Into My Playlist: Careless Whisper

Welcome back to my playlist!

Once again, we have a song that’s been done a couple times. As far as I know, the original version of “Careless Whisper” was done by Wham!. And I like that version fine. I’ve played it in jazz band. It sounds good with a decent sax player.

The version I have, however, is the Seether cover.

There’s a few things I really like about this version. The first is, Seether. I just really love Seether. Don’t know why, but a lot of post-grunge bands are just that way. This has long been one of my favorites, maybe because it’s such a sick cover.

While I often appreciate covers that sound much like the original, but with small updates and minor changes, one of the things I love about this one is that it’s totally different and in a way that isn’t awful. It’s so hard to completely change a song and have it come out as good or better than the original, but Seether really pulled it off.

It comes out sounding something like any other post-grunge rock ballad, but appropriate for the content. It’s kind of melancholy, and… I don’t know how else to describe it, but it’s sort of achy, like as the guy is singing, his heart’s breaking. I always got that feeling from the original, sort of melancholy and achy. Some singers can do that whenever they feel like it, like Ron Pope or Miranda Lambert. And this song deserves that kind of voice.

And basically, it was nailed.

This is a great song to listen to when you’re in the need for catharsis, because it just makes you feel like you want to cry, like crying is okay and perfectly appropriate. It’s good to have a song or two like that.



Into my Notebooks: Purple Star Trek

Welcome back to my notebooks!

Once again, we’re looking at my Star Trek fan fiction notes.

So, I’m not completely certain, but I think this is what I meant when I wrote the note to myself: “Star Trek Purple.”

I might have multiple purple ones. Not really sure. I guess we’ll find out when I reorganize my notebooks again like I so desperately need to do. My whole floor is covered with notebooks. It’s such a mess.

Apparently this notebook was originally intended for a fantasy novel? Not sure which one. I’ve got a couple in the works, and whatever the first page in here was, it was torn out and now likely resides in a manila folder.

Really quick, this is a purple Top Flight single-subject, 70 page, college rule spiral. It’s completely full on one side, the back of each page left blank for further notes.

The facing page, the right-hand side (front of the page), consists of transcripts of episodes to help me work through the chapters, beginning most of the way through “A Taste of Armageddon” and finishing with partway through “Operation: Annihilate!”

It’s a pretty straightforward notebook from there. I’ve written all these chapters already, so if you’re interested, you can check them out on my fan fiction page, story Crossing Borders. For those who might care, this is done almost entirely in black, with a half a dozen pages in the back in turquoise when I moved on to a new pen.

Sorry if that was boring. Maybe this notebook will grow later, but for the moment that’s really all there is to it!



Into My Notebooks: Red Star Trek

Welcome back to my notebooks!

We’re still plodding through my Star Trek fan fiction notes, and I confess, it’s mostly because that’s what I’ve been working on lately. I’ll try to keep this as interesting and useful as possible.

I’ve titled this “Red Star Trek,” because as far as I can tell, this is the only red one thus far in my growing collection of Star Trek notebooks. Seriously, growing. Since the last time I posted one of these blog posts, I’ve started and nearly finished a whole notebook. I’ll be starting a fresh one either tonight or tomorrow. They take up lots of paper, these notes.

This notebook Is another basic single-subject, 70-page, college rule Top Flight spiral, and it had a brief past life as my British Writers 2 notebook. Scribbled inside the front cover, the back of the back cover, and in the margins of the first page are some of my favorite lines from John Dryden’s “Absalom and Achitophel” (which everyone should read, by the by). I’ll share those excerpts now.

Plots, true or false, are necessary things,

To raise up commonwealths, and ruin kings.


For who can be secure of private right,

If sovereign sway may be dissolved of might?

Nor is the people’s judgment always true:

The most may err as grossly as the few;

And faultless kings run down by common cry,

For vice, oppression, and for tyranny.


Fools are more hard to conquer than persuade.


Beware the fury of the patient man.


He meditates revenge who least complains.

The last few quotes sound like epitaphs for murder mysteries, don’t they? In fact, the last one reminds me very strongly of something Poirot says in one of his cases…. I won’t say which one, but the husband kills his wife (probably describes half of them, anyway), and Poirot says he suspected it because the man bore his wife’s pestering too well. Either he no longer cared, or he knew he would soon be free.

The first page, front and back, consists of my notes on Dryden, which appear to be the only notes I took for this course…. What did I learn about Dryden? Well, he was the first poet-critic. He also said, “Wit is a propriety in thoughts and words; in other terms, thought and words elegantly adapted to their subjects.” Essentially, he believed that greatness, “wit,” if you will, is the ability to not only see the things that are natural, but also to say those things elegantly, artfully, in a way that will get a universal, natural reaction.

