Tag Archives: Larry Nemecek

SF BALL 23 – Review, Gates McFadden, Patti Yasutake and Larry Nemecek Interviews

This year we were delighted to experience a bit more of what the SF Ball has to offer. Having previously only been able to attend for a day, the new ticket options meant we were able to experience the much talked about Saturday night cabaret.


It also allowed us to immerse ourselves in a different type of convention. We are admittedly more accustom to large scale events and some purely fan led events. We feel the SF Ball sits in it’s own special category. As the Borg would say “It is unique”. The organisers are clearly fans, of that, there is no doubt. But there is a professionalism and reputation (from both customers and the talent) which has made this event last for over two decades. There’s a passion for the event’s success, it’s value and for the charity it seeks to raise money for – The Teenage Cancer Trust.

Many have told us that it is the last ‘traditional fan led convention’. Where fans would take over a hotel for a weekend, play games, watch episodes and geek out together.

We got the vibe that this was more of a social experience (we LIKE this!). At large conventions our feet do not touch the ground, we run from stage to stage to photo ops to autograph queues then bar queues! And we love those style conventions, we see lots of guest stars in one place, we get to see them interact with each other etc (we LOVE this too!). But we also loved the chilled out nature of the SF Ball. It’s not manic, the Grand Harbour Hotel is a superb venue. And we totally abused the 25% discount at the bar (remarkably that included Champagne so we probably ruined that!)

The Ball

We set off Saturday afternoon to give ourselves plenty of time to get ready, chill out and get ready, plus celebrate Carole’s engagement and Sarah’s birthday before we went down. We live in the town next to Southampton, so not a long drive but it took us nearly two hours. An hour was spent in traffic within viewing sight of the hotel!

Our hotel room was spacious with a view of cruise ships. We’d 100% recommend staying here. But we always recommend staying in the event hotel for any convention…unless it’s particularly horrendous!

We head to the bar and catchup with friends. We love that where ever we go in the world we always see similar friendly faces.
The theme for the ball that evening was Game of Thrones. Only Carole has earned that geek card though. The room was dressed in a winter theme (winter is coming btw).

After a delicious three course meal, Chris Barrie (Rimmer, Red Dwarf + Mr Brittas, The Brittas Empire) takes the stage and delivers the cabaret, telling anecdotes from his time of Red Dwarf, The Brittas Empire and Spitting Image.

Then its party time! The dance floor comes out, the bubbles start flowing and we’re free to mingle with the guests. At the bar we had a lovely chat with Patti Yasutake who is honestly the sweetest person. We were kindly given the opportunity to interview Chris Barrie but we politely declined as we are only  Star Trek bloggers and didn’t want to waste his time even though we’d love to chat to him. But, the beauty of the Ball means even though there are fewer guest stars, you have the opportunity to have a more intimate experience with them. So we plucked up the courage and bought Chris a drink! He was a real gent and chatted away to us about his time on TV and everything else!

The rest of the night was purely geek heaven. Chatting away with Larry Nemecek and Andrew (one of the SF Ball Organisers) about everything Star Trek, including a thorough discussion on how Spot got from Data’s quarters to the Cargo bay in Generations. This opened up a minefield of other debatables such as where is Data’s quarters? Andrew thought they were in the drive section. But a tweet out gave the response they were on deck 2. But that’s right under the bridge!? There’s no windows so it’s got to be in the middle somewhere? Answers on a postcard to Utopia Planitia please.


We called it a night at silly o’clock in the morning which was silly as we wanted to be up for Larry’s talk at 10am. We made it….just!

Larry Nemecek

Larry gave an all encompassing look at the 50 year phenomenon that is Star Trek and spoke more in depth on the fan favourite subjects such as Fan Films (looking at you Axanar!) and Discovery. Larry is able to provide a unique insight to life behind the scenes on Star Trek. If you’re ever at a convention and he is a guest, be sure to say ‘hi’. He is super approachable, always has cool stuff to show you and even sell you. Larry is also married to Janet Nemecek who worked as a script coordinator on Voyager and First Contact. Janet often attends with Larry and is a joy to talk too. If you find getting to conventions difficult then you need to check out Portal 47, a monthly ‘mini con’ where you can hear all Larry’s stories, ask questions and talk to guest stars.

