One of those high-end groceries just opened up a mere five minute stroll from our place. It’s your one-stop shops for such unique upscale products as four dollar avocadoes and rosewater soda, items no sane person would ever consider buying. Cyprus black lava flake salt? Truffle honey? Pickled capers? Okay, maybe if you’re looking to create a very special dish. Or kicking off a new video blog segment titled “The Weird Food Purchase of the Day”.

Yes, what I thought I’d do is pick up the strangest food product I happen to come across on any given day, take it back home, then have Fondy document me sampling it for the first time. Will the discovery of a delightfully exotic concoction have me singing its praises? Or will it have me rushing off to the bathroom to induce vomiting instead? Let’s find out. The first video in what I hope will be a semi-regular feature (stomach permitting) can be found at the bottom of this blog entry.

Hey, pursuant to yesterday’s entry concerning my top 5 July reads, I was wondering about your respective attitudes toward books on the opposite end of the scale. Are you a patient reader? How patient? I, for one, consider myself a fairly tolerant reader and do try to finish most any book I start – but there are occasions when that’s just plain impossible. Either the story hasn’t grabbed me, the style is off-putting or, in some instances, I’m bored to tears or wholly unimpressed. Still, looking back over the past 100 books I picked up, I have a pretty impressive 95% completion rate. Whenever I start reading a book, I like to apply my 25% Rule. It’s quite simple really: Stick with it through at least 25% of the narrative and, if after completing that 25% you still feel like flinging the book across the hallway, then you’re well within your rights to fling away. It doesn’t happen often but it does happen. The last book I gave up on was an 800 page tome. I reached the 350 page mark before calling it quits. It was very well-written but it didn’t engage me and, at the end of the day, I thought “Hey, I could be out back watering Fondy’s hydrangeas!”.

So, do you have any set rules applicable to challenging reads? Is it 10%, 25%, or 100 page cut-off? Or are you like my writing partner, Paul, who adopts a Life’s Too Short attitude and drops books more often than he finishes them?

And what rules do you apply to authors? As far as I’m concerned, one bad book is not enough to cross an author off my to-read list. Two will do it though.

Another reminder: You have one more day to post your questions for writer-Supervising Producer Alan McCullough.


Wams 352 writes: “So, First Atlantis Recon Team – you do know what that makes the acronym, right? (and for those of you who don’t – FART?).”

Answer: Thanks for pointing that out when you did or it could have been very embarrassing. Fortunately, we were able to change the team designation in post before the episode shipped. Officially now, they’re Stargate High Intel Team. Whew! Dodged a bullet there.

Iamjohn writes: “Why did SG1 seem to have a much easier time renewing seasons 1-5 then Atlantis did?”

Answer: Because SG-1 actually spent its first five seasons on Showtime and only moved to SciFi in its sixth season.

Charles Cooney writes: “ Are the aliens we see in daedalas variations the same ones in the mid season 2 parter?”

Ryan writes: “I would like to know whose idea was to let Shepperd play around with a Nintendo DS in a few scenes this season?”

Answer: I believe that was director Andy Mikita’s idea.

MysteryMadchen writes: “What I don’t understand cause I missed a few episodes was why did Rose go to an alternative reality? Wasn’t see from earth, I mean the none alternative “our” earth? I’m soooo confused.”

Answer: Haven’t watched Dr. Who’s 4th season but, back in season 2, Rose was stranded in an alternate reality and unable to continue her travels with the doctor.

Inpa writes: “I read over at Gateworld (since they provide some behind the scenes tid-bits on episodes in the episode page) that you once said that you were worried about the episode (Daedalus Variations) while it was in the outline stage, what was it at the time you were concerned about?”

Answer: In its early stages of development, I was concerned that the reality-jumping beats would prove repetitive. As it turned out, however, they were executed in a way that proved both unique and fun. And the huge VFX budget helped.

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You should take up acting. Your face said everything whilst you were valiantly munching those nuts.

