Essential Geek Quotes: “We’re All Fine Here…”

"Aren't you a little short for a Stormtrooper?" Photo: Nicole Wakelin

If you don’t know how to fill in the rest of that quote, shame on you. Yes, I’m being horribly judgmental but I am an avowed Star Wars fan and that quote is one of the biggies. It’s right up there with “Use the Force, Luke!” and “I’ve got a very bad feeling about this.” I think it’s fair to say that having at least a few Star Wars quotes in your repertoire of witty comebacks is a geek essential.

I could write this whole post about Star Wars quotes alone, but that would mean ignoring some of my favorites from elsewhere in the geekverse. There’s Star Trek, and Firefly, and The Terminator, and Monty Python, and, and, and…. actually I could probably write a book. I don’t have the time today, though, given Christmas presents like Star Wars: The Old Republic and Lego Mindstorms demanding my attention. So instead, here are just a few of my favorites. Not afraid you won’t know them all? You will be, you WILL be….

“Use the Force, Luke!”

Really, if you don’t know this one, then how on earth did you even find this blog? I should not need to tell you this but it’s from Star Wars: A New Hope because it’s the biggest, most important quote in all of geek history with endless potential for use in daily conversation. Co-worker can’t get his file cabinet open? Struggling to get the lid of a jar of pickles? Can’t quite reach the genuine replica lightsaber on your mantle? All these moments are perfect opportunities to break out this quote.

“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.”

No one could forget Spock uttering this phrase as he was overcome by radiation after saving the Enterprise in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Then there’s the slow slide down the glass as he collapses to the floor and dies. Wait, I need a minute. This quote encompasses the essence of all that is Star Trek. The Federation is not about power and privilege, but about making the galaxy a better place and sacrificing for the common good. Use this one to con your friends into doing anything, from seeing a movie they don’t want to see to giving you the last piece of pizza because you need it more. Try it, you’ll see.

“I aim to misbehave.”

A bit newer on the scene, but still an essential geek quote spoken by Captain Malcolm Reynolds on the short-lived Firefly television series. Unlike Spock or Obi-Wan’s lines, there’s no depth of meaning behind this one. It’s a simple statement of the intent to have fun, cause trouble, and wreak a certain amount of gleeful havoc. Hey, New Year’s Eve is just a few days away, a moment designed for this quote if ever there was one.

“My precious!”

If you ask Gollum, this line refers to The One Ring in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, but you can use it to refer to just about anything. It might be something amazing like a shiny new car or something you intend to take before your friends get the chance–like the last piece of pizza. If you want it, then it’s your precious. The key here is that you not only can but must use a creepy, scratchy Gollum-like voice to deliver this line.

“Have fun storming the castle!”

This is one of those movies that, if you watch it once, you can’t help but find yourself quoting forever. The Princess Bride is chock full of memorable quotes, but this is one easy to sneak into conversations. Send your kids off to school or your husband off to work with this cheery wish. Or, your co-workers on their way to what is sure to be a long, boring meeting or evening commute home.

This is by no means an all-inclusive list, like I said, that would require a book, but these are certainly my favorite and easiest-to-use quotes. If you know them all, 10 Geek Points to you! (And if you’re still wondering about that first one, watch the clip below.)

More importantly, what would you add as essential quotes for every geek to master?

(Editor’s Note: For inspiration, you might want to check out GeekDad’s “100 Quotes Every Geek Should Know.”)

A Quirky Christmas in Walsall

Image: Kevin Bennett

Driving into work this morning, my husband commented on the abundance of giant cardboard boxes waiting for trash pick up. Giant cardboard boxes with pictures of flat screen televisions on them. It must be the gift of the year. I like the idea of a family Christmas gift. When my son was a newborn, my parents bought the three of us a combined gift: a snowblower. It gave my husband more time in the house to help me and to be with our son, and it gave them peace of mind knowing that we could get out quickly if we needed to take Toby somewhere.

We almost became part of the fad this year, as we were going to go the flatscreen family-Christmas-present route. We opted to be selfish and get other things, instead. Multiple other things that could be opened greedily on Christmas morning…

My Dad has a store back in England. He sells action figures of all kinds, trading cards, all manner of dice and board games. He sells bags and mugs emblazoned with Wonder Woman and Betty Boop. He sells each kind of monopoly and a beanie baby for every TV character that they make one for. He sells remote-controlled Daleks and 12-inch Freddy Kreuger room guards. For special customers he seeks out unusual items from their geekout of choice. He is responsible for a good chunk of a small house nearby being filled with obscure Star Trek merchandise from the far corners of the globe. I’m always curious every year as to what the Christmas favorite is in my quirky home town, and my yearly report just came in:

  • Betty Boop– figurines ranging in size from six to forty eight inches. The bride and the angel Betty were in most demand this season.
  • Doctor Who – a perennial favorite since the dawn of Mr Christopher Eccleston, this year’s “must haves” were Doctor Who Monopoly and Doctor Who Chess.
  • The Moomins – Toys and merchandise based on a series of Finnish children’s stories. My son has the books, I long for the amigurumi pattern. This year’s favorite – a 12-inch plush.
  • The Chipmunks Beanie Babies – ah David Seville, you have a lot to answer for.
  • Paraphernalia from Only Fools and Horses, a sitcom that ended in 1991, but continued with Christmas specials until 2003.
  • Pokemon plush – every year for as long as I can remember.
  • Wands – specifically those belonging to Harry Potter, Albus Dumbledore and Lord Voldemort.
But the number one request, kept off the top spot only by lack of availability? Mr. Bean’s Teddy Bear. Also kept off this list through lack of availability, though not lack of requests, a Rory Williams action figure.
What’s your “must have” gift this year?

“Boldly Go” to the St. Louis Science Center

Photo Credit: Kelly Knox

I love science centers. Not only are they a fantastic resource for our kiddo to discover more about science and the world, I’ve also had great experiences with the exhibitions that come to visit for a short time. Our local science center, the Pacific Science Center, hosted both Star Wars and Harry Potter exhibits this past year. Geek heaven!

We were in St. Louis recently to visit family, and while we were there we had the opportunity to stop by the St. Louis Science Center. My jaw dropped when I saw their current exhibit: Star Trek: The Exhibition. The science center is presently housing costumes, props, and models from all films and series, as well as hosting special contests, programs, and lecture series related to the exhibit.

I am the biggest Star Trek fan in my family, so I tried to hide my excitement, but they all saw right through me. They offered to babysit our toddler and show her around the science center while I walked through the Star Trek halls. I dashed off to the ticket counter faster than they could say “tribble.”

The exhibit has fun photo opportunities for fans who have always wanted to sit in the captain’s chair or get beamed on board the Enterprise. You can’t take any of your own photos inside, so these pictures are your only chance to prove that you actually stood on the bridge of the Enterprise-D. I visited Star Trek: The Experience in Las Vegas before it closed, and the bridge at the St. Louis Science Center was much nicer and cleaner.

Other parts of the exhibit are also similar to the Las Vegas show, although with new props and costumes from the latest Star Trek movie. I loved seeing all of the uniforms and costumes–especially Leonard Nimoy’s robe from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Seeing costumes in person gives you a new point of view of the actors: Spock is really tall! The prosthetic alien head gallery is also striking.

My favorite part of the exhibit, hands down, was the re-creation of Captain Picard’s quarters. I wanted to walk inside and touch everything. Seeing his flute from the “Inner Light” episode almost made me burst into tears right there in the science center!

After wandering the halls of Star Trek: The Exhibition for a while, I headed back to my family with a big grin on my face. The other exhibits at the St. Louis Science Center were just as entertaining to explore. The “Structures” area of the science center is a lot of fun, and inspired both big kids and adults in our family to build bridges together. Our two-year-old enjoyed the “Cyberville” area, which is a great resource for learning about computers and how the Internet works.

