Hey, look!  It's Dave Foley!
Hey, look! It's Dave Foley!
Out on the Town
Out on the Town
Night at the Opera
A Night at the Opera
Martin "Hollywood" Gero
Martin "Hollywood" Gero
Special Features Producer Ivon Bartok
Special Features Producer Ivon Bartok

A couple of days ago, I reported on a study that found dogs demonstrated empathy by yawning in response to a human yawn. Intrigued, I conducted my own study (titled 0% of dogs sensitive to human yawns – http://josephmallozzi.com/2008/08/09/august-9-2008-are-human-yawns-contagious-to-dogs-lets-find-out-and-the-weird-food-purchase-of-the-day/ ) which concluded that either a) dogs are not empathetic or b) my dogs knew they were being tested and purposely sabotaged the study. So today, I conducted a second study, this one with human subjects. Success! You can check out the video, titled 50% of humans sensitive to other human yawns) at the bottom of this entry.

In a little over a month from now, we’ll be wrapping our sets for yet another season, preparing for next year, and scattering to the four winds for some much-needed R&R. Before that happens, of course, we have some episodes that need finishing. I am anxiously awaiting a director’s cut of Remnants, Marty G. is directing his last day on Brain Storm (at the airport shooting the Learjet sequences), Infection has started shooting (infirmary scenes in Stage 6 to start the day, then a move over to the hive ship set in the FX stage), Carl is casting Identity, and Paul has reached the fourth act of the still untitled Episode #20.

Cordelia’s Honor Discussion:

Thornyrose writes: “My favorite part of Shards was Cordelia’s struggle back home to simply go about her life.”

Answer: I loved the fact that the government wanted to use her to further their ends, publicly recognizing her as a great hero, only to view her with suspicion and distrust when she refuses to play ball. I found it interesting that, in the minds of the Betan authorities, the more tolerant attitude Corelia had adopted toward the Barrayans, and Vorkosigan in particular, could only be ascribed to enemy brainwashing. Clearly, the foreboding legends surrounding Barrayar, and again Vorkosigan in particular, convinced them Cordelia had been compromised because nobody in their right mind would sympathize with the likes of them. This seemed to indicate that Betan antipathy toward the Barrayaran people pre-dated the war. Do ensuing books in the series touch on the development of the hostilities that touched off the seemingly inevitable conflict?

Thornyrose also writes: “I think in Barrayar Cordelia’s true strengths came out. In a hostile, alien envirement, where all the normal rules of conduct seem turned around, she successfully manages to adapt.”

Answer: Interesting point because someone else I spoke to felt that the Cordelia of Barrayar was a different character from the Cordelia of Shards of Honor. While I would agree that she had changed, I saw it as a more of an evolution of her characters as (as you pointed out) she adapts to marriage, motherhood, and cultural differences. Did anyone else bump on the change?

Thornyrose also writes: “She may not be as strong physically as a Barrayarn man, but she proved conclusively she could be as ruthless.”

Answer: Holy Smokes, yes. I was surprised when she gave Bothari the decisive order at book’s end and yet I totally understood her reasoning after the fact. She had a child to protect after all.

Thornyrose also writes: “ My only regret in having re-read these is that I’m now going to have to find the time to go through the rest of the Vorkosigan novels.”

Answer: That’s the great thing about this book club. It’s not only introduced me to terrific writers like Bujold, Baker, and Ford, but ensured that I’ll be busy for months to come as I work my way through their other books.

Thornyrose also writes: “ I noticed Mr. M. says Aral reminds him of a young Robert Davi. Myself, I picture more of a Gregory Peck.”

Answer: Given Aral’s history, I imagined someone physically imposing. And given Cordelia’s ability to see beyond mere surface impressions, I imagined her falling in love with Aral for who he was rather than what he looked like.

Sel writes: “And, yes, I love that while Aral is the man of honour, and Cordelia is careful and respectful of his honour, in return, he also recognises her honour and her worth and is careful and respectful of that.”

Answer: And that’s exactly what I responded to – the fact that their relationship was one between equals built on mutual respect.

Fsmn36 writes: “Obviously I haven’t read all possible, but in general, I love the genre because it does focus typically on the people, character realtionships, and sociopolitical aspects–simply mixing in sci-fi aspects. I find such stories seem more realistic and flow better.”

Answer: When I studied literature back in the day, I always felt that a historical and sociopolitical approach to the text added immeasurably to my understanding of the work. By placing it in a proper context, you come to recognize the human element that went into its creation. In a similar way, the focus on the sociopolitical aspects of Barrayar really grounded the story for me.

Fsmn36 also writes: “There was a brilliant juxtaposition of swords and daggers and plasma beams.”

Answer: Love swords in space!

Antisocialbutterflie writes: “Betans were progressive socially and technologically. When you see it through Cordelia’s eyes it seems almost idyllic. However when we are confronted with the reality of her world she found that it was in fact deluded and manipulative. The converse is Barrayan culture was seen as savage, stuffy, and antiquated, but in reality was more honest and the people were more connected to one another. It is little wonder that Cordelia eventually made a home there.”

