JSDC
XLI. What She Saw There< Previous Chapter | Next Chapter >

The Story So Far 

Holy shit, people!

I now see what you mean about BSG. Must rent DVDs soon. (I think I was a little cheated by watching some sort of glorious catch-up episode.)

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Inbox: Sick Day 

I’ve been in my bed for about two days now and my brain is all foggy. Which is a little funny. This is a good time to go through one’s inbox, I think. Especially as I’ve been saving some of your questions for a few months. And now… answers?

Surprise me with someone I wouldn’t have thought you have worked with.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta via CNN

I’m thinking about moving to Los Angeles to pursue the arts and am wondering, what frustrates you most about working in Los Angeles?

1. The general attitude of the machine, which includes talent, businessmen, press and, yes, audience members. (I wonder: Does that answer imply a lack of quality leadership in the industry?)

2. It takes forever to get projects done (much longer than it should, even when taking care for high-quality), which is one bonus to working on your own projects: You control the schedule. The downside to that, however, is that your own projects tend to be smaller and more limited due to budget and distribution/promotion. Of course you could always head to the East Coast: I hear they actually get things done over there.

3. Pollution.

I imagine that I’d have the same complaints were I working in Washington.

Overall, I suppose you have to make a decision on whether or not to subscribe to, and learn, the game or to go it on your own. Your decision will be based on many factors, including what your skills and goals are. Some people might say that there’s a line to walk there, but I haven’t witnessed it yet. You either conform, or you don’t. What people mistake as a “line,” I think, is being smart about conforming vs. being blind about the whole process.

J.Sto what the frackin’ hell took you so long to get into ‘BSG’?

I felt like I was too far behind and needed to rent the DVDs (and, incidentally I only rent DVDs when I’m at Stover Mancha). Finally, however, I caught a cold, which meant I was randomly watching TV, which lead to my stumbling upon a random BSG rerun, which just happened to be the catch-up episode (so I guess they did good in that the episode works for newbies). I see why everyone declares that BSG is better than LOST, 24… all of those shows: It simply is. It’s early yet, but I hope that in the future they won’t mess up by letting the show run past where the story ends.

You seem a little tired lately. You OK?

Truth. I’ve been sick and stretched thin again (one possibly the cause of the other). But, I’m fine. Having fun with writing to spite all the show and marketing and auditioning stuff and other pressure. Trying to produce and tie things off before the holidays start.

Are your eyes grey or blue?

That all depends.

How do I see the secret RSS entries?

Get an RSS reader or click RSS at the bottom of any entry and it will give you a list. …Or you can always check the recently archived entries, which is a handy place to catch up on what’s recent.

When does that limited edition ‘TSL’ thingie become available?

See above question.

What is a lesson you’ve learned that you wish everyone understood?

Non-zero-sum game. This lesson was eye-opening for me in the sixth grade in that I was the little asshole who figured out how it’s impossible to be beaten and convinced my group to play according to that strategy. (Nobody wins if even one person uses that strategy. True, some may end up with less negative numbers than others, but nobody wins, much less reaches their full potential.)

What did you think of Lucas’ latest statements in Variety?

See above question.

Who was the last person you video chatted with?

C.3PSto, human cyborg-sister.

I know you just started watching, but so far which ‘BSG’ character do you identify with most? I bet I know.

Starbuck

What habit are you trying to break?

My daily Grande, Organic, Vanilla Latte from Starbucks. (There’s a transition there somewhere that I missed.)


Linkage: Interview With Eventful

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Before the Maps 

I love doing research so much that I spend more time learning than I should while working on a piece.

Among the collage of things I found today comes the tapir.

Which begs the question:

If I found a baby tapir that had clearly been abandoned (you know, in the woods or something), do you think I could totally raise it as a friend-pet sort of like Rajah in Aladdin except my idea is way less crazy because it’s a tapir and not a tiger? Also, some tapirs get large enough (800 lbs) that I could ride them if I get into a pinch. …Like if I turned my ankle while trying to back flip off a tree while picking plantains. What do you think of that?

What do you think of this?

