Monday, July 8, 2013

Tracy Anderson is a sadist, but life must go on.

I tried doing Tracy Anderson's "Metamorphosis" workout this morning.  I made it through 15 minutes of the cardio section and about five minutes of the muscle toning.  Holy hell, that woman is a sadist.

I've made myself a new schedule to follow, intended to up my productivity in the realms of personal health, art, and general quality of living.  I came up with this new schedule because my summer break is halfway over and all I've done is work too much, injure my back, gain weight, and INDULGE.  This needs to change, because I don't feel proud of myself.  You can't be proud of yourself if you're not accomplishing anything (well, you can, but you shouldn't).

Here's the plan:
  • 9:00 a.m.: Wake up, have my morning coffee, ease into the day
  • 10:00 a.m.: Work out
  • 11:30 a.m.: Prepare for the move I have coming up at the end of this month, by sorting and packing my piles upon piles of accumulated crap
  • 2:00 p.m.: Accomplish one big task per day off my "Stop Procrastinating" to-do list, grocery shop, run errands, eat lunch, do what needs to get done
  • 4:00 p.m.: Go into my studio and work on my art, whether I'm feeling inspired or not.  SOMETIMES ACTION MUST PRECEDE MOTIVATION.  That's my forever mantra that I've been neglecting to say it to myself lately.
  • 7:00 p.m.: I'm free until sleep comes!
Sounds solid, right?  I'll only be working Sundays at the cafe from now on, so if I can stick to this schedule Monday through Friday, I should have a very productive and pride-inducing six weeks before school starts again.  Then, before I know it, it'll be December and I'll be graduating and I get to go back to being a regular old adult again, which I'm pretty stoked about.  After five years in DeKalb, I'm ready to move on.  Perhaps to Austin, Texas...

Monday, September 24, 2012

"Apparently, he was my very best friend. We spent wild summer days wishin' they would never end."

About a month ago I started working weekends at The House Cafe, an awesome cafe/venue I've mentioned numerous times in previous posts.  I've never worked in food service before, and the whole experience leaves me drained by the time my shift is over.  Despite that, I'm having a great time working there - serving coffee, food, and beer while I get to hear free music, poetry, and stand-up comedy.  Hellz yeah.

When I was working last Saturday night, I found out that one of my favorite singer-songwriters, Ted Leo, is going to be playing there on November 18th.  I'm so excited to hear him play and get the opportunity to meet him.  Ted Leo's song "Timorous Me" was on the first mix CD I ever received, and although that was 11 years ago, I still listen to that mix on a regular basis.  Aside from being the first mix CD I was ever gifted, it was also the best.  The two-disc set was entitled "160 Minutes of Good Shit" and the guy who gave it to me told me that single disc mixes were "for pussies."

The credit for that amazing mix (and the vulgar quote, which was funny only because we both new he was capable of phrasing things in far more eloquent terms) goes to MisterFlak.  He was the first person I met who was as obsessed with music as I was.  We both loved listening to music, and used it as a way to communicate a sincerity that our pleasantly loud social personae rarely afforded us.  Over the next 10 years we spent countless hours creating, writing, and laughing together.  As the story goes, life and love and the cowardliness they breed got in the way, and things are not the same as they used to be.  But it's okay, and so are we.

"There was an awkward pause, and something that should’ve began just passed us by."

Friday, September 14, 2012

Kids' Stuff

When I was 8 years old, these were my lifelong goals: have a "greatest hits" album and be a famous artist. At the time, I was listening to a lot of Frankie Valli (received from Santa, as requested) and Mary Cassatt was my favorite artist. I dreamed of living in France and Whitney Houston was teaching me to sing via her self-titled album.  I wrote my first song, "Baby Blue," and recorded it over and over again, labeling each tape "Nikki Rice's Greatest Hits."

A few years later, I discovered Dr. Demento and decided being a radio host wouldn't be so bad, nor would being an author. I was still into the fame game, but maturing, and I was already beginning to understand the difference between high art and low art. The low was much more appealing to me. I understood the concept of sex far too well, and I read a lot of Judy Blume. I recorded obscene radio shows with my closest friends and wondered why all the boys were calling them and not me. I was in love with writing on my typewriter, which I found to be much more sincere than writing on my computer.

From there I got into making radio shows, watching Beavis & Butthead, and cracking obscene jokes in the company of my closest friends... jokes no one but me fully understood.  I loved watching game shows and playing Gin with my grandma.  I discovered Alanis Morissette and Pearl Jam, but listened to Weird Al just as much.  When I was slightly older, I became obsessed with showing all of my friends my two favorite movies - it was like a rite of passage I inflicted upon all of them - Teen Witch and Welcome to the Dollhouse. If you got those movies, you got me.

And then I found Erykah Badu, and she changed my life. I started singing soul and wearing ankhs. I believed that if I was nice to others, good things would come to me. I asked for a Bible and a cross necklace for Christmas and I got them both. I wore the cross (made of real gold and diamonds) only once or twice, but read my Bible every night. I ended up skimming over a lot, and it just didn't make sense to me as anything more than a moral tale that was 100's of pages too long.

