Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bats, bats, bats!


Bats, bats, bats! The sign says "Two way", but they were all going one direction, and didn't care less about the hump.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010



"Taking Things Easy" and "The Old Balloon Seller": two beautiful, classic Royal Doulton figurines that have just made their way to my place via a deceased estate.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Mimi vs Abi


I found my "Mirror Minors" membership button only the other day. For some reason Mimi of the Sunday Mirror was far more appealing than Charlie Chuckles of the opposition. (I think you had to send several stamps to join Charlie's group.) Mimi published numerous cartoons from me in the late 60s/early 70s, plus letters, jokes, riddles and even a little self portrait.

The Sunday Mirror was the "naughty one". It was the one with bare breasted would-be celebrities (and Abigail of "Number 96"!) in the TV pages by the critic, "Veritas". Our priest used to warn how wicked it was at mass, and how disappointed he was when members of his congregation bought it over the other two choices on a Sunday morning. But they had the best cartoon section.

I've been meaning to pull out the old scrapbook with all my old contributions in it, and perhaps reprint a few here. Meanwhile, I did find an old headline page from 1973 to use as background for my "Mimi" membership button as today's pic of the day.


A tribble's travels

My friend and fellow Star Trek fan, Jörg Hillebrand, recently took his pet tribble on a tour of the future!

Check out Tall Tales of a Time-Traveling Tribble – A Tribble Travelogue on The Drex Files.

My tribble is sooooo jealous.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Lots of new Andorians!

TOS WoundedTOS Prime Minister & wifeTOS Guard
Wounded Andorian (cover); the colony's Prime Minister and his wife; and a guard.

How exciting to pick up the recent IDW Publications' "Star Trek" comic, "Leonard McCoy: Frontier Doctor" #1, written and illustrated by John Byrne, and discovered a host of new Andorian guest stars, coloured by Lovern Kindzierski.

TOS Theela
Theela the stowaway!

Significantly, this comic is probably the first "Star Trek" comic to feature more than one Andorian antennae style in the same work:

TOS Delegation

Most of the Andorians featured in this story, "Weeds", have the original "crown of the head" of the location of the antennae, as per the original series of "Star Trek". However, the spokesman for the delegation that arrives at the end has antennae resembling Shran's distinctive look from "Star Trek: Enterprise"!

The comic takes place in the time preceding "Star Trek: The Motion Picture", in which the Andorians had a different look again: thin, tapering, tendrill-like antennae. Previously, most comic tie-ins set within TMP's time period had to reflect that movies's design for the Andorians, although there were eventually some exceptions.

MOV CrewmanMOV Andorian ensignMOV Shantherin th'Clane

And I finally caught up with details on the Andorians who used to be featured at "Star Trek: The Experience" theme hotel in Las Vegas! Of course, because the actors playing Tahryn and K'Stran needed to be able to interact with the general public, their antennae were a combination of several styles. The "Star Trek" bonus Blu-Ray disc, "Evolutions" has a great segment called "Farewell to 'Star Trek: The Experience'"!

DS9 TahrynDS9 K'Stran Thral

Lt Commander Tahryn is serving the Andorian Imperial Guard as a member of the Diplomatic Corps. Her current assignment is to interact with the non-Starfleet aliens present on the station and report her impressions of the humans and non-humans she encounters back to Andorian Imperial Command. Often seen at Quark's. Portrayed by April Hebert.

K'Stran Thran
is a lieutenant in the Andorian Imperial Guard, serving as intel attaché. He formerly served in Starfleet, on the USS Potemkin, and fought honorably in the Dominion War. Often seen at Quark's. Portrayed by Kerstan Szczepanski.

Jack & Rosemary on ANZAC Day

Photo of the day!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Saturday to Saturday: a week in pictures

As my 365 Photos project heads to its culmination, there are nights where I'm really scratching for subjects. Makes me wish I'd gone vacationing away from home more often this past twelve months. Mind you, I did find my old, expired passport last week, so at least I can apply for a new one more easily.

Johnny jump-ups begin to bloom. 17 April 2010.

Not a toilet for three men, but an elevator. Annoying signage for people
desperately seeking a restroom. Penrith Railway Station.
18 April 2010.

Truck on the building site. 19 April 2010.

Neon dog-walking lead. 20 April 2010.

Vases and cookie jar. 21 April, 2010

An artistic busker left this chalk painting behind in Sydney's CBD tonight.
That loaded trolley was wheeled across the artwork several times
while I waited to get a good shot.
22 April, 2010

Fruit before bedtime? 23 April, 2010

Storm clouds gather over Springwood. 24 April, 2010

Welcome back, Arex

"Star Trek: Phase II" Lieutenant Arex

Fan film producer, James Cawley, has released a test shot of a new cast member for his "Star Trek: Phase II" series. Check out the whole article on!

