Am I Not a Geek? (Musings on Pop Culture’s Place in Nerd Life)

photo credit: Christopher Jones December 2015

Life is unpredictable.

Even when making deliberate decisions, the side effects cannot be predicted. Few things I’ve ever done have been more deliberate than the decision Chris and I made both individually and together to undertake the drastic dietary changes we embarked on in early September 2016. I have one other example of a deliberate choice big enough to truly change my life, but that’s a post for another time…

It’s no secret at this point, both of us have lost a bunch of weight, these physical changes have been the tip of the iceberg. I have questioned myself at a fundamental level when it comes to who I am and what I’m about as a result.  It has not always been easy to stay on track and to make the sacrifices of discomfort and hunger. I was often tired. I was sometimes emotionally overwhelmed, but pushed through because nothing gentle had yielded results in the past and my long term health was at risk.

I had no idea as the pounds came off, my intellectual appetite would change as well.

I cannot speak for Chris’ experience of this except for what he shared with me. He expressed some concern about loosing some of the geek identity that is so much a part of our lives, both individually and as a couple. We had a Klingon wedding – twice – for crying out loud. Our walls are covered with geeky artwork and autographs from sci-fi and cartoon greats. We have geek cred like crazy.

By the time Chris had mentioned the issue, I had already thought about how difficult it was for me to get interested in watching television and pondered the implications. For both Chris and I, keeping up with or watching new shows or even old favorites became less important. I didn’t care what was going on in the DC television universe or that it’s no longer possible to watch weekly on Hulu as we have in previous seasons, figuring I’ll eventually see it on my own schedule. We have even stopped watching the wonderfully done Victoria on a weekly basis on PBS.

We saw the important geek movies released during the time period. Doctor Strange (twice), Fantastical Beasts & Where to Find Them, Rouge One, Lego Batman. Enjoyable entertainment, for sure, but not the intense experiences I’ve had with other films in the last few years with Deadpool being the most extreme example of anticipating a film being a major part of my life. I will always look back fondly at what reading Deadpool comics prior to the release date and the film’s brilliant marketing for giving me something both fun and irreverent to look forward to over the winter of 2016/2017 when I needed that exact thing. As thrilled as I was to get the Batman movie we deserve this winter, the experience wasn’t the same and likely never will be. Deadpool was the perfect anti-hero to show up at an imperfect time.

It’s not as if I’ve turned my back on my love for spaceships, dragons, and heroes in capes. I’m still inspired by the stories and I still think in pop culture references. In times of crisis, I’m going to read A Wrinkle in Time or watch Indiana Jones movies because they remind me of who I am and what I believe. Fiction, especially fantasy and it’s modern descendant science fiction, made me who I am. But at least for now, I don’t need my precious fictional universes front and center to mask what I was missing from real life action – primarily me driving the narrative. Those worlds are my heart’s home but I don’t have to spend all my free time there.

With my attention split between figuring out what to eat within the strict guidelines of our diet and strengthening myself mentally with mindful meditation and earnest study of stoic philosophy to help me bear the stain I was putting myself under, I didn’t have room for much else.

With the extra time gained by not spending nights and weekends binge watching old shows and movies for hours upon hours, together or separately, Chris and I listened to audiobooks and podcasts, the vast majority of them in the realm of self-improvement, efficiency, and other similar topics. (Special shout out to Tim Ferriss for being our Oparh.) I read more non-fiction than fiction, including thousands of recipes which either fit our limits or could be modified. I worked in a few memoirs, notably Carrie Fisher’s Wishful Drinking and Debbie Reynold’s Unsinkable. Real life examples resonated with me, especially those ladies who accomplished much in the face of so many challenges.

