Sunday, 28 September 2014

The Engage Podcast's guide to conventions!

Hi guys
With DST3 days away, I thought it was a good idea to write down some useful tips for attending a convention!
Before I start, you maybe wondering "why is Simon in a position to give me advice on attending cons?"
In order to answer your question, I need to make use of The Doctor's TARDIS. Because I'm going to need to use a bit of time travel to explain it!

I think a good place to take the TARDIS back to first...would be between 2003-2005 (ish!).
As around that time, I attended quite a few small conventions with my Mum and Godfather, but they really aren't worth mentioning!
The second place the TARDIS would land, is 2010 where I attended London Film and Comic Con at Earls Court 2. This time I went with Jamie and his Dad...although we only went for a day so I didn't gleam much advice from that event either!

It's not until 2012 where me, Jamie and Phil attended our first Destination Star Trek event. Where my wealth of convention knowledge is formed. As we spend two enjoyable days up there covering the event!

Pop back into the TARDIS for one final trip. To February of this year, where I ventured over to Frankfurt for DSTG on my one man Away Team. This time I was able to envelop myself into the convention whole heartedly, making it possible to attend the convention for the full three days!

OK enough about me! Time for some convention tips!!!

Tip #1-Book early to avoid disappointment!
Depending on whether it is a convention abroad or in your home country, make sure you book your convention ticket (and additions) at your earliest opportunity. As this is quite an important part of your convention I would spend a lot of time researching what ticket you want.
Here are something's to think about for your convention ticket: 
  • Price-fit your ticket around your will need money left over to enjoy the convention!
  • Perks- does it have extra's you really want like Reserved Priority talk seating and exclusive content!
  • 'Happiness'- I know this one sounds bonkers...but buy a ticket that will make you feel happy and comfortable while your at the convention. As if you pick the wrong ticket, you won't enjoy the experience as much!
This also goes for hotel rooms, as you don't want to be stuck in the expensive position of traveling to and from the convention everyday! 
Just like the convention ticket, I would recommend doing extensive research.
Here are something's to consider while choosing your convention hotel: 
  • Distance from convention centre- make sure it's staggering distance away from the convention!
  • Price- fit the hotel around your budget...and don't just book the first hotel you see!
  • Parking- check the hotel has free you might be able to leave the car there, without spending money on expensive convention centre parking charges!
  • Food- make sure your hotel has a restaurant or cafĂ©...just encase you get a bit hungry after a busy day wandering around the convention! 
 Tip #2- Plan...but don't plan so you avoid disappointment...again!
This is another tip that sounds absolutely bonkers...organise your days at the event 'loosely'. As when your at a convention, you get in the mind-set that you have to see and do everything the convention offers. But in reality, you can't do it!!!
SO don't plan your convention days down to the trust me it will fall apart within ten minutes of you entering the convention!
My recommendation is to sort the events you want to see into different groups like:
The booked group- which are events you've already paid to see or do.
The quite like to see or do group- events your interesting in seeing or doing...if I get there in time!
I would also recommend buying all your (known) autograph/photo-shoot covers and autograph pictures on the day before the convention or if that's not possible the first day. As Then you can just put the picture into the cover straight away without having to worry about it getting damaged!
 Tip #3-Budget
Before the convention your going to give yourself a budget to live on in those hectic few days. From experience I would imagine that would be a pretty big sum. Although though my experiences, I've always found that you always spend a lot less than you anticipate.
So I would recommend that you budget high, spend low! This way you will feel a sense of achievement, when you discover you didn't spend the entirety of your budget!!!

Tip #4- Be sensible
At the convention your going to do an awful lot of walking, so it is in your best interest to wear sensible footwear! As by the end of day one (whenever that it) your going to feel very tired, and your feet are going hurt...a lot!!!
Like I say they are going to be extremely long days, so make sure you rest every now and then during the convention. As your body won't be able to keep up with everything your 'trying' to do.
Your body will also need plenty of sleep before each day of the convention. Listen to your body when this happens!!! 
Try to make time to do simple obvious things like having something to eat or going to the the adrenaline makes you forget all about these important things. If you miss them then you could end up getting dehydrated making you faint. This unfortunately could make it possible for you to miss all the exciting things you want to do!
I think that's everything, enjoy the event and I hope you find this advice helpful for your convention expedition!
This is Simon from The Engage Podcast signing out!

Sunday, 14 September 2014

The Good Deeds in Star Trek! (YouTube channel)

Hi everyone! As you may have noticed recently we have uploaded some new videos to our YouTube channel. You can see we have posted different things on there. Our ice bucket challenges and a group of video's covering the previous Destination Star Trek conventions from London (2012) and Frankfurt (2014)!

Check out our channel!

The Engage Podcast : YouTube



However within the next few weeks, by the time we go live and are at the convention, I will have started to post themed videos concerning the good deeds in Star Trek! The examples of which will be picked from all the series!

A good deed can mean a variety of different things, a kindness one stranger does for another, like the stories featured in The Metro (free newspaper).


