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(knocks on monitor) tink tink tink. Is this thing working? [Nov. 30th, 2011|01:43 pm]
[Current Location |The Village]
[mood |awakeawake]

So is anyone still reading these livejournal posts?
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An open letter to the Trustees of CONduit. [Jun. 8th, 2011|04:34 pm]
[Current Location |The Village]
[mood |curiouscurious]

An open letter to the Trustees of CONduit.

Greetings Everyone

Feel free to post this message to any blog, email list, social media or message board.

My name is Carl Stark, and while I may be a member of many different organizations, I am only speaking for myself in this open letter. Thanks to the efforts of Erin Ruston’s blog, there has been a lot of talk brought out into the open regarding the future of CONduit. These discussions can be found here:


A lot of hard work and energy has gone into CONduit by numerous volunteers. A lot of hard work and energy would go into changing the direction of CONduit. As a person who has limited fandom time, I would like to know something before a lot of energy is put into changing the direction of CONduit.

Question: As the guardians of the convention (aka the Trustees) are you primarily satisfied with the convention as it has been over the past couple of years?

Basically, I don’t want to try to spend energy trying to change CONduit if you are mostly satisfied with how CONduit is running now. If this is the con you are looking for, I will wish you luck and happiness and continue to tell people when the dates of the con are to
interested fans.

If you as Trustees are looking for change in a direction of CONduit, what direction would you like to take the convention in?

I am formally requesting that the Trustees post a response on the CONduit website, http://conduit.sfcon.org by Thursday, June 30 2011.

I would love to hear your response to the question and future vision for the convention.

Thank you for your time and your efforts towards running CONduit.

Carl Stark
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Stardate 64050.1 Wow this thing is still running? [May. 1st, 2011|02:07 pm]
[Current Location |The Village]
[mood |awakeawake]

In this day of Twitter and Facebook I was wondering if anyone was still posting on Livejournal? A quick look at my friends list told me that you guys are still very active.

I'm trying to decide if I want to revive blogging. If so do I want to do it here or on another platform? I've been helping out with two group blogs, http://www.StolenDroids.com and http://indienation.fm/ But I should have a place I can post my own private thoughts. But then again, I've been doing that a lot on Twitter and FB. I'll have to decide.

So what has happened in the last year and a half? Well here is an incomplete list.

Escaped the suckyness that was Flying J. I'll never work for a company going through bankruptcy again. I earned some certifications and government classifications and I now have a stable job.

I am no longer the commanding officer of the USS Ticonderoga. I was promoted to Rear Admiral and given the assignment of Chief of Operations for Starfleet Command's Seventh Fleet. The fleet has been expanding and growing despite any new Trek tv series. My lovely wife Erica has taken over as Captain of the Ticonderoga. MFI seems to be hovering in idle mode with a few flashes of life. UFPI ended with a whimper.

I've joined a podcast with some friends at http://www.StolenDroids.com We release a new episode every Friday and we talk about a wide variety of geek topics. Check it out, I'd love to hear your feedback on it.

What the hell happened to the Utah Jazz? Boy it's a good thing we've got Real Salt Lake around to see what a stable franchise looks like. I never thought I'd be stating that either.

And finally check out this video about Starfest.

Will I post again soon? I don't know, what do you guys think?
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Stardate 63012.4: Planet 51 and stuff [Jan. 24th, 2010|10:00 pm]
[Tags|, , , , , , , , ]
[Current Location |The Village]
[mood |exhaustedexhausted]

I love the dollar theater at the Valley Fair Mall in West Valley City. Quite a few times we would be down in Salt Lake to take Steven back and we would swing by this discount theater. For five bucks the four of us could go catch a movie. Last Saturday we saw Planet 51. Cute movie and was mostly for the kids. Nothing major but I'm glad we went to the discount theater for it. We had also seen Up and Escape to Witch Mountain in the past. I really wish that we had a dollar theater up here in the Weber/Davis county area. There have been times I wish I had the money to buy the Cinedome in Riverdale and turn them into dollar theaters. It could be the start of my new media empire....wuahahahahahahaha....ha...ha...uh.. yea.

So I'm trying the new Trillian 4.1 Interesting so far but I've got to go and fix my buddy list (especially since it now lets me add Googletalk and Facebook IMs to the list). I'll have to report more thoughts on the program later when I've had a chance to use it for a while.

