Sometime between November 14th and November 29th, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too!

Sometime between April 12th and April 15th, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too!

Sometime between April 19th and April 26th, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too!

  • I had a dream about a Star Trek series with a ferengi captain…: …and he was super endearing but it was like…the worst ship in the fleet and it was full of the misfits of starfleet But I loved this captain I loved him who is he // It’s Nog.
  • What ‘Snowflakes’ Get Right About Free Speech: 'Free speech' as the ability to say anything you want vs. 'free speech' as the ability for all to participate equally in public discourse. (Summary via @leftoblique on Twitter)
  • NorWesCon: Norwescon's page on Fancyclopedia 3. We are the third entry (without camel case).
  • Fancyclopedia 3: Fancyclopedia 3 is a collective enterprise of all of fandom. Based on the previous works by Jack Speer (Fancyclopedia 1), Dick Eney (Fancyclopedia 2), and Rich Brown, it is written by fans who want to contribute.
  • 5 Things That Don’t Seem Like Mansplaining But Are, Because Playing Devil’s Advocate Doesn’t Enlighten Anyone: By now, you may have heard the term mansplaining — explaining things as a man to a woman with the incorrect assumption that she doesn't understand — and heard of it in its most common forms. But some things that don't seem like mansplaining, but are, may have escaped your attention. Mansplaining, after all, is part of a set of cultural assumptions that place men's opinions above women's, and these assumptions are everywhere.

Most people who’ve known me for a while are aware that I’m not much of a fan of television — and actually haven’t really watched television in a long, long time. Seeing as how a couple people commented on my watching Lost, I thought it might be worth addressing this. :)

I’m really not sure when exactly I got sick of TV, but my best guess would be sometime around 1992/1993 or so I decided that it just wasn’t worth my time. Most programs didn’t have enough intelligence to keep my interest, and even when I did sit down to watch something, the insipid and insultingly stupid commercials would drive me up the wall. So I quit.

In the intervening years I’ve seen bit and pieces of shows here and there, generally when I’ve been over at friends houses. For the most part, though, I’ve relied mostly on recommendations from friends as to what shows were actually worth watching…and then I’d wait for the DVDs to start coming out. Thanks to DVD, over the last few years I’ve seen (for the first time) all of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, the first four seasons of The X-Files, and the first four seasons of The West Wing.

More recently, adding BitTorrent to my repertoire has allowed me to keep up with more recent shows. I first saw Firefly this way, I’ve been keeping up with Battlestar Galactica, Gray’s Anatomy got a few trial weeks, and I’ll soon be watching the first three episodes of Surface to see if it’s worth keeping an eye on.

So I’m not really entirely against television as a whole — in a very general sort of way, yes, I think that TV is primarily a waste of time, and most people (especially children) would be far better off finding better ways to spend their time — but I’m not entirely opposed to finding specific shows that are better written, more intelligent and/or more entertaining than most.

I’d have been quite happy sticking with BitTorrent and watching things at least a day or two behind most of the rest of the world, too, except for two things: Prairie, and Lost.

Prairie, while sharing many of my views on the majority of the shows on TV these days, has never been quite as militant about her anti-TV views as I have been over the past few years. She’s had a few shows that she’s been enjoying keeping up with, with her top three being ER, Desperate Housewives, and Lost. All during last year, she’d occasionally drop tidbits of what was going on in that week’s episode of Lost to me…and then, after getting me to admit that it sounded interesting, and determined to get me hooked, she picked up the Season 1 DVD set when it came out.

We spent the next week powering our way through all of Season 1 — and she won. I’m hooked. So, Wednesday nights are now “Lost Night” for us. Admittedly, I still grit my teeth during most of the commercials (and even the ones that are cute once or twice get extremely grating the twentieth or fiftieth time they show up), but I’m quite enjoying watching the show itself.

So I’m still primarily anti-TV, and am far happier spending my free hours either fiddling with projects on my computer, wandering around town with my camera, or getting together with friends whenever possible. For one hour each Wednesday night, though, I’ll be joining the majority of America in setting back, grabbing some munchies, and keeping up with this week’s adventures on the boob tube.

(Oh, and while I’m just not interested enough in a hospital soap opera to get sucked into ER, she just might get me hooked on Desperate Housewives if I’m not careful. The last two episodes have been pretty entertaining, I must admit….)

Well, it’s done. Last night I finished the last episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. The Dominion War is done.