So that’s Dryden.

The rest of the pages are Star Trek.

As with most of my other notes, all of the right-hand pages (front of the page) are devoted to the transcripts of episodes used to write my chapters, while the left-hand pages (back of the page) are reserved for other notes.

The right-hand of this notebook begins barely into the episode “The Corbomite Maneuver”, and ends partway through the episode “The Conscience of the King.” All of these pages, oddly enough, are done in black ink (as are all the Dryden notes).

The left-hand of this notebook is completely filled, all with chapter outlines (which episodes I’m doing, and where I’m adding in non-episode chapters with original content). Five pages are devoted to “Cold Start,” the story for Star Trek: Enterprise. There are 87 chapters, and all of this is in a burgundy ink, except for the last line, where I had run out of burgundy and wrote it in turquoise. Eight pages are for the Star Trek: TNG episodes, all 122 chapters, and outlined in burgundy with one “oops” added in turquoise after I’d run out of burgundy.

Eight more pages have my Star Trek: DS9 outline, with most of it in burgundy, and the last two and a half pages in turquoise. There are 155 chapters. Eight pages, all in turquoise, then for my Star Trek: Voyager notes, all 130 chapters. One page, all in turquoise, as the brief notes for the films (Khan through Nemesis, as the first film’s notes are in another notebook), basically a list of the films and a note for each that they’ll be covered as a oneshot. I then take eight pages to outline the 64 chapter story of Xebel (my interrim OC) at the Academy, with a more traditional chapter-by-chapter outline. This is also turquoise.

Three more pages outline the story of Xebel on the USS Enterprise-B, also in turquoise, for 21 chapters. The last nine pages of the notebook outline the story of the Buckingham girls (sisters Savannah, Sadiana, Beryl, and Sophie; and their cousins Cynthia, Evodia, and Daphne) from the time Savannah and Cynthia begin at the Academy to when Daphne graduates the Academy. This covers many more years than the one about Xebel’s schooling, but it does it more briskly, not showing it in as much depth, and telling several events almost entirely in letters. This outline is 66 chapters, and is written, once again, entirely in turquoise.

Well, that’s the red one. Hopefully that wasn’t too dull. The Dryden stuff might have been a kick.



Into my Bookshelf: 10 Things I Hate About You

Welcome back to my bookshelf!

I’ve got a bit of a weird one today: the novelization of the film 10 Things I Hate About You. It’s really the only book like this I have, and I inherited it from my sister. I think she got it in high school.

There are two reasons I decided to keep this book, because it’s not like it’s a great work of literature.

The first reason is that my good friend, E. M. McBride and I used Heath Ledger (God rest his soul) from this film as the physical template for one of our characters in “Maybe I Know.” Not just the looks, but the clothing, the attitude, the way people saw his character before and after the character has really made his stamp on the story.

The other reason is that the Shakespeare play this was based on, The Taming of the Shrew, is basically one of the best things ever, and I’ve yet to come across a version of it that wasn’t fabulous. I’ve got the Elizabeth Taylor film version, and I’m itching to get my hands on a good copy of My Fair Lady and a copy of the actually film, 10 Things I Hate About You for the complete set.

As far as modernizing Shakespeare is concerned, this is head and shoulders above the Amanda Bynes film based on Twelfth Night (The title of which is escaping me… She’s the Man? Something like that). That was a good enough film, but it was kind of a one-man show as far as casting was concerned. Heath did a much better job than Channing Tatum, and while Amanda Bynes was a comedic natural, Julia Styles just sort of nails the “shrew” role. Also, I just felt like the story for The Taming of the Shrew was not only the more believable story, but infinitely the more adaptable story, especially for the high school scene. It was always going to be the better material to work with.

I have to say that Heath and Julia were one of the best teen rom com pairings that ever happened, and I’m kind of tearing up writing this right now, but isn’t it awful to think it’ll never happen again, those two in a movie? Any movie? I mostly have the book just to look at the cover sometimes and think of how perfect that duo was together.

K. I’m going to find my mysteriously missing tissue box now.



Into my Playlist: Come See About Me

Hello, and welcome back to my music!

First of all, apologies for the long absence. I had finals, and illness. I’m back, and I’ll try to make it up to you with super-regular posting in the future. I will say in advance that I have a couple of internet-free holidays coming up, but we’ll see what I can do.

