XXXIV. Ritual of Tries< Previous Chapter | Next Chapter >

Dare to Know 

Apparently, a lot of people don’t know about Wikipedia.

Wikipedia is a great place to find out about things that everyone talks about yet no one can explain,

Things you get spammed about,

And wars. You know, the ones you should know who fought in and won. Except you don't.

Then there is Uncyclopedia, but sometimes its funny faux-entries aren’t as funny as the real ones.

And before you start mocking the “Ruler of the Galactic Confederacy,” check out the Hierarchy of Angels.

Just saying, is all.

Just saying.

Comments (6) | Permanent Link | RSS


“Hey, wanna go Goth skating?”

One Monday per month, a rink located off Venice has all-ages “Goth skating.” Yes, it is actually called that. And, yes, I’m not a Goth, but I can totally play one in the movie that is my life. Thus, when Dusty offered to let me tag along, I was, like, so totally in. We then made plans to meet beforehand for hair and makeup.

Dusty wore fishnets on her legs. I wore them on my arms. Certainly, this sort of disguise would prevent the Goths from detecting our faux-Gothness. If we had taken a photo, I might link to it here in order to prove our Gothnicity to you. Too bad we were too busy living our lives to take pictures.

Dusty did, however, re-create our ensembles for you via her amazing drawing skills.

Notice her plaid skirt and arm warmers and my sweet camo, boy surfer-cut shorts with arm-cut, lacey-fishnets. There was a lot of black involved in both outfits. Beyond that, I had on dark eye makeup and I look a little evil anyway, so I was set: My ensemble was definitely Goth enough to fool the Goth Police, who could potentially be waiting by the door. (Or scowling from the corners.) On the way to the rink we stopped at a Starbucks in Hollywood because Goths love hot chocolate (true story) and I was trying to get into character. We didn’t remember until we were already entering the store that we were dressed “so crazy” and therefore might look like freaks.

Yeah right, no problem: We fit right in. I mean come on this is Hollywood, people.

I will admit that I was the preppy Goth, so I didn’t look that freakish. I think my hair was too clean. Meanwhile, at the rink, there was a chick-couple who doused themselves in fake-blood (a little inconsiderate if you ask me: that shit was sticky and got everywhere), and there was a person wearing a huge white nightgown and white wig who skated around while clutching a teddy bear. We later discovered that it was a male. (The person, not the bear.) Not to mention the girl skating around in a straight jacket (she sucked) or the Goth with the fairy wings (sweet).

We skated five bajillion miles, said “like” too much to be for reals dark side, played air hockey and complained about the music, which was less NIN (as promised) and more techno-song-you-have-never-heard-before-and-never-want-to-hear-again.

I’m only writing about this because I want it to be known far and wide that I could totally work at Hot Topic.

Comments (11) | Permanent Link | RSS

The Line, The Bar, The World, The Stage 

Sometimes I crumble and fall on my face. In that moment, I metaphorically envision myself doing a handstand until I cannot possibly handstand anymore. Every sinew quivers. One elbow begins to bend, then the other. My lips go thin as I press harder in attempts to summon some last, hidden dregs of strength… But there are none. And then I go down.

That hasn’t happened in awhile.

Last night I watched Henry V. The acting, writing and direction in that film exceeds that of most who are up for accolades at the Academy Awards. If you can tell Shakespeare clearly and with artistry, then you can tell anything that’s worth the telling.

Everyone has an expectation of where they are going, even though they may not get there. For instance, I know that after I post this entry I will go to my kitchen and make lunch. Any number of things may impede that result: A phone call, a fire, a desire to keep working at my desk... . Still, we must always have a concrete expectation of where we are going in order to function in this life. All the more imperative in this life is to know, beyond simply where we are going, exactly to what we aspire. Clarity is a necessity, and clarity it is that shows this rule true for all scenes and life in story and living:

Settling is irresponsible.

Permanent Link | RSS

El Dia de Los Foolios 

In unrelated news, both C.Sto and The Professor broke their fingers on the same day. One did so while throwing the football around the stadium parking lot at a baseball game. The other by doing this:



Permanent Link | RSS

Making the Most of a Moment 

Yesterday, as I was leaving dinner at Boa,

"Excuse me Miss, do you know what means the word ko-rage?"

