• Television

    Star Trek Sunday: The Delta Quadrant Beckons

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    I remember watching the two-hour premiere episode of Star Trek Voyager when it came on.

    On the surface of things, the show had much to recommend it. The captain was a woman, not for the first time but for the first time in a featured role on television. Oh yes, we had a Romulan captain way back in the original series for one whole episode, and there had been other similar minor characters in the Next Generation (and fairly regularly), but rarely human, never front and center, never for real. Janeway changed that. And she wasn’t the only woman as a main character – we got three (out of nine).

    We also had some diversity among the crew, and not just in terms of aliens. Tuvok was our first black Vulcan, so I suppose that counts in both respects. But we also had Harry Kim the token Asian, and I think Native Central American is probably the right phrase for Chakotay’s character.

    We also had the potential for a great deal of extra conflict among the crew because they were coming from two very different points of view, two very different backgrounds, even though some of them had originally been Starfleet. That potential mostly went unrealized as the series went on, though there were hints and pieces, and one of the characters would become a significant, if only periodic, antagonist for quite a while. But really, the crew got along pretty well, with two of them ultimately getting married, Tom and B’Elanna. I feel like Voyager had a rough first couple of seasons as well, writing-wise, and the technobabble quotient skyrocketed for this series, which didn’t help.

    But, like TNG and DS9, Voyager got a chance to grow, and it did, getting better quickly. I’ll admit that I didn’t find that out right away, as the first season didn’t hold me very well, and moving into a family life with small children seemed to leave me far less time than ever before. Funny that. I didn’t really discover Voyager until the series had nearly finished its first run. Already in syndication, I more or less caught up with the major story arcs before the final episode aired, but there are still a handful of episodes I haven’t seen fifteen plus years later. Once we finish watching DS9, I’ll likely start in at the beginning of VOY again.

    That said, in syndication, the show grew on me. And there was a time in the not-too-distant past, before we got rid of the cable, that I would catch an episode, or most of an episode, on Space before going to sleep when the rest of house was quiet.

    I think that a fair bit of the potential I saw in Voyager in those first few episodes largely went unrealized, but the show grew in completely different directions, and it was an adventure, and it was fun, and we did explore strange new worlds and we kept seeing interesting ideas.

    And really, that’s what I expect to see in Star Trek, what I want from it: characters, ideas, and adventure. If I had to guess at a single overall arching concept for the series, it would be that you need to enjoy the journey and not just focus on the destination. Even through all kinds of danger and desperation, the crew of Voyager made that plain, even stating it outright on more than one occasion. It’s a good lesson.

    Live long and prosper.

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  • Image by Daniel Friesenecker from Pixabay
    News

    Political & News Podcasts I’m Listening To

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    Some days, I like to be alone with my thoughts while I work. Some days, I want to know as much as possible of what’s going on in the world. Some days, I want to listen to someone read to me. Some days, it’s some combination of those three.

    The longer we practice public health measures for COVID, the more I find myself sliding into the second category: I need to know everything. I like to be well-informed, though there are times I feel like I might be taking it to an extreme, and there are certainly times I’ve found myself with inability to bite down on an opinion because of it.

    But, being informed means media consumption.

    Full disclosure: something most folks who read anything I write that isn’t fiction or who know me in real life know I wear my politics fairly openly. Those politics are typically left of centre, but I try to consume media from a variety of sources. In practice, that seems to mean that I can’t go too far right of centre to get opposing views before I step off the cliff into partisan propaganda, conspiracy theories, and cynical rage-bait. I don’t usually get more than a half dozen episodes before having to drop a conservative podcast because I can’t swallow the Kool Aid. If anyone has a recommendation to a conservative media source that’s just into factual reporting, I’d appreciate it.

    All of that is a big lead in to say there’s probably nothing that most people would consider conservative in the list that follows, but there are two podcasts where at least one member of the podcast team professes to be conservative, so there’s that.

