, I (aka Teddy of EAD) and guitarist Brian from LORDS (aka The Barron) had to be ushered backstage by LORDS singer Ty (aka Fang), who already had backstage credentials for some reason.

I had noticed that some of the musicians receiving awards had taken to the stage via the audience, while others had come out from stage left. I wasn't able to determine the rhyme or reason behind who had backstage access and who did not. I, however, did not. So I required the protection of metal thug Fang to be ushered backstage. The reason for this was that our stage antics required the use of real medieval weaponry and the Capitol Theater Security Staff were not comfortable with the very sharp blades being wielded in the audience. I can understand that from a liability standpoint.

Once backstage, I recognized a number of local musicians who appeared to have backstage laminates. I still had no clue what the criteria were to gain such credentials. I didn't really care, I just wanted to make some sense of it. I thought perhaps the musicians backstage were there as performers, because there were some live band performances. Some of the musicians backstage were performers. But some were not. I surmised, and have no way of knowing if this is true, that other musicians were there as MAMA Awards volunteers or organizers. That makes logical sense and I will go with that.

Bernie Sanders Net Worth

<---- There it is!

It's a Scorcher

It's a hot arsed day in south central Wisconsin today, hot and humid.

Actually, not uncharacteristic weather for this region in mid-July.

But we've been having fairly mild weather up until now, so the shift is noticeable.

Compared with last year, it's been less stormy too, at least around Madison WI.

So…global warming

Is it happening? Is it real?

I’m a skeptic who has looked at the evidence and believes it is.

But my answer to the question is actually that it is neither here nor there if it is or it isn’t. Reality does not bend to beliefs.

If the scientists are right, we are pretty effed as a species in the near future. Crops will wither and die, water tables will dry up, and there won't be enough food or water to support everyone...which means WAR!

If the right wing religious zealots are right, then God will save us. That probably still means WAR! Because religious zealots just like WAR...

But REALITY is always right and it goes on doing its thing without your permission.

So it does not matter what you believe and you are really better off trying to stay away from beliefs and educate yourself on the reality of the situation.

Or don't. Honey Badger (and Mother Nature) don't give a sh!t.



A good day.

7.11.2015

Lazy Day on the Lake

It is one of those lazy days on the north shore of Shell Lake WI. Sunny, with a breeze coming off the lake from the south that cools everything off a few degrees.

I took the wind surfer out this morning while Deborah kayaked. The cord that attaches the boom to the mast was frayed and it snapped when a gust threw me off the board. I jerry rigged a fix to limp back to our beach by the point.

Unbeknownst to me, Deborah had capsized the kayak a bit further down the shore from me and swamped it with water. A couple dudes from one of the cabins helped her flip the kayak on shore to drain the water so she could paddle back.

Two minor water craft disasters is a small price to play for a fun morning out on the water.

Once we were both safely back, we swam a bit and even Foster doggie paddled around. I also threw the tennis ball for him.

Shortly, we are going to bike around Shell Lake and, if all goes well, obtain fishing licenses so we can go fishing later today on the lake.

7.10.2015

I am Trying Really Hard Not to Post Everything I See About Bernie Sanders on My FB Wall

I love Bernie Sanders. I am voting for Bernie Sanders. Bernie Sanders is exactly what America needs.

However, I long ago made a pledge to keep politics off my personal Facebook wall. I no longer argue with idiot right wing extremists or make snide comments on their idiot posts (on FB…but on my blog I am perfectly fine calling Shenanigans on them).

But it is really hard to resist posting about Bernie Sanders with him running for President. He’s awesome. He’s exactly what America needs to fight the corporatists. America may be too far gone for him to bring it into the 21st and join the rest of the western industrialized world. But he’s the only viable chance for that. Hillary Clinton is a corporatist shill who might perhaps slow America’s nose dive over the cliff onto the rocks below. But she won’t stop or reverse it.

However, I am getting better at resisting the urge to spread the word about Bernie Sanders. Most of my FB friends already know about him and his working class agenda. I am preaching to the choir for the most part and those few friends I have who lean rightward aren’t going to be swayed anyway.

That’s all. Now I am off to enjoy a nice weekend off in northern Wisconsin before Scott Walker signs away my weekends. Yes, the latest Wisconsin State Budget brings back the 7-day work week in all it’s wage slave glory. Weekends…GONE!

