Happy 50th, Star Trek!

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All the captains! This image was found using a Google image search.

September 1966 saw the premiere of Star Trek and the world was forever changed. Star Trek brought us a utopian vision of a future that not only included the continuance of the human species but the inclusion of disparate parts of that species in the exploration of the universe. Then and now, 50 years later, that is still a remarkably optimistic vision that continues to inspire countless fans around the world.

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Earth as seen from the surface of the moon. Image courtesy of the LROC mission.

Star Trek inspired my brother, cousins, and I throughout our childhoods. I grew up with the voyages of the USS-Enterprise, the NCC-1701-D, station Deep Space Nine, and the USS Voyager. I can’t begin to count the number of hours we spent playing Star Trek first with homemade models then computer games on top of watching the shows and movies as well as reading the sundry paperbacks. This was a great way to grow up. I took it for granted that people of different skin tones, genders, and species could work together to understand different phenomena, solve puzzles, and broker inter-galactic peace. Of course women were lawyers, archaeologists, engineers, diplomats, admirals, doctors, counselors, security officers, teachers, captains, and mothers. There was no such thing as the no-win scenario. Instead, there was working the problem with your crew using the tools you had. Sure there was heartbreak, there was tragedy, there were sucky episodes, there were logical fallacies, there were disappointments. Aren’t there always? The average of good to bad, hope to despair, quality to hackery, and possibilities to dead-ends has always tilted high and that is where I continue to hang my trust in the franchise that is Star Trek.

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My childhood tribble that lives over my writing desk.

I’ve written about Star Trek a lot over the years. Over at Playtime: an Arts and Culture Magazine, I wrote about How to Be a Trekkie and Star Trek (2009). Here at my pond I’ve done a few crafty posts including both a quillow and a baby gift-set, a two-part viewing guide to Star Trek that included some recipes, and even a fundraiser inspired by my love of Star Trek’s tribbles. I’m cautiously hopeful about the upcoming television series and I’m looking forward to writing about Star Trek for years to come.

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All my homemade plushie tribbles! They are standing by to save my brain from multiple sclerosis. 

Thanks for existing, Star Trek. Thanks for all the inspiration, all the debates, all the laughs, and all the wonder. You helped me think that science was not only cool but achievable. You also helped solidify my conviction that the power of a good story told well can change the world for the better. Here’s to another 50 years of going where no one has gone before.

How about you, dear pond readers? Are you celebrating the 50th anniversary in any particular way? Do you have a favorite Star Trek memory or episode? Please, leave a comment below and thanks for stopping by the pond today. Q’pla!

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50 years calls for dancing Picard! 

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Tribbles and Troubles

That’s right, dear pond readers, I’m going to write about the cutest Star Trek alien ever: TRIBBLES!

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Kirk covered in Tribbles. Image found in a Google Image Search.

For some background, tribbles were introduced in the 15th episode of Star Trek: the Original series in season two’s episode “The Trouble with Tribbles.” They have no face, make adorable purring noises, make people inexplicably happy, and are practically born pregnant. Everybody loves tribbles except Klingons and they prove instrumental to resolving the conflict in the episode. Tribbles are a perfect invasive species with the capacity to cause major environmental devastation across the galaxy, even if they are addictively cute. Naturally, the Klingon Empire undertook to destroy them from the face of the universe in the name of conservation. Being Klingon, they succeeded. The story of tribbles was continued in the Deep Space Nine season five episode six adventure titled “Trials and Tribble-ations.” The episode was a love letter to ST:TOS and the franchise as a whole while prominently featuring the popular alien pets. I think these two episodes are two of the most accessible stand-alone Star Trek adventures that capture some of the fun of this imagined future, its bureaucracy, and politics with some good comedy.

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Quark covered in tribbles. Image found using a Google image search.

Ever since my first Star Trek convention when I was a kid in elementary school, I have cherished my tribble. I remember deliberating the exact tribble I wanted, debating the merits of fur color and fur length to what was no doubt an irritating extent to my long-suffering father and elder brother, before finally settling on a long-haired chocolate brown tribble. I distinctly remember combing its fur with my Barbie/my Little Pony combs and cradling it through numerous viewings of various Star Trek shows and VHS movie rentals. To this day, it still has its original tags and sits in a place of honor above my writing desk. As far as I know, they only sell officially licensed tribbles at ThinkGeek.com but they aren’t in stock and appear to be in only one color, so my tribble feels a little extra special.

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My tribble on its shelf over my desk by E.A. Schneider

When I undertook to plan a nerdy, board game themed fundraiser this Summer for my walk MS team, Nerds for a Cure, I tried to think of something I could offer as a donation incentive that would be nerdy, recognizable, and easy-to-make. I remembered that I had found this pattern on Craftster.com and thought: I could make tribbles, by jove. Huzzah!

I have to say that, even without quadrotriticale, the tribbles just seemed to multiply. I’m kind of a compulsive person in a lot of ways but I still blame the tribbles: they are just so darn easy to make. Even with the chronic pain in my hands (thanks, Multiple Sclerosis! You suck!), I was still able to make tribbles with relative ease. There is also something immensely satisfying about having a giant tote bag stuffed full of tribbles next to your sewing basket. In the end, I made 30 in four different colors and used up a giant bag of poly fiberfil. At the fundraiser, I’m pleased to say that the giant bin of tribbles did draw several people through the door and they donated specifically to get a tribble. I was extra thrilled to place tribbles in their generous hands.

