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Happy Birthday, Lolmac!

Well, my muse, who has been a bit snippy lately, finally came up with something, resulting in the following conversation:

THOTHMES: Oh.

MUSE: Oh? That's all? Just "Oh"?

THOTHMES: Ummm... Not that I'm not grateful, but you see it's lolmac's birthday. This would have been perfect for fignewton, or maybe aurora_novarum, but -

MUSE: You are soooo whiny and demanding. You asked for a fic. Is this not a fic?

THOTHMES: But lolmac has such a lovely sense of humor that I was hoping that -

MUSE: Look, take it or leave it, but if you think I'm going to keep hanging around working my pen to the nib for someone who doesn't appreciate all I do for her...

THOTHMES: Thank you very much. You've been very helpful. May I have the fic now please?

MUSE: That's better. So long. Next time, even if you can't afford the hekatombs, at least a chicken, okay? Aesculapius gets those alllll the time. He's still crowing over the one from Socrates...

So here you are, lolmac. A fic. Not the funny one I wanted to offer (and Muse doesn't do MacGyver, for unexplained reasons of her own, so that was right out!), but nonetheless fic,to honor all the time you've touched me with your clever sense of humor. May your birthday (what was and what's left of it) be joyous and a chance to fill the batteries with energy of laughter for all the adventures yet to come!

Title: Touching
Season: After Atlantis Season 5
Warnings: None. Gen. Clean. Well, maybe if 'ya didn't know they went to -595, and feel horribly spoiled now...
Synopsis: Carter's the one in command now, but being Carter, she can't help thinking...
Disclaimer: Like all my fanfics, I'm not making money, I don't stake claims to the characters, but I love to mess with 'em. Don't worry, I'll put 'em back all nice and clean.



Touching


Sam Carter stood up from the command chair on the Hammond, and began pacing, her arms wrapped tightly around her torso. All three of the SGC's generals had told her, at one time or another that it was always the waiting that was the hardest part, and although she had believed them wholeheartedly at the time, now she was beginning to understand viscerally. There was nothing to do, and would be nothing to do until the tech crew took the measurements and made the transmissions compatible with the local technology, and then and only then would she be able to begin to negotiate for the release of her missing crew members. Westerholm's suggestion that they forgo the video exchange, and do this all by radio had merit. It would be faster, but Sam remembered Daniel's lectures on the importance of body language in negotiations, and she wanted every bit of advantage she could get. Negotiations were Daniel's strength, not hers, but she was the captain, they wanted the person in charge, and that was her. Not for the first time, she missed her team.

Two paces left, turn, two paces right, turn. Two paces left, turn, two paces right, turn...

Speaking of Daniel and body language, why had she suddenly adopted his? She could see him in a thousand stressful situations, doing what she did now, hugging himself as he paced and planned the words he would use. Was it because she wanted to draw on his skills? It was not a posture of strength. She deliberately dropped her hands to her side, and swung them, taking care not to be careless and touch either of the crew members seated before her as she passed them. The urge to curl her arms up again was strong.

Then it came to her. She knew why she wanted to wrap arms around herself.

On -595, when the natives had appeared rising from the forest undergrowth like Tok'ra from the sand, everyone had raised weapons, and not knowing yet (this was, after all their very first trip through the gate after the unsuccessful attempt to rescue Sha're and Skaa'ra from Chulak) whether they could make themselves understood, the Colonel had told Daniel, "Do your thing, Daniel. Tell 'em we come in peace!" and sent him forward with a pat on the shoulder. He did the same thing with her when he would send her to talk tech with the locals or explain the gathering of samples. A subtle near-push to the small of her back to send her on her way. His way of saying "Go ahead. I've got your back."

Teal'c got a handshake. Less the valedictory of a superior, and more the parting of equals. But then Teal'c had put in enough years as a warrior to earn retirement with full pension in the USAF before the Colonel - the General now - was out of diapers. Teal'c accepted Jack O'Neill's command, and the airman returned trust with trust, holding the reins of command lightly in his hands.

She'd forged her commandatorial style from the things she'd learned from Jack O'Neill and George Hammond, and when she had commanded SG-1 she could remember now sending Daniel forth with a soft hand to his forearm. When she herself had been the one to speak up, Teal'c was always there, by her side or just behind, the massive gravity of his presence as tactile and present as if he were actually touching her. Indeed (she smiled here at unconsciously using his favorite word) if things got tense, he usually had her back so closely that she could feel the heat of him through her BDU.

