Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Alice Eve - Women and New Trek

While playing on Tumblr the other day, I ran across a wonderful quote from Alice Eve, who portrays the character Dr. Carol Marcus in Star Trek Into Darkness.  During an interview, the interviewer had the nerve to ask her - “Aren’t you a little bit too beautiful to be a science officer?”  To which Alice replied, “That’s very kind of you.  I’m very flattered.  But I didn’t know those things were mutually exclusive.”

There really is not much else to be said here, because Alice succinctly laid out the truth.  This culture of ours equates beauty with stupidity.  The flip side, with which I am more intimately familiar, is that intelligence might be the only redeeming quality of a woman who is not traditionally beautiful.  Both assumptions are insulting and misogynistic.  Truth is much, much more complicated.

When I went searching for pix of Alice on Google for this post, it took quite a while to find a few that I considered adequate – though there were plenty of pictures from the gratuitous underwear scene.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  Alice is beautiful and should rightly enjoy it, and she can do whatever the hell she wants to do.  Much has been made of this scene.  Defenders of this scene then site the Kirk underwear scene as equal opportunity nudity.  But in comparing the two scenes, what did they bring to the table?  Kirk’s scene said something about his character, it built on something established in the last film, that Kirk likes women of all kinds, and it actually stands in contrast to the later beginnings of a relationship with Carol Marcus.  What did the Marcus underwear scene bring to the table? It did not clarify anything or present any new information; it didn't make sense that the character would need to undress right then.  Just to set things straight - I am no prude and nudity is just fine, but use it to move the story forward, shall we?  I know that the writers learned their lesson from the flack they have received...Damon Lindelof went on Twitter and set things straight, which I appreciate (and will post).  Let's hope it holds true. 

Star Trek Into Darkness had wonderful acting by an incredibly talented cast, a decent story line, incredible special effects, beautiful music.  However, I was hoping this film would get back to Classic Trek’s roots – showing diversity, equality, in treating crewmen as crewmen, regardless of gender.  I find it rather sad that a show created in the 1960’s portrayed more diversity and sexual equality than a movie made in 2011.  When I initially saw Aisha Hinds in the Navigator’s Chair sitting in for Chekov, I had momentary hopes that she was transgender.  For a few days I thought maybe JJ Abrams had really gone where no one had gone before in Star Trek and created a queer character as part of the bridge crew.  Since I do not watch television, I had no idea initially that she is “just” a big, beautiful black woman, as I had never seen her other television work.  (More on Aisha Hinds in another post dedicated only to this actress; I discovered many interesting things while investigating her).  My hopes were dashed...to a degree, because just having her there as an additional Navigator is fantastic.  

While no one would ever question Zoe Saldana portraying Uhura’s commanding presence on the bridge like “they” did in the 60’s (thank you, Nichelle Nichols!), not are any eyebrows raised at interracial/interspecies kisses between Spock and Uhura, there is much work still to be done.  I did take note that around half of the commanding officers and first officers in the scene where Khan opens fire at Star Fleet headquarters are women, and I also noted specific camera work establishing/re-establishing female characters on the bridge and elsewhere on the ship, specifically when Kirk had a channel open to the entire ship.  Those shots could only have been executed by JJ Abrams, so not all is lost.  However, we also lost a beloved Classic Trek character, Christine Chapel, in a throwaway one-sentence establishing how much Kirk had hurt her feelings that she fled to the outer edges of space.  So much for one of the most visible female roles from Classic Trek (maybe we can hope that Chapel reconsidered, and was assigned to the Enterprise in the year gap between the events of STID and the beginning of the five year mission.  Oh, dear.  My geek is really showing now).  I hope in the last (?) Trek film to be made, they do move honorably towards treating characters with integrity, regardless of gender or gender identity or orientation.   That would be nice to see.

Thank you to Alice Eve for this wonderful quote and having the courage to stick up for your character, and by extension, yourself.  It sounds like you were much more gracious than I would have been!  My only wish is that I had been able to find the interview that this quote came from, and I failed to find it. 

