Someone to Watch Over Me

Shane and I headed out this morning on what we decided would be an epic adventure–at least by our standards. We’re easy to please. The morning started off pleasantly enough. We made our first stop in Valley Springs, Arkansas, for a quick lunch at Sonic. It was then we decided we’d play a game–for at least the first day–to see how little we could spend on food. (We brought only a few bottled waters with us and no food at all.) Our total bill there came to $4.82. That was a pretty good start, but we thought that was probably going to “win” the lowest meal amount for the day.

From there we detoured briefly to Eureka Springs to see the Christ of the Ozarks, a structure at the Great Passion Play complex. The monument, which stands almost 70 feet tall, sits atop Magnetic Mountain. It’s worth noting that as we pulled onto the complex, the heavens actually opened. It rained so hard that we had to wait about 15 minutes for the storm to  pass so we could take our photos. Considering the rest of the day, I’m pretty sure it was an omen of things to come.

Here’s the thing. I was once told the statue doesn’t have feet because if it had been that much taller, it would have required one of those red flashing lights to warn aircraft. To prevent the Giant Jesus from having a flashing red beanie, they just left off (or maybe cut off) the feet. I doubt this story is true, but it would be SO awesome if it was.

After we shot pictures and video of Jordan’s crate in the van next to the Giant Jesus, Shane had me pose next to the monument. He suggested I kneel down and touch the bottom of the robe, which is how I got a photo of me touching the hem of his garment.

We also stopped by the Crescent Hotel, a former psychiatric facility now said to be haunted, on our way out of Eureka. We hadn’t really taken into account the narrowness and bumpiness of the streets in Eureka and how that would affect our navigating them in a large van carrying a person locked inside a box. Oops! Hope there wasn’t any damage to Jordan or his computer equipment.

Not long after we crossed into Missouri we began experiencing intermittent interruptions on the mobile wireless. Finally it just went kaput, so we were sort of in the dark as to what Jordan was doing during that time. It was frustrating, so we decided to take a break and grab a bite to eat. We pulled into a McDonald’s and grabbed a meal. The final total was $4.30, so we actually came in .52 under our first meal.

Our Internet kicked back up just outside Kansas City, and once there we saw a couple of sights before settling in with our host for tonight. Jordan arranged for us to stay with a friend with whom he once worked at the Kansas City Zoo. We were thrilled not to have to pay for a motel room, and the friend had made us dinner and had cold beer to boot. Awesome, right?


The zookeeper has two dogs and three snakes.

I can’t think about it too much or I’ll end up sleeping in the van curled up next to Jordan’s crate, and that’s just weird. So tomorrow, when I’m out of here, I’ll tell you more.


If I survive.



Mileage: 450 some-odd miles. (Shane has the exact total, and he’s asleep.)

Liquid consumed: 16 ounces water+32 ounces sweet tea+12 ounces soda=60 ounces total

On-the-road bathroom breaks: 3



Portland Bound

Some of you know that I leave for Portland in a couple of hours. Technically I’m doing it as part of the transportation crew for my friend Jordan’s gallery opening in said city.

But if you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you also know that Jordan will be locked in a box for the first seven days of that trip. As such, I won’t have any contact with him, even though he’ll literally be no more than six feet from me during that time. That started last night when we bolted him into the box.

The good news is that Jordan’s brother Shane is doing the bulk of the driving on the trip, so I won’t have to worry about keeping up with my work, staying on top of the social media end of the trip, and driving. What’s even better is that I’ve never been to the Pacific Northwest; in fact, I’ve never been north of San Francisco on the West Coast. It was about 88°F when we locked Jordan in the crate, and it was 100° at the hottest part of Friday with the heat index factored in. I’m so looking forward to what weather.com promises are temperatures in the 70s and 80s this coming week in Portland.

Since Shane and I will have no contact with Jordan but will still be driving across the country, we decided to treat the parts of the trip that aren’t about Jordan as a straight-up road trip. We’re hoping to see some awesome stuff along the way, although it likely won’t be quite so awesome to him since he just returned on Tuesday from a month in Italy.

This is not the first trip Shane and I have taken together. I know we made at least two trips to Kansas City together. (Our ultimate destination was an hour or so north of KC, but who wants to  mention she’s been to Lamoni, Iowa, multiple times?) We also used to spend a lot of time driving backroads here in rural Arkansas, and there’s more than one adventure to be told there. Remind me to tell you about those at some point on this trip… (No, seriously. Remind me. Otherwise I’ll forget, and one of those stories involves us sharing a bed in a hotel room that actually had a cat and a litter box in residence.)

