The Enemy Within

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The Enemy Within is the first Star Trek episode to include a transporter malfunction. This would become a staple of the Trek universe. In this story Captain Kirk is split into two halves his good and bad sides. This story requires a hefty suspension of disbelief.  It also requires Shatner to over act so he is right at home.

That might be a bit of a cheep shot but Shatner does have a well earned reputation for over acting. In this episode as evil Kirk he has to yell ‘I’m Captain Kirk.’

As well as the dilemma of Kirk being split in two there is also the problem of the landing party being stranded on the planet. Watching this now the obvious question is why not use the shuttle? There is only the out of universe explanation that they didn’t yet have a shuttle to use. Even so they could have rescued them off screen and done so without need of a new set.

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I have seen this episode before but not for a long time. This time I found myself identifying with Kirk’s predicament as he sees the other him – the savage him.

I feel that way sometimes of having a part of my being that I can’t, or don’t want to, face a lot of the time. For me it is not about evil and good – rather it is happiness and sadness.

I have days when all the weight of life feels too much. I feel a sense of hopelessness. In those moments all my life goals feel far away and there seem to be no possibilities for change. Then, sometimes, I feel happy without specific stimulus. In those moments everything does seem possible – although still far far away.

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So when Kirk sees this mirror of himself – this violent man. I believe I can almost understand. When I am in a state of being alright the great sadness is alien to me and I cannot imagine how it feels. It makes it hard to seek help because it is like describing a sunny day in the park to an eyeless fish in the deepest depths of the ocean.

Star Trek is well known for these types of stories. It often uses science fiction to try and explore an aspect of humanity. That aspect could be internal and emotional or external and dealing with important issues.

We have another incident of violence against woman. Evil Kirk assaults Yeoman Rand.  This is made even worse considering what happened to Grace Lee Whitney in her real life. That scene made for uncomfortable viewing and Spock’s last line of the episode, where he suggests, obliquely,  that Rand might have liked it is disgusting. It is stuff like this that makes me unsure of TOS as a whole. The 1960s seem so alien to me a lot of the time. We have a long way to go in treating all people with proper respect but I think we have come a long way too.

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I am going to come up against heavy topics a lot in this show it seems. The past really is another world.

In conclusion though this was a good story. It explore the concepts of the two sides of humanity quite well. I do wonder if they would have been better off removing the landing party plot to focus more on the main plot. We do get a nice moment with Spock where he talks about the two sides of his being and how he has to balance them.

We are only a few episodes into TOS but I will be back with the next episode which is: Mudd’s Women – which is also fairly anti-women. I am sensing a theme here. I am so looking forward to reviewing my favourite TOS episodes. We have a little way to go yet.

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I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

I now have a Patreon page. I hope you will consider supporting this blog: https://www.patreon.com/unstableorbit

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The Naked Time

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The Naked Time is one of the most well known episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series. Mainly it is known for Sulu running through the halls of the Enterprise topless with a sword – because who wouldn’t want to do that?

This is an episode that I am not complexly sure how to judge.  It is a very silly and perhaps that is the whole point.

A lot of TV shows have an episode with alternate versions of the characters. This is brought about by magic, memory wiping, another universe, or maybe just using the actors to tell a story in the past. JAG did this in one episode. My Googling failed me on this one. Basically the main cast are playing new characters. I think it was set in the 1940s but I am not sure.

The most obvious one for TOS is Mirror, Mirror but The Naked Time is another. This episode is about the crew getting drunk and the ship being in danger because of it.

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When I look back at TOS now Spock is my favourite character. I think Nimoy did an excellent job in bringing the character to life. The scene where he tries to come to terms with his emotions is well acted and shot. He too has been effected by the condition present on the Enterprise and is ill equipped to handle the emotions he is feeling. As the series goes on Spock gets some of the best lines in the show.

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When I first watched TOS Scotty was my favourite character. And this episode has that classic of Mr Scott – telling Kirk how impossible something is before making it happen ‘I can’t change the laws of physics.’