Speaking of Facebook, I've dropped most of the FB games. Like the rest of the internet I tend to use Facebook primarily for communication and information gathering. However there is an official UNO game now on Facebook. Since that is a game I use to play with the family a long time ago I picked it up. I even sent invites to the other family members.

So I've been listening to a lot of books on CD from the library. I was able to enjoy Douglas Adams last Hitchhiker's novel "Mostly Harmless". It had a very weird ending. Later I found out Douglas was depressed in the year he wrote it. But I loved the science fiction aspects of the novel with the temporal reverse engineering. I started listening to "Wizard's First Rule" by Terry Goodkind, however I abandoned the book after disk 9 (of 36 disks) because of two reasons. Terry had lots of good plot elements and world building in the story, but he was way over descriptive. This usually resulted in the story dragging in a lot of places. The second reason I dropped the book was how Terry decided to make his bad guys appear to be bad. They abused children. First I can't stand any story or show that shows children getting hurt. I loved John Travolta's work in the movie "A Civil Action" but because it depicted the realistic and tragic death of a child, I have no desire to watch it again. Combine the second fault (abuse of children) with the first fault (over descriptive) and I decided that stopping was in my best interest. When I brought up my concern to a friend who had read the entire book, he informed me that I was wise in my abandonment. Currently I am listening to "From Russia With Love" by Ian Flemming. This is the original book not the movie. I am loving it immensely. I have read some of the other Ian Flemming novels so I know how different they are from the movies. There have been times I would get home and stay in the car for another ten minutes so I can hear what happens next. This has put me back into a Bondish mood.

Last week KJZZ Ch 14.1 aired a special about the Top 10 Plays in Utah Jazz history. Any Jazz fan knows what number one would be, but the way the production was set up the hosts kept you entertained for the entire program. Even my wife, who isn't big on sports, enjoyed the hour. I thought it was a very good production. I send KJZZ an email thanking them for the program.

Netflix will be adding streaming to the Wii and Xbox 360. They already have the PS3 disks out. I can see streaming becoming more of the norm for regular TV viewers. Especially since the costs are much much lower.

Wow, lots of stuff posted. I could probably put more but I should break these up into smaller chunks. More later.
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Stardate 63122.9: Why are you paying for bad TV? [Dec. 29th, 2009|10:22 pm]
[Current Location |The Village]
[mood |tiredtired]

So a year ago Erica and I decided to drop cable TV for several reasons. The primary one being the massively high cost. Basically we looked at the number of shows we really wanted to watch that was only provided by cable. It came out to this:

Mythbusters (not time sensitive) on Discovery Channel
The Daily Show (time sensitive) on Comedy Central
Doctor Who (not time sensitive), Torchwood (not time sensitive) and The Sarah Jane Adventures (not time sensitive) on BBC America
Eureka (not time sensitive) and Ghost Hunters (not time sensitive) on The SciFi Channel (this is before they changed their name to the awful SyFy Channel)
Robot Chicken (not time sensitive) and The Venture Brothers (also not time sensitive) on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim.
An occasional special on The History Channel or something similar.

Since most of these shows had short seasons, we were often left with hundreds of channels with nothing to watch. A lot of the other stuff that we were watching was already shown on local channels.

This was not worth about $100 a month. By the time you added the taxes, higher costs for upper tiers (the only way to get BBC America), fees, DVR charges and everything else that Comcast could nickel and dime us to death with, the bill was outrageous. If we had the option of ala-carte and selecting the channels we wanted, we may have stuck with cable. Instead we would have been stuck with cable channels that are shedding the niche market and becoming clones of each other (example: movies on The Weather Channel, live programing on Cartoon Network, sports on the SciFi Channel, etc.)

Once we had cut the cable, we realized we would never be going back again. The new Digital Transition has added a lot of new FREE choices and we are supporting our local channels (that put local people to work). Some of the new digital subchannels are not even available on cable or satellite.

So besides the regular line up of CBS (KUTV 2.1), ABC (KUTX 4.1), NBC (5.1), PBS (KUED 7.1 and KBYU 11.1), Fox (KSTU 13.1) ION (KUPX 16.1) and CW (KUCW 30.1) (for some reason there is no over-the-air broadcaster for MyNetwork TV in the Salt Lake metro area) we also have the following.

