Enjoy this video I made years ago.
Enjoy this video I made years ago.
As I write this, I feel it important to just get it out there that while this is really hard for me, I feel that in keeping quiet, I am harming those who may fall prey, as well as endorsing the silence of those who have already suffered.
You see, this morning, as I was walking to the bus and wondering to myself what I may encounter on my trip- would it be a toothless man stroking my hair?- perhaps a boisterous young woman prattling on about her life with her baby daddy, the story peppered with platitudes?- or maybe today was simply about hacking coughs and interesting smell combinations- my thoughts were interrupted in the most brutal of ways.
At first I thought I’d been shot in the head. I’ve been told by stoned hippies and Andy Wood that everything slows down when you die and the eternity you experience in that moment is heaven, so I didn’t question why it was that I had time to wonder if anyone had good reason to shoot me in the head. I noted that heaven looked exactly like Van Nuys, and, deciding that was likely not accurate, I determined that I hadn’t been shot in the head.
But something had caused me a great amount of pain and had left a welt on the back of my dome and even messed my hair a bit. I turned to see a landscaper just weed whacking away, wearing his gloves and protective eye wear. He was so engrossed in clearing the weeds around the edge of the Chase Bank that he didn’t even notice how narrow my eyes were getting.
I didn’t know what to do next. I crossed the street in a trance, thinking about how unjust a place the world can be. I’ve never been a fan of yard equipment in general, waging silent thought-wars against the gardener who thinks he should blow the leaves around my yard at 7 a.m. on Saturdays, and having had a few unsavory experiences with spiders crawling out of lawn mowers to attack me as I tried to pull the chord. And whilst I would never lay hands on a weed whacker because they terrify me and seem like a thing Freddy Krueger would use to torture an avid teen 4-H member, I also never foresaw the day that my life would be so touched by what I will now start calling “The Devil’s Ricochet Rod”.
Once on the bus, I turned to the person next to me and whispered, “I got hit in the head with a rock.” I think that they wrongly assumed I was today’s bus-related crazy-tainment, on account of the way they switched to another seat. I had never felt so alone. And based on such lack of empathetic response, I couldn’t even bring myself to mention it on Facebook.
When I got to work, though, enough indignant fire had built up in my belly that I knew I had to do something. But what could I do that would possibly matter? There is no way I can reasonably be expected to be able to gather and destroy every weed whacker in the land. And so, I called the bank.
“Chase Bank, how can I help you today?”
“I got hit in the head with a rock.”
“This morning, I was walking to the bus, which I hate taking, and I walked past your bank. Your landscaper was there, whacking weeds, and the weed whacker chucked a rock at me. It hit me in the head.”
“I’m sorry, start again? You were in the bank-”
“No, I was standing on the corner waiting to cross the street. You need to tell your landscaper that he needs to be careful and that he should stop whacking immediately when there are people around.”
At this point his voice broke. I assume he had to take a moment to hold back the tears, so I let him compose himself.
“I’m very sorry that happened, and I will be sure to pass your message along to our manager.”
Once I hung up I felt as if the weight of a pile of rocks had lifted from my soul. Would I ever be the same again after what I’d been through. Well, no. Absolutely not. Who could be? But in my way I had taken back the night, and I knew that I could begin to heal the pain.
To date, there are no support groups for those who have suffered lawn equipment related injuries, which is unacceptable given that (based on my careful mental estimation) 7 million people are victims of such events each day. I urge you, stop hiding your experience under the bushel of shame, and stand tall. Let your voices be heard, lest this plague one day render you voiceless by, say, law mowing over your throats.
I’m taking my stand today, and I promise you, whenever you’re ready, I’ll be still standing.
You could use this online background checker to make sure he’s “who he says he is”.
Or, I dunno, you could ask yourself why you’re dating someone you don’t trust to the point that you’d run a background check on him. Is this a pattern of yours where you accidentally date felons? Or do you just have a lot of trust issues?
