Posts Tagged ‘Star Trek’


Spock Days is a family activities in Vulcan, Alberta that runs alongside (at leas this year, a Star Trek Convention in the town, Vul-Con). Now this is not new information to me, as the first Spock Days I believe, of all folks in my family, my Grandma Ragan, went on a weekend trip to it through the now defunct Golden Age. It has been on a list of things I want to do, and haven’t gotten around to (only Star Trek convention I have been to, was a community one in Calgary through the Village Square Leisure Centre when I was a kid).

Now, this year, on the sidequest with friends (Bruce, came in from Costa Rica, and his brother Doug), we did not buy the weekend access tickets (though after the day of free events, my hope is to be able to swing the tickets and weekend next year for my Dad and I, who introduced me to Star Trek, through CBC re-runs and the comics). There was a vendors market, local artisans, the two ships in the area from Starfleet International, this ia unique thing, as yes, it is fan clubs with social activities structured like starships, yet there is also service pieces. Which has made me wonder as some lament the waning of service clubs, are the cosplay-fan clubs stepping in and changing the way this works to create connection, belonging, values and change?

But i digress, for this is simply to enter into a photo montage of the day. And an encouragement to ake time to discover the hidden gems in our world. If you are a Trekkie, or just want to see how a town can use some uniqueness to create space for connection take a trip to Vulcan, AB any time of year, visit the Trek Station and Tourism Centre, do the self guided tour to see the artifacts, monuments, and local art shaped by one of the shaping mythologies of our time (55 years and counting from television, movies, books, comics, games, social media, etc).

And now some of the sights of the day, and the great fun of simply being, celebrating IDIC (Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations), and welcome…that started with a hearty pancake breakfast, parade, sign unveiling, fun cosplay competition improv. I write of a yearly retreat in my rule of life, I have missed out over the last several years, and yes I still need one of solitude to focus on where my next book will go, and how the Holy speaks into my journey, yet in a pinch, this day, filled a bit of that missing void.


An Interview with Bruce Callow

On Feb. 24, 2022 what was rumbling for many months became a reality, as Putin led Russia invaded the Ukraine. Many of those in Alberta, and Canada (a country with the third largest population of Ukrainians) could carry the empathy, of those being conscripted to invade (as many in Russia are also Ukrainian). What began was a stand off of people fighting back for their own country, and now infamous line of President Zelensky of Ukraine, I need arms not a ride (a loose paraphrase). In the midst though, is yet the creation by aggression of another humanitarian crisis, currently at roughly 5 million refugees seeking resettlement in lands to become new homes.

One guidepost on the journey is the Centrum Expo Refugee Center, and Warsaw; where many have gathered to support the holistic needs of those seeking safety, connection and new places of belonging. I have the privilege of knowing one of those that answered the call. Bruce Callow, a community builder, educator, and musician most recently known for his work in STEM and Space in Costa Rica, the use of sports to inspire, and from my own journey, a community builder within affordable housing for those exiting the trauma of homelessness.  What follows is some of his own thoughts, and answers on the experience, and what we can still do in response to the question of who is my neighbour?

Ty: How long were you in Poland?

Bruce:  I was in Poland for almost a month.

Ty: What led you to give of yourself?
Bruce: I saw in the news what was going on in Ukraine and felt compelled to contribute something on a personal level. I felt a strong calling to bear witness, to see things firsthand and to try to support Ukrainians in some small way. I did some research on the kinds of actions that were going on to support refugees in Poland and I felt I could complement these efforts. The attack on Ukraine felt like an attack on my own people. Ukrainian culture was always close to us growing up in Edmonton so no doubt that childhood imprinting had some impact on my decision to take personal action.

Ty: We can focus on many aspects of human crisis and pain, what were some moments of joy in the darkness?

Bruce: There were many moments of joy and laughter. Distributing NASA pins and stickers while casually interacting with people at the railway transit centers proved to be an effective way to generate smiles, both amongst children and adults. The somewhat odd idea of talking about NASA and space in the midst of all that chaos was not something I was sure would work at all. But the 900 NASA stickers and 200 NASA pins as well as other souvenirs donated by the Canadian Embassies in Costa Rica and Warsaw were gratefully and happily received.  These train station transit centers are very raw and intense places where the refugees have just arrived after their harrowing journeys from Ukraine. But in brief conversations and nonverbal interactions you could connect with people and by doing so help reassure them that they’re in a safe place and there are people from other countries that care about what they’re going through.  Through one of these brief interactions, I was able to meet a lady and her daughter with whom I introduced to a host family in Toronto, Canada. It’s a very humbling experience to see how a random intersection of lives can lead to such things.

I had the opportunity to give classes about outer space in more settled environments at permanent refugee centers as well as in private schools that created extension programs for Ukrainians refugee kids. They were extremely fun, and the kids and I enjoyed the banter between English and Ukrainian as we discussed the planets and other space concepts. It’s fortunate that most of the names of the planets are very similar in Ukrainian to English, not to mention the layers of Earth’s atmosphere.

The music jam sessions I hosted  were amongst the most meaningful experiences I had and had the opportunity to get to speak with a number of Ukrainians and volunteers through that medium. The young Polish soldiers I met at the refugee centers also  enjoyed the music but they had to keep a low profile about it as they were on duty.  I am still in contact with a number of people I jammed with.

Ty: Is there any story or stories that you want to ensure are shared?

Bruce:  In the Torwar Arena I had the opportunity to meet the most amazing gentleman named George who accompanied me on the piano as we performed and sang Hallelujah.  That song proved to be a favorite on many occasions and I remember once a group of four or five women were singing along with me. After we jammed, George and  had lunch together and he told me in detail the experience of his city being under attack and having to escape. He Is a medical student specializing in psychiatry. George  expressed gratitude for all the support Ukraine is receiving but at the same time he wishes that they didn’t have to receive all of this support. Ukrainians are hard-working and self reliant people and they’re not used to being in such a situation.  This was an attitude I saw reflected; Ukrainians want to take care of things on their own but it’s just not possible for them to do it under these circumstances.