Straight after Larry’s talk we headed up to the posh suite on the top floor to interview him. Which was funny because we have had the privilege of spending lots of time Larry and we have never got round to doing a video interview. It was conducted at warp speed!

Gates McFadden and Patti Yasutake

The talk with Gates McFadden and Patti Yasutake was one we had been looking forward to and we weren’t disappointed. One thing we have always appreciated about Star Trek is how it portraits the ‘lower ranks’. Ok lets put the red shirts aside for this. In TNG we saw how much the senior crew respected those who served under them. From what we have observed this relationship seems to be mirrored between the actors and the crew. There’s a line in Time’s Arrow when Data tells Guinan that ‘served together on a starship”. The language indicates equality and respect for Guinans job and function on the Enterprise.

Nurse Ogawa was one of the first regulars we recall . Her developing relationship with Dr Crusher over the series allowed us a brief insight into the personal lives of the crew. It gave the Enterprise more depth and community. … Ok we were chuffed as Tribble to see them both together!

Whilst Gates and Patti took the time to answer many audience questions it also felt like we were able to enjoy the company of two friends catching up. They had a great report sharing anecdotes of their time on TNG. We even learned some new things!:

After the talk we were ushered into the posh suite again where we teamed up with our friend Jon from Visionary Trek to chat with Gates and Patti who were an absolute joy!

We owe a massive thanks to Andrew for holding the Camera this long!

We spent the rest of the event checking out the vendors, catching up and drinking the bar dry…of Diet Coke and Earl Grey Tea!

Overall a thoroughly enjoyable evening and day. Stay tuned to see our interview with the SF Ball Team for more insights into this fab event.

Highlights: Seeing Gates and Patti together and thanking them for being role models.

+ Seeing fans do extraordinary things to raise money for The Teenage Cancer Charity such as shaving their heads and Neil Carpenter who is committing to run 1701 miles this year! 

SF Ball 3-5 Feb Southampton with Gates McFadden, Patti Yasutake and Larry Nemecek

It’s approaching February which means time for the fabulous SF Ball! Despite being right in our backyard – The Grand Harbour Hotel, Southampton 3-5th February –  it’s always the hardest for us to attend!

But this year will be there on the Sunday (Carole and Sarah for sure. Sam, if she hasn’t left on her away mission!)


And with a Trektastic lineup it’s not one we want to miss.

We were sold when they announced Gates McFadden (Dr Beverley Crusher) but then they announced her number one Patti Yasutake (Nurse Alyssa Ogawa).

Then for added Trek-goodness our friend Larry Nemecek (Trek Continues, Trekland, Portal 47, Trek know-it-all) is also in attendance. He is a must see for for enthusiasts who enjoy hearing all about behind-the-scenes stories.

If you’re a fan of the new Star Trek films you’ll want to meet Dave Freeman who is the Concept artist for the movies.

Best bit? The SF ball is a Not-For-Profit organisation run by unpaid volunteers who donate money raised to the Teenage Charity Trust.


Continue reading SF Ball 3-5 Feb Southampton with Gates McFadden, Patti Yasutake and Larry Nemecek

Portal 47 with Larry Nemecek

A couple of months ago we were teased with a new project called Portal 47 from “The universe’s renowned authority” on all things Star Trek, Larry “Dr. Trek” Nemecek.


Portal 47 is now up and running and sounds amazing! It comes across as a virtual convention. If anyone has been to one of Larry’s talks or stall at a convention you will know he is a wealth of knowledge with memories, archives and friends from all series.

“Portal 47 may not be for all Trek fans but if you crave a new way to get a virtual backstage pass and hear from new voices of people who were there, like a min-con package all year long no matter where you live… Then beam aboard and deep-dive through the Portal with us!” – Larry Nemecek

But why wait to go to a convention to get the chance to just glimpse? Instead Larry offers Portal 47 as an immersive experience where he shares his knowledge,  treasure trove, questions and answers and even chats with other Trek guests.

