My reasons for not wanting a dog were numerous: the expense, the unappealing prospect of having to housebreak the little furball, the loss of freedom that comes with being a pet-owner, the necessary commitment to everything from walks to vet visits On the other hand, Fondy’s argument for getting a dog was equally compelling: she really wanted one. My sister had tipped her off to a pug for sale at a local pet shop and, after an animated discussion, I agreed to accompany her to the Alexis Nihon Plaza. It was, we agreed beforehand, to be nothing more than a fact-finding mission. There would be no dog purchases on this day. Absolutely, positively, no way! I had steeled myself mentally and was prepared to stick to my guns.

We brought the puppy home that afternoon and Fondy named her Jelly after Joe Vitelli’s character in Analyze This.

She was tiny. So tiny, in fact, that when we returned home after one Saturday afternoon outing and couldn’t find her, we actually feared she’d been eaten by one of the cats. As it turned out, she’d been nestled under a fold in the living room couch, oblivious to our panicked search, sound asleep the whole time. I also remember her being a bundle of energy that first day, tearing around the house, terrorizing the cats. Even though she’s mellowed somewhat with age, given to more lounging than bounding, Jelly still possesses that trademark dominance and obstinacy characteristic of the breed – bossing around the big dogs at doggy daycare, demonstrating selective deafness, and generally doing as she damn well pleases. Not unlike a certain someone…

Speaking of which – we went back to Fuel last night as Fondy’s weekend-long birthday celebrations drew to a close. They’ve changed up the menu and tweaked some of the standing items. Thankfully, the pumpkin soup is still around. Poured over a plump, grilled scallop and crystallized sunflower seeds, the velvety soup was great, but for some reason lacked the more inviting sweetness of previous visits. I was going to ask about any changes in its preparation but never got around to it. Prior to our mains, we were served four inventive little amuse-bouches, one for each of us. Unfortunately, owing to my sieve-like memory, I’m unable to recall the particulars but I believe mine was an albacore tuna mousse in what may have been a beef broth. Steve had the diced tuna with a blood orange compote. Jodi had a very nice shitake mushroom chawanmushi. And Fondy had and awesome foie-gras parsnip parfait.

For my main course, I had the crispy-skinned rainbow trout which I had sampled on my last visit with Marty G. It was perfectly cooked, served with swiss chard and a heavenly hazelnut-brown butter emulsion. Since our first visit to Fuel, Fondy has never strayed from her go-to main: the AAA ribeye. Formerly served in a Bordelaise sauce with gnocchi and broccoli rabe, the latest version is now served with a parsley-parsnip accompaniment and roasted bone marrow. While she loved the bone marrow, Fondy definitely did miss the Bordelaise sauce. We were informed that the chef had one rack of venison remaining as a feature item and ended up ordering it “for the table” so as not to miss out. Served medium-rare (leaning decidedly toward rare), it was delicious, not a hint of gaminess. For dessert, Fondy went with her favorite – the banana tart – while I tried one of the new menu items: the Chocolate Financier. Surprisingly decadent, it was accompanied by a pleasantly intense peanut ice cream. We also ordered an extra dessert “for the table” – the chestnut cake with a Guinness foam I’d found a tad too tart on my last visit. Since then, they’ve redressed the balance of the pear juice and Guinness and I’m happy to report that this new, improved version was a real winner.

Questions…

Peter writes: “Do you guys, as in the writers, have any plans for the 100th episode of Atlantis?”

Answer: No plans yet but I’m sure we’ll be doing something extra special. I was thinking cake.

Shawna writes: “Any chance of any of the good guys getting (temporarily, I’d imagine) turned into a wraith, probably using some kind of backwards version of the wraith retrovirus?”

Answer: Hmmmmm. An intriguing possibility.

Anonymous #1 writes: “I challenge you to eat at a vegetarian or vegan restaurant.”

Answer: Oooh, them’s fighting words.

Anonymous #2 writes: “Wondering if you still make your own ice cream. If so, any new flavors you’ve made? If not, why not then?”

Answer: I’ll be resuming my ice cream-making ways in June. Upcoming flavors will include peanut-butter caramel, Crunchie, pumpkin pie, cinnamon roll, and Bourbon Bananas Foster.

Vaberella writes: “Ni hao ma?”

Answer: Ho ho. Nay ne?

Vaberella also writes: “Will we see Teyla sparring with John, Ronon, Wraith, or Zelenka?! (…) What does your magical eight ball say about asking Claudia Christian(Commander Ivanova: B5) to guest star in an ep?”

