Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Shakespeare In Star Trek 3: Ménage à Troi

There are about a million Shakespeare references in TNG. While TOS established the Shakespeare/Star Trek link, I'm sure Patrick Stewart's background in and love of the bard helped inspire the writers to include as much Shakespeare as they could. Captain Picard adored the plays and poetry of Shakespeare, kept a Complete Works in his ready room and even gave Data lessons in humanity using Shakespeare's plays as the course material.

However, it's one of the more unexpected episodes that Stewart really gets a chance to break out some sonnets (and Othello) to humorous effect. In Ménage à Troi, he has to fight for Lwaxana's love or else lose her forever. Enjoy:

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Shakespeare in Star Trek 2: The Tempest and The Shrew

The Original Series really went berserk with Shakespearean titles and plots. Out of 76 episodes there are 12 overt references to Shakespeare. Even though there are more Shakespearean bits in The Next Generation, with this many references, The Original Series tied Shakespeare to Star Trek forever.

Is There No Truth In Beauty may have had its title lifted from a George Herbert poem but the episode features Shakespearean overtones, a marooned ship, and lines pulled from The Tempest. Miranda (see, right there Miranda) Jones has accompanied an ambassador, Kollos, aboard the ship. He's emotionally beautiful but so hideous in appearance that just looking at him can drive a man mad. When the Enterprise is thrown across the galaxy, Spock must meld with Kollos to save the crew. Kollos, viewing the world through humanoid eyes for the first time utters the line, "Oh brave new world that has such creatures in it." To which Miranda replies, "Tis new to thee."

I write about this episode in particular because it's one of my favorites. It stands out as being somewhat different. It's strange, personal, more poetry and fantasy than science, but it still works remarkably well as a Star Trek. It was a unsolicited script from a librarian at UCLA. And the episode, which could have been a direct blow-by-blow reboot of a Shakespearean play, is more subtle.

The next one is less so. Elaan of Troyius fits within a group of Star Trek episodes that I call, "Royal Brat Stories" wherein one of the members of the crew (in this case Kirk) is forced to take an ill-mannered princess (in this case played by super gorgeous France Nuyen) aboard the ship and try to get her to be less feisty so she'll play nice whenever they get where they're going. (More on this Royal Brat thing later) Kirk plays a good Petruchio to Elaan's Katherine. There's even a scene wherein they eat dinner together and Elaan eats like a barbarian while Kirk tut-tuts her about her table manners and says he'll teach her proper etiquette. She throws knives and Kirk threatens to spank her. In the end, Elaan turns herself around.
Elaan of Troyus isn't one of my favorite episodes and (aside from some nice word play) The Taming of the Shrew isn't one of my favorite plays. But, I still think it's worth writing about and watching just to hear Kirk talk about his actual true love--the Enterprise.

For more Shakespearean references in The Original Series check out:

Dagger of the Mind--Macbeth (title only)
Conscience of the King--Macbeth, Hamlet
By Any Other Name--Romeo & Juliet
Plato's Stepchildren--Sonnet 57
Wink of an Eye--A Winter's Tale (title only)
Whom Gods Destroy-- Sonnet 18
Requiem For Methuselah-- Flint owns a first folio
All Our Yesterdays--Macbeth (title only)
Bread and Circuses--Ok, this is super obscure and I only noticed it when I was reading about this episode but Claudius Marcus' coat of arms is actually the Shakespeare coat of arms.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Shakespeare In Star Trek 1: Conscience of the King

So, way back in January, when the world was new and I hadn't been living, breathing, sleeping and dreaming Star Trek for seven months, I watched the TOS episode Conscience of the King and thought, "Gee when it's time for my Shakespeare camp, I'll start a whole series of posts about Shakespeare in Star Trek and this will be the first one." And now it's time for that to happen. So... here it is. The very first post in my Shakespeare/Star Trek series.

The tenth episode of The Original Series, Dagger of the Mind is a reference to Shakespeare itself but only in title only. The twelfth episode, Conscience of the King, set off a tradition of allusions to and plots from Shakespeare within the Star Trek cannon. TOS would feature several more Shakespearean references in both the series and films and TNG would pick up right were it left off with Data seeking humanity through his own portrayal of Shakespeare's famous characters. DS9, Voyager, and Enterprise would all go on to feature references to the bard but it all started here.


In the opening we get some players in Renaissance garb performing Macbeth. The lead actor is suspected of being Kodos The Executioner, who took control over an Earth colony several years before and ordered half the population terminated. Kirk was one of the few people to have seen his face and, when one of the other survivors (and a personal friend of Kirk's) informs him of the Kodos conspiracy, Kirk risks everything to investigate it.