What I began leaning on primarily for mental and emotional support was both mindful meditation and stoic philosophy. I discovered meditation originally in early 2014, learning from the book Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World. Sometime later that same year, I heard about stoic philosophy on an episode of Dr. Drew’s podcast with author Ryan Holiday. I listened to the episode twice back-to-back and read Ryan’s book The Obstacle is the Way immediately. I so identified with stoic ideals. I love, too, that it is a philosophy and not a religion. It is important to me to live in a way which is no less ethical regardless religious or supernatural truth as I may see it as all mankind should live to the same moral standards.

Prior to the great potato fast of September 2016, I had signed up for the Headspace meditation app in order to renew a daily practice. I was a couple months into the program before the dietary changes – currently 294 days consecutively. As we started the fast, I began reading back through The Obstacle is the Way. As fate would provide, I discovered through a Facebook friend, Stoic Week put on by Modern Stoicism which happened to fall in mid-October. Both the Stoic Week activities and the active Facebook group have been a delightful learning experience. I have studied more about the individual philosophers as well as the practical applications of philosophy. Marcus Aurelius became an early favorite, in part because he wrote reminders to himself on how to behave rather than to teach others. I can imagine this powerful and wise Roman Emperor who was ahead of his time morally if not perfect by modern standards struggling with himself as I struggle each time a passage resonates with me.

It is impossible to say for sure, but I cannot imagine having endured a two week mono-diet of plain potatoes and the following months of saying no to everything about American food culture in favor of whole plants without both mindfulness and philosophy to lessen the misery factor. I know it was a good choice for my long term health, but it was hard.

I had to decide as in the last couple months as the reality of my physical transformation kicked in – around 170 pounds at this writing and 25 pounds from my rather arbitrary scale goal – what else I am. Once I am “done” and have established what food and workouts will be to meet the next challenge of two years maintaining the loss, I will have freed up some of the mental and physical bandwidth I’ve been using on changing my body. I also have a wealth of newfound confidence. To paraphrase one of my long time virtual mentors Adam Carolla, you learn to do things by doing things, sometimes even if they aren’t exactly the same things.

I do want to write more. I don’t know exactly what that will mean and I’m okay with that. My writing has always been wiser than I am. If I sit down to the keyboard on a regular basis, I’ll figure it out.

I proved to myself blogging is something I care about when in January I broke my WordPress installation. I am still in the process of restoring the posts, a few at a time as it is tedious work, but I was not apathetic as my poor posting track record would indicate. I have plans to post about food, because who doesn’t love food? I have so many ideas about how to eat wholesome food without breaking the budget or spending all day in the kitchen.  I always plan on more old fashion analog arts and crafts especially sewing with posts about my projects.  I would like to write thoughtful pieces about the books I read, less review and more discussions like I enjoy reading. I don’t know what else, but as long as it’s something, I’m okay with that.

Part of the reason I dreamed up the name “Nerdbliss” is how flexible it is as a brand. No matter what I do, I do it nerdy because I am passionate, curious, and exuberant. I don’t know how to do things halfway. I love adding to my bank of both experiences and knowledge. At the time, it was more what I hoped my life would be about and now I’m much closer to the ideal.

One of the things that is happening with me and Nerdbliss is a growth into a podcast. Chris wanted to start one and asked if I’d be okay with him using the name. It took me some thinking to decide as long as it was a separate entity from my blog, I was more than okay with it. I have even been roped into participating as on air talent as well as applying my humble WordPress experience. Our first episode is up with a couple more in the can. Feel free to check it out at NerdblissPod.com. We want to cover a broad range of topics both traditionally geeky and passions outside of stereotypical geek culture. I hope, like this blog, not for wild popularity but that it will find it’s audience however small.

So yes, I’m still a geek. I’m growing and incorporating the best ideas I find into who I am. If that isn’t the whole purpose of nerd-life, I don’t know what is. It’s a toss up on wither I’m going to talk your ears off about Seneca or Spock, but rest assured, it’s all the same to me.

KLINGON WEDDING

After many months preparing, Chris and I finally got Klingon-married at Trek Trax Atlanta. It was an unforgettable experience. I do not know how to express how much fun we had and how meaningful, though not our legal and binding Earth wedding, it was to have so many people work so hard to make our wedding an exciting event for everyone in attendance.

