Monday, November 6, 2017

THE SJ HOME GYM AND ATHLETIC CENTRE


It's kind of funny that I'm writing this. I don't see myself as in outstanding shape compared to some other people. I'm not an exercise expert but I think I'm doing ok for my age. Mostly, I like to encourage people. Encourage them to create, to stay busy and active. Be busy working. Help someone who needs help. Keep yourself tuned in to God and take care of your physical body for the short time you have it.

So, as you read this, it is not meant to be an informative "how to exercise". This is just what I do for myself, and maybe it'll be something you might want to do.

I've been asked, why post gym photos on Facebook? The answer to that is "motivation". If I can motivate someone to get up off their lazy bums and exercise, I think I've helped someone. When I see other people posts their activity, it's a nudge for me. I have a couple of friends who text me their "routine from yesterday" - sort of like accountability.

I only stay at hotels that have free weight gyms.
So why a home gym?  Don't I get distracted?  Ya, sometimes.  Going to a gym in the city is great because you're surrounded by people who want to get in shape - and there's nothing else to do.

At home, there ARE distractions - like the fridge, the phone, the dog, the TV, someone at the door. But it saves me from getting in a cold winter car and driving back into town.

I moved from Barrie to the country five years ago. When my annual membership at the Georgian Gym was up for renewal, I decided to spend the renewal money on home equipment. My whole gym cost me less than $1,000. I started with a bench and a couple of dumbbells and then added on, later.



THE GEAR
  • Incline/flat bench
  • Dumbbells (pairs) of 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50's.
  • 2 sets of rubber cables attached to the wall
  • 1 rubber cable lying around
  • a pair of push up bars
  • a 6-pound medicine ball
  • a floor mat
  • a chin-up bar
  • a 100-pound boxing bag
  • a trainer for my bike in the winter
  • my phone with "saved videos" of 5 minute cardio sessions

MY ROUTINES

Day 1 - Chest/Bicep
Day 2 - Shoulder/Tricep
Day 3 - Light day - chest, bicep, shoulder, tricep
Day 4 - Light day - 100 push-ups, 300 situps

I mix it up and do what I feel like, pending time and motivation. Oh, and the scale.

Planks are killers!






OTHER STUFF I MIX IN:


  • Cardio - several rounds on the boxing bag
  • Cardio - several professional 5-minute videos
  • Cardio - skipping, usually 1,500 jumps
  • Various crunches - I do these throughout every workout above
  • Ab punches with gloves with a partner
  • Ball throws during sit-ups with a partner
Skipping - learned it in a boxing club and my buddy
Chris Bray got me back into it.



AILMENTS
I have a few health issues, but none severe. My lowered back complains from time to time. but mostly, it's not bad. Every day that I can lean on the handle bars and ride my bike is a blessing.

I also have Brachial Neuritis which is a nerve condition in my spinal, which caused muscle atrophy - where the nerves stop talking to the muscles, and they shrink.  The triceps in both arms are affected, so it limits some of what I used to do in the gym, like push-ups, but, it's not affecting my quality of life.

My buddy Tom Roe and I did a few bike trips this summer!

BIKING
I don't bike for exercise - only for relaxation and fellowship.  I hit 1,000/km this season, which is terrible, compared to distance rides and 3,600 km in my best year. The rides are now under 50km a day, and sometimes only 20km. I'll admit - it's an age thing.

Overall, I'm grateful that I can do this. As I get older, I can feel my body wearing out. But I figure if I keep myself tuned up to whatever level it is that I'm at, maybe I'll last a little bit longer than I would have, had I not done this.

DIET
Anything, plus a Coke, baby! I’m lucky I have a fairly fast metabolism!

Happy workout, everyone!








Tuesday, October 3, 2017

JERRY LEE LEWIS - AND OTHER STUFF

I'm not a fan. Well, maybe I am, now.

Jerry Lee Lewis is a 50's pop star known for two songs "Great Balls Of Fire" and "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On".  Now in his 82nd year, he performs less than a half a dozen shows a year. And one of them was in New York City at B.B. King's Bar and Grill, in Times Square.
In the 50's.


The show lasted 40 minutes. We all stood as he "walked" on stage, looking elderly, white hair, pale face, hunched over, wearing a silver sequined jacket which fit him horribly. Being frail and unstable on his feet he was helped to the piano stool by two stage hands.

As prepared as I thought I was to see a feeble, elderly man, well past his prime, I wasn't. I lost it. It was beyond emotional. He reminded me of my Dad visiting my house, careful and slow to not miss a step as he walked over the threshold at the door.  Many times I thought, "this could be the last time I see my Dad."  And, one day it was.