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Our info table at the Nerds for a Cure MS Fundraiser. Notice, the giant pile of tribbles in the purple bin with Kirk’s face. Also, the basket of bookmarks.

That said, even though the fundraiser went really well, particularly for a first attempt, I still have a lot of homeless tribbles sitting in my house. While I could be smart and save them for next year’s Nerds for a Cure MS Fundraiser, I think that I should try to find them homes and I do have fundraising yet to do with only about four weeks left until my walk event. Our fundraising goal is $5500 but right now we’ve only raised $3,851 and I’m not sure we’re going to make our goal.

So what do you say, pond readers? Do you want to donate to save my brain from the horror of multiple sclerosis AND get an adorable tribble friend to keep you company? Now is your chance. If you donate $12 to my personal fundraising for Walk MS Waukesha and put TRIBBLE! in the  personal note field, I will mail you a handmade plush tribble while supplies last.

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All the tribbles waiting for new homes by E.A. Schneider

Moreover, if you donate $15 to my personal fundraising for Walk MS Waukesha and put TRIBBLE+! in the personal note field, I will throw in three homemade bookmarks from our Nerds for a Cure MS Fundraiser event for you to enjoy with your tribble.

If you want to support my fundraising but don’t want to risk bringing even a plushie tribble into your home (or you just don’t want a tribble), you can donate $5 to my fundraising and put BOOKMARKS! in the personal note field and I will mail you three homemade bookmarks. The bookmarks were made by the talented ladies at the Drunken Library. You might remember the Drunken Library from when my nerd friend, the talented Amber Graham, joined me for a day of Star Trek watching. While I can’t include pictures of every single bookmark (they made 120+), you can see a lot of the designs in the picture below and you can watch their videos about making the bookmarks on their Youtube channel. The square bookmarks fit over the corner of a page and are hard to lose. The rectangle bookmarks are just pretty rectangles.

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Handmade bookmarks courtesy of the Drunken Library

Everyone who donates at any level will get a special Nerds for a Cure MS Fundraiser event pin as a thank you in addition to the tribbles and bookmarks while supplies last. The pins are all 1″ in size.

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Fundraiser event pins!

Finally,  you must put the specified text in the personal note field to be considered for this offer. Without the text in the personal note field, I will just assume you’re a super nice, generous person who doesn’t want any thank-you item and you will only receive a pin with your thank-you note. I have to say, it would be pretty amazing if I ran out of tribbles and bookmarks because all of you in Internet-land decided to donate a little bit to my fundraising.

Here’s a nutshell description of why I’m asking you to care: multiple sclerosis is a super sucky insidious, invisible disease that I will struggle with for the rest of my life. I’m not special, a lot of people are struggling with multiple sclerosis. I bet you know somebody in your life besides me who has been touched by this disease, but, I figure if you’re reading this blog, that you care a little bit about its author being able to continue writing it for your perusal. The National MS Society is doing a lot to fund research that will hopefully not only get us closer to a cure but also improve quality of life for people and their families in the meantime. The organization really makes a difference to those of us living with this disease and I hope that you will help me help them help everyone. You can always help by sharing this blog post and my team links on social media even if you can’t donate for whatever reason.

Thanks for reading my reflections on tribbles and my request for fundraising help. I really appreciate all my readers taking the time to keep reading Technicolorlilypond. You help me persevere. Please, leave a comment below with any questions or comments. Thanks for looking at my pictures, considering my request, and for stopping by the pond, dear readers!

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Muskrat by the Fox river by E.A. Schneider. This muskrat may not be a tribble but he is certainly an adorable little furry creature.

Make it Sew: Nerdy edition

Make it Sew: Nerdy edition

Hello, dear pond readers! I have managed to be a crafty pond dweller between this winter, spring, and summer. Here is the first installment of my adventures in sewing from the last few months and they are all kinda nerdy.

Two of my friends moved into new homes so I made them towels.  Specifically, I made them towels that involved math fabric because they are both engineers and, me being me, I actually had math fabric in my stash. The fabrics are a mix of Moda and Tula Pink. I got a little fancy/experimental with the stitches on the ribbons and I have to say I’m pleased with the result.

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Finally, some geeky friends of mine are having a baby. Naturally, this is a chance to make adorable, nerdy things for a small human. These friends are big Star Trek: The Next Generation fans, one of whom has an especial fondness for Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton). Being one of the probably few people who happened to have both the fabric on hand and the skillset to make something ST:TNG that prominently features the Crushers, this was my time to shine.

I used Star Trek:The Next Generation fabric from Camelot Cottons (Star Trek The Next Generation Badges White Fabric By The Yard) to make the baby bibs. The bibs are backed with white microplush fabric that is both super soft and super absorbent. I used velcro as the closures because snaps are the devil and I dislike them. Because this geeky couple is very Earth conscious and does not need more tissue paper, I made them a reusable drawstring bag with space fabric as the gift wrap. Finally, I included a tribble because every baby needs a tribble to keep it company in the crib.

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I really like the fabric in the collection. I think the likenesses of the characters is fantastic and only slightly creepy. I particularly like Wesley’s brooding seriousness juxtaposed with Dr. Crusher’s (Gates McFadden) megawatt smile. I confess that I made a couple of Star Trek bibs to set aside in case I get my own little bag-of-mostly-water to raise one day. I anticipate that looking at the crew of the USS Enterprise-D whilst trying to dock the strained peas in the baby space station will be fun.

I hope you enjoy the pictures! Please, share any comments, questions, or Trekkie nerdery in the comments and thanks for stopping by the pond today. Live long and prosper!

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The whole set!

