Vulcan Stev's Database

It's a BLOG Captain, but not as we know it.

Tattoos are not leading me down a path paved with good intentions

Recently, I’ve been thinking about getting a tattoo.  I realize that getting a permanent scar is not everyone’s cup of tea.  I also understand that some might have moral or aesthetic objections to tattoos.  However, this posting is not about the moral and/or philosophical implications of getting a permanent body decoration.  It is, rather, a look at why I’m thinking of a tattoo and what I’m thinking of getting.

A tattoo is not something that I lightly contemplate.  I am deathly afraid of needles.  Don’t like ‘em, try to avoid them whenever possible.  See, needles come in two sizes; the 5-inch small needles and the four-foot three-inch diameter large needles.  To say that I don’t like needles is an understatement.  Yes I know, that needles are what a professional tattoo artist uses to ply his trade.  That has always been the deal-breaker for me in the past.

Flash forward to now.  Virginia’s wish was to be cremated and have her ashes scattered on the wind.  We actually used some of her ashes while planting a tree that was a gift from her best friend.  For this reason, there is no memorial, no marker, nothing that says to the world Virginia was here.

I began thinking of what I could do for a memorial.  I still want to donate some of the life insurance to cancer research but I have to finish paying off the bills before I do that.  The P.I.T.s have suggested the Virginia Nibbelink Memorial Entertainment Center (basically a new HD Big Screen TV).  I haven’t ruled that out but I’m not quite sure I want to spend quiet time thinking of my wife while the boys are playing video games.

The thought hit me that I could get a tattoo.  A tattoo with Virginia’s name on it, something that would mean something to me.  What design should I get?  A pink ribbon with her name on it? possibly.  But that’s almost cliché, I wanted something unique.  I thought about getting a tattoo of her RPG character with the pink ribbon, but that seemed to be a tad excessive and would require wa-a-ay too much explanation to the casual observer.

Then it hit me.  I’ll get a tat of a Klingon bat’leth sword with a pink ribbon encircling it.  I’ll put Virginia’s name on the ribbon and underneath her life span.  The sword would symbolize Virginia’s determination to defeat the cancer.  I ran this idea past my kids and was given the thumbs up across the board.

I began to tell family and friends about this idea.  My parents cautioned me on the fact that some folks that I deal with on a daily basis find tattoos offensive and I wouldn’t want to alienate those folks.  After taking everything into account I decided that I’d go ahead and get a tattoo on my arm right where a short-sleeve shirt would cover it.  That way it would a personal thing visible only to family and close friends.

My daughter’s best friend who has been helping the Nibbelink bachelors to survive without killing themselves, loved the idea and gave me $20 as a Father’s Day present.  The bill was inscribed “Tattoo Fund”.

Honored by her simple act of generosity, I posted about her gift on Facebook.  Oh my you’d think I had announced the apocalypse.  No fewer than 13 people chimed in each telling me that it was either a good idea or telling me that I was going to hell for even thinking about getting a tattoo.  One friend who shares similar religious beliefs almost ignited a flame war with his tongue-in-cheek comment (Hank I understood what you meant and we’re cool).  Somebody else in his own unique way directed me to the attached flow-chart to help me make the decision (ironically the flow chart actually indicates that I should get the tattoo).

So here I sit.  I have examined my own personal convictions and beliefs.  I will be getting a discreet tattoo in honor of my wife.

I will post pictures of it when I get it.

I just wanted to let everyone know.

Graphic courtesy of The Daily Weekly

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June 26, 2010 Posted by | Life near an Iowa Cornfield, Memories of Virginia, Mrs. Vulcan Stev's Fight, Vulcan Stev Family Journey | , , , , | 4 Comments

The View from My Chair: Klingon Ridges and continuity

My Buddy Berin Kinsman recently had a question about Klingon head ridges.  For the uninitiated, in the original series Klingons had no head ridges.  Star Trek: The Motion Picture showed minor head ridges on the Klingons.  The Klingon make-up evolved throughout the movies and TNG until we have the bumpy heads we’re familiar with today.

The real world reason for this apparent discrepancy is the fact that budgets for make-up during the original series run was miniscule.  Make-up budgets for the movies was a lot higher.  Make-up techniques and budgets had improved enough by the 1980’s that a weekly TV show could afford what a cash-strapped TV show in 60’s could not.  When a TV show as long-lived and as successful as Star Trek is internally inconsistent it can drive fans of the show just a tick crazy.

