Tuesday, April 29, 2008


On Monday, the staffs of seven schools in our learning community gathered in my school’s assembly hall to hear Jamie McKenzie speaking on the importance of authentic learning in today’s schools.

I first became aware of USA-based Jamie McKenzie (and his online writings in From Now On) when commissioning one of my first articles as editor of the teacher-librarians’ professional journal, Scan. It’s amazing to look at the date on that article and recall that it was in 1998 when Lyn Hay, of Charles Sturt University, provided “An interview with Jamie McKenzie” (for Scan, vol 17, no 2, pp 5-7). Jamie had become a guru among teacher-librarians around the world for his then-current investigations into power learning and imagining the “post modem” school. The printed interview ended up being a prelude to his visit to Sydney, later that year, for a professional development day attended by many teacher-librarians and a few intrigued school principals. Teacher-librarians following Jamie McKenzie’s work found much to bolster their efforts in collaborative teaching, and Jamie has continued to be a great advocate for the work being done by Australia’s teacher-librarians. But how far did his message reach?

A full decade on, some of his emphases have certainly evolved but it was rewarding for me to be back in the teacher-librarian role, and seeing Jamie’s latest messages about questions of import, authentic learning and assessment, the “smart use” of information communication technologies (ICT), quality teaching and learning, and the embracing of complexity, being shared with a room full of attentive teachers, executive staff, teachers’ aides, not just the seven teacher-librarians. It was also pleasing that he, again, complimented Australia’s teacher-librarians for their ongoing proactive role in supporting teachers and students grappling with authentic learning and the smart use of technologies (and he included print books as one “technology”).

More commentary follows on my other blog, where I attempt to synthesise about synthesis!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Falling off the wagon - deliciously

I expected bad news. Stepping onto the bathroom scales today was never going to be anything else, but it was a worthy experiment. I can now say with confidence that a two-week celebration, with a food frenzy free-for-all can add over a kilogram eeach week. Especially when the weather has been too dismal to do much walking (ie. the dog ducks off under the bed when he suspects there is rain outside).

This is definitely how I reversed last year's dieting efforts so effortlessly! Fifteen weeks of carefree eating leads to fifteen kilograms of ugly fat; I didn't need to really repeat the experiment, but gosh it was fun doing so. Two Krispy Kreme donuts on Thursday - despite walking the length of Pitt Street, Sydney, in the rain - was not the wisest move. But then, neither was today's Big Mac - my first Big Mac in about eight months!

You know, you can really taste the vinegar in Big Mac Special Sauce when you haven't eaten it in eight months.

Sunday's magic number: 93.7. Okay, I detect a pattern here. After the catered morning tea and lunch tomorrow, for the professional development day at school, the diet's back.

Friday, April 25, 2008

A sequel and a prequel

V2whitewhiteCollision Course

This school vacation, I've managed to squeeze in the reading of two hardcover novels, of in the science fiction media genre - d'uh - and both of them rather controversial in their approach, yet very enjoyable... despite some frustrating faults.

First up was Kenneth Johnson's long-awaited novel of his long-promised sequel to "V". Now, although I already knew that this novel, set twenty years after the first mini-series ended, would be ignoring both "V: The Final Battle" and "V: The Series", there was nothing in the book to introduce such a premise. A little unfair to fans, I think, especially as picking up an old copy of AC Crispin's "V" novelization would present a thick book where the entire second half was overlooked. At the very least, a text summary of the first valid-for-the-novel "V" instalments would have been appreciated.

Although the Visitors, as of "V: The Second Generation", have been cruel overseers on Earth for two decades now, not a lot else has changed. The Visitors' technology does not seem to have advanced much in twenty years; they are still processing humans into hibernation pods, siphoning our water supply, and the alien motherships have black and white security monitors. Why do the reptilian invaders continue to wear false human skins, and why do new arrivals from Sirius also adopt human names? Why does "nice alien" Willy still make dreadful malapropisms after so many years living in the USA - and why has Martin gone two whole decades in the Vistors' Fifth Column of turncoats without being discovered?

The action of "The Second Generation" also seems to be centred on now-inland San Francisco; Los Angeles is rarely even mentioned, although it was the focus of so much of the story in the various TV episodes. The book doesn't really get into any character's head for very long; a lot of the action is described in much the way as it would have appeared in the teleplay Johnson was expanding into regular prose.

