Thursday, November 20, 2014

One candle on the birthday cake for the Trekland Trunk!

It seems as if we can't get through a week without at least one or two fun anniversaries around Trekland from somewhere... but today marks one pretty close to home.

We announced it in October, but It was just a year ago on Nov. 20 that we actually opened the Trekland Trunk up to lighten our home storage load and share a whole spectrum of Trek goodies, mostly in-house and studio items, with an unaware fandom out there. (There's a pre-holiday big, varied batch up this week, in fact.)

We use the T-Trunk Facebook page to notify those interested, along with the Trunk's Twitter, and —as I'd hoped—it's mostly allowed me not to have to be Mr. Snake Oil Salesman about getting the word out. You can always just subscribe on the treklandtrunk page at eBay, too...

But just knowthat without Facebook  you'll miss out on  the "local" bids we do right on my message threads. Those go just 4-6 hours, usually on Sunday afternoons, with anyone who signs on...and we even have a core group of regular Trunkers who have a lot of fun with the banter. It's hardly a standard auction...but we do get newcomers all the time, depending on the item.

And hey—the Trunk is not just for hard-core collectors, unless you want to be one: A lot of items go for around $50 or less. Of course if you like all things about one given series, or you like scripts most, or crew gifts in general, you can always check in just for that.

If fact, don't get cozy about WHAT to expect. You might guess you'd see the draft scripts and set plans, the cool graphics, even the crew gifts...

But stay alert for the oddball things, like special event show T-shirts ...

 --or  wrap party table decorations ...

...or even really obscure promo items.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Catch me LIVE on call-in Fringe Radio Saturday evening

I don't always try to blog about appearances on radio or podcasts in advance,  but this
Saturday I'll be on LIVE —and you've got a chance to jump in.

Yes, host Pat is having me back to talk all things Trekland and pop culture world on her show "Fringe Radio" at 5-7 pm Pacific Daylight Time on Saturday, Nov. 15, over KTKK AM 630 Salt Lake City— online of course.

You can email questions in now via their site—or interact via live chat during the show over Inception Radio Network.

OR you can even call in toll-free at 801-254-5855!

Hey, of course I'll have some updates on "The Con of Wrath," all things Trekland...the state of Trek itself ... and of course Enterprise in Space. But we can go anywhere...So call in, and join the party.

And, yes: The show WILL be archived... like a podcast... for downloading later.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

LA ALERT: Jimmy Darren sings it 'Vic ' style Nov. 13

He's done it around the country... he's done it with orchestras, at Trek cons the past few years—at Vegas Khaaan (at right, 2011), and most recently at Destination: Star Trek London.

But for the first time in 45 years, James Darren will bring his echo of DS9's "Vic Fontaine" here to a club in L.A., pallie!

"I can't believe I haven't sang at a club in L.A. since the old Cocoanut Grove at the Ambassador Hotel in 1969," he told me.

Pencil in Jimmy's show for next Thursday, Nov. 13, at the Catalina Jazz Club at 6725 West Sunset Blvd., Hollywood 90028 Sunset, at Las Palmas. Better grab tickets now, online at the link above, and not put it off—or call (323) 466-2210. The show at 8:30 p.m., but doors open for dinner at 7. (Note this is NOT a club out on Catalina Island).

Jimmy promises a great night of standards, stories and comedy patter in the "Vic" vein—both from the old Vegas days, and maybe even DS9 in this "mainstream" location.

The crowd at DST3 in London (below) had a great time—including all those dancers on the floor!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

STV: Writer-director James Kerwin on making "mirror" with Star Trek Continues—Part 1

Just in time for a Star Trek Continues screening and panel this noon Saturday at Stan Lee's Comikaze...