Answer: Teyla will do plenty of sparring in season four. As for Claudia Christian doing a guest spot, Magic 8 Ball says “Cannot predict now.”

Cowpants writes: “1) How many times do you eat out a week? You seem to do it all the time. Doesn’t that get expensive? 2) What is your favorite type of cheese? 3) Do the actors and actresses ever come to the writers and offer up plot suggestions? More importantly, do you ever follow the suggestions?”

Answer: 1) We eat out about 5 times a week. 2) I’m a Camembert man. 3) Yup. We’re receptive to input from the cast. Jason just came by the office today and tossed out some ideas. As it turns out, one of the ideas he was pitching was very close to the episode, Reunion, which will be episode #3 of season 4.

Pilgrim writes: “Will we be seeing more of the dark side of Atlantis, and it’s characters, this year?”

Answer: That’s a definite yes. There will be some decidedly dark developments in the back half of season 3 and into season 4.

Mimi writes: “You’ve mentioned foodnetwork, a book on chocolate and searching for restaurant reviews online. Can you share with us some of the shows and websites that you like? Do you read any other food blogs? Any particular books on food, chefs or cookbooks you’ve enjoyed reading?”

Answer: I’m not familiar with any food blogs and don’t frequent that many food-related websites. However, I do watch a lot of food network shows (Ace of Cakes, Iron Chef, Iron Chef America, Nigella, and Top 5 to name a few), and read the occasional food-related book (I’m a big fan of Anthony Bourdain’s writing).

Etta writes: “Have you planned doing some ‘last episode special’ for the last SG1 episode?”

Answer: Special Features Producer Ivon Bartok has already put something together to commemorate the event.

Nichole writes: “How far is Whistler from Vancouver?”

Answer: Whistler to Vancouver is about a 2 hour drive (approximately 75 miles).

Lily writes: “In Trinity we learned that there were other Satedan survivors. Will we see any more of them?”

Answer: Check out Reunion.

Anonymous #3 writes: “You were surprised Atlantis skewed more male? How come? I ask, because I think it’s fairly obvious that Atlantis tries to appeal more to the young male demographic.”

Answer: Actually, there was never a conscious effort to attempt to skew Atlantis more male.

Anonymous #3 also writes: “SG-1 has based much more heavily on internal character relationships, complex stories based in mythology, and is, by and large, a much more people-focused show. It’s not so much about the flash, but more about the characters’ place in the story. For those reasons I’d guess that SG-1 would appeal more to females and to an older audience in general.”

Answer: So you’re inferring that younger or male viewers are less intelligent? I don’t know if I agree with that. Furthermore, SG-1 has had many more years to establish their mythology, characters, and the various relationships between them. In time, I’m sure Atlantis will become just as “older/female-audience worthy”.

Pitbull writes: “I was wanting to know if you have ever been down to MONTEREY CALI?”

Answer: No. Is this an invitation?

Anonymous #4 writes: “I’ve noticed that, while many of the populations that the teams meet appear to be “farmers” or “hunters”, you never see any animals in the scenes. […] I often wondered why and thought that I would ask.”

Answer: We have included animals whenever possible (the llama in Crusade comes to mind), but rarely make use of them unless they’re integral to the story. Or unless the director is a glutton for punishment. W.C. Fields once said: “Never work with kids and animals”. He knew what he was talking about.

Redtwin writes: “I just watched “First Strike” and loved seeing Shepherd with a much more commanding demeanor very similar to how he was in “the Storm”. Will we see more of this side to him in season 4? What are your thoughts on Droste chocolate?”

Answer: Re: commanding Sheppard – we’ll see the many sides of John in season 4. Re: Droste chocolates – I’m not familiar with them. Do tell.

Anonymous #5 writes: “Since you’re just getting started on production, can you tell us the directors for the first few episodes?”

Answer: Sure. Rob Cooper is directing Doppelganger. Martin Wood is directing the season opener, Adrift, and the follow-up, Lifeline.

Minigeek writes: “P.S. Dolby is a cutey.Yeah, your three are pretty darn adorable too. But don’t think that makes us pals or anything. Me giving my life to save yours in a blaze of antiheroic glory… ay carumba.”

Answer: Deal. I promise not to save you either – BUT I WILL give orphaned Dolby a fun and loving home.