This TV (2.2) shows classic movies and Stargate SG-1 every Sunday. KUED also airs Real Salt Lake MLS matches on this channel.
Untamed Sports TV (4.2) for outdoor and sports programing. Some interesting shows on airplanes and boats have been seen on this channel.
Universal Sports (5.2) Olympic sports including hockey, water polo, speed skating and more.
KSL Weather (5.3) Utah weather when ever we want it.
PBS World (7.2) more PBS and KUED specials. (replacing a lot of items found on History and Discovery channels)
Worldview (9.2) News from around the world plus music videos and specials. I think that the BBC America audience would enjoy this one.
Home Shopping Network (10.2) if you still need something to buy over TV.
BYU TV and BYU TV International on 11.2 and 11.3 LDS related items but a lot of sports as well.
Create (11.4) replaces your Food Channel and H&G TV style channels.
Qubo (16.2) 24 hour cartoon channel that my daughter watches a lot.
ION Life (16.3) Movies and lifestyle programing.
Worship (16.4) Mostly religious but has some music and comedy.

There are also several independent, religious and Spanish channels in Salt Lake that are looking to add digital subchannels (most in English). There are also stations in smaller regional markets (Logan, St George, etc.) that have (or soon will be) re-broadcasting along the Wasatch Front. I did some research on possible over-the-air channels that they could add:

Retro Television Network- Classic TV replacing TV Land. I would love to see this one the most since it is not over-the-air locally.
RTV2- New network planned from the Retro Television Network folks. Rumored to air classic B&W TV shows.
Funimation Channel- Anime Anime Anime!!!
.2 Network- New network launching soon with movies and TV. Specifically built for the digital subchannel niche.
Tuff TV- A network dedicated to Guys like Spike TV.
White Springs TV- Classic movies.
America One- Sports with some classic TV
PBJ- A kids network planned by the RTV folks.
Classic Arts Showcase- A classical MTV
TheCoolTV- Music videos like before MTV went to smeg.
Bohemia Visual Music- Another channel dedicated to music videos.
NASA TV- Gotta love science specials
Research Channel- More science.
Documentary Channel- Independent films and documentaries.
Pentagon Channel- Replaces The Military Channel.
ImaginAsian- More anime and TV from the orient.
Colors TV- More worldwide programing like Worldview
@SportsTV- More sports

Plus there are more networks that I haven't listed and I understand that more are in the works. I would love to see a network dedicated to classic Science Fiction/Fantasy TV shows and a local Utah sports network (Kentucky has one now) dedicated to high school, college and minor league sports.

Another note about digital subchannels, several markets have used them for special programing. Everything from constant coverage of the funeral of the police officers tragically killed in Washington to local emergency weather to local sporting events as well as live political election results. If they did this on regular channels the networks and viewers would be screaming.

I've talked with a lot of people who have left cable. They love it as well. According to the Television Bureau of Advertising 39.2% of the SLC market does NOT subscribe to cable. You add satelite into the mix and that number rises to 47.2%.

Now you are probably wondering if I would miss the shows I listed at the top of this long entry? Nope. The rare quality programing that just happen to eek out of the slime of cable can be found much more economically via Netflix. Compare $9/month vs nearly $100 a month. We have also discovered that our local library system has a ton of DVDs from The History Channel, National Geographic, Biography and more (Full seasons of TV episodes to Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog) all for free. Plus every once in a while I'll catch up on some shows with Hulu. However most of these are free TV shows that I may have missed for some reason or another (late night or we were gone that day).

So is it my goal to get you to drop cable? Well that's up to you since only you know what is best for your budget. But if you want to see your local stations survive you may want to drop cable (and let the local stations know that you are supporting them and watching their ads). I've volunteered at KUED (and purchased a membership). I'm also writing to the FCC about how I think that Comcast buying NBC Universal is a very bad idea.

Thanks for listening to my long and wandering rant. I'm off to bed.
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Stardate 63102.0: Utah Jazz make a bad decision on TV [Oct. 20th, 2009|07:47 pm]
[Tags|, , ]
[Current Location |The Village]
[mood |annoyedannoyed]

Boo to the Utah Jazz. Boo to greedy cable companies. A pox on both of their houses.

