The “investment specialist” greeted me with a “Hi, I’m Sean” and a firm, all-business handshake. “Joe,”I replied, looking him in the eye so as not to let my eyes wander over his not-quite-convincing ensemble: white shirt, brown tie, cream suit. He looked, I thought, like a kid playing banker. Hmmm. Did I really want to entrust my money to someone younger than me? A foolish consideration, I immediately realized, since this youthful up-and-comer was probably par for the course. I allowed the unpleasant fact to settle uncomfortably. When did I get so old? Well, if you ask my writing partner Paul, he’d tell you it was the day his age surpassed that of the average professional athlete. “When I realized that most of the guys on that football field were younger than me,”he confided, “that’s when it sunk in.” It was a depressing thought.
Sean steered me into his office and we were promptly joined by Sandy, the sweet, soft-spoken woman who handles our accounts. As she shut the door behind her, it immediately became clear that they were going with the sweat-box stratagem, one seated directly in front of me, the other flanking, the door at my back. I eased back in my chair as Sean launched into his pitch – banking profile, investment opportunities, the rosy future. Throughout his spiel, I remained a silent spectator, feigning casual indifference, occasionally nodding to convey the fact that I was actually listening and hadn’t allowed my mind to wander to private musings on global terrorism, greenhouse gases, and what I was going to have for dinner that night. In a nutshell: if I was to invest with him, I could expect a conservative 6%-8% return over a 2-3 year commitment. 6%-8%?! 2-3 years?! First and foremost, I can’t tie up my cash for 2-3 years. What if someone kidnaps Alan McCullough and I have to chip in for the ransom payment? Again! As for the 6%-8% – granted, it’s hard to predict how the markets will fare, but 6%-8% sounds a little underwhelming. Then again, I suppose it beats keeping the money in a checking account or under my mattress (which was my first instinct).
I told Sean I’d get back to him. But with installment payments on next year’s taxes coming due (I still don’t understand how the government can charge interest on taxes that won’t accrue for another year), the start-up costs being incurred by Fondy’s burgeoning business, and the financial demands of Carl Binder’s upcoming birthday festivities (the man has expensive tastes!), it doesn’t look like I’ll be getting back to him anytime soon.
In retrospect, I could probably avoid all the problems of watching the markets and dealing with investment specialists/counselors/consultants/professionals/advisers/experts/agents/ by just squirreling my money in one asset like, say, cars. I can’t think of a sounder investment. Take the DeLorean for example. If you had bought one back in 1980, it would have set you back $25 000. BUT, had you kept it in pristine condition, 27 years later you could probably sell it for $35 000! That’s a 40% return on your original investment! The trick, of course, is to find a car that is unique enough to stand the test of time, a model that may seem, yes, thoroughly hideous by today’s standards yet possibly command the attention of future automotive connoisseur’s 30 years down the line. Yup. Snap up all of the Honda Elements and Plymouth Azteks you can afford, store them away, and then just sit back and await your comfy retirement.
BREAKING NEWS – Just got off the phone with Nora O’Brien who has informed me that Sci Fi will be running a special sneak peek of Atlantis season 4 (what they’re referring to as an extended trailer) during Eureka, either this Tuesday or next. Spread the word and I’ll get back to you with further information as it becomes available. I’ve yet to see the trailer myself but when I do, I’ll make it a point to list all of the episodes touched upon and allow you to play mix and match with the clips.
BREAKING NEWS #2 – On this special day (National Fried Chicken Day for those of you who have been living under a rock), I’d like to wish a very Happy Birthday to the lovely and talented Martin Gero. Also celebrating birthdays on this day: Tia and Tamera Mowry of Sister, Sister fame, rapper 50 Cent, Geoffrey Rush, George W. Bush, Sylvester Stallone, T.V. Robin Burt Ward, Ned Beatty, and the Dalai Lama. Martin is in middling to great company.
BTW – I brought 11 books home with me for the hiatus, figuring I could get through 10 if I really applied myself and adding 1 for good luck. With a little over a week to go, I’m about to finish up my 9th book. And so, I swung by the bookstore today and loaded up. I loved Consider Phlebas and decided to stock up on Iain M. Banks. And then, figuring I might want to mix it up a bit, threw in an Iain Banks as well.
You were saying…?
Menefee writes: “I was wondering if you had a least favorite script of SG-1 or Atlantis that you and Paul worked on.”
Answer: Probably Prometheus.
Anonymous #2 writes: “Trinty was terrible also.”
Answer: I thought Ryan Reynolds had some great lines. (After sending the vampiric Pomeranian plunging down the high-rise, Hannibal King confronts his nasty owner.