Jenny Robin writes: “The Terror (or just plain Terror as we call it in da biz)–on page 76 of 766. I need to pick up the pace, as does the story. What page have you reached?”

Answer: I’m on page 324. It’s a slow build and I would agree that it could be a little tighter, but I find the description of the frozen climate both fascinating and unsettling.

Carolina writes: “Your favorite chocolate comes from a very beautiful area from my country… it’s surrounded of amazing beaches and it’s in the middle of a XVI century plantation La Hacienda Chuao, it is an experience to go and visit.”

Answer: I’d love to. The taste of Chuao bars are very distinct, possessed of almost a burnt caramel finish. Also, do you know anything about the porcelana bean?

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Anonymous
Anonymous

Hi Mr. Mallozzi,
We were wondering if you were stuck for a week with any character from the Stargate universe, who would it be and why?
Thank you for taking your time, and for giving us a great show!

Copernicus
Copernicus

When Teyla’s character was introduced, she had three running story lines: her conflicts with Sgt. Bates, her connection with the Athosians and her ability to sense the Wraith. Bates has disappeared altogether, the Athosians have disappeared from the screen and the Wraith are now competing with the Asurans for airtime as the main villain, which has led to some concern that Teyla’s character has been less present in season two and season three and will continue to fade into the background.

Will you guys be developing new story lines for Teyla, or should we merely expect more stand alone episodes like Submersion in the future?

(The use of the word “merely” should provide an indication of my preference.)

windshieldbug
windshieldbug

Cats and dogs have an innate ability to hide in the most obvious of places. Always check the insides of shoes for tiny furballs. I learned that one the hard (painful) way.

If you are needing an invitation to visit new places I suggest you spend a few days in Destin, Florida. The restaurants are amazing, the sand is sugar-white, and the resorts (www.destinwest.com) are simply the best.

Anonymous
Anonymous

“Answer: So you’re inferring that younger or male viewers are less intelligent? I don’t know if I agree with that. Furthermore, SG-1 has had many more years to establish their mythology, characters, and the various relationships between them. In time, I’m sure Atlantis will become just as “older/female-audience worthy”.”

Actually, Joe, at no point in my post did I make a value judgement regarding viewers who fall into different demographics. I merely pointed out what I perceive to be differences between SG-1 and Atlantis, and how those differences influence the reported demographic preferences of both shows. I’m not saying that one set of viewers is better than another, I’m just saying that it is understandable that Atlantis appeals to a narrower group of people than SG-1 did in its first three seasons.

Carolina
Carolina

Joe, you are scary, you are really INTO chocolate… is this a cult? Did you know that chocolate creates addiction and dependence? I’m finding all of this fascinating, I didn’t know about the Porcelana Bean, I did a quick search and found out that comes from the Criollo bean… that is also cultivated in Venezuela? or Mexico? do tell, … you bit my curiosity? or I bit.. ok, I don’t know how the phrase goes in english… Me picaste la curiosidad…! I need to taste this this delicacy.

Cel
Cel

Joe, since you’ve kindly debunked the theory that Weir is being reduced so that Carter can be brought in, it seems that the trend is now to turn on Telya again. However I just read an entry in a LJ that has restored my faith in the Stargate fandoms fans. I’d link you to it but the owner doesn’t want her LJ to be invaded or her words to be taken all around the fandom (it’s happened before). But, I guess my point is that for all the whinging and bitching that you have to put up with, there are many of us out there that love you dearly for all that you do for us!

Btw, on the chocolate thing, ever had Cadbury’s chocolate?

Anonymous
Anonymous

“First of all, I don’t mind getting letters and do try to read most of the ones addressed to me. Secondly, I’m well aware that Beckett is a much-loved character. I don’t need more letters to convince me of the fact – but, again, I won’t discourage those who want to write in support of Paul. The campaign is great in that it especially lets him know how many people out there care about his Beckett. Also, it never hurts to let the network know that the fans support a particular character.”

This comment from the 25th has me more than a little .. confuddled…

You’ve said before that you guys take no notice of letter-writing campaigns, but now you say that they’re a good way to let the network know that we support a particular character.

Presumably if it was do some good for Paul, it can also do some good for Torri and her character, since Elizabeth is (at least for now) still in the realms of the living.

Nobody among TPTB seems to understand why we feel so strongly about the characters and their positions as regular/recurring/whatever. You and the other writers personally should take it as a compliment that we’re so attached to and passionate about these characters.

