Tommy, Kant You Hear Me?

“May you live your life as if the maxim of your actions were to become universal law.” ‘

Immanuel Kant

The power of intention – Wayne Dyer

The will to power – Friedrich Nietzsche

The ebb and flow of power – Aristotle

Create dangerously – Albert Camus

Get the heck out of bed – Nikki Weed

It’s hard to sit here and ponder on all of the intentions, creations, and destruction that has become the tumultuous wake of my existence. At times, I feel like my creations are so temporary and fleeting. Other times I feel like my intentions are stupid and there is no use in trying. Sometimes I feel like when I’m in front of the speeding bus, I’m actually in the middle of an Metra track during rush hour. Somedays, I don’t want to get out of bed.

“What’s the use,” rattles through my head as I shuffle the five steps to the bathroom and then four steps backwards to my desk. Many times I don’t even crack open the coffee maker or even brush my hair before hopping on my computer in my tiny workspace and diving into work. Suddenly, when my fingers grace that first keystroke and the electrical hum coming from the power inverter five feed away from my desk starts to resonate within my chest, I know there is a reason to get up. If I were to stay in bed, I would essentially be the bed. You are the circumstances in which you surround yourself with. Vis-a-vis, wrapped up in an overpriced Pendleton would make me nothing but, well, an overpriced blankie.

I’m lucky in a way, but cursed in the same way ( sort of like an ebb and flow of cursed ). During my young, formative, teenage wasteland of years, I buried my head in philosophy. I didn’t party, I didn’t skip class, I didn’t do “youth activities.” I dug into Aristotle, I dug in to Nietzsche, I dug deeper within myself, trying to find myself. The problem was, I wasn’t developed, I wasn’t there. There was nothing to find. I was dipping my bucket into a well whose spring hadn’t sprung yet.

Sitting on a seat from a car that was used in crash testing (because normal teenager had bean bag chairs and futons), I plummeted my not yet formed mind into the concept of Kant’s’ Universal Law. Young and full of optimism about the general public, the idea of having an unspoken do-right mentality seemed like it was plausible. I mean, what person would intentionally hurt someone, something? There was a naïve hope that the world wasn’t such a bad place, only because there were always repercussions of doing wrong.

Right? Right? RIGHT?!?!?!

Wrong. Dead wrong. As I dove deeper, connecting dots of intention, consequence, and the power to create your own existence, the startling fact that not everyone was on the same “do good” page was very defeating. Why wouldn’t you want to help an elderly woman cross the road? Why wouldn’t you want to call your grandma every Sunday afternoon? Why wouldn’t you do everything in your power to create a more harmonious partnership with the rest of mankind? I started not seeing people obeying the Universal Law (simply put, do onto others), but a world of really crummy people.

Scam artists, compulsive liars, thieves, cheaters, liars…they were all out there, not being good people. How the heck could I deal with it. I sunk into a depression, and it chased me through over a decade. The bad people caused me to be a bad person, the came concept of Universal Law applied to me as well. If people are treating me terribly, why should I treat people any differently? This turned into me flinging my disappointment at society in all directions in a self-destructive tumbleweed that pick up and toted a little bit of everything its path came across.

I look back at that tumbleweed and shake my head. The same books that were so soothing to my soul also created a monster.

Needless to say, the tumbleweed monster needed to be kicked firmly in the teeth and reminded that, although there is some ugly in the world, there is way more good. It took a few kicks.

After pondering the obvious “what now, what comes next” philosophical saga, I realized that the amount of effort you put into life is directly associated to what you get out of it. What came then was a quest to avenge the good that is latent in every human. Good, not for the sake of what race you are, what religion you are, who your parents are, your wealth; but good because its the right thing to do. Sometimes it’s not as easy as it seems, but it’s still the right thing.

So when I struggle to get out of bed. When the night was short and the impending day is long, I think about one of my horticultural heros, Luther Burbank. A man of high school education and a lot of hands in the dirt experience, he became one of the most renown plant people in the country (and world in a way). When he was a fledgling in his career as a plant man, a sage friend in the field told him he’d never make it, and that his heart wasn’t in the art.

What a blow, but Burbank took that statement as rocket fuel and pioneered past. By the time he passed away from – of all things, hiccups – he had created over 800 varieties of cultivated plants. If it weren’t for Burbank and his meddling with plants, landscape as we know it today would be very different. Of all things, his greatest accomplishment, and challenge, was to develop the perfect landscape daisy. It took him 17 years to get it right. 17 years…working to create one simple daisy.

So where I sit now, I look at interpersonal challenges and human interactions as nothing more than potential Shasta Daisies. It may not always be easy to do onto others, but, in the end, the reward is that much sweeter.