The episode is interesting in its depth and use of Shakespearean themes and lines. We get a rare glimpse into Kirk's past--a young man caught in a terrible revolution--which adds to the legend of his character almost incidentally. He risks his ship and command to seek vengeance on the murderer of so many innocent people and seduces Kodos' daughter as a means to this end. Both he, Spock, and McCoy as well as Kodos and his daughter (and freaking Lt. Riley) are all caught up in the Shakespearean drama.

Kirk acts as Hamlet, attempting to make Kodos reveal himself while Kodos, driven to grief and near-madness by his past actions is Macbeth. Lenore is a little bit Ophelia and a little bit Lady Macbeth and they're all playing their parts perfectly to a pretty Shakespearean climax.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Week Of Shakespeare

In 2004, I founded a Shakespeare camp in rural Kentucky with the help of my mentor and director at a local community college. My husband joined us the next year and we've been going strong ever since. We do an hour-long Shakespeare play in a week with a group of 11-17 year olds, starting with auditions on Monday morning and culminating in a play with full set and costumes the following Saturday. No one carries a script, no one calls line. It's pretty much the most amazing thing ever. I feel that, with the camp, I've made my mark on the world in a meaningful way. My life, my husband's life, and the lives of our actors have been changed by the work we've done there.

And now, it's time for another Shakespeare week. Starting tomorrow, I'll see all my kids again--we're a family at this point--and we'll get to work on a brand new show. I typically put in 12-17 hour days during this week so that means I won't be able to watch any Star Trek or write.

Lucky for you, I thought ahead! Way back in January I had the idea of writing a week of "Shakespeare In Star Trek" posts that would come out while I was off directing. Of course I put off actually writing those posts until two weeks ago. Either way, they're all stored here on my blog and they'll come out every day.

Star Trek is crammed full of references to Shakespeare. It's two of my great loves brought together. So please read, enjoy, and comment on these posts!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

It's A Contest!

So I'm working on a series of Star Trek themed pieces and guess what I'm going to do with them--

I'll wait while you formulate your guesses.

I'm going to give them away! To you! Well, maybe you. You can win this painting of the TOS Enterprise, in water color, on a postcard (so you can give it away too if you like) by doing some really simple stuff:

1- Go tell someone about this blog. It can be at the McDonalds or on Facebook or twitter or your own blog. You can tell your mom about it while you're getting your toenails painted or you can pin it on Pinterest. Doesn't matter. Just tell someone about it. It would be awesome if you told them why you like this blog because that would make my heart all warm.

2- Leave a comment here to let me know that you told someone about it. You can leave as many comments and enter as many times as you want.

3- That's it! Once I see your comment, I'll enter your name in the contest. You can just sit back and wait for me to announce the winner.

I'll announce the winner on Monday, August 5th. There will be more paintings and contests to come so if you don't win this time, don't fret.

Good luck!

Friday, July 26, 2013


Lately I've been completely swamped. You'll soon find out why.

Unfortunately this means I didn't have much time to write a post today.

I don't want to leave you with nothing.

So, for your viewing pleasure, here's a compilation of Sisko yelling at people:


Thursday, July 25, 2013

DS9: Children Of Time

Have you ever wished you could go back in time and meet your ancestors? Or go into the future and meet your descendants? What about your great, great, great, great...etc. grand kids? What if you didn't age? What if you just Highlandered forward and saw all that stuff happening: your friends stuck on some crap planet, them pairing off and having children and then grandchildren while your crush-since-season-1-dies? Well, that's what happens to Odo in Children of time.

While this is not one of my favorite episodes, I do feel like it's a good example of classic SciFi/Trek tropes (time traveling/meeting your own kids/ethical dilemas) so it's worth a mention on this blog.  I have three favorite thing about this episode:

1- Terry Farrell is a stupendous actress.  She has a quality that makes me instantly empathize with her character and anytime she ends up making this face, I get all teary-eyed along with her:
There's plenty of great Dax stuff in this episode. She feels lots of ways about things--well mostly a couple ways about things but that's understandable. 

2- Klingons--by birth or choice:
On this crap planet, Worf's progeny went forward, clinging to Klingon values all the way, and developed their own society, separate from all the shmucks who muck in the mud all day. These klingons (who can become a Son Of Mogh if they just FEEL like they're Klingon) spend their time hunting down frickin' yar-bear like a boss. They only come to town to trade furs. They're for real. My favorite thing about this episode is actually Worf's line to his followers about "the enemy" on the day they plan to leave.

3- Odo gets a face!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Why You Need To Watch Ferengi Love Songs

As we all know, I love Ferengi hijinks. I LOVE it. Throwing Ferengi cultural norms into chaos by letting Rom/Quark/Nog clash with anyone non-Ferengi (but especially Klingons and well-meaning humans) is pretty much TV magic. "Ferengi Love Songs" is wall-to-wall Ferengi hijinks with Rom freaking out over his impending marriage to Leeta and Quark totally losing it over his mom's new boyfriend. You need to watch this one and here's why:

1- Any time Wallace Shawn shows up it's bound to be awesome. Same goes for Jeffrey Combs. Both are in rare form here.

