Nerd Post!

The following is a sample article I was asked to write for an entertainment site. Wanted to share her for my many (zero) readers! 

 

Things you didn’t know about Star Trek 

In just a few weeks CBS will be debuting a new Star Trek television series, fifty-one years after the original Enterprise crew set out to discover new worlds and civilizations. Having it’s debut on a subscription-only service to a large and loyal fan base seems exploitive, but who knows? The TV landscape is changing so rapidly, maybe it’s a good business bet for CBS. Only till tell. What time HAS already told us, is that Star Trek is awesome. Yeah, it’s got space travel, adventure, babes and aliens but here a few things you may not have noticed about Star Trek that make is one of best and most important shows in TV history. 

Kirk is a feminist. 

Even in the 24th century patriarchal behaviors and ideas still permeate throughout the universe. Clearly the struggle ahead of us is a long one, but at least we’ve got a powerful alley with the Captain of the USS Enterprise. In just it’s second episode aired, Charlie X, Kirk fights toxic masculinity and the patriarchal conventions that plague a seventeen year-old boy, named Charlie. Rescued from a barren planet he’s inhabited alone since he was three, Charlie has a culture shock when he encounters fellow humans again. 

Charlie meets the beautiful yeoman Janice and, having never seen a girl before, immediately becomes infatuated. He follows her, makes inappropriate advances, says gross things like, "When I see you, I feel like I'm hungry all over. Hungry. Do you know how that feels?" and he even tries to force himself on her. Not cool. 

Kirk can’t let this aggression stand. He explains to Charlie how his treatment of women is so wrong. You can’t just go around chasing women you like and then force yourself on them if they don’t like you. Kirk tells Charlie, “It’s not a one way street ya know, how you feel and that’s all. Think of how the girls feels. Don’t press.”  In just a few sentences, Kirk sums up the main problem some young boys and men face, the inability to empathize and see from the perspective of the female of the species. And, if any one knows how to treat women, it’s intergalactic charmer James T. Kirk.

Charlie obviously doesn’t listen and acts again on his lustful base impulses.  Well, Kirk is forced to destroy the threat to protect the women and men of his crew. Proving that he’s an anti-patriarchy ally and puts his money where his mouth is. 

It made movie stars. 

I’m not just talking about Shatner and Nimoy going on to be famous, but the guest stars that would eventually be big screen actors. 

In the first broadcast episode “Where No Man has Gone Before” crewman Gary Mitchel is taken over by an alien entity, giving him superpowers that he uses to try and destroy the Enterprise. Gary Lockwood would lend his talents as the possessed crewman, two years before the world would see him in space again as Dr. Frank Poole in Stanley Kubrick opus, 2001: A Space Odyssey 

I’ll just skip over Ricardo Montalban as Kahn, because we all know that story. But did you know Hollywood dynasty and English Dame, Joan Collins was Kirk’s love interest in one of the most acclaimed episode, City on the Edge of Forever? Well, that’s why I’m here, to inform you of these things you didn’t know you needed to know. She plays Edith Keeler who runs a soup kitchen in depression-era America. The tragic twist is she must die for history to stay on its destined course. Kirk wished he could save her, but doing so would cause everything and everyone he knows to never exist at all. Quite the heart-breaking predicament. 

My favorite of all the Star Trek guest stars is Clint Howard as an alien captain making first-contact with the Enterprise. Who’s Clint Howard you ask? You’ve seen him before, I know it. He’s Director Ron Howard’s brother, and has been in almost all of his films, including the Oscar-winning Apollo 13. So many space movies! The seven year-old Howard played an alien who’s voice was dubbed over with an adult male’s, giving a creepy affect to the already kinda-creepy Howard. 

It basically invented the iPad.

Whenever Capt. Kirk and subsequently Picard, Janeway, etc. receive reports and information from a subordinate officer, most of them come on a tablet. 

The portable tablet with its ‘stylist’ is integral to the running of the ship’s engine and transference of information and reports. Just like today! How could they have known? It begs the question, were those writing and creating the show able to see into the future or were they themselves, aliens?

Or maybe just Steve Jobs was a Trekkie. 

Kirk punches Nazis! 

I hate to get political again, but it’s nearly impossible within our current world. 

In the episode Patterns of Force, Kirk and Spock discover a planet that has misinterpreted Earth history and formed their society in the model of the third reich. The planet’s ruling party has subjugated a subset of its population and is systematically destroying them. Yikes! Obviously, Kirk can’t let this continue. 

Spock, Bones and Kirk beam down, beat up some fascist, Nazi pigs and liberate the planet from the autocratic dictatorship. The good fight always needs to be fought and again, Kirk is a hero for personal liberty throughout the galaxy. 

It was pretty avant-garde with its filming techniques. 

If you watch as much Star Trek as I do, which would be too much, you’ll begin to notice a few things; Women are always in soft focus, Spock has a strange smoldering, sexy-scientist vibe, and if there is a fight, Kirk’s shirt is most likely coming off. 

But if you look closer than what’s on the surface of Trek and dive into the deeper aspects a TV show over fifty years old, you’ll see that they were ahead of their time, not just thematically, but technically as well. 

Whether it’s utilizing French New Waves kinetic camera moves, Hitchcockian dutch angles or long tracking shots, Trek brought cinema quality lighting and film-making to the small screen. 

In the episode Shore Leave, the Enterprise crew takes some much needed R&R on a remote pleasure planet. While exploring Kirk hears the death cry of an injured crew-mate. Kirk runs to the rescue, initiating a long tracking shot that pre-dates the steadicam by over a decade! It’s a little shaky but when you think about it, the only camera movements before this time were smooth dolly shots in a controlled studio. Trek again, boldly going where no TV show has gone before. 