While general admission to the St. Louis Science Center is free (which is phenomenal), Star Trek: The Exhibition ticket price is a bit steep at $17.50 for adults and $13.50 for children ages five to twelve. If you visit in costume or take advantage of online coupons, such as the one available by clicking on the ad here on GeekMom, you can get a small discount to bring the cost down. The exhibit is in St. Louis until May, and I recommend it for any Star Trek fan.

My Geek Christmas

Fire Phasers! Image:Nicole Wakelin

I think geeks are particularly fond of the holidays because it gives us a chance to act a bit silly and child-like without the usual number of odd looks. At Halloween you can break out the cosplay and no one will call the cops. On Independence Day you can set off all manner of fireworks (aka stuff that blows up!) and again (depending on the laws in your state) no one will call the cops. And at Christmas you can decorate with all your favorite geek-themed treasures, from Star Trek to Star Wars, Doctor Who to Doctor Seuss, and people will ask you about them rather than frown at your eccentricities. This year, we began decorating over the weekend and my home and car are nearly completely Christmasified in their own geeky ways.

Somewhere, back in the dark ages when I was a newlywed, I thought I was going to make my tree all Martha Stewart. I know, but, that woman knows how to make a tree look like a million bucks. Probably because she spent a million bucks, but I was young and naive and convinced I could do it just like she did. So, I bought these really cute, delicate ornaments shaped like bells and birdcages and lemons. I have no idea why I bought a lemon, or the plum that seems to go with it, other than that they were cute and shiny. Shiny has its way with me on a regular basis.

There I was, newlywed Martha Stewart- in-the-making with a giant tree, a lemon and a plum. It was like the Charlie Brown tree, only it was much bigger and not dying, just really pitifully decorated. We decided a shopping trip needed to be made and more ornaments acquired. This led to the mall and the mall led to Hallmark, and there we found the true geek spirit of Christmas. Yes, we found the Star Wars ornaments. They lit up. They made sounds. They had to come home with us. Forget Martha Stewart and her ridiculous bows and lemons. I had an X-Wing!

We still needed lights, though, so off to the discount store where we found the most amazing set of lights ever. Ever. It had a dial with five different blink settings. They could twinkle, flash, alternate off and on, do the wave and there was even a bizarro setting that probably should have come with a warning that it might induce a seizure. It was awesome.

We bought these light only to realize, once we were home, that they were way too long for our little tree. Solution? We decorated the daylights out of our balcony. In our giant apartment complex, you could single our our apartment because it blazed with all the glory of the sun. I am sure that our neighbors loved us and cried when we moved out and bought a house. Oh, but the decorating opportunities at a house? I couldn’t wait.

That first year, I believe we may have taken out a second mortgage and sold our unborn daughter’s soul to the devil, but it was worth it. We had lights and garland everywhere. And red ribbons. And those net lights you can just toss on your shrubs for instant Christmasification. And there was the tree, right in our front window, which blazed forth into our neighborhood, alienating people we hadn’t even met yet! Again. Awesome.

It’s been a few years now since we bought this house. In that time, several blow-ups have been added to the front lawn because the kids love them and, as soon as they asked my husband for one, he jumped at the chance. It had nothing to do with him wanting a see-sawing penguin and snowman on our front lawn. At all. It was just for the kids. And our glorious set of seizure lights has died, but it’s not a problem.

Over the years we have purchased every ship from Star Wars and Star Trek that we could get our hands on. Most light up and some make cool sound effects, but all of them are fantastic.  As we plug them in and press their little buttons you hear the glorious sounds of Spock and Kirk and even the Emperor threatening to show us the power of his fully armed and operational battle station.  All this mingled with sweet sounds of Christmas carols and my children’s laughter. But the best part? The part that brings out my inner 12-year-old and has me making sound effects of my own and swooping ornaments across the tree? Posing them so they’re chasing after each other — and maybe even blowing up shiny lemons.

Star Trek Sequel in the Works

Let it be known that when someone says Star Trek to me I immediately think Leonard Nimoy and KTVU Channel 2, circa 1970s. But hey, that was eons ago and I’m several generations behind.

In an earlier post, GeekMom Sarah pondered the possibility and rumors of a Star Trek sequel.  She can now rejoice. According to TrekMovie.com, shooting for a sequel to the 2009 Star Trek movie is scheduled to begin in January. JJ Abrams is reportedly set to return as director of the film and is aiming for a 2013 debut. I was happy to hear that the 50th state is under consideration as a filming location for a jungle planet – Hawaii can certainly do jungle. Oh, and Mr. Abrams, if you need a place to stay while you’re in Hawaii? I’m your gal.

Photo: Wikipedia

Sci-Fi, Where Are You?

Mal and Kaylee at NYCC, Image: Nicole Wakelin

Several years ago we ditched cable because it seemed we were getting more reality shows than anything else and paying a ridiculous amount for the privilege. Instead we stream the shows we want to see and even paying by the episode for a few still puts us ahead of our old cable bill. Usually, we have more than enough to keep us busy, but this year, sadly, we have not found an “it” show. Worse, we don’t have a sci-fi show in our queue at all. What happened to sci-fi television?

I should be clear that I am talking spaceships and aliens and not just shows with an “out there” theme. I am a big fan of Fringe, but it does not involve space travel. There are no new planets or green-skinned aliens so it doesn’t count. Same with Terra Nova which, honestly, I am only half interested in to begin with because it’s just Jurassic Park revised. No space ships there, although that big thing they walked through to go back in time was a Stargate if ever there was one.

No, what I want is a Battlestar Galactica, a Firefly, a Star Trek. Heck, it doesn’t have to be remotely related to a franchise that already exists as long as it gets us off of planet Earth and on to planet-not-yet-discovered. What happened to those shows? Why have they forsaken us?

Perhaps it’s Sci Fi Channel becoming SyFy that started the downward trend. If even the network that is supposed to be the go-to place for science fiction decides it doesn’t want to be that anymore, then you know the genre is headed for trouble. At this point, I’d take reruns of Lost in Space like they used to air when the network was new. Those shiny, silver spacesuits were so cool. I wanted one. Okay, I still want one.

I suppose I will have to be content with the huge amount of older sci-fi that can be streamed. Re-watching Star Trek: The Next Generation has gotten my kids completely hooked which makes me happy. I also found a little gem in The Captains, a movie documentary that is a touching look at the people who brought the Star Trek captains to life, courtesy of William Shatner. And there are those Firefly DVDs that I haven’t broken out in awhile.

It looks like I’m out of luck this season and will have to resort to old favorites to get my fix of spaceships and aliens. Maybe next year the networks will remember there are plenty of viewers who love sci-fi and that we’d really like to have a new favorite show. So say we all!

Calling All Michael Dorn Fans!

 

Image: Sarah Pinault

Like any self-respecting Geek, I know how to obsess over something, and one of my obsessions is decorating for the holidays. I limit myself to the fall build up to Thanksgiving, and Christmas. I don’t decorate for Easter, New Years, Halloween, etc. So every time I see something I like I get it. We have two tote boxes full of Thanksgiving “decorations,” and about five for Christmas. I will create things and purchase things to go along with my theme, and heaven help anyone who stands in my way.

