Into My Notebooks: More Star Trek Notes

I ought to number these things. That’s the first thought I had when I was trying to title the post for this week based on the notebook I’m covering.

Welcome back to my notebooks!

We’re digging back into my Star Trek notes, the ones for my massive fan fiction project.

I’m doing these a bit out of order, so don’t expect any kind of logical progression on the Star Trek project. Today we’re doing this one because it’s the one that was on top of my pile. I just updated my TOS story this week, and it was from my notes in this notebook.

This is from a stack of notebooks my mother bought my first semester of undergrad, and I’ll be honest: I don’t like it. It’s a Mead College Ruled, Single Subject 90 sheet notebook, but it’s not perforated and it’s got a plastic spiral instead of metal, and it feels a bit cheap. I’ll be glad to see the back of using it and its brothers. It’s got purple leopard print as a cover, which is probably why my mother grabbed them: she thought they’d be fun.

This was originally my intro Gov journal, so the first page, front and back, is actually class notes. From there, it’s Star Trek.

It begins with the end of notes on the episode “The Conscience of the King,” which I’ve already posted my chapter on. This also has, among other episodes, the outline of the first non-episodic chapter in my entire Star Trek project. That was pretty exciting.

The notebook finishes off with most of the episode “A Taste of Armageddon,” which finishes in a different notebook. I’ll have to figure out which one soon, as this is the next chapter I’m writing.

Also, on the outside of the back cover I have four lists that are basically to-do checklists from that first semester at college. Compared with my current organizational methods, it looks sort of pitiful, but that was the first attempt at getting my life in order, so I suppose it’s not surprising.

So that’s this notebook! Basically, outlines and dialogue of several chapters of the TOS fan fiction, written entirely in black ink.

See you next week!




Into My Playlist: The A-Team

Welcome back to my playlist!

I’ve decided to stick in one of my many Ed Sheeran songs now.

Like many other people in the world, “The A-Team” was the first Ed Sheeran song I ever heard. It was his first major single, and the first single off his hit album, +. Yes. He has an album that is the plus symbol.

I don’t really know why, but I find that fantastic.

The first time I heard the song, it was too chill for me. I was coming to the end of my “I hate chill music” phase. This song may have helped me reach the end of it.

You may recall that it was basically all over the radio for ages, so it was hard to avoid it at the time. The more I heard it, the more it grew on me, until I knew all of the words.

You could find anywhere on the web what it’s about, why it’s unique musically, whatever. It’s a chill song about a prostitute who’s a crack addict. But somehow, it manages to be beautiful and thoughtful, and the line about “crumbling like pastries” is probably the most poetic and perfect thing that’s been in music for a long time.

That’s the thing about Ed Sheeran that I’m sure I’ll bring up many times before I’ve exhausted posts about his music. In every song, from the most brilliant to the more conventional, there’s always at least one line that I hear and go, “That is the thing that makes this song wonderful.”

Every song, without fail. In this one, it’s “crumbling like pastries.” There’s plenty of other brilliant lines here, but that’s the one that made me fall in love with the song, and in the end, with Ed Sheeran.

This song is also, funnily enough, the first on the playlist I listen to when I’m winding down for the night and getting ready for bed. Not for content. Just for chill factor. If I were worried about the content of my before-bed music, I wouldn’t listen to Welcome to Night Vale while I sleep.



Into My Bookshelf: I Capture the Castle

Welcome back to my bookshelf! First, let me say that I may not be wholly consistent with update dates as I’ve started classes in earnest again. But I will definitely try to keep doing at least three updates a week. Just maybe not on Thursday-Friday-Sunday always.

Today we’re talking about I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith.

My mother got this book for me so long ago that I really don’t remember when I first read it. I suspect I was around twelve or thirteen. It’s a coming-of-age novel, and one of the best young adult books ever written. In fact, until I looked it up this morning to double check I was spelling the author’s name right (because there is no way I was climbing to the top shelf just to see the author’s name), I hadn’t realized just how old it was. It was published in 1948.

