Skip to content

JeffreyHarlan.com Posts

Trek, Interrupted: The LUG Star Trek Roleplaying Game

A decade after the final supplement was released for FASA Corporation’s Star Trek: The Role Playing Game, Paramount awarded the license to produce a new Star Trek roleplaying game to Last Unicorn Games. Released in late 1998, the first installment of the new game was the Star Trek: The Next Generation Role Playing Game Core Book, followed over the next two years by the Star Trek Roleplaying Game Core Book and the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Roleplaying Game Core Book, as well as a number of supplements for each.

Looking Back at 2018

World News

Time Magazine Parkland Cover
Time Magazine Parkland Cover

The year started on a high note, with the unveiling of the first bionic hand capable of a sense of touch outside of a laboratory environment in Rome on January 3rd. Just ten days later, however, a false alarm sent out to cellular phones over the emergency alert network about an incoming missile attack in Hawaii caused widespread panic. A month later, a school shooting in Parkland, Florida, left seventeen dead, but inspired several of the surviving students to become national leaders in their fight to prevent such tragedies from recurring. Also in February, the U.S. Olympic team brought home twenty-three medals.

A Very Star Trek Christmas

Christmas has long had a special place in Star Trek. Despite the overall secular depiction of humanity in the twenty-third and twenty-fourth centuries, the characters are still shown explicitly celebrating the holiday, though its religious aspects have been downplayed.

The first time that Christmas is mentioned in Star Trek is in the first season of the original series, in the episode “Dagger of the Mind.” While preparing to beam down to the Tantalus V penal colony, Kirk and McCoy are joined by Dr. Helen Noel, whose name is appropriately on-the-nose for the revelation that she and Kirk met at the Science Department Christmas party. Christmas would not be explicitly mentioned again until Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Job Hunting

Woman at computer
Stock photo from Pexels.com

At the end of October, I had to make an incredibly difficult decision. I had to quit my job. It was, unfortunately, not the best fit for me, and I was beginning to feel the negative impact from that throughout my life. My work performance was suffering, I was falling behind in my classes, and I was spending such long hours at work and in school that I hardly spent any time at all at home with my wife. When I left the job, I was assured that I would be given a different position, one in which I had done well for more than ten years before switching to my last job.

It’s been nearly six weeks. None of that came to pass. For the first time since before I enlisted in the military nearly twenty years ago, I find myself unemployed. I’ve been searching for a new job with little success. I spend most of my waking hours each day scouring employment web sites and forums. Numerous leads have looked promising, only to fail to pan out.

Birthdays and Holidays

Turkey birthday cake
Turkey birthday cake from CakeCentral.com
It’s that time of year again: the Holidays. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and so many more. In the span of just a couple of months, we have literally dozens of holidays, both religious and secular. And then there’s my birthday, smack in the middle of it, in late November, right next to Thanksgiving. Some years, it even falls on Thanksgiving, since that holiday isn’t tied to a specific date, but is just the fourth Thursday of November each year. Like so many other kids with birthdays that fall around major holidays, I hated it. I still do, in some ways. My wife once said, “My birthday is important. It’s like a holiday.” She has a point. It’s a day that we try to set aside to make a kid feel special. For those of us with birthdays around a holiday, it gets overshadowed by the actual holiday more often than not.

Life in Transition

My transition from military to civilian life was difficult, and even after more than eight years, it still seems to be a work in progress. I was fortunate to have a job lined up and waiting for me when I separated from the Air Force; an old friend from my pre-enlistment college days was working as a teacher, and knowing that I was going to need a job while I went back to college, helped me to secure a position as an instructional assistant for special education.

The altered reality of Star Trek

In May 2009, the eleventh Star Trek feature film boldly went where no Trek had gone before: rebooting and reimagining the franchise, under the aegis of producer/director J.J. Abrams. The film paid homage to the previous Star Trek continuity via a time-travel plot that resulted in massive changes to history, and a new timeline, now only loosely connected to the original, was born.