idle times – a background on doldrums

idle times – a background on doldrums

whoa. so my mom requested to know more about the term “doldrums” and a whole new weather world has just opened up!

we’ve all heard doldrums: a state or period of inactivity, stagnation, or depression. i think it’s safe to say that we know that it’s related to ships and sailing and no wind. but here’s some super interesting background on the doldrums: it’s actually the region of the atlantic ocean that’s over the equator, where two sets of tradewinds meet, and conditions can be all over the place.

 

 

no wind. this is a low pressure area from 5°N to 5°S of the Equator. the winds are calm, which means there’s no way for ships with sails to get moving.

tradewinds meet. the doldrums are also know as the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) because of the tradewinds meeting. because of the two systems meeting, conditions can be all over the place.

it’s not good.this area of the ocean was to be avoided in sailing of yore. ships could be stranded for weeks and weeks, running out of provisions, not to mention scurvy, deliriousness, and cabin fever.

but why? this section is caused by the sun’s radiation. the heat from the sun on the equator causes the air to warm and then rise straight up instead of to either side. the tradewinds also meet here, converging and moving upward. hence, no wind to make you go. or really erratic wind! it could be nothing or it could be violent storms.

but what the heck are the horse latitudes?? the two areas above and below are known as the horse latitudes. spanish ships that were transporting horses to the colonies would get stuck in the horse latitudes, and because of the extra long voyage, the horses would die and get thrown overboard.

and it’s kind of unpredictable. the doldrums can change with the season, and it’s susceptible to the temperature of the ocean. sometimes it can double, one on the north and the other on the south side of the equator.

weirdly enough, the etymology of doldrum is surprisingly late, considering how many ships were out sailing the atlantic before the birth date of doldrums: 1803. could be that the word had been in use for some time but hadn’t been written down.

and, in a neat convergence (unlike those tradewinds), doldrum comes from the word “dulled” and “tantrum”.

the oldest written sample i found on an etymology site was in a poem: “if you’ve the doldrums or ennui (!), forsake the town and come to me.” (a marine picture)

in related news, it’s kind of amazing how much land is ABOVE the equator. and also how big the pacific ocean is.

doldrums

doldrums

the only saving grace that february has is that the sunlight is out substantially longer than the previous two months. i’m so happy that i still see a glimpse of the gloaming after 6:30 these days. but THANKS climate change for this absurd weather. there’s maybe 2″ of snow on the ground outside, and then it’s -40 for like, two weeks. whatever, weather. and then tomorrow (feb. 22), it’s supposed to be 40º after we had highs in the sub-zeroes for like, a week.

i’ve been plugging away on the treadmill, and just tonight i was like, is this ever going to end? i’m about at the end of my treadmill rope for the season, so it’s a good thing march is right around the corner. march is fickle running time, and it’s always difficult to dress for running in march. but i’ll take it over the treadmill. plus, now that i have my handy sports mask, that will help out with breathing in cooler air.

i started the most difficult puzzle i’ve done so far. it’s a collage of seed catalogs, so they all look similar, and it’s all vegetables. so while i’m getting inspired for spring, i’m also getting annoyed with the puzzle part of it. i’m slowly getting through it, though. can you tell i’m struggling for blog posts? ha! it’s a sad day when i have to wax non-eloquent about my puzzling in my blog.

i’m getting burnt out at my job. ugh. maybe a change in seasons will help. there’s a lot going on and not enough peoplepower behind the projects.

just 3 months until vacation! i’ll keep that in my sights as a thing to get me through the doldrums of the season!

PS

PS

i was on the treadmill running away, happily covid free because i was breathing like normal, when i realized that i forgot a MAJOR component of my covid post!

but it’s going into my body

ugh, i hear/read this over and over: it’s unnatural and it’s going in my body blah blah blah. you know what else is unnatural that we put in our bodies?

plastic.

microplastic is found in lungs, liver, spleen, and kidneys in donated human cadavers. which means the probability of you having plastic built up in your body is pretty good. the average person ingests about 5 grams of plastic every week (equivalent to a credit card!).

cigarette/cigar smoke, a carcinogen and tar-ridden. that causes lung cancer.

processed food in general is not healthy.

trans fats are awful for you.