**Footnote:

In the recent weeks, I’ve been focusing my intention on doing good. Part of this is to start raising awareness to the sad condition of pet care on many Indian Reservations. Humans, let alone canines are in sad shape, most riddled with poverty and homelessness. Every time we pass through on an adventure to the lake, Monument Valley, or parts of Southeastern Utah, it’s hard to overlook the “rez dogs” that roam free looking for shelter and a meal.

I want to help, my belly is fed, I have shelter, but they don’t. Through t-shirt sales from the Tan Van Adventure Channel on YouTube and my website here, I want to channel awareness away from me, and towards those helpless creatures that really need it. I’m okay, don’t worry about me. It’s them to worry about. With a harsh climate, with temps often over 115 degrees and water sparser than hair on Kojaks head – they need your help.

100% of T-shirt sales for our Tan Van shirts go to Tuba City Humane Society. Click here to shop (and if you’d like to see the image on a different style/object, let me know!)

Click here to donate directly to Tuba City, and click here to follow their mission on Facebook. (Warning – the images are hard to look at, but your donation can help).

Don’t turn your your back on Universal Law.

One of the rez dogs, hungry, dirty, and potentially pregnant.

Turn Key Opportunity – Inquire Within

*Slowly steps up to the microphone.

*Taps twice.

*Lets out primal scream.

“Now that I have your attention, I’d like to direct your attention to the tall fella in the back row.”

The audience slowly turns around, darting their eyes back and forth, scanning for the tallest person.

“See that guy right there? Yes, that’s the one. Give him a wave to acknowledge you see him.”

Confused, the crowd glances to their seat neighbors and then back at the back row. Some shrug and wave in a general direction. Some point their flailing had directly at a face.
“Can you turn up the house lights, please?”

As the lights turn from a romantic dimness to a pimple-poppable glare – the illusion is over. There are nothing but cardboard cutouts of the identical man placed in every single seat in the back row. The audience is confused for a second, and then reels their face back towards the stage. “What gives” is the general consensus and frustrated self-help seekers once again direct their attention to the stage.

The speaker stands erect, without emotion, without voice, without any sign of continuing on with the performance. A chiseled look of something between stage-fright, constipation, and the satisfaction of getting the best prize a Cracker Jack box has to offer. Not a muscle moves. Not a breath is taken. The audience gets restless.

Seconds turn to a full minute. The crowd shifts in their seat and reaches for the poorly printed program and was handed out at the door. The thumbing of programs create the same sound as an otherwise silent troop of soldiers marching through dry, fallen leaves. Eyes turn from the program to the performer, and back to the performer. Was this all part of the show?

The performer moves only their eyes, scanning the crowd for the most unsettled of the bunch, makes a mental note, and then walks off stage, leaving murmurs in the brightly lit auditorium behind. The seats of 190 mall-dressed professionals is uneasily as nothing happens. Chaos, screaming, pointing, waving, and then a vast nothing. The void is uncomfortable for all, and the anticipation of being completely ripped off lingers.

Those that start to gather their belonging mumble. Those that traveled from distant towns become disgruntled. The general energy is that of a DMV line. Nobody feels like they’ve been taken care of, and everyone wants something. Alas, nothing is provided.

Ex nihilo, nihil fit.

What does this all mean? Well, in the mind of a deep-thinking, over-worked, potentially under-served person, this mean that the world is what you make of it. I’ve been getting ripped off lately, and I can’t say I’m thrilled about it. At the same time, it gave me a pretty intense feeling of what “something” and “nothing” is.

When you set your mind on a perceived value of something – be it a person, place, or activity – you’re bound to have some sort of picture in mind as to what you’re going to receive. When it doesn’t work out, your reaction to the outcome is what molds you as a person. It could be a cold hamburger from a grease joint. Instead of a cold burger, that burger could be your motivation to start eating healthier. That traffic jam on the way to work could cause you to take pause and consider the lilies in the valley. That empty stage might just be the motivation you need to start allowing other people to tell you how to live your life.

As fun as “motivational speakers” are to lean on for guidance, they are not you. Yours is not theirs. All circumstances are different, and there is no universal salve for the soul.

Embrace the emptiness, and support your inner traveler. Travel within a book. Travel within your yard. Travel to some existential realm of your mind you’ve been afraid to explore.

Or, adventure over to my new merch page. Maybe, just maybe, wearing a friendly van shirt will remind you how to become a traveler, both in physical and mental ways.

Click here to become one of the first Tan Vanners of Existential Growth.

Or just cover your nude torso. Either way, it’s cool.

Existentialism and Cholesterol and Peeing

After being diagnosed with high cholesterol and too much stress, I was encouraged to spend more time with nature. You know, unplug for a while.

