One of Many Times I Wanted to Use an Omega-13

A couple weeks back I went to see a classic film at the Arclight Hollywood with a buddy of mine. The film was GALAXY QUEST, and if you haven’t seen it, see it, and if you don’t think it’s a classic, watch it again.

The movie is about a rag tag cast of a former Sci-Fi TV show who find themselves in the middle of an actual inter-galactic conflict, and are tasked with saving the lives of the Thermians, an alien race who have based their technology of their once popular TV show. The flick is campy and fun but also dramatic and heart-felt.

After the movie played, director Dean Parisot and Tim Allen himself were there to answer questions and talk about the making of the film, which turned out to be a pretty interesting story. The studio (Dreamworks) was unsure how to film it until Parisot came on board, and then they were unsure how to market it once it was completed. After a few successful test screenings, Dreamworks decided to market Galaxy Quest as a children’s movie — which it is not. It’s a fun movie, sure, with cartoonish humor. But fans of science fiction and fantasy, and humor, of all ages have enjoyed the movie since it’s initial release.

Apparently there’s a sequel already written, but some complicated lawyer-ly misdeeds are keeping it from ever seeing the light of day. Tim Allen, by the way, couldn’t give enough praise to director Dean Parisot for coming up with the vision and methods to make the movie, and it turns out Allen is a sci-fi nut which is pretty awesome.

So, on to the Omega-13. For those of you who don’t know, and I’ll try not to spoil anything here, in the movie there is a mysterious device (that was a conceit of the fictional show) called the Omega-13. The Thermians have found a real device they’ve dubbed the Omega-13, and are trying to protect it from the evil General Sarris. No one knows what this device does: some say it collapses the universe, others say it offers a brief leap back in time — 13 seconds…enough to change a single mistake.

Cut to later in the evening. Me and my friend Chris are walking towards the front of the theater to grab a photo with Tim Allen after the Q & A, but the crowd is too large and the flash photography is starting to bug the star. Understandable, he’s seen a lot of flashing in his day, and it’s pretty obnoxious. Rather than stick around to get our photos, we decide to head out, stopping to validate for parking.

As we exit the theater, raving about how funny the movie still is, we notice that Tim Allen himself was walking out just in front of us. Chris gets excited, and immediately pulls out his camera phone — a Samsung Galaxy III. He turns off the flash. He has one of these phone cases which one has to open, like a book, and the cover can easily flop around the back of the phone when you want it to. Or when you don’t.

He asks Mr. Allen if he can take a photo. “Okay, but you don’t have a flash on, right?”

“No I’ve turned it off.”

Chris hands me the phone so it’s in portrait mode, which means you hold it up the long way to take the photo. i don’t like to take photos this way, usually, and have a habit of turning my phones landscape — easier to hold, and I like the extra framing on the sides. Call me an elitist.

I treat his phone like my phone and as he’s standing next to Tim I turn the phone — and suddenly the screen goes dark. Takes a second, I figure out that the back cover of the case is now covering the lens.

I adjust it, as I hear Tim Allen say “Ruh, Roh” in his gruff Home Improvement voice. An impatient version of that voice. As I adjust the phone, the camera app turns off. Chris has to come over and re-activate it (it’s his phone, so only he knows where these apps are) and he turns the camera app on, goes back to Tim.

As I snap the photo, I notice the flash come on! Turning off the app reverted it to it’s normal “I’m going to flash you” state. I cry out “No!” and start to turn the phone so as not to piss off Mr. Allen…and the result is a semi-blurry picture, mostly of Chris, with a blurred, blinking, likely annoyed Tim Allen just inside the frame.

Chris and I walk away, laughing uncomfortably. I apologized profusely but Chris easily forgives, nonplussed.

I really wish I could have had an Omega-13 right then, to correct that mistake with the camera and not get so flustered. But little things happen, even if it’s a little thing that is rare (like an opportunity to take a photo with someone you may admire a bit), and the goal is to let go of the little things. I cringe a bit, thinking how I fumbled a moment that was more for Chris than for myself, but hey, that’s life.

Would you use an Omega-13 if you had access to one? Would you use it for something hugely important or devastating in your experiences, or for something rather trivial but still awkward and easily correctable? Is correctable a word? WordPress thinks so…

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