Freedom fighter human leaders Juliet Parish and Mike Donovan are featured players, as expected, as is the sultry, manipulative Visitor, Diana. Diana is joined by a new rival, Jeremy, and the supposedly mysterious Sirian Leader - whose gender is kept unmentioned, on purpose, for much of the story arc.

Unfortunately, humans and Visitors who appear in "V: The Second Generation" are sometimes humans and Visitors who died heroically in either "V: The Final Battle" or "V: The Series". Robert Maxwell, Willy's girlfriend Harmy (she did die in the second mini-series, didn't she?), and Fifth Columnist Martin, are all alive and kicking in "V: The Second Generation". Other characters, such as Robin Maxwell, Leader John, Brian, Steven, Daniel and Elias, who could have all been featured, or at least mentioned by the novel, are essentially ignored, or glossed over.

There is also an annoying overuse of names. There is a Charles and a Nathan, but these are definitely not the Charles and Nathan of "V: The Series". There is a new Visitor, Shawn, but there is mention of missing human, Sean Donovan, Mike's son. Instead of the hybrid Starchild, Elizabeth (of whom Johnson did not approve), there's a new halfbreed character, Ruby - and she's been named after an elderly character, from "V", who is said to have died. In addition, there are many other halfbreed teenagers, and these are treated in very similar ways to the Newcomers of Johnson's similar allegorical TV series, "Alien Nation".

Despite my many misgivings, the action certainly comes thick and fast. Three insectoid aliens in hominid guise, representatives of the powerful, vengeful race, known as the Zedti, attempt to use the hapless, weary humans' ongoing dilemma to resolve their own feuds with the reptilian invaders.

With the addition of the Zedti, there is certainly lots of promise for a new ongoing series of episodes, telemovies or a sequel mini-series. However, I'm sure ignoring huge slabs of "V: The Final Battle" and "V: The Series" would be ultimately confusing for many viewers, unless there is to be a remake of the first "V" mini-series to accompany any new stories.

I've also just finished "Star Trek: Academy: Collision Course", by William Shatner, with Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens. This hardcover received extremely mixed reviews when it came out last October, so I put it beneath several other novels.

While it is well known that Shatner's previous nine-part hardcover saga (of Kirk's return from death beyond "Star Trek: Generations"), the so-called "Shatnerverse", has always operated within its own, ummm, pocket universe, this new prequel-to-TOS novel doesn't necessarily quash anything canonical (ie. onscreen, live action material), although it certainly stretches a few "fanonical" friendships.

I usually enjoy Star Trek hardcovers very much, but I began this one with great trepidation. Not many people online seemed to like it. Essentially this novel ignores most previous ST novels, especially the ones about Kirk's father, and Kirk Sr's career on the Enterprise under Captain Robert April. But the premise is intriguing, if not requiring suspension of disbelief. We see both teenaged Jim Kirk and teenaged Spock consorting with criminals, being shunted of to Starfleet training without a fair court martial, not to mention seemingly numerous links to young Kirk's very traumatic experiences under Kodos the Executioner, long before the secret events of "The Conscience of the King" (TOS) are revealed.

As Vulcan Ambassador Sarek, and Eugene Mallory - son of a redshirt we already know will one day die under then-Captain Kirk's command - discover, a little logic can go a long way when solving a crime. Annoying though,

And deja vu!: despite my many misgivings about this hardcover as well, the action in "Collision Course" certainly comes thick and fast. A real collision course, actually. People may have slammed it for ignoring "Final Frontier" and "Best Destiny", two very strong George Kirk Sr stories by Diane Carey, but there's also lots to enjoy.

There'll be frustrations no matter what. Jim's Dad is called George Joseph "Joe" Kirk is this one! And, for those who disliked "Star Trek: Enterprise", the TV series prequel to TOS, you may well be tetchy about Academy buildings named for Archer, Tucker and Mayweather - and even a non-"name drop" for Hoshi Sato and her husband, via their little great grandson! (It pays to read the fine print!) For those of us who are fans of Enterprise, it's a nice bonus. I should note that Shatner's regular ST novel co-authors were staff writers on "Enterprise" during its fourth (and many say, best) season.

