Rough Book

random musings of just another computer nerd

Tag: star trek

An alarmist future?

If Trump gets elected, I think humanity as a species has failed. Not to sound dramatic, but the choice should be obvious. It’s like you’re offered two bottles: one labeled water and the other labeled Ebola. Which one do you choose?

This probably sounds stupid. But ever since I first saw Star Trek, I knew I had found a goal. My goal was to do everything I could as an individual, to make that kind of future a reality. I know that I will never live in such a future, but I wanted to do my part to get us as a species, ever so much closer to that reality. I looked forward to a world where the only label we assign to each other is “Human”.

Trump is the antithesis of all of that. He stands at the polar opposite of such a future. If Trump gets elected I have very little hope for the future. Ronald Reagan saw America as a “shining city upon a hill” (a phrase from John Winthrop, an early Pilgrim) – it was a place where “if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here”. Ronald Reagan’s America is inclusive; not exclusive. He described it as a proud city, built on rocks stronger than the ocean; a country built on principles that have sustained it for over two centuries.

I have felt that America, even with its numerous flaws, has largely been a force for good in this world. When America decided to take on the mantle of being the world’s superpower, it also inherited the responsibility to do so wisely. As a nation America has made many missteps in this regard, but has also had many successes. Whether nations may admit it or not, many do look to the United States for direction. Trump’s vision threatens all of that. Europe is seeing the resurgence of extreme right-wing nationalism. There are disaffected people everywhere. Feeding into this is rising xenophobia and the desire to blame circumstances on outsiders. This is driven by a migration crisis, which by the way, will be nothing compared to the future ones we will see once the full effects of climate hit us within the next decade or so. Electing Trump will only legitimize and give further traction to these extreme right-wing movements in Europe. This is not a joke; no one saw Brexit coming, and it was largely driven by the same sentiments that are driving right-wing nationalism in mainland Europe.

In the early 1930’s there were a few fascist groups in United States. One of them was the German-American Bund. It was universally rejected by Americans who were repelled by their first exposure to European fascism. How different would the world be today, if a significant fraction of the nation had accepted it? What if there was someone like Trump at this point in time? Imagine a World War II with the United States on the side of the Axis Powers; imagine the outcome.

I am not trying to be alarmist. I honestly feel that we are at a critical point in the history of our civilization. I don’t want to assume the worst, but it’s hard not to. Is our cultural memory really so short that we are going to repeat the same mistakes from more than seven decades ago?

If Trump gets elected, aliens may one day come upon a dead planet and say “See, here’s actual proof that having intelligence doesn’t make you smart. These guys were intelligent, but they still killed themselves anyway because they were stupid.” I’d rather we find them first to disprove that notion.

A Trump presidency does not seem outside of the realm of possibility. That terrifies me. Even if he is elected, I hope the worst does not come to pass. It’s not just the future of America itself that is at stake; it’s the future of our global civilization.

Star Trek XI

Star Trek 2009

Yesterday, I saw Star Trek. I’ve been waiting for this movie ever since I heard it was being made. I had pretty high hopes for it and felt that the franchise needed redemption after the steaming pile of crap that was Nemesis (what an ignominious exit for the TNG crew). That being said, I was also a little cautious because although the morons responsible for Nemesis (Rick Berman and Brannon Braga) had no part in this, I was afraid that Abrams might dilute the “Trekkiness” of the franchise. Regardless, I was more than a little excited when I was finally able to get to see the movie. So here’s my review. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, don’t read ahead because there will be spoilers.
Read the rest of this entry »

Over Here – Day 75

This is going to be a bit of a long one, with a bunch of pictures too! I’ll start off with where I left off last time. We got to Yakima on the 21st, which was a Friday. It was good seeing everyone in my section after a week and of course, they were giving me crap about having an easy time back in the barracks. The maintenance section didn’t have much going on other than Weapons Guard, it seemed, and the shifts were six hours long too. The rest of the week was pretty slow. I didn’t have much to do than updating some Excel spreadsheets, and driving around Humvees. We weren’t allowed any alcohol at all, except for three nights where the commander let us have some at the Oasis Club that’s on base. The last two days were a little hectic, with us having to pack all our stuff up, clean vehicles and equipment and turn them in. Yakima reminded me of home, because the weather was cool and dry and the area was essentially a desert. Never have I been happier to see desolation. I had been getting sick of trees.

