Sounds like if he is going to update it, it will be at it's own pace. And maybe the renewal was done by someone or a 'bot that 'steals' expired domain names and hold them hostage to resell back to the forgetful owner...
I did try his 800 # I found on Usenet, but no answer at 5:10 PM. Maybe he only answers between 9 and 5 (?)
I'll try Monday. Maybe the number isn't his either anymore.