Several of you were kind enough to bring something to my attention: Yesterday was not Thursday which would make today not Friday. I apparently wrote yesterday’s blog entry under the mistaken assumption that it WAS Thursday. Or did I? Looking back over the evidence, one irrefutable fact jumps out at me: December 5, 2007 was a Wednesday. This therefore leads me to one of two conclusions: either I screwed up or we must entertain the far likelier possibility that I was the unwitting victim of some bizarre time travel experiment.

Well, there was an easy enough way to find out. I still had yesterday’s (Wednesday to some, Thursday to others) memories fresh in my mind. Having already lived through one Thursday, how different would my second Thursday be? As it turned out, not all that much. Events repeated themselves with spine-chilling synchronicity. Just like yesterday’s Thursday, Vancouver was chilly, the WGA was still on strike, and Toyota invented a robot that could play the violin.

And so, given the extra Thursday, I was able to read not one but two books. The first – Mirror, Mirror – was a book I couldn’t initially find when I went looking or it at my local bookstore. “Oh, that’s because you’re looking under fantasy,”a helpful employee informed me, steering me over to the proper section. “We classify it under Chick Lit.” (Ah. Then, ahem, I’ll only take one copy please. And throw in a couple of George R. R. Martins and some of that chewing tobacco!) Writer Gregory Maguire is perhaps best known for Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, a satirical retelling of the Wizard of Oz from the point of view of a misunderstood wicked witch. Other Maguire books in the same vein include Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, What-the-Dickens: Confessions of a Rogue Tooth-Fairy, and my purchase, Mirror, Mirror, which is a retelling of Snow White set against the backdrop of the Italian Renaissance. A terrific premise and very funny at times although I found the book lost a lot of its humor around the half-way mark when the delightfully colorful characters of Primavera and Fra Ludovico disappear and a good chunk of the narrative is dedicated to a confusing quest for some magical apples and the mysterious appearance of a helpful magical stone dog (?). There’s a discernible shift in tone as the story takes on a palpably more tragic air and, while I suppose it is in keeping with the tale Maguire wants to tell, I found it a bit of a letdown after such a wonderfully whimsical start. As it turns out, the character driving the narrative isn’t our lovely protagonist Bianca de Nevada, but none other than Lucretia Borgia (the novel’s version of the wicked step-mother.evil Queen) who while interesting as a historical figure (given the many suspect legends connected to her and her family), doesn’t offer up much past the two-dimensional foil of the original Snow White tale. Still, flashes of brilliant humor throughout and an enjoyable enough read to send me back to the Chick Lit section for more Maguire (and a couple of Iain M. Banks’ – Oh, and a tattoo.)

The second book, Little Fuzzy, at times read like the novelization of a Disney movie (Do you see a pattern here? It was unintentional.). And yet, for all of its cloying cuteness, its arch villains, selfless heroes, and adorable little fuzzies, it does present a very interesting and surprisingly topical issue pitting environmentally-conscious individuals against corporate greed. When a race of seemingly intelligent beings is discovered on a planet being exploited by the chartered Zarathustra Company, a group of scientists strive to prove that the “Little Fuzzies” are sapient beings and, thus, worthy of protection. Opposing them is a star-faring corporation committed to discrediting the scientists, having the new life forms classified as animals (and hunted to extinction for their pelts before the Colonial Government can launch a proper investigation), and safeguarding their interests in a valuable planet. Very light and at times downright silly scifi from the early 1960’s, and yet a sweet and entertaining little story nevertheless.

By the way, even though I’ve already weighed in on Pat Frank’s Alas, Babylon (highly recommended), I had intended, but forgot, to include a little excerpt from the post-apocalyptic novel. My favorite passage in the book – long after the bombs have gone off and our characters have lost contact with the world outside their town, a plane flies by and drops leaflets down on the excited survivors. Randy, our protagonist, reads the message on the leaflet and confides:

“In a sense, it was disappointing. But it was something. It was something you could put your hands on, that you could feel, that had come from the outside. It was proof that the government of the United States still functioned. It was also useful as toilet paper.” (Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank).

I was planning to start reading The Crooked Letter but, since we won’t begin discussion on the Sean Williams book until mid-January, and since I want it fresh in my mind for that discussion, I’ve pushed it a little further down my to-read list. But that’s only because I’m a fast reader! The rest of you start reading if you’re interested in discussing the book and having a shot at winning a copy of Blood Debt: Books of the Cataclysm Two. Also, a reminder, that there are also three official BOTM club selections to get around to for January: The Princess Bride, The Time Traveler’s Wife, and Ghost Story.

