Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fresno's Hanson Connection.


I've spent my entire life waiting for Hanson to give a damn about Fresno.

Yes, Hanson. I've followed them for the last 13 years, enduring the nonstop jokes (13 years of "That middle one is a hot girl" is an exercise in patience) and even worse, the ad-lib lyrics to Mmmbop that people think are so clever. I'd long abandoned the notion that maybe they'd fall in love with me (me!) and then come to appreciate the place so close to my heart. Even through my creepy semi-stalker attempts to talk to them (ending in asking them to predict the sex of my unborn, incubating baby or tell me their favorite Steve Martin movie) I entertained no notions that they might suddenly decide Fresno was worthy of a tour stop. Or at least dinner on the way from one place to the next, yeesh, I'm not particular.

So I have to say a big big big thank you to the band Motel Drive for not only rocking it here at home, but for making my night last night as I watched the livestream of them jamming with my unrequited loves before the show in San Francisco. I couldn't think of a better band to represent Fresno to a bunch of Hanson fans and I just really am still all fangirly about the fact that a band that's played at a NOtown function at Audie's opened for HANSON.

You guys just don't get how huge this was for me. And that's okay with me. More Hanson to myself.

If you haven't heard Motel Drive, get out from under your rock (or would that be rockabilly?) and have a listen. They're great. Fresnawesome, even.

(Image stolen from Motel Drive's FB page. You should "Like" them!)

*And a sad note. I had already purchased my ticket for the NIGHT BEFORE and since I couldn't get the extra day away from the fam and work and all of those other non-Hanson obligations all I got of this glory was the webcast. LAME. No wonder I have never succeeded as a Fresnambassador to Hanson.

**And a sadder note... Oh my GOD I was ridiculous when talking to them. I should stick to screaming from the mob.

EDIT: Here is the livestream in 3 parts! Enjoy! Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Thoughts on Travel.

I spent the weekend in Chico. NOtown Roller Derby sent a team to go bout against Norcal Roller Girls, and well, it's Northern California. My expectations were high.

But then, while wandering around the town, I couldn't help but think to myself "Man, I love Fresno."

Not saying Chico is a crap-hole. Quite the opposite, it's nice. Quaint. Hippie-hipster kids hang out in the park and play bongos. The one homeless person I saw was laying down on a bench reading classic literature. There are like 5 bicycle shops within a mile of each other. This is a place that is pretty comfortable in it's own awesomeness.

That may be partially why I was really missing Fresno, even if I was just there overnight. My BFFF and better half Guinness Wrecker made the comment; "The thing about Fresno that makes it more likeable than Chico is that it isn't concerned with being a stereotype of itself."

And it's true. I felt not-eco/health conscious-enough, despite my TOMS shoes, when I wandered into the health food store. I felt not urbane enough when I ordered my fruit salad (yummy yummy) and Mexican mocha at the cafe. In Fresno you don't need to wear hemp clothing to shop at whole foods and no need to carry your entitled snob card to buy an overpriced coffee drink. Guinness also feared we were maybe in Brigadoon instead of Chico.

I'm not bagging on Chico, It's a really nice place. Decent midnight Mexican food where they don't mind if you've just had a few beers and a shot of Wild Turkey- and no one at the hotel came out to call the cops when we jumped into the pool in our uniforms the second we got back from the game. If it had been OC we would probably be in a jail cell still. Plus, that Fakin'-Bacon-Veganaise BLT sandwich I bought at the health food store was pretty tasty. No complaints there. It did make me appreciate my hometown though- at least I know where I can find a good karaoke bar on a Saturday night if I need one.

(Thanks NORCAL for hosting NOtown! Derby love!)

Monday, July 19, 2010

31 Days- Summer Edition: Mural District

One of the hats I wear is as the Area Representative for an awesome Student Exchange Organization, and one of my responsibilities is... taa-daa... taking the students out for activities around town. I know, right? For all of those out of town friends who never visit me, don't worry, I can practice my "Where would take an out of towner?" answer on these unsuspecting kids while I wait for you to come see me.

Still waiting...

Anyway, in late may I had a few students who couldn't make it to our Art Hop walk, so I wanted to take them out for something really special and memorable that would be so OMGFRESNO that it would blow their international minds.

So, uh, duh, we went on a Mural Walk through Downtown Fresno's Mural District. Did you even know that we have a mural district? I was vaguely aware that yeah, there were a lot of murals, but I didn't know it was an actual thing until this spring.

We started at Iron Bird Cafe with some cold juice blends and took off, drinks in hand, to enjoy some of Fresno's finest public art, set against the backdrop of the businesses, studios and living spaces. Pioneered by artist and developer Reza Assemi, this part of the city has become a vibrant hub of artistic activity.

There is a map that shows where most of the murals are, so armed with that, a few pages printed about some of the artists that contributed to the pieces and an sense of adventure (hey, it's late May and we're walking in the afternoon, that is brave!) we took off. We didn't have to go too far for our first pieces, The Iron Bird Lofts are already known for their public art.

We headed down Broadway, Checked out the Econo Inn, Headed over to H Street to see the H Street Lofts and The Vagabond Lofts, Checked out the Broadway lofts, and went all the way to Tulare, where we fell completely in love with Broadway Studios (pictured) and KJWL's larger than larger than life Sinatra. (We had one of the host-dads along with us and I think this was his favorite of all!) Against the wall of the Cornerstone Church is a mural of sheet music for Amazing Grace.

We made out way back up Fulton and saw a lot of murals that aren't on this map yet, including some pretty cool alleyways. This isn't a tour you can't really enjoy by car, but would be perfect on bike. If you do decide to go and walk the Mural District allot a good couple of hours to really let yourself enjoy the pieces and have a leisurely stroll around. Probably not a good idea to do in 108° heat, either, so plan accordingly before you get out there and check it out.


