Space Oddity

I was thinking that I had gone a bit far with my praise of Second Life the other day (“occasionally everything will come together to produce a brief moment of beauty” – what was I on?), so I thought that we should probably go out and try to find something vaguely intellectual to make my enthusiasm seem slightly less ridiculous.

We looked at the “Arts and Culture” section of the “Events” search, but our ideas about taking in a classical concert or a gallery opening were swiftly forgotten when we saw an ad for the “Star Trek Museum Starship Tour”, guided by “Klingon Warrior Klang” no less.

It turned out we had missed the tour, but the Star Trek Museum itself was interesting enough to keep us around for half an hour or so. They give out free Starfleet uniforms (“Voyager” and “Next Generation” versions, disappointingly, not the much cooler Kirk-era threads):

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and you can wander about a mock-up Enterprise, learning all sorts of facts about how the warp-drive works and the like, or hanging out on the bridge:

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firing the phasers, or launching photon torpedoes (though the visual effects that accompany this are somewhat underwhelming).

The sense of realism is undermined a bit by the curators’ decision to represent much-loved crew members with cabbage-patch dolls (this is Admiral Kirk):

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Our interest was waning a bit by this point, so we skipped the other attractions, which include shuttle flights, an alien buffet and a trip to the Vulcan sim at Eridani, guaranteed to fascinate more ardent Trekkies.

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I’m not sure that the museum will convince doubters that Second Life is anything more than a geeky waste of time, but it is a good illustration of how SL allows fans to create, for a relatively modest outlay, a tribute to their obsessions.

Here’s a track from way back in 1969, when Kirk and Spock were just coming to the end of their original adventures. Are the lyrics a metaphor for the Second Life experience?

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