So, I maybe mentioned this before, but if I haven’t: I love Motown. I’ve been devoted to Motown for as long as I can remember, and the highlight of one summer program in Michigan was getting to take a day trip to Detroit where we, among other things, visited the Motown museum.

One of the cool things about Motown, especially the early years, is how almost every song is done by two or more artists. I mention this, because while I aim to collect all my favorites in their various forms, when I post about a song, I’m going to talk about which version it is, and then if I write about another version I’ll compare the two on the second go.

Today, I’m writing about “Come See About Me,” and this being The Supremes version.

One of the things I love most about Motown is that all of the songs are upbeat, even the sad ones. This is another breakup song that’s maybe a bit too cheerful for its content, which is exactly my kind of song. I mean, just think about the tempo, the upbeat music intro, and then we have the first lines, “I’ve been crying (ooo-ooo) cause I’m lonely for you. Smiles have all turned to tears, but tears won’t wash away the fears…”

I mean, it doesn’t get a lot darker than that in songs not about death, and yet the music is just the kind of thing to invite a jaunty stroll/strut down the street.

Don’t you just love things at odds with themselves?

The essence of the song is that the singer is super depressed because their significant other is completely abandoned by someone they gave up everything else for, and they’re asking the significant other to return because they have nothing and are super depressed. They can still sing cheerful, but they’re depressed. Really.

As I contemplate the mental health of the person singing this, it occurs to me that songs like this are a kind of manipulation. I mean, haven’t you heard horror stories of people manipulating exes into coming back to them by saying they’re going to kill themselves because the breakup was too much for them? I actually knew a guy who did that…. And let me tell you, whether or not the person is actually suicidal, it’s absolutely emotional blackmail and NOT OKAY.

So similarly, is it okay to just say, “I’m so depressed, come back. Everything’s terrible without you and I can’t be happy because I gave up my whole life for you.” Is that okay?

I’m thinking probably not. Regardless of the nature of your relationship, you gave up those things. Even if you were emotionally abused and your significant other bullied you into giving up those things…. Why would you want that person back??? It’s not healthy. Get new friends, reconnect with old ones. Watch a chick flick. Eat ONE BOWL of ice cream. Travel, even if it’s just to a day at the zoo. Live vicariously through the poor choices of others in music or on television, and then don’t make those choices.

Don’t beg for the person to take you back. It’s not attractive. It’s not cool. And it’s not healthy.

But it does make for great music, so maybe write a song and then NOT actually do it.



Into my Bookshelf: The Invisible Man

Welcome back to my bookshelf!

As far as classic monster tales, H. G. Wells’s The Invisible Man is easily my favorite, and surprisingly under-read. Griffin is up there with Dracula and Frankenstein (I vastly prefer him to Frankenstein), but in spite of the incredible number of reimaginings of the story through time, if people have read any Wells, it’s usually not this one.

One thing I can figure is that Griffin has a little bit of Dr. Jekyll in him. Because the story of Dr. Jekyll is so well-known, perhaps The Invisible Man has fallen by the wayside a bit. A man taken over by his experiments?

On the other hand, Dr. Jekyll is not a sympathetic character, but inherent in the type of experiments he does, he’s not a bad one, either. We come to think of Dr. Jekyll as “good,” regardless of what he was before he split himself, and it’s the bad part of him that takes over. Because we call it by a different name, it’s easy to pity Dr. Jekyll.

Griffin, the scientist so obsessed with optics that he discovers a way to turn tissue invisible, and does it to himself, isn’t a terribly sympathetic character. He’s ambitious, brilliant, and throughout the book he becomes a bit power-mad and megalomaniac. Which is fine, for a monster, but anything good about him is buried by the mania brought on with the possibilities of his new condition. He wants to enact a Reign of Terror, killing and pillaging. The usual.

And because we still think of him as the same person, because he’s not split himself in two, we don’t have sympathy for Griffin. Yes, it’s not easy being invisible, but killing for fun?

Really, though, Griffin is very much the same as Dr. Jekyll. The condition he puts himself in brings out the worst in him. Power corrupting, after all. His invisibility, like Dr. Jekyll’s experiment, unleashes the darkest parts of him, frees him to act on his base impulses. If we can pity Jekyll, we ought to be able to pity Griffin.

To be honest, I’m not certain we should pity either one.

At the end of the book (not all versions, but in the book), the tramp, Marvel, that he works with in the first part of the story, has all of Griffin’s notes, but he’s incapable of understanding them. This is a beautiful touch, like all the best horror stories. The truth, the formula, is still out there, waiting for someone intelligent enough to stumble across it and unleash the horror of the Invisible Man all over again.

