Not a real deer
Hey, I think I can spot Paul’s house! 


Well, mom headed back to Montreal today, her three week stay with us having drawn to a close with nary a museum visit or art gallery foray. My mother, alas, was not interested in any of the cultural excursions I had planned. She was, however, up for Fondy’s cross-city tour of various Vancouver landmarks including what is apparently the largest Buddhist temple in North America, skeevy Chinatown, and Stanley Park (highlighted by the breath-taking view from Prospect Point which is, incidentally, where I nodded off, awakening an hour later as we were pulling up in front of the house). I have to admit, though, I did enjoy myself at the Buddhist temple where, strolling through its expansive grounds, I was transported back to our last visit to Hong Kong and was once again filled with regret we were unable to make the return trip this year.

I was so bummed, in fact, that I decided to try a little experiment. Before embarking on our last East Asian vacation, I purchased two new bottles of cologne – one for my stay in Hong Kong, the other for my stay in Tokyo – in the hopes that their unique scents would forever evoke fond memories my time there. After all, I’ve heard it said that scent is the highest memory trigger of all the senses. So, last night, I put that theory to the test by dabbing a bit of Terre d’Hermes beneath my nose before bedtime, just enough for its subtle bouquet to work its magic on my sleeping brain. Would I be whisked back to Hong Kong in my reverie? Would my drifting mind be steered toward remembrances of Lantau, Kowloon, and the spicy shoft-shell crab at Hutong? In a word: no. Instead, I dreamt that special features producer Ivon Bartok played a practical joke on Rob Zombie, who was on the lot directing his latest feature, pissing the man off enough that he dispatched some Siamese dwarves to my home to inquire about my involvement in the affair.

Well, I’m almost caught up on my reading for the upcoming book discussions, with this month’s selections ranging from excellent to tough slogging. Remember, you’re not expected to read all of them. Just a pick a book from the genre that interests you. I’ll be weighing in with my thoughts on the official selections – The Time Traveler’s Wife, The Princess Bride, and Ghost Story – starting Monday. If you’re interested in having a shot at taking home the sequel to Sean Williams’ The Crooked Letter, then weigh in with your opinions on the book the following Monday (January 14th).

Today’s blog is dedicated to the sickly Quilani.

Today’s pics: The sights and sounds of Vancouver (minus the sounds).

Today’s mailbag:

Sagacious writes: “Since Atlantis is now on a different planet, any chance our heroes might have to deal with extreme weather, such as snow, wicked cold, or even extreme heat? Assuming you have one, what’s on your iPod?”

Answers: 1) Possibly. 2) I own an iPod I never use. Fondy has it.

Steph writes: “what’s your opinion on manga?”

Answer: I don’t read manga, so I can’t really weigh in with an educated opinion.

Narellefromaus writes: “Do you find that your dogs have different reactions to your return home after a trip?”

Answer: No, they pretty much all go nuts the second we walk in the door.

Ladydulcinea writes: “…we have just sold all of our worldly posessions and are 10 minutes away from leaving for the airport. We’ll be at your door tomorrow night and we’d like to bed down as soon as possible.”

Answer: Now I feel really bad. You see, to take advantage of the skyrocketing home prices, Fondy and I have sold our house. We are living in our car until after the 2010 Olympics when, presumably, the market will crash and we’ll be able to buy a new house at half the price. If only you’d told me sooner.

Valerie writes: “How much say do the actors have in what is required for them for the show? For example if the script called for an actress to shave off her hair or to perform a stunt without a stunt double (due to how it needed to be shot) could she be required to do so due to her contract?”

Answer: We would never force an actor into such a situation. For instance, in Adrift, that was a stand-in whose head was shaved and not Torri. There are, however, occasions when we will hire an actor with the understanding that they may require some physical change of them. A gag I like to play during auditions is to ask the nervous actors whether they’d mind waxing their eyebrows for the part.

RachelCooperLPN writes: “As a writer on Stargate, you do realize that while you guys create the material, it is fans such as myself and the others who visit this blog who make or break your enterprise, do you not?”

Answer: Of course. If it weren’t for our fans, there wouldn’t be a show.

Susiekew writes: “ Several times over the past few months people have asked for your recommendation for a good scifi book, and more often that not you answered John Scalzi’s Old Mans War. Well, I picked up a copy and loved it. I will be definately be reading more of his work. Any more suggestions?”

Answer: Scifi? Check out some Iain M. Banks – The Player of Games or Consider Phlebas.

Arctic Goddess writes: “How come all the alien civilizations that the teams on Stargate visit speak English?”