2- Farcical antics abound--including Grand Nagus Zek in a closet:

3- Quark's pissed-off-about-step-dad attitude is almost Hamlet-level-epic.

4- O'Brien coaches Rom in matters of love and (as literally the only person on the station capable of holding a relationship together for more than five years) it's actually pretty sweet.

5- Ferengi Action Figures:

6-  Rule of Acquisition #229: Latinum lasts longer than lust.

7-This episode had the working title, "How Quark Acquired His Groove Back."

8- Aside from the cartoony aspects of this episode there's a lot of real stuff here dealing with both cultural and personal identity. As men displaced from their traditional culture, raised by a woman who herself is breaking from her people's mandates toward females, Quark and Rom are actually doing something pretty radical. This episode might be 75% shtick but at its core is an earnest and surprisingly emotional heart.

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Monday, July 22, 2013

DS9: The Ascent

In the season 5 DS9 episode, The Ascent, Odo and Quark must work together to survive. Climbing up a super cold mountain with only one good coat between them, they get into lots of arguments and spend about 90% of the episode taking turns to prove which of them best qualifies as a "reluctant hero." This is great stuff and I love it whenever Quark and Odo get together but what I remembered most about this episode (which I actually watched about two weeks ago but keep thinking about) was the Jake/Nog subplot. Basically, Nog is back from Starfleet for a little field training and the two BFFs move in together and suddenly have to navigate the muddy waters of co-habitation when they sign up for shared quarters.

I can sort of identify. I went through four roommates my freshman year of college. I was an only child for a long time but I liked it that way. I never got lonely and I never got bored. I still don't. But I can be a bit hard to get along with. I need my own space. I need quiet time. I need to be able to read or watch Star Trek at certain times of the day and I have ridiculous routines that need to be followed.  I often talk too long or too loud and I can't use heavily scented laundry detergent/soap or perfume because it makes my throat itch. I'm a terrific friend but I have a lot of weird quirks and can take some warming up to.

When I meet someone who I suspect might one day become my friend I let them know in advance that I won't go to their wedding, baby shower, or parties. I often seem aloof and standoffish until I start monopolizing the conversation to talk about whatever I'm currently obsessed with. After it was suggested to me that I might have Aspergers, I took this test and got a 37. I don't know if that is or isn't what's going on but I do know that I wouldn't make the best roommate for most people. I lucked out by finding the dude version of myself and marrying him--almost eight years of co-habitation later and we're still happier than I could've ever imagined.

Luckily, Jake and Nog end up figuring out how get over their own weirdness and live together peacefully--and they learn some important stuff about themselves along the way. Sometimes it takes constant contact with another person to understand how truly weird you are.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

DS9: Dr. Bashir, I Presume?

Spoiler Alert: If you're on your first watch of DS9 and you've not made it through Season 5 yet, you might want to back away from this post and return to it later. If you haven't started watching DS9 yet, what are you waiting for!?

Remember that awkward kid you used to be? Remember all that embarrassing stuff you did, or said or the dumb nicknames you had? Yeah, your family remembers all that crap too and bringing them around your real, grown-up life can be super uncomfortable... especially if you were illegally genetically re-engineered as a six-year-old and now you're practicing frontier medicine on a space station next to the most important wormhole in the galaxy and a guy who engineers emergency medical holograms wants to base his next project on you and uncover all your dirty little secrets in the process. That's pretty much exactly what happens in Dr. Bashir, I Presume?
I'm almost the exact same walking tornado of spazzy nervous energy that I was as a kid. I still spend most of my time writing, making art, watching TV and reading books. I pretty much only grew out of my clothes (though approximately 65% of my shirts still have cartoon characters on them) so basically, I haven't changed all that much. And all the most embarrassing stuff, the stuff I don't talk about here, my parents (probably, I mean, they're a lot like me so who knows) remember.

As an adult, I made the best and longest-lasting friends of my life in my MFA in Creative Writing program at Spalding University. Since I'd moved around so much as a kid I never kept friends for very long but all that changed in my brief residency program. Then, the year after I graduated, my mom applied and started in the same program. I was a little terrified. I knew she'd be hanging out with everyone I knew, going to class with them, eating and staying in the same hotel, having long conversations. I could imagine her inadvertently saying things about my embarrassing childhood. But, in the end, no defamation of character ensued. I went to residency and proudly introduced my mom to everyone I knew and she ended up having a lovely time and making all her own friends because everything isn't actually about me. Contrary to what I'd thought,  my mom's first residency experience wasn't a television episode of my life.

