Wednesday, November 19, 2008


as a woman, i feel i have some authority on the subject, however, it appears that i do not. i think i may have been kicked out of the How To Be A Girl Club.

maybe i missed a few meetings. maybe i was never inducted. maybe i'm a woman out of circumstance -- chromosomes and such. i don't really know. what i DO know is that i don't seem to have many friends of the female persuasion, and it's not because i don't try.

i try very hard, in fact. i'm not saying that i sexually discriminate who i choose to be friends with -- i'm saying that i take careful note of who i want to be friends with, and if they happen to be female, i make a concerted effort toward that friendship. women can be great. they can be funny, successful, motivational, daring, and all other kinds of wonderful things. they can also be judgmental, discriminating, and manipulative. but men can be those things too, so i'm not focusing on that. i'm taking a careful look at how women behave with one another.

i'm going to list the "rules" of the How To Be A Girl Club, as far as my knowledge and experience lend.

1. You must be cute. Any form of cute is acceptable, but there is a hierarchy:
Dress: must be cute. the color pink is necessary, whether it is prominent or used as an accent color. PINK is cute. accessories should be up-to-date.
Actions: Must be cute. You must trot across streets. Walking is not permitted. If you trot, then you look like you are in a rush or posing for the next H&M ad, which will be sexy.
Oh, and don't forget to BE sexy. That's important.

2. You must be unapproachable. Being unapproachable means being visually judgmental or at least, being visually appealing. The more appealing you look directly corresponds with your unapproachability. Have YOU ever approached a supermodel? Nobody has. They're SUPERMODELS, for cryin' out loud! They don't EXIST on this planet except to make life for normal women Hell.

3. Be coy. Don't ever say too much. It keeps people curious. And uninformed.

gah. i don't really know what i'm talking about. this list could potentially go on forever. i know i'm writing this post out of anger and hurt, but damnit, there IS some truth to what i've written. i'm not sure what bothers me more: lashing out at women who have hurt my feelings, unnecessarily OR expecting women to behave in ways that hurt others.

Friday, November 7, 2008

it's a dress.

the election is over. why do i keep finding articles about Michelle Obama's attire from Tuesday night? sigh.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

between belt loops

i think i'm gaining weight. for those that know me, this may not seem like something worth blogging about, but i assure you, any decipherable physical change is jarring enough to elicit a post.

the belt is a silent, unbiased judge. i have had my belt, a black, vinyl affair, with silver rivets, for several years. i love my belt. for years, i cinched my pants at the third rivet. today, i cinched them at the second. i don't recall exactly what i was thinking when i did this, but i do remember thinking, "Oh. That's a bit tight. Interesting." then i went about my day.

my day wasn't anything spectacular, save for the fact that i kept hiking up my jeans. at one point, i attempted to tighten my belt, but found it uncooperative. wait a second! uncooperative? it's a BELT, fer cryin' out loud! it should do my bidding! i bid it to cinch at the third rivet! no?

i debated throwing out the renegade accessory, but realized i had better throw out my junk food instead.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

water therapy

it seems strange that a shower can be invigorating when you're healthy, but debilitating when you're sick. by the way, i'm sick, and i just took a shower, so naturally, i'm going straight to bed. good night.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

convolution of the text

i've been doing homework all day. it's tiring. there is a lot of reading and even more writing. i doubt i can write a post without thinking of how i would write it for any of my classes. hmm.

advanced composition:
i don't want to do any more homework. (active statement)

my homework does not want to be done. (passive statement)

homework = not done = failing grade

literary theory and criticism:
the homework, which must be done, is merely a constructed reality in which the active subject remains in a state of flux, due to their inability to reside happily within that structure. the homework, therefore becomes the active function, forcing that energy onto the (now) passive subject, reversing roles and breaking down the structure. (saussure, derrida, lacan, althusser)

she does not want to do her homework because she wants a penis. her lack of a penis directly relates to her inability to function. her ego is weak, and the Oedipal Complex only applies to her after she has realized that her lack of having is what makes her female. (freud)

the student, 27, was unable to do her homework, sunday evening. the outcome of this event remains to be determined.

yep. i have ceased to function outside of the classroom. gah. back to work...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

the price of infa-ME

TIME: approximately 3:15p, Saturday
PLACE: my place of employment -- The Diner

The Characters:
ME: a twenty-something server/student
HIM: a forty-something customer
irrelevant young man (IYM): irrelevant

(the scene is set in a crowded diner, sounds of clattering plates, glasses, people eating. The scent of eggs is heavy in the air, during the tail-end of the brunch rush. ME strides over to HIM, business-like, but pleasant. HIM is seated with another young man, irrelevant to the scene. Lights focus on the two.)

ME: Hi there! How ya doin'?
HIM: Good, good! My friend and I were looking to grab a bite to eat and get drunk. Well, I'm going to get drunk because I'm a shitty human being who hates himself. I'm also a washed up actor who teaches acting to other people. My work has been produced. You've never heard of me? Well, no matter. (Gestures to the irrelevant young man). He'll start with a salad.
ME: Great! That salad he wants to order is delicious.
HIM: I'll order a bottle of wine.

(ME fetches the salad and bottle of wine. ME, HIM, and the IYM chat about the establishment and theatre in a jovial manner. HIM is particularly animated. ME is attentive, but professional.)

IYM: (finishing his salad) Do you know what time it is? I have to go very soon.
ME: Almost 3p. Will you be needing the check?
HIM: No, not yet. IYM will be leaving, but I plan to stay and order an expensive meal and another bottle of wine. After that, I will convince you that I am a decent human being, directly before I excuse myself to have a cigarette and then skip out on the $100 bill. You will be upset, possibly for hours, but I will remain the shitty human being I am, unaware of the repercussions and unconcerned with your feelings.
ME: Okay, sounds good. Let me know if you need anything else. I'll be back to check on you and make sure you've enjoyed your dining experience, because after having conversation with you, I am genuinely concerned with your comfort.
HIM: Thanks. I'm a piece of shit.
ME: Enjoy your dine-and-dash.


Analysis: ME is an average person, attempting to do their job, to the best of their ability. ME inherently trusts the structure of business and everyone that walks within that structure. HIM is dishonest. HIM believes that there are no consequences for their actions and successfully deceives ME. ME is left with a sense of neglected responsibility and spends several hours after the scene Googling every detail HIM mentioned during their conversation. ME is left with nothing but a series of lies and the possibility of losing their tips for the day, in order to pay for HIM's bill. ME is devastated, not over the money, but the idea that HIM would go to such great lengths to deceive ME. After a day or so, ME decides that every person they come into contact with is inherently deceitful, and treats them as budding criminals. ME begins to question everyone's intentions and becomes spiteful and vindicative, eventually turning into a person they never intended to become. HIM is gone, yet ME sees HIM everywhere.

What the heck is WRONG with people?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Architect and The Urchin

whoa. again, an amazing experience. i want to regale tales of triumph and disaster, because both occurred amidst this game, but i fear i'm a bit of a mess right now. my limbs don't want to work the way they should, possibly because i used them faaaar too much during the event.

i want to talk about how i hopped my first fence. and how i ran like a lunatic. and how i jogged for close to 3 miles, and trekked for 7. there was a cardboard gondola and a new friend. there were awards. the whole experience, was more invigorating than i can write. i would have to use an exclamation mark to punctuate every sentence, and everyone know how annoying that is!

i loved every second of it.

it was different enough from "Journey" but similar enough to have a base to use for plotting out the route, the sacrifices, and everything else.

my EVERYTHING hurts right now. my body grew new muscles, specifically to hurt. but i feel great, and i can't stress that part enough. there is nothing quite like participating in something community-based that is strictly entertainment.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

gone gone gone

all gone. nothing left but a cramp in my leg from the drive and a vast pit of loneliness in my stomach.

i drove to milwaukee to say goodbye when what i really meant was, "i'll see you later."

i'm taking this really hard. much harder than when any of my other friends have left chicago for places that are more miami-new york-australia-like. i can't quite comprehend that he won't be available for a taco or a late-night coffee jaunt. i can't figure out what i'm going to do when i need someone to bring me soup or go to an andrew bird show with.

or the symphony.
or a tom waits concert 8 hours away.
or to help me move.
or to write terrible music with.
or to call when i'm very, very sad.
or very, very happy.

or any of it.

i feel like i just gave up my left hand; the strong hand, the one that i write with, eat with, flick people off with.

i'm glad i went to milwaukee to say my peace. i will miss him and i know that things have changed, perhaps not as dramatically as i suspect, but i'm preparing for 'drastic.' we said our goodbyes and promised each other that we would take care of ourselves, but i sincerely believe we made that promise because we know we can't take care of each other anymore.

i'll keep up my end of this bargain if you keep up yours, man. much love.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

he leaves.

he goes to europe.

he is my best friend.

i can't quite decide how to be happy for him, though i know i should be.

i'm a bit of a mess right now.

i love him, dearly, fiercely, wholly and frustratingly.

i wish i didn't love him so much.

i wish i knew how to act.

i wish he wouldn't go.

i wish him well.

the games we play

i played journey to the end of the night. i will play the architect and the urchin. i played freeze tag, hide and seek and sardines last night.

it was a hoot.

i can't believe people do this kinda thing.

how was i not informed earlier? why aren't you doing this?

i hid in the onion patch in the middle of the Art Institute's garden. Trust me, it's waaaaay more fun than it sounds.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

the non-existent gypsy blood is pumping

Went to a housewarming party for a couple of friends. The place was gorgeous. I'm not that surprised, knowing what D and J do in their spare time. It got me thinking about homes and moving. I feel like I'm always moving.