Image: Wikipedia public domain

Somehow Michael Dorn has managed to become a Thanksgiving staple in our house, but I need some help confirming that he should rightfully be there. Best known for the role of Lieutenant Commander Worf on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, he has been part of our Christmas tradition for many years now, for his portrayal of the sand man in Tim Allen’s Santa Clause movies. Several years ago, I purchased the above bear from The Christmas Tree shops. It’s a Hallmark bear that tells the Hallmark version of the story of Thanksgiving, no violence included. The thing is, I swear it’s Michael Dorn’s voice telling the story. The first time I heard it, I ran around the house shrieking “It’s Worf! It’s Worf.” While my husband and sister-in-law both hear what I’m hearing, they are reluctant to commit. The box did not credit Michael Dorn, nor do any of the biographies I can find.

So help me please! Do you have this bear, and is it a Michael Dorn Thanksgiving?

Even Geek Parents Can Embarrass Their Geek Kids

My geeky Dad with my sister and I in the early 1980's

I was always a geek growing up and that was thanks in large part to the fact that my dad is a huge geek himself. One of my earliest memories is sitting on his lap in this old, brown chair we had as he read Lord of the Rings to me. My dad is super smart and a scientist to boot, which just adds to his geek cred.

You would think that being a geek myself from an early age, that my geeky dad wouldn’t be able to embarrass me. All kids are embarrassed by their parents, but it may be a little harder to embarrass a geek kid.

When I was in the 8th and 9th grade, I was really getting into Star Trek. It started out with Star Trek: The Next Generation, which was on the air at that time. I eventually got into the original Star Trek as well. We lived near to Grand Rapids, Michigan, and there were one day Star Trek conventions that happened every so often.

At one of these conventions, the guest was James Doohan who played Scotty in the original Star Trek. Usually there was a question and answer session before you could get in line for autographs. I remember very clearly sitting near the front with my dad at this q&a session and that my dad asked a terribly complicated science question. I don’t remember what the answer was, but I do remember that I wanted to disappear into the ground. I was so embarrassed. My dad wasn’t though and we went on to have a good time getting our autograph from James Doohan. But it’s something I still remember, 20 years later.

I’m sure all parents embarrass their kids at some point. But only a geek parent could embarrass a geek kid at a Star Trek convention.

How Gene Roddenberry Changed My Life

My daughter at TrekTrax 2011 cosplaying as a Red Shirt (Image: Mandy Horetski)

Yesterday was the 20th anniversary of Gene Roddenberry’s death and I honestly remember it like it just happened. I was in my first year of high school (9th grade) and I remember crying over his death in band class with a fellow Trekkie. That was a time in my life that I was really into Star Trek. I even had a picture of the The Next Generation crew in my locker.

Gene Roddenberry and Star Trek really gave me a look into what it can mean to be a geek. It was around this time that I started going to one day Star Trek conventions with my dad. Shockingly, your dad can still embarrass you even if you are at a Star Trek convention. He would try and ask stars like James Doohan science questions that of course an actor wouldn’t be able to answer.

We also got to go to a three day convention in East Lansing, and I got my first taste of what conventions are really like. This was the first time I ever cosplayed or heard Filk. It was an incredible experience! It had been years since I went to a Star Trek convention but I got to go to the new TrekTrax Atlanta earlier this year and it was like stepping back in time.

I’m not sure I would be the geek I am today if it hadn’t been for the works for Gene Roddenberry. I hope he is resting in peace out in the stars.

Secret Origins of a GeekMom: Sarah Pinault

Image: Family Photo

I’ve tried but I can’t go back far enough in my memory to trace my geek roots. I have memories of thoroughly enjoying the Star Wars spoof on Muppet Babies in ways that my friends didn’t, my first recurring nightmare as a child was Gmork from The Neverending Story, and I was fiercely competitive with a boy in my class who cheated his way to a higher level math book than me in elementary school. I’m older than Mario, not as old as Star Wars, and the same age as Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Image: From an old school friend

My outing as a geek came during my second year at senior school (eighth grade). I had spent my first year at this new school in relative obscurity. I made a few friends, none especially close, and looked set to be a loner all the way through. Then one day after netball, I heard someone singing, “It’s cold outside, there’s no kind of atmosphere.” I couldn’t resist and had to join in, “I’m all alone more or less,” and then began the duet, “let me fly far away from here, fun, fun fun, in the sun, sun sun.” Thus begin a friendship that would initally define, I believe, the way people began to look at me. A mutual love of Red Dwarf bought my friend Sarah (far left, I’m on the far right) and I together, bought me closer to a circle of friends I would never have known. She gave me confidence, Nirvana, Italian food and my first cigarette, shhh! She never hid anything about who she was, and my tender 12 year old self really took that to heart. No matter what else I was at school, I was always myself, except around certain boys! I proudly carried my Tardis Record bag, kept a William Riker trading card in my wallet and fell in love with the first boy who knew the meaning of life was actually 42. I was never picked on for any of this, I was never ridiculed in a harmful way, though my friends and I lived for sarcasm. My Geek roots bought me friendship and stability, they taught me very early on to just be myself.

Where's Toby? Hiding out in Grandad's empire.

By the time I was leaving school my dad had taken away any chance I had of not being a geek, by quitting his then hated job and starting his own business. He began with toy fairs and conventions, moved on to market stalls, then a permanent indoor market booth and finally the store that he is in today. What does he do? Why he sells board games, Star Wars figures, Doctor Who figuirines, Pokemon cards, horror movie paraphanelia, anything geeky that you can buy can be found in his store.

It is because of this venture that I have an original Return of the Jedi photobook full of autographs, including Boba Fett, Peter Mayhew and the first ever autograph from the woman who played the baby Ewok, yes that is a real baby wrapped in fur. It is because of this venture that I got hit on by a convention regular dressed as Batman, previously thought to lean the other way. Who else has been invited back to the batcave for champagne? It is because of this venture that I have an original AT-AT that I am reluctant to let my son near, maybe when he’s 40?

My mum is a saint, she tolerates us with a smile on her face that doesn’t fool me. She is an avid fan of Star Trek, Stargate, Doctor Who and Fringe. She works in the store with him, beating up shoplifters and bossing the owner around. She may not geek out like my Dad and I do but that look on her face when watching Adrian Paul’s Highlanderbetrays more of a raging geek inside her than I think she would admit.

So you see there really was no hope for me, Geek through and through. Wearing my Ewok backpack and Star Trek communicator pin with pride. Now it seems there is no hope for my son. Almost as soon as we found out I was pregnant, my dad walked around the store and pulled one of each of the original Star Wars figures off the shelf, filling in the gaps with newer, mint-condition, figures. They are in storage with the eleven, twelve-inch Doctor Who figurines. The big debate now; does Toby get to take them to college in 16 years or does mommy get to keep them?

New York Comic Con: Something for Everyone

Cpt. Hammer and Cpt. Hammer, Image: Nicole Wakelin

I’ve just returned from the geek extravaganza that is New York Comic Con, one of my favorite weekends of the year. Sure, it’s not as big as San Diego Comic-Con and it doesn’t have as many celebrity appearances, but that doesn’t make it any less fun. In fact, by losing some of the Hollywood razzle-dazzle it feels more genuine. Not to say that there aren’t celebrities, as Stan Lee, Mark Hamill and Robert Kirkman were there and if they don’t count as celebrities in your book, well then, you’re at the wrong convention all together. But more than the big names, big releases, and big movies, this one is about the smaller independent guys getting a chance to show their work.

Table after table of artists with prints, comics, and sketches were on display. One of the best parts of wandering through Artist Alley is that not only do you get to see a huge variety of work, from horror to fantasy to sci-fi and everything in between, but that the artists are there and ready to talk about their creations. I am always fascinated to see them working on commissioned pieces that take shape before your eyes in a matter of minutes. And they do it all in the middle of a ridiculously loud room, with people laughing and talking and bustling past in a blur. Somehow, these guys stay completely focused on what they’re working on, pausing only to talk when people stop to ask them a question and admire their work.