Oh! And did I mention Star Trek had the first inter-racial kiss ever broadcast on a TV show. Yeah… think about that. Will the new show push boundaries? One can only hope. 

 

In Defense of "The President"

A few weeks ago I marched in solidarity with millions around America and the world in support of women and in defiance of our newly sworn in President: Donald J. Trump. A joke of a human and B-list celebrity con man who’s been exalted to the highest office in the land. He’s a swine, idiot, misogynist and (probable) criminal. And now he’s The President of the United States.

So when I heard chants of “Not my President” becoming the rhythmic cry of our procession to City Hall, I thought to myself, “but… he is your president.” If you see him as legitimate or not, the fact remains, he sits in the chair and has the launch codes. We are living under the administration of President Donald J. Trump. And it’s bigly sad.

He sucks, no question about it. The man deserves no respect but currently he is more than the man, he’s the President and that office deserves respect, even though he disrespects it daily. And I hear you when you say, “He was the man who disrespected the office of President Obama by calling him illegitimate and demanding his birth certificate.” Yes, that’s true, but do we really want to stoop down to his level?

Terrible, inept, reprehensible, honorable, patriotic and inspiring people have held the office of the Presidency, and we as a nation have withstood. Can we withstand President Trump? I think so… but not for long. We must fight, we must resist, we must protest, but we must not disregard the office itself. When the people become apathetic to its leaders and their position, we falter. President Trump embodies this very idea when he refers to jurists of the federal court as “so-called judges.” His apathy towards facts that don’t align with his distorted reality endangers our country and we must call him out for these blatant lies. We, as the resistance, must not embody the same distortion of reality that our President exhibits.

When his emissary Stephen Miller goes on air and states that President’s power “must not be questioned” we must see that for what it is, a conflagration of norms and the esteem of the republic, and an illustration of this administration’s abhorrent regard for unity. We can be united under this President in a resistance to him and his polices, not disbelief towards his elected position.

The populous of this country should never be content with their leaders. We should be always putting pressure on them to enact better laws, fight injustice and protect the American ideals put forth when we started what Washington called, “the last great experiment for promoting human happiness.” 

Most of American’s are unhappy. I’m unhappy, but I don’t refuse to accept that Donald Trump is President. He is President. My President and your President. That fact angers me, but I’m going to turn that anger into action, resistance and defiance any way I can.  Each day brings new challenges as we work to form this “more perfect union.” Though we may be stepping backwards under President Trump, we can’t forget that we have established the office of Presidency under the guise of mutual respect between the people and the office. He disregards that respect, we must not. 

 

Before I Leave

Let me first start off by saying that I think blogs are dumb. But here I am, writing a blog. It seems natural as a writer to have a section of my website devoted to transitory ramblings and momentary thoughts. Here goes... 

It’s 2am… and what better time is there for the first blog entry on this newly redesigned website of mine. In ten hours I’ll be on a flight to Iceland, where I’ll be starting a two month sojourn through Europe. The excitement you think I must be felling is present but has been overshadowed by trepidation. I know I’m going to have the time of my life hopping around aimlessly on a continent half way across the Earth. But it’s the idea that the next two months of my life are completely open is what seems to have given me pause. As of right now, I have no job, no girlfriend, no obligations and no direction… except east. 

What I do have, is a loose plan, a backpack and a notebook with empty pages. I start my journey in Iceland, a place where summer sunlight stretches on into a twilight that melts into the tomorrow. I’ll be there at a time where the northern lights will not be visible - and more’s the pity, for witnessing the Aurora Borealis has been on my bucket list for some time. 

After only a few days in Iceland, I jump over to the Emerald Isle, where I’ll be meeting with some of my dearest friends in all the world. I plan to make camp in Dublin for a few weeks and slow myself down, letting the temperament of the city and people take over. I want to dig deep into the history and culture of Ireland and have plans of finding a new screen story to tell… if inspiration hits. 

The past few months found me in the depths of depression, writing a movie about death, revenge, projections of love and the search for purpose in an unkind world…. I know… so melodramatic! But hey, it was a good story and one that I needed to tell. Now my mind is free again. Free to wonder, to dream, to ponder the great mysteries of life, to engage in complex thought, thoughts that will inevitably be destroyed by all the alcohol I’ll be consuming at the pubs! 

The next leg of my trip will be in Romania. A country that I know very little about. Except that it’s full of castles, mountains, intense roads and beautiful women.  All of which I look forward to seeing. 

That’s only the first month of my trip. After that, I got nothing. Not even a loose plan. Maybe Budapest? Denmark? London? I don't know!

I don’t even know what I’m looking for with this trip, just that I’m looking. The past five years of my life have been pretty tumultuous. I witness the slow death that cancer bestowed on my mother, then was punched in the gut three years later with the sudden death of my father and when all was lost to me but darkness and dread, my brother and his wife had to go and have a beautiful set of twins to make me realize that there is some good in this world. 

A general feeling of being untethered has consumed me. Though I've been stationary in Los Angeles, I still feel adrift. So I guess it's only natural that I take that feeling out of my mind and make it my physical life. What better way to confront your fears than to just live in them? 

Ahh fuck... I went and got all dark. Dammit! Sorry. It’s a byproduct of a broken heart and dead parents. I promise I’ll try to be more fun with this blog. That’s what this trip is for. FUN! I know once I touch down in Iceland I’ll be having the time of my life. And you will be able to read all about it on this blog.* 

Well I’m off to bed. I’ve put off sleep long enough. 

Cheers! 

 

 

* I don't actually expect anyone to read this blog.