This is a novel with a new, but still valid, take on the Sarek/Spock relationship. And it's about an extremely troubled, very different Jimmy Kirk, one far removed from the Kirk we met in previous prequels to TOS, (and sure to be overruled by the upcoming ST XI) but after the Tarsus IV experiences related in "Collision Course", who can blame him?

If you can make it through the first four or five chapters, it's easy to keep reading! I went into the book expecting it to be horrid, based on all the negativity it seemed to garner, but I was surprised how involving it became.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sweet coincidence

My site meter tells me that a recent visitor to my blog had typed into Google "Ian McLean cupcakes" and I was a bit bewildered as to how they knew I'd mentioned them a few times, especially last Midwinter Christmas, even if only briefly, but I followed the Google link and it led to this page... of posters for sale!

They weren't painted by me, no, but they do look delicious. Mmmmm, cupcakes...

Speaking of junk food - gosh I'm so hungry now -

Sunday's magic number: 92.6. No cupcakes for me, he says, eating his fifth Lemon Crisp bikkie. (What? I'm celebrating my big toe's return to full health. Any excuse.)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Enterprise Experiment

I picked up my copy of IDW Publishing's "Star Trek: Year Four: The Enterprise Experiment" #1 yesterday and read it in the train on the way home. A major role for "Star Trek: The Animated Series" (TAS)'s tripodal Lieutenant Arex - yay! - and a great, page-turning beginning for the new story arc by DC Fontana (Mrs TAS herself!) and Derek Chester.

I loved the TOS/TAS rendition of the San Francisco airtram station, soon to be upgraded in time for TMP, I presume.

The story is, of course, a sequel to the TOS episode, "The Enterprise Incident" (in which Captain Kirk disguised himself as a Romulan to steal a cloaking device from the female Romulan Commander). This time, in a story that takes place during the TAS years, the Enterprise is testing a cloaking device of its own.

Enterprise Experiment #1 (IDW)
Arex: such a handy crewman to have around

No "Quad Covers (TM)" for this storyline (as per the "New Frontier" issues)? When I arrived at the comic shop, they'd put aside the "Year Four" Spock cover (Cover B) issue for me, but I really wanted the great Mr Arex and Kirk (Cover A) instead, of course. But all the shelf copies had sold already! (Stock only arrived the day before.) Luckily, my trusty comic seller rummaged through the standing order boxes, found the last unclaimed Arex cover issue, and did me a swap. Too bad if the other guy preferred Arex, too.

I'm really enjoying IDW's efforts; I just wish the multiple and "rare" covers didn't cause as many heartaches for me, or for the completists out there who must be driven crazy by now.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

"Melting, melting, I'm melting..."


Okay, it's the age-old mystery:

"How did the Wicked Witch of the West ever take a bath?"

It was raining in Mittagong today, our last pitstop before arriving home from our Canberra vacation. I just couldn't resist snapping this witch's hat, which was sitting so forlornly on the pavement in the constant drizzle.

It was perfect weather for fish, chips, battered savs and potato scallops. But please don't tell anyone. (Sadly, every day of this holiday has been Junk Food Day. I just hope I did enough walking...)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Roar like a dinosaur!


I've been reading a wonderful book, "The Wollemi pine: the incredible discovery of a living fossil from the age of the dinosaurs" by James Woodford (Text Publishing, new ed. 2005), which I picked up a few months ago from the Botanical Gardens in the city. The book reminds me of a political thriller or a whodunnit, only it's real and the blithely ignorant star of the book is a grove of trees which forgot to go extinct. Amazing stuff.

The trees were only discovered in 1994, in the almost-inaccessible wilderness of the Wollemi region of New South Wales, it was the botanical analog to the discovery of a living coelacanth (a primitive fish, previously only seen in fossils) in the waters off Cape Town, South Africa, in 1938.

I think the discovery of the Wollemi pines has even more indelible for me, in that the big press announcements were made on my birthday, 14th December, of 1994. Nothing like having one's birthday swept off the news radar by the discovery of a tree that had survived since the Cretaceous Period!

