Visit SpaceCampUtah.org to learn more about the Space Education Centers in Utah. Visit SpaceGuard.org and ProjectVoyager.org for information on joining a simulator based school space and science club.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

News of the Week and My Thoughts on the New Star Trek Movie

Spencer D. at Star Trek

Hello Troops,
I’m writing from my sanctuary in Cloverdale. A beautiful hamlet in the Confederacy of Dunces.

Do You Know What Time It Is?
It was early Tuesday morning. The phone rang at 1:36 A.M.
“Mr. Williamson. This is Matt. We triggered an alarm or something and the police are here at the school. Can you come down and reset the alarm?”
I recognized the voice. I remembered Matt was overseeing the filming of a university student’s video project at the Space Center.
“What are you doing there at this time?” I asked in a semi lucid state.
“We finished early. We triggered an alarm while we were leaving the school.” he explained.
“You were suppose to be out of the building by 10:30,” I said trying to sound angry but controlled.
“Did you think I meant 10:30 P.M.? I meant 10:30 A.M. We were planning on staying here filming all night long. This was designed to be a twelve hour shoot. We finished early.”
“You didn’t say 10:30 A.M. I asked you when you’d be out and you said 10:30 at the latest!”

And there it was, another fantastic misunderstanding at the Space Center.
A film student at some university wrote a space story and needed a place to film. I gave permission and arranged to have the Center staffed by one of our people during the event. Matt knows the world of film so I asked him to ‘baby-sit’ them during the shoot. He agreed. When they arrived Monday late afternoon to set up, Matt and I had the conversation on the length of the shoot. If one of us had added an A.M. or P.M. in the conversation I would have been spared a call at 1:36 A.M. and a trip down to the school to reset a security alarm. There is a lesson to be learned here. It is obvious so I won’t spell it out. Let’s just say I learned it and I hope all of you do as well.
Oh, and thanks to my former 6th grade student, Ryan Armistead, for being understanding. He was the policeman waiting from me at the school. Small world isn’t it.

Small Overnight
On Wednesday Alpine Elementary called to report their overnight camp numbers. I expected lower numbers. This recession is taking its toll and families are watching their spending.
“Mr. Williamson, we have eight students signed up for this weekend,” the teacher reported. I tried to contain my surprise. It wasn’t just the recession, it was also the Swine Flu that concerned parents as well. I made a decision to cancel the overnighter.

The next day he called back and said the number rose to 13. I told him we could do it for 13. The camp moved ahead as scheduled. By Friday the number hit 14. I added six of our staff to crew the Phoenix and went ahead with the overnight camp planning.

I was tempted to cancel the camp but tradition got the best of me. I’ve never canceled a camp due to numbers in the entire history of the Space Center. That’s 18 years of camps! I wasn’t about to let it happen now. GM may be nearly bankrupt. Companies nationwide may be going out of business and homes foreclosed but by golly the Space Center will continue as normal come recession or depression.

Brady Young Married

Yes troops, our very own Brady Young got married on Friday. Brady is a flight director in the Voyager, a student at UVU and a member of the Geek Squad at Best Buy. He recently returned from a mission in Florida.
The reception was held at the Alpine Center on Friday evening. I couldn’t attend because of the camp and one hundred other things but I’m told it was fantastic. Congratulations Brady and may you and your new misses live long and prosper.

Bulb Woes
Brittany V. gave me bad news Friday afternoon.
“Mr. Williamson, the Magellan’s projector is flashing red and yellow again,” she said while I worked on my computer. It was 3:45 P.M. and the Magellan had a private mission coming at 4:00 P.M. I knew that combination of flashing indicated a burned out bulb. I called Kyle and went to work looking for the spare bulb.

Kyle arrived and pulled the projector off the ceiling. I found the spare bulb , unpackaged it but couldn’t get it to fit into the projector. It was the right bulb but was missing a small plastic piece. Kyle did some switching of housing and got the new bulb to fit into the projector. He hit the ‘on’ button and waited. Nothing but the red and yellow flashing indicator of death. The bulb was defective! I cussed under my breath. That was the last time I purchased a bulb from Ebay. Yes, I saved money on the purchase but lost out in the end.
“You get what you pay for,” I was told by more than one person in the room. You know, being responsible for the Space Center really sucks sometimes. Its really bad when you have a simulator without a main viewer and a 15 person party waiting in the lobby for their mission. In situations like this you rely on your fantastic staff. I starting reassigning people.
Taylor took over for Rachel in the Galileo.
Rachel took over for Emily in the Odyssey.
Emily started the Voyager and we switched the Magellan crew into the open Voyager. That solved that problem. Then I had to deal with the Magellan crews on Saturday and Monday.

In the end all groups but one were reassigned to the Voyager. The one group that I couldn’t rebook came on Saturday and flew a Main Viewerless Magellan at 2:00 P.M. It was a 40th birthday party. I gave the group a 50% discount. I believe they had a good time.

I ordered a brand new bulb. It will e delivered on Monday or Tuesday. Wow bulbs are expensive. Nearly $500!! This place costs a lot of money to run.

Star Trek Laughs and Woes
We went to see the new Star Trek movie Saturday evening at Thanksgiving Point. My sister Jilane and her husband came along. My mother wanted to come as well although she knows nothing about Star Trek. She likes getting out of the house. I laughed when she called me at the Space Center.
“Can I come to that Space Battle ...... ah....Star Wars movie you’re going to today?”
“Mother, its called Star Trek. Yes you can come as long as you behave and refrain from talking to me during the movie. Remember, this will be a religious experience for me and all the other Trekkers in the theater so I’ll trust you’ll be on your best behavior.”
Mother agreed to be good. I actually enjoy taking her to the movies. She buys the drinks and popcorn for everyone. Then on the way home we get to review the movie as we explain the plot and characters to her. She can get a bit lost with the digital sound and pictures, not to mention the jerky camera movement they use these days.

I gave mother the seat at the end of the row. Its easier for her to get out to use the restroom halfway through the show. Bradyn L., Spencer D., and my nephew Brock occupied the end of our row. Spencer D came in after we were all seated. He rushed to the theater after his Voyager mission.
He warned me he was going to do something stupid. He didn’t disappoint.
He came into the theater wearing somebody’s nerd glasses and a pointed aluminum foil cap fashioned after the ones the kids wore in the ‘Signs’ movie. We had a good laugh. He has no fear of people. That is a real sign of someone very confident of himself. I admire that.

OK, what did I think of the movie? Well, I ‘ll start by warning everyone that I will be talking about the plot so if you haven’t seen the move and don’t want me to ruin it for you then stop reading now.

I’m going to go through the movie point by point. If you disagree let me know.
1. The USS Keplar scene. OK. Good effects but I don’t like the jerky camera.
2. I’m sick to death of the time travel trick Star Trek uses to change history or bring back characters from the original series. Enough is enough.
3. Having said that, I like the feel of this new incarnation of Star Trek in a timeline change.
4. Young Jim Kirk and Spock are very well done.
5. Problem 1. Why are they building a Star Ship in Iowa?
6. Problem 2. Why are they holding a disciplinary hearing for Jim Kirk in front of the entire student body of StarFleet Academy?
7. Great job with Dr. McCoy.
8. Problem 3. Why do Academy Cadets need to staff the starships leaving for Vulcan? Going along for experience? Perhaps but wouldn’t the ships be staffed by members of the fleet?
9. Problem 4. Was it just be or was travel time to Vulcan done in minutes?
10. Problem 5. The Enterprise got behind the rest of the fleet by a minute or two because Sulu forgot to turn on something. Yet when they arrived at Vulcan the entire fleet was destroyed. Now, how did that happen when they were a couple minutes behind the fleet in take off?
11. Problem 6. WHERE ARE VULCAN’S DEFENSES? Doesn’t the mighty planet Vulcan have planetary defenses? Why are Vulcan’s just sitting there while their planet is getting gored by the drill beam? If they can’t fight then why aren’t they evacuating their planet?
12. If Jim Kirk and Sulu can disable the drill beam with machine guns why couldn’t one photon torpedo fired by anything on Vulcan do the same?
13. Good trick Chekov used to beam them while at speed.
14. Problem 7. WHAT THE HECK IS THE RED LIQUID AND HOW CAN A DROP OF THIS CREATE A BLACK HOLE. COME ON FOLKS. I KNOW ITS SCI FI BUT THIS IS SCI FI AND FANTASY. TOO MUCH.
15. Once they realized the planet was lost why didn’t the Enterprise start beaming hundreds and hundreds of Vulcans into the ship?
16. They said only 10,000 or so Vulcans were left in the universe. Where are the Vulcan starships, cargo ships, embassies, students at off planet universities, tourists, etc etc etc. There should be a lot more than that!
17. The Enterprise was at warp speed when Spock and Jim fought. At the end of the fight Spock ordered Jim into a life pod and ejected off the ship onto another world. Now remember, they got to Vulcan in a manner of minutes from Earth and yet Jim Kirk was ejected onto a moon of Vulcan! How do I know? Well, it shows Spock watching Vulcan get swallowed into the black hole from the moon.
18. Too convenient to have Jim Kirk meet Spock in a snow cave on a moon
19. Laughable to use an equation just presented to Scotty by Spock and have him use that equation to beam Jim and Scotty back to the Enterprise while it travels away from them at warp speed. What were the writer’s thinking? Come on, up until then they kept people to
“Stand Still” before beaming.
20. Problem 7. They figured out how to turn off Earth’s defenses from Capt. Pike? What a crappy planetary defense system if one starship captain knows enough to have it shut completely down! Laughable.
21. Again, the drill starts drilling in San Fransico Bay. Surely somewhere on Earth there must still be an F15 fighter with a sidewinder missile that could take out that drill? Come on!
22. They send only 2 into the Romulan ship? Why not an entire attack force? Where are the Seals?

OK, that’s enough. Multiple plot holes.
Did I like the movie. Yes, very much. I just wish the writers would give their audience some credit for intelligence. All of these things could have been taken care of with some thought and imagination.

Should you go see it if you haven’t? YES. I really hope they start a new television series or at least several new movies.

Take Care Troops,
Have a great week.

Mr. Williamson
Post a Comment