You’d Lose Your Head If It Weren’t Attached

That was one of my mother’s favorite things to say. She had other preferred idioms, but none of those quite fit with the point of this post. Yes, this is one of those rare moments when I do actually have a point.

This is quite a familiar topic here at the lair…and quite possibly one of my favorite topics in all the world: Dr. Crusher. Remember Doctober? I don’t know why I even bother asking…of course you do! It was AWESOME. Also? I bring it up all the time. Because it was AWESOME.

Talking in circles? You’re so ouroboring, Loba.

On Doctober 2, I wrote a post called Losing Her Head, in which I blathered on a bit about Beverly Crusher action figures and gave fair warning that I would be making more action figure entries throughout the month. I also paid tribute to one of the earliest Dr. Crusher-centric Web sites I ever found when I first hit teh Interwebz: BevHeads. I also lamented the fact that I couldn’t remember the name of the person who ran the site.

Until he found me…through my post about his site. AND HE WROTE ABOUT MY POST IN HIS POST ON BEVHEADS.

[Insert “Circle of Life” in 3…2…1…]

Seriously, it’s moments like this that make me love these silly interconnected tubes all the more. Thank you, Mr. Thiel, for reaching out to fill in the blanks on your groovy site and for the equally awesome shout-out. I happily return the favor.

I would also like to take this moment to let you all know that Gates McFadden is now on Twitter! Even better? (Could there be anything even better, you wonder!) She has a wonderful Tumblr blog for the Ensemble Studio Los Angeles (of which she is the director), through which she shares the “exploits” of a Dr. Crusher action figure.

Sometimes I forget about the beauty within the world. And then things like this happen:

tumblr_mkn3iwhEpf1s4nhnmo3_1280

Click the photo to embiggen it and you’ll be able to see Ms. McFadden’s reflection in the wine bottle as she takes this shot.

Yes. Yes, I did study this photo that closely. You know you’re not surprised…

Loba-Lantern

Little break from all the drinking that’s been going on here at the lair. I carved a pumpkin last night. I haven’t carved a pumpkin in a very long time. Too long. I used to love doing this every year (remember, Halloween is my favorite holiday). So when I learned that there would be a pumpkin decorating contest at work, I decided that I would get back to something that used to make me incredibly happy.

I need a little extra happy right now.

Truth be told, I don’t even mind if I don’t win anything for this little cutie. I had a blast carving him. This was also the first time I’ve ever used linoleum cutters for the task. Not bad for my first go, eh?

I snapped a couple photos of my wolfy pumpkin with a candle, but they came out incredibly dark (duh, right?). Therefore, forgive the graininess of this photo, which I had to take into PhotoShop for some level adjustments:

Even though it’s early, Happy Howloween, denizens. Hope you all get your scare on in the best ways possible.

Flashback Friday: Star Trek: The Next Generation

It’s not going to be a surprise to anyone who knows me, either in person or through the interactions I’ve shared with you here at my lair or my other online haunts, that today is particularly special to my little geeky heart. Twenty-five years ago, on September 28, 1987, one of the most influential shows of my life debuted.

I’m not going to bore you with statistics about the show or tell you about how I think TNG changed pop culture FOREVAH or even try to convince any of you who might not be Star Trek or sci-fi fans in general that this is mandatory viewing. Truth is, I can’t honestly say that. If you don’t like sci-fi, you don’t like it and that’s the end of it. Also? This isn’t a perfect show by any means. Ask any Trek fan who can be honest in their observations and they’ll tell you that there are several painful stretches of viewing displeasure (I’ve even heard some of my friends contend that the show didn’t really hit its stride until the fifth of its seven seasons; I would contend that it started dramatically improving somewhere around the third season, but I can see their point).

So what is the enduring legacy of this show? I could say something like its hope. Its optimism regarding the future of humanity and the human condition. Its progressive predictions about how far we could go if we could only unlock ourselves from the shackles of prejudice and ignorance. And if I did say these things, I would be telling the truth. These are just some of the factors that made me fall in love with TNG.

