Vulcan Stev's Database

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

Star Trek didn’t need a Reboot.

treklogo1If you haven’t guessed by now, I am a Trekker.  I have been a fan of Star Trek since Star Trek: The Motion Picture hit theaters in 1979.  I have faithfully watched every hour of the original series in re-runs.  I eagerly waited in line at the theater for each new movie.  I went from casual fan to full-blown, costume-owning, Trekkie when The Next Generation premiered.  I can honestly say that with the exception of the special edition version of the original series and the new J.J. Abrams flick, I have seen EVERY hour of EVERY Star Trek at least twice.

PIT #1 has grown up watching “Tar Tek” with her Daddy.  She is now a graduating senior and considers herself a third generation Trekker.  We cringed along with the rest of Trekdom when it was announced that Brannon Braga was being given the reigns of Enterprise.  We shuddered when season three of that series spent the entire season plodding through the expanse.  We cursed Paramount for their stupidity in releasing Nemesis the same week as Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (oh yeah there’s a good idea).  We pined as we watched our beloved franchise dwindle because of recent poor creative and marketing decisions.

What do we like most about Star Trek?  We like the fact that after 40 years the franchise is internally consistent (if you ignore Brannon Braga).  We like the fact that the series requires thought, it’s is science fiction for people willing to think (an trait that is becoming increasingly scarce or so it seems).

That said, Paramount decided that due to the “failure” of Enterprise and the poor box office showing of Nemesis that the public was tired of Star Trek and the series was in need of a reboot.   I believe this notion to be in error as the last few years of Star Trek do NOT invalidate the previous 30.  Fans didn’t abandon Star Trek, Paramount abandoned its fans.

Why was Enterprise a “failure”?  The premiere episode drew in spectacular ratings.  I had to stay up until midnight to watch it as we STILL don’t have UPN (now CW) affiliate in the area.  Veiwership fell off considerably during the first season and continued to drop over the run of the series until UPN decided to cancel the show after season three.  Paramount made a deal with their own network to keep Enterprise on the air for one more year to have enough episodes for syndication.  Why did legions of Trekkers abandon the series?  Was it the cast? no Scott Bakula was marvelous in the role of Captain Archer.  The rest of the cast was equally talented.  Enterprise failed because Brannon Braga ignored continuity and gave us the Temporal Cold War and an entire season of battling the Xindii.  Fans wanted to see the first foray of humans into space.  We wanted to see how the bond between Earth and Vulcan formed.  We got almost none of that.  It is my personal belief that if Berman had fired Braga after season one and done season four as season two, Enterprise would still be on the air.

Why did Nemesis have a poor box office?  Was it the fact that Data died? no.  ‘The Wrath of Kahn killed off Spock and is still the favorite Trek movie on many lists.  Was it a bad story? again no.  I honestly prefer Nemesis over Generations and Insurrection.  Nemesis opened the same week as Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.  I wish I had a buck for everyone who wanted to see both movies and opted for LotR, thinking they’d get the chance to see Nemesis the following week.  Most of those folks never got the chance to see Nemesis.  Our local theater pulled Nemesis after that first week, ironically to make room for a second showing of LotR..

Neither of these “failures” warranted a complete reboot of the franchise.  It’s like deciding to dynamite your house because the second bathroom is broke and the painters screwed up the paint job on the spare bedroom.  The franchise needed to do something without Braga and needed to have someone with savvier marketing skills onboard.

What we apparently got was Abrams dynamiting the house and rebuilding from the leftover pieces.  At this writing I have not yet seen the new Trek movie.  I will be seeing it, but I have had trouble with calling it Star Trek.  Not because I’m some groganard fanboy who can’t accept change but because I still don’t believe the franchise needed to be re-envisioned.  Last night on Twitter I vented.  I’ve come to terms with how I’m going to go see this movie.

Is it Star Trek?  Yes, Paramount has decreed it so.  Is it my Star Trek?  Unknown, I’ll figure that out after I watch it.  I do know that in my mind, Abrams’ version is the Trek equivalent of DC Comics Earth 2.  That’s how I’ll be watching the movie.  Star Trek has already established “cannon” alternate universes.  Classic Trek, TNG, DS9, VOY, and even ENT all take place in Universe 1.   Abrams’ Trek is Universe 2.  There now I’ve gotten that off my chest.

May 9, 2009 Posted by | Movie Reviews, Science Fiction, Star Trek | , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Life near an Iowa cornfield: special crappy edition

The first bit is a good news/bad news scenario.  I’ve been so busy at work that I no longer have room inside the building to store inventory.  I run a reverse business where I buy my product from random walk-in traffic.  I then turn around and sell that product to six main customers.

Saturday I had enough stuff come in the door that I didn’t have enough time to sort everything.  Today while I was sorting Saturday’s overrun I had twice that amount come in the door.  My profit margin is so slim that I cannot afford to hire help at the prevailing minimum wage as I would lose money for every hour worked.  I’ve been dealing with a backlog of unsorted product since January when we learned Mrs. VS has cancer.

