Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Thoughts on Tipping

I worked as a waiter in grade 10. It started as a work experience position for high school credits but they were so impressed with me I was offered weekend hours. This was in my hometown of Fort Assiniboine and being a 'waiter' rather than a 'waitress' was not common back then in small town Alberta. This was the school year of 1995-1996 and the only time I remember seeing a waiter was in Edmonton restaurants, so I like to think of myself as a bit of a trailblazer. The restaurant I worked at was located at the old Fort Assiniboine hotel, which burned down in the summer of 1998.

Back then I was lucky to get a dollar or two as a tip. Food was cheaper back then but I also know some of the rig guys refused to tip me because I was a man. Rig guys will tip a bad waitress if she's flirty and shows off her assets but a good reliable waiter gets almost nothing from them; that's just the way it was. But at the end of the day I was proud of the tips I earned.

Now fast forward over twenty years; I have been out of the service industry since 1996 but I do frequent restaurants. Not just because I am not a good cook but I am also kinda lazy when it comes to cooking but whatever I can afford it. I do my best to tip as I know its part of the service industry. But I have a few stipulations:

1- Service has to be good (I'm not expecting to be waited on hand and foot but I do expect my refills and asking "Do you need anything" from time to time)

2- A positive attitude towards me and my family (I don't expect cart wheels or an ear to ear smile but a nice friendly attitude)

If the service is poor, the attitude bad I will not tip or tip at a lower level than I would have normally. I generally as a rule tip at 10%. I know some people say it should be 15% now but a 10% tip is fair I think for service. For example a meal out with my growing family of 5 is between $60-$90 typically, so I would leave a $6 tip to $9 depending on the actual meal, and I typically round up. So on a $63 dollar tab I would leave $7 for a tip.

Now Monday night we had supper at Westlock BP's and it was a $90 tab. But our waitress was less then impressive. She took our orders, brought us our drinks then nothing. It was other waitresses who brought us our food, I'm assuming ours was on a break. We ate our food and she did not come back. it wasn't until another waitress saw me looking around the room for our waitress did she get alerted and returned to our table. We only left a $5 tip, and when we paid for our food she said nothing to us, no "Have a nice day" or "How was your meal?", nothing. I think she noticed the $5 tip and was not happy with it. But I am sorry she was terrible and the fact we left anything was an act of kindness on our part as far as I'm concerned.

Follow my 2 small stipulations to good service and you will get a 10% tip guaranteed.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Missing the ‘Purple Man’ (Jessica Jones season 2 review)


So I just finished the second season of ‘Jessica Jones’, the Marvel/Netflix series. I really enjoyed the first season, in particular David Tenants performance as Killgrave/The ‘Purple Man’ (as he’s called in the comics). His portrayal of that villain made him probably the most interesting and terrifying villains in the entire Marvel cinematic universe (films included). It should also be noted that these Marvel/Netflix series coincide with the Marvel movies universe (Avengers, Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Spiderman, Guardians, etc.) as well as the other TV properties on ABC (Agents of Shield, Agent Carter). So that is saying a lot to say David Tenant made for the best villain when he’s up against the likes of Loki, Wilson Fisk, Ultron, Hela, etc.

*** SPOLIERS***

The second season was good but unfortunately not as good as the first, for the most part because the villain was not as good or interesting as David Tenant’s ‘Killgrave’. This seasons villain is Jessica’s mom, who as it turns out was experimented on like her. The actress was okay in the role but I really wasn’t drawn into the narrative like I had been in season one. I really didn’t like what they did with the character of Trish, I really liked her but now I’m not sure what to think of her. Thankfully Tenant did make an appearance on an episode and as always he chewed up every scene, he and Kristin Ritter (Jessica) have a good chemistry and I had my fingers crossed all season that somehow Tenant would return for real (cloning, regeneration due to the experiments his dad did on him, or something) but sadly it did not happen.

And I was hoping following ‘The Defenders’  we would see Danny Rand (Iron Fist) or Luke Cage pop in since their all friends now and share the same city…but no. Other than a few references to the Rand Corporation, Captain America and ‘The Raft’ (the super prison/submarine seen in ‘Captain America Civil War’) there is no crossover; other than that one pointless scene between Happy Hogan and Jeri early on in the season. Heck even Rosario Dawson as Claire ‘Night Nurse’ Temple didn’t make a show.

