UK Star Trek Bloggers Chat – Thursday 6th April

Tomorrow you can watch us live on a UK Trekkie Bloggers conflab thing! Join us at 20:00 GMT to watch this subspace show!

Watch Now:

Set up by our mate Dan from The Trekkies Guide To The Galaxy we’ll be joining him, B Jones from SFB Events (The Trekologist), James Dillon – the illustrious Captain of the USS Riker’s Beard and  Liam Dillon – From the exemplary Facebook Star Trek Costuming group.

We’ll be discussing a range of issues surrounding Star Trek and giving our opinions!

As a special treat, Dan is giving away two signed pictures of Vaughn Armstrong to the person who asks the best question! (Hoping it will be us!)

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With such exciting news about Star Trek Discovery just announced we can’t wait to have a conflab with fellow Trekkies to delve into the nitty gritty speculation

SF BALL 23 – Review, Gates McFadden, Patti Yasutake and Larry Nemecek Interviews

This year we were delighted to experience a bit more of what the SF Ball has to offer. Having previously only been able to attend for a day, new ticket options meant we were able to experience the much talked about Saturday night cabaret.

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It also allowed us to immerse ourselves in a different type of convention. We are admittedly more accustom to large scale events and some purely fan led events. We feel the SF Ball sits in it’s own special category. As the Borg would say “It is unique”. The organisers are clearly fans, of that, there is no doubt. But there is a professionalism and reputation (from both customers and the talent) which has made this event last for over two decades. There’s a passion for the event’s success, it’s value and for the charity it seeks to raise money for – The Teenage Cancer Trust.

Many have told us that it is the last ‘traditional fan led convention’. Where fans would take over a hotel for a weekend, play games, watch episodes and geek out together.

We got the vibe that this was more of a social experience (we LIKE this!). At large conventions our feet do not touch the ground, we run from stage to stage to photo ops to autograph queues then bar queues! And we love those style conventions, we see lots of guest stars in one place, we get to see them interact with each other etc (we LOVE this too!). But we also loved the chilled out nature of the SF Ball. It’s not manic, the Grand Harbour Hotel is a superb venue. And we totally abused the 25% discount at the bar (remarkably that included Champagne so we probably ruined that!)

The Ball

We set off Saturday afternoon to give ourselves plenty of time to get ready, chill out and get ready, plus celebrate Carole’s engagement and Sarah’s birthday before we went down. We live in the town next to Southampton, so not a long drive but it took us nearly two hours. An hour was spent in traffic within viewing sight of the hotel!

Our hotel room was spacious with a view of cruise ships. We’d 100% recommend staying here. But we always recommend staying in the event hotel for any convention…unless it’s particularly horrendous!

We head to the bar and catchup with friends. We love that where ever we go in the world we always see similar friendly faces.
The theme for the ball that evening was Game of Thrones. Only Carole has earned that geek card though. The room was dressed in a winter theme (winter is coming btw).

After a delicious three course meal, Chris Barrie (Rimmer, Red Dwarf + Mr Brittas, The Brittas Empire) takes the stage and delivers the cabaret, telling anecdotes from his time of Red Dwarf, The Brittas Empire and Spitting Image.

Then its party time! The dance floor comes out, the bubbles start flowing and we’re free to mingle with the guests. At the bar we had a lovely chat with Patti Yasutake who is honestly the sweetest person. We were kindly given the opportunity to interview Chris Barrie but we politely declined as we are only  Star Trek bloggers and didn’t want to waste his time even though we’d love to chat to him. But, the beauty of the Ball means even though there are fewer guest stars, you have the opportunity to have a more intimate experience with them. So we plucked up the courage and bought Chris a drink! He was a real gent and chatted away to us about his time on TV and everything else!

The rest of the night was purely geek heaven. Chatting away with Larry Nemecek and Andrew (one of the SF Ball Organisers) about everything Star Trek, including a thorough discussion on how Spot got from Data’s quarters to the Cargo bay in Generations. This opened up a minefield of other debatables such as where is Data’s quarters? Andrew thought they were in the drive section. But a tweet out gave the response they were on deck 2. But that’s right under the bridge!? There’s no windows so it’s got to be in the middle somewhere? Answers on a postcard to Utopia Planitia please.

We called it a night at silly o’clock in the morning which was silly as we wanted to be up for Larry’s talk at 10am. We made it….just!