Answer: Now that you mention it, that was very interesting. The two sides in the conflict seem fairly black and white at the beginning of Shards of Honor and then, as Cordelia’s story progresses, things become decidedly greyer all around.

Antisocialbutterflie writes: “It may be a commentary on my inner psyche; Bothari was my favorite character. His struggle with himself was both sad and touching. In the end it is apparent that he is never going to be a whole person, but he finds a place anyway.”

Answer: Hmmm. Seems that we’re not the only one with inner psyche issues. Bothari seems to be the consensus favorite.

Iamza writes: “The other great thing about LMB’s books is the humour displayed.”

Anwer: Wholeheartedly agree. That’s the common variable in anything I enjoy, be it a book, movie, or television series.

AV Eddy writes: “ The characters were interesting and realistic, except maybe for the exceptionally crazy Bothari and exceptionally sadistic Vorrutyer.”

Answer: I found Bothari a very interesting character – damaged yet principled. But now that you mention it, yes, the villains were a little too straightforward, both Vourrutyer and Vordarian.

Okay, you have one more day to get your questions in for Lois McMaster Bujold.  Start posting! 

Well, I’m off to Fuel tonight. The corn soup is back!

Tune in tomorrow when special guest blogger and Stargate Director of Photography Jim Menard drops in and answers your questions.

Today’s pics: Brain Storm!

Today’s videos: A follow-up yawn study and Today’s Weird Food Purchase of the Day (Spicy Peanut Butter!) in which I am joined by my eager young assistant.


Sel writes: “And while I’m at it – for those who like the ‘Space Opera’ genre – I rather enjoyed Elizabeth Moon’s “Serrano Legacy””

Answer: Haven’t read her Serrano Legacy but Moon’s The Speed of Dark ranks as one of my favorite novels.

Whovian writes: “Allie’s horror selections FINALLY came! I was getting nervous since one book is like 700 pages.”

Answer: 700 pages?! What the heck is she reading?!

ChelledeBoer writes: “By the way, what breed is Lulu??”

Answer: Lulu is a French bulldog.

Itjustme writes: “If Atlantis were to run through without the long hiatus that it normal takes, does this mean that the season 5 DVD set might come out sooner as well?”

Answer: Probably.

Terry writes: “I rarely feel like Bujold stops a story cold to have to ‘explain’ her world to the reader.”

Answer: Exactly. The information and revelations are conveyed as part of the ongoing action rather than presented as “edifying interruptions” in the narrative.

DasNdanger writes: “do you have a preferred brand of chocolate, or do you just go with whatever entices you at the moment?”

Answer: Amedei chuao is my favorite although I’ve recently discovered the joys of Pralus Papouasie and Coppeneur Ocumare.


76 thoughts on “August 12, 2008: Another Yawn Study, Production Update, Let’s Talk Cordelia’s Honor, Mailbag, and The Weird Food Purchase of the Day

  1. Hey Joe,

    May I make a suggestion for the strange food of the day?

    Here in The Netherlands we have a certain type of meat called “Frikandel”

    Now I’m not sure if there are any Dutch based Restaurants in Vancouver, But if you find one you got to try it out.

    Why?, Because as far as I know its something you can’t get anywhere else in the world but this part of the country I live in. They don’t even have it up north of here 😛

    So yeah, Frikandel.

    Don’t worry, It’s not gross or anything, It’s basically a meat-rol… And it’s one of my favorites when it comes to eating at restaurants.

  2. The yawn video… priceless!!!
    And spicy peanut butter? Really? I agree totally: WHY???

  3. Joe, I think little Lulu re-e-ally wanted some of that spicy peanut butter. She almost liked your face. Aw-w-w….
    I once knew a guy that would eat ANYTHING hot & spicy. He ended badly, ulcerative colitis.
    Be careful!

    Loved the Human Yawn study! Clever…

    Early to bed for this insomniac.

    Carol Z

    Happily awaiting Friday and a new installment of our beloved, exciting and not to be squandered SGA eppy! As Kaylee from Firefly would say — Shiny!

  4. Seems that we’re not the only one with inner psyche issues. Bothari seems to be the consensus favorite.

    I guess my inner psyche is umarred or, more likely, I have different kinds of issues. I find Bothari to be one of Bujold’s more extreme examples of her wide variety of damaged characters. He is certainly less functional than her others. He’s interesting and the care and support that Aral provides says much about that character. Still, I don’t really like Bothari as much as I like many others, including Simon Illyan.

    It could be my view of the characters is somewhat tilted because I read the chronologically later books first.

    Here’s a question. Bujold doesn’t do large exposition chunks. For Stargate, do you ever consider doing a story where lots of exposition isn’t provided? Mckay does a lot of explaining, especially of the science and the whys and hows. How challenging would it be to eliminate that kind dialogue? Not that I’m advocating doing away with David Hewlett’s dialogue. I’m just curious how you as a writer and producer would approach the show differently.

