Category Archives: Musings

This is a post celebrating 50 years of Star Trek

Here’s to Gene Roddenberry and his Wagon Train to the Stars idea. Here’s to NBC for giving him a second chance at a pilot, a rarity. Here’s to Captain Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scott, Sulu, Chekov, and of course Uhura. Here’s to Paramount for giving the Original Series crew 6 movies.

Here’s to Gene again for launching the Next Generation. Here’s to seven years and four movies of Captain Picard, Riker, Data, Worf, La Forge, Troi and Crusher.

Here’s to Rick Berman and Michael Piller for branching out with Deep Space Nine. Here’s to seven years of Captain Sisco, Dax, Kira, O’Brien, Bashir, Odo, and Quark. (And Worf again.)

Here’s to Berman and Piller and Jeri Taylor for creating Voyager. Here’s to the crew’s seven year odyssey home, to Captain Janeway, the first female captain on TV, and Chakotay, Tuvok, Paris, Torres, Kim, the Doctor and Seven of Nine. (And Kes for their first three years.)

Here’s to Berman and Brannon Braga for showing us what came before Kirk’s time with Enterprise. Here’s to Captain Archer,T’Pol, Trip, Reed, Phlox, Sato and Mayweather.

And here’s to J.J. Abrams for wanting to direct the Kelvin timeline. Here’s to Roberto Orci and Damon Lindelof for bridging the gap between timelines with Spock Prime. Here’s to Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Anton Yelchin, John Cho and Zoe Saldana for inhabiting such iconic characters and making them your own over three movies. Here’s to Simon Pegg and Doug Jung and Justin Lin for Star Trek Beyond. Here’s to a Star Trek universe with LGBT onscreen representation!

And here’s to Bryan Fuller and the Discovery crew, whoever you are! I can’t wait to meet you.

Thank you for 50 years of exploration and stories. Thank you for inspiring a fandom and so many to pursue science as their career. Here’s to the next 50 years.  Live Long and Prosper.

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Tenth Anniversary of Doctor Who

Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of Doctor Who returning to TV after a 15 year hiatus. I shared my thoughts on the Ninth Doctor along with a couple Geekette bloggers.

The Daily Geekette

“Rose,” the first episode of the show produced by Russell T Davies and starring Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper, premiered ten years ago today, on March 26th 2005.

The hype machine for the return of Doctor Who after its long hiatus was in full swing, with BBC viewers getting tastes of Doctor Who during 30 second promos.

Many of the Geekettes are fans of Doctor Who so we decided to share our thoughts on the Tenth Anniversary of nuWho.

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From a Nerd to a Geek and Why It Shouldn’t Matter to Anyone Else

Labels are lame. We get caught up over what label applies to what or who, and end up missing the person, the main point.

I’m not going to sit here and spell out the differences as it applies to everyone, because the internet has been debating the issue of Geek vs Nerd for a long time already.

BUT I spent the long weekend at Arisia, a local SciFi/Fantasy convention and the last panel I went to on Monday was “Letting Your Geek Flag Fly” all about being “out” in the real world as a geek.

I realized that in high school I pretty much was a Nerd. School was top priority and while I had a few after school activities I never did any after school sports. Instead I’d hang out in the library and try to knock off a subject of homework before it closed at 4. (If you had to lug those heavy textbooks home every day, you’d do the same!)

Things started to shift when I was in college and two things happened: I joined Twitter, and discovered Star Trek Voyager on youtube. (Star Trek TNG had been part of my early childhood, but I hadn’t watched Voyager.) I fell head first into the fandom thanks to an online message board, and even tried my hand at writing some fanfiction.

You could say I was hooked, in more ways than one. I decided to get a blog on wordpress and then tumblr as well. It was on Tumblr that I discovered Doctor Who and very quickly became obsessed all over. I met people through twitter and tumblr who share the same interests as me. I was able to “come out” as a geek. And it wasn’t a huge shift in my identity at all, I was just finally embracing what was inside of me all along. The only thing that changed were the posters I put up in my dorm room every September.

Geek is mainstream now. Huffington Post reports on Doctor Who. The Nerdist has a TV show on BBC America.  Fantasy football unites the jocks and the numbers geeks.

Perhaps that is one of the reasons why the label itself doesn’t matter as much anymore – because so many other people are a geek in some shape or form. Social Media has connected us in more ways than we could fathom and everyone’s geek is showing.

What do you think?

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Yes I have a Kindle but…

While the traditional vs E-Book debate wages on and at times turns to a heated war, I tend to stay out of it and just keep reading.