(Photo is of exchange students Liza (Palestine) and Ploy (Thailand) with yours truly in front of the mural on Broadway Studios in the alleyway sandwiched between them and KJWL. I'm looking for host families for the 2010-2011 school year, let me know if you're interested!)

July has gotten the best of me...

Clearly the middle of the year is a more difficult time for a blog-a-thon than the fresh new beginning, oh I had such enthusiasm to start July off, and my list was so complete. I'll be working on catching up, but boy-howdy have things been busy around here. I guess the best way to prove my point that there is no excuse for boredom in Fresno is to live the busy Fresno lifestyle, right?

Sorry to disappoint (if you actually were following along) but expect all of those bloggies I had lined up for the whole month (all but the last day were filled in!) to find their way out into the blogosphere eventually! In the meanwhile, enjoy this city!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

31 Days- Summer Edition: Day 8- Old Town Clovis Farmer's Market

I've blogged about produce profusely. I love me some veggies, what can I say? But I do want to take a few moments to point out that Fridays in the Summertime are one of my favorite times because they mix produce and play at the Old Town Clovis Farmer's Market.

While it technically isn't Fresno, its close enough and lets be real- the fruit is coming from Fresno. And Sanger. And all of those little towns I forget exist because I'm a Fresnocentric spaz. So give me this, okay?

I love that you can go and get all of your fruits and veggies for the week and grab dinner in one place. I especially like that I can get Kettle Corn and consider it dinner. Want to shake your butt too? There is live music. Interested in running into an old acquaintance or two? Its bound to happen- I ran into half of the Hanson fan club I was part of in high school last week. (So, it was two people, how many people do you think liked Hanson? We were few but proud.)

Its great because the community really comes together. Everyone mills around, their kids play and dance together, and we get in touch with our local farmers. It was a highlight of the Summer for me growing up and it still is one of those surefire mood brighteners now. Get your produce on!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

31 Days- Summer Edition: Day 7- Meux Home



The Meux Home is a subtle reminder that Downtown is where Fresno really became Fresno.

It stands out on the corner of Tulare and R, a Victorian home that just oozes class and elegance.

And it's a museum.

And a wedding venue.

And a part of our story as Fresnans.

The house was built in 1888, the Meux family moving into it in January 1889, and it was occupied by a Meux family member until the 1970's. These days it is in the hands of the City of Fresno, and you can take a tour of it and get an idea of how people lived here over a hundred years ago. (Without AC!)

I love it because I like anything that requires passion to keep it around. This is a place that requires upkeep not only of the grounds but also of the memories and history around it. When I went for the first time as a kid I was amazed by the concept that Fresno hasn't always been the Fresno we live in today. A Lady's Chair? It filled my mind with the big ole dresses and corsets and awesome hair and hats and gloves and covered ankles. I had never thought about our community as being one of those kinds of places that had, you know... ladies. It helped me to appreciate where I lived at a young age.

Take a tour, see for yourself why this is one of Fresno's beautiful gems.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

31 Days- Summer Edition: Day 6- KJWL


Okay, so it may not be as cool with my generation as the time I posted about The Evening Eclectic on KFSR, but I can't fight this feeling anymore...

KJWL 99.3 is freakin' awesome.

Sure sometimes you get stuck in a Celine Dion back to back with Barbara Streisand back to back with Linda Ronstadt rut, but holy cow, despite the divas KJWL always delivers a completely Fresno-centric radio experience. Everything about this station is community oriented- one of the perks of being locally owned, no doubt. They host an Art Hop stop every month and give the featured artists and musicians air time, which I think is pretty awesome. (Also awesome is the GIGANTIC mural of Frank Sinatra by their back entrance.)

They have community oriented segments throughout the day like Eye on Education and Valley Jewels to remind us that whether or not we like Michael Bublé, we're all still part of this city together. And don't even get me started on how stinkin' rad Feleena Sutton is. I've had the chance to meet her and she is just so positive and amazing. (And that Bruce guy is pretty cool too...)

KJWL Shares space with KYNO in the middle of Downtown just steps away from the Fulton Mall, and I love them for keeping it Fresno and really making the space they're in a jewel. (Get it? I'm so punny.) Honestly though, I love them for a lot of things.

I'm sure I could say more, but I'm too busy rocking out to Baby by Bobby McFerrin right now. Who else plays that? NO ONE. Case closed.

Monday, July 5, 2010

31 Days- Summer Edition: Day 5- Sprinkler Playtime!


We like to moan about the heat in the Summer here, "Oh wah, its 184° in the shade." But really, all that a nice upper 90°s- 100° day is, is a chance to get your crazies out in the sprinklers. I was talking to a friend in Washington the other day about swimming and sprinkler time and she was jealous.

That's right.

Jealous of all of this heat.

So next time you wanna complain about the summer heat, just bear a few things in mind-

  • It isn't Florida-style, we have a mostly dry heat. So you don't need to grow gills to breathe.
  • You don't have soggy socks from all of the rainfall.
  • Short shorts? Yes PLZ!
  • It is the tradeoff for not having to deal with a super cold winter. I'll take heat ANY DAY over a freakin' snow storm. PUH-lease. This is a flip flops all year kind of town.
  • AND WE CAN PLAY IN THE SPRINKLERS! We're California's year round playground, so let's play it up!
I can't say it enough! Let your inner 4 year old wild! Get a slip n slide! You can't do this crap in Anchorage! And if it is too hot and your swamp cooler just isn't cutting it and you've got scabby knees and grass stains from all of the slip n sliding, we have cooling centers. Because heat, though fun for playtime, is still heat, and you can't let it think it has won.