And why is KJI the Napoleon Dynamite of dictators? I’m pretty sure that shot is from the next Wes Anderson movie. Yeah, yeah: I know I'm supposed to be writing and not looking at KJI pictures, but it was linked on Google News and I actually feel bad that it made me laugh a whole, whole lot when, instead, I'm supposed to take him seriously as a threat. He's just so... theatrical.

Earlier this week, a stranger told me that I look like Princess Leia. That bears mentioning. Maybe I should bring back the crusade for the banner.

Speaking of my crusades, how amazing was Beck on SNL tonight? That’s what I mean by raising the bar, people. Hugh Laurie added style to that dying show, too. That being said, the show still sucked.

Oh and further related-ly, the marketing for Babel is not what the movie is like. Ye be heads-upped.

So do we get an extra hour this weekend or what?

That’s a lot of questions.

Answer them all or fail, Toaster Lover.

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Making an Entrance 

I’m late to the party on this, but I don’t mind: I’ve just watched the BSG mini-series last night. Although I’ve seen all of season three so far and the catch-up episode they did titled, The Story So Far, I still had a kick-ass time watching the beginning unfold. And, although I dislike TV in general, (even the best shows have dud episodes, which sucks: The story can never be great all the way through because episodic TV always comes down to volume), what I’ve seen of BSG I love. Enough to overlook the episodes where they repeat beats or the story could have been organized better. The show runners focus on character and take time to explore. That’s really what works, what you can sink your teeth into. Especially against the landscape of what’s currently happening in visual entertainment, especiallyx2 via that free, primetime beam blasted straight into your skull from that drug-addiction of a light box every night.

Anyway, I am very much looking forward to watching seasons one and two on DVD.

And marrying Helo when I grow up.

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The Roving Batter's Box 

I’m back home.

I survived a week at home, the other home, Virginia, that included a wedding, an engagement party, a mountain, two holiday dinners, muddy cartwheels, quite a few very welcome visitors and a dose of haunting boredom when everyone went back to school and work, leaving me with no one with whom I could kick it. C.Sto took me to get a manicure and bought me the most awesome sneaks I have ever owned. Said sneaks have already aided in adventure.

That is what sisters are for.

I don’t have any spectacular photos from the trip because my digital camera is broken. (Not surprising: I have carried that thing everywhere from valley to desert to sea... .) I tried to use M.Sto’s digital, but her camera doesn’t have the same low-light capabilities and I am too stubborn to shoot with a standard point-and-shoot flash because it makes subjects look unnatural and lights the wrong depth and detail. So I captured a handful of good moments, but they are generally too dark or blurry depending on how I was shooting. (Most of the best stuff happened at sunset, dusk or night, you see.) Not having a camera is killing me slowly: No more sweeping landscapes or gymnastics/stunt-y videos. Or photos of me smashing cupcakes in people’s faces. Or no more until I get the camera replaced with a better model, at least. I recently purchased a new laptop, so I don’t know when I will be able to snag a new camera. And, furthermore, because shooting film is expensive, I can’t mess with the 8mm until I get a new digital camera. (Priorities.) So it is that once again I taste frustration with a wide grin, because a wide grin is really the best option left, really. (I am tired of shaking my fist at the sky.)

Did I mention that The Grizz was gifted with a brand new digital camera, a pro-sumer digital camera, and wouldn’t let me take it into the front yard to shoot BB?

I don’t even have a reputation for breaking things: He’s just like that with his gadgetry.

Anyway, his primary intention for the camera is to use it to take photos of space via his array of telescopes.

Speaking of telescopes (in a moment you will bask in the awe, once again, of my amazing transitions): Before I left for home, Greg (TSL concept artist) sent me a link and said something like, “This reminds me of you for whatever reason.” Greg has worked with me on the current JSDC design, my brand identity (the crest, etc.) and The Silver Legacy, so he’s fairly privy to total JMS and has me nailed artistically. He proves this weekly via the music and images he sends my way along with a, “I think you’ll like this.” He is most often right, which is a little scary. In a good way. Accordingly, I clicked the “reminds me of you” link and didn’t quite know what he was talking about…

Until I reached the final moment.