As I’d mentioned before, I’d never seen DS9 before — I’d caught a few episodes here and there over the years, but hadn’t seen enough to really gain any appreciation for the series or the characters. Now that I’m done…well, while I hate to rank the three versions of Star Trek that I’ve seen (TOS, TNG, and DS9) as they each have their strengths and special places, I do feel comfortable in saying that DS9 is by far the strongest Trek incarnation as a whole.

I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for TOS. It’s the series that got this whole thing started, where we were first introduced to the Federation, the Klingons, the Vulcans, and many others, and the series that captured the hearts and minds of fans all over the world. I grew up watching Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and the rest of the crew, and that in itself is very important to me.

TNG was the rebirth of Trek, and it took a big chance in daring to boldly go where Paramount had gone before. New characters, new ships, new aliens — and a new show that ended up being far better than many expected it would be when word first broke that it was going to be made. Much of my high school weekends were spent in the company of my friends, gathering at one person’s house or another each week to watch the adventures of Picard and crew (often followed up by watching re-runs of TOS that were broadcast immediately afterward). Here we had a modern Trek, and it turned our initial skepticism into belief and a reborn love for the Trek universe.

With DS9, I believe that all the best parts of Trek were brought to the forefront, and then given just enough of a “darker” twist that could have doomed the show from the outset, but instead served to create some of the best Trek I’ve seen. For all their strengths, the almost antiseptic perfection of much of TOS and TNG sometimes seemed almost too good to be true. The characters were almost too perfect, there was too often a definite “right” and a definite “wrong”, without the shades of grey that so often color the real world. DS9 saw this, and painted the entire show in those shades of grey (almost literally, in the design of the Cardassian station). Without breaking away from the ideals set forth by Roddenberry in creating Star Trek, DS9 showed that as good as Paradise is, it takes work to maintain, and the real decisions and ramifications of that work are rarely as clear-cut as we’d like them to be.

So while I hate ranking one series above the other, I will say that DS9 is most definitely my favorite of the three Trek incarnations I’ve seen. Wonderful stuff.

And now that I’ve finally finished it all…

…what now?

Just a quick note on the relative lack of posts (especially any of any real substance) lately — having never seen Star Trek: Deep Space Nine before, I’ve finally made it into their final season on DVD.

The war is at its peak now that the Breen have joined forces with the Dominion, the Founders appear to be dying, Gul Dukat (disguised as a Bajoran) is manipulating Kai Wynn’s lust for power on Bajor to try to release the Pah Wraiths, and we just lost the Defiant in a major battle. Things are looking really grim, and I’m watching as many episodes as I can each night in order to find out how it all wraps up without staying up too late and not being able to concentrate on work the next day.

So for the moment, I’m afraid you’ll have to put up with my Trek-loving geek self, and settle for a few “this-is-nifty-go-here” posts each morning until I wrap things up with Sisko and crew.

First off, a confession: I’m a trekkie (trekker? whatever). Have been practically since birth, and it’s all my Dad’s fault. ;) Two years old, sitting on my dad’s lap, watching the original series on television. As soon as the Enterprise zoomed across the screen and Captain Kirk started the famous lines, “Space…where no man has gone before…” I’d be excitedly saying “speesh!” and pointing off into space (which apparently was somewhere behind me and over my left shoulder).

I grew up with Star Trek. I never did get into sewing my own uniform, or donning rubber Vulcan ears or Klingon foreheads, and I’ve only been to one convention, but I’ve got a library of original series technical manuals that I’ve picked up over the years. One of the earlier ones (the Star Trek Star Fleet Technical Manual) had an alien alphabet printed out, which I dutifully memorized, characters and pronunciation both. Imagine my surprise when I later visited Greece, and discovered that the “alien alphabet” was nothing more than Greek, and I could read every sign around me in perfect Greek. I had no idea what I was saying, of course, but I could read it all, and it’s all thanks to Star Trek.

One summer I was at one of the CTY summer camps that I participated in, and much of the talk and gossip at the time was about this new Star Trek show that was being started. Some “new generation” or something. We were all highly skeptical — after all, we’d all grown up with the Holy Trinity of Kirk, Spock and McCoy, and now someone wanted to try to recapture that? Not likely! Our skeptical opinions weren’t helped at all when one of the sunday papers printed a picture of the new crew. That kid from Stand By Me was there (a kid?). The dorky guy from that kid’s “Reading Rainbow” show was wearing a banana clip on his face. The captain…was old. And bald. To top it all off, their uniforms were one-piece jumpsuits, recalling bad memories of the horrid 70’s costuming of Star Trek: The Motion Picture — and they were hot pink! Obviously, the show was doomed from the start.