Side note: Every time I see an ad for this kind of service that uses pictures of people, I wonder if they know that something about their face made them the perfect image to use for the ad. I mean, look at this fella. He’s wearing a smock. He’s obviously posing for a hair cut photo. But look at his face. That’s clearly the face of the sort of man who’s wanted for fraud in six states.
Recently a new friend of mine introduced me to someone and said, “Basically, anything that can happen to someone has happened to Nikol.” At the time, I took it harshly, because I am aware that I talk too much about my life experiences. I felt like he was pointing out some flaw about me.
But the reality of it is that, yes, the amount of things I have been through and done is remarkable to the point that it’s unbelievable. If I were a character in a movie pitch, the execs would reject the film on the basis that it’s too much.
At a New Year’s Eve party, when discussing where I grew up, the person who’d asked said, “Military brat?” and I said, “No, foster care.” Later in the evening the same person was talking about their mom’s chemotherapy and I started to give them advice about things that helped me during chemo. “So, foster care and cancer? Are you trying to win an award for going through things?”
It’s an odd thing for me to be sensitive over, but I am. Sometimes I have massive panic attacks thinking that there’s no way anyone could possibly love me with so many broken things that I can’t change and so many ongoing things that I have to work on about myself. I’m an exhausting person.
As I think over the past two years of my life I realize that I continue to be a complicated person, and it makes me wonder when that’s going to calm down, if ever. Two years ago, on Valentine’s Day, I was able to get out of bed long enough to make chocolate mousse tartlets with my son. Exhausted from the chemo, hairless, and coming out of a really ugly MRSA infection, those days were blurry and painful.
The next Valentine’s, after pulling through radiation, chemo, surgery, and more radiation, I spent with my best friend, partying our faces off. I can’t be too candid about the night, but I can promise you that I had a full on record book good time.
This year, for Valentine’s Day, my boyfriend is hosting one of my favorite comedy shows, Set List. I love watching him on stage, and I think I get as much out of watching an audience react to him as he does. He’s mind-blowingly brilliant, patient, kind, and I can’t get enough of him. And when I am next to him, I feel like we make absolute sense. Our lives have been polar opposites, our temperaments are polar opposites, but we make each other laugh, and even when things are a mess, we understand each other. I don’t know how he’s able to patiently deal with the levels of complication in my life, but he claims that he sticks around because I make a decent cup of tea.
And while I know how much can change and how much tends to happen, I’m at a point where, when people ask me what’s going on, I say “Not too much, really. Things are just stable.” And I hope I get to say that for a long time.
Hey everyone. You know how much I love Valentine’s Day? Well, this year, instead of giving away an iPod or whatthehellever, I got to come up with 12 ideas for great dates, reach out to local businesses, and put together a give away that I wish I could win myself.
Over the next few weeks I’ll be doing Vines about the dates. Here’s one for dance lessons.
In the mood for a little Midwestern Throwback? Here I am in 2008 in Wisconsin asking teens to talk about how to tell if someone like you. I loved doing these simple YouTube discussions back then. I really miss them.
I don’t have enough arms for all the awareness bracelets I should be wearing. And that’s just unacceptable. There’s no way to grow more arms and you’re not supposed to go around ripping them off of other people. But what can I do to show my own deep awareness while also ensuring that everyone I know can see how aware I am and hopefully become aware?
Comedian, director, editor, and big-hearted activist Zach Kahn finally has a solution.
This is my call for the whole world to join in on the only campaign your wrists ever need to call attention to again.
Also, there is very very very moving music on the site. Be warned. You will cry.
By now you’re probably done shopping. Good for you. You deserve all that disgusting sugary food you’re about to stuff in you face-hole.
If your friends and relatives decided to go the safe route and get you Amazon gift cards this year, allow me to make it easy to pick out the perfect gift for YOU.
This first one is a very special gift suggestion, because the photographer once shot me for a calendar, and stayed at our house when he was in the process of shooting the subjects of this book! And while that alone should mean you want to buy a copy, you should also know that Off The Set: Porn Stars and Their Partners, is a beautiful, touching look into the lives of couples that are all too often dehumanized.