 One example is from their Friday 12th September's edition:

"Thank you so much to the young lady who got off the train to help me, an elderly woman with a dog, when I fell and hit my face against the train door and was bleeding profusely at Royal Oak on my way to Wood Green. She stayed with me until I was collected. Also, thank you to the driver of the train, who tried to get help at the station." 

Lillis Janicki, London

Reading this selfless act and many others like it, inspired me to start developing my Star Trek good deed feed!

Furthermore both The Metro good deed section and Star Trek is a reminder that we as human beings have the capacity to do great and wonderful things for each other. By highlighting these actions in Star Trek, I hope to inspire others to carry out generous acts. In a sense it can be a moral and ethical guide for us to strive to be more than we can be and fulfil our potential in all aspects of our lives as it has for me, Simon and Phil!

Though they are both similar (The Metro and Star Trek selfless deeds). I will be putting a twist on it and discussing why I have chosen that deed, while most importantly questioning whether something a character has done was actually good or questionable. For example should Janeway have stranded her crew in the Delta Quadrant?

This will involve looking at morals, messages and meanings behind that "kind action," which can be morally and ethically questionable. It's about getting us to think how you interpret the message in what it means to you and what would you do if faced with a choice like that (in this scenario and many others.)

I plan to release the introduction and the first good deed feed video before Thursday 2nd October at the latest. The video's will be released initially twice a month at least (although this could vary on my work schedule). So keep your eyes open for them!

It is my hopes that the good deed feed will be the main focus for our channel. Although Simon and Phil will be uploading videos from time to time for the podcast.

I'll see you soon!

Feel free to check out The Metro wesbite!

Metro Paper

Don't forget to vote in our Borg: Villains, Victims or Both poll! There's still 47 days left to cast it!

Borg poll

Friday, 12 September 2014

Details about The Engage Podcast pre-launch episodes! Updated

Hi everyone!
Firstly I have to admit my last blog post might appear quite alarmist of me as...obviously your reading my new blog post!
Which is a surprise to all of us I assure you, as when I wrote the last blog post it appeared as though all my preparations were going to take the rest of the month. But it occurred to me while I was looking over the Fan Panel PowerPoint and Prompt Sheet that I was being a bit of a pessimist (which is very unlike me!). As it appears we're ahead of schedule for the Fan Panel!

Because of that I have a bit more time available to me, so I can write a blog post explaining what we are going to release in the next few weeks. Before our official launch on the 3rd of October at Destination Star Trek!!!

The first thing we'll be releasing is our Promo, which you can already listen to over on our Downloads Page! Our Promo is a quick promotional introduction to the podcast. Which you'll be able to download it along with everything else via iTunes and Podomatic.
Podomatic is still being developed, so there might be a few teething problems, until we get the page looking and working how we like! The site will be linked up with the aforementioned Downloads Page in order for you to download our podcasts!!!

Then we go onto what we like to call Teaser Episodes, which as the name suggests teases at what you can expect from us once the full length episodes are recorded and released! All three Teaser Episode's have their own topic, which we discuss at length.
As they are special episodes, we thought it was appropriate that they have a unique format. So at the beginning of each episode one of us introduces ourselves and explains how they got into Star Trek. Once they're happy that they've achieved it, we then discuss the topic at hand!

The first topic we discuss is, was it right for the Federation to sign the Treaty of Algeron? Should the Federation have cloaking technology?
In the first episode we discuss the moral and ethical dilemma's surrounding the Federation's decision to sign the Treaty of Algeron in 2311. A peace accord making it illegal for them to use cloaking technology. I have the honour of introducing myself first!

The second topic we deliberate over is, the Memory Alpha Random Page Game
In this episode we have a little bit of fun! As we play one of the most fun and unpredictable games related to Star Trek on the internet. The Memory Alpha Random Page Game is a pastime that makes use of the website's Random Page function. The game can be played as a single player or multiplayer.

You play by pressing the button and seeing who has the most interesting page. The person who gets the most interesting pages overall is the winner! Phil had the opportunity of introducing himself in this Teaser Episode!

The last topic we debated was, Which series is it best to be a Federation Citizen?
In the final episode we debate, which era is the optimum time to be living on Earth in the Federation. To work this out we used a criteria. The points of comparison were the technological advances, the chances of survival and the feelings of security. Jamie had pleasure of starting this Teaser Episode!

We are really looking forward to meeting you all at DST3!!!
Simon, Jamie and Phil

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

The Benefits of Classical Music.

Hi everyone! This blog topic is an unusual one for me as I know zilch about classical music (there I said it!). I couldn't tell you any of the famous composers through history or the pieces they have produced. It's like a foreign language to me. I know it exists, I just haven't learned it.

Sure I had tuned in before (pun intended) and heard snippets on car journeys when I was younger. I know that my dad occasionally listened to it and I've heard people talking about it. But like other things back then it passed me by.

However within the last couple of weeks, on a few occasions, I have found myself listening to the radio station for classical music (100.9 MHz) on my phone. I did this as I couldn't sleep. So I began trawling through the frequency and found this. I was then struck (as I began drifting off to sleep) how relaxing and soothing it was to my ears, which brings us nicely onto one of the first of three benefits.


