Category: Personal

Star Trek – A Personal Retrospective

As a young boy, in the early 90’s, I was fascinated with the VHS cover boxes for the original Star Trek television show. I can still remember exactly where they were near the counter at my local video store, Videorama. I knew of Star Trek and had seen bits and pieces of it on TV, but it wasn’t something anyone in my family talked about. And outside of renting the Trouble with the Tribbles episode, I didn’t spend any real time watching The Original Series.

Once The Next Generation (TNG) was on the air, I became fascinated with the Playmate toy commercials, especially the transporter commercial. I was so young, I believed there was a way the toy transported the figure across the room.

I discovered Star Wars in 1995, when the THX re-releases came out, and I planted my flag as a Star Wars fan during that year. Star Trek seemed dull, stuffy, and nowhere near as fun as Star Wars, so I didn’t give it much thought until one Christmas Eve when I was fifteen. I was visiting my grandmother and I was an angsty teen. Upset with my family, I found myself sitting in a chair looking for something to watch and that’s when I stumbled upon a TNG marathon. I fell in love almost instantly. The characters were incredible and the stories so vast! I wanted to watch more, but after that holiday fling, I didn’t seek out the series further for another fifteen years.

My next memory of Star Trek came when I began working at Blockbuster in 2001. An assistant manager from a different store came over to work one evening and we got along great. He was excited for a new Star Trek called Enterprise that was about to debut (September 2001). I remember thinking how I wish I was in on this Star Trek thing, because I wanted to be this excited for a series! He was practically bouncing off the walls. The next week when he came in, he gushed about the series and I told myself one day, I’d give it a watch.

I met another person while working at Blockbuster who sort of mentored me with movies. He was ten or fifteen years older than me, so he recommended all sorts of sci-fi movies I had never watched or heard of before like Enemy Mine and Brazil. When he discovered I hadn’t seen Star Trek, he told me the truth about the franchise at that time. The even movies were good, the odd movies were less than good, but they were all worth watching. Just a couple of months (November 2001) after the debut of Enterprise, Star Trek: The Motion Picture Directors Edition DVD was released, and I purchased it and began my watch of the Star Trek films. I made it all the way up to Nemesis (which to this day I still haven’t seen all the way through) which was released in March 2002.

I really enjoyed some of the films, others were meh, and despite the new special effects, The Original Motion Picture was an absolute bore. I discovered quickly, I was a bigger fan of the Next Generation crew, so I had hoped to purchase the DVD sets of TNG that were being produced at the time. I never got around to it because they were very expensive.

I found myself working at a movie theater when JJ Abram’s Star Trek was released in 2009. I wasn’t interested. My watching of the Star Trek movies felt isolated to seven years earlier, and without my movie mentor around, I just wasn’t compelled to watch it. That was, until my current mentor and boss, mentioned I needed to see it. He told me how good it was and how he thought I’d really enjoy it. I took his advice and caught a screening. He wasn’t wrong, I fell in love with the film. I loved the vibe, the design, the cast, and the music.

When I first started dating my wife, we both picked a movie to show each other that we hadn’t seen. She picked Frozen for me and I picked the 2009 Star Trek for her.

In 2012, I was watching a web series called The Guild, created by Felicia Day. She created a music video for a song called, “Now I’m The One That’s Cool” that was catchy. In the song, it mentioned watching “Next Gen every night” and it occurred to me that I finally had a chance to do that. Netflix streaming was a thing by this point and The Next Generation was available to watch. So, one night, I turned it on and a year later, I finished The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager.

I was skeptical about starting Deep Space Nine, because I had watched Babylon 5 in the early 2000’s and was quite loyal to that show. I knew the history and similarities in set up, but I decided to give it a chance and I’m so glad I did. Despite loving the crew from TNG the most, Deep Space Nine is my favorite Trek.

As I finished with Voyager, I decided to start with The Original Series, but I didn’t make it very far. I gave up with an intention on finishing it sometime, but I’m just not a TOS guy. I also began Enterprise, but a couple dozen episodes in, I’m still not hooked. I watch one here and there, but it’s just not my cup of tea.

In 2014, I met Tim Russ, who portrayed Tuvok in Voyager at a comic con that was held in a family fun park. This photo was taken at the bowling alley, which cracks me up when I walk into these massive conventions these days.

I never had a Star Trek of my own until Discovery debuted in 2017 on what was then called CBS All-Access. It wasn’t astounding, but I really enjoyed the show and was so excited for a new Star Trek series. I finally got a chance to feel what that manager I had met at Blockbuster was feeling. Since then, I’ve watched everything new Star Trek that has been released, as well as read dozens of novels, hate played through the 2013 video game, then played through a bunch of older games, rewatched most of TNG and DS9, read new and old comics, and the list goes on and on. Just typing this out, and realizing I’ve only been really watching Star Trek for a little over ten years seems absurd, because it feels like a lifetime.

The characters and stories have had such a profound impact on my daily life. A little Picard watches over me at work.

In my therapy sessions, when I need a safe person to assist in my EDMR, Jean Luc is there.

In a way, Picard has become a surrogate father for me. The ideals he possesses and how he presents himself is exactly the man I want to be.

It’s not unusual for me to sleep when my wife is out of town to the ambient sounds of a ship.

Just this past week, I finally started watching Picard Season Three. I’m halfway through and I’ve slowed down my watch just so I can savor each episode. It’s choked me up so many times already, and that really made me take note of exactly how much this franchise means to me, especially this particular group of characters.