If you’re looking for a good, understated indie comedy, I suggest Punching the Clown, the story of a broke musical comedian (Henry Phillips) who comes to Hollywood and makes it big at the same exact time that he ruins his career. The beauty of this story is in the perfect way Henry’s success and failure are both completely accidental. You could stream the movie, but you know how much you love to support independent artists.
If you’re into intelligent memoirs about extraordinary lives, Moshe Kasher’s “Kasher in the Rye: The True Tale of a White Boy from Oakland Who Became a Drug Addict, Criminal, Mental Patient, and Then Turned 16″ is the book for you. As a comic, Kasher has one of the most versatile, quick, and ever changing wits out there today, and that comes as no surprise once you read his account of growing up the son of deaf, hassidic parents in the ghettos of Oakland.
Or. You could buy this thing, because it looks hilarious.
I’m largely content to stream movies on Netflix or Amazon. But sometimes there is a film so good that I want my small percentage of opinion to hopefully affect a film’s ratings and hopefully benefit the people who created the film. And in some cases, I want to own these films because I want to make every single person I know watch them. The information is just that important.
1.) Gideon’s Army
There is so much that isn’t understood about the criminal justice system. You can watch all the Law & Order you want, and you’re not going to understand the actual process, especially when it comes to the poor. I loved this film because it shed human light on “criminals”, let us see what a monumental task it is to properly defend people without enough money or resources to do so, and also because it didn’t feel like a group of extremists were trying to shove an emotion down my throat. The reality was clear without the use of heart-tugging devices, and the reality is that there is NOT justice for all.
You actually can’t purchase this documentary, but what you can do is work with a local theater to book a screening. I feel it’s well worth it, because sometimes I walk away from a documentary feeling helpless and unaware how to do anything about the problem. In the case of “Gideon’s Army”, I feel like awareness of the issue by the masses will contribute to social change. But, then again, I’m a real optimist.
I know these people, but I’ve never met them. The tragedy that makes up their existence is one inherited by my own family. But there are two bits of hope in this beautiful, dream-like film, which follows the Mosher family from one Halloween to the next.
Let me take a minute to explain. On the one hand, the way that the family will sit and spill their woes like they’re small-talking about local happenings is a kick in the chest. I see the resigned eyes of three generations who all feel like the shit-sandwich they’re chewing on is just how it goes. I remember, quite clearly, every time we’d visit anyone, sit down in the wood paneled living room and listen to them fill us in on the latest arrests and beatings, who was leaving who, which one got pregnant by who. Seeing this so lovingly captured on film helped me to stop being so frustrated about it in my own family.
And often, I am asked how it is that I got out, when so many kids with my upbringing didn’t. Which brings me to those two beacons of hope I mentioned. The first is Desi, the youngest of the Mosher girls. She’s a spazz, uses gallows humor, and in a way she doesn’t even understand, she rejects this tragic life as her own.
But the other beacon is Donal Mosher, one of the film’s directors. He is the oldest brother, and never once during the film do we learn anything about him. Rather, we see the place he grew up and his family through his camera, and the real beauty of it is that there is an underlying feeling in the film that brought me great comfort. I had to watch it twice to understand what it was. While Donal captures each difficult moment and each person with love, there is also a sense that this is not where he belongs. That sense, often muddled by the tumult of being stuck in a place, is purely a feeling of going back home but knowing that you will leave, because you have made your own way.
Donal and his partner, Michael Palmieri still make films (as well as other art), so buy a copy of this one and hopefully contribute to the two of them making many more.
3.) God Loves Uganda
Yeah. I know. We’re all aware that a bunch of crazy religious lunatics have fucked up feelings about the gays. We don’t need further proof. But this documentary, which is screening in a variety of different cities worldwide, uncovers horrors that cannot be ignored. I found it difficult to sit still and keep watching, knowing that this is not some movie about history. This is happening now.