I admire Seth Godin and his insight into the world of marketing. Always have. His advice, his tips, his perspective have helped me better develop my own unique brand(s) in this wonderfully creative world we live in. Here's another bit of helpful insight, this time as I look to the future.
"Some people believe that tomorrow is likely to be better. Better
opportunities, better technology, a brave new day to make a new kind of
Others think that yesterday was a lot better than today. Tomorrow
represents diminished resources, fewer opportunities, one step closer to
We call tech geeks, "early adopters," and it's worth highlighting
that they are not, "early adapters." Adaptation implies that people
aren't eagerly going forward, they're merely tolerating what gets thrown
As a marketer, then, there's a real choice here--to market your wares
(new to this market) to people who are eager for change, or to get very
good at marketing to people who would prefer not to change.
As a human, the question is even more profound: What relationship with the future will you choose?
The thing is, the future happens. Every single day, like it or not.
Sure, tomorrow is risky, frightening and in some way represents one step
closer to the end. But it also brings with it the possibility of better
and the chance to do something that matters."
"'Star Trek Continues', A Fan-Produced Web Series"
I'm a huge fan of Star Trek. For most of you, this is no secret. I've seen all 725 episodes of Star Trek (including the animated series from the 1970s), as well as all 12 feature films. I direct two popular highly-detailed, Star Trek web-based fan series' (as well as act/write in both); I've met a number of Star Trek cast members; I design, create and sell licensed Star Trek merchandise; and a large part of my office bookshelves contain Star Trek books, technical manuals, encyclopedias, role-playing materials, etc. I've read many of the Star Trek novels; and I own props and memorabilia -- including two Starfleet uniforms.
So... yeah, I know Star Trek.
That's why I'm excited to share with you the first two episodes of a popular Star Trek fan series known as Star Trek Continues. Produced and directed by Vic Mignogna (who also plays Captain Kirk), this web series is attempting to continue the original 5-year mission of the USS Enterprise.
They've been producing some fantastic visual work so far, that is undeniably reminiscent of the original William Shatner Star Trek series of the 1960s. And they have a cast of actors you'll recognize, including: Larry Nemecek, long-time Star Trek writer and consultant; Chris Doohan, the son of the original Scotty (James Doohan); and Grant Imahara of Mythbusters fame. Even more recognizable actors like Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troi in Star Trek: The Next Generation) and Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk) have shared their talents with the series.
Star Trek Continues has produced two episodes so far. Just last week they released the second. However, for the sake of continuity, I present both episodes for you below -- in order of release. Sit back, relax, and enjoy two of the best fan-produced Star Trek episodes you will ever see:
Episode 1: "Pilgrim of Eternity"
Apollo returns to wreak havoc on Kirk and the Enterprise in the first
episode of the new series. Michael Forest, original series actor who
played Apollo, reprises his role.
Episode 2: "Lolani"
A survivor from a distressed Tellarite vessel pulls Captain Kirk and his crew into a moral quandary over her sovereignty.
You know, I've come to the conclusion that my Facebook is hurting my blog. I used to post here on a daily basis. I had thoughts, and ideas, and musings aplenty. Then I became VERY active on Facebook, and all of those blog contributions found their way there instead. I need to change that. I need to get back to what made this blog one of the top regional blogs a few years ago.
I need to challenge myself to share my musings with both Facebook AND this blog. And, while I'm at it, I suppose my Twitter should get a piece of the pie as well. Bear with me, folks.... my social media value will be rising in the coming weeks. How much, and how far is yet to be determined, but one thing is for certain, I've gotta get the ball rolling again.
LEGO is one of the creative toys that never gets old. The tiny, interlocking bricks have provided hours of entertainment for millions of people since 1949. But it's the iconic minifigures, first released in 1978, that continue to bring life to the enduring favorite.
Here are 15 fun facts about the little people of the LEGO world.
Ah, yes, Seth Godin hit the nail on the head when he wrote about the impact of being an entrepreneur. This is my passion. This is what I live for. THIS is why I am who I am:
"Innovation is something else entirely. Many entrepreneurs use an
innovation to make an impact, but the hard part, the part that we're
rewarded for, is engaging with the user, the audience, the market.