While we were at Yakima, we were informed of a new “Leave policy”. Apparently we wouldn’t be getting any leave at all to go home, before we left for Iraq. Needless to say, we were pretty bummed out. However, things in the Army change by the minute, and so the next day we were informed that we would be getting a four-day pass, where we were authorized to go home. I booked my ticket that same night.

Once we got back to the barracks, we unloaded all our equipment. That same night, we were driven over to the airport. There, Sergeant Eagleman, PFC Silva and I first checked out the USO, but decided against staying there. We actually decided to get a hotel since it would end up being pretty cheap with the cost being split amongst the three of us. We left all our stuff at the hotel room, grabbed something to eat, and then headed out to Downtown Seattle. The first club we headed out to was closing down, so we headed to another bar across the street. We had a couple of beers, met some pretty ladies and then took the “Party Bus” back to the airport. From the airport, there was a free shuttle to the Hotel. We took an hour-long nap, and then headed to the airport to take our flight to Phoenix. I’d say about 50-60 people from our company were on that flight. The pilot even welcomed us on the plane through the intercom since they could tell we were from the Army by our distinctive haircuts.

I reached Phoenix on the morning of the 31st, and my sister was there to pick me up. It felt absolutely great to be back home. The weather was just gorgeous and it was just nice being in good old Arizona again. My dog Honey was elated to see me again, and she was going crazy with happiness. First we ran some errands, and then headed home. There, we got ready to go to Josh’s place in Tempe, so that we could all go to Mill Avenue for Halloween. I didn’t have a new costume, so I wore my Star Trek costume from last year. We met up at Josh’s had a couple of beers, and then headed over to Mill. Mill was crazy as usual, and there were some pretty neat costumes this year. One I saw, was a pretty good imitation of Johnny Depp‘s character in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Captain Jack Sparrow. We headed to The Tavern, where more beer and shots of Tequila were had. The night was pretty crazy, and I ended up crashing at Josh’s place. The rest of my trip in Phoenix was pretty hectic – my sister and I had to take stuff at the house our parents just bought, and then I had to run around and meet all my friends. The days went by pretty quick, and before I knew it, I had to go back to Ft. Louis. The entire trip was bittersweet, because I knew that going to Phoenix meant I would have to leave. However, it was completely worth it. I got to hang out with my family and friends and got to see Arizona one last time before I head out to Iraq. I had a really great time, and I was very happy while I was there. I want to thank everyone for showing me a great time, and showing me that I am loved and missed.

The trip back home was alright, and I spent most of the time watching the in-flight movie, and listening to music. I got back to base to be greated by really unpleasant wet, and cold weather. It was a complete letdown from the gorgeous weather in Phoenix. In fact, yesterday was the only day it didn’t rain. It rained for every single day since I got back until the day before yesterday. I’ve been bundling myself up in all sorts of cold-weather gear to get through this absolutely disgusting weather.

The training we’ve been going through for the past few days has to do with Detainee Ops. This means anything having to do with handling Detainees, such as your interaction with them in a Detainee Camp, searching detainees, Riot Control, and things of that nature. The Army has put a lot of time and money into this program to train soldiers so that another Abu Gharaib doesn’t happen. The training is pretty good, and I probably wouldn’t mind it as much if it wasn’t for this beastly cold.

The other major information that I have right now is our date of departure. I found out about this barely a few hours ago. I’m leaving on the 19th to Kuwait. We should be there for a while, and after that we’ll go to Iraq. We should be there for about a year, and then head back about the date we left, next year. Mark your calendars! I’m actually pretty excited because the sooner I get there, the sooner I can get back. I’m pretty sick of Ft. Louis (the terrible weather doesn’t make it any easier) and I just want to go downrange and get my job done. I’m not sure when we will get internet access, or access to phones and such, so I’m not sure when I will be able to contact you all again. Rest assured, I will contact you as soon as I can.