A few important people must be thanked before I get on to the pictures and descriptions for those who did not attend. If the content of the ceremony is unfamiliar, please see Worf and Dax’s wedding from Deep Space Nine. For more pictures of our wedding and Trek Trax in general, see the galleries on the House Koloth website.

Thank you to everyone who came out for the wedding and the reception, but especially the following:

Trek Trax founder Eric Watts and his staff without whom there would be no convention.

Our Tawi’yan Alex who is an ever faithful friend. My lovely human parents-in-law Marion & Sandi – not Trek fans – and brother-in-law Eric for making the trip to be with us on our big day.

Theresa Parker aka Mistress Koloth, Klingon wedding planner.

Our convention guests who participated in the ceremony: Dr. Lawrence M. Schoen officiated, David Orange aka “The Sleepy Klingon” from Star Trek VI gave a toast in Klingon, il Troubadore played blood-stirring Klingon music, Jillanna Babb and her belly dancers done up in their best Orion slave girl green.

All those warriors who made up the bat’leth arch, and those who vouched for our honor. Connie and Illya Allman for the Romulan Ale. It was much enjoyed. All those who enjoyed the Romulan Ale and other refreshments at the reception.

If I have failed to mention anyone who played a role in the event, I apologize. It was all a blur of utter happiness to have so many people involved. I love our fandom friends and family so very much. While this wedding is only legal in the Empire, nothing we could plan for our Earth wedding and reception will compare.

Now, a selection of photos:

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EARLY THOUGHTS ON STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE

Since Netflix added four of five Star Trek series on streaming over the summer, I’ve been eagerly awaiting the addition of the fifth series, Deep Space Nine. Of all the shows, I’ve seen the fewest episodes of DS9 and heard about several sure to make my geek heart flutter in excitement.

Tribbles! Vulcans playing baseball! Worf’s wedding!

I’d been working my way through the first season on DVDs from Netflix when Chris and I moved in together and we went to a shared, streaming only account. I’m pretty sure the announcement had already been made about the shows going on streaming. I do hate waiting for disks by mail as much as I love instant gratification.

As promised, October first, Sisko, Odo and Quark were added to the streaming Trek lineup. No surprise, Chris and I both dug right in. We skipped ahead to the gems mentioned above, plus a beauty of an episode called “Far Beyond the Stars” which places Captain Sisko in 1950s New York City living the life of a science fiction writer for pulp magazine Incredible Tales. Much like Dorothy in Oz meeting people from the farm, the crew of Deep Space Nine populates this world. Could easily stand among my top ten favorite Star Trek episodes of all time.

After skipping ahead to the must-see episodes, I went back to where I’d left off in the disks. As of today, I’m around five episodes into season two. Two or three of them, I’d seen before.

So far, I have mixed reaction to the show.

I do like the characters. Even my least favorite of them, Dr. Julian Bashir, is growing on me after a rough start. I adore Quark and Odo. Jake Sisko and Nog are handled better than Wesley Crusher was in The Next Generation, written like teenagers and not used as a plot device to save the day with stunning technobabble.

The episodes I love, I really love. Not just those later season ones I watched out of sequence. The Forsaken might be my favorite Lwaxana appearance. Move Along Home is stellar and If Wishes Were Horses echoes the classic Trek theme of thoughts becoming disturbing reality. I am mesmerized by these stories and a few others which excite my imagination and reinforce exactly why I’m a dedicated Trekkie.

Where I’m not yet sold is the tales dealing with the day to day operations of the station, Bajoran politics and fall out from the Cardassian occupation. I don’t find those stories particularly compelling in part because they don’t tend to feel like Star Trek to me. Like my best friend Kate says about her dislike of Deep Space Nine, it’s like Star Trek without the trek. Conceptually, Star Trek was always about going out into uncharted territory, encountering the unknown and moving on. It seems funny to live on a space station and deal with shop keepers and trading ships bickering over cargo. Sometimes the action seems drawn out as if to allow the story arc to last. I am not saying it’s bad. It’s not. I am saying I don’t connect to the story telling style as Star Trek.

