Perhaps they’re duplicates from the alternate dimension

Earlier this month I wrote about yet another Star Trek memorabilia auction, wondering about the provenance of all these supposedly original props and costumes.
Well, looks like my question has been answered, somewhat:

A seven million dollar lawsuit filed by a Star Trek fan alleges that the “one-of-a-kind” memorabilia that he purchased from Christie’s auction house were fakes.

As reported at the NY Daily News, Ted Moustakis is suing both Christie’s and CBS, claiming that a visor and a table represented as props from Star Trek: The Next Generation were not authentic. Moustakis now has doubts about a uniform that he purchased that was supposedly worn by Brent Spiner.

Moustakis was told that the poker visor for which Moustakis had paid $6,000 was not one worn by Spiner as had been advertised, by Spiner himself while attending a Las Vegas Star Trek convention. As reported by the New York Post, when approached by Moustakis to sign the visor, Spiner said, “That’s not my visor. You bought that at Christie’s.” Spiner went on to explain that he had sold the authentic visor himself, in an eBay auction. “He said he had told Christie’s not to sell it,” said Moustakis.

Further research by Moustakis revealed that CBS had been selling numerous versions of Spiner’s supposed “one-of-a-kind” uniform and the table had differences from the one that had appeared in the show.

Moustakis is seeking a refund as well as punitive damages. [Trek Today]

He’s Leaving Home

Today’s the day, probably: the last day in my house. Part of me wants to stay here until the last possible moment, while the other part of me thinks that moving out right now will help me divorce from the emotional aspects of it all and put me on the path towards being more business-like about it.
The third part of me, the lazy bastard, is still looking around at all the stuff yet to be packed and getting depressed into inaction.
As much as I try to be excited and optimistic about the new job, being back where my family and friends are, getting a new apartment and letting it all be an opportunity for yet another new start; the depressing aspects of it all keep intruding. Leaving my little bungalow is so much harder than I’d expected, it very quickly became my home. Since I have decided to rent it out, at least for the time being while the market is in the hell pit, I’m not exactly losing my house — no, I’m simply going to lose less money on it than if I’d stayed in it. But I will be on the other side of the country hoping that my tenant doesn’t destroy it. That is, assuming I find a tenant.
In the next few hours I’ll be packing up this computer, dishes and towels, and other last minute stuff — which, being last minute, will just be shoveled into boxes with no pretense of care. It’s time to start living out of a suitcase for the next three weeks as I travel back and forth to DC twice in that short amount of time; first by plane and then finally by roadster.
I hope my sanity makes the trip with me.

Ticking off time

Been too busy, stressed, and freaked out to post lately. So, here’s what is going on: spent Christmas in Stockton with the parents of one of my friends. Realized that the reason I am cold all the time is the blood thinners. Duh.
Now I’m packing for the big move, pondering what to pack where — for the moving van, for my trip to DC on January 2, or for my final drive to DC on January 11. It is a little logistical puzzle: what items will I need up to the last moment, like my big office computer (still have freelance work to finish before I leave)… what clothes will I need for the first week in DC at a new job before the moving van arrives… how little can I pack for 7 days on the road with two people and a dog in a two-seater roadster with a teensy trunk?
I already packed stuff last week, mostly books and the like. Then I sat around wishing I had something to read.
Five days until the end of the year and the end of my California adventure.
If you know anyone interested in renting a charming 2-bedroom bungalow near Santa Clara University, let me know!

Worlds Long Gone

As I pack to leave Silicon Valley, I think it is only fitting that I finally say goodbye to this t-shirt, which I’ve had so long that I can’t remember how long that actually is. I’m sure an Apple devotee will let me know when e-world was in beta. Ah, those were the days… the little red truck that signified mail… my username “GeneC”… of course, before that I could be reached at gene.cowan at applelink…
cripes, I feel old.

It’s really no mystery

Have you seen these odd AT&T Yellow Pages commercials? The ones where the couple is staking out their neighborhood with binoculars, wondering just where in the world those mysterious Yellow Pages materialize from?
Every time I see this commercial I have to scratch my head, puzzled as to what the message here really is. Because we all know where the phone books come from and it isn’t mysterious in the least: it’s a battered old pick up truck moving slowly down the street, with a couple of minimum-wage guys (usually Hispanic) throwing them out of the back.
But I suppose that wouldn’t make a very marketable image, which begs the question of why AT&T thought this would make a good angle for an ad…