Number of apartments I have lived in: 9 apartments in the past 7 years.
Number of apartments I left before the lease was up: 3
Number of roommates I had: 8

This is the first time I have been completely satisfied with my neighborhood, my landlord, my building, my location (in relation to my job/school), and I am going on my second year here, so WHY am I getting the urge to move AGAIN? This is a curious issue for me -- perpetually teetering on the verge of nomadic and nesting. I really enjoy change, and love the aspect of moving that requires me to purge various unnecessaries from my life, but I also really like settling into a place and making it a home. Admittedly, the urge to move has tapered off, slightly. However, all that does is remind me of the crappy quality of things I own.

When I first moved out, my mother spouted off some ill-taken words of wisdom: "If you're going to be moving a lot, invest in wicker."

I did, in fact, own some wicker furniture, which made moving in the rain, sleet and snow less hateful. But now...

That stuff is gone and I'm pondering whether or not it might be time to get some "grown-up" household items.

Why would I do that if I'm planning to move again?
Where would I move?
Will it really improve my life, having improved-quality items?
Am I succumbing to consumerism, or am I attempting to plan for my future?

If I am making attempts to plan for my future, shouldn't I know what that includes? I can measure for a new television or dresser, but I can't figure out the scale for the rest of my life right now.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

all my little words

I saw "Fake Lake" on Thursday night and it moved me, but not in the way I think it intended to. I watched the actors, some of whom I knew, and some I did not, reenact an episode from the writer's life, at a time when she left Chicago to pursue... well, something else. The story that was told had humorous, dramatic, emotional, and political points to make, but I walked away from the Welles Park Pool (where, yes, it was performed IN the pool) to ponder my own choices.

Could I write a play based on my life, or a particular point in my life? Sure. Would it be any good? Doubtful. I'm not being self-deprecating, just honest. Honestly, I don't have the time to form my experiences into anything coherently meaningful. I'm too busy living out the episodes in my life, and it's non-stop. The most I can muster is a blog or two.

How do these people make the time to write, practice, perform AND work their day jobs? All of my motivation is tied up in school right now, and I know that's part of the problem. I wish I had gone through my higher education in a conventional method. Four years and a mountain of loans. Done. Instead, I squandered my time and effort and still have little to show for it. I just want to be done with school and get ON with my life, before it's all gone.

For the time being, I suppose I will have to content myself with being consistently impressed with the efforts of artists. One day, I hope to join the ranks of the creatively employed.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Good Day Thwarted by CTA

In a hopeful attempt to finish out her 12-hour school day on a high note, Shama Dardai, boards the CTA train at the Kimball stop at approximately 9:30p, expecting to reach her home, in Lincoln Square, by 10p. She reclines in the well-maintained train car with her fellow passengers and pulls out her homework, calmly awaiting the announcement for the southbound train.

20 minutes later, she is still waiting.

Just as she is about to stand up in the indignant, "When is this train gonna move?" manner, the doors shut, and the recorded announcement was heard. She settles back in for a minute, as the train moves along the track at a leisurely, if not slightly slow pace. She reflects on her day, noting with satisfaction that it has been good -- tiring, but good. Then the train stops.

It lurches forward, struggling to reach the next stop, inches away, as a drowning man might stretch for solid land.

10 minutes later...

The passengers have grown weary of the slow train, but Dardai has grown restless. She paces the length of the train car, randomly kicking her backpack every few moments. She sits down again, and waits. And waits. And waits.

5 stops and 45 minutes later, she sits at her computer, cursing the CTA for stealing her time.

Monday, August 25, 2008

I've never let my school interfere with my education.

I'm excited and scared. I'm scared that I will finish up this semester and someone will say, "Good work. But you still have eight more years to go."

My transcripts don't make sense, I have many credits. I only need 6 more classes. Why is my projected graduation date in 2010? Don't they know that's too far ahead? That's the arbitrary futuristic time science fiction stories from the 80's would choose. I'm not graduating in the distant future. I'm graduating in the near future.

School begins tomorrow, but The Future begins now.

My education has been erratic, hopeful, and stunted, but it has been constant. I think about everything I've learned since high school and I truly believe that I haven't actually wasted any time. I know what I know now, and that's more than I knew then. Maybe a degree would have made a career path easier, but I don't think it would have made life easier.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Swift Boat Has Sailed

Obama has finally announced his running mate, Biden, and from what I've been reading in the papers (i.e. online), I'm optimistic. Elections in the past have broken my heart, time and again, with smear campaigns and muckraking, so much, in fact, that I rarely discuss politics anymore. Yet, here I am, feeling confident, for the first time in a long time, that I can voice my opinions on the upcoming election, with some gusto.

In the past, I've voted for the lesser of two evils, always noting that neither candidate really offered me any hope for the future term. This time around, I find myself excited about the possibilities of a decrease in our astronomical debt, better foreign relations, and an overall sense of global well-being.

Maybe I'm just buying into the hype.

If that's the case, so be it. It just feels good to have SOME hope for the country again.

Friday, August 22, 2008

One For The Ages

I have been following The Olympics, I won't lie. I have also been following a lot of the drama surrounding The Olympics.

The particular issue of the "underage" Chinese gymnastics team has caught my interest. They do not LOOK anywhere near 16 years of age, and this is a problem because:

A) Gymnasts must be at least sixteen by the end of the year.
B) The training and pressure put on such young souls is disgusting.
C) Someone might be lying and/or cheating.

My heart has gone out to those Chinese gymnasts. They have endured the type of training that could make a grown man weep for mercy. They have been stripped of the opportunity to be anything OTHER than an Olympian. They wear enough barrettes in their hair to make a stylist weep. And they are now facing the possibility of global humiliation, if those few are found guilty of being... adolescents.

At first, I was outraged at the sight of these prepubescent girls performing their astounding feats of agility and precision, until I realized that they were truly spectacular athletes. Then, I was amazed. When they placed higher than the U.S. team, I was outraged, once again, out of patriotism and a strong sense of fairness. For the past week, I have been teetering back and forth on the balance beam of morality, when it struck me that no matter what age these girls are, they will have to carry this possible scandal with them forever.

Consider this:
If those gymnasts are found to be underage, they will be stripped of their medals, and possibly banned from future Olympics. If they aren't banned, then the ghost of this scandal will haunt them in future Olympics, as well as their personal lives.

If they are found to be of age, they will STILL be chased with rumors, gossip and anger. They will have their medals, but humiliation can last longer than gold.

I still don't know whether or not they are of age, but at this point, I don't really care. They are amazing at what they do, and should be awarded for a lifetime (no matter how short) of dedication to their sport. After all, they're just kids.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Dearly Beloved...

My grandfather is getting better. He's home, safe and secure. I wish I could see him. I wish I could see a lot of people. This recent episode of family crisis has forced me to take stock of my life, and the people in it.

-He moved away last year. To Miami. I don't write to him as often as I should.
-He was fired from his job yesterday. I want to do something for him, even though he may not need me to.
-He's taking his PCAT exam this weekend. Even though he hates me, I want to wish him good luck.
-She is engaged to a man I wish I knew better. She is one of my oldest friends.
-She made her debut as a Faux Queen in Rochester, NY and I wish I had seen it.
-He's in Detroit, and I know he's lonely.
-He's moving to Europe in less than ten days.
-She's in Australia, and I don't know when I'll see her again.
-He left for Portland. He didn't even say goodbye.
-She's having a party that 6 months ago I wouldn't have missed. I'll miss it, but I miss her more.
-She might move away, to take care of her father, and I have to support her, even though I don't want her to go.

There are so many others that I miss, and keep on MISSING. I don't know what to do about it but hope that they know how much I love them and how often I think of them.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Olympian

he was astounding. his ability to face down all odds, pull forward and make that final push to glory...
Phelps was good too.

My grandfather, on the other hand has made me realize what it means to be an Olympian. At this moment, he is in a hospital, suffering from heart complications and kidney failure. Last winter, he was also in the hospital, and my family was preparing to say goodbye. He pulled through. I'm convinced that it was because of the support and love of everyone around him, and the distant support and love of those who were not, that helped him recover. A cheering crowd can do wonders for someone who wants something badly enough.

My grandfather is dying. I don't know what will happen, but I know that I'm having a harder time dealing with this bout.
Maybe it's because I can't imagine the world without him. My world. He's been a constant inspiration to me, for as long as I can remember. He helped found the first penicillin factory in Pakistan. He's traveled the world. He's taught. He's healed. He's raised my mother and my aunt and uncles to be equally admirable people, in their own right. He's lived a full life. I am completely dumbfounded that the man who lovingly refers to me as "oolti copri," might not exist in this world for much longer. He should get a medal.

I was watching Michael Phelps and the American swim team declare to the world that they are, indeed, part fish. It was, and continues to be, thoroughly magical to see these athletes do what they do best, in front of the whole world. I wish my grandfather had been given such a chance. Maybe he will pull through. If that happens, I will have a medal for him, and a song to make his heart fill with joy.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

he ruined a state park

my science teacher ruined Starved Rock for me today. i went on a field trip with my earth science class, for extra credit. i was excited about this field trip. i have many fond memories of the majestic cliffs and curious trails, as well as the historical significance of the park. i loved this place, as a kid. i am a kid no more.

he took us down every NOT FUN trail possible. i was fine with the muck and bugs, but when he started down non-trails that were clearly marked, "Restricted," i got pretty upset. i did not sign up to put my life in danger, yet there i was, being put directly in harm's way. i'm so angry and disappointed.

this summer has been chock-full of nature-based trips, and i have enjoyed them all, so far. why was today different? because it was stupid. he ought to know better, as a responsible adult. he ought to know better, as a teacher. he OUGHT TO KNOW BETTER.

i think i'm a pretty tolerant lady, but at the moment, i'm outraged. if i get anything less than a 'B' in this class, i'm gonna take some k-feldspar to his granite skull.

who says i haven't learned something?