Having been assured, both by watching episodes from later in the series and by Chris who counts DS9 as his favorite Trek series, that the show continues to get better as it progresses, I have no intention of giving up on the show. I’m interested enough to keep going for my own sake even if only to see what happens to the characters. Bottom line, as I always say, when it comes to a choice between experiencing more stories in the Star Trek universe or not, I’m always going to take the story.

DRAGON*CON

Wil Wheaton and I both attended our first Dragon*Con this year. As you can see from my big excited smile above, meeting Wil was the highlight of my con experience. It was that freaking awesome to top four days of total immersion in total geek culture. He was personable and gracious. Chris and I talked to him about Memories of the Future. I thanked him for introducing me to John Scalzi and Wil told me Scalzi had announced his latest book that very day. He’d read it, he said, and it is “amaze-balls.” I managed to hold down my fan-girl squeal long enough to walk away from the autograph table.

We geeks are a people without a homeland, but for the length of the con a few blocks of Downtown Atlanta are transformed into a habitat suitable for geeks of all types and affiliations.

It has been a week since we came home. The real world is a bit surreal. No one is dressed as a super hero. I haven’t seen two Doctors pass each other in the hall, nodding in acknowledgement with a greeting of “Doctor.” Even after 10 P.M., body paint is not appropriate attire. Ridges exist on potato chips, not foreheads.

Nothing about the other conventions I’ve attended prepared me for Dragon*Con. It’s bigger – five hotels, a downtown mall, a parade and over 45,000 people. Dragon*Con TV in our hotel room. I went to one actual panel the whole weekend – corset making – and didn’t feel like I missed out. It would, in fact, be possible to go without a membership and have a perfectly good time just people watching and sharing the adventure stories of our roommates. Of course, Chris and I have already preregistered for next year.

It is so difficult to sum up the events of the weekend as the formal events are only half the story. I admit the main reason I’m writing about it at all is to relive it for myself. Maybe next year I’ll blog from the event.

Our trip began Wednesday afternoon. Chris and I stayed at his cousin’s place in Alpharetta, Georgia in an effort to get into the registration line early Thursday. We were joined by Chris’ brother Eric. I was happy simply to get out of dodge. Anticipation was killing me. We had dinner with cousin Jeff and Eric a really, really yummy Indian restaurant. My first real moment of the convention happened hanging out in Jeff’s living room while I sat chatting with Kate about her current obsession with Supernatural. While she hasn’t ever been to a con, she’s my original geek friend. She’d explained about the fan-fiction surrounding the series, specifically the slash involving the Winchester brothers. They, apparently, call it Wincest and Kate, like myself, doesn’t really understand the appeal. What I said, however, was “It’s better for incest to be same-sex because you don’t have to worry about children.” Silence in the room and all three of the boys – the boyfriend, the boyfriend’s brother and their cousin – staring at me like I’m insane. What? In the context of the conversation, it was a perfectly reasonable statement.

Standing in the registration line Thursday, you would think, wouldn’t be very exciting. I was surprised, however, how excited I was to see all the people. Most were in their geekiest shirts, but a few dedicated souls were costumed up. One dude behind us in line was already drinking cheap beer. Way to get a head start on both counts.

Not much goes on Thursday night. We and the roommates got settled in. It was Chris and I, Eric, Teresa, Alex and his sister Lucy. Teresa invented a drink we’ll call a Tereka – Diet Mountain Dew and Tequila. I had a couple and Lucy was a little too buzzed to head out to the Celtic concert she wanted to attend. Not having anything better to do and not wanting to sit around, Chris and I went with Lucy to see Pandora Celtica and Emerald Rose. Very different sounds, but both awesome.