Larry H Miller wanted to bring the Utah Jazz to the fans. Sure he was a business man, but he realized that he needed to bring the Jazz to as many fans as possible to build that fan base. To help accomplish this he purchased the TV station KXIV (a very cool call sign for a station based on Ch 14) and re-named it to KJZZ to show off his basketball team. Now that Larry is gone, greed is starting to take over the franchise and it is alienating the fans. The Utah Jazz has signed an exclusive TV agreement with FSN Utah to air all Jazz games not carried on national TV until 2021 (yes for the next 12 years).

LHM must be spinning in his grave.

Last year to save money I disconnected my cable. I knew that this would mean that I wouldn't see Utah Jazz games on FSN Utah, but I could still see a handful on KJZZ (these became treats instead of just routine). I'd miss out on a couple of Adult Swim specials, Mythbusters on Discovery, or The Daily Show on Comedy Central. But the cost for cable was too high.

I found out a few months after cutting the cable, I didn't miss the few channels I was watching. What few nuggets of entertainment was on cable could be found with Netflix (for a hell of a lot cheaper) or online at official sites. A lot of what I wanted to watch was over-the-air. There was several hundred channels on cable that never graced my TV because they had nothing worth watching. Even the few channels I was watching only had a show or two that I really wanted to watch. After realizing that SciFi didn't want to show Science Fiction (part of the reason for the name change), MTV didn't have any music and even the Weather Channel will be showing a movie, I wondered what was the point of cable? If cable offered ala-cart selections, then I may be tempted. But I didn't want to wast my money any further.

So will the FSN Utah exclusive only snobbery tempt me back to cable? No way. I guess the Utah Jazz will follow in the footsteps of the fools in the Mountain West Conference by alienating fans who can't follow their teams on TV. I've been watching a lot more Real Salt Lake soccer since it started airing on KUTV 2.2. I'm looking forward to a lot more Utah State sports on KUCW 30.1. I'll miss watching the Utah Jazz (and the possible sponsors of the games) but they only have their own greed to thank for it.
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Stardate 62051.1: My take on Star Trek - The Anti-Nemesis [May. 11th, 2009|10:57 am]
[Current Location |The Village]
[mood |geekygeeky]

So this last weekend was the opening of the new Star Trek movie by JJ Abrams. This one is just called 'Star Trek'. Not Star Trek XI or Star Trek: Insert Sub-Name Here, just Star Trek. As president of the Ogden/Layton area Star Trek fan club I was able to make arrangement with the Megaplex 13 at The Junction to promote the movie. The USS Ticonderoga, the USS Retributor and the Seventh Fleet were very well represented over the weekend (we sold quite a few autographs for Mountain-Con as well). The Ticonderoga was giving away a Deluxe Edition of the Star Trek Scene It game as a prize drawing. We collected a ton of survey responses with many leads on possible new recruits. The USS Ticonderoga will be pulling a name at random to be the winner at the monthly meeting on Wednesday May 13 at 7:00pm. This is held at the Weber County Library-Main Branch (25th and Jefferson) in the basement classroom. I can't wait to see how many new people show up. We've already had quite a few RSVPs.

Spoiler filled review after the cutCollapse )
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Stardate 62050.2: Yes he's still alive [May. 2nd, 2009|06:33 am]
[Current Location |The Village]
[mood |awakeawake]

Yes I know I haven't posted in a while. I do admit that I post random thoughts on Twitter, but I can only do so much with 140 characters. I have no plans to drop my LiveJournal account. Here are some basic updates without going into a ton of detail (wow almost like Twitter except this is open to everyone). I'm going to get the negative stuff first because I want to end on a positive note.

Erica and Aurora are fighting spring colds. These suck even more for me because there is very little I can do about it. I'm trying to make them comfortable and get them things they need. We skipped our D&D game last night because we didn't want to pass the cold onto anyone else. Oh and before any one asks, no it's not H1N1 (overblown by the media as Swine Flu).

Dell Schanze:
How can we miss you if you don't leave?

