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Posts Tagged ‘Star Trek’

Lizard Poisons Spock

November 18th, 2008 No comments

After last night’s episode, I think that I’m going to be adding CBS’ The Big Bang Theory to my not-a-TiVo queue. I’d largely avoided it during its first season, but it’s winning me over. It’s the accurate geek references that put it over the top.

Exhibit A: “I am not going to watch the Clone Wars TV series until I’ve seen the Clone Wars movie. I prefer to let George Lucas disappoint me in the order he intended.”

Exhibit B: A lengthy argument over which movie sucked more: Star Trek: The Motion Picture or Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.

(I did take issue with Sheldon’s contention that only parts of STV sucked while everything about ST:TMP was uniformly awful, including the music. Dude, that’s Jerry Goldsmith you’re dissing there. Besides, I believe that Sheldon would’ve appreciated the ST:TMP score for introducing what eventually became the main title theme of Star Trek: The Next Generation. I tried explaining this all to Vic, who told me that it was just a sitcom.*)

Exhibit C: The gang’s expansion of Rock-Paper-Scissors with the inclusion of Lizard and Spock.

  • Scissors cuts Paper
  • Paper covers Rock
  • Rock crushes Lizard
  • Lizard poisons Spock
  • Spock smashes Scissors
  • Scissors decapitates Lizard
  • Lizard eats Paper
  • Paper disproves Spock
  • Spock vaporizes Rock
  • Rock crushes Scissors

My favorite: “Paper disproves Spock.”

* I would further argue that Sheldon himself would nitpick the point if he’d heard it on another sitcom.

Update: Okay, turns out that Lizard and Spock have been around for a while.

Space…Ah, You Know The Rest

November 17th, 2008 No comments

The new trailer for next year’s Star Trek feature film is online. I’m guardedly optimistic. Love the new/old costume and starship designs. Unfortunately, the trailer is so freakin’ rapid-fire that it’s hard to get any read on the performances.

Still, it’s an attempt to make Trek relevant again, and I’m all for that.

Categories: Sci-Fi Tags: ,

Yes, Oh Yes

October 16th, 2008 No comments

The first photo of the new Star Trek film cast in costume on the bridge of the U.S.S. Enterprise.

Fuck, yeah.

Categories: Sci-Fi Tags: ,

Sad Day On The Final Frontier

September 1st, 2008 No comments

Star Trek: The Experience, the long-running museum/attraction/bar at the Las Vegas Hilton, closes for good today. Too bad; it was a lot of fun and the new movie is arriving next year to reinvigorate the franchise.

In tribute, I invite you to revisit my photo gallery from my 2005 Vegas trip, which features extensive coverage of the Experience. I’d like to draw your attention to the photo on the bottom right of the gallery, in which I am silly drunk–after a single “James Tea Kirk” (the smoking, globular drink seen just to the left)–and getting friendly with a Ferengi.

Categories: Sci-Fi Tags: , , ,

It Is A Silly Place

April 25th, 2008 No comments

What troubles me most about the following Star Trek/Monty Python mash-up is how little modification was necessary to make Kirk and Co. look like silly k-nig-its.

Submitted Without Comment

October 11th, 2007 No comments

Panel from Star Trek #39, published 1976 by Gold Key.

Categories: Comics Tags: , ,

The Voyage Home

April 15th, 2005 No comments

I generally hate air travel, mostly because I hate the stress of making connections, waiting out delays and lugging heavy bags from one end of O’Hare to the other. Thankfully, my trip to and from Vegas was almost completely uneventful. On the way back to Chicago, American did stick me in the next-to-last row–looking out at the rear engine–but moved me up to the front after I mentioned my short time window between connections.

Since I got back, I’ve been able to do little more than climb back into my groove, though I did manage to put together a photo album of Vegas (mostly of the Star Trek Experience. Haven’t had time to come up with pithy captions, so I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves for now. However, I will say that if you want to see what I look like drunk, check out the photo of me and the Ferengi.

Click on the James Tea Kirk to see the gallery!

Whatever Happens In Vegas, Stays In This Blog

April 10th, 2005 No comments

This entry is coming to you direct from the floor of the PBS Showcase conference at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. This is an annual meeting for public television professionals at which we preview the new fall season and open ourselves to gladhanding by various program producers eager to gain carriage on our local stations. There really is no such as a free lunch.

I was thrilled when I heard that the meeting would be in Vegas this year. I haven’t been here since I was a kid, and it was a vastly different environment then. For minors, Vegas meant either going to Circus Circus (which had an arcade and aerial acts) or staying in the hotel room.