    A lot of this is Canadian, which makes sense, because I am, too. And I’ve taken more of an interest in Ontario Provincial politics in the last couple of years, too. As well as wanting that better view of what’s going on in Ontario, I’m trying to get a feel for regional views across the country as well and have found a couple of podcasts from the Prairies, the West Coast, and Québec I like, but I’m still lacking Maritime and Northern coverage. I’d take suggestions there, too, if anyone has any. I have considered some of the CBC morning shows, but morning shows tend to be a weird combination of stuff, a lot of which might give me a regional flavour but not a lot of real information content in the vein I’m looking for.

    It’s a sizable list, so don’t look for a lot of detail on each one. And this is the politics and current events list. I listen to a lot of other stuff, too.

    The current list, in alphabetical order:

    • #onpoli – Weekdays – Bias = Centre. Ontario Provincial politics.
    • 49th Parahell – Monthly – Bias = Left. “Where we explore the hellish nightmare world of modern reality together.” From a Canadian perspective.
    • Canadaland – Several Per Week – Bias = Left-Centre. Less bound by the niceties of network reporting, critical independent journalism.
    • Canadian Politics is Boring – Weekly – Bias = Centre. Less current and more pointing out some weird stuff in Canadian history to disprove the podcast’s name.
    • At Issue (CBC) – Weekly – Bias = Left-Centre. The Thursday night political panel from The National.
    • Common Sense – Not very often – Bias = Centre. Part opinion, part modern historian. I wish he would produce episodes on a regular basis.
    • Commons – Weekly – Bias = Left-Centre. Takes a theme for each “season”. “Radicals” interrupted by “Pandemic”. You know, like everything else.
    • CPAC: Today in Politics – Daily – Bias = Centre. Early in the day, big stories in the process of breaking or changing.
    • Power Play (CTV) – Weekdays – Bias = Centre. Podcast version of the CTV daily politics show.
    • Question Period (CTV) – Weekly – Bias = Centre. Podcast version of the CTV weekly politics show.
    • Follow-Up (Huff Post) – Infrequently – Bias = Left. I think this is on COVID hiatus. No episodes since early March and they were sporadic before that. Host interviews political “insiders” and high profile government officials and MPs.
    • Frontburner (CBC) – Weekdays – Bias = Left-Centre. Depth on one particular story/topic each day.
    • BBC World Service Newshour – Weekdays – Bias = Centre. The daily BBC Global roundup.
    • Party Lines (CBC) – Weekly – Bias = Left-Centre. Weekly roundup, usually on a specific subject or story group.
    • Political Stripes with Bob Rae – Weekly-ish – Bias = Left-Centre. Former Premier and MP interviews people who might otherwise not be in some depth on current topics.
    • Politicoast – Weekly – Bias = Left-Centre. BC politics. Well, and Canada and a bit of international.
    • Power & Politics (CBC) – Weekly – Bias = Left-Centre. Considering the show is still on, it’s a little irritating that the podcast is on hiatus. How hard would it be to just package the audio track?
    • Sandy & Nora talk politics – Weekly – Bias = Left. The hosts live in Toronto and Québec City, so you get an interesting blend of views.
    • Sprawlcast – Monthly – Bias = Left-Centre. Based in Calgary.
    • The Agenda – Weekdays – Bias = Left-Centre. Ontario politics and current events journalism.
    • The Big Story – Weekdays – Bias = Left-Centre. Politics, news, current events, culture.
    • The Boys in Short Pants – Biweekly-ish – Bias = Centre. One of the hosts claims to be conservative. I’m unsure of the other. Lots of fun procedural and technical stuff mixed in here.
    • The Bridge – Weekdays – Bias = Left-Centre. Peter Mansbridge providing his signature context and commentary on current events.
    • The House (CBC) – Weekly – Bias = Left-Centre. Weekly CBC radio politics show.
    • The NPR Politics Podcast – Weekdays – Bias = Centre. Daily NPR politics roundup.
    • The Progress Report – Variable – Bias = Left-Centre. Progress Alberta’s weekly podcast.
    • The Secret Life of Canada – has “seasons” – Bias = Left-Centre. More history than current events, though those creep in. A lot of stuff we should know.
    • The Skepticrat – Weekly – Bias = Left. US politics from a skeptical (and angry) point of view.
    • The West Block (Global) – Weekly – Bias = Left-Centre. I’d actually say closer to Centre. Rounding out political podcasts from the top tier of Canada’s TV/Radio networks.