Just as I feared, Obama's crew is scaring me just as much as Bush's crew. Sure Obama may not be as inept as Bush was. But Obama is just naive enough that he's being manipulated by cronies just as bad as Bush was (via his ineptitude). I'm happy that Cheney and Rumsfield are no longer in my government. Now if we can just get rid of Pelosi, Reed, the Clintons, Emanuel (shudder), Napolitano and Biden, I'd be just as happy.

Explain to me how having only two political parties that feed from the same money trough makes my country better? Tell me once more why depending upon government makes my country better? (what ever happened to personal responsibility?) Tell me why our government is willing to spend, spend, spend (I'm looking at both Republicans and Democrats) but not willing to enforce the laws that are already on the books?

I really fear for my country and I fear for my children in this country.

OK some good and some bad. But I really want the BS to be over with because that's not what I signed up for. I signed up to help local volunteers put together a multi-interest convention that would be fun. I did not sign up to listen to egos.

Someone tell the Facebook owners that they don't need to turn into Twitter. I see the services as two different functions. Just because one becomes extremely popular (hey that's what the internet is for, to deliver the next big thing that someone created in their garage) doesn't mean that you have to change what made Facebook a useful communications/entertainment tool.

Utah Jazz:
Wow they ended on a whimper. I guess it wouldn't be so bad if they hadn't lost to the Los Angeles Egos..errr..Fakers..er..Lakers. It will be interesting to see how this summer shapes up with all of the contracts that are up this year. Someone told me that the Houston Rockets finally won a playoff series in quite some time. I responded with "Yea because they finally discovered that they don't want to play Utah any more in the playoffs." Since the Jazz are out I'll be happy if anyone other than the Fakers win the title. But I'd like to see Cleveland get a shot in the spotlight.

No Rocky Mountain Review this year. The economy and the Las Vegas tournament are to blame. That's too bad as I enjoyed following it in the past.

My primary website is down since I changed ISPs. Since I have to re-upload the page, I may make some changes to it.

Starfest 2009:
Once we finally made it to Denver (Frakking snow) we had fun. It was good to get out of the state for a while and see old friends. I also had my picture taken in a life sized Tardis, a Back to the Future Deloran and met some new friends. I can't wait to go back next year.

I've really been enjoying my new job. The last job had six months of nothing for me to do. Not something that gave me a lot of confidence. According to friends I still talk to over there, I was right to get out when I could. It has gone from bad to worse. My new job has me busy and appreciated. I've already been told about several promotional opportunities that I may be able to take advantage of.

Home Phone:
Erica and I signed up for a home phone. We are not getting rid of our cell phones, but we decided that we needed to have a home phone as well. We feel the kids don't need cell phones yet (probably not until they are 16) but they needed a phone to use when we are gone or the cell phones are charging. Instead of posting it here, I'll give it out to people who need it if you contact me.

Real Salt Lake:
The bulk of the games are on local TV which makes me happy. So far Real have been playing very well. No Utah Blaze (the AFL shut down this season) so this is the only major sports team for Utah this summer.

Star Trek:
I cannot wait for the new movie. The Megaplex 13 at the Junction in Ogden has been very open to our ideas for promoting the movie and the USS Ticonderoga. I've been seeing a TON of promotional materials (oh man I've got to eat at Burger King?) and new merchandise (dang lack of $$$). If you want to come have fun with us we will be at The Junction on Thursday, Friday and Saturday with our friends from the USS Retributor. Let me know if you can come down.

More posts soon.
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Stardate 62031.3: Star Trek trailer mash-up [Mar. 13th, 2009|07:27 am]
[Current Location |The Village]
[mood |amusedamused]

Very well done. I love the music in this trailer. I also like how they compare the two side by side at the end.

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Stardate 62020.1: Things you don't want to hear during surgery. [Feb. 1st, 2009|02:00 pm]
[Current Location |The Village]
[mood |sillysilly]

Better save that. We'll need it for the autopsy.
Wait a minute, if this is his spleen, then what's that?
Hand me that... uh... that uh... thingie
Oh no! I just lost my Rolex.
Oops! Hey, has anyone ever survived 500 ml of this stuff before?
There go the lights again...
Ya' know...there's big money in kidneys...and this guy's got two of 'em.
Everybody stand back! I lost my contact lens!
What's this doing here?
Well folks, this will be an experiment for all of us.
Sterile, shcmerle. The floor's clean, right?
Don't worry. I think it is sharp enough.
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