Friday, February 27, 2015

It is a far, far better resting place you go, then you have ever known…

Words fail me.  Today one of my heroes died, and it feels like the passing of a family member too, a beloved uncle.  Leonard Nimoy—actor, director, author, poet, Spock.  Gene Roddenberry called him “the conscience of Star Trek”, and I along with tens of millions of other fans grieve for his family’s loss, and ours.

A few years ago, a friend gave me a copy of Mind Meld, a 2001 documentary of a lengthy conversation between Leonard Nimoy & William Shatner that took place in Leonards’ backyard, dealing mostly with their years on Star Trek and how it impacted and influenced their lives.  As Shatner sputtered and defended his theatrics (both on Star Trek & in real life) and questioned the show’s appeal and others animosities towards him, Leonard sat there listening, offering his own take on things, always kind words but always in earnest. 

He possessed an inner peace and acceptance of things that filled me with a peace as well. 

At the end of the documentary, as Nimoy took Shatner into his home and showed him his collection of Trek memorabilia, Shatner stood there gawking, surprised that Nimoy kept all these things (as was I, quite happily too).  Leonard smiled and put his arm around William Shatner’s shoulders.  He said “Bill, you’re my best friend.”

We should all be so fortunate to have such a friend like you, Leonard.   Goodbye, I’ll love you always. 


Monday, February 9, 2015

This man’s on a mission—to boldly go where no fan has gone before

A couple nights ago, I was browsing through ‘Recommended for you’ videos on the YouTube Channel on my Tivo (gosh, I love that contraption) when I saw this familiar looking image.  My first thought was “another Kirk wannabe, he looks good though.” 

Still, I almost skipped him over—I’ve seen enough of these ‘amateur Star Trek’ videos before, and as much as I admired their efforts, they didn’t do anything for me.  This one though, was about to prove me wrong.

His name is Vic Mignogna and he hails from Greensburg, PA.  (Wow, that’s only 40 miles from here!)  He does a lot of voiceover work for Japanese toons, and he’s probably the greatest Star Trek fan on the planet. 

But he’s more than just a fan—he’s a walking, talking, real-life 1960’s Captain Kirk.  And in 2013, Vic (along with a talented bunch) began churning out new TOS (Star Trek-The Original Series) ‘webisodes’.  Why?  Vic says “Because the show never completed their 5 year mission, NBC canceled the series in it’s third year.” 

So far, they have 3 full episodes completed, with 2 more underway.

(Unlike a ‘real’ television show, with a production crew of 200 and network sponsors, this group makes do with 20 people and whatever funds they can raise online.  A new episode takes months, not a week or so.) 

In Episode 1 ‘Pilgrim of Eternity’, Michael Forest returns as the Roman god Apollo; he was the original actor from Star Trek’s ‘Who Mourns for Adonais’ in 1967 too!

Besides Michael Forest replaying Apollo, Erin Gray (from Buck Rogers) is here as a Starfleet Commodore.  Lou Ferrigno plays an Orion slave trader & even Michael Dorn & Marina Sirtis (Worf & Troi from ‘The Next Generation’) supply the ship’s computer voices! 

Scotty making repairs in a Jeffries tube; that’s not James Doohan but he’s close enough—he’s Chris Doohan, James son!

The attention to detail is nothing short of startling; the Enterprise bridge, sickbay, transporter room, ships corridors & Captain’s quarters have all been painstakingly duplicated, down to the smallest detail.  (They currently have a Kickstarter campaign underway to raise money to build Engineering and some alien planet sets.) 

But it’s even more than all that—from the scripts and backlighting to the angle of the camera shots and even hair and makeup, it’s all meant to make you feel like you’re watching Star Trek in the 1960s again.  Amazing.

To get an idea of what I mean, just watch the FIRST 4 MINUTES of their second episode ‘Lolani’, where an Orion slave-chick gets aboard the Enterprise.

I need to share one more video; in Episode 3’s “Fairest of Them All” (which was just completed a few months ago) the first 2 minutes are an EXACT re-enactment of the final 2 minutes of the 1967 episode “Mirror, Mirror”. 

Now we know what happened on that ‘Evil Enterprise’ after our own Kirk & company made it back to their own universe!  

Besides the three full episodes on YouTube, they also have a slew of other clips online; tours of their sets, ‘making of’ videos, even a celebration or two after completing the episodes. 