Sin City is barely recognizable these days, more of an adult Disneyland with roller coasters, a full-size pirate ship that is sunk four times a night, and, of course, the Starship Enterprise. While there’s still some vestige of the old Vegas on the strip–the places which offer steak and lobster buffets for $7.95 just to get you into the casino–most of the places I saw were very, very expensive. One of my fellow program directors and I visited New York, New York (a massive complex which incorporates replicas of several Big Apple landmarks) this morning, intending to dare the roller coaster, only to learn that it was $12.50 a ride!

I did, however, partake of the Star Trek Experience at the Hilton. I’d been wanting to go for years, so as soon as I checked in yesterday, I made a beeline for Geek Central. The Hilton’s on the other end of the Strip, so I took the monorail. (Thanks to The Simpsons, I am now incapable of riding a monorail without thinking “Monorail, monorail, monorail…”)

It was an enjoyable experience, and while I don’t know that I would do it again anytime soon, I’m glad that I went. The themed area includes shops styled after the Deep Space Nine Promenade, as well as a reproduction of Quark’s bar. For $35, one could have a day’s access to the “Museum of the Future,” a surpisingly compehensive display of Trek costumes and props, as well as two rides: “Klingon Encounter,” a combination live show and motion simulator, and “Borg Invasion 4-D,” a 3-D movie with some live elements.

I thought that the Klingon show was the better of the two. Guests start off in a traditional queue area, watching the usual “pregnant women should not ride” video. Suddenly, the video breaks up, the lights go out and everyone finds themselves on the Enterprise-D’s transporter pad. It was an excellent effect. There are costumed extras who set up the plot and lead the throng through a replica of the Bridge and a Turbolift (which shakes under enemy fire) before boarding the shuttle, a disguised motion simulator similar to Universal’s Back to the Future ride.

The other show started off in a similar fashion, with the guests visiting Copernicus Station, a research facility that finds itself under attack by a Borg Cube. Again, there’s some live action hijinks as the Starfleet extras are assimilated by Borg drones, and again, we wound up in a “shuttle,” which in this case was a 3-D movie theatre with some rigged special effects designed to make viewers a part of the action.

I hadn’t eaten much before arriving in Vegas, so after trying the Klingon ride, I sat down at Quark’s. I had the “Warbird,” a chicken breast dish that was pretty good. It was the rest of my order that caused the problem.

I had seen various patrons of Quark’s drinking out of large, globular glasses filled with smoking blue or green liquid, and I said, “I have to have one of those.” I wound up with something called the “James Tea Kirk,” which is apparently analogous to a Long Island Iced Tea. I have never previously had one, but dammit if I was going to Quark’s bar and not have a weird-looking, smoking drink.

Now, I know that I can’t hold my liquor, especially when I haven’t had much to eat, so I tried to pace myself. It didn’t help. Halfway into the Globe of Death, I was seriously buzzed, which I can tell you is a strange experience when one has the Enterprise-D overhead and Klingons, Ferengi and Borg visiting the tables. I managed to finish the thing (it was very good), but by that time, James Tea Kirk was having his way with me, and I was literally knocking things over on my way out of the restaurant. I’m amazed that I didn’t destroy half of the gift shop.

After spending a few hours indulging my Trekkiness–and shaking off the advances of Captain Kirk–I decided to walk back to the MGM Grand. It was a good idea, sort of: it was great to get a look at everything up close, but the scale of everything there is so huge that everything looks much closer than it actually is. It took me until 11:00 pm (1:00 am Central Time) to finally collapse in a pile in my hotel room. A little too much fun!

I’ve been taking lots of photos, but have no way of uploading them from here. Hopefully, I’ll have lots of Vegas/Trekkie geekness to show soon!

Categories: General Tags: , ,

Freeze Frame

February 14th, 2005 No comments

Ever since I bought a computer with a DVD drive, I’ve wanted to use it to capture still frames from movies and TV shows. (For strictly legitimate reasons having nothing to do with creating wallpapers of Elizabeth Hurley.) However, some arcane quirk known only to tech heads and leprechauns prevents the “print screen” button from grabbing anything other than total blackness. Granted, I could pretend I’m looking at a photo of Elizabeth Hurley at the center of the Earth, but then it really wouldn’t be serving its purpose.

Now, I know that a number of software products work around this restriction, but they share one annoying problem: they all cost money, and I’ve grown very accustomed to freeware. (I’m not at all averse to spending money–my wife can vouch for that–but it’s just that I’d rather put it where it’ll do the most good.)

Yesterday, I finally found a temporary solution: a DVD player called PowerDVD which comes in a fully functional trial version. I happily frittered away the evening grabbing nifty screen shots (none of which, as it happens, featured a certain Ms. Hurley).

I wanted to share a couple I derived from a large stack of Star Trek (the original, accept no substitute) DVDs. While I mostly went after pictures of starships, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to capture one of my favorite Trek characters: Caffeinated Spock.

