RSS

Tag Archives: Star Trek: The Motion Picture

Talk about a phobia that really sucks

The way things have been going in my life lately (dark, generally unpleasant, pulling me inexorably downward, outright terrifying), I suppose it’s only reasonable to talk about my biggest phobia (which is second only to my abject terror of Cuisinarts).

I’m deathly afraid of black holes.

I know it’s irrational. We aren’t near any black holes. I’m not in any danger of enduring extreme time dilatation and coming back to see my kids old and dying. I’m not about to get thrown into one and experience that latest slimming fad, spaghettification,

Though I could stand to lose an inch or two from my waistline…

But phobias aren’t rational now, are they?

A movie about extreme sucking that sucked extremely

Not visible: the heart of the black hole. According to my nightmares it’s a spinning Cuisinart blade.

Two space movies that sucked came out at the same time. Who woulda thunk it?

Dad eventually took us to both. Could have been worse: it could’ve been Star Trek: Generations.

It all started when my dad couldn’t decide which movie to take us to, The Black Hole or Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Ultimately, there was no good choice on this front, but still he rolled the dice and took my sibling and I to see Disney’s The Black Hole.

He must have thought it was a safe bet. I mean, it’s a Disney movie. How could it traumatize a young child?

In a Disney movie, it’s not like you have to worry about things like a momma deer getting killed by a hunter, thereby orphaning an adorable baby deer which then has to fight off a pack of hungry rabbits that announce their imminent attack via ominous thumping sounds, right?

So we saw it in the theater and, quite predictably, I cried when Old B.O.B. died.

But that’s not what launched my ignorant, child’s-eye view of terror when it came to black holes.

It was when Maximilian, the evil red hovering Cuisinart, killed Dr. Alex Durant (played by Anthony Perkins), slowly advancing on him with that rotary weed-whacker on steroids.

(I mean, what the hell does a robot in space even need with a built-in food processor unless it is a chef bot, which Maximilian definitely was not? Thanks again, Disney, for feeding my childhood nightmares so lavishly! I guess Bambi wasn’t enough, huh?)

So I forever associated that swirling black hole image from the movie with a whirring, shaky, shredded-paper-flying-everywhere death.

Later, I got older and in the arrogant manner of a teenager, tried to conquer my fear by knowing everything about it. Now, if you’ve read even a tenth of what is out there about what black holes can do, you know that further education, in this particular case, is a doozy of a mistake! The more I learned, the stronger and denser my fear became until nothing, not even cool rational thought, could escape it.

So I did what anyone else in my place would do: Avoided all references to Soundgarden and then went to a hypnotherapist who, after months of intense sessions, erased all awareness of black holes from my conscious mind.

(Apparently I also lost some of the details from Bambi, but to be honest, I’m not really sweating that.)

Flash forward a few years and, not knowing much about the plot, I went to see Interstellar (in IMAX, no less!!). All those hours of expensive hypnotherapy? Flushed down a black-hole powered toilet.

And, considering the (somewhat) more scientific accuracy of Interstellar, my nightmares were now even worse.

But with the help of an understanding wife who brought me a steady supply of food, I found solace in an extended stay in an isolation tank. An isolation tank, I should add, with one minor addition: it had a light.

When I first went in, I wasn’t thinking clearly and hadn’t added a light. It took me a week to claw through the sound-proof door of that chamber and make the necessary modifications. A week that felt like years. Or a different sort of relativity than what Einstein came up with. I call it the Not So Special Relativity. The closest way to experience Not So Special Relativity if you don’t have an isolation tank and a fear of black holes? Watch all of Carrot Top’s movies at full volume but half speed, twice.

I was forced to come out of my warm, brightly lit, comfy tank once my Medical Leave of Absence expired, but fortunately the respite served me well and I was mostly recovered. I was certainly well enough to resume a useful, productive life. Dark stars were a fleeting thought bubbling far back and in the depths of my psyche, only really bothering me in an occasional recurring nightmare (that also, for some reason, featured Carrot Top).