What? Unplug? Me? The person who wakes up working and goes to sleep is mad at herself that she couldn’t work more throughout the day? The person that has (last time counted) four jobs online and one physical on? The person that is always scouring the “gigs’ on Craigslist because simply put, she doesn’t know how to not work.
It seems the only time I’m not working is when I’m in transit, but even that has become tainted. I upgraded the old laptop and have a limitless hotspot on my phone. I mean, I could almost drive to Maine and work the entire way.
It wasn’t healthy, and I knew it. Sure, I could make a quite buck, but at the end of the day – why? Was it making me happy? Nah. Did I need anything? No. I made sure I wasn’t going to need anything for a while by buying socks that came with a lifelong guarantee on them. (Thank you, Darn Tough sock). Therefore, what do you do with your time? Complain about politics that you have no control over? Bitch about a virus that isn’t going away. Cry because you have to wear a mask?
The answer for me is always “no.” As a deeply rooted existentialist, I don’t acknowledge these hindrances. I am here, and this is what I’m dealing with. It could make me wildly grumpy, cause me discomfort, and alternatively, if I do not comply, it will cause others discomfort. In the broad strokes, I really just want to be left alone. However, when subjected to the public, I like the path of least resistance. I want to buy my beer and cheese curls and get on with my life. I don’t want to be bombarded with your political beliefs, and I sure as hell don’t want to hurt anyone.
nudge-Cheese Curls + Beer = Cholesterol
Thank the lord I don’t indulge as much on those two as I used to.


It brings me back to work – what do I really need and want. Do I need a new designer purse? Negative, it’s not on my list. Do I need to have a new car? I don’t drive anymore, so why? A new place? I have my desk, where I work, and a place to shower. What else do I need? Sure, more space would be nice, and a car with climate control would be even nicer, but is that really necessary for an existentialist?

That’s what so many people don’t get, how a person can be so complacent in what they have instead of being so focused on what they don’t. I’ve had it all, and in all honesty, I didn’t need that much. The only thing I need is to be busy. Busy living, busy smiling, busy being me. If the circumstances suck, I will find something suitable, I promise. That’s what life is all about, smiling and making whatever sucks suck a little less.


People rarely get it – but I’ll share with you an existential trick I learned almost two decades ago, which has stuck with me since and has helped me deal when things aren’t the best. Sit your butt on a toilet when you have to go pee. As you’re peeing, drink water. As the water leaves your body, you’re reintroducing water. It’s a never-ending cycle, it will never end, and you’ll always have to pee. That’s about what life is, a constant need to pee. It’s also parallel to the negativity in the world. You will always get it thrown at you, but it’s up to you to let it out. How uncomfortable is it to hold your pee? It sucks.


Here’s your task. The next time you feel bombarded with negativity, and you feel like it’s too much, just let it go, like an outstanding pee. You’ll thank me for it.

In the meanwhile, make sure you check out my latest escape from reality and work. Of course, if you feel compelled to contribute to the adventures, you can find me on Paypal HERE

Because we all need a little earworm

Is there much context to this post, no.

Has there been an abnormal pause in my writing, yes.

I blame it on this song being stuck in my head 24/7. I wake up in the middle of the night and there it is. I wash my hair and there it is. Bobbing my head like a dork, I walk to the mailbox while singing along.

Who is this guy, anyways. I have to wonder if he ever hung out in Volo at the Town Pump or drank with Johnny Kessler – the man, the legend. . . or Johnny Paradise for that matter.

Self promotion, smelting, and interpersonal growth

Sometimes I look back and hang my head in regret and shame for decisions I’ve made. There was a pretty substantial period of time where I allowed this to be par for the course and just figured that everyone felt that way deep inside. Self-punishment rarely led to anything remarkable, and in all candid truth, became how I was able to smelt myself into a stronger individual.

Let’s think about it real quick (and I promise this isn’t going to drag on.

In order to become the absolute best metal, you need must melt down a whole pile of undesirable junk to find the goodness. For people, sometimes it’s easier to just allow yourself to remain lumped – good and bad – for your entire existence. So much lumped together, childhood trauma, unresolved teenaged angst, painful self-embodiment, and let’s face it, adulthood. Just like a lump of rock that hides some desirable ore, we as humans harness these amazing nuggets of goodness inside of ourselves. It’s up to us to go through the painful process of picking through the ugly to get through the good.