I turned; it was one of the valets.

"It means bravery. Be brave." My car had come and the driver valet waiting for me to take it was impatient. Sunset is a busy street and he was nearly standing in traffic—

"Be brave..." the valet murmured. He showed me a slip of paper: His fortune from a fortune cookie. He still needed to Know.

"Yes, so basically this says," and, as we walked toward my car to relieve the driver valet, I paused so as to be very clear, "be brave and good things will come."

He smiled to himself, and said thanks.

I thought about it all the way home.

cour·age (kûrj, kr-) n.
The state or quality of mind or spirit that enables one to face danger, fear, or vicissitudes with self-possession, confidence, and resolution; bravery.

[Middle English corage, from Old French, from Vulgar Latin *corticum, from Latin cor, heart. See kerd- in Indo-European Roots.]

Show your definition by commenting with a link.

Comments (10) | Permanent Link | RSS

Mirror Mix 

Tonight, I looked into the mirror
And this, this is what I heard
All at once.
Let the whole world fall away
And walk into my grave
All at once.
It is all happening tonight.
All at once…

          So come here; my star is fading;
                                                                                I swerve out of control.
          Come on, my star is fading
     And I see no chance of release,
     And I know I’m dead on the surface,
     But I am screaming underneath—

                              I’m sick of the secrets,
          Stuck on the end of this ball and chain
          And I’m on my way back down again.
          Stood on a bridge, tied to the noose,

I’m sick of the secrets:
Don't cut me loose.

Selling out
Is not my thing.
Walk away—
I won't be broken again,
                                        I'm not,
I'm not what you think.

                   Nothing equals nothing.

          Turn to stone,
        Lose my faith:
       I'll be gone
     Before it happens,

I'll be gone.

                                                  I dreamed I was dying; as I so often do,
                                                                         And when I awoke I was sure it was true.

                    Would you follow me?

                              Will you walk into the grave with me?
                    Will you leave this empty world,
          Soft and wistfull?
To sink into the dark, dark earth
And never reappear would be blissful.
This must be your skin that I'm sinking in,
This must be for real because now I can feel,
          And I didn't mind:
          It's not my kind,
          Not my time to wonder why
Everything's gone white
And everything's grey,
          I’m not ready for this.

Though I thought I would be.
I can’t see the future,
Though I thought I could see.
I don’t want to leave you,
Even though I have to—
Can I go my own way,
Can I pray my own way?
I don’t want to leave you,
Oh, I need you!
Am I ready for this?
Did I think I would be?
Can I see the future?
No, I can’t see.

                                                            But I still tell you everything,
                                                            And I hope that you won't tell on me.
                                                            And I'd give you anything,
                                                            And I know that you won't tell on me.
                                                            And I can only cry,
                                                            And I can only cower,
                                                            And I can only cry:

                                                            You have all the power.

                                                                                                                        Still, time is never time at all:
                                                                                                                        You can never ever leave without leaving a piece of you,
                                                                                                                        And our lives are forever changed,
                                                                                                                        We will never be the same,
                                                                                                                        The more you change the less you feel.
                                                                                                                        Believe, believe in me, believe!
                                                                                                                        In the resolute urgency of now!
                                                                                                                        We'll crucify the insincere tonight!
                                                                                                                        We'll make things right, we'll feel it all tonight,
                                                                                                                        The impossible is possible tonight!
                                                                                                                        Believe in me as I believe in you, tonight,
                                                                                                                               Breathe in the air:

          Don't be afraid to care—
                    Leave, but don't leave me,

                                        Run, rabbit, run…
          Dig that hole, forget the sun.
       And when at last the work is done
     Don't sit down:
    It's time to dig another one,

                                        Race toward an early grave...

I’m sick of the secrets.

Believe in me as I believe in you tonight,
Time is not a thing we can save,
So believe in me quick
And follow me close, empty,
To my grave.

iTunes iMix Title: Mirror Mix

Comments (5) | Permanent Link | RSS

Chase Down Nike 

Taking gymnastics rocks so hard that I might puke (seriously).

