Star Trek

Cheap Space Nine

Last December, after newly registering on Yahoo! Auctions Japan, I won an auction for the entire seven seasons of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (DS9).  At only 5,000 yen ($60) it was an amazing deal.  A Kiwi guy in Otaru had them for sale, and I just got lucky.  They were the authentic, North American release retail dvds that sold for $120 per season when they were first released.  They still go for half that now.

While I was pretty jazzed and excited about my great steal of a deal, I wanted to have the Japanese release of the DVDs, complete with Japanese subtitles and Japanese dubbing.  Yes, I know, this is a bit specifically obsessive and weird, but I thought that rewatching this series that I love in another language that I am studying would be like killing two birds with one stone.  On weeknights when I end up watching eight episodes in a row non-stop, I wouldn’t be retreating into my own little English sci-fi nerd world, I would be retreating into my own Japanese sci-fi nerd world.

However, the Japanese releases were going for anywhere from 8,000 yen to 15,000 yen per season, used.  Not affordable.  Well, last week, I came across an auction that had ALL seven seasons of DS9, which included Japanese subtitles and dubbed dialogue.  Only 10,000 yen.  I bid on it without thinking.  On the auction page, this was the only image of the box set:

At the time, I realized that it was sort of odd for there to be a set containing all seven seasons of DS9 in a single box, and that it was weird for it to say “Star Trek 4” underneath the main title.  After all, DS9 is the third Star Trek series, and the term “Star Trek 4” typically refers to the movie Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, starring the original cast.


Deck: The Sequel

One of the nice things about the Saroma AET house was the deck that Hiram built about 10 years ago.  Unfortunately, all of the decking wood except the posts were untreated wood, and over 10 winters of snowfall, giant plowed snowmounds, and their successive melting, the deck became pretty well rotted to bits.  Intending to complete its replacement last summer, I tore the whole thing out. When I realized that most of the wood, while perhaps salvageable for other purposes, wasn’t nice enough to reuse in parts of the deck, I sort of put the project on hold.  My budget estimates put the cost of lumber alone anywhere from 25,000 to 80,000 yen, depending on how much of the deck was to be treated wood, and how large I was going to rebuild it.

A winter passed with no deck, and the old boards continued to take up space in my shed.  Well, after returning to Saroma from a much needed traipse through Alaska, I finally put my nose to it.  I bought lumber from three different sources (very limited supplies) and hauled it all in my Nissan March.  I decided to rebuild the deck more or less as Hiram had originally built it – 6’x6′ square, with a simple 2’x8″ base of treated stringers, and 2’x6″ untreated decking boards, with a fair reconstruction of the situationally functional but probably not to code staircase.  The fact that none of the stringers or decking boards had to be cut made this deck size seem even nicer.

So, over a week, working for a few hours each day I managed to stain all of the wood and assemble the whole thing, including the staircase, without much more than an iPhone level, a tape measure, and a drill.  Ok, so I did borrow a circular saw from a neighbor.  My point is that any professional carpenter would strongly disapprove of my methods.  Anyway, building the deck itself was a good learning and social experience.  One afternoon so many people stopped by to say hi and see what I was doing, that I hardly made any progress.

The old deck before I tore it out last July:

The old deck

And the new improved deck I finished up last weekend.  Photo links to a larger gallery of deck glamour shots.