Daytime Friday was line day for Chris and I. We got the required autographs. Wil Wheaton (*Squee*) was first, then Gates McFadden and William Shatner. We stopped to talk to Brent Spiner about his web series Fresh Hell. Gates was nice, but we didn’t have anything specific to talk to her about. Shatner looked tired, but smiled and nodded. Best you can expect from a star of his age. Autographs are a cool memento, but I definably think the interaction is the important part. I wouldn’t, for example, buy an autograph or send someone to get one. I will, of course, have to be satisfied with the autograph from Leonard Nimoy Chris got two years ago.

There was Klingon Karaoke. Chris sang Bust A Move. The audience loved it.

As I alluded to in my mention of body paint, late night at Dragon*Con is pretty wild. We went to the Hyatt, closed to all but Dragon*Con attendees, to walk around and enjoy the costumes. Chris was still in his TOS Klingon and had far more photo requests than he expected. Was awesome.

The only problem with a late and eventful night on Friday was getting up early Saturday for the parade. Chris marched in full Imperial Klingon and ridges. So sexy, but hot and tiring. Still, he made CNN’s coverage of the con for the second year in a row. Later, we attended the Klingon restaurant invasion to hang with our various Klingon friends but especially those of House Koloth and the Nemesis.

I saw so many cool costumes and interactions between people in those costumes. Waldo and Carmen San Diego running around doesn’t fail to tickle me. I took lots of pictures both with my camera and Chris’ – feel free to look me up on Facebook and take a look. My favorite missed photo opp moment was a beautiful, Disney quality Snow White taking pictures of a You-Know-Who and a couple dozen Death Eaters.

Only at Dragon*Con. Only 353 days…

IT ONLY HAPPENS ONCE A YEAR

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas around our house. Chris and I are busy with plans, shopping, and cooking. Friends drop by and discuss their own preparations, or enjoy a meal and laughter. Excitement and anticipation crackle in the air. We feel like kids again, reminiscing about holidays past. As time grows short, a certain amount of stress is inevitable, but the hustle and bustle only adds to the fun we anticipate.

What? It’s only August you say? It’s too early to be prepped and excited for Christmas?

Of course, silly, I don’t get so excited about Christmas. I do, however, know people that enjoy it like they do in the songs and Christmas movies and the feelings are much the same.

Dragon*Con is just over a week away.

It will be my first year at the largest geek culture convention in the world. It will be Chris’ fourth year and has lost no luster in his eyes. With my limited con going experience, Trek Trax, Invadercon and ConCarolinas, I know more in every possible way. I expect it to be a cross between Geek Christmas and the feelings Harry Potter finding himself at Hogwarts where he belongs but still has a lot to figure out about how his world works.

I’ll admit to being disappointed in myself over not making more of an effort to put together costumes for myself. I’d put together a modest Arthur Dent costume for ConCarolinas. Arthur will spend at least one day wandering around downtown Atlanta seeking a good cup of tea, towel in hand, of course. But the plans in my head for future costumes are far more elaborate.

I did, however, assist in Chris’ Imperial Klingon rebuild and improvement project along with a detail or two on his TOS Klingon. We’re also in process on his Hargid costume which won’t be ready for D*C. I happen to have the mad hand-sewing skills and some experience with patterns to compliment Chris’ experience with unusual materials and mastery of the sewing machine. We’re gearing up to be an unbeatable costuming team.

It’s not all costumes. Transportation, hotel sharing arrangements, deciding what to pack and all the other normal things one does before vacations. It’s all new to me, to be honest, since I never vacationed in my former life. Chris is the one who books the hotel room and there will be seven of us sharing it. I’m glad I’m not the one in charge of logistics, only details making sure there’s Rolaids and shampoo and clean socks to pack. We have discovered our con-going friends think we over pack, but both believe what we bring comes in handy, plus the extra luggage involved in two CPAP machines is not insubstantial.

