Any chance to get aboard the Enterprise

Since my friend Celia has never seen Wrath of Khan, and we were looking to relax after a couple hours of Super Mario Galaxy and Iron Chef America: Supreme Cuisine, I retrieved the DVD and we loaded it up.

Odd, showing this movie to someone who had almost no context at all for it. We explained that Kirk was an intergalactic hero once who’d been pushed into a desk job, and this was his old ship and officers. I had to reconfirm that yes, those are Montalban’s real pecs, and explain why no fan was surprised that Kirk had a son he’d never met. Shatner’s rug was sadly obvious on the very large TV, too.

But still, the movie’s just as strong as it was twenty-seven years ago. Starr cried again during the funeral (a quite appropriate response), but this time did so for Scotty’s nephew as well. She explained that the “word is given” dialogue was quite realistic, and she’d seen it many times at her work: people who are dying, and know it, frequently ask for permission to do so. They need to know that it’s okay for them to pass away.

My bias is confirmed: TWoK remains a stronger film than The Voyage Home or First Contact, though it’s in fine company with those two. The reboot movie, though I enjoyed it very much and will see it again, doesn’t come close.

Burning sensations

Strange dream last night. I was at a USS Yeager meeting circa 1994, and in charge of getting everyone together for a group photo; however, every time I hit the timer button on the camera and stepped over to the group, people started chatting and wandering away before the shutter fired. I would have to badger them back into position, and try again. Iron Chef Morimoto, who’d graciously agreed to pose with us, was getting fairly impatient with the whole thing.

Can’t say that I think there’s any deep meaning in that dream: since I was gamemastering last night, I already was in ‘herding cats’ headspace, and I’ve recently been taking more pictures. I think I’m more excited about pictures these days, since the Web’s been giving me more places to show them off. I don’t know what Morimoto was doing there, though.

Then I woke up with heavy coughing caused by a combination of pool chemicals and last night’s GM oratory. Got back to sleep, eventually, but my throat still burns a bit this morning. I’ll be so relieved when I can put the super-bleach away, I’ve been dosing that pool with this and that for weeks now trying to get it usable for what remains of the summer. Next year, I’m starting in March.

We’re finally on the new Shadowrun adventure, but we got rolling a little late, so the evening was spent in negotiating the job and traveling to the site. Our heroes are investigating the disappearance of a Draco Foundation science team that was researching Crater Lake; the GSSC had been providing security, and needs some deniable assets to cover their butts. I’ve got an action sequence ready to start the next session, and some curious plot points prepared.

Tonight: moving stuff into the attic. And more pool work.

RPG character quiz

Taken from funwithrage, since it looked entertaining.


Out of all of your characters from any game, who would you…

Take to lunch?
I can’t remember his name off the top of my head, but my Deadlands character was a cross between Abraham Van Helsing and Egon Spengler. I think he’d have some fascinating stories and insights, and the fact that he’s slightly mad wouldn’t hurt a bit.

Want to rescue you?
“Professor K”, the mysterious mentalist I played in some Shadowrun sessions. He’s appeared in lots of fic written by our crowd, and he’s pretty good at the whole rescuing thing – plus he has some interesting resources at his disposal.

Never want to meet in a dark alley?
I don’t really play many scary or disturbing characters, but after thinking about it, I’m not sure I’d want to meet “Circy”, my World of Warcraft warlock. She looks pretty friendly most of the time, but even when they’re the “good guys”, warlocks in this game are not nice people. Besides, she’d be backed up by a Voidwalker demon or something.

“Mirandala”, the gnome mage I play in WoW. She’s adorable, and I think of her as pretty sweet, if a little butch at the same time.

Be for a day?
“Professor K”, definitely. Knowing his backstory info that never made it into the game, I’d love the chance to play with some of his tech toys and visit some of the places he had access to… such as Federation starships. (Yeah, our Shadowrun games could get weird.)

Steal powers/skills from?
I’ve played “Nebula” in several game systems and worlds, and she’s almost always an accomplished musician, generally as a singer and keyboardist. I’d love to have those abilities gifted to me.

Take to an amusement park?
In the post-apocalyptic Deadlands: Hell on Earth, I played a powerful Wiccan whose personality and look I created by trying to imagine a very angry, bitter tzel. I think a trip to Disney World, or even Busch Gardens, would have done her a lot of good. At least she’d have some good memories to help bolster her the next time she fought techno-zombies.

See their story made into a movie?
“Professor K” and “Nebula” would require their own high-budget series, with possibly several spin-offs. Actually, I think the flying armored “Eclipse” from ptownhiker‘s Marvel Super Heroes game would be a fun movie subject, especially once the “ancient astronauts” part of his backstory came back into his life.

Never trade places with, ever?
In a Technicon LARP, I played the Prince of Russia in an alternate 19th century of Imperial expansion and high-stakes diplomacy. Given the constant backstabbing, betrayal, and threats of war, I’m not sure how he ever got any sleep.

Get stuck on an island with?
Well, the flying mage “Bombardier” from Shadowrun and “Eclipse” would each be useful, as they could fly us home. “Mirandala” could teleport us out, and “Professor K’s” friends have hi-tech ways to find us and retrieve us. If I’m really seriously stuck, though, I think “Nebula” would be a pretty charming companion.