Oh yes, and I have to say this. I’ve got Mysql, PHP and Apache installed on my laptop, and I took a complete dump of my website and set it up on the laptop. So I can continue to develop even if I don’t have internet access. Woohoo! Oh yeah, and if you’re wondering about the ungodly time of the journal entry, it’s because I’m on guard duty.

This is all I have for right now. The next time I write, it will probably be from Iraq. Take care, and as always, here are some pictures. I will be adding some more to this entry since I haven’t downloaded them all from my camera yet, but this is what I have for now:

Yakima Motorpool
Motorpool in Yakima. The hill in the background is called Squaw Tit. No joke.

HQ Platoon
Headquarters leads the way HOOAH!

Roughnecks
1/180th FA Roughnecks!

Me with 240B
That’s me, holding a 240B.

The next few shots are my, ahem, “artistic” shots.

Pipedream Clear
Pipedream: Clear

Pipedream Cloudy
Pipedream: Cloudy

Pipedream BW
Pipedream: B&W

Pipedream Sepia
Pipedream: Sepia

Rochelle and I
Rochelle and I in downtown Seattle

Halloween Group 1
L-R:Me, Nasser, Shareen, Yasmin, Keerthi

Rachna and I
Rachna and I

Sakeena, Johanna and I
L-R: Me, Sakeena, Johanna

My sister and I
My sister and I

Hemina and I
Hemina and I

Halloween Group 2
L-R: Josh, Loretto, Me, Daniella

Daniella and I
Daniella and I

Loretto and I
Loretto and I

Halloween Group 3
Top L-R: Laura, Michael, Carlos
Bottom L-R: Lance, Keerthi, Me, Jenny, Andreas

Star Trek: Enterprise

I finished watching the final episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise. I think I would be correct in saying that I had mixed feelings about it. To be more accurate, I’ve had mixed feelings about the entire show. I remember being pretty excited when the series first premiered. However, that excitement quickly died down when I heard the theme song. I was expecting something instrumental, like the rest of the Trek series. I didn’t get too hung up on it, and watched the show anyway. After the first few episodes, I realized that the show wasn’t that great at all. That actually, it kinda sucked. There was nothing new about it (except maybe, watching the Enterpise getting its ass kicked everytime). The whole story arc with the Temporal Cold War was just ridiculous and stupid. Rick Berman and Brannon Braga did a great job of thoroughly screwing up Star Trek.

Berman has been steadily departing from Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek ever since he took over The Next Generation. However, I guess he wasn’t bold enough to try anything crazy with that. Deep Space Nine started off weak, until Berman turned his gaze of destruction to Voyager. Once Michael Piller took over DS9, things got much better with the Dominion War story arc. Some people didn’t like DS9 because of its religious themes, due to the introduction of Section 31, and due to the fact that it was darker than the other Star Treks. I liked DS9 though, I thought it was really good. I never got into Voyager that much. Then there was Nemesis, that I don’t even want to think about.

But anyway, back to the topic. Enterprise was a chance for Berman to “do his own thing”, I think. First he removed “Star Trek” from the name. It was just “Enterprise”. Then came the theme song. After that, he just turned the series into an excuse to pander to testosterone-fuelled teenagers who wanted to see some T&A. Add the abominable Temporal Cold War story arc, and the end result is a steaming pile of crap. He succeeded in alienating a large part of the Trek Fanbase. I stopped watching it after the first few episodes of season 1. I didn’t get into it until two years later when I stumbled upon a synopsis of an episode from the third season. I can’t remember which one it was, but I decide to start watching it after that. I watched all of Seasons 1 and 2, and started following Season 3. Season 3 is how ST: ENT should have started off. It had an excellent story arc and a bunch of cool episodes (Twilight and Similitude). I later found out that Manny Coto had taken over the helm. This wasn’t surprising because the only thing that Berman did well, was destroy Star Trek. As they say though, it was “Too Little, Too Late”. Seasons 3 and 4 didn’t stop the cancellation of the series.

