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nsmtnz: So, once again, we encounter a


So, once again, we encounter a major problem with the operating procedures of the Enterprise NCC-1701, namely Basic Security Precautions. e.g. When you are beaming up cargo from a penal colony, you should probably scan said cargo for escaping prisoners.

Of course, if the Enterprise crew were that well-endowed with common sense we wouldn’t have this episode, which is a common feature of early TOS – both a semi-successful narrative device and a writing problem. At least, the consensus at the NSMTNZ table was this: when your plot depends on all of your characters failing to display basic common sense, it’s a bad plot.

This episode takes the Enterprise to the famous and well-respected penal colony Tantalus V, and as you can imagine, everything goes to hell almost immediately.

For us, Dagger of the Mind represents a turning point for Star Trek: the point at which the Federation and human culture starts being painted as progressive, or at least, more-progressive-than-the-world-of-the-viewer; where the typical Starfleet officer begins to be defined as smart and competent rather than a reckless space cowboy; and where the show starts to take shape as more of an ensemble cast, something that would underlie every Star Trek to follow. It’s also where the heavy Shakespeare and ancient mythology references start noticeably rolling in, and features Star Trek’s first Vulcan mind meld. Because this is an early TOS episode and the worldbuilding hasn’t quite gotten off the ground, the almost-interesting commentary on the justice system of the 22nd century is a little confused and fragmented, but it still gets points for explicitly endorsing rehabilitative methods over punitive ones. Then again, since the penal facility in question seems to have brought about this revolution via brain erasure, it’s a qualified pass.

If you have issues with the rather blase treatment of mental illness common to TV, especially early TV, this one is probably not for you – there are some extremely shady mental health practices employed on this particular penal colony, and some pretty ableist language tossed around with typical 1960s nonchalance. But if you like to see ladies in unfeasibly short skirts kicking evil henchmen in the balls, mad scientists getting what’s coming to them, and seeing how many times the word “penal” makes us giggle like 12-year-olds, this is definitely worth the watch.

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[From The Not So Much The Neutral Zone Podcast]

I have to admit, I give this episode a pass mostly because of how unrepentantly brutal and Peggy-like Helen Noel’s fight scene is at the end. She kicks a guy in the balls, and then shoves him into an electrical grid. Good show, Helen. Good show.

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Okay this will make sense to no one who doesn’t work a) in academia or b) with certain kinds of online course software and associated procedures but UGH.

This instructor, one of our problem children, sent in a request to have six of his courses merged into three courses. We do this a lot, especially if someone is teaching a half-dozen sections of the same course - it simplifies a lot of tasks on the instructor’s end. Because we do it a lot, and due to a variety of data security and privacy laws, we have a form and a set of well-established procedures for doing it. Basically, you must fill out a form, and correctly, or we won’t do it. 

This instructor has been told this, repeatedly. But instead of following the well-established, well-publicized procedure, every single semester we get an email with a dozen course names and some variation on the words “hey please merge these thanks.” Of course, we send back an email asking for him to follow the procedure, fill out the form.

So what does he do? He submits the form, but instead of filling it out correctly, he copies and pastes the list of courses for all three requests into the comments field.

When that email came in this morning, I said “you asshole” so loudly that my boss came over to see what was wrong. Then she read the screen and said “what a dick!” and told me that I had her permission to sit on the request until he made the fucking request correctly.

I sent back a painfully polite email telling him that we need separate requests for each merge, and that btw it will go much quicker if he just fills out the fucking form properly, as any preschooler could probably work out without being told.

What a dick. 

(But I love my boss.)

from Tumblr http://ift.tt/1NNu6fT (click to see full post including images)

In this episode, in yet another example of early Starfleet’s flagrant disregard for basic biohazard precautions, Kirk, Bones, Spock, Rand and two redshirts beam down to an uncannily Earth-like planet in response to an SOS.

A planet where everyone appears to be dead, and has been dead for hundreds of years.

And creepy childlike singing and ghostly footsteps echo from around corners and beyond shadowed doorways.

…yes. This definitely seems like a safe place to explore.

The planet seems to be abandoned, apart from the aforementioned creepy singing and the pitter-patter of little feet – at least until they meet the episode’s namesake, (13/14-year-old?) Miri, who is hiding in a closet and terrified out of her mind at the sight of strange “grups.” A few minutes in an ancient, abandoned science lab nets the discovery that somewhere around three centuries ago, all the adults suddenly died, leaving only the children (cast largely from the offspring of the cast and crew), who seem to have grown feral in the interim.

Like so much of early Trek, this episode is one of those with a lot of unfulfilled potential and a lot of unfinished conversations, e.g. Is the prospect of an eternal childhood tempting or horrifying? How much of culture is passed down exclusively from adults to children rather than created anew with every generation? What cultural equilibrium can be achieved without biology forcing physical maturity? Is The Lord of the Flies a pack of nonsense that falls apart when not cast entirely with wealthy white males (spoiler: probably, but the episode itself doesn’t give us a lot to go on)?