Innately, I’m a vehement existentialist that doesn’t hesitate to take things at face value. When it’s cold, I understand that the cold is not within my control, but my actions are. Por ejemplo, the ELU (click here if you’re clueless as to what the ELU is) took a trip up the mountains and is now perched under a pine forest on a mountain ledge. In less than a week of being in Pine Paradise, the snow started falling and the temps dipped to the single digits. As I lay in bed, thankful for propane, I heard the click of the safety relay signaling that the tank had been spent.

It was cold, but that was on me. I used the experience to mold myself into a better person. That’s what I’m encouraging you to do, take the negative and smelt out something positive. There’s always something in there.

In the meantime…


Tammy Faye, Your Car Wants It’s Makeup Back

**Writers Note**

I found this in a draft folder on our Mobile Detailing page. Why it was written there, I’m not sure. It was also written back in November of 2017, smack dab in the middle of my attempt to crawl out of self-loathing, depression and closet (and not so closet) alcoholism. I hated the world, but worse, I hated myself.

This, is a bleak peak into the grim and grumpy person I was. Why I’m sharing the unedited version, I’m not sure. Maybe it’s because writers block as strangled my writers voice, or that I’ve been spending far too much time typing for pennies on the word instead of typing words for pleasure.

Cue the theme music:

“Hold on, Jenny, I need to finish putting on my foundation.” There’s a pause while patting and a clicking of a plastic container happens. “Okay, I’m back, sooooo sorry, I’m running like so late to my class this morning and I didn’t have time to throw my face on.” She nods in the rear view mirror, not really listening to what the voice on the other end was saying. “Oh, yeah, I know him, he was like a year senior to us, right? His daddy owned the dealership up the road. I think he was dating Amanda….no…not Amanda R, Amanda B. Yesssss, that one.”

Crash.

You’re driving your fucking car, makeup case in one hand, steering wheel in the other, and your phone precariously jiggling between your scrawny shoulder and your soon to be makeup slathered face. You’re a hazard to the rest of us on the road. You’re…well, not one of “us”. I’m not calling us a cult, nor am I considering us superior to you.

Wait…yes….I am…Why can’t you do that shit at home?

In a very comprehensive article by the dailymail.com, half a million crashes a year are caused by people doing their makeup. To be fair, when the article came out, it sort of pinpointed the cause of these makeup related crashes to being female (and in this world we live in, I suppose I have to be more PC and accept that there ARE males doing the same thing while in traffic) but I’ll broadcast the blanket of blame and say, “shame on y’all, do you think the interstate is your makeup studio?”

I’m so confused, I’m not even sure how to form an educated opinion on this. 1) I don’t wear makeup 2) I wouldn’t try to do it in my car, for fear of messing up the interior 3) If you’re running so far behind you can’t get the basic necessities of life in order before you leave the house, you should probably be fired anyway.

What turned cars into makeup studios anyways?

Anyways. I’ll keep my makeup application to the powder room. Actually, screw that, I’ll go about my business being me. I’m not going to threaten others lives in traffic to put on makeup while driving. In the grand scheme of things, this is a big deal.

Look at your lady, does she really need makeup? Of course not. So, tell her so and reduce the half a million crashes that happens a year because she *thinks* she’s prettier that way. Hell, put anybody behind the wheel of anything with three pedals and less than four doors and you’ve got yourself a winner.

Personal story: My hero was this woman, Yan…..and the rest is fuzzy. at AMP. It was an event where you had everyone racing at the same time. It was like an C/D/A/B then a school bus driver all at the same time. She and I went wheel to wheel, and she was amazing. I was rolling an E82 BMW at the time, all I could remember of her was that she had a blue 966 Ferrari and I got my bottom smacked. She was amazing. We finished our session and met in the pit.

“Fun?”

“Really? I mean..”

“You kept up.”

“It’s an E-82”

It was fantastic, she looked at me.

“Do you ever feel like you’re not respected as a driver?”

And sadly my living in the south crept in and my response was “Do What now?”

“You can’t drive with the rest”

I sat in a state of confusion. I could drive with the likes of famous people. However, I realized they wer expecting me to be a girl. Sure. N. Weed, female, BMW Bitch, writer, gag.

The E-82 survived, that night at least. My desire to wear makeup, negative.

When The Dust Settles, Who’s Standing?

Hi, Blog!

It’s been a while, and I wonder what you’ve been up to! Have you been drinking enough water? Are you getting enough rest? How about that weird spot that you’ve been meaning to get checked out on your shoulder that you intended on getting checked out? Has it eaten its way into your check cavity yet?

Have you knocked yourself out lately on a cabinet corner while chasing an errant grape? When was the last time you ran out of gas in the left lane of a twenty lane interstate? What about that instrument you’ve been meaning to learn, did you ever nail it? I haven’t seen your new channel on YouTube yet.

