Have a drink! Star Trek Syle

The creative team of Star Trek: The Next Generation - from left to right; David Livingston, Rick Berman, Gene Roddenberry, Michael Piller, Peter Lauritson, Rob Legato, Dan Curry. Not seen is Ron Moore, who took this photo.

This photo and the above caption are from TrekCore.com - A fantastic Star Trek resource.

The Star Trek universe is vast and rich, full of inventions, ideas and creations pulled from the genius minds of 50 years of writers, directors, producers, artists, set designers and so on. But sometimes, it's the small things you notice while watching an episode of Star Trek that make you really appreciate the work of all these creative people. Small things like the dozens and dozens of fancy drinks imagined and created just for the Star Trek universe.

In my day to day life, I appreciate the quality of a well-mixed cocktail or the unique flavor of a home-brewed beer. I certainly am no connoisseur, but I would at least call myself an appreciative fan of all things that I can drink. So, to mix my love of Star Trek with my love of drinks, I will feature one particular drink in a post every now and then. Hopefully my detailed digressions into this particular minutia of Trek will pay some sort of homage to the imaginative and hard-working creators of this intricate fictitious universe. Ok, enough brown-nosing; let's have a drink! (In my next post :)

Kirk drinking some Saurian Brandy

(Almost) Best of Both Worlds - A Screening

Last night I attended the Fathom Events theatrical screening for the Star Trek: TNG 2-parter, "Best of Both Worlds." I was, of course, excited to attend the event and experience one of my favorite television shows on the big screen with fellow fans by my side raucously cheering it on. Although, I entered with some trepidation and lower expectations due to a disappointing previous experience: I attended the first TNG Fathom Event which was a screening of some of the special features and episodes from the upcoming season one blu-rays. It was in one of those generic mega-theaters, packed to capacity and you could tell immediately that the air conditioner was mysteriously turned off. It was already a bad start. Then, when the famous credits began, with the Enterprise swooshing across the screen, it was quickly evident that only two speakers (in the front) were being utilized. Instead of experiencing Star Trek in beautiful 7.1 surround sound in a giant theater, it was standard stereo that I could easily get at home from a 25 year old television. 

So... as I walked into this different (and smaller, more intimate) theater, I hoped they would not make the same mistake. Unfortunately they did, and I experienced The Best of Both Worlds once again, only in stereo. I'm not sure if this is just the way they have to screen this in theaters, as in the copy of the show they provide to theaters just simply is not a surround sound version, or if the theaters are just doing it wrong... What did you experience?

Pre-Show

Besides the disappointing sound, the rest of the show was fantastic. At the time the show was about to begin, they aired Star Trek TNG trivia, focusing mainly on the Best of Both Worlds. This allowed the audience to become involved and interact with each other a bit before the main movie began. The trivia was intermittently interrupted by the strange photos that Star Trek fans submitted of their faces on Borg bodies. This would have been fine and even amusing if it was explained at all. Most of the audience was confused as to why they were being forced to look at what seemed to be badly photo-shopped images. 

Another pre-show feature was the showing of various stills from the upcoming season 3 blu-rays. It would show the original broadcast version of a still from the season, and then with a wipe transition show a still of the remastered version. Some of these were absolutely striking, while others were barely noticeable. I still wonder why they decided to include the stills that had barely any noticeable difference from original to remastered... An odd choice.

Making-Of Documentary

Riker sees what you did there.

Then began the making-of documentary for Best of Both Worlds. This included interviews from the director of the episode, Cliff Bole, great anecdotes about the writer Michael Pillerand the surprise treat of it all was the surprisingly detailed stories about shooting the episode by Commander Shelby star, Elizabeth Dennehy. She had what I thought was a very detailed memory of all that happened during shooting. Apparently it was a very formative job of her career. One story she recounts is of Jonathan Frakes telling her to "turn up the heat" in their scenes together because there was no telling where the writers and producers may take their characters in the next season. Apparently even the actors weren't sure if Picard would come back the next season, in which case Riker would be captain and Cmdr. Shelby would take over as first officer. This could then mean Riker and Shelby could either end up hating each other or even become lovers. To all of this, Dennehy responded to Frakes, "Sure Jonathan... I'm sure you tell all the female guest stars to 'turn up the heat.'" In reality it shows early signs of Frakes' budding directorial skill, but in my mind I like to think it is the nymphomaniac version of Riker, popularized by Dork Trek, bleeding out into the real world. Turn up the heat baby! In all though, the documentary was a great production. I just wish they could have something like that for every existing episode of Star Trek. A Trekkie can dream right?!