All in all this is a very small story, an episode without a B-plot where surprisingly little happens, the cast demonstrates a basic misunderstanding of how vaccines work, and there is much debating about the appropriateness of flirting with infatuated 13-year-olds in the interest of saving everybody’s lives.

Sadly these questions are mostly left as loose ends in favour of a quick monster-of-the-week wrap-up, though at least this episode has a low death-count. Even the redshirts survive!

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[From The Not So Much The Neutral Zone Podcast]

I still think The Lord of the Flies is a nonsense scenario.
from Tumblr http://ift.tt/1LmhwCB (click to see full post including images)

Early last week, CBS announced that a new Star Trek television series was in the works, and the Internet subsequently exploded.

Suffice it to say we have mixed feelings. So mixed that the announcement caused no small amount of flailing at NSMTNZ HQ. Some hand-wringing. Some shouting. Some screaming. Possibly some confused weeping.

Rumours abound as to the new series’ contents, though it does involve a couple of pre-reboot alums as well as at least one director with, uh, let us call them successful but mixed credentials.

It’s also possible that this series will be broadcast only on a paywalled (probably region-locked) streaming service, which has a lot of people worried.

In this episode, we ask and sort of answer a lot of questions, including but not limited to:

what do we want from the new series?

what do we fear?

how upset are we still about the reboots (spoiler: in some cases very)?

will there be enough space diplomacy?

Seriously though: for the most part we’re cautiously pleased about the prospect of the return of Star Trek to its natural medium, but we do hope that this series heralds a return to the fundamental principles of Trek, as transposed onto our modern television storytelling expectations. More diversity, please, CBS. More wonder. More hope. And above all, more transcending the limitations and trials of our youth as a species to become something more: Per Aspera Ad Astra.

Please be good, new Star Trek. Be better than what came before.

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[From The Not So Much The Neutral Zone Podcast]

I. Am. So. Worried.

from Tumblr http://ift.tt/1MbX7Uq (click to see full post including images)

funny thing

Sassy Co-Worker: the button's not showing up
Me: yeah that's a browser issue, it happens all the time; try a different browser
SCW: can you try it on your machine and see if the button shows up?
Me: ...sure, but that's definitely a browser issue. try another browser.
SCW: omg the button shows up for you!
Me: ...yeah, because, like I said, it's a browser issue
SCW [returning to his own machine]: holy crap, I tried another browser and the button shows up!
Me: Yes. As I said bef--
SCW: It *is* a browser issue!
from Tumblr http://ift.tt/1krXKk1 (click to see full post including images)

In this episode the crew of the Enterprise has their first encounter with Leo Walsh, aka: Harry Mudd, aka: Harcourt Fenton Mudd: space pirate, con artist, and… space pimp, apparently?

We meet Harry Mudd at least twice more in later episodes, but in his introduction, he’s escorting a “cargo” of three lovely ladies destined to be the wives of lonely frontier space miners. Evidently they’ve signed on with Mudd in order to escape their lives of lonely toil on their own terrible frontier planets. If you’re thinking that this already sounds resoundingly awful and enough to be getting on with, here’s a bonus: in rescuing Mudd and Mudd’s Women from their exploding ship, the Enterprise has blown out its engines, potentially stranding them in space.

But that’s not all. These ladies aren’t just lovely, they’re impossibly attractive, to the extent that every (presumably straight) man who lays eyes on them, including the well-trained male contingent of the Enterprise crew, are immediately reduced to drooling animals.

A number of questions arise, including:

Was this literally the only way for these ladies to leave their crappy homeworlds?

This sounds a lot like sex slavery??

Why is this legal???

Does the flagship of the United Federation of Planets seriously not carry spare parts????

What follows is a hot mess of confused messages: the importance of agency, the perils of vanity, a very uncertain treatise on the objectification of women, and a minute or two of the 1960s version of OMG TRICKED BY MAKEUP. The true message of this episode is difficult to extract, but it’s definitely very preoccupied with the importance of a woman’s appearance over all other qualities, which is probably why we spent so much time dissecting everybody’s outfits.

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[From The Not So Much THe Neutral Zone Podcast]

Hot mess does not even begin to describe this episode. Star Trek, you try so hard. And yet.

from Tumblr http://ift.tt/1PmGYxN (click to see full post including images)

Okay, pop quiz: your only method of transit between your giant starship and the surface of nearby Crappy Frozen Hell-Planet-of-the-Adorable-Unicorn-Dogs is an occasionally-dodgy matter-transport device which, if malfunctioning, stands a not-inconsiderable chance of scattering your component atoms across time and space. One day, the transporter starts acting weird. Do you:

cease all transport operations until the weirdness is resolved; better fix this before beaming up any more living things!

squint at the controls for a minute, give them an encouraging thump, and then shrug and go on about your business; you can check it out later!

