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An Edith Piaf Stupor

29 Oct

Chapter 3:  In which White Trash Janeway sunbathes on her roof and the cavalry are called in.

White Trash Janeway, My One True Love

“Full disclosure: I did not want to call you.”

I looked at the squinting face of Tal Celes.  We were standing in Janeway’s frontyard, and both of us were squinting against the full and blinding sun.  The yard seemed to be squinting, too.  It was half green and half yellow, and just a tad overgrown.

“You don’t say,” I said.

“Well, I wanted to call Harry, but he’s on Deep Space 6, and I guess I could’ve called Tuvok, but she can’t even look him in the eye when she’s sober, and I absolutely wasn’t going to–”

I squinted harder, and she stopped talking before she could say that she hadn’t wanted to contact her former Astrometrics lab boss, which I was 100% certain was the next name she was going to drop.

“Well, you called me, and I’m here.  What’s the situation?”

She turned toward the front porch briefly and heaved a large sigh.  She turned back to me and put a hand to her forehead to shield her eyes.

“Um.  Well.”  She bit her lip, and it was like we were back on Voyager and she was telling me about how she screwed up aligning a sensor.  I squared my shoulders and acted like her boss’s boss again.

“Well?” I said, as gruff and Klingon-chief-engineer as I could muster.

“I–I don’t know how well you know the Admiral anymore… But social functions really take it out of her,” she said, shifting her weight.

“Ok…?” My voice was still sarcastic and annoyed, but something was pinging in my stomachs—something familiar and unpleasant and guilty and scared.

“Well, I thought it was that.  You know.  A usual bender after a social occasion.  Where she would hole up with some jazz and whiskey for a day and then be– Well, not herself, but– like usual.  Like asking me to get her Chinese at 3am and then telling me I’m stupid for doing it and that she didn’t deserve my charity.  You know.”  She shrugged.

I blinked.  Was this really Tal’s life?  She shifted her weight again and continued her monologue:

“But.  I– it’s bad.  It’s the same Edith Piaf album on repeat.  And so much whiskey.  And–well, the replicator.”

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Charm Is Irrelevant

5 Oct

The Continuing Adventures of White Trash Janeway, My One True Love

White trash janeway 4

Chapter 2:  Charm Is Irrelevant

When I was newer to humanity, I often espoused all manner of erroneous, Borg-influenced claims.  Many of them concerned emotion, beauty, subjectivity, and all were denigrated with sentiments like irrelevance, inefficiency, futility.

If I were asked to describe my perfect vision of the universe, many of these claims would still hold true.  But I realized now that the world in which I lived–the human world–could not and should not work on a Borg system. I had come to appreciate, if not understand fully, the merits of useless things.

I recalled thinking, early in my new existence, that charm–that quality of being able to discern what someone might want to hear and then give it to him with a luxurious smile–was irrelevant.  But I found this untrue almost immediately. Charm was not only relevant but essential. That was one of the first things Captain Janeway tacitly taught me.

And I almost hated her for it. And I hated her for that, too–that almost. In many ways I relished simple things–emotions that were pure and either love or hate, sad or happy. At least I could understand those. These complex emotions of anger and delight and frustration and confusion–I hated them, and I loved them because I always associated them with her.

Charm was hard for me to grasp but easy for me to recognize. Charm was artifice but also natural. Needless to say, it was not natural to me and completely natural to her.

One point four hours after having dismissed me from the ladies’ room, this woman could be regaling former crew members with tales they hadn’t even remembered, even though she was visibly inebriated.  This was the definition of charm.  She had it.  It was something she possessed and could use at her whim.  It was capital.  And she used it as such.

It was how she had beaten the Hirogen, the Devore, even the Borg to some extent.  It was how she beat everyone.  But now, watching her beat Samantha Wildman at pool, watching her laugh at Bolian jokes, watching her sneak drinks in secluded corners, it seemed to be all she had left.

It must be hard to live on charm alone.

I eased into her presence as she sat down next to Crewman Tal.  She looked at me.  I couldn’t even begin to deduce what her look might have signalled, the deep blue of it penetrating me in a way I hadn’t felt or been confused about in years.

