Monthly Archives: March 2008

Mr. Abrams, Don’t Screw It Up!

U.S.S. Enterprise

If you have any semblance of Star Trek love within you, then you know what the image above is from, and you already know that J.J. Abrams is currently directing the filming of Star Trek XI.

As a bit of a Trek fan myself (okay, a lot of a Trek fan) I thought I’d put in my two cents for a few things that I’d like to see. Since they are still filming, and Mr. Abrams and I are tight (in a cat and dog kind of way) I figured he would read this and say, “Good one Stu. Don’t worry, if there is only one person in this world I don’t want to disappoint, it’s you!”

J.J. Abrams with Stu

Now, we all know this takes place pre-five-year mission and at least some of it while Kirk is still a student at Starfleet Academy, so I hope you’re all up on your Star Trek history. Okay J.J. (that’s what I call him), don’t forget the following:

Kirk Defeats the Kobayashi Maru Scenario — If you don’t know what I’m talking about, turn in your Star Trek fan badge right now! The Kobayashi Maru scenario is a starship command simulation that all command-track Starfleet cadets were required to be tested on. The simulation is a no-win scenario (but the cadets don’t know this) designed to test how a cadet would handle the imminent loss of his/her ship and crew.

Oh, did I say no-win? Kirk is the only cadet to ever complete the simulation and come out alive. I want to see it happen! Watch The Wrath of Kahn to hear Kirk speak of how he defeated the Kobayashi Maru scenario.

Christopher Pike Does The Cage — I see that Christopher Pike will be in the movie. Let’s have him do some crazy shiz while commanding the Enterprise, or at least have him talk about his mission to Talos IV.

Robert April Does Something Cool — Robert April was the first commander (before Pike) of NCC-1701 (i.e. Enterprise). I don’t care what he does or how he does it, but it would just be really cool to have Enterprise’s very first commander on the show.

Kirk Gets Harassed by Sean Finnegan — You’ll remember Sean Finnegan from the Star Trek episode Shore Leave. Finnegan has appeared in the comic book and novels as well where he plays jokes on Kirk. Since Kirk describes his time at the Academy with Finnegan as “positively grim,” I would love to see Finnegan play a good practical joke on Kirk.

Guinan Works the Local Bar — So Guinan, played by Whoopi Goldberg in Star Trek TNG, has also appeared in the Star Trek Generations movie, living at the same time as Kirk. She has also appeared in a TNG episode where she is shown as being alive and living on Earth during the same time period that Mark Twain was alive. We therefore know that she could have been around and on Earth at the same time that Kirk was attending Starfleet Academy. Having her just appear in the background somewhere, having Scotty say, “Thanks for the drink, Guinan,” would be pretty cool.

Heck, let’s have Malcolm McDowell (who played a character of Guinan’s same race in Star Trek Generations) show up as well.

A Few of Stu’s Other Star Trek XI Thoughts

Eric Bana is playing a villain by the name of Nero. Here’s the thing. That sounds like it might be a Romulan’s name to me. The planet Romulus is almost certainly inspired by ancient Rome as the name of Romulus’ twin planet is Remus. Get it? Remus and Romulus are the twin brothers from Roman mythology who are said to have founded Rome.

But then, no human knows who or what the Romulans are until Kirk and crew (in the middle of their 5-year mission) run into a Romulan Bird of Prey and somehow manage to get a view of the ship’s bridge to see the Romulan crew (where we see the Romulan captain being played by Mark Lenard who would later play the role of Sarek, Spock’s father). So… I guess he can’t be a Romulan (unless he never reveals that fact) lest the Star Trek timeline gets completely jacked up.

Then again, IMDB shows actress Lucia Rijker as being credited with the role of “Romulan CO.” What the–?! Now listen here J.J. DON’T SCREW IT UP!

Winona Ryder plays Spock’s mother. Now that’s what I call one hot mama!

Simon Pegg (who I loved in Hot Fuzz) plays Scotty. Can he pull it off? I think so.

Johnny Cho plays “Don’t call me tiny” Sulu. I wonder if he’s gay? Naaaah!! Have you seen Harold and Kumar? Okay, maybe he is gay.