Answer: Good question. In my mind, gate travelers are implanted with translator nanites that allow them to understand and be understood whenever they travel off-world. Of course, the system isn’t 100% efficient as evidenced by the inability to translate goa’uld.

Rdcalalow writes: “I wanted to know if you knew about or had had Canadian or American Kobe beef and how different it is from the Japanese?”

Answer: Canadian and American Kobe beef is excellent – but nothing beats the real thing.

AnneTeldy writes: “. Someone once told me that the city of Atlantis is about the size of Manhattan. Is that the closest comparison, or is there something else you(collective) use to visualize the size and scope of the city? 2. Will you settle a good-natured argument about Atlantis, please? I say that the city of Atlantis itself was more of a government center/research facility/university than a true city. [] Opponent says that, given its size, there had to have been factories and schools and children in Atlantis making it a true city.”

Answer: 1) That’s the comparison we’ve always drawn in the room. 2) I’ll call it a tie. Although, quite clearly, the main focus of the city was research, the war with the wraith eventually forced the surviving Ancients to fall back to Atlantis, transforming it into a stronghold and more of the community described by your friend.

Knightie writes: “I am assuming that the editors will use different camera angles to put the finished product together? Who determines that: The editors or the director?”

Answer: The editor will gather together all of the footage and put together the first cut, what is referred to as, appropriately enough, the editor’s cut. The director will watch it, then join the editor in the editing suite, replacing shots and making changes as he sees fit. Once he’s done, he puts out the new cut which is called, appropriately enough, the director’s cut. The producer watches it, then joins the editor in the editing suite, replacing shots and making changes as he sees fit. Once he’s done, he puts out a new cut which is known as, appropriately enough, the producer’s cut.

Crazymom writes: “What is yang chow fried rice?”

Answer: I’m sure there are many variations, but the one my mother enjoys includes eggs, barbecued pork, shrimp, green onions, peas, and, of course, rice.

Grapesofwraith writes: “Do the directors sign up for episodes, or do you write with a director in mind, or is it chosen in another way?”

Answer: We (the producers) put together the directors schedule prior to the start of production.

Cat4444 writes: “If WordPress already has a preview function, Joe figures out how to enable it…”

Answer: If it does, I haven’t been able to find it.

Annie from Freemantle writes: “What factors are considered when the PTB make their final decision as to giving the go ahead for the next season?”

Answer: It’s the network that decides whether to pick up a show or not and their decision is based on the show’s performance only insofar as they are concerned. Variables like dvd sales, episode downloads and international sales and viewership, on the other hand, inform the studio’s decision on whether or not to continue production.

Jedi43 writes: “Have you ever tried Venison or Buffalo? And if yes did you like it?”

Answer: I have enjoyed both, but prefer venison over buffalo. They are lean meats and, if improperly prepared, can be tough.

Atimson writes: “Would you rather see the deleted scenes reedited into the episodes, or see them simply live on the disc as a “what might have been”?”

Answer: Given the choice, I’d choose the latter. Deleted scenes are usually deleted for a very good reason.

Neep writes: “What is your current favourite chocolate?”

Answer: Amedei Chuao.

Stargatemagic writes: “Is the show Psych shot in Vancouver?”

Answer: It was.

Firefly827347 writes: “I also have a question about staff-type weapons, i.e. Jaffa staffs and the ones Ori soldiers use. Is there some kind of trigger on them used to fire them or are they fired by thought control like Lantean weapons?”

Answer: Trigger.

Mrs.B108 writes: “1- Do you think the darker feel of this season will continue into season five? 2- Would you say the loyalty and bond between the core team really shine through the remainder of the season?”

Answers: 1. Possibly. 2. I think so.

Josh Hancock writes: “Have you or any other writers ever taken ideas for episodes for SG1/SGA from fanfic or theories that people have come up with?”

Answer: Nope.

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I’m very curious to read your book club post for this month, although I’ll undoubtedly wait until the end of January to read it. I normally don’t partake in any of the book club related posts because it’s not very often that I’m able to sit down and finish a book. But, having read “The Princess Bride”, and currently planning on reading “The Time Traveler’s Wife” on a plane in two weeks, I’m curious which book has been giving you trouble. I’m not planning on reading the post on Monday because I don’t want any outside sources to influence my future readings…but…is there any way you can give me a hint as to whether or not I should bring a second book along with me on the flight?



Depends on the type of book you enjoy. Then again, it’s all relative. All four books we’ll be discussing have their supporters as well as their detractors.

Alli Snow
Alli Snow


I read The Time Traveler’s Wife a couple of years ago, and I really enjoyed it, although I think I would probably *understand* it a lot better on a second read! As far as scifi goes, it’s a *lot* more focused on the characters and their relationships than the mechanics behind the actual time traveling.