    I can hear some voice out there. “Seriously? You listen to all of this, and other stuff too?” Yup. The trick is to not confine yourself to normal speed. Most podcast players will let you adjust upwards, and the trick is to do it a bit at a time, get used to the new speed, and then push again. Depending on audio quality (and sometimes accents), most of what I’m listening to, I’m listening at 2.0 to 2.5x recorded speed. Probably why I feel like the real world moves too slowly sometimes. Also drives my wife crazy so I can only listen with headphones or when I’m by myself.

    The other trick is I’m able to listen while I’m doing other things – chores, household projects, yard work. Not a luxury I normally have except during my commute. When my industry goes back to work, the list will probably get much smaller. But for now, I can overdose on current events whenever I like.

    Stay safe and be well, everyone.

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  • Writing

    Drafting Fiction

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    About six weeks earlier than I planned, I’ve started drafting fiction again. It’s not, so far as I can tell, affecting the editing progress I’ve planned to make in the same period, which probably means I’m neglecting something else slightly, so I’m going to keep at it.

    It’s only been going on about a week so far, and I’m not dedicating a huge amount of time for it, but it’s making me happy. There’s a particular kind of pleasure in crafting new words that’s different than the pleasure I get from polishing and rearranging existing ones. Yes, I’ve still got a lot (A LOT) of catch up to do on the editing side, but I’ve made a lot of inroads this year, especially since COVID, and I feel like I never want to get to the point where I’ve completely caught up. What fun would that be?

    To offset the Star Trek novella I’m working on (based on an audio drama script that I’m not likely to ever produce as an audio drama) that will probably come in at somewhere between 25 and 30,000 words when fully edited (6k into the first draft so far), I’m trying my hand at flash length for the first time in quite a while.

    I missed on the first one at a little over 1300 words and tentatively titled “Psychic Drugs”. It should also probably be several hundred words longer than it is since I deliberately scaled back to almost nothing but conversation in the last quarter of the story trying to finish it in one session. Reminder: don’t rush yourself. The story would have worked better if I’d taken the time to flesh it out in the first draft. Now I have to fix it in post.

    The second attempted flash piece, “Computer Core”, is probably also not going to squeak in under the 1000-word mark that traditionally marks flash fiction. By the time this posts, I’ll know that for sure, but as I write this, “Computer Core” is the next thing in the keyboard queue, and my rough idea of how long it’s going to take to finish the story is a little more space than the almost 600 words I’ve already put into it. Which, based on past history, means it will probably come close to 1500 words by the time it’s done.

    Time for more typing.

    Stay safe, and be well, everyone.

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  • Life

    Raised Garden Beds

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    Let me start out by saying that I’m not a handyman kind of guy. Sure, we have tools hanging around and I fix stuff when I have to. Over the years, I’ve learned to do certain things because even counting the blood, sweat, and cursing involved, it’s more cost and time effective than paying someone who knows what they’re doing to come and do it. I can take care of basic drywall needs, though if I had to do a room from scratch, I’m not sure I’d want to. I can paint, although I hate doing the trim. I can install a ceiling fan, light switch, power outlet, stuff like that, but I draw the line at major fixtures and appliances that need much more than a place to plug in, although I have done a couple of minor things recently to help our dishwasher function properly.

    Little things. I can do little things. And big things that are very easy. Easier is better.

    But I have learned that there are a surprising number of things, even big things, that turn out to be not as hard as you thought they’d be. Sometimes a little research goes a long, long way.

