Friday, August 31, 2012

The Chain of Command


Workshop week has ended and now the first time I go into work will be the first day of school! I am always amazed how fast this week flies by but regardless of how fast it goes the highlight is always open house night! I had such a great time yesterday meeting my new students and reconnecting with my returning kiddos. I had some truly fun conversations with my families and it really helped to remind me why I love this job and it also reaffirms my passion for working with my students. One of the fun parts of the night also happened to be that almost all of my returning families asked me about my weight loss and had very positive words of congratulations for me.

Elliptical Machine- Miles: 7.09, Calories: It stopped counting at 999 but I think it would have been around 1200.

Today I was determined to have an intense workout and I was faced with a two part episode so I decided to simply watch both of them today. I was on the treadmill for about 85 minutes straight.

The Chain Of Command, Part 1
Picard receives a private communication from Starfleet command ordering him to relinquish command of the Enterprise and begin working on a secretive mission. Picard, Crusher, and Worf begin training in a simulated underground cavern but only Picard knows what the real mission is and he can’t tell the other two yet. Meanwhile Picard’s replacement, Captain Jellico comes on board and assumes command after a formal ceremony in Ten-Forward. Before Jellico even takes command of the ship he starts making changes and immediately rubs everyone on the staff the wrong way but in particular Commander Riker. Picard and company get set to head out on a shuttlecraft and finally he reveals the mission plan. It seems that Starfleet believes the Cardassians are building a biological weapon and they have been sent to investigate. Picard was chosen because the project involves Theta waves of which he is somewhat of an expert on. The three arrange transportation into Cardassian space on a Ferengi transport and being exploring the underground caverns on Celtris III. The three find the weapon center but it is revealed to be a ruse and Picard is captured while Crusher and Worf escape. Meanwhile on the Enterprise, Jellico is trying to negotiate a treaty for a few planets between Federation and Cardassian space with a Cardassian Gul.

The Chain Of Command, Part 2
Picard has been brought to a Cardassian interrogation center and is to be interrogated by a Cardassian named Gul Madred. Picard and Madred enter a lengthy cat and mouse game of interrogation in which Picard is treated like absolute shit and put through physical, mental and starvation torture. Picard refuses to cooperate of course and really annoys the Gul to a point where the Madred reveals a story of his youth to Picard in which Picard turns on him and uses the information against him to agitate him further. The two men continue to play a tough game of cat and mouse throughout the episode. Meanwhile on the Enterprise negotiations with the Cardassians are not going well and Jellico’s relationship with Riker is going even worse. He eventually relieves Riker of duty finding him an inappropriate and unfit first officer.  LaForge and Data find that the Cardassian ship has some hull degradation which came from a nearby nebula. They piece together the information and determine that the Cardassians want to invade a nearby planet Minos Korva and are hiding in a nebula. All of the sudden they need to lay mines on the ships in the nebula and the only one who can do it is Riker. Jellico and Riker have a heated and honest discussion in which true feelings are shared but in the end Riker pilots the ship. Jellico has caught the Cardassians red handed and orders them to leave Federation space and to return Picard. Picard and Madred have a final confrontation in which Madred attempts to finally beat Picard down but he fails and is revealed to be a mentally broken man himself.

This is one of the finest episodes of the entire series and it really contains a lot of good action, wonderful acting, and powerful writing. The episode starts to set the Cardassians up to the characters they become in Deep Space Nine. It is interesting to me because the villains in Star Trek have always represented something else, the Klingons were meant to portray the Soviets, I think the Romulans were meant to be the Chinese and it is my belief that the Cardassians are meant to stand for the rise of Military dictatorships that seem to have sprung up in the early 90’s in South America, Africa, and the former Eastern Block. Madred makes clear reference to the Cardassians formerly being a peaceful people who were disjointed and then the military took over and they are now prospering but not in a totally peaceful society. The show also contains a few fun elements too. 1- Troi is back in a Starfleet uniform for the first time since the pilot episode. 2- Data is in a red command uniform for a while because he becomes the first officer when Riker is dismissed. 3- Ronny Cox as the asshole and insecure Captain Jellico, what a great performance and presence in the show. 4- Patrick Stewart proves that he was a bit of a fox in the early 90’s! He spends several scenes nearly naked or completely naked and he looks pretty damn good in nothing! 



Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Quality of Life


There is almost nothing in the world that is worse than bad service at a restaurant. I went to Buffalo Wild Wings with about 15 coworkers today for a fun lunch after a long morning of meetings. I will preface this by saying that the service at this particular BWW is not known to be great but today was particularly bad. As a group of 15 we were given only one waitress and she clearly was a few fries short of a happy meal. It took her about 15 minutes to get out our drinks and most of them were incorrect; thank god you can’t mess up water! The food was pretty good which is a nice surprise for BWW but the entire meal took almost an hour and half. I will say that I feel a little bad for this waitress because she was newer to the job and no one helped her out! There were several other employees around the restaurant simply talking so the poor girl clearly needed some help but no one gave it to her. A waiter is a job I would never want to have so I am so thankful that I’m not a waiter and have never worked in a restaurant!

Elliptical Machine- Calories: 624, Miles: 3.79

The Quality Of Life
The Enterprise is overseeing the final stages of particle drill that is set to revolutionize planetary mining operations in the quadrant. The drill has been plagued by slow progress and frequent disruptions in the workings of the drill but the lead scientist, Dr. Farallon, is convinced it will be a success. While LaForge is overseeing the operations there is an malfunction on the statement and things look really bad until Farallon uses one of her Exocomps to go into the core and repair the damage. The Exocomps are small robots that are used to repair systems on the drill and are equipped to learn and grow as they make more and more repairs. While back on the drill after the repairs are made another problem occurs but this time the Exocomp refuses to go into the dangerous area. It apparently has had a malfunction and died.  Data and LaForge bring an Exocomp on board the Enterprise so that they can take a look at its inner workings some more. Dr. Farallon explains the Exocomp technology further and reveals that once they have made too many connections they simply die and need to be reformatted. Data is intrigued by the actions of the Exocomp and does further research and he gets some advice from Crusher on the definition of Life. He informs Picard that he believes the Exocomps to be living beings as they have learned and acted to preserve their own lives. Dr. Farallon refuses to believe these claims and is quite rude to everyone because of Data’s claim. They test this hypothesis and initially it looks like Data was wrong until later Data finds that they Exocomp really does show some signs of life. Meanwhile on the drill there is another major accident which leaves Picard and LaForge trapped on board. It is decided to send the exocomps into the drill to destroy the particle beam but Data does not allow this to happen. To prevent this action he deactivates the transporter. He proposes that they give the Exocomps the choice to help, they of course do help out and they save the lives of Picard and LaForge. 


Monday, August 27, 2012

A Fistful Of Datas


The first day of workshop has come and gone and it was such a long day. I am so not used to working 8 hours in a row but I will get used to it sooner or later. The other major highlight today was getting to present to the local school board about space camp. I was extremely nervous going into the whole thing but after the presentation started It went so very well! The adults who spoke did a great job but the real pleasure was in getting to listen to the students present about their trip to space camp and how it impacted their lives and plans for the future. It is so heartwarming to hear children talk about enjoying the learning process and making plans for their lives and saying the ever illusive “THANK YOU TEACHERS!” What an amazing day.

Elliptical Machine- Calories:627, Miles: 3.76

A Fistful Of Datas
The Enterprise is once again taking a short break between missions and Picard knows exactly what he wants to do to relax, play his flute! The only problem is that he is continually interrupted by the crew. First Crusher wants him to be in one of her plays and promises it to be only a very small part. Then Data and LaForge want to explain an experiment where they hook him up to the computer to see if he can run the ship. Finally, Worf comes into ask about doing a few security procedures but Picard tells him simply to relax so Worf goes back to his quarters. In his quarters Alexander is waiting for him with a cowboy hat as the two of them are now going off to the holodeck. Worf and Alexander are going to reinact a story from the “Ancient West” (I guess it finally got old enough to be called ancient in the 24th century). Worf and Alexander are the sheriff and deputy of Deadwood and their job is to arrest a criminal and save the town. At the same time LaForge and Data are conducting their experiment and something appears to go askew with Data and computer glitches start happening all over the ship but none of them seem to be too terribly bad. With the exception of the Holodeck where Worf, Alexander and Troi are now stuck with the safety protocols off. Troi shows up in the holodeck because she is a huge fan of the “Ancient West”. Soon Alexander is kidnapped by a holodeck character who looks like Data, and the prisoner in the jail cell now looks like Data, and the rest of the posse after Worf looks like Data. Troi and Worf decide to play along with the program and proceed with a prisoner change that will of course become a shoot out. With a little ingenuity Worf and Troi outsmart the holodeck Datas but the program does not end yet. We then see the local bar maid rush down the stairs to give Worf a big ole kiss and low and behold she is Data in a dress. The Enterprise crew also figures out how to straighten out the ships computer and gets Data back in order after he has turned into a real life embodiment of one of the holodeck characters. The show ends with the Enterprise heading off into the sunset, just like in the old westerns.