Same goes for Amazon vs Bookstores in general. While I lamented the loss of Borders (Over a year and I still miss the School Street Store!) I just switched over to Barnes and Noble, even becoming a member. I have bought books through Amazon as well, especially certain Star Trek books that are easier to order online instead of walking into a store that may or may not have them.

However I’m not firmly in one camp or the other. I do enjoy just browsing in a store, even if I already have a book in my bag I’m currently reading. (There’s been a couple times where I actually still bought something) Weirdly enough I find myself turned off by those second hand booksellers because of their lack of organization. What most find cozy and imitate, I find overwhelming.

I am relatively new to the world of Kindle. I have used the iOS app on a small screen before, but I didn’t get the real deal until March of 2012 or so. My mother won a Kindle Fire in a charity raffle and gifted her old Kindle Keyboard to me. Around the same time I had bought and started reading The Company of the Dead by David Kowalski, a heavy alt history novel coming in at a whopping 750 pages. It was a great premise but at times a bit of a slog, and commuting to work with a 750 page book wasn’t fun. So I actually bought the kindle version as well and finished reading it digitally. Once I switched I definitely started to enjoy the story more as I didn’t have to worry about the heavy book. I could actually read on the bus.

Using the Kindle full time never really took off for me, probably because I believe it’s beginning to show its age. I noticed that sometimes when I am trying to highlight a long passage or something that stretched onto the next page, I will have to wait for the cursor to catch up. A few times the Kindle has frozen and I have had to restart it. Lately I will leave it hibernating for several days and discover that the battery has emptied and I must charge it to use it. Perhaps I should get in to the habit of turning it completely off before I leave it.

But if the old Kindle breaks, it’s not the end of the world, especially since most of my small digital bookcase is on Amazon’s “cloud” already.  And actually that helps me as I will send samples of books to try to my iPad app instead of my Kindle.

For Christmas I took a trip out to Chicago to visit my Grandparents and brought with me The Night Circus which I was in the middle of, plus my Kindle, iPad and another book. I ended up just finishing The Night Circus and then using the Kindle app to finish the revised edition of So You Want To Be A Wizard  by  Diane Duane. I left the Kindle itself in my luggage the whole trip.

There are so many different ways to read these days. All that’s missing for me is to get into audible books as well. I just don’t know when I’d have time for that! Happy reading!

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To FB or not to FB?

That is the question.

So everyone’s favorite social media site went public today. Meaning they’re offering stock at $38 a share. But thanks to some market mumbo jumbo that I don’t quite understand, casual people like you or I can’t buy the stock yet. (I have picked up some market knowledge from working for four months at a financial news site but clearly not as much as I hoped. Such is the plight of a (digital) paper pusher.)

For the past week, the news sites I follow at work have barely mentioned anything else besides FACEBOOK! What will it be priced? Is it a good investment? What’s the best strategy? And so on. In all the chatter however, I noticed that the people dominating the conversation are hard core investors who most likely to busy trading to be spending a lot of time on the site.

How’s that for irony? The people who know the site best are being left out of the conversation. There are really no social media experts chiming it. It’s all about money now.

For some reason this really irks me. Perhaps because I’ve been on the site for so long. Back when it was Boston area colleges and invite only. I got in as soon as they opened it up to high-schoolers,  back when your network actually meant something.

Or more likely I’m making a big deal out of nothing and I’m just sick of how saturated the news is with basically the same story over and over. I can’t wait for Monday to roll around in the hopes that $FB will be old news. I don’t even care if it does well or not. I just want the media bonanza to be over.

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Blog Stats- Or How Wide is the World Wide Web?

Apparently it’s really wide. I took a look at my country stats and was shocked to discover I had three visitors from as far as Bangladesh on my blog yesterday. Made me smile just thinking about it: half a world away people are landing on my blog…

Blog Visitors For May 3, 2012

Most likely it’s because of my post on the Munich U-Bahn system, which is still the most popular post on my blog. Whenever people do a google image search related to German/Munich Subway Map or something similar my image comes up and they find my blog that way. (It’s not really my image, I got it the same way they are finding my blog!)

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My Love/Hate Relationship with Fanfiction.

There’s no denying that fanfiction is legit anymore. Not when respected news magazines like Time write a piece covering the world of Harry Potter fanfiction. However this is 2012, when fandoms are much more present and mainstream.

But back in say 2004? It wasn’t nearly as legit. Sure it had come a long way since the fanzines and the first Kirk/Spock stories that Trekkies wrote and traded with like minded fans of Star Trek. But for the most part it setayed on ff.net and other archives. You had to know what you were looking for in order to find it.