My first fan convention

RoVaCon (the Roanoke Valley Convention) Seven was held at Northside High School on the other side of town from where I lived. Since I was only thirteen, and had neither a bike or many friends back then, I had to count on my dad for a ride there. (At thirteen, I was convinced that I couldn’t possibly stay upright on a bike for longer than a few minutes. Eventually, I figured out otherwise.)

I had read about SF conventions in books about Star Trek fandom, and this sounded exciting as heck – I wanted to go so badly. The advertising I’d seen said that the event ran for the whole weekend, but for reasons I can’t remember, my dad wouldn’t take me on Friday. He then wouldn’t take me on Saturday, either – I don’t remember whether there was a scheduling conflict, he didn’t feel well, or he was being obstinant; these things don’t matter when one’s an overeager thirteen-year-old fan. Finally, though, he took me to the con… on Sunday… at around 2pm. Yep, I paid a day rate to get into a con that was already shutting down. What a way to start my fannish life, eh?

The only guest I remember was Laura Banks, an actress with a small background part in that year’s Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. I didn’t get to see her speak, she was already done for the weekend, but I remember her on the con posters – I was thirteen after all. I do remember seeing a fan who’d already obtained or constructed a “monster maroons” uniform.

The total con experience for me was seeing a few costumes in the halls, and wandering through the dealers’ room, in which I only remember Hitchhiker’s Guide LPs, Starfleet Battles miniatures, and exotic gaming dice, none of which my dad was in the mood to purchase for me. Crushingly aware that there was nothing else to see, I told my dad to go ahead and take me home.

Thankfully for the path I’d take in life, RoVaCon Eight would be much better.

Starfleet 101

I suppose this had to happen eventually.

A new friend down here in Virginia Beach and I speak much of the same fan dialects: anime, gaming, even art and writing. But she’s never seen a single episode of Classic Trek, or even any of the movies. (Yes, I can hear joints creaking all over my flist from here.)

She’s interested, though, and will get a dose of Khan’s Wrath as soon as we have two hours to set aside. But, she wants to see some episodes too, and I’ve never sat down and watched the show with a complete newbie; I’m not even sure where to start. We all know the legendary episodes: City on the Edge, Doomsday Machine, Tribbles, and more. But I’m not sure any of those is right for her first experience. On the other hand, “The Cage” and “Where No Man Has Gone Before” might not be the best, either.

So, I’m turning to you, Friends List. With which Classic Trek episode would you start a noob, someone who doesn’t know Balok from Sarek, impulse drive from warp?

Grace me with your input!

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Reconfiguring the Final Frontier

Trek Movie Away Team

The AMC Theater at Lynnhaven Mall in Va. Beach has a new IMAX theater, so last night I loaned some of my Starfleet uniform collection to Starr and our friend Becca, and we went to see the new Star Trek movie there. I have to say, I came out of that film extremely pleased. Oh, I have a dozen tiny nitpicks, and the film wasn’t exactly as deep as some of the previous outings in the series, but when the closing credits rolled, I didn’t care about that at all.

The 10:15 showing we attended sold out of the $15 tickets, and we barely got decent seats showing up twenty minutes early. (I’d bought our tickets online the night before.) I only saw one other person in costume, a local TCC Astronomy professor in a TOS Sciences t-shirt; but we hit the mall and a restaurant before the movie, and got plenty of Vulcan salutes, shouted compliments, and picture requests. I can easily remember when wearing the uniform in public meant taking crap from random passersby. Times have changed! We didn’t get home until 1am, and Starr had a 5:30 wakeup call for work, but she insisted that didn’t matter: we had a movie to watch!

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Starfleet Vice – 1990

The RoVaCon 15 Starfleet Vice video, as threatened promised…

So, I’ll explain a little of what’s going on. I’m in the wheelchair because I’d been in a life-threatening car accident only weeks ago, but I was too stubborn to miss the con. Heather and Valerie are dressed in costumes from the anime Dirty Pair. Mike Allen represented KODRA, a ruthless Klingon-Orion terrorist organistion out to rule the Alpha Quadrant; while Markus… well, he had a lab coat, so we worked that in. And of course, Tom, Mike, and Beth were solely there to support our blatant swipe of Monty Python material.

I don’t remember the name of the dude working the camera… but he really liked the anime costumes.

A Fanatical Devotion to Admiral Maddox

Speaking of cons, tonight Starr and I were doing just that (speaking of them, that is). Thomas Atkinson friended me back on Facebook today, and when I told Starr that I had an old costume skit of his on VHS, she begged me to dig it up.

That tape, dating from RoVaCon 15 back in 1990, also contains one of the most elaborate Starfleet Vice skits we ever did. The performers for this installment included myself as officer Stubble, Heather McLaughlin and Valerie Brugh as “Dirty Pair” Kei and Yuri, time_shark as a KODRA Dreadlok, markush as Doctor Whizbang, Tom Monaghan as officer Paisley, Mike Layne as officer Harold, and Beth Lipes as officer Ruth. The camera operator for the con spent most of the skit focusing on the skimpy anime costumes Heather and Valerie wore.

Many of the jokes are esoteric, but some of them are still fairly funny outside of the late-80s Starfleet context. This little performance would be a good candidate for my first test of the new video-to-computer setup, right? I think we all want to see this posted.

Starr says I’m much better looking now than I was when I was nineteen. Any doubts as to why I’m in love with her?

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