For Bashir though, it's different. This episode--while it does feature a charming B-story with Leeta and Rom--is all about Julian. Mr. and Mrs. Bashir are earnest and kind of adorable in their hope of making Julian proud, of showing him off, of just trying to be close to him in spite of their own mistakes. Bashir's mom in particular delivers a powerful speech about why a mother would choose to genetically alter her child. As someone with wacky, bohemian parents, who might say anything to anyone at anytime, I empathize with Bashir. I wasn't genetically engineered and neither were you but I bet watching this episode would dredge up feelings for just about anyone.

Friday, July 19, 2013

The People

Last night I went to a party. Yes, I know, I know. I can hear your gasp of surprise all the way over here. But I did, in fact, take a shower, leave my house, and go out among other humans.
It was a bunch of writers so it didn't look like this.
Or maybe it did. 
I ate in front of other people, dropping lots of chips in my lap (and then eating them) and I even TALKED to other guests. Like, in person. <insert shock and awe here> The girl I spoke to most (who was nice and wonderful and not at all scary) eventually asked, "What do you do?" I answered that mostly I watch and write about Star Trek. She said, "What are you doing here? Why aren't you at Comic-Con?"

I wanna be where the people are.
Actually, I don't.
(PS- I didn't make this. Some crazy evil genius on the internet did)
It hadn't occurred to me that I ought to mention that, while Comic-Con is going on, I'm not there and won't be there. Honestly, I have mixed feelings about Comic-Con. Maybe ten years ago, when it was less huge, it would've felt more appealing. As it is, even though it's thousands and thousands of geeks descending on one town to celebrate their geekitude (which is AWESOME) it's a little scary for me. While I certainly appreciate cosplay, I don't do it. As I've mentioned before, I don't have a huge interest in autographs or pictures with celebrities. And as much as I'd love to be in those panels, without a presspass and an ability to ask questions, I feel more comfortable enjoying Comic-Con from my living room. In fact, even if I were at Comic-Con, I'd probably be sitting in my hotel room, enjoying most of it exactly like this:

Thursday, July 18, 2013

DS9: For The Uniform

I have to admit I have a love/hate relationship with Michael Eddington. When he first showed up at the opening of the fourth season I remember cursing at him, remote in hand, calling him a jag and telling him how much I hated him and then rewinding because I'd been yelling over the scene. Then he betrayed Starfleet and the Federation and Sisko and Sisko's girlfriend and did a lot of messed up stuff (like sabotaging the Defiant) and Sisko got a serious grudge going. If it weren't for all the overt Les Miserables comparisons I'd be sitting here talking about Moby Dick again.

Oh Eddington, you magnificent bastard. 
But, Ronald Moore and the gang saved me the trouble and in For The Uniform literally have Eddington give Sisko a copy of his very favorite novel so we can all understand that Eddington sees himself as the long-suffering, ever-justified Valjean and Sisko as the relentless Javert.

In a lot of ways, For the Uniform is a microcosm of what DS9 is and how it breaks from traditional Trek. Michael Eddington understands that (even in the future where humans have replicators and very little poverty) there are still shades of grey. Eddington is a terrorist but he doesn't see himself as such because while Sisko is chugging along under the Starfleet good/bad, black/white modus operandi, Eddington exclusively inhabits the shades of grey. He sees himself as a roguish heroic outlaw--a Robin Hood who protects the less fortunate, the innocents who have fallen out of the Federation's good graces. He sees the Federation alliance with the Cardassians as wrong-headed and dangerous and is comfortable with betraying Starfleet because of that.

Sisko is angry and yells (a lot, as usual) about how Eddington was a trusted friend. How he wasn't a changeling or an alien with superior powers of deception--Eddington was just a man, just a human. And it was that human that beat him.

As Sisko pursues Eddington he too crosses into those shades of grey, ignoring the tenants of Starfleet and going off half-cocked, risking the lives of his crew in the process. It's something that Picard certainly never would have done. And, as a kid, it's something I didn't especially like about DS9. I love how optimistic Star Trek is--how they've always portrayed a better version of us, a more enlightened version of humanity. As an adult, I appreciate DS9 a little more. Not because I want to sit around and brood, but because sometimes it's good to be reminded that we're all human and life, even in the future, isn't as clear cut as we might wish it to be.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

DS9: The Begotten

Once upon a time some crazy ass changelings shot a hundred gooey babies into space and said, "Welp, that's done. Shall we go conquer some folks?" One of those little puddles happened into Bajoran space and was found by a Bajoran scientist during the Cardassian occupation. The Bajoran scientist--once figuring out the goo was a life form--raised him and experimented on him and called him Odo.  The process was all trial and error and Odo grew to feel lots of complex emotions toward his caretaker, Doctor Mora.

Catching up with DS9, we find Odo as an adult buying a tiny gooey baby of his own from Quark. (For the record, this is the SECOND alien baby Quark has bought/sold in the series) Odo, with permission from Sisko, starts raising up the teensy changeling when Dr. Mora shows up on the station with his own opinions about changeling child rearing. Of course, this makes Odo experience all kinds of old feelings and they start arguing.
In lots of ways, I understand what Odo's going through. He came along when Dr. Mora had no idea what to do with a baby changeling. Mora was discovering all this new stuff and trying to advance his field and he made a lot (read: A LOT) of mistakes but Odo didn't die. He made it. He was just the practice kid. And so was I.

