We had arrived in San Diego for Comicon and were in the taxi, on our way to the hotel the network had booked us into, when I glanced out the window and noticed the lurid lettering on the side of the bus beside us. “HAUNTED TOURS” it screamed. Perfect, I thought. Fondy is a big fan of ectoplasmic entertainment, shows like Poltergeist Puppy Patrol, Insufferable Exorcisms, and World’s Most Haunted Gazebos that delve into the ominous and unsettling (read: unintentionally hilarious) world of supernatural apparitions. I assumed she‘d be up for a little spectral sightseeing. But I assumed wrong. Apparently, sitting down in the comfort of your own home and watching a t.v. program is one thing; actually checking out the stomping grounds of reputedly restless spirits something else entirely. She was genuinely creeped-out at the suggestion. I dismissed the passing fancy and thought nothing more of it until we pulled into the parking lot of our hotel, an aged turn-of-the-century building – and had the Haunted Tour bus pull into the spot right beside us. What were the chances? Fondy was – well – not quite as amused by the coincidence.

For her sake, I tried my best to maintain an air of casual indifference to – the tour group as it strolled by us during check-in, the decrepit wide-eyed baby dolls that decorated the lobby, and the dilapidated guest book in our room that held entries like: “Saw HER again tonight, sitting at the foot of the bed”. To no avail. Fondy wasn’t about to sleep in a haunted hotel. No, we didn’t switch accommodations because every other hotel in the city was booked. Quite literally, she didn’t sleep. And took me along for the ride. Time and again, I would just be drifting when, suddenly, she would start: “Joe! Did you hear that?!”, rousing me in a heart-pounding panic. What? Who? “I thought I heard footsteps,”she’d inform me. “Like, say, someone in the room above us walking around?”I’d ask. No, no. Far more menacing than that. I’d lie awake, straining to hear, waiting for the sounds of the pacing ghost but, eventually, I’d succumb to sleep, start to drift off when – “Joe! Did you hear that?!” – causing me to once again start awake.

And so it went. The nefarious rattling of the air conditioner, the chilling creak of the floorboards, the menacing echoes of our flatulent neighbor – all conspired to make it a truly harrowing stay.

On the bright side, the area boasted some pretty good restaurants.

My sole pic today is of writer-producer extraordinaire Carl Binder who was disappointed with the snap I took of him the other day. Hopefully, this photo is one he can truly take pride in.

Viewer mail…

Anonymous writes: “If you had to have the same meal everyday for a month what would it be and why?”

Cream of wild mushroom soup with white truffle oil to start. Kobe beef cheeseburger topped with foie gras and braised short ribs topped with Vidalia onions and mayo on a home made cheese bun for my main. And a dark-chocolate liquid-center lava cake with three scoops of vanilla ice cream. Why? Because I probably wouldn’t live long enough to grow tired of eating the same thing for every meal.

Arctic Goddess writes: “Ok, what is your secret? I look at your pictures of food and I feel the added weight sneaking on. (…) So, talk, before I get the desk lamp and rubber hose.”

Answer: Okay, I’ll talk. I’ll talk. Seriously? I wake up early every morning and alternate between a 30 minute high intensity run and 45 minutes of weights. My breakfast is usually comprised of all-bran, berries, protein powder or hard-boiled eggs, and skim milk. I’ll eat a healthy lunch. Between lunch and dinner, I’ll have a power bar (eat ever 3 hours to keep your metabolism up). For dinner, I eat whatever I want – but make a conscious effort not to overdo it.

Marla writes: “Speaking of food, are you going to be attending NATPE?”

Answer: I’ll probably be up to my eyeballs in production demands when NATPE rolls around. Too bad because Vegas is a truly premiere dining destination, from the foie gras trio at Michael Mina’s to the corn tamales at The Cheesecake Factory.

NowIWillDestroyAbydos writes: “Do any of the cast and crew (of SG-1 and SGA, and including yourself) have any of the current gen gaming consoles (Wii, X-Box 360, and/or PS3)?”

Answer: I believe Martin Gero owns an X-Box. Rob owns both the X-Box and the PS2. Paul and I are still on PS2, waiting out the PS3. I tried to buy Fondy a Wii this past Christmas but, alas, they were all sold out.

Windshieldbug writes: “Your food this blog-entry looks delicious. I will be doing a little Texas bbq tomorrow night. Football and meat!”

Who are you rooting for? And, more importantly, what are you making? If you’re doing ribs, are you going dry rub or sauce?

Anonymous writes: “Is this Alan guy single ?? wink though I wouldn’t mind BamBam to be either:

Answer: Sorry, ladies. Alan is a newlywed. As for BamBam – get him while the getting’s good.