If you answered B, you might not want to pursue a career in starship engineering. Maybe Ship’s Counsellor! God knows they could use one.

In an episode based on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (which drives home last week’s Always Follow Biohazard Protocols lesson), we see Captain Kirk accidentally duplicated in a freak transporter accident, split into Good! and Evil! Kirks. I’m sure it surprises no one that Evil gets better lighting.

Trigger warning for discussion of sexual assault (an attempted sexual assault is contained within the Trek episode itself).

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[From The Not So Much THe Neutral Zone Podcast]

I will forgive this one most trespasses because of the Shakespearean scenery-chewing and the unicorn dog, but do heed the trigger warnings.

from Tumblr http://ift.tt/1N8XH7E (click to see full post including images)

nsmtnz: Episode 5 – TOS 1×04: “The


Episode 5 – TOS 1×04: “The Naked Time”

It’s hard to explain this episode, despite it having a surprisingly simple plot: our fair ship is in a perilous, risky situation where survival depends on quick reaction times and the crew keeping their heads… so, naturally, everybody gets space-drunk. *rattlesnake noise*

But there’s so much more going on with this episode, to the point that we felt like we, too, were growing more and more space-drunk as the story progressed. (Which is actually a pretty good metaphor for the whole experience.) If you’re me and Kim, and your affections for this episode were already firmly secured by nostalgia and the TNG companion episode of very similar name, you’ll love this one. If you’re Corene and insist on silly things like “plot” and “sense,” you’ll probably spend a lot of the 50 minutes screaming. To each their own.

Lesson for this week, and we cannot stress this enough: Always. Follow. Biohazard. Protocols. (We’re looking at you, Joey.)


Totally forgot to reblog this this morning! Episode number 5 is one of my favourite episodes of TOS, if only for the nostalgia factor.

from Tumblr http://ift.tt/1Gqwtrs (click to see full post including images)

My morning, in brief:

Annoying Person From Other Department For Whom I Am Creating An Unnecessarily Complicated WordPress Template: So we need this ASAP. Like next week. I'm only telling you about it now because of reasons. Also we need an insane number of tutorials , like four times as many as you ever offer any other department, where you stand around and try to explain things for two hours at a time while we roundly ignore you, complain, interrupt you and talk loudly amongst ourselves. Because we're special.
Me: Uh, okay, I've busted my ass and gotten that template done for you in two days. Have a look ASAP and answer the attached questions so we can have a snowball's chance in hell of having the dozen sites you need, based off of this template, ready in time for people to attend your insane number of tutorials.
Annoying Person: *silence for a solid week*
Annoying Person: So I haven't heard back from you. Did I mention we needed all of this ASAP because we're special?
Me: I sent you an email with everything you asked for a week ago. Check your Inbox again?
Annoying Person: Oh, there it is! Let me just say thank you in an incredibly insincere way and not answer any of the questions you asked me.
Me: Uh, okay, can you have a look at these very important questions without the answers to which I cannot move forward with completing your project?
Annoying Person: *silence for a further three days*
Annoying Person: Haven't you made any progress on this YET? We need these ready ASAP! Didn't I say ASAP enough times?
Me: *tears out hair, screams, attempts to compose YET ANOTHER polite response*
from Tumblr http://ift.tt/1ZIJeEu (click to see full post including images)

In the episode originally written as the second series pilot, we join the U.S.S. (that’s United Space Ship) Enterprise as she attempts to cross the Galactic Barrier. Why? Who cares? SCIENCE. Except as it turns out, this miiiiiiiiight not be the best plan ever conceived. A flight recorder found near the barrier tells them that the last ship to attempt the crossing was lost. But hey, what can possibly go wrong, right?

Where No Man Has Gone Before – and if that line sounds familiar, it’s because it’s basically the motto of the entire Star Trek franchise (later updated to “Where No One Has Gone Before”) – features just about the only time in Star Trek continuity that we see mention of human telepathy, and believe me, we can go on about that alone for hours. It also asks the question: when is a morally acceptable juncture at which to leave someone to die on a barren planet light-years from home or help? Is it when they start referring to you as “ants” and start murdering your crew left and right with their creepy godlike superpowers?

…well, yes, as it turns out. Down to the minute.

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[from The Not So Much The Neutral Zone Podcast]

In which everyone but me is wrong about the mechanics of the Enterprise’s travel through the Galactic Barrier.

from Tumblr http://ift.tt/1OCbVxu (click to see full post including images)


Chandri MacLeod

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