The other piece of the puzzle is food preparation. We’ve tried very, very hard to stick on a healthy, weight loss causing eating plan with mixed success, so being out of town for days is tricky. Add that to the expense of eating out and taking a cooler makes for wise con-going. Yesterday and today, I made big batches of lentil and pea soup. It worked well for ConCarolinas frozen in individual servings and used in place of ice to save cooler space. Odds are against us staying on plan the whole trip even with the allowance for our Friday or Saturday free eating day. With all the stuff to do, snacks brought by our roommates and the lure of free food and beverages in the hospitality suite, I’m sure well supplement what we bring with less than healthy options. Can’t feel too bad about it when you’re on vacation.

Much like Christmas, not everything will go according to plan. Some key item will be left at home, a bit of timing will go wrong, or some such glitch. But I’ll be with some of the geeks geeks I love best, including the geek I love best of all – Nimoy canceled, so in this case I mean Chris – so whatever our adventures and misadventures, a good time will be had by all.

DRAGON*CON 2010 (OR CON-ENVY DISCUSSED)

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ll be attending my first Dragon*Con in a week’s time. After several years wishing I could attend conventions, specifically San Diego Comic Con thanks to all the celebrities and attendees I follow on Twitter. I’m looking at you, Wil. I even found myself in the Seattle area during Emerald City Comic Con 2010 without the means to attend. I was frustrated to know Leonard Nimoy was in the same county and I wouldn’t be able to meet him. I resolved to not miss such opportunities in the future even if it meant dragging people who didn’t want to go with me. Yes, back then it was a real possibility.

Those days of con-envy seem like distant dark ages.

Chris has turned me into a dedicated con-goer. I love the whole experience more than I’d imagined.

Dragon*Con is the mother of them all. I’m already a bit sentimental at the memory of meeting Chris the first time on the Thursday after Dragon*Con. We intend to mark the anniversary of our meeting just like that, too, rather than on the date, like Thanksgiving. Although most of our messages before I’d arrived in South Carolina – I was moving here and scouted ahead for friendship with an openness to more – had centered around Star Trek, he was so nervous to show me this:


I wasn’t scared off like he feared. I was impressed with his handy work and obvious time invested. Passionate about Star Trek and other geeky things, but not so serious to loose perspective and humor about it, I knew I’d found a like minded friend. It took me a bit longer to admit the inevitable something more, but I was thrilled to have a foot in the door to a world I’d wanted to enter.

Without even attending Dragon*Con yet I have decided I like it better than I would San Diego Comic Con because it is more fan driven than about the loads of big name celebrates that come down from L.A. to play nice with the geeks. I can see actors on television and the internet. I want to make friends with other fans, learn how to do what they do whither it’s make costumes or write fan fiction, to have experiences and conversations which don’t take place in the mundane world.

Celebrities are the icing on the cake, but good cake only needs a bit.

All of the guests I’ve meet in the three cons I’ve attended have been enjoyable. Something about being in the same room while someone you watch on TV tells stories about the show you love is magic. Most notable, the antics of John Billingsly, Enterprise’s Dr. Phlox, and his lovely wife, Bonita Friedericy, at ConCarolinas made watching through Enterprise since all the better. They are hilarious. It was not so much a panel as a performance which included chasing down late arrivals and those leaving early to spray them with cologne from the gift basket from the convention organizers. When we hit an episode where Phlox must sedate the rest of the crew and is alone on the ship, the scene where he walks around sick bay naked with Austin Powers style concealment of his naughty bits Chris and I laughed so hard. We’d been late to the panel and gotten sprayed with cologne by the naked Denobulan now on our television.

There I go, telling convention stories already. I can’t wait to come home from Dragon*Con with a batch of stories. They never get old, telling or hearing, among those of us who count the days until the next one.