In high school, I ran with a circle of friends who were very big into manga, anime and Japanese culture in general. I mean big.They started the anime club and always were reading manga magazines, like Shoen Jump. I wasn’t into it. So when they started writing their own stories based on the anime and manga series they were following I missed the boat.

When I first discovered fanfiction (through them) I have to admit my reaction was highbrow. I didn’t see the point. Why write with characters that already existed when you could create your own? It was ninth grade, and I was busy trying to take a story I had started a year early and turning into a school assignment. I had other things to do than craft my stories around other people’s characters.

Despite my friends’ – for lack of a better word- fanatism, I never did drink the same kool-aid. However I eventually came around on the idea of fanfcition. And my friends, who were busy writing their stories, did become better writers. As a group they created a blog to post their favorite fics to read.

Before I graduated from high school, I did briefly try to get into fanfiction, through the Harry Potter fandom. What interested me was taking the plot of the story (say Goblet of Fire for example) and imagining what would have happened if the plot went left instead of right. (What would changed during Order of the Phoenix if Cedric didn’t die, but only Harry could see him?) Unfortunately those musings were never flushed out into a story.

Fast forward to the moment in college where I rediscovered my Star Trek roots and fell in love with Voyager. I had finally found my fandom. Thanks to an online forum I became obsessed with fanfiction. Particularly of the Janeway/Chakotay variety. (There’s this huge subsection of those who write fanction called ‘shippers’ who write about characters in a relationship, either canon or otherwise)  Despite having no on-screen confirmation of this relationship, we were all convinced that the Captain and her First Officer were destined to be.

I lurked in the community, devouring other people’s works and making a few friends in the process before I finally worked up the courage to write my own fanfiction. I’ve only written a few pieces, one of which I posted on my blog over two years ago.

For now though, I seem to be off fanfiction again.  A year ago, before I graduated from Hofstra, I discovered Doctor Who through tumblr and while I still consider myself a Trekkie, I’m also now a Whovian. I found some well written Doctor Who fanfiction to continue the trend. But I stopped short of becoming obsessed with it, mainly because like the Voyager fanfiction I had found a few years earlier, a majority of it is focused on the relationships that seem to never get as much attention as the plots onscreen. Which is fine, but I’m not really into that right now. I’m much more interesting in examining either alternate possibilities, or what happens off screen.

Who knows? You might see some more fanficition here. But if you do, I’ll make sure to warn you.

~

Bonus Links – click if you’re feeling adventurous and don’t mind bad writing

My Voyager Fanficition collection

Pre-College Original Fiction, including that story I wrote for 9th grade.

 

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What I used to do before I had a real blog

I used to have a LJ.

I say used to, because the last time I updated it was back in college, maybe freshman year. Hang on let me go check.

Ah, well it seems the last time I posted was in February of 2011, but it was cross posted from another failed journal hosted on Dreamwidth. (And it was promoting something here so it’s an example of BLOG-ception)

When I signed up for LiveJournal, I was not quite 16. I hadn’t been able to maintain a real journal or diary despite trying a few times. I thought if it was on the computer, I’d be more willing to write in it. (The definition of a millennial, wouldn’t you say?) LiveJournal had three privacy settings: Public, Friends Only, and Private. For the most part, mine was Friends Only and all of my friends were ones I knew in real life from my school.

I did write regularly through much of high school. (I started back in tenth grade) I had an “audience” so it wasn’t purely just for me. At times, I did censor myself. Which, in the long run, was a good thing because it prepared me for the “next generation” where I have this blog and twitter. There’s no sense barring my deep dark secrets for the internet to see. But there’s also no point in having a blog that lacks “personality.”

One final note: I went back and made my entire Livejournal public after I moved on from using it. But as a result of not deleting the “blog” I still get email notifications of spam which is quite annoying, especially since a majority of them are in RUSSIAN.

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On the Doctor and His Companions

Even though it’s nine months away, there is already intense speculation about the Doctor Who Christmas Special. Hump day became a little more manageable as early Wednesday morning the official Twitter feed for Doctor Who (@bbcdoctorwho) released several tweets regarding the show’s seventh season. Most contained spoilers, especially one credited to show runner Steven Moffatt describing the current companions’, Amy and Rory Pond, departure. The tweet that made the biggest splash was the revelation of who would take Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill’s spot as the next TARDIS dweller. The news was picked up quickly and widely with even general entertainment sites like The Hollywood Reporter reporting that Jenna-Louise Coleman cast as the next companion.

