Thursday, February 23, 2012


Today Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, the talented and lovely First Lady of Star Trek, would have turned 80 years old.
Majel was involved with every incarnation of Star Trek since the original series, starting out playing "Number One", the female First Officer in the pilot episode. We know and love her firstly as Christine Chapel, the head nurse on the Enterprise in TOS. Poor thing, always the target of Spock's Vulcan freakouts. Don't feel bad Christine, we all feel that way about Spock. And we like your Plomeek soup.

Then there was the glamorous and tragic Lwaxana Troi on TNG and DS9. A well played, complex character; kind, lonely, brash and full of life, keeping even the most stoic guys on their toes.

And of course, the computer voice. The beloved sound of our favorite computers of the future. A voice which will always remind us of space exploration and peace and hope and adventure.
And we shan't forget her lifelong role as the devoted wife of good old Uncle Gene.

Whenever we miss her, all we have to do is watch Star Trek. Any Star Trek, because she is in it, everywhere, literally and figuratively.

Happy Birthday Majel! We hope you're hanging out in some parallel universe with Gene, having space martinis and laughing at all the illogical humans.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Captain's Log: Star Trek Music Review - FIVE YEAR MISSION

It isn't every day you think to yourself "There should definitely be more music based on Star Trek." And it isn't every two days after that that a friend says "Hey look, here's a band that's doing a song for every episode of The Original Series." And it isn't every three months later you still haven't listened to anything else since you downloaded said band's albums. You with me? This may be less of a "review" than a gushy recommendation or whole hearted endorsement.
Five Year Mission is five guys that thought The Original Series "rocks so hard" that every episode deserves it's own tribute song. I tend to agree, but as a full blown music snob, I must admit I was skeptical. Or, at least I figured it would just be the kind of thing you hear once and enjoy a laugh because you get the Trek references. Then you move along, scurrying on back to your obscure post-punk bands no one's ever heard of. But I soon figured out these guys are much more than just a couple of geeks with a Casio and a Macbook. 
The first 5YM song I heard was "The Naked Time" from their first album, Year One. I dare say it's more than just a cute song about Mister Spock losing his Vulcan cool, but a brilliant pop song, and perhaps even a well done homage (not a rip-off) to The Cure's "Boys Don't Cry", whether or not that was intentional. Another gem from Year One is "The Man Trap". I defy to you listen without either dancing or singing along to the chorus. (I do both.) This album was the first thing I ever downloaded from iTunes, and it was worth every penny, a zillion times over. Seriously, I haven't been that excited about a new album since I got my first Nirvana CD in the 90s. Lucky for me, I showed up to the party when Year Two was about to be released. A week later I'd downloaded my very second album from iTunes, fully prepared to be disappointed, I mean, it couldn't be as good as Year One, could it?
Oh, it could be, and it is. It might even be better.
Year Two starts off with the masterfully poppy "Galileo Seven" that draws you into heart-felt sing-a-longs reminiscent of what one might expect upon hearing "Livin' On A Prayer" in a bar at 1am. The comedic, fun, "Space Seed" (KHHAAAAAANNNN!!!) and "Arena" challenge you to listen to them on your iPod in public and try not to walk around with a big idiotic grin on your face. The hilarity is balanced by beautifully written songs, like the tragic "City On The Edge of Forever" or the appropriately dramatic, artfully done, Radiohead-esque "Devil in The Dark". The sweet, adorable song for "The Alternative Factor" is almost a non-traditional love song, an incredibly creative take on the episode and it's undertones. I could go on, I could say something about every song. (Dammit Jim, I'm a Star Trek fan, not a music reviewer!) But I think you should just go download it for yourself, or order the CD from 5YM's website. (I am in no way affiliated with them, their music just makes me happy.) It's one thing to watch a video or two online, but there is something in listening to the whole album in it's entirety, seeing the episodes playing in your brain, with an incredibly fun, original soundtrack.
These guys get Trek, they get it's silliness, it's camp. What they also get is how damned awesome it is, and you can feel it in the songs, there is a deep respect for the show and the characters, and also a healthy appreciation of the obvious tongue-in-cheek aspect of writing songs about Star Trek. The only reason not to listen to these guys is that you'll never be able to watch TOS again without thinking of their songs. I certainly don't mind it myself. I'm not ashamed to admit, even as a self proclaimed music snob, I haven't listened to almost anything else in months, I'm still not tired of it, and can't wait for Year Three to come out.  

Find them on:

Favorite 5YM song, awesome video.

The Scale of the Universe

Here's a link to an interesting interactive site that puts the scale of the universe into perspective. It goes from the smallest known particles all the way up to the edges of space as we know it. Seemed like a logical thing to share with Trek fans (whose heads are in the stars most of the time, anyway).
*oh, and you just have to deal with the annoying ad at the beginning. It's worth it.
The Pillars of Creation Nebula