It's pronounced HAYZ-ler, you dweebs.

Worst Thing I Ever Did For Money

April 9th, 2014

When I was 18 and homeless I was spending a great deal of time at the Longbranch Cafe in Carbondale, Illinois. One of my close friends, Pale, ran an open mic and one night, after I sang a song that I had written, a local man approached me and offered to pay me to sing a back-up track on his album.

He paid me $50.00, which I am pretty sure I spent on weed and chicken nuggets. Because I was 18 and that seemed like the right sort of stuff to spend money on.

When I went in to record his backup vocals, I wasn’t even sure what kind of music he was making. He said he was going for a very Rolling Stones sound. Then he handed me the lyrics.

“Forget all of your values
and all respect for life.
Mommy doesn’t love you.
She’s going to cut your little heart out with a razor sharp knife.”

For all of about ten seconds I considered saying that I wouldn’t sing on the track. But, I was fairly certain the guy’s record was never going to hit the top 40, and I really wanted the $50.

I just wanted you guys to know.

Low Hanging Soup

March 26th, 2014

You’re Probably Not Going To Believe This, But Whatever

March 24th, 2014

According to the internet, there’s all sorts of stuff people aren’t going to believe. Since I can barely believe this myself, and I was here when it happened, I will assume that you will keep on with your non-believing ways. But I don’t even care if you don’t believe me. This is absolutely true. Are you ready?

I cooked “hard boiled eggs” in my oven.

You may be thinking “Did not!” But I’m here to tell you, “Did so.”

I guess I can’t technically call them hard boiled eggs, but if I said baked eggs you’d think I meant the kind you put in rammekins all brunch style or you’d sneer and go, “I bet she means quiche. How cute.” Well, I don’t mean quiche. There’s nothing cute about what happened in my kitchen today.

Now, I didn’t invent the idea. I’m not taking any credit for that. And it’s not like I’ve ever wanted hard boiled eggs but decided against them because I thought “Gosh, I just hate boiling water.” I just saw a Facebook post about it and, since I am working from home today, thought, “Why the devil not?”

So, I put seven eggs in a muffin pan and preheated my oven to 325. I don’t know why 7. Seemed like a good enough number of eggs.

Then I set the timer for 30 minutes and went back to work. Someone’s gotta buy the eggs around here. After I took them out, I put them in a bowl of ice water.

In the background I'm cooking a pot of white kidney beans because I foresee them as the next diet fad.

I let my seven little eggs sit in their cool bath for ten minutes.

Then I peeled one. No trouble peeling at all. None of that frustrating nonsense where half of the white gets ruined in the process leaving the egg to look like The Yellow King’s face.

Okay, so the eggs do have a little brown spot on the end of them, but I think it adds a certain decorative element.

And then I cut one open. Looks like a normal egg. So I ate it! And guess what? The yolk was super fluffy. Very nice.

So of course, my first instinct was to tell you guys. Because now you can bake your own eggs and we can all sit around having baked egg parties. Those are totally going to be a thing.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have six more eggs to eat.

Childhood of a writer

February 21st, 2014

Enjoy this video I made years ago.

I Am Nikol, And This Is My Story

February 19th, 2014

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.”

“Excuse me?”

“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.”

“I-”

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.”

“Please do.”

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.

The woman on the left has to spend the rest of her life headless due to a weed whacker related injury. When it happened, she was days away from getting married and had landed her dream job as a hat model.

Don’t Trust Your Boyfriend?

February 18th, 2014

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.

Stability

February 14th, 2014

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.

Two years ago

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.

Tim looks so handsome

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.

And since then, another of my sons moved in with me full time, I started a new job, had more radiation, had ups and downs with being sick, and fell in love with someone unlike anyone I’ve ever known.

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.

Win A Year of Great Dates

February 4th, 2014

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.

Check out the Giveaway today.

How Can You Tell If Someone Likes You?

January 10th, 2014

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.

Awareness Campaign I Can Really Get Behind

December 30th, 2013

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. ┬áBut 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.

This incredible fact about children and their awareness really drives home the need for this campaign.

Don’t forget to show your support on Facebook, and then go ahead and order your bracelet awareness bracelets today. Make a difference. Be aware.

Also, there is very very very moving music on the site. Be warned. You will cry.