P.S.: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program here at Technicolorlilypond, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. If you buy this lovely: Star Trek The Next Generation Badges White Fabric By The Yard  

 I will get a small advertising fee.  Even if you don’t pick one up here, I hope that it helps you. If you do pick it up through my link, thank you very much; I hope that these fees will help support me as I continue writing and doing creative things here at Technicolorlilypond. Thanks for your support!
Happy Headlines

Happy Headlines

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Wingspan by E.A. Schneider

Salutations, dear pond readers! I know it has been awhile. As part of my bid to stay awake tonight to watch the exceptional Perseid Meteor Shower, I thought that I would share some nifty headlines with all of you.

This headline about a brilliant inventor from South Africa who developed a famine-combating super absorbent polymer from orange and avocado peels filled me with delight today. There’s nothing like the can-do spirit of a science literate inventor who actually figured out how to make her part of the world a better place to start your day off right.

In the entertainment world, I’m excited about a live action version of an anime that I very much enjoyed called Tiger & Bunny getting one step closer to being a live-action film.  Tiger & Bunny combines a few characteristics that I enjoy: superpowers, ensemble teamwork, dynamic action, buddy-comedy, and a hint of workplace style story-telling. The characters, the story, and the animation are all fantastic. There is also a satisfying emotional arc for the characters and that is something that anime fans don’t always get to enjoy with a show based on an ongoing manga or light novel series. I look forward to seeing how the live-action movie is developed.

The other entertainment story I’m pumped about is the news that the new Star Trek show on CBS, Star Trek: Discovery, will not only have a diverse cast headed by a female lead but will also take place in the prime universe. As pond readers well know, though I am a lifelong Trekkie, I do not care for the new J.J. Abrams’ films. When early reports on the possibility of a new TV series surfaced, I feared they would be set in the alternate Abrams’ universe and new generations would see the prime universe as a quaint curiosity. I think that a new show set in the 10 years before The Original Series makes perfect sense. Big idea, high-concept, character-driven sci-fi that is told with good action and good writing really shines the most in a long format like TV. That’s why I think Star Trek’s natural habitat will always be the small screen, even if I do enjoy good Star Trek movies. Here’s hoping that Fuller and team do the brand credit and all fans, new and old, can enjoy a good Trek to the stars for years to come.

Any news stories that you’re particularly excited about, dear pond readers? Please, leave a comment below and thanks for stopping by the pond!

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Because dancing Picard makes everything an extra big party.

Star Trek Guide: the Conclusion

Hailing frequencies open, dear pond readers! A couple months ago now, I published a post detailing a plan to introduce someone to Star Trek in one day. Now, I can publish the sequel to how that day actually turned out. I’m re-posting the blurbs featured in the original post to give you all some context on what we’re discussing.  Enjoy!

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A small subset of my beloved Star Trek model collection by E.A. Schneider

Introductions:

You know me, Ellen, your friendly neighborhood pond-dweller who is a definite Trekkie. I have picked the viewing and am asking my nerd friend questions. The nerd friend who is the inspiration for Star Trek day is Amber of burgeoning Youtube fame as a co-host of the Drunken Library. Amber, would you like to put a blurb about yourself here at the pond with any links you want?

Amber: Sure! The Drunken Library is a YouTube channel where my friend Sam and I get drunk, talk about books, and generally revel in an abundance of shenanigans. You can find us at: http://www.youtube.com/c/drunkenlibrary

Ellen: Thanks again, Amber. Alright, on to the episodes!

The Blurb: 
Star Trek: the Original Series: “Balance of Terror” Season 1, Episode 14 This episode has everything: fabulous writing that grapples with contemporary socio-political issues, intense character moments, and some thrilling action. The performances, especially guest star Mark Leonard and Leonard Nimoy’s Spock, are really something special. And that final scene? Be still my nerdly heart! It’s a good episode, especially when you think about the world of the 1960s with all that Cold War tension. ST:TOS really excels at confronting issues of race, prejudice, and the difficulties of maintaining peace with warring neighbors throughout its three season run; this episode is a great example.

 

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The Romulan warbird from the “Balance of Terror”

 

The Viewing:

Amber: When did this episode air?

Ellen: Apparently, 12/15/1966. What did you think, Amber?
Amber: I liked it. It’s cool to see them not being famous people, see where they started. I can’t help comparing it to Doctor Who, that’s my massive nerd obsession. Did they film it in color?

Ellen: Yeah, they did.

Amber: Okay, cool.

Ellen: Did you notice how diverse the background extras are?

Amber: No, not until you mentioned it. I noticed Uhura and George Takei on the bridge, that’s cool.

The Blurb:
Star Trek the Animated Series: “The Practical Joker”Season 2, Episode 3
The Animated Series is awkwardly placed in Star Trek.  It is officially licensed, it includes the same voice talent, many of the same writers from the live show write episodes, and some things from the animated series went on to influence the rest of the shows but…it is not canon. Technically, by my own rules, this series shouldn’t be in this viewing day because it is not main storyline. But, given all of the above positives added to the creative renderings of aliens impossible to show on live TV, and the bigger parts given to supporting characters, particularly women, I just can’t help but really love this series. Also, the cheesy animation is entertaining in its own right. Therefore I declare this to be Bonus Viewing! “The Practical Joker” features the “Rec Room,” an early use of holographic technology without which we wouldn’t have all sorts of awesome adventures in other series. I also think showing the pitfalls of the technology that makes this future possible in a comedic way is fun sci-fi.

 

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The  computer has a sense of humor.