Trekkers have often wondered about the visual discrepancy between Klingons as depicted in the 60s, the 70s, and the 80s as these differences were never addressed on-screen.  Theories abounded that there were two main races of Klingons, bumpy and non-bumpy headed.  Other theories stated that Klingons had themselves surgically altered themselves so they could better infiltrate the dominate facial structure found in the Alpha Quadrant.  Gene Roddenberry himself stated that Klingons “always” had head bumps, it was just the there wasn’t enough resolution in the cameras of the 1960s to capture the details.

Roddenberry’s theory seemed to be borne out in the Deep Space Nine episode “Blood Oath”.  In this episode the three main Klingons from the original series; Kang, Kor, and Koloth (Kor is shown above in bumps and no bumps) show up on DS9 in full modern Klingon makeup.  The theory of there being two different races of Klingons was shot down with this episode giving the edge to Roddenberry’s explanation.

The producers of DS9 thought about keeping the actors in the makeup they used in TOS but decided not to so as not to “confuse the audience”.  Micheal Ansara (Kang) asked why his (and the others) makeup was different then it had been in the 60s.  He was told that Klingons were very long-lived and the head ridges were a natural part of the Klingon aging process.  Nice theory, except that Worf’s son, Alexander was shown with ridges.

Up until this point there was nothing that required a convoluted explanation.  Roddenberry’s theory is still the best.

Now, in the name of showing something cool, Star Trek producers start digging a hole for themselves regarding the Klingon ridges.  In honor of Trek’s 30th Anniversary, Deep Space Nine decides to visit the classic episode, ‘The Trouble with Tribbles’.  ‘Trials and Tribble-ations’ sends the crew of DS9 back in time to the actual events of the classic episodes.  Was this cool?  Yes.  Did I enjoy the episode? Yes.  Did it complicate matters for the Klingon ridges?  Yes.

O’Brien, Bashir, Worf, and Odo are sitting in the bar looking at all the Klingons.  The waitress mentions the Klingons.  Odo, Bashir and O’Brien ask, “What Klingons?” and then look at Worf.  Worf explains that Klingons do not talk about the changes in appearance from the 23rd to the 24th century.  Roddenberry’s theory of camera resolution is dealt a fatal blow as the characters themselves bring up the difference in appearance.

OK what we are now left with (if we are assuming that the Trek universe is internally consistent) is a single genetic appearance for Klingons.  This single appearance changed at some point between 2268 (Trouble with Tribbles) and 2273 (ST:TMP).  Worf states that the Klingons hunted down and eradicated the tribbles as a species.  Tribbles do not like Klingons.   Worf emphasizes that Klingons considered tribbles an ecological menace.  Could the Klingon ridges be the result of a genetic mutation caused by Scotty’s disposal of the tribbles to the Klingon ship at the end of the episode?  Speculation across the internet at the time favored this theory.  The theory fit the facts as known at the time.  Fans were happy.

Once again, continuity raised its ugly head.

Star Trek Enterprise bursts into millions of homes.  The setting is the 22nd century.  The first image we see is a bumpy headed Klingon running through a cornfield in Broken Bow, Oklahoma.  “What th****?” millions of Trek fans ask.  Why does the Klingon have bumps?  Braga, the man who hates continuity and Trek fans, and doesn’t give rats patoot about maintaining an internal consistency mandates that Klingons on Enterprise will HAVE bumps.  Why? because he assumes the audience will be confused by smooth headed Klingons.

The theory that Klingons got the bumps from Tribbles has now been discredited.  What the producers (ie Devil-man Braga) have forced on the fanbase is a race of aliens with a single defining characteristic.  This characteristic is lost at some point before 2268 and it starts to re-emerge in the early 2270s.  Braga wasn’t going to debase himself to those he despised and explain it.  He left it to someone else to clean up his convoluted mess.  When Manny Coto took Enterprise’s reins during season four we finally got an explanation.  It took an episode arc that tied the whole business into the eugenics wars.
Something that could have been explained away easily got convoluted because the producers A: thought the audience was not smart enough to handle the differences and B: some producers didn’t care about the continuity.

