I almost run into him as I turn the corner and, as I’m about to initiate small talk, my mind draws a complete blank. What’s his name again? I scramble to come up with an appropriate cover, but he beats me to it with: “Hey, buddy.” Hey, buddy? Buddy? That’s just one step above Seinfeld’s “Hey…you…”. Come to think of it, it’s probably worse because it not only confirms the speaker has forgotten your name, but it adds insult to injury by suggesting a faux familiarity – the diametrical opposite to our social relationship. In truth, I’m as much his “buddy” as he’s my “little pooky bear”. Hey, buddy? I’ve always preferred the more casually neutral “Hey” which I’ll often use to segue into some throwaway greeting like “Hey, how’s it going?” or “Hey, what’s new?” or “Hey, don’t forget to wash your hands after using the toilet.”. After all, I never call my friends by their first names. It’s never “Morning, Paul.” or “Martin, I know you took my lucky pen and I want it back!” when simply “Morning.” or “I know you took my lucky pen and I want it back!” will suffice. People only call each other by their first names in books, film, and television. Of course you’ll occasionally come across people who will use your first name every chance they get, repeating it again and again over the course of a conversation. But, to be fair, said individuals are usually putting into practice whatever bullshit “rules for social interaction” they picked up at that business seminar they attended last week. You can tell because these paint-by-numbers interacters will try to “connect” by striving to maintain an inordinate amount of eye contact with you. And they also tend to do a lot of informal touching. But I digress.

Yes, I’m terrible with names. I’m so bad that I have to use mnemonic devices to help me remember. I know my neighbors are Ted and Dorothy because, when we were first introduced, I imagined Ted Danson and Dorothy Hammel on skates, in – uh – flagrante delicto at the heart of an Olympic rink. And I know that the couple who own the dachsund are Ron and Heidi because, when we met them for the first time, I pictured a grown up Opie and a blond pig-tailed milk maiden in – uh – flagrante delicto at the summit of a snowcapped Austrian mountain peak. And so on. I can’t wait for the day when we’ll all be wirelessly linked. I’ll be able to walk down the street without fear of blanking out as the names of every person I pass will immediately flash up as an inter-cerebrum data burst. Elmer Evanson. Delete. Melvin Cartwright. Delete. Holly Dovelick. Hmmm. Save. You never know. I for one can’t wait. Just put me in a cryogenic deep freeze and wake me up when the technology has been invented – and sufficiently patched. Barring that, it looks like I’ll have to stick with the tried and true system that continues to serve well enough. Margaret and Rob, you say? Let’s see – former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and comedian Rob Schneider in the House of Lords…

Well, Fondy and I went to Le Crocodile for our Valentine’s dinner and, as I expected, we had to choose from a limited Valentine’s Day menu. To start things off, we were served a foie gras and porcini mushroom tart that I presciently declared the best dish of the night. Turns out it was. Very rich, very cream, and possessed of a subtle sweetness. Fondy’s appetizers was the grilled asparagus salad and smoked goose breast with arugula salad which she enjoyed. I went with a seafood antipasto that included some very good crab cake, salmon tartar, smoked salmon, and a couple of kusshi oysters. We were then served a wild mushroom veloute. This soup is on the regular menu and I have enjoyed it in the past, but not on this night as it was oversalted. Onto the mains – Fondy and I both went with the duo of beef tenderloin and rack of lamb. While the lamb was good, something in the beef’s preparation – either the peppercorn sauce or thyme just – lent it an unpleasant flavor not unlike Mentholatum. Not a winner. When we were served the mains, I commented on what Atkin’s-worthy dishes they were with nary a vegetable in sight. It was only after we had finished our meal (well, ate the lamb anyway) that we were informed they had forgotten to serve us our side plate of veggies. Ah, well. We followed the plate of meat with a much-appreciated palate-cleanser: an excellent pear sorbet with Poire Williams. Finally, dessert: the Valentine creation for two – excellent custard and cream profiteroles topped with chocolate sauce, some sort of passion fruit parfait that Fondy enjoyed, a chocolate crepe that was somewhat marred by a finishing lemon sauce, and a terrific chocolate sorbet.

