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.

WHAT’S MISSING?

 

I’ve got to say: My life is grand.
My best friend Kate sent me home from her house with a The Happiness Project to read on the flight home. In the book, Gretchen Rubin takes readers along as she spends a year exploring happiness with scholarly zeal and scientific curiosity. It’s a good read and got me thinking about happiness without feeling like a self help book. Her point wasn’t cultivating happiness as a cure for clinical depression. By her own admission, her life was good when she began thinking about happiness. Her project wasn’t about changing her life, but about being happier in life.

 

One concept from the book I latched onto was how happiness unexamined is less valuable. If you don’t think you’re happy, how can you be happy? The other side of the argument is if you have to ask wither you are happy, are you?  For me, thinking about happiness and what works or what doesn’t in my life is important. I’ve been some scary places ignoring unhappiness and depression. I’d plugged away at life. I’m not in that place anymore, but I’m ever aware of my relationship with happiness and stress. I think of it as being mindful – checking in with myself as if to ask “does this make you happy, Tina?”

I’d really love to read the book again, take some notes and share some thoughts here on my blog. I’ve subscribed to Gretchen’s blog, but haven’t played with all the toys and tools on her website yet. I’m undecided as to wither I intend to start my own formalized happiness project anytime soon. I’m busy and happy. My life fits me.

I have only one nagging concern – one missing and neglected piece. I don’t write anymore. It’s easy to see from my blog, I haven’t blogged. I’ve barely even Tweeted. I don’t have a notebook in my purse or nebulous bits of poems in my head. The idea of writing fiction seems as lost a dream as going to Harvard. Reading about Gretchen, lawyer turned writer, talking about doing what you love, but also working through frustration doing things which lead to long term happiness struck a cord. Writing is great… after it’s done. Or those rare times words gush before I’ve even thought about what comes next. Otherwise, it’s work.

I had been thinking on a blogging comeback – and blogging has always been a writing exercise for me – for a while before I took the trip to see Kate.

The question I began to ask myself: Why do I still think I ought to be writing?

The Happiness Project helped me find the answer: I go back to writing when things are bad in my life. Without fail, I look back on every traumatic event immediately followed by the purchase of a new notebook. When I’m happy, I’m busy living. Too busy to slow down and cultivate what is important to the deepest parts of myself? Seems to be a flaw in my logic.

The worst part is how difficult the process becomes when you haven’t kept up. Practice makes perfect. I know full well without discipline comes first in any creative endeavor. Typing out this post has been excruciating, to be honest, and I’ve taken much longer than I intended. What I’m pushing toward is publishing because once I have hit the button, posted to Facebook and Twitter that I have, I’ve accomplished something. One step at a time, I intend to blog consistently enough to call myself a blogger again. I’d love to build on blogging to make words my profession in some form or another.

First, I’m going to go ahead and hit publish.