Ciao.

Let the Weather Guide You

Increasingly, as I get older, I like to adapt to weather patterns for maximum comfort. If all goes well, when next February comes to Wisconsin with its brutal cold and icy winds, I’ll be going to Sanibel Island in Florida, preferably by way of a cruise with my excellent girlfriend Deborah. Take that Wisconsin winter!

I do not mind heat. I once rode my bike 110 miles in 110 degree heat on RAGBRAI about three years ago. I sweated balls and it was ridiculously hot, but I loved it. I had to stop every chance I got to pound ice cold Gatorade, or I would have died of heat stroke. But whatever. This weekend I will be in Shell Lake WI, about 250 miles north of Madison WI, where ironically it will be about 5-10 degrees warmer than here. That warmth will be buffered by cool offshore breezes coming across the spring fed lake on which my family's cabin sits.

However, I can’t stand cold weather and there is no amount of physical or behavioral adaptation I can do locally to make it OK. I basically have to migrate. Shoveling snow, while an excellent workout, is a terrible thing to do. Hot beverages don’t make a dent in my chilled bones. My birthday in January is usually the only ember of joy I can find to warm my cockles after the tolerable thrill of the December holidays has passed.

Part of it has to do with the short day length in winter in the northern hemisphere. I probably succumb to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) to some extent, or as I like to call it…Seasonal Affective Disorder of Doom and Despair (SADDD). Therefore, I can find no joy in winter weather. I need to retire in a semi-arid or semi-tropical location some day. It will be awesome to do February Album Writing Month (FAWM) from a time share on the Gulf Coast of Florida in 2016. I am looking forward to seeing how the moderate Florida weather will color my songwriting.

Well, that’s enough for today. This post is already in violation of my current penchant for short posts. Ciao!

7.09.2015

Looking Through My Video Archive

I pulled up my Youtube channel this morning and persued some of the old videos I have on there. I deleted a few that sucked.

I thought I would post a couple of the better ones (gems) here.

This one is a cartoon PSA I made for my band GUPPY EFFECT when Xtranormal.com was a thing and you could manufacture your own scripts for the characters.



This one is a very bad video I made to accompany my cult classic rock song "Gingerbread (Zombie) Army."



Here is a live video of my band GUPPY EFFECT performing my song "Becca" about five years ago in the Rock Cave of my old house in Cambridge WI. The drummer was a young talented kid named Al.



That'll do for today, in keeping with keeping these blog posts short enough for the average American attention span.

7.08.2015

I Plan to Shave Tonight

In keeping with my latest penchant for authoring short blog posts, I would like to report that I plan to shave tonight.

My beard has grown to the length at which it begins to annoy me, although my girlfriend Deborah still likes it.

About once a month, Shrek’s wife transitions through a less attractive phase (in the eyes of Shrek).

This is similar to my plight. Deborah won’t love my bald chin for a few days, but over time it will return to its fully attractive bristle.

Residual Effects of My Pop Culture and Mass Media Fast

I have been fasting. Not from food, but from mainstream media and pop culture. I consume it very infrequently, and when I do it is by choice and primarily public media, like NPR and Wisconsin Public Radio.

This has made me a happier person and a more rational thinker, the primary goals that originally compelled me to fast. But there are residual side effects.

My non-fasting friends make pop culture references that I don't comprehend. There is no real adverse result from this, but it makes me feel a bit disconnected from my peers.

For example, I have never watched Game of Thrones, primarily because it is not available for free on Netflix. My trusted friends tell me this show is excellent. A part of me feels cheated of this excellence by my own discipline.

On the other hand, I don't feel like my life is any less rich due to not ever watching Game of Thrones. In fact, my life and mind are far more enriched from being spared much of the mind obliterating nonsense served up by mainstream media.

Happy Thoughts

A friend on Facebook today posted that everyone needed to have HAPPY THOUGHTS today. I don't know why.

In any case, I took it to heart and have been having happy thoughts for most of the day.

When unhappy thoughts creep into my mind, I consciously try to kick them out with more happy thoughts.

It seems to be working.

7.07.2015

Multiple Universes

I am glad I made all the choices I made in my life up to this point, because here I am and things are pretty awesome. Had I made different choices, I'd be living in a totally different parallel universe right now. Granted, that alter existence might be just as awesome. Maybe even more awesome. But also maybe less awesome. But I am fine with the current level of awesomeness in this universe in which I find myself.