What casual Trek viewers may not know is that the character of Mr. Spock was not always the stoic, look-at-me-I’m-so-logical dude that Dr. McCoy wanted to bludgeon to death. In the show’s pilot episode, “The Cage,” he was quite excitable, something I attribute to a caffeine addiction. He spent his time on Talos IV shouting, smiling and generally overacting.

Here’s an example: Spock grooves to the weird sound made by an alien plant. Seriously, he’s really into the foliage.

And here’s one of my favorite moments from “The Cage.” Spock is about to beam down with a landing party to search for Captain Pike, who has been kidnapped by the telepathic Talosians in hopes of breeding humans for their mental amusement. However, the Talosians have manipulated things so that only the female members transport to the surface, causing Spock to shout…

“The Women!”

I’ll bet that the other Vulcans kidded him about that for years. “Hey, Spock-O, remember that time when you were hopped up on cappuccino, and you got all freaky because the aliens grabbed your ladies?”

Spock would say “Fascinating,” but under his breath, he’d be muttering Vulcan obscenities regarding a sehlat and someone’s mother. That Spock, he just can’t take a joke.

Categories: General Tags: , ,

A Very Pop Culture Christmas

December 3rd, 2004 No comments

Last night, we finally got our Christmas tree set up. Vic would just as soon do without the hassle of decorating for the holiday, though she seems to enjoy the display once it’s done. As for me, it’s one area in which I’m not willing to compromise.

The funny thing is that this year I didn’t decorate at all for Halloween, a holiday I actually prefer to the Yuletide. In that case, my usual zeal for turning my front yard into a graveyard was dampened two years ago when some of my decorations were stolen, and even more so last year when we only got a handful of trick-or-treaters. This Halloween, the kid count was a good bit higher, but it was too late and I felt that I’d let myself down. Therefore, Christmas is where I draw the line. I want a big (artificial) tree in my living room, no matter how much of a pain in the ass it is to set up.

Of course, my desire for a decorated Christmas is even more ironic given that I consider myself agnostic. I acknowledge that Christmas is ostensibly about Christ, and I wouldn’t object to setting up a manger scene if I had one, but you’d be hard-pressed to find “the reason for the season” in my living room. He might be in there somewhere, but he’d be hard to find amidst the secular trappings.

It amazes even me just how much of my Christmas holiday is built around the accumulated pop culture of the last century. In addition to the various Santas and the army of snowmen, our display includes a wide variety of characters from the Rankin-Bass animated TV specials, including Rudolph, Herbie the Elf Dentist, the Bumble, Fred Astaire, the Winter Warlock and the Heat and Cold Misers.

Add to that several Grinches; Charlie Brown and Snoopy; and, in the window, a small version of the “leg lamp” from that modern film classic A Christmas Story. And we haven’t even come to the tree itself!

You see, about the time that Vic and I were first dating, Hallmark began in earnest to tap into boomers and their pop culture interests. She got me the very first–and arguably still the best–of their now-annual Star Trek starship ornaments, the original U.S.S. Enterprise with blinking red-and-green lights. Since then, I’ve added an entire fleet to the tree:

  • Galileo Shuttlecraft
  • U.S.S. Enterprise 1701-D
  • U.S.S. Enterprise 1701-E
  • U.S.S. Enterprise NX-01
  • Romulan Warbird
  • Klingon Bird of Prey
  • Borg Cube (“Enjoy your holidays. Resistance is futile.”)
  • Scorpion Shuttlecraft
  • Deep Space Nice
  • Runabout
  • U.S.S. Defiant
  • U.S.S. Voyager
  • Delta Flyer

Add to that the Death Star from Star Wars, and I’ve got the best-defended Christmas tree in Champaign-Urbana.

Amusingly, several of them feature voice clips which activate when the power first comes on. Whenever I plug in the tree, Capt. Janeway, Worf, the Borg and Emperor Palpatine all start shouting in an incoherent babble of warm holiday greetings and/or galactic warmongering.

As for the rest of the tree, here is an incomplete list of the other pop culture characters to be found:

  • Superheroes: Superman, Batman, The Flash, Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn and the Batmobile
  • Star Trek: Capt. Kirk, Mr. Spock, Dr. McCoy, Quark, Seven of Nine
  • Movies and TV shows: Princess Leia, (I Dream Of) Jeannie
  • Cartoon Characters: Scooby Doo, Snoopy, Lucy Van Pelt, The Grinch, Mickey Mouse, Tigger, Marvin the Martian and the Yellow Submarine
  • Other: The Oscar Meyer Weinermobile (nothing says Christmas like a hot dog-shaped car)

Ho, ho, ho! Merry Christmas?

Categories: General Tags: , ,