Larry Nemecek

Larry gave an all encompassing look at the 50 year phenomenon that is Star Trek and spoke more in depth on the fan favourite subjects such as Fan Films (looking at you Axanar!) and Discovery. Larry is able to provide a unique insight to life behind the scenes on Star Trek. If you’re ever at a convention and he is a guest, be sure to say ‘hi’. He is super approachable, always has cool stuff to show you and even sell you. Larry is also married to Janet Nemecek who worked as a script coordinator on Voyager and First Contact. Janet often attends with Larry and is a joy to talk too. If you find getting to conventions difficult then you need to check out Portal 47, a monthly ‘mini con’ where you can hear all Larry’s stories, ask questions and talk to guest stars.

Straight after Larry’s talk we headed up to the posh suite on the top floor to interview him. Which was funny because we have had the privilege of spending lots of time Larry and we have never got round to doing a video interview. It was conducted at warp speed!

Gates McFadden and Patti Yasutake

The talk with Gates McFadden and Patti Yasutake was one we had been looking forward to and we weren’t disappointed. One thing we have always appreciated about Star Trek is how it portraits the ‘lower ranks’. Ok lets put the red shirts aside for this. In TNG we saw how much the senior crew respected those who served under them. From what we have observed this relationship seems to be mirrored between the actors and the crew. There’s a line in Time’s Arrow when Data tells Guinan that ‘served together on a starship”. The language indicates equality and respect for Guinans job and function on the Enterprise.

Nurse Ogawa was one of the first regulars we recall . Her developing relationship with Dr Crusher over the series allowed us a brief insight into the personal lives of the crew. It gave the Enterprise more depth and community. … Ok we were chuffed as Tribble to see them both together!

Whilst Gates and Patti took the time to answer many audience questions it also felt like we were able to enjoy the company of two friends catching up. They had a great report sharing anecdotes of their time on TNG. We even learned some new things!:

After the talk we were ushered into the posh suite again where we teamed up with our friend Jon from Visionary Trek to chat with Gates and Patti who were an absolute joy!

We owe a massive thanks to Andrew for holding the Camera this long!

We spent the rest of the event checking out the vendors, catching up and drinking the bar dry…of Diet Coke and Earl Grey Tea!

Overall a thoroughly enjoyable evening and day. Stay tuned to see our interview with the SF Ball Team for more insights into this fab event.

Highlights: Seeing Gates and Patti together and thanking them for being role models.

+ Seeing fans do extraordinary things to raise money for The Teenage Cancer Charity such as shaving their heads and Neil Carpenter who is committing to run 1701 miles this year! 

SF Ball 3-5 Feb Southampton with Gates McFadden, Patti Yasutake and Larry Nemecek

It’s approaching February which means time for the fabulous SF Ball! Despite being right in our backyard – The Grand Harbour Hotel, Southampton 3-5th February –  it’s always the hardest for us to attend!

But this year will be there on the Sunday (Carole and Sarah for sure. Sam, if she hasn’t left on her away mission!)

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And with a Trektastic lineup it’s not one we want to miss.

We were sold when they announced Gates McFadden (Dr Beverley Crusher) but then they announced her number one Patti Yasutake (Nurse Alyssa Ogawa).

Then for added Trek-goodness our friend Larry Nemecek (Trek Continues, Trekland, Portal 47, Trek know-it-all) is also in attendance. He is a must see for for enthusiasts who enjoy hearing all about behind-the-scenes stories.

If you’re a fan of the new Star Trek films you’ll want to meet Dave Freeman who is the Concept artist for the movies.

Best bit? The SF ball is a Not-For-Profit organisation run by unpaid volunteers who donate money raised to the Teenage Charity Trust.

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Why Star Trek and it’s Fans will be different in 2017. And how we will adapt.

There’s an internet meme doing the circuits that beautifully demonstrates the impact that 2016 has had on the many of us. 2016 has been one for the history books in both regards to current affairs and Star Trek.

2016

Let us focus on Trek. The TL;DR is a mixed bag, mostly epic. The year began with the best announcement ever. A new Star Trek series announced, Star Trek Beyond was released, the tragic passing of Anton Yelchin and a global celebration of Star Trek’s 50th anniversary.

For us, our love of Star Trek has taken us to Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Birmingham, met more friends, old and new and sparked that feeling of ‘newness’ regarding Star Trek that is reminiscent of the 1990’s.

But Star Trek is all about looking forward.