Ever since, there has been a concerted effort to propagate Wollemi pines and they've been on public sale for some time now. I'm determined to buy myself one of these amazing plants, onesdayrealsoonIhope - and how ironic if I don't care for it properly and it goes extinct on me? - but this vacation gave me a chance for us to pretend we were in a whole rainforest of Wollemi pines at Greengold Heritage Nursery in Yarralumla.


At Greengold Heritage Nursery, Yarralumla.

Jack lives here


Well, Jack seems happy to live anywhere I happen to be; such is the loyalty of a Jack Russell terrier. He really is a wonderful little traveller. He seems to eagerly anticipate each leg of the journey and, even after wandering for hours on his lead and harness through various country town centres, or around the perimeter of Lake Burley Griffin on a warm afternoon, he always seems ready to do it all again, gleefully, at the next pitstop. (Even when those nasty swans keeping chasing one all around the lake and honking at one to make one want to bark... and get one into big trouble from the Master's housemate!)


Pet-friendly bed 'n' breakfast venues usually request that dogs not be left alone in the accommodation, and in summer it's impossible to leave an animal alone in a stationary car for even a few minutes, so having a dog on holiday can be a burden at times - ie. no trips to the cinema, and only brief sojourns into air-conditioned shopping arcades, while one human waits outside with the four-legged "child" - but mostly it's a joy to take Jack on vacation.

On nights when he's quite tired, we are usually able to leave him in the car outside a restaurant and have something more substantial than fast food, or sidewalk cafe fare. We left Jack outside a pizza restaurant last night, and he was still wrapped in his blanket when we got back. He hadn't even moved to peek out the window to see how far away we were going to be! It does take a lot to make a Jack Russell tired, but there have been a few times when we've achieved such a feat.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Toe-tal healing

As you may recall, I injured my left big toe two Saturdays ago, by dropping an eight-VHS boxed set on it. I've been hobbling ever since.

Happily, the injury seems to be healing very nicely. Twice-daily bathing in Dettol, lots of Savlon cream, etc, seems to have kept all trace of infection away. I was able to wear slip-on, covered shoes to work on the Thursday and Friday, and the area around the cuticle seems to be repairing itself, and no trace that the nail will drop off. Whew! (I was determined not to see a doctor unless infection sprung up, either under the nail itself or deep under the damaged cuticle; I simply couldn't see what else a doctor might do for it - would it be worth the several hours of waiting for my name to be called down at the medical centre?)

I am fascinated with the human body's amazing ability to repair itself, and to remember where everything needs to go; if you'd seen my toe last week you wouldn't have been able to imagine what was needed to get it looking normal again, at least not without antibiotics, or maybe some medical glue. Certainly, although the skin near the nail had split in two places, there was nowhere to even consider putting in stitches, so I figured waiting it out was all I could do.

Today, the toe's looking almost normal again. Luckily I've been able to spend most of the week shoeless and sockless. Despite the lower Canberra temperatures at night, the days have featured glorious thong-wearing weather (that's flip flop-wearing weather for all you suddenly-horrified US readers). Getting some fresh air to my toe has definitely helped.


Rainbows are possible, even on sunny days, in Canberra!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Marathon efforts


Yesterday, while waiting for the Old Bus Depot Sunday Markets to open, we wandered over to watch the runners finishing up the annual Canberra Marathon race.

While I did worry that the announcer might say something like, "Ladies and gentlemen, the new record has just been set by a Jack Russell chasing a seagull across the finish line", we were quite close to the action.

The most amusing action was happening a few bends away, where a group of local teens had armed themselves with binoculars and a thick printout of participants' names and registration numbers. As numerous very sweaty runners would approach this group, the teens would select someone to barrack for. To the (lucky) chosen runner's absolute bewilderment, the youths would then start yelling, "Come on Bruce, you can do it mate!" or "Go for it, Jennifer!", or "Yay, Davo, keep going, man!", and so on. I swear we saw these runners transform, and they'd pick up a little speed and/or confidence to appease their young (supposed) fans' efforts.

The kids' collective enthusiasm wilted just a little, though, when they picked out one particular runner and yelled, "Onya George! Good effort! Keep it up!"

The bemused runner called back, "You guys know me? That's great! You can take care of this for me. I'll get it back from you some time."

With that, the runner stripped off his sweat-saturated shirt and tossed it to the barrackers. Now they had the bewildered looks. Priceless.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A capital idea

There's something rather ironic about me calling this blog "Have Phaser, Will Travel" and the only time it goes dormant is when I'm travelling.