The Viewing:
Ellen:
This episode aired on 9/21/1974, over ten years after TOS went off the air. What did you think?

Amber: Doesn’t take itself too seriously, it is cheesy in a cartoony way but I liked it.

The Blurb:
Star Trek: the Next Generation: “Darmok” Season 5, Episode 2
A fan favorite and a personal favorite, “Darmok,” is about the overwhelming importance of communication and the lengths a committed diplomat will go to make sure that connection is made. “Darmok” also showcases the universal importance of Stories in a very compelling way. It inspired me to read Gilgamesh, actually (you’ll understand why if you watch the episode). This episode has great action, characterization, and more than a few stellar lines by Patrick Stewart’s Jean-Luc Picard. Diplomacy over violence is one of the big points of Star Trek, and Picard’s Enterprise does it so well. Even though this episode is primarily a Picard vehicle, you get to see his crew working as a team to help him through a pretty unique first contact and considering how amazing his crew is, that’s important.

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The Viewing: 
Ellen:
This aired on 9/28/1991.

Amber: Okay, I think I saw part of this series when I was a kid, not this episode.

Ellen: What did you think when you saw them land on the planet with daggers?

Amber: Didn’t think it was a duel. Maybe an offering or a hunt?

Ellen: What do you think of Picard’s response? The crew’s?

Amber: At least he wasn’t all aggressive. [The crew] was all aggressive, not necessary.

Ellen: The children of Tarmar only speak in stories, what do you think of that?

Amber: Like the concept, not sure how effective it is but thought it was cool.

Ellen: Does it remind you of anything we do?

Amber: Yeah, inside jokes and pop culture references. I like that the crew understood what was happening but not the story but the Captain understood the story without the historical library info. It was like immersion vs. research for learning a language and I find that really appealing.

The Blurb:
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: “Duet” Season 1, Episode 18
Deep Space Nine grappled with the messy complications of war in all its stages: before, during, and after. Through the clean-up of Bajor post-Cardassian occupation and with the Dominion invasion it does this messy job very well with a stellar cast of characters who undergo tremendous growth over the course of the show. I think “Duet” encapsulates all of these themes while showcasing the powerful Major Kira Nerys at the beginning of her journey. Major Kira has some understandable issues with Cardassians and this episode forces her to confront them but it is still a stand-alone, you get all the exposition you need within the first few minutes. Fans generally hate on the first three seasons of Deep Space Nine. While I agree that the show didn’t find its stride until season four, I think there were still a lot of good episodes with compelling stories in the first three seasons and that a show needs time to build momentum, especially a show with a big ensemble cast.

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Kira and Maritza from DS9

The Viewing: 
Ellen:
So, what did you think?

Amber: It was an interesting progression. It was sad that he tried to do something good then got stabbed. Racism at its finest!

Ellen: Were you able to follow what was happening alright?

Amber: Rough to catch what was happening at first, your background before the episode helped. It was interesting to watch her being so conflicted about something based on prejudice and overcome racism to think positively toward someone different. Always is cool when that can happen.

The Blurb:

Star Trek: Voyager: “Blink of an Eye” Season 6, Episode 12
The Prime Directive states that Starfleet personnel are prohibited from interfering in the development of other civilizations. It is their highest principle and it can be pretty hard to hold up sometimes, but what do you do when you’re influencing a civilization and you didn’t know it? This is the main question of this episode and is an excellent showcase for the strengths of Voyager. Within Star Trek the series frequently explores difficult ethical questions, especially when the Prime Directive is in play, and I think that tends to be when the franchise is at its best. The premise of Voyager,a ship lost and alone literally hundreds of years of travel away from allies, particularly lends itself to questions of morality versus pragmatics, pushing the boundaries a little on all those high-ideals Star Trek is known for. But, Voyager has a lot of haters, I used to be a doubter, but I liked the show overall when I got to re-watch it on streaming. I loved the ensemble cast, especially B’Elanna Torres and Tom Paris, and I liked Captain Janeway a lot. Voyager is definitely worth a second look.

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The Viewing: 

Ellen: So, what did you think?

Amber: I really liked the captain and SevenofNine seemed cool. It was really neat to see a timey wimey civilization, almost like playing CIV [Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution] to see it all go by so fast.

Ellen: What do you think of the crew and their decision not to fight?

Amber: They put a lot of faith in the astronaut, without him they were effed. It’s a strong commitment to the prime directive. I wouldn’t have understood all that without your explanation, though.

The Blurb:
Star Trek: Enterprise: “The Cogenitor” Season 2,  Episode 22
Speaking of the Prime Directive, this is an episode that explores why a powerful, wanna-be-technologically-sophisticated race of explorers might need a rule like that if they are going to go star-hopping. Again, more big questions with good storytelling and the plucky ensemble cast of Enterprise exploring the universe. The premise of Enterprise is that it chronicles the beginning of humanity’s voyage to the stars before the United Federation of Planets was founded. Like Voyager, Enterprise also has a lot of haters, and I also used to be one. But, after re-watching the show, I realized that I let prequel prejudice color my judgment. “Why do we need a prequel? Who needs prequels, anyway?”<–younger, more nerd-rage-y, Ellen. Well, this episode actually gives a good answer to that rather petulant question. Enterprise has its ups and downs, I think it was really hitting its stride in its last season, but this episode is definitely one of the ups.

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The Viewing: 
Ellen:
Alright, the last episode. It aired on 4/30/2003 and was directed by Star Trek alum, LeVar Burton. What did you think?

Amber: Is that how they made the Federation, by going around talking to people?