Friday, August 1, 2008

nighthawks at the diner.

i mentioned in an earlier post that i have a shitty waitressing job.

i take it back. it's not shitty. ANYMORE.

i recently asked for my job back at the diner that is conveniently located ten minutes away from where i live, knowing full well that i may have to deal with the same drama and blatant discrimination that drove me out in the first place. i have yet to encounter those problems.

something changed. the staff is more or less the same, but the business has tripled, making everyone involved happier. i hate to say it, but money changes people. no one fights over the "good" shifts anymore. everyone does the work that needs to be done. my co-workers are much more pleasant and far less mean-spirited than i've ever known them to be.

i don't dread the work anymore. it's a relief. i can climb out of debt again and keep my soul intact. for those who know where i work, please come see me again. i'm happy to serve you.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

the things that i am do not tell me what i am not.

i am a woman.
i am indian.
i am pakistani.
i am muslim.
i am american.
i am a 'shiksa.'
i am a friend.
i am a daughter.
i am a sister.
i am a lover.
i am an ex-lover.
i am a waitress.
i am a student.
i am a writer.
i am motivated.
i am lazy.
i am uncomfortable.
i am funny.
i am smart.
i am stupid.
i am boring.

there are so many things to say that i am. there also all the unspoken things that i am not. above all, i am frightened to find out what i'm not.

Monday, July 28, 2008

he's moving.

he's moving to Portland. with a girl. i don't know much more than that, but i know he is moving. to Portland. with a girl.

my ex-boyfriend: a tall German man with an absurd moustache. he drank too much, complimented too little and hated most anyone who wasn't him. i was in love. and now he is moving. away. i had hoped and prayed that he would leave Chicago, but now that he actually IS leaving, i don't know what i'm feeling. is this relief? is this sorrow? am i hungry?

he didn't inform me of his impending (recent?) departure, and for that, i am upset. i don't know how i would have reacted had he taken the time to tell me, but i'm sad that he didn't even give me the chance. he told our mutual friends, which is how i found out. they seemed surprised that i didn't know. i can't blame them, really. i was surprised that i didn't know either.

i wish him well. from a distance.

Mystery Cove

Give this a listen, then read the following post:

As a long-time non-fan of the popular television show, "Lost," I can finally say that I love the show, thanks to Mystery Cove. Now, I haven't been a non-fan of "Lost" out of spite or anything like that. It's merely been circumstance that has kept me from watching a single episode. Honest.

The "Mystery Cove" podcast has re-ignited my interest, based solely on the fact that is a Lost-type show... that doesn't actually exist. The beauty of the podcast is in the fact that you have two extremely talented improv performers pretending that they are the executive producers of a popular-ish television show.

Do not, I repeat, do not look for the show.

Rather, enjoy the lively discussions and drama the "producers" and "actors" engage in as they answer "fan mail" about the show. It's brilliant. The podcast not only make enough references to the fictional show to make you believe the show exists, but it includes the politics behind putting on shows, taking many a jab at the FOX network, whom I will never forgive for taking "Arrested Development" and "Firefly" off the air.

Enjoy the podcast and feel free to send them your questions. They'll answer, no matter how irrelevant or asinine.

I have to go watch some non-television now.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

things that frighten me.

school is kicking my ass.

i'm so very close to done, and i'm afraid that i won't meet my deadline and all of my carefully-laid plans will collapse in on itself like a cheap folding chair.

my life is not a cheap folding chair.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Grand Plan

I am going to Ireland, damnit. I am going to do the study abroad program and graduate in europe and stay there for however long it takes to become successful and happy. i am going to DO THIS.

for now, i have a stupid waitressing gig and an earth science class.

the road to success is paved with poop.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

non-stop action

too much to do. too much.

i went back to my old job.

i made the dean's list.

i study a lot.

i write very little.

i want a nap every second of the day.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Knoxville, TN and Tom Waits

Something good happened. Something very good. No, call it something AMAZING.

I took a once-in-a-lifetime road trip with my best friend to Knoxville, TN to see Mister TOM WAITS perform!

I love. Tom Waits.

For starters, it couldn't have come at a better time. My head was about to explode and I was moving at speeds that could have broken the sound barrier. I quit my jobs. Not all of them, just a few.

And then, we left. Just. Like. That.

The drive was beautiful. I wish some of my pictures had turned out, but my camera has decided to hold them all hostage. I'm still waiting for its demands. We drove (well, he drove -- i don't drive stick) for approximately 8 hours before finding ourselves in the heart of All That Is Green. Knoxville is beautiful. It's a sleepy city, from what I could see, and the folks were friendly enough, although it was strange not to see a single minority, save for myself and one guy on stage.

The Stage. The Civic Auditorium was quite a sight. I'm always impressed with architecture, as I come from the mindset of, "Everything has already been built." I was sorry to see that the venue wasn't the divey-hole-in-the-wall that I had dreamed of, when I would dream of seeing Tom Waits live. But, it was lovely.

Then, there was The Poster Plan. As it stands, Tom Waits is the only musician that I will go out of my way to purchase the actual albums, as opposed to downloading. I do this for two reasons: 1) I want to HOLD onto something when I listen to his music and 2) The artwork is always jarring and beautiful. I wanted one of the posters for those two reasons. Apparently, venue officials had been notified of my obsessive need and put a lockdown on ALL posters. There were guards. For real. M and I made more than a few attempts to claim a glossy prize by ways of coercion, distraction and bribery. We lied, we cheated, but alas, we did not steal. I kinda regret not stealing. Ah, well.

The Show. Once it began, I forgot where I was. It was magical. Tom Waits. In the flesh was hooting, crooning, shouting and stamping to his heart's delight, and mine too. I was surprised at how mild-mannered the crowd was. M and I were not so mild. We danced and gazed, shouted and clapped loudly enough to turn heads.

Everything after the show was a blur. Finding a motel, eating, chatting, sleeping and driving back... I don't remember much of it. I didn't need to.

There was Glitter. There was Doom. There was the Show I'd Always Wanted To See.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Redefining "Between Jobs"

it means going crazy. it doesn't actually mean that you're looking for something else. between jobs is about dancing like a monkey betwixt schedules that are ships in the night. never the twain shall meet. if the two schedule-ships DO meet, then there will be hell to pay. i have too many jobs. i'm always 'between them'. always.

i believe i go from being The Most Employed Person Ever to being The Most Unemployed Person Ever. neither are very good titles to hold.

i'm working at a fancy french restaurant on the weekends. i work across the street at a little middle eastern place, most days. i go to school in the evenings. i write art reviews for Newcity. i barely make enough to get myself where i need to be while affording a home to go to when i need to collapse.

this is wholeheartedly miserable.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

ever wonder where indie-rock comes from?

there is no punk-rock stork that drops off clever lyrics and rockin' music at the doorsteps of some down-on-their-luck indie-rock band wannabes. there is no wishful pondering among the Hipsterati as they try and try to create a new sound that is at once reminiscient of detroit metal, smart prog rock and good old-fashioned fun.

there are none of these things, when it comes to the process of a band, their name and their debut album cover.

here's a meme to prove it.

fun stuff

presto! you are now famous.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

fine. then i'm taking my bomb and going home

apparently WTTW recived a bomb threat on Monday. why? it was in response to an airing of a program entitled, "Proud and Gay in Chicago." god, do i hate people. i hate people that hate. i hate people that hate other people.

jerks. everywhere. and to threaten the lives and safety of WTTW staff AND the students at NEIU (located 500 feet away) is just plain absurd. i wish i had something insightful, witty and appropriately scathing to say, but i am just too angry.

i find myself wondering who on earth would think that a violent threat will EVER get a positive response. were the terrorists hoping that the show would be removed from the network? if so, when do the demands stop?

"We're going to set off a bomb if you continue to air a show about gay culture."
"We're going to set off a bomb if you air a show about any culture."
"We're going to set off a bomb if you don't bring back Booberry Cereal."

seriously. what the hell is WRONG with people? ugh.

mouse in my shower

there was a mouse in my shower, the other day. i don't think it was a rat, but i didn't stop screeching and flailing long enough to discern one from the other. it was a rodent. not a cute top-hat-wearing-singing-dancing-possibly-cooking-French cuisine rodent. it was just plain upsetting.

the timeline of events:

i woke up around 7am and puttered about my apartment for awhile; made breakfast, checked emails, read the news, then decided i ought to shower and start my day. i walked over to my bathroom, pulled aside the shower curtain to turn on the faucet, and...

OGOD. something small, brown and furry was staring directly at me in my birthday suit. and then it began running the length of the tub, unable to climb the surface and get out. back and forth. it ran.

i screamed. then i covered myself, as if i was worried about a rodent seeing me naked. as if i was worried that it was going to run back to all of it's rodent-buddies and talk about how it saw a naked chick. i don't know what i was thinking.

apparently, i was thinking enough to grab my robe and run to the kitchen where i grabbed some TUPPERWARE. yes, tupperware. i wanted to keep the mouse as fresh as possible, after it was done showering.

i ran back to the bathroom and decided i didn't want to touch the curtain, so i climbed from my toilet to the sink and watched the tiny, frightened creature continue to run the length of the tub, until it wore itself out and stopped, panting in a corner. i felt so bad for it. except i didn't. i was scared out of my mind.

i called my building manager.

"Matt. There is a fucking MOUSE. IN. MY. SHOWER." i breathed into the phone, as quietly as possible, because, you see, i didn't want the mouse to know i was talking about it. god, panic will do some strange things to a person.

"What? A mouse? Waitaminute. Who IS this?"