Oh, hey, before I wade into the mailbag, I wanted to get an opinion on something. Today, I went to the pantry to grab the Gourmet Chef borscht I purchased last week and was greeted by a somewhat disturbing sight. The pouch containing the soup had ballooned to the point where it looked ready to burst. What gives? I’m no molecular biologist, but I have a feeling this is a bad sign, no?

Today’s blog is dedicated to rachid and all those students (at McGill and elsewhere) in exam Hell.

Looking ahead – Virtual dinner tomorrow, a This Mortal Coil breakdown this weekend, and sometime in the next week: missives from Baron Destructo, big season 5 news for fans of this character, and pics from the upcoming Ark of Truth screening.

Today’s pics: My double-Thursday reading, Gourmet Chef borscht literally bursting with, um, flavor!

Today’s video: Because Rebecca H. requested it – click on the date to watch a little video starring Lulu called “Snow Crazy!”.

Le mailbag:

The Dixon-Stubblefield blog writes: “Any thoughts on one of your actors somewhat competing with the show (Joe F being on Women’s Murder Club) by being a guest on another show the same night or is that just so normal no one thinks twice about it? Or do you have to get permission from your regular show if the air times conflict?”

Answer: Joe’s people did clear it with us first. The reason they did so had nothing to do with any potential competing time slots and everything to do with potentially competing production schedules. Once we were assured that there would be no conflict, we gave him our full blessings.

Chevron7 writes: “ Do visual effect heavy episodes tend to come up short? Is that a weird trend for you guys?”

Answer: It’s hard to say exactly why an episode comes up short. If we could, they wouldn’t come up short. Can’t blame the visual effects. Be All My Sins was extremely VFX-heavy but time in with plenty of footage to spare.

Ptarmigan writes: “Do you really keep ALL of the books you’ve read, or just the cream of the crop?”

Answer: I keep them all so that I can lend my favorites to people who never return them.

Cath writes: “I have no idea how you know I suggested people leave a thank you – “

Answer: Oh that. I just used the Echelon domestic intelligence-gathering network to track your every move. For instance, I know what you had for breakfast this morning, the second-to-last dream you had last night and, yes, best to tidy away that porn.

Anonymous #1 writes: “..you’re that guy who takes all viewpoints he disagrees with and feebly attempts to ridicule and belittle them […] It IS all about me. I, for the life of me, can’t understand why you would try to put forth otherwise. When it comes to many, many other things in life […] I’m narrow-minded because I feel that the characters are ill served by appearing on what I perceive to be an inferior show? […] we each have our own personal beliefs regarding the show. How about you be the magnanimous one and change yours so that me and my ilk can enjoy the show better? Or is it all about you, too?”

Answer: Yes, yes, yes, but beyond all of your self-aggrandizing blah blah blah and how-dare-you and as-a-fan-I-should-be-able-to-say-whatever-the-hell-I-want-because-when-I-flap-my-lips-noise-comes-out-of-my-mouth yammering is the single fact that reinforces the point I made yesterday: you’re not a fan. I mean, you WERE a fan of SG-1, and that would be all well and good if you were criticizing SG-1. Instead, you’re criticizing a show you don‘t even watch and, from you’ve said, have never watched. Kind of sad, no? Even better (read: sadder) is the fact that your “criticism” is the equivalent of an egocentric child’s demand to “Stopitstopitstopit!”. Out of curiosity, do you frequent the fan communities of many other shows you don’t watch and ask them to put an end to storylines or characters you have no intention of following? Have you ever contacted the manufacturers of products you don’t own and don’t ever plan on purchasing to demand that they discontinue sales of said items? Ever consider contacting the tourist boards of countries you have never and will never visit and take them to task for offering organized tours of the local attractions? These are all terrific little exercises that will surely prove as rewarding and productive your delightfully self-important ramblings on this blog.

Keirberos writes: “Well, that and, did you watch/have you considered watching Tin Man?”

Answer: I didn’t watch it because, ironically enough, we don’t get the SciFi Channel here in Canada. However, I will probably pick it up when it comes out on DVD.

Inpa writes: “You say you do not ‘get’ fans being annoyed at Beckett surely you must understand their point?”

Answer: Uh, actually I was referring to those fans who criticize a show they don’t watch, not supporters of the Carson Beckett character.

Vv0472 writes: “1) Was there anything that you liked about McGill University? 2) If we now have the Carter-McKay intergalactic bridge, then why not re-locate people from the Pegasus galaxy to the Milky Way galaxy and save them from the Wraith?”

Answers: 1) The many attractive women in my English courses. 2) Because it would take, oh, forever.