Bringing something to people who didn't think they wanted it, know about
it or initially welcome it, and make a difference.
One reason it's so difficult to teach entrepreneurship is that we're
not teaching tactics or skills. We're not teaching spreadsheets or
finance or even marketing. No, when we encourage entrepreneurship, we're
actually trying to get people to the place where they care enough and
where they are confident enough to stand up and try to make things
Don't tell me what you invented. Tell me about who you changed."
I may be in my 30s, but I still love LEGO. I even have a large box filled with a few thousand pieces in my closet. It's THE ultimate creative toy -- little brightly colored plastic pieces that can be put together in hundreds of different ways -- to create whatever your imagination can dream up.
That being said, one of my favorite daily blog reads is The Brothers Brick. It's a popular blog that highlights photos and images of all of the best original LEGO creations (of every type!) from adult builders all around the world. Just looking through the creativity featured on the site makes me happy. And tempts me to want to pull out that box of LEGO pieces, set aside my more important work.... and spend the rest of the day building!
Take a look at the creativity featured on The Brothers Brick blog. Enjoy the wonderfulness of the one toy you're never to old to play with!
One of my more interesting projects lately, has been a political one. There's a popular free online nation-building game called NationStates. In this game, you create a fictional nation, you answer daily issues meant to shape the political ideals and legislative laws of your country, and you roleplay with other people doing the same thing in like-minded groups known as regions.
I joined NationStates ten years ago, and have been working to develop the fictional story of my nation, The Republic of Tessen, ever since. It's been a side project for me, toying with the politics and economy every once in a while. Recently, though, I decided to increase my involvement in the game. I developed a geography-based region; I created the ground work for a regional history; I established the powerhouse Republic of Tessen as the founding nation; and I endeavored to begin a project of recruiting other like-minded, Democracy-driven nations to help me build a regional presence known as.... the American Union.
As of this blog post, there are 116 game nations (aka, players) who have joined the American Union (all of which are fictionally located in North, Central and South America). We're developing a regional trade network, a Union government, national identities, and a collective story that rivals most projects of its kind on the internet.
According to game statistics, the American Union is currently the 88th largest region in the entire game (out of 16,979 regions). We've established a very strong presence and we're still growing. The experiment continues, and I'd like to invite you to join us and become part of the fun!
NationStates is a simple game. Beyond the basic workings of your country, most of the social environment is built through creative roleplay. It doesn't take much time or effort to play the game itself, and any additional roleplay you choose to pursue is entirely at your discretion. Come take a look at the American Union. Explore the Republic of Tessen. Check out the Tessen Factbook I put together. See what we're all about. Then, sign up at NationStates.net, and relocate to the American Union region.
We'd love to have you in our story. And I'd love to see what kind of nation YOU come up with!
I really enjoy watching Anna Kendrick performing the music video, "Cups", (the song, "When I'm Gone" from the movie, Pitch Perfect). The rhythm, the beat... the fun. What's not to love!
Give it a watch below, and then read on for another visual treat....
Now, let's step it up a notch.
This next video features some Broadway actors performing the same song.... as a tap dance routine. Anna did a great job in Pitch Perfect, but to take multiple dancers -- all tapping in synch with the rest of the chorus line -- that takes a whole different kind of talent! Give this one a watch as well. I think you'll enjoy it just as much as Anna Kendrick's performance in the first video!
I agree with Seth Godin: - Don't underestimate the value of over-investing.
"A great ambassador doesn't show up in a foreign land and start
complaining about how everything here is so different. She doesn't
insist that people start acting the way they act back home. And most of
all, she welcomes the idea that people might have different goals and
desires than the people she grew up with--in fact, different than she
And every great treaty causes both signatories to change something
substantial, something important, in exchange for accomplishing a bigger
goal via cooperation.
Your customers need an ambassador. Someone who is open to hearing
what they have, need and want, not merely a marketer intent on selling
them a particular point of view. Once you understand someone, it's much
easier to bring them something that benefits everyone.
