I’d Like To Thank All The Little, Little, Little People (Who Live In My Head And Tell Me To Do Things)

Come one, come . . .  a few more!  During this holiday season in which I am going to more holiday functions than I ever have before (there have been three or four Christmas parties in this past week alone), I have found myself receiving gifts that are beyond my expectations.  One was from an aunt of mine who gave me an entire turkey dinner in a box, with a whole frozen (but pre-cooked) turkey, mashed potatoes, mac n’ cheese, and that cranberry jelly stuff that I always spend  twenty minutes prodding with a spoon but never get around to eating.  If you have never gotten meat as gift from a family member, let me tell you something:  It’s fucking weird.  One aunt once came over just to give me three Cornish game hens.  My mother once sent me a care package that was full of sausages.  All these things were delicious, and they know I love to cook so it’s not that abstract, I have just never been able to tell some one, “Yeah, my mom sent me these sausages via the United States Postal Service,” without feeling like I should be in a Coen brothers movie.

"Vee have some sausage dat dein mother sent from Arizona, jah?"

The other gift (other than that wonderful cold hard cash of awesomeness that only grandmothers can give) was I have been nominated for The Versatile Blogger Award! 

The nomination comes from the Funny or Tragic, a blog filled with enough dark humor to make you feel okay about sitting in the dark alone, laughing like a maniac.  From a new take on cattle prods, to this wonderful post about boobs, Funny or Tragic is filled with hilarious musings and colorful cartoons.

And now I have to pass this award to five to fifteen people, as it’s one of the rules.  The other rules are that you have to inform your nominees of the nomination, while providing a link to the person who nominated you along with your thanks.  Then you have to tell seven random things about yourself and post up that little green picture.  This is going to be hard as I’m not sure I know more than eight people in my life all together (one of whom is me looking in the mirror).  But it’s also a good thing as I had no idea what I was going to post today and was too lazy to figure something out.


1. I shave my toes, except for the two biggest.
2. I don’t remember names. Not that I can’t, but I tend not to care about a person’s name. I find it is always easier just to look into a person’s eyes and say, “Hey. How is everything going?” This works, 100% of the time, and no one seems to mind.
3. My favorite nut is hazelnut because it tastes woody. My favorite wood is sandalwood, because it smells nutty.
4. I name inanimate objects like my stapler (Milton) or my three-hole punch (Norman), and I regard them as important friends/allies. I deduced I do this because I was lonely for my entire childhood.


5. I judge the space of my apartments by how well I can safely do I cartwheel in them. (i.e. – My apartment is two and half cartwheels big.)
6. I have a desperate need to own a three-toed sloth, which I would name Couscous.  I also want a manatee, but I don’t know what I’d name him.  Maybe Filbert.

Or Gerald Puffybottom.

7. I could never make up my mind which candy bar to buy when I was in the grocery store, and stopped buying candy altogether because the indecision was driving me nuts.


This is the really hard part as I end up not reading many blogs.  After work and creating my post of the day once I get home, all I want to do is sit back, drink some whiskey and watch Monty Python.  Add to that the few I do read I’m sure have already been nominated, and I don’t want to look like the blogging-newbie I am.  Plus this whole exercise (while being part fad) also is about introducing new bloggers to more people, so I don’t want to end up repeating.  But here are five blogs I am always eager to read:

A Man Chasin’ His Hat

From intriguing articles about the new generations and how the changes in culture are sculpting their behavior, to crazy short stories involving metaphysics, psychology and robots, A Man Chasin’ His Hat is a place of brain candy.  Smart enough to almost be considered nerdy and abstract enough to almost be nonsense, it’s always a delight to read and ponder over.  Some of my favorite posts are It’s Like Some Kind of Torture and Reverse Doppler.  It’s hard to properly describe this blog; the closest I can get is saying it’s like Donald Duck in Mathmagic Land – It’s crazy and sometimes a little confusing, but 100% fun.

Die Umlat

Have you been fired recently?  Have you had any luck finding a new job?  Have you been burned by internet scams and horrid job recruiters?  Do you like some truly underground music?  Then head on over to Die Umlat, where you can read all the war stories from the wounded in the “Seeking Employment” front.  From her weekly posts of actual job scams used on craigslist, to her own experiences coping with unemployment, you get to feel a slice (or in a lot of peoples’ case, get to share it) of one of America’s hugest populations right now.  She also has posts reliving musical moments from her childhood, or introducing new and upcoming artists, reviews of some new restaurants and other articles concerning whatever pops into her head.

