Allow me to kick off this blog installment by wishing two of my buddies Happy Belated Birthdays! To Chris Judge, who celebrated his special day on Saturday, and to Robert Cooper who celebrated his special day Sunday (watching his Cowboys lose to the hated Patriots). According to an online horoscope I referenced for the occasion: “If your birthday is in October, you were born between September and November and so are more likely to adopt a more carefree attitude toward such things as butter knives, hairpins, and back issues of Home & Garden. You enjoy the good things in life but are quick to avoid situations which may prove unpleasant or painful. 2007 was a good year for you and you should close things out in similar style – so long as you don’t leave your house November 14 and 21, and the first two weeks of December. Take care to avoid sharp corners, dull company, and goji juice. Your birthstone is Texas Flint. Your lucky number is 3 578 120.07. Your sworn enemy is the flying barracuda monkey.”. I‘m not really into this astrology stuff but even I have to admit that the aforementioned stuff is pretty dead on.

Back in the office today where I checked out some spectacular visual effect sequences compliments of Mark Savela, his team, and Image Engine. They’ve outdone themselves – specifically, their work on Adrift and Lifeline which boasted some pretty spectacular effects as well. So be warned: When Be All My Sins Rememb’rd and Spoils of War air, make sure you don’t stand too close to the screen! Your eyes will bleed!

Big dinner tonight. Big dinner tomorrow. Big dinner on Wednesday. And, come to think of it, big dinner this past weekend when my friends Vanessa and Rosemary came into town and we hit the ever-so-great Don Francesco for their squash agnolotti with black truffle butter, spaghetti aglio e olio, penne arrabiate, wild quail a la piemontaise, and almost every dessert on the menu. Check it out.

Finishing: Shadow & Claw by Gene Wolfe.
Starting: Lord Foul’s Bane and The Legacy of Heorot.
Loving: House, Zotter’s pumpkin seed with marzipan dark chocolate bar, sleep.
Hating: Facebook, papercuts, the New England Patriots.

Today’s pics: Vanessa doing some food-snapping of her own, Rosemary startled/terrified by my camera-gun, squash agnolotti with black truffle butter, my quail, our waiter Jean-Claude shocked by our dessert order, dessert.

Today’s video: Click on the date for a trip down memory lane to another fantastic feast.

Today’s mailbag:

Anonymous #1 writes: “I hope that you will deconstruct more episodes…next week, perhaps?”

Answer: Perhaps I’ll let Robert Cooper field Doppelganger. Rob, you there?

Elizabeth writes: “1) Will you dissect any more episodes after they air? 2) How many knives does Ronon have? 3) Who decided to put Jack’s picture in the suitcase?”

Answers: 1) Two more. 2) Lots. 3) The producers.

Sarah writes: “1) how hard do you find it as a writer to switch gears from sg1 to sga – the same general ‘verse, totally different characters, different tone, different worlds, different enemies, different histories. 2) what’s the ‘gut check’ for balancing humor and drama in a relatively dark epi?”

Answers: 1) Not that hard given that the writing department was involved in the story-breaking of both shows. Also, the characters and setting may differ, but the tone of the shows aren’t dissimilar. 2) I’m not sure what you mean by “gut check” but we do tend to offer a little light in even the darkest of times.

Blaine Nielson writes: “who is the woman in the third pic, it looks like she is getting directions from Andy Mikita?? Is it Emma Lahana, kinda looks like her”

Answer: It is the lovely Emma Lahana.

Vecturist writes: “Are you a fan of Anthony Bourdain’s show “No Reservations?”

Answer: Love it.

Jed writes: “Any chance of finding out the origin of ronons gun?”

Answer: Yep. Stay tuned.

Anonymous #2 writes: “1) Can Michael’s superbugs still feed like normal Iratus bugs?
2) Since Michael is now no longer fully Wraith and lacks the funky teeth and hairdo, does this also mean that he is incapable of feeding like a normal Wraith? 3) Is the dart that they escaped the Taranan settlement and got picked up by the Daedalus another one of those plot devices that is barely mentioned, but waiting to be used like Rodney’s Puddle Jumper hyperdrive generator? 4a) Ronon’s gun seems to have a LOT of shots in it. We might assume it has a power source as we saw him plugging in a battery like thing in Instinct. Does he have a thousand of those or is it rechargeable? 4b) At the start of Vengeance, John tells Ronon to set his gun to stun and it barely damages the first superbug they fight. But later on, most of the superbugs go down from one blast from Ronon’s gun. Is this different because he set it on kill, or he’s just shooting them in a weaker spot?

Answers: 1) If you’re referring to the creatures in Vengeance – yes. 2) Good question. Stay tuned. 3) It may come into play in a future episode. Though not in season four. 4) It does recharge itself. 4b) When dealing with certain enemies, Ronon prefers to use the Kill setting on his weapon.

Skipgunner writes: “Also, how do you adjust for pieces of the season long story arc that get shifted out of order when the airing order of the episodes changes?”

Answer: We’re pretty much locked into our air order as this season, more than any other, offers fans several developing storylines.

Shirt’nTie writes: “Q: When will the PTB have a decision on Season 5?”

Answer: I think we’ll probably know by the end of next week.

LostCityGuardian writes: “Joe, you talk about seeing the various versions of episodes as they are being produced. Have you seen any of the equivalents for the SG1 films yet?”

Answer: Yes, I’ve seen the producer cuts of both movies and, this weekend, will be watching the Ark of Truth mix with the rest of the gang.

Anonymous #3 writes: Joe F. claims that TPTB want his character to be more earnest. According to someone who attended this con: “Apparently, some of TPTB have told him that because he’s the hero, he has to show that he “cares” more obviously.” Is this true? What episode is being referred to?“

Answer: First of all, TPTB do not want his character to be more earnest. In fact, look no further than Reunion and the Sheppard/Ronon scene I talked about in Saturday’s blog entry for proof of that. I wanted Sheppard to convey his feelings about Ronon’s pending decision but wanted to do it in a way that was true to the character (read: not earnest). In the end, he ended up saying what needed to be said – by not saying it.

Alipeepeps writes: “I read the context of Joe F’s Australia comments about showing that Sheppard cares. …:) I don’t think he was referring to scenes like yelling sarcastically at Rodney… I think it was more in reference to scenes such as e.g. Sheppard receiving the bad news about Weir in Adrift.”

Answer: No, it wasn’t Adrift. It was Harmony. And it had nothing to do with the character being earnest. In the episode, Sheppard and McKay agree to escort a young Queen-in-waiting on a rite of passage. But halfway through their trek, things take a deadly turn. Joe felt his character was too much the parent in the episode. ie. informing the little girl that they would be turning back because of the danger. My argument was that as a military leader, he WOULD be the voice of reason here. Nothing to do with earnestness. Just plain common sense.

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