My first introduction to Star Trek came from Saturday morning cartoons, Mego toys, and Aurora and AMT model kits. This was the mid-70’s. My folks had already introduced me to some SF via The Twilight Zone, Planet of the Apes, and Logan’s Run. But on Saturday mornings we’d watch Star Trek: the Animated Series, (TAS), (as well as the cartoon The Secret Life of Waldo Kitty which had an episode called “Cat Trek” where our eponymous hero fantasized he was Captain Kirk on a cat-shaped Enterprise!) On Christmases and birthdays I’d get Mego action figures and many a model kit, [the exploration set (with phaser, communicator and tricorder), the Enterprise, and the Enterprise bridge; all with those ridiculous wet and apply decals].
I don’t remember the exact date I started watching Star Trek: the Original Series, (TOS), it’s possible I started watching it in syndication after I saw Star Wars in ‘77. What I do know is that I ate it up! The Filmation series was cheesy, with its stilted animation, but TOS seemed deeper, more fantastic, and more real. I wanted to live on the Enterprise, or Space Station K7; fly a Galileo shuttlecraft; beam down to a strange new world...or to school and back. I wanted desperately to own a communicator--and 30+ years later I do, my cell phone, with built in (sorta) tricorder--as well as a Tribble or two, (kept separate, of course, lest their breeding overwhelm my meager bedroom). As much as I could, I turned my room into a starship bridge. I had a large poster of the Enterprise in cutaway view, (from ST: The Motion Picture), I pretended was a view screen; a vinyl chair with arms, that unfortunately didn’t swivel, that I pretended was my Captain’s chair. I drew computer panels and taped them to my desk. From there I would do what the opening narration commanded: explore strange new worlds, seek out new life and new civilizations, and boldly go where no man has gone before! In my bedroom and, with my exploration set, in my backyard!
And boldly did I go!  I began my Human Adventure, I cried when Spock died, I rejoiced when he was reborn, I cheered for the whales George and Gracie and marveled at transparent aluminum. Before the movies and in between, I watched and re-watched--through the magic of syndication and VHS--all my favorite episodes, logging my watching by marking up my copy of A Star Trek Catalog. I Read the old adventures with the Bantam novelizations of TOS by James Blish and their fotonovels of favorite episodes; the Ballantine novelizations of TAS by Alan Dean Foster as well as poring over the Ballantine editions of the Starfleet Technical Manual and Medical Reference Manual, (I can never unsee Tellarite anatomy). After the movies, I devoured the Pocket Books original novels and movie novelizations. I was so obsessed with collecting all books Star Trek that when I began high school I offered to buy a ratty paperback copy of the first original Star Trek novel, Spock Must Die also by Blish, from my school’s librarian, (we made a deal instead: I would read the mammoth SF masterpiece Dune (at 412 pgs) and she would give me Spock Must Die when I finished; which I did almost a year later).
Middle and high school years proved to be times of trial for our young starship officer, but by channeling the stoicism of his favorite Vulcan, he made it through. Star Trek, (and SF in general), saved my life during those years because when you’re a shy, awkward, book nerd who’d rather keep his nose in a book than interact with anyone; who’s level of wit is quoting Douglas Adams, (“Listen, you semi-evolved simian, go climb a tree, will you?,” “Life, loathe it or ignore it, you can't like it."), who reacts to most bully’s pranks and humiliations by either raising an eyebrow or muttering “fascinating,” whose picture in his freshman year’s yearbook was himself wearing pointed ears and making a strange sign with his right hand, well, then, you better hope there’s a future, because your present is a level of hell Dante hadn’t even known about.
Star Trek was that future. I like to say that were it not for Adams, Ray Bradbury, Kurt Vonnegut, and Harlan Ellison, (who incidentally wrote one of the best known TOS episodes and one of my all time favorites “The City on the Edge of Forever”), I wouldn’t have made it through high school without becoming a statistic. Truth is, along with those literary figures, I wouldn’t have made it without Star Trek, either. Star Trek was hope. Star Trek told me that the future was bright and that we’d all get along and that space was full of wonder and excitement.
I still consider myself a “Trekkie.” I used to deny that appellation in favor of “Trekker,” (it was once considered derogatory to call trufanstm of Star Trek “Trekkies” back in the 80’s), but found that it seemed needlessly exclusive. And if there’s one thing Star Trek taught me it’s that we need to be more INclusive and less EXclusive. A lesson we still need now in the 21st Century. Happy 50th anniversary, Star Trek! Live Long and Prosper!


Bye for now

As of this moment, as if anyone is paying attention, on this blog-- and the other one-- I'll no longer be posting anything. (Given my personality, this may change, but for the nonce, it stands!)


