5 reasons drivers can’t just chhiiiilllllllllllll

If you live in a big city (think Atlanta, NYC, Los Angeles, etc), you probably already know exactly how this blog is gonna go. Traffic is the worst, right? Afternoon rush hour has turned into afternoon rush afternoon here in Nashville. Especially if you throw rain into the mix, or, ya know, just the threat of gentle spring shower. FREAK OUT!
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And don’t try to pick up bread and milk at a grocery story, because the shelves will already be empty! But there’s more to the traffic problem and no peanut butter and jelly sandwiches than just precipitation. Here in Nashville, we have the problems a lot of growing cities have: construction (some say the state bird is the crane), school zones, plus area population growing by more than 100 people per day.

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Cranes, cranes, and more cranes! (credit: Nathan Morgan – Nashville Business Journal)

My top 5 reasons traffic is the way it is…

Bumper to Bumper the avenue was packed.
-Vanilla Ice

1. Construction. If you visit downtown Nashville anytime between 8am and forever, you’re going to get stuck behind 30 cars, a dump truck, and a lane that’s closed off.

2. Population growth. As mentioned, the population is growing by over 100 a day. Most are folks moving here, so I guess some are babies being born. They don’t account for the bad traffic, but give it 16 years and watch out.

3. Weather. Lots of this makes lots of traffic.

4. Hello road rage. People are angry. When bottlenecks, slowdowns, and stupidity happen on the road, people get mad. Mad people make quick decisions. This often leads to mistakes. I give you, Exhibit A. Watch the dark sports car in the far left lane. This accident was caused by a dump truck abruptly slowing down for no apparent reason.
People making decisions out of sheer rage can often lead to even more traffic problems. This also leads directly into the next cause…

5. People think rules don’t apply to them.

These drivers might not directly cause bad traffic, but when their driving leads to wrecks, police involvement, or when they cut ahead of people, traffic is affected.

So here are the takeaways:
1. Everyone just needs to chhillllllllllll. It’s all gonna be OK.

2. Stop moving to Nashville. It’s not that great and the traffic is horrible. 😉

3. If you live in a city or town where traffic gets bad, leave earlier than you originally planned.

-Out of the Wilderness

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Brief encounters

I’ve discovered that there are quite a few people you’ll come in contact with that you might only see once…ever. In fact, scenarios like that are so common even Craigslist has a part of their website dedicated to these casual encounters, as they call it. While I’d recommend scanning those for entertainment purposes only, there’s obviously a need they’re filling, or trying to fill.

Time has distanced me from the college years where I might’ve seen hundreds of people a day and a lot of times see those same hundreds and a hundred more all the time. And now, depending on your job, your weekly activities, you might see just a sliver of that amount on any given day.

I’ve never really been brave or outgoing when it comes to dating, even to this day, so I’ve realized these brief encounters with a woman I find interesting are, or could be, something to act on. Because it might be the only time I ever see this person.

There was that girl when I worked as a photographer’s assistant at a wedding.

 

Then there was Brooke from a local tattoo shop.

Once I talked with a girl at Kroger.

One and done, that’s what those were. Because I wasn’t really thinking past the moment. A buddy of mine had an experience like this recently. He was at Pinewood Social here in Nashville and was sitting in a sort of common area; a long couch, a table, basically a section you can chat with a friend or group of friends, and still order food and drinks. A pair of girls were sitting near him and because of where their computers where plugged in, he and at least one of the girls had to communicate. Afterwards he told me that he found one of them to be very attractive. The full story is that both were, but one had a ring on. 😉

So chance encounters like that do happen. But the older we get, they’re just not as frequent. If I’m being totally honest, most days I couldn’t care less about talking to anyone. Give me a chair in the backyard with my dogs and a cool breeze, I’m pretty much set! But every once in a while there will be tattoo shop Brooke. Or Kroger girl. Unfortunately for me I come up with great conversations I could’ve had about an hour or a week after. Lame-o!

So today I’m asking myself, “What am I doing about it now?” When the next Brooke comes along, or the next Pinewood Socialite sits down next to me or my friend, what shall be done about it?