One reason is that I don't have a laptop (yet) and, when on vacation, the last thing I really want to do is race off to an Internet cafe, and do hilarious and/or witty blog entries on-the-spot, live from the scene. While the concept is exciting, I guess, I'm not so sure it's a good idea to announce to the world, "Hey, I'm on vacation, so's the housemate, the abode is unattended - and I even have the watchdog on holiday with me, not guarding the house, while I blog to you daily from this poky cafe!"

We are taking the
blankie, aren't we?"

A complete break from the Internet is not a bad idea, either. If I had a laptop, I just know I'd never get anything else - but a little blogging - done. I almost cherish time away from emails and web surfing so I can get some Star Trek novels read!

We departed on Saturday morning and were at our Downer (ACT), dog-friendly bed 'n' breakfast by the afternoon, having spent a brief time in beautiful Berrima on the way. We bought some pumpkin bread there, that will taste scrummy, and some sweets from the good ol' Lolly Swagman to keep us munching along the way.

On Friday night, before we left, I'd paid a few bills via the Internet. Then I realised during the car trip south - to my horror - that I'd forgotten to organise payment for some vintage Star Trek metal miniatures I'd won from a US seller on eBay earlier in the week. Thanks to the wonders of the Internet and public libraries, I effortlessly booked 30 mins Internet time at Dickson Public Library yesterday afternoon, just before closing. I even managed to check my emails online, change my PayPal password and send $$$$$ to my toy seller. Whew!

And no, despite the date and time on this entry, I didn't write it (or the next five entries) in the library, although i was tempted. I did it the old fashioned way - handwritten notes on a scrap of paper. Yay post-vacation "Post Options" hyperlinks!

Sunday's magic number: 91.0. Yeah, the French food and red wine did it, I think.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Summers past

Maritime Museum surfers

Based on our enjoyment of the wonderful teachers' preview of "Bateaux Jouets: toy boats from Paris 1850-1950" of a few weeks ago, last night I forfeited my regular race-through-the-CBD, collecting my comics and books, to attend, with a work colleague and her teacher sister, the opening of two more exciting exhibits at the Australian National Maritime Museum, "Summers Past: Golden days in the sun 1950-1970" and "The River: Life on the Murray-Darling". Both exhibits have just returned from successful national tours.

What a great way to soak up some great Australian nostalgia! I'm not sure what else to say other than, if you're in Sydney when these exhibits are still running, then go see them! They are well worth a lingering look.

My colleagues and I then wandered across to The Little Snail French restaurant, Pyrmont, where we enjoyed an impromptu meal. In fact, we'd been secretly desiring a visit to that restaurant ever since the manager had promoted it at the previous "Bateaux Jouets" night. Last time I was at "The Little Snail", it was absurdly decorated with palm trees, monkeys and surfboards (courtesy of previous owners of the space "The Little Snail" moved into). I'm happy to report that the food is as delectable as ever!

So how weird is that? "The Little Snail" serves French food and promoted itself at an exhibition of French toys, but it used to have a beach theme for its decor. But we didn't get there until we saw a beach-themed museum exhibit, by which time the restaurant had a more French decor again.

And how weird that I gave up Kings Comics and Galaxy Bookshop for a week, just to eat French cuisine! Mind you, my left big toe has only just started to resemble a toe again, so the close proximity of "The Little Snail" to the museum was most welcome.

Hey, today's the last day of the school term. I made it!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Number one in comics

Star Trek author Peter David has written a comic mini-series for IDW Publishing that continues his excellent, quirky "New Frontier" novels. It's not his first time contributing to a "New Frontier" comic - "Double Time" (2000) was a one-shot for WildStorm (and later collected as a trade omnibus, "Other Realities" in 2001). The first new issue, "Turnabout, Part 1", is nicely done, and the mini-series promises to show us plenty of the cast additions since the timeline jumped forward three years in Pocket books' "After the Fall" (2004) and "Missing in Action" (2006).