This episode is once again pure fun! It is a total joy to see Brent Spiner inhabit the character of Data but as so many different old west archetypes. It is also fun to see Marina Sirtis play the old west bad ass chick who slings a shotgun and wears leather pants, she even dons a southern accent for this episode! The show also features nods to a lot of old western movies, especially the uber cheesy Italian made ones and the musical cues pay homage to the music in those films.  


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Rascals


The summer has officially come to an end! I have to go to work tomorrow morning bright and early at 7:00am and stay there for a whole 8 hours. I have enjoyed my summer immensely and this last weekend has been a really great way to end the summer. I did the state fair, some clothes shopping, a round of golf and some grocery shopping, all in all a great weekend. I love working in education for several reasons and June, July and August are three of them though they are not the top reasons I must say. I am actually very excited to get back to work so don’t feel too much pity for me on this my last day of the summer.

Elliptical Machine- Calories: 671, Miles: 4.01

Rascals
Picard, Ro, Guinan and Keiko O’Brien are heading back to the Enterprise in a shuttlecraft when they get an emergency call summoning them back to the Enterprise immediately. While on the way back the shuttlecraft goes through an odd energy distortion and while transporting back to the ship a freak accident happens. When the four rematerialize on the transporter pad they have been reduced to children. Crusher exams the four and determines that they are roughly 12 years of age physically but that their mental facilities are still in order. Picard orders everyone to stay in sickbay and he goes to the bridge to resume command. The crew reacts strangely to Picard’s new appearance and Crusher recommends that he relieve his command at this time. Meanwhile, Ro and Guinan are buddying up and walking around the ship. Ro is in a very gloomy mood and decides to sit in her quarters while Guinan is trying her hardest to cheer up her friend. The two find some enjoyment in jumping on the bed but Ro is still very disturbed by what has happened. Keiko is also having difficulty at home with Chief O’Brien who is having a hard time adjusting and figuring out what will happen to their marriage if they can’t find a cure for the aging condition. To add insult to injury, Molly, the O’Brien’s daughter refuses to spend time with Keiko and insists she wants her mommy. At this time the Enterprise enters a system to respond to the emergency when two Klingon ships decloak and attack the Enterprise. The ship is boarded but it is Picard who discovers that the intruders are actually Ferengi. The Ferengi believe him to be a child so they place him in the school with the other kids and Ro, Guinan and Keiko. The Ferengi proceed to take over the ship but Riker has blocked them from gaining computer access. Almost all of the Enterprise crew is beamed to the surface of the planet to be slave labor for the Ferengi, who are mining for some mineral. Picard and the rest of the kids mount a plan to retake the ship but it is made clear that they must do so by acting like kids. They start annoying the Ferengi and gaining access to phasers, hyposprays, and other pieces of equipment. In a stroke of genius Picard pretends to be Riker’s son and he asks Riker to release computer control but in secret code. The kids set their plan into motion and use the transporter to beam all of the Ferengi into an enclosed area and they retake the bridge. They now put into plan Crusher’s plan to use the transporter to regenerate the four affected crew members. This plan works perfectly. The show closes with an adult Guinan going to visit Ensign Ro who has not gone through the procedure yet because she is cherishing a few more moments as a child coloring pictures.

This was always one of my favorite episodes as a kid, maybe because I was about ten when it first aired on tv. Regardless of my age I still really enjoy this episode a ton! The child actors for each character were cast so perfectly and they really take on the adult cast member’s persona and mannerisms well. This episode is just pure fun!


Saturday, August 25, 2012

A Letter To The Vote Yes People


Dear Person Wearing A Vote Yes T-Shirt At The Minnesota State Fair,
First of all I would like to congratulate you for wearing a shirt that expresses your feelings and opinions on a subject that has a good deal of controversy, this takes a lot of guts! I understand this action completely because  I too wore a politically motivated shirt, the only difference is that my shirt said “Vote No: Don’t Limit The Freedom To Marry”. As you can see we are on the complete opposite ends of this issue, but this doesn’t mean I am going to come at you with disrespect, hatred and contempt. If I may I’d like to point out a few thoughts to you and even pose a question for you to ponder in your spare time.

First, the United States of America is a country founded on the principle of the separation of church and state. As most people in support of this constitutional amendment have a strong faith base for their stance on the issue I would like to point this out. My challenge to you is to attempt to separate your religious beliefs and the true question of this argument that being the following: Is it acceptable for a government to deny equal rights to a group of American citizens? I am very aware that many people get married in churches and that religion has a lot to do with marriage ceremonies for many people. But to you I would like to point out that to get married in this country you need to get a license through the state and not through the church.
Second, are you aware that within the bible there are a lot of rules that dictate how you should live your life? One of these rules of course is to Love They Neighbor which means that you need to love everyone and treat everyone the same. Another set of rules in the Bible provide restrictions for the eating of shellfish, the beating of women, the beating of children who disobey and even a few rules about being dead. Yes in this section of the Bible it also says that when two men lay together it is an abomination. My point here is this plain and simple, you may hate me for being a gay man but I had better not catch you eating shrimp and if your little brat talks back to you I want to be there when you kill the little kid!

Third, how does the marriage between two men or two women threaten the significance of your marriage to your spouse? I have heard several talks about the sanctity of marriage and how sacred the bond between a man and a woman is. Why then is the divorce rate sky high? Why then are Hollywood celebrities allowed to marry for a ratings stunt and get divorced months or even days later? These two stances don’t seem to jive with each other. Another question that I have for you is this, how would you feel if the issue wasn’t gay marriage but the issue of bi-racial marriage? This is of course as you know is an issue that was a major deal nearly fifty years ago.

Now finally I have a few questions to pose to you. Have you ever thought that you may be on the wrong side of history? Not so long ago there was a very loud group of people who were outraged when a black woman sat on the front of a bus and demanded that segregation continue in this country. How is the issue of equal rights for blacks different from the demand for equal treatment of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people? Also if you are opposed to so called gay lifestyle why do you continue to benefit from the work of many talented gay and lesbian people? You cannot be disgusted by my lifestyle but laugh your butt off at Will & Grace or Ellen DeGeneres this simply doesn’t work.

These are simply my thoughts as a gay man who simply feels that this issue is one of basic human dignity and respect. We need to all have respect for each other and truly there are bigger issues in this world to confront that two men expressing their love for one another and declaring that in marriage to the world. Gay and Lesbian women are not ill, perverted or mentally disturbed and no we have not simply met the right guy/gal yet. We are simply people who want to be equal members in American society and want the promises of the constitution upheld most importantly the following phrase: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

I hope that you have read this and truly considered the information it contains. I realize too that you may read this and regard it as garbage and dismiss it immediately. In closing I would like to pose one last challenge; get to know a gay man or woman and I mean really know that person, learn about them and see if your opinion of us changes.

With Respect and Hope,
A Gay Man Wearing a VOTE NO T-Shirt At The Minnesota State Fair


True Q


Today I was at the Minnesota State Fair and I was so pleased to see a large number of people wearing VOTE NO gear including T-Shirts, buttons and carrying fan boards. It is wonderful to see that so many people support not just gay marriage but the true issue at hand which is human equality and equal rights. I am also always in some way disgusted with the term “gay marriage” because it should simply be called marriage! The only distinction between any two marriages is the people involved and some marriages happen to be a man and a woman, some are two women and then some are two men. Each marriage between two people faces interesting challenges and a unique set of circumstances to deal with but they all have a common factor, two people who are in love and face those challenges together! I would like to take this opportunity to share a few thoughts with the few folks I saw today wearing “VOTE YES to protect marriage” shirts.