and that doesn’t include all the things we do to our bodies physically, like botox, metal plates, implants, reconstruction, any type of surgery.

if you’ve ever smoked, eaten margarine, american cheese, or anything with high fructose corn syrup, or just lived recently (apparently that does it), i’m going to say that you shouldn’t worry AT ALL about sticking your arm with an approved vaccine.

in which i talk about the covid vaccine and peer pressure you!

in which i talk about the covid vaccine and peer pressure you!

i am pro-science. there’s never been any doubt that once the covid vaccine becomes available for me, i will get it. once it opens up for the public at large – for healthy, low-risk people – i will get up at 4:30 a.m. to get in on an online lottery if i need to, for as many days as it takes. i will get that vaccine and not think twice about it.

with the current anti-vaxx movement and people questioning the speed at which this one was approved, i though it would be useful to do a little research for you all on how the advances in medicine are such that vaccines can be produced at this rate. i’ve read headlines and tweets from scientists, but a deep dive into the actual science (i’m assuming my readers all still believe in science) would also be helpful for me.

but first, an aside. i had listened to a podcast recently about the “godfather of vaccines” (click to listen to it! super interesting) who basically came up with all our childhood vaccines (MMR, etc.) and wanted to know the public’s reaction to the polio vaccine. polio was a devastating disease, and i’d heard that parents all over the country volunteered their children for vaccine trials to make sure the vaccine was safe before distribution. so i called my dad to see what the public sentiment was surrounding the polio vaccine, since it seemed that the public sentiment surrounding the covid vaccine was one of trepidation, at best, for a lot of people.

my dad said that it was like a giant sigh of relief for everyone once the polio vaccine was available. so i wondered why we don’t have the same reaction today, and my mom got on the phone and talked about something that i think needs to be shared. modern medicine is amazeballs. people don’t realize how bad it WAS and that our advances in the past 40-50 years have been just outrageous. then i watched a video from john green (my fave youtuber) about vaccines and he mentioned that the advances in VACCINE medicine in even the past TEN YEARS is such that a pandemic in 2010 would be much more devastating because we wouldn’t have a vaccine as quickly.

here’s his video:

so, that’s one long introduction for a post that may be long as it is.

let’s get into the science behind the covid vaccine, why it was produced so quickly, and whether or not you should take it (i can predict that yes, yes you should take it). please let me know if i’ve got anything wrong here; i’m a summarizer and researcher, not a scientist.

how it works

the covid vaccine uses new technology that’s actually been around and studied for a while, mRNA vaccines. the vaccine you get for mumps, measles, rubella, flu, etc., uses the actual live virus to prompt your immune system to recognize it and create antibodies that resist the virus when it attacks full bore. it’s just a little bit, which is the reason you may feel a little flu-ish after getting the flu shot, but it’s a much better than getting the full-on flu.

the mRNA instead just send instructions to our cells on how to make a piece of protein that triggers an immune response, which prompts the antibodies to protect us. after the protein is made, our cells break down the instructions from the shot and get rid of them (think of all the other stuff your cells get rid of – this is nothing).

how it came to be

mRNA stands for messenger RNA. the covid vaccine is the first vaccine that’s been approved using this technology, though scientists have been working with it for many years. a hungarian scientist named katalin kariko* had been working in the 90s to get grants, funding, and even support for mRNA. it made sense – naturally, your body relies on proteins to keep health, and it uses mRNA to tell cells which proteins to make. if science could design specific mRNA, you could create any protein that helps keep you healthy, reverse diseases, mend damaged tissue. in 1990, it worked in mice. but synthetic RNA had one problem – the body’s natural defenses would likely destroy it before it had a chance to do its thing.

katalin ran into barrier after barrier. no funding, demotions, ridicule. instead of giving up, she pressed on, and about 10 years after trial and error, she was working with an immunologist MD/PhD when they discovered the way around the problem. in its synthetic form, mRNA was signaling the immune system with one of the four nucleosides, but they substituted it for a slightly tweaked hybrid version that could bypass the body’s defenses (biology was a long time ago for me and probably you too; let’s just take her word for it that this makes sense, since she’s the scientist and expert).