An okay meal but by no means representative of the restaurant‘s usual high standard of quality. I think next year we’ll just do take-out and watch t.v.

Questions…

Arctic Goddess writes: “Rumour has it among writers that the Bridge studio digs are the cushiest in Canada.”

Answer: If by cushy you mean its heated in winter then, yes, the offices are pretty cushy. The building also does an exquisite job of relaying sound and movement. I’ll immediately know someone heavy-set has walked into our production offices by reverberations running through my desk. Sometimes, I’m even able to guess the weight.

Arctic Goddess also writes: “Have you ever had Buffalo? What is your favourite exotic meat?”

Answer: Yes, I’ve had buffalo and did enjoy it – but it’s a tricky meat to cook as its fairly lean. My favorite exotic meat is probably bison.

Anonymous #1 writes: “Joe, having the inside scoop, which movie are you looking forward to more? Continuum or Ark of Truth?”

Answer: Hard to say in that I know pretty much everything about Ark of Truth since I read the first draft, and not all that much about Continuum. What’ve you heard? Is Jack going to be in the movie?

Angela L. writes: “Joe, why there aren’t Italian members in the Atlantis Expedition?”

Answer: Good question. I have a feeling Dr. Mallozzi will be making an appearance in season four.

Anonymous #2 writes: “Have you ever been to France? And possibly in a very French restaurant?”

Answer: I’ve been to Paris on two separate occasions and, while there, did check out some very fine restaurants. They were French but I don’t know about “very French”. How do you delineate?

Lolly writes: “So have you ever tried Belgian Chocolate? If I remember correct, the most expensive and best belgium chocolate sweets are from Pierre Marcolini.”

Answer: Yes. In fact, I special-ordered Pierre Marcolini for my chocolate party last year. Might do so again this year.

Marla writes: “It’s nice that you are having a dinner for the cast and producers of SGA. Is this a regular thing or just something you and Paul are doing to let everyone get to know the new show runners?”

Answer: No, this is something we do every year. It’s tradition. Just like our ritual pre-season walk up Cypress mountain where we sacrifice an extra to the gods of good fortune and high ratings.

Klenotka writes: “Is there any chance that you will take some woman between you writers so there would be “more feeling” for female characters?”

Answer: Given that we’re only producing one show this season, we won’t be looking to freelancers this year. That said, did you notice a huge difference in the way our female characters were written by past female writers on the show?

Brenda writes: “How much consideration do you give to the numbers of fans who belong to each fan group when deciding how events will play out on Atlantis? Or do you go with what you feel is right without considering what the fans want to see?”

Answer: The truth is, for every group of fans who support one aspect of the series, there is another group of fans who support an opposing viewpoint. So as not to show favoritism to any one group, we make decisions that will vex them all equally. In the end, we simply write a show that we would enjoy watching.

Jennifer writes: “So who is your favorite Doctor and what is your favorite episode of the old and new series?”

Answer: To be honest, I’ve come to Dr. Who late. I really liked Christopher Eccleston’s albeit brief run as the Doctor. Loved the first season’s “The End of the World”.

Vaberella writes: “Is there any possiblity of the SATEDA fanatics getting a special release addition with commentary from the cast/director and writer during film and scenes that may have been cut out due to the time factor?”

Answer: It’s unlikely. Sorry.

Michelle writes: “What don’t you like about the all-knowing allies/villains?”

Answer: The problem with having all-knowing and/or super-powerful allies is that we always have to come up with some contrivance for why they don’t simply help us out. The problem with having all-knowing and/or all-powerful villains is that, after a while, our David vs. Goliath knack for taking them down time and again really begins to stretch credulity.

Michelle also writes: “I’m off to Vegas for the weekend. What’s your fav restaurant there that won’t break the bank (say, $100 or less per person)?”