    Also, I still think some of the CJ Cherryh novels might be of interest to you. She does sociopolitical like nobody else.

  5. I said “Why’ Just before you!

    And I hope those grunting sounds came from the dog’s mouth and not.. never mind.

  6. Hmmm can’t watch the ‘yawn’ vid – it’s black and won’t play. No link for it??

  7. RL got in my way of finishing part 2 of Cordelia’s Honor.

    I loved part 1 of the book. This reminds me, and now I show my age, of back in the dark ages when one could purchase the double book. These were the norm with a lot of the Science Fiction novels.

    My list of authors, and I never really had one before, now includes LMB. As someone else commented, thanks Joe for expanding my literary experiences.

    First few pages to set the stage were a little slow, but I was hooked by the “20s.”

    Something for, “Weird Food of the Day,” oatmeal with blue cheese dressing.

    Embedded – a little humor – which stuck in my mind perhaps because it is, to me, a variation on a “walk-about.” When she felt the Psychoanalyst was treating her as a 2 year old on a toddle. This was both humorous and revealing of the Cordelia character.

    Both Aral and Cordelia are not superficial; there is extraordinary depth to each character’s character and I loved that he “captured” her, he who is so horrible – and yet he was extraordinarily humane and civilized.

  8. I am really enjoying the “weird food purchase of the day” segments. Have you tried to get anyone in the office to partake yet?

  9. Hi, Joe.

    Thank you so much for the photos from ‘Brain Storm.’

    Lulu is so darn cute. Did she enjoy the peanut butter as well? And why indeed spicy peanut butter?

  10. You did some to Lulu, right? Spock was hopeful when I was eating my Beijing Beef, even though I never, ever give him any human food (he’d turn into giant roly-dog).

    Spicy peanut butter would be good for making a peanut sauce, maybe?

  11. Having trouble with my computer’s audio, so I’m going to have to try later with the videos. Still, your expressions are enough to convey the message about the peanut butter. Thank you again for the Brain Storm pics. I’ll be looking forward to that episode almost as much as the yet-to-be-completed season finale/100th SGA episode. I just can’t get over how well McKay polishes up. And Keller is a MUCH better escort than Carson could ever be, so there is a plus for her character. (Now that Sam’s gone, and I can’t see Teyla attending such a function, McKay’s only other option would be his sister, and bringing Sheppard would be a better fate than to live with the fact he had only his sibling to accompany him). Anyways, I digress.
    I’m enjoying the Bujold discussion immensely. I’ll still disagree with you on Davi, though given you’ve met the man and I haven’t, I conceed you are better qualified who would best fit the role. But my question for you Mr. M. is have you tried any of Bujold’s fantasy books yet? I think you’ll find them as satisfying as any of her Sci fi offerings.
    So, a bit over a month and things slow down for awhile. For the crew’s sake I’m happy for you all, and for your chance to take a much deserved vacation. I’ll be happier once the word comes through on an official renewal of the show of course. Just as a hypothetical case, if the show is renewed, about when would you expect production to resume, and when would you know what sort of air date Sci Fi network would set for the premiere? I want to plan something around the season 6 premiere when it happens(I remain optimistic, though I do take your warnings to heart), and would like to have some idea of a time frame for that eventuality.
    Thanks for all your work here and on the show, and your patience in putting up with my too-lengthy posts. And tell Ivon to keep up the good work on the special features.

  12. Hi Joe,

    I’m so glad you liked “Cordelia’s Honor”! Lois McMaster Bujold has long been my favorite author. And you still have the pleasure of reading all the Miles Vorkosigan books ahead of you! I’ve enjoyed reading all the comments from you and the other readers and look forward to seeing the answers to the questions that were posed already.

    For those who enjoyed these books, I also recommend the Miles Vorkosigan series and her fantasy books, beginning with The Curse of Chalion, then (my favorite) “The Paladin of Souls” and “The Hallowed Hunt.”

    I’m tied up with a lot of others things, so I don’t have time to do a book review. But I’ll share a couple of the things I love about LMB’s writing.

    I love the way she creates a world complete. As was mentioned in other comments, she doesn’t overwhelm you with technical details, but seamlessly blends those important little images and events that make her stories so believeable. “Barrayar” seems to me to be very much influenced by the Cold War, and it is easy to see how planetary colonization by a country like the former Soviet Union could lead to the events in that story. And her characters are complex and interesting. I feel like I know them. Cordelia is my favorite in these books- probably because I identify with her.

    And I have a few question for LMB:

    1. Each time I have read “Shards of Honor”, I am surprised by the final scene where you show us the aftermath of the war including recovering the bodies of those who died in space. I’m always lulled into thinking that the book is over, and have a warm fuzzy feeling, and then am suddenly stunned and sobered by those last few pages. It seems right that you show us that war in space is no less brutal and devastating than it is on a planet’s surface, but why did you write it?

