“The Best of Both Worlds” on the big screen

Aw yeah, that's a baby Borg on my t-shirt!

Aw yeah, that’s a baby Borg on my t-shirt!

Star Trek is my first nerdy love. Without it, I would not be the nerd I am today. I’ve said before that I literally have no memory of my life without Star Trek. Watching The Original Series with my parents on Saturday nights is one of my earliest memories and, although I was very young when The Next Generation came on the air, I was not so young that I don’t remember watching it for the first time very clearly. In my humble opinion it is, quite simply, the greatest franchise ever created.

The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Best of Both Worlds” is arguably one of the greatest cliff hangers in the history of television. So, when my friend Mike reminded me that it was going to be playing in movie theatres across the country this past Thursday evening in all its remastered glory, I immediately bought my ticket.

Me and my friend Mike before the show

Me and my friend Mike before the show

I love seeing stuff from my childhood on the big screen. In a relatively recent phenomenon, they’ve started bringing movies back to the theatres for limited runs.  Movies like Star Wars, Top Gun, Jurassic Park, and The Lion King. It’s so much better than remaking a movie and introduces them to a whole new generation. When I lived in Los Angeles, they would have events where they would play a movie on the big screen for the first time in decades, then have people who worked on the movie do a Q&A panel afterwards. My NerdBFF Geek Outlaw and I went to one of these for Ghostbusters and LOVED it. Events like that are one of the few things I miss about living in LA.

The lights went down and we were immediately treated to a behind-the-scenes look at the making of “The Best of Both Worlds, part I & II” that included interviews with the people involved and fan reactions to the season three cliffhanger. Some highlights:

–          Patrick Stewart recalled how a woman pulled up next to him while driving, rolled down her window, and shouted “You ruined our summer!” and a guy walking past him in the NY subway, paused in front of him momentarily and said “You’re keeping it real.”

–          The late, great Michael Piller wrote the episode thinking he’d be leaving the show and someone else would have to figure out how to get the crew out of this mess. Of course, he ended up sticking around and had to clean up after himself.

–          For some reason, I never put two and two together that Elizabeth Dennehy (LCDR Shelby) was Brian Dennehy’s daughter. Which is weird because I LOVE Brian Dennehy. Turns out he didn’t really want her to do an episode of Star Trek. Elizabeth didn’t really know anything about the franchise. It was one of her first auditions after moving to Los Angeles and she didn’t know enough about it to be intimidated. She also didn’t realize that it wasn’t like working on a soap opera (where you apparently get several hours to just sit around and learn your lines) and was completely unprepared the first day of shooting. She learned quickly and never made that mistake again.

–          I’ve never been one to notice hairdos, but once Elizabeth Dennehy pointed out how much hairspray was used in her updo, I couldn’t help but notice how it affected other people’s hair.

That’s DOES look like it takes way more time than a Commander has in the morning.

Especially Dr. Crusher’s, whose hair pretty much didn’t move when she turned her head. It was like a gloriously shellacked red waterfall.

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I never understood why one side of her hair was longer than the other

–          They showed how they achieved many of the special effects and how they remastered them for the Blu-ray. The hardest part was the starship graveyard at Wolf 359, mostly because of their limited budget.

–          I’m always struck by how the actors have to pretend like they’re being jostled around when the ship is struck by enemy fire. When I was a kid they had an attraction at Universal Studios in which members of the audience were called up to participate in some scenes from Star Trek. We got to see firsthand how they put together an episode, including having to fake being bounced around in your seat. So I‘ve always known that this is how it’s done. But it’s quite funny to see the actors do it over and over again, take after take, with a completely straight face.

Then it was time for the episodes, which they combined to make a feature length presentation. In case you haven’t seen the episodes, here’s a little summary/background information:

First seen in the 2nd season episode “Q Who” (thanks to Q playfully tossing the USS Enterprise right in the path of a Cube), the Borg have been on the Federation’s mind for years. None more so than Admiral JP Hanson and Lieutenant Commander Shelby who have been working tirelessly to develop weapons and defenses based on what they know from the Enterprise’s encounter. They assumed it would take the Borg a certain amount of time to reach the Alpha Quadrant but they severely underestimated the Borg’s capabilities and they arrived much sooner than planned. The Borg’s goal is to reach Sector 001 aka Earth. To do this, they need to tap someone’s brain, someone who has the knowledge they need to get around the Federation’s best laid plans. They choose Captain Picard, assimilating him into the Collective, making him their spokesman, giving him a killer mechanical six-pack, and dubbing him “Locutus of Borg.” To my knowledge, Locutus is the only Borg who is ever given a name as opposed to a designation (ie, Seven of Nine). Despite the friction in their relationship, Commander Riker and Lieutenant Commander Shelby must work together to rescue Picard and stop the Borg from reaching Earth.