    A current example, it took me about five hours total, including the trip to the store to get it all, locating the necessary tools in the garage, and several Youtube videos on the basic build and soil preparation, to turn this:

    Into these:

    Measure twice, cut once, use more screws than you think are strictly necessary. The time was well invested and well spent. Someone who has actual

    Dragging them into place and getting them level-ish took a while longer, but I didn’t keep track. It was a hot day and I picked the hottest time of the day to do it. The biggest part of the job is going to turn out to be filling them. Especially since it’s not like the truck is going to be able to dump the dirt in our back yard. So we got a wheelbarrow and I’m “looking forward” to a significant muscle-building workout across a couple of days this week.

    And now I’m planning several more of these, but they fit in with other projects that come first as we slowly build our yard into the vision we’ve had for years but with never the time and energy to pursue. Those projects require dirt and mulch and stone. In one case, maybe even fire. I’ll let you know how they go over the summer.

    Stay safe, and be well, everyone.

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  • Entertainment,  Television

    Star Trek Sunday: DS9

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    Star Trek: Deep Space Nine began its run while I was in my fourth year of university.

    By then I’d long grown beyond the Star Trek Club, which yes, I joined in first year to be with other like-minded Trekkies, though I found myself not quite as like-minded as I might have liked. I wonder now if it was just a vocal few, who, when we got together each week to watch and discuss the most recent episode, were just keeping everyone else silent on topics. But I remember a strongly expressed dislike for Wesley, which I didn’t share because I saw shades of myself in the character, and disparaging comparisons between Picard and Kirk. In fact, thinking back, I remember far more complaints about the show than enjoyment. I think that’s what drove me away from the club. I loved the show, and while I could certainly see issues with it, I couldn’t see as many as some of the people around me seemed to. I didn’t feel the need to rip apart any given episode on the basis of one tiny flaw or perceived character shortcoming I didn’t see.

    But I wonder what the Star Trek club might have made, or did make, of Deep Space Nine when it began to air.

    You probably heard the jokes. The one that got the most play around me was, To boldly stay where no one has stayed before. And there were lots of comparisons to Babylon 5, a lot of them less than flattering. I might have cracked a joke once or twice myself, and I might have made a couple those comparisons. I will admit, watching the first episode in my room on a fourteen-inch colour TV, that I had a hard time liking it. The first few minutes were awesome, with a different perspective on the battle with the Borg cube at Wolf 359. But after that, there wasn’t a lot going on, and there wasn’t a lot to give me a taste or understanding of the characters who were going to make up the crew. It was neat, I supposed, that the captain was black and his first officer was a woman. But what did they have going for them beyond that? And who were the rest of these people anyway? And why wouldn’t the director let the actors act? Especially that first officer and the young doctor? Build a bridge out of them and be done with it or turn them loose to give me some belief that they’re actual characters.

    There were some cool ideas on the nature of time and existence in that episode, and that’s probably what got me to the end. There didn’t seem to be a lot of cool ideas to carry the later episodes, not for the first, short season.

    Deep Space Nine didn’t grow on me so well. I did pick the show up again closer to the end of its run, when there was a lot happening, when the characters were well-rounded and well-developed, when the writing was great. I enjoyed the last couple of seasons, but I got there almost accidentally.

    Again, in today’s television market, Deep Space 9 would not have a chance. Its first season would not have carried it through to renewal, except by the strength of being Star Trek, and that probably wouldn’t save it after the second season, at least not by what I saw of the second season. To be fair, I probably still have a biased view. Like I said, the later seasons were good, and I like what I’ve seen of them, but it took until I was deep into my 40s to try watching the series from the beginning again, and it took my oldest daughter’s interest in it to actually gain a little momentum in the watching of it.

