TREK WEEK: 13 Things I Obsessed About On Star Trek, The Original Series a.k.a. Just Where Are the Bathrooms On the Starship Enterprise?

This piece was originally published May 4th, 2009

Vulcan Man IconAh, classic 1966 Star Trek. We know it all too well: William Shatner’s inimitable Captain James T. Kirk; Leonard Nimoy’s half Vulcan, half human Mr. Spock; and Sulu. Not to mention, an immeasurable amount of fodder for discussion, trivia, merchandising and collectibles.

1966 Star Trek, in its endless cycle of syndicated reruns during my teenage years, was my very first foray into any type of a full blown obsessive, deep fan-trance, geeked out, collector type mentality.

Call it the beginning of my lovable/sick desire to collect memorabilia, toys, books and to actually go beyond that of merely absorbing something as just entertainment.

Sure, I had other loves before and spent any money I had on courting them as well. There was James Bond and all things spy; monster movies; music; models; MAD magazine and comic books (I was a proud member of Marvel’s FOOM); Saturday morning animation, and other groovy syndicated tv shows like Batman (Adam West),The Green Hornet, The Munsters and The Addams Family. Yet, Star Trek is where my young brain skipped a therapy session and decided to dive into things. I needed the toys, the books and devoted my pondering thoughts to all things Star Trek in a way that I not yet experienced.

Where no “I” had ever gone before.

Now, a small sampling of these as I list 13 things about Star Trek: The Original Series that I heavily obsessed about. In no particular order of importance, as they were all important…

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Hey Menko! A Look at Japan’s Colorful Little Card Wonders

This piece was originally published April 20th, 2009 Menko Man IconMenko is two things: first, a card game that has been played by kids in Japan since Japan’s Edo period (1603 to 1868 a.k.a. the pre modern isolationist Shogunate era of Japan, usually the period where most bad ass Samurai films take place) and is surprisingly still around today, and second, the name for the actual cards themselves. Menko as a game is similar to marbles and with much respect to this actual game, which is ingrained in a multitude of Japanese childhood memories to this day, you probably won’t be playing Menko anytime soon, nor will I, but oh boy, a piece of cardboard with a colorful printed image on one side has rarely been as visually appealing and fun as the glorious Menko. The Menko card reflects Japan’s cultural history, pop history and team sports history. Being a close relative to the trading card, or even a Pokemon card, kids have collected them, traded them and probably sneaked a few into their pockets at the corner store…uhh, forgetting to pay at the register.

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I Was a Teenage Movie Maker 2: Confessions of a Super 8 Freak

This piece was originally published March 9th, 2009

Frankie Teen IconI had fun making amateur movies as a kid with my friends. Things were different then…were they ever. You see, video — that was something that was waay out of our league. Only grownups that had academic credentials used video. I saw that firsthand, observing the wacky hipsters who came into our 3rd grade music class videotaping our visit from the local Looking Glass Theater children’s acting troupe. No, video cameras were out of the question. They cost unfathomable amounts of money, were huge clunky behemoths with accompanying heavyweight television monitors, and shot disturbingly poor grade black and white images. This did not meet with our colorful kid standards at all — video cameras were best left to the early German Krautrockers like Kraftwerk who also had room sized, hand built synthesizers.

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What’s so funny about Peace, Love and …Dioramas??

This piece was originally published February 9, 2009

Japanese Robot Goldar from Space Giants Icon

 

I’m fairly certain that no dictionary definition is needed here for exactly what a diorama is.

Well, just in case there is one person who isn’t quite sure, or isn’t familiar with The Simpsons episode, Lisa’s Rival, here are two simple ones:

1) A three-dimensional miniature or life-size scene in which figures, stuffed wildlife, or other objects are arranged in a naturalistic setting against a painted background.

2) A miniature, three-dimensional scene, often depicting a historical event.

From childhood on, we have all seen and experienced firsthand the modern day examples of dioramas. Be it via the often creepy and slightly upsetting versions, at least that’s what comes to my mind whenever I am viewing say, a taxidermist fueled fest such as the kind of wildlife diorama found in a museum of science or natural history setting – teachers, scientists and tourists just love ’em – or the ones created with ever so cool toys that you want to touch, covet, take home and place into your very own fake grass and plaster over chicken wire creation.

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