Nerdy Baker

I started following Nerdy Baker before I actually read one of the posts.  The big picture I saw of some homemade cheese-toast was enough to have me going back to the beginning and reading every post she had.  Also, the title of the blog is pitch perfect as I also like to cook and am probably more of a nerd than I feel comfortable with admitting.  Two of my favorite, most cheesy-bread-filled glorious posts from her are Here We Go, Sourdough! and Pull Apart Cheesy Herb Bread.  She also provides links that would sate the nerd in anyone, and her writing is down-to-earth, funny and delightful.

Sets and Lights

Having gone to an arts school and gotten my Bachelors in Theatre (an absolutely useless degree), a piece of my heart will always belong onstage.  Sets and Lights helps bring me back into that world with minimal effort, which is probably why I like it.  It discusses a lot of issues with the technical side of theatre, an industry and workforce that has always gone unnoticed and forgotten despite being the reliable backbone of us poofy actors onstage. If you ever wanted to hear what working a live theatrical show is like, tune into and read of few of his posts.  It’ll make you feel like you standing backstage, wearing all black and waiting for the actor to hit their cue so you can start the music, hit the programmed light sequence and start closing the curtain.

The Thirsty Wench

Another blog I just started following without really reading a post first.  Beer?  Yes, I’ll follow you, and with vigor!  A blog dedicated to all things having to do with that wonderdrink, The Thirsty Wench helps take you through an introduction to beer to reviews of some more crafty-beers.  It’s a blog devoted to getting you to drink, and she deserves a medal for even attempting such a mission from God.

So there you go; five blogs I love and that I think you should start reading too.  I just hope they haven’t been nominated yet, or I’m gonna feel like such a tool.  One of those tools that looks silly and is completely obsolete now.

Like this.

And I’m almost to my 150th post.  I’m actually astounded the blog has lasted this long, as posting every single day can really be a pain in the ass sometimes.  But I’m going to keep at it, at least for the first year, after which I’ll probably die down on the number of posts in lieu of creating longer, more complex and more engaging works.  That’s still around 200 posts away however, so things won’t be changing anytime soon.

Thanks once again to Funny or Tragic for the nomination, and congrats to all of those who were nominated.  TO FRIENDSHIP!!!

No, not those ones.

The Bad After-Effects of Weight Loss No One Talks About

When I graduated college in the spring of 2007 I was 5’5” tall and weighed 260 lbs.  I’m still 5’5” (not for lack of trying!) but I now weigh somewhere between 175-180 lbs.  I lost weight the good old fashioned way: I steadily changed my eating habits by eating apples for breakfast instead of steak and ice cream sundaes, and by increasing my daily activity from twirling in my chair until I was dizzy to using as much energy as it would take to choke a grizzly bear.

Don’t ask me how I know this.

But there is a list (albeit a small and somewhat petty one) of downsides to successful weight loss that people don’t talk about because if you heard someone say, “Yeah man, I lost 25 pounds, I look and feel better than I ever have and it fucking sucks donkey dick,” you would slug ‘em a good one right in the jaw.  I know I would.  And yet there are unforeseen drawbacks.

Buying New Clothes

The moment when I put on a pair of pants, strapped my belt as tight as it would go, and my pants still fell off was a great moment for me.  When it happened a second time it was annoying.  The third time got me worried because I realized I wasn’t going to be able to go outside because I couldn’t keep my clothes on.  Sure, I could tape everything to my body, but I worked at a law firm and they would not have thought duct tape to be very professional, no matter how shiny.

It’s not about getting new clothes, it’s about having to throw out all the old ones.  While you relish being able to burn those khakis that always made you feel like an animated refrigerator box, you’re not so keen on having to throw away your favorite shirt or best outfit.  The few items you have that had always made you feel almost normal are now horribly frightening reminders.  It’s like if you had a security blanket as a child that you had to give up when you became a teenager, only to realize afterwards the blankie was infested with lice and scorpions.  It’s the bursting of a bubble you weren’t ready for.

Buying an entire new wardrobe can also be goddamned expensive, and depending on your budget you may not be able to restock your closet, which means dressing like a clown until you have the funds to replace everything because you only have enough money to pay rent and buy food.

Yeah.  Food.  Liquor is food.

My tip to avoid this:  Buy a sewing machine and learn to tailor your own stuff.