The skill of Mr Scott is particularly funny in The Enterprise Incident where he hooks up a Romulan cloaking device in about five minutes. As pointed out by SFDEBRIS it takes longer to hook up a games console to a TV it was designed for than it takes for Scotty to hook up a complex piece of alien technology. That however is just what makes Scotty such a great engineer. In this episode Scotty has to restart the engines which have been completely shut down by a drunk Irishman.

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From this episode and Up the Long Ladder Star Trek didn’t really portray Irish people well did it? At least until we get to a certain Chief of Operations of course.

At the end of the episode the Enterprise is facing destruction. Which for Star Trek doesn’t really narrow it down. In the original series the ship was taken over, or out of Kirk’s control, rather a lot.

It is a tense scene. We know that everything is going to work out. The writers are not going to blow the Enterprise up over some random planet because of incompetence are they? At least not until Generations!

Yet here, just for a fleeting second, you can almost believe it could happen. And what is even better they do this without too much technobabble. Then at the end of the episode the Enterprise, as a result of the engine restart, is sent back in time. Which I am so glad that that ability didn’t become over used in the franchise – oh wait.

This episode is not particularly deep or clever but it is entertaining. It does have to be said though that this situation, like so many other episodes, could have been avoided if they simply practised basic safety. Like maybe having an actual environmental suit and an officer who keeps his bloody gloves on.

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I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

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Paper

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Note books are a weakness of mine. I often go into Paperchase in town just to have a look at what they are offering.

There is something magical about a pen and paper that just does not exist with a computer. I may be a bit Giles like when it comes to books. While I wouldn’t want to give up on my various computing devices I know what he means when he he talks about books being smelly.  There is something singularly wonderful about paper.

I have spent a long while trying to find the perfect app to help with my productivity. The answer all along was a note book.

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In a note book you don’t have to worry about formats, like not being able to put the date into DD/MM/YYYY for example, instead you just write. It is freeing. Even for someone, like me, who’s handwriting looks like it was done by a spider who fell into an inkwell and the marks on the page were the result of its death throes.

Which is why for anything long I am continuing with some piece of technology. My morning pages will always be on a computing device. Otherwise if I ever looked back at it it would be like trying to decipher some hidden code!

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I would never attempt to write a novel long hand. Have you ever read The Woman in White? It is an excellent novel, one which I should read again soon, but to me it is even more amazing that it was written long hand. That must have been an incredible strain on the hands. I remember how bad it could be during exams. I can’t imagine how long it would have taken to write a novel of that size long hand.

I don’t think that paper will ever truly disappear. Even if we are living on Mars I think many people will still want to pick up a pen and write – or sit in a chair and read. You can’t curl up and read in quite the same way with an ereader.

I want to close though in asking you a question. What is something low tech that you appreciate?

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I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

 

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Rain

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It has been raining today. And rather heavily. I’m Welsh I don’t know if that means I am supposed to love rain or not. It is typical of the weather in this country. At least that is what we are always told but the truth is the summer has been quite good this year.

We were lucky with the weather yesterday though. I went to the park with family which was lovely. It was myself, my parents, my brother and his wife, and my nephew.

My nephew is a toddler. It is so cute when he runs away with his slightly wobbly gait. It is wonderful to spend time with him because of his wonder at the world. He is just learning to speak and can identify: spiders, cows, and ducks amongst other things. Even if the cow was actually a dog and a duck is any bird.

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We came to a bench which had ladybirds crawling on it. And as we walked off my nephew said ‘Bye bye’ to the ladybirds.

Before our walk in the park we went to a Turkish restaurant. It was delirious. I had the mixed grill. It has three kebabs, one of chicken, one of beef, and one of lamb – served with half’n’half.

Tomorrow is Bank Holiday Monday and I am hoping that the weather will improve. If you are lucky enough to be off work I hope you have a great day.

Summer is coming to an end now but autumn can be quite beautiful when the leaves start to fall. And it maybe time to panic. Before we look round it will be Christmas.

