Fondy and I have done a fair amount of moving around since our move to Vancouver 8+ years ago. Our first home in the city was The Sutton Place, the choice of many out-of-town actors/directors/producers who like to while away the late hours hanging out in the hotel bar, The Gerard. While the Sutton is well-located in the heart of downtown, it was in desperate need of a refurnishing when we holed up there for all of four months. Eventually, we grew tired of the place (and in particular the concierge whose lame restaurant recommendations included a sub-par Japanese restaurant where the sushi selections floated by on little boats that circled the main bar) and moved over to the Pacific Palisades. Another great location in the heart of downtown (although, quite honestly, this city has little downtown to speak of), we lived there for two years – until Fondy got creeped out by the fact that the building’s cleaning staff had access to our apartment 24/7. One day while she was home alone, she stepped out of the bedroom to discover someone had stopped by and dropped off the mail while she was showering. That did it. We left the downtown area and moved over to the trendy Yaletown district. The area was a lot quieter and much more scenic, with several dog parks within easy walking distance, and our building boasted a lovable Italian security guard who thought he was T.J. Hooker. We loved it – until the day the fire alarm went off and I had to negotiate 19 floors with three pugs, two of who were absolutely terrified to walk down the stairs. In time, the area grew more congested, noisier, and when the drug dealers moved into the neighborhood – sorry, I meant to say “surprisingly affluent young pitbull owners” moved into the neighborhood, we knew it was time to go. Finally, Fondy got what she’d wanted since we’d moved here from Montreal: a house.
It’s been about three years since we moved into this quiet neighborhood. To our left live three generations of a Chinese family. Dad, apparently some sort of martial arts expert, is always in his backyard practicing his routine, driving Bubba into a barking frenzy with his kung fu breathing exercises. He never smiles, never makes eye contact, and does his best to avoid any sort of social interaction – which is why, whenever I spot him outside, I make it a point to wave and say hi. Grammy and gramps are presumably his folks since they share in his general distaste for acknowledging the presence of others (“Hello!”my unwitting mother greeted the elderly couple one fine morning. They responded by silently staring back at her as if she’d broken wind.) The grandfather didn’t exactly enamor himself to Fondy who, perhaps assuming Fondy couldn’t understand Cantonese, commented rather loudly one day: “Is that thing out in her garden again?” Clearly, he’s not a fan of my wife’s horticultural skills. We never see the kids but mom, Daphne, is pleasant enough. To our right live an elderly couple, Ted and Dorothy (I always imagine Dorothy Hamill pair skating with Ted Danson to help me remember their names). They were a nice, quiet couple – until the day Fondy went off on the guy they’d hired to weed their lawn. The fact that the guy was sending herbicide wafting over the fence into our backyard where the dogs were playing didn’t sit too well with Fondy. And the fact that Fondy let him have it evidently didn’t sit well with Ted who has nary spoken a word to us since. Dorothy, on the other hand, was kind enough to bake us some blueberry bread to thank us for collecting their mail while they were away last Spring. Across from us lives an elderly woman who we rarely see. She pokes her head out of her front door about once every week to summon her cat and eye us suspiciously. Behind us live an adorable 70-something Italian couple, Tony and Rosa, who are always gifting us with fresh figs, cucumbers, and tomatoes from their garden. They go bowling every Wednesday and love discussing the weather. Two doors down lives Tony’s brother. The zucchini he planted in his garden last summer turned out to be pumpkin.
I love this house, especially after getting the home theater installed, but every once in a while Fondy will come across a house listing and start considering the possibilities (“Hey, this master bedroom has a walk-in closet!”). I’ve got the moving boxes on stand-by.
Today’s blog entry is dedicated to birthday girl AMZ (girl, right?) and Leila who will be undergoing out-patient surgery this Tuesday and will hopefully be back to her high-flying kick-boxing ways in no time.
Today’s mailbag –
Squall78 writes: “Some fans have said MGM cut the budget and it is likely why SGA got picked up for a 5th season.”
Answer: Untrue. In fact, if MGM had cut the budget, that would have actually worked against the show getting the pick-up. After all, why would the network invest in a show that promised less than the previous year in terms of onscreen quality?
Vvv0472 writes: “1) When did you find out that Amanda Tapping would not be able to be apart of the show in season 5? 2) When did you cast Robert Picardo for season 5?”
Answers: 1) Don’t remember when exactly, but I believe we received the news before leaving for the Christmas break – early December. 2) We made this decision about the same time.
Aelfgyfu writes: “I mostly enjoyed The Illusionist and think Baron Destructo missed something important: they couldn’t just leave the Crown Prince because he had a history of controlling and abusing women, and they believed he had killed at least one.”
Answer: The Baron misses nothing. The fact that the Crown Prince was purported to have such a history was introduced as a means to – a) paint the prince in the worst possible light (because merely being a manipulative boor was clearly not enough) so that the audience would sympathize with Sophie‘s plight, but more importantly b) bolster the magician’s motivation to rescue Sophie from a possible terrible marriage. Never is it stated, even suggested, that the ugly rumors circulating the Crown Prince are what drives the magician to orchestrate his death at movie’s end.
Tardishart writes: “ I am a little saddened that so many folks seem to think Keller is a loose women, god when did it become 1952 again?!”
Answer: 1952?! I was going to suggest Victorian England! Seriously, the fact that she “almost kisses” Ronon and then, months later, asks Rodney to join her for a drink is considered cheap and shameless behavior. The only possible reasoning I can think of for using this line of argument is either 1) The individuals doing the criticizing grew up in a sheltered environment where they were permitted few social interactions with the outside world, or, and this is a stretch 2) They really reeeeeeaching for any possible argument, no matter how ridiculous, to use against the character. God forbid she should change her hairstyle. Cries of “Harlot! Devil Woman!” will surely resound in whichever corridors of fandom these Prudence Goodwife’s happen to frequent.