My parents didn't give me electroshocks or check my volume every hour or whatever. They were just young and silly and when they had more kids much later they were somewhat different people and so was I.  As an adult, watching my parents raise their younger children, it's sometimes challenging to see the ways they've changed and the ways they haven't. Like Odo, my feelings about my childhood are numerous and complex and watching this episode recalled a lot of that for me.

Of course, this is also a very well-written, well-done episode and for those reasons alone, it's pretty powerful. The Begotten accomplishes many things in forty-five minutes. It deepens Odo's relationship with his adoptive father, it helps him deal with who he is and who he has become, and it strengthens his relationship with Kira who, by the way, goes into labor with the O'Brien baby. I won't give anymore away but you should check it out because The Begotten is definitely worth a watch.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

DS9:Trials and Tribble-ations

I've often heard from Trekkies that if they could show someone a single episode of Star Trek, it'd be Trials and Tribble-ations. I argue that DS9's glossy homage to Star Trek: The Original Series is too meta, too full of in-jokes, and maybe a little too intimidating for a new Trek initiate. But there's no arguing that the awesome episode is a fan favorite and I'm certainly not immune to its charms. Here are ten reasons why Trials and Tribble-ations is awesome!

1- Right off the bat there's a SciFi-themed meta joke. The Temporal Investigation agents arrive on DS9 to question Sisko regarding his jacking around in the timeline and their names are anagrams of Agents Mulder and Scully. Also, they mention SEVENTEEN times that Kirk committed temporal violations. The man is a legend!

2- The way the old Enterprise is revealed is flat out beautiful.

3- The look of this thing is fantastic. Director Jonathan West shot this one using 60s lenses and it pays off. In combination with the re-built sets and the spot-on lighting, it's not hard to buy that our new TV friends are suddenly interacting with our old pals.

4-The writers didn't miss anything. The stuff that stands out about Trouble With Tribbles, the fan favorite lines, the little in-jokes--it's all commented on in brilliant ways. From O'Brien confusing Shatner's stunt double for Kirk, to Sisko repeating the "storage compartment, storage compartment" line in the same strange staccato that Shatner used--it's amazing. 

5- The DS9 crew is fully integrated into the classic Trouble With Tribbles bar fight. 

6- Spot our DS9 friend: 

7- I know I already said this but seriously. Everyone just looks AMAZING. 
8- When the writers were planning this one (knowing that it would be a special anniversary episode meant to mesh with a classic TOS story) they wanted to do Tribbles but weren't sure about logistics etc. They all went out for pizza to discuss it and, by sheer coincidence, in walked Charlie Brill who'd played Arne Darvin and would go on to resume his role in DS9. Pizza was his first, best destiny that night.

9- Klingons. Just... Klingons. 

10- Nope. I'm not giving any more of this awesome sauce away for free. 

If you want my advice on a great way to spend a couple hours, go back and watch The Trouble With Tribbles and then follow it immediately with Trials and Tribble-ations. You won't regret it. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

DS9: Nor The Battle To The Strong

I often talk about how Jake is one of my favorite characters and the season five story "Nor Battle To The Strong"is a great Jake-isode. Basically, Jake is doing a profile on Dr. Bashir but isn't as interested in the doctor's anecdotes as he'd hoped. They end up responding to a distress call from a medical facility on the frontline of the Klingon conflict and Jake's courage and his presumptions about war and the excitement of it are challenged. He does a lot of growing up in the course of forty-five minutes.

I've actually been meaning to write about this episode for days but it's been very difficult and I'm not sure why. It may be that Jake's chosen path is very like my little sister, who's just entered the NAVY and hopes to someday be a journalist on the frontlines of various dangerous situations.  I don't have children and don't plan to but I'm the oldest of four siblings (my closest is eleven years younger and my farthest is twenty years younger) and I have a tendency to be a little protective. So when Benjamin and Dax discuss their worries about Jake's safety I tend to get all choked up.