    2. Why did you switch from science fiction to fantasy? I’m glad you did, but I was surprised when it happened. You

    3. Are there going to be any more books about Cazaril or Ista?

    4. Do you think you will ever go back to writing science fiction?


    Eileen (aka Sparrow_hawk)

  13. Hey Joe-
    I apologies if this is the wrong place to ask questions for your mailbag but here they are:

    First, what inspires your more science heavy episodes? Are they based of information you’ve read in fictional books or more researched based books and magazines like Scientific America?

    And finally, are the “Travelers” going to have any type of role in season 5? And if so, with or without “Wipeout” co-host Jill Wagner?

    Even if you can’t answer one or both of these questions, thanks for having such a strong relationship with fans. It definately make a difference.
    Thanks again

  14. hey Joe, have you ever heard of “molecular gastronomy” or maybe Ferran Adria or Wylie Dufresne? And if you could eat at any restaurant in the world, which restaurant would it be?

  15. Thank you, Joe. I’ll have to see if I can find any of those, though I think I’ve had Amedei chuao…it looks familiar (I checked on-line)…but I can’t be sure. My problem is I sometimes pay more attention to the looks of the packaging instead of the actual name itself. 😛

    I know I’m not familiar with the other two, and I doubt I can find any locally. I’m also a bit afraid to have them shipped this time of year (the heat). But I’ll keep a sharp eye out the next time I’m on a chocolate hunt…more and more stores are carrying the better chocolates now, so maybe I’ll luck out.

    Thanks again!


  16. Hi Joe!

    I didn’t see Cordelia’s change between parts/books 1 & 2 as a bump. I saw it as changing or adapting to a completely new situation – a survival instinct. Her will to survive is one thing that really impressed me. She dealt with each situation head-on, or at least turning only the corners needed to get where she needed to be.

    I also thought Bujold’s writing style, seamlessly incorporating exposition and descriptions into the action, was excellent. I felt I really understood and could “see” the worlds as they unfolded on the pages. Her style is very different from Glen Cook – I’m reading The Black Company right now. It’s harder for me to “see” his world.

    Spicy peanut butter. Why, dammit, why?! Oh…wait…uh…why? Was it spicy like cayenne or pepper? Or was it more savory?

    Lulu was sooooo cute! I can tell she has been working on her acting cuz she looked at you at the right moment at the end and held her loving gaze til “Cut!”. 🙂


  17. Brain Storm is looking like a very exciting episode. I can’t wait!

    I have a question about ratings. How does downloading the season from iTunes or Amazon effect the rating for the show? And what about the people who TiVo or DVR?

  18. Hey Joe, when will we get a guest blogger for our questions on Continuum?(I got my copy a couple days back), Also, if you do get a Continuum Guest-blogger, who will it be? (I’m hoping a double-guest!!)

    Also, what do wasabi cashews taste like? Ever tasted Tapioca peas? (My dad bought a pack of wasabi peas and some tapioca peas.

  19. Hi Joe,

    I hope they serve corn soup when my friends and I dine at Fuel on Thursday, August 21 at 6:30 pm. Afterwards we join the folks at Gate Con’s Meet and Greet. We know you’re busy but if it’s possible please join us for dinner or drop by for dessert! We have a reservation. Hey, maybe your weird food purchase-of-the-day could be at Fuel that evening.

    Christine (I sent the space-robot themed invitation card for dinner at Fuel)

  20. Aww! Lulu is so adorable!

    Dave Foley’s kind of adorable, too. I don’t know what it is about him.

    What do you think of other sorts of “butter”? Personally, I prefer cashew butter. I’ve tried almond butter, but wasn’t crazy about it. (I’m sort of allergic to peanuts or something, so I can’t have peanut butter any more.)

  21. Are you still taking guestions for Lexa Doig? I haven’t been on here for awhile.

    For Lexa Doig. I saw you on Eureka again tonight. This is the second episode I saw you on. Does that mean that you are a recurring guest character? Which I hope it is. And will your husband be on it again as well? What was it like to work with the cast of Eureka?

    For Joe: How do you find the time with your busy schedule to answer the majority of our questions? Which I know we all appreciate that you do.

    Thank you.

  22. Oh, my, David looks sooo handsome in that tux! I can’t wait for the episode to air. I’m definitely all for a full blown McKay/Keller relationship, but whatever happens between them I hope they remain freinds.

    And love your weird food of the day vidoes! Did Lulu get to taste of the spicy peanut butter? If so what was her reaction?

  23. love the video. I had my sound off at first and didn’t realize there was sound until the second one, but I was definately yawning and it is not just cause it is late here. I tend to be one who yawns if someone else does (go figure). It is something like hearing a popular song, you tend, or at least I do, to go around all day singing it until the next song comes along. Only downside is that I work with my sisters and one of them is like me so we end up both singing the darn thing. Although I am not as bad as her, she tends to revert back to “I am dreaming of a White Christmas” after a while which wouldn’t be bad except that it is summer.

