What Type of Tattoo Would I Get? My Mom Got One…

I speak with my Mom every week to every two weeks.  Living on opposite sides of the world is hard, but it’s a little bit easier with the invention of Skype and FaceTime, WhatsApp and Apple Messenger, Instagram and Facebook.  Communication is so much easier now than it was when I first moved to New Zealand 20 years ago.

Anyway.  My Mom has been talking about getting a tattoo.  We’ve had this discussion a few times over the last few years: what type of tattoo would she get; where she would get it on her body; how big it would be; and so on.  It was something on her bucket list of things she wanted to do.  And, of course, I love her, so anything she wants to do, I support 100%.

Read What Type of Tattoo Would I Get? My Mom Got One…

My 40 Year Love Affair With Star Trek… Is Over

Anyone who knows me knows my love for Star Trek.

As a child, I remember my parents introducing me to Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, Bones, and the Enterprise, these complex characters and graceful-looking starship soaring from planet to planet.  I think some of the weekly aliens scared me, especially when they flashed them up at the end of the credits.  (Balok, anyone?)


I didn’t understand the cerebral and more thought-provoking parts of the episodes because, as a child, you usually don’t have those parts of your brain developed until you start hitting adulthood.  So it was good to watch as something fun as a kid.

It was one of my introductions to science fiction, and one I will always be grateful to my parents for introducing me to it.

Read My 40 Year Love Affair With Star Trek Is Over

My Writing Journey in 2014

Originally, I was quite an artistic person.  I think everyone who knew me up until about ten years ago could tell you I was always drawing or writing down ideas, doodling, making comics, all sorts of stuff.  My skills weren’t extraordinarily fantastic, but I enjoyed it.

Sadly, when I was young — about 8, I believe — I broke my right hand in several places, and as time has marched on, it has become harder and harder to hold anything (pens, pencils, forks) for long periods of time.  This has meant less and less drawing for me.

Still, I am a creative person, and I started making the shift to writing when, as a freshman Art Major at Northern Illinois University, I realised that I couldn’t keep up with my hand the way it was.  My writing was not exactly excellent in my mind but I have then, and continue to get, quite positive feedback about my skills all together.

In late 2013, after the earthquakes started settling down and I came to terms with the horrors that had unfolded around us (not all made by nature, I might add), I realised that 40 was approaching quickly, and I still had not really written much of anything other than this blog, a few Star Trek fan fiction pieces, and a few scripts for various (and more often than not, failed or defunct) Star Trek productions.

I decided I’d start writing a novel.

Read “My Writing Journey in 2014”

Looking Back on My Life a Year Ago Today

I saw the article in the Christchurch Press about photojournalist Peter Hoffman coming to Christchurch to work on a photojournal about the Canterbury and Christchurch earthquakes and how they affected the people here. Now living in the Chicago region, he’d lived in Christchurch for a little while in 2004, and it beckoned him back, after the quakes.

As a fellow Chicagoan living here, I contacted him via the Press. Noel, Jacqui, Catherine, Suzie, Kerryn and I volunteered to help with the project, which consisted of writing a page of our thoughts in a journal and having our picture taken. Of course, not every image or every story would be shared in such a limited-scope publication as a book.

Read Looking Back on My Life a Year Ago Today

“I Feel So Uninspired…”

Uninspired from http://www.sharnanigans.com

From Bic Runga’s Sway

“It makes me so tired,
I feel so uninspired…”

The last few days, I’ve not quite known what to blog about… again.  We had Waitangi Day, which I covered, but then Thursday rolled around and… My mind went blank.  I did have ideas, but there didn’t seem enough substance or knowledge to cover what I thought I should talk about.

I did dig through some old papers and found a journal from 2002 that I was supposed to keep for my life writing class.  Part of that was a journal I kept on our first ever cruise.  I diligently typed it all out again, all 5,000 words or so of it, and split it into 6 blog entries, with pictures… But I realised these were my thoughts nearly 11 years ago and I’m not quite sure if I ever want to share them with the world.  Maybe I will add them as some sort of “blogs from the past” and date them accurately so they appear in the archives here, so they are in context.  I’m not sure.

I have found lately that, if I don’t think about breaking down tasks into smaller, easier-to-manage tasks, I find them overwhelmingly difficult, and it stresses me out.  My ideas are stale and few-and-far between (and I used to be so creative).  My tendency not to think in manageable, bite-sized chunks is a definite disadvantage, and I think this is having a negative effect on my inspiration.

Pushing that further along, I feel like I’ve had these same, stale ideas for years, notes and notes galore, and I still haven’t pushed myself to do anything about them.  My life lately has gone back to being work-driven because, I guess, that’s one part of my life I feel I have some control over.  Work seems to be the foundation of my life, and the more I think about it, the more I am realizing it shouldn’t be.  I honestly think I need to start taking more of my down time focussing on my writing and my creative side.

Part of this extends to my blog.  What should this be about?  Should it be about my personal life, things that happen from day-to-day?  Or should it be about works I’d like to review?  Or my writing?  A mix of things?  Right now, it seems a mix of things.

Anyway… thanks for listening while I ramble on about this.  If you have any suggestions, or any blogs that might help focus me, I’d appreciate it.  🙂



The Hunt for a Lost Story

Many years ago, I had a great idea for a Star Trek fan fiction series.

It was never meant to be anything huge.  I think I only planned about 6 stories in total (if that), and even fleshed out the first story quite a bit.  This was way back in the day of GeoCities, where my Star Trek: The Cantabrian Expeditions (and later Star Trek: The Prospect Chronicles) was originally hosted.

I learned a lot about HTML and Web design over the years, starting with GeoCities back in 1996.  It’s amazing to think that, 17 years ago, I was living in America and had never been overseas and didn’t even know what HTML was, let alone able to code anything in it.  And here we are, 17 years later, and I have created several Web sites, including my work ones.

Sorry.  I’m digressing again.

So, I came up with this premise, nothing too flash, around 1998 or 1999 I think.  It was called Star Trek: The Guardian Project.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with Star Trek, I’m sure this is going to get a little crazy for you, but I’ll try to explain the premise as simply as possible, highlighting the original story first.

Way back in 1967, during the original Star Trek‘s run, there was an episode called “The City on the Edge of Forever“.  Essentially, the Enterprise encounters a planet emanating a large amount of time distortions.  Dr. McCoy injects himself with a drug that makes him go a bit wacko, and he beams down to the planet.  Captain Kirk, Spock, Scotty, Uhura, and two random redshirts beam down to follow him.  McCoy ends up jumping through a sentient time portal known as the Guardian of Forever, altering Earth’s history.  There’s no more Enterprise in orbit.  It’s up to the away team to set time right again.

(Still following this?)

Actually, I don’t need to tell any more of the story than that.  Basically, the Guardian of Forever is a time portal that someone can use to alter history.  (If you want to read more, visit the Star Trek Wiki article above about the episode or watch it.)  Obviously, when you have a time portal that can alter history, you have a pretty powerful weapon.

My idea was, in Star Trek: The Guardian Project, that one too many problems came from alien races, hostile and friendly, trying to use the Guardian of Forever for their own means that a team was assembled to exclusively protect it.  The Guardian Project dealt with that team and some of their adventures in not only protecting the Guardian but also correcting large errors in the time-line.

(<geekrant>Changes in the time-line, in my version of fan fiction, emits a signal, detectable by various pieces of specialized equipment.  The size of these changes are measured on the Manheim-Hudec scale, much like an earthquake’s magnitude is measured by the moment magnitude scale.</geekrant>)

There were a few Starfleet officers involved, but I also mixed in a few civilians and people with honorary ranks to make the story a bit more interesting.  One was a mercenary, “the best criminal in the galaxy”, while another was a historian specializing in period costumes and could sew up a mean disguise relatively quickly.  (A handy skill to have if you were jumping through time.)

Yet another digression.  Sorry.

For some reason, I’ve felt compelled to find the original Web site and the information on it and retrieve it for my fan fiction wiki.  I’m not quite sure why.  I have tried previously to find it — I believed I had a copy on one of my old Zip or Orb discs — but with the drivers expired, there was really no way to access the discs until recently.

I found some of the old discs, but the ones I can access via Orb drive are lost somewhere or don’t have the data I need.  The Zip drive works via a serial port which I also don’t have (until Noel pointed out an old work computer here at home has one).  So… I’m hoping one of my discs does have that information on it.

Other than that… I can only find four pages of the original scribbles of an idea in an old notebook.  If I could remember the GeoCities address, I might have a chance at finding it archived.  But a Google search finds nothing.

What this whole story means is that we are now so reliant on digital media and software to preserve things for all time that it is so easy to lose those things with a shift in digital storage techniques or file types.  Even one company going under or shifting its focus can bring things crashing to their knees (so to speak).

So… the hunt for a lost story continues.  Here’s hoping that somewhere in cyberspace, or on one of my old discs, I can find that information.

Happy New Year… Nearly a Month Late!

Happy New Year… nearly a month late.

I have to admit that after I posted my Christmas decoration blog, I was facing burn out with all the tasks to complete at work (results, diplomas, international examinations, graduation, et cetera) and once we hit the Christmas break, I vowed I wouldn’t do anything I didn’t want to do and just relax.  It worked pretty much, which, for me, is no small feat.

Christmas came and went too fast for us.  Noel wasn’t well most of the break, so that meant we really didn’t do much.  To be honest, that was fine by me because I spent the time doing stupid silly things like playing Sims 3 (which ended up being more stressful than not because the damned newest expansion pack, Seasons, doesn’t work very well on pretty much everyone’s computers) and being a little creative.

The New Year hit me rather hard.  I admit, I cried.  I was glad to see the end of 2012, which had been such a roller coaster of a year for me, tacked on to the end of 2011 like the false ending of, well, a roller coaster you think is going to stop but it picks up again for another final lot of thrilling and scary spins.  I missed Jenah.  Some of my friendships seem to be getting more and more distant, and it’s hard enough to try to make friends in Christchurch as is.  I was homesick.  But I was finally feeling emotionally slightly better.

2013 arrived, and, at first, it felt no different from 2012.  There was still that apprehension about work with the Targeted Review of Qualifications (TRoQ) and our upcoming External Evaluation and Review (EER), all through NZQA, plus the looming threat of whether we’d get enough students to meet our funding requirements.  No pressure.  No pressure at all.

I don’t know why, but something came over me to say that life is not all about work.  I seem to be going back to that message all the time.  My parents and grandparents instilled in me the value of working hard in the job you are in to be successful, but this wave of longing to expand my horizons, almost to the level of panic, rushed over me.  And then I felt suddenly positive and creative and raring to go with that.

One of the creative ideas I have been toying with is creating my own Star Trek movie using CGI.  I have seen some excellent ones and some not-so-good ones, and it irks me that some of the not-so-good ones act like they are better than Aliens.  I’m not that great with the whole CGI thing but I do have a sharp image in my mind about settings.  It would obviously not involve the characters established in the movies and TV shows, so part of the challenge would be to set up new characters the viewers would care about.  And I was also thinking of cobbling together some of my ideas and characters in my fan fiction universe to accomplish the movie (although only a featured starship, one of the enemies, and a region of space would show up with a few cameos from some of the other characters).  I have been thinking of a good piece of drama.  Sure, there could be a few phaser blasts here or there, but a character drama really is what has made some Star Trek episodes and movies great in the past.  Plus, whoever helps me with the CGI won’t die from establishing too many special effects shots!

Another challenge would be to build up my non-Star Trek writing.  The problem with this has been that I get so bogged down in consistency that I can’t seem to just write something down and worry about the nitty gritty later.  I did have a successful shot at writing a short story for an anthology I wanted to create, although it worries me because the supernatural angle seems to have been done a bit too much.  I want to make it as realistic as possible from several different characters’ viewpoints but hopefully leave the stories ambiguous in the readers’ minds as to whether or not the characters are reading supernatural things into everyday events.  In my mind, this could lead to starting my Masters in Creative Writing in 2014, because I need to have several stories built up in a portfolio before I apply.  The thing that worries me is I feel very devoid of ideas right now.  The same old ideas keep churning over in my head, and I’m trying to distance myself from anything that can be construed as autobiographical or semi-autobiographical to be honest.

Of course, in all this, I’m afraid I won’t do well enough or that the standard I set is too high and I can’t reach it or I’ll just plain burn out or lose interest before I finish.  And the biggest worry is rejection.  But then again, what do I have to lose if I don’t do it?

Just last week, I received some devastating news.  My cousin Greg, who was a year younger than me almost to the day, passed away suddenly.  It has rocked me to the core, and made me more apprehensive about my own destiny and my own life.  If the earthquakes have taught me anything, it’s that you don’t know what’s around the corner.  Do I work my butt off to get these things I listed above done, and hope my work somehow becomes a footnote in history, or do I just drift my aimlessly in life like a boat without a rudder and hope I’m remembered for good reasons when I go?

Yes, 2013 is going to be an interesting year indeed.