On the Road Again

A Place in the Sun

My stay at the corner of Chelsea and Hyde Park in Memphis was bracketed by gang violence.  The day before I arrived a guy had been gunned down just up the block from the auto shop where me and Bandit were staying.  His T-shirt was one of two planted in a makeshift memorial, in an untended lot just across the street from where Bandit and I were holed up (see header pic).  A daily reminder of the senseless randomness of street thuggery in the US today, a good deal of which is fueled by the ongoing refusal of some states to come to terms with legalizing marijuana.  As was the case with alcohol prohibition, this inevitably leads to black market activity and violence is the only ‘legal’ recourse for solving “market” disputes.  There’s a “Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre” happening almost every day somewhere in the poorer parts of the American landscape, but since the dead are mostly poor Blacks and not upscale Italian mobsters, it doesn’t make the ‘news’.  I knew moving in here that the area was a sketchy, but this was underscored in a seriously dramatic fashion Sunday evening. 

Why We Left

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“Nelly Belle” loaded up with Bandit taking one last look at the ‘hood.

There was an honest to goodness running gun battle that took place right at this spot early Sunday evening.  

Bandit and I hunkered in for the night and when daylight appeared Monday morning, I decided not to continue to remain in an area that appears, for all intents and purposes, to be one of the primary gang “drug dealerships” in Memphis.  

To be fair, I had never before felt personally threatened by the gang activity.  I was living in their neighborhood and they treated me with kindness, dignity and respect. There was no hint of racial animosity whatsoever.  This in no way abated the fact that the internecine gang skirmishes were a fact of life or that the general deprivations of the area played heavily on my ability to retain my exuberant upbeat attitude.  None of the businesses seen in the pics below are open and even the church shown in this slideshow was ‘out of business”.  You know things are bad when both the pool hall and the church give up on the area!

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Though the deprivations in our living arrangements were harsh. I was thankful to have a place for me and Bandit to bivouac while attending to the issues of the van that my friend Drew Pittman had so graciously gifted me.  I consider Drew one of my secular guardian angels.  The van he gave us is truly a life saver and game changer for me and Bandit as we continue the daily struggle to rebuild our lives back here in the US.

What’s Next?

Bandit and I have moved to a safe location outside Memphis and are in a holding pattern awaiting paperwork on the van which has been promised to be forthcoming.  I will be meeting with Drew over the fourth of July weekend to finalize all that before heading on to Pike’s Peak as has been my intention since arriving back in the US last November.  In the meantime we are both doing fine and expect to have a wonderful Fourth of July weekend just like the rest of America.  Memphis wasn’t all bad by any means and I do not wish to leave that impression.  We loved the parks and the general vibrancy of the city.  Memphis is definitely moving in the right direction and there is a lot of opportunity awaiting those with the gumption to grab it.

The circumstances of my poverty greatly exacerbated the situation and though I actually started working within a week of my arrival, getting both the van in shape and trying to acquire the basic items necessary for life made it difficult to accumulate any real wealth.  It’ll be touch and go for sure until we’re actually in Colorado and settled in but that challenge is more appealing to me at this point than gambling with my safety in Memphis.

Enjoy.

Free Form Ramblings

Overton Park Nature Trail  

 

Connectivity 

Been awhile since I did an honest blog post due to issues with Internet latency at my hangout in the auto shop.  Last night the net went down for good and I was forced to seek alternative bandwidth solutions.  I need something that is mobile and affordable and a fifty dollar cellular router caught my attention.  I chose the T-Mobile cellular wifi “pay as you go” solution from Walmart this morning.  I am testing it with the minimum purchase of one gig of bandwidth to see how that works out.  It was ten bucks for the bandwidth and it lasts a week or a gigabyte whichever comes first.  I will be as frugal as possible when using it and try to do as much Internet on free wifi as possible.  I am going to restrict my blog post constructions to my iPad mini as a means of limiting bandwidth but this will likely limit my ability to format posts in my usual format.   I still plan on uploading Youtube videos however and whenever I can.  