So what do you get? Taken from Larry’s press release:

EVERY MONTH we’ll meet at virtual Portal 47 for your access pass:

 My live, one-hour group telebriefing interview with a real-life Trek veteran from the series, movies and more, with your questions…

and the recoding afterwards.

 A live, one-hour group roundtable “Ask Dr. Trek” telebriefing with me —on a topic, or your Q/As; decide what you want …

… and the recording afterwards

 Open the vault: Exclusive Archive Access via one rare or exclusive audio, document and/or image file to download monthly. That object may well be the opening spark for our ADT Roundtables!

 Three-day early advance access to all new guest vidchats and other undated posts at my TREKLAND blog.

 Exclusive access to our new Portal 47 closed community on Facebook, just for our Portal Passers… where we can talk further or set up new areas for our various deep-dives.

15% DISCOUNT once a month on your winning bid at my Trekland Trunk events .. or on my own future merchandise. (Hmmm.. I guess that means… Portal 47 cards?)


 An ANNUAL Portal 47 meetup drink and munchies at Vegas Trek, Comic-Con SanDiego, or a local con near you where I am a guest. Even if it’s just the two of us! (Trekkie Girls Hint: Larry is already signed up to at least 2 UK conventions in 2016)

 PLUS 20% DISCOUNT on my new, one-day personal TREKLAND TOURS of choices off a menu of Trek film site locations, when you are in LA! (To be announced this winter)

We asked Larry what he has planned in the near future and there’s even more reason to sign up, If you join in November you’ll get an actual call sheet from DS9, Voyager or Enterprise!

Larry is also planning to bring in European timezone friendly calls. He just needs another 6 European based members to join the portal.

Pretty exciting eh!? There are various membership options and with the exchange rate in our favour (for us Brits), it works out cheaper than a trip to the cinema. To sign up, visit Portal 47 or perhaps give membership as a gift to a friend? *hint hint*!

Portal 47 Mission Briefing 

If you follow Larry Nemecek’s Trekland Blog (and if you don’t, you can’t sit with us!) you would have heard about this mysterious Portal 47.

We’ve been curious about this like a lowly officer is curious about the Omega directive, but our wait is over. On Wednesday 9th September at 19.00 Pacific Time, 22.00 Eastern Time or 03.00 on Thursday in the UK, Mr Trekland himself will reveal all!

And you can hear for yourself via a teleconference (let’s call it subspace!) or listen online.

You can sign up for yourself to get information direct from the source. Larry informs us that he is hoping to add some European friendly times in the future so we don’t miss out (although dealing with us sleepy/drunk Brits is so much more fun!).

Larry Nemecek is immensely popular at conventions, podcasts and all over the Trek Community for his unique insider knowledge into the franchise. Portal 47 builds on this.

Lazily c+p’d from Trekland, Larry has this to say about Portal 47:

“The truth is, I’ve been blessed and gratified to have had a front-row seat in many things Trekland for years now…as all you readers and listeners so kindly tell me you enjoy. I not only enjoy that, but feel compelled to keep connecting the dots for fans, and connecting them with voices they might never have heard from! For me, it’s all about preserving and archiving as much as pundits and analysis.

But so many of the conventional streams of “content” are either slow… or not very dynamic … or ignorant of current tech capabilities … or not even a good business model for putting food on the table (mine!). PORTAL 47 may yet evolve and get tweaked past what we launch with, but that idea of a new kind of “deep dive” into insider insight … is exactly what I’m been trying to put together for several years now.”

How is he going to do this? Well that’s what we’re looking forward to hearing in this preview call at 3am! There’s also promise of a surprise guest! Eek! WE MUST KNOW WHO IT IS!!

