Category Archives: The Trek Life

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

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!

5 Political and Ethical Lessons from The Drumhead

Unapologetic political post with opinions!

I’m writing this post under my own name as with everything in politics. It’s a personal thing. It’s also collective. And it feels good to share.

I’ve been open about my political leanings. I’ve worked in that battle field. I’ve stood for election many times and served public office for some years. My underlying principles have been always been Liberal and Star Trek was the influence and educator for me.

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But I was born in Hawaii!

When I went to bed the night of the US Election, I noted that I felt the same as I did the night of the EU referendum. Smug reassurance that everything was going to be fine and go the way I thought it would… and should.

Watching the results come in that night  I felt like the crew of DS9 checking on the weekly casualty reports during the Dominion war.

Whilst Star Trek appeals to Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations, the overwhelming majority of us all share it’s core philosophy.  That’s why campaigns like ‘Trek Against Trump’ gained such widespread support. And why I have only encountered a handful of a Trump and Brexit supporters – hey we’re all internet friends!

But the next morning as I sat drinking my 4th Diet Coke at 6.30am, with a screaming 2 year old, a vomiting dog, news that a relative had passed away and Trumps face grinning through the TV. I nearly surrendered to the fact that humanity is in the midst of a self destruct phase. Then I heard Captain Picard’s voice calmly speaking. img_1226

That’s when I remembered that doing nothing isn’t an option. So I rewatched The Drumhead and in my angry, defeated mindset, Picard reminded me to keep fighting the cause.

You’ll recall a Klingon exchange officer is accused of smuggling information to the Romulans but denies causing an explosion in engineering. This leads to an investigation into the crew which reveals a young officer lied about his Romulan heritage when applying to Starfleet. The Drumhead is one of Star Trek’s finest hour. But Picard’s words to Worf chime true at anytime and during any political climate.

This was the moment for me I realised that Star Trek isn’t just a ‘utopian vision’. It’s a working political model. It is continually tested and challenged. This is where Star Trek can give us hope during these times.

So whether you’re feeling sorry for yourself and the frightening shift away from liberalism, freedom and common sense, Or if you’re conservative and believe in devolving power to the lowest possible level, Here’s five lessons we can take away from the TNG episode The Drumhead. Let me know what you think. Are there any you’d add?

  1. Constantly reevaluate your own beliefs and hold them to account.

I have put this first as I believe it is the most important and key to our development and growth as a person.  Picard does this early on in the episode when talking to Admiral Satie. She wants to begin the investigation by limiting Tarses movements based on her Betazoid assistant’s intuition (that Tarses is hiding something). She makes excellent points. She speaks calmly, she’s intelligent and her argument has plenty of merit. You can see Picard considering carefully. When she asks if Picard would act on similar advice from Counsellor Troi, he acknowledges the hypocrisy of his stance and resolves to correct it instead of making excuses for himself. I’ve rarely ever seen a politician .. or person admit this during a confrontation.

2. Let your logic and emotions work together in harmony.

There’s a reason why that guy in your office, who claims ‘he identifies mosts with Vulcans’ because he ‘doesn’t let emotions get in his way’ – is a complete Jerk. This is because unlike Vulcans, he has not completed the Kolinahr and he doesn’t follow the teachings of Surak. When human beings try to suppress their emotions, things go bad. This is where Picard excels and Admiral Satie fails. Picard can sometimes seem cold when in fact he is always congruent with his emotions. Perhaps this is why they don’t always come bursting out (unlike that guy in your office!). He is quick to notice his gut feeling and tells Worf “This doesn’t feel right”.

Admiral Satie on the otherhand seems very ‘in control’ of her emotions, which in our culture is applauded. She is quick to loose control though when her buttons are pushed. There are similarities to Trump here. They both are capable of provoking intense feelings in others – particularly fear. However when Picard used Satie’s fathers words against her and when Alec Baldwin, Cher and every media outlet used Trumps words against him, their fragile inner emotional state can’t cope.

3. Everyone believes they are the goodies and doing what’s best.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that no matter how awful or misguided someone’s beliefs are, Everyone thinks they are doing what’s ‘best’ or ‘necessary’ despite the actual outcome. The same is true with Picard and Satie. In fact they have much more in common than not. They both want the truth, they both want to protect the values of the Federation.

I often had to remind myself of that when I was working with (what I now consider) moderate opposition parties. The difference is in the policy and how you will achieve the goal. Satie believes that the overarching importance is “protection of the Federation” – and any measure however unsavoury is worthwhile for the great of good. However Picard sees the rights of the individual as sovereign. That by protecting the one, you are upholding the values of the Federation which you seek to protect. We see Picard implement a person centred policy many times, e.g. Measure of a Man, The Offspring, Insurrection.

