Dreams of a Starfleet World


I’ve written a few different entries in the past week or so that I ultimately didn’t put up. The content included:

-watching Chrissy Teigen’s “73 questions” video and feeling bad for/about myself

-two friends moving away and how that makes me sad

These are finished entries and who knows maybe I’ll put them up someday. I overanalyze and overanalyze things that I write, sometimes to the point of madness. And eventually, I either get to a point of damp satisfaction or I decide that it’s complete rubbish and delete it. So these works, along with so many others that I’ve created and abandoned, are sitting in some sort of digital purgatory.

So here I go, starting another entry; this time on something I’ve wanted to write about for a long time. Dun Dun Duuuuunnnnn. Star Trek. (raised hands emoji)

If you really want to get to the core of me,  you’ll need to know that I think the basic problem with humanity is that we aren’t more like Starfleet. That is it, in one neat little intergalactic package. That is my politics.

I’m gonna nerd out about Star Trek now, so hopefully, you’ve seen it and love it as deeply and steadfastly as I do. If you haven’t seen it because you aren’t ‘into science fiction’ or something lame: stop. It’s so much bigger than that. Cue: *you don’t even know* in a muffled whisper. I love it, seriously. And I think if we lived in the world Gene Roddenberry imagined, we’d be better off.

Couple background things:

-I was in college by the time I’d seen my first Star Trek episode. Star Trek: TNG was (and still is) streaming on Netflix, and my favourite mister Todd introduced me

-I have never seen the original series, mainly because I think William Shatner is a giant douchebag

-If I could be any character I would probably be Guinan from TNG or Kes from Voyager

So Starfleet is an organization of spacefarers. They are governed by standards, aka the Prime Directive. Everyone on the ship is assigned a rank and a role depending on their field of study/interest (a purpose, if you will), and their ultimate goal is to “seek out new life and new civilizations”. TO BOLDLY GO WHERE…sorry, sorry. Reigning it in.

As a member of Starfleet, your entire existence is based on the quest for knowledge and awareness, to discover and encounter new things. Your background and appearance are irrelevant; what comes into focus instead is whether or not you can perform the job. Oh yeah, and there’s no money.

If you asked me to list the major problems that I think exist within our society, I would tell you I firmly believe that it’s all rooted in greed. Celebrity culture, consumerism, poverty…the list goes on. It’s all greed in some form.

We also measure our success by things while worshiping false idols (and I mean that in the most secular sense) and our worth by our appearance. It’s really discouraging to see when we could be using our time so differently. 

I’m one of those dreamers who thinks that all of humanity could all band together and solve anything if it was so inclined. If we all worked together. If we put our energies into believing not that the world is terrible but that something greater is possible.

It’s that story about the people in hell or whatever trying to feed themselves with long sticks while the people in heaven are just feeding each other. We’re moving further away from one another. The world is so fast and scary. What can we do?

I don’t know, but it’s something I’ll continue to ponder.







Lauren Plays Jane


One of my favorite things that I did in college was write movie reviews for the student paper. I love watching movies, so writing about them was like ‘ok yes’. Without sounding too highfalutin, I do believe film is one of the greatest tools we have as humans to connect. The experience of watching a movie can be downright soul-crushing or completely entrancing, and that is very intimate. I think back on certain movies, and I not only remember watching them, the positive or negative impression it made on me, but usually the person sitting beside me is just as paramount to the memory.

I have always wanted to do something in film but never trusted myself enough to dip a toe in. I’m sure I would have loved acting, or even something on the technical/ production side, but I guess I never truly considered it a possibility. It seemed too risky, and despite how much I wish I were, I’m not a risk-taker. I love to write though. In the last year, I have tried my best to teach myself screenwriting. I bought the FinalDraft software and a dear co-worker recommended a great manual. I’m such a rookie, and I’m sure the formatting isn’t 100% perfect, but I’m ready to learn.