-Out of the Wilderness

Jain in Nashville, Tennessee

This will most likely go down as my biggest regret of 2017… Jain played in Nashville last night and I wasn’t there! Very disappointed. I’ll admit I don’t know much about her as an artist/person yet but I really like her music, her stage presence, her charisma.

Instead of staring for an uncomfortable amount of time at Jain on stage, I was in my car delivering packages to my lovely neighbors in Nashville. That’s right, I drive for Amazon Prime Now. So as luck would have it, Lightning 100 broadcasted Jain’s concert live on-air. Major silver lining there. I listened to what I could of her set and it was awesome! I already knew I liked her song “Come,” but now I’ve found a list of others that I like. You need to delight yourself by taking 15 minutes to listen to and watch the following, in this order:

1. “Come”

2. “Makeba” (the editor in me thinks this video is incredible with the effects, timing, and choices of how they put it together. “Come” is a lot like this one, too.)

3. “Hope” (tops the list of my favorite songs at the moment, and in this video you’ll get to see her free and charismatic style.)

Regretful in Nashville,
Out of the Wilderness

It’s kinda been a crazy week

It’s kinda been a crazy week… and I’m not just talking about the weather! Although, the weather here in Nashville has been crazy. One day I’m in shorts, the next day I’m bundled up to my nose in winter clothes. Then they want us to hunker down in our tornado shelters. That same afternoon I could’ve got sunburned. Crazy stuff.

But what’s most exciting and well, pretty much has me speechless is seeing both of my books on store shelves as far south as Tallahassee, Florida and out west in Branson, Missouri. Click here for a post about that on my book website.

Today is Friday, March 3rd!

The agenda today includes more work on a documentary about a boy with a rare diagnosis who, to this day, is defying the odds. He’s surrounded by a great family that loves him so much, and perhaps that love has been the most effective thing for his disability.

I’ve also recently started on another video project about the military. It’s still in the early stages as far as my involvement goes, but I think it’ll turn out to be a great project.

Yesterday I delivered for Amazon Prime, a job which came into my life at the most divine time back in 2015. It popped up after I’d been laid off from my job of 10 years (click here for more about that!). The work allows, actually it requires, me to drive all over middle Tennessee so I’m able to listen to books on CD, music on Spotify/radio, talk radio like the great Phil Valentine Show, and of course, deliver goods to happy* neighbors all over the city.

*mostly happy.

Today I also start an 8-day hosting gig for a 17-year old blind dog named Sparky. He’s been a guest in my home before and I’m excited to have him here again. I love old dogs. And to be clear, I love puppies, too. But something about old dogs just makes my heart beat more definitely.

Hope y’all have a great weekend!

-Out of the Wilderness

 

 

All the places I’ve lived, and a favorite memory from each

coast-guardMy dad was in the Coast Guard, so that meant a lot of moving around. Before I was born, my family had already been up and down the east coast, and spent some time on the west coast, too. My oldest sister was born in Key West, next oldest sister was born in Monterey, CA and then my brother in Virginia. When it was my time, the family was back in Key West. I was there for a short time before we moved out west. Here’s the list!

born: Key west, FL (December 26, 1978)

Hawaii – I was just a little guy here, about a year old, so I have three memories: attending a luau, going into a building, and going under a bridge (or tunnel?) on the way to a beach. I guess the luau is my favorite because I remember looking across and seeing my baby sitter.

Hollywood, FL – Started my academic career here at Sheridan Hills Christian School. Favorite memory: Our family took a lot of boat trips. We went down to the keys, spent nights on the water, I got sea sick for the first time, and still, these trips are easily my favorite memory!

me as 4th grader 2St. Petersburg, FL –  Attended Maximo Elementary School for 2nd and 3rd grade. Favorite memory: At school I met a friend that made me laugh so hard all the time. To this day, I measure everyone else against him. He was so funny. One of my least favorite memories: My funny friend was not at school one day, then not there the next day or the next. A few days later, his mom came in and picked up his things. I never saw him again!

