Treknobabble is a continuing series of columns written by uber-Trekkie Reed Farrington in anticipation of the upcoming J.J. Abrams Star Trek movie.
I fully admit that my habit of collecting anything with the word Star Trek on it is a psychological condition that I should be cured of. With the plethora of Star Trek product coming out this year, I am happy to say that I have already resisted purchasing a framed print commemorating the Original Series, some Star Trek model kits (one in a collectible tin!), Star Trek: Deep Space Nine action figures, Star Trek Tyco flying ships, Star Trek Scene It!, and Star Trek Easter chocolate. (However, if I see any of the aforementioned items later marked down in price, then I’m not sure I’ll be able to resist.)
There have been several products announced that I must have. If I don’t have them, I might as well not go on living. Okay, I’m being overly dramatic, but I need something to make living worthwhile. I’m not sure how readily available these products will be in Canada or even across the border. Sometimes these products will not be shipped to Canada because sellers can’t be bothered with the hassle of dealing with shipping across the border. But I suppose you can get anything through eBay. I have never bought anything through eBay, yet.
10. Funko Wacky Wobblers
These are bobble-heads. The Kirk and Spock versions talk with 3 short quotes each such as “Space, The Final Frontier” and “Live Long and Prosper”, respectively. I already have some earlier Star Trek bobble-heads that don’t talk. The novelty of adding a sound chip to items hasn’t gone away. Licensed greeting cards with sound chips seem to be popular now. Yeah, I have some Star Trek ones.
9. Les Chocolats Vadeboncoeur Easter Chocolate
If you read my opening paragraphs and were paying attention, then you might be wondering about this entry since I mentioned resisting buying Star Trek Easter Chocolate. Well, there’s something about perishable Star Trek food that I can’t resist having. I think my reasoning is that food items don’t stay on shelves very long, so I think they’re kind of rare, even though ultimately worthless unless a food shortage occurs.
So if I time it right, I’ll be able to pick up this chocolate at marked down prices after Easter. I can reliably bet that this Star Trek chocolate won’t sell out. What makes this Star Trek product somewhat unique is that it’s only available in Canada for a change. That makes it even rarer! I couldn’t even find a photo of the Star Trek chocolate anywhere. The company web-site doesn’t show it in its company products! (Okay, I managed to get some out-of-focus shots posted on some Star Trek forums.)
I’ve already seen this product at Zellers and Wal-mart in Canada. What’s strange is that the chocolate comes in one design and it’s shaped like the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Defiant ship! How many people would recognize it? Not many is my guess. I should have done an informal poll and asked strangers walking by the Easter candy if they could tell me what the chocolate mold represented. Whoever at the Montreal company decided that Star Trek branded chocolate would sell is either a major Trekkie or was mislead as to what the general public would like.
If you’re wondering, I normally leave untouched the contents of the Star Trek food products I buy. I know they’ll grow stale and probably moldy, but I want to hold on to them as long as possible.
I should mention the one tragedy I had. When Star Trek: First Contact came out, a company marketed chocolate bars promoting the movie. There were several wrapper and chocolate mold designs with some characters fortunate enough to be featured on his or her own wrapper. I had a full box of these chocolate bars that I had opened so that I could see what the chocolate looked like. But I carefully rewrapped all the bars. I had this box sitting on a shelf in an upstairs bedroom (my Star Trek room). I don’t have air-conditioning, so in the summer months, I make sure I have a window open to avoid having the chocolate melt. Anyway, one day I noticed that around the box was detritus that I couldn’t identify. Looking closer, the bits looked like worm skins. Well, with the chocolate there, it wasn’t hard to guess what might have happened. So I delicately slid the wrapper off of one of the chocolate bars, noticing more detritus, and when I exposed the chocolate, the chocolate was covered with small insects and sections were eaten away!