Are you still seeing that person, driving that car, working that job that you claimed you hated? When was the last time you visited with your mom or hugged your sister? Did you ever write that book you were working on?

Have you found Jesus yet? Did you ever train your dog to finally pee outside and not on your underware? What about that foreign language you were learning, did you ever ace that or are you still dabbling in broken German? Are you still doing snow sculptures?

Did you ever get the tattoo of a dolphin removed from your arm, or did you decide to live with it? Are you still cheating on your wife, or did you become an upstanding citizen finally? How’s that collection of hawaiian shirts that you’ve been collecting since your first Jimmy Buffett concert?

How are those chickens that you’ve been raising, did you ever get them to quit chasing you? Did you ever see a shrink about the terrible things you did as a teenager that you were having nighmares about? Did you ever embrace your son-in-law, warts and all?

Is your Daddy back in jail yet, or did he finally straighten his crap out and knock the pills off? Have you decided to go to the gym more often, even though your anxiety makes it really hard? Did you need someone to talk to about losing your Mom? I’m here!

Are you feeling better about your relationship with your mother-in-law, even though she wants to babysit your every decision? How are you coping with the lack of concerts, are you getting by with just live recordings? How’s everything going with your leftist viewpoints, are you at the end of your rope?

What about you, my right-leaning friend, have you done any rallies for Trump lately? Did you ever find the people that wrong you and allowed their dog to maul your face? How did you end up kicking that pack a day habit, I’d love to know!

How are you dealing with the lack of freedoms out there in California? Did you ever decide to join that local string band and play the Moose Lodge Saturday nights? How about your babies daddy, did he ever get the punishment he deserved for what he did to your child? I’ll listen if you wanna chat!

Did you ever end up kicking your Mom out of your house? How’s the dark cloak of depression going, have you been having any sunny days? What’s the last car that you bought, and what are your plans for it? I know you’ve got a heap of them, what’s a few more, right?!?! (Did I mention my shark is for sale again by the guy who bought it from me!)

How’s your mom doing after her snake bite? I know that has to be the most terrifying thing ever. Did you ever decide to move out of that warehouse and get a proper piece of property with hot water and a view? Do you ever think back to that day we shared a burger and a beer and planned a future?

How’s the relationship with your grandbaby doing, has your daughter let you see her yet? How’s life in the armpit of America, just kidding, you’re always awesome. Did you ever decide what your spirit animal is, I swear it changes every single day.

How are the flock of kiddos doing, did you ever get the oldest one to wear deodorant, or is he still stinking up the place. What new songs have you learned to play on that guitar of yours, anything I know? Why in the world have you been so quiet lately, is everything okay?

Where do you shop for your stationary, I know that kind of thing is your forte! Did you ever get that Toyota truck running right, or is it still stalling at stoplights? Have you tried seafoam?!?!

Remember that time that we planned on having a bohemian life and I had to borrow grape scented shampoo from your daughter? Did you ever figure out what was keeping you awake at nights? When was the last time you partied with Pinkie, is he still alive?

Is that right? How cool is that.

I wanted to offer a personal check in to ya’ll . This Coronus is messing with people, and I want to know how you’re doing. You – YOU!

Me, oh, I’m doing pretty good. Sadly, when I’m not guzzling booze and making bad decisions, I’m not as creative. This leads to a lack of blog posts, which I’m sorry for. I know, I’ve promised the world and have produced a LEGO.

I’m good, thanks for asking.

This is for all of you, and none of you. Mostly all of you.

The Saddest Mother On Mother’s Day

I’m not going to mince words here, I miss my Mom and Dad.

Before you go giving me that, “well, at least they’re still alive” stuff, I’m not trying to discredit the pain that those must feel after losing a parent. I’m not trying to debate, nor even really prove a point. I’ve been here “out West” for an entire year. . . and in many ways I feel like it has been an eternity. In other ways I feel like it hasn’t been more than a long lunch break.

Progression in a metaphysical way has happened, but who knows, it could just be heat stroke. I have pondered on things, and regretfully feel like there are certain things that my parents will never forgive me for, and I guess I’ll have to live with that. In the meanwhile, I think I’m overcompensating by trying to be the best person I can possibly be. Subconsciously my ego and id is having a battle royale, and the only thing that seems to come of it is a genuine compassion and understanding for the rest of the human race.

Except for, maybe, the people that send nude pictures through my work messenger.

I’d like to share this email I received from a lady that, in her original email sounded absolutely crushed. I mean, ready to jump off the boat sad. In my mind I could see how other people could have reacted to the situation, by saying “big deal, you’re missing some stupid thing that you probably don’t need anyways, welcome to first world problems.” To me, there was an incredibly deep, emotional trench that had been dug, and she was hunkered down and battling with some serious depressive enemies. To make the email stand out from the rest in my long cue of “where’s my…” emails, I titled it “The Saddest Mother’s Day Ever”.