Last night, I went ahead and bought Star Trek Resurgence, the latest Trek video game and despite playing just fifteen minutes, I can already tell I’m going to love this game. Then again, after slogging through the 2013 game, any new Star Trek game had to be better.

I know a lot of people like to trash the JJ Abrams Star Trek and reboots and reimaginings in general, but if it wasn’t for that film, I don’t think I ever would’ve found the love I have for Star Trek like I do. It was a gateway into the franchise. Now I much prefer TNG or DS9 to watching any of the Abrams Trek movies, but without that spark I never would have seeked out the previous series.

There’s not much of a point to this post, I just wanted to share my Star Trek history and see how this fandom came to be. I’m sure I’ll have some thoughts on Picard and Resurgence in a few weeks.

An Unique Purchase

I’ve been a fan of pro wrestling pretty much my entire life. Right now, my fandom isn’t as hot as it was say, two years ago, but I still follow the stories and watch the occasional matches. The only organization I consistently watch is IMPACT Wrestling, which reminds me of an old wrestling territory these days. It’s smaller, intelligently booked, and gives folks who haven’t had time to shine a place in the spotlight. They also treat their women’s division with the most respect, and I’ve always admired that.

I visit their online shop often because I really want an IMPACT shirt. I just struggle to pay the $30 asking price especially when I know how crummy a lot of shirts are these days. But, whenever I visit their shop, I also check out their eBay store because they sell old items and strange memorabilia, like autographed pieces of broken tables.

This week, when I looked, I noticed something truly unique. They were selling the ring skirt (the fabric that covers the outside of the ring) from a recent pay per view called Multiverse that they put on with New Japan Pro Wrestling. It was a very solid show, and I was shocked to see the asking price of just $249.99.

To put it in perspective, a generic solid color ring skirt at HighSpots starts at $225 and printed one at $625. So, this was a great deal for a ring skirt, but surely it wouldn’t sell for that.

I put it on my watchlist just out of curiosity, and when I got my alert two hours before it closed there were still no bidders. I deleted the email and went on with my night, but right before I went to bed I decided to check again. No one had bid. So, I went ahead and threw in a minimum bid and assumed it would be crushed in the last ten minutes.

Of course, I couldn’t sleep, so I spent the next thirty-five minutes checking on the auction. Long story short, no one else showed up and I won this pay per view used ring skirt for a shocking low price of $249.99.

My ring skirt arrived today, and I got to work on displaying it. Thankfully, I have my cool garage gym, so I’ve hung it on the free wall.

It’s not as prestigious as say an old NWA ring skirt or something along those lines, but it’s a very cool ring skirt. It looks good and I really like it. It was a random purchase, but I’m very happy with it. Thankfully I got a raise at work to pay for it.


Battlestar Blues

My wife is currently away on a ten-day work trip. Before she left, she wanted to finish up a couple of shows we were watching: Battlestar Galactica and Peacemaker. I watched Peacemaker a few months ago, while I was sick with COVID, and thought she’d enjoy it. Battlestar Galactica came about in a more natural way.

I adore the first episode of Battlestar Galactica, 33. It’s one of the greatest episodes in television history as far as I’m concerned. The mini-series is good, but it’s not until 33 that Battlestar Galactica becomes great.

Last fall, I found myself with a desire to re-watch the first few episodes of Battlestar Galactica. I turned it on and didn’t think my wife would care. I mean, she likes sci-fi, and I always thought she’d enjoy it, but at the time we didn’t need yet another show to watch together.

I decided I’d watch the mini-series and 33 and probably stop there. It was a lazy Sunday, and I thought that would fulfill my Battlestar Galactica need. My wife was in bed, ready to take a nap, but the sounds and dialogue of Battlestar Galactica was just too riveting for her. She gave up trying to sleep about half an hour into it, and I restarted the series so she could watch everything she missed. We watched the mini-series and 33 together that day.

That was the beginning of several months of watching Battlestar Galactica. It was my first full rewatch since the show was on the air. Not every episode is perfect, but overall, it’s pretty darn close. The acting is top notch, the special effects hold up for the most part, and the music… the music is absolutely wonderful.

As we made our way through the show, I found new admiration for Admiral Adama. I was always a fan, and I can’t help but tear up every time A Good Lighter begins to play, but I didn’t realize just how much I respected that character until this watch through. I didn’t even realize it until my wife mentioned it, but at one point I even said out loud, I wish Admiral Adama was my father. I admire his honor so much and his ability to take on the most difficult tasks with empathy and common sense.

I even found inspiration in the show during the “fat Lee” phase and the bluntness that Adama tells Lee to get his act together. I went as far as to create a silicon bracelet to remind me to keep getting fit and not to be “soft”, a kinder version of Adama’s actual comment to his son who had become lazy and overweight.

The final season gets philosophical and religious, and it can be a lot to process during some of the middle episodes, but it ends so well. It wraps things up better than I remembered and when we watched the final episode a week ago, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of melancholy. My time with the crew of the Galactica was over, once again, and here I am back in the real world with no Admiral Adama in sight.

One of the things I love most about sci-fi is that at its core it’s about family. It’s about strangers stuck on a ship or a planet, who rely on each other to get through the day. When I watch or read good science fiction, I feel like I’m part of that crew and when the show ends, it’s almost like a part of me is missing. Luckily, thanks to streaming and physical media, I can always start up the journey once more, and thanks to rabid fanbases, there is usually tie-in comics and books to further explore the worlds I come adore.

Battlestar Galactica is a wonderful journey, and one of the best science fiction shows ever made. It’s almost one of the most digestible even for folks who are not fans of the genre.