Newport, RI – This is where I attended 4th grade at Underwood Elementary. Favorite memory: touring all the mansions, like these.

the-breakers

The Breakers. 62,000 square feet! 

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Rough Point. 39,000 square feet and 105 rooms!

A tie for favorite: all the lamborginis. Not sure why there were so many, but it was somewhat common to see one driving around the city. And Saabs. Lots of Saabs.

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5th grade at Widewater.

Stafford, VA – I was a 5th grader at Widewater Elementary School then moved to Stafford Middle School for 6th and 7th grade. These are my favorite years from growing up. I made great friends that I still have today. One favorite memory: trick or treating on Halloween one of the years. Somehow a friend and I got separated from our group of friends, but he and I still went around to so many houses. That was a fun night! Also, our house was situated on a golf course so we’d go out there to play football, capture the flag, flashlight tag, and hmmm, maybe hit some golf balls. I also came up with a list of things that happened in middle school that absolutely would not happen in today’s world. Here’s a link to that:

[11 Things You Can’t Do In School Anymore]

Miami, FL – Westminster Christian School for 8th – 10th grade. Favorite memory: being on the JV basketball team. And it was in 10th grade I had my first kiss. I know, I was late to the party! 🙂

New York, NY – Curtis High School for half of 11th grade. Favorite memory: I got to see a taping of David Letterman. It was really fun. We lived on Governors Island, so it was nice to have a place with grass, and trees, unlike most of New York City back then! Also, riding a ferry past the Statue of Liberty every day on the way to school was pretty neat.

Tallahassee, FL – Finished 11th and 12th grade at Leon High School. My dad retired from the Coast Guard in 1996 so we moved back towards family in Florida. Favorite memory: this is getting difficult because with each place, I have more than one favorite! But to name a few, I’d say my aunt’s lemon squares, my grandfather driving 120mph in his Isuzu Trooper to get me to school, pb and j lunches at The Brown Bag Express, basketball with friends, and graduating from the same high school my mom graduated from.

Note: I stayed in Tallahassee for college, as well. I have so many great memories in those 4.5 years. Too many to pick one!

Nashville, TN – This is where I’ve lived since the mid-2000s. Also too many great memories to pick one at the moment. So I’ll go with the lame answer: My favorite memory of Nashville is all of them. 😉

-Out of the Wilderness

Nashville had a snow day

Well, Nashville had another apocalyptic snow day yesterday. I’m sorry if you were in Nashville or nearby and had to deal with this traffic:
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I was determined to stay home, although how long do you have to be in one place before it’s officially called cabin fever? I had only been home since mid-afternoon Thursday and I’m only slightly exaggerating when I started looking like Jack Nicholson from The Shining.
jack-from-the-shining
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But all in all, we had a fun day. My dogs and I romped in the yard, chased frisbees, wore our Christmas presents…

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Asia chased her frisbee, something she’ll do no matter the weather.


I wore my new pea coat I got for Christmas from my parents and I gotta tell ya, I will forever wonder what life was like before I had this coat. It’s so warm. It’s so classy. I just need to figure out how to use the pockets. They’re still sewn up, I think??

Before the cold day came to a close, I managed to get the car out of the driveway and down the semi-steep and icy road and I went dancing. Nothing will warm you up on a cold day like dancing with your friends.

Stay warm and stay cool!

-Out of the Wilderness

Sand volleyball for the win

I’ve been playing sand volleyball probably an average of 4 times a month since the summer started. It’s quickly become one of my favorite things to do here in Nashville.

vball

photo courtesy of Brandon Sommers

I was first introduced to it by my friend Bill who played a lot of sand volleyball here in town. I only went a handful of times in all of 2014 and 2015. But this year I’ve fallen in love. It’s so fun to play, though I’m probably only slightly above average as far as skill level goes. I think a big part of what makes it fun is the attitude of most of the folks that play there. It’s a friendly environment. Most disputes are settled with some sort of joke and laughter coming from both sides of the net.

If you’re in Nashville and have a hankering to get on the court before winter sets in, do it! You won’t regret it.

-Out of the Wilderness