Dear Person Wearing A Vote Yes T-Shirt At The Minnesota State Fair,

First of all I would like to congratulate you for wearing a shirt that expresses your feelings and opinions on a subject that has a good deal of controversy, this takes a lot of guts! I understand this action completely because  I too wore a politically motivated shirt, the only difference is that my shirt said “Vote No: Don’t Limit The Freedom To Marry”. As you can see we are on the complete opposite ends of this issue, but this doesn’t mean I am going to come at you with disrespect, hatred and contempt. If I may I’d like to point out a few thoughts to you and even pose a question for you to ponder in your spare time.

First, the United States of America is a country founded on the principle of the separation of church and state. As most people in support of this constitutional amendment have a strong faith base for their stance on the issue I would like to point this out. My challenge to you is to attempt to separate your religious beliefs and the true question of this argument that being the following: Is it acceptable for a government to deny equal rights to a group of American citizens? I am very aware that many people get married in churches and that religion has a lot to do with marriage ceremonies for many people. But to you I would like to point out that to get married in this country you need to get a license through the state and not through the church.
Second, are you aware that within the bible there are a lot of rules that dictate how you should live your life? One of these rules of course is to Love They Neighbor which means that you need to love everyone and treat everyone the same. Another set of rules in the Bible provide restrictions for the eating of shellfish, the beating of women, the beating of children who disobey and even a few rules about being dead. Yes in this section of the Bible it also says that when two men lay together it is an abomination. My point here is this plain and simple, you may hate me for being a gay man but I had better not catch you eating shrimp and if your little brat talks back to you I want to be there when you kill the little kid!

Third, how does the marriage between two men or two women threaten the significance of your marriage to your spouse? I have heard several talks about the sanctity of marriage and how sacred the bond between a man and a woman is. Why then is the divorce rate sky high? Why then are Hollywood celebrities allowed to marry for a ratings stunt and get divorced months or even days later? These two stances don’t seem to jive with each other. Another question that I have for you is this, how would you feel if the issue wasn’t gay marriage but the issue of bi-racial marriage? This is of course as you know is an issue that was a major deal nearly fifty years ago.

Now finally I have a few questions to pose to you. Have you ever thought that you may be on the wrong side of history? Not so long ago there was a very loud group of people who were outraged when a black woman sat on the front of a bus and demanded that segregation continue in this country. How is the issue of equal rights for blacks different from the demand for equal treatment of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people? Also if you are opposed to so called gay lifestyle why do you continue to benefit from the work of many talented gay and lesbian people? You cannot be disgusted by my lifestyle but laugh your butt off at Will & Grace or Ellen DeGeneres this simply doesn’t work.

These are simply my thoughts as a gay man who simply feels that this issue is one of basic human dignity and respect. We need to all have respect for each other and truly there are bigger issues in this world to confront that two men expressing their love for one another and declaring that in marriage to the world. Gay and Lesbian women are not ill, perverted or mentally disturbed and no we have not simply met the right guy/gal yet. We are simply people who want to be equal members in American society and want the promises of the constitution upheld most importantly the following phrase: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

I hope that you have read this and truly considered the information it contains. I realize too that you may read this and regard it as garbage and dismiss it immediately. In closing I would like to pose one last challenge; get to know a gay man or woman and I mean really know that person, learn about them and see if your opinion of us changes.
With Respect and Hope,
A Gay Man Wearing a VOTE NO T-Shirt At The Minnesota State Fair

Elliptical Machine- Calories:410, Miles: 2.55

True Q
The Enterprise has taken aboard a young woman named Amanda who has won a scholarship to do a job shadow on the ship. Young Amanda takes to her duties quickly but seems to have some strange abilities like accidentally making some puppies appear and then disappear. She then stops a warp core breach from happening on the ship. It is at this time that Q appears and informs everyone that his girl is the daughter of two former Q’s who decided to live as humans but they of course died when she was very young. Q and Picard tell Amanda what she really is and immediately Q tries to kidnap the girl but she refuses to go with him. Q agrees to work with the girl and allow her to make a choice. Amanda continues to work with Dr. Crusher but Q interferes with the lessons on a regular basis. Amanda struggles to make a choice between begin human and being a Q. Through a series of situations she is challenged but her choice becomes clear when it is revealed that the Q continuum killed her parents and intends to kill her upon her reentry into the continuum. She is then given the choice to either go the continuum unharmed or stay and be unable to use her powers. She decides to stay and not use her powers. At this moment a situation arises where Riker, LaForge and the inhabitants of a planet are about to be destroyed by a massive meltdown. Amanda cannot help herself and corrects the situation and then vanishes with Q. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Schisms


This is my second workout for the day!

Elliptical Machine- Calories: 560, Miles- 3.66

Schisms
The Enterprise is charting a gaseous nebula that is estimated to take several weeks to fully map and explore. Upon entering the nebula it is determined that they need to use a different form of sensor scans so LaForge modifies the sensors to meet the needs of the crew. Riker at the same time has been having difficulty sleeping and waking up and is very easily frustrated by the slightest thing. He continues to be more agitated and it is shown through other instances that several more crew members are also affected. These crew members include Riker, Worf, LaForge, and one other female civilian on board. Soon it is revealed that crew members have been disappearing and reappearing while they are asleep and coming back. This is an explanation for the sleeplessness and agitated states of the crew. The group gets together and tries to determine what is going on and where they have been by piecing the facts together with Troi on the holodeck. The come up with a very shocking looking table and examination room. Meanwhile there is a subspace porthole opening on board that is threatening to destroy the ship. It is decided to send Riker back but this time to track him with a chip so they can stop whatever is happening. Riker wakes up in an alien examination room and gets himself and the other Enterprise crew member out just in time.

The show is a bit lame but a descent take on the “Alien Abduction” story line from present day news and daily life. Again it is not a great episode but it is not a bad episode either. 


Relics


Today I got to enjoy a few of my favorite things! Shopping with my dear friend Andrea, the ever elusive “back to school special” that is too good to pass up and frozen yogurt! We went to the outlet mall at Albertville and I bought a few really good items. I got a pair of dress pants and a funky track jacket at Calvin Klein for 70% off! I then got a couple pair of my favorite fit jeans at the GAP for 50% off! I love a good deal I must say. I am getting very close to being good for the year for clothes! The only things I’m needing still are a few good sweaters, a new pair of brown shoes a couple of ties and a bow tie. I will put these purchases off for a little while so that I can save my pennies! I was hanging around this afternoon and decided that I was bored so I worked out a second time today. For a total I burnt a total of 1,160 calories! I am still amazed that these days when I’m bored I workout, it used to be that when I was bored I ate and watched TV. What a difference a year makes!

Elliptical Machine- Calories 600, Miles-3.61

Relics
The Enterprise is tracking a mysterious reading in an uncharted sector of space. They intercept a gigantic sphere in space that is apparently man made and around a star. Picard and Data immediately identify it as a Dyson Sphere, an idea that was only thought to be a theory until this very moment. A Dyson sphere is a large structure built around a sun and the internal surface of the sphere is class M and supposedly can support life. While scanning the surface they locate a crashed Starfleet ship, the Jenolen. When Riker, LaForge and Worf beam over they discover that the transporter has been left on and there is a pattern in the buffer. LaForge rematerializes the pattern and it is Captain Montgomery Scott of the original Enterprise. Scotty has been in the transporter for some 75 years but the only surviving crew member did not make it in the transporter. Scotty is checked out and is fine so he wants to help in engineering any way he can, but because of his lack of knowledge in new technology and “old school ways of thinking” he becomes more of nuisance to the staff. LaForge tries to be polite and kind but eventually he lays into Scotty and he storms out. Scotty finds his way to Ten-Forward where he talks to Data and gets a drink. Based on an apparent recommendation Scotty makes his way to the Holodeck in a drunken state to spend a few moments on the bridge of the original Enterprise. He and Picard have a very heartfelt conversation about their first ships and the importance of being useful. Picard asks LaForge to take Scotty with him to the Jenolen to retrieve science records of the Dyson Sphere and he reluctantly complies. While on the Jenolen the Enterprise discovers a door way and get inadvertently dragged into the sphere and are on a one way collision course to the star inside. While on the Jenolen LaForge and Scotty put together the few pieces of the puzzle and determine that they must get the ship launched and find the Enterprise.  The two work together and accomplish their goal to rescue the Enterprise. After this shared experience the two have developed a tight bond and appreciation for one another. In the end the senior staff meets Scotty in the shuttle bay and sends him on his way in a shuttlecraft they are giving him to go where he desires.