I yearn for the transporter to be invented

I’ve unwittingly put myself into DC mode already — that stressed out, overwhelmed, frazzled state that I moved to California to escape.
This move is fraught with stress, not just because I don’t really want to leave San Jose but also because of the speed. By this day next month, if all goes to plan, I will be moved and starting my new job.
The new job is the key: I am really excited about it and looking forward to it. I won’t talk much about it right now because I like to have my ducks in a row and it is only 99.9% confirmed at this point. I’m a stickler for that last .1%. But suffice it to say that this will be a new direction in my career, a direction that I had been moving towards for years. I’ve been moving in the wrong direction for a while, trying to hold on to a career in which I am no longer the young whizkid; so I am excited about taking this fork in the road into something I can easily envision doing for the next 20 years.
Anyway. While the career move is exciting, the house move is not so much. Decisions on my little bungalow, whether to drive or fly and ship the car, finding an apartment back in DC, figuring out when the movers should come, packing my stuff… it is all piling on and shocking me into inaction. It is almost so overwhelming that I feel as if I’m not accomplishing anything at all.
When I moved to California, I had no deadlines. I could take my time, relax, just go with the flow. Moving back, I have specific deadlines in the form of first-day-at-a-new-job, money worries about a vacant house back in San Jose, how quickly I can rent an apartment during the 4 days I’ll be in DC at the beginning of January, how many hours per day I can drive on a 3,000 road trip, how Diego will feel about not having a backyard anymore, and how long I will sleep on the floor of that apartment until the movers arrive.
Every night I sleep about 1 hour, then wake up and start doing math in my head — how much everything will cost. Every single calculation comes out optimistically, but being a pessimist I can’t believe what I’m telling myself.

The Real Estate Rollercoaster

Consumed by my own drama, I have forgotten to post lately. So here’s a little note about California real estate, in which I am now heavily invested.

Ryan Lang says…

I received this comment today on my last entry; but I can’t quite figure out: a) which entry he really wanted to comment on, since I can’t find any mention of Ken Jennings in the database; b) what his real argument is because it is so very well constructed; and c) how much he’s paid by Ken Jennings to defend him with such an intelligent and grammatically correct screed. Never let it be said that I censor comments; that would be antithetical to my civil liberties bent. In fact, just approving the comment wouldn’t be enough, so I present it here in all its glory, where you are welcome to comment on the comment itself. I have no further comment on it, myself, but feel free.

It wouldn’t let me comment on your response about Ken Jennings so I’m doing it here. “He shouldn’t be alloted to more than his 15 minutes of fame” It just shows how retarded you are and the lack of common sense you have. He had alot more than 15 minutes of fame. How many episodes of Jeopardy did he win and then got his revenge on Brad in whatever the name of the show was where all the game show champions attended. Excuse me for the name escaping me right now and I’m not gonna look it up. Anyway Ken Jennings destroyed the competition and Jeopardy so that is why people listen to what he says. That makes him alot smarter than your stupid ass, so why should people listen to you.. a retarded moron who has to make his own website to try to make himself look important but, really just an insignificant piece of crap. Don’t be jealous of Ken.

Ryan Lang, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), 68.238.3.252

The Three Year Itch

Something happened a few years ago: everything went on hiatus.
Futurama quietly went away. Dead Like Me went off the air. And I left DC for California.
But it all seemed to be just a temporary thing. First, Futurama returned; next month I’ll be returning; and soon, Dead Like Me will be resurrected:

Press 1 for… no, wait, press 4

Did you ever notice: when you call a business that has an automated attendant system (which is, frankly, almost every business now) the initial recording almost always will inform you that you should listen carefully, because their menu has changed.
Of course, this is never the case — they leave that message on there for years after changing the menu — but isn’t it just a little amusing to think to yourself that maybe, just perhaps, they are changing their menu system every other day just to keep people on their toes?

California Misadventure

Let’s look back in time, two and a half years. 2005. Back then we were young and innocent, the war in Iraq had already been won, New Orleans was intact and the real estate market was booming.

Everything looked promising, eh?

Well, I took advantage of that real estate market and leveraged myself out of Washington DC and into Silicon Valley, with high hopes and a plan for a new life.

I gloried in beautiful weather 300 days a year. I found my dream house, a little 1930s bungalow. I luxuriated in the backyard next to my very own orange tree and worked on freelance projects when I wanted to.

I had a heart attack. I paid outrageous sums for a house and then huge bags of cash for taxes. I failed to meet the next love of my life. I learned what a moderate earthquake is really like. I discovered that I do not fit in with Silicon Valley tech society and couldn’t find a job that was right for me.

So much for the grand experiment.

As of January, I’ll be wrapping up this adventure and moving back to DC where I’ve been offered a position I just can’t pass up: managing conferences, a new direction for me but one that I’d been edging toward for years. I’m very excited about this new career but it is a bittersweet excitement, knowing that I’ll be going back to the city that made me crazy and misanthropic to begin with.

But think of how much I’ll save in airfare! My carbon footprint will plummet. And, I suppose, I can take some kind of pride in the fact that I was able to make the move, buy a very expensive house, and live in California for 2 and a half years while driving around in a little convertible roadster. In the future I’ll call it a sabbatical, not a midlife crisis.

Will I be able to keep some vestige of my California less-stress life and attitude? Will I survive temperatures below 50°? Does anyone want to buy a half-million dollar bungalow on the San Jose-Santa Clara line?

Follow along as I go through it all again, this time in reverse. And you know, it is never fun being pulled through anything in reverse.

You’ve got to love a tall man


Evidently, he’s not quite as tall as the Washington Post’s photographer.