Here’s what we think will make Star Trek and it’s fandom feel different from it’s previous incarnations;

Social Media

Star Trek Enterprise ended before Facebook and Twitter went mainstream. Sci-fi fans are all about live streaming, interacting with fans and filling the void between episodes. In recent years the SM team at Star Trek have upp’ed their game, nonetheless we look forward to banter and memes galore!

The crew and cast have an important role to play in this too. For other incarnations we have relied on books and post-production interviews to learn about the goings-on, the gossip and internal insights. Eager fans hang on to every tweet Rick Burman posts to get a further glimpse of what life was like on the set of TNG.

We’ll have this live. Already a twitter storm has blown up with the changes effecting Bryan Fuller’s stewardship. Whilst well managed internally, it’s the friends-in-the-know, associated to the inner circle who often provide the really juicy stuff. A bit like how William Shatner always announces himself as headlining a convention before the official announcement. He doesn’t have to tow the corporate line so much!

Events

Star Trek has a good grip on its merchandising and licensing but looking back over the past few years an area they have locked their targets on is Conventions/Events. This was once the realm of the fans and it was geek privilege to organise them. I can’t find the source but some time ago I read a news article that young actors today are hoping to get a genre role just to get in on the convention circuit. Many actors can make more money in one weekend than they can filming for a week. And large scale convention organisers don’t have it bad either.

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Rightly so Star Trek have been charging organisers a license fee to host these events to protect the brand (and the latinum!) It has made sense to contract out the organisation of events to companies with the expertise to do so, but given how immensely popular comic con style events are becoming, we wonder whether networks will begin to look to run these ‘in house’ and cut out the middle man? They already have the PR machine, the studios and most importantly, access to the talent.

Fans finding their niche

There are record high numbers of Star Trek fan blogs and podcasts and this is surely set to boom once Discovery hits our screens. Not everyone is going to listen to 30 different episode reviews each week.

It won’t be long until each outlet finds it’s speciality, whether it be twitter presence, interviews, book reviews, insights, rumour etc.

Which bring us on to the Trekkie Girls!…!!

We have an interesting year ahead and there will be some changes. I (Sam) and my family have decided to go travelling for a year! My husband had enough of corporate life so quit his job and we are taking our 2 year old Jean-Luc on an epic away mission! (We aren’t like 7 of 9’s parents – honest!)

I’ll still be blogging from wherever we are and I’ll be video linking with Carole and Sarah for our vBlogs.

I’ve even got some ‘must go’ locations for Trekkies on my list! So we believe it’s an improved service from us from a more international arena!

Happy New Year!

2016 – My Incredible Year as a Terrible Trekkie in Training

What a year 2016 has been for everyone huh? I mean, good and bad. In fact, an awful lot of bad, but it is not the purpose of this post to dwell on those. There have however been highlights, certainly for me personally. I downloaded my Tweet archive today because I was looking for a particular Tweet. I realised that I hadn’t done this since August 2015! You may be wondering what my point is here, but it kind of just sums up my 2016 really. I mean, where the hell did it go?! I know everybody says it, every year, but these past 12 months have literally just flown by. The Tweet archive thing is poignant because I always used to download my Tweets when I did my TNG season reviews, as a means of refreshing my memory. I started Season 5 on the 29th March this year and I’ve only reached episode 11. I may have watched a couple more than that, trying to make an effort, but I certainly haven’t tweeted them. #epicfail

My TiT New Years Resolutions this year were:

  1. Finish #TNGrevisited
  2. Start #FirstTimeDS9
  3. Catch up on the #RedShirtDiaries
  4. Watch @RenegadesTrek

I had 12 months to do this – a very realisable target I thought to myself.

How many of these have I achieved? Zero. Nil. None. Not one. Not even close.

So what happened? Life. That’s what. Sometimes it just doesn’t go the way you think it’s going to. That’s why I personally think New Year’s Resolutions are a waste of time. Am I sad about not meeting my own expectations? Anybody that knows me will tell you that it absolutely drives me insane. I hate to feel like I’m letting people down and I really, really wanted to do each and every one of those things. But… and it’s a BIG but, I have also had the most insanely amazing year as a TrekkieGirl, and for that I am not sorry.