Answer: Love The Cheesecake Factory. Have the corn tamales and finish the dulce de leche cheesecake.

Anonymous #3 writes: “You have said that you are not going to discuss why certain decisions are taken. Ha! That just sounds like a child saying it’s my ball and your not getting to play – it doesn’t reflect well on you. If you or one of the other producers were to actually explain to fans why you’ve made the changes the you never know, they may even understand.”

Answer: A sound argument that has convinced me to go public with the reasons for all of the creative decisions made, be they personal in nature or otherwise. Oh, and I will also be forwarding my VISA number along with some of my more sensitive banking information.

Farscapefan writes: “Is there a chance for at least ONE season 10 episode commentary by Claudia Black and Ben Browder?”

Answer: Unlikely simply because by the time we get around to doing said commentaries, the actors are already long gone whereas directors and producers have nothing but free time on their hands for things like behind the scene features, commentaries, and supermarket openings.

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Crystal
Crystal

Many of my favorite episodes were written by Kathryn Powers, and I’ve mourned the loss of her work ever since she left the show.

I also find that there are discernable differences in the stories being told and the way they are told and the character development since she and Jonathan Glassner left the show and the current writers came in to fill the vacuum. That’s not saying that I don’t like the show as it is today, I do, but it is quite different and I am among those that do believe that having a woman in the writers room of any show does make a difference.

Anonymous
Anonymous

“What’ve you heard? Is Jack going to be in the movie?”

Well, I don’t have the inside scoop, but word on the street is that Jack in the movies is way, way better than Jack not in the movies. And those arguments that Jack doesn’t fit the Ori storyline are pretty much out the window after seeing the awesomeness that was The Shroud.

JackAttack

Arctic Goddess
Arctic Goddess

Hi Joe:

If you have yourself frozen until technology catches up to your poor memory, then you will have an opening in your writing department. I’m ready to step into your shoes. And, good news! I’m female. Hows that for killing two birds with one stone?

Seriously, I really cannot complain about any of the episodes in either series. I love them all. Especially all of the ones with Ba’al in them. I can’t help it. I think he is the most awesome bad guy. Do you suppose Ba’al could make a guest appearance on Atlantis some time in Season 4, or 5? I would prefer season 4, but I can be patient. I also love reading your Blogs. You are witty and interesting to read. Well done.

Patricia

Anonymous
Anonymous

I am terrible with names as well… thats why I make it a point to say the persons name as often as I see them just to keep it in my mind. If I don’t your name your going to get a “Hey” or “Hey man… how’s it going?”.

By the way what does the magic eight ball say about Ford making an appearance in Season Four?

Ace

Anonymous
Anonymous

Hi Joe! I’m having a great time watching this (though sadly the last) season of Stargate SG1, but whenever I see Ben and Amanda on screen together, I get the feeling that Sam and Cameron once had something of a “past”. And I wonder, did they? Or is it just great chemistry between Ben and Amanda that we’re seeing?

Peter
Peter

1. Well, you’re definately not alone with the terrible-at-names thing. Not to mention the fact that I don’t even try to remember names since I know I’ll just forget them 5 minutes later. I just try my best to avoid saying their names. You’ll be surprised how well that works out.

2. Flagrante Delicato eh? I have no idea what that means, until I googled it. Of course, seeing a bunch of un-bolded links made me click on Google Images (I learn better visually), which offered zero results; most likely a good thing, since I proceeded to actually read one of the short descriptions underneath one of the links…and I’m sure you know the rest. Very sneeky.

3. Here’s a question: have you heard of “Avatar: The Last Airbender”? It’s a sort-of Anime produced in the US but with anime-style characters. It’s touted as a kids show but, having seen it (I’m 19) I can safely say it’s much much more than that. I highly recommand it if you haven’t heard of it.

Crystal
Crystal

By the way, I had a good chuckle at your answer about revealing creative decisions. That is an answer I’ll have to remember so I can use in the future.

