XLIX. Disorder< Previous Chapter | Next Chapter >


Maybe I would like this film trailer better if it didn't have the Lux Aeterna track from Requiem for a Dream. I can't count how many films have used that song (because it's wonderful and haunting) in their marketing since Requiem's completely underrated release. Regardless, you can't use a track after The Lord of the Rings uses it in their TV spots: It's a rule. Lux has become as cliché as the X-Ray Dog Choir Tracks or E.S. Posthumus' Nara (for the latter see the trailer for Unfaithful, opening credits to Cold Case, et cetera).

Thoughts? I get what the story is, but what's it about? The pitch isn't exactly original and I can't tell whether or not it's going to be any good; if the telling, the part that makes it original, is original.

It may or may not be flawed in the ways that you don't come to love: Could drop either way at this point. It's also "/horror," which is a genre I often avoid. (I saw Event Horizon and it scared the shit out of me.) That being said, I dug 28 Days Later, the director of which also happens to be the director of Sunshine.

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Dear The Grizz Dad,

Remember when I was little and you taught me how to play poker? And then, because I was interested in cards, M.Sto bought me a book about card games for Christmas?

Well, well, wellwellwell, I just won a 14-person, private poker tournament against all these guys and it was only the second time I ever played with money and really the only time I’ve played seriously.

So I won the first place cash prize! And I totally didn’t mean to play: I stumbled upon the game at my neighbor's and someone bankrolled me.

All I can say is that I can make quite a bit out of pocket twos.

The end.

(PS: I am rich!)

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Elevation: The Importance of Showing Up 



- Album -

This adventure was in support of National Climate Day, an action day wherein Americans called on their leaders to step it up and reduce carbon omissions 80% by 2050.

Canyoneering was organized by Travis at Alpine Training Services. ATS tackles canyoneering all over the U.S. and leads comprehensive coursework in SoCal. (They're awesome.)

PS: I would like for everyone to know that I did that rocky, slide-y, steep, windy, cold, perfect canyon on two hours of sleep (inadvertently), and that when my alarm went off at 7:00 AM I was in great danger of phoning to excuse myself from the trip, rolling over and slipping back to dreamtown…

Of course that would have sucked on multiple levels.

So I showed up.

I hear that’s 80% of success: Simply showing up.

I also happen to believe that showing up reveals a great deal about you, what (or who) you really care about, what you believe in and how much you respect someone.

I mean, that’s real love: Showing up for someone repeatedly no matter what, and making it a strong habit, muscle memory, to do so, because you want to, because you care. That’s how it happens, man.

That's how you Know.

Afterward, while sitting on the floor of my bedroom and digging the sand out of a cut on my finger (I always consider minor snags of this sort indicative of a day well spent), I was thinking over the above idea. I was so out-of-my-mind exhausted that I didn’t even realize I was thinking about anything, really, not until I murmured aloud a determined, “Yes.”

In the immediate wake of all the things people say and write to me; this or that about whatever talent I may possess and vision and all sorts of things about being due and, “Just let me know when…”: When it comes down to it, will they show up for me?

The handful of people I’ve said that to; will I be there for them?

Amusing little power, isn’t it?: Your presence in the right place can rock worlds.

And the lack thereof can destroy them.

PPS: I talk to myself even when I’m not tired. You love it.

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University Massacre 

"It hasn't even registered to us," May said. "This is so much worse than Columbine. We don't even know what to think of it." - Washington Post

” University officials say 33 dead, including gunman
” Four hospitals report 29 wounded
” Attacks mark deadliest school shooting in U.S. history
” Student describes situation as "mayhem"; says 2 students jumped from window


...We have friends there.

"Blacksburg is a very small town, everybody almost knows everybody. It's going to be very bad and very sad in here." - CBC

All of our close friends are now accounted for. However, I know that someone we know will know someone who was murdered: Enough people from our hometown attend Tech that it’s more than likely. There’s a rumor that someone we know, that her sister was one of the victims. I’m hoping it’s not true.

I don’t even know what to say about this.

Christ. Her sister was shot in the hand.