BEEN PUTTING OFF POSTING ON PROCRASTINATION

I am so darn good at procrastinating. Take, for example, what I have done since typing the first to sentence of this post. I got up and made tea, watched a bit of a Star Trek: TNG with Chris, replied to a text message from Alex, checked Twitter and Facebook including a group I participate in, drank tea and ate a packet of Lance Toast Chee. To make it worse, I went and found the links to insert in the above sentence rather than finishing the post first. I managed to do so with minimal web surfing, only stopping to read the latest in my Twitter feed and click the “Like” buttons on the Lance website. Who doesn’t like oddly named crackers?

There is a point to explaining all those little tasks which kept me from writing. Writing, particularly blogging, is something I enjoy. When the words are flowing in full screen mode, it is a delight to watch the blank space fill up. As the length of my posts shows, I am seldom at a loss for words once I get going. While no writer, or artist of any kind, is ever totally without apprehension at calling a piece finished, I’m relatively satisfied with the completed product when I hit publish. I am, essentially, delaying and denying myself a great source of pleasure and positive feelings.

Blogging, is, of course, not the only thing I put off in impressive feats of procrastination. Housework, work-work, making doctors appointments, shaving my legs, and even going to bed at night. I am, if I do say so myself, a world class procrastinator.

I am enabled by a world more filled with distractions than ever. Of the things I did during the writing of the first paragraph, most of them include technology not available in my days as a young procrastinator. Even worse, I count all of the things I did as valid things to do. Facebook and Twitter, text messages and Netflix are all important parts of my life both for entertainment and keeping up with friends and family. Social networking is an aspect of blogging even because otherwise I’m talking to no one. See, the other part of procrastination at which I excel is justifying my stalling tactics.

My skill at procrastination is never far from my mind. At the end of the day, I often wish I’d accomplished more. I suspect modern life with endless revolving must-do and want-to-do lists makes the feeling common. Still, I know it must be possible to make better use of my time.

I was reminded of an article I’d read in Psychology Today when Renee commented on a quote I used in my post about starting a new diet. “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good” is one of my favorite principals from The Happiness Project. (By the way, Kate, I think I’ll be ordering you a new copy rather than returning the one you lent. Not today, but I promise not to put it off forever.) The article on the link between procrastination and perfectionism could have been a case study in my worst traits.

In a nutshell, the perfectionist fears falling to meet her own impossibly high standards, therefore avoids the task and risk of failure. See why “don’t let perfect be the enemy of good” is so important?

Applying the principle back to blogging, I’ve read thousands of blog posts in my years in the blogging community. Some so good I feel I’d never live up. Some so bad I fear even one person thinks as poorly of my writing as I do of theirs. I don’t worry so much, for example, about spelling (thanks to spell check) or grammar (I’ve got this whole English thing down). I worry more about coming off as boring. Or too wordy. If I don’t write the post, it can’t suck. If I don’t blog at all, I don’t have to judge myself by my standards of how I ought to be as a blogger. Obviously, with writing, the judgement is subjective. I want to be interesting to people I find interesting. I want to make my ideas clear. I try, at my best moments, to make sure enough of me comes through what I write so people who like me as a person, in real life or online, will also like my posts.

In the name of both blogging and fighting those perfectionism-procrastination tenancies, I have my next post planned as a sort of live blog of a procrastination test from Psychology Today as my next post complete with commentary. The original plan had been to include it in this post and while I’ve no intention to tackle my problem (if it’s a problem) with overly long posts today, even I’m hesitant to push past a thousand words.

Ironically, one of my favorite ways to dink around on the internet instead of doing whatever it is I ought to be doing is taking quizzes. Oh, Blogthings, how you get me every time. Hopefully, the test is more revealing than discovering what flavor ice cream I am.

And, hopefully, I won’t put off doing it. As they say, stay tuned to find out.

STREAMING STAR TREK (OR STILL OBSESSED AFTER ALL THESE YEARS)

In the two months since Netflix has added four of the five Star Trek series to their streaming service (Deep Space Nine is to be added in October), Chris and I have watched nothing else. No hyperbole. If they offered a Trek only package, we wouldn’t miss the rest. We’ll go back to other things in time. Daniel Jackson and Stargate: SG-1 will eventually draw us back.