What does this mean?  If you’re going to produce a continuity heavy TV show, never assume your audience is stupid.  Also if you’re going to be the executive producer of said series, don’t hire a day-to-day producer that despises your fanbase.

As my fellow Klingons would probably say, “Continuity, pfah.  Let us do battle.”

April 30, 2010 Posted by | Star Trek, Vulcan Stev | , , , , | 12 Comments

Ask Me Anything: Snippets from my Formspring.me page

I’m enjoying this little website.  It’s like Twitter but less demanding.  It doesn’t require you to sign up for anything to ask me a question.  Just click here and go Ask Me Anything

Q. Hollywood is giving away classic film and television automobiles. Which one do you claim as yours for everyday driving?
A. Just one? I’ll take Ecto 1.

Q. Imagine, if you will, you’re in a dimension not of sight, or of sound, but of mind…what do you look like?
A. Brilliant neon green. A pulsating orb of energy.


Q. How are y’all today?
A. Still numb.

Q. Do you have an accent (as reckoned by your friends and co-workers)? What kind?
A. Nope. Midwesterners are pretty accent free (until we travel to other parts of the country).


Q. Would you rather be right, or be happy? No weaseling by claiming they are always compatible, please.
A. I’d rather be right. But I’m not going to fight someone over it. I’ll let them wallow in their ignorance.


Q. What do you sleep in?
A. in bed with my wife.

Q. Why where there no sheets on the bed in TOS?
A. Sophisticated room sensors provide maximum comfort without needing to drape the body.

Q. Would you rather be really hot or really cold?
A. Cold. You can always add another blanket or layer of clothes. There’s a limit to how much you can strip off.

Q. What is the RPG or RPG product you where most disappointed by?
A.The Car Warriors comic book series produced by Marvel Comics about the Car Wars line.


Q. All-time favorite screen villain?
A. Colonel Stuart from Die Hard 2.


Q. Banjo or bagpipes?
A. How about Banjopipes.


Q. Borg or Klingon?
A. As to which would I rather be? Klingon. Most fearsome threat? Borg


Q. If you roleplay, do you speak in character? Do you use funny voices?
A. Absolutely. Among my other talents, I’m a puppeteer. Funny voices come second nature to me.


Q. What is your all-time most favored character that you have played in an RPG?
A. A Gnome Cleric by the name of Nevets Belin.


Q. What’s the best place near you to get a drink?
A. The Boss’ fridge.


Q. What’s your favorite sport?
A. NASCAR


Q.  Are you a gamer? I mean an old school one, none of these newfangled computer things.
A. My interest in computer games ended when the old Atari 2600 joystick became obsolete. Yes I am an old-school gamer.


Q. Flight or super-speed?
A. Flight. Do you know how much money I’d save on gas for the morning commute?


Q. Super-strength or Super-speed?
A. As long as it was controllable, Super-speed


 

Q. Revenge is a dish best served _____?
A. Cold. It is very cold in space. (ancient Klingon proverb)

Q. What is your favorite cartoon character?
A. Bugs Bunny

Q. What did you eat for breakfast today?
A. Waffles made by the best cook in the world (as attested to by my growing waistline).


A. Do you dwell on things or let them go?
Q. Unfortunately I dwell on things. It took me nearly 17 years to pick up a pencil again after an off-hand comment by an Art Teacher in high school.


Q. What’s your favorite type of character to play (or read about if you don’t play RPGs)?
A. I like Gnomes and I like Elves.


Q. Have you ever written fiction not as a school assignment? Longer than a short story? Published it yourself? Been published by somebody else? Made a living at it?
A. Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, and No. I’ve written the adventures of Stev the Vulcan for the better part of 20 years. Older stories were published by the club I joined at the beginning. I’ve re-published some of these over at Fan Fiction.net


Q. If you could change the ending of one movie, which one and how?
A. Just one? Right now I’ve plenty of bad movies running through my head and not one of the stands out as being repairable by changing the ending. You have given me an idea for Database post.


Q. What do all your friends love that you just don’t get?
A. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia


Q. Do you have any fantasy jobs? (Like a dream job, except you know you’d hate the non-idealized real-life version of it.)
A. Actually being able to support the family with my puppeteering.


Q. Suppose you lived in an ideal world, with no war, crime, poverty, disease, etc. Would your current job still exist?
A. I’m an ad man for a local paper. No poverty? My job would probably be more in demand.