She hadn't noticed during her command on Atlantis, perhaps because the city was vast, airy, and (for the most part) light, and in her work she was generally surrounded by friendlies, not foes, but here in the cramped quarters of the ship the unwritten rule was obvious. No one touches the leader. How many times had she seen Jack O'Neill stiffen and recoil from the touch of someone like Felger who was blind to the social niceties of body language and dominance? She'd recoiled like that herself, and in the restricted space of the ship she could remember a few times a crew member had performed a bit of a dance to clear out of her way. There would be no one here to steady her and send her on her way with a touch.

Two paces left, turn, two paces right, turn. Two paces left, turn, two paces right, turn...

She looked down at herself, arms hugged to her chest...

Oh, for crying out loud!

"Uhhhh..., Ma'am?"

"Yes?"

"That tune?"

"Yes"

"When I think of you, I touch myself?"

Blushing. Dammit! I'm blushing!

[*ahem*] "Ear worm, lieutenant. The only way to get rid of them that I know is to sing ... ah...hum it out."

"Yes, Ma'am. I understand, Ma'am."

Whew! Dodged that one!

Then she sent her arms to her sides and straightened her posture, stepping unconsciously into parade rest, as Sgt. Morrison let her know the link was up, and the negotiations began.

Comments

rdamel
Jan. 16th, 2011 04:05 am (UTC)
I was amused when I heard that RDA commentary, too, but I think part of why MS and the others got tired of being touched by RDA (I doubt if I would!!) was that it wasn't a touch as much as it was a little slap, usually on the shoulder. As in, "OK, Daniel?" Tap, tap on the shoulder. And he did it a lot, as we then noticed during that commentary.
thothmes
Jan. 16th, 2011 05:01 am (UTC)
I've also read an interview with RDA here where he said "It's a basic playfulness on my part that if you want to get to know somebody, you might as well touch them first. That requires a lot of self-confidence - or obnoxiousness. If my aggressiveness turns somebody off, then I respect their right to privacy or whatever reasons they don't want to be touched." Granted, he was only 27 at the time, and in his second year of General Hospital, so he may have changed his opinions on the subject greatly between that interview and his fifties when the commentary was done, but to me it indicates that he is somebody who is perfectly capable of dominating through touch, although he's well-meaning enough to stop if he finds he is making the other party uncomfortable.

I'm a person who instinctively stiffens if someone hugs me, and then I will soften and lean into it. Exceptions to this rule (the only ones) are my husband and my four kids, who usually get a free pass to the safe zone. But even with them, if I didn't see it coming, because I was concentrating or they launch from behind I sometimes stiffen up. Both my parents and one of my children do this too, so I suspect it's more wiring than psychology.

For all I know MS is simply wired like me.

What I said above was simply the way I read the body language. What do I know? I'm just somebody sitting at home on this side of a TV screen.

rdamel
Jan. 16th, 2011 03:06 pm (UTC)
Interesting. I thought I'd read all the archived interviews at KateR's site, but I don't really recall this one (then again, the early ones are less interesting to me than his MacGyver years and onward from there. I fell in love with Jack, backtracked to find and watch Mac, loved him too, but not quite as much, and some of RDA's early work that I've seen is rather embarrassing--I'd not have fallen for him in those years!)

When I read this interview, though, what I noted was that he was talking about women, just before the part that you quote. And I wonder if he meant the touching as generalized, or more specifically, as touching women? I can't tell for sure from the interview, and of course all sorts of things actors say are often taken out of context by the person writing the interview. So I tend to take all written interviews with a grain of salt, whereas if I actually see the interview and can therefore see their expressions, it's different.

I read a fan article from having gotten to see him do a Vickie interview in Canada, it'd have been about s. 6 of SG1, I think. And the fan said that he was gracious to fans as long as they did not touch him, but when someone did, you could see the barbs and "Do Not Touch Me" vibes come up immediately. I found that interesting when I read it, more so as I think about what you are saying here.

More in a bit.
Melissa M.
rdamel
Jan. 16th, 2011 04:17 pm (UTC)
I've tried and failed to find the fan article I was thinking of. I did remember it was "Pink Khaki" and when I try that, I get one of those "no longer here" domain things. Can't even find it on the Wayback machine, so I'll just have to go by my (unreliable) memory, which was that this fan had seen him do the Vicki Gabereau talk show in Canada (would have been around 2000, or thereabouts) and she found him interesting to watch, particularly in how he reacted when some (male, I think) fan touched him.

