Today, we follow up on part one of our Valentine’s Day interview with Rebeca Isabel Aguirre and Scott Tolen with the second half of our conversation. Rebeca and Scott share a love not only for each other, but for Star Trek. In fact, StarTrek.com first encountered them a couple of years ago at Creation Entertainment’s Official Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas and then spent more time with them – hanging out at the Starbucks at the Rio, actually – during this past year’s Vegas event. It was then that we realized they’d be the perfect lovebirds to speak with for a story timed to Valentine’s Day, and so we touched base and engaged them in a joint conversation. They’re smart and funny and affectionate and make each other laugh and smile. It’s easy to forget that they both have Cerebral Palsy, as neither lets that slow them down. Below is part two, and click HERE to read part one.
Scott: What I appreciate is all the technical gadgets inspired by Star Trek. Just look at the communicator in TOS and now we have the cell phone. Remember the Motorola Razor? That phone reminds me of Captain Kirk's communicator. Also, the PADD in DS9… how they look the tablets and the iPads we have today. So besides the ingenuity to spark an interest in the world of science and technology, there’s also the important messages that Star Trek communicates (in terms of) the possible evolution of our own species in the hopes of becoming better human beings.
Rebeca: Not to mention fitness trackers and landing on an asteroid. Yes, I definitely agree with Scott's statements about Star Trek's influence on the technology we have today. Talk about art imitating life. For me, on the other hand, what I appreciate the most is the timeless message that Star Trek has to offer humanity. Star Trek paints a beautiful masterpiece of a utopian future. A place where the human race is capable of greatness devoid of pettiness to stop us, such as the acquisition of wealth, from having a future where the purpose of humanity will focus on social justice, diversity and equality for all. This is the kind of future that I hope humanity can reach.
Which episodes or movies do you like most -- and why?
Scott: My favorite episode is "Assignment: Earth" from TOS. It is close to my heart because the story is centered around NASA and how the Enterprise traveled back in time to save the day. What's so great about it is that was before we put the man on the moon. I feel that Gene Roddenberry was such a visionary.
Rebeca: Yes, indeed, Gene Roddenberry was a true visionary. You know, Star Trek has such an incredible repertoire of movies and shows that I cannot pick a favorite, but if I could pick one it would be DS9's "Far Beyond the Stars," where Captain Sisko falls into a full trance and he is Benny, a struggling American science fiction writer in the 1950's. To say that this episode is unforgettable would be an understatement. Avery Brooks' acting and directing is just superb. I get chills just thinking about the scene where he breaks down sobbing and exclaiming that he is a human being. Star Trek and the science fiction genre has, for the most part, the freedom to openly "talk" about controversial themes, such as race, age, gender and disability -- like DS9’s “Melora” -- with ease, hence, spreading its positive message that we are all human beings no matter what.
We met you in Vegas this past summer, and that was not your first Vegas convention. What do you enjoy most about spending several days each year with fellow Trek fans and meeting the actors and other Trek talent? Do you go other conventions in addition to the Vegas con?
Scott: We look forward to it every year. It is our vacation.
Rebeca: Vacation? It is more; the Khan is more like a pilgrimage to me. The people are super-nice and I see old friends and always end up making new friends each year. We have even become friends with some of the Star Trek talent.
Scott: Yes, it’s true, because the first place we go to in the vendor's room is our friends' booths.
Rebeca: Other conventions? We are planning to go to Wonder Con in Anaheim, and the Abilities Expo in Los Angeles. Our dream is to go to Comic Con in San Diego, but I think it is completely hopeless, not to mention the Galifrey One Con (Doctor Who), because they sell out so darn fast!
Who are some of the Trek actors/talent you most enjoyed meeting? And tell us a little about your experiences.
Rebeca: I can say that meeting Scott Bakula was a dream come true for me. What a wonderful person he is and what a pleasure it was finally to meet him. I will never forget that for as long as I live.
Scott: She has it so bad for him, but I don't mind at all. For me, meeting Chase Masterson, Jeri Ryan and Marina Sirtis were the highlights. I remember one convention, Marina Sirtis was sitting at her table and she called me by my name. She started talking to me and asked me how I was doing and even asked about Rebeca. I was so amazed that she remembered us!
Rebeca: There are so many great stories we can tell you that it is so hard for us to pick just one instance, like the time we were in line to get Brent Spiner's and Jonathan Frakes’ autographs. Jonathan Frakes was sitting next to Spiner and they were giving each other a hard time and so we were enjoying the banter between the two actors. Then, it was our turn to meet Spiner. I asked him if he could please write "Rebeca" with one "C" because that's how we write it in Latin America. To my surprise, Spiner turns to Scott, shaking his hand (this was before Spiner stopped shaking hands with fans), and he said, "You are one lucky bastard. You got yourself a hot Latina." I was very flattered to say the least and Scott was all smiles for the rest of that convention.
Scott: Also, how can we forget the wonderful Chase Masterson, and what she did for Scott Palm (another con attendee with CP)? She helped raise funds for him to attend the 2014 convention. She is so awesome. She also shared her time with us when she treated all of us for dinner one night. And to our surprise, someone picked up the tab for Chase. It was a true blessing to experience that.
What's life like for you away from Trek? Work? Volunteer? Advocate? All of the above?
Rebeca: I am a systems change advocate and I volunteer as a member of the California State Independent Living Council, representing people with disabilities within my state. The council is made up of 18 members who are appointed by the Governor. We advise the governor and legislature about issues impacting persons with disabilities in California. Also, in my spare time, I am a freelance writer for The Geek Authority, a Facebook page run by Lorenzo Marchessi, where you'll find wonderful movie reviews and some other great stuff.
Scott: I work for the Los Angeles Superior Court and my responsibilities are the sales of case information data files and microfiche to the customers and I resolve any issues with the data files and microfiche, enter statistics tally sheets into data entry system and make any error corrections, prepare statistical reports for the Los Angeles Superior Court's Statistics Unit and the State of California Administration of Courts and correct any mistakes in the reports. I verify batches of citations against transmittal sheets and prepare the bundles of citations for the third-party vendor to scan and data entry, convert adoption filings and statistic dispositions into a file layout for a 1980's AS400 System to read, through a data conversion database which I designed. And I just finished implementing a data entry and data conversion database system, which I designed, for criminal exhibits.
Rebeca: I was born in Quito, Ecuador. Doctors told my mother that I was never going to have a "normal" life and that I was going to be a vegetable for the rest of my life. My mother, seeing that there weren't many options for me in Ecuador, moved us to the United States. To make a long story short, I blossomed here in the States. I speak two languages. I earned my U.S. Citizenship and got a BA in communication from the University of Southern California. I live in Torrance, California, and share a home with my family.
Scott: I was born in Long Beach, California, and now I live in Torrance, California. I have a high school diploma from David Starr Jordan High School. I earned an Associate Arts Degree as a computer application software specialist from Long Beach City College. Like Rebeca, I served as a volunteer in disability advocacy when I was a commissioner for the city of Long Beach Citizens Advisory Commission on Disabilities. I held numerous positions on advocacy groups and organizations. My hobbies are attending Star Trek conventions, sailing, woodworking, watching movies, watching model railroads and mainline steam locomotives, and working on computer networks and electronic devices.
What are you guys doing for Valentine's Day?
Rebeca: Scott and I will be away from each other this Valentine’s Day, but we plan on celebrating when I come home.
Scott: Rebeca will be in Ecuador, but when she returns, it will be dinner and movie night with a gift I will get for her.
Click HERE to read part one of our interview with Rebeca and Scott.