starting in 2005, several scientific papers described the process, and that was the start of a big vaccine advancement. two scientists grabbed onto it as a way to create stemcells. when they were able to do this, they went to visit a biomedical engineer at MIT, who recognized the technology as a way to pretty much have a huge number of applications to save lives. they created moderna, (which, haha, contains the letter mRNA).

this biotech was mostly being experimented with for immunotherapy, not vaccines. this required several doses over and over, and at high levels of the mRNA. that was proving to be difficult to work around the immune reactions, like katalin had found a workaround for.  so instead, they had to focus on using the biotech for something that only took one or two low-dose injections for an effect: vaccines.

why it was so quick

the technology is much quicker than using a live virus to create a vaccine, so that was one reason a vaccine came to the public so quickly. another was that this was FUNDED. i saw a tweet from a scientist who works in the field, saying that half the time they spend working on new breakthroughs is waiting and applying for grants and funding.

but why does a live/inactivated virus take so long to develop in the first place, in comparison to the mRNA? vaccines can take 20+ years to develop and get approved! the HPV vaccine took 26 years. rotavirus took 25. they still don’t have one for AIDS.

using the actual virus in a vaccine means that a lot more can go wrong. they need a LOT of testing and can take years. plus, they need to be able to mass-produce the actual proteins for the virus, and the mRNA vaccine just uses the genetic material to signal to our cells to create the proteins, which is easier to mass-produce.

then there’s testing. since this was a world-wide pandemic, finding volunteers to test the vaccine after animal testing was easy. this is done in three phases, and phase three is time consuming. they have to wait for enough participants to be exposed to a virus naturally. well, considering that covid was/is rampant and people have trouble even wearing a mask, i think phase three moved along more quickly than normal.

plus, scientists had been working on vaccines for other coronaviruses. they’d been working on SARS and MERS in 2003 and 2012, but stopped when the outbreaks were under control. scientists knew what to target and how to stabilize it.

as far as production, because manufacturers don’t know what vaccines will be approved when, they’re reluctant to invest in prepping for making the vaccines.

but, because this was widespread, everything sort of happened quickly and absolute MORE quickly than we expected. the science was there. the prep work was partially done. the demand was there. the funding was there. and through it all, covid was there.

the results

when covid first hit, we were told that it would at least 18 months for a vaccine, if not longer. but in late 2020, pfizer announced its trials were over and the mRNA vaccine was 90%+ effective after two doses. the FDA was ready to approve a vaccine that was 50% effective. the vaccine has not actually been 100% approved yet but is being used under the emergency use authorization, which is NORMAL. don’t let that deter you at all.

many people have already had the vaccine and had no ill effects. we may hear about people that have had ill effects after getting the vaccine, but one does need to take a look at what the chances of that ill effect happening WITHOUT the vaccine. if 2% of the population gets a heart attack every day, having gotten the vaccine a week before does not change that percentage. it would’ve happened with or without the vaccine.

the benefits of the vaccine GREATLY outweigh any potential risks.

final thoughts

like i said, as soon as i am eligible to get a vaccine, i’m going to be first in line. after reading about side effects in the lungs that last and last and last, and how every single thing i read about runners who’ve had to take baby steps to get back to where they were before they had covid, along with heart problems?? (and we’re talking every. single. runner. , no matter how bad their covid was) come on, there’s not a lot as far as short-term side effects that i wouldn’t take to make sure i avoid all that. i had absolutely no adverse effects from my flu shot this year, so i’m guessing i’d probably be ok with a covid shot.

and you would too. if there’s ever a time to succumb to my peer pressure, now would be it.

and let me say, i am kind of excited about this new mRNA biotechnology. if they can cure cancers and autoimmune diseases with cell-specific therapy instead of blasting us with radiation and chemotherapy and drugs with awful side effects, that’s the kind of future i want to live in.

science for the win.

________________________________

*you will note that i only mention her by name, as she was the one who persevered with this science. she deserves all the credit.

sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines/mrna.html

The story of mRNA: How a once-dismissed idea became a leading technology in the Covid vaccine race

Why Does It Take So Long to Develop a Vaccine?