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Crystal
Crystal

I’m afraid I’d react pretty much like Fondy. When I was at the Edinburgh Film Festival in Scotland several years back, they did a terrific street play in a cemetary at night. Being a fearless adult, I went and so discovered my insides weren’t as fearless moving around the cemetary at night. Especially when the play consisted of people ‘popping’ out of the graves to tell their stories. It was very well-done, but had someone popped out of the grave behind me like they did to some in our group…

Luckily our hotels for Comicon have never been haunted — the only ones clanging around in the middle of the night are usually guys on soccer or baseball teams, looking for a different sort of prey.

Last time we had a various members of a high school band knocking on our door at various times in the night looking for their tuba player, Julio. We eventually had to put a sign on the door.

Kirsten
Kirsten

Next time you’re in San Diego, check out the Whaley House in Old Town for some haunted fun. That place is rife with ghosts, or so they say. Half the fun is just listening to the docents’ stories. The El Campo cemetery just down the street is supposedly pretty haunted, too. I saw a face in a knot on a tree there once… but I was kinda drunk, so I don’t think that counts. In any case, there’s plenty of good restaurants around that neighborhood, anyways.

Anonymous
Anonymous

I haven’t tried Kobe beef yet. How did you cook those steaks, and how would you prepare that fantasy cheeseburger?

windshieldbug
windshieldbug

I’ll be watching both games on Sunday (I forgot today was Friday).

Who I’ll be rooting for:
New Orleans and Indianapolis.

As I hope to see these two in the Superbowl. If they do make it…I will be torn for who I want to win!

What I’ll be making:
Hickory smoked brisket. Mesquite bbq ribs, dry rub is always better than sauce before you start cooking. Don’t let it dry out though…use the sauce as you get about halfway done.

Grilled corn on the cob, in the husk, with lots of butter. Baked weenies in mesquite bbq & grape jelly. Apple sauce (with cinnamon of course) and sweet tea & beer.

Good ol’ Texan, Hoosier, and Lousyannan football meal. (Sorry but those yankee folks just don’t know how to eat.)

tmac72
tmac72

Your latest entry makes me laugh when I read about the ghost story. I have to say that I would be spooked by every little sound too.

Somehow, when we go on vacation we always manage to pick the hotel that has a fire alarm that goes off around 2am. Even worse is you never hear any sounds of panicking people running for their lives. By then we are thinking everyone would rather sleep and burn up, they are deaf or just plain crazy. When we called the front desk to inquire about the alarm they answered by saying it was a test. WHAT? Who on earth does a fire alarm ‘test’ at 2am? I don’t think we will be staying there next time.

Thanks for the laugh.

Shipperahoy
Shipperahoy

Well I guess that leaves out you and Fondy staying on the Queen Mary in Long Beach. Not too long ago a friend and I took a Friday the 13th flashlight tour of the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose which was actually pretty cool. All the stairs that lead to nowhere not to mention that the house itself, for all it’s creepiness, is really beautiful.

Trialia
Trialia

Doth thy pictured companion know he has his very own fanlisting? wink

lukas
lukas

Hi Joe,

ha ha, that’s a funny picture. Carl was probably sick of being only known as ‘the always smiling Carl’ to everyone.. grin And is that Alan in the back there?

Okay, I have a question. Or rather need your help. I’m not sure if this is the right place for it though. My apologies if it isn’t. You see, I always really liked the international flavour if you want to call it that way of the Atlantis expedition team. I love seeing all those different kinds of flags. Now, here is the thing though: In at least two episodes of season 3 (once in Tao of Rodney, and multiple times in Common Ground) the German flag on this one guy’s shoulder was upside down. I’m not an obsessive fan but being German myself, it was something that caught my attention. I’m always happy to see Europeans on the show and would love to continue seeing them in the future. However, they are supposed to represent actual countries. I’m sure it can get really hectic on set but I think everyone would really appreciate it if someone really kept an eye on such things and made sure that the flags are put on the uniforms in the correct way. I don’t even want to imagine what the Americans would do if you put their flag upside down! grin

Again, thanks for everything.
Lukas

Jen
Jen

neutral wow.. What hotel was this? With baby dolls decorating the lobby? I think I’d act exactly like Fondy. I’m a baby in that respect.
Did you get anything cool at comicon?

Stillhere
Stillhere

Very interesting sounding hotel. apparently the one I stayed in during TD con in Vancouver was haunted by a ghost everyone had dubbed ‘Bob’.

I stayed in a really cool hotel in Louisana a few years ago that had a very spooky reputation.

Alas no sightings of the ghosts. What a disappointment that was.

Too bad about NAPTE, but good that you will be working on Atlantis.

Will events in Atlantis this coming season mention or deal with those that will be taking place in the SG1 movies? Will it be known whether Carter goes to Atlantis before or after the threat of the Ori has been dealt with?

Marla

Craig
Craig

Howdy Joe.

I’m just wondering if your travels have ever brought you to my corner of the globe here in Scotland?

Also, while i’m on the subject of the mother country have your cultured taste buds ever sampled haggis?