Christopher Doohan (son of James Doohan, who played the original Scotty), who has appeared as an engineer in at least one Star Trek movie, is rumored to be in it. Wonder what role he’ll play? Maybe another engineer.

The very proud Pavel Chekov has always been one of my favorite characters. IMDB lists the very young Anton Yelchin as playing the role of Chekov. Well, at least he’s an actual Russian.

If you haven’t seen it yet, take a look at the Star Trek XI teaser trailer at the Cold Leftovers entertainment blog.

Okay, that’s all for now. It’s way past my bedtime!

Outback Steakhouse: Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right, It Makes One Very Big Wrong

Outback Steakhouse screws upBeing that this week was perhaps the most stressful week in my life, my wife and I decided to take a date and have a relaxing evening on Friday. Dinner and a movie ought to do the trick, right?

Despite our previous experience with the Outback Steakhouse, we decided to try them again. So what about our last experience? Well, here we go.

Okay, so I order these beef tenderloins (called “fillet grillers” on the menu). I order them well done. My wife orders a 9 oz. center-cut fillet, cooked medium. She was going to order it well done, but I told her she should order it medium since the tendency is for restaurants to overcook steak.

After a bit, here comes the meal. My tenderloins are absolutely perfect! Very very scrumptious indeed. My wife’s steak? It was rare. I mean, we’re talking a barely-dead rare. I took a bite just to be sure and, while it tasted great, neither one of us likes the texture of raw meat, nor do we like our meat cold! This steak was definitely cold on the inside.

Penguins like it rareSo we send it back, and this time ask for it to be done medium well. A few minutes later, it comes back medium rare. We send it back again. This time, the chef/cook comes out and talks to us himself. My wife reiterates her desire for it to be medium well. Finally, after being cooked for the third time, it’s medium well. Except now it’s as tough as rubber!

So, wrong #1 tells us that just because a restaurant has the word “steakhouse” in the name, it doesn’t mean they know how to cook it. That was perhaps a month ago.

Since I loved my tenderloins so much, my wife decides she’d like to order up some. So for our date yesterday, we show up at 6:50 pm to get our name on the list (I figured that would be enough time to get in by 8:00 pm). That’s when we are told the wait is “80 to 90 minutes, so probably a little before 8:20.”

Okay, that’s still enough time to get in, eat, and catch a 10:00 movie. So we run down the the movie theater (about 20 minutes away) and buy our tickets. We then return to Outback Steakhouse to get an update on the time. No change. So we decide to wander through the other stores in the strip mall where Outback Steakhouse is located.

At 8:00, just to be sure we don’t miss a call to be seated, we return to the restaurant. Again, we go in to get a time update. Strangely, 7 minutes had been added to the estimated time. But they assure us, “Absolutely no later than 8:27.” Well, that’s starting to push it, but I figure we can still make it without too much rush.

So, at 8:28, I ask again how we’re looking on time. The lady looks at her list, which I glance at as well, and she says, “You’re next on the list.”

That’s funny, because I notice one name in front of mine that hasn’t been crossed out yet, and several names AFTER mine that are already crossed out. Far be it from me to assume how they keep track of when people get on the list, but I always figured the easiest way to do this is to simply list people in order top to bottom… but since not everybody is as smart as me, I don’t complain that it looks like they’ve sat several people before us that arrived later than us.

Anyway, about five minutes later (and watching 3 other parties get seated before us when we were supposedly “next on the list”) our buzzer goes off, so we approach the maitre d’. “Just one moment,” she tells us as she grabs our buzzer.

So we stand there for a bit, waiting another minute or two. That’s when they call another party up and seat them ahead of us. Uhhh… what the hell?!

At this point, my wife speaks up and asks them why, when we were just called up — after waiting over 10 minutes past the promised seat time — they are seating another party instead of us?

Well, I’m pretty, uh… not taking life very light, so I storm out of the restaurant with a vow to never return for several months when the maitre d’ is hopefully either fired for her total incompetence, or has quit.

I consider time to be one of my most valuable assets. Time is one of those things that, once it’s gone, is impossible to get back. When other people waste it, I’m not very happy about it. My time is for me to waste, not anybody else’s!