The show is a very fun tribute to the original series and to the Scotty character! It is fun to see him play the fish out of water but still prove his usefulness to the crew in this modern era of space travel. I especially love the references to specific original series episode elements and his way of sharing those stories in a fun and realistic way. LOVE THIS EPISODE!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Man of the People


A clean house is a wonderful joyful thing to behold! I spent a good five hours today cleaning the house and I must say that it really is looking great. It makes me want to host a party or have company over to my house for a fun evening of drinks and socializing! I do love to entertain and I’m not sure why I don’t do it more often, maybe I will need to make that a resolution for the rest of the year and next year. I’ve always thought of hosting a fun theme party so maybe that is the best way to start? I feel an 80’s party, a movie musical party, a Halloween party, or maybe something really pretentious, like a tea party. Maybe though the best thing to do is just have one person over for a nice dinner and a movie… sounds perfect!

Elliptical Machine- Calories: 530, Miles: 3.4

Man Of The People
The Enterprise has been asked to rescue a negotiator from a ship under attack. The negotiator Alkar is on a mission to negotiate a peace treaty between two warring factions on a planet. If the fighting gets any worse it will disrupt a Federation trade route, so the mission is of high importance. Once Alkar is safely on board the ship he is accompanied by his mother, a really salty nasty old bitch who immediately puts the evil eyes on Troi. Troi and Alkar develop a friendship of sorts though the mother continues to be a huge bitch to her. Soon after the mother is found dead in her quarters and Alkar doesn’t seem to care too much. He immediately asks Troi to do a special ceremony with him to commemorate her death but while doing the ceremony something happens and transfers between the magic stones. Soon after Troi starts acting very strangely, she is making advances at the male members of the crew and dressing very suggestively and then she even attacks Alkar’s newly arrived delegates. While Alkar is beaming down to the surface of the planet Troi goes completely ballistic but is intercepted by Crusher, Worf and Picard who bring her to the sickbay. Also of note is that by this time Troi has aged nearly 60 years and looks pretty terrible. Crusher completes an autopsy against Alkar’s wishes and without his knowledge, and finds that the woman who died was only about 30 years old and that the same thing happening to Troi happened to her. Picard demands that Alkar explain the situation and he does. Alkar states that he transfers his negative emotions to a “receptacle” so that he can be a non-emotional and nonjudgmental negotiator. Picard is disgusted but Alkar refuses to sever his connection to Troi and he finishes the negotiations. To save Troi, Crusher induces death so that they can catch Alkar trying to link to someone else. They catch him and Troi is brought back to life just in the nick of time. In the end all works out just fine and the Enterprise moves on to the next adventure. 



Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Realm Of Fear


My legs are still in pain from yesterday’s run around the block and elliptical workout. I still managed to get on the elliptical today for a while so that is a victory in my book! Today I made an interesting observation while at work with my coworkers. I am not often embarrassed or shy to do something goofy, talk to  people, sing, dance and whatever else may happen. I work with a few people who are extremely shy and embarrassed about doing anything a little out of the norm. Why do we get embarrassed? Where does this come from and why are some people more prone to it than other folks?

Realm of Fear
The Enterprise is investigating the lack of communication from a Federation science vessel the Yosemite. The Yosemite was investigating a plasma phenomenon occurring between two stars. The Yosemite is stuck in the plasma stream which makes it more difficult to transport over to investigate. Lt. Barclay suggests they tether the two transporters together and he is asked to join the away team. It turns out the Barclay among being afraid of everything else is deathly afraid of the transporter. He freaks out and doesn’t initially go over to the Yosemite, but after Troi talks him down he goes over to the ship to help out. While on the ship a crewmember is found dead but still on the ship and he is transported back for autopsy. While transporting back Barclay sees something in the transporter beam but doesn’t say anything because he doesn’t want to seem like a paranoid freak. He then finds that his left arm is glowing when he gets back. Barclay then does what any good paranoid freak does and self diagnoses himself with Transporter Psychosis, despite the fact that there hasn’t been a case of this disorder in 50 years. The symptoms get worse so he notifies the whole staff of what is happening. The crew decides to attempt to screen out the organisms they have found in the transporter beam. While in the beam Barclay grabs hold of one of the organisms he sees. When he reappears he has a Yosemite crew member in his arms. The rest of the crew is rescued from the beam and Barclay is shown to be a bit of hero. 


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Time's Arrow, Part 2


Today was highlighted by a run outside for three miles today with my friend Laura after putting in a few hours of work at school. I was dead tired and got home and I’m not sure why but I got on the elliptical when I got home. I think the main thing is that I wanted to get a start on the 6th season of Star Trek The Next Generation. Today I also got something really cool in the mail today, my VOTE NO bumper sticker today! The struggle for marriage equality in Minnesota is really starting to heat up and it is essential that we defeat this ballot item. The thought of discrimination being written back into the constitution of this state makes me sick! There has been a quote going around the internet that I have really started to like and it is:

“I HATE THE WORD HOMOPHOBIA. IT IS NOT A PHOBIA. YOU ARE NOT SCARED. YOU ARE AN ASSHOLE.”

Elliptical Machine, 3.5 Mile Run, and 100 Crunches

Time’s Arrow, Part 2
The show picks up right where the fifth season cliffhanger left off. We find Picard and crew in San Francisco searching for both Data and the two aliens who are stealing the life force of the nearly deceased. They are held up in a hotel room trying to plan and they have managed to find period era clothing but apparently not the time to find money as their land lady is harassing them for rent. Meanwhile Data and Guinan continue to look for a way to find the aliens, get Data back and find that cave where his head ends up. While deep in a conversation Samuel Clemens is snooping around Data’s room and is of course caught by the pair but puts himself square in the thick of things for the rest of the show. Picard and crew manage to run into the aliens in a hospital but they can’t capture them at the time though they do capture the mysterious snake/cane item. They narrowly escape when Data finds them and gets them out of the streets. The group including Guinan head to the cave under the city to confront the aliens and get to the bottom of things and of course the pest Samuel Clemens tags along to interfere. Clemens apparently believes he is doing the right thing by trying to save his planet from the future alien beings, AKA the Enterprise crew. The Aliens mess something up and everyone but Picard gets through the porthole back to the 24th century. It is when back on the Enterprise the crew tries to find a way to get Picard back but it is decided to simply blow up the portal area. Meanwhile Troi is tasked with watching Samuel Clemens and LaForge is trying to repair Data. He struggles to fix data and finds a message telling Riker to not blow up the portal. Riker goes back in time and saves Picard and all is set back to normal.  


Monday, August 20, 2012

Time's Arrow, Part 1


A good first date is a better high than nearly anything I can think of! It is pretty much as good as the reception from a great audience while putting on a show! I went out last night and had a really great time with a gentleman; the night was full of conversation and laughter! It was so much fun and I’m hopeful there will be a second date in my near future. In other really great news today for the first time I stepped on the scale and it was less than 200 pounds for the first time that I can remember in my adult life! As of today I weigh 199 pounds! I couldn’t be more pleased at the moment and it really has been the result of hard work, life style changes and Star Trek! This post also marks the end of the 5th season of Star Trek The Next Generation so that means only two more seasons of this show. I am amazed at how fast this is going, before I know it I will be watching Deep Space Nine!