If I were to be completely honest, however, the reasons that I fell in love with TNG (and most of its subsequent Trek iterations) are purely subjective and purely personal.

I was an awkward, painfully shy adolescent, uncomfortable in my own body for many reasons. I had friends, but never really felt as though I fit in, even with them. I guess I could have tried harder, but I never really learned how to fake interest in the things I was “supposed” to enjoy. I remember all my girl friends leaving me behind as they began to show more interest in things like make-up and dating…while I just wanted to sit in my room and read all weekend and maybe get in a little batting practice after school before I had to do my homework.

TNG was one of the first TV series to show me something that I didn’t even realize I was missing: inclusion. It didn’t matter if you wore a banana clip over your eyes or had a turtle shell glued to your forehead…you were the galactic cheerleader with a chocolate addiction or the perpetually pissed off navigator with the crinkle-cut nose…even if you were the nerdiest, most annoying person in the universe (coughcoughWesleycoughcough)…there was a place for you on the NCC-1701-D.

While I was with the crew of the Enterprise, I wasn’t the outsider. I knew them. I knew that Captain Picard didn’t like children and that Commander Riker loved to throttle his trombone. Worf enjoyed a tall glass of prune juice after shift and Data’s whistle sounded like a vibrator stuck inside a toaster. Deanna couldn’t read your mind but she could state the obvious with deadly acumen, and Geordi couldn’t even figure out how to program a holodeck woman willing to spend more than a few hours with him before she was lulled nearly comatose by his presence.

These characters were my escape, my sanctuary, my dismissal from the unhappiness of reality.

And then there was Dr. Crusher.

It’s actually kind of a sad reason why I love this character above all others from this series, and one that now carries with it the added gilding of guilt for me. My mom was never well and things were particularly rocky for all of us throughout my teen years. She spent a lot time in hospitals and I spent a lot time feeling angry and alone in that wonderfully hyperbolic teenage way. I say that because deep down I knew that I wasn’t alone. My dad was always there for me. So were many other family members.

Looking back with a clearer perspective, I understand that my mom was there for me as well, as best as she could be. At the time, however, I found refuge in the “if only” maternal potential of Dr. Crusher’s constant presence (minus that awful second season, the existence of which I tend not to willingly acknowledge). She was there in ways that I couldn’t bring myself to allow real people to be there for me. She became and remains the most important fictional character I’ve ever known.

Like I said, it’s a rather sad reason I suppose. And I do feel guilty that, while my mom was alive, I spent such a large part of my adolescence wishing that a fictional character could take her place. Hindsight shouldn’t be so painfully in-focus.

So, there you have it. Today marks the 25th anniversary of the most influential television series in my life…and not solely for the reasons you might have expected. It’s been with me for so long that I can’t even remember a time before its existence. I think I once figured out that at the height of my TNG addiction, I watched more than 20 hours per week. When I wasn’t watching it on television, I was reading its novels, listening to its audiobooks, playing its computer games, wearing its T-shirts, drinking coffee from its mugs, going to its conventions, collecting its merchandise in ways that probably could have inspired a very special episode of Hoarders.

Happy anniversary to Captain Picard and his extraordinary crew. And thank you to the Great Bird of the Galaxy who planted the seed from which this galaxy-sized series grew.

An Officer and the Extra-Terrestrial

Thirty years ago today, Steven Spielberg unleashed his schmaltz upon us in extra-terrestrial form, complete with marketable candy-coated goodness.

I hate to break this to you, denizens, but I’ve never liked this movie. It’s riddled with forced sentimentality as only Spielberg can inflict upon audiences. But I couldn’t resist this idea when it popped into my head. My only hope is that someone out there gets my weird sense of humor (it actually does make sense if you know a little movie trivia!), and that they laugh even a fraction as much as I’m still laughing.

Welcome Home, Discovery

Something extraordinary just happened, denizens. I’ve been driving people crazy all morning about it. The Space Shuttle Discovery has come to her new home.

She left Kennedy Space Center early this morning; I heard her departure during my commute into work. I had wanted to take the morning off, join the rest of my geek peepz down at the Udvar-Hazy to watch her arrival, but I’ve got too much going on at work right now for that to be feasible.