    I was thinking the same thing about the peanutbutter; “Why”.

    Joseph your dogs are growing on me. I was never a little dog person. I am more of a Lab dog person, but seeing your dog daily on the blog starring at me with those cute eyes, well I am loving it.

  24. If I’m being honest I have to confess when I started reading Cordelia’s Honor I was a bit disappointed. It felt like a cross between a harlequin romance novel (not a big fan of them) and a science fiction story with the scifi element added on as an afterthought. I thought Cordelia and Aral fell in love too quickly. And I’m not convinced Aral was in love when he proposed. It seemed very impulsive and I think he did it just because he could.
    There were some story arcs that I thought were dropped too quickly or conveniently that I would’ve like to have explored more – e.g. in Shards of Honor the possibility that Cordelia had been brainwashed. Since the Barrayans had drugs that hid/erased memories, I would think that Cordelia would at least consider the possibility that she had been brainwashed – even if it was just an inkling of a doubt that what she had experienced while stranded on that planet with Aral really did happen, but she seemed to be blinded by love and was willing to risk people’s lives and careers to get to her man. Also, I had some difficulty understanding why a woman like Cordelia who starts out as this intelligent, independent woman, a captain of a ship is reduced to someone who is required to “show up appropriately dressed (she had acquired more clothes), smile a lot, and keep her mouth shut.” – not only that, but she seems to take it all in stride – I would think that a woman like her would be a little more restless, a little more “I’m not cut-out for this sedentary lifestyle”

    However, all of that changed during the second half of Barrayar. Vodarian launches an attacks and suddenly the pace picks up, the story now has a “sitting on the edge of my seat” feel to it there’s danger, there’s intrigue, people are running for their lives. And most importantly, I’m beginning to see a Cordelia I was hoping to see earlier. Even Cordelia and Aral’s relationship seems to take on a new freshness. They presented a unified front, not only in countering Vodarian’s attack but in standing up against Piotr, Aral’s father in his desire to “abort” their disabled unborn son. I also felt there was a better use of the science fiction element – e.g. the uterine replicators.

    On further reflection I found the contrast between the life Cordelia had on Beta Colony (progressive, technologically advanced) and the life she chose to life on Barrayan (wood was a luxury, women had babies the old-fashioned way instead of in a uterine replicator, etc.) intriquing. But most importantly it was the contrast between the two different perspective on life itself that I found most interesting. In Shards of Honor I couldn’t understand the purpose of Ensign Dubauer. Surely there had to be something more to this character, who I saw as contributing as much to the storyline as a bag of potatoes. But then I realized his purpose was not so much about him, as it was to show the contract between how the Betan’s viewed life – Ensign Dubauer may have been brain-damage but he wasn’t dead and Cordelia was willing to “carry this 180 lb brain-damaged man around in order to get him the help he needed, and the Barrayan view of life which would consider someone dead even though the “body is still animated” as expressed by Aral. Another purpose was to begin to show us a transformation in Aral – from someone who would so carelessly and without a second-thought, toss someone aside to someone who would be willing to stand-up against even his own father because he had come to learn that every person – no matter how damaged – had value.

    A few questions for LMB –

    1) In Joe’s critique he said he pictured a young Robert Davi as Captain Aral Vorkosigan. First, what do you think of his casting and second, when you are writing do you ever imagine any particular actor in a role if any of your books were ever to become a major motion picture?

    2) I like what you said in your Afterword that “A proper series … is neither an extension of the novel (as in the multi-volume single story) nor a replication (as when essentially the same story is told over and over, cookie-cutter fashion), but another animal altogether with its own internal demands.” And that “one must assume that readers … will encounter the books in utterly random order. … each series novel must be simultaenously a complete tale in itself, and uphold its unique place in the growing structure; it must be two books at once.” With this in mind, if someone could only read one story in your series, what story would you recommend?

    3) Was there any story that you found difficult to write – what was the difficulty and how did you overcome it?

    4) Finally, who are your favorite authors?

    Thank you

  25. question for LMB

    If any of your novels gets greenlight for a movie. Would you preferred live action, CGI animation or motion capture animation for the movie? Especially for the Vor Game, since I consider it to have the most action sequences.

    Mr. M
    Are we getting a breakdown of the Whispers episode after airing?

    Spicy peanut butter sound interesting.

  26. I have two question for Ms. Bujold.

    But first, this is the first book of yours that I’ve read and I found myself engrossed in the world you presented–Betan and Barrayan. So, here’s my first question:

    The Betan and Barrayan societies and worlds are diametrically opposite in many, if not all, ways. And that difference, to the extreme, both taken to levels that seem at some point far from ‘nice’, makes me wonder if, as you wrote them, you had a preference for one over the other. The Betan or the Barrayan? I found interesting that Cordelia, although shocked by and determined to changed many of the Barrayan ways, she never expressed real desire–aside from the fact that she would’ve been locked up for sure–to return to her Betan world, and seemed not particularly attached to her mother or family in general; which contrasts with the strong family ties of the Barrayan. I would be quite curious to hear your opinion of the two societies. I have to admit, may because it was more familiar and less sterile, I rather rooted for the Barrayan.