“My Star Trek medical tricorder proved to be a huge hit”  

-Bruce Callo

Ty: I noticed in some of your sharing on your social media around music, what are your recollections? Favourite songs?

Bruce:  One young lady named Kari was particularly keen on Nirvana and Coldplay and we did some pretty good renditions. 

Ty: There was a story you had shared about space and the kids at the centre, can you re-share now please?
Bruce: The story was shared well, here: Santaneño traveled to Poland to help Ukrainians (santaanahoy.wixsite.com)

Ty: We both have worked in the homeless serving sector, and know, that we can learn as much from those we serve as they can from us or others; what are some key learnings you have from those you met?

Bruce:  I think one thing I reflected on was what’s happening to Ukrainians could happen to any country. It made me wonder how Canadians would react under a similar situation. One day you’re living your life normally, studying, eating lunch in a restaurant or whatever and then suddenly your world has turned completely upside down. I saw people studying for exams and working remotely from Railway transit centers and refugee centers. Trying to keep the threads of their life together. I remember back in 2013 when we worked at the Calgary Drop In Centre we assisted with the evacuation of the entire  population to a hotel where everyone slept in the ballroom area.  What I saw at the Centrum Expo with over 2500 people camped out, it kind of overwhelmed me.  But with the music, and quiet conversation you can break this mass of  humanity down into individual parts.

“the gentleman you see in this video is Pavel, he was a neighbor of mine where I stayed in Warsaw and he kindly matched all of the money I brought with me to buy emergency supplies so the total came to about US$800.”

Bruce Callow

Ty: Is there anything else that you would like to share about your experience?

Bruce: There were quite a few levels to this experience, and I think I’m still processing a lot of it. But I can say it was an amazing experience to get to meet some extremely brave people who are going through something they should never have had to suffer through. I made a lot of friends over there including fellow volunteers and people who are coordinating the opening of even more refugee centers.  I’m looking forward to supporting this network and to continue to help Ukraine as much as I can.

I want to thank the many people who helped make my program in Warsaw come to life, there were so many good Samaritans. Among these people are Mirela, Pavel, Magda, Magda ( Star Wars), Maria and Bart and Anna.

Ty: I want to thank you, Bruce while you were in Poland reaching out with some stories of folks to aid in resettling in Canada. As well, as the success, of them finding a sanctuary space for a new home. What are other ways that we can help?

Bruce: I invite readers to contact Roman Lakhnyuk at the email below. Roman is from Edmonton and is Ukrainian and I met him coordinating operations at the Central railway station. Photo attached. He is wearing the baseball hat.

Through Roman donors can contribute to purchasing urgent food needs to supply the food tent at the railway transit station or they can contribute to purchasing flights for refugees to get to Canada.

roman.lakhnyuk@gmail.com

I snapped that photo of Roman in a brief 10 minute visit I made to the control center at the railway station and he showed me photos today of the lady and child in that photo on their way to the UK. He saw through that entire process – Bruce Callow

As happens with life experiences, there are many ways that things come to a close, for someone who is at heart, a fan of stories of science fiction and hope in all forms they come in (including both a Trekkie and Star Wars), nothing is a better end for a chapter of this story than what Bruce shared on his Facebook:

Thank you, Bruce, it is always inspiring to see ways you continue to help. 

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*Images and videos from Bruce Callow’s time in Poland are from his collection, below are a few other videos:

Star Trek CODA

Posted: December 15, 2021 by Ty in Spirituality
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The end was nigh once Picard premiered for a wonderful literary journey for fans. Since Star Trek Nemesis, it has been the written page, and to a lesser extent the comics, that have been filling the gap for prime timeline 24th century “Boldy going…” with intrigue, new worlds discovered, older worlds dove deeper into, journeys unseen, marriages and new life. A winding road that if you have been a fan of the journey then CODA is for you. If you are just coming into the world of Trek books via Discovery or Picard tie ins, then guess what? CODA is for you. Each volume opens with a timeline of important facts that lends itself to the reader, I can almost heare Majel Barrett’s voice over of “previously” as I would touch base and remember the fun the past 20 years of books have been.

For long time readers, you know as part of my recovery, it was a Star Trek Deep Space Nine novel that started my journey of bringing focus to the written page once more. So I was in for what was to come, as new and old friends gathered. Are you going to get spoilers from me?

No, but there was several nods to long time fan hopes; great characterization; Travellers; Vulcans, Mirror Universe; Emissary, Celestial Temples, Borg… oh the list can go on, and a very subtle nod to Benny (from one of the best DS9 episode’s ever) as the journey to end one story, one temporal multi-verse and align with the current is bridged.

The 3 month journey of CODA though, did remind me, as the writer’s came together, sharing their thoughts, knowing that there was things that could happen outside of their control, ala Star Wars novels and Legends, or seeing what was happening and being proactive. Taking time to share a different possibility that kept the stories as part of the whole tapestry of Star Trek, by connecting the puzzle pieces.

Is that not our own journey of life? Times when we truly feel that what is happening is not part of our prime timeline, yet it still is a piece of us? Is it healthy to forget it? Pretend it never happened? Or to take the journey that realigns ourselves and our experiences? It is in the relignment that we can learn as much, as those times we simply allow it to fade into the background. Especially in a time of polarization and c-tine, where we can feel like this is an out of time experience, and may simply want to forget. What happens if we are present and enter into our own CODA so when we re-emerge into the new, we are ready?

For what is a CODA, but musically the concluding piece of a movement that creates a base structure.