The story is told from the point of view of Cassandra, a girl who is telling everything in her life to her journal. She’s young, a touch naive, but on the whole very astute and perceptive. She’s the daughter of a writer who hasn’t actually written anything worth reading in a long time, the sister of a girl who wants to live in a Jane Austen novel, and an aspiring writer herself.

I would just like to take a moment to say that Dodie Smith was not only well-read, but has very good taste. Almost everything she mentions in this book, in a literary sense, is excellent. Not a huge fan of As You Like It, but any author who can pull Tolstoy, Poe, and Vanity Fair references into one novel has already stolen my heart.

There are love…well, squares. In a lot of ways it is like an Austen novel, as a major concern of both sisters is boys. Without giving too much away, there’s brothers next door to the sisters, and a boy who is a kind of servant to the sisters. The servant thinks he’s in love with Cassandra; she finds this uncomfortable. The sister thinks one brother is attractive and the other is (as the heir) the one she’ll marry because he’s rich.

Naturally love takes over and the siblings fall in love with the wrong people after engagements have been made. Someone elopes. Things more or less set themselves right in the end except….


She turns away the proposal. I won’t say who. I don’t give those kinds of details away. But one of my favorite things about this book as that the girl decides that the man proposing hasn’t had enough time to get over her sister. He promises to come back, she writes that she still loves him, and the journal ends.

Do they get happily ever after?

Of course not, this isn’t a fairy tale.

Does he come back and propose and she says yes?

Does it really matter? This is what Dodie Smith tells us. Maybe her life turns out quite differently, and that’s okay too. But the story, beautifully, reminds us of the young love factor, the rush of coming of age, and all the confusion and heartbreak that comes from things not turning out as you’d expect.

And then beautifully, just when Cassandra’s fate looks like it’s going to wrap up in a neat little Jane Austen package, she turns away the proposal and tells the man she loves that he needs more time before he asks her to marry him.


And considering this story still rates as one of the best young adult books ever written, I’d say Dodie Smith got something very, very right when she made that choice.



Into My Notebooks: Star Trek Mini Notebook

Good morning, and welcome back to my notebooks!

Today we will be continuing into the mass of notebooks for my Star Trek fan fiction, today covering a mini-notebook, and perhaps continuing with this set of notebooks next week.

This notebook, before we discuss content, is a Mead 3 subject College Ruled notebook that originally had 150 sheets (many have been torn out. I call it a mini notebook because it is not my usual standard sized notebook, but instead a 9 and 1/2 inch by 6 inch notebook. I have used my Pilot G2 pens, half in black, half in brown. Little bits of light blue are used as checkmarks.

No pages are left in the first subject section. On the first barrier I’ve written out the speeds of Warp classifications. In one column I have Warp 1 down to Warp 9, then Warp 9.2, 9.6, 9.9, 9.99, and 10. In the next column I have listed how many times faster this is than the speed of light, according to the Original Series figuring. The second column is how this was adjusted for TNG and after.

Below these columns, I have written some brief ratios to help me conceptualize the speed difference between traveling the speed of light and traveling at Warp.

Then I have a page dedicated to characters who were in Xebel’s year at Starfleet Academy, with his future wife listed at the top of the page. [Note: Xebel is an OC who is the son of my TOS OC and a canon character I will not name for spoiler purposes]. I have listed the names, what they majored in, and the highest level of rank they achieve in their career. I have starred the top of the class, and boxed the major where that major is listed next to the person who topped that major for the year. For example, I have a character who majored in Exogeology and Engineering. Exogeology is boxed; Engineering is not, but it is boxed next to the girl who topped the year. I underlined the lines on which people who majored in the same subjects as Xebel rest, so I could figure out who would be likely to be his friends and enemies based on proximity.

The second page is sort of like this, but instead of one year, I have the three of Xebels older daughters all listed on one page, so this is a sampling of each of their years, not a complete list of students from any of them. Because of this, at the end of each line I have written the initial of the sister they were in the year of, to keep them straight when I write a complete timeline of Starfleet to organize my thoughts.