"Ah. Right. Sorry. It's Shama. In 1B. With a mouse. Please come and get it. Soon."

he showed up and walked straight over to the bathroom while i cowered in the kitchen. i found an old shoebox and walked it over just in time to see Matt, framed in the doorway, wearing one shoe on his foot, clutching the other in his hand before he swung downwards. he bludgeoned the poor thing to death. i witnessed a murder.

i ran back into the kitchen, trying to breathe. i had enough wherewithal about me to write a quick email to my editor at "Conscious Choice" about why i was going to be late. as i sent the email, Matt came out, holding the shoebox and giving me a reassuring look.

"It's okay. I think it was some one's pet," he said.

Aw, crap. now i was worried about some kid's pet instead of some random pest. i cried, bleached my tub and went through the rest of my day, completely disturbed and upset.

the was a mouse in my shower. what do you DO with that?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


i'm tired. and tired. and TIRED.

school, work, writing. it's getting me down. no, not down. but there's definitely a correlation between "how busy one is" and "level of pleasantness."

my level of pleasantness is in the gutter. am i trading in a happy demeanor for accomplishment? crap.

i wish i had the time to apologize to everyone i've been neglecting, but it just doesn't fit into my schedule. all i can hope for, is that my friends understand what i'm trying to do and that i'm not really an inconsiderate asshole.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

i'm too old for this

i'm running my ass off. i'm freakin' tired. i want something to happen NOW.

and i want it to be good.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Experiencing Technical Difficulties

I'm having a lot of trouble keeping my life in order. I have too many things going on. I know that, for sure. Between juggling school (and figuring out how to pay for school), the promise of several not-so-promising jobs, and social obligations, I'm on the verge of meltdown. I have decided that I can't keep up with this blog. At least, I can't maintain it the way I want.

Prioritizing has always been difficult for me. I recognize myself as a Type A personality. This means that I get addicted to things easily, but face the downfall of possessing a short attention span as well. I want to do it all, damnit, and I want to do it NOW.

But, I can't do it all. Hence, prioritizing. This blog has unfortunately fallen to one of the things I can't put 100% into anymore. This makes me sad, but then I think of all the other things that have captured my unfortunately short attention span, and I feel a little better.

Technical Life Difficulties. I need a time machine and a hot cuppa coffee. We'll just have to wait to see how things pan out.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Attack of The Panic

ogeez. what have i done? i picked up three assignments with Newcity and still have two articles to finish for Conscious Choice and i got ANOTHER waitressing gig to supplement my income, which, i assure you, is quite meager, AND i start school again in less than two weeks. i'm panicking. yes, indeedy. full on panicking.

i need to keep my head above water, no, i need to be able to walk on water. yes. then turn that water into wine and drink it down, because god knows i need a freakin' drink right now. oh dear.

i will get this done. i will stay awake until it is done. i suspect that i may not sleep for a few weeks.

Monday, May 5, 2008


i'm tired of having this fight with my parents. today was supposed to be a good day. supposed to be. thursday was my mom's birthday, so my big brother and sister-in-law hosted a brunch at their home, followed by a matinee performance of "A Passage To India." sounds good, right?

here's how it SHOULD have gone:

It was a languid Sunday in Chicago. The air smelled faintly of lilacs struggling to bloom and the sunshine darted through the trees. The silver sedan pulled up to the pale yellow courtyard building where a young woman was waiting in the archway. She had a smile on her face as her parents gleefully waved to her from the car. The family exchanged hugs, kisses and all manner of pleasantries, then drove off down the road. They had no need for directions. When they reached their destination, they marveled at the graceful canopy of large trees and quaint homes.
"This is a lovely neighborhood. It looks so safe," the mother said.

(this is not how it happened. the events are true, but this is not how it happened)

The family gathered in the dining room where their eldest son told stories of his recent accomplishments and his wife served a most delicious and decadent brunch to honor the mother for her recent birthday. Jokes were told, bellies were filled and gratitude was exchanged.

(this part is true. brunch was really really good. Dana knows what she's doing).

Everyone had nice things to say to everyone.

(not true).

After tea and coffee was served and the son had gone off to the theatre to ready himself for the afternoon performance, the parents and daughter departed for the theatre, thanking the wife profusely. The parents reassured their daughter that they loved her just as much as they loved their daughter-in-law, despite her being unmarried and in no position to host such a lovely brunch. They hugged her and told her they were proud of her, no matter what she did. They sat together in the theatre and spoke in hushed and excited tones. After the show, the family left together, content and smiling. No one fought, everyone laughed, and the sun was shining. The End.

the events are true. this is exactly WHAT happened, but not HOW it happened.

Friday, May 2, 2008

looptopia and other things that don't work

it was not so good, last year. it was cold and there were too many lines. this year it's raining. but it's relatively warm. such is life.

i am soaked to the bone. these storms have got to stop. they're infringing on my plans. i did get to see some fire dancers, but only because i thought the scene would be warm. ha.

looptopia is such a great idea, but the past few years have been a bit of a disappointment.


hm. i was at looptopia from about 6p to 9p. i got rained on. a lot. i didn't mind that much, but i decided that the events i wanted to see weren't going to happen, so i went home. i did. i went home. i showered myself back to warmth, changed, then got a surprise visit from a friend.

we hung out at my place for a short while, then one of us said, "Wanna go back to Looptopia?"

so, we went. it must have been midnight or so, but hey, the event was supposed to go on ALL NIGHT. yeah, right. it would only go on all night for those who had purchased wristbands, which they ran out of by 10p. boo. i understand the need for crowd control, but to run out of 'admits' by 10p? that was just poor planning.

maybe next year will be better, but i'm skeptical.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

One Year Later...

... we find our heroine sitting in her apartment, furiously pecking away at her keyboard because she still hasn't learned how to touch-type. One year later, she is still in school, pursuing her undergrad degree, although she now has a sense of urgency that never existed before her 27th birthday. She gazes around at her surroundings, fondly reminiscing about the day she moved in, one year ago.

She silently catalogs the minor shifts and changes that were never made.

"Those curtains still need to be lined."
"The front hall's closet door is still broken."
"That picture still needs to be hung."

She notes the changes that were made, and she is quietly triumphant.

"I like that new bedspread."
"Those flower boxes are nice."
"I'm so glad I changed that rug."

Minor accomplishments and small defeats color her memories from the past year of existing in this residence. She is still single and lonely. She still smokes more than she'd like to admit. She has learned more than three chords on her guitar, but she has retired the keyboard (for the time being). She has switched jobs three times and changed her name once, only to change it back, almost immediately. She has cultivated a love for cooking and cleaning, though she still loathes doing her dishes. She eats better. She laughs more. She wakes up early and remembers birthdays. She writes regularly. She hates what she writes semi-regularly. She makes attempts to get paid for writing, but she is convinced that everyone else hates what she writes also.

She has lived in this apartment for one year, today. For the moment, she is pleased with the past year and is looking forward to another. She wishes they hadn't raised the rent on her. This next year had better be worth it. She expects it will.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

warm weather storms and accordion show

woo. i drove around in a summer storm to pick up shirts and merchandise for a pal. he played an excellent show at the house of blues. i've never been there before. it was neat. so was the storm.

have you ever driven through a storm? have you ever driven thhrough a Hand-of-God-style storm while blasting Aretha Franklin? if not, then you must try it. there's nothing quite so satisfying. especially if you sing along. oh, man, was that fun. it made the wait for UPS to get their shit together worthwhile.

the show was fantastic, as usual. although, i did find the relief portraits on the ceiling of the House of Blues back porch slightly creepy and disconcerting.

if you like accordions, give Jason Webley a listen. if you don't like accordions, give it a listen anyways. then go see one of his shows. he's one of the best performers i've ever had the pleasure to watch. i'm always amazed at his ability to control a crowd, hold their attention and get them to spin in slow circles whilst staring at their pointer finger.

after you do all of that, go drive around in a storm with Aretha. then you can give me a call and we'll have a laugh.

Monday, April 21, 2008

CG0h, my muscles hurt.

I'd rather DO stuff than HAVE stuff. that's no secret. the stuff that i DO is fun, usually inexpensive and totally worthwhile. i did a bunch of that stuff this weekend.

i WANT some aspirin and a heating blanket. i am so sore from the stuff that i did. it's a good feeling, unless if i catch a glimpse of my reflection. i look like quasimodo, hunched over, my face screwed up in a grimace. yeesh. i'm pretty sure that my body grew more muscles specifically to be SORE.

"Journey To The End of The Night" was amazing. it was more than i expected and more fun than i thought possible. i discovered that i'm terribly out of shape and cannot hop a fence anymore. i used to be pretty good at it. not anymore. sigh. ah, well.

the 'race' began in Wicker Park at 7p and took the players all around the city. i lost my team before the first checkpoint, but luckily met up with some other folks that didn't seem to mind my inability to hop a fence. they were so cool. we ran through yards, alleys, streets, trainyards, Lower Wacker, downtown... we chatted with strangers, celebrated small victories, high-fived eachother when we made it to checkpoints and ultimately played to WIN.

i have so many stories from the night. i don't think i could write about them properly. i can describe how sore i am, though. running from Wicker Park to the Shedd Aquarium in the course of 5 hours took its toll on my poor body. i hurt. but it's a good kinda hurt. it's the kind of pain that comes with a feeling of achievement, and as far as i can tell, something amazing was achieved tonight. it was a grand social experiment that made me fall in love with Chicago all over again.

Friday, April 18, 2008


You know how there are some nights when you can't seem to find ANYTHING to do? Tonight was not one of those nights.

I can't believe how much STUFF happened today. Don't get me wrong, it was all GREAT, just A LOT. I doubt I'll be having another night like this again soon. Then again, it was the sort of day that makes me happy with my life, exactly as it is. I don't remember the last time I could say (write) that. I usually just whine.