Here's Part 1 of my sit-down with STC's "Fairest of Them All" co-writer and director James Kerwin, made last summer before the episode won for "New Media—Drama" at the Burbank International Film Festival, and represented the entire series to win "Best Web Series" at the 2014 Geekie Awards

I've known friend-of-Trekland James since I first saw his sci-fi noir feature "Yesterday Was a Lie" thanks to star Chase "Leeta" Masterson, and we also talked to him during the Spirit of Star Trek series in L.A. in 2010-11. Although I did not act for James, he has not been shy about exercising the phone line in my role as STC creative consultant at it was a pleasure to talk about this episode after the fact, and out of the on-set stress of concentrating to get the shoot finished.

We'll have Part 2 up shortly with more insights and in-jokes... and more on his own RUR project later still.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Calling all artists: FLY your ship for Enterprise in Space

I've already sounded off about our amazing, inspiring Enterprise in Space project—the homage to our sci-fi heritage sending the experiments of future thinkers aloft...the grassroots chance to be a "virtual crewmember"...but here's the first thing, right now:


The worldwide competition to create the NSS Enterprise orbiter is detailed here at the EIS site, but you don't have to be an space engineer or a CGI artist or sci-fi illustrator to enter. Anyone can do it—and don't worry about real-world concerns: we'll have folks who will adapt it for orbit and re-entry.

I mean, why just doodle, or publish, or get your design on camera.. .when you could create an eight-foot ship that actually flies in space? With 100+ science experiments aboard?

But you do need to know the entry deadline is Monday, Dec. 8!

You don't even have to join the "virtual crew" with your grassroots tax-deductible $20 in order to enter—but every bit helps, of course.

Once the design is accepted, after getting down to a round of finalists, we'll share the winner and the design with the world—and get on with translating the design to workable fabrication for its launch in late 2018 or 2019 aboard an orbital booster rocket, per the Enterprise in Space plan. We'll even share the works of our finalists.

But you gotta get crackin'!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

See you at L.A.'s own Comikaze—last con of the year!

They say that cons in L.A. are the hardest because the celebs are everywhere all year long anyway, and the fans are blasé. 

Well, we'll see about that: After missing it for a couple years, I'm finally going to roll out of bed and stroll over for the Comikaze event downtown under Stan Lee's banner—and I can finally see for myself about all that, in all its downtown Staples Center splendor.

Yes, Friday is actually Halloween—my first year to be "home" on spook night since being in Kingsland, GA on Oct. 31 last year for the last day of filming Star Trek Continues' "Lolani" and the early overlap with Farragut's "Conspiracy of Innocence." But you've got nothing to do in the day, right?

Highlight for me at CK is the Star Trek Continues' big-screen showing of "Fairest of Them All" at noon Saturday and a cast/crew panel afterwards that I'm taking part in—along with James Kerwin, Chris Doohan, Kipleigh Brown, Doug Drexler, Lisa Hansell & Tim Vittetoe, and Jacqueline Groehner. I also expect to be tabling as well... in fact, I'll have my Trekland CDs and photos and Stellar Cartography...but most of all I'll be talking about Enterprise in Space live, my first chance to do so since we really started our roll-out.

Hang on, and we might even try a crowdfunder "Dr. Trek" show Saturday night. Not too late, of course: It is, after all, an L.A. crowd.

Oh and here's the "official" screening/panel call for STC's event at noon Saturday...

Friday, October 24, 2014

Remembering Gene...and Oct. 24, 1991

I remember where I was when we heard Gene had died.

We, of course, were still back "home home" what they call flyover land: Janet and I had been married just four months and two days... we had just moved to Midwest City to be near her college, and I was commuting to the Norman Transcript... the phone call from Pocket Books to do the first TNG Companion was a month away... and on this day, at this moment, the old-style, REAL Headline News was on TV. And broke the story.

I had to sag into a chair at the kitchen table when I heard. I called Janet over. We immediately began to try to tape off CNN—back when it was real news, and the *only* 24-hour news. It's all we could do. As with millions of others worldwide, that instant would become a flashpoint of memory—and a trigger, in that moment, to realize what the Great Bird had meant to us, even subconsciously. Even before my career went to Trekland. If nothing else, Gene's creation was why and how Janet and I had even met.