On a side note, I once considered taking an action that was morally questionable but for a good cause. I watched the DS9 episode “In the pale moonlight” where Sisko brings the Romulans into the war. After watching that episode I was convinced it was the necessary thing to do. But after weeks of considering it I thought to myself “Would Picard have done that?”. I thought of the Drumhead and realised that Picard would have found another way. For me and my conundrum, it wasn’t the ‘right’ thing to do.

4. Step up to your duty.

Whether you’re a voter, party member or president-elect. We all have a role and responsibility.

When Picard sees that Tarses will need legal representation he calls on Commander Riker who steps up to protect Tarses without hesitation. When it is suddenly revealed that he is part Romulan, the audience gasps and we’re all thinking he is guilty as hell. Riker may have reacted with a presumption of innocence and jumped to Simons rescue. Or he felt the same as the audience but knew his duty was to protect Simon. Either way. Classy.

Not only is this a reminder on how to treat others but with lots of big news stories hitting out headlines almost daily it’s vital to continually scrutinise, challenge and determine what is actually important.

5. Lecturing other people about their beliefs rarely changes their mind.

Picard eloquently explains his position to Satie, as does she. As she won’t change her mind, Picard needs to remove her power. He does this by enlightening others. He provides evidence so Admiral Henry from Starfleet Security, the rest of the crew and even Satie’s staff can see her for what she really is.

Hateful words spread fear but silencing them can give their cause credibility, as they claim to be repressed. Picard puts the spotlight on Satie and allows her to reveal the full extent of her fanaticism.  This allows followers like Worf to re-evaluate their own stance. Picard took a person centred approach again as he is aware that change comes from within and given the full facts, a person can make an informed decision. The draw back is that the person receiving that decision changing information generally has to be well balanced, constantly re-evaluate their own beliefs, has harmonised their emotions with their logic and will step up to do their duty. Which is why it worked so much better in 2367 than in 2016.

Shaka … When the walls fell.

 

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 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.

 

#DSTE Day 2

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

 

Day two is off to an amazing start. The event has sold out! We started by greening ourselves up because today we are Orion Slave Girls! … Technically we are Orion officers!

The additional makeup and dressing requirements meant we missed some early panels (that’s the reason, honest!). But nothing was going to keep us away from Wil Wheatons panel!

Wil Wheaton’s Talk

Here’s what happened…

  • This was the first time in 20 years that he had appeared at a UK convention!
  • He spoke with such passion and enthusiasm it was infectious.
  • Defined by the entertainment industry as “he used to be an actor”
  • He loves to write and found he preferred directing
  • In 2000 – started website / blogging and reinvented himself that way
  • He has proved you CAN have a second act in Hollywood
  • Stranger Things will NOT take his call and yet there is a character in S2 that basically IS him
  • He is a great “maker” and says now is the best time for creative people.
  • He is THE most gracious / humble person!!
  • “The Doomsday Machine” is one of his earliest memories of a Sci Fi show being both entertaining and socially accountable
  • “Tapestry” is his absolute favourite episode. Great episode and even better to have a Star Trek actor tell us without being asked!
  • He came up with the particular order of buttons to press to get the ship in to warp speed or into orbit, etc. It made it more real to him!
  • He spoke about voicing the off-screen Romulans in the new Trek – where he said “Captain, if we ignite the red matter”. JJ Abrams pitched the film to him and he was blown away!
  • He likes to play “Where’s Greg” – drinking game in JJ Abrams movies

A request came from audience member to Sing ‘Soft Kitty’ and Wil delivered! 😍

“Stand By Me” is the career high that he will never hit again, but he has learnt to accept that. A lesson learned from episode Tapestry. We however beg to differ. As Vic Fontaine says “the best is yet to come”!

The writers didn’t take advantage of where Wil was at whilst playing Wesley – they got stuck in the character as “an idea” and not as him as a 3D/4D being

The was a huge distance between him and the older actors, he wanted to emulate them

There was a time when the ST community was awful to him, because they didn’t like Wesley, so they didn’t like him. But now he is older he is able to meet fans who are a similar age to him who were inspired and could relate to his character.

We managed to get in a question ourselves. We asked how he deals with internet trolls. To which he replied “block, and shine a light on how stupid they are”!