I’d like to think that somebody with no clue about programming and what makes a product successful beyond the bottom line is behind the decision with Torri and Paul, because the idea that writers would want to destroy such wonderful characters that they’ve personally created.. it’s too sad to think about.

Good luck with season four. Whatever happens, happens. I’d like to say that I’m one of the people who’s willing to go give you guys the benefit of the doubt and watch right through, but my second favourite character is dead, and my favourite television character ever possibly going to go the way of the show’s other regular to recurring character, Ford.

I’ll watch the episodes that have Elizabeth in them, however many they may be. Nothing against Amanda, but beyond that, my passion for the show has slipped to a point where I don’t know if it’ll ever come back to the point that it was before the cast changes.

Shawna
Shawna

You…left a new puppy loose in your house while you went out? You’re lucky it was just a pug, though even a pug can get into an awful lot of trouble. They are a lot of work, but make sure you (or someone) at least take the time to teach her manners (there are some remarkably easy ways to teach things like sit, stay, and heel). And I’d recommend against going to a pet store next time. If you want to pay that much, go to a (reputable) breeder. You’ll get a much higher quality dog, as well as somewhere to turn for advice on training it. Nothing against your pug, of course, but whenever I go into a pet store I just can’t help but feel sorry for those poor animals (sometimes they make me think of Bart’s prince on the Harry Potter Treehouse of Horror), and the people who get duped into paying hundreds of dollars for a “labracockapoo”. Although I will say that my aunt has a pug, and she simply adores it. They are kind of darling in their own snuffly little way.

On the subject of pets: What happened to Carson’s wee baby turtles? I like to think he had them sent over after they re-established relations with Earth following “The Return”, and that maybe now McKay will adopt them. But maybe they just died of starvation.

Arctic Goddess
Arctic Goddess

Ah, La Place Alexis Nihon. I remember that. Did you use the Metro often when you were in Montreal? I spent many hours traveling from St. Hubert to the different neighbourhoods in the city via the Metro. I also loved the view of the city from Mont Royal. It made for a wonderful walk after a pleasant meal at some of the nicer places or a stop at a good Brasserie. I used to love shopping at Place Bonaventure. It has such eclectic shops. If you had to pick among the many wonderful restaurants, what would be your favourite restaurant in Montreal?

Anonymous
Anonymous

What are this people talking about Teyla was never liked, she was tolerated. Mostly people don’t care either way.

Anyways awwwwwwwww, cute dog. You are still not forgiven for getting rid of my favorite character, Elizabeth. But cute dog.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Ever thought about having an episode where Ronon and Teal’c slug it out in an epic battle? Who would you put your money on?

Stillhere
Stillhere

There’s Jelly:)

Thanks for sharing pictures of her with us and I’m glad she found found her way through your ‘steely resolve’ and into your heart.

Marla

Anonymous
Anonymous

“There will be some decidedly dark developments in the back half of season 3 and into season 4.”

I didn’t see any dark developments in the second half of season 3. Did I miss something?

Mimi
Mimi

Thanks for answering my questions on what foodtv shows you watch, books and blogs. I too love Bourdain’s writing as well as his No Reservations show on the travel channel. With that in mind there’s an article that he wrote and posted on his buddy’s blog that has been causing quite a stir among the foodies. You can find it here to read if you’re interested. (It’s his opinion on the foodnetwork.)
http://blog.ruhlman.com/2007/02/
guest_blogging_.html

Also given your love of chocolate, here’s a nice little site you might enjoy. It’s not ALL chocolate, but if you ever find yourself heading to France it might be a good reference.
http://www.davidlebovitz.com/index.html

You mentioned a while back some numbers on the increase of traffic that your site was getting. Now how are those numbers looking?

Thanks,
Mimi

Anonymous
Anonymous

I just want to make sure I have this straight: You’re keeping Teyla, who was nothing but a background character for 2 seasons and getting rid of Weir, who everyone loves and who was featured prominently in the last 3 years.

Oh, and it’s okay for Amanda to work to support her family but not Torri? Are you really surprised that Torri’s fans have come to her defense?

cowpants
cowpants

Camembert… Here is a man with excellent taste. My respect for you just went up exponentially!

Anonymous
Anonymous

In time, I’m sure Atlantis will become just as “older/female-audience worthy”.

