I'm not ashamed of riding the bus and using @Uber #blog #walking #travel #bus #train #dart #need4speed

I ride the bus and train. I can afford a car but why? I work from home so I don't really have a need to travel much and when I do I can just call Uber. Click on that link and sign up for Uber and we'll both get $30 ride credits! I kinda heart Uber which you would easily be able to tell if you looked at my Paypal transactions. I love Uber so much I even use it to pay for friend's rides. lol.

If Uber is not an option because I have a trip to take or I have to go across town I just rent a car.

And here's something I do that's gonna sound REALLY crazy. Sometimes I actually WALK to places. Can you even imagine that?!? Walking is fun because not only does it save you money but you get exercise as well. Walking is the shit.

The bottom line is there is really no sound financial justification for owning a car anymore. When you add up the cost of a payment, the gas and the insurance it's just ridiculous. WAY more than I spend on Uber or renting each month. Not to mention all the stress that goes along with owning a car like keeping it up, fighting in traffic, parking, etc.

Now just because I choose not to own a car doesn't mean I condemn everyone who are car owners. I just can't justify one for myself unless I just start making so much cash I want a toy. Because that's what a car is to me. Just a toy to play with when you're bored. On the other hand, if I want to play with cars I can just use all the cash I save NOT owning a car and spend it on a weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. For a grand or so I can go drive stock cars. Now THAT is driving.

So basically I don't care about driving unless I'm required to wear a helmet. THEN I'm into it.

Thanks for reading and have a super-wonderful exciting day!

Peace.

Cousin Michael's very thoughtful family reunion 2014 recap/2015 invitation

I found this email from my cousin Michael to be quite delightful so I asked him if he would be gracious enough to allow me to post it to my blog. He said "post away" so here it is for all to enjoy. If you are not a member of my extended family much of this may not make too much sense but the "memories" part is something to which I believe we can all relate. I've added some "editor's notes" to help explain the following for those who were not actually there.

To: Family.

It is too far off to be clear about plans, but since Todd found a crazy-ridiculous way to avoid the "pull-up competition" (Editor's note: Todd's daughter had an unfortunate hammock accident but is fine), we'll have to have a do-over family reunion, so that I'll have my chance at glory (2015 pull-up champ).  Dance-off competition will be between Nicky and Tim (Editor's note: I enjoy doing the Cupid Shuffle and since my father is also Nick I'm referred to as Nicky. I used to hate that but now I kinda like it.)

I bought that PA system 3 years ago.  Part of my justification was that at a family gathering we'd get to include everyone and the amazing talent of Nick Sr.  We still have several songs on the play list to get through.  Carlton still has to perform (Editor's note: Carlton is the eldest member of the family and plays a mean piano. We just gotta find a jam he likes.)  My Dad is supposed to join in on the Ukulele.  TJ missed out.  I think Amy has a guitar and needs to join us.  There's much more music to be made and I want everyone to participate.  And we need to play yard jarts.

For us here, so far from home, it would be neat to have that same group here with us for Levi's High School graduation.  That weekend would include graduation and family fun.  Tentatively graduation is Friday May 29th, 2015.  Inviting you down here isn't about us, it's about all of us... and the bond we share.   

Memories:  We moved here when Samantha was born (seems like yesterday).  How many Easters did we spend in Louisville - I always remember spring flowers at mamaw and pappaw's house.  I remember walking to the miniature golf place with Nicky and Michelle, up on Dixie.  Nicky always humorous and so talented with everything (Editor's note: He must be talking about some other "Nicky" here. haha. Thank you, Mike!)  Dan - wow.  The way Kathleen would say, "Michael" - I can hear her voice perfectly.  Pappaw being in that recliner at 4am.  The musty smell of the basement (Editor's note: the Lowe basement was by far the scariest place on earth to a child.)  Sleeping in the upstairs bedroom in the summer with no A/C.  Yard-jarts.  Card games.  Home-cooking that I could not stand when I was 10, but would love now.  Leaning in to hear a great story from Carlton.  Michelle's smile. Christmas when there was no room in the living room on Donald drive.  Walking to Melton's for one thing or another.  There was that lady that was there sometimes, at mamaw's - one day I asked how long she and mamaw had been friends, and they both looked at me and smiled, and said, "we're sisters" (I'm a bozo too often).  How about syrup and butter mashed together to dip biscuits in.  Papaw did such a great job with birthday cards.  As Archie and Edith would say, "those were the days".  

Please be safe, take care, be healthy... I'm quite fond of the "fruit of the spirit" stuff:   love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.... I hope these things come your way all of these coming days (Galatians 5:22). 

Mike

Family reunion observations

It's been 4 years since we last ventured up to Indiana for a family reunion.