Elliptical Machine- Calories: 605, Miles: 3.45

Time’s Arrow, Part 1
The Enterprise has been called back to Earth because of a strange discovery underneath the grounds of Starfleet Academy in San Francisco. In a cave Starfleet engineers discovered a bunch of 500 year old artifacts and one strange item of note, Data’s head. This means that eventually Data will be going back in time and he will “die” in a cave in San Francisco in the late 1800’s. Picard and crew track some of the remnant particles to a planet some hundreds of light years away, the residents of whom are very different to us. In order to save Data, he is denied entrance on an away team much to his dismay. When it is discovered that they need to shift the time phase by .04 seconds they need to use Data’s transmitter and he is beamed down on the planet. He successfully completes the task and sees some bizarre creatures but then is transported back into 1800’s San Francisco. The Enterprise crew immediately tries to find a way to get to Data. At this time Guinan meets with Picard and tells him that he must go on this away mission but she is not specific on the details. We get the impression that Guinan knows something is happening here, especially when she makes the comment earlier “it all comes full circle” or something to that effect. Meanwhile in San Francisco, Data works to find money to meet his needs, which he does by demolishing a few guys in a poker game. Data begins working on a primitive phase shifter to help him get back and he starts to make progress when he sees the picture of a woman in the newspaper. The woman in the picture is Guinan, and Data immediately makes his way to find this woman. Data believes that Guinan from the future has made her way back to help but he finds that this is Guinan in the present time. She has apparently come to Earth to listen to the people, this gives a clue that Guinan is well over 500 years old WOW! Guinan is filled in on the story from data but Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain, over hears the story and is now in on the ruse. At this very time the entire Enterprise bridge crew, except Worf, tries to make a connection with the other phase. It is revealed that these aliens are bringing dead spirits or energy back to feed their people. The crew goes through a portal and as we can assume will take them back in time to San Francisco.

This is possibly the weakest of the TNG cliffhangers between seasons; it would have been more effective to have it end with the Enterprise crew appearing on the streets of San Francisco.  Tomorrow though starts season 6 and I am really excited to see how they wrap this show up. We are getting to a point where I have seen fewer and fewer of the episodes in this series and I’m really enjoying it a lot!


Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Inner Light


What a beautiful day outside and I spent quite a bit of the morning on a tractor spewing poo at my parent’s house. The rest I guess has just been uneventful which is ok for me!

Elliptical Machine- Calories: 907, Miles: 5.14

The Inner Light
The Enterprise encounters a mysterious space object that appears to just be floating, that is until it probes the ship and zaps Picard. The rest of the show operates in a series of vignettes, so I will describe them as such.

Scene 1-
Picard wakes up in a strange house in unfamiliar clothes and with a woman attending to him. He is told that he has been sick for several days and has just woken up from a deep sleep. His name is Kamin and the woman says she is his wife, Eline. Picard does not believe her and leaves the house in order to find the Enterprise or at least the truth in the situation. He comes to the city center where his friend Batai is glad to see that he has recovered. Picard returns to his home later that evening and finds that he is apparently stuck where he is for the time being. This vignette ends with Picard unconscious on the bridge with Crusher trying to find out what the problem is and the rest of the crew examining the probe.

Scene 2-
Kamin is working on his telescope when Batai comes by to collect him to talk to the minister of the planet. Kamin attempts to persuade the minister to create atmosphere condensers to help solve the draught problem. Kamin returns home to his wife Eline and apologizes for being so distant the last few years as he was occupied with his past life on “that ship”. To apologize he asks her if he may buy a nursery so they can start their lives with a family. This vignette ends with Data attempting to sever the probe’s connection on Picard but this ends in near disaster as it almost kills the captain.

Scene 3-
Kamin now an aging man with two children and one that they are just naming as this vignette opens. They name their son after Batai, who died one year ago. Kamin and his daughter later on at a more advancing age, are doing research on the water problem. They discover that the planet is dying and that there is only a limited amount of time available on before the planet’s whole population will die. This vignette ends as Kamin’s wife dies.

Scene 4-
Picard is still unconscious and on the bridge the probe sent out by Riker finds that the object was sent by a planet that has apparently died over 1000 years earlier. Kamin is playing with his grandchild when his daughter, son and grandson come to get him. They are going to watch the launching a probe. Suddenly everyone that Kamin has ever known surrounds him and they are asking him to share the memory of their dead planet.

Scene 5-
Picard comes to after the probe shuts down automatically. Crusher explains that he has been out for 25 minutes when Picard feels he has been out for nearly 45 years. He is unsure how to deal with this change and while reflecting in his quarters Riker delivers a box that was found in the probe. The box contains the flute from his life on the planet, the show ends with Picard playing the familiar melody on the flute.

What a touching episode this is and is rightly on several top ten lists for the series. Patrick Steward delivers an incredibly moving performance as a man moving through his life span. I cannot understand how this performance was not nominated for an Emmy and how this show didn’t garner any writing or drama nominations from the Emmy’s and the Globes. It is a shame the science fiction is never fully recognized for its dramatic credits. Another fun fact to the show is that Kamin’s son Batai is played by Patrick Stewart’s real life son. 


Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Next Phase


The motivation to get stuff done other than my daily workouts has been zapped and I’m not sure where it has gone! Today I went to my parent’s house though and had to feed the critters as the parents were away for the day. I do enjoy feeding and spending time with the animals but it does always remind me why I enjoy the life of a townhome owner! The freedom that not having yard work or animals to attend to really gives me more time to do other things. I do have a cat I know but she is so easy to care for and doesn’t even seem to want my attention half of the time. Cats are such strange animals It makes me wonder how they evolved and became the prissy little things that they are today.

Elliptical Machine- Calories: 624, Miles: 3.77

The Next Phase
The Enterprise responds to a distress signal from a Romulan scout ship and a few crew members are sent over to help with repairs including: Ro, LaForge, Worf and Riker. While beaming back to the ship Ro and LaForge are apparently lost in a transporter accident. The crew copes with the loss but continues with assisting the Romulan ship. We learn that Ro and LaForge are still around but no one seems to see or hear them. The two find each other and Ro is trying to cope with her apparent death while LaForge is convinced that he is still alive and tries to solve the mystery of the situation. Meanwhile repairs are going smoothly on the Romulan ship though the whole crew seems down trodden. LaForge and Ro finally agree to work together to see if they may actually still be alive so they go to the Romulan ship to see what happened. While there they learn that the Romulans were using a new device to help them cloak and phase shift through solid materials. They also learn that the Romulans are growing concerned that the Federation will find out so they bombard the Enterprise with a chemical that will cause the warp engines to blow up once they hit warp speed. The two head back to attempt to figure out how to communicate with the crew but what they don’t know is that Romulan officer in the same situation has come back to the ship. Data begins to pick up traces of particles throughout the ship and wants to clean them up before the Enterprise moves on. We learn that the particles are the remnants of the LaForge, Ro and the Romulan running around and so therefore they do it even more. The Romulan is disposed of by kicking him through a wall and into space. Then Ro and LaForge figure out that if the Enterprise uses the clean up procedure at a high enough frequency it will rephrase them. Ro and LaForge crash their own wake and start blowing things up, eventually Data catches on and the two are rephrased. Everything returns to normal on board the Enterprise. 


Friday, August 17, 2012

I, Borg


I went golfing with a few friends from work today and It was really enjoyable. I think that is because we were all at the same skill level and good friends. My game today was pretty good because these days I think a good game is when I get at least a few good hits in and the balls go in the right direction most of the time. Other than a game of golf I am watching the final EON productions Bond film, Quantum of Solace. I don’t think I have watched this film since maybe 2009, and that is because I remember it being such a huge let down after Casino Royale. The film suffers from poor writing, bad music, weak characters, and a director who was better suited to filming intimate dramas as opposed to epic actions sequences. This film reminds me to keep my hopes low for the next bond film but at the same time makes me hopeful because it is being directed by Sam Mendes. Tomorrow I’m watching the 1967 comedy Casino Royale and the 1983 remake Never Say Never Again.