“Seven.  Or–I heard a rumor you prefer Annika now,” she said as though we hadn’t had a confrontation in the lavatory preceding the party.

“That rumor is unfounded.  I continue to prefer Seven.”

“Shame.  I always liked Annika,” she said, her mouth rising on one side.  That was charm.  I hated it.

“Regardless.  I wanted to continue our previous conversation.”

She raised an eyebrow and smiled at Crewman Tal and then at me although the smiles were slightly different somehow.

“Well, Seven. I’m not currently smoking, so I’m not sure what we have to discuss.” She crossed her legs and broke eye contact to scan the room, a smile still on her face.

“I mean, of course, the matter we were discussing before you began smoking.”

She raised her eyebrows and put her tongue to her top teeth.  I took this to mean she did not recall what we had been discussing and opened my mouth to begin to remind her, but she cut me off:

“You’re not going to start reciting star dates and exact phrasings to me, are you?”

“No,” I said, although that is precisely what I had intended.

“Good.”  She winked at Crewman Tal, and the woman giggled briefly.

“If you will excuse us,” I said to the Bajoran.  My former captain crossed her arms over her chest and nodded.  Crewman Tal looked at both of us and then vacated her seat.

“So what now?” she said.  “You give me your old, ‘I prefer to stand line,’ and I sit here listening to your admonitions getting a crick in my neck?”

Silently I sat.

“Phew.  I’m a little old for that nonsense,” she said.

“You’re a little old for a great deal of nonsense,” I said.

“And just what is that supposed to mean?”  she said a little loudly.

“If you would only let the Doctor administer a hypospray.  You could–”

“I could what?  Be back to my old self?”

I stared at her, and she continued.

“Maybe I don’t want to be my old self.  Maybe my old self wasn’t all she was cracked up to be.  And maybe even if she was all she was cracked up to be, that woman is as dead as Chakotay.”

His name seemed to ring louder than the rest of the sentence, and we sat there in the echo.

He always seemed to come up in our conversations, and always as unpleasantly as this.  I had loved him in my childish way those many years ago, and she knew how I always reacted when she said unpleasant things.  This was the opposite side of charm: If one knew what to say, one certainly knew what not to say.  Perhaps the opposite of charm is spite, and perhaps Captain Janeway bore an abundance of both.

“I’m sorry to hear that,” I said finally.  She laughed once.

“That makes two of us.”

It was at this moment that Tal Celes returned. I could have stayed, but I did not.

A Little Mediocrity and a Lot of Booze Later

30 Sep

So over on my quasi-clandestine tumblr, some of us have been discussing a possible Star Trek: Voyager fanfiction that would incorporate this idea:

White Trash Janeway

White Trash Janeway, my one true love.

That is, an AU piece in which Voyager comes home hella scarred, and Janeway is super depressed and drunk and ridiculous.

So here’s my first chapter.

***

I knew it’d been a bad sign when she’d grown her hair back out three years ago. Of course, it had started long before that. When we got back to Earth–a bunch of bedraggled targs with a Borg-loving p’tach for a leader, as my mother had said with half a sneery smile on her face when she embraced me for the first time in twenty years–it had been a whirlwind of debriefings and review boards and promotions, and she never should’ve accepted her admiralty.

But she had, and it had damn near killed her. A little mediocrity and a lot of booze later, she had finally retired. But somewhere in between she had grown her hair back out and started wearing buns again, presumably trying to regain some part of herself she had lost years and light years ago, something prim and Starfleet, something conventional and safe. But it was a sham. Even Seven–or maybe especially Seven–had recognized the stale, desperate smell of the maneuver.  Sure, it wasn’t the bun’s fault, but it was the easiest thing to blame.

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Why Fans of Classic Movies Should Like Star Trek: Voyager

11 May

I’m a firm believer that Star Trek: Voyager has something for everyone; however, everyone is not the same, of course.  For example, if I were trying to  indoctrinate cajole my Grey’s Anatomy-loving coworkers into watching my favorite show, I would entice them with a completely different set of pros.

As it stands, the following list is inspired by my blog friend Ruth, who is a delightful classic-movie blogger.  Several posts ago, I talked about Voyager’s still enjoyable bad episodes, and she commented that she’d never watched the show before.