Mmmmm...Borg abs....

Mmmmm…Borg abs….

When the third season ended abruptly with Picard as Locutus and Riker telling Worf to fire on the Borg Cube, a collective (heehee) uproar went up in the Star Trek community. No one knew what was going to happen or if Patrick Stewart would be coming back to the show, not even the showrunners. Speculation was so great that someone wrote a fake script in which the whole thing was a prank orchestrated by the Q Continuum.

“The Best of Both Worlds” is critical in Star Trek cannon. It provides a major part of the back story for the TV show Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and is the basis for the movie Star Trek: First Contact.

After the ending credits, we were delighted to watch a blooper reel featuring outtakes from many different episodes. Some of the highlights included stumbles over the technobabble, forgotten lines, Worf blurting out that he never played with little boys, Guinan cursing, and Lieutenant Richard Castillo asking Tasha Yar to call him “Dick.” It was a lot of laughs that were missed by at least half the audience who walked out during the ending credits.

Speaking of credits, I must say, it was amazing to see the opening credits on the big screen. Every time I ever watched them as a child, it was always on our little 1980’s-era tube television set. As an adult I’ve watched them on my nice flat screen TV but NOTHING compares to seeing it that big and whispering the words along with Patrick Stewart in movie theatre surround sound. They are some of my favorite words in the world and I’ve known them by heart since before I could read:

“Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life, and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one as gone before.”

Thanks to Mike for being my nerdy Star Trek buddy!

One last note: folks have been asking me to put out a calendar for the last couple of years and I finally got around to doing it with the amazing artistic talents of my sister-in-law, Reba. It’s really an awesome calendar. It’s got every nerdy holiday you can imagine, plus a super handy convention calendar, and some never-before-seen pictures that will never, ever be seen anywhere else. I know it’s almost May but it’s worth it to get the 2013 calendar. Besides, if I don’t sell these, then there probably won’t be one next year so, ya know…buy one 🙂 Since it is almost May, they’re super discounted (I promise you I’m not making a fortune off of them) AND I’ll sign it if you want.

Buy one here: http://hotnerdgirl.com/shop/

Calendar Example

WonderCon 2013

Mama Jedi, HNG, Geek Outlaw

Mama Jedi, HNG, Geek Outlaw

Hope y’all had a very happy and nerderific Easter! I apologize for the lack of posts recently. Between working full-time (yes, I have a “real” job!), out of town guests, and just plain old life, I just haven’t much time to blog. But I’ll try to be better.

So, a lot of cool crap happened this past weekend. There was new Doctor Who, the season premier of Game of Thrones, and the season finale of The Walking Dead. And, of course, WonderCon.

I mentioned in my wrap-up of last year’s WonderCon that WC was the first comic book convention I ever went to (back when it was in Oakland) and it holds a very special place in my hearts. It’s a nice combination of comic books and TV/movies. San Diego Comic Con is great, but it focuses so much on the Hollywood stuff that the comic books tend to get a little lost. A comic book vendor and I were joking on Saturday about the audacity of the people who actually buy comic books at a comic book convention! Inconceivable!

After cosplaying as Thor for a day at SDCC last year, I honestly didn’t think I would cosplay in public again for a very long time. I’m quite shy, especially around large groups of strangers, and my instinct is to blend in. Cosplaying is the opposite of blending in. Because of the timing of the day, I didn’t spend much time at SDCC walking around as Thor. But in the brief times that I did, it garnered a lot of attention. Attention that I’m not used to and that made me a bit panicky. I was very uncomfortable and not just because of the corset. I’ve been putting together a Tenth Doctor costume for quite a while now. He’s my favorite of the Doctor incarnations (followed by Eleven, Four, Nine, and Five) and, if I’m being completely honest with myself, I was looking for an excuse to buy a sonic screwdriver. Because of last year’s experience, I almost didn’t wear it, but I’m glad that I did. It was comfortable and fun and was a great ice breaker (that and the flask of liquor I kept in my backpack *ahem*)

Enough rambling, on to the panels I attended. Sadly, the TV show panel I was most excited about was the Vikings one and I missed it thanks to the traffic around the convention center. I was very, very sad because, as many of you know, I’m very proud of my Viking heritage. But I sat in on a bunch of really cool ones that made up for it.

Allons-y!

Geeking Out with the League of Extraordinary Ladies

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Panelists: Autumn Massey, Dina Kampmeyer, Emily Heyer, Geek Girl Diva, Jenn Fujikawa (Just Jenn), Sarah Kuhn, Stephanie Thorpe, Theresa Wollenstein

These geektacular ladies are very much in line with my favorite motto: “nerd girls of the world unite.” They are a positive group of strong, independent, intelligent women who love to geek out together and support each other. As someone who can’t stand cattiness, these ladies are right up my alley. The first thing I did when I got home was to join their facebook group. I encourage everyone (men are also welcome) to join as well.  Unfortunately, we had to leave their panel early to make it to the next one. What I wouldn’t give for a time-turner so that I could go to multiple panels that are scheduled for the same time.