I have nothing written on the second subject barrier, and then I have the character list for Sophie, my TNG OC. This is structurally identical to Xebel’s list, except for one small detail. I have a bracket at the beginning of the line of students in one flight squad, and a long line at the front of lines where students are in the opposing flight squad (think Wesley and Nova Squadron).

The next page is the same as Sophie’s, but it covers the twins, who are the children of Sophie and a TNG OC, unnamed for purposes of spoilers.

The next page is a list of Star Trek children, although it is currently incomplete. It only covers TNG and DS9. And the term children is used loosely. For example, it has Robin Lefler, who was an Ensign in her Star Trek appearance, and Wesley’s “friends” from the Academy when he had his flight incident. I’ve yet to add children from Voyager – namely Naomi and Icheb and Miral, but they’ll be added in course of my cataloging.

After that I have eight pages of an in-progress list of secondary characters, alphabetical, who I am keeping track of to help fill in my charts and timelines of duty rosters and the like. This list is the 23rd century, so thus far only those covered in TOS and the earlier films. I’m in the P’s, so perhaps it won’t be too long until I move into the 24th century. Where there will be many more characters. This entire list is in brown, where most of the previous pages (excepting some checkmarks in brown and blue) are in black.

That’s it for this notebook! Check in next week for what will almost certainly be more Star Trek notes!



Into My Playlist: Blinded By The Light

Welcome back to my music! You’re getting a break from Fifth Harmony for a while, YOU’RE WELCOME.

Today, we’re going to talk about a very well-known song: Manfred Mann’s cover of “Blinded by the Light.”

A lot of my friends didn’t actually know this, but this was originally a Bruce Springsteen single, released by the Boss in ’73. Manfred Mann’s Earth Band released their cover version in ’77, and it hit #1 on the Billboard 100.

To me, I have no idea why the cover hit it so big where the original is mostly unknown to the general public. One small (but famously misheard) line was changed, from “cut loose like a deuce” to “revved up like a deuce.” There’s an interesting piano solo in the second one that’s sort of iconic as well.

The only other difference I can see is the length. The original is less than six minutes (I don’t recall exactly how long), where my iTunes tells me that the Manfred Mann version is 7:06.

But this could be lies. iTunes may lie to me often. It’s giving the copyright as ’75, when I know that this single hit the top 100 in ’77. This isn’t totally implausible, but it messes with my head, so I’m deciding to call it falsehood.

I have a complicated relationship with iTunes.

The simple reason for my having the cover version is that it’s the one that I listened to on the radio, and was being offered on a discount on iTunes.

The complicated reason is…. I don’t really like Bruce Springsteen. (Go ahead, collectively gasp)

His voice is fine. His songs are fine. I just have never liked either enough for me to feel it merited spending money on. Why buy an original version that I never really heard when this is the one I know and love, even if it is one of maybe two Manfred Mann songs I actually know?

As far as the song itself is concerned: It’s fun to try to figure out what all the loopy lyrics are, and to listen to people try to decide what it’s about. A lot of the time I actually don’t feel much like listening to it, but when I do, it’s nice that I have it because it never pops up on any of my Pandora stations.

So that’s my thoughts on this song. What’s up next week?

Maybe not Fifth Harmony? Not sure. You’ll have to wait and see.



Into My Bookshelf: Snoopy and the Red Baron

There are the Classics, those things we read in school, or that line the lists of books one has to read in order to be well-read. Then there are classics, those books that everyone needs to read to have had a good life.

Welcome back to my bookshelf. Today we’re talking about one of the greatest books ever, Snoopy and the Red Baron.

My family is a Peanuts family, excepting myself. My brother has all the Charlie Brown holiday films, which we always watch on their respective holidays. Woodstock and Snoopy are practically members of the family.

With the exception of the Red Baron story, I’ve never been especially interested in Snoopy. I enjoy the films fine, but it’s never my first choice to watch them. But this story, with Snoopy as a WWI flying ace fighting the German archetype of the Red Baron is actually the cutest, most entertaining thing ever.