Welcome to the Digital Age.

I still got to watch her arrival, thanks to a streaming video provided by NASA. Here are some screen captures, in case you missed the video:

Even better? My cousin was able to snap this shot of Discovery on her fly-by up the Potomac River:

Want better still? I got to see her on her fly-by. Totally unexpected. I didn’t think that my office would be anywhere near her flight plan. As I was waiting for the coverage video to start back up, I heard a group of my coworkers running around the corner toward our conference room. I swiveled around in my chair…and there she was, gliding across the cloud-dappled sky on the back of her chaperone.

AMAZING.

I have no photo of this moment…she was there for but a moment before streaking off into the ether…but I can still see it, replaying in my mind.

Silly as it might sound, this has made my morning.

Such bittersweet emotions right now. She shouldn’t be moth-balled for museum fodder, but I’m so thankful that I live in an area lucky enough to have been selected to give one of these beautiful shuttles a new home. I can’t wait for Udvar-Hazy to reveal her glorious debut. I’ll miss the Enterprise, but now it’s time for others to enjoy her.

Welcome home, Discovery.

Commemorative poster designed for Smithsonion National Air & Space Museum

I Don’t Give a Damn ‘Bout My Bad Doppelgängin’

I warned you, denizens. There was a reason for my last Flashback Friday choice.

Truth be told, Joan Jett’s 1988 release Up Your Alley is my favorite album, holistically speaking. This probably stems from the fact that this was my first taste. However, I can find something enjoyable from all of her Blackhearts releases. I can even dip back into her Runaways years and find stuff to make those long commutes at least audibly enjoyable. All I have to do, though, is just see the cover art for Up Your Alley, and the Loba Happy-O-Meter is cranked to 11.

None more black, indeed.

This was quintessential Jett in many ways, especially in visual style: teased black rocker hair, black leather all around, kohled eyes, “come here if you dare” stare. However, I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for the cover of her 1983 release, Album. Atrocious jaundiced background aside, this has always struck me as one of her most “fun” covers:

Nothing better than a Jett in flight, eh? I’ve always loved this pose…so much so that I’ve considered getting the silhouette on a T-shirt. Plus, she’s decked in her trademark black, including the leather pants, but she’s still holding onto her punkier Runaways style with her red Chucks, that bandanna thing she kept going for quite a while, and some badass black leather-studded accoutrements.

I love this version of Jett so much that this is the photo I chose as the inspiration for my own Joan Jett costume for a rock-themed party this weekend:

Close enough for government work, right? I was pretty pleased with the overall look (although I’m sure there was more makeup on my pasty face that night than on an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race). I thought about taking my Guitar Hero controller with me for effect (after covering the Aerosmith logo, of course), but decided that I didn’t want to run the risk of spilling anything on it. And there was much to be spilled. Open bars make awesome parties.

Most people immediately twigged to who I was supposed to be. One couple, however, did ask if I was Jack White.

Damn young people. Learn your rock history!

Of course, I did have a disturbing epiphany when I finally stumbled back home that night and caught a quick glimpse of myself in the foyer mirror. With my mullety hair and my thickly lined blue eyes? I looked a little less like an 80s rock star and more like a motorcycle-riding graduate of Eastland Prep…

Loba as Joan Jett Totally Looks Like Nancy McKeon as Jo Polniaczek

Take the good. Take the bad. Take ’em both and there you have just a part of Mi Vida Loba…

The Holidays As They Were Intendant…

Yes, denizens, it’s time once again for me to drop a little holiday geekery on you. I’m returning to my Trek roots this year, with a traditional geeky greeting from the Mistress of All Things Naughty, The Intendant.

Because, really, nothing says holiday cheer quite like an unhinged Bajoran wrapped in a pleather onesie.

Whatever your pleasure might be…whether it’s pleather or tweed or somewhere in between, I wish you the merriest of days, filled with peace, love, and joy.

Ode to…Pöpcørn?