2 different books, 2 positive reviews

2 different books, 2 positive reviews

i just finished a book of essays called “world of wonders” by aimee nezhukumatathil, where she connects memories of her life with natural elements like obscure creatures or trees or no-so-obscure creatures. her childhood was a quiet one in the 80s, so her experiences she shared were relatable, but from a different lens of a first-generation non-white child. but what this book really shines in is the lyricism of the writing. she’s firstly a poet, is my understanding, and you can tell that by the way she weaves her prose. her writing reminds me of michael perry’s, in its leaving you wanting for a time that’s gone by.

the book is short and a quick read, and several essays are illustrated by the natural world she makes connections with. i have a hard cover copy that i will gladly lend to anyone.

******

speaking of the 80s, i read the book “we ride upon sticks”, which was a recommendation from another blogger, and it was the opposite of the collection of essays, but equally reminiscent of the 80s. the pages were dense, with text crowding the page in a small size and one paragraph taking up a page a times. but after i got into it, i definitely got engrossed with this book. it features a field hockey team in the late 80s in a town outside of salem, and they make a weird pact through emilio estevez and witchcraft, though, actual witchcraft, or just the knowledge that they were in this together? either way, i was constantly reminded of things that happened in the 80s that i had decided didn’t need to take up space in my brain anymore. specifically, gitano jeans, which produced such a rush of nostalgia, i couldn’t help but gasp when i read it in the book.

this book is not necessarily short, and not a quick read. there are no illustrations, but i think if you want a rush of 80s nostalgia and a plotline that is nothing like anything i’ve ever seen before, then pick up this book. i think the last page and a half are worth the entire read, and i was smiling hard as i finished it up.

in which i lay out my insecurities as a 13-year-old in a too-small uniform

in which i lay out my insecurities as a 13-year-old in a too-small uniform

i feel like it’s easy to find athletic clothes for most sizes these days. in fact, i feel like it’s easier to find clothes in general if you’re bigger than a size 10. when i was searching for a prom dress in 1996, the pickings were slim for a teenage size 14 (probably a size 12ish these days). my mom and i went to st. cloud to check out what the mall had, since willmar was a non-spot for anything prom dress related. we searched every store, and i think i was almost ready to go with some weird split pants thing from penney’s before we found a forest green size 14 dress that fit like a very tight glove, probably in the back corner of deb or something, tucked away where no one would find it. i sat and danced very carefully that night.

i feel like clothing has gotten easier to find for bigger people. when i was wearing a size 20, i hated that every shirt fit like a muumuu, but eventually the retailers caught up, and now days, you can (mostly) find the clothes you want in the size you need.

but that’s not what this post is about. let’s go back to being a 13/14 year old in the early 90s. oh man, those years were tough, and your peers were even tougher. i was probably the biggest girl in your class (not just clothes wise, at a not-so-bad-in-hindsight size 12/14, but also 2nd tallest – mackenzie was 6′ at that point, i was probably close to 5’7″ or 8″, near my current height). ugh, teenage girls have it rough. and i decided to have a hand at being on the volleyball team during 8th grade, something that all my classmates had been a part of the previous year. i didn’t want to miss out this time around.

so we practiced, learned the basics, figured it out. and we were ready for our first game. the day before, we got our shamrocks uniforms (go big green!), and i managed to get the biggest size available, which was probably equivalent to a size 10 these days. it was probably a child’s size large. who knows what it was. i looked at the shorts and knew my ample behind (which i’m currently at relative peace with) would NOT fit in those shorts. i was on the verge of tears and stuffed it in my bag in the locker room, then tried not to cry on the way home.

i was NOT wearing that uniform to the game.

(currently, i would refuse point blank. if my teammates or coach wanted to know why, i would put on said uniform, parade around in it, then peel it off hoping that the fabric would rip. or i would wear it and say screw you world – you made the uniform small; you gotta watch stuff jiggle. but i was 13. give me a break.)

now. time to give my mom MAD PROPS. i got home and was filled with DREAD. how was i going to manage this. i don’t remember the specifics, but i do know at one point that my mom asked me to put on the uniform so she could see what was up. i don’t know what she remembers, but i remember feeling like a completely humiliated stuffed sausage in that setup.