    My second question is about the closing chapter of Shards of Honor–where Boni finds the body of her own daughter. This chapter was separate in many ways from the others. I found it very poignant and quite affecting. It made me pause. But, I would love to have your thoughts on why you put it there and what were our feelings when you wrote it.

    I would like to read more about Miles. Which would be the next book in these series I should read?

    Thank you for coming by to visit with us. 🙂

  27. I just wanted Ms Bujold to know I really like Cordelias Honor/Barrayar book. I just finished reading it. Some good questions have already been asked. So I will say congratulations on her awards, and please keep writing, I will keep reading. thank you

  28. Hi Joe,

    A couple of days ago you mentioned a pending romance for Ronon. I was wondering, what type of personality would be a good match for him?

    Also I am a huge Jamba Juice fan and I was wondering if you have tried it and, if so, what is your favorite flavor? Mine is the Matcha Green Tea Mist 🙂

  29. Hi Joe,

    Wow! Is it that time of the year again. You have just over a month left for season 5.

    Spicy peanut butter? I like some spicy food. Not sure about that one unless it was in a dish I was eating with other food.

    I’m really enjoying the weird purchase of the day segment!

    It really makes my day! Thanks Joe!

    Do you know if there is going to be a third Stargate SG1 movie?

    Do you have a favourite writer/author. Has any inspired you over the years or when you were younger?

    Take care & happiness always!


  30. Joe wrote: “This seemed to indicate that Betan antipathy toward the Barrayaran people pre-dated the war. Do ensuing books in the series touch on the development of the hostilities that touched off the seemingly inevitable conflict?”

    I’ve always thought the Betan attitude towards Barrayar was pretty typical of a technological, liberal, egalitarian society towards a militaristic oligarchy still struggling with joining the modern age.

    I suspect that Betans initially viewed the Barrayarans rather like the Nox viewed the Tauri, or the Vulcans, the Earthlings in Enterprise, not ready to play with the big boys. Until the Barrayarans swept through their wormhole and conquered Komarr, a modern, technological planet, with relative ease.

    Then the Barrayarans became a threat to be watched and, while still viewed rather patronizingly as backwards, even in their need to expand their influence, they also need to be slapped down hard.

    Even after 25 years, Cordelia didn’t entirely lose the condescending exasperation with the backwardness of Barrayar.

    The Beta-Barrayar relationship isn’t explored in any great depth in the subsequent books.

  31. “In a little over a month from now, we’ll be wrapping our sets for yet another season, preparing for next year” Does it mean what I think it means? Is it sure now that Atlantis will continue with a season 6?

    Other than that, I have a question regarding your writing process (you personally and you SGA writers). When you write a character, especially secondary characters whose motivations remain mostly unknown to us viewers, do you have in mind many things about them that will never be shown on screen, or do you simply write them without too much a second thought to their inner motivation and life out of the show? I think mostly of Todd in “Spoils of War” because of my discussion with dasNdanger, but it applies to Larrin at the end of “Be All My Sins Remember’d” as well, or the wraith in “Broken Ties” (why do wraith in general, and this wraith in particular, need worshippers?)

    I ask the question because when I write, I give a lot of back-story to my most important secondary characters, but I know not everybody does.

  32. Brady wrote:

    And finally, are the “Travelers” going to have any type of role in season 5? And if so, with or without “Wipeout” co-host Jill Wagner?

    The Travelers are in Episode 11, “The Lost Tribe”. No Larrin, thank goodness! Daniella Alonso will being playing ship’s captain Katana.

    Anne Teldy

  33. Joe,
    Spicey peanut butter??? I luv a peanut butter and grape jelly sandwhich…here is a good wierd food try spicey peanut butter and jelly sandwhich…try that

  34. Coucou Joseph =) Sa va ??

    Mouhahaha XD super ces video..en tout cas les baillement sur moi sa marche lol XD …!

    Lol cette nuit j’ai rêvé de vous, je ne sais pas pourquoi vous étiez un prête qui chercher absolument un église en bord de mer….De plus vous trouviez que j’avais beaucoup de charisme, que j’étais gentil et drôle lol XD..je fait vraiment des rêves bizzard O_O!

    Question pour vous:

    1) Quel sport suivez vous le plus au Jeux Olympique?
    2)Sa ne serais pas une bonne idée de faire avoir une relation amoureuse entre Tod et une humaine? Sa a une chance d’arriver??

    Voila Joseph! Gros bisou!! a demain ^^! je vous adore!

  35. How many times has someone been caught saying “I crusha your head” on the Brain Storm set?

    P.S I loved LuLu’s ‘Is that mine?’ face in the video.