That’s an Internet gauntlet, folks.

I’ve compiled this list to attract a certain kind of person, and I have faith in my tactics.  And, as Captain Janeway would say, I feel lucky today!

Series Overview

Let’s get a quick rundown of what’s going on in this series before I start the list rolling.  I’ll pretend anyone reading this has never watched Star Trek, so I’ll try not to be too technobabble-y.

The Premise:  It’s the 24th century, and Earth and several other planets have long ago joined together to form The United Federation of Planets.  Starfleet–a space navy, basically–serves and protects this governmental agency.

There’s some disputed regions on the fringes of the Alpha Quadrant (because they’ve divided the galaxy into quadrants and named them with Greek letters, of course), and a rebel group called the Maquis has sprung up to defend what they feel is their own land.  Officially, The Federation sees the Maquis as terrorists, but they’re all wronged idealists, mostly (and the dudes they’re fighting [the Cardassians], who are officially in The Federation, are sneaky jerks, tbh).

Captain Kathryn Janeway and her new starship Voyager have been sent out to the Badlands to go after a particularly trouble-causing Maquis ship, on which one of Janeway’s oldest friends is serving as a spy!  Quelle drama!

Before she goes, she springs a dude from jail who had been in Starfleet and then also in the Maquis to act as her guide! Quelle more drama!

Well, both the Maquis ship and Voyager get gotten by an alien who pulls them 75,000 lightyears away from Earth–all the way to the Delta Quadrant.  This dying alien is trying to figure out if anybody has similar DNA so that he will have an heir to look after this planet he’s looking after.  Spoiler alert:  Nobody does.

Meanwhile, these other aliens are trying to get at the thing that transported everybody from the Alpha Quadrant so they can use it to gain power and take over stuff.

Janeway can’t let them gain power and take over stuff because they’re meanies, so she destroys the thing, stranding her ship and the Maquis ship in the Delta Quadrant.  Quelle drama-est!

This is the first time Janeway meets Chakotay (the Maquis captain). I hope they both brushed their teeth this morning because dang.

Janeway and the Maquis captain decide to join forces to get back home, so they all take up residence on Voyager and are forced to work together.

Meanwhile, they’ve picked up a few people from the Delta Quadrant to be on their crew:  a dude who’s a trader and is supposed to be good at navigating this–to Alpha Quadrant types–uncharted space and a lady (from the planet the alien who whisked them away was guarding) who has a really weird short lifespan.

Also, meanwhile, the ship’s doctor dies in the first twenty minutes or so and is permanently replaced by the Emergency Medical Hologram.  His journey into sentience becomes a plot point in many episodes.

Also along the way they run into the Borg, a species that is not so much a species but an amalgamation of species who act as one unit, like a hive, and they basically steal other species’ bodies to use in their ultimate goal of perfection through putting together the best parts of every species and then enhancing themselves with robotics.  The Borg are weird and scary and robotic and hard to describe, and when you’re part of the Borg, you have no personality of your own and do only the will of the Collective.  Anyway, Janeway rescues a lady from the Borg, and her journey into humanity becomes a plot point in many episodes.

So, if all the sci-fi hasn’t already turned you off, let’s have a go at the list.

Honorable Mention:  Clean (with a Little Innuendo)

One thing I really love about old movies is that they’re not explicit.  If a couple is intimate, they cut to a fireplace.  If somebody’s mad, he gives a glare and bunches his hands into angry fists instead of cursing a blue streak.

And because of the cleanness, they get to have a little more fun (and be a little more creative) when they wanna be a little bit dirty.  So they say things like, “You know how to whistle, don’t ya?” instead of something yuckier.

Because Voyager aired on regular old TV instead of HBO and because we have a lady captain who is so stagy and sassy, we get cleanness, and a little bit of sassy dirtiness once in a while.

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What If the Voyager Theme Were Sung By the Andrews Sisters?

14 Apr

I kind of did this in response to Tish’s request that I write words to the Star Trek: Voyager theme (after we had watched a couple videos of other people doing the same).  And I kind of did this in response to my own barbershop kick.  And I kind of did this in response to having nothing better to do. (But really, I could’ve done a lot of things I should’ve done instead of work on this for 10 hours.)