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Public Domain 

A gaunt Wolf was almost dead with hunger when he happened to
meet a House-dog who was passing by. "Ah, Cousin," said the Dog.
"I knew how it would be; your irregular life will soon be the ruin
of you. Why do you not work steadily as I do, and get your food
regularly given to you?"

"I would have no objection," said the Wolf, "if I could only
get a place."

"I will easily arrange that for you," said the Dog; "come with
me to my master and you shall share my work."

So the Wolf and the Dog went towards the town together. On
the way there the Wolf noticed that the hair on a certain part of
the Dog's neck was very much worn away, so he asked him how that
had come about.

"Oh, it is nothing," said the Dog. "That is only the place
where the collar is put on at night to keep me chained up; it
chafes a bit, but one soon gets used to it."

"Is that all?" said the Wolf. "Then good-bye to you, Master
Dog."

Aesop

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Less Traveled By 

One

Two

. . .

Two

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Go. 

Winter, Spring, Fall, Summer Fountain;
East, Northwesterly, Southwest Sea;
Forest, River, Glassy Mountain;
Just… go, and see what you can See.

    . . .>
            . . .>
                . . .>
                          . . .>
                              . . .>
                                  . . .>
                                         . . .>
                                              . . .>
                                                   . . .>
                                                            . . .>
                                                                  . . .>
                                                                          . . .>
                                                                                     . . .>
                                                                                        . . .>
                                                                                               . . .>
                                                                                                      . . .>


                                                                                                                              . . .>

Update: Here, quick and brief (and limited), is a base idea of how an entry such as this looks in my moving mind. (I borrowed our favorite Greyfeather theme, The Final Walk, by Erich O’Saben.)

And here’s a still of one of the transitions because the QT quality sucks.

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Lavender’s Electric 

Yesterday evening I was running amidst a misty-grey and white dusk. As I came back up my street toward home, sticking to the sidewalk for a path, there was a cool breeze.

It was after a storm.

So there was some dark purple and lavender in the sky.

And there were wishies everywhere.

Do you know what wishies are? They are little, white, floating seeds that look like fairies. If you catch one, you may make a wish and release it, and if the seed takes, your wish will grow true.

There were a lot of wishies about; whole trees of them blowing around, fallen from the storm. I was so intent on making the same wish, the one wish I always make, over and over and over and over and over and going from fallen tree piece to fallen tree piece to find wishies still on the branches and swifting here and there to catch and release them into the wind that, before I knew it, it was thundering and lightning again.

Another storm had come.

With a warm CRACK!, lightning struck the ground in the middle of the court behind my house. The sound echoed. I had seen the whole thing from down the lane: A purple and white streak descended downward from the skies and disappeared behind the trees.

I turned the part of the bend between me and home. I could see the house now. More lightning was reaching the ground now; closer, the electricity was visible: It traveled the ground and dispersed after every strike…

Of course the ground between me and home was wet.

This was a problem.

I had stayed too long.

So I laid stomach-side down on the sidewalk in order to better see via street-level which parts of the road and walk were not charging with electricity— I rolled right—Out of the way— For a surge was rushing toward me. It passed me by, traveling the white walk as I now lay in the street, on the black asphalt,

I counted thunder; the seconds. That’s how I knew when to run between the lightning, and sprinted home, the wind whipping, the rain falling—

Front porch, threshold, slam!— Inside.

The lights were off; perhaps there was no power. The house was empty. I stood there, in the foyer, dripping. Alive.

And, with that, I awoke amidst my cream linens, gold blanket and feather covers.

It is misting outside today.

And oh so very grey.

Like the light through the cracks in the blinds cracked my eyelids and my inner eye,

The code to my dream-projector.

The truths behind the metaphor.

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What She Saw There 

. . .

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Two Friends Diverged 

To meet on the cold battlefield in a month that felt like, must have been like, their November; never again.

Never again that grin and stretch against the early morning, that cool breath of misty in the air; shaking off sleep for duty and the prospects of a day full of possibility. Never again a duo that managed best in one another’s company.

Upon each suggestion made by generals, those far more experienced than himself, the living friend could hear the voice of his dead friend:

Commenting, laughing or breaking the heavy pace with his more focused, strong moments of motion and action. He knew exactly what he would say, the facial expressions, and the jokes… The memory of the dead friend constantly inserting himself.