(you have to remember – we were not as body positive then as we are now. the early 90s was a time of baggy acid wash jeans, loose silk boat-collared shirts, oversized colorful polos, and we still had big hair. we did not want to be a stuffed sausage.)

i’m pretty sure she called mr. byron, coach of the 8th grade shamrock team and father of my classmate beth, and pled my case. somehow, and i’m not sure how, the shamrocks scraped together the money for new uniforms for the 8th grade team, and the current sausagey uniforms went to the 7th graders. i know i wasn’t the only one who benefitted from this. i may have been the biggest one size wise, but there were a couple other girls in my class who were also not that much smaller than i was. i think there was a collective sigh of relief among everyone who weighed more than 130 lbs.

unfortunately, we did have one game before the new uniforms were in. i was allowed to wear a long sleeved white shirt and a pair of blue shorts i owned (not quite green but the closest i had). we taped my number to the back of the shirt. while i was in the locker room, a couple of my classmates tried to heckle me into “just wear the uniform for this one game” but no way was i budging. they were comfortably lounging in their uniforms, while mine would have lodged itself uncomfortably in many places.

thankfully, no one cared after i served to some girl on the other team who couldn’t return it to save herself. i think i scored 6 points in a row.

go big green!

PS: i quit volleyball after that, which is probably a good thing because they went to basically full coverage spandex underwear for the lower half the uniform for the rest of the 90s, and that would have been the end of my teenaged self. uniforms these days aren’t horrible, but still not enough for 12-year-old me to say “sign me up.” 40-year-old me would say “bring it on.”

expensive shorts: a review

expensive shorts: a review

i grew up in a family needing to be frugal, with a propensity for instant gratification (last name starts with W – go check out the research on this). so my entire life consists of internal conflicts about things that i WANT vs. spending the money for these items. i have a winter parka that’s in its 9th winter and going strong. i also buy $150 running shoes twice a year. my jewelry is nothing extravagant or expensive. my camera gear is top notch. i have trouble justifying spending more than $20 on a pair of jeans, or any piece of clothing really, but i will gladly part with $75 for a nice meal with nate.

the mental gymnastics are really something else.

so, when i am in search of specific running gear, price is generally a mental hurdle i have to overcome.

especially when i find shorts with a long inseam in colors other than black (a rare find).

enter oiselle, a woman-owned company that makes clothing designed by women for women. i was intrigued if their shorts would be a utilitarian addition to my relatively cheap run wardrobe.

oh, and they have 6″ inseam running shorts that come in one of my favorite colors (evidenced by the matching phone case). (also, sorry for the bathroom pic – it’s the only place in my house with a full-length mirror.)

the bad news about these shorts? $62. yep, you heard that right. luckily, i had a coupon, but STILL. $62 for a pair of shorts??

besides the length and the color, these shorts have a couple other significant advantages:

1- CHECK OUT THIS POCKET.

not only is a SIDE pocket on a pair of women’s shorts with a ZIPPER, but check out the REAL ESTATE.

this pocket has more space than most of my pants pockets. my entire phone can fit in it and zip up!

2- the material is really nice. it’s soft and sort of flowy. while i was running, i kept waiting for the inside to ride up, as i expect with any sort of shorts, but they didn’t. i even spent some time deliberately trying to get them to ride up, and it just didn’t happen.

3- they are not high rise. holy cats, i hate trying to find shorts these days because everything is high rise. these are mid-rise; they sit below my belly button and stay there

4- have i mention that they’re orange?? usually the only fun colored short have a 2″ inseam, so this is amazing.

5- there were some arm warmers on clearance that i got at the same time (arm warmers are nice when it’s transition weather and you want to wear a tshirt or tank top but will have chilly arms for a bit). these were a more reasonable price and i didn’t feel bad spending the money on these.

check out the little birds on the warmers! they’re reflective! and they match the shorts! and those thumbholes! i do love me some thumbholes on running stuff.

oiselle sells more than just shorts – they’ve got sweatshirts, winter wear, wool shirts, tights, underwear, tanks, tshirts, sleepwear, etc. plus clearance stuff and a lot items that cheaper than $62 run shorts.

so, here’s a $20 coupon if you want to try them out! you get $20 off and i get $20 to spend in the future.

the sunday seven

the sunday seven

a sunday update list, because who’s got time to read an essay on the insurrection, right? (or write one, ugh.)