I'm not sure what exactly happened in those four years but it seems as though the female contingent somehow doubled. Did anyone else notice this?Lemme run it down for you.

This is gonna be from memory so forgive me if I leave a few out.

Males: Carlton, Don, Tim, Steve L., Michael, T.J., Levi, Nick Sr., Nick Jr., Jason, Jace, John, Todd, Hayden, Steve W., Mark, Glenn. 

Females: June, Joyce, Pat, Valerie, Michelle, Jayden-Faith, Cheri, Debbie S., Debbie L., Angie, Kayla, Alex, Emma, Samantha, Ashley, Paula, Ashllyn, Taylor, Kristen, Cora, Ellie, Kara, Amy, Heather. 

Okay, well it's not as bad as I thought now that I list everyone out. I guess it just seemed like so much estrogen because everyone is getting older. 

In any case it was wonderful seeing everyone again and let's not wait four years again this time. Let's cut it in half. See you all again in 2016! 

✌️


No Sex in the City (It's a good thing!)

A strange and wonderful paradigm shift has occurred in my life which for me, at least, has made it so much easier to deal with women and for women to deal with me.

And it was so easy. All I did was take sex completely out of the equation.

No longer do I look at a woman and wonder what she's like in bed. I'm even somewhat ashamed now to admit how much of a pig I've been in the past. I'd like to take this opportunity to apologize to any and all women who've had to deal with that pig in the past by the way. I'm sure it was uncomfortable and if we have any future dealings you can be assured of a different much more respectful Nick.

Much of the focus in society today is on sex. Hence the infamous show referenced in the title of this post. I believe that fact really creates a lot more tension between the sexes than need be. If everyone on BOTH sides are looking at each other as sex objects and nothing else and spending ridiculous amounts of time and energy trying to make themselves outwardly appealing to the opposite sex is this really doing any good for society?

There are SO many more important issues to worry about in the world than making yourself as pretty or handsome as you can possibly be. Make yourself beautiful on the inside and it doesn't matter WHAT you look like on the outside, people will find you beautiful.

Love yourself    Love yourself    Love yourself

My wish for the world today is that we go back to a more traditional viewpoint and focus more on the beauty that's inside each of us. Personally I've vowed not to have sex until marriage but I realize that is taking a little far for most, especially the younger set in the sexual prime of their lives. But I also believe that if younger adults begin to adopt this way of thinking it will ease the tension between the sexes in years to come.

The best bet is to approach any relationship with ultimate respect for the other person and just try to be as loving, kind and encouraging as you can be to them. Do that and all your relationships will become happier and more fulfilling in the end.

What's going on with @MistyBeautiful you ask?

Well, she's probably..

Working out, reading, writing for multiple blogs, meditating, traveling, on a photo shoot, on a set, in the studio, helping out her family, counseling friends, praying, studying, watching Ted talks, following up with work via voice, text, email, setting up and attending charity events, managing/promoting on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, InstagramLinkedIn, various web sites), taking acting, voice, or dance lessons, playing with lions and tigers, walking her dog, acting silly, smelling roses..

She also sleeps pretty good but she rarely eats.

Don't worry, though. She's got PLENTY of time for a relationship. :-D

#blog: Have I taken a wrong turn down Paranoid Street?

Paranoia: an unfounded or exaggerated distrust of others, sometimes reaching delusional proportions. 

One evening a LONG time ago I indulged in far too much wacky tobaccy and was absolutely positive beyond anyone's ability to convince me otherwise that the frogs and crawdads across the creek were actually some sort of ultra-advanced surveillance out to get me because I could see the crawdads beady eyes looking at me and hear the frogs chirping signals to each other.

To this day friends who were with me laugh about how paranoid I was that night.

Although it was drug-induced, it shows how powerful the mind can become when you allow your thoughts, however ridiculous, to affect behavior. From the outside it looks as if you have gone completely nuts, but from the inside it is all too real.

Over the weekend I participated in a rally against Monsanto and GMO's and watched a Ted talk brought to my attention by a friend about how the U.S. government is collecting massive amounts of data on pretty much everyone worldwide.

While I don't believe my concerns about these issues have brought me anywhere close to the paranoid state I was in that evening many moons ago, I DO believe that if I continue to allow myself to fester about uncomfortable realities going on in the world they have the potential to escalate to the point where I worry about every single piece of food I put in my mouth or that big brother is watching me so close I want to just shut down and go hide in the woods.

I believe where the big issues are concerned it's important to be aware, educate yourself, and take a stand if need be to protect future generations, but it's also important to strike a balance and not allow said concerns to grow in your mind to a point they render you so fearful that you are incapable of functioning as a relatively normal and productive member of society.

The frogs and crawdads across the creek are NOT out to get me. They're nothing more than a beautiful part of the nature of the night.