Main Event

At this point, the actual episode began. Because of the audio issue I mentioned earlier, it wasn't that overwhelming of an experience, but the video was certainly very crisp and the colors vibrant. The best part of these screenings by far is watching Star Trek with a large and dedicated audience. Even though most of us there have seen those episodes plenty of times, we still laugh and clap right when the writers wanted us to. It was also interesting to see how they made the two episodes run seamlessly together like a movie. They even made each "commercial break" seem more smooth. I found it funny how less dramatic of a moment is is when Riker says, "Mr. Worf...fire" and then we immediately see the Enterprise do just that. No cliffhanger, it just moves right on to the action.

Gag/Blooper Reel

Screencap from the Season 3 Blu-Ray gag reel

After the episode followed by a round of applause, the gag/blooper reel rolled. It contained moments all throughout season 3, but quite a bit from just the Best of Both Worlds episode. This reel was hilarious and had the audience roaring. Practically all of these scenes were new. I'm not sure I had seen any of these bloopers before. It felt like I was actually getting new TNG, kind of like the extra minutes added to Measure of a Man in the last screening/blu-ray. I know it may be weird to say, but that blooper reel would have made it worth attending all on its own. 

To sum it all up, don't miss these screenings! The next time Fathom Events holds one of these do your best to attend! (Sorry for those out of the U.S. and Canada who don't have this option.) Maybe just ask the manager of the theater first if it will really be in 7.1 surround sound. I've been burned twice! That makes for a very angry Vulcan! 

And one more closing note; the very appropriate t-shirt I wore to this screening. Sorry I can't name the artist! I bought it quite a while ago and don't remember! -

Bake it so!

Spock's Ship Spotted in 1968?

My first paranormal post! 

Radar scope photo of the UFO over Minot AFB

Bill Chalker over at Science and the UFO Controversey pointed out some great research that was done by Thomas Tulien, of the Sign Oral Historical Project. The research covers a documented UFO encounter with extremely compelling evidence, AND... Spock's visit to Earth! Well that second part may not be true, but it's still a fun coincidence. In 1968, on the Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, maintenance and security personnel spotted two UFOs over and around the base. What makes this story so remarkable is that these UFOs were spotted over the course of three hours by multiple personnel, and they were spotted on radar. The image above is a photographic printout of the radarscope reading of the craft.

At times, the craft made perplexedly fast maneuvers that were later calculated to be 90% the speed of light or 400gs. That speed was calculated from actual radar readings. Simply incredible. It is hard to believe that this encounter is not more widely known and reported on. You have to love a UFO story with tons of credible witnesses and reliable photographic evidence (although not very clear photographic evidence.) So much better than some backwoods yokel complaining after an unfortunately painful alien anal probing. I digress... Pilot and witness Bradford Runyon made these drawings of the craft and its maneuvers during the 3-hour incident.

Drawings of the UFO by former Air Force pilot Bradford Runyon. 

Space Adventure Movie 2009!

And now for the completely necessary Star Trek connection... Does that craft look familiar at all? That's right, it's Spock's super fast science vessel from Star Trek (2009)! What was Spock Prime doing in North Dakota in 1968? Some scientific or diplomatic mission? Did he pop out of the worm hole there first before his encounter with Nero? Why did he zip around the base for over 3 hours? I will now remove my tongue from the proverbial cheek and say in all seriousness, check out the full report here. It's extremely detailed and really is quite amazing.

Welcome to an Emotional Vulcan's Ramblings

Hello lovely readers! Thanks for taking the time to check out this wondrous URL. This speck of dust among the vastness of time and space that is the internet. Here, hopefully, you will be amused, entertained, perhaps informed, and maybe perplexed. It will all at least be within the realm of geekdom, so what can you lose? If you are a geek that is... otherwise this will be time you will most likely find wasted.

Most of the ramblings here will be that of sci-fi and fantasy (emphasis on Star Trek), with the occasional peppering of weird news and the paranormal (of which I am mostly a skeptic, I just find that kind of news so entertaining). In between posts you can always contact me on Google+, Twitter and Facebook by clicking on their icons at the bottom of the page!

Talk to you all soon!

Look how happy you made Spock by coming here!