I Am Writing Short Blog Posts Today

Today I decided to write a series of short blog posts in between other, more productive obligations.

This is one of them. In it, I describe why I am writing short blog posts.

Mainly it is because I don't have a lot to say in any given blog post about any given topic.

It is also because that takes less time and I can do it during short lulls at work.

I Have Punk Rock Band Practice Tonight

I have band practice tonight with my punk rock band, EDDIE ATE DYNAMITE. I am looking forward to it because it is fun. This band has not rehearsed in a while – not since our last gig, which seems like it was ages ago.

There is a show at the Frequency tonight, featuring Devil to Drag, a fun local hard rock band. Maybe EDDIE ATE DYNAMITE will have a band outing and go to this show after we rehearse. That would be a fun Tuesday night.

I Had HuHot for Lunch

I have not been to HuHot in a long time. I went there today for lunch with Deborah. Carlos the cook was still there. He said, “Hi.” Joy the waitress was not there. Perhaps it was her day off, or maybe she has moved on to better things. I am surprised Carlos has not moved up the ranks to management. But perhaps he prefers the “hands on” nature of his job.

HuHot feels like healthy eating. You choose your raw meats, vegetables, fruits, and sauces. They cook it up on the grill for you. So there is no excuse to make unhealthy choices.

If Weight Watchers is to be believed, you can eat unlimited amounts of certain vegetables without penalty. I definitely chose many of these kinds of vegetables, like carrots and broccoli and bokchoy. But I also included a lot of protein, mainly chicken and tofu, with a smattering of beef, fish, and beans (black and garbanzo).

7.06.2015

Lull

Like a tsunami, the weekend hurled and catapulted me head over heels. Now the waters of fun have receded and I am wandering aimlessly about on the moist and decimated landscape.

I had Friday off from work, a paid holiday. As a result, I teamed up with my friend Sherry and we carpooled to New Glarus WI, with our bikes, butt early in the AM to join a social bike ride with the Wisconsin Bicycling Meetup group. This ride was actually a three day event, with different legs each day. Some people lodged in New Glarus to participate in all the legs, but since New Glarus (NG) is only 30 minutes from my house and discretionary funds are limited, it was a no brainer to sleep in my own bed and drive to the event in the morning.

Friday’s bike ride took us through the rolling hills around NG, passing through Albany WI, where the group dined at the Sugar River General Store. The Sugar River meanders through the region and Albany straddles it. It’s a starting point for tubing down the river, a pastime of the local youth. I ate a roast beef wrap, after which Sherry and I split an “extreme brownie sundae” that was so extreme we could not finish it (though we made fair progress).

The bike route was mainly on roads, but Sherry and I decided to take the Sugar River Bike Trail for our return trip from Albany to NG. After completing the bike ride for the day, we loaded our bikes on the bike rack on my Prius and drove up the hill to the New Glarus Brewery. Deborah met us there and we sat outside in the nice weather as we enjoyed some of the beer brewed there. Eventually, we made our way back to downtown NG and stopped in at the Glarner Stube Restaurant. We decided not to eat there though and eventually we left to return home to Madison. In the late afternoon, we grilled out at my house and a few people stopped by. Deborah’s dachshund, Maddie, chased and mauled a rabbit in my yard, which was traumatic for all, except murderous Maddie. Dachshunds are instinctually compelled to chase and kill rodents. The rabbit probably did not survive the attack, as evidenced by the hind leg and large quantity of blood spatter it left behind on my back patio. Insult was added to injury when the other dogs (several were there) decided to lick up the residual rabbit blood. Enough on that gory topic…

On Saturday, Sherry and I returned once again to NG for Leg 2 of the bike ride. This day’s route was much hillier and Sherry and I did the shortest available route, which was 24 miles. It felt a lot longer because of all the brutal hills. Another lady named Kathy rode that route too and when we finished the grueling ride, we reposed at Sugar River Pizza with her and split an extra large chicken Alfredo pizza three ways. I did not think we would finish the entire pizza, but we did. The ride really took a lot out of us and we needed to replenish. We didn’t stick around NG much longer after that, but returned to Madison.