As Jerry played, he reminded me of that.  I was crying, I'm not kidding.  It was overwhelming to be there. I wondering - is he doing this for the money?  Or because he still loves to perform?  I don't know.

view from my seat
Between his southern drawl and slurred diction, it was hard to understand him. But, he pounded the keys with fervor and that was exciting. The audience cheered!  Well, they cheered for everything!

This particular show was JLL's 82nd birthday.  His wife (7th wife) sat on stage taking pictures on her phone, sometimes getting in the way of the band. A fan went up to the stage with a birthday gift, wrapped in silver, and leaned over the monitor to hand it to Jerry. Jerry leaned forward and I thought - oh no!  He's gonna fall right over. A stage hand intercepted and tried to take the gift, but JLL grabbed it and sat it on the piano. Haha.

"Great Balls Of Fire" played, more or less. The band was average. They didn't perform. They just played, carefully, without enthusiasm. Not because they didn't care but probably because they don't have much energy left.

Then it was "Whole Lotta Shakin'"  - the place went bonkers!  And, I kid you not - at the end, Jerry stood up, kicked the piano stool backwards, flipping it over, just like he did when he was 25!  The place - went nuts!

Then, his assistants came to him, and took him to stage right, where his wife was still rapidly taking photos as if it was his last show.  And then, they brought out a birthday cake with super candles with 18 inch flames shooted high.

Despite, my sad and emotional memory it was incredible!  I was in the second row, just off centre and it was worth every dollar. And this show cost me plenty.

Happy birthday!
It was like being with royalty. A man who gave so much to early rock and roll. He is a pioneer. He kicked man stools over, rocked many fans into a frenzy much like Elvis. He married 7 times, one time to his 13 year old cousin. He's had tax issues and been incarcerated. And who knows what else. But he's a pillar in pop music. And he's still doing it.

I'm so lucky to have been at this show. I was watching history. Gosh, I am lucky.

***********************************

Here are some other highlights of my trip to new York.


Visit to my favourite clothing store - John Varvatos on the Bowery,
former site of CBGB's nightclub.


Awesome hotel gym - Paramount Times Square

My new friend Carlos Montanez, with (legendary DJ) Broadway Bill Lee at CBS-FM.

Movie - about JD Salinger writing "Catcher
In The Rye." Great indie movie.

Mike and me on the subway.

Mike and me on Brooklyn Bridge.

A Coke truck.

Amazing lunch place off Wall Street.

The World Trade Centre.

 






Wednesday, July 26, 2017

A YEAR AGO - SUMMER TOUR

The show dates.
 
Facebook reminded me that it was one year ago of a very special family event. My son Brett and his wife Gretyl, began an international tour of with band Handsome and Gretyl. I went on board as the Tour Manager and my wife Janice joined us as the nanny, looking after Brett's kid's while he performed evening shows.

The tour began in Seattle and crossed many states into Canada, returning in Seattle.

We shared the expense of a 31-foot RV that acted as our home for the month, as well as transporting stage gear. We slept on board, cooked and ate, had meetings and enjoyed family time.

I've toured with local bands on weekend dates but not for weeks and weeks and certainly not covering the miles of this H&G Summer Tour.

From Seattle, to L.A., to Nashville and Toronto - and many more cities. A few promoters ended up becoming Facebook friends, following me long after the tour ended.

I learned new things about artist management on this tour - learning is great! Especially when it's music-based.

It's been fun to look back over these photos and I've posted a few of the show highlights and the extra stops along the way.

A day off at a beach near Dallas.

Visiting Southfork Ranch - home of J.R. Ewing.

A sketchy venue but a fun show.

Visiting the life-size ark in Kentucky.

The James Dean crash site memorial in California.

The intersection where James Dean crashed and died.

The Mint - downtown L.A.

Somewhere. Brett driving, me navigating.

The Mint - great venue, great lights, great sound, great show.

Early morning sunrise over Tennessee.

Nashville.

"Just can't keep my eyes open!"

A tour highlight - playing Rock The Lake in Orillia.

Meeting up with my radio friend Tim Cardascia in Sacramento.

Private party in Sacramento.

Seattle - the beginning.

 

Shawnee Ok. Private Party.

Stopping to play in the waterpark.

Toronto.

Placing a bid for an item in Alice Cooper's Phoenix restaurant.

Alice Cooper's Cooper'stown.


Oro Station - private party.

Friday, July 14, 2017

I'M 60 - AND HERE'S WHAT I KNOW

I can’t believe I turned 60 this week. Sixty! It’s old enough to be a grandparent! Old enough for body parts to mess up. And, old enough to look back on 60 years of life's experiences and share some thoughts for those who care.