Overall I did enjoy the season, not as good as the first but not bad.

***1/2 stars out of 5

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Rest in Peace Stephen Hawking


I just saw on FB that Stephen Hawking has just passed away. No details as of yet but he did suffer from a form of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) for most of his adult life. My first exposure to him from growing up in a small town in central Alberta was his guest appearance on the season six finale of Star Trek The Next Generation. After that I learned more about him and became an admirer of his work in theoretical physics.  I’ve watched both the film ‘The Theory of Everything’ with Eddie Redmayne playing him and the TV movie ‘Hawking’ with Benedict Cumberbatch playing him. I liked the TV film more but both are great to watch and definitely give you a perspective on the man other than what we have seen in the media.

Rest in peace Professor Hawking.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Star Trek TNG EXPOsed!


Star Trek TNG EXPOsed!


Originally published on the Trek1701 blog May 15, 2012

By C.Lockhart

 

This year at the Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo they managed to gather the entire original cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation and they had their own separate ticketed event on the Saturday of the convention weekend called TNG EXPOsed, and I was there!! Here is some of my recollections of that evening. It was great to see them all on stage at the same time and if you want to watch it TNG EXPOsed is available for free viewing on YouTube.

It opened with a awesome band playing Sinatra and swing band style music, kinda like Michael Buble. Then a recorded message from the Mayor of Calgary. Then the introduction of 'Emily Expo', the cons super sexy mascot. Then a video of Emily interviewing other sci-fi stars at the 'Emerald City Con' about TNG. Those interviewed included Christopher Judge (Stargate), Edward James Olmos (BSG), George Takei (Sulu), Walter Koenig (Chekov), Robert Picardo (The Doctor from 'Voyager') and others who I didn't know, mostly voice actors.Then Garret Wong (Ensign Kim from 'Voyager') came out and had a funny story about why he likes TNG, and he did a great George Takei impersonation. Then one of the original TNG crew workers was there to say some words. He apparently works on the TV series 'Hell On Wheels' now and said Colm Meaney sends his best. Meaney was Chief O'Brien and stars on 'Hell on Wheels'. Then they unwisely had a 30 minute intermission...Then the TNG cast came out. It was a great show, moderated by the Innerspace Crew (Teddy, Ajay and Cynthia) and guest appearances by Aaron Douglas (Tyrel from 'Battlestar Galactica') and John DeLancie (Q). They asked Patrick Stewart who his favorite villain was and he said 'Damon Bok', then from the back of the arena someone yelled 'Hey wait a minute!' And in walks John DeLancie. He came on stage and sat with the crew and Stewart admitted it had to be Q. Wil Wheaton had some great comments, the whole crew were funny to watch. Wheaton discussed how he felt bad leaving the show when he did. And Gates McFadden thanked fans for getting Dr Crusher back on the show after the Producers decided to get rid of her in Season 2, she returned in season 3. I was not aware that is why she was taken out.


It was a great show. Hopefully it was filmed for release because I would like a copy. There was a film crew there. If they were smart they would sell that on DVD or on iTunes. It is available to watch for free on YouTube because someone recorded it and posted it. Definitely worth the watch!


 





 

 

Friday, March 2, 2018

War: What is it good for in Star Trek?


With the new series Star Trek: Discovery just having finished its first season I now can reflect on the series and think about all I have seen and heard with the show. As a 38 year old lifelong Trekker I can say: I don’t really like it. People like to point out that TNG had a terrible first season and for the most part a terrible second one. But what people are forgetting it was the first new Trek series in almost twenty years and was also hampered by limited special effects technology and an 80’s TV series sensibility. Discovery has the benefit of 28 seasons of other Trek to refer to see how to do it properly. The only things that keep me watching in the hopes of them getting better with Discovery is Commander Saru and Chief Tilly.


 

Now speaking of good Trek I have to say that DS9 may be the best Star Trek series ever made thus far. Don't get me wrong, I am a huge TNG and TOS fan but DS9 just has much more going for it than any other Trek TV series. The creators were able to be creative with this series and were not restrained, especially towards the end of the series. For example they allowed real conflict on this series, the last 2 seasons the characters were fighting in a war. Unlike the Klingon war on ‘Discovery’ which seemed weird with no real war feel to it (C’mon the ‘Disco’ crew had a dance party in the middle of a war…) and ended very dumb, the Characters on DS9 were allowed to change and grow, actors were able to act and writers got to write and see their vision become a reality.
 