Life

The weather has been brutally hot here in Memphis the last week or so and this has made my 11 hour shifts on the landscaping crew at work specially hideous.  As if the long hours and manual labor weren’t enough to contend with, I now have to deal with what are most definitely deadly heat conditions.  Of course we have been briefed at work not to overdue it and to be aware of the symptoms of imminent heat death but that is little relief in actual practice.  Coming “home” to the shop is almost as bad since there is no air conditioning and the concrete block construction soaks up enough sun all day to radiate heat inside all night.  Security concerns stifle any thoughts of open windows or proper ventilation.  It is a situation that was never meant to be sustained and is rapidly approaching unsustainably.   My van is as road ready as I can get it with the time and money I have available and I am more than ready to get along in my journey to Pike’s Peak.  My original plan of walking from Oklahoma to Colorado at ten miles a day would have gotten me there by the Fourth of July.   I am trying to keep somewhere close to that earlier scheduled arrival time.  It’s all a bit of a gamble, much like life itself, but if I don’t take a chance I don’t stand a chance.  My tolerance for risk is a bit higher these days since I am literally risking my life and health in my current work/home living arrangements on a daily basis.  The final exodus to the mountains is rapidly approaching.  I am getting excited and nervous but always confident the future will find me in a more suitable situation than the present.   Many thanks to those who have cheered me on or helped me out in any fashion over the last six months or so.   I would not be in the position to make this move without you.

Realtime

Bandit and I are sitting on the patio of the golf clubhouse at Overton Park in the shade. We will be walking over to the “Overton Bark” dog park to hang out with the hounds in a minute.  It is free and a nice respite from the heat of the shop.  I will Instagram-Twitter some shots of the dogs from the facility in a bit.  

Enjoy. 

Political Playtime

I figured I would take a short break from my hectic schedule of trying to rebuild my life from scratch to do a little political blogging.  We’re on the cusp of a Presidential election cycle and there’s a ton of stuff going on that needs sorting out.  So let’s get to sorting.

Sy Hersh

I believe him.  What he says makes perfect sense in context with what went down and the fact that the ‘mainstream’ media is piling on Hersh just adds more credibility to what he’s saying.  I can’t remember the last time mainstream media got anything right on issues of the Middle East since at least the New York Times Judith Miller reach-around.  It’s not like he’s saying anything that doesn’t fit exactly within the pattern of a longstanding pattern of Osama Bin Laden protectionism.  You can just see the Saudi’s tossing bundles of money at Pakistan to keep him under wraps and protected.  The only part I’m curious about at all is whether or not we knew he was there all along and Obama finally agreed to payoff whoever needed to be paid off to let us fly in there and take him out.

Invasion of Texas

The sooner the better IMHO. That said, isn’t it now patently obvious that the state which gave us George Bush is about as dedicated to supporting the military of this country as Jeb Bush is to being an honest politician?  The speed at which these numbskulls can go from flag waving patriots to secessionist blowhards is mind numbing.  Expect an “army” of mobility-assisted Medicare seniors to attempt to recreate a scene from Red Dawn in a couple of months when the US military goes to Texas for training.  You’ll want to stock up on gold and seed stock.  Argh.  Go Wolverines!

Bernie Sanders

He’s been saying the same thing for years.  Doesn’t change his position from week to week or news cycle to news cycle.  The people’s candidate.  Don’t let anyone tell you he can’t be elected.  We elected an unknown Black guy president and then re-elected him.  Bernie Sanders is a shoo-in.  I wonder if Hillary would be interested in the vice-presidency?   Go Bernie!

Black People

jesusLovesHipHop

Black people are pissed.  If you were Black you’d be pissed too.  How about reigning in the out of control police state and prison industrial complex and give our minority citizens a break?  And don’t tell me how slavery ended hundreds of years ago or that Black folks aren’t being continuously harassed and discriminated daily.  Now they’re being accused of turning the country atheist.  If it’s true I’m glad for their support but O’Reilly is just trying to tar and feather the Black folks with everything he envisions as evil.  The country would be a helluva lot better off if Black folks actually were turning to secularism instead of wasting their time and money supporting fake ass preachers looking to buy fifty million dollar Lear Jets.