A grand 20 year adventure had a CODA this fall, and I cannot help but hypothesize that our world is in a CODA moment, and it is what we choose to do with it…


Ah, a bit of a trekkie-spiritual moment, just wrapped up Una McCormack’s Autobiograpy of Mr. Spock, presented through the writings of Spock sharing with Jean-Luc Picard upto and including what his life has been to the Jellyfish that kicked off the new movies universe as he was lost in the multi-verse. It is a t’san a’lat if you like Vulcan, the book of the writer’s wisdom. What has been learned throughout the life lived, I ponder what each of our stories if shared as our wisdom, and gifted to a particular co-journeyer, as our journey came to a close would percolate in our communities?

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An affordable opportunity for exploration of lifeskills and leadership skills through the lens of Star Trek, with educator, Bruce Callow as your guide.

Are you 9-14 years old?

Cost is $13USD per week

Description in the words of teacher, Bruce Callow

Class Experience

No previous experience with Star Trek is necessary but it is welcome! 🙂

In this fun and highly interactive ongoing class students will become familiar with the history, philosophy and technology of the first three Star Trek series ( Star Trek, The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine) and creatively discuss their impact on space science and popular culture. 

Students are guided to develop their creativity, critical thinking and linguistic skills to analyze Star Trek scenarios in order to solve real life problems. The historical connection between NASA and Star Trek runs deep. This includes the naming of the first Space Shuttle ( Enterprise), the important Star Trek link with the Apollo program and several generations of NASA personnel who were inspired to achieve great things by Star Trek. In each class we explore parallels between Star Trek and the real world while comparing and contrasting the evolution of the technologies used by both.

I use the same teaching style that I use in my other space classes. I encourage a lot of student participation and try to tailor the lessons to their learning needs and talents. I have an extensive collection of Star Trek props and NASA resource materials which I use in the class. We will do various role play activities to get the students inspired and having fun. Some of these will involve time travel! I aim to bring out the talents of the students and to ensure every student feels included and appreciated.

Week of August 2
Topic: Star Trek's impact on technological innovation and the NASA connection.

Week of August 9
Topic: First Contact with Extraterrestrial Civilizations and the philosophy of Star Trek's Prime Directive.

Week of August 16
Topic: Applying Problem Solving and Leadership Skills.

Week of August 23
Topic: The Legacy of Star Trek in Popular Culture"

Register here

Ah Star Trek. My Dad was a Trekkie, through repeats on the CBC he introduced us to the series and the complex discussions that were brought up in some of the episodes. As a little kid it was great because it was one night a week that I could stay up past my bedtime. I remember when the pay channels would do their free weekend preview, and we would record Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan off of it, and yes, those literal ear worms still cause my skin to crawl just thinking of it. And the sorrowful death, choosing to save others (being selfless, Mr. Spock, not selfish, what a message for our existence in c-tine). As well, the copy of the movie adaptation comic book of Star Trek III that I read and re-read until it was no more…

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When Star Trek IV came to cinema, it was a fun and memorable Christmas Eve as Dad would take the four of us to the fancy cinema in Downtown Calgary to watch it on the big screen, and I still remember the sight of the whales.

“Captain there be whales here”- Scotty

I also remember being a part of Friday nights viewing of Next Generation, and in Junior High, the discussions on Monday Mornings around what had happened on Friday’s episodes, and the fun with the Unification storyline, and Hugh (the Borg that gets identity, when first teased we thought was going to be an adaptation of the amazing giant novel, Vendetta). This was also in the era of the panned Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, though I loved the movie, the journey of discovery of the intangible (God), as with many Star Trek episodes and movies, it is a go to when teaching youth, because it asks many deep questions about how do we know what is truly Holy? What is our own creation? and what about the pain?

Deep Space Nine is a series that resonated from the metaphysical “Emissary” to the closing episode when I worked in electronics assembly. The journey motif, the depth of character development and change. The commentary on war, terrorism, refugees, religion in building hope and as a tool of oppression, mental health, grieving, what is family, belonging, and sexual identity to name but a few. There was many topics, and it didn’t connect well with Trekkies I knew, but Sisko and company, held my attention on Sundays.

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Voyager in its first run, was not on the radar, could be due to work and social life it was just hard to catch. Though as I moved through my time of healing, rediscovering the journey home on Netflix, was an apt metaphor as I walked through the healing process. The Animated Series (I am sure you can still find some of those reflections on this site) being watched were fun, and connecting back to the core principles of IDIC (more to come on that). Though there was a Star Trek, that rooted deeper. At first, I thought it would be Deep Space Nine, as the long walk to the bookstore when my brain was stabilizing a little for a read, it was a Deep Space Nine novel I would pick up, and draw me into a new journey of renewal, and hope.

Though, as I began to reflect that this journey would truly be a reboot, a new start, it was Enterprise that we found oursleves watching. Archer and company from beginning to end, disocvering the novels as they became a lynch pin for retraining my mind to read and process.

Simple blessings. Stories that showed the beauty of diversity and what can be accomplished by emrbacing Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations (IDIC). Also stories, that cause one to think and reflect, skills I was scared of losing through the neurological challenges. Skills that through discussion and reflection, would gain round and stabilize, the re-engagement with Trek Lore was one piece of the process (there was other connecting points as well, but this is about First Contact Day).

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Each time, is like a First Contact, that day in the future, on April 5, when the Vulcans in Trek make contact with humanity. As we entered c-tine, aside from RuPaul, in the early days one of our joys was pacing ourselves through Picard Season One, reconnecting with familiar stories. In the summer, the joy and humour of Lower Decks, recently watching Discovery Season 3 (my youngest a non-Trekkie, who cheers when Adira-Gray are on the screen), other episodes of various Trek, last night the Deep Space Nine documentary What We Left Behind and a few months back, the Nichelle Nichols documentary on her work with NASA- Woman in Motion.

Looking back on the journey of life, stories are what shape us and our understanding of the world. First Contact with Star Trek, began a journey of fun, discovery, and building a better world. Where we are made better by living into the best of us, living into our diversity and creating courageous safe space where all belong and can thrive.