  36. Spicy Peanutbutter? “Why?” is exactly what crossed my mind. Maybe you could pair it with some Habanero Jelly for a ‘SpicyPB&J’.

    I’m very much enjoying the “Weird Food Purchase of the Day”. A few of the things you’ve tried I’ve never even heard of (like the Chedder-Corn Ice Cream). What do you do with the food purchases that aren’t to your taste?

  37. Hey Joe!

    I received “City of Saints and Madmen” in the mail yesterday (I had ordered it before the book got pushed back to November). So now what am I supposed to do with it? Obviously it wasn’t meant to be read as much as decoded. Was there a cypher that I was supposed to by from Amazon?

    I think perhaps it was a good thing this got pushed back. We’ll definitely need digestion time. At least it looks cool.

    Thanks for the comments. It’s good to know that I am surrounded by Bothari lovers.

  38. Based on what’s been said about “Cordelia’s Honour” here, I have ordered my copy….*sigh* more for the book pile; soon I’ll need a bigger house to find room for all the books and dvds. Well, this one will be waiting for me when I get home from vacation.

    As for vacation, the rain let up later yesterday and we had a nice long walk through the dunes. Had an early dinner at a beach restaurant. Does summer salad (lollo bianco and lollo rosso, garden lettuce and some other undefined green leaves, strawberries, honey melon and roasted chicken breast cubes, all of it generously topped with raspberry sauce and served with Italian bread) count as weird food? It was delicious. I tried to get the recipe for the raspberry sauce, but what checf parts with what is apparently his magic recipe? No luck!

    Since some people asked, there is no need to start with Mercedes Lackey’s trilogies, “Black Gryphon” stands quite well on its own, as does “By the Sword”, for example. Both highly recommended reading. The “Storms” trilogy, however, doesn’t make much sense if not read all the way through. It’s such as complex story, it needs the three books to get to its “finale”.

    Btw, Mr M, have you read anything by Mercedes Lackey and if you have, how did you like it; if you haven’t, is there any particular reason why not? 🙂


  39. Me again. 🙂

    Forgot to ask something that’s been on my mind for a while.

    If the main cast often isn’t available for commentaries, is there any chance to get some of the supporting actors, David Nykl, Kavan Smith or Mitch Pileggi for example, to participate in the DVD commentaries or is that more or less impossible for whatever reasons? I realize, they do have other obligations to family and RL as well, but it would make for a nice change, IMO.

    It’s just that while director’s or writer’s commentaries are very enjoyable and informative, the actors bring quite a different view to it and that’s a lot of fun as well. So, I’m all for combination commentaries. Please?

    Off to the beach now. Last day of freedom aka vacation. 🙁


  40. @ Sparrow_hawk – Notice how our little monster icons are nearly the same – only yours has a big brain, while mine…mine has a big mouth. 😛

    Makes you think Joe does some of this stuff on purpose…


  41. Joe,

    I was wondering if you could charm Chef Belcham into sharing with you/us the recipe for his now world famous corn soup?

    I make a very nice variation of Chef Rick Bayless’ Mexican Creamy Corn Soup. (I add loads more corn) But I’d love to try the Fuel version…and don’t see myself getting to Vancouver any time soon.

  42. A thought has crossed my mind—I know, scarry, especially at this hour. But if there is no long mid-season break over Christmas, how will we get our poem for the back half of season 5 and the front half of season 6?????

  43. Personally I loved Cordelia’s Honor. I admit I never thought of it being a “space opera” but I definately see that now. Takes nothing away from the book. The detailed writing of each scene (from when Cordelia first meets Vorkosigan to the end) are greats. In fact this book (I read both parts together) reminds me of John Scalzi’s work.
    The only “bad” point I see (and its not even bad really) is the book seems ovetly feminine. I know that has to do with the main character (Cordelia) but the balance between the men and the women in the story is way off.
    This being said-i could not put the book down. In fact as soon as I finished it-I rushed out to get the rest of the books in this story line. Another great selection.
    And I guess if I could ask the author a question it would be “How does it feel to be compared to other authors?”

  44. Answer: Haven’t read her Serrano Legacy but Moon’s The Speed of Dark ranks as one of my favorite novels.

    I know you’re not generally a fan of the high fantasy genre but have you read Moon’s Paksenarrion trilogy? Any thoughts?

  45. Are you still taking questions for Lexa Doig? If so here is mine.

    Lexa Doig: I saw you on Eureka last night again. Does that mean you are going to be a recurring guest character on the series? Also how was it to work with the cast of Eureka? I hope to see you more on the series.

    For Joe: Not that us fans don’t appreciate you taking the time to do it, but how do you find the time to answer the majority of the comments with your busy schedule?


  46. Did anyone else bump on the change?

    Not I. Like others, I thought it a reasonable progression of characterisation.

    Interestingly enough, while at least one person in the comments has complained of Cordelia’s “reduction” to mother and wife and social attachment in Barrayar, I saw it as a compromise made out of love, and a step forward in the growth of the character.

