IX. Rip, Spend, Stop< Previous Chapter | Next Chapter >

It's Really a Question 

State your purpose.

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Expecto Patronum 

Since you have been asking, I will say my thoughts on Prisoner of Azkaban.

Film three is much better than one and two. Alfonso Cuaron visually ushered in the dark tones and magical humor that I so love in the books. Under his direction, Hogwarts finally began to breathe and dance.

The serious problem with films one and two has not been exorcised: Story. Story. STORY. Granted, the story issues are not as horrible as they were in Chamber of Secrets, but the problems are still bad enough to draw attention to themselves. Too many of the scenes preceding the climax sequences are just scenes. The glue, the urgency, the protagonist’s drive that holds together the narrative and propels us through the story is lacking. Writers can get away with a few “watch this now because it’s important later” scenes in any one movie, but not for 3/4 of the entire work.

What the hell is going on at WB? We know that Harry Potter stories work and work well. It is all there in the books; tension, important relationships, mystery… Rowling has offered up more than adequate source material. Who is green-lighting these scripts? Are they in complete denial of what makes a movie good? (And no, it's not the sad fact that we fans of the book will shell out to see a movie even if it sucks.)

Having a new director greatly improved the visuals and acting in the Potter franchise. WB should look for a new writer before Phoenix gets underway.

Related Photo: Hedwig.

Later, Muggles.

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The Pen 

Petition in favor of gnomes.

Now that I know how easy it is to petition for stuff, I plan to write petitions for anything that pisses me off. Like if the guy at the gas station is rude to me or something or if Starbucks discontinues my favorite cookies. (Which I totally heard is happening, BTW.)

What sort of petition would you write? I think my next one will be: "Petition for Jessica Stover to be Conan O'Brien's sidekick for one night."

That one would definitely work. Definitely.

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Inbox: Your Mom! 

Dear Jessica, there are many pix of The Grizz and other people like C.Sto on JSDC. Why aren’t there any pictures of your Mom? – Canda

Dear Canda,
More like, why aren’t there any pictures of your Mom?


I totally just dissed Canda. Which is almost a country. One time I dissed Mexico... but I learned my lesson. I actually think they're still mad. I can tell because they refuse to speak English to me. Luckily, yo hablo Espanol. Suckas.

To be almost serious, (or, at least, less loco,) there aren’t any pictures of my Mom because M.Sto is often behind the camera. She’s good at photography. Palabra. Perhaps she will read this and send me a photo of her dressed up as a cowboy.

Update: So M.Sto actually did send me a photo of her dressed up as a cowboy. I think it's from before I was born because I do not remember her wearing chaps and wielding a gun. Plus, the photo looks way vintage.

Photos: M.Sto the cowboy has a nice mustache.

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Inbox: Many Questions 

Howdy, folks. It is time to take another rapid-fire tour through my inbox. Luckily, I’m feeling extra sweet and kind today so I’m sure even the most stupid and patronizing of letters won’t phase the goodness I feel in my heart for all JSDC audience members.

Jessica, what is your favorite thing ever? – Bet

There is a whole page dedicated to this question, which, surprisingly, I get quite often. Not only are you stupid, but in addition you are unoriginal. Perhaps you should stop gambling, “Bet,” and spend some time surfing my site before you gunk up my Inbox. The rest of the world is anxiously awaiting my responses and I’m sure the global community does not appreciate your taking up my time. Haveaniceday.

I noticed that you play a lot of sports and I play softball too. When you play sports do you have any superstitions? – Jennifer

There are a few softball superstitions that I hate. One being that it is bad luck if the bats in the dugout are crossed. This one particularly sucks because then you have to tidy up the dugout in order to rid it of bad omens. I can’t think of any specific superstitions that I have, but when I’m on a team I definitely pick up a routine and I get annoyed if anyone fucks with it. For example: My high school team was a state championship softball team. Before home games I would enter the field through the visitors dugout and walk to our dugout across the field taking care not to disturb any of the chalk lines. I had to have a really thorough warm-up, (don’t rush me!) and then afterwards, during the few minutes before the game started, I would hold a softball in my hand and stare out past the fence at this special little tree that I was rather fond of. I would use this tree-staring technique to center myself. So basically I am not so much superstitious as I am anal, weird and fond of trees. One day I’m going to dig that little guy up and steal him. (First I'll have President C.Sto pass a law allowing tree theft so that I totally won't go to jail.)

J.Sto, who is your best friend? – Marta

Um, hello, that should be obvious by now. Stephen Spielberg. We have tea and then paint each other’s fingernails pink. When he dies I will probably pick C.Sto as my new best friend.

Jessica, What sort of things do you like to get and could I send you something aside from e-mail? -- Katie

Unfortunately I do not yet have a P.O. box for such things. Perhaps if many people want to send me stuff I will invest in one. Things I like to get include but are not limited to: CDs of the sender’s favorite mix of songs, handwritten letters, Harry Winston diamonds, stickers, money, newspaper/magazines clippings related to my interests, appropriate drawings and original art, fancy pens, photos of amazing landscapes (especially if they are ripped out of a wall calendar), ribbon, invitations, books, vintage t-shirts, a motorcycle and photos of people looking at my awesome photos.

(No Goo Monsters, please.)

Hi, I visited http://www.jessicastover.com, and noticed that you're not listed on some search engines! I would like to introduce to you an affordable service where we can help enhance your online presence globally. Do let me know how I may assist you better with workmiracle.com! Best Regards, Elisabeth Brown

Dear “Elisabeth,” You have misspelled your name. Do you have some sort of “z” lisp when you write? Furthermore, I hate you. You are the first spammer to spam me at my JSDC address and for that you must die. In conclusion, workmiracle.com is a flimsy name for a website and I am way too famous across the galaxy to need your assistance. So die a lispy death, fool.