Infinite Diveristy, Infinite Combination

How do you choose to live into IDIC?

P.S. I do hope on this day, you were able to take a moment to re-watch favourite episodes, or movies, or like me at least engaged with some of the fun trailers of what is to come…

Picard Season 2 Trailer (and yes Q)

Star Trek Discovery Season 4 Trailer

Star Trek Lower Decks Season 2 Trailer


Many moons ago, with a Rosary in my weary end of night shift hand in the sanctuary of a Roman Catholic church awaiting the weekday Mass, the still small voice would whisper to me “build my church”, it was an echo sentiment from years before, in a United Church, where I cam back to church as adult with my Nan, after presiding over the Sunday Service, and greeting faith family afterwards, the still small voice would simply say, “you are called”… To scant months before in my first service, where after singing in pre-sing my Granddad’s favourite hymn, the voice, his voice, would simply say “it’ll be alright”, Each of these instances are a piece of book one of three for my life. The book of laying the foudnations and preparing. Experiencing what it means to build the church. That is simply, to create the courageous safe space of connection, purpose and belonging for the beautiful mosaic that is our neighbourhood (the Imageo Dei)

So many bumps along the road. Stories. Pieces of knowledge, ancient wisdom applied to the modern world, and modern wisdom working on the souls of many. Truly striving and stumbling to live out what home is, and having the true open door that I have been told has blessed many. But at my core, I am a simple story teller. That is the core of my parallel multi-career paths, and the core of the calling as book two opens…for what is the core of blessed community but the story of love and hope at its centre?

It is stories that have shaped my life, and still do. Many look at me weirdly in the academic, political and spiritual circles I exist in for the resonance I have to so many of our modern legends and mythologies. Not only the resonance, but how effectively they can be used as points of connection, intersection and discussion… so many ways to meet and understand neighbour. Whether it is the modern super hero stories (I am sure many know of the reflections shared around Spider-Man, X-Men, Batman, Superman, Flash, the list goes on and on) our modern pantheon of gods and demi-gods as found in anceint folklore and mythologies (which I also love). Or the more recent addition of Doctor Who? The Doctor an amazing story of constant curiousity, inspired problem solving, fun and, yes, new life (ah regeneration, since I went through my own health issues, and now into c-tine, it does so feel like a moment of regeneration?). To the inquisitive nature of Sherlock Holmes, the mysteries solved, and the importance of the right partners.

The Arthurian Legends, stories I so wanted to read as a child, and a system said I could not comprehend, and a Dad that said yes he can…and well, the copy of that hardcover from Smithbooks still resides on my bookshelf, never tell a child they can’t when an interest is shown. The wonder, magic and splendour of Camelot. The idea of quest, blessing, calling, and the connection/belonging of the Round Table. To the first movie I ever saw in theatres, Walt Disney’s Robin Hood, and the core truth that all have value, and every role in society is needed for us to be healthy, how easily power can corrupt (and I have seen it happen to far too many good people) for when power becomes the goal like with Prince John– well, the fact it is actually people involved is forgotten for the pursuit of gold (or is it oil?). When a season of life ended, I hope my team at that time understand the blessing of sharing that story book with each of them.

But a core story that has stayed with me throughout my life. From when there was the one night of the week as repeats aired on CBC, Star Trek. A true reflection for me, of what Brother Jesus taught our world was meant to be. Our universe, where all have equity, justice, equality, hope, can pursue who they are meant to be and we affirm the ideal you they are currently and are becoming. Where we aid others. Each of its iterations has brought a new era of story and contemplations into my life. From the Next Generation to Deep Space Nine to Voyager to Enterprise to (Kelvin) Star Trek movies to Discovery to Lower Decks to Picard…each piece introducing new characters, new allegories to our reality now and where we can be, what we can aspire to.

The re-connection to the stories, happened sharply over the last several years as I started to build myself back. As we unearthed, and healed the darkness, smudge and trauma that almost, yes, took my life, though it took me off of one path and opened up an epilogue/prologue upon a new path. A new story. My loving wife and kiddos that have journeyed through much, and we know eyes wide open what has been in all its diverse sorrows to joys, to what we know can be in a hope seen and soon to be lived.

See, for me, as I reflect back on the journey, the long road of getting here. Some may look at the hiccups, the setbacks, the loss, and say, why bother? Or didn’t so and so ruin your life…No they did not. I still remember the day in the early part of my PNES where a congregational cycle of prayer had my son make that statement as I had stepped away a few times from church based ministry to protect him from their heresy & ableism, as with other members of my family at other moments. For me it is about living love, and it is truly about discerning if there is authentic misunderstanding, or simply a desire for a quick apology so one’s own hates are not revealed on the altar for all to see.

But I digress, see there is an understanding that it is not a pollyanic view, especially in our polarized world where many akin the word Christian or Pastor to some device of hatred and exclusion. Or like in Star Trek V when they finally gound “god” and it was revealed to be nothing more than a monster in godcloaking:

Yet, here we are, a long road, some wear and tear, great learnings, lovings, and discoveries.

As was revealed earlier in the movie with the discussion of pain, and the need for the pain to emerge into who we truly are. So it is with each aspect of our life, all the ups and downs, sorrows and joys, losses and wins…they have shaped us…to be with others. To hear the authentic quite voice once more on this journey, one that others have heard.

“it is time to answer hope’s call”

Taking a risk, at this stage of the emegent chapter one of book two, prepared and now stepping in to the uknown. Accepted back to seminary as a student to complete my Master of Divinity. Awaiting the links to open up to apply for funding. To grow my skills, for my writing, community building, and to step back into ministry within the church. And maybe, perhaps, once settled to finish the journey that started with my Psy.D. to finally get my Doctor of Ministry.

To once more, be a pastor.

To aid others in being authentic communities of hope.