But it was what came after the first, amusing remarks that he had taken for granted: The dead friend’s moment of seriousness, when he combined their opposing views together in a bit of simple wisdom that made sense of even the worst things, bringing calculated action over talk and comforting a restless, fearful mind.

They were two extremes that thrived in balance:

The living friend contemplated too long,

The dead friend reacted too quickly.

The dead friend gone, save echo of laughter and imprints of mind. Gone, when things were suddenly at their worst.

And all the while the living friend glared off into an old mirror of water left behind in the trenches of mud. A group of refugee-civilians watched him closely from afar, wondering to what invisible item he was reaching to with some ability they had not, some sort of power perhaps that they could not naked-See. The idea of which delighted them in wonder and kept them silent, as the generals mumbled in a huddle around the living friend. So the day was still, except cold morning sounds, sotto advice and a little wind blowing through the emptiness.

It was no power or wonder in the brown swirl and dead leaves that the living saw, however: It was the shadow in his mind of the friend passed to which he reacted so strongly in silent conversation. The friend who had died for the lies they told leaving the decisions and consequences to him alone. An impression of his friend’s specter was all he had to cling to in a role he didn’t deserve.

It was early, it was damp, and the world felt greyer and cold, the thin light, thinner. His heartbeat, fainter.

And that, he knew, was not going to change anytime soon.

The bleak clouds followed them; someone's unconscious doing. They hung overhead and reflected in the dirty mirror as he stared, catching shards of the mumbling-generals’ suggested plans. Between these shards, the living friend placed every word and reaction, every tick and dismissal that his dead friend would have asserted.

Off that alone did the living make a decision: To honor his half lost, and because he did not trust himself.

. . .


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Surmounter of the Present-Past 

I am in Los Angeles.

I boarded the last flight of the year and came here.

The pilot announced that we were the last flight as though it should be rather remarkable.

As though tomorrow wouldn’t be another day with countless flights.

Still, being the last flight of the year did feel different, strange, like running from the year change, running from time, running from the shadow of night. In my mind's eye I could see the plane flying fast over the plains and the line of change chasing, catching up with us… That inevitable, welcome cloak of destiny.

Oh yes: I prefer to meet the day, to fly into the charging night.

It vexed me.

Going west is displeasing in that way: You go back in time when you might, instead, surge forward.

For me, there is always a short period of adjustment.

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Milestones 

The beginning of the year past was marked by the cathartic release of Aidmheil. In its little, delightful ways the book has paved the way for other work. Of our copies from the first run, we only have two boxes left (and some promotional copies that I might add to the inventory). That’s remarkable for a small outfit with no avenue of publicity or sales save a personal website. I backed off promoting the book after January because copies sell in small doses on their own. I’m not sure I fully understand the way the book sells; I go with it. I do hope that they sellout soon, however. That would feel complete.

Aidmheil was a lesson in many things. I learned more about traffic to free content vs. asking people to do something or purchase art. The Shade here, like the woods, is lovely, dark and deep. I sometimes go so far as to imagine that most of the traffic comes from strangers who hate me in such a way that they are compelled to look at my site and not do anything, share anything or purchase any of my work. Or maybe most of the visitors are dragons. Dragons don’t have wallets, after all, and Paypal doesn’t accept “treasure” as a method of payment. (Sorry, Smaug: I did try to get them to add the option, you know.) Did you know that dragons have a hard time typing but with a little practice they can use a mouse well enough? True story.

The majority of the time I simply imagine that none of the above matters, and that when someone is ready to read something that is available or participate, they do. I am, after all, a fan of promoting resistance to buying things you don’t need, want or use. It is interesting, however; how few people become involved in comparison to the whole of traffic: It is less than 1% of unique users. I was unprepared for the number to be that low. It is not abnormal; I was just unprepared.

Of course, alongside Aidmheil came the first and only ever book trailer. It was made with $100 worth of coffee, Krispy Kreme donuts and lighter fluid (combined?) and the pure hilarity of the cast and crew. I cannot thank them enough: It wasn’t easy, but it was certainly fun (like all useful projects) and I will always remember the entire affair with affection because it was awesome-rad in the best awesome-rad way ever in that the teamwork was beautiful.

