17 Marble Showers

I forgot another striking thing about driving through Wyoming: the billboards. There was a particular set of them advertising a hotel chain called Little America. My favorite was one that just said "17 Marble Showers," with a picture and the hotel name below.  It felt almost biblical, the 17 marble showers promised to the righteous, those that drive courteously and within the speed limit. That if you can just make it through this bleak stretch of 80 East, those 17 showers will wash away the toil of the road and you will be made new.

And we've heard that promise so many times.

 

Scarecrow wrapped in wire

The shadow of a violent crime stretches far. I got pretty upset driving through Laramie, WY today, thinking about Matthew Shepard's murder. It's hard not to, driving past all those fences, mile after mile after mile.

I started doing research on hate crime statistics, but I'm going to get out of my depth pretty quick so I won't post much. But the severity of bullying in schools seems pretty straightforward: 9 out of 10 LGBTQ kids report being harassed.

There are a lot of organizations that address the issue of hate crimes tho! DoSomething.org seems to be doing really cool stuff. It engages with millions of young people who care about social change, and seems to really get how to connect with tech-savvy millennials. 

Forgot something...

Most of the venues have a sound system, but I have a portable set-up for the few that don't. Salt Lake was the first show I was responsible for the sound, so if I forgot anything Saturday night is when I was going to find out.

I was pretty meticulous about packing though, so I wasn't worried. I remembered to bring extra batteries for my guitar pedals, spare cables in case mine died or got slashed, and a hat and gloves in case the temperature dropped below 60 degrees. So I rolled up to Alchemy Coffee confident I hadn't forgotten anything that would, you know, prevent me from playing a show.

I unloaded my guitar and microphone, lugged my PA speaker in on a hand cart, and brought in my speaker stand and cables. I saw that I wouldn't be needing the extension cord I brought, and decided I would do without the stage monitor in this venue. Then I went back out to the car to get my mic stand. WHOOPS!

I guess we could have taped the mic to something, or had someone hold it the whole show? Luckily my buddy Peyton saved the day. He's also a musician, and I called him just as he was walking out the door, on his way to the show.  He rummaged through his closet, and found a mic stand!! All the creatures in the land rejoiced, birds sang in the trees, and Peyton's stand held the mic to our faces steady as Seattle rain. 

A Long-Expected Journey

I looked at the clock: only five hours before the first day of middle school. My bedroom was quiet, the only sounds were calm voices from the radio. At some point in the night I had turned it on, and found an interview with Dave Grohl, the lead singer of the Foo Fighters. 

I don't remember what they said, only a couple songs he played. Dave with an acoustic guitar, on the other end of a shotgun mic. If everything could ever feel this real forever, spinning in the darkness next to my bed. I listened for hours, if that's possible. And when I woke up, I put on my backpack and went to school.

I'll need to be up soon, to clean the bathroom and pack the car. I play Sacramento tonight, then drive to a cheap hotel-casino in Reno. Pictures soon, thanks for coming along for the ride.