It doesn’t sound spooky, perhaps, but after reading Griffin’s spiral into madness, it’s sufficiently spooky, especially if read in dim light, as all horror stories ought to be read.



Into My Notebooks: Star Trek Flip Book

Hello, and welcome back to my notebooks!

Today we’re talking about more of my notes for my Star Trek fan fiction, and I’ve actually completed this notebook as far as what it will contain for this project, so it’s the most up-to-date record for my fan fiction project.

Previously, I included in one of my notebooks a list of episodes to be covered in chapters. This flip book, as I’ve called it, is actually a sort of legal pad that I used to keep track of the chapter titles for each story. I have a separate notebook, which I won’t include in depth because it’s literally just a list, which has all of these chapters written out in order I plan to publish them, and there’s twenty-seven pages of it in a college-rule spiral, if that gives you an idea.

This flip pad is a Mead 6×9 in. “ruled writing tablet”, 100 sheets. According to the front, it fits in no. 6 3/4 envelopes. Like much of my stationary items, this was inherited from a sibling, so there’s pages torn from the front that I never wrote in, and four pages written on in pencil were loosely stuffed in the middle, probably those very same pages. I’ve taken them out and tossed them since.

I’ve got thirty pages written on in different colors, so I’ll just take it story by story here.

“Crossing Borders,” the TOS story, has two pages, with a list of 65 chapters, all written in black ink.

“Wanderings,” the TAS story, is a single page written in black with 25 chapters.

The next page has the titles for the stories based on the films, in order. This includes the classic and TNG films, not the modern films. Apart from the first film, they’re all going to be oneshots, so there’s titles written, in turquoise. The first story, “To Go Again,” covers the original film and is divided into three chapters. This is outlined in black.

“Continuing Legacy,” the TNG story, is written in turquoise over three pages, with 121 chapters.

“Cold Start,” the Enterprise story, is written in turquoise over three pages, with 87 chapters.

“Furthest Reaches,” the DS9 story, is written in turquoise over four pages, with 155 chapters.

“Severed,” the Voyager story, is written in turquoise over four pages, with 130 chapters.

I’ve got a oneshot written in turquoise on a page to itself, which is a transition from “Cold Start,” tying it more firmly to the OC from “Crossing Borders.”

Then I’ve got two pages of “Academic,” outlined in turquoise, for 64 chapters. This story is about the Academy years of Xebel, the son of my TOS OC, father of my TNG OC – the tie between the two sections, if you will.

“Shadows of History,” outlined in turquoise on a single page, is 21 chapters of Xebel’s brief serving on the USS Enterprise-B, before he serves on the station where he meets his wife and raises his children.

“A Logical Emotion,” written on a page by itself in turquoise, is a oneshot about Xebel’s courtship and marriage.

“Buckingham Women,” is two pages, 66 chapters, begun in turquoise but mostly written in pink. It’s the story of Xebel’s four daughters, and their distant cousins (raised as close cousins) in their time at the Academy – which all seven girls attend. As Sophie is the main focus of my TNG story, Daphne is the focus of DS9, Evodia is my focus in Voyager, and Cynthia is a prominent fixture in Voyager’s Pathfinder episodes, this is a valuable precursor to those characters.

“In an Instant,” is a single page, 20 chapter, pink outline for a story of Daphne’s time at the Medical Academy, and her friendship with Julian Bashir.

“Naturally,” is a oneshot listed on a page by itself, in pink. This is the story of Cynthia’s relationship with Barclay that isn’t covered in the Voyager scenes with Pathfinder,  supplementary if you will.

“Put Right,” is an outline on a page by itself in pink. 30 chapters, this story is a dual-plot story, telling the story of what becomes of Daphne and Evodia after Voyager returns. It begins upon Voyager’s arrival back at Earth and ends with both sisters are married and beginning families.

“Unique” is the story I started all of this for, ironically, and it’s a single page outline covering 25 chapters in pink. It’s the story of the daughter of the OC from the TNG story, Sophie. Parts of the plot are based on the video game, Star Trek Online, but it’s been molded and reworked given my earlier story and my own vision of how it would happen. And simplified, honestly, because there’s way more going on in the video game than I could work neatly into a story.

Finally, the oneshot “Family” is listed in pink on a page by itself, as a sort of epilogue to the series. This shows not closure exactly, but shows what becomes of some of the characters down the line.

Yes, this will take me a very long time and a lot of organization to pull off. Considering I’ve only got almost fifteen chapters of “Crossing Borders” finished, there’s a long way to go.

Still, as you can see from the large and lengthy notes that I’m keeping for the project, meticulous planning and careful records can make any project seem possible. Big, but possible.