To boldly go…



In case you missed it, Star Trek turned 50 years old today.

As a child of the Space Race, I was certainly not alone in expecting that humanity would be well into space by now. Indeed, boldly going where no one has gone before. Budgets got cut, slashed and just plain mutilated; bringing those dreams to a crashing halt.

I have been a fan of Star Trek since the show’s first run in prime time on NBC. I had one of the first Star Trek lunch boxes, the metal version of the lunch pail, carried by so many. Proudly, I have always considered myself a “Trekker”. Not a “Trekkie”. For a variety of reasons, most having to do less with hero worship and more with the possibilities that lay out among the stars.

My first Star Trek convention was the Red Hour Festival at Lincoln High School in San Francisco in 1975. My first convention as volunteer was over the Presidents Day weekend in 1977; where among other things I met good friends and the woman who would eventually become my wife. That led to involvement with the crew of a stage illusion based on Star Trek’s “Transporter”. And oddly enough, a DVD on those early cons, manages to show me on film at a number of them.

Yes, I have costumes, a few props and my share of other “Trek” collectibles. I have been a fan of the movies and television shows that came after the original. The view above, of a fine large scale model of the motion picture version of the U.S.S. Enterprise, was from a visit to Star Trek: The Experience in Las Vegas, when a good friend from those convention days joined the retail side of things there.

Looking back over the years, “Star Trek” has always been about hope. Hope for a better future for us all. When you look back to the 60’s when the show aired, things were looking pretty bleak as the future loomed. The Cold War could turn hot with nuclear weapons exchanged with the Soviets at any time. Pollution of the planet was growing and there were a lot of problems yet to be taken on as challenges. Even just the simple question of “How do we all get along peacefully?” was an unanswered one that loomed larger all the time.

Even though this television show only ran three seasons on NBC, the message of a better world for us all was something that resonated with the audience. When syndication brought reruns to local markets, that message spread. If we could manage not to kill ourselves on a global scale, we might just get things better, if not closer to what we saw on our televisions.

All these years later, “Star Trek” continues to be about hope. We still have a long way to go as a planet, but thanks to messages like this one, we are much closer today than we were back then.

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Things Change


Things change.

I have been reminded of this fact lately. In a number of ways…

Last month, my professional responsibilities came to an end after a long spell. Sad to see it happen and the way it came to end was not as pleasant as it might have been for some of the folks involved.

Yet not all change is bad. A new opportunity lies in store with new challenges ahead. One that will take advantage of skills and experiences from along the way. Looking forward shows promise.

“Things Change” has also been the title of a great little film from 1988, directed by David Mamet. This review by Roger Ebert gives a good glimpse into the project, which starred Don Ameche and Joe Mantegna. One of my favorite little screen gems from the 80’s.



Without giving the story away, the title is an apt one. Don Ameche found several good roles late in his career and this is indeed among those. Worth a watch some time.

The last Saturday in June found me in Anaheim. At one time, this was a yearly visit with family members to celebrate a particular birthday, but the last few years have found real life getting in the way. So it was a treat to enjoy Disneyland and California Adventure for the day. A less hectic day than those of the past with no real plans ahead of time.

I know that some folks are disappointed with some of Disneyland being closed due to construction for the Star Wars project. But on the whole, I did not find that this was all that big a problem. Sure, the Disneyland Railroad may not be making trips, nor the Mark Twain or the Columbia sailing the Rivers of America. But there were plenty of memories being made elsewhere, with good numbers of happy guests all around.

We enjoyed a breakfast at Rancho Del Zocalo (Chilaquilles was tasty!) and a nice lunch at the Harbor Galley (Lobster rolls at Disneyland? And a tuna salad sandwich enjoyed next to the Columbia that takes one back through the years back to the Chicken of the Sea galley in Fantasyland!) Disneyland offered nice rides on the Jungle Cruise, Pirates and the Haunted Mansion, along with various rides up and down Main Street. California Adventure saw us enjoy the new version of Soarin’, Radiator Springs Racers and a ride on the Red Car Trolley.