Okay, I'm gonna give up on writing anything that makes any sense (probably, ironically, due to heatstroke...) and have one more romp through the sprinklers before bed.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

31 Days- Summer Edition: Day 4- Legion of Valor Museum


It is Independence Day, so this is gonna be short and sweet:

Legion of Valor Museum. Go there.

Snuggled inside the Fresno Veterans Memorial Auditorium, the museum is run by volunteers who are passionate about keeping the history of our country's armed forces alive and tangible. It tells a story that is universal, but is also deeply Fresno. I haven't been in for a few years, but it seems like every time I'd drop by there were always a handful of veterans hanging out, just ready to share their stories with anyone who would listen- one of the most valuable things about the museum. Waaaaay better than a History Channel marathon.

The collection of items ranges from uniforms and firearms to newpaper clippings and walls lined with photographs (my favorite part).

If you find yourself downtown with some time to spare, pop in. Admission is free, and it is open from 10:00- 3:00 Monday through Saturday.

Have a safe and happy 4th, everybody!


Image swiped from the Legion of Valor website. Check it out. Then go.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

31 Days- Summer Edition: Day 3- The 168


Okay, so this is something I haven't done much of- you know the whole argument that Fresno is a great place to be because of it's proximity to other places...

But really...

I'm just putting it out there, I LOVE the 168.

I love that it just skims the edge of town and then poof, you're headed off into happy camping/hiking/fishing/skiing land. I love that on a clear day you can see the mountains it leads you to so clearly and enticingly. Every time I drive across town on it I think to myself "Who would miss me if I just stayed on this freeway and went and made some s'mores and rocked out with the granite up near Huntington for the night."

My favorite part about the 168 is that it leads to my favorite place worth packing a bag for- Camp Tamarack. It's just below Huntington Lake and it is the place I spent all of my summers as a kid, and I've spent all of my summers directing camps as an adult. I can't look at the 168 without nostalgia washing over me and making me want a crisp Sierra meadow filled with lupine and evergreen and self discovery.

I can point out all of the places my old Accord broke down on that road while trying to get up there- and all of the places the Sheriff stopped to make sure everything was okay. I can show you the turns we always had to take SO SLOW because my sister would get motion sickness. I love this one particular flat slab of rock along the road on the mountainside and I smile whenever I pass it.

And I love the quirky places along the way like that one place with the chainsaw carved wooden bear.

I know it isn't technically IN Fresno, but the 168 is definitely a huge part of my Fresno experience, and I wouldn't let someone visit our part of the state without a drive or two up that highway to see some of the unbelievable beauty our region has to offer.

Where is your favorite place to camp/fish/ski/veg the heck out with a mug of hot cocoa along the 168?

Friday, July 2, 2010

31 Days- Summer Edition: Day 2- Dalton Mountain Gang

For some of the finest foot-stampingest, dance around and clap your hands bluegrass you don't need to travel far. The Dalton Mountain Gang's Fresno roots are apparent with every single note they play. I'm not a bluegrass expert (my knowledge begins and ends with Old Crow Medicine Show and Nickel Creek) but I can tell you this- bluegrass fan or not, you absolutely will love the Dalton Mountain Gang. And lucky you- they're playing a free show tonight at the Clovis Veteran's Memorial Square.

I caught up with bass player Paul Chesterton- my motto is always trust a man with a beard- and asked a few questions about the band.

How long has the band been together?
The band has been been around for about 4 years now, but we've been playing with the current lineup now for about 2 years and that's really when things took off for us. The chemistry and friendship of the people in the band really comes across on stage and we all just genuinely enjoy playing music with each other! We're also pretty new bluegrass players, in the scheme of things. I believe that this was the first actual bluegrass band that any of us had ever been in.

Where did you come up with the name Dalton Mountain Gang?
Well, the name isn't just some arbitrary "bluegrassy" sounding name. There actually is a Dalton Mountain and it's up in the foothills around Squaw Valley, East of Fresno on the way up to Sequoia National Park. Two of the founding members of the band lived on opposite sides of that mountain, so it just fit. Now the "gang" part comes from the reason the mountain got its name. Over 100 years ago, a group of brothers who robbed trains and banks, hid up there and had a shoot out with the authorities. They were called the "Dalton Gang" and some of their ancestors still live up in that area! So we added that little bit of local history into the name.*

How does living in the valley influence your music?
Well, traditionally, the Fresno area, much like Bakersfield, has been a hotbed for country and western swing music. Many of the older fiddlers and guitarists around here played in those kinds of bands over the years. We all learned to play bluegrass music from the local people here in jam sessions, bluegrass music festivals, and the like, so I think we got some of that old country and western swing flavor from those folks. Often, we'll mix in a little bit of country and western swing into our sets as well. Local folk/bluegrass/old-time music legend, Kenny Hall, has left a big impression on us as well! That man is known all around the world and plays here every week in Fresno!

Where is your favorite local venue to play?
You know, lining up our schedules has been pretty difficult, so we don't get to play many local gigs, but this will be our 3rd year playing the Bluegrass in the Park events that they hold in Clovis during the Spring/Summer on Friday evenings and we've thoroughly enjoyed it! Playing outside, on the grass, under the trees is just such a fitting place for this kind of natural, organic music! For the past 3 years, we've been a mainstay at the annual Hobb's Grove bluegrass festival, the last weekend of every September, and that's just a great event that we love every year!

And a fun one- It's your last meal ever- What Fresno restaurant would you have make it for you and what would it be?
Well, I can't speak for the rest of the band, but for me, I'd want Steak and Seafood Teppan-Yaki and some great sushi from the Japanese Kitchen on Shaw! But that's a tough one, because the Luby Chinese restaurant on Willow and Nees has amaaaazing Kung Pao! Maybe I could get them both to work together for a last meal! I'd die a happy feller!