LostCityGuardian writes: “do you believe that the fact that SGA season 4’s success (ratings and awards etc) has been influenced by the competition (other shows on SciFi and other channels) being hit by the Writer’s Strike? Or is it just because SGA is so damn good?”
Answer: Given the shift in overall television viewership and the increased use of Tivo, dvr, and digital downloads, it’s impossible to answer that question with any degree of certainty. All we can do is make the best show possible and, heading into season 5, that’s what we’ve done.
Anneteldy writes: “And some people become Wraith worshippers because they are ‘addicted’ to the pleasurable aspects of getting one’s life returned. How’d I do?”
Answer: You did great. How great? Check out season 5’s Broken Ties.
Aquarian writes: “Hey, Mister M. I was wondering if it’s possible to find out why Ms Higginson declined.”
Answer: I understand the fans’ desire to support Torri, but I don’t find it fair or helpful to speculate on the reasons for her declining the offer. As I wrote in yesterday’s entry, we fully respect and support Torri’s decision and wish her all the best. For the record, however, it wasn’t a specific script issue. The content of the script (which has yet to be delivered) was never even discussed.
Charles Schneider writes: “Now that a new season is about to begin production, do you see yourself shifting from hardcore book reading to some other interest?”
Answer: I’m thinking skeet shooting might be the way to go.
Fsmn36 writes: “Is music something that can make or break a movie/TV show for you?”
Answer: I suffer the curse of the writer – and, by extension, Fondy must suffer along with me. What makes or breaks a movie/TV show for me is the writing.
Jason writes: “Will the new Captain Vega character take away screen time from Major Lorne..?”
Answer: No. The introduction of the Vega character had nothing to do with lessening the onscreen presence of any existing characters (regulars or recurring) and everything to do with a genuine desire to expand our roster of familiar faces.
ElisaD writes: “I see from some previous comments that you can’t go into FFN website for legal reasons and I’m pretty sure that you knew that so your answer to me may have been to indicate that you “know nothing!””
Answer: Actually, no. I really didn’t know what FFN stood for.
Patricia writes: “Since Marty G. can’t make Thursday’s dinner, will you consider bringing Fondy or maybe a surprise guest? Also, should we let Fuel know individually which night we plan to be here, so they can plan accordingly? Or will you tally the total and book the back room which seats up to 45 for the 700 pm meal? Please let us know. Thanks again!”
Answer: I leave it to the fans to coordinate the fan ends of things. I’ve booked a table for two on both nights for 7:00 p.m. I thought it best to separate my bill from that of the fans since I possesses, uh, fairly extravagant tastes. Still, I’ll be working the room, chatting and tasting all of your desserts.
Inpa writes: “Ok, fair enough on the drink thing. But when one character asks another one out for a drink given the context of the episode (Her asking if he was still single, him saying he wasn’t very good at this stuff and then her acknowledging it when asking) it wasn’t a big leap to assume she was asking ‘asking’ him out for a drink. And if they did go out in that way then asking if they were going now isn’t that far a question, but from how the scene played out I didn’t take the question of a drink any other way.”
Answer: Okay, but I take “going out” to imply some sort of relationship.
longtime reader writes: “In Critical Mass Caldwell, from what I remember, had his symbiote removed by beam technology. Was there a specific reason why that was not done to Adria in Dominion because if they had beamed it out from another room then Ba’al would not have expected it, especially as he was unaware that Caldwell was implanted with one, and would not have released the poison that killed her.”
Answer: Totally different scenarios. In the case of Caldwell, he was in a controlled environment and it was Hermiod doing the extraction. Even so, we are reminded that the calculations are impossibly intricate. In lesser (read non-Asgard hands) I don’t know if it would have been successful.
Vvv0472 writes: “Weren’t the Genii supposed to be super secretive in their underground hiding places/society… it seems as though almost everyone in the galaxy knows that they aren’t simple farmers…”
Answer: They were, but as a result of their run-ins with Atlantis over the years and the shifting presence of the wraith, their super secret has been rendered…well, not so secret.
Janice writes: “I have read on other sites that “per canon” these kind of things always wind up on the cutting room floor. No disrespect intended, but if this is so, then why even bother filming them?”
Answer: You just answered your own question. Logic would dictate we wouldn’t write something we had no intention of keeping in the episode. But, sometimes, the script is running long and cuts need to be made. In the case of Trio, and despite a desire to keep the reference, it came out fairly easily without disrupting the flow of the scene or detracting from the story.
Rob writes: “So – apart from the confusion over pleats etc… were you happy with the finish product from Pacific Custom?”
Answer: Very happy. Just the other day, someone asked me where I’d purchased my suit. I told them I’d had it custom made in Hong Kong. Looking forward to heading back and adding some more suits to line-up.
Kikinostro writes: “Are you surprised by the generally negative reaction to Trio?”
Answer: Generally negative reaction? Although people have criticized various aspects of the episode, the feedback I’ve seen has been generally positive.
Jenny Robin writes: “I watched the Illusionist last weekend and very much enjoyed it. The explanations behind the ‘magic’ are discussed by the director on the commentary track.”
Baron Destructo: Really? The Baron would love to know how the director explained the trick in which an orange tree grows out of a pot and sprouts oranges. Do tell.
Itxas lamia writes: “…the most destacable one being the infamous ‘Zelenka bashing’ one.[…]…honestly I can’t imagine Weir saying such things.”
Answer: In all fairness, there is a scene from the season 3 episode Common Ground in which two dozen pairs of women’s shoes are discovered in Zelenka’s closet including Weir’s missing patent leather pumps. Unfortunately, the scene was cut for time but the deleted footage can still be found among the boxset special features.