The Original TiT’s Season 2 TNG review

So, I embarked on my TNG Season 2 quest with marked trepidation. My head had been filled with somewhat negative thoughts (“Dr Crusher isn’t in it”; “just get through it – it gets WAY better mid-Season 3”), so my expectations admittedly weren’t very high. At least it’s only a short season of just 22 episodes I thought to myself (thanks to a writer’s strike I’m reliably informed). Well, I have to say I was quite pleasantly surprised…

Right, first things first, let’s just get this one out of the way: Pulaski. The Star Trek equivalent of Marmite.


I have to admit, I disliked her immensely from the very beginning (hate is a strong word), and although I had somewhat warmed to her by the time we got to the likes of “Pen Pals” and “Samaritan Snare” (where she had begun to show an iota of compassion), I just couldn’t gel with her. It wasn’t so much that I missed Beverley Crusher, I just really didn’t like the way she treated Data. And as I’m sure you’re all pretty aware of my absolute love for the yellow-eyed one by now, this understandably didn’t sit very well with me.

Pulaski & Data

I read in Larry Nemecek’s TNG Companion that Pulaski was “created somewhat in the image of Bones McCoy, as crusty and transporter wary”. This translated very well, and I guess it made sense, but she just was not my cup of tea.

ThatsnotmyTNGDr#ThatsnotmyTNGDr – thank you @laurah2215

I was under the impression that she actually did fall down a lift shaft (who started that rumour?) and was shamefully a little disappointed when that failed to materialise. She did however score a brownie point or two when she enjoyed ‘Klingon tea’ with Worf in “Up The Long Ladder” – kudos girlfriend, kudos!

On a similar but slightly different note – no longer my least favourite character, Wesley, was SO much less annoying in Season 2? In fact, I’ve actually really rather started to like him. It was great to see him as just a normal hormonal teenage boy in “The Dauphin”. (Perhaps they realised that they totally overplayed the “boy genius” thing in the first season?) I think I would actually go as far as saying he’s turning in to one of my favourite characters (sorry @TheeeRealBigDan, forgive me?!)?


Pulaski aside, there were actually some really great additions to the cast in Season 2, like Riker’s beard (= yummy!) and Guinan – I LOVE her!! She’s so all-knowing and mysterious?! I can’t wait to find out more about her, especially the history between her and Picard! And the introduction of the Ten Forward lounge bar was genius! For similar reasons, I loved “The Royale”– seeing the characters in a somewhat “normal” (20th century) and informal setting, makes them seem far more real? I can just imagine walking in and sitting down for a beer with… now there’s a thought – who would you most like to sit down for a drink with in Ten Forward? I think I’d have to choose Geordi – I bet he’s a right laugh after he’s had a few? I could see us getting up to all sorts of mischief…


There were also some terrific “character building” episodes in Season 2. I have to admit “The Child” weirded me out a little bit, and seemed a somewhat strange choice for a season opener? Yes, I know that this was a rehashed TOS script due to the aforementioned writer’s strike, so we’ll forgive them, and it was great to see a Troi-centred storyline.

There was plenty of soul-searching from Picard in episodes like “Where the Silence Has Lease” and the positively mind-blowing “Time Squared”, whilst I really enjoyed catching a rare glimpse of vulnerability in him in “Samaritan Snare”. (That, and the most awkward shuttle craft journey EVER with Wesley – LOL!) Fantastic to see Dixon Hill again in “Manhunt”, an episode made all the better with the reappearance of the fabulous Majel Barrett – that woman gets all the best lines?! I literally LOLed out loud when right at the end she casually points out that the fish people are in fact assassins! We don’t see enough of Lwaxana Troi in my opinion!!

Riker somewhat stepped out of Picard’s shadow as a leading character in “A Matter of Honor” and “Peak Performance” and it was great to learn more about his family history in “The Icarus Factor” (forgetting the absolute gross-out fact that Pulaski totes did “it” with his Dad!). It wasn’t long however before he was back to his old sleazeball self – the Riker we all know and love – in “Up The Long Ladder”.

