Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

03 Sep 2003, 16:04 p.m.

I Am James Van Hise

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2003 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

As a youth I devoured books about Star Trek. The local library held several reference works about Trek by one James Van Hise, the referent of this title. My mom always knew what gifts to give me, and on my thirteenth birthday she gave me The Star Trek Encyclopedia as we sat on an airplane on my birthday. I probably read the whole thing.

Leonard and I watch a heck of a lot of Next Generation and a good bit of Deep Space Nine these days, thanks to TiVo. Leonard is especially fond of Morn (the longfaced silent bargoer in Quark's) and of the way Geordi says "Damn!" It's so earnest. One can easily imagine LeVar Burton saying "Damn!" that exact same way in the middle of a Reading Rainbow. I refer to Gul Dukat as Gul Deceit, and propose that Deanna Troi is not telepathic at all. She is desperately faking it with cold readings ("He's hiding something, Captain. Also, you are about to embark on a long journey") and fearing that she'll be out of a job if discovered.

This is the purpose of watching lots of Star Trek: accumulating in-jokes. The classic example: in an episode of Enterprise, in trying to counter some Vulcan argument about how humans aren't ready to explore space, Archer starts a little speech: "When I was in my early twenties on a trip in East Africa I saw a gazelle giving birth...." And he goes on to compare humanity to that baby gazelle, but at first it seems a complete non sequitur. Now, whenever a character starts some edifying anecdote, one of us pauses the show so we can say, "he saw a gazelle giving birth."

Have I mentioned that TiVo has saved our marriage, er, relationship? Leonard loves to talk while watching TV. He really dislikes one-to-many entertainment where the many are supposed to stay silent (e.g., concerts, stand-up), and loves to comment on what he's experiencing, but I hate missing dialogue. So now he just keeps his finger on the big yellow pause button and he can make me laugh with crazy obscure jokes and Comic Book Guy impressions and then we can continue watching. And if he forgets to pause first, then I give him a reproachful look and hit the rewind-eight-seconds button. Only watching recorded TV is awesome.