And your partners need you to honor the spirit and intent of the
deals you do with them. The goal of a long-term relationship isn't to
find the loophole that lets you do what you want. Instead, figure out
what you're giving up and what you're getting in return.
Companies (and countries) often under-invest in ambassadors and
under-value the promises they make in treaties. In the connection
economy, it now makes sense to over-invest instead."
"Mesmerizing Translucent Waves From 19th Century Paintings"
The late 19th century Armenian-Russian painter, Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky (1817-1900), created some spectacular paintings of seascapes that capture the shimmering, almost magical, beauty of the surging sea.
What's fascinating about his paintings, though, is his ability to recreate the intensity and motion of the waves, as well as the translucent color and foamy texture. He mixes these violent waves, and calm ripples, with the effects of the sunlight filtering through the water, to create some truly mesmerizing scenes.
Some wisdom, courtesy of Time of Grace. The Lord loves a cheerful giver:
"As you get older, you will probably
notice more and more how God sends help to you through other
people -- their words of encouragement, their critiques, their gifts. Did
it ever occur to you that you might be the answer to someone else’s
God loves it when you share your toys. He loves it because you are
helping someone he loves, and he loves it because it shows that you are
willing to invest in his big agenda instead of exclusively in your
“A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed” (Proverbs
11:25). Did you notice the promise that God attached here? God never
just takes from us. He never allows himself to be outgiven. When we do
his will with our money, he not only gives us a deep and lasting sense
of satisfaction and a long-term joy without a hangover of guilt and
depression. He also is perfectly capable of giving more money right back
to us so that we can do it again.
We will be refreshed. That will happen. He promised, and he never lies."
From out of the ashes and debris, New York City rebuilt an icon.
On September 11, 2001, the World Trade Center was destroyed. Over the past nine years, One World Trade Center (also known as the Freedom Tower) rose from that debris and destruction. Standing at a symbolic 1,776 feet tall, the new building is the tallest in the Western Hemisphere. A webcam company recorded the entire construction process, and, using hundreds of thousands of high-definition images, compressed the entire iconic construction project into a two minute video.
Click play above, and watch as the Freedom Tower rises above New York, from 2004 to 2013. It's a compelling example of determination, progress, and the Human spirit. Enjoy!
Here's something extraordinarily creative that I think you'll enjoy: Canadian artist, Aaron Campbell, recreated 12 classic Loony Tunes cartoon characters using only fonts, letters, numbers and punctuation. Each typographical character came out looking fantastic! Take a look!
"Just One Letter: Television Shows That Never Were"
Last night, there was a fun little hashtag trending on Twitter: "#Add1ExtraLetterToATVShow" -- It was, quite simply, a collective challenge for Twitter users to add one letter to the title of a television show, and see what fun alternate titles might result.
For example, I tweeted the following alternate title:
"Stare Trek" -- To boldly stare where no one has stared before.
Here are some of my favorite alternate television show titles as posted by other Twitter users. Clear proof that one letter really *does* make a difference. You'll probably recognize the original titles. Feel free to envision what what kind of shows these alternate titles might be like!
Saved By the Belly
Mrs. Rogers Neighborhood
Days Off Our Lives
Married Witch Children
Diners, Drive-ins and Divers
Who Wants To Bed A Millionaire
Re: not 911!
Sparks & Recreation
The Thin Blue Linen
Call My Children
Person of Pinterest
Once Upon A Timex
Pimp My Bride
23rd Rock From The Sun
The Flying Noun
Saturday Night Liver
The Mood Squad
The Clone Ranger
The Irony Chef
The A-1 Team
Shell On Wheels
This Mold House
Father Knows Beast
Joust The Ten of Us
Just Shoot Men
The AA Team
So You Think You Can't Dance
Dial Me For Murder
Nice Road Truckers
Songs of Anarchy
Y'all In The Family
Eighty Is Enough
Kreeping Up With The Kardashians
Texas Just Rice
America's Goat Talent
The Latte Show
Miss Lion: Impossible
Lawn & Order
Better Off Tied
The X Factory
Least Man Standing
Rulers of Engagement
The Router Limits
Two Broken Girls
Lost in a Space
What Not To Swear
116 & Pregnant
Malcolm X in the Middle
Man vs. Flood
Chill Street Blues
Dancing With The Stairs
1000 Ways to Dice
The Doug Whisper
The Regal Housewives
Lone Life to Live
The Vampire Diarieas
The Brandy Bunch
Whose Linen Is It Anyway?
