My Promise as a Writer

I promise to entertain you to the best my twisted little mind can manage. I will take you from the light, and into darkness. I might even let you see the sunrise at the end of the journey, but that I can't promise. My stories will sweep the hair from you brow, leave your stomach in knots, and suck the air from your lungs. But no matter how far we descend, I will offer you a fragment of hope to cling to. I will treat you to dark fantasy, science fiction, horror, and anything that falls into the strange and disturbing. Will we re-emerge into the light? Well, that is the point of taking the journey. I hope you will join me on these adventures.

Saturday, March 17, 2012


I must admit my initial reaction to the costumes of Star Trek: The Next Generation has failed to change since the original air date in 1987. I remember my thirteen-year-old self shaking his head at Gene Roddenberry's idea of a futuristic uniform. I actually preferred the gold, blue, and red shirts of the original series, or better yet, the green Kirk shirt that nearly showed man-cleavage. What was with these leotards filling the pee-ways and staterooms of Picard's

Enterprise? To make matters worse, there was this goofy looking executive officer with frog eyes, William T. Riker. Oh how I wanted him vaporized (almost as much as I wanted the character of Tasha Yar dead.) He bored me more than a Vulcan addressing the Klingon High Command. The first season of ST:TNG felt as eventful as Star Trek: The Original Motion Picture on Valium. But show me a ship navigating through space, and I'm there! I decided to give season two a chance. Even at thirteen I understood the first season of any show is usually the garbage season, when the writers, producers, and actors are trying to truly figure out what is going on with their creation.

I was sitting in the recliner with a steaming bag of popcorn when the first episode of season two aired. It had to have been a Friday since I was home alone. My brothers were on dates in separate areas of the county, leaving me to my geek time. Hell! Even my mom had a date! I

should have been sneaking out of the house to find some trouble to get into, and I probably would have if there were no shows airing with a ship in space. Pathetic!

I also remember loosing half the bag of popcorn when I saw the new and improved William Riker. What is going on here? All it took was a few short months to grow out a beard, and goodbye Mr. Goofy Face. See you later Mr. Boring. Riker became a man of action, a strong character with engaging eyes (my oldest daughter, now thirteen herself, calls his eyes dreamy) by doing nothing more than saving five minutes in the morning through refusing to pick up his Gillette razor. Riker went from whinney to commanding with nothing more than a bit of scruf.

There comes a time when all the forces behind creating a television show realize the need to completely overhaul a character. Few times has such a simple thing as growing a beard succeeded. Since Riker's success, it's as though the producers of Star Trek realized the power inherit in facial hair. Consider Geordie La Forge. Granted the character has wide spread

support within the Star Trek fan base, but I have always found him alternating between simple minded and creepy. But when the show experimented with a goatee sporting La Forge, well I almost found him interesting. Then there is the matter of Captain Benjamin Sisko. Avery Brooks started strong in his role as the commanding officer of Deep Space Nine. He was a bad ass. That bad assedness increased exponentially when he too appeared on screen with facial hair, and later became the Shaft of space when he appeared with a goatee and a shaved pate.

As we learned in high school literature, hair is strength (refer to the Samson mythology).

Still, I must speculate this Star Trek ability to make uninteresting characters, as well as

interesting characters, stronger began in 1967 when the original series episode Mirror, Mirror aired, and the world was introduced to evil Spock. Fascinating how a touch of extra hair can make the greatest Star Trek XO so much more. . . well. . . fascinating.

The realization of the power behind Riker's beard is not an uncommon topic. This in not the first blog concerning the subject. Urban dictionary recognizes the power of the beard by stating:

The opposite of jump the shark, i.e. when a TV show goes from unspectacular/boring/outlandish to completely awesome. It references Star Trek: The Next Generation, which was unspectacular until season 2, when Commander Riker grew a beard. The show kicked ass from then on.
"Man, Dollhouse really pulled a Riker's Beard last week with that awesome episode."

Riker's beard has inspired a rather terrible song, a short lived garage band, and a mash-up of William Riker and his transporter twin, Thomas Riker, edited as though for yet another Brokeback Trek. The appearance of Riker's beard in TNG is also responsible for a condition that affects some men, and a handful of women. This condition is called Riker Syndrome, defined by Urban Dictionary as:

A person afflicted with Riker Syndrome is one who only looks good with a beard. The

origin of this term is the character of Commander Riker from the television series StarTrek:The Next Generation, who looked great with a beard, but like an idiot without one.
I love Billy's new beard. He definately has Riker Syndrome.

In time, the power of Riker's beard will surely supplant that of the Force. Until then, warp speed ahead!

Riker's Beard on Urban Dictionary
Beard on Beard
Riker's Beard Song
Riker's Beard the Band on Facebook
Riker's Beard the Band on Twitter
Brokeback Trek
Riker Syndrome


  1. Lots of truth in the power of beard.

    Familar with the BBC series, Blackadder? In the first season, Rowan Atkinson looked much like Pee Wee Herman in the goofy looking Prince Edmund.

    Season 2, he grew a beard, had much nicer hair. Gosh! Rowan Atkison transformed to Brad Pitt - in Blackadder II! It was amazing.

    1. I was not familiar with Blackadder until your comment. Spent the better part of the day watching clips on youtube. I'll have to watch full episodes! Thanks for sharing!

  2. If you watch the Blackadder series - don't miss the last scene in the last episode of the 4th season - Blackadder goes forth. It was set during World War I in the trenches. House (Hugh Laurie) is in it. It has been voted one of the top series ending for a sitcom. It's very moving.

  3. Blackadder and beard discussions? Where has this blog been my whole life?!

  4. I like your post. It is good to see you verbalize from the heart and clarity on this important subject can be easily observed.
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