The battle with weight-loss is ever changing.  Even if you are well-educated in nutrition, your own personal struggle will take many twists and turns until you find the exact method that works for you.  This struggle includes lots of research on diet and exercise, quite a bit of trial and error, and loads of time.  You’ll become an expert because you will have had to build your regiment from the ground up.  So when discussing weight-loss, a floodgate of information is let loose and before you know it you’ve bored everyone within earshot to death.

“Uh oh, I did it again.”

I don’t think I’m better than anyone else because I lost weight, I just want to share the information I’ve learned with as many people as I can.  Losing weight can be extremely difficult and there are many pitfalls along the way.  I had to learn a lot of lessons the hard way and if I can help someone else avoid those same traps, then I’d like to try.

But you can go overboard.  The trick is to always remember that anyone asking for advice (or just mentioning the subject) doesn’t necessarily want to know how switching from rolled oats to steel-cut oatmeal did wonders for your insulin levels, or how strapping 30 lbs. of paper to your back before you went hiking helped you lose that last ten pounds, or how the only way you were able to lose 70 lbs. at all was to eat the same bare salad everyday for four years.  My tip: Just say, “Eat less, move more,” until someone asks for more detail.


I look like a crazy person who recently escaped from a backwoods mental institution when I go grocery shopping.  I’ll stand in the cookie aisle, slowly pacing back and forth, muttering about the pros and cons of buying a single bag of Pepperidge Farm Milanos.  I will pick up and then put back and then pick up and then put back the same pack of beef.  I do this because I have not been able to turn off the voice inside of my head that tells me not to eat things that are bad for me, even though I reached my weight goals.  Once you have conditioned yourself to do or not do something, it is harder to break those habits.  For example – I had to convince myself that all cookies were made with arsenic, and that if I took even a small bite of one I would keel over, foaming at the mouth.  But now that I am done with my diet, I don’t say to myself, “I have worked hard and deserve a little more jubilance in my food.  Congrats, Nic!  Here, have a cookie!”  Instead I become very paranoid that my former, fatter self is time-traveling and is trying to kill me with poisoned desserts.  So I will pluck out the package of cookies, throw them to floor, and with a slight smirk will whisper, “You’re not going to get rid of me that easily, you fat time-traveling bastard.”  Then I look up and see the worried stares of the cashier and my fellow patrons.

“Just smile and keep pressing the panic button until the guards come to take this crazy man away.”

My tip:  Use self-check out.

The Lingering Fat Mind (For people who need to lose 50 lbs. or more)

You know that voice in your head?  That tiny, but very powerful one?  It is persuasive, it is conniving and it is sadistic.  It’s the voice that makes you believe you’ll never look or feel good; that tells you to keep eating because why fight something you will never be able to change?  This is the Fat Voice, and his only purpose in life is to make you feel shitty until the day you die.  This is the real reason that large people stay large.  This is the voice that makes people regain weight that they have lost.  It’s the “You’ll Always Be Fat And Therefore Completely Worthless” voice.

The Fat Voice

I’ve got some bad news for you.  After you lose all the weight you wanted to lose, you are still going to have to take care of this asshole.

For most of my life I was afraid of my mirror.  I could only look if I was facing directly towards the mirror, and even then I was only focusing on one particular area.  When I lost weight that voice was still there.  I had literally cut my size in half (I can now fit both of my legs into one pant leg of my old pants) and I was still having trouble looking at myself.  This is where the real fight begins for people who are seriously overweight because it’s not the weight loss that’s hard, it’s convincing yourself that you are worth the effort that’s hard.  By losing weight that voice is going to be threatened and will scream at you louder and harder than before.  My tip: Drill it into your brain that your sense of self-worth has nothing to do with your weight.  You did this to be a healthier person, not to be validated as a decent person.  You worked hard to get to this point and you deserve to treat yourself with kindness and respect.  And more to the point, you have always deserved it (unless you’re a dick).  Give yourself a break and love yourself.

I’m starting to sound like Dr. Phil; I better wrap this up.

Just remember:  If I can do it (and shit, I am a lazy drunk) then so can you.  You’re not alone.

On Roommates

In my short 26 years on this earth I have lived in two countries, four states and ten cities, and I have moved at least fifteen times.  In the past decade alone I have lived with twenty-one people in five different apartments.  The lessons I’ve learned have added a few beliefs and habits to my repertoire.  Some of them include a cold-hearted detachment to the people around me and the automatic mistrust of every single person I encounter.

Like you, dear reader, you shifty-eyed bastard.

