Star Trek: The Pajama Party

Here is a stripped-down version of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Because of their strange uniforms, I like to call it Star Trek: The Pajama Party. I like the way the visual style differs from the TV series and the subsequent films. This movie is the redheaded stepchild of the Star Trek franchise. (Please note the cell phones mounted in their bellybuttons. Gene Roddenberry was a true visionary.)

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Violence against furniture

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Not long ago, I was digging through my apartment in search of loose change, hoping to buy a Coke from the vending machine down the road. I pillaged all the usual places: the drawers, the couch cushions, and the section of the bathroom floor that surrounds the laundry pile. It suddenly occurred to me that I had overlooked a potential gold mine. I had overlooked it many, many times during previous coin-hunts.

In the corner of my living room, there’s a chair that belonged to my dad when he lived with my great grandparents. It’s upholstered in golden vinyl and it probably dates back to the 1960s or 70s. When my great grandfather passed away in 1996, I claimed the chair. It’s been with me ever since. My friend Paul says I should burn it or hurl it in a dumpster, but I insist on keeping it.

I’ve always noticed that the chair makes a peculiar jingling noise when I move it or bump up against it. Starving for caffeine and desperate for coins, I decided to flip the chair upside down, thrust a steak knife into its soft underbelly, and slash it open. Next, I flipped it right-side-up and shook it violently. Panting and wheezing, I shoved the chair aside and surveyed the little pile of junk that had tumbled onto the carpet: a matchbook from Shoney’s, a box of “crayon” candles, a guitar pick, a hairpin, a small change purse, toenail clippers, and a receipt, among other doodads. The matches still work, but the flames always die quickly and leave behind a nauseating odor. (They’re probably thirty years old, I’m guessing.)

The chair also yielded a few coins, but they only added up to forty cents. I wasn’t able to get a Coke that day.

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Fake plastic trees

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I stumbled across something today on the internet that delighted me and embarrassed me at the same time. One of my Facebook friends posted a real estate ad for a home in Las Vegas with a luxurious bomb shelter in the basement. The basement is actually an extra house with an “outdoor” area that features artificial grass and trees. I know I sound sick and demented for saying it, but I’ve always been fascinated with fake nature. (I think it started when I was a kid. There were certain rides at Disney World and Epcot that grabbed my imagination and never let go.)

Anyway, the underground bomb shelter with the artificial trees really amazed me because my book Under the Electric Sun is all about a vast bomb shelter beneath the ruins of Washington, DC. The two main characters, Jake and Tristan, often visit a place called Bailey Park — which is a room with a light blue ceiling and fake green grass … and artificial trees everywhere. I’m slightly embarrassed to know that somebody beat me to the idea back in the 1970s. But I’m mostly just thrilled to see photos of the world that I only thought existed in my imagination. If I had $1.7 million, I would buy this place and live in it.

You can click here to read more about the bomb shelter basement. And you can click here to listen to some relaxing music.