And two of my personal favorites:
"I Loved Lucy": The tragic follow-up to a classic show"
"Star Trek: Voyager - The Maquis Series That Never Was"
Here's an interesting question for my Star Trek readers:
What if the television show, "Star Trek: Voyager" had been about the crew of Chakotay's Maquis ship, Val Jean, instead? What if Captain Janeway's USS Voyager was never lost in the Delta Quadrant, and the series followed the story of 21 Maquis -- aboard a small 2-deck Maquis raider -- trying to get home to the Alpha Quadrant? No Federation rules; no fancy technology -- just a 38-year-old ship, a crew that doesn't always get along, and a singular, determined goal.
I think that would have been a fantastic television show!
Well, as it just so happens, there's a Star Trek fan series taking place on Facebook right now that suggests this very idea. In the "UFP: Starfleet Academy" series, the USS Voyager never found Chakotay's Maquis ship in the Badlands. It was forced to give up the search, and was eventually assigned to other missions in the Alpha Quadrant. Meanwhile, Chakotay and his Maquis crew remained trapped in the Delta Quadrant, courtesy of The Caretaker.
The Starfleet Academy series focuses on events in the Alpha Quadrant, namely the years during the Dominion War. However, fans were still curious what the Maquis ship might have experienced in the Delta Quadrant. So, since I happen to be the director/producer of the SFA series, I put together a timeline of Delta Quadrant events (based solely off of the "Star Trek: Voyager" episodes) and attempted to see if -- and how -- Chakotay's Maquis ship might eventually make it back home to the Alpha Quadrant.
What follows is that timeline. It's only a summary of the more notable events (I built my overall timeline episode-by-episode), but it does provide a good imaginative take on a Maquis Delta Quadrant story. Feel free to use your imagination and fill in the details! Does the Val Jean make it back to the Alpha Quadrant? Well....you'll have to read the timeline below and find out!
ship Val Jean (Condor-class) is pulled into the Delta Quadrant by an
entity known as 'The Caretaker". The vessel is damaged following an
escape from a Cardassian Galor-class warship near the Badlands, as well
as the bumpy ride into the Delta Quadrant. They arrive 70,000 light
years from Federation space.
The entire crew of 22
individuals is probed by the Caretaker, and then returned to their ship.
Engineer B’Elanna Torres is not returned to the ship with the rest of
her crew. When questioned, the Caretaker says that she "did not make it
through the test". He refuses to say anything more. Of course, we know B'Elanna was actually sent to the Ocampa planet (and most likely dies there as a result of the "disease" given to her by The Caretaker), but Chakotay and his crew never learn this bit of information.
Chakotay and his
Maquis crew return to the Val Jean, and begin work on whatever repairs they can
muster. They remain in the vacinity of the Caretaker’s array, and assume
B’lanna Torres to have died.
Not long later, while conducting repairs, a
number of alien vessels arrive near the Caretaker’s array, demanding to
be given control of the facility. They refer to themselves as the Kazon.
The Caretaker informs the Val Jean crew that he plans to self-destruct
his array rather than let the aliens capture it. Val Jean moves a safe
distance away, and the array explodes, taking out (or severely damaging)
most of the Kazon vessels.
Chakotay makes the decision to
set a course for home – a 70,000 light year journey in an old, damaged
Condor-class starship -- with a crew of 21 Maquis.