    At this point, we’ve reached about a third of the way into Season 6, and I have a decent recollection of the major events left to come, so I know I like a lot of what’s left, but I’ve struggled all the way along with this show. The characters have grown (and the actors have mostly been allowed to act) and I enjoy most of them, and a lot (though not nearly all) of what I’ve watched has definitely been good science fiction, but much as I like the show, most of it is missing the essential Trekness that puts things properly into what TOS and TNG gave me most of the time. Star Trek isn’t just another form of science fiction. It’s supposed to be about the work towards a better future, a more positive one, a place where we strive to be who we want to be, to be better than we are, to explore the universe and ourselves and what it means to be human. DS9 has some great characters and some great stories and is often really good science fiction, but it mostly doesn’t give me that.

    And I’m skipping all of the mirror universe episodes because they annoy me to no end.

    Live long and prosper.

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  • Life

    I Can Cut The Lawn Again! Hooray?

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    Finally, after what feels like weeks of waiting, the new lawn mower has arrived. Seventeen years old, the last mower technically still ran, but barely made it through last season and only because I was very, very gentle with it for about half of that season. One energetic turn and we were looking at a major fracture in the body and probably a completely detached wheel, making it unusable.

    Those days are over. Well, almost. At the moment I’m typing this, the new Lawn Master is still in a box and, because it’s a cordless electric (I have a hard time justifying a gas mower anymore for the size of our lawn, will need to charge for some amount of time before I can trim the grass. By the time this posts, the grass may be shorter, but that will depend on just how long that initial charge time needs to be.

    Cutting the grass, the next step in reclaiming our back yard for years of benign semi-neglect. The most recent step in the process was the removal of a swing set none of my children have played on in six or seven years. The clean up of brush under the cedar line along the back of the lot has begun, some tree trimming (and removal) is planned, and we’ve drawn up designs for several raised gardens and some simple, if labour-intensive (for me, if no one else) landscaping adjustments.

    And then there’s the rain barrel installation to be done, and the wildflowers I very much want, and the dog path, and several more gardens, and… lots of work ahead, so I should probably be glad that my next job is merely cutting grass.

    Stay safe and be well, everyone.

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  • Life

    A Daughter’s Birthday

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    In the ongoing saga of, “When did I get so old?”, today is my oldest daughter’s th birthday. In every way marked by our society, she’s now a legal adult.

    I try not to blog about my kids’ major life events too often, at least partly for privacy concerns, but there are certain milestones that are a big deal, and nineteen is one of them. Strictly speaking, nineteen is absolutely one of them as it takes away the last handful of things that our society puts a legal age minimum on, mainly:

    • Buy/consume alcohol, cigarettes, or cannabis products
    • Buy lottery tickets or go to a casino
    • Adopt a pet from the SPCA

    Things that no longer require parental permission:

    • Get married
    • Get a driver’s licence
    • Join the CAF
    • Leave Home
    • Legal Name Change

    A couple of oddball things:

    • Enter a binding contract
    • Sue or be sued on your own

    So, yes, nineteen is a big deal. I’ve watched this wonderful young woman grow from a newborn through all the trials and tribulations of her own personal childhood and adolescence, working to understand her as much as I can. While I certainly don’t consider my job done, and won’t as long as she feels she needs me, this is when she can truly step away in any direction she feels it right to do so.

    Happy birthday, Little One. I can’t wait to see how you’ll change the world.

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  • Movies

    2001 vs 2010

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    During the course of the shutdown, in between our gradual pursuits of Farscape and Deep Space Nine, my oldest daughter and I have been watching some classic genre movies together. In the last week, we’ve watched both 2001 and 2010.

    It’s hard not to compare, and it’s hard for me to leave the books out of things when we do.

    We differ on which is the better movie. Though not by much.

    2001 is a clear masterpiece of cinematic art. Technically amazing, stark and beautiful, filled with big ideas and a vision of the future that still resonates fifty years and more later. But it’s also sterile and, frankly glacial.

    2010 has engaging characters and those big ideas expand with human and political conflicts in the background and foreground driving but a some of the cinematics techniques and edits are clumsy or clunky.

    On balance, I like 2010 better. Clunky devices aside, it’s a better, more cohesive story. Even after I’m not sure how many viewings over my life, 2001 still sometimes leaves me with the feeling of, “Just get on with it already”, much as I enjoy the cinematography and percolation of ideas. And, if we haven’t established a previously, I’ll forgive a lot in terms of other parts of a movie given a good story.

