Tuesday, October 30

Day 2 - Branson to Kansas City

Yesterday's crazed multiple entry / chronological / start at the bottom and work your way up thing was a colossal failure. So today's posting is one messy giant blob of information overload.

Enjoy, or don't. It's up to you.

Who is that Guy?

I walked into the breakfast area, and felt like the Americans in the pub scene in 'An American Werewolf in London'.

Possible reasons:

Too young?
True. I'd be suspicious of a thirty-something in Branson - on his own.

Too atheist?
Good point, but I was baptized and went to Sunday School. Surely I get some credits.

Too foreign looking?
Anne and I were at an event in Salem years ago, and even before I opened my mouth, someone shouted at me "You're not American"

Crazy hair?
I could just be an Episcopalian Minister.

I stutter 'round the food choices, and opt for coffee. One dribble of the machine later and now I'm faced with asking for more coffee.

No way. Years of "You've got a funny accent" have established rules of engagement, and this was a definite 'Get the hell out of there'.

Which is a shame, because I was looking forward to eating grits in a Best Western dining room.

Notice the fitness room is right next to the dining area, so I guess I'll work out tonight instead.

Further thoughts on Branson
Everyone I spoke to was really nice and pleasant. And damn me, but it seemed authentic. I had breakfast at Starvin' Marvins (skipped the grits) and Velda was my server. She couldn't have been more attentive for a $5 breakfast.

As I filled up the Charger with gas (must have a 30 gallon tank), I noticed that I had stayed next door to the Titanic. Extra points for spotting Rustic's Sebring.



Also, a few blocks down I realized why all of our DHL packages are late. What's with the crashing plane motif again?



Get ya rocks off
If I could do it all again, I'd be a geologist. I have a wonderful childhood memory of my mother reading out phrases and words such as 'glacial shift, roche moutonnée, drumlins and scree' as I revised for Geology tests.



I no longer know what this formation means, but it looks silly. Music accompaniment by Mercury Rev.


What the Fork

Found this behind some ad agency in one of those bizarre new 'town developments'.



The fork itself is awesome. It's a simple idea, build some stupendously large statue in an inappropriate place and idiots like me will show up.







I hate these fake town centers. Springfield itself is a nice college town, so there's no real need to build a fake downtown 3 miles away.

While there I mailed a book to my mother. I brought 2 books with me, and finished the first on the plane. The 2nd one is a problem. It's a book on serial killers, and I think I will look weird reading it on the plane on the way home. It's also not the best book to read in a shitty hotel in the middle of nowhere north of Kansas City where I find myself tonight. The guy at check in had a dodgy eye and highlighted the fact by wearing a fogged glass lens in his spectacles.

Buffalo Springfield
Not quite up there with Busch and Beaver, but I saw a road sign for these 2 places today. Thought of the band and smiled, because I won't have to listen to them on this trip. Why? I'm an elitist musical snob. That's why!

Sushi
Driving between Springfield and Joplin - official population: 14. I noticed a sign for "All you can eat sushi."

Really? Anthony Bourdain says not to eat fish in Manhattan on a Monday (it will not be fresh). What are the rules in rural Missouri?

Who calls their kid Oral?
So this beauty is in Webb City. Apparently donated by Oral Roberts it has a small hatch that you can crawl into. Christ (sic) knows why you would do that.


The inane Beckhams named their child (Brooklyn) based on where he was conceived. Not sure what Mr and Mrs Roberts were thinking?

Sign of the Day
Real estate company in Joplin: What we touch, turns to Sold.
They probably didn't pay thousands of dollars to some trumped up city agency for that little piece of genius.

Missouri
Did I explain why I'm here? I'm trying to visit all 50 states. If all goes well I will have only 6 left after this trip. I'd been to Missouri before. It was actually my first state. Back in the day when TWA existed they had a hub in St. Louis. So I landed here on my way to riot torn LA back in 92. On the subject of that trip, I still recall the ass-hat who rented me a car. Sam Gessesse. Alamo. You bastard. He said my credit card would not be charged until we returned the car. Guess what? Six days later I'm in Lake Havasu City eating shitty pizza and my credit card is rejected. Also he tried to talk me and my friends into an upgrade from a Buick to a Scooby van. Tool.

15 years of hurt ...

Hallmark-Jesus-Teletubbies?
Spotted this sign from the highway, and had to visit.



Look, I read the weather forecast and nowhere does it say that Richard will rain on everyone's parade. The people at the chapel looked content. Which is great. George Michael said we gotta have faith, and who better than a dope smoking homosexual to reinforce the Lord's work.

I could accept the piped music, the fountains, the smiling people who have an inner strength, but what on earth is Laa-Laa-Tinky-Winky doing here?





No idea
Is this religious pageantry or pagan Halloween tat?



Then ... at first I presumed they had spelled moral incorrectly during some mammoth 'shroom session. It turns out that morels are some kind of gourmet fungi



Tomorrow I will get a ticket
Two days in and I have not seen one single cop patrolling the highways.

Also, I saw a school bus pulled over at the side of the highway today. Am I supposed to stop for that?

Shuttlecocks
Filed under. "Because why the fuck not?"



Music accomp by Art Brut

Borderline
This was the strangest state crossing I ever made. It's in the middle of a leafy neighborhood. One side of the street is Missouri, the other is Kansas. Also, I'm making no Wizard of Oz jokes, I have used up my pun quota already.



What does $100 get you?
In conversation last week, bemoaning paying $175 for a hotel in California, I agreed with my colleague that anything under a $100 tends to be dodgy.

As you can imagine, I'm very much enjoying staying in Best Westerns at the $50 to $60 mark.

Miss the Missus
It's a lie to say that Anne chose not to come on this trip (it's also an offensively constructed sentence). I have more vacation than her, and I decided to use it up by coming here. But I don't think she would have come anyway. She drove cross country after college; Ohio to San Francisco. In those pre-iPod days all she had was a couple of goth mix tapes. I don't think I would make it across Rhode Island let alone Nebraska listening to Sisters of Mercy.

This trip is fun. I like my own company and it would be different with another traveler in tow. I started my 'fave picks' iPod playlist in Arkansas and it will still be going when I get to Minnesota on Saturday.

The downside is hearing songs that have a history. So many songs in my list remind me of Anne. Sure, it's funny listening to Cocaine and Sex (the Aqua Dub mix incidentally) by Renegade Soundwave in rural Arkansas. But I find myself thinking of Anne dancing around her San Fran apartment wearing the hideous olive shirt that I was glad she stole off of me.

Anne in Iceland for no particular reason.


Day 2 Stats
310 miles: Branson to Springfield to Joplin/Carthage to Kansas City MO/KS

Top 5 songs of the day and why

Primitive Trashman; The Memphis Morticians
I was stuck behind a pickup truck in Branson, and this just seemed appropro

Staying Alive; Bee Gees and Marty & Elaine
Singing along to the Bee Gees version I find myself doing the ad-libs from Marty & Elaine, the old couple from the movie Swingers. 2 songs later their version came on.

Fix You; Cantamus Girls Choir
As I pulled up to the Precious Moments Chapel. Perfect juxtaposition of angelic choir twinned with the evil that is Coldplay

I Feel Love; Donna Summer
Because Giorgio Moroder porno synths are totally out of context in rural Americana

Pregnant Fantasy; Tsu Shi Ma Mi Re
I was passing a 'family clinic' at the time

Finally - music I don't want to hear
I'm sat in Denny's writing this blog. I've just enjoyed a delicious Meat Loaf but I am being forced to listen to that no talent ass-clown Dido. Run her name through spell check and see what you get.

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