I spent my workday at 'Conscious Choice,' writing. I actually think I might be able to make a solid go of this journalism thing. I still hate Hemingway, but I can finally appreciate his style. While I was at work, I got a call about 'testing' a new computer game. I don't think I'm allowed to divulge the silly and fun details of the game, but I will say that I had a blast playing, singing and guessing. Karaoke is like opera for the working class. Then I went to Bill's Blues Club, in Evanston.

I normally don't do well in 'blues' clubs. I find them pretentious and stifling. I suppose I should have known better because my good pal, G, invited me to come see him play tuba in a band called The Prohibition Orchestra. It was wonderful to listen to a full band play music that should be a lot more mainstream than it is, these days. I highly recommend seeing them. Oh, golly. What next? Oh, right. A cabaret show that didn't start on time, so we went to Silvie's to see another friend's band play. Also good. Then back to the 'cabaret' show, which turned out to be a series of inside jokes that weren't very funny at all.

I don't think abortion jokes are funny. It doesn't matter how you dress it up, it's just not going to be funny.

Phew. It's been a heckuva day. I wonder what's going on tomorrow...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Man Man for one of my favorite Men

I love music. Specifically, indie-rock. I know the stigma attached to those who claim to be 'indie-rockers,' and I do not apologize. I love loud, dirty guitars, a beat that I'm not sure I should be dancing to (but will anyways), denim jackets, ridiculous hair, attitudes decorated with a mild superiority complex, hipsters, filthy venues, over-priced PBRs and of course, music.

I think that I've been fairly lucky when it came to how my taste in music was cultivated, and I know that I owe much of my taste to having worked at one of the best venues in the city -- Schubas'. I learned what was good, what was bad, what was promising, what was on the the verge of failure and what I should listen to from the kind folks at Schubas'. Seriously, even the handyman has an absurd amount of rock n' roll knowledge. I'm grateful, otherwise I may have ended up listening to Celine Dion. Yikes.

I'm also grateful for friends that share my taste in music. Tonight was no exception. One of my oldest friends is celebrating a birthday very very soon and we usually go to a show for his birthday. I always look forward to his birthday because I know it'll be a show I want to go to as well.

Man Man at the Logan Square Auditorium Theatre. So. Much. Fun. I've described them as, "Rob Zombie running a circus sideshow." The energy is great. The night was wonderful. The beer was horribly overpriced and the opener sucked. M, I just want to thank you for having awesome taste in music. Happy Birthday (in a few days).

Monday, April 14, 2008

Journey To The End of The Night

i'm so freakin' excited about this. it's gonna be awesome.
many moons ago, i met a performer by the name of Jason Webley. we struck up a casual acquaintance-ship-- casual, due to the fact that he spends most of his life touring and performing. perhaps i'll write more about him in the future. well, i was on his website one evening when i came across a fantastic oil portrait of him, surrounded by a sky that was raining umbrellas. not only was the image itself interesting and amusing, but it was BEAUTIFUL. i searched for the artist and penned a quick how-do-you-do and appreciative nod for his artwork.

he wrote, "My lady-friend and I are moving to Chicago (from California) in eleven days. Will you be our friend?"

it was one of the most oddly charming emails i had ever received. i accepted the pleasant task. i do so love introducing newcomers to my city. we became moderately friendly and i felt very good about the new residents.

the artist i felt so compelled to contact and praise has decided to introduce "Journey To The End of The Night" to the humble citizens of Chicago. it's a game that is part scavenger-hunt, part race, part game of 'tag' that takes place throughout the city. it is very exciting. this is a game that apparently has been played in several cities around the world, including San Francisco, London and D.C. i'm not entirely sure how to describe it because i have yet to participate, but boy howdy, am i ever excited about it.

i love the idea of a (large) group of complete strangers taking part in an event that requires A) some knowledge of how Chicago is laid out, or at least some enthusiasm to learn about Chicago, B) a certain amount of physical activity. we're only allowed CTA or our legs. seriously. a bike would be great, but it's not allowed. you MUST walk/run/skip to the checkpoints, all the while, you're being 'chased' by a selected team. C) i love that this is an activity that doesn't rely on alcohol in order to socialize. we need more stuff like this.

well, at any rate, i'm excited about this. it's a mystery and a curiosity. i'll be sure to report more on the event after it has taken place, but for now... wheeee! CG0, here i come!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Serving and Receiving

This is a PSA. Be nice to your waiter or waitress. Be as nice as you can possibly be. These folks work extremely hard, but aside from that, you don't know what ELSE they do. That's right, folks. Servers are people, too.

From past experience as a long-time waitress and interactions with others, I can safely say that they're typically multi-faceted and multi-talented people, who hold titles like "Mom" or "student" or in the case of my neighborhood diner waitress, "HR Assistant to the State Representative, Greg Harris." She helps with scholarship options available through the 13th District, and boy, oh boy, did she make my day.

I was getting caffeinated at the diner while plodding through my transcripts. As I tried to make sense of my academic history to better plan for my academic future, she came along and asked what I was doing. I told her, and then proceeded to tell her of my worries over paying for summer classes, since my scholarship doesn't cover summer tuition. She wasn't just sympathetic, the way some servers might be, she was HELPFUL.

I'd rather not divulge details, but I will say that she offered me a way to pay for summer classes, and then offered her clout. I was amazed. I've been her 'regular' for more than a few years, and we've always maintained a friendly relationship without actually being friends. I had no idea that she held another job. I had no idea she held another job that could be so... USEFUL.

Well, I have an application to fill out, but I just wanted to tell you, dear Reader, that you should always be nice to your server. For that matter, you should always be nice to PEOPLE. You never know who else they might be.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

How Sweet it Smells

It is warm today. It is warm and sunny and I feel happy for no reason except that it is warm and sunny. I think the wretched winter is finally over. Young women are wearing flip-flops and sunglasses. Children are running around. Fat men are wearing ugly shorts instead of hideous pants. Please let this be Spring, oh, please please please.

I keep thinking of Spring as a frightened little bunny rabbit. I'll catch a glimpse of it, nibbling at some grass or a bush, we'll make eye contact, then someone will screech, "OH! LOOK! It's SPRING!!!" and the bunny rabbit will scamper away, scared out of its mind.

I hope nobody scares Spring away. The air finally smells good again and my throat doesn't seize up when I breathe in. Chicago is about to get a whole lot more enjoyable.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Start of a Season, The End of an Era

I went to the Cubs game yesterday, as a sort of engagement party for some friends from the days of Yore. We caught each other up on our lives, ate many hot dogs and cheered loudly enough to be deemed "obnoxious." It was a great time, and a great day for a painful ball game. Oh, Cubbies, will you never learn?

I'm not much of a sports fan, but I can appreciate a game of baseball or basketball more easily than I used to. I think I only made two snarky comments. My friends knew I would. That's what friends do. They know and understand, and sometimes, I think they rather enjoy my sarcasm. We've known each other for nearly ten years, most of us having met while we worked together at a Bakers Square in Naperville while some of us were just regulars at the pie-infested eatery.

I love my friends from the Bakers Days. If I had enjoyed high school more, I would have kept in touch with people from high school. But I didn't particularly like high school. I liked working with the Bakers crowd. They taught me how to play euchre and how to enjoy late-night heavily-caffeinated conversations about Nabokov or Fellini (and a number of other pretentious subjects). They taught me how to be a good friend and to expect more from people. They made me appreciate flowers and school. I've kept in touch with them. We meet up every six months or so, catch up, joke around, celebrate and generally enjoy the company without trying too hard. It's easy and comfortable.

When we left Wrigley Field, we gathered up, made plans to go to a bar and hang out for a little bit longer. Then Patrick got a text message. It said something to the effect of, "It finally happened. BS is finally closed." He showed me the text and told me to remember that, "This is where we were when it finally happened." I was stunned. We all were. It was like hearing that your high school had just burned down and was being replaced with a Wal-Mart. Well, if I had liked high school more, I guess that's how it would feel.

I'm still not sure how to let the news affect me. The cursed pie-factory was the nexxus of so many friendships, though we had long-since moved past it with school, jobs, marriages, family, etc. We discovered that the restaurant had been shut down with minimal fanfare and no warning. Just some corporate dickweeds walking in, offering positions to upper management and severance checks for everyone else. Done.

I wonder what's going to happen to the building. I'm also wondering what they're going to do with all those pies...

Monday, March 31, 2008

home again, home again, jiggety-jig

Parents. MY parents. They have always held specific titles, for me. Mom. Papa. One day, I hope I can hold the title, "Mom," too, but I've never said, "I want to be like Mom." I've been content, more or less, with being "Shama." Until this weekend, when something strange happened.

I stopped looking at them as my parents and saw them, simply as people. Interesting, kind and sweet people. People who are just living out their existence, same as anybody else. No, better than most. They try so very hard to be good people, and in my mind, they succeed. As parents, I would like to say they've succeeded, but it's hard to separate myself from the bias I have, as their daughter. This concept has been bugging me. If they're good parents, does that make me a good daughter? I know I'm not, but I still think they're good parents. If they're good people, does that make me a good person, who is also a bad daughter? Or is a good person, by default, a good daughter? How do they think they did, as parents?

I can see what they've done for themselves and for their family, and I'm thoroughly impressed. I don't quite understand how or why the switch flipped, but it did, and I hope I can be more like them, someday.

Friday, March 28, 2008


My birthday has come and gone. It was a delightful evening with many friends and many laughs. My favorite part of the night was the cake my dear friend, Evan, brought for me. It said "Happy Birthday (Sam) Shama" and it was delicious. I could go on and on about how much fun I had, or how wonderful it was to socialize with the many good folks in my life, or even about how reassuring it was to see my friends from different parts of my life getting along with each other, but anything I could describe would have to be punctuated with the annoying phrase, "You'd have to have been there."

It was a very nice birthday, indeed.

After I came home and settled myself into my latest year, I went back to my usual activities: household chores, homework, writing for the magazine, fretting over the other job, paying bills and playing Scrabble online. It was pleasant. I felt like 27 was going to be My Year. Then I read this and began the spiral of self-doubt and self-loathing.

I hate that I have such awful habits. I hate that I can't seem to kick those habits in the teeth and leave them for dead. I hate knowing that people I love and respect hate this part of me. And I hate that it is a part of me. I hate all the things that his post mentioned, but I hate them even more than non-smokers do, because I feel totally helpless to the addiction.

I should never have started smoking. I am an asshole. The worst part, is that I completely agree with him on many many levels. I just can't seem to totally quit. It's addiction. Addiction is serious. I don''t claim to be an expert on it, but I know it's serious enough that it can't be eradicated with rationale. I wish it could. I read and reread that journal entry everytime I want a smoke. If I can't read it, then I eat. if I eat, then I opt for chocolate. I'm replacing one addiction with another and I don't know if it's better to be fat and unhealthy or thin and unhealthy. sigh.

The question then becomes, "Whose got the worst vice?"

I believe that drinking, which is also an addiction, is far worse than smoking, yet alcohol will never be banned from airplanes or, hmph, BARS. Alcohol somehow rates higher on the tolerance scale than smoking, though it will inhibit a person to the point where they might end up doing something like this.

And then there is the notion that addiction can be replaced with something healthier, like religion (for the AA members out there). I don't even know where to start. So I won't.

I'm not arguing FOR smokers. I think it's a filthy, vile, disgusting habit. I'm arguing that smoking is just as bad as any addiction, but shouldn't be singled out unless others are willing to look at the larger problem -- addiction.

We're all junkies of one kind or another. We don't get past these habits by ourselves, and we don't beat the vices by use of guilt, bans or even sound arguments. We find and fix our faults through the support and understanding of our friends and loved ones.

"I'm sorry," she said, lowering her eyes. "This isn't easy."

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Religious Experience

I want to be religious. I think I have always wanted to be religious, the way that some people want to be doctors, or racecar drivers, or moms, or rodeo cowboys. It's always existed, as a seedling in my head, but that's the problem with religion. It has to exist in your heart (if you don't forgive the cliche, I'm sure Jesus will). I grew up as a Muslim, but not a practicing one. Islam was always just on the periphery of my childhood, it was never hammered and drilled into my life. Sometimes, I'm thankful that I was never restricted to Mosque-related activities, but sometimes, I wish I had spent more time with other Muslims.

Many of my close friends are religious, in their own right, and seem to be extraordinarily happy with their particular communities. They aren't narrow-minded or self-righteous. They're not judgmental or hypocritical. They're my friends, and they're content. I want that too, damnit.

I saw "The Ten Commandments" again, last night. Man, what a great movie. I just feel so weird about the whole thing because I'm not Jewish. I wonder if the movie would have been more meaningful if I was coming from a particular faith or if I would appreciate it any more or less.

I know, I know. If I want to be religious, then why don't I just go to Mosque, pray and adhere to Islamic beliefs? Possibly because I'm scared of committing to something that I don't fully understand, nor SHOULD understand, but simply have FAITH in. The power of religion, as an institution, sincerely frightens me. I enjoy learning about different religions and even arguing to a certain point, but I don't ever want to turn into a person who refuses to accept another's perspective because it is contradictory to my faith.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


"We were frightened of being left alone for the rest of our lives. Only people of a certain disposition are frightened of being alone for the rest of their lives at the age of 26, and we were of that disposition." --Rob Gordon, "High Fidelity"

I suppose I shouldn't have watched that movie again, being in a somewhat panicked state of mind, but I just couldn't help myself. Those lines keep bouncing around in my head along with the thought, "I'm turning 27. What the hell am I DOING?" I know I'm not being rational but I also know that at this moment, I TOTALLY understand that statement. I don't want to be alone for the rest of my life, and I know that I'm still relatively young, therefore "the rest of my life" is a good amount of time.

A good amount of time to find someone.
A good amount of time to accomplish something of value.
A good amount of time to become a better version of myself.
A good amount of time to be alone.

The tagline for movie is: A comedy about fear of commitment, hating your job, falling in love and other pop favorites.

Maybe this WAS the right movie for me to watch again. I certainly understand the fear of commitment. I can honestly say that I have successfully sabotaged every relationship I've ever attempted, based on the fear that I might end up "settling." Now, I think "settling" sounds pretty darned good, but I don't know how to do it because I've been vehemently opposed to the idea for so long.
Do I hate my job? Hm. Well, I dislike the one that pays me, but they PAY me. I like the one that doesn't pay me, but I doubt I can make a living off of it, unless I decide to quit eating, going out, doing laundry or any other number of activities that require a few bucks.
Ah, and the last part of the tagline -- falling in love. I'm good at that. I do that all the time. It feels good. It's a pity that I always seem to fall for people that have no idea I exist. One day, Andrew Bird. One day...

I'm beginning to wonder about the concept of commitment. Is this something some people are born with, or is it something that's learned? If it's something that's learned, how do I go about learning it? What's more, is how do I commit to committing? Yikes. The very thought is enough to make me want a distraction from this post.

The other scene from the movie that actually gives me a lot of hope is this one:

I love the first 20 seconds of this clip, but it's the last three minutes that really get to me. I love it when the main character of a story learns something without losing any of the charming faults that make them a great character. That gives me hope.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Horoscopes Are Dumb

My Yahoo! horoscope reads:

The heat is rising in a quarrel you're having -- but the worst is almost over.

I didn't even know I was quarreling with someone! How very strange. I know it's dumb to even bother with my horoscope, but occasionally I will look, just to see what it says. It's usually totally off-base and remarks on facets of my life that don't even exist.

"That special someone in your life has a surprise for you!" Or, "Be careful about your actions at the office today." That last one came up when I was out of work and spending my days at home, chatting with a sock puppet. I hope I didn't upset the puppet.

I suppose I'm looking at the horoscopes more frequently these days because my birthday is coming up, and I still feel like I lack direction in my life. I'm about to get a year older but not necessarily a year wiser. The difference between this year and past years, is that I will be in Chicago. I usually try to take a mini-vacation, get some distance, and sort things out for myself. I guess I'll just have to do that here, this year.

Maybe I'll go see a psychic. They'll know what to do.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Identity Crisis: Part Two

Since I began the new job, I've been doing some thinking. I answer to "Sam" now, but not right away. I sign emails to clients as "Sam". I get introduced to coworkers and clients as "Sam", and I have to remind myself that "Sam" is who I am in this position, which I'm not really qualified for, but that's a whole different mess.

I've had a few discussions with friends and family on the subject and have been hearing a lot of different responses:
- This is a funny situation to be in.
- I'll get used to the new name.
- I was smart to change it, for employment purposes.

All of those things are true, but I just don't know how I feel about it. I'm not upset or happy, either way. It's just a new change, and one I only partially thought through. My brother recently posted a journal entry that touched down on some of the issues I'm grappling with. Whereas he chose the route of assimilation, a path that I frequently wished I'd walked, I ultimately embraced my image as an Asian-American, and chose to cultivate my own credo on the subject. I don't regret it, nor do I envy or judge his choices anymore. But now, I find that I AM assimilating in one of the most fundamental ways. I changed my NAME. If only I could blame it on Ellis Island.

I've grown accustomed to living in a hyphenated world, but this is something entirely different. There isn't an equal splitting of values, where each entity maintains individual significance. This is a manufactured sense of self. It's not a "short" version of my name, and it's not even a nickname, because as we all learned from Sports Night (and how I wish I could have found a clip of that episode!), "you can't give YOURSELF a nickname."

The largest issue at hand is the choice I have to make. Do I continue being "Sam" in the professional world or not? It might not seem like a big deal, but if I look to the future, "Sam" may end up on a slippery slope and there's no way of going back. Or I might just end up with a split personality.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Sam I Am

I got a job! I feel like a new woman. Possibly because I changed my name. It's been about a week since I last posted anything, so here's what happened:

- As a lark, I changed my name on my resume from "Shama" to "Sam".
- I applied for about five more jobs under the new name.
- I received three responses within two days.

When I began this experiment, I didn't have any expectations and I certainly wasn't rooting for any one particular outcome, however, now that I have some results, I'd like to analyze them.

First of all, I doubt that these employers consciously or subconsciously responded for any race-related reasons. I did not change my last name, which is decidedly ethnic. Secondly, I doubt the responses had anything to do with gender. I don't have any real evidence, save for the fact that I went in for an interview as a woman and got hired as a woman. So, that leaves me with the question, "Why did Sam get responses when Shama didn't?"

The answer became clear when I was filling out my new hire paperwork and made a point to my new boss that my checks should be written out to Shama. She listened intently, glanced down at the paperwork, paused for a long while, then looked back up at me, expectantly.

"It's pronounced Shaw-muh," I said.
A look of relief swept across her face and she said, "Thanks. I'm sure I would have pronounced it wrong."

REALLY? It then occurred to me that perhaps Shama wasn't receiving any calls because potential employers simply didn't want to sound DUMB. It's true that we stay away from words we can't pronounce easily, and it is also true that the easiest path is the shortest or straightest, so maybe, just maybe, Sam provides the simplest path for an employer. There it is. Sam I am.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Identity Crisis

Update: I'm still unemployed.

It's strange to think that I'm so thoroughly unmarketable, and all the spare time not working has left me with PLENTY of time to contemplate WHY I'm still unemployed. Among the myriad of reasons (I don't have enough experience, knowledge, time, education, etc.) I began to wonder if I wasn't getting any responses because of my name.