Shawna
Shawna

I can totally relate to the names thing (as I’m sure many can). And I don’t usually find the need to remember them all the time, though I may feel bad about it. As you said, even with friends, one hardly goes around saying, “Hey, Faith. Hello, Galen.” (In cases such as this, I’ve even taken to calling them simply Falen. Saves so much time.) A simple, “Hey” usually does the trick.

Interesting blog. I’m afraid my culinary expertise is limited, however (think popcorn and pasta…but I’m kickass at those), so I can’t fully appreciate your in-depth analysis.

I, too, wonder why there is not at least one woman writer. Not that female writers necessarily write female characters better, but they might think of things that males may not. For example, an awful lot of fans thought that Lucius deserved a lot more than he got, that his actions were more than mischievous and icky, but seriously disturbing and worthy of death and/or castration. Certainly more than a kick in the nuts. Yet I’m not surprised that males don’t think of this. It would just help to have a different perspective (especially seeing as how your audience is primarily female).

And now to segue to a completely unrelated issue. I’m a writer. I’ve written specs (two teleplays and a few screenplays), though I haven’t gotten to getting an agent yet. I’ve spoken to a woman who has written for various shows and she suggested that one route people take is to get a job on a show, especially as a writers’ assistant. So now, as one cannot be shy in this business, I’ll shameless ask you: do you have any open positions that I might apply for?

Michelle
Michelle

Thanks for the rec — Cheesecake Factory is good, although I was thinking more upscale. Of course that was before I realized this is NBA All-Star weekend in Las Vegas. The place is wall-to-wall packed with hoops fans and celebs already. I think we’ll end up staying in the ‘burbs.

I have a friend who does the whole name overuse and touching thing whenever he lapses into his obsessive mode. It took some getting used to.

Amy
Amy

Just had to say love your answer to Anonymous #3 question this past post. For some reason your answer put a big grin on my face.

Definately see your touch in the storylines for Atlantis (which is great!)

Thanks for the pick me up!

Stillhere
Stillhere

Ah the whole ‘sacrifice and extra for high ratings and good fortune’ thing. I see;)

As for the idea of needing female writers on the staff, yeah it would be nice to see woman being hired, but I think that good writers can write good characters of either sex. One of my favorite novelist, John J. Nance creates some of the best female characters I’ve seen in books.

While I’m not an S/J shipper, I think that Sam Carter has been shown to be very realistic in her behavior, especially if it wasn’t meant to be all hearts and flowers and if the writers were intending to show the negative aspects of emotional turmoil in unrequited relationships and a person’s very human struggle to deal with down side of this kind of thing and attempt to move past it.

I am hoping to see that Sam Carter has come out the other side of this realizing that she can be stronger in herself and that while Jack O’Neill is a good man, he just isn’t the right man for her.

I love Vala. She is an amazing character all around. Dr. Janet Frazier was always one of the show writers finest creations as a female character..the perfect balance of feminine grace, strength, intelligence and tough as nails.

Marla

Anonymous
Anonymous

Hey Joe how’s it going man?
Cool blog by the way.

Hey really quick…I’ve been thinking…is there anyway you can have Teyla and Dr.Kellar (together) in a situation where they both end up having to save the day while in their underwear.
It doesn’t have to be underwear necessarily…bathing suits– 2 piece — would be fine too.
Oh and by the way I’m very serious.
But just so you don’t have to worry about being attacked by the anti-panty brigade, you don’t have to answer if you don’t want.
But you know ruminate on it.

Some food for thought…Thanks

Marsha
Marsha

I was quite shocked to read last night that you are going to be revealing your personal VISA information, a decision seemingly based solely on the logic provided in an anonymous blog comment.

As persuasive as the argument might have been, shouldn’t you be more supportive of Mr. Anderson and provide your MasterCard information instead?

Color me disappointed.

foodfan in denver
foodfan in denver

Oh I think Fondy’s steamed bass looked better than the V-day dine-out. I’ve actually been craving sea bass since I saw that picture.

Still enjoying the blog – food first (of course!) but your succinct responses to some of the questions… oy vey… You have far more patience than I would.

