Happy Star Trek Day! 2023

Happy Star Trek Day Everyone!

And yes, of course I am biased in saying that Spock is the greatest character in all of Science Fiction! (Feel free to submit your suggestions below) But one must admit, the character of Spock really was ground-breaking in the world of 1966, and I doubt that Trek would .have become the legend it is today without this amazing, cool, yet sympathetic character that so many people have identified with other the years. The struggle between his half-human/ half Vulcan selves serves as a metaphor for our own divisive experiences in our lives. Yet the calmness in which he solves his problems — never with violence, but with reason, logic, and compassion, is a lesson to us all.

Over and over in Trek canon, we hear of how the Vulcans nearly destroyed themselves with their own passions. These days, the Vulcan essence of IDIC; Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations, seems to be as far away in our current culture as is the earth to the sun. It’s hard to imagine a future where we can all live in peace regardless of race, sex, and indigenous culture in a world where we seem more divided than ever, and living in fear of “The Other” Sadly, I’ve seen the United States and other parts of the world becoming more divisive than ever in my lifetime (I’m 62) . Can mankind ever achieve the Utopian attitudes of the Star Trek world? The answer is in ourselves. Star Trek taught me not to be afraid of ‘the other’, but to embrace and learn from it in common courtesy. The more we learn from each other, the stronger we will be.

What aspects of Star Trek have made you a better person?

Here’s hoping for the brighter world that Star Trek promises. May we never give up hope.

Strange New Worlds: The Musical!

I just finished watching the penultimate episode of season 2 of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, and it was one of the most delightful hours of Star Trek I’ve ever known in its existence. (a few spoilers ahead)

I’ve enjoyed Strange New Worlds since it’s beginning, and this episode Subspace Rhapsody will surely be in my top 25 Treks of all time forever. (I’ll have to write up that list!) I always thought Star Trek would make a great musical, and this was the perfect spin-off series to do it in! The beautiful primary color uniforms have always made for a colorful setting and having this musical episode seemed a natural fit!

I love how ST:SNW had never been afraid to poke fun at itself. And this episode is no exception. When the crew discovers that an experiment with an anomaly is causing the crew to burst out in song, they are all uncomfortably aware that one does not just sing on the Enterprise! (at least not on duty!)

Suffice to say, the results are magical, and each character gets a song of their own. A lot of the cast has had musical theater training and it shows! The Voices!! Kudos to the whole cast, who not only sing but dance too! Just a splendid episode, and even if you don’t do musicals, you can’t help but fall in love with this one! You might even get a couple of good ear worms!

If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the preview:

Of course the only thing that I don’t like about Strange New Worlds is that each season is ONLY ten episodes each. Which has me singing the blues! But at least after next week’s finale, I’ll have twenty to watch any time!

A Thank You from Boston

Hi All,

I made a donation to the Boston Museum of Science supporting the Leonard Nimoy monument that is being fund raised for! They are getting close to their goal, and I truly hope they achieve it! It will be a big crystalized hand in the form of Vulcan Greeting in front of the museum. I received this lovely thank you today from Tim Ritchie, the President of the Museum of Science:

Currently the total donations are $301,789 and it is 60% to reaching its mark (of $500,000) Please consider contributing any amount to can to complete this wonderful project! You can donate here. I am proud to be a part of this undertaking, and I’m sure Leonard is smiling from above!

“Beauty Survives” Remembering Diana.

UPDATE: I found the book I referenced in the paragraph A Fashionable Choice, and added the picture too!

This past weekend, on July 1, the late Princess of Wales, the former Diana Spencer would have turned 62.

I was also born in 1961, and felt a natural affinity toward Diana, perhaps because we were the same age. When she became engaged, I was so excited! After all, there hadn’t been a Princess of Wales in decades. I had not been following the British Royal Family much at all until Diana came on the scene. But she represented all the youthful energy and ambition of my generation, which was probably why she was and still is so loved by so many of her peers, even now. She’d surely bring color to the gray world of royalty.

