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.
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.