Be sure to get your sweet selves out there tonight and come dance it out bluegrass style with me as we enjoy some incredible valley talent.

Date:
Friday, July 2, 2010
Time:
6:30pm - 8:30pm
Location:
Clovis Veteran's Memorial Square
Street:
901 Fifth Street
City/Town:
Clovis, CA

You can buy their brand spankin' new album here!



*I LOVE this about them!


Mike Osegueda got to them before I did, be sure to check out his piece, too!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

31 Days- Summer Edition: Day 1- Dick Contino

While in LA this last weekend for a Fresno Import turned Fresno Export's* wedding I found all kinds of reasons to love Fresno and reinforced a lot of my long-standing loves for Fresno. Of course, I could anticipate the hours of traffic and crazy drivers. I hadn't anticipated the Goodwill find that would send me careening into Fresno-based accordion lust.

We had time to kill, and there was a thrift store across the street, so I went with my ladies of the night, Cho and Elisa, to see what kind of haul we might be able to dig up and drag home. While sifting through the records, I immediately was drawn to one with serious crush potential. A hottie with an accordion surrounded by swooning girls, it's everything I look for in a record. It was to our utter pleasure to read on the back cover that Mr. Dick Contino is straight outta Fresno. The hottest guy to ever play that good old squeezebox, and he's one of
us.

This has spurred a whole bunch of internet stalking and chatting my grandmother up, and the consensus is that Dick Contino was hot. And it wasn't just his own hometown supporting him either. In 1947, when Contino was 17 years old, Horace Heidt came to town with a nationally broadcast talent competition, and according to Contino's bio, "
Dick gave his rendition of "Lady of Spain" and the bobby-sox audience stomped, clapped, and yelled with frenzy, declaring him the winner by a margin of a full 30 points on the electric applause meter" Contino went on to have a hit single with "Lady of Spain" that made it to #47 on the charts, be a guest on numerous shows including the Ed Sullivan Show and even was in a few movies in the 50's and 60's, including Daddy-O. I especially like this video clip:


OMG, what a stud right?
Daddy-O was even resurrected from the vaults and made into a MST3K episode. And to think, he was a student at Fresno High, one of our own- MST3K'd.

Mr. Contino lives in Las Vegas nowadays, and it doesn't look like he makes it home much to play**, but he does still tour and make the music festival rounds. If you're reading this, Dick, I promise I will learn to polka if you make your way through Fresno and I'll be there front row!

If you have any stories about Dick Contino, I'd love to hear them. My parents and grandma got so animated when I asked them about him that I knew that my generation was definitely missing out on a major gem of Fresno's history.
I am so excited to have found something else to love about living in Fresno- hometown of the Accordion Virtuoso Dick Contino!

*Congrats, Ben and Aurora Pringle! I'd deal with LA traffic any day for you guys. Especially on the same weekend as the Electric Daisy Carnival. OMG some folks were TUH-rippin on the freeway! The wait isn't so long when the guy in the car next to you is freaking out about his hand's reflection in the rearview mirror.
**...but he does have a smokin' hot wife who can help your back itch with a salve.


All of my information came from the liner notes on the back on the album, Contino's website and the Wikipedia article.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Another 31 Days Ahead

It is almost July.

By now, you're feeling the Fresnan's conundrum. You love it, but it. is. just. so. dang. hot.

It becomes a passive, lazy kind of love. You want to shout it from the roof tops, but dear God, there just is no shade there.

It's easy to blog about how fabulous our city is when I have a hot mocha in front of me and am enjoying the fact that I don't have to actually bundle up in January, but not as easy to be witty with heatstroke and sunburn.

My husband just might kill me for another 31 day stint of Fresno-lovin' madness, but the time for blogging it up is NOW! See you all, poolside, on July 1st for 31 Days of Fresno: Summer Edition.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Folks to know in the 'No: Trainer James

Its no secret that I really freakin' love working out. I also like to comb teh internets for fitness blogs and tips for staying motivated to keep a healthy lifestyle. That's how I found out about Trainer James- imagine my excitement when I discovered that he was a Fresnan to boot! (And we share the same alma mater. Sweet!)

This guy is a powerhouse. He blogs, he offers personal training, he challenges people on his Facebook- he's practically omnipresent with his constant nudging to "Sweat It Out".

This is exactly why I wanted him to be my first "Folks to know in the 'No" interviewee. So without further ado, I bring you James Leath!

When someone comes to you for training, what can they expect?

I plan on being in this business for a long time so one thing they can expect is longevity. I am not a part time trainer or just trying to make money in between careers- I love what I do. Each client is an opportunity for success and I plan each workout accordingly. I am not a licensed nutritionist so I do not prescribe diet plans, however I spend the bulk of my study time on things pertaining to nutrition because of how crucial it is to eat right when attempting to get healthy. I work hard to keep up with the latest exercise techniques and to keep workouts fun and challenging. I like to joke around when appropriate but I take my work seriously so I expect an excellent effort every session.


What is it about Fresno that makes this a great place for you to do your work?

My favorite part of Fresno is two fold: first, the location. I love being only a few hours from the snow, the beach, and the desert. Second, Fresno is big enough to make a name for yourself and at the same time small enough to run into someone you know wherever you go. Fresno is definitely an “it’s who you know” kind of place but the standards are high enough that you have to have the knowledge to really succeed.


When did you know that motivating people to lead healthier lives was your calling?