Deborah’s family was celebrating her dad’s birthday on Saturday, so I went to her parents’ house for an afternoon meal, followed by some boating around Lake Mendota on Deborah’s dad’s boat. We made a stop at the Memorial Union Terrace for ice cream, and then they gave me a brief tour of some of the lake side mansions on the north side of the lake. I would never care to be that rich.

Sherry and I didn’t do the Sunday leg of the NG ride, because Sherry had a prior commitment. Instead, Deborah and I rode bikes from my house to Riley WI, along the relatively flat “rails to trails” Military Ridge Bike Trail, where we stopped in at the Riley Tap for their pancake breakfast. This was Deborah’s first long bike ride. Ever. We took it at a medium pace and she did great. On the return trip, we stopped at the Tuvalu Coffee Shoppe in Verona WI for some iced tea/coffee beverages. For the rest of Sunday, we kind of just milled about and took a late afternoon power nap before heading to the Nitty Gritty Restaurant for a late dinner.

All told, a fulfilling weekend. Now I am back at work and it is a lull compared with the fantastic pace of the weekend’s fun. I will probably have a band practice or two this week, but the next gigs I have are not until July 16-18 (two shows with Baby Rocket and one with Rita Witter Band). In other news, my dog Foster is getting his teeth cleaned at the vet next week.

7.05.2015

Good Times Were Had by All

It was a fun filled, action packed Independence Day weekend. The mornings of Friday and Saturday were monopolized by challenging bike rides in the rolling hills around New Glarus WI. The afternoons saw various social gatherings, some by land and others by sea. Sunday morning saw a social, medium paced bike ride to Riley WI for pancakes, and there was ice cream in the afternoon.

7.02.2015

And So We Come to the End

There is a dearth of activity at my workplace today. This is not surprising, given that tomorrow (Friday) is a business holiday. Things tend to slow down at my workplace as peoples' minds are gradually drawn away from the mundane workday and towards an envisioned ideal long weekend.

The holiday in question is Independence Day (July 4). Because it falls on a Saturday this year, half way non-sociopathic businesses are giving a day off on either the Friday before or the Monday after the actual holiday.

I little Independence Day trivia for you...did you know Independence was actually voted on and approved on July 2? The Declaration of Independence was not signed until July 4, and then only by John Hancock, because the other members of the Constitutional Congress had already gone home. Hancock had to gather their "John Hancocks" over a period of months.

Because it is so dead at work, I am going to kick off my long weekend here pretty soon. I am taking my CSA box over to Deborah's house where we will use its contents to make a delicious veggie stir fry. After that, I will probably drive Uber for a while to generate a bit of cash, given I will be short on hours at my day job this week.

Early tomorrow morning, I meet Sherry at my house and we will carpool down to New Glarus WI to participate in a challenging social bike ride event. We basically repeat this Saturday and maybe Sunday morning as well. I am looking forward to some much needed exercise. Calories must get burned.

I hope to get out on Deborah's parents' boat this weekend too.

That's probably enough said.

It's CSA Box Day and a Great Weekend Ahead

It’s Thursday, and that means my CSA box gets delivered to my workplace this afternoon. I’ll actually go pick it up in a few minutes.

This is a fortuitous thing, because at lunch today Deb and I spoke of making stir fry for dinner and there is sure to be a good selection of fresh, stir fry-able veggies in the CSA box.

Tonight I will probably drive Uber for a bit, to make some pocket money. In part, this is because I am short on hours at my day job this week due to being sick and having my folks in town.

However, Friday (tomorrow) is a paid day off from work (Thanks, The Man!). I am going to be doing some long bike rides this weekend, even though I am not yet over this horrible chest cold. But I am not going to let some microscopic pathogen interfere with having fun.

These bike rides center around New Glarus WI on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. For sure, I want to ride on Friday and Saturday. I will probably ride Sunday but want to have the option not to. The weather is supposed to be superb all weekend.

There is talk of a group outing to the Drive In Theater in Jefferson WI on Friday night, although the movies being shown are a bit lackluster, in my opinion. Still, the drive in is more about the experience. They have an awesome concessions hut with pizza and burgers. If I was a guy who was not trying to watch my figure and change to a healthier lifestyle, that would be a strong compulsion. It still is. But perhaps I should avoid that temptation…