Arctice Circle’s fried halibut… Yum!So we wander on over to the Arctic Circle (a local fast food chain here in Utah) and have a quick meal — with substantially faster service heh heh. How about that? 20x faster service for a quarter of the cost! Sweet!

That allows us to get to our movie on time (10,000 B.C. — meh, it was okay) and enjoy the great service of those at the Cinemark 16 movie theater in Provo.

So my recommendation for the next time you’re in Utah County and are looking for a great place to eat? Try out the Chef’s Table, where the beef tenderloins are also quite tasty, and the service unfailingly exquisite (don’t forget to check out their awesome bathroom — the only thing missing is a bidet!)

Why the World Needs Stu

The world loves StuIt started just short of a few years ago. Since that time, the world has come to love Stu (okay, maybe not EVERYbody). I never understood it. But then just a few days ago, it hit me.

The reason the world loves me is because they NEED me. Without me, the world would simply take itself far too seriously and lead itself into ruination. Total destruction. Absolute catastrophe. You know… the kind where cats and dogs start living together, lions and lambs get along, and we end up spending all of eternity picking fruit. And well, nobody wants that!

Too-serious people end up doing crazy stuff, like becoming cyberbullies (aka, butt heads).

So here’s a little advice from Stu himself:

Lighten up… Life’s too short to take seriously!

Two Cats to Go and an Extra Toe Please

I did it. I finally did it. After years of promising my kids that we’d get pet cats after we bought a house, I’ve fulfilled on that promise (though not without some serious reservations).

A few weeks ago we made a visit to the Humane Society of Utah up in Murray. Seeing all those sweet looking cats, it was hard not to take a few home. On the same token, being around that many cats, it really made me think twice about adopting a cat.

See, the thing about cats, as much as I love them, is that they are covered in fur. Not that I don’t like fur — as long as it stays on the cat. But unfortunately it doesn’t.

So today, with the intention of adopting one cat, we got two. Two cat-loving friends of mine, Steve Lindhorst and Neal Jenks, both recommended I get two cats, so I did. In addition to the getting-2-instead-of-1 rule breaking, I also broke several other of my own rules (kind of like when I said I’d NEVER buy a north-facing house… doh!) For one, I always figured I’d get kittens (so they would grow up in my house, with me, instead of growing up somewhere else with someone else) and instead I got a 2 year old and a 5 year old.

At least I stuck with my rule about getting short hairs. I was seriously this close to getting a long-hair Maine Coon mix.

So how is it? Well, it’s about 24 hours into our adoption of these two cats, and so far it hasn’t been too bad. The two cats didn’t like each other too much at first, but they are just starting to get used to the idea that they are going to have to live in the same house together. I think they’ll be alright.

Both cats are females. My wife chose a 2 year old lynx point siamese mix. She has some interesting colors and is quite a talker. My wife likes talkers, and I don’t mind them too much, but dude! I had a lot of cats growing up and I’ve never heard a cat talk so much in my life! Hopefully it’s just her being nervous in a new home.

Snake’s first day at home

Originally named “Frost,” my wife renamed her “Snake.” No, not after the Simpson’s character, but because when she’s nervous she shakes her tail (more than most cats) and the tip looks like a rattle snakes shaking rattle.

The 5 year old is my pick. She’s a tortoise shell, or “tortie,” and is pretty good sized for a female cat. I had a tortie growing up, and I kind of fell in love with the crazy colors of torties.

Dax the cat

Originally named the very generic “Kitty,”I renamed her “Dax.” Yeah, I have a thing for single-syllable Star Trek names, and Dax was the only female character name I could think of off hand. She also has an interesting mutation that, despite her age, kind of sold me on her. Can you see it in the above picture? If not, here’s a close up:

Dax’ extra toeYep, that’s a couple extra toes you’re looking at. She has at least one extra digit on each of her four feet. One her front legs, it kind of looks like she has an opposable thumb at times, and I half expect her to just start picking things up in her paw like a human.

I know it’s kind of weird of me, but I really like the weird mutation, so I got her. We discovered that a claw on one of her mutant toes had grown so long, it had curled around and was stabbing her in the paw, so we trimmed it off.

So there you have it. We’ll see if I regret my decision after a few weeks with the new family members.