Let’s just recap…

February 2016 – The SF Ball, Southampton

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TrekkieGirl Sam was flat out in sickbay and it was up to Carole and I to represent the team. What an amazing day we had, culminating in interviewing the awesome Connor Trinneer, Dominic Keating, Vaughan Armstrong and Casey Biggs. The video has never been released, but boy did we have fun! Naughty, naughty boys they are…

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April 2016 – Larry came to stay!

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Yes, in April, THE Larry Nemecek came to the UK, stayed at Sam’s house and we all went out for dinner in a local country pub – *bliss*. Oh, and I got my copy of “The Next Generation Companion” signed… #winning

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Also this month, I finished my #TNGSeason3 review and did my first solo Periscope. Nerve-wracking but fun, and thankfully well received!

May 2015 – The chipmunk/chipettes reunion / LA BABY!!

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May was the month when Simon, Jamie and Phil of The Engage Podcast came to visit. We had lunch, we podcasted and had a day full of general merriment! Love these guys SO much!!

I was also honoured to be asked to guest star on The Engage Podcast twice more this year – once in February to discuss “Star Trek Troupes” (not bad considering I didn’t know what a “troupe” was until then!) and then in June for our epic TNG Season Two review.

Also in May the most incredible thing happened. My *cringe* video won the #Star Trekcontest competition – a weekend break in LA!

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We attended exclusive audience with JJ, Justin Lin, Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and Karl Urban; witnessed the dedication of Leonard Nimoy Way at Paramount Studios; saw a brand new trailer for the film; got a close-up view of the costumes and props, and partied like we were the only “English girls” there! Well, actually we were!

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Not forgetting of course meeting up with Larry (again!) and his friends for dinner. And listening to Steve D’Errico’s amazing stories!

July 2016 – Movie marathon madness and BEYOND!

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Yes, we sat in the cinema for 8 hours to watch Star Trek and Into Darkness, before getting to see the hotly anticipated Beyond for the first time! It did not disappoint.

October 2016 – #DSTE #DST50

What a way to finish off THE best year to be a TrekkieGirl. So many incredible memories from that weekend. Panels. Meeting up with old friends and making new ones. Recruited in to THE William Shatner’s crew for the morning. Marina Sirtis recognising US! Wil Wheaton. Adam Nimoy. And getting to experience all this with two of my bestest friends in the world. Love you girlies so much!!!

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So, yeah, I let myself down on the whole TiT front. I got a new job about six months ago and the effect it has had on the amount of “free time” I have has been hard. But by God I’ve made up for it in other ways. It has been an amazing year!

I don’t know what 2017 has in store. I’m sure it will hold its own special set of challenges. One thing is for sure though – that my love of Star Trek has grown exponentially over the course of this year and I don’t see that slowing down anytime soon. There is so much to look forward to…

So, whilst I won’t promise to do or be better in 2017, I can assure you that my love of Star Trek is here to stay, however that may present itself.

A very happy new year to you all!

tlhIngan maH!

Star Trek Discovery’s latest casting – three Klingons – gives us the impression that there is a helluva story arc in development.DSC_Klingon.jpg

We welcome all the new additions to our Trekkie collective! The new cast must all be looking at there twitter notifications and it looks like this….

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In addition to Doug Jones, Anthony Rapp and Michelle Yeoh who were announced recently, yesterday Chris Obi, Shazad Latif and Mary Chieffo were also added to the lineup. For character info and bio’s see the Startrek.com article.

The bit that intrigues us is the Klingon wording on the image.

We took straight to deciphering it but it’s been more tricky than anticipated. Some bits are straight forward however the font looks new so there’s an element of interpretation.

Over the five hours we spent picking it apart (and searching the house/garage/loft for the Klingon dictionary) we have changed our minds on it a bit.

 

The first word is giving us the most difficulty. Is the first letter in the first word ‘r’ or ‘gh’ ? At first we thought it was ‘r’

This makes the word either ghetwI’ meaning pretender although this could mean ‘role play’ – not necessarily meaning deception.
Or it could be retwI’ which from a bing translate shows as ‘time period ago’. But we can’t find anything more official to back that up. What do you think?

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Thank you to @boleon74 for sending us this alphabet in different fonts for reference!

The second word appears to be luwIvlu’ta’

This is where I confess that I have attempted to learn Klingon many times!! (unsuccessfully, obviously). But words this long with apostrophes need to be broken down. I learnt that from trying to translate a Klingon drinking song!

lu is a pre-verb (is that the right term!?) so refers to who is doing the action, he/she/they

wIvlu’ is the verb in the middle of the word, this means to choose.

ta’ means done

Therefore I believe luwIvlu’ta’ can be translated as ‘they have chosen’ 

The next word qul is easier to translate as there are less symbols and it a well used word in the Klingon language ‘fire‘.