The original crew of the Maquis vessel Val Jean includes:
crewman, Seska dies in an accident aboard a Kazon ship. The Kazon had
gotten their hands on Federation technology, and were trying to procure
more. Seska was trying to stop them. Of course, we know she's actually a Cardassian, and was trying to cover up her treachery, but here, in this timeline, her Maquis companions never learn the truth. Seska is confirmed dead, although, her
body cannot be retrieved from the Kazon ship. The Val Jean manages to
escape the area before being overwhelmed by additional Kazon vessels.
August 21 -- (VOY: "Faces")
is killed while in the captivity of a species known as the Vidians. His
organs are harvested by the species and grafted into their own anatomy.
O’Donnell dies in an escape attempt. Doyle is successfully rescued by
Chakotay and his crew.
November 5 -- (VOY: "The 37's")
Val Jean discovers a 1936 Earth Ford truck floating in space. An AM
radio signal is detected, leading them to a nearby class-L planet. Val
Jean lands on the planet and discovers Amelia Earhart from Earth
history, as well as her co-pilot and missing airplane. Over 100,000
other Humans – the descendants of Humans taken from Earth by an alien
species – are living on the planet. Maquis crewmembers Kenneth Dalby,
Doyle, Mariah Henley, Jarvin, and Lon Suder choose to stay on this
planet and make new lives for themselves among the Human population. The
Val Jean resumes its journey home with a crew of 13 individuals.
May 10 -- (VOY: "Dreadnought")
Val Jean discovers a pre-programmed Cardassian/Maquis missile that was
also pulled into the Delta Quadrant by the Caretaker. The
malfunctioning missile attacks the Val Jean, causing notable damage. It
then resumes its course for a planet known as Rakosa V. The missile has
misidentified the planet as the Cardassian planet it was programmed to
destroy in the Alpha Quadrant. The crew of the Val Jean watch in horror
as the missile hits Rakosa V and explodes, killing two million Rakosans.
Chakotay and his crew offer to assist, but are driven away by the
Rakosans, who believe that the Val Jean fired the missile. The Val Jean
leaves the area and resumes its course for home.
June 20 -- ("VOY: "Deadlock")
Val Jean experiences severe subspace turbulence, and the ship’s meager
supply of anti-matter begins to slowly drain away. In addition, the ship
is hit by repeated proton bursts from out of nowhere. A special rift
opens in the Val Jean’s rear cargo bay. It is soon discovered that there
are two Val Jeans sharing the same space – one is severely damaged (our
VJ #1), and the other (VJ #2) is undamaged with no casualties.
Communication is opened between both ships.
ordeal, Vidians attack the undamaged VJ #2, they manage to gain access
to the small ship, and begin killing the Maquis crew and harvesting
their organs. Alternate crewmember Ann Smithee (from VJ #2) escapes
through the cargo bay rift to VJ #1. – Chakotay #2 self-destructs his
ship, ripping a gash in the Vidian vessel, and causing it to drift. Val
Jean #1 fires on the disabled Vidian ship, destroying it. Alternate Ann
Smithee (from VJ #2) remains aboard the Val Jean as a new crewmember. To
distinguish herself from her identical counterpart on the Val Jean
crew, she chooses to go by the name, Annette Smithee.
August 1 -- (VOY: "Tuvix")
planet-to-ship transporter malfunction merges crewmembers Jor and the
original Ann Smithee into one person. This new Human woman has the
memories of both Jor and Ann Smithee. As the Val Jean crew is unable to
separate both women, Chakotay allows the new merged woman – who chooses
to be known as JorAnne Smithee – to remain aboard the Val Jean as a new
crewmember. As a combination of Jor and Ann Smithee, JorAnne is a
beautiful, feisty woman, who proves to be rather well liked by the Val
Jean crew. The Val Jean continues its journey home with a crew of 13.
March -- (VOY: "The Swarm")
Jonas is killed during an attack by a species known as the Swarm. The
Val Jean manages to devise a defense against the Swarm, and escapes
July -- (VOY: "False Profits")
Val Jean discovers the Delta Quadrant end of the Barzan Wormhole.