    Which you’ll already have guessed means that my daughter has a preference for 2001. She admits that 2010 is a good movie, it doesn’t stack up to the beauty and of 2001 in her mind.

    And that’s fair. It’s never been my intent to raise clones and my kids have always freely expressed opinions. While my oldest daughter has viewing habits that are the closest to mine of the three kids at the moment, she definitely doesn’t look at them the same way I do. How could she? There’s a thirty-year age difference between the two of us and we don’t see the world the same way.

    I’m kind of glad they didn’t turn the third book into a movie, actually.

    Which of us do you agree with?

    Stay safe and be well, everyone.

    P.S. The Alien vs Aliens debate wasn’t, though. We found agreement there, and basically for story reasons.

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  • Life

    The Cavern of Obsolete Technology

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    We’ve been living in this house for something close to 17 ½ years now. We came to it with two small children and added a third a month after we moved.

    As the kids have grown older, changed habits, gone to school, and I’ve changed jobs, locations… well, there have been lots of changes. There was a time when we parked a car in the garage. That, combined with a bit of storage, was a sort of standard garage, I think.

    But slowly, the garage became a dumping ground for everything that wouldn’t fit in the house. That got worse when we turned the basement into an apartment for our oldest last year. Eventually, it was more or less full. We’d have a nice big yard sale, we promised ourselves. Repeatedly. For several years.

    Yeah, that never happened. And then along came COVID. Even if I wanted to have a yard sale in the middle of a global pandemic, I’m sure there are rules against it. Or there better be.

    But with the “extra” time, I supposedly have due to the shutdown, I’ve been poking at the garage, slowly creating usable space by compressing, organizing, and bagging for removal.

    And then we kicked it up a notch.

    Delivered on Wednesday last, we rented a dumpster and I’ve been filling it. In fact, other than the most basic version of housework (food preparation and clean up, animal maintenance and vacuuming up the spring shed), basic novel editing targets, and much shorter than normal COVID workouts, it’s the only thing on my to-do list that I’ve been working on since a day or so before it got here.

    That dresser we’ve had since before we got married, picked up at an estate sale half a province away and that no child from this house is possibly going to want when they leave home? Dumpster.

    The mattress we replaced just before this happened and haven’t been able to take to the dump? Dumpster.

    Miscellaneous crap and beat up toys that kids haven’t played with for ten years? Dumpster.

    The home gym setup that hasn’t had space to be put together in at least a decade? Dumpster.

    Ancient camping equipment, purchased when children were small, when the only camping we’ve done has been in a cottage for at least seven years? Dumpster.

    Oh, a few things are getting posted in the online versions of yard sales. Things that would have been yard sale fodder are getting put at the end of the driveway. But a lot of things are reaching the dumpster. It’s been surprisingly easy to fill.

    But in among those, there have been hidden treasure. Things dear to various family members from childhood, certain bits of lego or toys thought long lost. And in among those, bits of lost technology from days gone by.

    For example, the image attached to this post is an item that gave me tremendous joy in the early days of the internet, pre World Wide Web, even. It isn’t the first modem we ever had – that was a 2400 Baud internal modem that I had to partially take apart the computer to install – but it’s the oldest one I still have. The same box held a 28,800 modem and my first ever digital camera (an Olympus circa 1998 that could manage, hold on now, 850 kilo-pixels), among other things. More images may follow over the next few days.

    I think there may be a display somewhere in my future.

    Stay safe and be well, everyone.

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  • Entertainment,  Television

    The Next Generation Arrives

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    It’s a Saturday in late September, and the year is 1987. Half a dozen teenage boys sit around an old kitchen table in someone’s basement, engaged in a role playing game descended from Dungeons & Dragons, but with a greater emphasis on realism and detail. It’s the middle of a combat sequence. They clash with a demon that outclasses each of them individually by a wide margin, but is evenly matched with the group as a whole. If they work together, they may defeat the beast and live.

    An alarm goes off. Everyone looks up.

    Someone speaks, the boy whose house they’re playing in. “Okay, we’re done. Time for Star Trek.”

    Did I ever mention that I’m a geek?

    It’s actually Monday, the 26th of September 1987 according to various internet sources. I have no idea why I remember it as a Saturday, but maybe it switched to weekend broadcast at some point and I’m just matching that up in my head. Maybe it was the next weekend on Saturday. Things didn’t always happen at the same time in Canada in those days. And RPGs were a common thing whenever we could get away with it, but those were usually on weekends, too, because then we could play all day and into the night.

    Either way, Star Trek: The Next Generation is about two minutes from coming on the air for the first time. No one at the table questions stopping the game. The demon will wait. The paper will wait. The dice will wait. Star Trek will not and should not.

    The boy whose house it is turns the TV on, channel already set, presses record on the blank tape he preloaded into the VCR, and we settle into various pieces of old furniture to wait for the teaser and the opening credits.

    It is strange. There’s a Klingon on the bridge, and he’s part of the crew. The captain is apparently French but speaks with a British accent. This is easier to reconcile for some of us than others. Wait a second. The Klingon is wearing some frilly sash. Are we sure he’s a Klingon? Well, he’s got the bones structure established by the movies, so yeah.

    It’s exciting. A turn of events: there are three women in the primary cast. And, remember that we’re all teenage boys here, not only do at least two of them seem intelligent and capable, reserving judgement on the third since she’s not really given anything to do, but they’re all hot. There’s action, mystery, and adventure. And the special effects blow us away. We’ve never seen anything this good outside of a movie theatre.

    It’s new. It’s different. It’s wonderful. It’s Star Trek.

    That night began a love affair with Star Trek renewed, the Next Generation, a whole new experience. Fortunately for the show, and for most of the actors’ continuing careers, the writing was permitted to grow. A lot of the episodes in the first season don’t hold up very well and were a bit rough even at the time. You can say the same about quite a few of the episodes in the second season. The third season, it began to hit its stride. Fourth and fifth were spectacular, and six and seven were at least good, if not always up to the same bar.

    No show today would be permitted that growth cycle.

    But that first season, for all its flaws, for all that the actors were still trying to establish who the characters were, and fit themselves into the roles, we loved it. Star Trek was back, and it was big and it was new and was exciting.

    And it was only on once a week, dammit. But there were VCRs and we knew how to use them. If it was only on once, that didn’t mean we watched it only once.

    The Original Series has spawned seven other television series so far, with, apparently, three more on its way at the moment. Four of those, so far, lasted longer than the three seasons my original crew got. TOS found its life in syndication, slipping into the cracks and becoming pop-culture. The Animated Series you can almost count as an extra season of TOS. And there was a second planned TV series with the same actors. But Star Trek Phase 2, perhaps sooner, perhaps later, depending on whose version of history you’re looking at, transformed into Star Trek: The Motion Picture and the movies carried on from there.

    There might have been a gap almost an entire generation long in the real world between the ending of TOS and the beginning of TNG, but there were other stories to tell when TOS ended, and Star Trek: The Next Generation told something around 170 of those stories, accounting for two-part episodes. Deep Space 9 followed, and then Voyager. These three shows all take place roughly in the same time frame, with a little bit of overlap from one to the next. Enterprise turned back the clock, and things were a bit different by then for television, so it didn’t get the same chance to grow. But it was still Star Trek and it got four seasons. How Discovery fares in the longer term remains to be seen. And Picard, a sequel series, is something different again.

    It’s only fair that I give each of the other series a little bit of time. Yes, I grew up with Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty, Sulu, Chekhov, Uhura, and all of the other characters, minor and major, in the Star Trek universe. The original Star Trek universe. But more came later. And more will still come later. There are still stories to be told, and there is still hope for a positive future, for a Star Trek future. It will come.

    Live long and prosper.

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