There is so much more to be said.  More posts to be written.  More stereotypes to be called out.  Maybe the next Trek movie can have queer characters, fully developed female characters and men who don’t have to be macho and fearless – oh, wait, STID did that.  And did it well.  The male characters were very well written and portrayed, with beautiful character development - Kirk, Spock, and Scotty especially.  This cast is so mesmerizing to watch, I really regret that there may be only one more film.  Ah, well, that’s why we must incorporate these values into our everyday lives and make it happen in reality, not just in fantasy and mythology.  Fantasy and mythology are worthless unless we learn the lessons inherent within the stories.  Use today, for it will never come again.  If you identify as female, do something against type.  If you identify as male, use your male privilege to stick up for women.  Boldly go.  

Damon Lindelof's Comments

To be fair, here is what Damon Lindelof had to say regarding Alice Eve's gratuitous underwear scene in STID.  We all learn. This is appreciated, and was a good, honest thing to do.  Thank you!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Happy birthday to Bob Picardo!

Happy birthday wishes go out to Bob Picardo, the Doctor on Star Trek: Voyager.  My son, however, prefers him as the Principle on Ben Ten, the movie!  Check out his extensive film and television resume on the imdb.

When I worked on DS9, I also did a lot of work for Voyager, and got to speak with him occasionally.  He's a nice guy.  Hope you have a great day, Bob!

His website is www.robertpicardo.net    :D

Gravity (a poem)

I believe Newton was wrong 
Gravity is in constant flux 

For I,
Like many others 
Was crushed by a gravity unimaginable 
While others merely floated
Gravity is cruel and unfair 
For it is heavier on others 
Leaving victims helpless,
Without the hope to climb out of bed
We are tied to this earth with an invisible force 

Science would argue that we are all pushed down the same
All life below the hemisphere 
With an equal weight resting above
But I know 
Newton was wrong

Off Tumblr – INFJ blog ponderbox

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Paul Newman's Letter To His Wife

Here is Paul Newman's letter to his wife, Joanne Woodward, on their wedding day.  It's beautiful.  Now, no relationship is perfect, this one included, but the sentiments expressed here seem true to me, nonetheless.  I would love to find someone who thinks like this; who thinks like I do.  Maybe I will put up a personal ad here someday, LOL.  It's my blog, I'll do whatever I want!   :D

 "Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens.  A good marriage must be created.  In the Art of Marriage, the little things are the big things.  It is never being too hold to hold hands.  It is remembering to say 'I love you' at least once a day.  It is never going to sleep angry.  It is at no time taking the other for granted; the courtship should not end with the honeymoon; it should continue through all the years.  It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.  It is standing together facing the world. 

 It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.  It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.  It is not expecting the husband to wear a halo or the wife to have the wings of an angel.  It is not looking for perfection in each other.  It is cultivating flexibility, patience, understanding and a sense of humor.  It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.  It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow.  It is finding room for things of the spirit.  It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.  It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal, dependence is mutual and obligation is reciprocal.  It is not only marrying the right partner, it is being the right partner."

Friday, October 25, 2013

Josh Hutcherson - Straight But Not Narrow

I love reading various websites and blogs and trying to keep up on things, because occasionally I come across a jewel like this one, something totally unexpected.  I love finding depth where I expected to find frivolity and superficiality.  Take this guy as an example.  Josh Hutcherson, "Peeta" of Hunger Games fame.  I liked the books and the movie and I'm looking forward to the next one, Catching Fire.  Normally, I follow some Jennifer Lawrence sites because she's hot and I have a little celeb crush thing going on (insert sheepish grin here).  I ran into this nice article on Josh and read it because it was a slow day.  Lo and behold!  Depth!

 The article is titled "Josh Hutcherson, Straight Talker" and the subtitle is "Josh Hutcherson on fame, is gay uncles' legacy and how the best thing for his 'Hunger Games' character might be a threesome".  OK, with those titles, I couldn't resist.  Oh, and it's in OUT Magazine.  Sweet.  Here's the link:

Here's the first paragraph that peaked my interest:

"He (Josh) definitely doesn’t understand judgmental attitudes toward gay people, which is why he cofounded Straight But Not Narrow, a youth organization that focuses on arming allied kids with the confidence and tools they need to speak out against homophobia. “Sometimes it’s frustrating to comprehend how people are not OK with it. If you can try to tell me how it’s hurting you, you’re crazy. You’re absolutely crazy. Like, what do you mean it’s not natural? Even if—even if, which, I disagree, but even if—why the fuck do you care?”

And here's the second paragraph:

"Hutcherson’s ready to pay it forward. “I have this dream that one day, my kid’s gonna come home from school and be like, ‘Dad, there’s this girl that I like, and there’s this guy that I like, and I don’t know which one I like more, and I don’t know what to do.’ And it’d just be a non-issue, like, ‘Which one is a good person? Which one makes you laugh more?’ ”  

OK!  I like the guy.  Here's the link to Straight But Not Narrow. 


Every bit of ally support helps.  Thank you for being rather fantastic, Josh!

Envious of Chris Pine Today

I find that I am totally envious of Chris Pine today.  He must have been born under a lucky star.  Just a music video with Paul McCartney.  Damn!  That's awesome.  Way to go, Chris!   :D


Saturday, October 19, 2013

"Daring Greatly" - Book Review

As my first book review, I am choosing Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead.  The amazing author is Brene Brown, who speaks on shame, vulnerability, courage and connection.

The book title comes from a quote by Theodore Roosevelt.  “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly… who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those who cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.” 

I love that quote.  It’s one of my all time favorites, definitely in the top five.  This book also ranks in my top five favorite books of all time – what I’d pick if I had to live the rest of my life on a deserted island (not that I could limit myself to only five books!  Perish the thought. Though I might pick "How To Build A Raft" first - thanks, Tumblr, for that bit of wisdom).


I first ran across this concept of ‘daring greatly’ while browsing online – Ms. Brown has a wonderful video up on her website link - http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html.  I am not exaggerating when I say that the concepts in this book and video changed my life in ways that I will be exploring deeper.

On page 2 of the book, she states “When we spend our lives waiting until we’re perfect or bulletproof before we walk into the arena, we ultimately sacrifice relationships and opportunities that may not be recoverable, we squander our precious time, and we turn our backs on our gifts, those unique contributions that only we can make.” 

She continues on. “Perfect and bulletproof are seductive, but they don’t exist in the human experience.  We must walk into the arena, whatever it may be – a new relationship, an important meeting, our creative process, or a difficult family conversation – with courage and the willingness to engage.  Rather than sitting on the sidelines and hurling judgment and advice, we must dare to show up and let ourselves be seen.  This is vulnerability.  This is daring greatly.”

These concepts line up remarkably well with the content of another book I am reading - If the Buddha Dated: Handbook for Finding Love on a Spiritual Path, by Charlotte Kasl, PhD.  It is all about integrity, being honest, honoring another person without needing to change or own them.  I love the synchronicity that continues to happen in my life lately.  As I am considering heading back out into the cruel world of dating, these things will be good to keep in mind, especially as I have not done this in ten years and am scared out of my mind at the very thought.  But I am NOT a "cold and timid" soul, and so fear will not stop me.

I invite you all to read Ms. Brown's amazing book.  It just might be the best $20 I'have ever spent.  It can be found online at http://www.amazon.com/Daring-Greatly-Courage-Vulnerable-Transforms/dp/1592407331/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1376612067&sr=8-1&keywords=daring+greatly+brene+brown

 I also have a link to her blog in my blogroll on the right side of my blog.  Happy reading!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Smoking and Driving with LeVar Burton

I was privledged to work with LeVar Burton on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine prior to working with him on the movie Star Trek: First Contact when he directed one of our episodes.  It was a wonderful meeting!  I was a Production Assistant on the show and was hard at work delivering script pages to the stage one day.  LeVar was standing outside of the stage taking a break and smoking a cigar.  I commented how wonderful the cigar smelled, and he said that he'd give me one on my way back out.  So, after delivering my pages, I came back out and, true to his word, he gave me a cigar.  Very patiently, he taught me how to cut it, light it and make a nice cone out of the center to keep it burning down evenly.  Long story short, he and I spent a lovely twenty minutes smoking quite companionably outside the stage.