Deliberate or Procrastinate?

I don't blog--clearly, given my last post on this blog was two years ago--but I read some of them, in particular Jack Pendarvis' which is the inspiration for this post and for blogging today in general.

I like books. I like to read. I fear that my attention span is lessening the older I get. And this is why:

On my Goodreads page, I checked in just now to see when I had started the two Bucket List books I planned on reading this year--said books are Suttree by Cormac McCarthy and A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole--[an aside: I'm a bad Knoxvillian as I've never read either Suttree nor A Death in the Family and I'm a bad Southerner as I've never read Dunces before now. Aside over]

I discovered that I started Dunces in April and Suttree in May. Now, here it is the middle of August and I haven't a). finished either of them and b). read on them since probably June. The question now is: should I finish them? (To who, exactly, am I asking this question?)

Understand, I have read and finished three books since I started Dunces and Suttree. I've read a tremendous amount of short fiction--which you probably could count on Goodreads, but I haven't looked into how, yet--and I've, of course, read countless blog posts and other ephemera.

But I haven't finished my "Bucket List" books--another aside, of course I know it's silly to call Dunces and Suttree "Bucket List" books because I may not finish them this year and I may not read them again next and really who the hell cares if I read them or not? Anyone? Anyone? Clear eyes?

And I know it is some measure of pressure I'm putting on myself to finish these books, (which books I have enjoyed thus far, don't get me wrong. They aren't a struggle to read, well, Dunces isn't, Suttree is...dense to be sure.)

I suppose my point is that the size of these two books, Dunces clocks in at 405 pages, Suttree at 480, are such that I find it difficult to keep at them when there are so many books I own and are coming out and I haven't read and all of the above which are shorter--but some no less dense--than these two. The last three books I read were shorter--George Singleton's Between Wrecks (300), Daniel Wallace's The Kings and Queens of Roan (304) and Mr. Sebastian and the Negro Magician (304). 

There's also the question of a lessening attention span. Do I read shorter things--and consequently want to write short stories--because I find it harder to keep up with something more involved? I find it doubly hard to keep up with series television unless my wife wants to watch also, eg. I'm watching True Detective now and I've only watched the second episode and that was last week, I mean, it's OnDemand so I can watch it anytime, but I don't. 

So, I shout into the ether and don't even get the courtesy of an echo in return. Or as the Black Lectroid said: "So what. Big deal."


ROW80 Check-in 3/7

Buckling down on the Padgett Powell post. Working that test mile again and again. And walking, still walking. Onward and upward with all things.


ROW80 Check-in 3/5

Work is picking up on my protest story. I recently unearthed some notes and an article, from my days as an intrepid college newspaper reporter, on the protest march I attended and I think they'll provide some good material for the fictionalization of that event. I also found some actual newspaper coverage of the protest rally which will give some factual bulk to it as well.

Still walking, though, we haven't, as yet, increased our speed or time, that'll probably come about the warmer it gets.

How are y'all?


ROW80 Check-in 2/26: It's not too late.

I learned some sad news over the weekend, the writer William Gay, of Hohenwald, TN, died Thursday at the age of 68. Here are a couple of articles about him and his recent passing:



I read Gay's collection I Hate to See That Evening Sun Go Down a few years ago and enjoyed the stories very much especially the title story which was made into a movie filmed around here in East Tennessee. That Evening Sun was also Dixie Carter's last film roll, a film she did with her husband Hal Holbrook.

I admired Gay not just because of how well he told a story but also because of his age when he started publishing, which was 55 in 1998. See, the older I get the more I feel that the "right" age for being a published writer is behind me and growing more distant every year. But when I read about, (and read), writers like Gay and Walker Percy and Helen Dewitt and Daniel Orozco, I see that getting older doesn't mean that my time has passed, in fact I see now that I'm at a much better age to really begin my writing career. I'm more mature, I'm more focused, I think I know better the stories I want to tell. In other words, because of writers like Gay, et al, I know that it's not too late to start. I've got a lot of years ahead of me. So, that's what I've been thinking about lately.

As for what I've been up to since Wednesday: I'm still hitting the test mile when I can and when I don't I don't self-flagellate. I'm still working on my protest story, my library book and am finishing up two posts for the blog. Soon, my walking buddy and I are going to start increasing our speed. How's your week starting out?


ROW80 Check-in 2/22

Writing when I can, often at work on lunch break, not kicking myself when I don't. Working on several different things at different times. Will hopefully finish something. That's big on my to do list. I can start lots of things just not very good at finishing them.

Still walking.