I came late to my RDA interest, so, thanks to KateR, there were a great many articles and other interviews with him over the years, that gave me some insight into him as a human being.

I think he was unintentionally quite the male chauvinist/dog till about the time Wylie entered his life and he's changed since then.

One thing that interested me was early Amanda Tapping interviews. She talks of getting chosen for the Sam Carter part and how RDA called her "Babe" then asked if that was OK, and she said "sure, as long as I can call you Dick." Which I thought was a great response and hopefully brought him up short.

On touching in general, I'm one who does not encourage touching by just anyone. Close friends and family, fine, though that's actually pretty rare, too, except from my husband. In his large nuclear family, there was little touching. In mine, more so (always hugged and kissed the grandparents, aunts and uncles, etc.). Now that I'm 59, childfree by choice, I've noticed over the years that we tend to be a child-oriented family and there are many hugs and cuddling of the younger generation (and my nephew now has a 5 year old--we love hugging and cuddling with her when we get the chance), with the adults, it's more "hi and bye" hugs only. Some folks are tactile, some are just not.

Melissa M.
thothmes
Jan. 16th, 2011 05:32 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I noted the context of that quotation too. I've been interviewed by our local paper in connection with some of the volunteer work I've done, and I am all too aware of how what one says in an interview is chopped up and re-arranged and sometimes even made incorrect (for instance they said I was raised in New York City. No. Just no. I was born there, but moved out to grow up in suburban Philly, suburban New York, and Vermont before I was one!). So I too thought that the context of the quote was interesting, but I didn't want to read too much into it and misrepresent him.
rdamel
Jan. 16th, 2011 08:13 pm (UTC)
It's hard to say for sure what he actually meant, there, but my guess is he was talking about touching women. And I imagine that he got away with a lot in that area because he was attractive and probably very charming.
rdamel
Jan. 16th, 2011 04:32 pm (UTC)
The touching as dominance, as displayed by Jack (RDA) at least in early SG1 is one I'd not thought much about, till I heard that CotG commentary. Though I think I'd also read that fans thought that there was a fair amount of hugging/body closeness between Jack and Daniel (last scenes in Need, "Space Monkey" when they thought Daniel was dead, etc.) until the actors (or at least RDA) learned about fans slashing the characters, at which point it cut way back, as he found that idea offputting.

When I heard the commentary, and RDA and BW chuckling about the other actors' reaction to his touching "I'd go tap, tap--they got so they hated it and would move out of the way when they saw me coming", it did make me think about the touching aspect more.

And I also remember a rather illuminating comment by Christopher Judge in one of those behind the scenes extras. He said that he and RDA were both very alpha male and so "basically we didn't talk for the first 2 years." (which is kind of surprising, given a number of good and affecting scenes between their characters--Message in a Bottle, for instance). Then he said one day when they were driving to a location, they talked of their children, probably soon after RDA had Wylie and they both ended up "bawling like babies". So they bonded over fatherhood.

There's also a later season "Extra" where RDA is asked to talk of his fellow actors, and I found it interesting that he clearly liked working with MS as an actor (Michael is there to race. We have good rhythms together as actors (paraphrasing). But I got no "I like him as a person" vibe, as I did with the others. So it's possible they like each other as actors, perhaps less so as people and that RDA, intentionally or not, did indeed use his form of touching to be the "alpha" in that group--which of course he was anyway as the "star" and being so much older than they were.

And wow, is all this far more than you wanted to know of my thoughts!!

Melissa M.
thothmes
Jan. 16th, 2011 05:22 pm (UTC)
Nah. Definitely not T.M.I. as far as I am concerned. I rather get the impression that RDA is indeed an alpha type (Christopher Judge's commentary on Abyss "Michael's probably the best pure actor I know, and Rick is... an old man who doesn't like to lose" - or words to that effect, I haven't watched the commentary since I first got the disks, so this is definitely a paraphrase - in the context of why he likes watching the MS/RDA sequences in Abyss), and being the most established "name" actor, an executive producer, and with his name above the title gives him a lot of clout on the set.

There was a very telling interview with a guy who worked wardrobe on set, who was asked about where people could get various wardrobe items (Jack's bugaboo glacier glasses, etc.). One of the items he was asked about was Jack's green ball cap. He named the Canadian firm that supplies them and said that there was a funny story about that. For a while Jack's green hat was an "out of print" item. They no longer made them in quite the right shade, although later in the run they started making them again. During the drought the wardrobe folks resorted to coloring in the parts where the fabric had worn through with a closely matched felt-tip pen to hide the wear and tear for the camera. After one scene, a shot in the gate room, as soon as the director yelled cut, RDA took off the cap and flung it at the person who would be the one to collect it from him. He missed, and the cap went flying into a trash bin. There was a moment of stunned silence, with cast and crew goggle-eyed, until RDA began to laugh, and then everyone else joined in and it became a moment of hilarity.