And then, this. This image exploded on the internet and I couldn’t go anywhere without seeing it:

Think you're having a bad day? Try waking up one morning, pulling open the blinds, and being greeted by this.

Objects in mirror are larger than they appear. Image credit: NSF

I used to think of science as a friend, but now that friend has shown its true colors: black and orange and oh so cruel.

These days I find myself staying clear of open spaces, lest I find myself plucked up off the Earth and dragged into relativistic hell, and strapping myself into my chair every time I sit down at my desk (the seat was…recently…bolted to the floor). That, a steady diet of the Twilight books on audio (as read by David Hyde Pierce, of course!), and a root canal or two should have my brain numb enough to cope with existence soon enough.

 

Advertisements
 
2 Comments

Posted by on 18 May 2019 in Angst, Astronomy!, Life, Science!

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Standards – How Do You Measure Them?

I was flipping through the channels on the TV the other night and stumbled across Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.

It got me to thinking about standards.

God that is a terrible movie.  Hands down the worst of the Star Trek movies. (And if you’re thinking to yourself that there’s only one Star Trek movie, go wipe your nose and change your diaper, kiddo, and delve into the ancient history known as the 80s, or even better, the 60s too.)  Now I’m not about to rank the Star Trek movies and then justify those rankings here.  Not what I want to blog about.

(But it’s II, VI (a very close second), IV, III, I, V, in case you were curious.)

I remember seeing that movie in the theater, leaving it pretty steamed, and then reading people’s impressions on the internet (yes, the internet existed back then – we had these awesome things called newsgroups – look them up).  And a comment one chump made has hung with me all these years.  It was something to the effect of:

“As a movie, it was terrible, but as an extended TV episode, it was pretty decent.”

No, no, and no.

What the hell?  It sucked.  Period.  As a movie, as a TV show, as a concept in some fan-fic’ers imagination. It blew multicolored chunks, which in turn squeezed out multicolored turds, which turned around, fed on each other, and blew even more multicolored chunks.

No amount of spin can change that fact.

But this comment raises an interesting question.  Are all Star Trek fans loyal to the franchise to the point of idiocy?  Yes, they are.  Well, some of them, anyway.  And I say this as a huge fanboi, so stop trying to cram me into a red shirt and put those phasers down.

A more interesting question is this: what (differing) standards do we hold our types of entertainment to?  Can a terrible book be a half decent novella?  A burst hemorrhoids of a short story an avant garde poem?  Or, conversely, can a brilliant novel be a horrible movie?

Scratch that last one – it happens all the time.

The thing is, some people seem to have relative standards, which makes no sense to me.

(Pirates of the Caribbean IV fans claiming Jonny Depp made it worth sitting through, I’m talking to you!)

A story is a story, no matter the format.  And it’s awesomesauce, fecal stew, or somewhere in-between.  I don’t see how the presentation of a story to the reader/listener/viewer can change that simple fact.

The plot is tight, clever, and coherent, or it isn’t.  The characters engaging, entertaining, and complex, or flat and uninteresting.  The setting well-crafted, adroitly portrayed, or implausible and phoned in.  How can the format of the story have any impact on the quality?

Seriously?  Am I missing something?  Because in my youth I managed to write a whole bunch of short stories, poems, and novel rough drafts so awful that they could be used in the Cthulhu mythos to summon terrible, ancient evils that would end our tiny, insignificant world.  If switching the format can transform them into awesome, angel-summoning cash machines, I wanna know it.

Also, because in my universe, Star Trek V sucked no matter how you looked at it (unless you were lucky enough NOT to look at it).  As a huge fan, if there is a way to view that movie and not want to gnaw my own leg off as a distraction, I want to know it.  Need to know it.

So do you use different standards depending on the medium of the work in question?

 
9 Comments

Posted by on 2 June 2011 in Other Blogs, Story

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: