Thursday, November 5, 2009


Remember, remember, the 5th of November?

I remember quite a bit about this date, but the clearest memory I have doesn't even belong to me. It's the date that a Guy Fawkes tried to blow up Parliament in 1605. No, I am not 404 years older than you thought I was, and I am not a time traveler. I'm not even a Guy Fawkes fan -- the man must have been a lunatic. No, I remember this date because of something I read as a child, and reread numerous times since then. V For Vendetta is, and will always be, so much more than "the one movie where Natalie Portman shaved her head." It is a time capsule. It is part of my childhood. Most of all, it's the reason I love comic books and my big brother, who no doubt, has also written about Guy Fawkes.

He has. But for reasons all his own.

I remember this line simply because it is the 5th of November.
I remember the 5th of November because Guy Fawkes made the world remember it.
I remember Guy Fawkes because of a graphic novel that Alan Moore wrote.
I remember the graphic novel because of my older brother.
I remember my older brother because I think I know what the 5th of November means to him.

He gave me the novel to read when I was far too young to understand the nuances and politics of the story, but I read it anyway, because, honestly, I read anything he gave me. Over the years I grew to understand the finer points of writing and the tremendous effort good writing requires. Every time I felt like I needed a reminder, I would go back to V For Vendetta, and I would be happy.

Recently, I discovered that I could get the same feeling from reading Bilal's writing, and the realization startled me. For years, I believed that my own writing was inspired by writers I could only admire and attempt to emulate from afar. While that might be partly true still, I will remember today as the day that I understood my greatest influence is my big brother.

Big Brother might always be watching, but my big brother will always be watching out for me.

Thanks for the inspiration, Bilal.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Guide To Being __________

Apparently, I'm not very original when it comes to my "decorating style." Sure, I have my fair share of IKEA-crap, but who doesn't? For what it's worth, I have gone to great lengths to make my spacious studio apartment homey, cozy, and reflective of who I am.

"Who I am," according to my mother's home decorating guide, is "eclectic." I have been labeled as "eclectic."

How is it possible to be labeled something that is essentially defined as "undefined?"

Then again, whenever I have to choose my "race" on a scantron sheet or at the DMV, I always end up filling in the spot for "OTHER."

Monday, November 2, 2009

I win!

I recently won an award! You may have voted for me.

"Worst Friend Ever"

It's a little like winning the title for Miss America, but without all the crying and thanking. Okay, maybe a little more crying. I will be representing bad friends everywhere for one full calendar year, or until I stop being such a lazy bum.

Thanks for voting.

For the record, there isn't actually an award for being a bad friend, but if there was, I'm pretty sure I could have won it. Not responding to emails, text messages, voicemails -- these are minor and common things that we all do from time to time, and not necessarily deeming qualities of a poor pal. Not doing these things for six months is what it takes to win the illustrious "Worst Friend" crown, which is, by the by, made of old Big Mac cartons from McDonald's. Man, have I been lousy about communicating. And eating.

To all those who voted for me, I'm sorry. Since I got back from Ireland I have been keeping busy, but not with anything terribly involving. The seasons are rapidly changing and all I can think is, "Crap. I really need to call ______." And then I'll do laundry, or download music, or watch several hours of "Law and Order." There must be a bazillion episodes of that show.

The point is, I WON'T call or write anyone when I know I ought to. I do this for two reasons: 1) I'm a lazy bum and have been since I got back to Chicago and 2) because I'm a lazy bum who doesn't do anything except chores and watch "Law and Order," I feel like I don't have anything interesting to report. I would call it a vicious cycle, but it's too lethargic to be called vicious. It's a sloth-y cycle.

There's a silver lining to this poop-cloud of a post, though. As the title-holder for "Worst Friend Ever" I am making a promise.

I promise to lose this title as soon as possible. I will return messages in a timely manner, with enthusiasm and joy. I will make and keep plans. I will start doing interesting things again. I will, in short, get off my lazy ass.

Right after this episode of "Law and Order."