This is a bit of an unsung episode. I wish that Jake and Bashir's friendship had deepened and continued beyond the scope of this story but it is a good watch. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Young Naturalist #7

It's DS9--there's no way I can keep myself from continuing the Young Naturalist series with a Cardassian Vole:

Thursday, July 11, 2013

My Two Front Teeth

When I was a little kid I went over the handlebars of my very first bike and face-planted into the asphalt outside my apartment complex. I came up with chips of pavement embedded in my gums and about half of both my front teeth gone. We were pretty poor but I eventually got them capped. It wasn't too bad, I just had to be careful. Then, one night, I woke up in tremendous pain. My whole face was swollen and feverish and my mom rushed me to the doctor. The teeth had abscessed and would need root canals. Over the years after lots of work (and a lot of it badly done) I ended up developing a somewhat nervous mistrust of dentists. With a mouth-full of what turned out to be teeth that were highly susceptible to decay and a childhood spent as a latchkey kid never really made to brush her teeth, I have spent countless hours under the drill. But the teeth that always bothered me most were the front two. After my caps came crowns, fitted onto metal posts. One broke out when I was in high school and was replaced with a too-white, ill-formed, awkward new one. The gums over my front teeth were forever purple, puffy, and irritated but I could never afford to get them fixed and didn't even really understand what was causing it.

Then, a few months ago, at a dentist visit related to a whole other horrible problem, I was informed that the teeth holding the crowns on had become decayed and soft. They were basically ready to jump ship and implant in a candy bar or sandwich or cheeseburger at any moment.

Finally, a couple months ago, I got some dental insurance. I needed to make an appointment but my apprehension over yet more bad dental work caused me to hesitate. Finally, about three weeks ago, I had them checked out. Yep, she said, they were in bad shape. The crowns had to go. She pulled them free with almost no effort and slapped on some lovely temporaries. Still, I walked around for three weeks worried about the permanent ones that were being created in a lab somewhere.

Yesterday, it was finally time to get the new ones--what I've been calling my "forever teeth." And I found myself standing in the hallway, staring at nothing, crying about the whole thing. I should've been excited but I was terrified. The memory of my mom holding a bottle of peroxide and a bloody wash cloth, picking pavement out of my 9-year-old gums assaulted me. I'd spent twenty years with obviously strange, uncomfortable teeth. As a teenager I trained myself to smile with my mouth closed. In later years, I stopped letting their appearance bother me but the initial pain, all the distress wrapped up in those teeth and the time spent in the dentist chair because of them, years and years of sore, puffy gums and fear that my bad teeth would break off when I didn't have insurance--it all welled up inside me and I was shaking as I walked into the dentist's office.

I was told to wait a couple minutes, that she would be right with me. I took a chair next to my husband.  His smile encouraged me. Then saw this:

 I laughed out loud, grinned and opened what's one of my favorite magazines even when it doesn't have  a Star Trek reference plastered on the cover. I showed it to Scott and we talked about the pervasiveness of Star Trek in popular culture until it was time. Not too much later, I walked out with my new teeth and I smiled all the way home (not with my mouth closed) where I watched some Star Trek and fell asleep. All in all, a pretty good day.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

DS9: Looking For Par'Mach In All the Wrong Places

There's a story about Steve Martin going in to the studios to pitch Roxanne (a kickass film and if you haven't seen it you really ought to) and he would say, "It's an update of Cyrano." And then the studio guys looked at him blankly and asked, "Sound's great Steve. What's Cyrano?" And then Steve Martin would have to pitch a hundred year old play about a guy who died three hundred years before that. Of course, the movie got made and we're all better off for that.

We're also a lot better off for Michael Dorn either knowing all about Cyrano or having recently seen Roxanne himself because he went in and pitched the story to the DS9 writing team and their update on the old play is the pretty much perfect episode, "Looking for par'Mach in All the Wrong Places."

Basically, Worf sees Grilka coming aboard DS9 and instantly falls in love. Remember Grilka? She's Quark's kind-of-wife and a serious Klingon hottie. Work and Quark are both in love but Worf agrees to help Quark master the art of Klingon courtship so he can pitch sufficient and (rather growly) woo at Grilka. Hilarity ensues.
Shimerman spent nearly two weeks working
with the Bat'leth and it totally pays off. 
Between Worf pining after Grilka, Jadzia pining after Worf, and Quark doing everything he can to keep up (including quoting Edwin Starr songs) this one is crammed full of great stuff. And the nice thing is that the B-plot here is also really lovely. Kira's knocked up with the O'Brien baby and the more time she and Miles spend together, the closer they get until they accidentally realize a mutual attraction. What plays out is realistically awkward and innocent and plenty funny while giving a little more depth and humanity to the characters.
As far as things go, this is actually not the
weirdest thing that's ever happened to us.

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Monday, July 8, 2013

DS9: Season 4 Essentials

Hey look, it's an Essential Episode post! Hooray! Basically, at some point, I felt like the Weekend Round Up and Season Essential posts together were redundant. Instead of deciding which one to keep, I just gradually stopped doing both. Ridiculous. Anyway, I missed these posts and (according to your comments and emails) so did you. This is a tough one since Season 4 is AMAZING but here goes:

Episode 4.3: The Visitor
-There's a whole post about how awesome this one is.
-Basically this is DS9's equivalent to TNG's The Inner Light and it is 100% amazing.
-From watching Jake grow up and then grow old to seeing Nog as a Commander in Starfleet and super-old Dax and Bashir, this one is great fun. (I really think we should've seen Dax in a new host instead of just old Jadzia but whatever, it's still cool)
-Oh, also it will make you cry. LIKE A BABY.