Falling Skies

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Panelists: Drew Roy (Hal), Sarah Carter (Maggie), Seychelle Gabriel (Lourdes), Remi Aubuchon (Executive Producer)

I’ve been a fan of Falling Skies from the get go. As my NerdBFF Geek Outlaw says, “if it’s got aliens in it, I’ll watch it!” And it keeps getting better. We got to see some clips from the first episode premiering June 9th on TNT, including a new baby girl, some more Karen, a badass new punk rock haircut for Matt, promotions for Tom and Lourdes, new alien technology, conflict for Maggie, and some pretty epic looking battle scenes. It definitely got me excited.

Oddball Comics Live: Sex, Drugs, and Rock ‘n Roll

HNG Oddball

Panelist: Scott Shaw

I’ve never laughed harder at a panel than I did at this one. Scott Shaw has collected some of the most bizarre comic books imaginable over the course of the last 50 years. It’s filled with crotches, boobs, phallic symbols, crazy concepts, and hidden-in-plain-sight imagery (kind of like the dirty stuff found in every Disney movie made from 1989 to 1992). It’s hard to tell if they were done intentionally or unintentionally.  He’s compiled them into a power point presentation that he complements with witty commentary. It’s hysterical and I highly recommend checking it out if you ever see him on a convention schedule.

Roddenberry Presents

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Panelists: Rod Roddenberry, Trevor Roth, Tory Mell

As a life-long Trekker, I always enjoy checking out the Roddenberry Presents panel. I’ve had the pleasure of hanging out with Rod and Trevor a few times now and even interviewed Rod at SDCC last year (I’m still perfecting my interviewing skills, mmmkay?) They are super nice and working on some seriously awesome stuff.

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Rod Roddenberry, HNG, Trevor Roth. I have no idea why I look bored in this picture, I SWEAR I wasn’t. I was probably wondering if Mama Jedi knew how to operate my camera.

Things worth checking out right now: Days Missing, Mission Log podcast, and White Room: 02B3. Things worth checking out in the near future: Worth. We were teased about exciting new things TBA at SDCC this year. One of the highlights of the panel? Winning this awesome “Cool as Kirk” t-shirt for answering one of the trivia questions correctly.

HNG Star Trek tshirt

Geeks Get Published

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Panelists: SG Browne, Katrina Hill, Alan Kistler, Alex Langley, Dr. Travis Langley. Moderated by Jenna Busch.

This panel was extremely informative. It was a panel full of geek-centric authors offering up free advice on how to get published. The main thing I took away from it was that I’d like to get a literary agent and that I’m doing the right thing by writing what I love. Afterwards, Alan Kistler found me downstairs and wanted a picture (he’s a big Doctor Who fan and is coming out with a Doctor Who book later this year.

Alan Kistler and HNG

Alan Kistler and HNG

He graciously stayed and chatted with Geek Outlaw and I for a good 10-15 minutes about writing while his friends wandered off to the bar without him. Thanks again, Alan!

Here’s some of what happened down on the Floor…

One of the first booths we noticed was that of Lion Forge Comics. It was a mighty impressive booth.

Geek Outlaw oohing and ahhing

Geek Outlaw oohing and ahhing

They had a healthy line for the slot machine which we were talked into joining. It was manned by this lovely lady armed with a sonic screwdriver.

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Mama Jedi went first and won a giant bag.

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Then it was my turn.

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The machine didn’t seem to be working properly so I fixed it when no one was paying attention and won a bracelet.

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Then Geek Outlaw went and won a bracelet. I totally took a picture of him doing it but he didn’t send it to me so blame him for the empty space here.

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Based out of St. Louis, MO, Lion Forge has a lot of projects in the works and were some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. We chatted with a number of the people involved, including the Creative Director, the YouTube channel host, one of the primary writers, and even the guy who’s in charge of Licensing who was kind enough to help me get Mama Jedi into the giant bag she’d won.

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It seemed like a good idea at the time

There was a large “celebrity row” including Boomer aka Herbert Jefferson Jr. from the Classic Battlestar Galactica.

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Star Wars staple Chewbacca aka Peter Mayhew.

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The ghost of Richard Hatch aka OG Apollo and reboot Zarek.

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The Soup Nazi aka Larry Thomas, who’s decision to sign soup ladles convinced Geek Outlaw to buy an autographed one for his parents who LOVE the Soup Nazi.