The afternoon came with a Disneyland Mint Julep, truly a throwback to earlier visits through the years.

While it wasn’t a whirlwind adventure by any means, I have to say it was a fine day at Disneyland. The kind of thing that I used to enjoy more often.


And who knows? This new opportunity might allow more of these kind of days.


But first up, the annual Friends of the Magic gathering is coming , August 5th through 7th. The Blue Parrot will be hosting a meet and co-hosting another along with the Pink Monorail. Hope to see a few readers join in the festivities! A good chance to meet some wonderful folks bringing Disney content online. Worth the time if you are in the area of Disneyland!


Yes, indeed. Things change.




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Musings at Mid-week



It is one of those weeks. Depending on which way you turn, your actual mileage may vary.

Politics certainly is fun right now. I keep asking myself, “Is this really the best you can do?”, when it comes to the choices at hand. I don’t really have a great deal of faith in the candidates, but it seems to be a pretty clear mandate that everyone really does not care for business as usual. Not that a Presidential election will change that. Going to take voters from one party or another to come to the polls and out vote their idealogical counterparts. And as long as we have unlimited spending for political campaigns, things won’t change all that much. Folks will believe what they want to, no matter what facts may be in evidence to counter those beliefs.

But hey! We got rain in California this winter and spring that seems to have lightened our “drought” situation. And as regular as clockwork, the Golden state is turning brown. Hoping that dead trees and high grasses will be kept in check as the fire seasons of summer and fall come along. And that those who will be fighting the inevitable wild land fires will be safe out there. Weather this week has been somewhat cool and gray. That would be nice when the summer months come to call.

Life is good right now, with the cats seeing the start of their sixth year on the planet. A couple of rescued ferals who just fit in with us, taking their rightful places as our overlords, demanding food and attention while sharing the royal personage with us larger and clumsier “cats”.

While I know that the summer season for movies is well underway, I have kind of lost the enthusiasm for what lies ahead. Call me what you will, but it sure seems as stories have all blurred, with super hero film after super hero film after super hero film. When it came to comics, I was always more of a DC fan than Marvel. I will admit that somewhere among my stored collections of stuff, I do actually have a copy of Howard The Duck, issue number one.

Down to the wire for last episodes on a number of television series, too. While we are wired to the Internet for the delivery of some content (thanks to Hulu and Apple TV), I still don’t miss the greater part of all of the options. A vast wasteland indeed…

Ah, baseball… Going to plan for a few minor league games this summer. Have yet to visit Stockton’s Banner Island Ballpark and need to remedy that. Visits to Modesto and San Jose call as well for some class A ball. And Reno with the AAA Aces seems worth the adventure, with some fine Basque dining nearby at the Hotel Santa Fe.

Yes, sir… plenty of summer ahead and plenty of great opportunities waiting to be taken advantage of along the way.

Now just to get there all in one piece.


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No Matter Where You Go…


Ah, Home, Sweet Home… Maybe.

Sorry, no Disneyland stories today. I needed a good exterior view of a home and that’s a photo I have.

What I do want to share is some thoughts on the places we choose to live. Oddly enough, I do have memories of all of the spots that I have lived over the years. As well as a few places where family lived from time to time. Okay, so I cheat a bit when thinking of Mainz-Gonsenheim in Germany, but in September of 2001 we did revisit the little place where my parents and I stayed in 1958 and the first part of 1959. Other than those first six months of all my years, I have been a California resident. I was reminded strongly of this during a recent visit with the Social Security Administration.

In those years, the San Francisco Bay Area, has been the place. If you haven’t been here, let me say that you can find all kinds of climates and landscapes within a few hours drive. Redwood rainforest, oceanside, prairie, coastal hills, urban cityscape, vineyards, and more. It is enough of a mix that you are hard pressed to find so many choices anywhere else.