Ellen: Yes, that is exactly how they made it.

Amber: Cool. That episode seemed to have a pretty big shout-out to “Dead Poet’s Society.”

Ellen: Yeah, I can see that. I don’t know if there’s a connection though.

Amber: That episode also had the weirdest flirting I’ve ever seen.

Ellen: [Laughing] Yeah…Star Trek definitely has its share of flirting over the years. Malcolm is kind of the worst security officer, too. What did you think of the story?

Amber: I get [Trip’s] impulse but still, but, if they [the Cogenitor] can’t achieve the dream you’re getting them to dream, you’re not really helping them.

Ellen: Yeah, it’s pretty complicated. You also don’t know if they ever established diplomatic relations or not after this and what could have changed if they could’ve had a diplomatic relationship. It is really bittersweet.

The Blurb:

Bonus Viewing: Trekkies(1997)The fan culture of Star Trek has a life and significance unto itself, which Denise Crosby sets out to document with love and humor in Trekkies. I think this documentary is splendid. Crosby catches everything from the ridiculous to the affecting as she travels the U.S.A. talking to trekkies of all walks of life. Who knows? Maybe if my geek friend winds up interested in watching more Star Trek, she might even watch the sequel with me another day.

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Fly on, little Trek baby

The Viewing: 
Ellen:
That’s everything, Amber! What did you think of the documentary?

Amber: It was interesting. It was kind of all over the place but it was nice to get some insight into some of the impact of the show.

Ellen: What is the verdict on Star Trek day?

Amber: This was really fun. The food was delicious. I think I’ve been missing out on food whenever I try to get people into “Doctor Who.”

Ellen: That’s okay; I do also just really like to cook, too. What did you think of the show?

Amber: I think that I’m going to watch some more. I’ll watch some of the first one and see how it goes.

Ellen: Cool! Did you have a favorite episode from today?

Amber: I liked the Voyager one, “Blink of an Eye,” the best because it was so timey-wimey. I also liked “Darmok” because I’m fascinated with language so the language barrier was really neat and it was a cool way to approach linguistics.

Ellen: Thanks again for coming and giving Star Trek a chance.

Amber: Thanks for having me it was fun. I really liked the tour format of one episode per show; it was great to get a sense of the franchise without being too overwhelming.

 

Q’pla! Star Trek day was a success. First and foremost, Amber, my nerd friend, had fun and doesn’t hate me. Huzzah! Second, she enjoyed the shows and might just watch more. I can’t ask for anything more than that. This calls for my favorite GIF.

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Picard from Insurrection found using a google search

 

Now, regarding the food, I came up with a bit of a spread. Below you’ll find my menu and a couple of recipes so that you can make it so tasty to watch Star Trek.

 

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My out of this world spread, at least in part

The food that I served included:

  • Crescent rolls
  • Lemon curd
  • Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.
  • Pizza
  • Star Trek Cookies
  • Sisko’s Creole Gumbo
    • Recipe below
  • Baguette
  • Klingon G’agh!
    • Recipe below
  • Romulan Ale
    • Recipe below

The tea and crescent rolls, a poor person’s croissant, were my shout out to Captain Picard. I don’t know if he likes lemon curd but I can just picture Picard with a lemon curd decked croissant in one hand, steaming cup of tea in the other, and listening to a concerto in the morning.

I have no immediate Star Trek tie in to the pizza but I am sure that it is served in one or other of the shows because pizza is amazing. Also, any day devoted to geeky nerd fan-dom should include some pizza.

Star Trek cookies! They were just sugar cookie dough but they were super tasty all the same. I also like the cute chubby appearance the shapes took on during baking.

 

 

Sisko’s creole gumbo is a recipe that I significantly adjusted from the America’s Test Kitchen Slow Cooker Revolution cookbook. It was an experiment, I’ve never made a gumbo before, but the results were quite delicious. Here’s the recipe, as I did it, and please don’t blame the folks at ATK for how yours turns out, blame my freestyle in the kitchen.

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My interpretation of Sisko’s Creole Gumbo

Ingredients:

  • Condensed French Onion soup in a can
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups minced onion
  • 1 bag frozen gumbo vegetable mix
    • Contains:
      • okra
      • onion
      • red bell pepper
      • green bell pepper
      • sweet corn
    • 2 celery ribs, minced
    • 6 garlic cloves, minced
    • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
    • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
    • 1 pound Andouille sausage, sliced ½ inch thick
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
    • ½ bag frozen deveined, shelled large shrimp pre-cooked
    • 4 scallions, sliced thin
    • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

Directions: Sauté minced onions in vegetable oil with garlic cloves and celery until onions are golden brown/translucent, about 5 minutes. Defrost frozen vegetables for about 4 minutes in microwave. Put condensed French onion soup into slow cooker. Add cooked onion mixture, defrosted vegetables, chicken broth, thyme, cayenne pepper, and mix. Stir sausage slices and bay leaves into slow cooker. Season chicken with salt and pepper then nestle into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours. Close to the end of cooking time, boil a large pot of salted water. Add the defrosted, shelled, deveined shrimp and cook until opaque, about four minutes. Shred the chicken from the gumbo either on a cutting board or using shears in the pot. Mix in the cooked shrimp, the scallions, the parsley, and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaves. Serve with rice or baguette.