I did read, on James' Facebook page, that the new Arex has lost his tripodal features. (I guess the CGI would have cost an arm and a leg.)

Haw haw haw!

Arex in the captain's chair
Arex in "The Practical Joker" episode of Filmation's TAS.

M'Ress and Arex landing party
My M'Ress and Arex customised action figures.

Arex the Edoan/Triexian

Red alert!
Arex features in IDW Publishing's "Year Four" comics!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Let there be light!

Kitchen lights illuminate a white candle.

Flashback: Buspak

The first annual Buspak Awards, coinciding with a gala preview night for "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home", State Theatre, Sydney (1986):

A memorable night for soooo many reasons.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Too hard basket?

Really scratching for a photo subject tonight.

Flashback to b/w

Therin in b/w
Therin of Andor at the gala premiere of "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan",
State Theatre, Sydney (1982).

Therin and Danni

STII premiere nightwhiteFleetwood and Therin

The young guy above is the professional photographer sent along by Paramount Pictures. We'd previously met him at the relaunch of the original TV series on Network 7, and he remembered the Andorian! The photo at right features local "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" identity, Fleetwood Coup de Ville and a feathery friend.

The Admiral is still dead. So far.

When it was leaked that Admiral Janeway was likely to die in a "Star Trek: The Next Generation" original novel, "Before Dishonor", I happily consigned the rumour to the "she'll be back in time for the next big anniversary" pile of story arcs. Margaret Clark, then-Pocket editor, later explained the reasoning that went into choosing this new direction for the "Star Trek: Voyager" characters. And being promoted to the Admirality in the canonical movie, "Star Trek: Nemesis" meant that Kathryn Janeway really couldn't suddenly return to her old ship, and her original Delta Quadrant storyline was done and dusted. The old "demoting the admiral to captain" chestnut had also been done - several times - with James T Kirk.

I remember another then-editor at Pocket Books, Marco Palmieri, saying he'd rather a ST novel polarise the audience with strong reactions than to produce a bland, throwaway novel that offended no one and was quickly forgotten. If I may say so, many of the numbered VOY novels were bland, throwaway novels that offended no one. I do tend to remember plot details of ST novels I read, but the early VOY ones were very hit-and-miss, with lots of misses.

Was it about a year after the character died that a group of TrekBBS Janeway supporters heard that the licenced fiction had dared to kill off their favourite character while they weren't looking? Some of us tried to say to them, "Don't worry, science fiction deaths of regulars - especially in licensed spin-offs - are rarely/never permanent", but some of their bizarre reactions seemed to make the possibility of Janeway actually staying dead an interesting, refreshing change from the status quo. If I'd been a Pocket editor, I'd be tempted to do something radical just to keep everyone on the hop. Despite Margaret Clark saying that, as far as she was concerned, Janeway was dead and never coming back, I've seen the same things said by others about Jean Grey, Spock, Superman, Batman, Tasha Yar, Kirk, Wonderwoman, Wondergirl/Troia, Bruce Wayne, The Joker, Captain America, The Flash, Ben Sisko and Data/B-4. And they've all come back! Even Janeway is in "Star Trek Online", a game which is long set after the events of "Before Dishonor" and "Full Circle". Not the same timeline, but she is back!

I still think Janeway will be back in time for the next big anniversary of VOY. However, even that will not satisfy the avid Janeway supporters - many of whom stated, very proudly, that they gave up on licensed ST tie-ins many, many years before Janeway was killed off - since they also seem to want her to undergo a demotion back to captain and somehow end up back in command of the USS Voyager, which is, I suppose, supposed to be her 'first, best destiny"? The solution we offered some of them was the concept of in-series novels, set during Voyager's seven year mission, but no, those stories would be forever tainted because they'd know that Janeway would be slated to die. This really is a "no-win scenario" for them. But it was a problem with its roots waaaaay back when they stopped supporting VOY novels. I wish I could offer them some advice that would be worth having, but I'm really at a loss as to what would pacify them. A personal re-set button? A Klingon bird of prey to slingshot themselves around a sun and reverse history? I really don't know.

From what I've heard, the recent VOY novels have sold extremely well and have been positively reviewed. The old numbered VOY numbers did not do the sales figures Pocket wanted, and that was when the series was on-air, providing a theoretical prominence for those books. I started reading "Voyager: Full Circle" recently, and really only got through the prologue before I had to do other things - but it was beautiful! Can't wait to get back to it. I still think it's inevitable that Janeway shall return from her sojourn with Lady Q. It won't be to pacify anyone; it'll be because a clever idea comes along. The challenge will be giving her storylines that will make the most of the character's renewed potential. Spock, Kirk and Sisko returned from the afterlife changed people. As you would.