Hoping our VA Tech Demanders are all right.

Update #2:
Hokie1984: One of my sister’s friends was shot in the hand today
Hokie1984: but I think she is okay
Jessica: I heard
Hokie1984: But she is okay right?
Jessica: I don’t know.
Jessica: I only heard she was shot in the hand
Jessica: and I hoped she didn't lose her hand
Hokie1984: no kidding
Jessica: I haven't seen her sis around in forever
Jessica: and I don't know her. We are probably hearing news from the same people.
Hokie1984: Neither do I
Hokie1984: my sister apparently does but I do not
Jessica: I knew someone connected to us would be involved
Jessica: there are just too many people we know at Tech you know
Hokie1984: yeah
Jessica: When I woke up that was the first thing I saw and I was like holy fuck, but I figured if anything had happened to you or the rest then I’d already know.
Hokie1984: I overslept my first class, which was in the building next to Norris
Hokie1984: I slept through the whole thing.
Jessica: I’m glad.
Hokie1984: I would have been safe
Hokie1984: he never left Norris
Jessica: Yeah, but it's traumatizing
Jessica: being on scene
Hokie1984: Alisha and her boyfriend were on lock down on campus though
Jessica: Ridiculous. Still can’t get my head around it.

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All the Flags 

. . .

This attachment has hit about every collegiate mailbox in the state.

+ Story from the New York Times that puts the pieces together.

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. . .

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Boots on the Ground 



(County population: 7,321)


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Dangerous Waters 

"Book Description: Meet BLACKWATER USA, the world's most secretive and powerful mercenary firm. Based in the wilderness of North Carolina, it is the fastest-growing private army on the planet with forces capable of carrying out regime change throughout the world. Blackwater protects the top US officials in Iraq and yet we know almost nothing about the firm's quasi-military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and inside the US. Blackwater was founded by an extreme right-wing fundamentalist Christian mega-millionaire ex- Navy Seal named Erik Prince, the scion of a wealthy conservative family that bankrolls far-right-wing causes.
Blackwater is the dark story of the rise of a powerful mercenary army, ranging from the blood-soaked streets of Fallujah to rooftop firefights in Najaf to the hurricane-ravaged US gulf to Washington DC, where Blackwater executives are hailed as new heroes in the war on terror. This is an extraordinary exposé by one of America's most exciting young radical journalists."

Has anyone read Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army?

It is rare that I read non-fiction books, but I am curious about this one. TV interviews with the author have been interesting and informative.

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Star Party 

Saturday my The Grizz invited me to a Star Party. In attendance? Pollux, Castor, Venus… Ha-ha, yes you get my amazing joke: Not the typical sort of “star” party now, was it? No, it wasn’t typical at all in terms of what you’d expect nowadays when you hear the term, and that made for much better of a time.

Over the past handful of years he, The Grizz, has taken up astronomy as a hobby and now possesses a pawful of telescopes and some awesome equipment (read: craziest laser pointer you have ever seen in your life that he will not let me and C.Sto play with). M.Sto and The Grizz belong to the area astronomy club and that very club holds parties out a ways where and when the viewing conditions are best.

For this event, C.Sto, The Viking and I rode to the flanks of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the place called Sky Meadows. My parents had been there all day (these parties are a 12-hour affair for them) but we didn’t arrive until 9PM, which was after dark. The tricky part was picking our way over a few rolling hills and then up to where the telescopes were, and therein identifying which shadowed figure was that of Le Grizzwold. So as to not disturb this secret society and the conditions best serving its scientific ritual, no lights are allowed unless they are infrared. Thus, we walked with arms linked through the darkness.

Under the crescent moon we eventually found a meadow (as promised by the title of the park) filled with seventy telescopes, each attended by an owner. We linked on past lines of amateur astronomers, laughing at our misidentifications of non-Grizz-like figures as we went, our shadows strong on the grass under the bright moonlight as we made out still more telescopes beyond those we moments ago thought must be the last, some so large that one needed climb a ladder to reach the eyepiece. When we located him at last, The Grizz was busy finding Saturn in front of M.Sto’s sleeping car. There they had setup a table with various manuals, maps and equipment, a cooler and two chairs for the sitting.