Needless to say, we were (thankfully) wrong. The kid, admittedly, suffered from some bad writing (but he’s since turned into a pretty damn cool guy). We got used to the banana clip, and it certainly helped that that “dorky guy” was also a well-respected actor in his own right. As far as old, bald captains go — if I can be half as cool (and sexy) as Patrick Stewart when I’m his age, I’ll be doing well! And, thankfully, those hot pink uniforms turned out to be nothing more than bad color in the newspaper.

Since then, while I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for the original series, Star Trek: The Next Generation has been my favorite Star Trek incarnation (at least, as far as the TV incarnations go — the Next Gen movies rarely approached the cinematic quality of either Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan or Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, imho).

However, towards the end of Next Gen’s run, I stopped watching TV. Less and less of what I saw on television appealed to me, and commercials were getting more and more annoying, so I just stopped. With three exceptions (the Y2K turnover, the 2000 presidential debates, and the first couple months of Enterprise), I’ve not seen any more television that what I may have wandered into while at friend’s houses. Because of this, I missed the last couple seasons of Next Gen, and have caught no more than the occasional episode of Deep Space Nine or Voyager. I watched the first few weeks of Enterprise, which seemed passable at the time, but then Paramount started releasing DVD sets of Next Gen, and I revised my opinion of Enterprise.

So throughout 2002, I revisited Captain Picard and the crew of the USS Enterprise NCC 1701-D as each successive DVD set was released. It was a lot of fun — I hadn’t seen many of the earlier episodes in years (some of them probably not since they were originally broadcast), and many of the later episodes I hadn’t seen at all. Once that was done with, though, I faced a dilemma. I knew that I enjoyed the Next Generation series enough to buy it all, but Deep Space Nine was an unknown. I’d caught a few of the episodes from time to time, and generally enjoyed what I’d seen, but I didn’t have enough experience to really make a judgment. Fan opinion on DS9 always seemed to be somewhat divided, too, with fairly equal camps lauding it and decrying it.

However, as 2002 approached and I started reading more about DS9 as the DVD release came closer, I started reading more and more people recommending it. Eventually, I decided that I’d at least pick up the first season to see what I thought of it. After all, if it bored me, I wasn’t out too much money, and I’d know not to pick up the rest.

The blood of a trekkie runs deep and true, it seems.

As it turns out, DS9 has impressed me far more than I was expecting. The series, quite simply, kicks ass. A lot of potentially dangerous decisions were made when putting the show together (not least of which was setting it on a space station, rather than a ship), but they ended up working out incredibly well. They were able to create long-lasting story lines that run not just from show to show, but from season to season, political maneuvering and machinations galore, battle scenes that have had me wide-eyed with surprise, and many other touches that have made my introduction to DS9 incredibly enjoyable.

Today, I brought home the DVD set of season four of DS9, and just finished watching the season opening episode, “The Way of the Warrior“. Wow. There’s definitely a jaw-dropping aspect to watching a fleet of thirty-some Klingon ships, from the now familiar Bird of Prey to newer battleship designs — even a few of the old standard D7 class (yes, I’m a geek, I didn’t need to look at that up) — decloaking around the station. Too freaking cool.

The more I watch of this show, the more I like it. The long lasting story arcs have been handled incredibly well so far, and after reading bits and pieces here and there about the Dominion War for years, it’s a lot of fun finally being able to see it unfold in front of me, without knowing what’s going to come up next, or which directions the various players are going to take. The character arcs have been just as strong as the story arcs, too, and Garak (the Cardassian tailor) is quickly becoming my favorite character on the show. His questionable standing and constant banter with Dr. Bashir (“But which of the stories you told us were true?” “Oh, my good doctor, they’re all true!” “Even the lies?” “Especially the lies.”) are wonderful.

At this rate, DS9 may just end up supplanting Next Gen as my favorite Star Trek series.

(Next year, of course, comes the next question. Once DS9’s DVD run is complete, Voyager will start to hit the shelves. I’ve heard far more people decry Voyager as being the downfall of the Star Trek franchise than any other previous Trek creation [except possibly Star Trek V: The Final Frontier]. So, do I cross my fingers and give the first season a shot? I’ve still got about five months to decide, though, and until then, I’ve got just under four more seasons of DS9 to work my way through.)