I’ve been there, down in the sadness trench, only poking my head out to get it blown off again. I couldn’t just respond “I’ll send you a replacement” nor could I actually give her the virtual hug she needed. I did do my best, however, to make it seem like she wasn’t alone in her struggle, and that in fact, there are more out there just like her than she knew about. I though about a mother of a man that I used to be in a relationship. She was the happiest person on the surface, but you could tell there was some serious sad beneath that poised facade. I can pinpoint and tackle sad in person, but to joust at in through email was a new exercise in human compassion. I was up to it, because in fact, my brutish self had a damn tear in her eye.

I’ll paste here her response to my email, without divulging her whole story, what was actually wrong, or anything else for that matter.

“Dear Nikki,


Good morning!
I’m sitting here reading your message and it has brought me to tears. You must be an amazing daughter—I have one of those, too! I’m so sorry about your Mom. It’s not easy to go through surgery and be alone—let alone be away from someone like you who seems to be so lovely and caring. I will pray for her recovery and for this virus to leave all of us.


My request seems so silly today. I think I was simply having a blue moment and look at the results. I’m happy to have reached out to you.  You are a treasure—for your company and for the people who are lucky to “meet” you. Life is funny, and God is good.


Thank you for the support and especially for the cyber hug. It means a lot.
Stay healthy,

Most kindly,
Hugs back to you!”

In stark contrast, I recieved an email from a different lady straight out using bully tactics to get what she wanted. She did NOT get the hug worthy Nikki.

Be kind, be honest, and most of all, give a crap about people. We’re all fighting invisible battles. Most of you know mine, which I have fought valiantly through. Don’t ever forget to take care of yourself, too.

Just like this little Flame Tree seed didn’t give up when he was soaked to death and buried almost two inches too deep, persistence prevails.

Coronication

Uncertainty settles in the pits of many peoples belly as I relax back in my cheaply made office chair and examine the new growth on my houseplants. People flock to the grocery stores to amass ridiculous amounts of toilet paper and canned goods as I contemplate what position suits my Schefelera best. I’m not into the mass hysteria and panic scenario. In some ways I’ve been preparing for this moment my entire life, watching “Fight Club” countless times and being a faithful follower of Niezche has taught me one thing, we are all just parts of the great compost heap. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

In a fast forward from negative to positive, things couldn’t be better for me, In a fast forward from negative to positive, things couldn’t be better for me, and I have nothing but perseverance to blame. I’ve been chugging along doing what I love, and a drudging through what I don’t, to get to where I am. It’s a good day in the life of N. Weed when I can honestly think about seriously quitting my day job to take on a full-time writing gig. Chasing the dream hasn’t been flowers and sunshine, and there have been more than a few scraped knees. When a public crisis like this Coronavirus strikes, I can’t be wavered.

My best buddy, through tough anorexic times sent me this quote:

“I’ve noticed that the people I know with anxiety disorders (self-included) seem to be much calmer than the general population regarding the Coronavirus. Guess all these years of dealing with the imaginary worst-case scenarios has actually made us more capable of dealing with real threats when then come. #silverlining”

I fist pumped into the air and said “heck yes!”. I was incredibly tempted to use colorful language, but as Mrs. Hicks once told me, “swear words are only used for those of lesser intelligence and without the ability to utilize the English language eloquently”. Man, I miss her.

Anyways, reading into that quote, I realized I’ve been a heck of a lot more terrified of other things in life. Even leaving the house at time has been more terrifying than this. I remember when I gained weight back after being almost dead, I was mortified to wear anything with a button. I remember the genuine horror of sitting down to a family meal. Vividly I can recall the number of times I had eaten something as simple as an ice cream cone and became so wreched with terror I forcefully made it exit my system. Yeah, I guess you can say this doesn’t scare me.

Don’t get me wrong, I respect all of those immune compromised people that may die from this. I also honor the fact that people value their own lives to such an extent that they make a big deal out of it. I’ve stared down the barrel of a loaded gun (proverbially) enough times to nod and smile. This doesn’t scare me. My tight pants, eating french fries in public and what people think of me does.

In honor of those that are home-bound, and without better things to do, I’ve decided to compile a list of the top five songs that couple well with the crisis we’re dealing with.