I know this might sound silly to those who know me, but I wonder if I'm not getting any interviews because employers don't know how to pronounce my name. It's not a difficult name, but it is also one that is easy to mispronounce. Nearly a year ago, I had a conversation with a friend who has a difficult name. He told me that once he changed it to something simpler, something more conventional, he started to get interviews. At the time, I thought it was absurd.

I don't think that anymore.

I'm changing my name. Nothing drastic or permanent, but I am changing it to something more conventional. I don't know if it's going to help, but at this point, I'm willing to give it a shot. I'm trying to look at this shift as an 'experiment' of sorts. I have a hypothesis, a method and it will be easy enough to analyze the results, I'm just not sure how I'm going to gauge the success of such an experiment.

If changing my name does indeed work, then I will find employment and a whole new level of disappointment. If it doesn't work, then I'm just going to have to start selling fruit on the streets. Fresh lemons anyone?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Dear Job Market

Dear Job Market,
You suck.


Monday, March 3, 2008

one, two, three for the money

i need a job. i need a job so badly right now. the first of the month has come and gone, and so has the last of my cash. damn rent. i did my taxes the other night, hoping that my return would be enough to sustain me for a short while. my wallet has flies coming out of it. just like in the cartoons.

i'm tempted to go back to waitressing, but i think i might kill myself if i did that again. what happened to my useful skills? why won't anyone hire me to do something AND pay me for it? ugh. frustrated. worried.

Friday, February 29, 2008

in case of emergency

what a fiasco! oy.

after my usual thursday of working at the magazine, going to school and taking my midterms, i offered to drive my friend and a few other guys from Engineers Without Borders to the airport at 2am to catch their flight to Guatemala. we made pretty good time, and everyone seemed really excited about the trip. hell, i was excited FOR them.

after dropping them off and saying our farewells, i made my way out of O'Hare, slowly, due to the snow that had started to fall. then my phone rang.

"Someone forgot their malaria pills."

CRAP. i turned right back around, and picked him up. he was so sweet and apologetic. now, i'm all for over-apologizing when i think i'm putting someone out, but fer cryin' out loud, YOU NEED YOUR MALARIA PILLS.

it was a long night, but i was more than happy to help out. he'd better not have gotten malaria, damnit.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Guide To Laundry Room Etiquette

Don't touch my stuff. Simple. Don't take my sopping wet laundry out of the washer and place it on TOP of a filthy dryer when my EMPTY laundry basket is sitting DIRECTLY on top of the washer where my clothes were. Do not touch my underthings. That makes me feel gross and weird. If one of my socks or sweaters happens to fall onto the disgusting cement floor, where i'm sure rats fornicate, i will be upset. i will be even MORE upset when i come downstairs, after my allotted hour, to find my wet clothes sitting on a filthy dryer, and one of my socks and sweaters on the disgusting ground next to it. I don't touch your stuff. Even when you leave it in the washer or dryer for DAYS at a time. I don't touch your things because I respect your privacy and your property. You don't know me, and I don't know you, so how can we trust that our hands are clean, let alone our laundry after its been man-handled by God-Knows-Who?


etiquette lesson OVER. harumph.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

the best way to talk without being interrupted

writing. these days, i'm always writing. whether i'm writing for classes, writing for work, writing to loved ones or writing for myself, i'm ALWAYS writing. i'm at my happiest and most frustrated when i'm writing.

so, here i sit, happily frustrated. or maybe frustratedly happy.

when it comes to the process of writing, i understand that it works differently for everyone. some people spend a good deal of time researching a topic, forming an outline, stringing together separate thoughts to form a whole piece. i have friends that simply follow their thoughts like a bread crumb trail until they reach a final conclusive and delectable sandwich of thoughts. there are plenty of other writing rituals, i'm sure, but i still haven't figured out my OWN process and i find that disconcerting.

as far as i know, i just sit at my computer and silently swear at it for a while.

do musicians feel this way? painters? anyone who has a job that requires creativity MUST curse their tools every now and then, i suppose. sometimes, i miss doing theater. i miss being told exactly what to do and say, how to act, what emotions to project and the satisfaction of being a small part of something larger. i envy my theater friends and the community they're a part of. i love watching a show, the camaraderie between performers and their audience. so, why didn't i pursue theater? i think it's because i wanted to take responsibility for my own actions, thoughts and words.

i've spent a good deal of my life blaming circumstances for my shortcomings, which are many. i've been involved in relationships where i could say, "We both screwed it up." i've been in wildly unsuccessful plays where blame gets distributed to actors, tech and audience. of course it isn't healthy to shoulder blame alone, but it also isn't healthy to avoid accountability. writing makes me accountable. frustrated and happy, but accountable. i know i'll look back at this entry and say, "Wow, did that post suck. What the hell was I rambling on about, anyways?" but, i'll look back on it and know that it's MY piece of crap.

writing is lonely, but there's a certain joy in solitude.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

the "i" is imaginary

i had a brief relationship-related chat with a friend today. we discussed her relationship as it existed in the past and present, and i realized that the advice i was giving her was advice i should be taking myself.

i hate when that happens.

after parting ways, i spent some time thinking about how i haven't really been taking care of myself, emotionally. sure, i have an amazing group of friends that i couldn't live without, but they don't make choices for me. i do that. as of late, i haven't been making very good choices, and i think i understand why.

emotional decisions tend to made, well, emotionally. we're inclined to think of our personal issues as nuanced and situation-specific, peppering conversation with phrases like, "Well, it's different for us," or "You don't really know them, so you couldn't understand," or my personal favorite, "He's not really like that." we get defensive. i think it's a natural reaction, but sometimes, not accurate. the "i" is the problem. "i" can't make good decisions because "i" am too close to the situation.

if this were math, "i" wouldn't exist and the equation would be simpler. oh, and there is no spoon.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

chilled moonshine

I'm not referencing raw alcohol. Even if I had any moonshine, I doubt it would warm up my stiff, cold fingertips. I think I have had moonshine before, and all it did was make me ill. Tonight's lack of moonshine, though, is brought to you courtesy of the last lunar eclipse visible to Chicago until 2010. I was on my way to the Adler Planetarium when I looked skyward and saw it: a pristine white disc, overshadowed by a creeping darkness. It was like watching something from a vampire movie. I must have been standing there for a while, because I started to lose the feeling in my feet and fingers.

I didn't make it to the Planetarium.

I made it as far as the Montrose Brown line stop, and realized that I would end up stuck in a subway during the eclipse, most likely arriving in time to miss the whole thing. So, I just stood there, staring at the sky, letting my limbs go numb. It was great. I wondered who else was watching this phenomenom, how it was happening and what it must look like through a giant telescope, which was my main reason for wanting to go to the Planetarium in the first place.

It's two degrees outside. I gazed at the moon long enough to see it get to a full eclipse. It was a long time to be standing motionless outside, but it was worth it, just to remember what 'wonder' feels like.

Monday, February 18, 2008

weather systems

there's always so much to do, so much to think about and so much to explore, i'm beginning to feel exhausted by it all.

i wonder if it might be the weather. i've been through many a bitter chicago winter, always looking forward to wintertime activities, until, that is, i've done them and am left pleading for spring. it's a cycle i've grown familiar with, if not accustomed to. that doesn't mean i like it. i desperately want winter to be over. i want to stop huddling in front of my space heater, wrapped up in twelve layers of clothing, a robe and three blankets. i want to be productive.

but i don't want to be cold.

Friday, February 15, 2008

horrified and disappointed

yesterday: NIU shootings, i witnessed a bank robbery, got trapped on an el car with a crazy man who had first beaten the crap out of another man then wagged his penis in my direction, yelling obscenities, leaving me to cower helplessly in the corner of the train car.

it was also Valentine's Day.
and Oregon's 149th birthday.

i'm confused and upset by these events, but caught myself looking forward to the few days from now when other nasty events will grab my attention, and give me something else to be disappointed in. this is a horrible way to think. an awful way to live. looking forward to the next disaster, so i can get my mind off the recent ones.

while i was watching the report on the school shootings from a television at the diner tonight, the waitress looked at me, clucked her tongue and sadly stated, "People just don't wanna try to be good anymore."

i pondered that phrase all evening, trying to focus on my classes and lectures, but i just couldn't get those words out of my head. "People just don't wanna try to be good anymore." is that true? is it THAT difficult to be civilized? i don't understand. i hope i never do.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

working for peanuts

work? oh, i forgot to tell you. i got a job, but it doesn't pay me. at least, not with money. i get paid in gratitude.
not from them. i'm the grateful one. i'm grateful for the chance to prove that i CAN, in fact, be a productive member of society.

which is, of course, why i'm posting this entry instead of doing the work i need to be doing.

so, when i actually am being productive, it's in an office, where i write for a magazine. that's as detailed as i'm going to get, for now. i'm still slightly afraid that they're going to find out that i'm a talentless hack and have no business in theirs. i'm also afraid that they're going to call my friends and family and everyone i've ever met and invite them to publicly ridicule me while i get fired from my non-paying job in a painfully embarassing way, possibly involving a giant letter "F" painted on my shirt in wite-out. the "F" is for fraud.

it's a slightly different version of a recurring nightmare, but that's for my therapist, not the blogosphere. unless someone would care to discuss it with me for free, that is. i am, after all, working for peanuts and pencil shavings, and who doesn't love peanuts?
oh yes, and gratitude. i'm working for gratitude, and despite my fears, i am very grateful.

i'm at work. i suppose i ought to do some.

Monday, February 11, 2008

ice falling and art

I went ice skating at Millenium Park tonight. It was a hoot and sometimes, a slightly painful holler. I try to go ice skating at least once every winter, if only to remind myself how beautiful Chicago is. It worked. Chicago is gorgeous, and in the dead of winter, full of light and mystery.