Hi Joe, Have you tossed around any Ford stories at all???? Any chance of seeing any of the Atlantis baddies ever making it to the Milky way so that SG-1 and the Atlantis crew can fight them together????


What’s the difference between a teleplay and a script?


hi, joe,

through all the pleading, nagging, and griping, i hope you see that at the center of it is just a love for something about your show. i know there are some that just want to be buttheads, but for every considerate weir fan, beckett fan, jack fan, shipper fan, etc, it’s all out of love. i hope you know that…

sally smile


Narellefromaus writes: “Do you find that your dogs have different reactions to your return home after a trip?”

Answer: No, they pretty much all go nuts the second we walk in the door.

grin … well I think that’s common behaviour for all dogs around the globe. For example our dogs go nuts the second they hear a key toucing the door. And they make such a noise with all howling and barking. And it don’t matter how long we have been gone … 5 hours or 5 days… it’s all the same. I’m sometimes afraid that our neighbours will chip in and buy us and our dogs one way tickets to the most distal place they can aford grin
Do your dogs do the barking and howling too or do you have tought them to behave? If so, then what’s your secret because it seems that our dogs are incapable to learn how to be happy to see us in silence.


Thanks for answering my question grin
Your photos are spectacular, I would kill for a view like that in my city.


Hi Joe,
Long time lurker, first time poster just wanting to add my two cents before the second half begins.

First off, I am firmly in the camp that this season has been the strongest so far. All of the eps (with the exception of “Travelers” which I kept falling asleep during) have been excellent and I like the way the story has been progressing. All of this came as a surprise to me because I wasn’t expecting much. I was disappointed to see Weir leave and afraid that the show was going to become Stargate: Carter’s Story. Glad to see I was wrong.

On the other hand, although I wasn’t all that upset about Carson dying (he was a good character, but I’m a Sheppard/McKay fan), I can’t stand Keller. From her cutesy pie smile to her “deer caught in the headlights” look everytime she’s scared, she has quickly become the character I most wish to see die.

Already have the DVR set up for tomorrow night. Hoping the second half is as good as the first.



Stargatemagic writes: “Is the show Psych shot in Vancouver?”

Answer: It was.

Was? Has it been cancelled?

You mentioned using a stand-in for the head-shaving bit. What sort of compensation does a person get for that kind of thing? Is there something in addition to the usual daily rate? Also, while we’re on the subject of stand-ins and things, to what degree are extras warned about what will be required of them before they get to set? Say a shot requires the extras to be scantily clad, or in a potentially embarassing situation, or to wear special effects make-up, or to engage in vigorous physical activity. I ask because in a recent episode of House, there was a brief scene with a male patient in the background with his legs in stirrups, having some kind of delicate operation. The extra in question only found out he’d be in stirrups when they got there. He was a good sport about it, but it seems like some other people might be uncomfortable with something like that, feeling that maybe that wasn’t quite what they’d signed up for. Anyway, just wondering. The little details like that help form a more complete idea of what production’s like.

Enzo Aquarius
Enzo Aquarius

Hey Joe!

Reading your comment on the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, do you have any plans to attend it?

Talk about some great pictures! You perform some amazing photography!

– Enzo Aquarius


The pictures are gorgeous. You must live in a nice city. Only one of the towns near where I live has a ‘chinatown’ and it’s only about ten by ten feet (so it’s not really anything).

Please answer this question. Who cleans up around Atlantis? Do they have janitors or does everyone pitch-in? (I know I asked this twice but my sister is really bugging me about this).

Margaret Clayton

Nice mountains. I always prefer a pointy view, I have a nice vertical chunk of the Wasatch Range visible through my picture window.

Nice Buddhist Temple. Now I’m homesick for Yokohama Chinatown and Kamakura.

Your dream was better than mine, mine involved broken video poker games at my favorite bar, which can’t be realistic as there’s not a single decent bar in Ogden and I hate video poker, followed by mini-fridges full of other people’s yogurt instead of beer and all my buddies replaced by actors from a commercial for Applebees. See what you’ve done? I mean, I love Rob Zombie and possibly could adore the sinister Siamese dwarves as well. Wanna switch dreams? No? Ah well, couldn’t hurt to ask. Maybe I’ll break out the Chanel and try the REM Roulette.

Do you mind my self-centered rambling as a substitute for relevant and/or profound questions?



Thanks for those fantastic photos. It makes me want to get there even more. One day!


Shawna ,
The show Psych was renewed for another season.