“Spanish Pipedream” John Prine

Only the cool cats have covered this song, and those that haven’t, really should. Subtly, this song is a manifestation of the simplistic life that Robert Frost and Ralph Waldo Emerson wanted for all of us. Blaze your own trail, blaze your own weed, blaze your own whatever. You do you, bro, that’s what it’s all about. Listen to the news, but with a grain of salt, but when it gets to be too much, give it up. Personally, I’m not a fan of the news and have taken to getting a very abbreviated version of the headlines from the New York Times daily briefing. In his words, “go find Jesus on your own”.

“Uncle Remus” Frank Zappa

There aren’t many Zappa songs that don’t apply today. Take a really good look at the lyrics to “St. Alphonsos Pancake Breakfast” or “Camarillo Brillo” and you’ll find cues to the modern situation. Was Frank a seer of sorts or just a really aware dude? In essence, Uncle Remus was a derogatory term for certain Southerners of color and was taken to with offence. Today, can you name a single group of people that AREN’T offended by something? If you feel you are, listen to “Bobby Brown Goes Down.” Get back to me on that one.

“Bike” Pink Floyd

I’ve got a bike, you can ride it if you like, it’s got a basket a bell that rings, and things to make it look good. Doesn’t it make you want to take a ride on my bike, well, does it? That’s the thing, no matter how much you hype it up, it’s still a bicycle. The verbiage behind it makes it sound appealing, although it’s actually not. The alternative thing is happening with this virus, it’s being hyped up for being something tremendous. When this whole thing is over, let’s all hope it’ll end with a couple of cymbal crashes.

“SWLABR” Cream

Do what? That doesn’t’ even make sense to anyone that isn’t in the know. Cryptic messages scattered throughout lyrics aren’t much different than the mixed signals we’re getting from the media. Should we panic, is it all nothing? We may never know until it’s all over, but in the meanwhile, we might as well stay chill and listen to good tunes.

“Waiting For A Squall” Hot Buttered Rum

Sure, I might be biased and thing that HBR is the absolute best band since the early days of the Dead, but they’re onto something. Lyrically, it describes exactly what we’re up against, a big, huge question mark. As prepared as you can be, or otherwise, we’re all just out here in a tiny boat waiting for a squall. Interestingly enough, Nat Keefe of Hot Buttered Rum is stoved up in Dubai due to this virus scare. Tests are being run, and we’re all pulling for him. Send good vibes his way, because, he’s out there in his tiny boat, but met a squall face first.

Other notable songs that wanted to make the top five, but fell sort include “What’s the Frequency Kenneth”, “Old Sept Blues” and “Pink Moon”. Click here to visit the playlist!

Do you have songs you’d like to see added to the Coronication playlist? Let me know! I’d love to see this turn into a beautiful amalgamation of music instead of just being a low point in many of our lives.

Hank isn’t around to clean up this mess.

Mr. Wolf and the Ballad Of Whatever

“You know, if something don’t happen, you ain’t doing nothing.”

Mr. Wolf

So, things haven’t been the best. However, they have been far from the worst in the Adventures of Nikki Weed. Strikes and Gutters, ya know. I feel like the blog has gone to the wayside as I pioneer into my new endeavors. I’m creating masterpieces, I’m destroying dreams, I’m writing freaking quizzes for a, what I can only assume is left-leaning, organizations. You know what, it’s paying the bills. I’m in a comfortable place, and I’m brim-full with a sense of pride in my work. It’s a feeling that I haven’t had since the days of the original shark adventure six years ago.

Six years, geeze. To know I’ve been in contact with a lot of you for that long gives me some fuzzy nonsense, but I digress. Updates are in order and a brief explanation. Side note: do any of you remember what typing was like without spell-check? I remember the latest and greatest technology known to man back in the early nineties was my Mom’s typewriter that would squawk at you if you misspelled. At that juncture, the deed was done, and you’d have to include either the correcting tape or a glob of Paper-Mate brand White-Out.

Am I dating myself? (I know if I was a male I would because I’m a fox) Har, har, comic relief.

This rambling passage is brought to you by worry, angst, and a very ruined pair of pants. Insert donation plug here.

About two months ago, I was plunked into a very unfamiliar situation, working the paint desk. Anyone who knows me, or has looked at my selfies has seen my handy work in the background. The blue dog watercolor that has become popular in some recent selfies is from a few years back. Those that have followed the adventures for longer may have gazed upon the “tunnel.” Super old school folks might remember “Space Chicken.” I digress, however, the point I was trying to make was that I haven’t the keenest eye for paint. I fumble my way through things and make it happen, but it’s not precision, nor is it formal.

The position in paint was a blessing in disguise. There’s something about trying to wedge yourself into an unfamiliar space that makes you learn about yourself. Case in point, I’m mixing paint. I’m making minimum wage at a job that I didn’t want but needed and trying to find a light at the end of the tunnel to keep me from tipping a bottle or dancing with a train. The sweetest couple came in, and they were intrigued by the vast range of “beige.” To this day, I am in the same boat and don’t understand precisely how color becomes a “sample.” Whatever, I’ll suppress the digressions.