I met him only once... a bit more than a year earlier... to thank me (!!??) for doing my self-published TNG concordances that the writers had been using. As a first-time tourist, I'd actually paid attention to the Paramount signs and not brought a camera on-lot. To my everlasting regret. But that moment, that image is etched into my memory, as well.

And, of course, of the headliner names of Trek... not to forget Gene Coon or Bill Theiss... Gene was also the first to go. Our immortal little universe would become all too mortal, and it's been increasingly so. In hindsight, I think the biggest insight into what "GR" was all about... was realizing later that Majel decided to go on with their annual Halloween party that year a week later, knowing that's what he'd want.

He lived a big life, he lived a hard life, and it certainly wasn't a perfect life...or done all by himself. But oh, what Gene Roddenberry wrought.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I'm excited about 'Enterprise in Space'—and so will you!

You've never seen anything like this.

You've seen Kickstarter and other crowd-funded projects… you've seen fan films, games, novels, events… a lot of them I'm involved with. But no—you've never seen anything like this: 

"This" is the Enterprise in Space project you may have been hearing me hint about in recent weeks.

Look, I had no clue I'd be wrapped up in this non-profit mission as the year started. Now I'm thrilled I got involved and can spill the beans and the excitement: There's so much!—but hang with me while I try. The site and project is finally LIVE, and it is based on a few simple premises:

Take our shared and inspired love of space and exploration, whether fact or fiction (right?)... give 100+ student minds worldwide a chance to fly their space projects in orbit—all disciplines and, for once, for free ...let the donors come along as virtual crewmembers... and make science fact out of that science fiction. It's a great way to play the adventure and pay homage to all our sci-fi heroes and creators with a real-world result.

There are SO many groovy moving parts, it's hard to get it all out. For starters, you can take a look at the website's first video to get an idea.

But as founder Shawn Case says, simply: "Isn't it time a real Enterprise flew in space?" That was Shawn's starting premise... and if all goes as planned, that will finally happen in 2019—along with a big outreach to educators and students, helpful corporations and non-profits, and of course grassroots funding... all over the world. And after the 8-foot craft re-enters for recovery, the whole thing goes on a tour of museums and conventons before going on a display at a major space museum (yes, we're talking with THAT one). And, of course, the experiments' data will be maintained, analyzed and made available.

Just to be clear: The NASA space shuttle Enterprise was an unpowered test ship, remember, and flew key but dummy drop-tests; Richard Branson's same-named Virgin craft was sub-orbital. Thus, the name "Enterprise" is an honored one, from namesakes of Star Trek's various iconic and beloved ships to their own namesake as two heroic US Navy aircraft carriers, and even sail ships before that.

Shawn, a Trek fan and space buff from Oregon, did what a lot of us do in our daydreams:  figure out how to marry up the most inspirational, optimistic science fiction with science fact, right? It got me excited, and it got the National Space Society excited too—where both Gene and Majel Roddenberry served as prior board members...excited enough to sponsor what Shawn and his team have planned out for over three years, now officially the "NSS Enterprise orbiter." It's got the likes of Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin and Nichelle "Uhura" Nichols, Grace Lee "Yeoman Rand" Whitney and renowned broadcaster Hugh Downs...and many more... just as excited.

And the first part of all is... there's a contest—open to ANYONE—to design the thing! Sure the orbiter has to be spaceworthy, but check out these rules and get your entry in. Call all the designers, doodlers and CG artists you know as well. That's why there's no shiny spacecraft to show off—yet—but the contest ends Nov. 27, so get cracking. Or sharing.

The optimistic brand of science fiction—from Gene's Star Trek to the forward-tilting futurism of Heinlein and Asimov—has always had a mutual love affair with NASA and our real-life space heroes, right? I mean, as I've said often, I was a NASA kid way before I was a Trek fan, growing up on all the early flights—especially the Apollo moon landings. We played Apollo at recess, guys! I turned our treehouse into a LM and we put on whole Apollo missions.