Going back to the beginning, watching The Original Series, has reaffirmed my dedication to Star Trek. I see why it was my gateway drug to science fiction. The characters are completing. The stories stand up far better than their television contemporaries. The acting is superb. Even Shatner – God bless his overacting soul – acts just as Kirk should. I could go on for days about Gene Roddenberry’s vision and how the show influenced entertainment and culture. Little can be said on the topic which has not been said, studied and documented by fans and scholars.

It is rather the intimate aspect of being a fan – I self identify as a Trekkie – I wish to discuss. Being a fan, as apposed to simply liking something, means whatever you are fanatical about never gets old. What you love shapes how you look at the world. With Star Trek, the morality behind the story is part of the appeal. Not only respecting other races and cultures, but looking at problems through the prism of logic and science are Star Trek values. I have always said I can’t be raciest (any other type of bigot, for that matter) because I’m a Trekkie.

I have watched Star Trek: The Original Series since I was a kid. My family watched reruns after dinner. The Next Generation came out and my second grade friends at school thought Wesley Crusher was dreamy. My heart always belonged to TOS and Spock, but I was glad my obsession wasn’t as weird thanks to the modern version. I thought about the characters and wrote myself into the script in my head. I remember crafting a communicator out of a paper plate. Not the most typical imaginative play, no?

As the years passed, I spent less time watching Star Trek. I don’t know why, but my family didn’t finish watching The Next Generation in first run. I have theories. With only one television in the house programing competed with Nintendo. Dad loves video games, nuff said. I retreated more into books for entertainment and company.

My best friend Kate and I had Star Trek – specifically Star Trek loving moms who passed along their passion – in common. When we meet, two short blonde sixth graders living in Navy housing in Hawaii, Star Trek it was like finding as sister. Her mom had stacks of paperback Star Trek novels against the mirror on her dresser and a deep love for Captain Kirk. I admired the dedication and loved having someone to discuss Spock, McCoy and the others with. Oddly enough, I don’t believe in the two years we spent practically living in each other’s homes we ever watched Star Trek together. It was Quantum Leap repeats on USA in the wee hours of the morning and Indiana Jones on VHS until we could sing “Anything Goes” in Mandarin.

In my teens I read classic science fiction. Issac Asimov and Robert Silverberg primarily. One could spend ages reading Asimov without making it through his extensive catalog. I didn’t come close.

I grew up, married a non-geek (I know, what was I thinking?), went about my business. I read romance, crime, whatever books came to hand, watched Law & Order and documentaries. I didn’t deliberately avoid Star Trek and science fiction, but didn’t seek it out either. One could argue the problem with that period of my life is I didn’t seek out what I loved and what makes me happy, but I digress.

A few years ago, three maybe now, I let Kate pick out a handful of Star Trek novels for me at the annual YMCA booksale in St Louis and I filled my DVR with various incarnations of Star Trek. Worth mentioning, too, is the 2009 reboot which pleased me greatly. I don’t recall which came first, but, as the cliche goes, the rest is history.

I won’t be going years without Star Trek again. Might go days or weeks, but never years. I haven’t seen every episode of Deep Space Nine, so my October and beyond program choices are sewn up. It’s all rewatchable for pure pleasure and for noticing details. Best of all, I love finding connections between the various stories and crews. I smile every time it crosses my mind how horrified McCoy would have been to see Dr Phlox using leeches and worms in Sickbay.

It is no coincidence Chris and I can sit around for hours watching Star Trek together. Our first messages back and forth, around a year ago now, centered around our mutual love of Trek. He was preparing for Dragon*Con, putting the finishing touches on his Klingon costume. I was planning a pilgrimage – yes, a pilgrimage – to see Captain Kirk’s chair at the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in Seattle before leaving for South Carolina.

Any wonder we’re planning a Klingon wedding?