I love the Muppets. A lot. I’ve already talked about how Jim Henson is one of the greatest influences from my childhood. Seriously, the two things that continue to make me proud to be an alumna of the University of Maryland at College Park are: my three aunts graduated from there; and Jim Henson graduated from there.

I still haven’t made it to see the new Muppets movie. I’m actually quite irritated with myself over this fact. I haven’t wanted to go see a movie in a very long time, but frog dammit, I want to see this one. Time to finally finish off that Fandango card!

In the interim, however, I’ve been watching some of the YouTube videos put out by Muppet Studios. Two have quickly become my favorites. Two of my favorite recurring characters are Beaker and the Swedish Chef. Poor Beaker, always getting the fuzzy end of the lollipop stick, no matter what. All the horrible things that Bunsen Honeydew did to him, yet he continued to rise like some kind of orange-tufted, felty Messiah (ooh, have I offended the fundamentalists? Good). Even when he’s on his own, as in this video, he still somehow attracts an incomparable level of disaster that is equal parts traumatic and hilarious. Okay, that’s a lie. They’re just hilarious…

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnT7pT6zCcA&w=640&h=360]

And then there’s the Swedish Chef. I can only imagine that he must be offensive on some level to true Swedes. Right? I mean, come on, such a blatant mockery of their native language must ruffle their feathers at least a little. Yet there’s something so delightfully underdoggish about the Swedish Chef. He’s utterly incompetent and frighteningly inept at his profession. But he means well in his attempts. And he botches his dishes in such hysterically horrifying ways…such as this attempt to make Pöpcørn Shrimp. I can’t stop watching this video. Also, please, please, please make sure that you have the closed captions activated while you watch this. Trust me. You will appreciate it that much more…

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7UmUX68KtE&w=640&h=360]

I like how my favorite characters are two of the Muppets that have regular Muppety heads but have “real” hands (the Swedish Chef always had human hands; in fact, they originally were Jim Henson’s hands and Henson’s voice…Beaker has human hands as well, but they’re covered with felt). Also, neither one speaks a true language. The Swedish Chef is somewhat understandable at times; Beaker though…I have no freakin’ clue there, denizens. Just makes him that much more entertaining. Although, really, maybe Beaker isn’t even a “he.” How the hell can you tell? Maybe it’s a girl. I don’t know. Do you?

While you marinate on that question, here’s one final video, of both Beaker and the Swedish Chef together, bringing their…unique dialects together for this musical interlude. Watch for a guest appearance from one of my other favorite Muppets along the way…

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXKUb5A1auM&w=640&h=360]

Walken In A Winter Wonderland

Not a lot of time for my typical prolixity, but I wanted to celebrate the auspicious occasion of yet another Über Geek Holiday Door.

You may recall that last year’s door was decidedly dorky (in a delicious way). This year’s theme was “Winter Wonderland.” The decree was issued not long before I was introduced to the wonderful meme “Walken in a Winter Wonderland,” one of the most wonderful memes I’ve seen in a very long time.

Obviously, I knew what I needed to do…

It’s not quite what I originally envisioned, but I not only ran out of time but also inspiration. I wanted to create a giant poster to advertise this as a new Rankin/Bass cartoon. That’s kind of what it is now…in a somewhat in-the-rough way.

I did, however, see fit to give myself my own award (since I failed to meet the deadline for door judging):

Here are better views of the primary characters. Jack Frost was going to be the focus of the cartoon (since he is the one with the fever, after all) so I made his the largest picture:

I think it’s funny how Christopher Walken as Hermey the Dentist Elf from Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer looks a little bit like Steve Buscemi:

And Christopher Walken as the Heat Miser from The Year Without Santa Claus looks kind of like U.S. Senator John Kerry:

Maybe that’s just my interpretation though.

Anyway, this is what’s going to be on my door for the rest of December. I hope someone out there enjoys it. Or at least gets it. And if you’d like to see some of the clips that inspired my Walken insanity, including his role as “The Continental,” one of my favorite of his SNL characters and the screen cap I used for Jack Frost’s face, here you go. Merry whatever, denizens.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6tJ_ayFZto&w=640&h=480]