Now panic and freak out!

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I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

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There Will Come a Title

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There is one piece of advice I always remember from studying creative writing. That advice was that you can write yourself into a story – or into a blog post.

One of my tutors said that when stuck you can just write ‘I don’t know what to write.’ And do that over and over again. If you are lucky an idea will form in your mind. Ideas are so slippery. Sometimes they come to me so certain and so easily and other times they are difficult to grasp.

I picked the above picture of the lake because of something that happened to me months ago when I was on holiday.  I was looking out at the sea. And I wanted to walk out on to the water.

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That is of course impossible. Have you ever seen the movie Being There? Well I am about to spoil the ending.

At the end of the film the main character walks on water. And, in my view, what it means is that he can do this because he didn’t know he couldn’t. I am not a philosophical expert, I am not an anything expert, but maybe that is what it means. And I know I am not explaining myself very well. I was also very young when I saw the film.

When I say I wanted to walk away over the water I am not completely sure what I meant. Was it the idea of fading away? Or perhaps making a great change in my mind or in my life. The future in slippery and just a little out of reach too.

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And I think those moments exist for all of us – happiness once the boxes are ticked.

As a great fish man once said ‘its a trap’ – because if we: throw out the junk, do the dishes, move to a bigger house, find the love of our lives, travel the world, or whenever else may be in our minds to do there will be new things. To quote Commander Sisko: ‘We are constantly searching, not just  for answers to our questions but for new questions.’

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As a writer I always have questions and some answers are so hard to find. Sometimes there is simply no substitute for finding an expert and asking the questi

Some aspects of life are like that too. Being direct can work wonders. We need more directness in our lives. We have all see politicians using every word but ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to answer a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question. Maybe, on occasion, the journalist is over simplifying the situation but still I think the statement stands up.

You see this is a ramble and it has been written over the course of a few days as I attempt to gather my thoughts from the jumble of my brain. I like to do this stream of consciousness now and again as I find it liberating to just wright.

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Later today (2018-08-13) I am attending a wedding. Both the bride and groom are my friends. I have known the groom since Primary School and met the wife in the first year of High School. Quick translation for Americans High School in the UK starts at age 12.

They have been a couple for about ten years – it should be a wonderful event.

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I just have to make sure I am looking smart and try an get my rather unruly hair into some order.

If you have been reading my blog for a while it might not surprise you to learn that social situations are not my forte. I am not confident and am too scared to dance as I like a spider on a hot plate. And I did try to come up with a non cliche way of saying that.

I envy people who can dance and not care what they look like – and even more so people who can dance and actually look really good. The only time I tend to dance is when I am along and doing the dishes – sometimes.

The wedding was nice. I moved vaguely to the music.

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I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

 

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Of Mice and Men

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I am writing this at 2313 as you may have guessed I will not be waking up at 0500 tomorrow. In fact I have rarely woken up at that time since I posted about waking up at that time a while ago.

The best laid plans of mice and men, as the saying goes, often go awry. I think a 0500 waking time would suite me well. And some days I do do it and it is nice to get my stuff done before I head off to work. With work though I finish late sometimes so an early wake is not practical – also I am still working on my own worse enemy problem – I set myself impossible goals.

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I am an expert at being my own worst enemy and I am glad to be an expert at something. I have managed to find the silver lining in one of the worse things I do to myself so I am calling that a win.

There are few things more satisfying than being able to mark something of a to-do list. It is so satisfying to me at least.  The trick is not putting too much on the to-do list. That is very tricky. How much is too much?

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I had pizza this evening (2018/08/05). Pizza is good. I dream of cravings for healthy foods.

I can dream.

I know now that my mood and food are linked together. If I am not happy or down right repressed I will eat pizza or fried chicken – those are my go too foods. And sometimes it even helps. Other times the idea is so much better than reality.

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I have at least come to a point of understanding with the stuff I want to get done. And that is an understanding of time and that some is better than none.