This time, Peter David made sure to show us the face of Morgan Primus! Last time, he hid her face under a towel, and then behind a hand mirror. Of course, she's a dead ringer for Number One, of "The Cage", Star Trek's first pilot - but we knew that! In the books we've heard characters notice a resemblance to Number One (ie. Majel Barrett), Christine Chapel (ie. Majel Barrett), Lwaxana Troi (ie. Majel Barrett) and even the distinctive voice of Starfleet computers (ie. Majel Barrett).

It's also possible the immortal mother of Robin Lefler was also once the immortal Morgan LeFay, of the Excalibur/Arthurian legends (USS Excalibur being the name of the ship upon which Morgan now serves), or maybe it's simply the role which Majel Barrett would have played had "New Frontier" been a TV show!

Morgan PrimuswhiteMorgan Primus
The enigmatic Morgan Primus (left: "Double Time", 2000; right: "Turnabout", 2008)

Alas, this time there's no Ensign Janos. The sentient mugato security officer's fate was sealed in the novel instalment, "New Frontier: Stone and Anvil".

Janos in Ten-Forward
("Double Time", 2000)

Sunday's magic number: 89.7. Yay!

Star Trek: Signature Editions

If I ever give a longish answer to a poster over on TrekBBS or Psi Phi, I like to copy it to the blog for posterity. It makes life much easier when the same question gets asked again a few months/years later. I realised a while ago that people often hyperlink my Star Trek items from places like Wikipedia, Memory Alpha and Memory Beta, and two of my most popular blog posts ever - according to SiteMeter - concern fannish Faces in the crowd on the Rec Deck in "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" and The truth about Efrosians.

Today, someone wanted details on Pocket Books' "Signature Edition" omnibuses of reprinted Star Trek novels. I knew I had it saved in an email somewhere. And here it is:

Worlds in CollisionDuty, Honor, RedemptionSand and StarsPantheonThe Q ContinuumImzadi ForeverThe Hand of Kahless

There are seven ST "Signature editions" from Pocket Books in all, trade paperback omnibuses of popular past novels, collected by theme or author. In brief, all of the "Signature Editions" have new introductions and/or afterwords, and the four in the first batch have interviews with the authors by Kevin Dilmore, and facsimile signatures. In order on my shelf they are:

"Worlds in Collision" (Nov 2003) reprints "Memory Prime" and "Prime Directive" by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens and features TOS Kirk (a lower quarter portrait) on the cover, a new introduction by the authors, and an interview with the authors by Kevin Dilmore.

"Duty, Honor, Redemption" (Oct 2004) reprints the novelizations of "ST II: The Wrath of Khan", "ST III: The Search for Spock" and "ST IV: The Voyage Home" by Vonda N McIntyre and features movie-era Kirk (a lower quarter portrait) on the cover and a new introduction by Terry J Erdmann interviewing Harve Bennett, "the man behind the movies". The book has had minor errors corrected, such as "McGivers" for "McGiver". Sulu's promotion to captain (in ST II) is removed, since the line was dropped from ST II and then ignored by the other movies.

"Sand and Stars" (Dec 2004) reprints "Spock's World" by Diane Duane and "Sarek" by AC Crispin and features TMP Spock (a lower quarter portrait) on the cover and a new introduction about Vulcans, with quotes from Tim Russ (Tuvok, VOY) and Gary Graham (Soval, ENT), by Terry J Erdmann.

"Pantheon" (Sept 2003) reprints "TNG: Reunion" and "TNG: The Valiant" by Michael Jan Friedman, with an all-new bridging arc that connects the two tales (ie. seven extra paragraphs from a reflective Guinan.) It also features Stargazer-era Picard (a lower quarter portrait) on the cover, a new introduction by the author, and an interview with the author by Kevin Dilmore. The bookend historical chapters for "The Valiant" are widened to embrace both stories in the SE.

"The Q Continuum" (Oct 2003) reprints the TNG Q trilogy ("Q-Zone", "Q-Space" and "Q-Strike") by Greg Cox and features Judge Q (a lower quarter portrait) on the cover and an interview with the author by Kevin Dilmore. Cox took the chance to make several stardate error corrections, and changed a few mentions of "the original Enterprise" to "Kirk's Enterprise", to avoid confusion with Archer's ship since "Star Trek: Enterprise" was the current series on the air.