Today I'm 48.

It's 7:30 in the morning on May 17th and In about 3 hours from now I will have officially existed outside of my mother's stomach for 48 years.

What does it mean to be 48? I don't know. Many people say age is just a number. Since I was born again recently you could say I'm less than a month old. Haha.

Here's an example of what my less than a month-old self would write about:

... okay well my less than a month-old self hasn't learned to write yet. Actually he's barely learned to do anything. The only thing he's really good at is peeing, pooping, eating, and crying but especially crying because what the HELL just happened?!?! He was perfectly fine in his mama's stomach but NOW he has been thrown into a place where he is wholly uncomfortable.

The only solace he gets from this new radically changed existence is being held and loved on by MANY people WAY bigger than him, the only one of which that doesn't scare him is his mother.

Cut to 48 years later and not a whole hell of a lot has changed. I'm STILL excellent at all the things I was good at when I was less than a month old although I cry significantly less. I'm also STILL most comfortable when I'm with my mother. Talk about a rock.

What I DO know about today is that I'm healthy and as happy as I've ever been. I wake up early looking forward to what each day will bring and go to sleep late thankful. You might wonder how I pull that off but I've been lucky enough to be blessed with a work life that affords me naps. I heart naps.

My prayer on my birthday is that everyone in the world is as healthy, happy, and lucky as I've been throughout my 48 years and spreads their joy to others in their own unique way. Have a wonderful day and God bless you!

Embrace your hypocrisy. (inspired by @jdwalt)

I subscribe to a daily email called "Seedbed Daily Text". Some of what I've blogged about recently comes from how @jdwalt interprets scripture.

Today he wrote about the notion that people who don't care for hypocritical sorts may be the most hypocritical people of all. ha. I certainly fall into that category. Especially THESE days. Hell, I roll my eyes at MYSELF knowing my sorted past and how I'm portraying myself now. I mean I've been a pretty unsavory character and downright mean in the past. 

I'd like to take this opportunity to apologize to any and all who have witnessed me at some low points in the past and have had to endure that pain. I like to say I don't have any regrets in life, but causing others pain is definitely something one should attempt NOT to do. Seems pretty obvious but the crazy thing about doing the Devil's work is that he'll make you believe it's not hurting anyone. The fact of the matter is that not only are you hurting those you love, you're hurting the one you should love the most. Yourself. The Devil must get a really big kick outta that.

(on a side note, I believe I prefer the Devil to Satan, but it's probably only because the word Satan makes me think of the church lady from SNL and belittles him when in fact he probably shouldn't be so belittled. I don't know if you've looked around lately but he seems to be working pretty hard.)

So where were we? Oh yeah. Hypocrisy. Yes, I'm a hypocrite. And as I consider my future and the fact that although I am going to try harder than I have in the past to walk a line Christ would approve of, I am NOT him. Therefore, it is unlikely I will not fall to temptation along the way. At this point let's say a quick prayer. God, please give us the strength not to fall to temptation. Amen.

Why not do this? Embrace your own hypocrisy. Make it your friend because I'm pretty sure there's scripture that says "love thine enemies as thyself". Once hypocrisy is your friend it will be less likely to bite you in the ass.

Peace.

A fond (or not so fond) farewell to porn.

The latest Andrew Forrest sermon series called "It's Just Sex" has had a profound effect on me. Well, I say profound, but it's more like the straw that broke the camel's back. 

I've always enjoyed pornographic material since a very early age. I'm not going to go into my entire history with porn but I will say that it finally got to a point in the not too distant past where I was actually making money selling the product. I was good at it, too. I was doing it in ways nobody had ever considered. And I LOVED it. Getting to consume all the porn I want and make money at the same time? It was like having your cake and eating it too! At least that's what I thought at the time.

But for reasons I won't go into I stopped. I was kinda forced out but that's a long story for another time.

The bottom line is that when I go back and look at my entire history where porn is concerned there's very little I can take out of it as having a positive effect on my life. Really the only benefit I can think of helping me sleep at night but there are certainly countless other things you can do to help with that problem.

So after listening to Andrew and buying into his idea of establishing a counter-culture that doesn't use porn due to its negative effects on society, the most disgusting of which being the growing problem of sex trafficking that's going on in my own backyard, I've decided to follow along on that path. It's really not even a hard decision.

When I think about it, it's even a freeing decision because not spending (or wasting) time I used to spend watching porn I can now use doing more productive things, not the least of which might be to actually go out and try to do what I can to help curtail the sex trade problem

Thinking about helping others instead of concentrating on fulfilling my own selfish needs. What an amazing concept!

If you're interested in learning more about sex trafficking and what YOU can do to help combat the problem as well, here's an excellent article written by The Porch Dallas on the subject.