Sunday, May 11, 2014

Star Trek Mix Tape: Momisodes

I was born when my mom was pretty young. Ten years and a whole lot of ridiculousness passed and my mom had another kid--my little sister. Another ten years and even more ridiculousness passed and my mom had another kid--my baby brother. These two kids account for half of my siblings (my dad also got into some ridiculousness as well and produced my little twin sisters) and three decades of my mom's life. Every time one of us started growing out of childhood, my mom made another kid which means that for thirty years she has been Santa. She has been the Easter Bunny. She's been the homework helper, the shoulder to cry on, the taxi service to play rehearsal or academic team or little league.

And you know what?  For thirty years, she's been amazing at that stuff. She loves it. This year my little brother is finally growing out of his childhood and into tween-ness and for the first time in thirty years my mom won't be Santa or the Easter Bunny. But she'll still be there for all three of us in all of the unique ways that we need her to be.

For my crazy mom, and your crazy mom and you (if you're a crazy mom) I made the following Star Trek Mix Tape:

1-TOS: Journey to Babel
This is one of my all time favorite TOS episodes. Amanda Greyson and Sarek--Spock's parents--show up on the Enterprise and cause all kinds of under-the-surface-emotional-trauma for Spock. Amanda is such an interesting character all by herself. She's a human, married to a Vulcan ambassador and has taken up the Vulcan ways even though it's clear Vulcan's have a somewhat disdainful (read: xenophobic) attitude toward humans. She's not only married into this completely non-emotional culture but produced a son who also follows the Vulcan path and her handling of these stoic men is really nicely done.

2-TOS:  Devil In The Dark
This is one of the first episodes of TOS I remember watching as a kid. It totally blew my little kid mind and, when it first aired, The Horta became an instant part of classic Trek.

3- TNG: Remember Me
Beverly is totally ship mom on Picard's Enterprise. She mothers practically everyone but especially her actual kid, Wesley. In "Remember Me" she realizes the Enterprise crew is slowly vanishing but no one can even remember them existing. Its an effectively creepy, quiet episode which grows more claustrophobic and strange as the story moves along. Finally, Beverly realizes the key to her survival is her connection to her son.

4-TNG: Family
I'm not sure exactly when we learn that Worf was raised by human parents. Seems like it's pretty early on. But it's not until after the Borg attack in Season Three that we get to see them and Helena Rozhenko is a force to be reckoned with. It couldn't have been easy raising a Klingon child in a human culture and Helena talks about the struggles that a lot of adoptive parents face.

5- TNG: Interface
Here, Geordi gets word that his mom's ship has gone missing. Right around this time, he's also checking out the possibilities/limitations of a virtual reality probe and hears his mother's voice calling to him from a wrecked ship within a gas giant. Convinced that his mother is still alive, he takes the probe's interface system into dangerous territory to find and save her. This one deals as much with the loss and letting go of one's mom as anything else and, for that reason, it's bitter sweet. It's also perfectly played by LeVar Burton.

6- DS9: Take Me Out To The Holosuite/For The Cause
I loved Kasidy Yates and her relationship with Jake was great. She's an excellent example of a step-mom-gone-right. But, like a lot of DS9, her character development was a slow progression. It's hard to point to a single episode that showcases their relationship. So, instead, I picked two that exemplify Kasidy's greatness as a character and a woman. "For The Cause" shows Kasidy standing up for her ethics even when it means losing the people she loved. "Take Me Out To The Holosuite" shows her taking on the Vulcans in a game of baseball right along with Jake and Ben.

7- DS9: Wrongs Darker Than Death Or Night
I'm not gonna lie, this is not a fun episode to watch. That being said, this is a mighty good one. On the anniversary of Kira's mom's birthday, Gul Dukat spills the beans to her about her mom's true fate in the Bajoran Occupation. When she doesn't believe him, she uses a Bajoran orb to find the truth and the truth isn't pretty. Still, what Kira's mother did for her family is incredible and her sacrifice is exemplary of the power of a mother's love for her children.

8- Voyager: Basically All Of It
Janeway is a super mom. She moms everyone around her all day and all night and all day. She moms the hell out of this show for seven years and I love every bit of it. Of course, she's especially mom-ish to Kes and Seven. Her goodbye to Kes in "The Gift" is absolutely beautiful and her relationship with Seven is wonderfully showcased in "Think Tank" "Year Of Hell" and "Hope And Fear."

9- ENT: Home/Awakening
T'Pol's mom has a pretty rough exterior but she truly cares for her daughter and these episodes show us a mother with both a clear understanding of her own ethics and a deep love for her daughter. Again, Vulcan's aren't great at having/showing their feelings so any time you get into these complex "non-emotions" you're getting what Trek does best.

BONUS: All of Lwaxana in all of TNG. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Eavesdropping and How Future Humans Are Too Good For It

So I thought it had only been about a week since I posted but apparently it's actually been much longer. Where did the time go?

I'll tell you.

You know how I do this Shakespeare thing every year? Well, this year has been more hectic than ever and when I contacted the people who usually host our camp I found that between budget problems and scheduling issues, they wouldn't be able to give us use of their space. I scrambled. I spent about a solid week trying to strike a deal with local spaces that might be appropriate for us. Finally, with help from a parent, we had a space. Then I realized that production just about a month away.

Planning a week-long Shakespeare event from three-thousand miles away isn't even a little bit easy. But, throwing in a new format (did I mention we're completely changing our format) and a completely new rehearsal and production space that we've literally never seen in person, it all seems like a completely ridiculous thing to do. Still, I spent the last week ironing out the details, going over our cut of the script, and creating materials for auditions.

Anyway, Much Ado About Nothing is pretty much about love, honor, and marriage. But, as I went through the script again and again I realized that it's really about people achieving their goals through eavesdropping. Literally in the eaves. "I will hide me in the arbor," is a real line. Every other scene features one of the primary characters overhearing conversations which propel the plot into further realms of ludicrous misunderstandings and intentional deception.

Reading it, I thought it would be a cool idea for me to write a post about all the times characters in Star Trek eavesdropped on conversations. You'd think that in 726 episodes and 12 feature films and a very recent viewing of every single one of them, I'd be able to come up with many, many examples.Unfortunately I could only think of two. And one was just an attempted eavesdropping.

Of course the TNG characters are far too noble and sophisticated to do crap like this but at least a couple of DS9's intentionally more cynical (for Trek) characters see no problem with listening in.

1- Garak/Bashir in "Past Prologue"
In this one Kira's loyalties come into question just as the freaking Duras sisters show up. Garak summons Bashir to his shop and then pushes him behind a curtain so the doctor can conveniently overhear the sisters' plans.

2- Quark in "Crossfire"
When Shakaar comes aboard DS9 Quark is antsy to get information about what he's up to and plants an eavesdropping device in a bowl of fruit. Of course, Odo finds it and thwarts his plans.

There are, of course, lots of times when characters dress up as natives to learn about their culture but it's not straight-up eavesdropping in... or maybe it is.

Anyway, back to the grind. Now that the script is cut and the ad materials have been sent out, I'm back to promoting the book (guest blogs, interviews, and giveaways are coming up soon!) while working on the new one and making Shakespeare preparations.

Basically A Year Ago: A Tribute To Troi

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