All good things must end.  Eventually my boss, our Unit Production Manager (UPM) Bobby della Santina rode up on his bicycle and did a double-take to see his Production Assistant smoking cigars with his Director!  He growled and I hurriedly handed the cigar back to LeVar (who was doubled over laughing) and ran away back to work.  It is a great memory.  A bad habit, an expensive habit, but a great memory!  I rarely have the opportunity to enjoy a good Montecristo or Cohiba or Punch nowadays, but every once in while my enabling step-father buys me one (to my mother's dismay) and we smoke on the patio when we are back home visiting  :)

While watching videos online, I came across this YouTube video and it made me sad and angry at the same time.  LeVar made a video and he explains how he gets pulled over by the police due to racial profiling.  It makes angry that such a wonderful person should have to put up with such crap simply because of the pigment of his skin.  My son's best friend is a black boy and when we are out and about together, I hear the same type of crap directed towards us occasionally.  It is simply unacceptable and I do everything I can to stand against this type of racism. I am white, and it is imperative that people like myself take a stand against discrimination whenever and wherever I can.  What I can do is use that "white privilege" to make a difference.  As a person of a non-straight orientation, it is doubly important that I do so personally, especially since I can "pass" quite easily.  Our differences are what make us strong.  Diversity is the natural order of the world!

Anyway, here is LeVar's video.  I hope it makes you think as much as it did for me.  And thank you, LeVar, for teaching me to smoke, being an awesome director and a good person who is making a difference in this world of ours.


You can follow LeVar on Twitter at @levarburton - https://twitter.com/levarburton.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Plutocractic Corporatocracy

My computer is being a complete jerk.  It is being incredibly slow and crashes all the time.  Dang it.  In addition, when I load in my Tumblr account, I can only get the first five or six posts to show up.  It's extremely frustrating, because a few days ago, in Tumblr-speak, "My dashboard did a thing".

I was following what I believe was a budding conversation between Wil Wheaton (who played Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation) and author Diane Duane - which could only happen on Tumblr or maybe Twitter.  Now, I cannot get back to it, nor can I find it!  I can't load in any other posts beside those first half dozen.  Grrr....  The conversation was on whether our government was a plutocracy or a corporatocracy.  WHAT?  What did you say?  You haven't heard those terms?  And you can't imagine why these two particular people would be having this conversation?  Well, perhaps it's a conversation we ALL should be having.

Plutocracy: a country ruled by it's richest citizens, the rule of wealth; the rule of power provided by wealth.

Corporatocracy: An economic and political system controlled by corporations.

I admit I am not as interested in politics as I probably should be.  It's just not an arena that I resonate to nor understand.  I prefer to make a difference in different ways in the world.  However, since politics rules the world we live in and makes the rules we all have to follow, it's relevant.  I have heard these terms bandied about before (on a homesteading/patriot bulletin board I am also on elsewhere) but have not paid a lot of attention.  Now that our dear government has decided to shut down (WTF!), these terms are catching my attention a lot more these days.  So, I would like to encourage all of you to look into this yourself.  I don't know enough to educate you.  Wish I did.  When I find who I can throw my support behind who knows more about this than I do, I'll let you know.  In the meantime, please do some of your own research.  We do not (and never have) lived in a direct democracy.  And now it appears it has morphed into whole different animal; as a bloodless coup, a silent cancerous growth, rewriting the story of our lives.

"Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor or private interests of any one man, family or class of men." ~ John Adams

"We, the people, are not free.  Our democracy is but a name.  We vote.  What does that mean?  It means we choose between Tweedledee and Tweedledum.  We elect expensive masters to do our work for us, and then blame them because they work for themselves and for their class." ~ Helen Keller

And finally, consider this quote:

"Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreiciate agitation, are people who want crops without plowing the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightening; they want the ocean without the roar of it's many waters.  The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both.  But it must be a struggle.  Power concedes nothing without a demand and it never will." ~ Frederick Douglass

Think on things.  Who are we as a people?  Who are we as citizens? What do we need?  Where do we go from here?  What is the next step?

You can follow Wil Wheaton on Twitter at @wilw and on Tumblr (but I can't access Tumblr right now to get the addie! Sorry!)

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Gates McFadden, Television and Fall Projects

Maybe it’s ironic that a television actress provides a great quote about the negatives of television, but there it is! “Life is so fast these days, and we’re exposed to so much information.  Television makes us a witness to such misery.” ~ Gates McFadden (Dr. Beverly Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation).

We are a television-free household.  I say this with some guilt, since I worked in television production for quite a few years and on several good shows that made a difference in the world (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and ellen) and know that the media CAN do good things.  However, for us, it just causes undue stress.  One of the diagnoses my son struggles with is Generalized Anxiety Disorder.  I found that when we watched television when he was younger, he became agitated.  Not only that, but he always got a bad case of the “gimmes” – gimme this, gimme that!  We get our news online from various sources, watch videos on YouTube, and we watch movies I have approved.  However, our television broke two nights ago.  So now, we are watching them on the portable DVD player.
The time we could be spending watching television goes to more important things.  We read lots of books, play online (well, not THAT much more important, though it IS more interactive), play outside and have friends over.  Ian also uses his time to write and illustrate comics and to make Lego stop-motion movies on his 3DS.  Much more productive!  I am taking up creating mosaics again, which I love making… when I have some projects completed, I will post pictures.  Now that fall is here (or is it winter already, sure feels like it) I am busy putting up food – canning, dehydrating and pickling. I just find that having a television–free life makes life better.  Our friends and family think we are weird, but they like us anyway, even if we have no clue what is on the tube.  We have time for what matters to us, and that is what matters.

I read somewhere that Gates McFadden is an INFJ.  When I worked on Star Trek: First Contact, I only worked with her for three days, and so I did not get to know her at all.  I wonder if she has a television-free household?

You can follow her on Twitter at @gates_mcfadden.

Friday, October 4, 2013

I Love Paramount, but...

I love Paramount Pictures.  I worked there for nearly ten years.  I still dream about the Studio.  I am sure I could walk around it blindfolded and find my way around without any problems.  It was a great place to work.  Some of the best years of my life.

However, today, I am annoyed with the Studio for two reasons.

First -the trailer is out for the movie "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit".  They released it the day after the author of the Jack Ryan books, Tom Clancy, DIED.  Really, Paramount?  You couldn't have released it a day sooner?  Did Clancy even get to see it?  It reeks of capitalizing on his death.  I find that inappropriate and tacky.

Second - the poster.  Gorgeous.  Provocative. Nice title,  the font is adequate - and it lists the writers (um, who cares?) and director (yeah for Kenneth Branagh!).  But.... where the hell is Chris Pine's name?  You go through all the trouble to hire this fantastic, hot actor and you don't put his NAME on the damn movie poster.  Hello at the Studio, "The Sum of All Fears" came out in 2002 (while I worked in the feature production department).  In movie language, that was a hundred freakin' years ago.  No one under 25 years old is going to know or care who 'Jack Ryan' is.  What's selling this movie is the actor CHRIS PINE.  You hire a name, you USE it.  Heads should roll.

Two stupid mistakes with this movie, their winter blockbuster and (another) reboot franchise possibility.  I hope to hell it has the content, because their promotion so far sucks (not to mention that the trailer crashes my computer EVERY.  SINGLE.  TIME.  Okay, I did mention it.  I watched the 2 1/2 minute trailer three times, though it took 15 minutes to do so!).

I love you, Paramount, I really do.  Especially if you continue to make big movies with one of my favorite actors.  But... step up your game, kids.