Showing 1 - 10 of 16 posts found matching keyword: star trek

Sorry. I was going to write a post on Friday, but I got caught in Internet quicksand as I researched why the dorsal fin was painted blue on the original Star Trek Enterprise model. I know that probably doesn't sound like the sort of thing that should take up hours and hours of time... but it did. And I can only say I'm sorry.

And even since I started typing this, I keep getting distracted looking at U.S.S. Enterprise model kits. I've said it before, but one of these days, I really am going to let myself buy the Polar Lights 1/350 scale kit. Again, sorry.

But I dare you to watch this footage of the original 11-foot model shot for VFX shots in 1966 and not find it fascinating.

If you look carefully at the nacelle dome lighting tests starting at about 1:53, you'll see the blue paint on the leading edge of the interconnecting dorsal fin between the saucer section and the secondary hull. I assume it was never very visible on screen because of the matting process technology available at the time.

And if you don't want to look so carefully, the blue is very visible in the 2016 restoration by the Smithsonian Institution (pictures at

Golly, that's a beautiful ship.

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As I type this, the South Park episode in which Cartman inherits a million dollars and uses it to buy an amusement park (which causes Kyle to lose his faith in God) is on the 33-inch 16:9 ratio flatscreen LCD television beside my computer. According to Wikipedia, that episode, "Cartmanland," first aired on July 25, 2001. That's almost twenty-three years ago!

I distinctly remember watching the broadcast of the debut episode of South Park ("Cartman Gets an Anal Probe") on Comedy Central on basic cable via our communal 24-inch 4:3 ratio CRT TV in the apartment I shared with friends and former classmates Matt and Randy in unincorporated North Druid Hills. Matt had invited our old high school classmate, Tabitha, over for the evening, and she was absolutely appalled by the course humor, which, of course, only made it funnier. That was August 1997, and I was already in my second college.

To put those dates into perspective, I also distinctly remember watching the 20ish-inch wood-paneled TV in our family's basement as channel 46 (on the UHF dial) weatherman Denny Moore, wearing what we would now call Trekker cosplay, hosted a New Year's Eve 1980-something marathon of original Star Trek episodes. Although I'm not entirely sure of the year, I am sure that whatever year it was was definitely prior to The Next Generation being a thing.

The point of that being that in hindsight, there was less time between the date of that rerun marathon and the original broadcast dates of those Star Trek episodes than there has been between between now and 9/11.

Honestly, I'm starting to think that the real difference between the past and the present is that there were barely 3 seasons of Star Trek and South Park has a contract to keep making episodes into its 30th season. The Good Old Days were a very brief time indeed.

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Baby, don't hurt me

"Love is the most important thing on Earth. Especially to a man and a woman."

—Captain James T. Kirk, "Gamesters of Triskelion"

My Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary, Unabridged has eight different definitions for the noun form of love, chief among them "a strong affection or attachment or devotion to a person or persons." That pretty much matches the good captain's use of the word. (I'm sure Kirk also loves the fifth definition: "sexual passion or its gratification," which, you may note, does not require any "person or persons" on this earth or any other).

Maybe I'm devoid of strong passion, but my personal definition of love has always been a little more concrete. So far as I can tell, anything you love is something that you value more than yourself. For most people, that's not a lot of things, if any. (It's no wonder I'm still single after all these years.)

The word gets thrown around a lot (especially by starship captains on the make), but how often is it accurately employed? It's a common trope of art and literature that one lover would be willing to die for another, and I accept that most parents (usually) place their children's interests before their own. But how often do you meet anyone willing to lay down their lives for property? Or strangers? Or a whole society? Or chocolate? Maybe we don't encounter those people often because they don't have long lives.

Conversely, my definition of hate is disliking something enough that you're willing to destroy yourself to destroy it (also a common trope in literature, usually for villains and anti-heroes). I've used that word a lot in my life, but like my use of the word love, it has usually been an exaggeration when all I really want is a word stronger than dislike or disapprove. (Despise? Detest? Disdain?) Rationally I recognize that anything I might hate is rarely actually worth my being sacrificed for it.

Obviously, human beings are not governed by the Three Laws of Robotics, which place the priority of self-preservation dead last, meaning that by my definition, Asimovian robots have a greater capacity for love (and hate) than human beings. I don't know what Mr. Spock would have to say about that, but I'm reasonably certain that Kirk wouldn't hesitate to love a machine, assuming it had enough I/O interfaces.

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In the past 24 hours, I finished the book I've been reading at night, 60 Songs That Explain the '90s (a series of semi-autobiographical essays adapted from a podcast of the same name), the book I've been reading in the bathroom, Easy Riders, Raging Bulls (a very in-depth history of the New Hollywood movement of the 1970s), and the video game I've been playing in between, Deathloop (a stealth action sim set in a repeating time singularity).