Take them in to work on Monday and offer them around – then record the reaction of each of your victims.


Have a nice Sunday


ummmmm pistachio..things…

what did they taste like????


If you really want weird food, try here! Unless, of course, Fuel serves baloney on a Chef’s Salad? (And yes, I do mean cut up in the salad, not a bologna sandwich with a salad. )

Anne Teldy (who — sadly — is not making this up)


Heh. I like the new feature.
And pepitas are baked pumpkin seeds.


Will we be seeing the new bad guys in the mid season two parter?

If not when will they be back?


Papitas are pumpkin seeds, as far as I know

Hey – do you hold only one chocolate party a year? Or do you have one every once in a while? How many different brands have you tried to date? Are there any you haven’t tried that you are eager to try?

Love season 5 – great work everybody! smile

The Skypig
The Skypig

Hey, you’re a writer. I’m with Tina. Describe the taste.

Questions for Alan: How did you come up with the science to explain the incredible reality jumping in TDV? Did you have to consult knolwedgeable people or reference works to ensure that the science made sense? PS: Loved the episode.


Oh Joe!

I feel so sorry for you…in a “I’m rolling on the floor laughing” type of way. Kinda makes me wish my friends had a video camera around when my dad made me try barley tea. I think I almost smacked my best friend in the face in my flailing. My mom described it best, she said the aftertaste was like wet cigarette filters. Being a non smoker, I’m not exactly certain, but it sure did make me want to cut my tongue off to get rid of the taste.

About your curiosity on our reading rules, I find it really quite simple. I have perfected the art of judging a book by its cover, and if I like the cover and the description, 99% of the time I finish the book within a week. Books that are a bit tough to slog through I will continue reading till I hit the month mark. If I’m still reading it in a month, and haven’t gotten close to finishing, I’ll set it aside. I always attempt to return to books I haven’t finished later on in life, hoping that my patience or taste in books has changed enough for me to read all the way through. Right now I’m waiting to grow into Eifelheim. My mother and I both tried to read this book two times already and never managed to get past the first chapter, but the story intrigued us so much we keep trying. Hopefully someday we’ll succeed. And hopefully its worth the time spent!

Just as a final note, Daedalus Variations was a great episode, I enjoyed it immensely, besides having to wait till the next afternoon to watch the recording I made of it. I reveled in guessing what the team was going to be doing before they did it (I was right 95% of the time). Unlike some people, I find it fun to be able to guess whats going to happen, I tend not to describe it as predictable, just that I was prescient.


S.H.I.T. – ha!



You are VERY cute!!!!!!!


ooo the pistachios…>_> The pecans and hazelnuts were better…well, the pecans at least


I love SusantheTartanturtle’s idea. No sense in letting the stuff go to waste. And it will teach the folks at work to keep an eye on your blog. Speaking of which, any idea on what the count is on views? It’s been some time since you’ve indicated numbers. And how do you rank in relationship to the other wordpress blogs? It’s time to knock those kittens off their pedastal if they are depriving you of your rightful spot at the top of the heap…
In reference to your questions about finishing a book. I have a pretty high percentage rate of completion, about the 90% mark. I don’t have a set rule for when I will abandon a book. Often I’ll be alternating between two or three books, finishing off those nearest at hand or holding my interest. If I find myself reaching for another new book instead of finishing the ‘leftover”, I take my own hint and shelve it. As for trying an author out, I don’t normally hold a single book against the author, but if I get two duds in a row, I’ll tend to avoid him or her thereafter. What’s harder is when you pick up a book, enjoy it, then on getting other works by the same writer discover you lucked out the first time. Because of that one hit, it’s hard to decide when to hope lightning will strike twice, or give it up as a bad job.
Some questions for Mr. McCullough. First, thank you for taking the time to participate in this forum. In regards to Tabula Rasa, how did you decide on a virus that affected memory? What sort of medical research, if any, was involved? How much of a story do you have mapped out in your own mind when first presenting it as a possible story; a bare outline, or do stories seem to spring full blown to mind? What aspect of working on a show like Atlantis is most rewarding, and what is most challenging? Do you see yourself going on to directing episodes, or do you have some other career goals? Hmm. Sorry for so many questions, and thanks again for any answers you provide.
And thanks to you Mr. M. for that great video. I eagerly await your further trials and experimentation on the exotic fare so near at hand.

