“So you’re on vacation!”is the commonly voiced assumption I hear this time of year. And, as always, I feel the need to enlighten the misinformed. Yes, it’s fun work. Yes, it’s a rewarding business. But no, no, no. Not on vacation. Not yet. Eventually though – if and when the show is ever cancelled. But not before.
The truth is, while the show is in production, we’re of course very busy producing – writing and rewriting scripts, prepping episodes, editing cuts, and watching mixes. When production finally ends, usually in early October, the cast and crew head off on vacation but we continue the post-production process – still editing, still approving visual effects, still watching mixes. And, if we’re lucky enough to get a pick-up, we’ll be spinning ideas, breaking stories, and working on scripts right up to the start of yet another season of production in mid-February – at which point the process starts all over again. As such, we have to pick our spots – sometimes during the Summer hiatus, during the Fall-Winter break – blocking out a few days here and there when the show takes a backseat to some much-needed R&R. Although, to be honest, that’s easier said than done because even if you have a first draft script in hand, you’ll still find plenty of opportunity to: a) agonize over the minutiae of said script, b) spin potential new story ideas during dinner with your wife and well into the wee hours of early morning, and c) generally worry about various aspects of the impending production at every turn (“I have to remember to have John Lenic put that actress on hold.”, “I can’t forget to ask Val to include a few more countries in next season’s line-up.”)
And so, despite the fact that my mother and sister are in town, we’re only days away from celebrating Christmas, and I have a first draft of Broken Ties in hand, my mind is far from on holiday mode. If it’s not worrying about the tighter shooting schedule or whether or not Mark D. will be available for a return engagement, it’s fretting over motherhood issues or a red giant’s gravitational pull.
The key, I’ve found, is to keep extremely busy and thus make it difficult to concentrate on anything but, say, today’s dim sum lunch. While my mother stuck to the traditional shrimp dumplings and siu mai, Fondy and I went with the slightly more adventurous fare: fried daikon cake, eel in black bean sauce, and beef tendon. People ask me “What’s the most unusual thing you’ve eaten?” and I can only shrug. A more appropriate question would be “What’s the most unusual thing you HAVEN’T eaten?” Fondy and I were watching Survivor several weeks ago when, at one point during a challenge, contestants had to consume an unpalatable-looking exotic dish. As they choked and gagged in their attempts to force it down, I suddenly recognized the delicacy. “Hey!”I remarked. “We had that at Errol and Janice’s wedding!”
We followed dim sum with a stroll through the fairly unremarkable Yaletown, stopping off at Chocoatl where ever-enthusiastic owner Themis Velgis showed off his new line of creations including whiskey, olive oil, spicy tobacco, and 10 year old Balsamic vinegar-flavored truffles. I know, I know. Many of you will imagine the worst but the flavors are incredibly subtle and very, very good. As much as I despise vinegar (see yesterday’s entry), I thought the 10 year-old balsamic truffle was fantastic. We washed down our chocolates with even more chocolate in the form of a hot Peruvian dark chocolate for mom, and a Tanzanian dark chocolate “denso” for me. The denso was appropriately dense, dark, and wonderfully rich.
By the way, there are still plenty of blog regulars who don’t know I’ve switched blog sites yet so please spread the word.
Today’s pics: I’ve found that the key to taking a good picture is in capturing the subject during an unguarded moment. Here, Fondy catches me in two candid, completely natural instances. Compare to the obviously posed pics of the beef tendon and daikon cake.
Well, let’s see what I can do about catching up on some of your questions and comments –
WannaBe writes: “Tell you what, I’ll pick out a couple of mine and a friend or two and send them to the Bridge for you to pass on to her later.”
Answer: That’s very kind of you. My mother and I thank you in advance.
Anon, good nurse: “Have you read Urth of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe?”
Answer: Not yet. I’m on the last book of his Book of the New Sun series and enjoying it immensely although, like your experience with Urth, found the reading extremely rewarding but incredibly dense.
Marielabbott writes: “Speaking of intense courtroom drama, any chance we’ll see something of that nature in SGA?”
Answer: Coincidentally, we will be seeing something of this nature in season 5.
Daehaksang writes: “Have you ever had fried pickles?”
Answer: I don’t think so. I don’t recall ever having tried one at it seems like something I would remember if I did.
Netty writes: “I was wondering if you have ever watched the anime Wolf’s Rain?”
Answer: Yes. I liked it a lot. I just (finally) finished Full Metal Alchemist, which I also liked a lot. Now I’m considering what I should watch next. I’m thinking either Trinity Blood, Samurai Gun, or Ergo Proxy. Your pick?
Jme02067 writes: “Have you read Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell? I started this book maybe 5 times but found it utterly boring. What did you think?”
Answer: Haven’t read it yet but it’s sitting on my bookshelf. It was gifted to me by someone who loved it. I’ll probably give it a go sometime in 2008.
Michelle Lunsford writes: “By the by, I’d asked you some time back about tea infused chocolates. You’d suggested the Luxury Tea Collection from Christopher Norman. My sweet husband has spoiled me by getting it as a Christmas gift.”
Answer: Well, he sounds like a keeper. Tell me what you think of the Lapsang. It was my favorite.
Depenn writes: “With your Italian heritage , I was wondering if you have nay different traditions around the holiday season. That is in respect to food, to special customs?”
Answer: We usually include some sort of seafood in the mix, play Italian bingo (tombola), and open our gifts Christmas Eve as opposed to Christmas morning.
Kelly writes: “What sounds better — prime rib with Shittake pan gravy, or with orange balsamic glaze?”
Answer: I’d choose Shitake over orange balsamic simply because, like Rodney, I’m not a fan of citrus.
Scifan writes: “Are you and any of the cast going to be at the People’s choice awards?”
Answer: Alas, the live event was cancelled in favor of taped segments. If we’re lucky enough to win, I’m sure the actors will make themselves available for any acceptance speech.
Joshmeyers writes: “Suffice to say I’m having a deja vu, 8:30, hmm?
I wonder if someone will be waiting around the airport like a hopeless lacky until the plane arrives seven hours delayed.”
Answer: Er, fortunately they have something called the internet now which allows you to check a flight’s status before leaving for airport.
Lt. Col. Errandboy writes: “a) what’s your mamma’s favorite recipe, and b) have you ever tried marron (freshwater crayfish)?”
Answers: A) She has plenty of great recipes. I’m a big fan of her eggplant parmesan. B) I had them in New Orleans ages ago.
Blaine Nielsen writes: “I was wondering if you had been following House this season???What did you think of the selection for his new team????”
Answer: Of all of last year’s returning shows, House is the one I’ve been enjoying the most. I’m a couple of episodes behind and need to catch up so I don’t know who made the final cut, but I’m a big fan of Cutthroat Bitch.