But on a much much more encouraging note it has also left me with a set of rules and guidelines that make living with other people (whether you have previously known them or not) a tad bit easier.

Chart of Chores, a.k.a. Every One is Getting Screwed At Least Once a Month!

I understand that waiting to wash the dishes until you have used every single dish in your house (very fun actually, especially when you attempt to drink apple juice from a pasta strainer) doesn’t lead to good roommate relations, nor is it very hygienic.  So creating some sort of system to regularly clean the dishes is the best idea.  “Why don’t you just wash the dish right after you use it?”  Look, I’m trying to be serious about this and you’re over here cracking jokes; I’m lucky enough to remember to put on my pants before I go out the door.  More structure is needed, something that goes beyond trying to remember who is next in line to clean as I just demonstrated with the open door sans pants example.  A chart works wonders for this and can include more than just dishes.  Taking out the trash, vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms, dusting, taking blood and urine samples, feeding the gnome kept in the attic; anything to help keep the house straightened.  The chores can rotate so that everyone always does each chore just once a month thereby ensuring that although you will be stuck cleaning your roommates’ messes at some point, the rest of the time they be cleaning up after you.  Just don’t take it too far, like, “CLEAN MY SHOES FOR I AM YOUR LORD AND GOD!”

"You'll be better off not knowing what I was doing."

Ability to Pay Rent, Because Not Every One Understands the Obvious

I’d love to live in a world where I didn’t have to pay rent.  I’d also love to live in a world where bacon helped you lose weight, Paris Hilton and Michael Bay had to clean every sewer on Earth with their tongues and receiving oral sex was a mandatory part of my employment.  Alas we don’t live in a magical world of rainbow dreams and sunbeams so regular payment of rent is required.  Yet there are many people who seem to think that paying rent is like extra taco sauce: completely optional.  But there’s these things called contracts and the ones for apartments called leases (I know all these new words are scary, but stick with me) and that these “leases” have been around for awhile and can be pretty airtight.  So you not paying rent is like . . . look, no more fucking sarcasm with this one.  Pay your fucking rent.  If not, move into your parent’s basement so we can all know what a fucking freeloader you are.  (People hit hard by this economy and haven’t been able to find a job in years excluded from this one.  You’re the heart of America, keep courage.)

Annoying Habits and True Motivations for Homicide


Things my roommates have done that I find annoying: Not locking the front door, chewing with their mouths open, leaving the lights on all night, chewing with their mouths open, leaving the toilet seat/lid up, singing badly loudly, beatboxing in their sleep (actually that was just funny even though it kept me from sleeping), partying late into the night, never closing the kitchen cabinets, chewing with your mouth open, and living.

"Yeah, can you do something about that?"

The list of things that were impossible to live with: having sex on the couch at 8pm while all the roommates were in the house, misusing or stealing my stuff, not paying rent (PAY YOUR FUCKING RENT), and endangering my safety.  The list of things that you can’t (and shouldn’t) live with is a shorter list compared to the things that are merely difficult to live with.  Roommates have always complained about each other’s ticks and idiocentrices, but I think it says more about the person who is unwilling to live them.  It’s important to make the differences between these two categories very clear if you are going to live with someone.  The trick is to remember that for every single thing they do that’s annoying to you, you do something that’s annoying to them.  They sing badly, I snore.  They leave doors unlocked, I’ll rearrange the furniture without warning.  They chew with their mouths open and I hate them for chewing with their mouths open.  It’s a “Give and Take” sort of thing.  It may not help to keep you from being aggravated by this stuff but it will help you let go of those grievances sooner.  As for any other urges you might have to murder your roommates, I can’t help you with that one the remedy differs from person to person.

I take cold showers.

Respect & Straight-Forward Honesty

Listen (or read, or record yourself and then listen to it, or press here), it’s hard enough just living in the world as life tries to rape you up the ass as often as it can and though it may not seem like it we are all in this together.  Being respectful and understanding, even for five minutes, can be the difference between bonding with your roommates and putting a voodoo curse on them (and those never work).  Being straight-forward with them, while ensuring some awkward moments, helps rid the roommieship of any bad blood and keeps issues from festering.

The killer of roommate relations.

But this is the most important part of this list because in the end you don’t need to be friends with the person you live with, you just need to be able to stand them.  And if you’re respectful and forward, you will label yourself as a trustworthy and reliable person, which, now that I come to think about it, is all I really want from a roommate.  But paying rent and not chewing with your mouth open is a very, very close second.