Kimberlee writes: “its the “boonie” again. the offer stands. whenever you need a break from all the wild and wackyness of SGA, I would be delighted to take you around here and take you to all the GREAT restaurants. Do you like “soul food”?”

Answer: LOVE soul food.

Rebecca H. writes: “I miss the pictures. Haven’t the dogs done anything cute lately?”

Answer: All the time. Check out today’s video.

Charles Schneider writes: “If it doesn’t bring any demons back, could you talk about why Mortal Coil was so hard on you?”

Answer: It was a script that required a lot of rethinking, re-ordering, and dialogue massaging to present a complex story in as concise, informative, and entertaining a way as possible. It was hell, but there are some very touching character moments that I thought turned out very nicely.

Stargatemagic writes: “Do you writer-types ever have to stay in for extra time ever/a lot?”

Answer: Since we writer-types also happen to be producer-types, there are occasions when we may have to hang around later to deal with script issues, pre-production concerns, studio or network conference calls, and, rarest of all, potential on-set issues.

Mags writes: “As somebody with multiple pets, how have you introduced them together when adding a new pet to the mix?”

Answer: Choose a neutral territory (like a backyard as opposed to an interior) and introduce them one at a time starting with the least problematic pet first. In our case, it went Maximus, Jelly, and Bubba.

Anonymous #2 writes: “IGN or Dreamwatch (I can’t remember which) keeps knocking big points off because Carter is never in the episodes.”

Answer: Well, since Amanda was only contracted for 14 episodes in season 4, her absence in some episodes shouldn’t have come as any big surprise. Furthermore, I did stress at the beginning of the season that her role would be that of a Landry or, yes, even a Weir – more of a support role. Again, this shouldn’t have come as a surprise either.

Anonymous #3 writes: “As if you haven’t had enough questions about Teyla’s child, I thought I’d add one more. Are there any potential names that the writers are considering for the kid?”

Answer: At the moment, we’re considering several possibilities, among them – Mercutio, Goneril, Tangerine, Flossy, Lil Meow Meow, Jersey Phil, Mohave, Prince, Grobella, and McSheprokett. I’m leaning toward Flossy myself.

AMZ writes: “How do the writers work out who writes what story?”

Answer: Usually, the script goes to whoever came up with the idea. Other times, it’s simply a matter of someone wanting to write a specific script. Still other times, it comes down to who is free to write. Regardless of who came up with the idea, all of the writers take part in the building the actual story and shaping the script.

Lysambre writes: “are you hiding their names because they asked or do they think it’s likely they’ll be taken more seriously if they leave anonymous comments ?”

Answer: I hide no names. When people leave anonymous comments they do so because they consider it too much of a bother coming up with a blogger ID, although in rare instances it’s more a matter of individuals who lack the courage to be recognized for their opinions. Of course most blogger ID’s are anonymous as well but it’s the consistency of representation that makes them notable and, in my opinion, worthy of respect. For instance, I don’t know all that much about SMB_BOOKS on a personal level, but I do know that she is pro-Weir, had been consistent yet polite in her arguments, and I respect that. Anonymous posters who are impolite (and 99% they are anonymous) or adopt a more confrontational approach are the ones who don’t get much respect – and get slammed.

Maddog1995 writes: “I’ve just been curious about the replacement of Weir. Had SG-1 been renewed, what sort of direction would her replacement have taken? Would it possibly still have been Carter or maybe someone else we have seen in the past?”

Answer: The latter.

Anonymous #4 writes: “ What are Baron Destructo’s plans for the upcoming holiday? Baking cookies? Sending out cards?”

Answer: Like most at this time of year, he’ll be shopping, decorating the League of Aliens and Mutants for Evil moonbase headquarters, and, in possibly targeting both North and South poles with his satellite lasers so as to melt the polar ice caps and flood major cities. You?

Rosebud writes: “Mallozzi said that the decision to remove Higginson had nothing to do with Tapping. Flanigan said the exact opposite. Who’s wrong?”

Answer: With all due respect to Joe and what he may or may not have said at these various cons – he wasn’t in the room when we made the decision regarding Weir, and he wasn’t in the room when we made the decision regarding Carter. Any assumptions about the how’s and why’s of the decision are just that – assumptions.

Amy G writes: “In my opinion, the focus of the show is the team: John, Rodney, Ronon and Teyla, and those are the ones that make sense to have as regulars. The base commander, CMO, other scientists and military personal are supporting and it makes sense to have them on a recurring basis.”

Answer: A very interesting opinion that is pretty much in line with my approach to the show.

Ptarmigan writes: “Have you and the gang taken advantage of all of your wonderful snow and gone sledding yet?”

Answer: No. I’ve been inside all day working on my blog.

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