Elliptical Machine- Calories: 644, Miles: 3.91

I, Borg
The Enterprise picks up a mysterious symbol from a moon in the system they are surveying. Upon beam down Worf, Riker and Crusher discover a crashed Borg scout ship and four of the five drones dead. Crusher discovers one living drone though it is badly damaged. Crusher insists that she can heal the drone but needs to bring it up to the ship. Everyone is very unsure of this decision but Picard allows her to bring it up to the ship. Once on board the drone is revitalized and held in a holding cell where Crusher and LaForge work to habilitate the drone so that it can be returned. Picard decides that the drone will be sent back to the collective with a “virus” that will hopefully destroy the collective in a matter of months. While they work with the drone who reveals his designation as Third of Five, Crusher and LaForge become somewhat attached to the Borg drone. The drone begins to change because it is no longer connected to the rest of the hive. Guinan confronts Picard because she thinks this is a horrible idea to have a Borg on board and many of the crew members share her feelings. During a chat with LaForge and Crusher, Third of Five names himself Hugh. The virus is ready and now LaForge, Crusher and Guinan have all tried to impress upon Picard that this is a bad move to return this drone who is now somewhat a singular being. Picard initially refuses to meet with the Borg but eventually does in his ready room. When Hugh sees Picard he identifies him as Locutus of Borg. Picard goes along with this roleplay and is very aggressive towards Hugh, that is until he uses the pronoun “I” to refer to himself as a singular being. In the end it is decided not to use the program because it would make the humans just as bad as the Borg. Hugh decides he must return to the planet to be rescued by the Borg ship that is on its way. In the end, while being “rescued” though Hugh gives a knowing glance to LaForge who has accompanied him to the surface.

The show’s main theme is wartime ethics and the use of civilians to meet the goals of the military powers. It is also a powerful statement on how our perceptions of an entire group of people can change the minute we really take the time to get to know just one individual. 


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Imaginary Friend


I am really finding these last ten pounds to be a nuisance to get rid of and I am finding myself starting to get frustrated. I am also wondering if this is just what my body says is my ideal low weight? I don’t really know. I would like to get down to 190-195 but I am finding it very hard to get below a consistent 202 these days. I guess it is time to really change things up in the workout department. Oh well, other than that thought nothing really is too new at this moment.

Elliptical Machine- Calories: 450, Miles: 2.54, and I did 100 crunches as well

Imaginary Friend
The Enterprise is exploring and charting an unexplored nebula cloud. Meanwhile Counselor Troi is helping out a new Enterprise crew member with his daughter Clara. Ensign Sutter is concerned about his daughter because she has an imaginary friend and is not making friends with the other children on board. Ensign Sutter and Clara have moved around a lot and Counselor Troi explains that this is nothing unusual for children in her situation. While exploring the nebula a mysterious life form sneaks on and finds young Clara and this life form then becomes the living image of Clara’s invisible friend Isabella. Isabella wants to see the ship and Clara takes her around but Isabella keeps herself invisible for the time being. The two find themselves stopped at every point because Kids are not allowed in certain parts of the ships. Isabella becomes very mad because she is being stopped. At the same time the Ensign Sutter and Troi become more concerned and tell Clara that she can’t see Isabella any longer. Isabella becomes very angry and attacks Troi and she even tells Clara that she can die when the others come. Picard and company confront Isabella who is revealed to be a member of group of intelligent beings who live in the cloud. She has been investigating the Enterprise’s power sources and their customs. Picard corrects her wrong assumptions about the cruel nature of adults and their rules. Isabella understands and then she vanishes. The Enterprise leaves the nebula and all is well in the world again. 


The Perfect Mate


The hunt for a new desk or secretary or armoire continues and I may just be getting closer than ever before. I have a couple of appointments to go and look at items from craigslist this week but that brings up a whole bucket of concerns. I need to enlist a friend so that I have a companion with me so I don’t get killed by the craigslist seller! I know it is not funny but it is a genuine concern I have now that there have been a couple of these killings. What the fuck is the world coming to honestly? Is there no trust or goodness or kindness out there in the world anymore? I mean can’t a guy even sell or buy on craigslist without fear of being killed, I mean all I want is a computer desk for a cheap price! The James Bond marathon continues today with The World is Not Enough and Die Another Day. When I first saw TWINE I hated it thinking it was missing something and that it wasn’t a very good bond movie, subsequent viewings have changed my mind on that film and I actually really like it now, despite Denise Richards as a nuclear physicist. Die Another Day is a film that I have pretty much hated since I first saw it in theaters back in 2002 and my opinion has not changed since then at all! I think the problem with Die Another Day is that they spent so much time thinking of ways to reference the past 19 films that they didn’t really focus on the storyline enough. It ranks in my bottom three for the series along with The Man With The Golden Gun and A View To A Kill.

Elliptical Machine- Calories: 510, Miles 3.05

The Perfect Mate
The Enterprise will be playing host to a ceremony and peace talks between two warring planets, Krios and Valt Minor. Kriosian Ambassador Briam comes on board with some special cargo that must be kept safe and secret. Briam does not mention what the cargo is but stresses its importance. As the ambassador comes on board the Enterprise receives a distress signal from a Ferengi freighter that blows up right after the two crewmen are beamed on board. The two Ferengi seem to be innocent enough but of course they prove to be otherwise and they tamper with the Kriosian cargo. It is revealed that the cargo is really a beautiful woman who is kept in stasis, her name is Kamala. Kamala is to be married to the ambassador from Valt Minor and will help to seal the deal between the two planets. Kamala is revealed to be a Metamorph and an empath. A metamorph is a woman born once every seven generations who has an ability to become whatever men want her and she is only satisfied when the men in her life are satisfied. Picard explains the whole situation to Dr. Crusher who thinks that she is little more than a glorified prostitute on her way to a john. The woman is confined to quarters to help protect her from the men on board, but Picard believes that she should have free reign. Picard and Kamala develop a friendship which becomes more though Picard knows that he can’t have this woman. She knows her duty but eventually tells Picard that she has bonded with him but must leave to fulfill her duty to her people. The show ends with a heartbroken Picard ordering the ship out of orbit. 

The show features on of Famke Janssen's first professional roles in the USA. This is quite the fun fact because she went on to play Jean Grey in the X-Men movies with Patrick steward about 7 years later and she herself went on to become a Bond Girl in Goldeneye. 


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Cost of Living


I think boredom has officially set in here at the Olson residence! I have two weeks before work starts and I’m ready to go back in soon. Granted I have been going in here and there for a few hours but I’m trying to keep that to just a few days a week. In an effort to stave off the boredom the James Bond marathon continues here and I’m not up to Tomorrow Never Dies, the second Brosnan film and one of my favorites. These modern bond films are fun to watch because the technology allowed for better effects. The old films at times were a bit dated so that they special effects were a little distracting.

Elliptical Machine- Calories: 671, Miles: 4.01

Cost Of Living
The Enterprise is chasing down an asteroid that is about to crash into a planet and create havoc on the atmosphere. The asteroid is destroyed but as the Enterprise moves onto the next mission some interesting particle cloud seeps into the ship through the hull. We then are presented with Worf and Alexander in a therapy session with Counselor Troi. It seems that the two are having trouble with expectations and discipline and making things go smoothly in their living situation. At this time Troi’s mother Lwaxana Troi comes on board and announces that she is to be married onboard in Ten Forward. Troi is immediately concerned especially when she discovers that Lwaxana has not even really me this man yet but they are to be married in a matter of hours. While she is on board Lwaxana asserts herself into Troi’s business and even befriends young Alexander and sees that his struggle is much like hers. He is struggling with growing up and having responsibility and she is struggling with growing older and being alone. The two spend time on the holodeck at a “fun world” where they play and talk and sit in a mud bath for fun. Troi and Worf are not happy with this because it is making it hard for Alexander and Worf to have boundaries and improve their situation but it is therapeutic for Alexander and Lwaxana. When Lwaxana’s intended shows up it is quickly revealed that he is not what she is looking for mostly because there are too many rules and formalities involved with marrying him, and she is nothing if not a free spirit.  Meanwhile the mysterious particle cloud is causing system failures and continues to shut down system after system until LaForge and Data figure out how to stop it. They determine that the ship must return to the planet and release the cloud into the same asteroid field. While getting there the ship loses most of the life support so Data is the only one left conscious. He completes the mission and all is restored to normal on board. At the marriage ceremony everyone is waiting patiently for a rather tardy Lwaxana who shows up in the traditional Betazed wedding fashion, naked! This outrages her intended and the wedding is off, which is just the result she was hoping for. The show ends with Lwaxana, Troi, Alexander and even Worf on the holodeck in the mud bath. Everyone seems to be enjoying themselves with the exception of Worf. 