Any reasonable human being would have discarded the chocolate, but I tried to preserve as much of it that I could by brushing out all the insects. So I’ve rewrapped the chocolate and now keep it inside a metal tin. For all I know, I might have left a few survivors or even eggs, and they might be surviving inside the tin right now by gorging on my Star Trek chocolate!
8. Funko ‘Quogs’ Vinyl Figures
Star Wars had these types of â€œsuper deformedâ€ figures in their Star Wars Galactic Hero line. They’re meant to appeal to young kids. But I think they’re cool, too.
7. Diamond Select Toy Toys ‘R Us Exclusive “Screaming Khan” Kirk Action Figure
This is a pretty weird action figure to create. Some collectors like to criticize the toy companies for taking advantage of collectors by marketing lame, limited appeal variations of existing products. Pop culturists and Trekkies do like to parody the scene from which this figure is based. Only people who have seen Wrath of Khan would appreciate the kitsch appeal of having this figure. I guess I’m one of those people.
6. Playmates Toys Role-Playing Starfleet Communicator, Tricorder, and Phaser
I cheated with this entry because there are actually 3 separate items here, but I couldn’t decide which one I wanted most. Short of spending a large amount for prop replicas, I’d rather own these toys.
Design-wise, I think they look terrible. They don’t look like they were designed by the same person. The chrome phaser looks kind of gaudy.
It would be great to see kids playing outdoors with these toys. They really should market a Velcro belt so that these items can be worn by the kids.
5. Playmates Toys U.S.S. Enterprise Transporter Room
For all the aspiring doctors and nurses, I wish they would market a sickbay play set. At least engineers will have this transporter room to play with.
When the Next Generation was popular, Playmates released a U.S.S. Enterprise 1701-D transporter room play set. I bought one of those. It had a cool beam-out and beam-in feature with sliding controls and sound effects. (Yes, the visual effect was achieved through mirrors.)
4. Playmates Toys U.S.S. Enterprise Bridge
Even though I agree with the people who have negatively compared the new bridge design with a “fluorescent hospital” or “Apple Store”, I need to have this play set. These are the types of things that I always imagined “rich” people’s kids possess. My rationale for having this is that I like architecture and miniatures.
Do I even have to say that I won’t be “playing” with this item? Are there adults out there that still play with dolls? I mean like actually create pretend scenarios and move their dolls about. I suppose adults in role-playing groups are doing a similar thing, but dressing themselves up instead of dolls. Is that any less strange?
Along with the transporter room play set, I have the Playmates bridge play set for the Next Generation’s Enterprise 1701-D. (How many of you can proudly say that?) It has a light up view-screen showing a Romulan ship. It has sliding doors. It has sound effects. Yeah, it’s pretty cool. I also have an engineering room play set, complete with warp core, which connects to the bridge. And there were plans for making other connecting play sets, but I guess the Next Generation play sets didn’t sell very well. I’m glad the toy people are trying again with this latest Star Trek movie.
3. Mattel Barbies
Okay, I admit that I played with dolls, um, I mean action figures, when I was a youngster. I didn’t have a real Hasbro G.I. Joe, but a knockoff that had a face vaguely resembling a Chinese person. My G.I. Joe didn’t have much articulation. It didn’t have a beard or any special ability like a Kung Fu chop or grip. My mom would make clothes for my G.I. Joe, but nothing resembling military fatigues. She made a blue Navy uniform with one of those wallet-like hats, a brown suit for shore-leave I suppose, and flannel pajamas. I think my G.I. Joe was a metro-sexual. I remember using Kleenex boxes as military vehicles. Just like real-life, my soldier had to improvise.
I have the Star Trek Barbie and Ken figures that came out (no pun intended) over a decade ago. And no, I have not removed them from their box to check if they’re anatomically correct.
2. RoomMates Wall Murals
I’m not sure how easy these wall murals go up or if they can be taken down without damaging them. Since RoomMates is the largest manufacturer of decorative peel-and-stick products in the world, maybe the wall murals will be peel-and-stick as well? Am I being naÃ¯ve? Has wallpaper technology advanced since the days of applying wallpaper paste? Anyway, I’m not sure if I’d actually put this up on a wall after I bought it.