Hey Joe
glad to read you have had a good xmas and new year.

i was wondering if i could ask your advice about film licenses.
i’m going into production mid febuary for my college course and i have to be fully compt out under copyright and licensing laws i was wondering if you can tell me how to get a music license?

yours faithfully

Annie from Fremantle
Annie from Fremantle

Wow, Vancouver’s a beautiful city.. I read that it has a lot of Asian influence so beats me why you’d want to venture to REAL Asian places. Just kidding!

So your mum’s gone now.. I guess your house will be a bit (select one) noisier, quieter, absent of the smell of Italian food? now she’s gone? I wonder if she’s the type to leave you a nasssy surprise that you’ll discover a bit late (what IS that smell you may ask)..you never know, you got your practical joker gene from one parent!

I’m glad that dvd sales are taken into account. Now everyone here is getting one for their birthday. That’ll be 3 in this household, one for my eldest son,one for his gurrfriend and even one for the cat. Someone loan me $250 bucks?

(yayayay my son’s mumps have gone he looks more human now.. finally taking them out of the house!!! Seeya!)


Hey Joe, just a long time reader, first time poster here. I was wondering, as a writer, do you find yourself criticizing/analyzing other people’s work (be it a TV show, movie, etc.)? Do you watch or read something and think “Wow, I could have done that better…”?


Is there a reason for the Asuran Stargate Weapon sent to Lantia in the 3rd Season Finale “First Strike” only having 8 chevrons instead of the usual 9 Chevrons?

Or am I entirely blind and did I miss the part where Pegasus gates only have 8 Chevrons? (If so I would be really ashamed to call myself a Gater razz )

Or… Was it just a screw up by the CGI department?


Beautiful phots of your native haunt, and mention of the Olympics in 2010? That is obviously an invitation for the few hundred of us here to drop in then, since it gives us just enough time to work out the logistics (who picks up who on the road, who gets the crossbeams in the attic to sleep on vs who has to sleep under the porch), etc. Unless the Border guards will permit port-a-potties across the line, we’ll have to rely on fans north of the border to secure those. After all, there is a limit to what Fondy will tolerate, and I dont even want to consider trying to work out the schedules of 200+ people and one bathroom…
The photos truly are gorgeous, and it’s my hope to make one of my road trips extend that far north and west eventually. Thank you for putting them up. When is SAG considering going on strike? Sorry if I missed the walk-out date, but I’m curious on how many episodes you will be able to get banked before the strike hits, if it does. Though here’s hoping all parties concerned can come up with some reasonably equitable solution.l

Padawan Aneiki
Padawan Aneiki

Been sick for a few days so have missed poking in here and seeing what’s going on. I hope your Mom had a safe trip home. The pictures are absolutely gorgeous. smile

Question: How are episode soundtracks handled with such a tight production schedule? How quickly does Mr. Goldsmith crank out new material, vs. how often to you “recycle” certain music beds that he’s written in the past? Fantastic choice of composer, btw if I’ve never said so before. smile


uh oh… I feel my resolution slipping… need something intelligent to say…..

I read your post a few dozen time waiting for my shift to end and I can’t think of a single question….

I’ve been to vancover once and was not fortuante to get to Stanley park, I did however visit the bushart (spelling?) gardens which I enjoyed. Been there?? I find that when you live in/near a city you take the “tourist” attractions for granted. I go to Toronto once a month but have only been to the CN tower once… Ah well what can you do eh!


Hello, Joe! Thank you for answering my question and a fabulous answer it was by the way. I asked that question of you because I have been hearing some rumors recently that made me wonder. Thank you for keeping this blog going. Even though it seems some don’t share your awesomeness up there, it’s refreshing to see that you seem to listen to what the fans think, which made your answer even better. You do realize that!

BTW, what sites did you take pictures of on today’s blog? I’m coming to Vancouver in April and I’d like to see some of those things. They are really pretty!


Joe…Happy New Year!!!…..Have you ever been to Baltimore??… I have all of my friends hooked on Atlantis!! Can’t wait for tomorrow’s show…I just completed my DVD collection of SGA…This season is AWESOME!!..Keep up the good work….Ps. Do you ever watch the show, Monk; it’s pretty hilarious….

anon, good nurse

Lovely collection of photos. Someday hubs and I will have to take up his Burnaby cousin on her offer/request for us to come visit and do the town together.

Then-and-now experiences in a handful of major urban areas makes me wonder if there’s a middle ground between skeevy and gentrified. It would be nice.

The pics of the temple remind me very much of the Byodo-In Temple in the mountains just off the eastern Oahu coast, near Kaneohe. Despite Oahu being overbuilt, the temple setting is lovely and peaceful. Those memories make me long to visit Japan (and southeastern Asia) someday.