“The Icarus Factor” also provided a great insight in to the character of Worf, where we learnt about his Age of Ascension. In fact, there were some great Klingon/Worf centric episodes in Season 2 – “The Emissary” immediately springs to mind – where of course we meet the gorgeous Suzie Plaxton, aka K’Ehleyr for the very first time (another amazing, albeit brief, addition to the Season 2 cast). I’m really interested in learning more about Worf/Klingons, such a similar and yet starkly different species, relatively new to the Federation’s list of allies. I can’t wait to learn more about them – are there any good books out there about this?

It was awesome to see Geordi take centre-stage for a bit in “Q Who” and “Samaritan Snare”, and although I can’t really put my finger on why, “Loud as a Whisper” was possibly one of my favourite episodes from Season 2 – I really enjoyed it.

As always I really enjoyed the Data-licious episodes, of which there were plenty in Season 2! “Elementary Dear Data”; “The Outrageous Okona”; “The Schizoid Man”; “Contagion”; “Pen Pals”. But O.M.G. “The Measure of a Man” – what a fantastic, thought provoking episode – BRAVO! Very well played by all those involved, particularly Brent Spiner and Patrick Stewart – cracking job guys?! When Data talks about Tasha… *grabs a tissue just thinking about it


And I LOVE that we’re seeing more of Colm Meaney!! (IT’S COLM MEANEY!!!)

So, last but certainly by no means least… The Borg. Need I say more?

Well go on then, this is a “season review” after all… They. Are. EPIC. Although their appearance in Season 2 was brief, it was enough to totally scare the bejeezus out of me! They are so frickin’ horrible. I think I mentioned this in my guest spot on The Engage Podcast (thank you guys!!), but I remember TrekkieGirl Sam making us watch First Contact all those years ago, and although I wasn’t really a fan at the time (shock horror!), I can remember being absolutely, genuinely terrified! The thought of walking amongst them, not being seen unless you engage them, just totally freaked me out! To face an enemy that has such a blatant disregard for life, concerned only with the continuation and improvement of its own species – using up what it can and then swiftly moving on? There’s just no escape. Just watching the ship regenerate in front of our very eyes, whilst still giving chase… knowing that it’s only a matter of time before they (we) encounter them again – simply terrifying – I can’t wait to see what happens next! They really hit the nail dead-square on the head with the Borg I feel. Naughty meddling Q though eh?! But great to see John de Lancie back!

Borg* Before the Nerds start screaming at me – apologies if this isn’t the actual Borg from “Q Who”!

One more thing before I go…

I am currently reading “A Stolen Life” by Jaycee Dugard. She was abducted by paedophile Phillip Garrido in 1991 and held captive for 18 years.

Jaycee Dugard

In her book she remembers watching Star Trek:

“I loved the old Star Trek series that was usually on late at night, too. Eventually I started watching Star Trek: The Next Generation. What I like about Star Trek was that even though there was still crime in the universe, it didn’t exist on earth. I liked that the earth had been cleaned up. I especially liked that future because I felt I didn’t have one.”

That Star Trek was in some way of solace, an escape, to that poor little girl, torn from her family, alone and terrified, subjected to unimaginable depths of abuse and depravity… well, literally brought a tear (or several) to my eye. I was recently asked what “life lessons” I had learned from the Star Trek franchise ? I replied that anything is possible when “we have eliminated hunger, want, the need for possessions”, and that I strive to live by this motto every day. Anyone that read my Season 1 review will know that this is one of favourite quotes (good TiTties – gold star!). Star Trek makes me want to be a better person, to help others and to right all the wrongs in the world. Okay, admittedly pretty big #lifegoals, but at least I’m aiming in the right direction? And if we all did that, then hey, maybe the world would be a better place…

So, to pose the same question to myself in this blog as I did in the last: did Season 2 leave me hungry for more? Most DEFINITELY!! I cannot wait! My transitioning into a fully-fledged #Trekkie has begun. Bring. It. On.

Oh, and sorry to be controversial but I actually enjoyed “Shades of Gray” – I guess it’s the old romantic in me?! (“Troi and Riker up a tree, K. I. S. S. I. N. G.”)

Troi & Riker