Tonight they put me on the stunt wires.

This was clearly the most awesome moment of my life. I’m finally starting to get somewhere with the skills I’m learning.

And, I was pulling out the old run-up-the-wall back tuck a la Jackie Chan. (This is easier than a standing tuck. …Unless for some reason it’s a trick that you don’t mesh with.) Trust me when I say that it looked exactly like The Matrix, except there were no leather jumpsuits involved. And I do my own stunts.

Last week, one of the coaches threw a back handspring to demo for his class and my coach shook his head and said, “72.”

As in, “that guy is 72 years old.” If I had thought about it, I might have guessed 50.

There really is a reason that so many people stick to, nay, swear by, gymnastics, yoga and martial arts. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then you’re missing out.

One day soon I am going to be so good at tumbling. I swear it.

Related: Gnastics.
Relatedx2: Everyone's favorite "Just Do It" headband.

PS: The Shade loves that headband photo. And pink lemonade. (I swearxinfinity!)

Comments (10) | Permanent Link | RSS

Please, I Had to Find You— 

Dictionary.com Word of the Day:

salad days, noun

"My salad days, / When I was green in judgment, cold in blood."

Tell me what it means to be "cold in blood"...

It means immaturity, inexperience and ignorance are no longer luxuries we can afford.

Will you find Vanity Fair and read:

Page 64: Blair’s Big Brother Legacy (Civil-liberties alarm.)
Page 92: The War They Wanted, The Lies They Needed (The Niger documents, black propaganda and Yellowcake Uranium.)
Page 112: Stand by Your Land (U.S. National Parks under threat.)*

I feel my last frontiers fading away;

I feel all frontiers fading away.

No more of this.

Stover-friend Navy was here with me yesterday.

I felt very small on stage tonight.

I will say more later.

You say more now.

Something good to show you soon.

. . .

*Update: VF.com has removed this link. Alas.

Comments (8) | Permanent Link | RSS

Little by Little 

Do you feel safer?

"Section 1. Policy. It is the policy of the United States to protect the rights of Americans to their private property, including by limiting the taking of private property by the Federal Government to situations in which the taking is for public use, with just compensation, and for the purpose of benefiting the general public and not merely for the purpose of advancing the economic interest of private parties to be given ownership or use of the property taken."

"Sec. 3. Specific Exclusions. Nothing in this order shall be construed to prohibit a taking of private property by the Federal Government..."

Related Links:
Fifth Amendment
Eminent Domain
Executive Order 12630
Kelo v. City of New London

Look at the history, look at the exact language, then, more importantly;

IMAGINE the potential,

And understand,
(for better and for worse, for short term and for longer, alone and with other policies, at federal versus local level, the losses and the gains...)
the strategies.

Permanent Link | RSS

To Be Dissident 

"To say now that America was right, and England wrong, is exceedingly easy," Douglass declared. "Everybody can say it. . . . But there was a time when, to pronounce against England, and in favor of the cause of the colonies, tried men's souls. They who did so were accounted in their day, plotters of mischief, agitators and rebels, dangerous men. To side with the right, against the wrong, with the weak against the strong, with the oppressed against the oppressor! here lies the merit, and the one which, of all others, seems unfashionable in our day."

Full Article

When I post something about film here, the entry gets dozens of comments.

When I post something about government here, the entry gets zero comments.

When I post something sociologically related, depending on the topic and/or metaphor, the angle, it gets a good share of comments.

Here is what I will say to you:

Art, governments and sociology; nay, all the humanities, are related.

They are mirrors reflecting one another.

To say there is no correlation between the empty stories you view in movie theaters and the theater that has become the news media and the troubles facing us right this instant in our homes, towns, states, countries… our world… to say all that is to say… well, can you really believe it? Can you believe that a lack of useful myths does not affect our world, and that the way we live in our world and what we allow does not create hollow story?

It is your mirror.

Have you ever seen a movie about a war?

The really terrible ones that are so good that the terrible war makes you cover your mouth and think, “God! How could this have ever happened!? Well not for me, no; not for my family and friends. Thank God for these times. These better, safer times.”

