We ended up not watching Star Trek: Discovery when it launched because we didn’t want to add another streaming service at the time. Same with Picard. Sometime during the last two years we ended up adding Paramount+ (or whatever it was called at the time) for some reason, and earlier this year we decided to start watching some of the newer shows.

Warning: If you plan on doing the same, stop reading Memory Alpha until you’re caught up! Katie and I each got spoiled for different twists in Discovery from headlines on things like the list of popular articles of the day.

We started with Discovery season one, then interleaved season two with the first season of Picard.

We grown-ups liked the first season of Discovery, liked, well, parts of the second season, and had mixed feelings about Picard.

J. really enjoyed watching Discovery but had no interest whatsoever in Picard once he’d seen the first episode. Fair enough — people like different things, and Picard is a different type of show, a bit less action, a bit more thoughtful at times, and it works best if you know the returning characters (and their relationships to Data) already. And while he’s seen a handful of Next Gen episodes, he’s never connected with it.

Interleaving Discovery S2 and Picard S2 was kind of weird when we saw them hitting a lot of the same beats with the plot.

sorta spoilery
Not just the overall powerful AI wants to wipe out all sentient life arcs, but sometimes specific beats. The weirdest was when we watched two episodes where a compromised character sacrificed themselves at the end of the episode to save their crewmates from the entity they’d been compromised by.
Also, the emphasis on “sentient” life in both, while I was reading the classic novel Little Fuzzy which uses the more accurate term “sapient” (as in Homo sapiens) to refer to thinking lifeforms.

We watched Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home last night. It holds up better than I thought it would. At the end, I found myself trying to imagine the conversation between the whales and the probe. Probably something like this:

— Hey! We’re still here! Or, we’re back, anyway!
— Oh, good! What happened to you? We’ve been trying to reach you for ages.
— Apparently the humans killed us all.
— Wait, they did WHAT?
— Well, some of them did. But some of them brought us forward through time to make up for it. They won’t kill us now.
— They’d BETTER NOT!
— I think we’re OK now.
— *sigh* OK, good to know. We’ll go report back. Keep in touch.
— Thanks!

And I also imagined their reactions at the end, as they frolic in the 23rd-century ocean:

Wow! We’re in the open sea! And we talked to aliens! And the humans have stopped hunting us! And they’ve stopped polluting the oceans! This is AWESOME!

Well, except for the whole thing with us being the only humpback whales on the planet. But it’s not like we were really able to talk to much of anyone from the aquarium to begin with.

Seriously, though, it’s encouraging to know that, decades after the ban on hunting went into effect, the humpback whale population has rebounded so successfully that most populations are no longer threatened by extinction. I found articles citing a worldwide population of “over 80,000” and “just under 100,000” in 2016 — an order of magnitude more than the less-than-10,000 that were left in the 1980s!

Lately whenever I take my car in for maintenance, I end up taking the car-free morning away from home as an excuse to walk down to the Manhattan Beach Pier. The last time was right after a Halloween storm, which was gorgeous, but this time it was a gloomy morning, and I took the opportunity to explore a little more.

Modern Beach Town

Manhattan House mural.

This mural wasn’t there the last time I walked by, and may not have been there the last time I drove by either. The restaurant is new, and it seems like it would be hard to miss. I like the mix of two cities: the one I was standing in, and its namesake on the other side of the country.

Also: a pirate shipwreck. Yarr!

Believe it or not, this next photo is not a double exposure:

Traffic Sign Reflection

I don’t think I’d ever seen this type of traffic sign up close before. At first I was intrigued by the five-LED pattern used for each pixel, but as I started to line up a photo, I noticed the layered effect reflecting the street and the buildings on the far side.

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