Season 4 was really good. I enjoyed it a great deal. They brought the stupid Temporal Cold War thing to an end, they gave a really good explanation for the smooth-headed Klingons, and concentrated on the formation of the Federation. The only disappointing thing was the season finale. It was cool to see Riker and Troi, and it was really nice to see the inside of the Enterprise-D again. But I didn’t like the fact that they had made the finale into a holodeck simulation on the Enterprise-D. Also, the episode takes place in the past (according to the TNG timeline), and is also part of an earlier TNG episode. Riker and Troi don’t look like they did in that episode, since they look a lot older now. It seemed to downplay the importance of Enterprise by simply making it a part of a TNG episode. Also take into account that they never even let us hear Archer’s speech at the signing of the charter.

Anyway, I guess it was inevitable. We can thank Dumb and Dumber (Berman and Bragga) for this terrible mess. I honestly think they should let the franchise rest for a while. But I hear that Berman is planning on making the 11th Trek film. If the past is any indication of the future, then I predict that this one may be as bad as Nemesis. At the very least, I should say that in retrospect, ST: ENT wasn’t all that bad, and I did enjoy some of it. So I guess I’m a little sad to see it go.

And yes, I’m a Star Trek Nerd. I don’t give a shit if you think that’s lame, because I’m not ashamed of it.

DS9 DVD’s

I’ve been burning all the DS9 episodes that I got, onto DVD’s. Being the perfectionist that I am, I am bothered by some mistakes I made when making some of the DVD’s. Inconsistencies bother me. For example, for one of the Season 1 DVD’s, I put a Season 2 background. Furthermore, I forgot to put background music for another one. Then there’s the fact that I discovered animated menu buttons too late, so they only start from Season 2. Oh well… everyone makes mistakes I guess… but I hate making them. Anyway, I’m glad they I’m moving them onto DVD’s. Each season was about 9 gigs. The DVD’s have come out really good though.

Work, Moving, Halloween, Unknown Girlfriend

So it’s October. I should be moving to my house this month if everything goes well. I am not looking forward to moving. I hate moving. I really wish we had Star Trek transporters. I could just transport all my stuff over there. Seriously.

What else? Work is cool. I am writing some neat perl scripts and pretty soon I think I might get to do some C. Sometimes I feel that I shouldn’t enjoy my job so much. Most people don’t. What if this means I will hate it a lot later? I really should stop being so paranoid and suspicious. Yeah so that’s pretty much what’s happening at work. It’s fun and I work with a great bunch of people.

I can’t wait for Halloween. I don’t know if I posted this before, but I got myself a Halloween costume. It’s a DS9 Star Trek Costume. Captain Sisko’s, so it’s the command uniform (red shoulder). I even got a communicator that beeps and says “Bridge Here, Status Report” when you press it. It sounds like Worf, or some dude who’s voice has been slowed down, or maybe the battery on the thing is dying. Yeah, so this whole thing screams “NERD!”. I don’t care. Hey, I enjoy it and it’s fun for me. If it pisses you off, then I don’t give a crap.

I have an unknown girlfriend. I have no idea who this girl is. If any of you see her, please tell her to call me. Or maybe she expects me to call her seeing as I have never called her. Everyone seems to think I have a girlfriend. They keep asking me about my “girlfriend” or “girlfriends”. I can only give them a blank look and go “Uhhh… girl… who?”.

That’s pretty much it.

DS9

Well anyway, so yesterday I finished watching the last episode of DS9. As I said before, I never got into it while it was showing – mostly because it never showed in Oman. But I downloaded all the episodes and I have been watching them since Spring. All I can say is, what a GREAT show. I think DS9 and TNG are my favourite Trek Franchises. DS9 started off slow, but it had an amazingly satisfying ending. The story arc was absolutely great, and don’t even get me started on the characters. They are so dynamic and so well presented. It was a darker, more ominous Star Trek, and it addressed a lot of issues that TNG didn’t. I am really going to miss watching DS9 episodes… *sigh*…

DS9

I have all seven seasons of ST: DS9! Woohoo!

DS9

I’ve been watching DS9. I never got into it when it was playing. But now I’ve been downloading all the episodes. I’ve already downloaded the first three seasons. It’s been easy with my DSL speed upgrade! It seems pretty interesting – the shows. Not as good as TNG, but still good. I can’t wait till things get interesting with the Dominion!

All original content on these pages is fingerprinted and certified by Digiprove
%d bloggers like this: