USS Angeles gets into holiday spirit

Janice Willcocks holds onto to the “Star Wars: Escape from the Death Star” board game as long as she could during our gift exchange. The activity, in which you can receive and steal presents, took place at the USS Angeles Winter Holiday Party in Northridge, Calif. (Photo by Dave Mason)
Janice Willcocks, left, and Lisa Sobien have a tug-of-war over the “Star Wars: Escape from the Death Star” board game. Janice stole it from Lisa, but Paul Szymborski took it from Janice. Egads! (Photo by Dave Mason)
USS Angeles members show the gifts they received at our annual Winter Holiday Party. From left are (front row) Matt Cox, Candi Ogasawara and Chris Mulrooney; (back row) Sue-Ellen and Carl Fox, Kat Campbell and Janice Willcocks. (Photo by Dave Mason)
USS Angeles members show the gifts they received at our annual Winter Holiday Party. From left are (front row) Lisa Sobien, Kathy Carder and Maria Cox; (back row) Donna Gardner, Cliff Gardner (in the far back), Kris and Dennis Cherry, Gloria Rodriguez and Paul Szymborski. (Photo by Dave Mason)
Janice Willcocks pins a pip on Jeremy Kranz during his promotion to full commander. (Photo by Lisa Sobien)
Paul Szymborski proudly holds the certificate showing his promotion to lieutenant junior grade. (Photo by Lisa Sobien)
Kathy Carder shows the certificate for her Order of Surak award. (Photo by Lisa Sobien)
Dave Mason listens as Gloria Rodriguez reads a certificate during the awards and promotions segment at the party. Gloria designed the certificates. (Photo by Lisa Sobien)
Lisa Sobien shows the “Star Trek: The Next Generation”-themed bag she got during the Christmas gift exchange. Lisa also received the Jake Sisko Communications Award for her work on the USS Angeles website and our newsletter, Angels Flight. (Photo by Dave Mason)
Maria Castaneda shows the Jose Cuervo mix she received. (Photo by Dave Mason)
Donna Gardner opens a gift, not knowing there would be other packages inside it. There were diversions in the wrapping until Donna got to the bottom of it. She and others laughed with the creative wrappings. (Photo by Dave Mason)
Dennis and Kris Cherry enjoy the party. (Photo by Dave Mason)
Cliff Gardner proudly shows the wine bottle he received during the USS Angeles gift exchange. The label is a depiction of the “Mirror, Mirror” universe. (Photo by Dave Mason)
Chris Mulrooney shows one of the gifts he brought to USS Angeles members. They were models of the USS Enterprise, 1701-B, colliding with the Nexus in “Star Trek: Generations” (1995). Chris also won the Jake Sisko Communications Award for his work as our webmaster. (Photo by Dave Mason)

By Fleet Capt. Dave Mason
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. – Janice Willcocks held on tight.
She pulled and pulled, but Lisa Sobien won the tug-of-war and seized “Stars Wars: Escape from the Death Star.”
Only to lose the board game to another thief.
The notorious Paul Szymborski!
The USS Angeles got into the Christmas spirit by giving and stealing during our annual Winter Holiday Party on Dec. 14.
We enjoyed our gift exchange, potluck, and annual awards and promotion presentation at Jeremy Kranz’s home in Northridge in the Los Angeles area.
And we had our best turnout for an Angeles activity since December 2017.
The attendance by 19 members set the stage for an enthusiastic gift exchange, which was overseen by Lisa Sobien.
Lisa gave numbers to participants to determine our order in getting presents. We had a choice of opening presents or stealing another one from another member. A present could be stolen a maximum of two times. The third person with a gift couldn’t lose it.
There were presents that we definitely wanted to keep!
Candi Ogasawara really wanted to hold onto a bag that was designed like a “Star Trek: The Next Generation” uniform, complete with pips.
“I’m a poor college student,” Candi said, pleading for mercy as Lisa approached her.
That was a good effort by Candi, but Lisa went ahead and took the bag.
Fortunately, Candi did get another bag, this one with a “Star Wars” theme. By the way, Candi, formerly Candi Rosales, became married. Congratulations!
There were many pleasant surprises at the Northridge party. Kat Campbell ended up with two sets of movie tickets. Maria Castaneda received a Jose Cuervo mix.
And Cliff Gardner got a wine bottle with a label that represented the “Mirror, Mirror” episode of the original “Star Trek” series. The artist created illustrations each for each of the original series episodes, and they have been displayed at Las Vegas “Star Trek” conventions and the Paley Media Center in Beverly Hills.
Other presents varied from a pizza cutter, shaped like the USS Enterprise, to comic books.
Donna Gardner had an unexpected experience as she opened a gift that kept on giving.
There were wrapped gifts within the gift, and some of them were diversions from the true gift. Donna, a good sport who laughed with the rest of us, got to the bottom of it and found a book and bookmark. The treasure hunt paid off.
The happy holiday spirit also prevailed during the Angeles’ annual awards and promotions.
I announced the recipients. Command Staff member Gloria Rodriguez read the certificates aloud. She designed the beautiful certificates and wrote their content. Thank you, Gloria!
Janice Willcocks, the Second Officer and Founder, pinned pips on Jeremy Kranz and Paul, who were promoted to full commander and lieutenant junior grade, respectively. (Thank you, Janice!)

Both Paul and Jeremy have hosted great Angeles parties and made contributions to Angels Flight and www.ussangeles.org. They’ve also submitted ideas for missions. The USS Angeles appreciates their dedication and enthusiasm.
In addition, Jeremy has worked as our recruitment officer, going out of his way to find new members. He is also a valued member of our Command Staff.
I also announced new member Janice Sobien’s promotion to crewman. In addition to participating in activities, Janice went a step further and volunteered to be a copy editor for Angels Flight. She also has suggested ideas for missions, and I’m impressed with her initiative.
Janice Sobien didn’t attend the party, but I presented the certificate to her that night as Lisa and Janice’s husband, Andy, watched at the couple’s home in Anaheim. (Janice and Andy are Lisa’s parents.)
At the party in Northridge, Kathy Carder received the Order of Surak for her work at the annual Loscon blood drive and participation in AIDS Walk Los Angeles. Coincidentally, the longtime chairs of the blood drive were at our party: Kris and Dennis Cherry!
The couple, who were Angeles members some time ago, rejoined our ship at the party! Welcome back!
Kris praised Kathy for all her hard work over the years at the blood drive.
Likewise, I’ve been impressed with Kathy’s dedication to helping others and representing the compassion and empathy that are at the heart of “Star Trek” idealism.
The awards presentation continued with Lisa Sobien and Chris Mulrooney getting the Jake Sisko Communications Award for their contributions to our newsletter, Angels Flight, and this website, www.ussangeles.org. Chris is the webmaster, and Lisa is an associate editor of Angels Flight and a website team member. Both are assistant chiefs of communications.
Their efforts have contributed greatly to our award-winning newsletter and strong website.
One additional award recipient wasn’t at the party, and I will present the award to the individual at a later time. In addition, more photos will be in Angels Flight.
We had a great time during the party, an especially sweet one with the party’s desserts. Thanks for hosting, Jeremy!

Dave Mason

Commanding Officer, USS Angeles NCC-71840