 

For some extra interstellar flavor, I made my interpretation of the Klingon delicacy, G’agh! It does not involve live serpent worms but it does involve cabbage, which is probably just about as appealing to some. Again, I adjusted a recipe that I found in the America’s Test Kitchen cookbook, Slow Cooker Revolution. I basically use their recipes as a jumping off place to experiment and you shouldn’t blame them if your interpretation of this dish doesn’t turn out. Below is my interpretation of their Sweet and Sour Braised Cabbage, which sounded like a warrior’s side dish to me.

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Gagh! A warrior’s side dish

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds sliced red cabbage
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 package pre-cooked bacon pieces
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • Dried thyme, to taste
  • Ground cinnamon, to taste
  • Caraway seeds, to taste
  • Ground allspice, to taste
  • 5 cups pure apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Directions: Microwave cabbage with half the oil and salt to taste for about 20 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker using tongs. Soften onion and spices with remaining vegetable oil in the microwave for five minutes. Put spiced onions in slow cooker with cabbage. Add the apple juice, the package of cooked bacon, half the brown sugar, and 1 bay leaf to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6 hours. Stir in vinegar and sugar, adding more to taste as desired. Remove the bay leaf and serve.

 

Romulan Ale is a legendary menu item of the Star Trek universe. It is supposedly so alcoholic, so potent, that it is banned across Federation territory and bootlegging it is an under the table privilege of commanders on the edge of the galaxy. The fans know only one thing for sure about Romulan Ale: it is electric blue. Regardless of show or movie, the potent concoction is always depicted as a vivid blue that practically glows in the scene. The Internet abounds with recipes for Romulan Ale and a variety of ingredients are used of varying legality and safety. Not being a mixologist or a particularly alcohol savvy person, I fixed on the color and decided to just make something I would find tasty. I used ratios because I have no patience for measuring things in the kitchen and prefer a more heuristic approach. Good luck with this! I found it tasty but I think the basic principle of mixing what you want to drink is a good one.

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Romulan Ale with some interstellar company

Ingredients:

  • Electric blue Gatorade
  • Vodka, cake flavor (or personal favorite flavor)
  • Sprite or other clear lemon-lime pop

Directions: I did a 1:1 ratio of vodka to Sprite. Then I did a 3:1 mixture of Gatorade to vodka/pop mix, stirred, and poured. I served the drink cold, like the revenge of a Romulan. I wanted to garnish it with sour gummy fruit since DS9 established the Romulans like sour/tart flavors but, alas, I wound up not being that coordinated. You could adjust this to be more or less alcoholic based on your personal preferences but I found this to be tasty and it was certainly electric blue in the pictures.

There you have it, dear pond readers! The discussion and menu for my Star Trek day all outlined above. I hope that this inspires you to go watch some Star Trek with some yummy food and good friends. What do you think of our comments on the episodes? Do you think you’ll try these recipes? Do you think you’ll try to give anyone in your life a tour of Star Trek? 2016 is the 50th anniversary of Star Trek and a perfect time to introduce people to this amazing franchise. One of my favorite Internet spots, io9, also did an article on introducing Star Trek to people that you can check out for more variety.  Leave your comments and thoughts below please and thanks for stopping by the pond today. Live long and prosper!

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Peace and Long Life

P.S. If you want to watch some Star Trek now AND support a Trekkie blogger you like, you can pick up some Star Trek using these links: Star Trek: The Complete Original Series (Seasons 1-3) [Blu-ray]; Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Complete Series [Blu-ray]; Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Complete Series; Star Trek Voyager: The Complete Series; Star Trek: Enterprise: The Full Journey – The Complete Series Collection box Set [Blu-ray]; STAR TREK-ANIMATED SERIES-ANIMATED ADV OF GENE R(DVD)(4DISCS) and as a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, I will earn a small fee. Thanks for your support!

Crafts and Treats

It occurs to me, dear pond readers, that I never did a big blog post about my holiday crafts and treats from Christmas or my 2015 reading thoughts. I will begin my catching up with the crafts and treats.

In 2015 and early 2016, I sewed a lot of towels and baby bibs but I unfortunately forgot to take pictures of some of them. I’ve compiled two slide shows of the pictures I do have all together. The baby bib slideshow features pictures that appeared in a previous post as well. I used cottons and flannels with some re-purposed flannels from old shirts. Enjoy!

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Finally, I did get the opportunity to make Christmas cookies again with one of my favorite people. This year I also got to bust out the Star Trek cookie cookies for some holiday geekery. Enjoy!

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Please, leave any questions or comments below. Thanks for stopping by the pond today, dear readers!

P.S.

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program here at Technicolorlilypond, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. If you buy this lovely: Star Trek Cookie Cutters,
I will get a small advertising fee. I think these cookie cutters are super fun, I use them a lot, and I hope you have fun with them. Even if you don’t pick a set up here, I hope that it helps you. If you do pick it up through my link, thank you very much; I hope that these fees will help support me as I continue writing and doing creative things here at Technicolorlilypond. Thanks for your support!

These are the Episodes: My 6 episode guide to decades of Star Trek in a Day

These are the Episodes: My 6 episode guide to decades of Star Trek in a Day

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All the captains! All the Ships!

Dear pond readers, today we are going to boldly view what many people have viewed before: a lot of fantastic Star Trek episodes. Now, all of you readers know, I am an avid trekkie. It’s a pretty big deal to me. I grew up on Star Trek and my Barbies were captains of the Enterprise saving the universe through diplomacy and clever plans while other little girls were playing My Little Pony. Okay, I played My Little Pony too, but my ponies were as likely to be aliens on an away mission as they were to be doing horse things. I went to my first convention when I was in elementary school, I have crafted some Star Trek themed things on this blog, and I’ve written about Star Trek a couple times on the Internet before here and here. As I said, it’s a pretty big deal.