Today I hastily unloaded the van and can trailer so I could go make my bar run to Eldora.  Winds were out of the south today and really blowing against my trailer.  This is the same trailer that got broke into this winter.  Becasue of the cold temps the repairs to the trailer were designed to be a quick and temporary fix that was supposed to be more permanently repaired once the temps warmed and I could stay outside long enough to fix it right.  Plywood was nailed in place over the holes in the chicken wire.

While driving into Eldora the wind caught the plywood and ripped it clean off the side of my trailer.  Now I would be unable to do my complete bar run as the van didn’t have enough space to hold everything.  One of the grocery stores that I service let me root through their scrap lumber to make a temp fix to my temp fix to least allow me to make the complete bar run today.  While I was fixing the trailer my pants split in the seat from crotch to crack.  Natrual air conditioning at 50 degrees is not the warmest sensation.

Enroute home which took twice the normal time as I was driving slow due to the damaged trailer, Mom and I heard from my baby sister.  My nephew has a blood disorder that could be luekemia.

My day peaked this morning when I inadvertantly started the next RPG Bloggers meme.  How was your day?

March 16, 2009 Posted by | Life near an Iowa Cornfield, Little Dutch Can | , , | 7 Comments

RIP Common Sense

I just had to share this with everyone.

From the London Times:

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as: Knowing when to come in out of the rain; Why the early bird gets the Worm; Life isn’t always fair; and Maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason.

He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers: I Know My Rights; I Want It Now; Someone Else Is To Blame; and I’m A Victim

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.

February 27, 2009 Posted by | Life near an Iowa Cornfield | , , , | 1 Comment

Is Patriotism dead?


I’m watching the Bud Shootout with my oldest son.  The pre-race ceremonies just finshed.  It saddened me to see the sheer number of fans, crew, and drivers that did not remove hats, or have their hands over their hearts for the National Anthem.

In fact kudos to Jamie McMurrayand his lovely wife.  They were the only driver/wife combo that FOX aired footage showing proper respect for our national anthem.  I’m sure that there were other drivers showing proper respect for our country, but FOX neglected to air any footage.

I realize that most folks are upset with the recently departed administration, an unpopular war, and the economy in general but is that any reason to show disrespect to Our Flag.  It isn’t just tonight, this is a trend I’ve been watching for some time but this is the first time I have a place to express my disgust for the lack of respect shown to our National Symbols.

Is this something that you’ve noticed in person?  Or is it just the networks who elect to seldom show us those actually paying proper respect?

February 7, 2009 Posted by | Life near an Iowa Cornfield | , , , , , | 29 Comments

I am boycotting Super 8

This piece originally ran at the Dire Cafe, Jan 15.  I’m updating it here. 

I am officially boycotting the Super 8 Motels chain in Sheldon, Iowa.

Some background, earlier this month the PITs, Mrs. VS and I were going to a Tae Kwon Do tournament in Sheldon IA (4 hours away). The original plan was to leave at 4:00am on Sat 10th. By Thursday (8th) evening we were debating about the feasability of getting a hotel room and began calling area hotels.

The Super 8 in Sheldon had a cancelation. Knowing that the possibility of bad weather was in the forecast I asked up front if there would be any problem with canceling due to weather. I was told that as long as I called and cancelled before 5:00, I would be fine. Great, I gave them my credit card number and reserved the room.

Friday (9th) at 3:30 pm freezing rain begins to fall. It is so bad that it is freezing to my windshield and I had to stop three times in two miles to scrape the windshield. I got home and called the hotel at 4:20 and cancelled the room.

This morning I was balancing my credit card account, lo and behold there was a charge from the Super 8 for the hotel room. I called the hotel to find out what was going on.

“Sir there is a 48 hour in advance or you pay cancellation policy”

I was never told that there was 48 hours. If I had been told that I wouldn’t have reserved the room. The nice lady on the phone told me the manager would call me back when he got in.

Heard from the manager at 11:15. After listening to my question and explanation, he sounded like a broken record. “The charge will stand” “The charge will stand.”

He gave me an 800 number to call to resolve the problem. It’s the reservation line for Super 8 Motels. They wanted to give me a free three night vacation to take care of it.

Hello? you want to give me three free nights because I’m refusing to pay for a night that I didn’t stay at your motel. I finally got ahold of customer service. I was informed that I had to call by 4:00 pm to cancel not 5:00 (so sorry that I was 20 mins late because it took me 30 mins to drive home). They are faxing the dispute back to the hotel in question. They now have until Jan 27th to answer the dispute.

Basically I’m calling on everyone to force Super 8 to acknowledge they are at best not giving customers proper information and at worst are willing to charge you for services they didn’t provide.

Addendum to the original post:
As of today, 1-28-2009 Super 8 has rescinded the charge.  I checked with my credit card company and they informed me that Super 8 had refunded the money.  My faith in the chain has been restored.  However my displeasure with the Sheldon affiliate still stands.

January 28, 2009 Posted by | Life near an Iowa Cornfield | , , | 2 Comments