There were also a huge number of tables with things that weren’t really comics, but that the geeks of the world were sure to love. For all the vampire lovers out there (sparkly or otherwise) there were plush vampire babies complete with fangs and death certificates at Vamplets. If you were a gamer then you could check out the unbelievable case mods from the guys at Major League Mods. They turned an Xbox into a working R2-D2 that I entered to win and if I do, you will hear the screams of joy the world over.  But my most favorite thing of all, was actually from a very well-known and not necessarily geeky company.

If you showed up at the Hallmark booth bright and early, then you had the chance to get your hands on a few convention exclusives. One of these was a glow-in-the-dark USS Defiant Keepsake ornament. No, not lights, glow in the dark, just like the stars you stuck on your bedroom ceiling as a kid (or as an adult, no judging). When I found out about this I was so excited, I think I scared the Hallmark guy (sorry about that) but this is THE coolest ornament ever. It will go on my tree this year in a place of honor along with the Enterprise, Captain Kirk and assorted shuttles and spaceships. New York Comic Con had something for everyone, and not only did it make my weekend, it made my Christmas!

Coffee: The Intergalactic Mommy Vice

I’m a sucker for latte art. This is a set from a competition, posted to Flickr by CairnsDining.

This morning as I clutched my steaming cup of java on the first sub-freezing morning of the season, I pondered how I went from being a non-coffee-drinker to considering getting a hotel-style one-cup coffee maker to put on my bedside table. I travel pretty regularly, and one of the things I love about hotel stays (other than a solid night’s sleep with no danger of a snoring husband or dark-fearing child) is waking up with a cup of coffee just feet from the bed.

Every coffee drinker has a story of how she came to be one. After all, very few of us spent our pre-K years with Folgers in our sippy cups. My parents weren’t coffee drinkers, so it wasn’t a habit I saw firsthand very often, although my grandparents did percolate a pot on the stovetop each morning. And they drank it hot and black, which is how I take my coffee now.

When I was in college, some brilliant mind who saw the opportunity to hook young adenosine receptors and dopamine production centers put a Starbucks in the cafeteria, which accepted the “free” bonus dollars that came with a school meal plan. Let me simplify that into 18-year-old college student language: Free Starbucks before 8 a.m. classes. Still, I thought of my beloved mochas more as a breakfast option (ha!) or a snack/treat, not as a daily morning ritual.

In adulthood, I was more of a tea drinker. Earl Grey, hot, as Captain Picard would say. But even my favorite 24th century starship commander, known for his tea, has coffee and a croissant for breakfast each day (see “The Perfect Mate”). An eight-ounce cuppa joe has as much as 240 milligrams of caffeine, compared to the same cup of tea’s paltry 130 milligrams or so. That extra 110-milligram jolt could mean the difference between saving the day for the Federation and being conquered by the Borg.

It’s an intergalactic dependence indeed. Whether you drink coffeine, kaf, synthi-caff, or raktajino, coffee is the universal language for, “I could use a nap, but this drink will do.”

I remember before I had children, a friend who did have a young daughter said he didn’t start drinking coffee until after she was born. I thought that was a bit silly–picking up this addictive habit fairly late into adulthood. It seemed a lot less silly when I had a kid of my own. Caffeine never affected me much before I became a mommy, but after I gave up caffeine for the pregnancy and breastfeeding years, I noticed a huge difference when I started drinking it again. And then I found myself turning that “bug” into a “feature.” A quick cuppa actually wakes me up, which comes in handy when you’ve only slept three hours at a time for months or years on end. Now I know why my friend didn’t start drinking until after his kid was born. I found that my tea habit started transitioning to a coffee habit for the starship-captain-worthy caffeine boost. But now if I drink one too many cups, I have to walk a lap around the office before I can get any work done!

As Sookie Stackhouse says of her tanning habit, “It’s my vice. Everybody gets one.” Looks like I’m taking coffee as my vice. I could do worse.

Trading In Dollars for Darsek with Klingon Monopoly

Image: www.usaopolygames.com/klingon/

I have fond memories of playing Monopoly from my childhood. We had our own rules of course, every family does. You could buy a house on any property you owned when you landed on it again, even if you only owned one. I was virtually unaware of the need for a monopoly until I was about 23. I had the same strategy then as I do now: buy up the browns and blues, build hotels and pray not to land on anything expensive!

When themed boards started to come out many years back, my dad began selling them in his store. Given my then-boyfriend’s interest in board games, we rapidly acquired a New England and a Mountaineering edition. Even though my husband’s lack of interest in the general premise of the game keeps us from playing it as our game of choice, I watch with keen interest to see what is coming up next. We’re Scrabble and Cribbage people for the most part.

I’m keen on the Doctor Who edition, which is to be a short run, and is already selling at $99 on Amazon; even with my family connections I may never see a copy. Now there are two more editions in the works, one of which I have no interest in — the other, well, that depends on what language you speak. While I have no real desire to play a Futurama version of the game, I am very intrigued by the bi-lingual limited edition Klingon version. That’s right, bi-lingual. The collector’s edition will be available on November 17th and only 1,701 copies are being made, so again, I doubt that I will get to play. Pre-ordering has been taking place since September 1st, and when all copies are ordered, there will be no more.

Two years ago, my sister in law brought us the Star Trek: The Next Generation Interactive Video Board game and we haul it out for anyone willing to curse in Klingon every few turns. It’s hilarious. Now to up the ante, I can’t wait to see what “properties” will get me the most darsek.

Seeking Major Tom: Yet Another Reason To Love William Shatner

Earlier this week my local radio started my morning with William Shatner singing “Bohemian Rhapsody.” I almost crashed the car. I love William Shatner, I think he’s wonderful, and even though the man cannot sing, I love his music. It’s William Shatner! Singing! It doesn’t get to me in the same way that Paul McCartney or Don McLean do, don’t get me wrong, but I love it anyway.

Released this week, Seeking Major Tom is Shatner’s exploration of many spaced-themed popular songs — oh, and “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Based on the idea that so many songs stem from David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,”  Shatner goes in search of Major Tom. He is aided in this by the likes of Lyle Lovett, Brad Paisley, Peter Frampton and Sheryl Crow. I think we can certainly expect a good deal of variety from this disc. In his Rex Harrison-like manner, Shatner weaves his way through the narrative that “Space Oddity” has embedded in popular culture over the years.

You can even watch Bill talk about the project in a promotional documentary:

Alas, I did not receive a copy of this to review, it’s just currently on my Amazon wish list. My big decision now is formatting. The album is available on iTunes, CDor 12-inch vinyl. Everything in me screams to get the vinyl, but the last new vinyl I bought was “Expecting to Fly” by The Bluetones in 1996, and I exchanged that for a CD. My vinyl collection thus far consists of old musicals and Christmas music; dare I add Shatner to that collection? Regardless, this looks set to be an absolute hoot, and I think fondly on the day we were gifted with the exuberant talent of Mr. William Shatner.

Spock’s Last Convention: LLAP

2011 Phoenix Comicon, Photo by Gage Skidmore

I love Spock. He is my favorite Star Trek character ever. Across every series, every movie, every everything, he is my favorite. I had a ridiculous crush on Wesley Crusher and swoon every time I see Wil Wheaton at a con, but it’s not the same thing because, well, Wesley was a bit annoying. Even the cuteness of Wheaton could not overcome that hurdle. Spock, on the other hand, was wonderful. The one raised eyebrow. The pointy ears. The Vulcan greeting. And of course, the words that belong to him more than any other Vulcan, “Live long and prosper.” Sadly, Leonard Nimoy is retiring and made his final convention appearance last weekend in Rosemont, Illinois.