Influenced by my older siblings, I had always been an Anglophile. I had cut my teeth on The Beatles, Monty Python, and catching the latest BBC historical melodrama via Masterpiece Theater. The music, movies and assorted Brit celebrities made a romantic impression on me at the time, and I imagined how wonderful a place it was and how I would love to see the real thing. Having this striking young princess enter into that world was the cherry on top of my Anglo-fantasies.

Unlike the other royals, Diana had a natural likeability and a genuine kindness to her that we in the real world could relate to. She hugged children and laughed with ease with her fans. I eagerly followed every word and latest fashion, becoming a mimic fashionista of sorts (ruffled collars and white tights anyone?). I would have loved to have been her friend; a sentiment I’m sure thousands of other young women had as well. Every new fashion was a power statement, since she rarely spoke in public. (I still have scrapbooks)

Yet there was always an undercurrent of friction between Diana and her new husband. I was thrilled to see any pictures of them stealing a kiss at a polo match, or occasional loving glance. How wonderful to see their love evolve into a beautiful family of two little boys. But after the birth of Harry, a clear chill was seeping into their castle windows. Charles was becoming more distant, spending more time with his older country friends, Diana on the town with her her own set, shopping and lunches, yet happiest with her beloved boys.

By the time their separation became public, I found myself agreeing with the commentator who pointed out that “a lot of dreams will die here” (for those who believed the illusion). I was always on Team Diana, of course, although I know she wasn’t perfect. In real life she may not have been the brightest or deepest of them all. But with her initial naivete, anxiety, depressions and occasional paranoia that were all but ignored by The Firm, I identified with that, and I felt for her. In my mind the British Royal family really took advantage of a very impressionable young woman barely out of teens. She fell as hard for the fantasy as we all did, and she tragically paid for it.

When she was free of the family, yet cruelly, unceremoniously stripped of her title, I had hoped that she would find solace in a relatively peaceful post-royal life. Rumor had it that she was going to move to America, and possibly becoming an ambassador the the United Nations, which would have been perfect for her. Yet we all know how her story ended much too soon, just as her life was starting to become more emotionally and psychologically satisfying. Alas.

People still speculate about her tragic death. Conspiracies still pop our from time to time. To me it was just a terribly awful accident. My only questions was this: Was her safety belt in working condition? Diana was known to always use her safety belt, and her death could have been prevented it only she wore hers that night. Too much water under the bridge to consider it now. If only, though.

It has been said that one of the last things Diana confided to a friend was a promise never to be fulfilled. “You won’t believe what’s coming next!” she cheekily hinted. Over a quarter of century since her passing we still haven’t a clue what she had in mind. My three speculations:

1) A Choice for Love: Would she have announced that she was to re-marry? Not Dodi-Al-Fayed, her fateful fling, but Dr. Haznat Khan, the heart surgeon who was the true love of her life? This has been a theory visited since her death. Some have claimed that she wanted to marry a Muslim, which would have surely made The Firm very uncomfortable. I honestly don’t think this would have happened so soon after her divorce.

2) A Fashionable Choice: Many Charity related books about Diana’s style came out after her death. One was Diana: The Secrets of her Style by Diane Clehane. It featured a sketch of a very daring gown for her next evening event, an AIDS Benefit, designed by Giorgio Armani. Diana was to have her final fitting for it the week she passed. The gown appears to be an icy blue halter gown with V-neck down to the waist and a twisted back. As you can see, it was very daring, and would have been stunning on her. Was this the coming surprise she hinted at? Since Diana let a lot of her clothes do the talking, this might have been likely, and probably quite startling. This would have been the biggest ‘Get Lost’ dress to the Royal Family she would have worn to date. And she would have been not only breath-taking, but ahead of her time, as usual.

3) A Choice to Leave: Or was she indeed going to dump the Royal Family and move to the States? We may never know. I’d like to think she’d have moved. Perfectly understandable after the hell that all the tabloids put her through. And that now she’d be a happy grandma and best friends to her daughters-in-law.

It’s funny, I’ve always had some sort of fandom through my life. In the 60’s it was The Beatles, the 70’s Star Trek, the 80’s, Princess Diana. Yet since the 1990 on, my life has revolved around my own reality in my creative and family life. How I wish Diana could have been as happy with her family as I have been blessed with my own husband and two sons these past 30 years.