One of my daughter's co-workers was at Ohio State with RDA. He says he was a really nice guy. Not - at that time, when he was still partying pretty hard - a capital of common sense, but sweet and nice. I kinda get the impression that he's not someone who throws his weight around, but is at the same time aware of it, and not averse to having it honored. A rather cheerful and benevolent dictator who enjoys a good laugh.
rdamel
Jan. 16th, 2011 08:06 pm (UTC)
I've watched all the commentaries, extras, etc., some more than once and I remember that Abyss commentary. When I first heard it, I was rather offended for RDA (I like all the actors, the "team", but Jack/RDA is still my favorite) as Chris Judge seemed to be saying he was not as good as MS. On the other hand, I think RDA probably is not as good an actor as MS, but he's also had a much better, fuller career (MS deserves a lot more--he either has a bad agent, or much worse luck than RDA has had over the years). But after listening to it again, I think what Chris was trying to say was that MS is great, and RDA was not going to be shown up by him in that intense scene. I just got out my dvd and found that part. CJ describes MS as a consummate actor, etc, and then says: "and Rick's a stubborn old man who refuses to look bad, so he's going to put his game in gear."

Also in that commentary, of course, was the director, Martin Wood, saying that he was not getting what he wanted from either actor the first day they did it and he literally stopped production and sent them home. They came in on the Monday and nailed it (and boy, did they ever--I don't watch Abyss much, unlike many other SG1 episodes, it's too painful). Of course that was also in MS's "off" year, he hadn't been playing Daniel for some time, so he was maybe off in his "rhythms" as RDA so often words it, as much as RDA was because he wanted to go home to Wylie.

I've now watched the commentary for all of their "intense" scenes and it's enlightening. Go get out your disk and watch/listen to it again. The later intense scene between the two of them, Martin Wood says "this is the best scene I've seen with these guys in 6 years." And then he and CJ discuss RDA's acting ability and how much better he is than he gives himself credit for, particularly when he isn't coasting on his personality, but really invests himself in a scene. It's interesting--go watch that again when you get a minute.

I also really think RDA was probably the "benevolent dictator" type of successful actor. He's good, he's successful, he probably likes that acknowledged, yet he also really wanted to enjoy himself at work and he knew that others needed to be enjoying themselves on set, too, for that to happen.

AT had some comments about him on extras, occasionally. One was that there was no big ego with them "and there was so much opportunity for him to be that way", but he wasn't. Also, said in her outfit for Ascension in early s. 5, she said that she had seen him in the parking lot just as they all came back from hiatus and for a minute he took her breath away, that working with him daily she forgets what a "damn handsome man" he is and seeing him unexpectedly brought it all home again. She must have an incredibly un-jealous husband, as I've seen RDA kissing and "handling" her behind the scenes and I'd not appreciate that at all if I was married to her. She's apparently lucky with both home and work life!

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A Few Words from the Wise

Speak to him, for there is none born wise.

-The Maxims of Ptahotep

~~~~~~~~~~


In mourning or rejoicing, be not far from me.

- an Ancient Egyptian Love Song

~~~~~~~~~~


But your embraces
alone give life to my heart
may Amun give me what I have found
for all eternity.


-Love Songs of the New Kingdom, Song #2

~~~~~~~~~~


To Know the Dark


To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.
To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight,
and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,
and is travelled by dark feet and dark wings.


-Wendell Berry

~~~~~~~~~~


Up in the morning's no for me,
Up in the morning early;
When a' the hills are covered wi' snaw,
I'm sure it's winter fairly.

-Robert Burns

~~~~~~~~~~


Visit to the Hermit Ts'ui


Moss covered paths between scarlet peonies,
Pale jade mountains fill your rustic windows.
I envy you, drunk with flowers,
Butterflies swirling in your dreams.


-Ch'ien Ch'i

~~~~~~~~~~


Mistress of high achievement, O lady Truth,
do not let my understanding stumble
across some jagged falsehood.


-Pindar

~~~~~~~~~~


Every Gaudy colour
Is a bit of truth.


-Nathalia Crane

~~~~~~~~~~


I counted two-and-twenty stenches,
All well defined, and several stinks.


-Samuel Coleridge

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