This takes the aggrandized story of an actual German pilot known as the Red Baron, a man who has been fictionalized and commercialized so many times (Red Baron pizza, anyone?) that most people probably don’t even know he was real.

I’ll confess, I’m a sucker for stories from the world wars, but especially the planes. The idea of fighter pilots has always been exciting to me, and in WWI it was a completely new idea. Snoopy and his vibrant imagination – most vibrant in this story, I feel – turns his dog-house into one of those early planes, and carries him into a tale of adventure.

I think that it’s important for children to see this sort of imagination. These days kids aren’t using their imaginations quite as much. All their toys and games make noise and flash lights and do the thinking for them. My niece would rather watch people play Minecraft in videos than play with her own relatives sometimes, and that’s sort of disturbing to me.

What’s wrong with making the barking noises for your toy dog? What’s wrong with playing with a cardboard box?

Snoopy’s tale as a fighter pilot has inspired two video games and a viewfinder series (because why not?) and is perhaps one of the most beloved tales of all time. Why?

Because why can’t a doghouse be a WWI fighter plane?




Into My Notebooks: Untitled One

Welcome back!

So, as you might have noticed from the title of this post, today we’re looking at my notes for an untitled novel project.

This is a bit of a rarity for me, to be honest. I like to have at least a working title for most projects. In fact, Natalie Cannon and I were brainstorming working titles for a brand new project yesterday morning. We weren’t having much success to be honest, but something will pop up.

This is a project I’m working – slowly – on a draft for. It’s a novel that’s got three distinct parts chronicling a relationship in three stages. It’s a tragedy, not that this should surprise anyone at all. i’m still drafting part one.

I’ve got a manila folder for this one, and in that folder I have a spiral and five loose sheets of paper. Let’s start with the loose sheets.

At the top of the first sheet is a quote from something, I’ve forgotten now what. It was either a school newspaper article or something I said to a friend as I was reading that article, but it says: “Because sex does not initiate large-scale change, except when you’re having an orgy.”

That’s not relevant to the story, I just liked the quote.

I then have a very rough outline of the three parts, with about half a dozen points listed for each part so I could get a sense of the story arcs. At the bottom, I have a character list.

The other four loose leaf pages are an unordered list of necessary events for the novel. Next to each event is the roman numeral of which part it belongs in.

The spiral is a purple, 70-sheet college ruled Top Flight, once again. This one was originally meant to be my notes for my Formative Judaism course. Which was a great course, by the way. I learned so much my brain could barely hold it all.

I’m not sure I took any notes in it, though, because if they ever existed they are not in this notebook anymore. I have the events written out again on the first four pages, this time grouped by which part they’re in. Next to each one I have it’s Arabic numeral for what order they occur within their part.

I then have five pages for the official chapter-by-chapter outline. Part one covers a little over a page (ten chapters worth), Part two a little over a page (eleven chapters), and part three not quite a page and a half (eleven chapters). If the math seems wrong, it’s because I’m being rough about it.

I’m still drafting part one, so don’t expect to be hearing about this project again as ready for the next stages any time soon.

After the notes for this novel I then have fifteen pages of notes that I will probably discard and start over on for a fan fiction I promised some friends in the Sherlock fandom. It’s a combining of characters, taking my Sherlock OC and having a bit of a reversal, with her turning out to be Irene Adler. The character list and outline only cover a few of those pages. The rest are my most extensive collection of notes on BDSM practice, positions, methods, and equipment. I do have several collections of notes on this topic, but these are the only notes I know the current location of….

As I said, I will probably restart notes on that story, because I wasn’t happy with how the outline was turning out. I’m going to pare it down and try again. This doesn’t happen to me very often, but I suppose it happens to everyone sometime. It’s the only reason I haven’t removed the notes from the spiral and put them in their own notebook.

Well, that’s all for this week! Stay tuned in a couple of days for more from my bookshelf! We’re finally leaving Shakespeare behind!