Next we tackled the huge job of re-designing my brand and JSDC, and re-launching. You should see my new business cards: They are so slick you get a paper cut just from looking at them. We’re still (and always; websites are all fluid-flux-evolve like that) working on some bits from re-launch and you can probably expect changes and announcements once Greyfeather #2 has been shipped. If I could dedicate the last year of JSDC to someone, it would be artist Greg Martin. The re-launch included a moment of our concept art, giving you better insight regarding The Silver Legacy and some of the pre-vis work we’ve doing with the pitch on the film. Awareness of TSL also spawned an unprecedented, 71-city demand for the film. The Demand has been a talking point of curiosity in nearly every meeting I’ve had and, as you continue to grow said Demand, I expect it will only become more relevant. Much like “Letters in the Dark” are currently, and probably even more so. (Thank you, Wingmen, for both.) Anyway, for those of you who have been trying to request a screening at the Lonely Mountain, I’m afraid Eventful can’t add the location until you can pinpoint where exactly it is on the globe and confirm that you have a movie theater there. More concept art is coming soon, and some of you have already ordered limited edition prints. I cannot wait for those limited edition prints. I love those limited edition prints. By the time the painting is finished, I’m sure we’ll still have some left, which is great for those of you who like to, you know, see exactly what you will be receiving.

Overall you’ve been able to see a little more of the offline components this year, the massive amounts of work that are not attachable to this page.

…Such as a few gymnastics vlogs, because I began gymnastics/stunt-related training.

Then my camera broke and there were no more gymnastics vlogs.

Then C.Sto bought me a new, perfect camera for Christmas. (Hell yes, bitches.)

Then I bought a camera case for it so as not to break another camera while climbing on stuff.

Among other things, I spent Christmas/the end of the year in Virginia watching BSG Season 1 on DVD with C.Sto, working on Greyfeather production, running through the uncharacteristically warm night until I couldn’t run anymore, then I would walk. Scattegories, Scattegories, Starbucks, Starbucks, light shopping, visiting rivers with friends, exchanging letters with Iraq, slipping and sliding (and falling) while climbing some mossy, muddy rocks, trying not too think to much, having vivid dreams about purple electricity, chasing our dog around the backyard and seeing my friends and family as much as possible. Oh and listening to my friend David mock BSG (“it’s stupid”) while he sat and played his World of Warcraft level 59.5 warlock on a wide screen TV. I also made C.Sto a book for Christmas. The book included A Rhyme for C, photos… many things. I decided to handwrite the written parts once the book was printed. I had forgotten how long handwriting takes: It takes forever. Hand cramp. I didn’t have a mini-party this year (didn’t have the bandwidth), so I realized how difficult it is to see all of one’s friends when hanging out is spread out (even when the friends are home from school and off from work). Challenging times. On Christmas Eve the Stover clan gathered in my grandma’s one bedroom condo (tradition). Not all of us were there, only about… thirty-some of us. It’s a happy, tight fit. Some of M.Sto’s side we didn’t get to see because a president died. They are D.C. cops. When a president dies D.C. cops have to work on the day we are supposed to gather for holiday family time. I think my Uncle was required to do some very amazing perimeter work wherein he had to stare at a fence all day to make sure no one came over. (No one did.) Finally, C.Sto and The Viking took me out to the new Clyde’s to celebrate my last night in NoVA. The restaurant is huge (and packed: People there have little other choices in that neighborhood). 29,000 square feet. Seats 650 people. I think Clyde's goal is to serve dinner for all of Ashburn every night. Seriously.

You know, it’s good to have a Viking King around because I can call out, “Viking King, help!” and he will put down his Smirnoff Ice and pause Madden and come downstairs with the flyswatter and “whap! Whap!” resounds as he takes out the Cricket-Spider standing between me and the washing machine. Oh yes did you know that crickets and spiders have bred? This is far less awesome than lasers breeding with cats.

It went fast, all of it; the year, the holidays, the projects… .

Now, I’m in Los Angeles.

Now, I’m all Greyfeather #2. We are finishing up.

From there, the run goes onward, upward…



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