In no particular order, here are 36 things I've learned. Nearly, one a year!

  1. Stretch your body every day. Stay flexible.
  2. Don’t go into debt. It’s nearly impossible to get out.
  3. You get what you pay for. Stop looking for cheap deals.
  4. Do what you say you’ll do otherwise you’ll be thought of as unreliable.
  5. "Once you give up your dreams, you die." (Jennifer Beals in "Flashdance")
  6. Don’t be late. It’s disrespectful to those waiting for you.
  7. Don’t ever tell anybody everything. Some secrets are not meant to be shared.
  8. If you look after your things they’ll last longer. Mom was right.
  9. Keep your stories short. People are only listening until there’s a squirrel. And there’s always a squirrel.
  10. Never say "never". The last time I said "never" I ended up in Nicaragua.
  11. Great ideas can have bad timing. Sometimes you need to wait.
  12. If you’re wondering if God is involved, look for the fruit.
  13. Best friends are only around until the wind changes direction or your money runs out, whichever comes first.
  14. Some people are eternally unreliable. Keep your distance.
  15. "Everything ends badly, otherwise it wouldn’t end." (Tom Cruise in "Cocktail")
  16. Have a hero to follow.
  17. Someone is watching you. How you act. What you say. Be a hero to someone else.
  18. Don’t get sucked in to nonsense. Especially church nonsense.
  19. You can’t fix everything that goes wrong. Let it go.
  20. You can’t figure everything out. Let God do his job.
  21. People change and the memories remain. Cherish the memories.
  22. Get a dog.
  23. You can think about doing good deeds but unless you do them, you’ve done nothing.
  24. The journey is what brings us happiness, not the destination.
  25. Hang around with people who are kind. Ditch the people who aren’t good for you.
  26. Car rides are better when someone else is driving.
  27. If you’re sick, get meds, get therapy and pray. It’s a good combination.
  28. The speed limit may be low but ramp speeds never lie.
  29. There’s someone worse off than you. Buy them dinner. Buy them a bed.
  30. There’s someone better off than you. When they offer to help, don’t be too proud to accept.
  31. Surrendering your time and inconveniencing yourself for someone else feels really good.
  32. Save your money for at least one really good bucket list event.
  33. People think you know what you’re talking about when you’re older, even if you don’t.
  34. "There’s never nothing going on." (From "Peaceful Warrior")
  35. Spend more time being grateful for what you have and less time asking for more stuff.
  36. Coke is delicious. Coke brings a smile. It is never insincere, it is never late. It calms me when I’m frustrated and gratifies me when I’m happy. Coke is always a sight for sore eyes. It is always bubbly. Always quenches. It far outweighs the cavities. Coke is always there for me. Coke is it.

Friday, May 12, 2017

O CANADA - CHRISTIAN ARTISTS FOR CANADA 150

This July is Canada's 150th birthday. I thought, wouldn't it be cool to have a new version of our national anthem recorded, using the artists who make the music we all love!  And so began the project of recording "O Canada".

For years, I've dreamed of recording the national anthem, in a "we are the world" format, bringing in a dozen well-known artists, and each of them singing a lyric line, backed-up by an all-star chorus of singers.

With this year being the 150th anniversary of Canada, it seemed like the right time.

I contacted Andy Horrocks - the award winning producer. Andy is generally known as "the" producer for Christian music in Canada. I'm not sure how many Covenant Awards he has won as Producer of the Year. Or, how many songs he has produced, but "a bunch" would be modest.

Between Andy and myself, we had contact with nearly all of the most well-known artists in the Canadian Christian music industry.

From there, I handed it over to Andy.

Andy brought in a house band to lay down the music track and then he set-up one day for all of the singers to come to his Kitchener studio to record.

He has a large living room and there, on the floor, lay 25 headsets, positioned where each singer was to stand.

It was a fabulous day, hanging out, with all those talented singers in one room. And those who could not attend, recorded their part in a local studio and sent the track to us.

I was overwhelmed in emotion to see all these people, sing so effortlessly, in a patriot way, and honour Canada at this once-in-a-lifetime event.

After the chorus was sung by the collective band, each lead singer went in the studio to sing their part, all directed by Andy.

We named the group Christian Artists For Canada 150. Thanks to David Wang for producing a video to capture a very memorable event in the making.

"O Canada" is released on iTunes, Spotify and included in a national radio special that airs on most Christian radio stations across Canada on Canada Day!

My thanks to all the singers who caught the vision and sacrificed time to be part of this INCREDIBLE piece of music history.