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Rhinestone Cowboys (featuring the anthropomorphic personification of exploding Bedazzlers)

Hey Team,

It looks like I’m more than likely headed to Arkansas tomorrow so I can go check out the Crater of Diamonds State Park but until then I have plenty to share about the last two days in Nashville.

There are a lot of cities across the country that just seem to be cities. They exist just because they do. (I promise I’ll try to make this make sense.) Maybe they had a reason for being at some point, as a port city or an agricultural hub, but over time they just became a place for people to live and suddenly they start to resemble an economic house of cards. The grocery stores and service industries exist to serve the residents and the only jobs open to the residents are at the grocer or in the service industry.

These cities are easy to spot and all tend to look the same. They’re the cities that you wander into and people ask, “Why are you visiting THIS place?” And it doesn’t take long before you realize you’ve ALREADY visited this place a hundred times over and you know the place like the back of your hand, (Not me of course, I don’t even More >

“No, it’s not O.KKK.”

Hey Team,

I passed by a memorial today and it made me sad…but for all the wrong reasons. It was an enormous statue of a man on horseback in a Confederate cavalry uniform surrounded by the thirteen flags of the Confederacy. The man was Nathan Bedford Forrest.

It was a tough thing to think about. After driving by it with my Nashville hosts, I spent the rest of the ride sitting in complete silence trying to figure out why anyone would go through the effort of building and maintaining such a colossal tribute to hate. And the more I thought about it the more incapable I found myself of actually being able to wrap my head around this monstrosity.

Part of the reason it’s so difficult to understand is my own upbringing. California has the highest minority population of any state in the Union and growing up in the neighborhood I did means I was the one in the minority. But that was the norm. The biggest culture shock I’ve ever encountered, even more so than fighting through a language barrier in another country, was moving to a rural area where I was suddenly surrounded by nothing but white people.

It boggles my mind More >

Beware Rampant Optimism

Hey Team,

You know how I said that in my head I believe I lead a semi-charmed life? Well, something terrible happened today.

I intended to set out in the early morning to maximize time spent by the side of the road in the hopes of hitchhiking to Nashville, TN from Charlottesville, VA. Unfortunately, because I was up until 6am trying to organize a place to stay, just in case by some miracle I actually made it the 548 miles to Nashville, I ended up sleeping until 10am and wasn’t packed and ready to leave until 11:30.

Then an awesome goodbye lunch and a generous ride to the freeway, both courtesy of Mitchell, meant I wasn’t officially trying to catch a ride until almost 1pm. From there things went pretty much on par with the first hitchhiking attempt. It was a lot of standing around in the bitter cold, with a cardboard sign, vainly hoping for a little generosity. About an hour deep into “the boring” I decided my sign was to blame and made a newer, less informative sign in the hopes it would be easier to read at high speed.

Another half hour later I got my first bite. “Which way More >

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