Ferengi males, Arridor and Kor attempt to escape back through the
wormhole to the Alpha Quadrant, but end up destabilizing it. Desperate
to go home, the Val Jean enters the unstable wormhole. Instead of making
it back home to the Alpha Quadrant, though, the Val Jean is transported
to another area of the Delta Quadrant – this time, only 26,000 light
years from home. The Barzan wormhole disappears permanently, and the Val
Jean resumes its much shorter journey home.
August -- (VOY: "Dragon's Teeth")
Val Jean is accidently pulled into a series of subspace corridors owned
by a species known as the Turei. Moments later, the Val Jean is pushed
out of the corridor by a Turei vessel, and shortly thereafter attacked
by that same Turei vessel when Chakotay refuses to submit to their
To escape from the pursuing Turei, the Val Jean
lands on an abandoned world once inhabited by another species known as
the Vaadwar. Chakotay and his crew discover thousands of active stasis
pods in underground caverns, and awaken a Vaadwar male named Gedrin.
Gedrin helps disable the growing fleet of Turei vessels in orbit, in
exchange for Chakotay’s help in waking up the other Vaadwar in stasis.
The Vaadwar and Maquis exchange information, and the Vaadwar – who claim
ownership of the ancient subspace corridors -- offer to help the Val
Jean use them to get closer to the Alpha Quadrant. Val Jean and many
Vaadwar vessels enter the subspace corridors. Val Jean follows its
plotted course, and emerges into normal space 24,500 light years away
Jean answers a distress call from a Hirogen ship, where they find an
injured Hirogen male by the name of Hugat. He is treated for his wounds
aboard the Val Jean, and later accepted as a member of the crew. The Val
Jean crew consists of 13 individuals.
January -- (VOY: "The Void")
Val Jean encounters a region of space known as the Void, and is sucked
in. While inside, they form an alliance with other ships trapped in the
region, and eventually escape with supplies stolen from the vessels of
an aggressive rival faction.
Yosa is killed in a Hirogen attack. Hugat nearly dies while helping to protect the Val Jean from capture.
Borg cube attacks the Val Jean – the only encounter Chakotay and his
crew have with the Borg while traveling through the Delta Quadrant.
During the attack, Carlson and Kurt Bendera are killed. A temporal rift
opens as the result of attack, and the Val Jean is pulled in. The Borg
cube is too large to follow. Almost instantly, the Val Jean and her
living crew of ten emerge from a temporal anomaly in Federation space (near Vega) known as the “Vega Drainpipe”.
Their date of arrival is August 31, 2375. The Val Jean and her crew
have traveled a year and a half into their own future – but they are
August 31, 2375
The ten crewmembers of the Val Jean who return to the Alpha Quadrant are:
Chakotay – (Human, male)
Ayala – (Human, male) – Chakotay’s first officer
Hogan – (Human, male) – engineer
Tuvok – (Vulcan, male) – operations/security
Chell – (Bolian, male) – ship’s chef
Gerron Ral – (Bajoran, male) – science
Tabor – (Betazoid, male) – operations
Anette Smithee – (Human, female)*
JorAnne Smithee – (Human, female)*
Hugat – (Hirogen, male)*
(*= individuals added to the original crew)
The bodies of Carlson and Kurt Bendera receive a proper burial on their home worlds.
Val Jean – originally a Starfleet vessel stolen by the Maquis – is
confiscated. Considering the destruction of the Maquis by the Dominion (before the Val Jean returned home),
no charges are pressed against the remaining former Maquis crew. In
addition, Tuvok is discovered to be a Starfleet officer who had
originally been ordered to infiltrate the Val Jean crew. He is allowed
to return to Starfleet service. The other former Val Jean crew are
allowed to return home as the Federation citizens they once were. Hugat,
in appreciation of his Human friends, decides to spend some time
If you enjoyed this timeline, come check out the popular fan series: "UFP: Starfleet Academy". It's a Star Trek series "re-telling" the Dominion War, but from the perspective of the personnel who work at Starfleet Academy in the Prime Universe. It's a unique, highly detailed, socially-interactive, real-time story series, in which today's date is the same date in the future Star Trek universe. I think you'll like it. Come take a look!