George Takei

When George takes the stage he has a remarkable presence. He loves the audience and we love him. He describes the conversation he had with Gene Roddenberry when he set out his vision for Star Trek. The bridge crew was to be made up of representatives of all of earth continents. The actors paralleled this demonstrating Infinite diversity in Infinite combinations.

Talking about the origins of “”ohh myyyy” it was a reaction from an interview with Howard Stern when Stern said “someone with a voice that deep must have a big dong!”

George described his scene Excelsior command scene in Star Trek 6. It felt like he was recreating it in front of our eyes! George loved telling us as much as we enjoyed listening which is what makes him an A* guest.

Speaking about his hit Broadway show Allegiance, George reminds us how important it is to constantly fight for our liberty, a message that Star Trek also delivers. He is in talks to bring the show to Londons west end. We’ll be first in line George!

When asked if Star Trek could have gone further with its messages of equality (alluding to issues of sexuality) George responded that he spoke to Gene about raising the issue – the interracial kiss was the lowest rating and caused so much controversy, the network wouldn’t let him address any more controversial topics or they would have kicked him off the air!

So far it’s been an amazing day. The cosplay has been a whole new level!

Next up we are going into the Guinness world record attempt to be the largest gathering of Star Trek characters in one place. Let’s smash it! Then we’ve got our own cosplay panel at 4.55!

Highlight:

Ohh yeah!!

Weird bit: painting each other green -got a bit awkward!

#DSTE – Press conference

**We are live blogging, please excuse any lapses in our grammar, spelling or accuracy.**
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. Press conferences at Star Trek conventions are weird! Their primary function is to give major press outlets access to Star Trek’s finest so they write about the event and get extra people through the doors.

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They are similar to panels but as the questions aren’t from hard core fans it has a totally different feel from the fan orientated questions.

Still, we feel very lucky to attend these. Here’s what happened…

William Shatner is first up talking about social media – Kirk wouldn’t use it.

How he feels young, but not as young as he used too.


About 50 years of Star Trek. There is a magic about Star Trek. He then even said that he saw an interview this morning with “these girls” (pointing to us in the first row) and that we said one of the reason we go to conventions is to see our friends and that he had reached the same conclusion in his documentary that fans like to come  together. Yep Shatner quoted the Trekkie Girls at a press conference!

 Marina and Dominic are straight in with the politics! Attributing Star Treks success to its ability to stay relevant.

Armin Shimmerman also spoke eloquently (as always) about the #TrekAgainstTrump campaign furthering the point about how necessary star treks message remains today.

Most questions of the press conference were about the longevity of Star Trek Alice Krige made a very poignant point that ‘Star Trek reruns are to remind us to keep working towards a perfect world”.

George Takei and Walter Koenig were entertaining and spoke about how they are fortunate to still be working, leaning and perfecting their craft.


  
  
  
  

One week until #DSTE – Schedule available

One week until our favourite every-year-or-two event; Destination Star Trek. The schedule has been released and so begins the mission briefing!

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As you might see we have a couple of panels ourselves. Which we have began frantically preparing for! Please remember the details can change at anytime!

Cosplay panel – We have been asked to host a panel on cosplaying and we are delighted to do! We don’t claim to be expert cosplayers ourselves but we do dress up at conventions and are fascinated by the phenomenon.

We have invited some of our friends as panelists. Misty Chance, the Trekkie Drag queen and Cosplay legend. If you have been to any of the DST’s or the recent Star Trek Las Vegas convention you would have seen her sporting one of her many pro costumes including the Intendant, Seven of Nine, T’Pol, Queen Aracnia and Lwaxana Troi. Looking at her twitter feed she has a real treat for us next weekend!

Lets hope she gets a kiss from William Shatner!

Trek Talks: A Pop Culture Icon

In this panel we will be looking at the long standing relationship between Star Trek and cosplaying, the chance to ask questions and share your knowledge. And how Star Trek should be taking cosplay serious as it ventures forth with its new series.

The panel is right after the World Record attempt (yep that’s happening!) so hopefully we’ll have plenty of people in the mood for dress up!

When: 16.50 Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th 09.40

Where: Excelsior Stage.

Trek Talks – a Pop Culture Icon

We have been asked by DST to host a panels focusing on the pop icon status Star Trek has received and the effect it has had on our  culture.

From TV references to techno local advances, Star Trek has permeated all sectors of modern culture. Long may it live!

When:14.55 Sunday 9th

Where: Excelsior stage

Other than panels we’ll be live reporting, blogging and periscoping from the show… and fan-girling over Wil Wheaton obviously!  If you see us please say hi!