1. It's relaxing and could help you sleep!

Crew members from the Enterprise D do this! Captain Picard and other members of the crew have gone along to ten-forward in the evening to listen to Data and other crew members play classical recitals to enjoy and relax after their duty shifts! For example in the episode In Theory (S4, EP 25) or Sarek (S3, EP 23).

And I'm sure you've all had that. You've had an exhausting and sometimes rubbish day at work and all you want to do is get home and be with the family and kick back with a drink, (I'll use wine as the stereotypical example!) with a good book or in certain cases for some of you, listen to classical music.

Now classical music has different tones and vibrations like any music, it can be fierce and fast (which might relax some of you, but not for me!) or slow and gentle. Sophie Johnson, an ehow contributor online states that scientists have studied how listening to classical music affects the brain and they have discovered "it has beneficial and constructive effects."

This is partly due to dopamine, a chemical being released in the brain, that among other things allows to feel pleasure and affects moods and states, such as relaxtion, which in a very relaxed state make us drift off to sleep.


2. Brief increased intelligence.

Or known more as the so called Mozart Effect conducted originally in 1993 by Rauscher, Shaw and Ky. They and other scientists have claimed that while subjects were listening to Mozart, they gained a temporary increase in IQ, making them more intelligent! Apparently this lasts for only about 12 minutes.

However I should point out that this study is not 100% conclusive as only some scientists have been able to replicate the original findings, whilst others haven't. This has made the study dip into conteroversy, as also some have claimed the increased intelligence comes from the enjoyment of listening to the music, not the actual music itself.

On the other hand this could partly explain why students from school, college and university do better on exams than they expect as they listen to classical music whilst revising. This also helps them to relax and focus more! Thus they do better!

3. It affects mood, emotions and can have positive impacts on relationships!

According to Sophie Johnson, classical music is like telling a story, with different sounds and tones that evoke emotion and mood within us all. It offers us increased rewards of not just enjoyment listening to it and possible spurts of increased intelligence, it can also help forge and hone relationships between friends, family or loved ones.

For example on many radio stations, those that play classical music or otherwise, I'm sure some have you have sent in requests for songs to be played dedicated to a loved one. This can be either generally or on special occassions such as birthdays, wedding anniversarys or valentines day.

Classical music help forged the relationship in The Next Generation between Captain Picard and Lt. Commander Darren, head of stellar cartography in the wonderful episode Lessons, (S6, EP 19). Intially Picard sees Darren playing a classical music piece on piano in ten-forward at a recital. He reveals he plays a Resican flute he was given in the episode The Inner Light (S5, EP 25).

Soon they start playing music together (see picture above!) as their relationship grows. Both episodes mentioned are amazing, so if you haven't already watched them, check it out!

These are just three benefits of listening to classical music, though there is undobutedly more, and even now in the 24th century for those like Picard and Data, music whether classical or otherwise, will always continue to endure!     

Here is a link to Sophie Johnson, What are the Benefits of Classical music article below!
Benefits of classical music

Also check out this link Simon sent me, Ex Astris Scientia, a Star Trek database that has a section on classical music!

Classical Music in Star Trek

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Lack of blog posts to be uploaded from me in the next few weeks- Simon

Hi guys
I just want to make you all aware that over the next few weeks the number of blogs written by me are likely to fall, as I am still quite busy preparing, writing (and finalising) the different elements that will go into our DST3 Fan Panel!

As you can imagine there is an awful lot I need to complete before the month is out!
One of the main elements that we will rely on at the convention is our Prompt Sheet. Which (once finished) will detail the format of our discussion, and the notes needed to fully explain how we come to the conclusions we've come to!!!
The other vital element to any Fan Panel is a bright and colourful PowerPoint, which as you can imagine will be a visual representation for the discussion. We hope it will spur the audiences imagination, so that they ask themselves fascinating and interesting questions about the famous (if not infamous) cyborg race!!!

On top of all those preparations, I've also got the herculean task of getting the podcast ready to go live on the same day we host our Fan Panel on stage!
This has got it's elements which have still got to combine to make a whole. As you many have seen over the past month some of the preparations have already gone live!
See this post for more details: TEP Podcast Media Live!

Although we've got an awful lot more to do, before we're capable of releasing podcasts on a regular basis. Me, Jamie and Phil have got our own jobs to complete before the deadline runs out!

I think this is best time to admit to you all that once we start broadcasting. Some of the episodes you will hear will be one's we've recorded in the past.
I know that doesn't sound great but it isn't as bad as it's sounds. Because we feel that these episodes have got interesting ideas and concepts in them. Which we would like you to hear! All the podcasts will all be labelled so that you'll be able to identify them with ease!!!

Make sure you check out and vote in our Borg poll over on the right of your screen. The results of the poll will be revealed and used in our Fan Panel, so every vote counts!
We'd love to know what you think!!!

The poll finishes at 5:00pm on Friday 3rd of October 2014!!!