Jeb Bush

Iraq.  Does he or doesn’t he?  Only his pollster knows for sure.  What kind of mental midget with the last name of Bush is going to think he has a snowball’s chance in Hell of winning the presidency?  Only one whose last name is Bush.   FFS.  There must be a fund raising bonanza or a tax break involved for him to put himself through this much humiliation.

Enjoy.

 

 

 

Loose Endings

No Longer an Okie from MuskogeeHeading West

My time in Wagoner, OK has come to a close. I packed my life back into my four suitcases and me and Bandit headed down the road in search of a better tomorrow early in the wee hours of Saturday morning. Though things didn’t work out as well as I had hoped for in Oklahoma, I’m grateful for the opportunity and thankful for the companionship my host family provided me during my time there.

Adventures in Fund RaisingToledo Scale

Friday, I finished up with my “Great Aluminum Can Adventure” by taking the cans I’d collected during my daily walks with Bandit to the local recycling center. It was a lot of fun and a bit of an adventure wandering the streets around Wagoner, snatching cans and taking photographs as we toured the area. I’d estimate we traversed a good twenty miles in the eight to ten hours we spent wandering around aimlessly. The final aluminum tally was twenty pounds collected and the payout was eight bucks (at forty cents a pound), leading to an average of a bit less than a dollar an hour payout. I wouldn’t recommend it as a career move, but I do enjoy walking with Bandit in the evenings for fun and health anyway. Getting paid for doing it is a bonus and better than paying out for a gym membership!

If you are feeling charitable you can help support me in my struggle to rebuild my life from scratch by tossing a nickel into my emergency relocation fund.

Next up? Memphis.

Enjoy.

In the Meantime

Muskogee to Memphis

Hell's Hole, OK

While I am working on soliciting donations to continue on my path down the road of life I am not sitting idly by twiddling my thumbs and toes just because there doesn’t seem to be an employer in my local vicinity who is interested in employing me at slave wages and exploiting my superlative set of skills.  I don’t get too bummed out by that seemingly incomprehensible set of circumstances given the overall state of educational and economic depravity I’m surrounded by.  It’s just further evidence of the bad decision making skills of the people in the area.  LOL.

In the Meantime

Yes You Can

In the meantime I’m spending my time doing what any able bodied homeless vet (or bag lady) would do given the ‘opportunities’ that present themselves in the land of the free and the home of the brave.  I’m out collecting aluminum cans.  I have no idea what they are worth as I have yet to actually sell any of them but they must have some intrinsic value greater than zero or our cities wouldn’t be overwhelmed with images of homeless folks pushing shopping carts stacked to the brim with them.

Making do

I’d mow lawns if I had a lawn mower.  I’d do some other odd job if I hadn’t lost all my tools in my moves back and forth beyond the oceanic horizon. Lacking a vehicle does nothing to improve my situation one bit as I’m sure there are some jobs right outside my limited field of travel that I might be able to bag but given my experience to date I wouldn’t call that a ‘slam dunk’ either.

Sonic Tim

I’d put on a pair of roller skates and deliver your slush and corn dog order to your car at the local Sonic for that matter,  but I guess the sight of a skinny ass old guy wheeling around in their parking lot isn’t as desirable in terms of public perception as I had otherwise hoped it would be when I wandered into the place based on their “Walk In applications welcome on Tuesdays” flashing sign, only to find that “walking in” for the application required I first do their online application (WTF?) which of course I did before returning for my walk-in application the following Tuesday!   I’m nothing if not persistent and I’m trying to put to rest the tired stereotype that folks who want to work can easily find jobs because that’s as old a trope as “both parties in this country are the same, so why bother voting at all”.  Vote for Bernie Sanders, 2016.  Before it’s too late.

Enjoy.