The last word we thought we had translated as ‘play’ but when we looked at other letters we think we got h and y mixed up. We think this says yIchu’ which can translate as engage. That’s a much more fitting word for the Trek universe!

Now it may be that this phrase was translated a day ago and is well reported already but we have been purposely ignoring because  we’re having lots of fun trying to work it out for ourselves!

That said, we work better as a collective so we’d love to hear your feedback. Are our translators working correctly? What do you think they are trying to tell us?

Our hunch is that it’s something like ‘some time ago, they chose to fire. Engage’ or ‘they chose to engage in fire’ or maybe even ‘the pretender chose to engage in fire.’? Depending on how we feel about that first letter?

It isn’t exactly leading us on a wild chase to Qo’noS and back but it could be a tag line to the show or a hint about the Klingons involvement. Either way, we want to know!!

PS. If you don’t follow Star Trek Discovery on Instagram, you should! They have been releasing announcements before their twitter and Facebook accounts. Not by much, but hey, we’ll take it! @startrekcbs

Review – Lovarzi Official licensed products

If you’re looking for Christmas gifts for a Trekkie than take a look at these winter wonders from Lovarzi. As we state in our vblog review, we are cautious when people ask us to review their products – mostly because we don’t want to be in the awkward position of having to saying anything negative should we believe the product be worthy of disposable by a garbage scow!

Fortunately we were relieved to discover that the Umbrella’s and Scarf’s on offer from Lovarzi were good quality so we were happy to give them an honest review.

Available to buy direct from Lovarzi whilst stock lasts … Perfect for this British weather!

#DSTE Day 3

 

Late night early morning. That’s how we roll at DST. We are still a bit green in places from yesterday’s Orion look but we head straight to the Excelsior stage where we are hosting our second Cosplay panel with the wonderful Misty Chance (drag queen and Star Trek cosplayer) and Liam Dillon, Star Trek fan and Facebook costume group.

Cosplay Panel

In this panel we highlight the connection between cosplay (grown up talk for fancy dress) and Star Trek. What we discovered is that there is a close link between the two. Cosplay originated at Star Trek conventions (contrary to popular belief that it stemmed from manga/anime and Japanese culture).

We asked each panellist and the audience why they choose to dress up as Star Trek characters and we found and wide array of answers. For Liam, it is a challenge to recreate the styles, to source the material and obtain the details. Misty was blatantly honest and said it was for the attention! Misty has had access to the actors and fans in a unique way because she is more approachable in character than in his normal clothes dressed as Christian.

Sarah and Carole had similar reasons. They joked it’s because Sam makes them! But as we explored it further, they enjoy participating. Like many of us we see others dressed up, we wish we were brave enough because it looks like fun. And eventually we take the plunge.

For myself (Sam) and also our new honorary Trekkie Girl, the adorable Beth the reason was that we enjoy the play element of it. For a moment in our lives we can allow ourselves to get swept up in our imaginations and we are captain of the Enterprise (instead of hoovering or searching for quotes on car insurance!).


We’d like to thank Liam, Misty, Beth and everyone else who was involved at this fun panel.

Also check out Misty’s blog for more details on the construction of the Martia costume.

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#DSTE Day 2 pt2 –  Party!

**We are live blogging, please excuse any lapses in spelling, grammar and accuracy**

Last night was the second of the Destination Star Trek Europe parties. This one was themed ‘Quarks bar and casino as was the venue for the official celebration of Star Trek’s 50th anniversary.

The party was held at the Hilton Metropole which was a superb venue and conveniently close to the NEC. You have the added advantage of being able to access the main bar.

The Star Trek Rat Pack performed who were brilliant and hilarious. They had edited their routine for the British audience. For example at Star Trek Las Vegas they sang “you can’t get a good drink at Rio” to “you can only get a good drink in England”

Apparently Chase played before but we were in the queue at the bar (longer than Shatners autograph line!) but we hear she was incredible.

After the performance Walter Koenig cut the specially commissioned birthday cake which featured Kirk, a Gorn, enterprise, Klingon battle cruiser.

 

24th Century Socialites. Often found in Quarks, Ten Forward and the VIP bars of Risa