Patricia Lee
Patricia Lee

OMG… Joe you are sooooo funny! Loved the strange food review video a lot… Fondy did great job of shooting it!

And S.H.I.T. that must of been a huge bullet that missed! LOL!!!!

Very funny! Thanks

Patricia Lee


Hiya Joey. I am currently bogged by the humboldt hell. First it starts with a sore throat that lasts for three days and by the end, you’re ready for someone to just rip out your neck. And then it progresses to the sniffles, constantly blowing your nose, and sneezing like you’ve shoved a pepper shaker into your nose. It has even affected my Stargate Watching Schedule! ACK! *sneeze* Couldn’t very well watch Phantoms while covering my face with a tissue every two minuets as my body gets ready to revolt the contents of my nose. This blows, litteraly.

Wanted to ask thought, in Phantoms, is there a deleted scene between where John found Carson with Kagan, and when all is well at the entrance o the cave? And how did those supplies get through the gate? Did they just toss em? Doesnt sound very safe….

Anyway, wish me luck as I battle whatever hellish bug found its way through my system. Perhaps there is a cure in sight. If it were television, it would not be till the 56th minute that I would discover such cure. Leaving the last four minutes for recovery. Templates are a bitch.


Great video. Perfect timing on the zoom, Fondy!

Regarding books, I’m afraid I’m more like Paul than like you. I’m not such a speedy reader, so I can’t afford to waste precious minutes reading stuff I don’t like. For me giving up is a sudden instinctual reaction. I’ll be giving a book a try, and one thing will bug me, then another, etc, and if nothing pushes the dial the other way, then very suddenly my brain will just switch off on the book. Then I’m really not able to continue. Unless it’s for your book club, in which case I’ll at least skim to the end so I can join the discussions. smile

I recently changed jobs after the very same reaction to what was going on. In the past I would push through it, but yeah, life it too short and getting shorter!

My questions for Alan M. re DV, which I enjoyed very much:

1. In the spinning/breaking stage, did you envision that the VFX would be so huge (and playback too)? Was it supposed to be more of a bottle episode?

2. Which VFX shot cost the most or was the hardest?

3. How do you imagine the other team died? They didn’t really look starved or ill (just dead, heh). I loved that they lay down together, though. Sniff.

4. I love the new aliens. Do you have a backstory for them yet? What is the red glowing light in their foreheads? Whose idea was the green weapons fire/beams? Nice new color for Stargate, I have to say!

5. This may be more for the director, but in quite a few scenes, the actors were alone, reacting to radio conversation or computer screens. Do they get to hear each other’s dialog, or see something played back on the screens? How do you or the director convey to them what they’re supposed to be seeing? I thought they all did a great job, btw, but it must have been hard!

6. Did David Hewlett threaten to harm you for all the techno-babble he had to memorize?

Okay, that’s enough for now. smile


That was too funny!! Nasty! My DH just made sassafras iced tea. he brought home sassafras from the ole homestead (his parents) added pine needles and a plum. YUCK! But he likes it…..

and Mercie..I almost peed my pants with your description of barley tea!!

Reading – well I’ve gotten pretty lazy with my reading..I have about 20 or so books started, everything from “When I Was Puerto Rican” to “Sense and Sensibility” to “Lies of Locke Lomara” to “Sugarcane Academy” So I pick them up and read several pages, then put them back down. Also have a bunch of kids books started from “Dragon Rider” to “The Penderwicks” cuz I teach third grade and have to be on top of that reading, too. I do read an occasional “historical romance” cuz they are fun. Started one last night at 12:30 and read through until 5:00 this morning…..But did enjoy “Old Man’s War” …and want to get back to my reading….But I also have to read “teacher books” too


Hey joe.