Sunday, August 12, 2012

The First Duty


Duluth was a very fun trip yesterday and I really enjoyed myself! That being said I think the town is slightly overrated and is not that exciting but it is really pretty up there. I went with two of my friends and we went to Gooseberry Falls, and Canal Park in Duluth. I kind of blew my diet yesterday but it really wasn’t that bad and it was worth it to have some fun and good food with friends. I had the most exquisite caramel apple from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Company, It was covered in caramel, coated with pieces of chocolate covered English toffee and then it was coated again with chocolate. WOW it was good and totally worth the $9 price. Today I went golfing and had pretty much the worst game ever in the history of the sport, it started bad and just got worse as the game went on. By the fourth hole I legitimately was hoping that it would start down pouring or lightning or something just so I could get off the course. I finished the game and tried to improve my attitude by the end and it came around a little bit.

Elliptical Machine- Calories: 657, Miles: 3.72

The First Duty
The Enterprise is making its way back to Earth so that Picard can give the announcement at the upcoming Starfleet Academy graduation ceremony. While en route Picard receives a signal from the academy that there has been an accident during a flight team practice and Cadet Wesley Crusher has been injured. He has survived with only minimal injuries but another cadet on Nova Squadron has died. An inquiry of the four remaining Nova Squadron cadets, Crusher, two female cadets and their leader Nick Locarno are put through a hearing. Picard and Crusher come to watch the inquiry and support Wesley if they can in any way. Crusher plays the usual supportive mother believing that her son can do no wrong. Picard is supportive but also cautious about the whole procedure. Through the hearing it is revealed that the five cadets were to do a specific flight plan but that they had deviated from the plan mid course and didn’t inform the Academy of the change. They also reveal that they were flying only on sensor readings and not using visual confirmation as well, which is very odd. It is at this time too that Lacarno reveals that he thought the dead Cadet was not up to par on his pilot skills and that he caused the accident because he was not ready for the task, but they kept him as he was their friend. The cadets then have a meeting and discuss how they are going to continue covering up their wrong doings, because they have been withholding information but not lying up till this point. They agree to keep lying but Wesley finds this hard to do. Picard then talks to Wesley and informs him that he has figured them out and with some additional information knows the crew was attempting a forbidden maneuver. He makes a prolonged speech about duty and impresses upon Wesley that he must tell the truth or else it will be done for him. In the end Wesley admits to his wrong doing and the squadron is reprimanded and held back a year while Lacarno is expelled from the university. In an interesting side plot Picard gets to revisit with an old “friend” from the Academy a man named Boothby who was the groundskeeper. This man has apparently had a real impact on Picard and this man is also where Picard learns that there is something wrong going on with the members of Nova Squadron.

This episode is truly one of the best of the season and the series in general, it provides character development, intrigue, and despite the court room drama style it is very fun to watch. It is nice to also get a look at Wesley Crusher as he has grown up over the few seasons he has not been around for and that he is growing up to be a pretty decent guy. Also of interest is that when writing Star Trek: Voyager they wanted to add a character who was a "Nick Lacarno" type to the show and even considered just putting him on the show. When this proved to costly because he was written by an outside writer they named the character Tom Paris but hired the same actor to play who played Nick Lacarno to play him, Robert Duncan McNeill.
The fifth season really is one of the best the show put out and it continues to be fun to watch. 


Friday, August 10, 2012

Cause and Effect


I am so excited today because I am getting dinner with a friend tonight and then we are going to see Chicago at the Ordway in St. Paul! I love the movie and the reviews of the current touring production have been really great… can’t wait to see some of that old Razzle Dazzle!!

Elliptical Machine- Forgot to write down the information today

Cause and Effect
The show opens up with the Enterprise amidst some disaster and eventually blowing up in space. We then see the Enterprise coming through space with Picard explaining that they are on a mapping mission in an uncharted area of space. The crew goes about their business. Crusher, Data, Riker and Worf are engaged in a poker match when Crusher is called to sickbay to treat an minor illness of Geordi’s. At this point Crusher feels a sense of déjà vu but dismisses it. Crusher then hears voices before she falls asleep but thinks nothing of it until she tells everyone the next morning at a staff meeting. During the meeting the bridge calls because of a strange anomaly ahead of the ship, things start going wrong and then a federation ship comes out of the anomaly and is on a collision course with the Enterprise. They use a tractor beam to move the ship but it hits a port nacel and we again see the Enterprise blow up. This repeats about two more times before the crew gets really smart and discover they are in a space time causality loop, basically they replay the same events over and over and over and over. They all decide to plant a message in data and it all goes well because they don’t use the tractor beam to move the ship. They establish communication with the USS Bozeman and it is revealed that they have been in their loop for about 80 plus years, while the Enterprise was in it for about 17 days.

The show is a clunker! Maybe that is because I am not a big fan of the Rashomon style story plot as we see the same events over and over and over again. There is a plot hole in the show too, the fact that the Enterprise has replayed the events for 17 days and the Bozeman for 80 years. Wouldn’t the appearance of the Enterprise have changed the loop and thus free that ship? I’m not an expert but I don’t think this was well thought out. The show does feature a brief cameo by Kelsey Grammar as the Captain of the Bozeman. 


Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Outcast


The days are beginning to run together here now that I’m off from work and between the start of the school year. Today I lazed around and worked out yes and then watched a few Bond movies today, Octopussy and A View To A Kill. I am thrilled because tomorrow I get to start watching the Timothy Dalton Bond films which are a few of my favorites in the series. Other than that I finally bought a new battery for my car and bought a few clothes for the school year. Nothing to exciting today,, sorry folks.

Elliptical Machine- Calories: 590, Miles: 3.52

The Outcast
The Enterprise is assisting a race of androgynous beings known as the J’naii who have lost a shuttlecraft in their system but cannot locate it. The J’naii are humanoid but have evolved past the concept of gender and do not present or identify as either male or female in any way. The crews of the Enterprise is a little taken aback by these people and are not entirely sure how to deal with them, Worf seems to be the most “racist” towards these people. Making such comments as “They Bother Me… Because they Just Do!”. Riker and one of the J’naii named Soren work together to discover the missing shuttle in an area of black matter in their system. The shuttle incident is really a very minor point to the story so I won’t mention it any further. As Riker and Soren work together she begins to feel more and more comfortable to with Riker and asks him questions about gender and how males and females differ. She also has questions about the specifics of different body parts and mating rituals. Riker shares information and the two build a solid friendship over the course of the few days they are together. Towards the end of their mission Soren shares with Riker that feelings have developed for him and kisses him. Soren then reveals that this is forbidden in her society and that people who express gender are treated, rehabilitated and programmed to be like everyone through psychiatric means. Soren reveals that she wishes to be a female and loves Riker. The two share a few brief encounters on the ship and on the planet but are caught by the authorities. Soren is put on trial and asked to confess her crime, Riker attempts to interrupt the trial and explains that it is all his fault but Soren refuses to live with the lies. Soren makes and extremely impassioned plea but is hauled off to be “fixed” by her people. Riker wants to rescue her and intends to do so when Worf shows up to assist him, this is a quick turnaround for him and shows that he is truly friends with Riker. When he reaches the planet Riker finds Soren but it is apparently too late she informs him that she has been cured and that she doesn’t wish to see him again. The episode ends on a very somber note for Riker who has fallen in love with Soren despite her differences.

The episode really tries to push the boundaries of gender issues in the 24th century and really gives us a good start. Was this episode what Gay fans had always wanted of the show, No but it was a good start. The show deals with gender discrimination and how “sexual deviants” are dealt with in general society. The show mirrors the lives of gay and lesbians in our world today but the show really didn’t push the button far enough. It has been said in interviews that Jonathan Frakes, who plays Riker, thought the episode could have done more and in fact he wanted the character of Soren to be played by a man to push the idea even further. Good on you Jonathan Frakes! It is sad when you think of it though, that a show claiming to be in a near perfect utopian society has never had an out and officially gay character or even fully broached the topic. I am hopeful that it will happen in the upcoming sequel due out next year or in a future series. Hopeful but I’m not holding my breath.

Here is a video link to the speech that Soren gives it is quite moving!