I have always seen myself as an encourager, but it took me a long time to discover what area I would seek to use that trait for others. My father lost 100 pounds a few years back and that caused his medications to decrease from 10 pills a day to 1 simply because of exercise and healthy nutrition. I saw how much “life” was back into his world and I knew I wanted to help others in that way.

A few years later I watched my first episode of “The Biggest Loser” and found myself running the gamut of emotions every time I watched. Most people watch that show and see the contestants lose weight and think, “That could be me! I could do that!” But I watch that show and see the trainers, Bob and Jillian, and think, “That could be me! I could do that!” To this day it is my favorite show. I may not be on that show, but everyday I wake up before the sun just thrilled that I get to spend the day in the gym helping people get their life back.


If I remember correctly, you were pretty athletic in high school (I was a freshman when you were a senior- it’s cool if you don't remember me, haha!) did that lay the groundwork for what you do today?

Most definitely. My home life was less than ideal so I spent the bulk of my youth in the classroom, the weight room, on the field, or pounding the court. My adventurous youth showed me what the body is capable of and I want others to experience the amazing things our bodies can do. Our bodies were designed to run and jump, not sit and slouch. One of the best parts of what I do is taking someone who has lead a sedentary life and helping them develop their body so they can go hiking, jog their neighborhood, and in some cases join me in a triathlon! I am in a very rewarding career.


Looking at your internet following, they seem to be from all over the place, not just from Fresno. How did all of these people learn about your blog and Facebook page?

Honestly, I am humbled and quite frankly shocked at all the followers that I have had the pleasure of talking to though Facebook. I think the response is good because of two things: First, I am not a sugar-coating kind of guy. I post things like, “You don’t wake up fat,” and “Your lame excuses are why you can’t lose weight” and you either like it or not. I know there are many people out there that know there is no quick fix and they just want some honestly and encouragement to get them to take the next step towards a healthy body. Secondly, I am not trying to sell anything. I have my opinions on certain products but I don’t push people to buy anything. If I find something I like, or a client sends something my way that has worked for them, I share it.


What would you suggest as a good starting point for someone who is just starting to implement a fitness program after leading a pretty sedentary lifestyle?

Actually, that is a loaded question. The normal response is “Just get started. Go to a gym and get your body moving.” Of course, that is not enough and most people need guidance. Hiring a trainer is a great start. Training is expensive but so are the diseases developed from obesity; so really its pay now or pay later. I have quite a few clients I see once a week or every other week to help them spice up their own workout routine but others need guidance more often in the beginning, so they come in 3 to 4 times a week.

If a trainer is out of the question, look at your surroundings and make some changes. First, attack the kitchen. If your diet is full of chips, cookies, cakes, and pasta then it is no wonder you do not have the energy to work out. Start with eating foods that came from a farm, preferably from a local one. Second, its amazing to me how many parents fight to keep sports and PE programs in school, only to get home after work and sit on the couch watching TV for 3 hours, stuff their face, then repeat it the next day. There are numerous studies showing the correlation between obesity and watching TV. According to these studies, the more you watch, the more overweight you are. My bride and I saved over $1200 last year by not having cable. That kind of money can buy some great exercise equipment!


What kind of breakthroughs have some of your clients had in their fitness goals?

Recently, the best man at my wedding has lost over 50 pounds in 4 months by eating right and hitting the gym daily. Last year, I had two clients go from once or twice a week gym visits to competing in a triathlon with me. Currently, I have 3 clients that have lost between 30-150 pounds and are now running on a treadmill for the first time in years, and in one case, running for the first time ever! One woman I am working with has lost 150 pounds in the last year and came in second place last weekend during a two mile walk.


What is the best part about your work?

Every once in a while, someone I am working with will start a story with, “So, this weekend during my run I was...” and I stop them to make sure I heard them right. When clients start doing things on their own, like signing up for a race, saying no to donut day at work, or other “lifestyle changes” I can’t tell you how excited that gets me. Things like that remind me who much I love what I do. Just this morning I received a picture text of a client that has lost over 20 pounds and 6 inches off his waistline in 2 months. He put on an old pair of jeans, stuck both arms down the sides of his pants and his wife took a picture and sent it to me. I saved it on my phone. What a great way to start the day!


31 days of Fresno is a blog about all of the great things in Fresno, so I have to ask- What do you think the best thing about living in Fresno is?

Fresno is the underdog-we are unpredictable. We go from electing a mediocre television star to mayor (no disrespect intended) to a young, vibrant business woman. The world sees our team win the College World series, then we are back in the spotlight as the drunkest city in America according to Men’s Health Magazine. The world looks at Fresno as a pit stop between Northern and Southern California, but those of us that call this place home know it is way more than an empty security bank building and a truck stop off of Herndon Avenue. We have culture. We have history. I believe Fresno is on the cusp of being a major player in California. I hope to be a part of that growth.


Along the same vein, its Friday night, where in Fresno are you and what are you doing?

My days start around 5am and the bulk of it is working with clients. When Friday night hits, I am arm and arm with my bride, wherever we are. A night game at Grizzly Stadium in downtown Fresno is a great time, and I really miss the Falcon Hockey team. Honestly, my perfect Friday night is spent at home with a few friends playing Sequence and sipping on locally grown coffee.


I know, you're totally already inspired and ready to go work out, right? I told you this guy was great! You can reach him by e-mail at james@trainerjames.com or you can stalk him at Synergy Personal Training Studio- just be warned, he might draw you in and have you lifting gigantic tires in no time.



Sunday, May 2, 2010

What is the best $1 you've spent today?

I made a nice little drive-thru adventure of the morning, mostly because my kids were going nuts and the allure of them being strapped into one place, contented by Imagination Movers music playing was just too great for a lazy Sunday.

