Wednesday, February 21, 2007


I met Nicole Pevzner in 1995, platonically moved in with her in 1996 and for the next 6 years we were (for the most part) inseparable.
Through Nicole I met Scott, through whom I met Donna, Danielle and Sean.
Scott used to host New Hampshire weekends with this group of friends. This involved a really cool cabin, an indoor pool and really good food. Oh, it also involved alcohol and board games. I attended three or four of these get-togethers and I ALWAYS had a great time.
While Nicole and I lived together I saw her get married, and get divorced. We lived through the passing of her Mom, the dissolution of a relationship or two of my own and generally, we were always there for each other.
Nicole and I spent Thursday evenings together. This was known as "Roommate Bonding Night" and usually involved me cooking dinner for us and then watching "Friends", "Seinfeld" and "ER". In between we got the trash ready for Friday pick-up and discussed life, the universe and everything. Also we generally laughed our asses off together.
One night, we were sitting through commercials on ABC when a contest to win the Batmobile was announced on "The Drew Carey Show" through Papa Gino's. After the commercial ended, Nicole looked over at me and said, "That's so stupid. What would you do if you won the Batmobile?"
I looked her square in the eye and replied, "I'd fight crime".
Well...we thought it was funny.
We were "Non-sexual life partners" and I loved every minute of our time together. Then a funny thing happened to Nicole and I in our cozy little home.
Life happened.
Nicole met Dennis at Interlynx, where I also worked as a contractor in the QA Department. After a weekend in Vermont Dennis and Nicole were now a couple, which put demands on Nicole's time. After working at Gateway and then joining Verizon I met Katie, which put more demands on my social time, too. Later on Dennis and Nicole purchased my friend Greg's house and they moved in together. I spent the last year in Weymouth alone, as they set up house together. Between Verizon, Jenna and my time with Katie I saw less and less of Nicole. Once Dennis and Nicole were married (yay!) and Katie and I were married (yay! redux) we slowly but surely drifted apart.
Not by choice, more by circumstance.
We saw each other a few times after we were married but it got tough. I was unable to go the the last few NH weekends togather so I slowly but surely lost track of Scott, Danielle, Donna and Sean. We saw each other for dinner not long after Katie and I were married but soon not seeing them became the norm and I accepted that fact.
After learning via a group e-mail that Nicole and Dennis had a baby girl in December I knew that I had let Nicole slip too far away from me. I never even knew she was pregnant.
I felt awful. We talked then and promised that we would get together soon.
In January Donna sent out an invitation to dinner at her house in Scituate. All of the old gang was on this e-mail, which began with "OK it really has been a while for a get together. We keep talking about it - lets make it happen!" and ended with "It has been tooo long - I am looking forward to catching up with everyone!" I agreed with her.
Through the e-mail planning I learned that Donna was married to Pat and had a young son named Quinlan. Danielle and Paul were expecting a baby in July, Scott had met and married Barry since I last saw him and Sean was still working as hard as ever at his job and working to get his degree. We settled on a date, agreed on who was bringing what and on Saturday, February 17th we gathered on Pat and Donna's for dinner.
I won't bore everyone with the details, but after being together for half an hour it felt like I had been with all of them just last week. We fell into the same patterns of overlapping conversations, sarcastic retorts and laughter. Much, much laughter. Donna's home was warm and inviting and the food was simply fantastic. I met Pat (Donna's husband) and their young son Quinlan. We also met Scott's partner Barry, a great guy who I think is just quirky enough for Scott. Katie was welcomed by all (again) and she quickly warmed to everyone present. I think the fact that Donna had a (rescued) black lab and one young offspring helped things along. :-)
As we had coffee with dessert it was mentioned that we should do this again. After a brief nod from Katie I offered that we would host the next dinner at our house and within the next month or so. Donna told me that she was going to e-mail me weekly until I set up this date.
She won't have to, because I can't wait to see everyone again.
I am angry with myself that I let so much time pass between visits, but grateful at having a chance to set things right. The mid to late nineties were all about this group of friends and I am glad to still be a part of the circle.
Nicole and I used to love watching "Friends", in part because neurotic Monica mirrored Nicole while sarcastic Chandler seemed to mirror my personality. Mostly, however, it was because, no matter what, your friends are there for you. Until last Saturday I hadn't seen Nicole in years, and when we saw each other we just stood quietly and hugged each other. That hug was so "Us". It was a homecoming of sorts. I knew then that I would never let Nicole drift away again.
After many years apart, I discovered that my friends were still there for me, just as I will always be there for them, too. Sometimes there is truth in song lyrics:
But I'll be there for you (when the rain starts to pour)
I'll be there for you (like I've been there before)
I'll be there for you (Cause you're there for me too)
I can't wait for our next dinner date and I am thankful for second chances.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


Star Trek journeyed to the 21st century this fall as the Original Series returned to broadcast syndication with brand-new digitally remastered episodes to celebrate its 40th anniversary.

The most noticeable change will be redoing many of the special effects, created with 1960s technology, with 21st century computer-generated imagery (CGI). Upgrades include:
  • Space ship exteriors – The Enterprise, as well as other starships, will be replaced with state of the art CGI-created ships. The new computer-generated Enterprise is based on the exact measurements of the original model, which now rests in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
  • Show opening – The Enterprise and planets seen in the main title sequence will be redone, giving them depth and dimension for the first time.
  • Galaxy shots – All the graphics of the galaxy, so frequently seen through the viewscreen on the Enterprise's bridge, will be redone.
  • Exteriors – The battle scenes, planets and ships from other cultures (notably the Romulan Bird of Prey and Klingon Battle Cruisers) will be updated.
  • Background scenes – Some of the iconic, yet flat, matte paintings used as backdrops for the strange, new worlds explored by the Enterprise crew will get a CGI face-lift, adding atmosphere and lighting.

Paramount went even further and updated small shots inside the ship as well, such as the 1960's style clock on the helm console, the detail on planets, phaser fire, etc.

These changes have been awesome and mostly, importantly, unintrusive. The original stories are kept intact while updating the visuals. Like I said, very well done, indeed. I have enjoyed them all so far.

And now, this weekend, I will find Trek Nirvana. On Saturday WCVB-channel 5 will air "The Doomsday Machine".

"The Doomsday Machine" is perhaps my most favorite episode of "Star Trek - The Original Series". This is also the episode many fans have deemed the litmus test for the "Remastered" effort. It's a fantastic episode that's downright awesome in its simplicity: The Enterprise goes up against a gigantic interstellar ice cream cone that destroys entire planets & gobbles up their debris for fuel. It's a self-perpetuating mechanism of destruction and consumption and, after the destruction of the USS Constellation, the Enterprise is the only starship that stands in its path before it plows into the most densely populated part of the galaxy.

Speaking of the USS Constellation...

Here is a glimpse of how the special FX have changed with the times. First up, the original view of the wrecked starship:

Now, the remastered shot:

I can't even tell you how cool that I think this is. If you have any interest then please check your local listings for Saturday and Sunday.

I truly can't wait for this episode.

* * * *

Now, since I just got geek all over the blog, it is time for the rebuttal story.

Jenna has been watching these episodes with me each weekend. She enjoys the stories and appreciates the FX upgrades. Not too long ago, we were sitting on the couch watching an episode that had a never-before-seen view of the Enterprise. I was transfixed, wide-eyed and amazed that the original Enterprise could ever look so great.

Suddenly, as I had done many episodes beforehand, Jenna exclaimed "That's COOL!"

"Really?" I excitedly replied. "You think so?"

"Nah" she said sardonically. "But I knew you were going to say it."


And she's only 14...