Allow me to kick off this entry with a huge thank you to regular TesaJB who sent me an awesome belated-birthday/season-5-pick-up-celebration package complete with: photo of classic car, selection of Vosges bars including a “d’Olivia Bar” which is a unique medley of dried kalamata olives and Venezuelan white chocolate (that I was unable to trick Brad into trying), an assortment of See’s Candies, AND my very own edition of Foodie Fight: A Trivia Game for Serious Food Lovers (which Marty G. was especially excited about). I assure you that they will all be put to good use.

Tomorrow night’s Atlantis episode is Missing, another strong character story that I’ve described as Stargate’s Thelma and Louise – in this case, Teyla and Keller, trapped off-world and kicking ass. It’s an episode that explores the darker facet of Teyla’s warrior persona, and also sets up one of this season’s major story arcs.

When I think back to how this particular episode came together, the first thing that comes to mind (okay, second after Carl’s terrific script) is that rope bridge. You see, Carl envisioned a scene involving a rope bridge and, simple enough, the Art Department came up with a design, it was approved, the bridge was built – and then when we found out the cost, our eyes almost popped out of our skulls. As it turns out, it wasn’t the bridge that was so pricey but the added expense of paying security guards to stand watch, 24/7, to ensure no adventurous teens attempted to cross the damn thing while it was up. It was just one of many surprises that transformed this originally inexpensive episode into a $$$ spectacular.

Another anecdote related to that rope bridge involves the apparently fearless Jewel Staite. When it came time to shoot the sequence in question, Rachel (who was pregnant at the time) quite wisely refused to set foot on it. Jewel, rather bravely (or foolishly, decide for yourself) offered to give it a go for a few steps. Director Andy Mikita assured her that he wouldn’t need much from her. He would yell “Action!” and she would start walking across the scary-as-hell bridge – maybe two or three steps – at which point he would yell “Cut!” and she could turn around and head back to the relative safety of solid ground. Jewel was game. So Andy yelled “Action!” and Jewel started walking. And walking. And waiting for someone to yell “Cut!”. And walking. And walking…past the halfway point of the bridge. What a trooper. Apparently, heights aren’t a problem for Jewel as she performed most of the rope bridge stunts herself including the…well, I don’t want to give it away. Check out tomorrow’s episode and watch for this memorable sequence.

Today’s pics: Tesajb’s loot bag.

Today’s mailbag:

Sherwood Forest Maiden writes: “ Joe, on the recent showing of SG1 s10 episode with Vala’s father (sorry the title didnt show up on the digital service), I really like the way the set dressers decorated the apartment. Especially the lamp with the metal flowers rising from the base. Do you know where the props people got this lamp or was it made ‘in house’??”

Answer: I’m fairly certain they bought it – most probably at a flea market. A possible 1 000 000th visitor give-away.

Anonymous #1 writes: “I’ll be visiting Montreal in a few months. Any restaurant suggestions?”

Answer: Check out Au Pied de Cochon.

LogicSequence writes: “But could you do me (us fans) a favor in regards to the season 4 set? Could you put in a word to Ivon, or whomever is in charge of it, that the fans would REALLY like to have the actor commentaries return?”

Answer: I’ve mentioned it but, at the end of the day, it’s out of my hands.

Stargazer writes: “ I was curious as to whether you’ve ever read any of Tad Williams’ Otherland series, and if so what you thought of them.”

Answer: Haven’t read the Otherland series but I’ve heard very good things.

Moe Jacuzzi writes: “It seems you’re finally beginning to realize the genius mastermind behind fiberglass. Suffice it to say I dabbled in glass and fiber in my youth. My accomplishments surprise even me. Maleficent, no?”

Answer: Yeah, it is something you’d invent. Not unlike lemon cream-filled chocolates. You should be ashamed.

Jenny Robin writes: “During your interview for the deleted scenes I hope you remembered to mention your blog and how witty and charming I am in the comments I write.”

Answer: I did but, ironically, that bit was deleted.

Anonymous #2 writes: “Did you take the Superhero quiz?”

Answer: I did. I’m The Flash. Try to keep up.

LostCityGuardian writes: “If SGU were to get the go ahead, would you eventually become involved in running it?”

Answer: When SGU goes into production, Brad and/or Robert will be at the helm.

Squall78 writes: “Do you or anybody on the cast and crew like Family Guy?”

Answer: Love it. We’re in talks with Brian and Stewie to come over and do an episode.

Anonymous #3 writes: “How do you deal with negative criticism of the episodes from either professional critics or fan critics who at least write a well thought out and written critique?”

Answer: There are times I’ll agree, other times I’ll disagree, and still other times when I may be unconvinced but give props for a good argument. It really depends on what they say and how they say it.

Anonymous #4 writes: “Please don’t bring over Jackson. And please get rid of Carter. Bring back Weir, please. So far this season has been really awful.”

Answer: See, this is a perfect example of a fairly innocuous blanket critique that really tells me nothing except for the fact that the person in question is upset because we got rid of the Weir character.

Vikitty writes: “If, by chance, the winner is a Vancouverite (I know there are tons of readers who are from around here…), would the dinner still be virtual?”

Answer: It weren’t virtual, then many other fans would be deprived the opportunity to eavesdrop on the conversation.

LostCityGuardian writes: “What will you do if the 750,000th visitor posts a message anonymously?”

Answer: I’ll choose visitor 750 0001.

Maggie writes: “Is there really a counter that shows who visits your blog? I need to figure out how to get one of those for mine!”

Answer: Check out

Sokra42 writes: “BTW I just spend the last three days canning. I made Apple Butter, Mango Butter, Apple Jelly, and Orange Marmalade. I’m currently working on Green Pepper Jelly, and Red Onion Marmalade.”

Answer: Red onion marmalade. Intriguing.

Dovil writes: “ If I win I would like to dedicate it to my job…”

Answer: You, my friend, need a new job. My suggestion – comedy writer.

ActingChick writes: “I was wondering how you calculate the 750,000 visitor. Is it the 750,000 person who leaves a comment, or the 750,000 person, who although they read your page, sits quietly on the sidelines?”

Answer: I’ll have to go by comment closest to 750 000 so that I can confirm the winner’s identity.

MrsB108 writes: “Do any of the team member cross any moral lines this season?”

Answer: That’s up for debate. Check out Missing tomorrow night and you tell me.

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