Um… So here it is.  At 4 am.  Lol.

Damages Season 3 Recap (All Spoilers, All the Time)

16 Mar

Oh hey, Season 3.  Haven’t thought about you in a while.  And I want to start season 4 now, so…

Best outfit all season

The format of my synopses has changed. The fabulosity of Patty’s clothes has absolutely not changed.

Flashforward Mystery #1:  Patty is driving.  Some other car runs into her!  Whodunnit?

Flashforward Mystery #2:  Mysterious Hobo hangs around a dumpster.  Tom’s murdered body is found in the same dumpster!  Whodunnit?

Main Plot Line:  Patty is the court-appointed trustee of the Tobin estate.  The Tobins are big business people involved in some kind of Ponzi scheme thing, as per usual.  She must figure out how and where and when all their money went wherever it did.

Joe Tobin, alcoholic oldest son, becomes Patty’s go-to dude for a minute, but mostly to establish him as a down-to-earth character at first.  He wants to make sure he looks as if he did everything he could to help the investigation (which also includes the DA’s office, where Ellen works now).

Joe gives Patty a cell phone number, and Hobo is in possession of the cell phone.  Tom investigates and finds clothes in the dumpster belonging to a DMM.  He investigates more.  Everyone is red-herringed into believing DMM–a lady who looks SO MUCH like Emily Prentiss from Criminal Minds–was having an affair with Dad Tobin (the CEO of the Tobin company), and Tom decides to investigate this angle because why not.

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A Day in the Life of a Star Trek Director

6 Mar

Good morning, everyone.  Quiet on set, please.

No, put down that bat’leth.  We’re using it in next week’s episode, and I don’t need it getting lost among all those leola root props.

Ok, let’s look at what we’ve got on the docket today… Hmm… A scene in engineering and two on the bridge.  That means we’ve got a lot of technobabble today.  Let’s start with some vocal warm-ups.

What a to do to die today at a minute or two till two.  A thing distinctly hard to say but harder still to do.

Faster now.

Red leather yellow leather, aluminum linoleum, red leather yellow leather, aluminum linoleum.

All right.  To engineering.

I need six extras to stand around in the back.  I want stage chatter, but not too much.  You, the one in make-up already:   Look really concerned.  You, the tall one: look mad as hell.  You, the short one:  Act like a Maquis.

What do you mean what’s that supposed to mean?  Hell if I know.  I haven’t directed this before.  It’s what’s in the script.  Find your inner freedom fighter and channel it.

What?  Yeah, good idea.  Play the scene while mentally singing “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”  Nice.

All right, leads.  Find the x’s you’re supposed to stand on.

Yes.  I know there’s only one x.  Both of you stand on it.

Don’t bother with the logistics.  I want you both in the same spot.

Good scene, everybody.  Good take.  Let’s go on to the bridge.

All right.  I need four extras this time.  You with the hair: Pretend you don’t have hair.  You without the hair:  Pretend you do have hair.  Other two:  Pretend your dog just got run over, and the captain just bought you a new dog.

Ok, leads.  This is what I want you to do: Walk toward each other until your noses touch, then the one on stage left will step back half a step.  This is where I want you to play the scene.  I hope everyone brushed his or her teeth this morning.

Great scene, everybody.  Next we’ve got our other bridge scene.  The alien that comes on the viewscreen has twelve ears, and the rest of his face is a chin.  You will all act as if this is something you see every day, except you–guy with the earring–will raise an eyebrow.

Then Twelve Ears will come in off the turbolift.  Captain, I need you to sit in his lap when he sits down.

Where does he sit down?  Ha.  Yes.  Good question.  He will sit on that console, and you will sit on his knee.

No, no, no.  Don’t play the scene as though you’re in love with him.  Play it like you’re in love with everyone else and are using him to make everyone else jealous.

Yes… yes… good… good.  Touch him more.  Yes.

Great work.

Tomorrow we’ll tackle the holodeck scene, and I’ll need everyone to come in wearing bikinis.

Ok.  Who’s up for burgers?

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