If you were a plant what kind of plant would you be and why? – Greg

The kind that kicks your pansy ass. Or maybe that little tree from the softball field.

Well, that was pleasant after all. I am totally nice.

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Here's the weird news: (And, I say "weird" because it is completely out of synch with my current plan).

I have been invited to try out for the USA National/Olympic Handball Team.

What will I do?

Also, I have busted my cell phone. Completely. Therefore, I can take no calls. Again.

True story.

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Yesterday I spent over eight hours at Will Rogers Beach. It was chill, overcast… lovely, if you ask me. (California sunshine is so abundant that I rejoice over a cooler, cloudier day.) During those hours I played dodgeball, capture the flag and many similar games. I also went for a swim in the ocean. It was a full day of throwing, kicking, sprinting in sand, swimming, dodging, defending…

On the drive home I knew I’d be sore today. I hit the door exhausted. With my last dregs of energy I de-sanded myself in the shower, rinsed out my bathing suit and rash guard in the sink, ordered some Italian take-out, ate and finished reading Shadowmancer (that book is not really worth mentioning). I then watched one episode of Law & Order: SVU and fell asleep at 9:30 PM.

Lately, I have had trouble falling asleep before 2 AM, so it was excellent to go to bed early and sleep deeply. I woke today with all my muscles hurting. It was the kind of even, light pain that stiffens your walk but feels good because you know that you are alive and putting your body to good use. Lately, I have also felt disappointed in myself for not getting out on the field more, so this soreness is an excellent feeling as well. Perhaps this is the way that humans are meant to live?

Few things can compare to an athlete’s high. (Being on stage is one of those things.) Everyone playing in the games yesterday was athletic and so the level of play was challenging. I was particularly impressed by some of the other girls who were playing. I had forgotten how much I adore that athletic moment when your body is in full motion. It is a slightly different kind of “in the moment” than the theatrical sense of the phrase. This is the “in the moment” where you don’t have to think, but instead rely on your muscle memory and impulses to guide you through a full range of physical motion. Every muscle in your body harmonizes and, in that moment, you are capable of great things.

I should mention that I am a huge fan of participating in team sports. And I love playing dodgeball. If dodgeball were an Olympic sport, I would definitely tryout for the U.S. team. (I’ve been preserving my amateur status in case such an occasion arises.) Some of you may perhaps be looking at my pictures and thinking, “This little actor girl? She can’t play.” You are not the first to view me in this way. In fact, I think I’ve come to use others’ underestimation of my abilities to my advantage. I assure you that I could kick your ass at any sport and that’s not me talking trash. That’s me prophesizing the truth. (So bring it.)

I wish I would come home spent in some manner, (physically, emotionally, intellectually…) every day. Knowing that I’d hit the sports rush. Knowing that I’d completed physical and/or intellectual tasks. Knowing that I worked so hard on something I enjoyed that I had barely enough energy to prepare to crash into bed. Knowing that I’d used a good part, if not all, of my potential and energy… That is a simple, great feeling that everyone should feel more often.

From now until the day I die, I am going to make an effort to go home spent as often as possible.

PS: Someone should really start a Community Advanced PE class of some sort. I’d definitely go that, man. Definitely.

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BECAUSE I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.

We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,
For his civility.

We passed the school where children played
At wrestling in a ring;
We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.

We paused before a house that seemed
A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible,
The cornice but a mound.

Since then ’t is centuries; but each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses’ heads
Were toward eternity.
-- Emily Dickinson

It's 5:39 PM PT. I'm doing laundry and going over a Shakespearean monologue. My phone rings. Odd, as it is Sunday and I have already talked to everyone back in VA. On the caller ID: M.Sto

What else could she want? I already talked to her for an hour today.

Then, I get that weird feeling… You know, the one where you answer anyway?

“Hey. What is it?”

“Hey (pause) Tommy just died in a really bad car accident.”

“Tommy who?” I asked, even though I knew who she meant.

“Your cousin Tommy.” She sniffed back tears.

I told her to phone me when she knew more about the circumstances.

As evident from the ceiling fan accident, when things go awry, I go into “do something” mode. This time there is no damage control for me to do. Nothing to be saved. No action to take. After a chat with tear-wrought C.Sto, all I can do is try to understand the news.

This is the first time a person I know has died.

The Grizz has six brothers and sisters and the majority of the Stover clan live in or near NOVA. Despite the difficulty of getting a big family together, the Stovers have thrown excellent cookouts and family gatherings over the years and I see the extendeds quite a bit. Plus, when I was in elementary school, Tom worked for the Grizz and was often at our house. He has been around as long as I can remember.

Tom not there for family holidays? Impossible.

His truck went over the side of a bridge and landed in a creek.

I ate pizza with him in the kitchen of our old house, he taught me to play horseshoes, he made me laugh during family volleyball games and challenged me to ping-pong, he went four-wheeling with us…

The cab was crushed; its roof touched the seat.

I'm not saying that Tom doesn't have troubles, but if he does, I do not know them well.

I’m afraid that this entry is not very good, but what does one write a few minutes after hearing a family member has died?

He has a 4-year-old daughter named Rachel.

The last time I saw him was at my Grandmother's on Christmas.

You can tell that Tom has a good heart by looking at him.

You could tell that Tom had a good heart by looking at him.

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