Hey guess what, we’re in a war now.

I know! Weird, right? It took me awhile to notice, too.


Meaning, if I wouldn't fight it myself, then clearly I would not send anyone else in my place as it is not worth fighting.

I also do not tolerate being lied to.

But what to do.

But where to start.

Where. To. Start.

I’m an artist.

And there are all kinds of change to be had in the house of mirrors.

And it doesn’t always have to be so heavy, so serious, in order to mean something.

Comments (29) | Permanent Link | RSS

Weekend Tool Kit 

It has been a rough week.

Map | Timeline | Updates | G8

People are calling for diplomacy before a string of “what ifs” trap us all into WWIII.

Now is one of those times when you should start visiting the news again.

Yes, I know it’s depressing. I don’t know that humans are equipped to live the collective woes of the world every day, or every tenth day, for that matter: It’s overwhelming.

But sometimes you can shut that off a little in order to be informed by the best facts you can get. Just don’t do it for too long because then, you know, you might become like Cheney;

The kind of person who looks a part of the evil. I didn’t know that was entirely so possible outside of fiction and Lord Voldemort.

Volde’s hotter though.

I won’t tell you what would happen if I were writing that story, because that would so give away some of the ways I take on the monomyth.

Unlike mythology, however, when I look at foreign policies and the world I realize that I have more to learn than I can imagine. This is why I am thankful for ladies and gents who are smarter and more informed than I am. Such as Matthew Good. (Have recently connected to his site. Thanks, Dave.) I like the editorial and discussion there, so go meet Matthew Good the activist-artist.

Some individuals are of the opinion that artists shouldn’t say anything political. Too bad Bruce nailed it.

Have you noticed that there exist many people who are afraid to have serious, relevant opinions? Maybe because the world seems/is big and there’s much to understand and to know, often made more complicated in order to confuse us out of knowing. I figure if you can learn all the nuances of NFL football strategy, then you can handle learning the game of global risk. So yes please feel OK to think about things and say them out loud so that we can all learn one another up real good and put the knowledge resulting from discussion into our muscle memory just like when we learn how to throw a sweet spiral.


I look at that map to memorize the geography so that I can quick mind-reference-zoom in my head since every speech and article now says things about those towns and bridges and borders. Jerusalem.


Jerusalem has always been a word that sounded nice in my ears, even when I knew even less about it than I do now. The pastor of the church my family attends in VA journeyed to Jerusalem with his wife (also a pastor) when I was in middle school. They brought me back a tiny dove carved out of something pearly white. He retired this year. (The pastor, not the dove.)

Although I don’t go to church much now that M.Sto can’t make me get up all early and I moved, it will be hard ever to go again because that pastor is like Santa (rosy cheeks and all,) if Santa were also a philosopher, a scholar and the epitome of the three abiding. He taught three of us kids all about comparative religions by taking us to different churches. I was so-so on this idea in middle school until we went to temple and cathedrals and secretly I kind of liked it a great deal. Then we’d go out for pancakes.

I realize now that that was a rare experience. (The churches. And the pancakes.)

Because the pancakes were wicked good and intolerance never crossed our minds and he didn’t even have to do any preaching or lecturing to make that happen.

I mean come on forever ago even Tupac said,
We gotta make a change...
It's time for us as a people to start makin' some changes.
Let's change the way we eat, let's change the way we live
And let's change the way we treat each other.
You see the old way wasn't working so it's on us to do
What we gotta do, to survive.

And still I see no changes. Can't a brother get a little peace?
There's war on the streets and the war in the Middle East.
Instead of war on poverty,
They got a war on drugs so the police can bother me
And I ain't never did a crime I ain't have to do
But now I'm back with the facts givin' 'em back to you.

When 2Pac talked about social shit in songs and I got my hands on said songs, I listened. That was the first time I remember hearing about the “war in the Middle East” in a way that made me think I was missing something. But you know I also like California Love and I Get Around, so it hasn’t always been serious between me and Pac.

What I'm getting at is that we're inheriting stuff from before we were born:

That is the point of that song We Didn’t Start the Fire, which my 7th grade Social Studies teacher formed a lesson around. I liked it because I like fast-talking songs: That’s a challenge I can handle.