Let me get this straight also. You are most likely getting rid of the one female character who is the favorite of your already sizable older female audience, and yet you think that in time this very audience will find SGA worthy of watching. I’m very confused. I don’t know where you got your info about female viewers, but if you talk to anyone who has ever attended a convention you will learn that a large portion of the attendees are women over 30. Or for that matter, take a spin around the threads in GW to find lots of women with husbands, children and professional careers.

The question of which fans you consider worthy of listening to is a valid one. Right now it appears that several years of Weir/Torri bashing has paid off. Are you aware of the vicious, personal attacks that were made against both the character and the actress, not just on GW but all across the internet by a handful of posters some of whom are right now telling you what a great decision you have made? Her older female fans think she deserves better.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Quoting the previous anon. poster:
“I just want to make sure I have this straight: You’re keeping Teyla, who was nothing but a background character for 2 seasons and getting rid of Weir, who everyone loves and who was featured prominently in the last 3 years.”

One could argue that Teyla and Weir have been in the sameboat in previous seasons. I can think of several episodes in which Dr. Weir made only token appearances, same as Teyla. “Prominent” can be in the eye of the beholder, yes?

One thing about this show is there’s something for everyone, character wise. While Teyla may not be a favorite character in some circles, Weir is the same in others. Saying that everyone loves Weir is also in the eye of the beholder. By the same token, though Sheppard and McKay are featured far more prominenty than any other characters, there are veiwers who loathe them.

I’m looking forward to more Teyla-driven episodes. I feel in terms of storytelling potential,she and Ronon offer a fantastic conduit to more adventure in Pegasus, much like Teal’c.

Shawna
Shawna

Anonymous (above) said:

I didn’t see any dark developments in the second half of season 3. Did I miss something?

Um…how about the second half of “Sunday”? The whole thing between Teyla and the wraith in “Submersion”? “Vengeance”? I’d say that one was pretty dang dark. Maybe the darkest ep to date.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Joe,

Any progress made on the possible big SG-1/Atlantis crossover? I think it’d be a great achievement for the Stargate franchise. And let’s not forget the cool factor of having O’neill and Sheppard bantering again, or Teal’c sparring with Ronan. It’d be awesome.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Just wanted to say, I totally support the changes in SGA. Bring on the darkness.

Also, will we get to see more alien life? And by alien I don’t mean Teyla and Ronon, I mean like the Iratus bugs.

Anonymous
Anonymous

I’m an older female with a husband and a teenaged son. My husband stopped watching SGA in season 2 because he couldn’t stomach Sheppard anymore. Said he was a disgrace to the Air Force. My son says Teyla is hot but dumber than a brick (Ronon is his fav, btw). I find Weir a breath of fresh air because we see so few intelligent, non-violent women in charge. Carter is a soldier and knows how to blow up whatever. Weir negotiates, translates, and uses her mind. As an “older” woman,I’m tired of Teyla, the Xena-wannabe, and I don’t want to see Soldier-Girl Carter. I want to see exploration of Atlantis, which I believe was the whole purpose of the show in the first place. Keep Weir and Beckett, and show me the scientists, and leave pretty-boy Sheppard, and the “blow up everything” soldiers at home, and send boobalicious Teyla back to her people so she can sing and make soup, and visit with her farmer friends. Maybe then you’ll have a good show.

Live_Long_and_Prosper
Live_Long_and_Prosper

Fandom is so full of itself sometimes. To say that a few (and I mean FEW) people have bashed Torri/Weir and are now reaping the benefits of doing so sounds delusional. How about the couple of seasons now that I’ve witnessed rude comments about Teyla’s dress how how useless she is? Is that not just as bad? Does it not balance the comments about Weir?

I don’t post much at Gateworld, I mostly lurk. But BOTH sides in the debate of which woman on Atlantis is better have been out of line equally. Can’t we stop maligning other fans for having different opinions. That’s all they are, really.

Onto the cheese. I’m a roquefort and gouda fan myself. And Dove chocolates are my favorite, either the milk or dark varieties.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Chef Mallozi,

Do you make all those dishes every night? Every time I look at your blog there is more food and its not fair because its like showing an alcoholic pictures of a wine cellar! Although please continue…maybe something with pine nuts??

Anonymous
Anonymous

To the other fans who keep making generalizations about what people like… I’m a 40-something female who can’t stand Weir. She’s been a weak link in the show since Rising. Torri is a great dramatic actress, but Weir is not a believable leader in any way. I respect the writers for having the guts to get rid of her.

I do love Carson and want him back, though. You can generalize on that one.