I bet you feel the same way, right? You swell with pride every time we fix a satellite, discover a new deep-space secret, or rev up another rover on Mars. And I bet you've fumed "Stop picking on NASA, budget-cutters!" more than once the last decade or two, right?

Now, yes, we're not talking backyard model rockets here. But Shawn's dream isn't just shared by you and me: It tugs at the heartstrings of inspiration for a lot of fans—many of whom are today's aerospace pros, rocket scientists, project managers, top educators... and that's exactly who got excited enough to join the EIS team. I now know the guy who oversaw Citibank's world-record eCommerce system ... the woman who managed the $6 billion expansion of O'Hare Airport... a longtime engineer for the space shuttle and unmanned probes galore... NASA's only two-time educator of the year—but Buck Field, Alice Hoffman, Fred Becker and Lynne Zielinski are just the tip of the iceberg of the talent within the EIS group, all under the legal sponsorship of the National Space Society. The meet has been meeting twice weekly for months, jointly on Skype calls from California, Oregon, Texas, Illinois, other states and even Chile.

And THAT is why this $40 million project can be done, with Space X boosters and SpaceWorks capsule fabricators as the intended contractors—that kind of talent pool. ... Wait, did your eyes glaze over at that budget? How about, as Shawn says, you think of it as "2 million people worldwide giving $20 time"? We have non-profit and corporate grants, too, and aerospace tech testing materials for re-entry... but our viral target stays the same. No one or two big sponsors in control ... but
grassroots for "the cost of a movie ticket," as Shawn says.

See, fans, don't think of your typical Kickstarter, here. One of Shawn's goals that I Iove is that there IS no donor bureaucracy with EIS—no levels, no toteboard, no manic requests on ticking-clock deadlines. 'Cause let's be honest: you know I will support all my projects and hope you do too, but there is a bit of crowdfunder fatigue out there.

So, with EIS, just send in $20 for the entire project, and be a virtual NSS Enterprise crewmember: You get an immediate certificate, plus first updates on every step of the mission AND, most cool: Your name goes on a chip that will fly and come back post-flight, for you to see yourself at an event near you. And, for just that $20, you've got plenty left still to help out your other fave projects asking for your help—or shop for those great Trek Christmas gifts!

Look, do me a favor: Share the design contest info now (it closes Nov. 27). (Later there'll also be a contest to design the mission patch.) Share the website, Facebook and Twitter, Google+ and YouTube with everyone you know—the more far afield the better (I'm lookin' at you, my European and Asian friends, for starters!). Tell all the cool teachers and bright young minds you know about the experiments submission and curricula materials. Volunteer to help out, either live or online...or even be a sponsor if you want to go big. We need everything from local event speakers to video/animators to social media voices.

Most of all, please "sign aboard", cadets, with your $20 donation that helps make it all possible—and claims your place on the digital manifest you can see yourself in a few years.

Then follow along as Enterprise in Space, step by step, makes this inspired dream a reality. There's more to come: a tablet showing your "crew" image waving from the portal window, filmed by a tether-towed camera? A new technology of AI-style vocal smart computing for experiment and craft control, a la Starfleet? The ideas are rolling in as we speak...others are volunteering help from their expertise areas .... and there will soon be a weekly EIS podcast produced by our Trekland: On Speaker producer and friend Chris Jones at to really keep everyone up-to-date, along with the e-newsletter you sign up for on the homepage.

I am aboard as the "promotions manager" for EIS, which mostly means I'll be the voice and face of bringing the excitement and details and talented people of EIS to the fan, space and genre community at our live and recorded events...and at conventions and conferences. I won't blog here at Trekland so much as link you over to our posts, podcasts, and press releases as each
project milestone is reached. 

But I do hope you sign up and join us on this adventure—a positive, real-world outcome based on all the good vibes from that positive future that Gene and so many others aspired and inspired to.

As for me ...It feels great to be a "space kid" again!