C.Sto looked up, “It’s like being in planetarium!”

“That’s Orion!” I said, pointing to the horizon, then, “wait, that is Orion, right? …Dad?”

It was. (After much debating and looking at star charts in the Grizz’s infrared headlamp the constellation was confirmed.)

It wasn’t the clearest smear of a galaxy sky I’d ever seen (that status belonging to Cape Hatteras or Death Valley), but it was a damn clear night, and the clearest I’ve seen in a long, long while.

“The public” was also there, wandering from 'scope to 'scope, as if it were a perfectly sunny street fair, they ambled along, here looking at a merchant’s cart, there watching the candle maker at work; but instead of purchasing, tonight’s order of business was asking the astronomer in question if they might have a look at the Object in sights. The corresponding astronomer always obliged with some pride, allowing us to view his catch and explaining the science behind the celestial body. The firefighter with his three kids, the grandfather there by himself with his huge telescope, the two little old ladies blathering on behind us, the student working the event table with M.Sto…

Something about the community of being outside, rural, in the safe shadows of the cool night under that blanket of velvet and pin-point lights and solar reflection, and of that being normal, a town of the night, was very present upon me, and recalled some days… Evenings spent playing flashlight tag, when one was allowed to spend time outside after dark, if only because one had a clear purpose, a reason for being out.

And the people watching (or silhouette watching, I suppose) was semi-amusing. At one point, a couple walked by and asked The Grizz,

“What do you have there?”

“Saturn!” He replied, having once again turned his telescope’s gaze toward that ringed giant. (I do believe it is his favorite.)

“It seems that Saturn is popular tonight,” said the man with a hint of snide-ness, declining to look and writing our telescope station off as elementary, as if The Grizz were incapable of finding anything but Saturn.

The Grizz regarded him a moment, as a child might an adult who had insulted him: Recognizing the tone at first in surprise and then in an amused sort of way, for it so did not fit the circumstances of the friendly nighttime community, nor say much about anything save the sayer himself. Then, without a further thought on the matter, The Grizz returned to adjusting the view of Saturn, pleased to see his old yellow-white friend.

I will admit that I had the strong urge to respond in my typical way, “Your mom is popular tonight.” But I did not. (Best comeback ever and it works on all occasions.)

Anyway, that fool can get his own telescope if he doesn’t like Saturn. Otherwise, the whole affair was rad. Such as when were in line for one of the larger telescopes, one that required the accession of a ladder and discipline in focusing one’s eye properly. Gasps suddenly erupted from various clusters of silhouettes; we quickly turned to see what the subject was, and caught sight of a bright shooting star angling west toward the horizon. Then it was gone, and there was applause from all sides of the meadow.

Telescope Viewed:
Saturn (twice)
The Moon
Spiral Galaxies (two)

Shooting Star
Dippers (two)
Planes (boring)

On our way out, we passed the “Sky Tour.” The guide spoke of Lyra to the crowd, who sat on the grass before him. Wielding a crazy-insane laser pointer of his own, he traced the stars one by one and the constellation became apparent to all.

Just like a planetarium, indeed.

If you search up “star party,” chances are that you will discover one near you.

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Going Through the (E)Motions 

I just screened the funniest movie ever.

It’s called Spider-man 3.

Story: Spidey gets a new secret alien power in the form of black space goo. The goo gets all symbiotic with his leotard and then he goes emo while dancing around to jazz music.

Meanwhile the people who made the film feign like there is supposed to be a meaningful plot or something.

Then a bunch of CGI characters repeatedly beat the shit out of each other while falling dozens of stories such as in the case of Looney Tunes.

Except I’m pretty sure this one wasn’t supposed to be a comedy,

And no characters in Looney Tunes flew around on a snowboard.