I watched the Coronation the other month. It was grand and colorful, everything one has come to expect from the British Royal Family. My feelings toward “The Firm” has changed drastically over the years. I think that if the Family wants to continue to carry on for the future, they should run themselves like many other Royal families, that is, stay figureheads, but SUPPORT THEMSELVES. (and for heaven’s sake, pay back the British taxpayers the millions of pounds they paid for the Coronation). Yet the current adventures of the family of Charles III will never enthrall me the way Diana did. I wish Diana’s sons well. Diana’s long gone, but never forgotten. As Captain Kirk said in That Which Survives:

“Beauty Survives”

Deep Fakes and AI in the Star Trek Fan Universe – Is it Real? –(examples and a suggestion)

You have probably heard that the current increase in Artificial Intelligence (AI) may cause may cause great dangers in not just the world of art, but in reality as well, in regards to national security and war. And I agree this is great threat to our perceptions of what we see and hear, and that it should be regulated as soon as possible.

We have all seen manipulated images made for fun for memes and such. But it is unnerving to see something that you know isn’t quite right, yet wondering about it’s legitimacy.

I just came across this image on eBay. Any child of the TOS generation can recognize this instantly as a “deep fake”, that is , a clearly AI-manipulated image. I’m guessing the seller used an original image of Spock then used an AI program to manipulate the face into a smile. The background looks manipulated as well.

Technically it’s not a bad manipulation. The simulated smile and the squinted eyelids almost look like they could be Nimoy’s. But the teeth are a BIG giveaway. Sharp-eyed ‘Nimoyans’ know that Leonard’s teeth were never that white or that uniform. And the final effect is kind of funny if not somewhat terrifying.

Another example from the same dealer on eBay: Miri with Yeoman Rand. Not sure if the creator is making Miri ‘pound’ or just ‘play’ with Rand’s hair. This one is a clear fake. Miri is a reversed image of the original, (see below) and Janice’s eyes are altered to look like she’s rolling them.

To be fair, AI can bee a boon to artists. I have made some fun creations through some family genealogy sites, although it’s not perfect; I’ve had some images come out with three arms or only half a face! I am sure you’ve probably seen some pretty good art created with this process. However, I do not wish to see AI to take over original hand made art, writings or worst of all, fake videos of say, world leaders making totally false statements. (This has happened already)

Now granted, AI technology could help me create a dream episode of TOS with just audio and video clips from the original. And for all we know someone is already doing that. But I bet that would make for copyright infringement and estate problems so I wouldn’t risk it.

Longtime readers of this blog have seen my own collages and posters of Trek images. My creations were and are mostly done with Adobe Photoshop, which in this current atmosphere may become just obsolete. I truly hope not . I use my art for fun, and to make people smile, but never to influence people much beyond a “hey, isn’t this silly?”

But the main concern about AI and Deep Fakes is how technology has advanced to the point where it’s harder and harder to tell what’s real and what isn’t. Truly scary local and world consequences could come from this, and I pray that all who use it will be aware of the influences they create. Fake fan art is mostly harmless, although I prefer the real deal, but I only ask that you BE AWARE.

Happy Creating, Therese

The Transporter: Boon or Doom for the Star Trek Universe?

I think Mad Magazine had the right idea… Mad #115, Dec 1967

Hi Everyone,

I got back from a wonderful visit with a dear friend last week. It had been ages since I had taken an airplane anywhere. But as I was enjoying the sensation of being lifted into the sky in this silver bird, it got me thinking of traveling in the age of Star Trek; most importantly, The Transporter.

How often have I wished for a transporter in real life to visit out of state and country friends in the “wink of an eye” 😉 To see all the places in my life without having to book a flight. Oh, and to never need planes again, or cars, buses, taxi’s or trains! To always be on time for any event, any where, and to get back home the same way.

Yet once I put my mind to it, the logistics of real transporter travel became a bit less enticing. Indeed, if it existed in real life, I don’t think humanity would survive! I wondered, how, in the Trek Universe, were Transporters perceived by governments and public alike? Were there funding problems? Protests? And no doubt there must have been horrific accidents in the development stages.

