The great thing about visiting Montreal is that it finally allows me the opportunity to relax and take my mind off work for a change. In the past two days, I’ve spent time with friends and family, walked the streets of my hometown, and, oh yeah, took part in a 90 minute conference call with 27 journalists from various print and media outlets eager to get the lowdown on Atlantis’s upcoming fifth season.
Bob Picardo, bless his heart, committed to taking part weeks ago as did I, little realizing that the 1:00 p.m. EDT, July 1st call-in would find me enroute to my cousins’ house for an afternoon barbecue. “This probably won’t take long,”I assured my sister who was driving. “Maybe half and hour. Tops. I’ll be done by the time we get there.” As it turned out, not even close. At a little after 2:00 p.m., while the rest of the family was sitting down to steak and scalloped potatoes, I was still pacing the sidewalk in front of the house, chatting away and wondering how long it would take for the battery on my blackberry to give out.
As it turned out, I made it all the way through the call. Even though we did run a little long (!), both Bob and I were more than happy to stick it out and ensure everyone had their questions answered. We wrapped up at a little after 2:30 p.m. at which point Carol from NBC thanked us for our time and said something to the effect of: “I’ve done a lot of these calls and, I have to tell you, this one was without a doubt the…”
Best? Most informative? Most entertaining?
“…longest I’ve ever taken part in.”
Awesome. We have the record. Of course, when I received the transcript of the conference call from SciFi’s Michelle Rosenblatt, it certainly explained a lot. For those of you into drinking games, grab yourself a bottle of Jack Daniels, some shot glasses, and a copy of that transcript. Now, read my responses to the journalists’ questions and, every time I utter an “Uh”, “y’know”, and “basically”, take a shot. I guarantee you’ll either be fall- down drunk or comatose and in desperate need of medical attention by the end of my first response. So a 90 minute conference call. Trim out the “uh’s”, “y’know’s”, and “maybe’s” and the whole thing actually clocks in at about 67 minutes and change.
Which is why I balked when SciFi asked me to host these behind-the-scene video segments for their website. It’s not that I think they’re a bad idea (in fact, just the opposite), but like I told Chris Sanagustin – Hey, I’m better on paper. I suggested Martin Gero for the job. He’s got the gift of the gab and isn’t too bad on paper either.
Well, my faith in the Montreal dining scene was restored yesterday when my sister took me to m:brgr on Drummond Street. Your average, run-of-the-mill burger joint it aint. Its impressive menu items include a kobe beef burger and various high-end toppings like porcini oil, black truffle carpaccio, and white truffle shavings. Sis and I ordered the same: one kobe beef burger with caramelized onions, torta mascarpone, smoked applewood bacon, and black truffle carpaccio served with a side of white truffle mayo. We also split an order of crispy sweet potato fries and two dipping sauces: chipotle mayo and citrus mayo. Best. Burger. Ever! It was so good, in fact, that I had my sister cancel the lunch reservations she made for this Friday so that we could go back to m:brgr instead. Those of you with more conventional tastes, fear not! The menu offers a wide range of traditional fare including regular burgers, sliders, hot dogs, and milkshakes. Check it out! http://www.mbrgr.com/
I met up with my cousin John, visited some of my old haunts and caught up with Al over at 1 000 000 Comix and Miles at Capitaine Quebec, then met my good buddy Lawrence and his girlfriend Melanie for dinner. Ah, good times! Lawrence and I go way, WAAAY back. We went to the same high school where we spent many memorable years ignoring each other until we eventually struck up a friendship later in college. We were part of a foursome that would head out every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night, starting our evening‘s at the Peel Pub. There, we would down a couple of pitchers before invariably making our way down to a club called The Thunderdome where, if we got there before 11:00 p.m., we skipped the coverage charge and took advantage of the $4.50 pitcher price. It’s funny (or maybe alarming) that when we were shooting Whispers, Wray Douglas was very careful about the type of fog element used. “It’s not like the old days when they would use dry ice,”he confided. “Can you imagine? Dry ice!” Yeah, as a matter of fact I COULD imagine because back when we used to frequent the Thunderdome every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night, the place would be suffused with the coiling tendrils produced by the dry ice machines they had working overtime. Between that and the hanging cigarette smoke, you had to tread carefully lest you walk into a pillar or stumble over someone’s prone body. Yes, in those days, we did a fair amount of boozing.
One of my favorite sad drunk stories involves a mutual friend who, feeling a tad under the weather, left a house party to go for a walk. Well, hours later we were ready to leave but realized Nigel had never come back from his walk. We went out to look for him but, alas, he was nowhere to be found. So we made our way back to the car and, as we were about to hop in, John, our driver, noticed something on his windshield. It was a comb! “Who the hell would leave a dirty comb on my car?”he wondered aloud as he carefully lifted the comb between thumb and forefinger and tossed it aside. Who would leave a dirty comb on John’s car? Try Nigel who, unable to find his way back to the house party, decided to find his own transportation home. But before doing so, he left us a message in the form of his comb figuring (in his incredibly drunken stupor) that we would discover the comb and immediately follow the ensuing train of thought: “Hey, what’s this? It’s Nigel’s comb! Comb! Home! Nigel’s gone home!” Yeah, those were the days.