Captain's Log: Supplemental.

Before Admiral Janeway was killed off, there was a huge, angry, raging thread in the TrekLit section at on TrekBBS, which was polarized into two groups:

* One side demanding that Pocket Books "grow some balls at last" and be brave to kill off a regular character of "Star Trek", to make the ST novels more like real life.

* And the other side defending the fans of individual fans who might be advocates of a particular ST actor/character.

Some measure of begrudging consensual leeway was suggested that, when a regular ST actor dies, maybe it was time for that character to be "retired". eg. it was suggested that McCoy could be killed off now that DeForest Kelley had departed. (Mind you, that elderly TNG McCoy had already had a death scene in a comic didn't seem to ruffle anyone's feathers).

Then Margaret Clark started teasing about the then-forthcoming "Death in Winter" hardcover, and then the cover art sent the Crusher fans (and the ST Anti-Death Lobby) into a frenzy. The debate was renewed but, ultimately, there was no "death in winter" and the book seemed to disappoint a lot of people, probably because the book ended up covering very different ground to their expectations.

But the challenge had been issued: Pocket Books might soon "grow some balls at last" and be brave to kill off a regular character of "Star Trek". Who would it be. I recall Marco Palmieri and Margaret saying that, if it ever happened, it would be because the death set up the most, best story opportunities for all the other characters, and I do think they chose well.

Lurking in the background were "No more Re-set Button!" lobbiests. Hilariously, every time Paramount, CBS or Pocket grows some balls, someone else wants the Re-set Button to be pushed. Poor ol' Janeway.

Then along comes JJ and Bad Robot. They avoid the temptation to push that Re-Set Button at the end of their 2009 movie - and different people are angry and upset.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tribble Lotto!

The long-awaited return of "Hey! Hey! It's Saturday!" (on a Wednesday), and its wacky "Chook Lotto" segment, had me scratching around today to see if I could find some photographic evidence of "Tribble Lotto", a live game show I hosted at a Sydney-based science fiction media convention called TimeWarped, way back in 1986.

Hosting duties at TimeWarped Convention

While the costume parade (above left, me as an Aurelian) ran at the regular convention hotel at Hyde Park, everyone adjourned to the ballroom of the Koala Hotel on Oxford Street for a huge banquet and dinner/dance. The between-courses entertainment was... "Tribble Lotto", hosted by (above right) The Greatest Australian Hero.

Tribble Lotto at TimeWarped Convention

The tribbles were all numbered and a lucky Klingon was selected to randomly choose them with a burrundi wand (actually a "bear-undi wand", because it had a little teddy bear tied to the end of it). She was assisted by my co-host, Athena, the Girl from the Green Dimension ("Lost in Space"). The audience ticked off numbers on their entry forms.

Watch out for the Supplementary Glommer (below)!

Tribble Lotto at TimeWarped Convention
Convention guests, Walter Koenig (Chekov of "Star Trek")
and his wife, Judy Levitt, play along with the game.

The first contestant to fill their squares of tribbles has to do a "Chekov scream" to win.

Tribbles from Lincoln Enterprises catalogue
Tribbles on the night came from the Lincoln Enterprises catalogue!

Greatest Australian Hero
The game is over; back to the dance floor!

I found Wally!


Coincidence time?

Okay, so I went looking for my passport today - missing for a decade, and long-expired, but missing nonetheless, and I need to hand it back to get a new one issued - and I searched and searched, in all the same places and I found... Wally! (AKA "Waldo" in the USA, of "Where's Waldo" puzzle book fame. Don't ask me why he's Wally Down Under; the evil Wally is still Odlaw, ie. "Waldo" spelled backwards).

Wally's the perpetual world traveller - I'll bet he's never lost his passport - and it seemed rather ironic to me that I could find Wally in the garage and not the elusive passport. Again. This has been going on, this search, for almost ten years. Admit defeat? Never! How weird was it that, in the same box, was my 1970-vintage autographed fan card of Aussie celebrity Skeeter the Paperboy (the late James Kemsley, of "Skeeter's Cartoon Corner" and a former "Ginger Meggs" cartoonist)? And here were Skeeter and Wally with matching shirts!

Well, after a short break for a photo shoot with Skeeter and Wally, I went back to the garage. Another hour or so of rummaging, with the torch batteries faltering... I found my passport. The very last box in the furthest corner! Of course. Murphy's Law. Or Odlaw's Law?