"Imzadi Forever" (Dec 2003) reprints "TNG: Imzadi" and "TNG: Imzadi II: Triangle" by Peter David and features TNG-era Troi (a lower quarter portrait) on the cover, a new introduction by the author, and an interview with the author by Kevin Dilmore.

"The Hand of Kahless" (Nov 2004) reprints "The Final Reflection" by the late John M Ford and "TNG: Kahless" by Michael Jan Friedman and features TNG Kahless (a lower quarter portrait) on the cover and a new introduction about the evolution of Klingons over the generations, with quotes from Marc Okrand (linguist, writer of "The Klingon Dictionary") and Dan Curry (TNG visual effects), by Terry J Erdmann.

Worlds in CollisionDuty, Honor, RedemptionSand and StarsPantheonThe Q ContinuumImzadi ForeverThe Hand of Kahless

Only the 2003 omnibuses contain facsimile signatures from the authors. The series title continued, presumably because these are books you'd present to authors for signing(?).

The omnibus for the Reeves-Stevens' "DS9: Millennium", which is not a "Signature Edition", has a bonus Allyn Gibson timeline (of the complex plots) that didn't appear in the original MMPBs. The MMPB omnibus collecting MJF's "Starfleet: Year One", which was originally serialized over a whole year, has new material and new characters. Its original chapters were divided up and blended with each other, too. The "Rihannsu saga" omnibus, "The Bloodwing Voyages", also not a SE, corrects Diane Duane's assumption that there was a second five year mission between TOS and TMP and corrects some dates and ranks. The first DS9 Relaunch omnibus, "Twist of Faith", has a new foreword by David R George III.

Although some early ads for "Odyssey", the omnibus collecting the first three Shatner/Reeves-Stevens novels about Kirk, claimed to have new linking paragraphs, the final result did not seem to include any new material.

No other Pocket ST omnibuses (to date) have new material, or I'd have bought them. :)

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Seeing stars? Call a toe truck!

Ouch. I just dropped a boxed set of the first eight "Star Trek" movies on VHS on my foot. Strangely, there was no immediate pain... until I retrieved the heavy giftbox had a closer look at my injury - and saw that the corner of the box had landed right on the edge of the big toe nail on my left foot.

Now there is pain! And blood. I've applied a makeshift tight bandage with an Elastiplast and a piece of material, but I'm really not game to have another look yet.

Guess what was on the shopping list I made this morning, that I will now not be able to complete (until my housemate arrives home from a week's vacation tonight)? Yes, I needed to restock Dettol antiseptic, since the old bottle I tossed a few weeks ago was almost empty, and the last dregs had turned to jelly in the bottom of the bottle. Ick. (Mind you, at this point I'd apply 1998 vintage Dettol jelly if I could guarantee my toe will be infection free as it recovers.

I needed to shop badly. The only food in the house at the moment is a punnet of strawberries I put into a bowl of Boronia marsala this morning. I think I might just drain them now and drink the marinade.

Ouch, ouch, ouch.

I just know I'm gonna lose the nail...

(And stop looking at me that way, Jack. It might be Saturday afternoon, and beautiful weather outside, but no walkies today! For reasons that should be obvious.)

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

What's under the stairs?

It's been frantic at school this week: the annual Book Fair in our school library and today is the culmination, Grandparents' Day! (I'm the teacher-librarian, up to my neck in Book Fair books and overly-decorated stationery.)

I just had to share a wonderful moment from yesterday afternoon. One of the Year 1 students came racing into the library, wild-eyed - just as I was trying to slip away from the Book Fair for a quick lunchtime coffee.

"Mr McLean! Mr McLean!" he exclaimed, "There are some Bad Words out here, under the stairs."

I'd noticed some chalked arrows on the steps earlier in the day, but I hadn't thought to investigate further. Crouching down, I could see some choice four-letter words on a support beam of the stairs attached to our portable building.

"Well," I reflected. "You'll just have to make sure that you don't read them until I can get them removed."

"It's okay, Mr McLean," he said, beaming at me. "I can't read!"

(The funny thing is, he's quite a talented little reader.) It was just the release I needed towards the end of a tense day, topped off only by numerous parent visitors, getting a sneak preview of the Book Fair stock.

"My kid talks about the library all the time," several of them said. "He/she just loves coming to this library!"

Yes, enough ego-boo to get me through Grandparents' Day, I reckon.