To discover honestly, what the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit is whispering to each of us to live out and transform our world for the better.

And yeah, it is one of the scariest steps in my life I have taken.

But also fills me with simply being

content.


Since I was allowed to stay up late on Tuesday nights as a little gapher to watch the re-runs on CBC, Star Trek has been a part of my life. The stories, the social commentary, the inclusivity, the knowing of a better future to come. Watching as the technology I have seen on the screen has slowly and then rapidly become a reality. Think of what our Smart Phones (even flip phones) are like communicators, and sometimes tri-corders (and the body scans we can do now, like their med-beds), during C-tine, our video calls I do feel like asking for hailing frequencies to be open on screen. As each new era of the first book of my life emerged, readers know certain stores have resonated from the original, to the Next Generation to Deep Space Nine (DS9) to Enterprise to Voyager, enjoying Discovery, Picard and Lower Decks (looking forward to Prodigy and Strange New Worlds). Yet it is the underlying theme of all belonging, and freely being able to pursue one’s passion as purpose that resonate at the core of the storylines.

Which is why, as this section moves towards a close, this Reading Week as an instructor has been intriguing for what has come into my feeds. Clicked on Crave to watch the next episode of Season 3 of Discovery, and there was a documentary “Woman in Motion” about Nichelle Nicholls (who originated the character of Uhura) and her work with NASA.

I encourage viewing for everyone, but I also encourage discussion and dreming after viewing. The documentary shares the story of Ms. Nicholls, whose Dad never believed in the word, can’t. She shared of being a teenager, and singer with Count Bassie’s orchestra. How the lead singer, a sultry siren, was no longer there, and she got the nod to take the lead imitating her predecessor during the set. At the end, Bassie came to her, and bluntly asked what she was doing? As well, to knock it off, she had actual talent, so sing. Could you imagine the same advice being given to a young woman in the music industry today?

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The story of her beginning to work with Rodenberry with a role on one episode of his show, “The Lieutenant” around racism, that was so controversial it has never aired. What began that day though was a friendship of deep discussions on importnat issues of justice. Rodenberry promising he would have something for her. What was that? In a show idea known as “Wagon Train to the Stars” that would become Star Trek. The character? One Ms. Nicholls would help name, Uhura, and create. For the command crew of the Enterprise, represented the mosaic of humanity plus a Vulcan. Though during the first season she would see her role continue to shrink to a simple catch phrase “hailing frequencies open” to the point of resigning. It was during this time, at an event, a fan wanted to meet her. She was tired, and did not want to, but the hosts kept pushing, The Fan- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the message, you can’t resign. The retort, who are you to tell me how to run my career. The rationale by Dr. King, it is the only show he allows his children to watch, that he makes time to watch with his children. She stayed, an African American Lieutenant, the commander of communications.

The story shifts to the convention era, where she met a person from NASA, as they were moving from the Apollo era to the shuttle era, and Ms. Nicholls, once again challenged the norm, for she pointed out she could not see herself in the astronauts. A visit to NASA revealed the rainbow that made space flight possible, but the actual astronauts had a selection bias, and there was 4 months left to go in recruiting for the program…and Ms. Nicholls was hired, one caveat, she did not want to be a mascot. She took in astronaut training so she knew what she spoke about, she also did not have NASA folks with her when she went on her recruiting talks, filmed her PSA’s for television and radio. 4 month, criss crossing the country, receiving threats of harm when she spoke out, challenging the military recruiting process, as she recruited civilians (and those in the military overlooked) to thousands of applicants to the first 35, adn the friendships she cultivated in there to the Challenger in 1986…\

But her message was simple, she saw something that wasn’t right, and wanted to make it right.

An underpinning of Star Trek, in spite of the Prime Directive. Striving for IDIC (Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations), a true courageous space for inclusivity. To move beyond the societal “isms” that were explored in Star Trek Deep Space Nine episode “Beyond the Stars” where Sisko, is back in time as a writer in the 1900s:

Sisko was the writer Benny Russell, who the readers believed was white. The world was very much polarized by colour, at least in the powerful money hands. This is the world that the bridge of Uhura challenged. This is the world that Star Trek in its IDIC continues to challenge, while cultivating critical and ethical thought processes.The shared extended metaphor of Bajoran-Cardassians, in the age of Reconciliaiont, of Settlers-Indigenous. And inspiring folks to discover their passions and pursue them. This is how I shaped the episodes and movies to be used in my teaching with youth and young adults, from exploration nights in youth groups, youth centres, young adult studies, discussion nights, oh and one fun confirmation cycle. It was a pleasure on Friday February 19, 2021 during a video conference out of Costa Rica linking the world (very Trekkie) to be able to thank one of the actors, who states she is a storyteller, Nana Visitor (played Major Kira Nerys in DS9) for the stories that inspired and have been used to inspire so many.

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A friend and former colleauge in journeying with those in life recovery and exiting homelessness to home, is now at home in Costa Rica cultivating his own passions around space exploration and community building as a teacher. This was a conference part of TEC. The exciting news that kicked off was Costa Rica adopting their own Space Agency (after a long history of working with NASA, and some excellent books co-authored by my friend, Bruce Callow). Their initiatives around education and STEM that has seen them in schools outside of Costa Rica (including Calgary), and having cameos with the books at the last Vul-Con before c-tine (and as rumours/bills from the Town Council of Vulcan the last focused event such as that).

We then shifted to an incredible and inspiring talk by our storyteller. Ms. Visitor shared about those great moments of entering The Flow. That is that moment when everything aligns, and it no longer feels like struggle or work, just going and what amazing things happen within a team when that moment is realized by a team. I have had the pleasure of experiencing those moments in my own writing and teaching, but also in community builidng and spiritual direction with the teams and communities we were a part of, an dyes it is powerful. The challenges thrown out that the way work is done needs to change, understanding work as a person with nothing outside the work is unhealthy and wrong. We need to cultivate a world that allows for healthy balance with work and life, and watch the miracles roll out, just think we have gotten this far with the broken system, how much farther could we go with an unbroken system?