More power to ‘em, they’re not making a cent for all their efforts (per their agreement with CBS which owns the Trek franchise). 

Galileo Green Screen

The shuttlecraft used in ‘Fairest of Them All’ was the actual bus-sized prop from the original 1960s series!  It was found rusted and abandoned several years ago, and restored to like-new condition by a fan who loaned it to ‘Star Trek Continues’ for this episode

Okay, now I’ll be the first to admit that nothing (short of clones or 23rd century holograms) could possibly capture the magic of the original series.  There’s just something about the original Star Trek that could never be duplicated.   But doggone it, these guys come pretty damn close!

Star Trek Continues is a labor of love, pure and simple.  And this crew deserves the accolades, and more.

Monday, February 2, 2015

No Cap’n Crunch for you! Just another reason why I miss my work-bag


Earlier today after walking up the street to mail some letters, I thought I’d stop in at my local Rite-Aid to pick up some items.  When I stepped inside, the first thing I saw was a big display of Cap’n Crunch cereal (which always brings a smile to my face) beneath a sign that said the magic words:  BUY ONE GET ONE FREE.

Okay, I know eating this stuff is akin to sitting on my couch with a 5 lb bag of sugar and a spoon, but it’s still my favorite cereal of all time and gosh it’s probably been a couple years since I’ve had a bowl.  I put all thoughts of soap & shampoo aside, and plunked two boxes on the counter.  The woman behind the register put down her sandwich (she’s always eating something) and asked me if there was anything else.  Nope.  She said “I need your Rite-Aid card.”  I said “Eh?”  and she said “I can’t give you the free box without your card.”

I didn’t have it.  She told me to check my wallet—I told her I don’t carry one.  She said “Well, you always come in here with one.” NO LADY I DON’T, that’s my bus-pass holder, and that’s back in my apartment, in my work-bag!  (I didn’t tell her that, I just said thanks & I’d try again later.)  She said “We’ll be here!”  Yeah, I figured as much!

I MISS THAT WORK-BAG.  I mean—I miss having a legitimate reason to carry it around with me.  When I was working, I often did my errands—Hallmark, Rite-Aid, the post office—after leaving the office, before heading home.  So I pretty much went everywhere with that Land’s End bag strapped over my left shoulder.  Now when I walk up the street to my town’s business district, I need to pat myself down to make sure I haven’t forgotten something.   I’m about THISCLOSE to getting a fanny-pack, maybe I’ll make them an “in thing” again and yes I know, they were never an in-thing to begin with.  Annoyed

It always mystified me a little, the reaction I occasionally got in the office from that bag at my desk.  Never from another guy, always from the women.  “You carry this around just for show?” or “your laptop in there?” or “all you need is your keys, why don’t you use your pockets like Steve?” or “I bet you don’t keep any work in there” and once I even heard this:  “So what’s in there anyway, your makeup and tampons?” 

That just reminded me, I’ve yet to empty the thing—I’ve left it by my front door since my final workday a little over a month ago, in case I got called back to active duty or something.   I guess now’s as good a time as any to see what’s in there.

The contents of ApacheDug’s workbag—REVEALED

  1. The actual bag 
  2. Totes umbrella 
  3. Pat Transit schedule (to shake & jab a finger at when the bus was late) 
  4. Work-notes and calculator  (my job was pricing—I did a lot of calculating)
  5. Connect Card (for bus) & hey, no Rite-Aid card!
  6. Kleenex, hand sanitizer, Advil & Halls cough drops 
  7. That’s no bow tie, it’s my clip-on sunglasses in their little bag
  8. Grandpap’s coin-purse (hey, that thing came in handy) 
  9. ABC Movie of the Week Companion (which gives nifty plot synopses for every made-for-tv movie in the 1970s) 
  10. Sony MP3 player 
  11. pens 
  12. gum, breakfast bar & Lil’ Debbie oatmeal cream pie (in case there’s nothing to snack on in the office) 
  13. comb 
  14. earmuffs (my last day of work was only 20 degrees, y’know)

I’d like to say in my defense, I made good use of all this stuff—it’s not like I drove to work like some of my former coworkers, I took the bus & it was a 35-40 minute ride to & from downtown… and that was on a good day!  So compared to some of those other commuters carrying shopping bags, duffel bags & knapsacks, I considered myself a light traveler.  

Oh and by the way… I found that Rite-Aid card.  I had it with me the whole time!