I tried to explain the peculiarities of how much “high-hide blue” and “Pfalo Blue” goes in to make a new color. I got a shrug, which I was doing internally as well. As a matter of fact, I’ve been doing a heck of a lot of internal sighing lately. I try to explain to people that taupe isn’t just one color anymore and that off white means absolutely freaking nothing, do they care? No. I’ll tell you why.

In my 35 years of participating in the freelance study of human nature, I’ve realized something. Unless something is going to make sense right away, the casual onlooker isn’t going to expend much energy listening to what you have to say. This is a double-edged sword. When people ask a question, they are typically expecting a vivid, yet predictable answer. When they are delivered something else, all emotional and mental hell breaks loose. “What do you mean it’s not what you say I think it is!?!” You know how it goes, and it happens everywhere, not just in business settings.

Circling back around, I was faced with a predicament where a question was asked of me and answered in a concise way. It might have been because I’m sick of trying to explain taupe. Long story short, I was accused and verbally reprimanded for being non-approachable and lacked engagement. Anyone that knows me is aware that I’m the most approachable and engaging person you’ll ever meet. It was a prime antithesis of the theory Mr. Wolf had, I didn’t do anything, and the result was STILL something. Things are always happening, and it’s a matter of reaction. When a contractor dropped a gallon of paint from six feet in the air and it exploded all over my shoes and clothes, I respond to what was happening. As a matter of fact, I don’t think I responded at all. No shrieking, no terrified gasp, and not even a “shoot.” I went on with what I was doing and blocked the ugliness that a gallon of exploded paint creates.

My reactions are probably the most passive aggressive ever, but it works. Whatever, right? I’m a product of most of the ’90s, and am more than capable of snapping my gum and rolling my eyes. Somewhere in a book I once read the lines, “well, I’ve got other ways of makin’ bread, ya know,” and I’ve held that motto close to my heart for ever. So when things happen, I keep my chin up and maintain my pose as a classy lady and roll my eyes in my mind (instead of on my face). If it means I get paint on me and get reprimanded, so be it.

Aside from fear and loathing at the paint desk, I also have my other gig. My writing gig that keeps me delightfully overworked but sane. Every week I get to make things happen, do things so to speak. Mr. Wolf would be proud, I do things, sometimes exceptionally well and sometimes so far off in left field I’m playing an entirely different sport. As I hunker down at my home office that doubles as everything a kitchen table I smile. I’m doing what I love as an alternative way of making that bread. It’s a meager morsel of dough, but you know what, it fills my belly!

It’s incredibly disturbing to me that there are so many people out there working hard to live so little. I’ve been working at least 75 hour work weeks lately and have almost nothing to show for it but my bills paid and a big freaking smile on my face. My secret? I do what I love. Writing for How Stuff Works quizzes has been a mental blessing. Being able to allow myself to dream about sports cars, hybrids and auto-crossing magically projects me out of my desk chair and into some straight-shifting monster. I know the job isn’t going to last forever, but I’m grateful for every day I do it. It makes me hold my head a little higher and create a little more pride in my heart.

Check out my lastest quiz, and please, share it with your friends. I’m sure they look at the click rates. Worst case scenario, you have fun doing it!

Can You ID These Great Cars For Autocrossing?

or this one

Can You Tell Gas From Hybrid?

Also, if you’d like to contribute to the procurement of a new set of shoes to make up for the ones ruined while pimping the paint desk, click here. Everything is greatly and truly appreciated!

Shakey Jake In Action

We haven’t done a “Where’s Nikki” in a while, so here’s one. We’ll call it, “Where’s Shakey”. Typical format, three questions. First to answer gets fame and glory!

  1. Located just six miles from this exact location, an entire town was built on the boom of retirees settling in the area. It was created and named after close geographic figure, although, it didn’t actual have any view of it. The idea was a bust, and what was at one time projected to be one of the biggest retirement communities in the state turned into a docile little fishing town.
  2. The town center is a full 3,000′ higher than where this picture was taken, but only 4 miles away. The road that transports you from this oasis up to the town center on a high desert plateau is a steep climb and truck fires from overheating are common.
  3. Explorer Jedediah Smith plodded through this town almost 150 years before it was turned into a town. He was the first to take account of the area in his travel logs, but didn’t stay long. This location wasn’t the best place for him to find the beaver he was looking for.

Comment below and let me hear your guesses!

Still have some time? Check out Jedediah West, an upcoming musician of the high desert! I know him fairly well…