How cool is this?

Many of you on my friends list have probably already read this on daytonward‘s LJ, but I wanted to note it on mine, as well.

This weekend, the “remastered” original-series Star Trek episode “The Ultimate Computer” will feature a new effects shot that includes a space station whose design is based on that of Starbase 47, aka Vanguard.

For those folks who find this post via Google and and don’t know this, I developed the Star Trek Vanguard literary series with editor Marco Palmieri, and I’ve had the pleasure of being a writer for the series, with Dayton Ward, Kevin Dilmore, and James Swallow. So this is a special thrill for me, to see something I helped bring to fruition become a retroactive part of the TV series I’ve loved since I was old enough to remember camping out in front of the TV.

The real kudos, of course, belong to designer Masao Okazaki, who created the exterior and interior schematics of the station, thereby inspiring several sequences in the Vanguard books. And we’re all immensely grateful to special-effects wizard Doug Drexler, who has worked on such series as the new Battlestar Galactica, and who also did the CGI renderings for all three Vanguard book covers to date, for making the effort to include our shared creation in his remastering efforts.

So, set your DVRs, TiVos, and VCRs, mein freunds!

My lack of originality knows no bounds

snurched from kradical:

Instructions: Open up your iTunes and fill out this survey, no matter how embarrassing the responses might be.

How many songs total: 3145
How many hours or days of music: 8.7 days

Most recently played: “I am Beowulf”, Beowulf soundtrack, Alan Silvestri
Most played: “Hunger”, Black Hawk Down soundtrack, Hans Zimmer
Most recently added: “Drink Up Me Hearties”, Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds’s End, Hans Zimmer

Sort by song title
First Song: “Abacab”, Genesis
Last Song: “5150”, Van Halen

Sort by time
Shortest Song: “Twentieth Century Fox Fanfare With CinemaScope Extension”, Star Wars Trilogy soundtrack
Longest Song: “Dazed and Confused”, The Song Remains the Same, Led Zeppelin

Sort by album
First album: Abacab, Genesis
Last album: 5150, Van Halen

First song that comes up on Shuffle: “Different Strings”, Permanent Waves, Rush

Search the following and state how many songs come up:
Death – 16
Life – 50
Love – 111
Hate – 7
You – 203
Sex – 13

The Tree and Perspective

My wife and I have just returned from a long weekend away in western Massachusetts, celebrating a belated Christmas with my family. And I was on hand as an unexpected development occurred and threw me for an emotional loop…

Allow me to clarify my lead: My parents are selling my childhood home.

My wife and I have just returned from a long weekend away in western Massachusetts, celebrating a belated Christmas with my family. On the day of our arrival — almost to the hour, in fact, my parents had decided and committed to buy a new condo, a few towns over from their current residence. The last time I had spoken to them, while they were considering buying a second house someplace like the Carolinas, they had talked about keeping the old house.

Now, without any preamble, they’ve committed to selling it and moving into their new condo this spring.

Just like that, I realized that after living there for 34 years, my parents were selling my childhood home, which they had purchased as their wedding gift to one another. The place I have thought of as “home”, that storehouse of memories, is being sold, and I am unlikely to have time to return to it again before the transaction is done.

All of this was perfectly obvious the moment I heard the news, but it didn’t realy register until late that night, when I was in my parents’ basement, finishing my writing for the night. After this weekend, I would never see my childhood home again.

And the part of it that upsets me most? Not the fact I won’t get to walk around inside again. It’s that I worry about the oak tree in the front yard. My father and I planted that tree on May 24, 1980. There’s a picture of the event in the family album. Me, a scrawny kid with no shirt on, dad with a shovel, the two of us depositing a Charlie Brown-pathetic sapling into the ground.

Twenty-eight years later, that oak tree is majestic. Dozens of arms, forty feet tall. In summer, when it’s in full leaf, it shades the entire house. It’s a magnificent tree, and my father and I put it there. In the emotional core of my messed-up brain, that tree is a powerful symbol of my bond with my father.

And soon it won’t belong to us anymore.

I feel like some intangible link to my childhood has been severed, and I’m adrift.

Then I came home tonight and received an e-mail that informed me that a friend of mine, the only son of my pal Bob Greenberger, has been diagnosed with leukemia and is facing a hard fight. In my twenties, another close friend of mine, Keith Kowal, died of leukemia. I know it’s going to be a battle for my friend who is ill now.

For all the sadness I’ve felt about never again seeing that tree in my parents’ yard, if you told me I could cure my friend by chopping it down, we’d all be divvying up kindling right now.

And that’s called perspective, I think.

ETA: My friend Bob has gone public on his blog with the news about his son Robbie’s illness. I’ve added a link to Bob’s blog.

Yet another snurched quiz

Which sci-fi crew would you best fit in with? (pics)
created with
You scored as Serenity (Firefly)You like to live your own way and don’t enjoy when anyone but a friend tries to tell you that you should do different. Now if only the Reavers would quit trying to skin you.

Serenity (Firefly)
Galactica (Battlestar: Galactica)
SG-1 (Stargate)
Nebuchadnezzar (The Matrix)
Babylon 5 (Babylon 5)
FBI’s X-Files Division (The X-Files)
Heart of Gold (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)
Millennium Falcon (Star Wars)
Bebop (Cowboy Bebop)
Moya (Farscape)
Andromeda Ascendant (Andromeda)
Deep Space Nine (Star Trek)
Enterprise D (Star Trek)

Snurched from kradical

Not bad, but I wonder how much of this is generic soothsaying, like cold-reading…

What David Means
You are balanced, orderly, and organized. You like your ducks in a row.
You are powerful and competent, especially in the workplace.
People can see you as stubborn and headstrong. You definitely have a dominant personality.

You are usually the best at everything … you strive for perfection.
You are confident, authoritative, and aggressive.
You have the classic “Type A” personality.

You are very hyper. You never slow down, even when it’s killing you.
You’re the type of person who can be a workaholic during the day… and still have the energy to party all night.
Your energy is definitely a magnet for those around you. People are addicted to your vibe.

You tend to be pretty tightly wound. It’s easy to get you excited… which can be a good or bad thing.
You have a lot of enthusiasm, but it fades rather quickly. You don’t stick with any one thing for very long.
You have the drive to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time. Your biggest problem is making sure you finish the projects you start.

What’s Your Name’s Hidden Meaning?

Two Down. One to Go.

As of this evening at 9:15 p.m. ET, the draft manuscript for Star Trek Destiny: Mere Mortals, is finished. Final word count: just a wee dram over 100k.

Spell check is completed.

Now I’m putting it down for 48 hours. Tomorrow is a day off with my lovely wife, and on Wednesday I must report back to my full-time job.

But on Wednesday night, when I come home, and after I have dinner, I will begin my read-through and polishing draft. If all continues to go as hoped, it will be off to my beta readers over the weekend.

And while I await their feedback, I will begin the last leg of my literary death march, into part the third: Lost Souls.

Happy New Year, f-listers!

~ Dave