Of course, there was talk of the power of representation within Star Trek, Ms. Visitor sharing when she first read the character of Kira, she thought it was a man, because rolls like that did not exist in the early 90’s for women. And when she found out it wasn’t, she wanted it. She shared on her Women of Trek project, interviewing the actresses who have played the powerful roles. The hope of Ms. Nicholls health holding so after c-tine she will be able to interview her in person for the book/documentary. This was one of the greatest moments, as there was the allusion that inclusivity also involves mental health and disabilities for pursuit of passions. As the character of Tilly in Discovery was brought up, for she is brilliant, yet can be crippled by anxiety, and she is important to show, that we can still be who we are in experiencing the world, and chase our passions.

Which leads us into a reflection for this first weekend of Lent,

If inclusivity was the norm

If you could live your dreams/passions

Who would you be?

*Guess what– that’s who Creator made you to be.

For more on Nana Visitor, read Bruce Callow’s article here.

My Facebook message after the event:


Watching media and social media feeds during this time of c-tine, one can begin to think the entire human race is like Hugh (The Borg) in the Next Generation coming out of the collective for the first time, or the last Dalek in the Ninth Doctor’s only season, unable to process too much information and emotional spectrum choosing destruction instead. We are at a crux as a society, for c-tine has caused a pause from the keeping up with the Jones’ mentality, and removed the excuses of no time to look into things or letting someone else do it. The challenge of the time is that some are still existing in the hard dualism of one side having to be completely evil so you can be completely good, not wanting to be okay with the gray, or compromise or discussion or seeing outside of our own ego-centric personal fable.

And if what you’re hearing is the emergence from adolescence-emergent early adulthood as a species, you would be correct.

Just going to take a walk about into some thoughts as it has been a while since I’ve written, so grab a cuppa and join the thought meanderings.

First we as a society, whether we want to admit it or not, are moving through grief. That is why we are seeing such a ramping up of denial and anger as those that do not want to process through the emotions they are feeling and need social support that is now at a distance, or unwilling to reach out to the professional supports available. Just think over the past 131 days what should have happened– year book signings in schools, graduations, end of year celebrations.

Within our own family it was to be our daughter’s first Pride in Alberta, and due to covid we are unable to be there. Each summer my kids do the small town parade tour both being in (fundraising for kids charities) and watching as activity with their grandparents they were unable to be a part of. My daughter was to be in her second summer at Pine Lake Christian Camp (though thankfully they have thought outside the box and provided a summer of online activities, but still not the same), she was finally a part of a choir and band and the concerts have been cancelled. After my own health journey I was back into a new vocational journey only to have it up ended.

Learning curves, losses, new ways of connecting. All these pieces play a role. They create grieving that we have to acknowledge and process.

Then the world around us has the same pains. Yet some factors attempt to aid, others do not. This moves into thoughts of our political culture.

It always amazes me that the governing party in Alberta and our Premier normalized workplace harrassment and bullying, dehumanizing of the opponent and actually pay online trolls to continue. They laugh openly and mock in the legislature, but hyper fixate when someone outside their party uses the same tactics.

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Though the storm cycle foes show our alien gods, Thor, trying to keep us inside so the world can heal.

Do I agree with this degeneration of behaviour, and the illustration for what is appropriate it gives to the young? No.

Do I feel the frustration of others and lowering themselves to the level of bullying of the ideological conservative in Canada (and yes our last Federal election in Canada showed this as well)? Yes I can, sadly in moments I to may have, but really we need to make “raise the bar of decorum”.

Words are empty without actions.

Truly though, it has to come to a collective good. Which means all those involved cannot be on the path of seeking wealth and power through politics, but see it as a vocational calling for public service to fulfill the constitutional guarantee of peace, order and good governance.

It feeds into the understand of that tax money is a collective of the citizens to be used for the citizens, these investments in society through infrastructure, government entitlements, public services (road crews, utilities, health care, education, etc) create the type of space and health that attracts investments from businesses. It is also understanding that natural resources do not belong to the government or to the corporation but as Premiers Manning Sr. and Lougheed understood and created the roadmap successfully adopted by other jurisdictions, but to the citizens and for their stability.

Can we get back to a collective healthy narrative of belonging and care, that strips populists from the centre stage and relegates the extremists on either end of the spectrum back to the rubbish bin the sentiments belong in?

For my province’s response to Covid, stripping our CMOH of the power to override political lack, and instead places the politician as supreme. It has made a Trump-lite response that is seeing a trending/ramping up to wave 2 that is impacting those under 39 years old the most, and of course to cover up the failing of the plan by not following medical research and best practice to fight the virus, coupled with an ideological drive for American style for profit health care and deciding our medical community and doctors are the enemy during a pandemic. This has led to nearly half of doctors looking to work elsewhere. We finally recovered from the Klein area lunacy and lack of doctors, only to have these extremists start the cycle again.

But to shift the focus (of the daily announcements attacking the way and quality of life of Albertans) the game of destroying public education continues, with the Minister announcing a return to near normal school in the fall with just a deflection that schools and their boards are to figure it out, and false announcements which is re-announcements of pre-pandemic funds that were to be used for off set infrastructure fixes. In Calgary at least our high schools are at or over capacity, yet they are to be expected to physically distance—uhm. The Alberta government aid? PSA posters and videos. The minister has no answers, refuses to release a costed plan, or the full recommendations of the CMOH. This is just in the typical streams, for the complex medical kiddos nothing has been said or even thought of. Makes me wonder if this is just not the continued, passive-aggressive social eugenics at work. Hoping the pandemic eliminates the oldest and most disabled so the cuts goes unnoticed.