The “cola wars” always hit me the hardest.

I still remember learning the Gettysburg address that year, too. I should note that I never forgot that speech. (We had to recite it in front of the class.) I found that more interesting than learning the preamble, so I never learned the preamble really and I forgot it aside from the parts that are said all the time, but the GA I still know word for word from 7th grade. I also promptly forgot the pledge of allegiance. Some students had a problem with the pledge, I recall, and were vocalizing and thus told they didn’t have to say the words, but still had to stand. I was like whatever who cares and mumbled it through my strawberry nutrigrain bar and attempts at finishing my math homework that was due in five. When I think about reciting the pledge now, however, I shiver that we said it so routinely without ever thinking about why or discussing so in an academic sense despite the fact that we were in a school.

Of course it might be un-American to understand our traditions in an intellectual manner. Not sure.

Reciting the Gettysburg Address in front of the class was less useful than understanding what it meant, too. Fortunately it’s not math, and I liked the speech, so I was able to figure that one out on my own. So some things we learned and never analyzed. One thing we did analyze was We Didn’t Start the Fire. Ms. Sharfe must have thought music was more relevant to 7th graders than Lincoln and the Pledge.

All of this makes me want to go somewhere like this to sit on a rock and think until I realize why I have to come back.

So then I started thinking about Antarctica and how a screenwriter I know who would be classified as a conspiracy theorist told me that there is a theory that Atlantis is Antarctica because an old topographical map drawn of Atlantis aligns exactly with the “what lands lie under the ice” map we have of Antarctica.

Perhaps only Plato can recall if that’s true (he’s dead). All that talk about Atlantarctica brought the realization that I don’t know anything about Antarctica. (There’s not really time for that or North America in U.S. World Geography classes.) Anyway, did you know that countries already have that frozen place sliced up into who owns what? Here is what else I learned: A lot of people on the Internet spell Antarctica “Antartica.” I am curious about going on an adventure there. But also scared. But also curious.

Artic seas are deep and dark and all that ice…

Once I saw a polar bear on all that ice on a nature program when I was little and it seemed like such a desolate place that I didn’t belong. I mean the sea was navy and the ice was flawless and the sky was an unnatural shade of empty, which reminds me that I was also scared when I went to another desert for the first time, but it quickly wore off into wonder.

Artic sea-places, the deep under-sea and space…

Those scare me the most. But now I am curious about visiting Antarctica in the summer. (Wikipedia will do that to you at 3:00 AM.)

I should probably subscribe to NatGeo.

Because I’m committed to showing you the best of this world, and others.

We could go here.

But there are levels required to do that. So it won’t all be the best places: Some of it will be low and dark.

And, you know, out of all the times there are times for, dark and light, the one “time for” I have the most trouble in figuring when,

Is when to fight.

Comments (5) | Permanent Link | RSS

Mirror, Mirror 

You spoke, studios listened.

Via BBC News:

Disney axes 650 global film jobs
US entertainment giant Disney is to cut 650 jobs worldwide as part of plans to produce fewer adult-oriented films and concentrate on family blockbusters.

"Touchstone releases do not match Disney films' profits or provide the same marketing tie-ins, the company said.

The Pirates of the Caribbean sequel has been a huge success for Disney.

A hit like Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest can spawn other products including video games and action figures.

'When we do it right, not only do moviegoers of all ages benefit from the finest in quality entertainment, but it lifts the entire company as well,' Walt Disney Studios chairman Dick Cook said.”

Or, at least, they think you were speaking to them.

Were you?

Comments (7) | Permanent Link | RSS

Ritual of Tries 

Last week someone asked me,

"What does it feel like to have written a screenplay like this?"

It was a compliment. I smiled in thanks.

It made me nervous.

It sounded so static, and all “have written” in the past tense.

Then, I just thought to myself for some time, until the answer was that it feels like the sum of everything read, seen, experienced, imagined, internalized, learned, moved, ruined and built all together and in the way I knew was right for now.

Overall, it felt like, “so far…”.

And, “the things I hope we can be…”

So it made me nervous because “so far…”, “this far…” changes everyday and is not all done.