A burgeoning geek in my life doesn’t know Star Trek. She knows Game of Thrones, she knows Buffy and Angel, and her primary thing is Doctor Who but Star Trek is a big, gaping hole in her pop-culture/geek knowledge. We had a conversation one night, which consisted of her basically expressing a desire to be a better geek, and me replying, “Well then, you need a little knowledge of Star Trek,” to which she agreed but said, “How?” Challenge accepted! I offered to be her Boothby on a voyage through decades of Star Trek and I have been agonizing for weeks over a viewing list to plan our Star Trek day. Now, life happens and I don’t know if we’re actually ever going to do this amazing Star Trek marathon, but, why let all my pondering go to waste? You, dear readers, might know people or be people who want to be introduced to Star Trek and I, as your friendly neighborhood trekkie-in-the-pond, will help you make it so.

I have chosen one episode from each of the Star Trek series to appear on television and I propose watching them in order. Thanks to streaming platforms, you can stream all of the series very easily and access should hopefully be straightforward for most people. Choosing an episode, one single episode from each show, was pretty hard. I decided that what was most important wasn’t necessarily to select my favorite episode or a fan favorite but rather to showcase an episode that met the following criteria:

  • It has to be stand-alone.
    • No two-parters or something that is part of an ongoing story arc because a completely uninitiated neophyte needs to be able to get what is happening.
  • It has to be main storyline continuity in the primary universe.
    • As awesome as the Mirror-Universe is, as entertaining as parallel dimension/timey-wimey stuff can be, and as popular as the J.J. Abrams movies are, they are the exceptions, the outliers that are only possible because there is a main-universe continuity. Also, I don’t think an episode like “Mirror, Mirror,” has any resonance or impact if you are a newbie who is totally unfamiliar with the characters. A novice would only be able to appreciate the goatees and, fantastic as they are, that’s just not enough.
  • The episode must represent the soul and ethic of Star Trek as well as the unique strengths of that series.
    • Now I freely admit that this is extremely subjective. If you get a roomful of Trekkies together, you will not only be with a lot of nifty people, but you will also get a roomful of subtly different, unique points of view on what the soul of Star Trek is and that is just fine. Also, not all of the series are equally loved. Each series has its fans and good points but there are strong, divergent opinions about them all.To me, and I think to a lot of people, the soul of Star Trek lies in exploring the universe and the human condition through dynamic storytelling, strong characterization, and a native positivity about humanity. Star Trek is about big, knotty ideas that can only be grappled with in a science fiction setting. The ethics of Star Trek also always seem to come back to respect, compassion, and the scientific ideal of an open-mind alive to wonder but full of questions. The Vulcan mantra of IDIC: Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations really underlies the principles of the United Federation of Planets and its Starfleet’s Prime Directive of non-interference. What would humanity do with replicators and faster than light travel? Some people would say, something absolutely dreadful but, lucky for everyone, Gene Roddenberry thought humans were better than that and decided to tell that story.

      Does the show always manage to pull off all this high-minded idealism? No, of course not. There are all sorts of episodes across all of the series that fall short with the only silver lining being somebody takes their shirt off or there is some kick ass special effects sequence. That’s okay. The fact that over diverse series across many decades with different writers, show runners, actors, and directors whatever Star Trek is on TV at the time actually did pull off idealism repeatedly is extraordinary.

      Star Trek changed television forever and it started cult fandom. More than that though, Star Trek, with its positive vision of a better tomorrow achieved by the work and hope of ordinary people, inspired, and continues to inspire, a lot of people to be the best version of themselves and to create an extraordinary future that is already happening right now. The fact that a fictional show achieved that is pretty blooming amazing but then, a good story can and clearly does, change the world. So, for me, picking the episodes that best live up to what Star Trek represents, while challenging, is a privilege.

       

Below I have written the series, the episode title, the season, episode number, and a short blurb of why I picked that episode. For the bonus viewing, I am including an episode from Star Trek: the Animated Series as well as the fabulous documentary, Trekkies with Denise Crosby. I have written blurbs for both as well. All told, this amounts to about eight hours of viewing. If we ever manage to do this marathon, I plan to question my friend about her reaction and post a sequel to this blog entry with an edited version of the discussion. We’ll see what happens. In the meantime, these are the episodes:

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Romulan warbird from “Balance of Terror”

  • Star Trek: the Original Series: “Balance of Terror” Season 1, Episode 14This episode has everything: fabulous writing that grapples with contemporary socio-political issues, intense character moments, and some thrilling action. The performances, especially guest star Mark Leonard and Leonard Nimoy’s Spock, are really something special. And that final scene? Be still my nerdly heart! It’s a good episode, especially when you think about the world of the 1960s with all that Cold War tension. ST:TOS really excels at confronting issues of race, prejudice, and the difficulties of maintaining peace with warring neighbors throughout its three season run; this episode is a great example.

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    The computer has a sense of humor.

  • Star Trek the Animated Series: “The Practical Joker” Season 2, Episode 3
    The Animated Series is awkwardly placed in Star Trek.  It is officially licensed, it includes the same voice talent, many of the same writers from the live show write episodes, and some things from the animated series went on to influence the rest of the shows but…it is not canon. Technically, by my own rules, this series shouldn’t be in this viewing day because it is not main storyline. But, given all of the above positives added to the creative renderings of aliens impossible to show on live TV, and the bigger parts given to supporting characters, particularly women, I just can’t help but really love this series. Also, the cheesy animation is entertaining in its own right. Therefore I declare this to be Bonus Viewing! “The Practical Joker” features the “Rec Room,” an early use of holographic technology without which we wouldn’t have all sorts of awesome adventures in other series. I also think showing the pitfalls of the technology that makes this future possible in a comedic way is fun sci-fi.