I’m also super stoked about the fact that we’ll have long, uninterrupted hours with nothing but the open road and the playlists on my iPhone. You’ve probably already guessed about 80% of said content is showtunes and Glee tracks. It doesn’t hurt that Shane has a master’s in music and is about to pursue a Doctor of Musical Arts degree with an emphasis in choral conducting. I suspect we’ll have perfected our “Anything You Can Do” performance before we cross the Missouri state line.

Don’t forget that you can also follow me on Twitter, where I’ll occasionally enable geo locations in case you want to track our route/progress. Make sure you check in for tomorrow’s post; if the tentative itinerary pans out as expected, I’m almost certain to offend two major religious groups Saturday.



Going Postal

Yesterday I was on my way to Little Rock to watch the limited theater release of Company with a friend when the air conditioner went out in my car. You just can’t make a 65-mile one-way trip in the 95°F+ Arkansas heat without air conditioning unless you want to sit alone in the corner of the theater, so I was pretty pissed.

Then I remembered I was going to be locking my friend in a box and driving him across the desert in July, and I felt pretty crappy about mentally complaining about having no air conditioning for an hour when he’ll be without it (or a toilet) for six-plus days. (Then again, he once showed up at my 400-square foot house unannounced looking for a place to stay with five other guys who’d been living in a van, so he’ll probably be okay.)

After I arrived home from the film (Which, by the way, was AWESOME. You really should see it if you have a chance, as Katie Finneran and Patti LuPone in particular absolutely KILLED it.), I had messages from Jordan (the boxed artist in question) that his upcoming project had gotten quite a bit of coverage in the last 24 hours. In point of fact, his website hits went from virtually nil to over 30,000 in one day thanks to the widespread media coverage, including on sites like MSNBC.com and Kotaku. Of course I was thrilled about the press, because I’m so excited about Jordan’s work and this trip in particular.

Here’s what gets my goat, though. Almost every single online article I’ve seen (I must have scanned at least 30 over the last two days) gets almost every detail wrong. As a former professional journalist who now works as a freelance editor and writer, I was appalled at the lack of accuracy.

On the one hand, I’m quite accustomed to my name being misspelled; in point of fact, I’ve spent most of my life answering to “Brandi” or “Brenda” rather than my actual name (“Bradi”), so that was no biggie.


But I just can’t get over the fact that professional sites publish stories with such glaring inaccuracies, especially when they’re (presumably) taking the information directly from Jordan’s site. What’s even more confusing is that Jordan has his contact information right there on his site, so the writers could have resolved virtually all these mistakes by simply shooting him an email. (And to be fair, in the last couple days Jordan has fielded a fair number of emails from journalists from both print and online publications who presumably will get the story right.)

Perhaps the most stunning and consistent error I’ve found in these articles is that they abbreviate “Arkansas” as “AK.” That, my friends, is completely and totally wrong. Driving from Alaska to Oregon presents a whole different set of challenges than driving from Arkansas to Oregon. Of course, this mistake is also quite common. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve given my address to a customer service representative on the phone and had this conversation:

Me: ….in Bald Knob, Arkansas.

CSR: That’s “AK,” right?

Me: No. “AK” is Alaska.

CSR: Really? I thought Alaska was “AL.”

Me: No, that’s Alabama.

CSR: And you said it’s “AR”? Are you sure that’s not Arizona’s abbreviation?

Me: I’m sure. Arizona is “AZ.”

I know that because of my professional field I’m far more aware of grammar, usage and mechanics than the average person. But you guys, the AP Stylebook is your friend. And was I the only one who had to memorize postal abbreviations in, like, eighth grade? Is that a skill schools just don’t teach anymore? No wonder postal carriers always seem so surly.



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Join me and @Mikerok here tonight for live blogging of the latest episode of Glee. We’ll open the doors at 7:45 p.m. CST.



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Glee Live Blog: Episode 2.19 “Rumours”

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Preemptive Strike

3:05 am · category: Mystery!

I’m pretty sure I’ll throw my hat in the ring for the presidency of the local Ladies Home Extension Club in 2038, so I figured I should share my birth certificate now. (Click to embiggen.)

ETA: Also, why did they put silver nitrate in my EYES? Google says it was to keep me from getting GONORRHOEA from my mother, but I’m going to pretend it was so I could have a cool, steely gaze when I got older.



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