So I offered to pick up coffee for my dad. And then I realized it was almost lunchtime, so we made a nuggets run- a bad choice, but with a bare pantry its all I could really do... and then I saw it.

My favorite fruit stand, usually closed whenever I happen to drive by it with a the OPEN sign proudly scrawled across the piece of scrap wood and propped up against it.

You know that kind of stand I'm talking about- the little shanty type store front propped up in front of a field brimming with multiple varieties of homegrown delight. I couldn't resist- it is strawberry season and we have my son's birthday party tonight.

So I bought the three cartons of gigantic, perfect strawberries for $5 and then I saw them... purple carrots.

I had heard about them and their tasty wonder from my mother in law, but at the grocery store you practically have to sell an organ on the black market to be able to afford specialty produce, even here in the produce capital of the f'n universe, and it's hit and miss when they'll show up on the shelves or if it'll even be tasty.

But here they were, just picked this morning, dirt still clinging to the roots, the gorgeous plumes of green leaves dancing out of them like a teasing burlesque dancer's fan. I got up the nerve and asked how much.

1 dollar.

A DOLLAR! My Starbucks Venti Iced Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Latte cost 4 times that and it didn't look pretty enough to make my dad and sister jealous of my find when I waved it out my car window at them as I delivered their coffees.

A steal for a big bunch of carrots! Purple ones!

I got home, closed the doors and windows, looked shiftily around me to make sure no one was watching cleaned them off and without even removing the greens I just channeled my inner Bugs Bunny and took a bite.

Best dollar I've spent today, and probably all week. Bags of baby carrots, machined into their cute little finger shapes, have nothing on this. It was crunchy, perfect and so sweet. Each bite I took I marveled at the deep purple ring that bled into vivid orange in the middle.

I love living in Fresno.

(Image made by me. On my scanner. Because my daughter dunked my camera in the bath tub. I don't wanna talk about it.)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Ultimate Fresno Bucket List

In order to be a complete, true 100% well rounded Fresnan, what does it take? What experiences are absolutely essential?

I'm compiling The Ultimate Fresno Bucket List, and I want everyone to help. I'm looking for things like, but not limited to:

  • Not only watch, but compete in the Inner Ear Beat Down Poetry Slam.
  • Do a fruit stand crawl and purchase a piece of fresh fruit at each stall at a farmers market. Greater challenge: do this for individual fruit stands out in the country!
  • Organize a protest (against anything, really) and hold it at Shaw and Blackstone. Considered a supreme success if there is an opposing side.
  • Dig at least an underground window box, if not a whole garden.
  • Have tacos with Mike Osegueda. Bonus points for trying at least 5 separate restaurants into one meal. Ultrabonus points for tweeting the whole adventure.

I'll be adding to this as I think of things, and I want everyone's ideas (don't worry, I'll be sure to put your name next to your clever witticisms and sincere aspirations!)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Fresno Tweetup Goes Wild GIVEAWAY!

You read that right, Fresnans! Which word that starts with F is the only thing to almost match my love for Fresno?

Free!

As in you can get in FREE to the Fresno Tweetup Goes Wild, this Saturday, April 24th from 5-8 PM at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo if you are the very first to answer this trivia question:

Question:
"What animal will be featured in the Zoo's exhibit that is scheduled to open in 2012?"


The only catch is that you must have a Twitter Account (or be willing to make one just for the occasion... and then get hooked on the sweet magic of microblogging.)

So what is this Tweetup that I speak of? Two of my 31 Days favorites, The Fresno Beehive and The Chaffee Zoo are coming together to make this gathering of local Twitterers happen. It's a private after hours event, there are games, drinks, and, oh yeah, Zoo Animals! Even if you don't win on here, you can still go on the cheap by direct messaging @fresnozoo or @fresnobeehive to get on the $5 list to get in. For more info, click here! And if you tweet this event, use the hashtag #wildfresno!

So guess away, and be sure to leave your Twitter name with your response!

Thanks Fresno Beehive for making this event and this giveaway possible!


Friday, April 9, 2010

Downtown Community Arts Collective meets The Lazy Blogger: Just go support them, k?

I've been meaning to blog about the DCAC for a while, but I'm a bad blogger and I'm just gonna pass on this info to you all: Support the Downtown Community Arts Collective (dcac) and all of the great things they do for youth TONIGHT at The Iron Bird Cafe for Iron Bird Cafe and dcac Present: The Gig Is On!


5 dollars not only gets you an earful of some of the best music in town (Abigail Nolte! Merlinda Espinoza! Dan Rhoten!) it also means that this important organization gets to keep on keepin' on! (If you've never heard of DCAC, click this link. You'll be so impressed!)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A Handful of Honorable Mentions

I haven't slowed down enough lately to write much, but I do want to touch on a handful of things that have been popping up lately.

1. Groupon.
It is everything I love. It feeds the side of me that needs to shop locally. It speaks to my cheapness. It challenges me to try new places so that I can cash in on the deals. Right now you can buy $10 in tasty tea heaven at Teazer's for only $5. Yeah, I can have all of the Monk's Blend drinks I can fit in my bladder, guys. This is either awesomely good or a terrible idea, but I'd like to think that its for the greater good.

2. That whole Google Fiber for Fresno thing.
So we may or may not get to be a test market for internet that is faster than Betty Rocker on steroids, but how freakin' awesome was it seeing the community come together to rally for it? Whatever the outcome, I was pretty proud of our effort.

3. Karaoke
Fresno has some rockin' karaoke spots. No link here, anything I might find would be terrifyingly incriminating. Where do you go to burst eardrums and take names? Last night I found myself at Lancers on Kings Canyon and Clovis and had a great time climbing on their furniture in the name of a better "Fat Bottom Girls."