Episode 4.8: Little Green Men
-Like Humbug was for The X-Files, this one is DS9's very first real attempt at comedy and it's totally successful.
-Watch this one to see how Ferengi antics mesh with the 1950's B-movie vibe.
-Meta jokes abound along with a hilarious Worf tooth-sharpening bit.

Episode 4.10/11: Homefront/ Paradise Lost
-Political intrigue, alien spies, crazy changelings--this is the stuff DS9 is made of.
-Check this one out to witness a conspiracy plot unfold into an astounding loss of personal freedoms, suspicion among friends and family, and lots and lots of talk about cajun home cooking.
-Bonus: Lots of Nog in this one.

Episode 4. 24: The Quickening
-Nope, this is not about a group of immortals lopping each other's heads off with swords.
-It's actually a super-solemn but don't let that put you off because it's also a great "we are a beacon of hope" episode.
-Bashir has to come to grips with his own limitations on a planet beset by a deadly plague. It's well-written and acted (and perfectly directed by Rene Auberjonois) and bursting with heart.

Episode 4. 25: Body Parts
-Ferengi Hijinks!
-Quark thinks he's dying and, realizing he has no assets with which to pay off his debts, starts auctioning off his own vacuum-desiccated remains.
-Rom and Liquidator Brunt are both fantastic here.
-Quark learns a lesson... kind of.

Runners Up:

Episode 4.1: The Way Of The Warrior
-This is the one where Worf joins DS9 and gets a pretty new uniform.
-Also, it explains a lot about what's going on with the Dominion/The Founders/The Defiant

Episode 4.22: For The Cause
-Watch this one to find out what happens with Kasidy Yates and Commander Eddington.
-It's kind of a heart-breaker. Just so you know.

Saturday, July 6, 2013


I am way into Jadzia Dax lately. Part of it, I think, is that all of DS9 gets better in Season 4 and Worf brings a whole new life to the series. The whole Worf/Jadzia relationship... Jadziorf... Wodzia... anyway, it's great. Jadzia has always been a badass chick with science skills, computer hacking skills, bow hunting skills, Klingon fighting skills but for whatever reason, I just can't get enough of her lately. So, today I drew a little portrait: 

Friday, July 5, 2013

DS9: The Muse

My husband and I are both writers. When people discover this little factoid they invariably say something like, "Oh wow, what's that like?"

Well, I can tell you what it's not like. It's not like the DS9 episode, "The Muse." In this one, Jake runs into an alien chick who's basically a creative juice vampire. She sets up writers and other creative types with a comfy studio in which to work, sets them spinning like a top, and then feeds off their creative energy. Strangely enough, it's actually creepier than it sounds. Here's a picture that you will never get out of your head:

I actually ended up watching this one with Scott and we were both completely baffled at Jake's ability to write while someone's staring at him, massaging him, brain-sucking him, talking constantly right next to his ear. Ronald Moore said of this episode that only a writer would come up with a story about a beautiful woman staring transfixedly at you while you write. I contend that it takes someone who's categorically not a writer to come up with this. Maybe it's just me but if Scott suddenly plunked down behind me and started breathily babbling into my ear I would not only not be able to get anything done, I would probably get really snippy and take myself down to the promenade for a raktajino. Don't start thinking I'm all unappreciative either. Scott would do the exact same thing if I went all creepy alien creative vampire on him.

This episode shouldn't be dismissed though. Odo has a fantastic B-plot with Lwaxana Troi. She shows up on DS9 pregnant. Yes, PREGNANT. And it's up to Odo to help her.

Their friendship is one of my absolute favorite things about DS9. A better side of both characters instantly comes out when they're around one another. So... watch this one. It's worth it just to see Odo smile.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

DS9: Hard Time

Obviously, on this holiday, because I'm a hermit, rather than going out among my thousands and thousands of neighbors in Los Angeles, I stayed in eating Chinese takeout and watching Star Trek. I'd expected it to be rather a pleasant evening but then I realized which episode was next in the queue: Hard Time. This episode features O'Brien being slung into a virtual prison where he makes twenty years of awful, irreversible memories (involving squirreling away food and beard growing) and then returns to DS9 a broken man.

Now, I'm not saying that this isn't a good episode. It is well-acted and well-directed. It's almost an exact parallel to The Inner Light, which I love except that it's mega-depressing. It even features the EXACT SAME ACTRESS because this chick apparently really gets around the "places that only exist in your jacked up brain."
If you see this woman, you've probably been inceptioned. 
I don't especially like Hard Time though. Actually, I kind of always change the channel when this one comes on. Actually, no, I don't like this one. It bothers me. 