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Ethics


Why does anyone do anything? A line from the play Noises Off that I was just in and it really came to mind today. I have been watching the James Bond films as I have mentioned over the last few blog posts and I have been thoroughly enjoying myself despite the varied quality of these films. So today I was doing some research and reading to see what other people think about this film series. I came across a blog through MTV that was very subjective but overall positive and fun to read and I will continue reading this blog MTV Movie Blog http://moviesblog.mtv.com/2012/08/02/bond-a-thond-live-and-let-die/. I have also come across another blog that I won’t mention the name of because I hate to be critical of other people on the internet, but this writer is also doing a James Bond movie marathon and blogging about it. The big difference between these two blogs is that the second one is incredibly negative of almost every film and it makes me wonder why he is even watching them? If you have no appreciation for the series with the exception of the modern era (1995-present) Bond than I would suggest you not watch any of them. These films have aged and some not very well and these films are each very reflective of the time in which they were made for better or worse. So this brings me to my point, why does anyone do anything? I guess the summary statement that I am coming to is, if you can’t be at least somewhat nice about your topic don’t fricking write about it!

Elliptical Machine- Calories: 616, Miles: 3.72

Ethics
Worf and LaForge are in a cargo bay doing some inventory when a couple of very heavy barrels fall from the top shelf and land directly on Worf’s back. The injury leaves Worf completely paralyzed from the arms down and in an incredible state of depression. The Enterprise welcomes a leading neurosurgeon on board to work on treatment options for Worf and to see if there is any help that can be given. The surgeon is a Dr. Toby Russell (despite the name it is a female). Dr. Russell proposes that they try a new theory of hers and grow a new spinal cord from Worf’s existing DNA and surgically replace the bad one for the good one. She explains to Crusher that the success rate in simulations has been about 37%, an odd that Crusher is just unwilling to bet against for success. Because of his Klingon heritage Worf believes that his life as a warrior is over so he wants to commit ritual suicide, a perfectly acceptable custom in Klingon culture. He asks that Riker assist him with this task but Riker is very opposed to the idea of helping his friend with suicide, along with several other people. Picard seems to be the only one who understands Worf’s position. Crusher and Russell offer to use surgical implants to help Worf which will bring his functioning level back to about 60% of normal; Worf refuses this therapy and is even more convinced it is his time. Meanwhile there has been a major medical disaster and the Enterprise rushes off to help and provide aid to the over 500 survivors of a crash. Dr. Crusher and Dr. Russell begin helping with the survivors and Crusher is alarmed and disturbed when Russell uses an experimental treatment that ends up killing one of the victims; Crusher forbids her from practicing medicine on the Enterprise for the time being. Picard asks that Dr. Crusher allow Dr. Russell to try her procedure because he is convinced that Worf will kill himself so if the procedure kills him what is the big deal. Crusher relents and the surgery proceeds. Before the surgery though Worf sees Alexander to let him know about the procedure and the risks, he also asks Troi to be Alexander’s guardian should anything happen and Worf Dies. The surgery apparently works but then something goes wrong and Worf dies on the table for a few minutes but winds up living in the end. After the surgery Crusher tells Russell of about how she feels that her brand of medicine is dangerous and that she is has poor ethics essentially. In the last scene there is a touching moment when Alexander helps Worf during his physical therapy sessions.

The episode is a heavy hitter on the political hot button issues, here we deal with assisted suicide, end of life planning and medical research ethics. I must say that it is also a very enjoyable episode to watch and pulls off its heavy subject matter with ease and sophistication. This is a true case of good science fiction being excellent social commentary under the guise of space fantasy. The next episode is also a somewhat hard hitting topic as well because Star Trek Goes Gay… Kinda… Not Really… It doesn’t exactly pull it all the way off… Just wait for tomorrow’s post I guess. 


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Power Play


Once again today I found myself going into the school today to do some work and it got me thinking. Why the hell can I not stay away from that building?? The answer being, I have no clue but I am excited to get back to work in a few weeks. The other question it got me thinking about was, “do I have adult ADD?” The primary reason I went into work was to get some actual work done because I knew I couldn’t do it here at home or else it would have never been finished. I am frequently distracted but I’m pretty confident I don’t have ADD but it does cross my mind every now and then. Of other note is I have been doing somewhat of a James Bond marathon at my house the last few days. I have been working my way through them chronologically and I’m watching The Man With The Golden Gun right now as I write this post. It is I think the worst of the series with Die Another Day being a close second. The film just didn’t work but then again neither did the two before this one, Diamonds Are Forever and Live And Let Die. It makes me wonder how the Bond films got out of the early 70’s because well these three films each suck thank god they recovered themselves with The Spy Who Loved Me, which is personally my favorite of the series. I would love to see a Gay James Bond type film produced some time with the big budget, action scenes and plenty of sexy “Bond Boys” in every country LOL, and a truly bad ass female villain with the coolest clothes. Maybe I need to write this one myself!

Elliptical Machine- Calories: 617, Miles: 3.41

Power Play
The Enterprise is investigating a mysterious communication signal from a nearby moon Mab-Bu IV. The signal is apparently Starfleet in origin from a lost ship over 170 years ago the Essex. The moon is ravaged by magnetic storms so the crew cannot beam down to investigate instead they must take a shuttlecraft. Toir, Data and Riker go down to the surface but their shuttle crashes and they must be rescued by the crew now. O’Brien decides to beam down with a transporter enhancer he succeeds in getting to the landing party but as they are about to transport up they are all hit by a magnetic energy burst. While unconscious a strange light enters Troi, Data, and O’Brien’s bodies but the light that was to enter Riker moves away. When back on board Troi, Data and O’Brien quickly take over the ship and hold several people hostage in Ten Forward. They claim to be the abandoned spirits or consciousness of the Essex crew and they wish to be released from the planet. Of course Picard does not believe them but he goes along with their request for the time only to stall them to give his own crew time to solve the problem. In the end the group gets to a cargo bay transporter and Troi reveals that they are the souls of a group of prisoners left on the planet over 300 years prior. Picard foils their plan and everything is set back to normal on board the ship. 


Monday, August 6, 2012

Conundrum


Noises Off has come to an end! I find myself with the usual mixed bag of feelings about this show ending because it really was a fun experience minus a few bumps along the way provided by some people involved. I do not understand the Diva mentality that some people have in the theatre, especially community theatre where let’s face it we are all amateur performers doing this for fun and committing our time to something we enjoy. The attitude that you are somehow better or more valuable than your fellow cast mates is bullshit… just so you know! In addition to my mixed bag of emotions I also have a mixed bag of bruises and bodily injuries. This is maybe the most physically demanding show I have ever done in terms of the physical humor and it was so fun but the stats are as follows: big bruises on each knee, big bruises on each elbow, a bruise on my right hip, a bruise on my right thigh, a few scrapes on each arm, a stubbed toe or two, and my neck hurts when I move it side to side. This list may seem long and painful but it really was worth it and the pain is going away each day!

Elliptical Machine- Calories: 450, Miles: 2.45

Conundrum
The Enterprise is leisurely going about its business on a not so special mission and Riker is spending some time bitching out Ensign Ro about something or another. Suddenly a mysterious ship approaches the Enterprise and emits a strange mysterious beam throughout the entire ship. Moments later the crew comes to their senses but no one seems to know who they are and what their mission is. Picard, Riker, Ro, Worf, LaForge, and an unknown male officer are on the bridge and have no clue who is who and what is what. Crusher is in sickbay with a patient but doesn’t know why she knows how to treat a disease but can’t remember her name. Troi and Data are in Ten Forward and Troi doesn’t know what is going on and Data seems to think he is the bar tender. On the bridge Worf takes command because his warrior senses take over things and eventually communication is restored with the rest of the ship and crew files are accessed and everyone knows who they are but they still can’t remember anything. The computer tells them that they are at war with a race known as the Lysian and that their mission is to destroy the central command station. This doesn’t sit right with many of the crew except MacDuff (the mysterious new first officer) and Worf who are in favor of destroying the enemy. When the time comes Picard opts not to destroy the Lysian base and Macduff is exposed to be a Starran agent who wants to destroy the Lysian and is using the Enterprise to help him complete his mission.