Okay, time to go bake some vareniks and coffee cake, I hope you all have a swell Easter!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Day 32, Week 6-ish- Springtime!

Its Springtime! Everything is fresh, crisp and oh so pretty. The whole world seems to have just been painted, the colors are vivid from the recent rain and starkly contrast with the browns and grays of winter as they begin to peek through. The grape vines have little tiny freckles of green beginning to bud on them, the trees are in full bloom and I can feel it in every part of my body that it is time to change, to make everything I touch as beautiful and as full of promise as the Spring in Fresno.

I love this time of year, if it isn't completely and glaringly apparent. Even though I'm allergic to everything on Earth- especially to everything Springtime- I look forward to this time of year here in Fresno. The blossoms are just so pretty, and the bees are out pollinating and doing their buzzy thing, which I love even though, you know, I'm not gonna go frolic in the orchards or anything right now while they're working, that's a bad business for the allergy-ridden.

The Blossom Trail is gorgeous and a constantly beckoning way to spend an afternoon, and I have to remind myself that I have dishes to do in order to anchor myself down and not drive all of Fresno County looking for flowers all day long.

Being inside is so last season. Those dishes just might need to pile up for another day or two with this weather. These days are meant for enjoying, no window should be left unopened, no meal should be consumed inside. This is a call to everyone to come to this season and abandon last season's stress, those grays and browns, and be refreshed. Well, I've blogged enough for one day. Now its time to turn off the TV, take the kids outside and let them feel the excitement of what is to be- it's budding and welling up inside of them too, waiting to burst into full color with a little of that famous Fresno sunshine.


(Photo by Barbara Gordon, from the Fresno County Office of Tourism- Blossom Trail website. )

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Day 32, Week 5- iBike Fresno


Its about time iWrite about iBike Fresno. I think I've been held up by the fact that iHaventBiked at all, and I've felt a tiny bit guilty for it, but the truth is, I am so jealous of people who bike everywhere and iWant that lifestyle.

I became a fan of their facebook in January and despite the fact that I hadn't been on a bike since 6th grade I've pulled out this bike I found with a FREE-TAKE ME sign and begun to assess the work to be done to take me from I wanna, to I will, to iBike.

The whole idea behind the site and the movement is that Fresno is a great place to pedal it up, and it is becoming better with the Bike Master Plan that will make this a much more bicycle-friendly city.

So grab your bike and get out there, enjoy Fresno in a family-fun, eco-friendly, Fresnamzing way. I know that as soon as I can stop wobbling on mine, I will be! 2010 is going to be the year I stop making excuses and start riding!

(Image from iBike Fresno's Facebook. Its cute, no? I've been riding my bike around my field in hopes of gaining confidence on it enough to someday be half as cool as just the logo!)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

31 Hours of Rogue- Hours 26-31!

I'm gonna wimp out early, my energy level is pretty low and I'll be commencing operation: Get kids to bed early in 5...4...3...2...1... (This is pre-blogged, I don't keep my kids up intil 2 AM, its usually the opposite!)

But I have a few things I want to highlight before I go to bed and hope its just low energy and not a cold.

First Get a Rogue Map! You can pick one up at Ashtree Studios or print your own here.

Also of note is The Dumb Drum will have a film you can view during the festival. If you've never read this blog, start. Particularly their "Cross Streets" video blogs. Funniest thing you'll do all day, guaranteed. After you watch those segments, go support them at Rogue as a thank you for the laughter. Clean Up. Mike Brigg's Properties Building, $5.

Friday, March 5:
8:00 pm – Opening Night

Saturday, March 6:
4:00 pm • 6:00 pm • 8:15 pm

Friday, March 12:
6:15 pm • 8:15 pm

Saturday, March 13:
5:15 pm • 7:00 pm


Finally, watch Central Valley Buzz with Chuck Leonard all week because he's been bringing in Roguesters to talk about their Roguey business. 4:00 weekdays! Plus, he's a crack up!


So, Rogueing out, this is Kim Burly, reporting to bed! Enjoy this Festival, it is one of the absolute coolest things Fresno has to offer.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

31 Hours of Rogue- Hours 20, 21, 22, 24 and 25

Okay, So I was kind of driving myself crazy with all of these, so I'm gonna finish it up in little chunklets like this to be less anooying. If you liked the hourly posts just use your hand to cover them as you go along and check back hourly, I guess.

Aileen Imperatrice

Aileen gave the idea for the 31 hours of Rogue, she's all about promoting the arts in Fresno, so I'm going to give her a plug here!


Icons


Aileen Imperatrice
www.aileenimperatrice.com

Ashtree Studios – 1035 N Fulton Ave

An icon can be many things. All it takes is something or someone we place a value on and how our emotions react to it. This newest art explores the identity and feelings we attach to these things. Follow Aileen at www.aileenimperatrice.com

“Why Did You Do It That Way?” artist discussion forums:

Ashtree Studios

7:00 PM, Friday, March 5
with Adam Wall and Sergio Huerta
$4

7:00 PM, Saturday, March 6
with Adam Wall and Sergio Huerta
$4

7:00 PM, Wednesday, March 10
with Edward Stewart and Adam Wall
$4

7:00 PM, Friday, March 12
with Sergio Huerta and Edward Stewart
$4

Elizabeth Payne, aka Pro Pain on the NoTown Roller Derby Team will be in Graceland, and from the way she gets this super-excited look on her face whenever we talk about it, I can tell it is going to be gooood.

Graceland/Asleep On The Wind

$5
10:00 PM, Fri., 3/5
7:00 PM, Sat., 3/6
7:00 PM, Wed., 3/10
1:00 PM, Sat., 3/13

Million Too – 1153 N Fulton St.