  1. i was doing yoga last night, and i caught my little toe on my mat as i was dragging my leg forward during an especially quick practice. i’ve caught the edge of my foot and toes on my mat before, and since i’ve gotten my new mat, which is especially sticky, it’s a real injury hazard. so i think i need to refrain from doing the super quick yoga, because that seems to be the time when i don’t pick my feet/legs up enough. but my toe hurts this morning, which means i did something really bad to it. i guess i’m not running today 🙁
  2. speaking of running, i bought a super expensive pair of running shorts yesterday. i still can’t believe i spent the amount of money i did on it, but they’ve got a long inseam, and they’re orange, and they’re supposedly really good. they’d better be miraculous, and i’ll do a review on them. liz said that at least people will be able see me.
  3. speaking of seeing, i bought myself a pair of reading glasses, which SUCK. my eyes aren’t that bad yet, apparently, but i thought i was getting there. my right eye is worse for up close seeing, and my left is worse for distance seeing, which i think is kind of weird. but yeah, i put those readers on and that does not work.
  4. speaking of reading, i’m reading american dirt, which got a lot of mixed reviews last january. it was a big brouhaha because the author, while she does have some puerto rican descent and is married to an undocumented immigrant, got a lot of flack about writing about the mexican migrant experience when there are many mexican authors more qualified to do so. so i avoided it when it came out, but then it got book of the year on goodreads, so has she been redeemed? i don’t know where we’re at with the drama, but i grabbed it from the library and am devouring it. sometimes you’ve just got to see what’s up from all angles and form your own opinions from actually experiencing something.
  5. speaking of “opinions,” since DT was banned from twitter, posts including disinformation went down 73%. !!!! i don’t want this to turn into an essay on insurrection, but let’s just say that i hope the arrests that have happened since jan. 6 have made some of the jan. 20 plans go in the toilet. i have no idea what’s going to happen that day, and i’m kind of scared to see what happens. but i’m looking forward to some leaders who, at the very least, i know will lie a lot less. also, if you think for some reason that it was “anti-fa(scists)” behind jan. 6, know how i know that’s not true? anti-fa would all be wearing masks and sure as heck not take selfies and videos of themselves storming the capitol. what a bunch of idiots qanon are. EDIT: here’s a good podcast on how Qanon started. really interesting – linky linky.
  6. speaking of january, i’m already accomplishing something on my resolutions list and attending an MLK thing on monday. when an email went out at work about it, i was like, a holiday seminar? like, i can sleep in and just do nothing on monday. but then i remembered my resolutions, and i remembered all the BLM protests, and i remembered that i’ve got it pretty good, so i signed up. it’s always good to learn how to be a better person.
  7. speaking of trying to be a better person, i think i’ll try to do yoga tonight, but happily, it’s a slow, stretchy flow on the docket. it’ll be good for relaxing and reflection. and definitely not any stress on the toe.
a winter moment

a winter moment

sometimes it’s nice to walk outside at night during the winter, if it’s not too cold and windless. the snow crunches, but not quite crunches more like creaks and squelches and packs all at once, under your shoes, in the crisp night that’s heavily silent otherwise. no evening insect chirps, bird song, plant rustling that you don’t notice until it’s gone. the darkness falls early, and if the moon is on the other side of the earth, the stars are scintillating pricks in the cold night sky, their brightness seemingly bigger and whiter than in the summertime. your eyes slide across the constellations, picking up the sharpness of the stars until you focus directly on them, at which point they get fuzzy, their edges elusive. and the air wicks away your breath and your warmth, so you head back to the warmth you know exists indoors.

sometimes it’s nice to notice the silence and absence and darkness and bigness while knowing that it will be replaced soon by a season that also seems elusive. for the moment.

star trek movies: a review

star trek movies: a review

 

over the new year’s weekend i decided to watch 12 star trek movies, hoo boy! i skipped the first one and started with the wrath of kahn, then went all the way through star trek beyond.

i realized that picard may be the more diplomatic captain, but kirk as captain makes for a more adventurous and better movies.

i also like how the messaging in the movies is still so current, especially movie 6, where things are changing and people are scared.

“Is it possible that we two, you and I, have grown so old and so inflexible that we have outlived our usefulness?”