I had to look her up. I didn’t know who she was. Because I really am only familiar with British actors by watching Doctor Who and Sherlock. I hadn’t heard of Matt Smith or Karen Gillan or Arthur Darvill until I started season five of the show. I had never heard of Benedict Cumberbatch until I saw the first episode of BBC’s Sherlock. So I’m not too ashamed that I had to look her up.

Despite trying not to think of the Pond’s departure and Coleman’s arrival, it is kind of hard not to. However I’ve been able distract myself by thinking of how attractive Coleman looks.

No, really.

Which does bring up a bit of a problem. Since the reboot (or continuation) of the classic sci-fi series in 2005, there have been four female companions. (Coleman will be the fifth.) Of the four, three have been young and attractive both as actresses and as characters. And of the four three have also been white. Coleman very obviously continues both of these trends. Although interestingly the Doctor Who team failed to release a name for Coleman’s character. She might buck the trend since the beginning of the new series by having nearly every major companion come from present day Earth. Hopefully she’s an alien.

Her attractiveness together with her ready made chemistry with Matt Smith complicate things further. Will we have yet another companion who falls for the Doctor? Once again more companions that not had a crush on the Time Lord at least in the beginning of their TARDIS travels. Only Donna, who is the only one not in her early twenties, refused to imagine herself with the Doctor.

I do have to wonder what the Doctor Who team have in store for season 7, at least the first half. (There will be six episodes aired including the Christmas Special for the rest of 2012, and eight slotted for 2013) It seemed that Amy and Rory had left the TARDIS near the end of season 6, only to return for more adventures. The Doctor Who crew just finished filming an episode set in the old west on location in Spain and Karen and Arthur were there. Also the Doctor intended to travel on the down-low as he had gotten “too big, too noisy.” Wonder how long that will last or if Coleman’s character will tie into that.

Can’t wait for season 7, as if that wasn’t obvious after 500 words on Doctor Who.

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Here We Go Again

Gay groups denied permission to march in St. Patrick’s Day parade in South Boston Wait a minute, that sounds eerily familiar…

Oh yeah, deja vu all over again!

Last year, I found out about a group of LGBT Irish who sought to march in the NYC parade and were turned down. I was upset, thinking that those people wanted to celebrate the fact they were Irish and were refused because they also happened to be gay. They would have to choose whether to celebrate a part of their heritage that basically rejected them simply because of who they were. So I wrote a column for the Chronicle and cited a similar case in Boston that actually was the precedent that the NYC parade organizers used to exclude the group of LGBT Irish.

In the column I mentioned how hard it was to find the policy online. Turns out I didn’t know where to look. Perhaps the rule cited by the parade council is unwritten and barely spoken about, but the court case ruling that favored the parade council in Boston over 15 years ago was easily found once I got the case name, thanks to the Boston.com article.

The decision, to quote Wikipedia

Justice Souter delivered the unanimous opinion of the court on June 19, 1995. The Court reasoned that, even though the Council did not have a narrow, set message that it was intending to convey, the parade nevertheless constituted a message that the Council had a right to protect. Noting that, while the Council had been fairly lenient in its guidelines for who they chose to allow in their parade, the Court said this did not necessarily mean that the Council waived its right to present its message in a way it saw fit. The right to speak, the Court reasoned, includes the right to determine “what not to say.”  Of primary concern to the Court was the fact that anyone observing the parade (which regularly gained a large number of spectators) could rationally believe that those involved in the parade were all part of an overriding message the Council was seeking to provide.  In this vein, the unanimous Court said that the Council could not statutorily be prohibited from excluding the messages of groups it did not agree with. Effectively, the Council could not be forced to endorse a message against its will.

Like with most supreme court rulings, it takes a couple read-throughs to comprehend it. But at least it does have a sense of logic, even if that logic was used to come to a decision that I disagree with.

I just hate the idea of this accepted practice of exclusion. It won’t change anytime soon, as the court ruling basically said it was up to the parade councils to determine what kind of “message” they wanted to say with the units in their parades. Have the parade organizers not heard of the axiom that actions speak louder than words? By not including Gay and Irish groups for many years in a row, they are telling the public that they are old fashioned and narrow-minded, maybe even bigoted.

They are also sending a message to gays: that are gay first and foremost and that makes them less Irish than their straight counterparts.

The only solution I can see is a game of patience. The Gay Irish groups must sadly wait for the last of the old guard who wish to exclude them to die off. Then they can approach the parade’s councils again and hopefully march openly.

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