Over that time, I have lived in most of the parts of the Bay Area. The only exception is the North Bay, but family, work and other interests have taken me there on more than a few occasions. It is somewhat scary, in that I know how to get around as much as I do. One of the interesting side effects of a career and a hobby that take in transportation information. Not that I have not gotten lost on occasion, but I manage to get back on track, or on route to a destination.

Looking back, the years were kind and the locations good to us as a family. We shared a lifestyle with other post war families of similar size. I have made some good friends over the time but wish I had kept in better touch with others.

In some ways, sad is a good word for some of those places. My mothers parents had a wonderful home in Sea Cliff in San Francisco. I know tastes in decorating change over time, but when the place was up for sale recently, I had a rude experience. The realtor put a website together to show off everything shiny and brand new. The memories that I fondly recall from many years enjoyed there were utterly crushed.

So little of what remains has any ties to those days. I had seen some of it first hand in driving by the home in the last few years, but could never have imagined what had taken place on the inside. (And no, I won’t link to the real estate web site. It’s just too depressing…)

I am a realist in understanding that new owners usually want to put their own spins on a place. That’s to be expected. Change is inevitable and usually for the best. Yet, one can hope that some respect for what came before still survives. Memories will suffice, but you wish that there was something more to tie you to a place. Yeah, I know. Terminal nostalgia. It’s not fatal, but it sure can tug at heartstrings when you look back.

Maybe that is the best we have of anywhere we live, work or play. Memories of the people (and pets) who made those places as special as they are. Indeed, a treasure worth having.

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Afternoon Musings

N Carolina 5_06 059


Ah, the promise of an afternoon…

Changes ahead, in all kinds of ways. Disney fans got a bunch of changes out there. Starting at the top, will Bob Iger be staying on now that Tom Staggs has declared his intentions to move on? Only time will tell, but I suspect Bob will be around a bit longer. He has a few more years before he hits that magic number forcing his retirement.

And while on the subject of Disney, how about Zootopia? Fun film and good to see if do so well as the box office. With international numbers, it will become the first animated film to do over a billion dollars at the box office. Walt and Roy would like that a lot. But Disney as a company seems poised to have a string of hits in theaters. With Star Wars (and all the spin-off films), Indiana Jones and all the Marvel properties ahead, times look good, don’t they? And don’t forget Steven Spielberg adding his own BFG to the mix, too. Stockholders gotta like what they are seeing ahead.

So, Universal has opened Harry Potter in California. Sure, it’s a winner. How could it not be? And with Disney looking to keep up as it gets hot and heavy into Star Wars construction in Anaheim, one would have to expect Universal has to have more up it’s sleeves to keep competition going for all of those tourist dollars.

Amusing isn’t it? Even with so much of Disneyland down for this project, folks still manage to spend and spend in Anaheim. As long as they keep coming, Disney will keep gathering all of that disposable income from them. Yes, truly, “Shut Up and Take My Money!”

April means a return to baseball. So far so good as the new season has some great stories already. Speaking of Story, he should do well in Denver as that seems to be a hitters park. And Baltimore! Oh, for some crab cake sandwiches to go along with all of those wins. Here is hoping for a productive year for the Orioles in a traditionally tough American League East division. A’s and Giants? Give me Stockton for the Ports (I really need to go visit the Banner Island Ballpark) or just an excuse for some Turkey Mikes BBQ in San Jose. Would be nice if the big clubs did better than last year, while we are at it.

Still waiting for Apple or anyone to come along with the next technological “must-have”. With so many people trained to their phones or other devices, it is only a matter of time before the next gotta get gadget sucks them in even more. Although the next generation of Google Glass (Google Goggles?) has to be lurking out there some where in developer hell…

This Saturday see’s me off to the Presidio in San Francisco for THATCamp, with a look at Humanities and Technology. Promises to be an interesting event. And the following Friday, it is a throwback as Trader Vic’s offers the latest in Cocktail Seminars with a visit to the 1947 Bartenders Guide. Gotta grab my copy and be ready to try my hand at something tempting and tasty!

Yes, sir. Fun ahead at all times, at least from this afternoon onward.


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