He has been attending conventions for nearly fifty years, so he is more than entitled to take a break.  Nimoy has always embraced and respected Spock rather than looking back and cringing at the character that made him famous. It always saddens me when actors write off the characters that made them, treating them with disdain as they reflect on their thriving careers, but not Nimoy. He has always had an appreciation for Star Trek, for Spock, and for his fans.

I never had the chance to meet him in person despite how frequently Star Trek conventions came my way at one time.  They were constantly advertised on TV and although I had the best intentions, I never made it to the convention floor. I guess I always thought there would be a next time.  Even though it’s likely that next time will never come now, I am happily falling in love with Spock all over again thanks to my kids and Netflix.

We’ve been making our way through from the beginning, just like I made my way through reruns of the original series with my Dad. We’d just gotten into The Next Generation and I asked my daughters how they liked it compared to the original series. They said it was fine, but I could tell they weren’t as excited. I mentioned this, and the littlest asked “Where’s Spock?” so I told her he wasn’t in this one.  She gave me a little pouty face and said “Oh, I wanted Spock.”  I couldn’t agree with her more. Even the youngest among us know a good thing when they see it.  Thank you for bringing Spock to life, Mr. Nimoy, and enjoy your much deserved retirement. LLAP

The GeekMoms Podcast #5 Lupus Awareness, Star Trek and Zombies

This episode Nicole Wakelin is joined by GeekMom Jules Sherred to talk about World Lupus Awareness Month and how it affects her as someone who deals with Lupus every day.  We then attempt to settle the eternal debate of Kirk vs. Picard and finish up with a little braiiiiins! Questions? Thoughts? Suggestions? Email us podcast@geekmom.com

 

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Nicole Wakelin: TotalFanGirl and Twitter

Jules Sherred: Website Twitter Google+ Radio Show Lupus Info

Theme Music: Rebecca Angel

Star Trek: The Next Generation Remastered And Finally Arriving Jan. 2012

Star Trek: The Next Generation will finally be released on Blu-Ray beginning in January with a $21.99 sampler of “Encounter at Farpoint,” “Inner Light,” and “Sins of the Father” called “Star Trek: The Next Generation–The Next Level.” The full first season will be released later in 2012, followed by each of the subsequent seasons. For the show’s 25th anniversary next year, the present is ours.

The project has been underway for some time, as CBS went back to the original film negatives, re-editing each episode and not upconverting but actually recompositioning all of the effects. The result–178 episodes in 1080p and DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1.

Watch the trailer:

The Last Geek On Twitter?

Image: Twitter Screenshot

I can give you no reason, but until this week I was not on twitter. Call it a last ditch effort to slow down in this fast paced world, call it reticence from a reluctant facebook junkie, call it laziness. This week I caved, this week I joined twitter.

Wanting my first tweet to be something worthy of the first words in a new forum, I tweeted “Mr. Watson–come here–I want to see you.” Very original I know, I wonder if there is data anywhere on how many people have used that as their first tweet? But here I am @MaineMummy ready to talk to the world in 120 characters or less, on a somewhat daily basis. Within two minutes I had my first followers, my first problem and a rekindled crush, I also had my first game of online Marco Polo trying to find a fellow GeekMom. My first follower? The ever shiny Chaos Mandy. My first problem? A follower I did not know posting rude things on her twitter account. I did what any self respecting blogger does, and reached out to my community for advice on unwanted followers. Amongst the responses was the idea that I keep my twitter account private. I didn’t even know that was an option! So now the question was not to tweet or not to tweet, but to stay public or not? Well the whole point seems to me based on the fact that it’s a public forum so I choose public and will just block the spam tweeters from my feed. The way I see it, if I want to follow someone I’ve never met, surely I should remain open to the same thing.

This then opened up a whole new realm of options. To link to facebook or not link to facebook? Seeing this option explained so many random facebook status updates by my friend Moose. As most of my facebook contacts are not twitterpated, I chose to not make this link, and therefore keep them from getting confused. Actually it was self preservation, I have many very active friends who would have commented on every single tweet update wondering what on earth I was saying. For my own sanity I have to cut the virtual strings somewhere.

Ah those virtual strings though, those virtual strings that now tie me ever so remotely to the witty banter of Brent Spiner, utter nonsense of The Bloggess, and the oh so glorious avatar of Jonathan Frakes. And there my friends you have the rekindled crush and the reason for my finally hopping on board the Twitter train. The ability to be remotely connected to the man of my teenage dreams, Jonathan Frakes. There are worse reasons for joining twitter right? And I am not reveling in my new found ability to create words from twitter, I tweet, I tweeted, I’m twitterpated, no reveling here, none at all, not a tweet of a revel.

Forum Discussion of the Week: I Can’t Get Behind the New Star Trek Ongoing Comic

Image: IDW Publishing

Today, IDW Publishing has released a new Star Trek comic called Star Trek Ongoing. As much as I’d like to, I can’t get behind that. As I shared the other week, Star Trek played a huge role in my life and shaped much of who I am today. It is all I can do to contain my nerd rage in order to explain why this comic has me so angry. But I am going to try my best to channel my inner Spock and explain why this latest move by the Abramsverse has me so enraged.

If you have yet to read this news, let me share the description of this new comic:

The adventures of the Starship Enterprise continue in this new ongoing series that picks up where the blockbuster 2009 film left off! Featuring the new cast of the film, these missions re-imagine the stories from the original series in the alternate timeline created by the film, along with new threats and characters never seen before! With creative collaboration from STAR TREK writer/producer Roberto Orci, this new series begins the countdown to the much-anticipated movie sequel premiering in 2012. Join Kirk, Spock and the crew as they boldly go into a new future! Up first, a drastic new envisioning of “Where No Man Has Gone Before.”

If you are a hardcore fan such as myself, then you know Where No Man Has Gone Before was the second pilot for Star Trek: The Original Series.

My brain is currently stuck in the following thoughts, “So… once upon a time, there was this man. His name was JJ Abrams. He had this idea to reboot Star Trek and give it new life. He had this idea to create a brand new universe and timeline, one that would attract new fans, whilst keeping Roddenberry’s original vision intact and untouched. THEN WHY IS HE BEHIND REWRITING THE SECOND PILOT AND STICKING IT IN A COMIC!? What on earth happened to the new universe not touching the original?!”

I will admit, I have a lot of issues with the reboot. So many, if I were to write them out, it would be a novel in itself. However, despite my issues with the new Star Trek, I was able to accept it as valid as it used an existing device from within cannon: Alternate timeline. Using this device, Prime was still there and untouched. The Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty, etc., that I grew up with were still there, waiting for someone to carry on their story. Because of this, I could accept, even if only, this new Star Trek, one that lacked the substance and the human story that I grew-up with.

I think that if the Abramsverse wants to create a new comic, based off of the rebooted characters and set within this alternate timeline, then they can fill their boots. My issue is that this isn’t new. He had said that he wanted to respect Roddenberry’s original creation. If that is true, then why is the original series being butchered rewritten? Why are they not taking full advantage of this new timeline? They have this great opportunity to do something that makes Star Trek what it is: To explore strange new worlds… to seek out new life and civilisations… to boldly go where no-one has gone before! Instead, they are going where they’ve gone before and no new words, life or civilisations are being sought out.

With Star Trek, Abrams has a lot of opportunities for brand new stories. Like, what if the Klingons and the Federation never went to war? What if the Orions went to war with the Federation and tried to enslave them? There is so much to explore in a fun, new way, whilst still telling the human stories that make Trek what it is. If this new franchise is already out of new ideas, it is in serious trouble.