The gym is the best example of this. Gyms are forbidding places. If you go you will see people fitter than you. And by ‘you’ I mean ‘one’ but one is too pretentious to be allowed. And seeing those people can be disheartening when you realise you will never look that good. I could go to the gym everyday, I could hire a personal trainer, I could switch from pizza to salad, and maybe I could even get results. However with doing that I would have so little time for anything else. So the best I can do is damage control.

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I did try and think about a better way of phrasing it. The point is I will certainly look better doing exercise than not doing exercise. I will burn off a bit of the pizza – only a bit but it is better than nothing.

I read an article somewhere about the gym the other day. And it said that just going is the first step. Even if you don’t even go inside you have got into workout clothes and gone to the building. If you build that habit the next stage of actually having a workout is easier.

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Sometimes I may only do fifteen minutes at the gym. I have still gone though and I can mark it off my to do list. And it is true of other things. Some days I will meditate for ten minutes – other days less than 5 but it has been done. I think that the key to getting my stuff done is varying how me week works. Some weeks will have hour long gym sessions but a short blog post as a consequence. Other weeks it may only be a brief visit to the gym but I have met up with friends. And in this way things get done – sometimes a little and sometimes a lot. And until the little demon of depression appears again that will make me happy. That guy in the picture really does look like a vampire doesn’t he?

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I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

 

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Where No Man has Gone Before

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Where No Man has Gone Before was the second pilot of Star Trek.  And suddenly all the uniforms have changed. Obviously the episodes were aired out of sequence.

I want to love TOS but it does, to me, feel dated in a way that the other series do not. Although there is an episode of TNG where the solution is to, essentially, reboot the Enterprise. In today’s world that would be the first thing you’d try.

The technology of TOS doesn’t bother me. There was no way that the development of technology could have been predicted. What I am talking about is sexism.

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I know I am flogging a dead horse with this discussion. (That horse is sleeping – I prefer to have nice pictures.)

However in TOS I keep coming up against the problem of the way women are treated in this series.

During the passage through the barrier Yeoman Smith holds Gary Mitchel‘s hand. This scene looks so awkward as Mitchel tries to control the ship with one hand. Yeoman Smith was essentially only present to be eye candy. Also according to Herbert F. Solow the only reason Andrea Dromm was hired was because Roddenberry wanted to sleep with her. So until we get out of TOS I’m afraid I will have to comment on the sexism of this show. It is everywhere.  If you remember from The CageCaptain Pike didn’t like the idea of having a woman on the bridge.

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Then there is Doctor Dehner who is described as a ‘Walking freezer unit’ – by Mitchel.

TOS was very much of its time. I only wish that the sort of sexism we see in it, and behind the scenes, was a thing of the past.

Pushing those complains aside it was an interesting episode which contains the Trek staple of a distress signal.

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The Enterprise answering a distress signal comes up again and again all over Trek. In this universe you do not want to be first. The ships that go first end up with the crew being killed in lots of horrible ways. Be second and then you may survive.

ESP is the main thrust of the story. I don’t recall it ever being mentioned again after this episode. Troi, Kes, and to a lesser extent Vulcan characters have special powers but those are tied to their alien nature. In this story it is humans that are effected and become like Gods.

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If Mitchel was a good God then there would be no story. So he has to be evil. Maybe because he has absolute power?

Kirk basically has no choice but to maroon him on Delta Vega given how dangerous he had become. Dehner argues that he need not be considered dangerous. Even as he is murdering Kelso.

I will say this for the episode. Dehner, by the standards of the time, was a strong character. Without her help Kirk would have been killed. Although the episode does fall back on the emotional woman cliche.

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The story feels a little half done to me. We don’t find out any details about the Galactic Barrier and why it was put in place. That might be an unfair criticism but it seems an obvious question.

Given this and The Cage as the two pilots I prefer The Cage in overall presentation. The Cage feels to me a bit more polished and a more interesting story.  Even if both of them are science fiction staples. I’m sure we can all think of episodes of other shows where a character gets special powers, if only for a time, and ones where the characters are being studied by some alien force.

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I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

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