I had a really wonderful time, trying to ice skate, but found myself referring to the activity as "ice falling". After my friend and I were tired out, we took a short walk up to The Bean and looked at the wall-sized colored ice sculptures that will be taken down very very soon. It was so inspiring to see art that was so simple and well-thought out. It's been a long time since I've been excited about art.

I'm not much of artist, myself, though I've known a good many people who have dedicated their lives to it. Critiquing artwork has been something that I always find myself doing, even though I don't think my opinions on technique are valid. I tend to look at any given piece and wonder about the artist: what they were thinking, what they were trying to achieve, the feelings that they wanted to pull from people who look at their work and whether or not they're satisfied with the finished product. After viewing the ice sculptures at Millenium Park, I felt confident that the artists were pleased with their work, because I was so pleased with seeing it.

They had taken several sheets of ice, painted them, and put them together as a mosaic, or a sort of icy stained glass window. The beauty behind using ice was that when it melted, parts would break off or fall, creating new dimensions and visual centerpieces. It was so transient, I remember thinking, "Just like the city."

I love my city, and even though I don't ice skate so much as I ice fall, I feel connected to the ice sculptures, knowing that they are also ice, falling.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Say it ain't so!!!

polaroid stopped making instant film? no more cameras? whaaaaaat?

i've been using a polaroid camera since i figured out that my fingers could be used for more than picking my nose. i still own my father's ancient polaroid camera, and i also possess a newer model. the newer one was a present from a dear friend who understood my need for instant-image-gratification. i love the solid "click" and happy whirring of an instant camera, and i feel utter joy when the picture slides out, undeveloped and firm inbetween my fingers. i like shaking it like, well, a polaroid picture.

and now it's over. stupid future.

Friday, February 8, 2008

omigod. this is great.

and now for something completely silly.

who are you callin' cold turkey, huh?

quitting smoking again. again. as in, for the millionth time. this time, it's gonna stick. i'm quitting all my addictions. this week. i think it'll go well. why can't there be cigarette vending machines on the street? i think twenty cancer sticks are just too much. i get a pack, and i'll smoke them all. if i could just go buy ONE, whenever i feel like i'm about to kill someone, that'd be awesome.

quitting "cold turkey" sucks. that phrase sucks, too. it ought to be called, "quitting patience and the ability to be civil." that'd be more accurate.

on the plus side, i totally had a dream about a young christian slater last night. we went out for ice cream. it was nice.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

voting shouldn't have been that difficult.

the next day. the wednesday after power tuesday ought to be called let-down wednesday. or something like that.

i woke up on power tuesday, bright-eyed and excited to exercise my right to vote. man, what a mess. first, i couldn't find my voter registration card.

"I KNOW I got it. I know it. I did it when I changed my address. WTF? Come on, Post Office, you had months to do this. WHERE the hell is it?"

so, i went online, and found a whole new world of frustration.

"What do you mean, I don't exist? I'm right HERE."

so, i looked up my polling place, with the help of my big brother. we found it, and i went.
nope. not there. so, i looked up ANOTHER polling place and went there.
nope again. crap.

i was getting very upset, so i made a last-ditch effort and hit up the last place i voted at, four years ago.

but WHY??? how did that happen? i changed addresses, registered and followed the rules. this shouldn't have been that much of a problem. yet it was. however, our heroine emerged victorious, albeit tired and pissed off. i don't trust the post office anymore.

Monday, February 4, 2008

try, try as i might.

i can't play my guitar. i desperately want to, and i practice everyday, but damnit, i just can't seem to string together the chords i know into something pretty or coherent. if music were food, i'd be making a souffle out of turds. turd souffle. and it wouldn't even rise. gah.

okay, i think my fingertips have stopped tingling. here i go again.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Denial/ Prolonged Truth

I know everyone is watching the Superbowl right now, but I opted to sit at my computer instead. I know I could be at a Superbowl party right now, enjoying junk food and good company, but I decided to quarantine myself because I'm scared. I've been having these fits of honesty, lately. At first, I wasn't sure if I was being selfish by purging secrets despite knowing that feelings would be hurt in the process. Since the onslaught of blunt, unforgiving truths, I've realized that the Truth isn't always the way to go. Sure, it helps communication, but only if both people are ready to communicate.

I was taught, as children are taught, to always tell the truth. ALWAYS. There are no exceptions. Now that I'm older, I feel like I've been lied to. There are reasons to lie, reasons to withold, reasons to evade and hide things from others. Some of those reasons are actually valid. Some of them are not.

What I have decided is that to "come clean" is only good if you're willing to get your hands dirty. I know I'm mixing metaphors, but here's the deal: Once a lie or untruth is excavated, there's a lot of dirt, dust and muck to sift through before the shiny truth can be seen. If you aren't willing to clean it up and wash off the mud, then leave the truth buried and burn the map.

In one case, I'm very glad I 'fessed up. It was absolutely The Right Thing To Do. I'm glad I did it, and I'm glad it's over. In another case, I'm devastated. No, i take that back. I'm actually relieved, and I feel selfish because they weren't ready for the truth. They went digging in a graveyard and got upset when they found a rotting corpse. They weren't ready for the truth, and for that I'm very very sorry. So, I write.

The truth is, I'm writing because I don't really care for football. Sorry to disappoint.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

There's Nothing Better...

than watching one of your friends having the time of their life. Wednesday night was one of the happiest nights of the year for me. My dear friend, Evan Jacover, took the stage at Schubas' to promote the release of his CD, "One Pair of Shoes". Not only is Schubas' my favorite venue in Chicago, but Evan is one of my favorite performers. His music is folksy and fun, clever and catchy, and his performance is always sincere, goofy and oddly intimate. Seriously, this guy could make friends with a rock.

Come to think of it, that's kinda how we met. No, I was never a rock (but if I was, I think I'd be some sort of clastic, like shale or sandstone), but I wasn't out looking for a new friend when I went to one of his shows at Uncommon Ground. I was actually on a date, and we'd gone there to see my friend, Kelly (of Divebar, who also played with Evan on Wednesday) sing backup. I like to hear Kelly sing anytime I can. The lady has a voice sweeter than a marshmallow angel smothered in honey (doesn't that sound good? yeah, so does she). As I sat there, watching and listening to this goofy guy with his guitar, singing about food and candy and math, I felt like I HAD to give him a hug. So, after his show, I did. He gave me a t-shirt. It was nice. Looking back, I realize how awkward that exchange was, but I also know that we're friends now, and it's purely because he knows how to make an audience feel comfortable and appreciated, which is something a lot of great performers lack.

I've been to numerous shows, and I feel that the best shows are like a see-saw, with the artist on one end and the audience on the other, with the music as the board, and the board balanced on a structure of appreciation. Without that appreciation, the board, the audience and the musician are left flat on the ground, with nobody having dangerous playground fun. When everything is in place, though, everybody gets a chance to experience that high and watch others experience it, too.

That's what Evan's show was like. Like a trip to the playground. It was fun. I wish I had a picture to post, but I don't, so I'm just gonna tell you to picture the happiest thing in the world and give it a guitar and a mop of curly brown hair.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

chopped liver is pretty good

anyone that knows me knows that i love my big brother something fierce. don't believe me? try saying something disparaging about him in my presence. go on. i dare you.

he's a playwright and actor for The Neo-Fututrists, the good people that brought the world "Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind: 30 Plays in Sixty Minutes", and he's also a professional Awesome Guy. it's true. if you're not familiar with The Neo-Futurists or my brother, i recommend you go check them both out, as soon as possible. you won't be disappointed.

last weekend i went to the Neo-Futurarium to see his first prime-time-writer-directorial debut with the company. i knew that he'd been experiencing some apprehension about the show, but i was geeked to see it. the show,"Contraption", examines "the intersection between innovation and insanity by dissecting the lives of some of history's greatest inventors." i could talk about how great the show was, how i'm gonna see it over and over, how it was one of the best shows the Neo-Futurists had ever done, but instead, i'm going to tell you about the pride i felt for my big bro.

i claim the title of his "biggest fan". i think i may have been impressed with his writing since before i could read, he's THAT good. over the years, he's gotten himself a few more fans, and rightly so. he has an impressive body of work, discipline, talent and monkish humbleness. i'm always happy to meet people that know him, and take great pride in their appreciation. what's starting to bug me though, is the shock and disbelief people express when they find out i'm his little sister.

did Maja Einstein feel this way? by the way, Maja Einstein was Albert's little sister. betcha didn't know that. yep, she lived a decent life, had a good education, married, but had no children. what was it like for her at family dinners?

Ma Einstein: Oh honey, I'm so happy to see you! Al, look! It's your sister!

Pa Einstein: So, what have you kids been up to, lately?

Albert: Well, I just made major contributions to the field of physics, with my special theory of relativity, and I also created a new theory of gravitation.

Ma and Pa Einstein: That's wonderful! You're a genius! We're so proud of you! How about you, Maja?

Maja: Um, I went fishing for the first time. I caught a trout.

Ma and Pa Einstein: Oh... that's nice, dear. Ahem. Uh. Very nice.

i'm not trying to say that i'm jealous of his success, i'm saying that i didn't expect to be graded on a curve. i feel pretty good about my life and the direction it's going in. i don't feel the need to compete with my siblings, at all. they do their thing, and i do mine. we're all equally supportive of each other, and i believe that's what really counts. i'm just starting to wonder if the shock people express, when they find out i'm his sister, is based on a comparison or simple surprise that he even HAS siblings. do people think that genius is a solitary role? he's not just MY big brother, and i'm not just HIS little sister. we're siblings, friends and a mutual support system that we can always be grateful for.