I watch Star Trek because it challenges my perceptions of the world and forces me to think, whilst entertaining me. I can sit down with my children and watch pretty much any episode, from any series, and have a real discussion with them about humanity, our place in the world, social woes and so much more.

In the last GeekMom podcast, they had an interesting discussion about the things added to Star Wars and how a new generation will grow up thinking that Han did not shoot first and they may never learn to know the difference. I had one person on Twitter ask me, when I was raging about this new comic, “Does George Lucas have his hands on Star Trek now too?” I see that as a serious problem. Not because of the changes in of itself, but because the original universe was suppose to remain intact. My children will know the difference and I’m not sure they’ll be able to accept them either; not if the re-imagined Trek is using a good portion of the original Trek.

If Abrams wants to introduce new mythology and create new cannon, great. I only wish he didn’t do it at the expense of the original series. Roddenberry tackled a lot of very tough and sensitive issues. Those messages and issues need to be preserved. Many of them are still issues to be talked about it; some of which were tackled in Where No Man Has Gone Before. I do not see this branch of the reboot as being an honour to Gene’s memory but, instead, a real dishonour.

To restate: If you are going to make Star Trek new, then please make sure that it is, in fact, new. Why create a whole new universe if you are not going to explore it?

You can see a preview of the new comic below.

How do you feel about this? Come join the forum discussion!

Beam Me Up Scotty! Star Trek Cookies

Star Trek Cookies by Bakingdom.com

Yesterday was the 45th Anniversary of Star Trek, so all sorts of Trekkie goodness was floating around the web.  Our own Julia Sherred wrote up a wonderful post complete with video that would make even a green-blooded Vulcan cry.  If you happened to have been on Twitter then you might have seen the folks at NASA (the real boldly go people)  wishing the original castmembers a happy anniversary and thanking them for the inspiration.  Geeks everywhere were greeting each other with “Live Long and Prosper” and spouting their favorite lines at every opportunity.  But if you happened to be a baker with geeky tendencies named Darla, like the woman behind www.Bakingdom.com, then you celebrated by making the most amazing batch of Star Trek cookies in Federation territory.  I only wish I had the talent and patience to make cookies this cute.  If you think you’re up for the challenge, you can see exactly how she did it and then try to create your own adorable and tasty crew.  Engage!

Happy 45th Anniversary, Star Trek

Once upon a time, there lived a man. This man was a dreamer. This man had hopes and visions of a better future, a future built upon true equality and mutual respect. This man’s name was Gene Roddenberry.

Gene had an idea. He wanted to share his dream and his ideals. The way he did this was through a television series called Star Trek. However, many people at the time did not want Gene to share his dream. He was told that it was too cerebral, too liberal, too unbelievable.  It took a lot of work for him to find someone willing to embark on this dream with Gene. But Gene did not give up. After five years of a lot of hard work and dedication, on September 8, 1966, Star Trek aired for the first time.

What aired for the first time was not Gene’s original vision. The original pilot, titled The Cage, which Gene started to create in 1964 and was completed in 1965, was rejected for a variety of reasons. Among the reasons was that, even among feminists of the time, the idea of a female first officer was simply unbelievable and insulting. Gene was also told to get rid of the character of Mr. Spock, among other things. However, the network was still impressed enough to order a second pilot. After a lot of negotiations and recasting, including negotiations to keep the character of Mr. Spock, the second pilot, Where No Man Has Gone Before, is what audiences saw for the first time.

Today is an important date to me—aside from the fact that today my oldest is 16. The reasons why today is important to me are extremely difficult to articulate.

Out of every thing that has influenced the geeky nerd I’ve grown-up to be, Star Trek played the biggest and most important role. This role was so important, that it received its own short story in my book.

As this day started to approach, I tried my best to figure out how I would relay all the ways in which Gene’s vision shaped me, all the ways that Gene’s vision helped to save my life. Originally, I thought I would share the story from my book. But without the context of the rest of my book and the fact the story was written two years ago, I feel it doesn’t have the impact that I think is deserving of such a day.

Growing up, I did not have the best life. In fact, it was as far from ideal as one could get. Growing up, I was told, “Don’t be silly, you can’t do that”, instead of, “Give it shot”. Star Trek taught me that I was capable of anything as long as I held on to my dreams. Star Trek taught me that I have unlimited potential and possibility laying before me, that there is no obstacle or barrier to stop me except for myself, that my imagination is something to be cultivated and nurtured, not subdued. Star Trek helped shape the nerd I am today, giving me a love for both science and art.

These messages were further ingrained within me when Star Trek: The Next Generation first aired in 1987. The character of Wesley Crusher was a life-saver. It is because I was and continue to be Wesley Crusher. Even though I was never teased by my peers for being a geek and a nerd, I had a hard time growing up because of my above-average intelligence. I received straight As without ever studying. I have an almost eidetic memory. Socially, I was very awkward. I found it extremely difficult—and still do to this day—to relate to people my own age. I had a habit of correcting adults, all the time, because they were wrong. I skipped grade 7. I felt alone. Star Trek and specifically Star Trek: The Next Generation and the character of Wesley Crusher allowed me to feel as if I belonged to something. I was not alone. And I am certain others relate to this.

Star Trek has a place for every one, regardless of sex, gender, colour, sexual orientation, disability, religion, age and background. Star Trek challenged social norms of the time and forced viewers to think. Star Trek allows people to dream of the possibilities. Star Trek allows us to believe that, as a species, we can overcome great obstacles and become united as one. Star Trek inspires many to pursue jobs in science and space. Star Trek gives us hope. Star Trek has given me more gifts than I could ever articulate.

From the day I was born, I watched Star Trek. From the day my boys were born, they watched Star Trek. One thing that makes me quite sad is that my boys do not have a Star Trek, one filled with Gene’s vision of the future, that speaks to their generation. When the original Star Trek first aired, my dad was 12. When The Next Generation first aired, I was 11. My boys are now 12 and 16. There is talk of a new series, one that is supposedly going to be true to Roddenberry’s original concept. I hope this becomes a reality.

I tried to find a 45th Anniversary tribute video that really spoke to me. However, I’ve yet to find one that even comes close to doing the series justice like the following 40th Anniversary tribute video does. Watching it never fails to put something in my eyes.

On October 24, 1991, Gene Roddenberry passed away, leaving behind a legacy not soon forgotten. May his dreams and hopes for a better future live long and prosper.

What gifts has Star Trek given you?

Appreciating More With the Bisquick Rule

This is what's left of the steps Baby dances on in Dirty Dancing. Not that I dragged my husband there or anything.

My parents never served any sort of pre-prepared foods, except things like cereal where it’s impractical to make your own. Fries were made from potatoes, not from a freezer bag. Macaroni and cheese was made with actual cheese, not orange powder. And pancakes were made with flour, eggs, oil, and milk. As a result, pancakes in restaurants usually tasted awful to me since restaurants tend to use Bisquick or some other mix. Bisquick has a particular taste to it that just didn’t say “pancake,” so I never ordered them.

Somewhere during college (when many of us loosen our standards), I learned to apply the Bisquick Rule. When I ceased to think of Bisquick pancakes as pancakes and began respecting them as a separate food, they didn’t seem so bad. I just couldn’t think of them as pancakes.

It turns out the Bisquick Rule can be applied to a lot of things. I find myself invoking it on a near-weekly basis.