And then the recent minister of the crown in Alberta calling police on protesters outside his Edmonton office. The bill tabled to remove the constitutional right of protest that even hate groups have filed court challenges against. It definitely feels for a Canadian that we are living in a bizarro world, and need to listen to our government through a bizarro translator (that is hear the opposite of the words said).

Which brings us to the fun on the Federal stage, the one place that if not for the Federal government my neighbours vocally hate, we would have had no support throughout this time of pandemic and economic disruption. The new entitlements like CERB, that conservative premiers are decrying as a disincentive to work, for a full time 40 hr week the $2000 a month works out to about $12-13 dollars an hour…If your companies are not paying minimum wage, and providing research based safety for employees during a pandemic that is on the marketplace and not on a government entitlement supporting citizens like they should during this time. It is also important to explore what a universal basic income can be, let’s change society during this time.

Also I would be remiss if we did not touch upon the WE fiasco. You can google and see the media frenzy around it, as well as posturing from Opposition parties, and the polls. The governing Liberals took a hit in support but it is now rebounding.

What is the crux? From my reading, is that a sole sourced contract was awarded to the WE organization to administer a pay-volunteer program for youth (about $10/hr). Should it have been administered through the already existing government agencies? Yes, but this is a practice of governments to use non-profits to create distance. We see it in Alberta with things such as the Calgary Homeless Foundation.

WE needs a full audit on how monies are used, as any non-profit should have (especially those receiving government monies), there needs to be accounting and rationales for expenditures and subsidiaries. For those who want to hyper fixate on the pay for speaking of members of the Trudeau family, explore closely, look at the locations, and expenses covered. As well, some speakers get paid, some do not. I have been paid by WE many years ago for an event in Calgary.

As for the ethics around PM Trudeau and Finance Minister Morneau, with known ties to the non-profit being in the room when the decision was made. Yes, they should be cited for an ethics violation. When Minister Morneau had pointed out to him the $41,000 that needed to be repaid for travel, he remediated immediately. Does it show our finance minister is wealthy? Yes. Does it show corruption? Possibly, but more chequebook oversight.

Now for the calls for resignation or the opposition parties will trigger an election? Do the opposition parties truly think this will turn out well sending us into an election during a pandemic? The Liberals have brought us through the pandemic, maintained our triple A credit rating, and continue to govern. Andrew Scheer, conservative party leader who resigned but stayed was caught misappropriating funds so where is his ethical stance to lead and govern? Honestly, Government, call the bluff. I would easily vote for a rock ran as a Liberal in my riding (yes I would throw out my normal process) to send a message on politicking over collaboration.

But WE has opened up the idea that we need to follow trails and take audits seriously. We also need to ask what should stay in the realm of government agency ad not be handed off. In Alberta our reminder of this is the safe-consumption site in Lethbridge which was not AHS, but rather the non-profit ARCHES, and the question of $1.7 million. In honesty, they knew the government was not ideological supportive of their approach even though it is evidence based. The onus was on the non-profit to ensure everything was above board, this is a warning to the sector that needs to be heard, and to government that citizens need and want transparency and accountability.

Finally, masking. Sigh.

The fact “Christians” are front and centre against it saddens my pastor soul. Obviously they have missed the love your neighbour piece of the Great Commandments of Brother Jesus. For mask protect our neighbour, everyone wears them that can (our medically complex may not be able to, but if everyone else is should halt spread enough) so, ifyou’re a Christian, sorry it is not a get out of masking card. Want to stand on civil liberties or the “why wasn’t it needed at first?” Uhm… Smoking by-laws, seat belts…

Which is why my heart sang when my local city did what our province refuses (though with a Premier trumpeting “herd immunity” the failed Sweden.UK experiment, and Trump cures, what do you expect):

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Also wanted to do a quick touch base on this concept of “new terrors emerging”. No it is not new, BIPOC have always been needing equity, equality and justice. We expect our police to work outside the scope of their practice far too much, and need to create a system that provides the professional tools and individuals necessary for societal health both on the prevention and intervention. Also it needs to be a system that allows for worker health, not the ideology that is prevalent of “do more with less”.

As well, the concept pedophilia is a growing concern in our world. It has always been a concern. Historically in Canada the Truscott false conviction illustrates the abuse of power to cover up abusers (as well as Graham James, residential schools, religious abuse stories). Ensure what you use to source the fight are true, not nutbar conspiracies. Child sex-trafficking (I still cannot unsmell the Calgary trickpads I did rescues in), recruiters online, in malls, and schools, and child sex tourism (honestly, rape) have existed for centuries, in the 90’s there was attempts to put laws in place that were enforceable. It is not new that pedophiles seek mainstream acceptance by piggy backing onto know entities, whether it is attempts to be accepted into the sexual spectrum (and removed from the diagnostics as a disorder) or to use the ideas of non-profits, unions, or community leagues to normalize. It has been on going, just look at the despicable history of orgs like NAMBLA…which first entered the conscience of mainstream due to Andrew Vacchs Batman novel in the `90’s that opened up the fight against this darkness.

Like with everything, it is being open and honest with the stories, the trauma, the horror, and then saying never again. This time though we need to mean it. We as a soceity need to let authentic truth stand, and then agree to end the darkness by letting our light shine through.

During this time I encourage you to take time to unplug. Be with yourself, and those close to you. It can be a time of reflection, as the concept of Sabbath, there is underlying constant anxiety we may be unaware of, but in the new pause… figure out/discern what the next chapter of your life is meant to be? What are the passions you hold? Interests? Hobbies?

Discover who you are.

Discover your passion.

Now, plot twist time.


Image may contain: possible text that says 'WAme That feeling of not having the proper change to dial, so you checked the little coin return bucket, found a quarter, and you felt like you just won the lottery.'

