Spatial representation

I recently gave in and started watching Star Trek: Discovery, after two seasons of waiting in vain for it to show up somewhere other than the CBS subscription service. I’ve been following along and reading caps, though, and my curiosity finally got the better of me. And I really like it so far!

Even though I’ve already read spoilers and know who the characters are in general terms, I was deeply moved this morning as I watched the end of “Choose Your Pain”, one of the earlier episodes. Even though I already knew that the show is the first in the Trek franchise to include a gay couple, they way it presented Culber and Stamets in their quarters at night touched me so deeply. It was just so…normal.

Culber and Stamets brushing

They were just talking about the day’s big events while brushing their teeth. There was no melodramatic declaration of identity. No romantic grandstanding. Not even a clear mention that they were a couple, or married. Looking back on the episode, it seems clear that others understood their relationship, and thought little of it.

The couple didn’t even kiss in this scene. But yet it was so intimate! A familiar and moving interaction between two people who shared a life. I was floored. It turns out this was the representation of gays I’ve been waiting for all these years, especially in something that I love the way I love Star Trek. The gayness was incidental, yet unmistakeable. Inherent to the characters and their interaction, but not a plot point in itself. It just felt like it was part of their lives — clearly important, but one element of many. I hadn’t realized how badly I’d want to see it this way. Where no one has gone before, indeed.

Culber and Stamets bein’ sweet

Way, way back

One of the things that’s always made me a little uneasy about designing things for the web is the likelihood of the stuff you make being wiped away for good once a site is updated. I tried to break myself of the habit of building comps in Photoshop relatively early (although I’d build some “furniture” there to place in and around my blog templates), so I’ve never had very good records of what early versions of this site used to look like. Since I’ve been posting material in some manner of another since 1996, that’s a lot of evolution wiped away.

That’s why The Wayback Machine is so wonderful. Thanks to its digital archive (and my tendency to post static rather than dynamic pages out of my blog databases), I can get a glimpse of how much I’ve tinkered with the site over the years:


Old Friends

I had a vivid imagination as a kid, in a way that is a lot harder to maintain once you get older and have to devote more and more mental space to the rest of the world. I wasn’t lonely, but I spent quite a bit of time alone. This wasn’t a matter of deprivation at all — I had plenty of friends in the neighborhood, and was typically active, at least as much as a nerdy introvert who didn’t like sports was likely to be. I guess perhaps it feels like I spent so much time alone just because that time was creatively rich.

I invented characters and worlds, built spaceships and house out of boxes and styrofoam packing inserts and Lego and odds and ends. I collected action figures, but ignored who they were “supposed” to be and made them into new characters. Before 1977 my cast was primarily made of Fisher-Price Adventure People, but after 1977, well:

Brother Sister

…there was really no other competition.

Continue reading “Old Friends”