“Some people think the future means the end of history. Well, we haven’t run out of history quite yet. Your father called the future ‘the undiscovered country.’ People can be very frightened of change.”

“If there is to be a brave new world, our generation is going to have the hardest time living in it.”

(movie 6, “the undiscovered country,” is my favorite.)

and since i like lists, here is a list of the 12 movies, ranked! (to note: i liked them all. but some more than others!)

12. ST: 5 – the final frontier. this one is weird, with a non-vulcan vulcan and a weird non-god search for god, but i do enjoy the humor at the beginning. “it’s a blizzard! whoosh whoosh.” “my sensors show sunny and 70º…”

11. ST: Insurrection. this one is the second of the full next generation/picard group, and it really just seems like an extra long episode more than a movie. it’s about a group of people who relocated to a planet with regenerating capabilities (extra long life), and a group wants to destroy the planet to harness it.

10. ST: Beyond. while the graphics are super awesome on this one, and i love the character of jaylah, i just couldn’t get behind the story as much as other movies. i do like the line where spock called the beastie boys classical music. and how much screentime scotty got! i have to admit, they really beefed up the “supporting” main characters in the reboot.

9. ST: Nemesis. the final show for the TNG crew, and it featured a cloned picard (tom hardy with a nose prosthesis). the interesting thing is watching all these movies and seeing how the romulans and klingons interacted, along with different time traveling ships, and how the rebooted timeline uses references to those.

8. ST: generations. i really liked the interaction between the captains in this one, and how they worked together! of course it sort of threw off the whole notion of kirk knowing he’d die alone, but when you morph from one crew to the next, it’s always a little weird. it was also interesting to note when some of the original crew’s movies were running, the TNG tv show was airing. also, we get this gem.

7: Star Trek. the reboot! a new timeline! a new crew finally coalesces! spock prime! vulcan’s destroyed! karl urban knocks it out of the park! we finally see how kirk overcame the kobiyashi maru! the timeline is canon? also, how fortuitous that kirk just happened to find the cave where spock prime is hiding out.

6. ST: voyage home. this one was just fun, having the crew time travel back to present time (1980s) to get a humpback whale to save starfleet from a probe. it’s nice to throw some levity in there after the wrath of khan and the search for spock. that was a lot of heavy stuff, so it was time to lighten it up!

5. ST: search for spock. after spock’s untimely demise in khan, bones starts acting a little funny. then we learn that there is an old, long-ago-tried method of putting the mind back in the body. so while bones is hosting spock’s head, we hear from sarek (spock’s father) that they need the body – which happens to be MISSING FROM HIS  TUBE that was shot onto the genesis planet. bum bum buummmmmm…. to top it all off, the enterprise is compromised!

4. ST: into darkness. i feel like this was the kelvin timeline movie that was enough of a throwback while also going over the top with the campy factor, which turned out to be the best kelvin film. that’s what i like about the original movies and the kelvin timeline movies – it’s cheesy action!

3. ST: first contact. the best TNG movie. there’s action, it throws back to picard’s borg days (a harrowing end-of-season cliffhanger!!), and the crew has to save the universe from the borg while ALSO preserving the history of first contact due to warp drive. this one is all action! like i said, i like some camp/cheese in my star trek movies, but first contact is a nice deviation from that among the top movies.

2. ST: the wrath of khan. the start of the trilogy within the series! we learn about the genesis project, and THEN the END trips off the next three movies.

1 ST: the undiscovered country. this movie has everything. a peace mission gone wrong, a klingon trial (complete with worf cameo!!), a mystery on board the enterprise, a mole, a shape-shifting rat, a prison sentence on a frozen planet, a forceful mindmeld, a klingon cloaked ship that can FIRE TORPEDOES WHILE CLOAKED, the crew saves the day, and best of all, an etymology lesson on the word sabotage! there is, as noted in the quotes above, a lot of talk about how change is hard and will meet resistance. a note on the new crew taking over? a nice lesson in how to be better people? i know it can relate to current times! anyway, i love this one.

“there is an old vulcan proverb: only nixon could go to china.”

so, what can we learn from star trek?

  1. if someone tells you they’re from the future, at least check it out
  2. be open to other cultures
  3. never trust anyone who claims to be able to get you out of rura penthe
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