I’m struggling through two scripts right now. They started out as one idea, but I think there were actually two story lines dueling for attention. I want to create something meaningful, but I’ll be honest — I haven’t touched either of them in probably two or more months. I feel like I should shout ‘onwards’ or something, but eh. It is what it is.

So I just watched this movie — it’s called Kate Plays Christine. It had a lot of things I appreciated and some things that made me scratch my noggin’ in a bad way. The documentary stars Kate Sheil, who I recognized from ‘House of Cards’ (she’s Rachel’s former lover). In this movie, she’s her actual self — cute, edgy bob with bangs, pixie legs and short jean shorts. It’s basically her real-life journey getting into the mind of Christine Chubbuck, a news reporter who shot herself on live air in 1974.

Kate is playing her but only for the purposes of this film. As in there is no separate film, it’s just the footage that plays throughout. She wants to give the character of Christine depth, an authentic representation. It seems to me that the only things she finds to connect on, though, are that she’s a 31-year old unmarried woman (to Christine’s 29) and her anxiety overwhelms her. She seems amazed by these similarities, which is baffling to me because there are so many of us in that camp. Howdy.

The video of Christine’s suicide has supposedly been lost or destroyed, so she’s forced into the periphery of Christine’s life. She interviews anyone that is still alive and remembers Christine. She also does things like get a spray tan and brown contacts (oh, and a really, really bad wig). Some of it gets to be a little bit much. Christine’s mom had apparently said that she thought Christine would have chosen to drown herself instead since she loves water, and there’s this scene where Kate literally demonstrates that possible eventuality. She flops into the water despondently, her bad black wig falling off every two seconds. Not gonna lie, it’s pretty odd.

Actress Kate keeps saying how much she needs to find out everything about Christine, when there’s only a few vague internet stories about her. And interviews with peers all say the same: Christine was a woman who struggled with depression, who had recently been romantically rejected by a co-worker, and who wasn’t satisfied with her treatment at work. But Kate keeps digging and digging, hoping to play detective and find something more sexy. And to me, that’s where it fell apart. Because she’s then forced to fill in what she doesn’t have with ‘cool’, offbeat visuals and her own struggle to bring Christine to life. And IMHO, it just ends up coming across as self-indulgent.

I really liked Kate when she talked about suicide. When she thinks about it, it scares her, she says. It terrifies her to think about something so awful, and I kinda feel the same way. There isn’t anything larger than death. There are times where I’ve thought about suicide but almost always it floats by and out. Like if I’m really down about something, and I’m located near something potentially life-threatening (a kitchen knife, for example), I might think, what if? I have never thought in terms of specifics. Kate taps into this, and I felt our wavelengths come together. She’s scared about the finality of being dead, and I am too. A beautiful moment happens when the woman hired to play Kate’s mother (Christine’s mother) talks about caring for her terminally-ill husband. She says she’d rather have a really shitty day than no day. Yup.

There’s this character I’ve written about before who is basically me (shocking, I know). I’ve said that sometimes I wish I had a different name, something more intriguing perhaps. Like maybe Shea or Melania. KIDDING. Something like Genevieve or Eleanor. A name that begs more attention than ‘Lauren’. Every 80s baby is named Lauren. But I’ve also always liked the name Jane. And how much plainer do they come than Jane? I went with Jane. Jane gets my vibe.

Kate’s trying to play this character (Christine). And I’m trying to infuse myself into this character (Jane). We’re both attempting, sometimes unsuccessfully, to hone our crafts. I appreciated the structure on that level. I really enjoy meta things, and all of the meta things were not lost on me. But I also felt like Kate didn’t really convince me that this was about anything other than her own self interest. She whines that there’s not enough material on Christine, but then sorry (newflash), there wasn’t enough material to make a movie about Kate playing Christine. It feels weak and forced, in that sense.

I’m bad at conclusions, but I did kind of like it. I didn’t love it like I thought I would during the first 30 minutes, and that made me a little sad. But I also don’t consider it time lost. If you’re looking for something a little more clear cut, my thumb would probably be at a 60 degree angle.

Movie recommendations, ahoy!