Two one acts. Graceland is about two devout Elvis fans waiting to be the first to get into Graceland. Rivalry turns into comaraderie as the two women reveal the joys and sorrows of their lives. Asleep On The Wind is a sweet story about a young girl and her older brother who is about to go off to war. He leaves her with many things, the love of Elvis being one of them.

MittenKitten Productions
Fresno, California
imlimpy@yahoo.com
Genre: Dramedy
Rating: PG-13 adult language 60 minutes
Latecomers permitted within 15 Minutes



Charles Tenney

We crossed paths yesterday at Iron Bird Cafe, and I am excited to share his Rogue act here. What a cool topic, I know a few physics fiends who would be really sorry if they missed this one!

Notes on Physics

$3
7:30 PM, Sat., 3/6
8:45 PM, Wed., 3/10
5:00 PM, Sat., 3/13
Latecomers admitted

Spectrum – 608 E Olive Ave.

Songs about physics. Songs about subjects related to physics. Songs tangentially, even distantly, related to one of the above. All performed on voice and acoustic guitar by someone who is supposed to know about these things.

Charles Tenney
Fresno, California
Genre: Music 45 min. Rated: PG-13



Gemma Wilcox
People come from all over to take part in Rogue, Gemma brings us her show all the way from the UK!

Shadows in Bloom

$7
8:30 PM, Fri., 3/5
7:00 PM, Sun, 3/7
5:30 PM, Fri., 3/12
1:00 PM, Sat., 3/13
8:30 PM, Sat., 3/13

Starline – 831 E Fern Ave.

20 NEW CHARACTERS!
From the creator of last year’s Rogue Fest sell-out, hit show: The Honeymoon Period is Officially Over.

Best Female Performer –Victoria Fringe 2009 / Best in Fest –Winnipeg Fringe 2008 / Best Solo Performance –Ottawa Fringe 2007 / Best in Fest –Boulder Fringe 2008 / “An incredibly gifted performer” –Felicia Matlosz, Fresno Beehive / “Sexy, sharp & seemless” –Now Toronto / “She shows you what theater can be” –Orlando Sentinel / “Shape-shifter extraordinaire” –Ottawa Citizen

Gemma Wilcox
www.gemmawilcox.com
London, United Kingdom
Genre – Dramedy/Multi-character Solo Performance
Rating: PG-13 60 minutes
Adult Language
Latecomers permitted within 15 Minutes

31 Hours of Rogue- Hour 17, 18 and 19- Man, KSEE is really on the ball with Rogue stuff!

Sweet! (This is the blogger equivalent of laryngitis)




AND with this last one, I LOVE IT, Randy Morris was my Saxophone teacher and is one of the nicest people you'll ever meet.


And talented to boot.

$4
2:30 PM, Sat., 3/6
7:30 PM, Sat., 3/6
6:15 PM, Sun., 3/7
Latecomers admitted

Veni Vidi Vici – 1116 N Fulton St.

The show features narration, jazz and blues guitar, world music, sax and lyrics that tell the story of our days. We follow up last year’s psychedelic show with a tribute to its aftermath THE SEVENTIES


31 Hours of Rogue- Hour 16- Cap'n Scurvy's Apocalypse Hoedown

I had the pleasure of seeing Scurvy at the Fresno Beehive birthday party, and he is an absolute riot. A true performer, he plays up the suspense in his act well, and eats fire, and does other quirky crazy stuff that. And he's vulgar as hell. Don't say I didn't warn you when you're sitting there innocently enjoying some good 'ol fashion vaudeville style comedy and suddenly Scurvy is gyrating on you.

I just love the synopses on the Rogue page, so I'll let them say it better than I would:

Million Too – 1153 N Fulton St.

$5
2:30 PM, Sat., 3/6
1:00 PM, Sun., 3/7
5:30 PM, Sun., 3/7
8:30 PM, Sat., 3/13

Its guerrilla vaudeville Americana with Cap’n Scurvy’s Apocalypse Hoedown Revival! A theatrical comedy snake oil show like no other, with double the spirit and half the dogma. Step right up and be healed of your afflictions, ailments and character flaws through the amazing miracle power of Cap’n Scurvy’s Elixir of Panacea! This show has laughs and thrills, inspiration and denigration, fire eating and machete juggling, miracle faith healing, banjo playing and random audience participation. May contain occassional white knuckle indecency.

Red Triangle Productions
Fresno, California
redtriangleproductions.com
Genre: Guerrilla Vaudeville
Rating: R, Obtuse Language, Vulgarity, Religious
Mockery, Banjo music
50 minutes
Latecomers permitted within 15 Minutes

31 Hours of Rogue- Hour 15- Man In Labor

Travis Sheridan is one of those people who always keep me on my toes. I never know what he'll be doing next, where he's going to pop up or how he's going to make me smile from ear to freakin' ear. His Rogue performance this year promises to be typical Travis- amazing. This is what I was able to dig up from the Rogue site. Digging up probably implies a lot of hard work, and I'll let you guys think it was because it might fit in with the theme of his performance a little better than "copy and paste".

Lamaze Instructor did not make the list. What happens to a man who has worked since the age of 6? Well, he can sure as hell “get” a job, but can he keep a job? Join in a comedic journey through a career ladder that includes Victoria’s Secret and spending time in a cult. References provided upon request.

To enjoy the unstoppable (because why would you want him to?) Travis Sheridan, check out the info below.

$5
7:00 PM, Fri., 3/5
5:00 PM & 9:00 PM, Sat., 3/6
9:00 PM, Fri., 3/12
2:30 PM & 9:15 PM, Sat., 3/13
Latecomers admitted

Mike Briggs – 1212 N Van Ness Ave