Name aphasia… lots of us have it. I meet so many people through my work, I couldn’t keep all the names straight if I tried. Two things I remember: thank god for ID bracelets (I work in a hospital), and it has been my experience that people are less offended when I admit that I’m terrible with names so would they remind me of theirs than they are when I try to BS my way through without a name.

Anonymous
Anonymous

So, did you respond to the person in the street with “Hey…you.” It just seems so appropriate.

As I read, I couldn’t help but wonder…um, do your neighbors of the mneumonic names read your blog? smile

Signed,
A fellow memory idiot.

Farscapefan
Farscapefan

Obviously MGM doesn’t want Scapers’ money for season 10 DVDs… sad. Ben and/or Claudia’s episode commentaries would be really huge draw for this part of audience. MGM shouldn’t ignore us.

Anonymous
Anonymous

hi joe just wanted to ask if there was any plans on andee frizzell returning in season 4 i would love to see her again

Anonymous
Anonymous

Joe,

Will Teal’c be showing up in Atlantis in the first half of the season?

Anonymous
Anonymous

I love what you guys have done with McKay in the past 3 years. Please continue to make David sweat. He is simply great.

Anonymous
Anonymous

I don’t think that having a woman on staff would make a huge difference. As others have said, I think too much is made of the idea without foundation. Good writing is good writing, and either sex is capable of it, just as either sex is capable of some horrible stuff as well.

I do, however, think that the overall quality of writing has been in a downward spiral for a couple of years now. Everything comes across as too middling and not serious enough. It seems like your making Galaxy Quest or Wormhole X-treme at least as often as your making Stargate. There’s no clear line where your story goes and where the jokes go…they’re all interchangeable now as if one is as good as the other.

Also, I think that there’s not as keen a sense of what you’re telling the audience about the characters as there was earlier on in the show. There’s no character defining moments anymore, moments that really led to the audience understanding Jack, Sam, Daniel, and Teal’c. I’m talking about scenes constructed like the pedestal set-up in Torment of Tantalus, the withdraw scenes in Need, and Daniel’s praying with Apophis’ host in Serpent’s Song. So many fans reject this Action Danny character because he’s not true to who they’ve been told the character is. The same holds for Sam in the elevator in Singularity or Teal’c on trial in Cor’ai.

The newer characters and the characters on Atlantis haven’t had these stunning visual moments of epiphany and development to stand out in the viewers minds. Definitive acts of character are what’s missing these days, not a female writer. More serious, meaningful character work and less frivilous Bounty, Bad Guys, or Irresponsible type episodes would go a long ways towards improving the shows.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Hey… I’m not a crazy animal rights activist or anything – or even a vegetarian (in fact I probably eat more steak than most members of the Cattlemen’s Association) but do you know how they make foie gras? And if you do, are you saying you just don’t care where your food comes from, or how much animals suffered for it as long as it tastes good? I’ll keep reading either way, I’m too addicted to your blog to sop – I’m just curious about your food ethics!

Anonymous
Anonymous

I’ll try to be brief: I think having diversity on a writing staff is important, and that the only way to breed diversity is to have at least one female writer.

You guys haven’t exactly made it a secret that you didn’t wholly appreciate the work of the female writers in the past, but there *are* others out there if one is willing to look. smile That’s not to say that you haven’t, it’s just an observation.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Joe, do you ever get tired of people using your blog as a soapbox to preach to you about stuff? Anit-ship, Anti-Carter on Atlantis, Weir, women writers, etc., etc. Do you sometimes wish people would just talk food?

As an aside….I pull up skate all the time, and I’m always annoyed when I do. Skate is for throwing back, not eating.

windshieldbug
windshieldbug

Joe, good to hear you had a plesant Valentine’s (Ferris Wheel) Day.

The food in your last couple of entries look wonderful. You describe them very appetizingly! Yum!

Ah, wishing for spoilers for Season 4. But, with production beginning…next week?….I’m being patient.