Q. “X, why did it have to be X?” For you, what is X?
A. Needles… brrrr

Q. “What is best in life?” If I’m following you, you probably know Conan’s answer. What is yours?
A. My wife’s cooking, as evidenced by my larger waistline after I married her.


Q. What fictional universe would you most want to live in?
A. Star trek universe. I’ll be in Montana in 2063 anyone care to join me?

Q. If you could have lunch with any one in the world who would it be and why?
A. Weird Al Yankovich, I’ve always had an affinity for his music, fashion sense, and rather bizarre outlook. The way his character ran Channel 62 (UHF) would be awfully similar to the type of shows I’d come with.

Q. What was your favorite Robert Culp role?
A. Demon with a Glass Hand from the Outer Limits


Q. If you could have a sexual and/or romantic encounter with a fictional character who would it be?
A. Dream dates? Discretion, not to mention my wife (whom I love desperately) require me to abstain on this answer.

Q. What one book do you think everybody reading this should read?
A. Whether you believe it or not, The Bible, at least once. It was a very important book to our founding fathers. It is revered as Holy by the three top religions of this planet.

Q. Who should I follow on Formspring?
A. Besides me? VulcanStev – cleireac, Canageek, trollgodfather, UncleDark, BerinKinsman, CydoniaRaven, geweller, WyattSalazar, NewbieDM, cartoonlad, Voyage2k, Viriatha, StargazersWorld, drcheckmate, nevermetpress

Q. What one thing would you tell your younger self if you could?
A. Wait until I was sure what I wanted to do with my life before going to college.

Q. Have you broken any bones? If so, how?
A. I broke the bones in one of my toes. I kicked an exposed water pipe full force.

Q. If you suddenly inherited an Ice Cream parlor, which flavor would you be constantly out of, because you’re dipping into the stock?
A. Cookies -n- Cream

April 12, 2010 Posted by | Life near an Iowa Cornfield, Star Trek, Vulcan Stev | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Life near an Iowa Cornfield 2-16-10 (Random Thoughts and Updates)

Short version: Modem troubles continue.  (I know it’s not technically a modem but it’s still giving me fits) Long version: It’s hard to keep updates coming when the router goes down after two hours.  It’s also hard to write updates when one is addicted to Farmville on Facebook

According to the INA (Iowa Newspaper Association) I am the 2nd best Ad Designer out of 22 in the entire state of Iowa for my class of my paper.  Considering that I wasn’t expecting an award in that category at all, I’ll take it.  One of my ads placed first and if I had access to it at home (maybe I can upload during lunch tomorrow…), I’d show you.

I’m still planning on uploading my Stev stories to this blog.  I am not done with the character at all, in fact my writing partner has approved the move.  We both felt very constrained by the writing club we were working with.  It all came down to “This is MY club and MY rules.  If you don’t like it leave.”  So I left.

I have found a Trek club I belonged to a while back.  They have welcomed me back with open arms.  The Klingon Strike Force is a good club and their website is topnotch.  Look for Chris DeHart if you stop by.

One Way Express is booked for this summer’s Central Iowa Fair.  After our fill-in job last year, the talent committee sought us out.  Goober is looking forward to bringing his unique sense of humor back to Marshalltown.

We’re still playing D&D at the Core (4th ed.) on alternating Saturdays.  As much as I enjoy 4e I cannot call it RP, it is definitely hack and slash.  I won’t reopen the dead debate on the game.  It is what it is.

 However, our gaming group has taken up TSR’s Top Secret.  I’m enjoying the game.  My character is an uber-hacker.  I’d tell you his name but he gives it out to no one.  The other players refer to him as “Techie”

There haven’t been many movie reviews posted here a the family has seriously cut back on the number of DVDs we buy and the number of movies we see in the theater (yes even though we have a dollar theater in town).  Though we did go see Sherlock Holmes and that review is in first draft.

Pvt Black Spartan graduates April 1.  I told her that is not a good omen.  She asked why.  I told her that going into Army Intel on April Fool’s Day didn’t seem like a good idea to me.

We’ve still got more snow on the ground than I care to admit.  According to Mr. Groundhog we’ve still got four weeks of winter… I want to know where Mr. Groundhog studied meteorology.

February 17, 2010 Posted by | Life near an Iowa Cornfield | , , , , , , | Leave a comment