Two weeks ago, my husband and I got a babysitter and went to a local comedy club. Their special that night offered a $5 souvenir mug of beer with $1 refills for domestics and $2-3 for craft beers and imports. When the bartender started pouring, he didn’t ask–he just went straight for the Bud Light. We both have a beer preference list that starts with microbrew, moves through Guinness, and doesn’t even include anything with the word “light” in it, regardless of spelling. My husband asked, “Could we get something different?” since the sign did suggest there were options. Bartender said, “Bud Light or Coors Light, and we’re all out of Coors Light,” with the same sort of expression one might use to say, “…and I’m all out of bubblegum.” We thus chose to drink the Bud Light for the first time since our long-ago college years of lower standards.

Bisquick Rule. Don’t think of it as beer, and Bud Light is actually not the worst thing ever. Might have even made Rich Vos a little funnier that night.

Several times in the last two days, friends who know I’m a big fan of Dirty Dancing (you have your guilty pleasures and I’ll have mine) have let me know that there’s going to be a remake. One even sent it with the note, “Because I know it’ll get your panties in a bunch.”

Bisquick Rule. Panties unbunched. I love dance movies–all of them–even though I know that it’s too much to ask for good dancing and good acting in the same two hours. As long as I think of this as a dance movie and not as my beloved Dirty Dancing, I will be able to love it just as much as the rest.

So far the Bisquick Rule has failed me only once. I cannot, even if I completely separate it from the Star Trek franchise, find any appreciation for Enterprise. I just can’t. It could be that I can’t stop thinking it’s going to turn out to be the longest Quantum Leap ever, but I’m pretty sure I just don’t like it. It says something about a show when it can’t even get its own final episode and has to borrow one from another series.

I recommend giving it a shot. (The Bisquick Rule, not Enterprise. I could never recommend trying that.) Maybe you’ll learn to appreciate Starbucks instead of complaining that it tastes burnt. Maybe you’ll begin to believe that the Star Wars prequels weren’t the worst thing to happen in a movie theater. Worst case scenario, you’re right back where you started, not liking something, but at least you’ve still got the real Quantum Leap on Netflix.

Game Review: Star Trek Fleet Captains

Star Trek Fleet Captains by WizKids

One of the benefits of attending GenCon is that you can pick up copies of games before they’re scheduled to be in retail stores. I walk through the aisles very carefully, trying not to be lured in by something that I can simply buy as soon as I get home. Star Trek Fleet Captains, by WizKids, is not due on store shelves for at least 6 more weeks so it fit my requirements and was therefore carefully transported back with me at the end of the convention. Yesterday, I was thrilled to have a chance to play it through for the first time.

Starfleet Ships with Reference Cards

What struck me about it just while watching the demos was that ships and characters from different shows and movies were on the table together.  Star Trek Fleet Captains lets you create a fleet made up of the Enterprise A, Voyager and even the Enterprise E, which is just plain fun if you’re a Trekkie.  In all, you’ll get 12 Federation and 12 Klingon ships, each with a Clix dial on the base that let’s you adjust shields, weapons, sensors and engines as you battle each other to accomplish your missions.

You can choose to bump up your shields in anticipation of your opponent’s attack, but that may also cause a huge reduction in your engines or weapons.  The choice is up to you and will be completely dependent on the cards you draw and the battles you fight.  There’s also a reference card for each ship, so you can see exactly what you sacrifice and gain with each turn of the dial, as well as showing your limited options after minor damage (Yellow Alert) or major damage (Red Alert).

The hexagonal tiles of the game board

The board itself is made up of hexagonal tiles that are shuffled and then placed face down to create the space between the two factions.  As you move across the board, tiles are flipped revealing the details of that location.  It could be a Class-M planet that you choose to control so you can build an Outpost and have a place to repair damaged ships.  It might be a Class J Nebula or even just Empty Space which also comes with the quote “Space….the final frontier.”  Depending on the speed of your ship, you can move several tiles a turn, but be wary.  There are unfriendly tiles out there that will cause damage to your ship if you remain on them at the end of your turn.

Tribbles Encounter Card

As each tile is flipped, a die is rolled to determine if you must draw an Encounter card. If you do draw a card and win the encounter you earn precious Victory Points which are needed to win the game, but if you fail then there’s trouble.  I ended up with tribbles on one ship after a failed Encounter.  Silly things disabled two of my systems and wreaked havoc on my ability to complete my missions.  I got rid of them by increasing powers to my sensors, playing a Masterful Bluff card to avoid a Klingon ship, and then transporting the tribbles over to the unwitting Klingons before warping out of that sector.  That kind of moment, when you get to do things that feel like they’re right out of the show, makes this game a heck of a lot of fun.

An incredible number of cards and tokens along with the twenty-four ships in this box make this game infinitely replayable.  You get 76 mission cards, some revealed so you have a chance to thwart your opponent but others a secret so you’re left guessing.  There are also 50 Encounter cards and 200 Command cards that can enhance the abilities of your ship.  Each is perfectly themed to the people and items they represent.

Wesley Crusher and Captain Kirk

Command cards give you crew members like Wesley Crusher enhancing engines and shields, Quark adding influence, Spock increasing sensor power and Kirk letting you do the impossible.  It’s exactly what you’d expect of these characters!  Then there are the Encounter cards with the tribbles I mentioned earlier, as well as Dilithium crystals to increase engine speed, Tachyon Pulses to mess with cloaking and Ferengi traders that offer you deals you can’t, but should, refuse.

The gameplay is fun and really gets moving once you’ve had a chance to run through the rules which can be downloaded direct from WizKids before you even make the purchase.  The box says it takes ninety minutes to play and we went just over that on our first time out. It can be played with 2 or 4 players, ages 14 and up, who form up into teams and retails for $100.  Yes, that’s a steep price, but consider the number of ships alone, then add in all the cards and tokens, and it’s not unreasonable.  Also, the huge number of card combinations means this is a different game every time you play and won’t sit in your closet neglected after a few tries.  The replayability and spot-on theming make Star Trek Fleet Captains a great game to add to your collection.

 

William Shatner’s The Captains Screening in NYC

This past weekend I drove from Florida up to New York to pick up my two sons who had been spending a couple weeks with my husband’s parents on Long Island.  Yes, it’s a rather long drive, but since my family has a Toyota Prius, the 2600-mile round trip still cost 1/3 the price of flying the kids back and forth.  I enjoy listening to New York’s Z100 radio as soon as I get into range (somewhere on the NJ Turnpike)…call it nostalgia from my college days, even though I’ve outgrown much of the music, the spirit of the station seems to knock 20 years from me!

On Z100 I heard a commercial advertising a free screening of William Shatner’s documentary The Captains, which is due to theaters on October 1st.  William Shatner himself hosted the event.  The screening was on July 30th at the Interpid Air and Space Museum. People were invited to dress up for the event and free posters and prizes were awarded to the best cosplayers!  Enjoy some pictures of the costumed attendees.

I’m not the biggest Trekkie out there — by a long shot — but I still enjoy Star Trek and I would have been excited to get a chance to see a preview of this film.  Alas, I was driving south out of New York last Saturday and didn’t get a chance.

Adam Hadhazy at Space.com had a chance to attend the screening and wrote up the event on Sunday. It sounds like it was a fun event and based on his interviews with spectators, I can’t wait to see The Captains this October!

How Star Trek Moms Give Their Kids The Look

Klingon Moms’ Day Out

Last night, nearly six years after giving birth to my first child, I finally became a Real Mom.

I declare this the moment because I have finally mastered the Mom Look. The one where you just look at your kid, and she drops what she’s doing, her eyes get big, and now she’s listening. I wasn’t sure I’d ever get Mom Look. I had a feeling it might be tied to the threat of spankings, and since I’m not even sure my kids know what the word “spanking” means, I don’t know what fear my Mom Look carries. But it works. I will use my new power responsibly.

Thanks to the recent influx of Star Trek on Netflix, I’ve been reliving all the old favorites. So this morning when I was reflecting on the Mom Look, it converged with the assorted alien species dancing in my head. I got to wondering… how does the Mom Look work for them?