Star Trek has always dealt in social issues. Always taking a compassionate (if sometimes heavy-handed) view, they have handled racism, sexism, slavery, war, homophobia, ailing elders, the sudden death of one's parents, and the stigmatization of those living with diseases like HIV/AIDS just to name a few. Hard Time feels like one of those except it isn't. It serves to make the audience angry about O'Brien's treatment but with nothing of substance to back it up. 

So it's not fun to watch because it's Star Trek (and basically episodic in nature--even though DS9 is more serialized than the others) and it's only mentioned in one or two more episodes so while you the viewer will remember it forever, O'Brien will pretty much just get over twenty years of awful circumstances, torture, and his own guilt. It makes me uncomfortable and mad but I don't have anything to really apply that to so I just stew and watch Adventure Time and try (like O'Brien) to forget all about the experience.

And here's the thing:  Do you remember Ensign Sito? 
Yep. Now ya do. She was awesome. 
She appeared in the episode where some cadets including Wesley and Not-Tom-Paris are lying about an illegal flight exercise that killed one of their friends. Later she shows up in the episode Lower Decks about a group of ensigns all trying to make lieutenant. At the end of the episode we find out that she (having been recruited for a dangerous, super-secret mission) was killed in the line of duty, turning a rompy, fun episode into one with a heartfelt, solemn finish. 

In researching Hard Time I found that its story was combined with another pitch which had been bought but not produced about Ensign Sito turning up on DS9 after having been incarcerated in a Cardassian POW camp since her departure from The Enterprise. She would have gone through much the same thing as O'Brien--only in her real life, after having actually done something tricky under orders from the Federation. The episode would have dealt with the effects of PTSD on a young servicewoman who dedicated her career and life to serving the Federation. She could have gone through all the stuff O'Brien goes through and then went off into the land of day players to further deal with it. The DS9 people apparently didn't want to rob the TNG episode of their great ending but I don't think that would've happened. I think I would've appreciated this one far more. 

Oh well, if I ever get inceptioned, I'll just try to make this episode happen in my head. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Working Out Like A Klingon

Today I watched "The Songs of Mogue" which opens with Dax and Worf working out (and by working out I mean hacking at each other with bladed weapons) together in the Holosuite. It's not only cool and sexy, it's inspirational. Jadzia Dax is one of the many strong women of SciFi and the fact that she can hold her own with Trek's token badass makes me want to put on my fancy-shmancy Klingon workout clothes and head down to the gym.
"Let's french braid our hair and wear deep V-necks while we slash at each other.
I promise it'll be super  hot."
I said a while back that I feel like I'm half-Vulcan, half-Klingon. While the Vulcan part might seem a bit obvious, the Kingon side doesn't show as much on this blog. That part of me is more evident in my physicality, my workouts and my interest in combat sports. I lift weights like a maniac and I'm proud of that. If I go a week without bench press, dead lift, and squat, I get a more than a little grumpy and I've been looking into boxing and jiu-jitsu gyms in the area. I actually wrote a whole post about this which was featured today on The Nested Blog. Go check it out!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Six Months Down... Six Months To Go

Today is officially the halfway point in this blog. Hooray! I'm in Season 4 of DS9 and right on schedule to get everything finished by the end of the year. I can't believe the way it's flown by. I'm already dreading the year coming to an end but I'm trying not to think too much about it. Instead, I'm thinking about some of my favorite stuff from the year so far.

I'm thinking about how surprised I was by how amazing TOS was. Even though I re-watched most of the episodes just a couple of years ago, seeing everything in order, from the start, in the context of this blog made a huge difference.

I'm thinking about how much of my personal history TNG brought up, how much of my life is tied into that series, how well I knew the episodes, and how much I found myself not wanting to say good bye to those characters in the seventh season.

I'm thinking about how much I'm loving DS9. I didn't get to see much of this series during its first run. My life was in a constant state of flux for several years and between moving around at least once a year and my parents not having cable, I ended up missing a lot of the episodes. I caught up over time in reruns and a couple years ago made a concerted effort to watch as much of it as I could but it's still surprising to me how much this show has grown on me. It's quite different from the other Treks. Darker, moodier, and maybe it took quite a while for it to really find its voice (basically season 4) but it has what every Trek ultimately has: a good dose of wonder and curiosity, optimism, and heart.

I'm thinking about how some of my weekly posts have gone by the wayside. Should I bring back Weekend Roundup? Or the Season Essentials? Do you like things the way they are? Do you want more Captain's Vlogs?

I'm thinking about what I have left. Several movies, a couple seasons of DS9, Voyager, and Enterprise are all waiting for me. There's also the unknown. I never anticipated creating a bunch of art. I also didn't expect my little project to develop such a strong, wonderful readership. It's caught me completely by surprise and I appreciate every comment, every bit of encouragement and enthusiasm, every conversation I've had about My Year Of Star Trek.

I can't wait to see what's next!

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