I call that progress.

(Most of the time.)

Anyway, even new mistakes are not so static and all “have written” in the past tense.

Thenx2, the first piece of influence that came to forefront of mind was an essay I stumbled upon in a very serious Anthropology textbook, my first Anthropology book. This essay is about body ritual, and I thought, if you really want to know what it's like to write as me (some people have asked), then you might want to see the pieces I've been through outside of those featured on the favorites list.

So here's one now. On body ritual.

Don't let anyone fool you and tell you it's easy (we do that sometimes, after the fact):

It is the sum of a life, of many lives and views told and lived and passed on, of much study, and, as I often mention in passing, capacity for critical thinking and imagination.

These are not mysterious gifts and abilities. There is not one magical combination or measure of any of the above.

What I mean is, anything I can do, you can certainly do better.

That’s what possibility is for.

And, when it seems big, remember: It’s the trying that counts.

For the sum of the tries is always something big!

And for that reason I am always humming to me:

Shine that light forward,
Shine here, shine forward,

And I’m on fire for you.

Comments (3) | Permanent Link | RSS

I Am Still Me 

I was at the gymnastics gym tonight and I saw this guy, Patrick, who I know from the beach. Now the last time I had an injury that counted, it was a knee-injury that resulted from an intense game of in-and-out style dodgeball, and this injury was courtesy of one Patrick, that same Patrick…

It was just after 2 PM, hot, and we were both sprinting hard across the sand-court for the ball. Athlete sense told me we were going to get to the ball at the same time, so I slid-tackled it out of bounds so that Pat couldn’t scoop the ball first and peg me out. Meanwhile, Pat dove in attempts to scoop the ball first and peg me out… catching me behind the knee full force with all his weight, momentum and shoulder—




It wasn’t too bad, though. Just a little ace brace slip-on and take it easy on the sand for a month or so. And he certainly wasn’t out of line in game play or a bad sport. It’s just one of those things that happens. What you need to know is that he doesn’t suck: He’s good.

I can handle him in team sports. I can handle you in team sports. I can handle almost anyone in almost any team sport.

But he kicks my ass at gymnastics (for now).

And it had been a while since we had met on any field, court, lot or other place where sporting things go down.

In gymnastics, however, you compete against yourself. Which is fine, if you like that sort of thing.

But, at the end of gymnastics, we do conditioning. One of the exercises is the dreaded scooter exercise (which, incidentally, I happen to like). This requires one to get into push up position, put your feet on a square scooter and use your arms to cross the length of the floor and back without stopping.

I did my down and back and so had Patrick and everyone else which meant there were scooters open.

“Did everyone go?” asked Patrick. I nodded. “Want to go again with me?” he prodded.

“I would but I’m back tomorrow, so I’m trying not to bust my arms out too bad because I’d like to finally drop the spot on my backhandspring, which probably won’t happen, but I’m going to try.”

So as I’m talking Patrick is all nodding and like whatever, “You wanna race—”

“No way you’re going to kick my ass,” I said. But I was already halfway to the floor, which meant “Yes,” and that I didn’t think I’d embarrass myself, and he was halfway to the floor as well—

“Down and back.” (I don’t ask questions when honor is at stake.)


“OK GO!”

And I busted ass down, and I busted ass back, and I dove; but I didn’t even need to:

I totally won by half a length.

“How did you do that?!” He said, panting.

“I am freakishly good at most things.” I panted back.

To his credit, this story is only good because Pat is one fit guy.

Anyway, you should see me crab walk. You’ll be watching the tape and you’ll be all, “Is this shit on fast forward?” But I’ll be like, “No, you foolio: I’m just that good.” Yes, I was the girl who would race you to the front door. I didn’t win all the time. It was more that I like to play, to compete...

Yet, after having been removed from my hometown, rabblerousing peers, it had been awhile…

Had I changed?


I’ll push it fifty fold if you go against me.

Because I am still me.


The end.

And that, my mofos, is what we here at JSDC call a true story.

Comments (5) | Permanent Link | RSS

< Previous Chapter | Next Chapter >

© 2003-2024 Jessica Mae Stover • All Rights Reserved