There will be two sizes available: full wall sized (9 feet by 15 feet for $249), and a smaller version that omits the bottom chair rail (6 feet by 10 feet for $149). Hmmâ€¦ I hadn’t considered that a wall mural would be that expensive.
I’m in an ongoing process right now of converting my Star Trek room back into a baby room. Not that I’m expecting a baby, but because it was a baby room when I bought the house. In the baby room, there’s still a painted wall mural of a teddy bear in a sleeping gown, and stars with faces. I had hung Star Trek posters over it. Maybe in my mid-life crisis, I’ll decide to convert the baby room back into a Star Trek room and cover up the teddy bear with the Star Trek bridge!
(BTW, Henrik, they haven’t forgotten about you. A wall mural for the Next Generation is being planned, but if you want a wall sized peel and stick version of Picard, you’ll have to write them and let them know.)
1. Genki Wear Fragrances
There was cologne included in a cheap Star Trek First Contact travel set, but a company has never marketed any real Star Trek fragrances before. I happen to have that travel set, but I have never opened the cologne to smell it. I imagine it might all be evaporated by now since I don’t expect it was sealed all that well. It would be a hassle for me to pull it out right now. It’s in an unmarked container somewhere. Imagine the warehouse at the ending of Raiders of the Lost Ark albeit on a somewhat smaller scale.
For 2009, Genki Wear is planning on releasing three fragrances named “Tiberius”, “Red Shirt”, and “Ponn Farr”. In case you’re not aware, Tiberius is the name of Captain Kirk’s counterpart in the Mirror Universe, red shirt refers to the crew members who would die in many episodes (note the tag line on the box), and Ponn Farr is the Vulcan mating ritual. Genki Wear has noted that these fragrances are on par with fragrances by Chanel and Cartier. Ponn Farr is a perfume and the other two are colognes. I think that means that Ponn Farr is for women and the other two are for guys.
The descriptions for the fragrances are quite elaborate and specific. For example, â€œRed Shirtâ€ has top notes (scents that are initially noticeable) of green mandarin, bergamot, and lavender, with base notes (scents perceived last, usually about a half hour after application) of leather and grey musk. Hell, I wouldn’t care if it smelled like a Sarlacc pit. (Yeah, I’m using a Star Wars reference. Sue me.)
One product I obtained late last year was Star Trek Pez. When that product was first announced, I knew I had to have it. I was anticipating having to drive over the border to the United States in order to get it, but I was hoping a department store like Wal-mart would get it here. I ended up purchasing it in a Comics Shop within walking distance from where I worked. I never did see it anywhere else. By coincidence, my brother happened to get it for me for Christmas. He had bought it on a business trip to California. The strange thing is that he had long ago stopped buying Star Trek stuff for me. And I had never discussed Star Trek Pez with him. I guess he really knows me after all.
So I have these two unopened sets of Star Trek Pez. I suppose I should open one of the sets and load up the Pez into Uhura and try ejecting the candy from her mouth to mine. But no, the Star Trek Pez remains sealed. I’ll probably store it in a container and maybe look at it once a decade. And it will probably stay sealed even after I die and after my Star Trek collection is relegated to the dump.
To end this Treknobabble, I leave you with the following sage advice that is very much appropriate to the subject of collecting (even though Spock was talking about women): “After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing after all, as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true.”
Note: A variation of the ending quote was uttered earlier by Mark Twain and probably noted by philosophers all through the ages. Neuroscientists are actually able to prove this statement now through experiments using brain scanning technology. I’ve read about this in books on happiness and most recently in a book called Your Money & Your Brain: How the New Science of Neuroeconomics Can Help Make You Rich by Jason Zweig. If you’re interested in why money can’t buy happiness, I suggest you get a copy of this book.