Related: What People Are Saying About Spider-man 3 | Jessica vs. The Goo Monster

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Dnevnoi Dozor 

Since I’m curious to see Sunshine, FOX Searchlight put me back on their screening list. (I had removed myself from FOX when I was no longer required to see everything, and with FOX went Searchlight.) I hadn’t meant to be re-added, really; I only wanted to catch a screening for Sunshine due to its late US release date. Usually if I want to see a movie bad enough the opportunity comes along to screen it early or I pay for it so that I can go on my own terms. I have to say, however, that I’m happy about being re-included on the Searchlight list even though I haven’t been able to make any of the screenings so far. Searchlight does interesting work and they’re distributing a handful of sci-fi pictures. And their screenings are intimate and not at obnoxious locations. I’m going to attend this dinner/screening, for example.

Has anyone seen Night Watch?

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What if . . .

There were more; all at once?

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My neighbors, the ones who yell out “STOVER!” and then I come to the window and we talk (their window is perpendicular to mine so that when I’m in need of an escape route I will definitely slash my screen and parkour into their flat), those neighbor-guys and I just video chatted because they bought a new MacBook. Video chatting from side-by-side apartments is the new IMing from different rooms in the same house. Or IMing while sitting next to one another in twin recliners, such as in the case of C.Sto and I.

Now Sigur Rós says Track 4 and I’m at the window playing requests on my Ocarina and the three neighbor-guys are playing cards to determine who has to do what chores and I am thinking about moving in over there because that would mean I’d never have to do any chores ever.

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Halfway there.

*Nebula photo asset by Noel Carboni

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Pure to the Project 

“That money's not going into my pocket, I can promise you that. It's just these guys who have f---ed themselves out of a job essentially, that now take it out on ripping off the public. I've got a battle where I'm trying to put out quality material that matters and I've got fans that feel it's their right to steal it and I've got a company that's so bureaucratic and clumsy and ignorant and behind the times they don't know what to do, so they rip the people off.” (Full Article)

This link came from a friend, who wrote to me:

I know this is stuff you're already on top of, but I read this article with Trent Reznor, and his words around the idea of creative integrity rang very true.

I don't have that much experience with his particular sphere of influence, but I see the parallels to product design and brands with a core following -- it is absolutely true. I would imagine the same is true when applied to your creative sphere.


“At the end of the day, I'm not out to sabotage my career, but quality matters, and integrity matters. Jumping through any hoop or taking advantage of any desperate situation that comes up just to sell a product is harmful. It is.”
. . .

Once, director Werner Herzog was shot during an interview. During that same interview, afterward, he said, "I have been a good soldier of film."

I don’t remember what the question was that prompted it, but I don’t believe I’ll forget that answer.

It’s just that I know iacta alea est, you know?

Of course, I’m not the one who cast it.

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What People Want 


“This is where 'We're just giving the people what they want’ comes in. It's the defiant lie told by those who want to pretend that their failures of ambition are your fault — that because 'the people' eat what they're fed, they must like it. The moneymen behind Spiders of the Shrekibbean brag about meaningless numbers (Spider-Man 3 had the biggest opening weekend of all time!) and shrink from meaningful ones, like the fact that Spider-Man 3 cost more and will likely gross less than the first two. And they start planning Spider-Man 4 because 'the people' want it, and try not to listen to the moviegoers saying 'Ehh, 3 was okay, the second one was better.’ Because nothing that anyone says after the movie counts.” – Full EW Article

Thanks to Wingman Steve for the link.

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Jessica: Did you know that while Navy is in Lebanon they give him a worldwide cell phone?
TheProfessor: No.
Jessica: I told him to call me so that I can talk to someone on a celly in Lebanon.
TheProfessor: But that's pretty cool.
Jessica: Haha, he won't, but that would amuse me.
Jessica: so then if someone went, "hey what are you doing"
Jessica: I could be like, "talking to someone on a cell in Lebanon"
Jessica: instead of
Jessica: "looking at lolcats"
TheProfessor: Yes, this is true.
TheProfessor: I like the Jabba one on this page.
Jessica: Yeah, that one’s good.

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To know and To Know 

This presentation has sparked quite a bit of discussion.

I'm more interested in how the presentation is spreading and changing, and how people are reacting, than in most of the actual information presented.

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