The feeling of having one the lottery can also be when you hit upon some fun shows that can function on many levels whether it is simply a fun action or comedy romp, or other thoughts that may percolate as part of the conversation. For those who have been a part of my teaching/spiritual formation/coaching classes, sessions or workshops will know how I love to use story to aid in understanding. That is where this ecclectica grows from, the movies and shows my family has been viewing and discussing during this time.

I’m fairly certain Armageddon begins today, after tea time

Now, sadly, due to c-tine, our Public Library is closed here in Cowtown, so I am unable to direct you to use this wonderful service supported by our taxes. But when this time is over definitely borrow for great and fun movies nights, if you are able, purchase on your next grocery shop trip or online order.

Bad Boys for Life is the third entry on the series with Martin Lawrence and Will Smith, this is a movie like the Lethal Weapon series before, that is fun to watch, great action, good humour. At the core though it is a story of professional and personal friendship, mentorship, reputation, and what happens to us as we age and things begin to change in our lives. Do our vocational callings change? Adapt? As we move forward?

Is it the ineffable plan?

Terminator Dark Fate, now I am in the minority when it comes to the Predator, Alien and Terminator franchises. I’ve enjoyed all the movies, since my Dad recorded a late night showing of Alien for me to watch with him as a kid (we loved Sci-fi). The story of Terminator, follows the concepts that Michael Crichton would build into his Jurassic Park, yet instead of cloning, it is Artificial Intelligence. The dynamic conversation between Should-Could in ethics, and the variances that can move us out of entrenched black and white thinking that one side has to be completely good and one completely evil. This is the struggle, for in the Terminator world, Skynet was finally defeated, and the timeline was healthy. This opens up with a twist—and a new path, as we truly begin to understand the evolution of life, artificial or biological, and the wonders of free will.

The Orville is Seth MacFarlane’s sometimes homage, sometimes satire, sometimes ethical discourse of a sci-fi t.v. show in the vein of the one and done Star Trek adventures of our youth. The first episode of Season 1 should not stop you from watching these wonderful two seasons and the conversations around rights, genetic coding, queer hate, prejudices, discovery of personhood, relationship quandaries and the list goes on *much like Trek. For the uninitiated I joke, that it feels like a weekly Galaxy Quest show.

Yes, it is the Great Plan, but is it the Ineffable plan?

Our throw back cinema night included the fun of Rocky Horror Picture Show, which you can have discussions around the weirdness and other society jamming scenes…or simply have a fun sing along and cos paly in your house (don’t forget the toast to do the time warp) and V.I. Warshawksi a mystery movie with a female private eye, that for 1991 creates many great conversations around ethics, feminism, and equity. Now many will say that we’ve had women solving mysteries before this, yes this is true, but Warshawski is the first one to leap into the same role you would see ala Spenser & Hawk, Mike Hammer, etc.

I did not fall. I sauntered downward slowly.

-Crowley

In the realm of the comic book tropes, and super heroes re-invented on the big screen, Sony enters the world of bio-ethics, re-engineering, re-animation, with the hero take on the Jurassic World conundrum. That is Valiant Publishing’s Blood Shot. This was a surprise find, because I thought they had been advertising it on other DVD trailers as coming to theatres, yet there is was on the new release shelf. Vin Diesel is more than just Marvel’s Groot.

Didn’t you have a flaming sword?

They looked so cold.

Ah, many remember the television show Fantasy Island with the stereo typed Tatu, and the island host played by Ricardo Montalban. This year saw, Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island, part suspense, possibly horror, most definitely a mystery that dives into what happens when one’s fantasy has a space to be created with real world consequences. It dives into concepts of nurture and nature, anxiety, unresolved grief and how it emerges together. Is there inherent good or badness within a person? What is the cost of being able to live within our fantasy?

We are a chattering order, we say what is on our minds.

Which brings us to the most fun of the cinema thus far for me. I loved Pratchett and Gaiman’s fun satire book Good Omens. I have used it many times as an introduction to unpacking and understanding the core of faith and belief systems, how to craft values. I was late to the party with Amazon’s Good Omens mini-series as I was waiting for the DVD, and then had it on order from our library. Well, with c-tine I splurged and bought the DVD, and it was worth the purchase. It truly does raise many question for good conversation. Such as what is the dualism on food supply? Environmental protection? conspiracy theories?  How do we demonize those that experience the world differently?

No, we only do it once, that’s what the prophecy says.

It is the story of the fruition of the Great Plan, the final war between heaven and hell that has been worked towards over the 6,000 years of our creation existing. That is a subplot. See it creates discussion around what is a plan, what is ineffable of the Almighty. What does it mean to be an anti-Christ? Exploring ideas around nurture versus nature in the human development of a child across the lifespan…for it is the birth of a baby that begins the 11 years march forward, and how they are raised. For does our genetic code, what we are created for, does that start a course that cannot be altered? But again that is an ethical question plot device.

The core of the movie though is a great parable of fun, dysfunction, adventure and laughs of two good friends, Crowley (a demon) and Aziraphale (an angel), and how they come over the centuries to understand what is friendship. What does it mean to become besties? To walk with another in life who may have a different approach to life. It shows, whether or not a label is slapped on it of friendship, that a true and good friendship is an in depth supportive and intimate relationship (not just a click of add friend on Facebook).

Which creates the best discussion out of this show (and book, yes read the book, it is awesome)…who are our Crowley’s and Aziraphale’s in our life? Those that make us better? Allow us to see the best of a divergent view, adapt or change or enter conversation around? Who is there in our darkest times and brightest shines? Who walks with us in this life?

Each time a story is presented it can easily be viewed for fun, and those that are the most enduring function well on this level, but an astute hearer of the tale can go deeper because the characters (antagonists and protagonists) are well developed, and the antagonists (and/or challenges) the protagonist faces are both internal (nature) and external (nurture) upon their life towards a minor or major change by the end of the story arc.

Take time, relax, enjoy the stories that are out there. For tea time has already passed…has Armageddon?