Reno: The Biggest Little City in the World

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For those rare three-day weekends, I occasionally get off work, I always try to seize the opportunity to go on a road trip. I thought, “what better way to go than on a spontaneous, romantic getaway to the snow?” Reno was spread out, freezing, and windy. True to its name Reno did have a grandness about it for such a small city. The abundance of casinos and snowy mountainous surrounding gave me the impression of an adult winter wonderland. As I took in my surroundings, I witnessed a playground full of gambling possibilities, arcades, beer, and museums to roam in. 

My favorite casino we went to was called Circus Circus. The decorative standing elephants and colorful clowns gave the place a childlike energy, as if we were at an amusement park. Not being an avid gambler myself, I decided to take it slow and not bet too much. I gave myself a hundred dollar budget. Having the right mindset while gambling is key! I went in pretending this money had already been spent, and so I wasn’t too disappointed when I didn’t win a single dollar. I tried Keno, which was a simple chart where you put blocks on certain squares and guess which ones will be highlighted/chosen. I tried the slot machines over and over again as well, with the Wonder Woman-themed machine being my favorite. After a while, I realized that it was all automated and not designed to allow you to win much money back, if any at all. 

I ended up liking the arcade much better. It was huge and filled with classics, like whack a mole and zombie-shooting games. I tried my hand at Dance Dance Revolution, but I ended up accidentally picking the difficult level by stepping on the wrong arrow. I proceeded to dance as quickly as I could and missed almost every single arrow. In the end I had fun, coming out of the game a giggly sweaty mess. Mario Kart is the one video game on the planet I am good at, so I was stoked to drive around and get first place after my total dance fail.

The Nevada Museum of Art is a hidden gem that I genuinely appreciated. The collective work was a pride for the local artists and showed the raw talent that lives there. The umbrella theme for the entire collection was all about appreciating the “flow state” – the willingness to get lost in a task, or to do something just for the fun of it. It was in that moment that I realized that being in a flow state is the road to true happiness!

“Flow is being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz.” – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

My favorite collection was inspired by the popular cream-filled puff known as the Twinkie. This exhibition honored the work of the late local artist Nancy Peppin. She was obsessed with painting Twinkies. She also found a way to bring out the creativity in the otherwise ordinary, common place items. One of her inspirations is Andy Warhol. Warhol had a fascination with painting Campbell’s soup cans. He expressed through his work that anything, no matter how small, can be a focus for expression and beauty. 

Campbell’s Worm Soup – Collection of the Nancy Peppin Estate

“He showed you a new way of looking at a familiar object,” said Peppin. “Thats what I’m doing with Twinkies. I’m having people look at Twinkies in a brand new way and in an entertaining way.”

And oh, how entertaining it was!

Lost Page from Illuminated Book of Ecclesiastes – Collection of the Nancy Peppin Estate

While in this gallery, all I could think of was the character Tallahassee from the movie Zombieland, and his endless obsession with getting a Twinkie during the zombie apocalypse. A Twinkie reminded him of simpler and happier days before zombies were after the human race. He stopped at nothing until he found one. It not only honored the timeless sweet that we’ve all had as children, but it did make me look at Twinkie in a different way. Each piece was like a parody for what Twinkies could have been if we thought outside of the box about them. 

Afterward, we went on a brisk walk around the outdoor sculpture garden. I felt a great appreciation for the artist that stayed in their flow state to create interesting things to look at and ponder for enjoyment of others. The act of being in flow gave me a lot to think about when it came to how I was conducting myself in my creative pursuits. In that moment, I made the decision to strive to get into the flow state as much as possible. To stop worrying about the outcome or what other people will think and just go with what I want because I enjoy it. That is the only reason you need to put work towards something you care about. It is not about anyone else, only about how you feel while doing that something that you enjoy.

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