I wanted to live in Vegas. It was my favorite place in the whole world and I talked about it with anyone who would listen. I knew Fremont Street before it was an "experience" and I was so familiar with the city that my parents let me take a cab around town, unaccompanied, starting at the age of 12. I felt like that town "got me," and when I came home I was pompous and self-absorbed and insecure as fuuuuck. I was the last person I knew to get their first kiss, and I stopped competing for top grades because I knew I could never be the best (therefore, why be anything?). I tried out for a choir solo and got it. It was the greatest accomplishment of my life, up until that point in time.

Then I became depressed, went to therapy, went on medication, and met a boy. The rest is history.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Resolutions for the New Year

Seven days until 30. Seven days until 30. Seven days until 30.

I'm both dreading my upcoming milestone birthday and happily anticipating it. As a rock star from way back, my last milestone birthday was my 27th, at which point I had a "Dead at 27" get-together to celebrate the fact that years of unrelenting partying had not yet killed me, and I promised myself that I would be nicer to my body and mind from there on out. For the most part, I've kept that promise. Let's just say there have been way more mornings-after hangovers than apologies since then. Phew.

"Dead at 27" Rockstar Party (2009)
My 25th birthday allowed me not only cheaper car insurance, but more opportunity for college financial aid. It took me a year to act on that before returning to school, but in the meantime I found a cognitive behavioral therapist and prepared myself to be a happier, more productive person. By the time I signed up for classes at my community college, I was ready to commit. And now I'm only two semesters away from getting a degree (in a subject I love, no less).

The point I'm getting to with these cheesy-hopeful anecdotes is that I generally think of birthdays as personal New Years, involving much reflection and major resolutions, and despite hiccups along the way, this association seems to work to my advantage. Allow me to indulge in a now-typical, upper-middle class American way of assessing my decades in terms of "self": 

On a road trip with my friend Nicki when I was 25 (2007)
My teens were about learning how society outside my family unit worked, and dealing with the conflicts that those first independent interpersonal relationships bring. They were about being the center of my own universe, and thinking that everything happening around me was happening to me. They were about setting impossible goals and dealing with the inevitable disappointment that comes when you learn that perfection is unattainable.

My early twenties were about giving up completely and losing control. They were about total self-indulgence and fighting to be someone who I was not. Luckily, they soon started being about exploring my self, my interests, my motivations, and my true sources of happiness. They were about learning to maintain good relationships and end bad ones. Most recently, they've been about self-awareness and commitment to living my own life to its fullest potential.

At a printmaking show I was in last fall, age 29 (2011)
And what do I expect my 30s to be about? What do I want to focus on?

Fighting self-doubt. Feeling good about who I am in the present, even as I seek to improve that person. Saying no when I mean it, rather than giving someone that cowardly "maybe" when I know that's not the truth. Living by example and practicing what I preach. Taking risks where they're most needed - in my art and in love and in support of my principles.

The way to reach these goals, of course, is to break them down into manageable mini-goals, which I already have in mind. I will, however, wait to elaborate on these in another post, as this has been a lengthy enough soapbox stand already. Cheers.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

I miss THIS.

Since I've last written, I moved out of the apartment I was sharing with Sarah and into a new one with another roomie who ended up leaving halfway through the lease. And, luckily for me, Sarah moved into this new place with me a couple weeks ago. Due to this shifting of space and roommates, a lot of reorganization has been needed on my part. So, I have spent many hours sorting through scattered masses of notes, diaries, travel journals, and other random scrawlings. This, of course, led to countless hours of procrastination in between, during which I decided to reread many of my online blog entries from the past couple of years. Spending so much time reviewing this blog (and all the writings that could have been a part of it) has made me realize something: I miss personal blogging. A LOT.

Why did I quit?

I suppose because I've been trying to turn my online efforts toward more professionally productive avenues, such as building my artist's website ( and a Tumblr account ( to go with it. There were business cards to be made, artworks to be photographed, and even a QR code to be created that needed to lead my contacts to a self-made mobile site. With all of this artistic ammunition in hand, I attended my first SGC printmaking conference in New Orleans.
"It's For The Best" Litho by N.Rice (2012)

But that conference took place in March, and since then, outside of creating some awesome new prints, I was just doing a lot of Facebooking. (I also traveled to Amsterdam, started working on music with a new band, and dealt with all sorts of man-drama in my personal life... all quite noteworthy ways to spend one's time, but those stories are for another day.)

And so I'm back!! I'm turning 30 in 13 days, am about to start my LAST year of art school (yes, I will actually have a degree soon, and after only 12 years of on-again-off-again college attendance), and I'm not about to miss out on documenting the achievements and horrors that are sure to befall me over the next year. Riding on the cusp of thirty has me doing all sorts of reflecting, analyzing, obsessing, and promising myself changes in lifestyle and thought patterns. I need to share it all somewhere, or my life may as well be a tree falling in the forest, with no one to hear it.

So, can we take the next hour and talk about me?

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