Vampire: Hey, dickface. You seen my dog?”
King: Hmmm. Did you try the lobby?
Shawna writes: “Do you ever read novels based on movies or TV shows?”
Anonymous #3 writes: “Is it the hiatus that has you off your snark??”
Answer: I hold fans like you responsible for not giving me anything to get angry about.
Erin Anderson writes: “I was wondering if you’d take a peek and verify for me if that is indeed your scrawl and whether you believe the bottom scrawl is Claudia…”
Answer: That’s me and…hmmm…that’s me anyway.
Zabadoo writes: “1) If the Asurans created Reese which in turn created the Replicators, then the Replicators destroyed the Asurans-wouldn’t that make the Asurans not much of a threat if we destroyed the Replicators, and the Replicators can destroy the Asurans?
2.)In Continuum, is Jack O’Neill the real Jack O’Neill or is it an AU Jack O’Neill?
3.)Why is there such reluctance in bringing in Ford for another episode?
4.)Do you know anything about Brad and Rob’s new Stargate spin-off that you just won’t tell us yet, or have they not told you anything yet?
Answers: 1) Huh? 2) That’s a wait and see. 3) It’s not reluctance. If someone comes up with a great story idea for the character, then by all means we’ll bring him back. But until that happens, it aint happening. 4) I don’t know much but I do more than you.
Mackenziesmomma writes: “Fireworks are you for or against them?”
Answer: Hate ‘em, except on occasions when their hot ashes float down to gently nestle onto an unwary spectator‘s eyeball. So put me down for “against”.
Anonymous #4 writes: “Are you guys concerned that season four seems to be all about Carter, love her or hate her, for most fans?”
Answer: Not really. Most of those complaining are overreacting. Yup, you heard me. Overreacting. Those who are complaining because they think she’s going to take over the show are wrong. Those who are complaining that other characters had to leave simply because we wanted to make room for the Carter character – wrong. Those who think she’ll take screen time away from the existing cast of characters – wrong. O. VER. RE. AC. TING.
Anonymous #5 writes: “Are there any other SF books you would recommend with strong female protagonists?”
Answer: Sure, check out anything by Octavia E. Butler, and Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents in particular.
Edward4th writes: “Do you ever look over the blogs of people commenting on yours?”
Answer: Occasionally, I do.
Stargate Groupie writes: “What is the craziest thing you have even done on a dare?”
Answer: Ordered and tried to eat a chicken fat sandwich. In the end, it wasn’t the chicken fat so much as the accompanying fried onions that did me in.
Primate Studios writes: “1. Season 1 of Atlantis had kind of a dark/erie feel to it. (…) Will we get more of that feeling in Season 4? 2. But is there any Heavy Metal fans on SGA or Sg-1?”
Answers: 1) Hopefully, yes. 2) Don’t know. Does Ministry count? Put me down for Stigmata.
Jennifer writes: “Any other anime recommendations?”
Answer: Last Exile, Now and Then Here and There, Gantsukuo.
Anonymous #6 writes: “Did you always want to be a sci fi writer? What did you study at University?”
Answer: Nope. I wanted to be a novelist. I have a Masters degree in English (and Renaissance Drama specifically).
Crystalite writes: “I just saw the sneek peak programming schedule for Comic-Con, and it only lists the SGA panel. Has the SG1 panel been cancelled, or was it just not included in the sneek peak?”
Answer: Nope. It’s still on.
Anonymous #7 writes: “Ben said that there were no Mitchell centered episodes in season 10, but that there are Sam episodes (note plural), Teal’c episodes (note plural), and Vala episodes. He didn’t mention Daniel, but it could be that he considered “The Shroud” to be a team episode (alot of people do).”
Answer: I’m always reluctant to name a certain episode character-centered because I’ve found that, in the past, my opinion of what is a character-centered episode differs from what other people consider a character-centered episode. That said, I consider Bounty and Uninvited Mitchell episodes.
Anonymous #8 writes: “Do you take the job even though people you trust say you can probably do better if you just can wait a little bit, or do you start reinforcing the door?”
Answer: The bigger question is can you wait a little bit?
Anonymous #8 also writes: “Are there plans for Col. Caldwell to come back, or is it all Col. Ellis, these days?”
Answer: There are plans to see both in season four.
Cheeky Lil Devil writes: “I’m feeling very restless. And i’m getting on my own nerves now. LoL. Any suggestions?”
Answer: Might I suggest re-reading all of my old blog entries and coming up with your personal top ten list.