Klingon mothers come with an assortment of Looks built in to their ridged faces, and none of those Looks are good. While I imagine there must be some Klingon version of Mom Look they could bring forth, it comes with a risk. It seems to me that a particularly petulant Klingon child would probably just bust out his baby bat’leth and commit matricide.

The Ferengi kids, though–they’re culturally rewarded for selling their mothers to the highest bidder. Since they’re also candidates for the galaxy’s most misogynist culture, I imagine Ferengi moms spend most of their time looking for nice, non-Ferengi second husbands while they conjure up ways to get out of oo-mox tonight. They join the Klingon moms in looking a little terrifying (plus a little ridiculous) to begin with, so conjuring Mom Look is probably a tough job. Their one chance at exerting some power comes from their responsibility for pre-chewing their families’ food. That means when Ferengi-Mommy does give you her look, you know you’d better be careful when you swallow at dinner.

Pakleds were the next that came to mind since I just re-watched “Samaritan Snare” two nights ago. On the down side, it’s tough to seem threatening as a mom when you look like a potato with flaming caterpillars for eyebrows. I envision Little Pakled during potty training, leaving a puddle in the corner after being asked twenty times if he needed to use the Pakled potty. He looks up with his big potato eyes and says, “I looked for things. Things to make me go!” Mama Pakled’s heart melts. Mama Pakled cannot make Mom Look. It’s just not an option for a giant potato.

At the complete opposite end of the mom spectrum are the Betazoids. We’ve seen the Daughter of the Fifth House, Holder of the Sacred Chalice of Riix, and Heir to the Holy Rings of Betazed. We know what happens when your mom can hear your thoughts and feelings, even if she should be minding her own business. When that’s the way the world works, you don’t develop a Mom Look. You develop a Mom Thought, or even more simply, a Mom Emotion. Baby Betazoid’s brain hears that one coming, and she straightens right up.

At the end of the universe, I think we can all learn something about Mom Look from the Vulcans. Spock has Mom Look, and he’s a man! (I really must learn how to do that eyebrow thing.) They love their children as much as humans, but any mother who can send her child out into the desert for the Kahs-wan is a mama you don’t want to mess with.

Toddlers and Geeky Movies

Watching TV with friends (Image: Mandy Horetski)

While I would love to introduce my favorite geeky movies to my daughter, I think 2 1/2 is a little young for classics like Star Wars.

I have a friend from college who I am FB and Twitter friends with. He has a little boy who is about 6 months older than my daughter is. He was posting that he has started to show Star Wars and Star Trek: The Next Generation to his son.

This sparked a discussion between my husband and me about our daughter. We both agreed that those kinds of movies and shows would not really interest her at this time. They also may possibly scare her (because Darth Vader is kind of scary, especially if you are just a toddler). We will probably wait at least a year to see if she wants to give these movies at a try.

As a geek, I can’t wait for her to be old enough to watch some of my favorites. But I do want to make sure she isn’t scared and turned off by these shows. She already has a fear of zombies, thanks to bringing her to the Dragon*Con parade when she was 11 months old. I don’t want to make it worse.

At what age did you start showing your kids your geeky favorites of movies and TV shows?

 

Transformers 3: Why It’s the Best Movie I’ve Seen This Summer

Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon

I did what any red-blooded American did over our holiday weekend. That’s right, I went to see a movie. This was after consuming roughly my own body weight in hamburgers and hot dogs while hanging out with friends all afternoon. I almost didn’t go to see Transformers 3 because it was getting a love it/hate it response from people and I was desperately afraid I’d fall into the hate it camp. There’s nothing as disappointing as walking in to a movie thinking it will be fantastic, but wandering out a few hours later wishing you could get a refund.

We didn’t leave terribly early for this one so when we arrived I was just hoping we’d get seats that weren’t in the very first row. No problem. Ten minutes before it was due to start there were only four other people in the theater. Four. This may have increased my anxiety just a tad since a big movie and an empty theater is generally not a good sign. By the time the movie started there were maybe two dozen of us, clutching our sodas and turning off our phones as the previews started.

Despite all my anxiety, all my worries that I would be terribly disappointed, this is officially the best movie I’ve seen this summer.

Now, now, now before you get all bent out of shape and call me crazy, let me explain. I wanted action. Unrealistic, completely over-the-top, not possible, unsurvivable by mere mortals action. I wanted fighting robots. I wanted fun one-liners and corny comic relief. Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon had all of these things.

I’ve heard complaints that Shia LaBeouf was mopey and didn’t do much for the first half of the movie. Okay, I’ll agree he was a bit mopey but it made sense for his character and there was so much happening around him, so much crazy, that I could forgive the mopey. Also, there is a fantastic car chase where our hero is about to die and Bumblebee morphs from car to bot to car again all while Shia flies through the air letting out a scream worthy of a twelve year old girl. I love him for pulling that off perfectly and making me and everyone else in the theater laugh and will forgive the mopey for that scene alone.

There are also complaints that the action is too drawn out and completely unrealistic. Really? So when you went in for a movie about alien robots that transform into cars and help save our world from destruction, were you really expecting a film firmly rooted in reality? That there’s your problem. This is, at its heart, a Transformers movie. Half the fun of seeing this is watching stuff you know would never work, not even a little, and seeing it, well, work. Sure, the chances you’d survive sliding through the shattered glass of a giant skyscraper without being sliced to bits are very small. It doesn’t matter. They survived and it was awesome.

I’m critical of movies that don’t live up to my expectations, especially when they advertise themselves as one thing but turn out to be something else. That makes me walkaway angry. But Transformers was exactly what it was billed…action, explosions, robots, action and action. My expectations were firmly met and I just held on for the ride. It wasn’t a serious, hard-hitting commentary on the world and the human condition. It was the Transformers doing what they do best. Oh, and one last thing. The voice of Sentinel Prime is Leonard Nimoy. If you happen to be a Star Trek fan, pay close attention to this little fact. LLAP, enjoy the movie, and let me know what you thought of this actionfest.

To Boldly Wait Another Year

Image: Wallpaper/StarTrekMovie.com

If we can generate prequels, reboots and alternate time-lines, then surely we can celebrate an anniversary a year before the event actually occurs?

On June 29, 2012 Paramount will, we hope, maybe, in a parallel universe, release the as yet un-named, un-acted, un-edited, sequel in the rebooted Star Trek franchise. Now that Super 8 is officially up and running, the world of Trek fans can finally breathe a sigh of relief. But will JJ Abrams turn his attentions to the Star Trek sequel, now that his own fan fiction is out of his hands and at the mercy of the consumer? This is the question in every Trek heart, as the director has not yet fully shown commitment to the next movie. We know that the big names have signed up, and many of them have hinted at a fall filming schedule, but hints and hearsay are pretty much all we have right now.

In the gaming world we continue to look forward to a cooperative based on the alternate universe. To be released in 2012 on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC, action will take place between the two movies. The game debuted at E3 in May and was well received by Trekkies and non-Trekkies alike, for content and game play.

Trek fans delight this year that Walter Koenig, aka Pavel Chekhov, will finally receive his star on the Hollywood walk of fame this year. Along with him, other notable geek recipients are Malcolm McDowell and Adam West

All I know is, should the Alamo Drafthouse in Texas decide to screen ANY of the Star Trek movies next year, I will be sorely tempted to fly down. In 2009, audiences that went to see a re-run of Star Trek II The Wrath of Kahn, only got to see two minutes of that movie, before Leonard Nimoy stepped into the room and asked if they wouldn’t prefer to see the new movie – three hours before the premiere!