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    Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra!

  • Star Trek: the Next Generation: “Darmok” Season 5, Episode 2
    A fan favorite and a personal favorite, “Darmok,” is about the overwhelming importance of communication and the lengths a committed diplomat will go to make sure that connection is made. “Darmok” also showcases the universal importance of Stories in a very compelling way. It inspired me to read Gilgamesh, actually (you’ll understand why if you watch the episode). This episode has great action, characterization, and more than a few stellar lines by Patrick Stewart’s Jean-Luc Picard. Diplomacy over violence is one of the big points of Star Trek, and Picard’s Enterprise does it so well. Even though this episode is primarily a Picard vehicle, you get to see his crew working as a team to help him through a pretty unique first contact and considering how amazing his crew is, that’s important.

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    Major Kira and an interesting Cardassian visitor from “Duet”

  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: “Duet” Season 1, Episode 18
    Deep Space Nine grappled with the messy complications of war in all its stages: before, during, and after. Through the clean-up of Bajor post-Cardassian occupation and with the Dominion invasion it does this messy job very well with a stellar cast of characters who undergo tremendous growth over the course of the show. I think “Duet” encapsulates all of these themes while showcasing the powerful Major Kira Nerys at the beginning of her journey. Major Kira has some understandable issues with Cardassians and this episode forces her to confront them but it is still a stand-alone, you get all the exposition you need within the first few minutes. Fans generally hate on the first three seasons of Deep Space Nine. While I agree that the show didn’t find its stride until season four, I think there were still a lot of good episodes with compelling stories in the first three seasons and that a show needs time to build momentum, especially a show with a big ensemble cast.

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    Voyager in orbit from “Blink of an Eye”

  • Star Trek: Voyager: “Blink of an Eye” Season 6, Episode 12
    The Prime Directive states that Starfleet personnel are prohibited from interfering in the development of other civilizations. It is their highest principle and it can be pretty hard to hold up sometimes, but what do you do when you’re influencing a civilization and you didn’t know it? This is the main question of this episode and is an excellent showcase for the strengths of Voyager. Within Star Trek the series frequently explores difficult ethical questions, especially when the Prime Directive is in play, and I think that tends to be when the franchise is at its best. The premise of Voyager, a ship lost and alone literally hundreds of years of travel away from allies, particularly lends itself to questions of morality versus pragmatics, pushing the boundaries a little on all those high-ideals Star Trek is known for. But, Voyager has a lot of haters, I used to be a doubter, but I liked the show overall when I got to re-watch it on streaming. I loved the ensemble cast, especially B’Elanna Torres and Tom Paris, and I liked Captain Janeway a lot. Voyager is definitely worth a second look.

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    Trip and the Cogenitor from “The Cogenitor”

  • Star Trek: Enterprise: “The Cogenitor” Season 2,  Episode 22
    Speaking of the Prime Directive, this is an episode that explores why a powerful, wanna-be-technologically-sophisticated race of explorers might need a rule like that if they are going to go star-hopping. Again, more big questions with good storytelling and the plucky ensemble cast of Enterprise exploring the universe. The premise of Enterprise is that it chronicles the beginning of humanity’s voyage to the stars before the United Federation of Planets was founded. Like Voyager, Enterprise also has a lot of haters, and I also used to be one. But, after re-watching the show, I realized that I let prequel prejudice color my judgment. “Why do we need a prequel? Who needs prequels, anyway?” <–younger, more nerd-rage-y, Ellen. Well, this episode actually gives a good answer to that rather petulant question. Enterprise has its ups and downs, I think it was really hitting its stride in its last season, but this episode is definitely one of the ups.

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    The box cover of “Trekkies”

  • Bonus Viewing: Trekkies (1997)
    The fan culture of Star Trek has a life and significance unto itself, which Denise Crosby sets out to document with love and humor in Trekkies. I think this documentary is splendid. Crosby catches everything from the ridiculous to the affecting as she travels the U.S.A. talking to trekkies of all walks of life. Who knows? Maybe if my geek friend winds up interested in watching more Star Trek, she might even watch the sequel with me another day.

That concludes this briefing. I devised an entire Star Trek themed menu to sustain hungry nerds for almost eight hours of viewing. Hopefully, I will get the chance to cook that menu and post pictures of the out-of-this-world tastiness in a future log entry…er…blog post. Please, leave a comment below with your thoughts on my episode choices in specific, Star Trek in general, or even just your ideas on how you would eat Klingon gagh. Maybe with chocolate? Or Romulan Ale? Hailing frequencies are open! Anyway, thanks for stopping by the pond, dear readers; live long and prosper.

 

All images were found using a Google image search, when I remembered to I linked to the Google Image.

 

P.S. If you want to watch some Star Trek now AND support a Trekkie blogger you like, you can pick up some Star Trek using these links: Star Trek: The Complete Original Series (Seasons 1-3) [Blu-ray]; Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Complete Series [Blu-ray]; Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Complete Series; Star Trek Voyager: The Complete Series; Star Trek: Enterprise: The Full Journey – The Complete Series Collection box Set [Blu-ray]; STAR TREK-ANIMATED SERIES-ANIMATED ADV OF GENE R(DVD)(4DISCS) and as a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, I will earn a small fee. Thanks for your support!