Now obviously I am not an expert on the fictional historical facts of Trek Transportation. So I will borrow these bits from Wikipedia:

According to dialogue in the Star Trek: Enterprise (ENT) episode “Daedalus“, the transporter was invented in the early 22nd century by Dr. Emory Erickson, who also became the first human to be successfully transported. Although the Enterprise (NX-01) has a transporter, the crew does not routinely use it for moving biological organisms. Instead, they generally prefer using shuttlepods or other means of transportation unless no other means of transportation are possible or feasible.

Well that was a good start. and I can understand why transporters at this early stage were not the standard of transportation. What a miracle to transport items large or small within moments! Yet I wonder how this affected commerce and general capitalism? With instant delivery of most purchases and goods, would there be no more equivalent of Mail Delivery Services, let alone the trucking industry, or any in-person shopping? (watch out Amazon!) I imagine it would have needed a ton of regulation to avoid damaged or altered goods. Man, wouldn’t that open a whole can of worms for thievery and illegal trafficking? Let alone mishaps of people transporting into the wrong places situations. No doubt wars could easily erupt over say, top secret documents ending up in the wrong hands or worse, weapons of mass destruction.

Then there’s the physical effect of a human being being transported; again Wikipedia:

Whenever a person or object is transported, the machine creates a memory file of the pattern.

And this makes me completely sympathize with Dr. McCoy, who said:

“I signed aboard this ship to practice medicine, not to have my atoms scattered back and forth across space by this gadget!

Indeed, if transporters really existed, then technically, the first time you enter one is the last time you will be your actual self. If you are nothing but “a memory file” in the transporter banks, and now just a copy of your original self, how does one ever know if they are truly the same? How is every complex memory still there? And what about all of your life’s knowledge and experience. Yes, transporting is sounding ever more dangerous. Not to mention accidents! Like this truly horrific one referred to on Wikipedia:

(In) Star Trek: The Motion Picture when a malfunction in the transporter sensor circuits resulted in insufficient signal being present at the Enterprise end to successfully rematerialize the two subjects, and Starfleet was unable to pull them back to where they had dematerialized from. The transporter system attempted to rematerialize what little signal was available, and despite the efforts of Kirk and Scotty, the system failed and both subjects vanished from the transporter pad and back to Starfleet, where both subjects died from radiation and disfiguration. Kirk, visibly shaken by what he had witnessed asked, “Starfleet, do you have them?”, to which the response was made “Enterprise, what we got back didn’t live long, fortunately”.

No, I DEFINITELY would not want to come back as a pile of radiated, disfigured oatmeal – AAAHHHHHH!

Yep, traditional transportation will do nicely for now. I wish you all happy travels!

Renewal time for trekkerscrapbook.com and Retirement

Hi Everyone,

It’s coming up on my annual renewal for trekkerscrapbook.com. ( June 10th)

I plan to renew it for another year and hope to bring you all the Trek ideas that have been stewing in my mind.

However, I have decided that that this next year will be my last as publisher of this blog. It’s expensive and as you may have noticed I hardly post as much as I did when I started this little party 12 years ago! I admit, talking only about Star Trek can be limiting, and I realize that as it is my blog, I can discuss plenty of other topics, and sometimes I want to, but I decline, thinking that it would be ignored or misinterpreted.

But it’s not just that. I am by no means old (heck, I just turned 62!), but the longer one lives, the more one realizes that time is a finite thing, and every day is precious. I have many obligations and dreams in my life, and although this one is a pleasure, it is not on my list of high priorities.

Please note: When I end this blog next year, there will still be the Facebook Group for this page, where we can all get together for fun, so be sure to join it! I’ll occasionally post there too! I’ll give you plenty warning. For now I’m archiving all my posts for my own posterity!

I still love my little site of course and I am so grateful for your patronage! I look forward to sharing one more year of my Trek memories and my art work with you. Here’s to the last new year!

Love you all, Therese xo

Therese with her beloved Buddy <3