Its my first time replying,
Your blog is great, And I loved this weeks Daedalus Variations…

Would you be willing to shine some light on what the chances are, that the aliens from “Daedalus Variations” are another version of Michaels warriors/hybrids?


Joe –

Feel free to mail the remainder of those pistachios to me – I’ve had that mix and I love it!


Trish (aka whovian)

Hey Joe,

Thanks for the laugh. I needed that! lol So I know now that if I ever end up eating at a restaurant with you again and the food is not up to par, I am allowed to spit it out, then! Good to know. wink

All I have to say about Daedalus Variations is that it was a great team epi with great suspense! That’s as far as my brain will work today.

Again, to everyone: I do agree losing a pet is like losing a child. I’ve certainly lost a best friend. It helps enormously to know that there are wonderful people out there who understand what I’m going through.

I’ve also discovered that playing with a puppy is great medicine at a time like this. My sister just adopted a six week old blue Great Dane named Isis. Just try not to smile when you’ve got eleven pounds of fur wiggling in your arms. grin I dare ya! In fact, I double dog dare ya!



Okay that little flinch near the end almost made me want to Great video! You need to make a video showing your co-workers eating these wonderful nuts!

Shadow Step
Shadow Step

So it was expensive. Interesting.


Hey Joe,

Loved Daedalus Variations – the new aliens seem hard to kill!! Would love to see them back at some point.

Questions for Alan –

Do you have a favorite character to write for?

In DV, when they jumped back to the reality with the alternate Atlantis and were bailed out by the F302s, where did the fighters come from? Are they able to be launched from the surface?

What were some of the other “alternate realities” that were bandied about when you were writing the script?

Thanks and keep up the great work!



“So, do you have any set rules applicable to challenging reads?”

Rules are for people who are not me. Actually, I’m usually all in when I read a book. I finished some real crap because for whatever reason, even if I don’t like it, I have to finish. Very rarely do I give up.

“And what rules do you apply to authors?”

If I read one book I didn’t like by an author, I don’t automatically junk them. I usually give them another shot. I’m actually doing this right now with Peter Straub (I didn’t care for “Ghost Story”, but I’m liking “In the Night Room” so far).

“Officially now, they’re Stargate High Intel Team. ”

Do you know what if feels like to have a bite of Oreo Blizzard come out of your nose? Well, now I do. Thanks for that, Joe. grin

Rose (formerly OhioAnne)
Rose (formerly OhioAnne)

When I was younger, I finished the book regardless.

As I have gotten older, I have found myself being a little more selective about what I start and a little more unwilling to put up with crap.

I would still put me at the 95% completion rate stage.

I also reread books often. Some are on a regular rotation while others are rereads just on a whim.

Saw “Continuum” today.

It was absolutely fabulous. My only objection was that I didn’t get to see it on the big screen. (Much better than most of the Star Trek movies that did see the big screen!)

It was great to see the nods to Stargate history and especially enjoyed the character moments. It’s not easy to show a new facet to a character that we have been watching for 10 years, but the movie pulled it off.

And the music …… WOW!

I have told you before when I didn’t like an episode and simply not commented on a few. I even rated “Ark of Truth” as just “good”.

I loved “Continuum”.


I have a full-time job, a consulting gig on the side, a blog habit that I can’t seem to shake AND a 15-month old. So my reading time is VERY limited. I hardly ever finish anything, sad to say.

Unless it’s Dr. Seuss. Dr. Seuss I read cover to cover, nearly every night.

I do loves me some David Sedaris, though. And Kinky Friedman can usually hold my attention till the end.

Oh, also? It took me a second to get the second acronym… ya got me!