I hadn't intended that those endings should so neatly coincide; it just sort of happened. I only comment on it because it is kind of unusual. For example, in the time it has taken me to get through Easy Riders, I also finished the books Three Rocks: The Story of Earnie Bushmiller the Man Who Created Nancy, The Quality [Comics] Companion, and Surely You Can't Be Serious: The True Story of Airplane (as well as the video games Marvel's Midnight Suns, Psychonauts 2, and Portal 2).

And, of course, none of that counts the movies I've been watching and rewatching, including such classics as The Bad News Bears, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, and The Thin Man.

What can I say? I like to stay entertained.

The big question now is what will I be reading next? I've had Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania on my bedside table for months now, but I think I'm going to start These Are the Voyages: TOS Season 1 instead because I always need more classic Star Trek. (Thanks, Cam!)

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My obsession with Captain Kirk's U.S.S. Enterprise continues unabated.

If you're a Star Trek fan who has a large monitor and a mouse with a scroll wheel (or keyboard with PgUp, PdgDn buttons), you might enjoy this page I made for my own amusement:

And if you're not a Star Trek fan, what's wrong with you?

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This summer, I got a new, much bigger monitor. "Much bigger" means that my previous desktop background of several years wasn't going to cut it anymore. So I made myself this:

Yeah, but how many cup holders does it have?
click to embiggen

By which I mean I made the blueprint, not the ship itself. And when I say I made the blueprint, I mean I re-edited a bunch of different images from the 1973 Star Trek Blueprints: the Complete Set of 12 Authentic Blueprints of the Fabulous Starship Enterprise drafted by Franz Joseph and published by Ballantine Books.

So, yeah, I went where someone else had gone before. Fabulously.

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One of those days? One of those months.

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Believe it or not, I listened to the State of the Union speech live last night. Listened. Didn't watch. The difference is amazing.

Listening to him speak, I can understand how a significant portion of the country could believe the current White House occupant as he counted down the many, many ways that he, personally, all by himself, has made America the single greatest country in world history, a greatness that is as strong as he is yet fragile enough that it is in imminent danger of being destroyed by busloads of Mexicans. He genuinely sounded like he believed most of what he said, so why shouldn't we?

Answer: We shouldn't because most of it was made up lies. But if all you ever listened to was him or his echo chamber, you wouldn't know that.

Which reminds me of the Star Trek episode "Plato's Stepchildren," in which the starship Enterprise is being held hostage by an alien dictator who promises to make Dr. McCoy's dreams come true if he's willing to betray his crewmates. The dictator talks a good game, and McCoy is willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good until Captain Kirk points out that the dictator is a vain lying liar. McCoy's mistake was in taking the dictator's own word for how awesome he was and what great plans he had for everyone, if only they could keep the rabble out.

We could all stand to pay a little more attention to Captain Kirk.

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Christmas is over. I have already bought myself the only present I needed.

Damn it, Jim, I'm a doctor not a walkie talkie

Yes, this is a functioning bluetooth-enabled speakerphone.

And no, you'll never talk to me over a normal phone again.


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I hate strongly dislike Diane Sawyer. She's smug and condescending as she delivers the bullet points that ABC News thinks will scare you the most.

Last night, she told me to be afraid of North Korea, rumored to be on the verge of testing another nuclear weapon delivery vehicle. Diane, I stopped worrying about the possibility of global thermonuclear war when Ronald Reagan's policies won the Cold War in 1989.

She followed her first scare with the news that dangerously cold temperatures were, like Sherman, marching south to the sea. Last week, the flu was the unstoppable killer, this week it's frostbite. I don't know about most people, Diane, but I can't worry about more than 1 impending environmental threat at a time, so just tell me if I should buy a flu shot or a blanket. I can't afford both.

Desperate, she sounded the alarm that there is a national shortage of chicken wings available for Super Bowl snacking this year. Diane, I may have been the only one, but I was paying attention last summer when you told me that a killer drought in America's Breadbasket was resulting in record low corn production and we should all expect to starve in coming months. Now you want me to worry about whether Pizza Hut® Wing Streets can stay in business?

I thought that Diane had thrown her worst at me and began to relax. Sensing my weakness, she pounced. In her most chipper voice, she delivered the "good" news: "It was announced today that the creator of Lost, J.J. Abrams, will direct the next Star Wars movie."

In case you didn't know, J.J. Abrams also is in charge of the Star Trek films that have reinvented a classic, beloved, thoughtful science-fiction franchise as a drunken action orgy fit for the idiocracy of the 21st century. I dislike J.J. Abrams more than I dislike Diane Sawyer, and that's saying something.

Congratulations, Diane! You win this round.

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To be continued...


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