 
 
 
They had long reaching story arcs and a supporting cast that got in some cases more screen time than the 'main' cast. I loved in particular the long continuing story lines; in the start of season 6 they had 6 episodes that were essentially one big continuing story and the last 10 or so episodes of the 7th and final season followed the same pattern. It was an interesting and rewarding experience for us fans, but it did alienate new viewers who came in and had no idea what was going on. But it just worked better for DS9 rather than Discovery probably due to the fact they spent seasons building up characters and situations. That is probably why TNG was able to create such a big fan and casual fan base, by doing one and done stories. A 2-part episode is all that TNG ever did, whereas DS9 would do 3-part, 6-part, 10-part epic stories.



 

DS9 is the best Trek series in my opinion. TNG may have a better cast and better one and done stories, but DS9 overall told a better epic story. And the actors were great too. But if you are a new viewer to the DS9 universe may I suggest that the first 3 seasons can be hard to get through, because they follow the TNG one and done story telling style, but DS9 seasons 4-7 are the best Star Trek ever made. Maybe skip ‘Discovery’ for now; hopefully it gets better in season 2.

 

And don’t get me started on Discovery and Trek continuity…

 


Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Mental illness affects many people, maybe even someone you know…


Despite 'Babylon 5' not being in the Trek Universe, and in a way competition to Deep Space Nine, B5 has a special place in my heart. It was truly a great space sci-fi series that was way ahead of its time. It was a series that was better than Star Trek: Voyager or Enterprise.



On September 28, 2012, J. Michael Straczynski (JMS) posted that Michael O'Hare (Commander Sinclair, the series lead in season one) suffered a heart attack on September 23 and had remained in a coma until the 28th, when he died. 



I was very sad to hear this. I was and still am a huge fan of the 'Babylon 5' series and I really enjoyed Michael O'Hare as Commander Sinclair. I remember when season 2 started being devastated that O'Hare would not be returning. I had no Internet back then and had no way of knowing Bruce Boxleitner would be replacing him on the series until the 30 second preview aired. He did make a brief return appearance in Season 2 but made a big splash in the 3rd season 2-part episode 'War Without End'. I had always wished they would have had him back more on the series, especially when they started doing TV movies. I had wanted them to do a 'Babylon 4' movie which would have focused on O'Hare as 'Valen', who was Sinclair transformed into a Minbari. JMS did do a comic book series based on the B4 concept, but I really wished it had been filmed with O'Hare starring in it.



But what we didn’t know at the time was that Michael O’Hara left the series because he was suffering from a mental illness. According to an interview with JMS; O’Hara began to exhibit signs of mental illness. He was seeing conspiracies where there was none, he began to hear voices that were not there. JMS recognized the symptoms of this mental illness and offered him help and they kept what was happening a secret so not to jeopardize the series and everyone else’s employment associated with the series.  O’Hara held it together until the end of season one then they agreed to part on good terms and give another “official” reason for the departure of Commander Sinclair.



Truth is there was and still is a stigma associated with mental illness. Had JMS and O’Hara been honest and went to the network producing B5 at the time they probably would have flipped to hear their leading man was mentally ill and probably would have cancelled the series to save money, thus hundreds of other people depending on B5 for employment would be out of work.  Also, JMS didn’t want O’Hara to lose future acting prospects due to his illness even after seeking treatment.



Even now people hide their illness for fear of losing their jobs or losing respect of those around them. Well if you are one of those people I can tell you not to be afraid, be proud of who you are.



Rest in Peace Commander Sinclair, may you find the peace you sought.



  


Monday, February 26, 2018

Gin & Juice

Funny thing when your a teenager you listen to stuff you don't want your parents to hear, like Snoop Dogg's album 'Doggystyle'. Now as an adult I have to wait till my kids are in bed to listen to the vinyl version of Doggystyle I bought today.

I got into vinyl last summer when I finally bought a record player. This thing is awesome, I can listen to records, cd's, tapes, mp3's, and memory sticks. It can also convert records to mp3 format. Put simply this thing is simple yet awesome.



 So I have bought a few vinyl records in the past few months including the 'Pulp Fiction' soundtrack, Guardians of the Galaxy deluxe, Nirvana (a 'best of' album). My Mom also lent me her old vinyl collection which is awesome because we have similar tastes in music.