Kickin' it old school

Last night was a kind of "welcome home" party for a friend who spent some time fighting in some war over in some desert-type country. He's actually been out of the war for, like, a year, right? But he was stationed down in Georgia and now he's out of the army, so there's no chance he'll have to go back, right?

We hung out for a bit on Wednesday, too, had lunch and bought comics (well, I bought comics, he browsed), and caught up. I hadn't seen him since...before he joined the army, I wanna say. Maybe briefly after basic, before he shipped out, but I don't remember. It was good to see him, see how he's doin'. He had some very amusing stories about Iraq (the one involving livestock and tasers - priceless). I'm sure he has some not-too-amusing stories as well, but we didn't get into any of those.

It sounds kind of strange, but I think the war sort of agreed with him. Or, maybe it's better to say, the army agreed with him and he just happened to have to go off and fight in a war. He certainly seems to be doing quite well. Maybe cause he's outta the army now.

I've always found him to be kind of fascinating and interesting, going back to high school. We were in the same expanded circle of friends and we talked from time to time. He always struck me as way smarter and more well-read than I was, always thinking about things in a way that had never occurred to me. He was always good for a unique perspective, regardless of the conversation, this kid with the weird nickname (which shall remain unuttered).

I'm incredibly curious about his experiences over in Iraq, from purely a storytelling perspective, y'know? I mean, I guess everyone is curious about what's really going on over there, and to get a firsthand account is pretty amazing, but I don't want to ask too many questions. It feels kind of, I don't know, rude or something. He wrote about some of it on his blog while he was over there, and a bit more while stationed in the south, but reading on a website is different from hearing it from a person's mouth. Blogs can be edited and rewritten, each word or sentence studiously examined to make sure it's the right one, whereas when you get someone talking in person, it can be all sorts of uncensored. There's less thought involved with talking than with writing.

It seems that everyone I meet, everyone I talk to these days, I look at them and listen to them and try to figure out how to use them as a character, how their experiences could be used in a story, whether it's a comic or novel or film. You know the old saying, "All the world's a stage, and the people, merely players." That's sort of how I see things these days. I try to file away bits and pieces from everyone I encounter with the idea that I might be able to use something about them for a character. Part of me thinks that's kind of...I don't know, underhanded? Sizing people up for roles in stories. But, on the other hand, you are supposed to write what you know, so I guess it just comes with the territory of being friends with a writer.

Anyway, yeah, last night was good times.

No idea what's on tap for today. I think my parents are looking to go see The Good Shepherd this afternoon, which I wouldn't mind seeing, but Ohio State and Florida tip-off at 3 and that should be a great game. Either way, I'd like to get some reading done today, too. The book I'm working on, The Anubis Gates, by Tim Powers, is pretty good so far, but I've only been reading it at night when I've been sort of out of it, so I'm not entirely sure I'm remembering all of it from night to night. I'm only on chapter two, though, so there's plenty of time to play catch-up.

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