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And then there was this guy who Mama Jedi made a beeline for. I still have absolutely no idea who he is or what he does besides sitting there shirtless.

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We ran into SDCC buddy Daniel who was holding down the fort at the booth of a friend.

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We also visited a buddy from this past Long Beach Comic Con. Artist Matt Stevens creates metal fan art. Last time I bought Tenth Doctor and Wash. This time I got an Eleventh Doctor and River Song bookmark. They sit right by my desk and I LOVE them. Not only is Matt a fantastic artist but he’s a super cool dude so you should definitely check him out HERE.

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That’s a mighty fine t-shirt you got there, Matt

One of the ships from Oblivion.

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There was a parade of R2 units lead by a small child.

Where were those brakes again?

Where were those brakes again?

They got into a fight with a couple of WALL-E‘s.

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There was some spitting and at one point the Black R2 unit totally flipped off one of the WALL-E’s as you can see in this video I took:

[youtube:http://youtu.be/gfu_uFi_W6E]

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It wouldn’t be an HNG convention wrap up without the costume pictures!

One of the very first cosplayers we ran into was Toni Darling, better known to the interwebz as Lady Thor. She’s a friend of Daniel’s and the artist who’s booth he was manning (see the posters and artwork behind him?)

I have no idea why I'm making that stupid face

I have no idea why I’m making that stupid face

On our way to the Falling Skies panel I time crashed into my future self in the form of a delightful guy with a very convincing British accent named Jack.

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Something’s up with the universe because we ran into each other again at the end of the night while Geek Outlaw and I were chatting with Alan Kistler and took some more pics.

This is Alan's friend who took off for the bar while we were deep in conversation about writing and stuff

This is Alan’s friend who took off for the bar while we were deep in conversation about writing and stuff

Jack even helped us out by taking the picture of our little group in front of the WonderCon sign.

WonderCon Hot Nerd Girl

Time crash number two occurred down on the Floor. This time I ran into my Fourth incarnation.

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Four is my favorite of the Classic Doctors so he gave me a jelly baby which I totally ate, because, heck, it’s a jelly baby from the Doctor! It was delicious.

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It was a little freakier when I saw myself. I’m just going to assume that he’s the Meta-Crisis Doctor 😉

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Mini me. Seriously, this kid was adorable. He was a bit upset with his Mom because she ruined his jacket. It’s not easy being the mother of a Time Lord, mmmkay kiddo?

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There were many, many, many ladies dressed up as the TARDIS. Apparently a Time Lord dropped some TARDIS coral on Earth at some point in the past.  This one was one of my favorites because it was so unique.

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Let’s move away from Gallifrey and check out some of the other costumes, shall we?

This Lady Thor sat next to us during the Roddenberry panel.

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I ran into this walker at least three times. It freaked me out just as much each time. *shudder* He obviously ran into Haley from Woodbury because there’s no way Daryl would have missed that badly. Twice.

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There are always a few Ghostbusters wandering around conventions. This time they were everywhere. We chatted with a group from Sacramento for quite a while. I like the Ghostbusters groups, they do great things in their communities.

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The Ecto-truck (behind Ecto-1) belongs to one of the guys from the Sacramento group.

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The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man was the Dad of the Mini Tenth Doctor (see him down in the right hand corner? He’s totally thinking he has the coolest Dad ever).

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Stay Puft helped me out by posing with Flat Stanley. I was put in charge of Flat Stanley by a friend who’s kid read the book. I honestly have no idea what the heck Flat Stanley is all about but I returned him to his owner yesterday. Apparently I’m getting him back when I go to Wisconsin for my family reunion next month,

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Rad.

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Steam Punk Snow White can kick your ass.

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Disney Princesses + Rainbow Brite = every little girl’s fantasy come true.

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Jon Snow admiring Daenerys’ …uh…eggs. Riiiight…..

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THIS.

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COBRA Command from GI Joe. I’m pulling this entirely from memory here but the group seems to include Serpentor, Destro, The Baroness, and I think Zarana, a BAT and a Night Creeper. Please correct me if I’m wrong, it’s been more than a few years.

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Marvel goodies vs. DC baddies.

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LEGO Darth Maul!

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This fellow HNG was mighty hot for a scruffy looking nerf herder.

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That’s a nice multipass you got there, Leeloo (and a view from the rear for anyone who’s interested).DSC00511Finally, there’s CMDR William T. Riker as portrayed by a guy who’s name really is William (no joke). He was very nice and we chatted for a few minutes about how much we love Star Trek. It was only after I got home that I realize we’d already met and taken a picture together at Long Beach Comic Con back in November. Kismet!

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And that concludes my wrap up of WonderCon 2013. It was loads of fun and I’m looking forward to next year!