    More than anything else, that growth and development of character makes the two stories about Cordelia, not about Aral, or even Cordelia-and-Aral. They both grow together, yes, but it’s Cordelia who adjusts, who changes, who drives the action, even as her life changes from an “independant woman” to a woman subject to the biology that Betan technology has freed her from.

    I guess that I was hoping for a focus on that kind of development for Teyla this year, as she becomes a mother – not just the fact that she is a mother, but that she can still drive the action, influence minds, and be the woman of strength that she’s been shown to be in the past.

    Will there be anything other than ‘The Queen’ for Teyla this year, Joe? One of the backend episodes, perchance?


  47. I honestly have a jar of the Spicy Peanut Butter in my kitchen right now, bought it last month. It’s kind of meh. The only thing I think it would be good for is making a spicy satey sauce.

  48. I can’t imagine that Lulu would have much of a sense of smell, what with the bred-in smooshy nose and accompanying snoring respirations. What do you think? Is her nose as sensitive as, say, a golden retriever’s?

    As to why someone would invent spicy peanut butter–hey, you’ve eaten some unusual chocolate flavors (pepper, I believe, is one of them?), so perhaps the world is waiting for a new type of peanutty-buttery goodness.

    PS: You have a lovely kitchen.

  49. PPS: Sorry for the multipost. Can you identify any particularly famous extras among the crowd in the “Brain Storm” pix you posted? They all look like Nobel winners, even David and Jewel. Especially David. 🙂

  50. Joe – I’ll be thinking of you tonight when I sample this dessert:
    Cold buttermilk soup with blackcurrants, liquorish and sweet rusk

    It’s the liquorish that’s throwing me – I’m used to the rest.
    Except it’s usually with strawberries instead of blackcurrants.
    Or no berries at all.

    The main course is calf sweetbreads – I sure hope my tastebuds have changed since I last tried it!

    Btw – we may not have Dutch frikandel sausage – but we have frikadelle – which translates to fried meatballs ….
    Hmmm looks like another thing I thought was Danish might not be.
    At least LEGO still is – and Ecco shoes and B & O stereo.

  51. I’m new to SGA, I just started watching it recently during the week after work on SciFi. They only show Seasons 1 & 2 at that time, so I ended up buying Seasons 3 & 4 the week before Season 5 started…and then had to figure out what to do with the last 4 days of the week. So I bought Season 2 to watch my favorite episodes.

    I have to say, I’ve become a Ronon fan.

    Here’s the thing – the enzyme is out of Ronon’s system, so he’s just fine. Same old Ronon. No problems. In DV he certainly seemed like the same old Ronon. Ok, I know that Ronon doesn’t dwell on things he can’t change, but it’s asking a lot to believe that he has NO emotional scars from what happened. Are we going to see NOTHING carrying over with his character?

  52. Spicy peanut butter …. I’d pair it with Nutella on thick wheat bread. Oh yeah.

    My increasingly frequent absences are due to pre-Burning Man panic preparations. Paint! Sew! Recharge Batteries! Solder El-wire! Make the black wedding bouquet for Mrs. Bucky! Spray glitter paint on the adult trike and attached the blinking flamingos! Can’t have a party without blinking flamingos.

  53. Hey Joe!

    Aww, looks like Lulu was very interested in the peanut butter. Nice to see one of your dogs in one of your WFPD videos. Really cute. 🙂

    Do you watch Mythbusters? If so, they tested the contagious yawn myth: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MythBusters_(season_3)#Episode_28_.E2.80.94_.22Is_Yawning_Contagious.3F.22
    The results were basically inconclusive, but they still gave it a ‘confirmed’. Might be something to check out.

    Thanks as always!

    – Enzo Aquarius

  54. I can’t remember if it’s too late to ask Lexa Doig a question, but I saw her on Eureka last night and if it’s not too late I’d like to ask her what it’s like working on the show?


  55. While I’m thinking of it, I wanted to say, as a non-Keller fan but a big McKay fan, I’m looking forward to seeing how her relationship with McKay works out. I”m hoping she grows a bit and maybe seeing her (and McKay) in a serious adult relationship will win me over. I don’t know exactly what’s planned with the two, but it’ll be interesting to see. She and David Hewlett don’t have the same sizzle as did David and Amanda Tapping, but the chemistry is definitely sweet and endearing.

    No big developments planned for Sheppard? I’m starting to lose hope for there being a season 6, so I’m hoping for something juicy for him in season 5.

  56. *pant, pant, pant*

    Just dashing into the office after my comic book run and other errands, and a dental cleaning…and the very first thing I do? Watch the videos!

    Video #1 – Yup. I yawned. 😛

    Video #2 – First, I just gotta say that – in the doggie kingdom – there’s nothing cuter than Lulu – and ‘daddy’ with Lulu! Very sweet vid. I think the spicy peanut butter stems from spicy ‘gourmet’ nuts. I love hot stuff…even now I have cans of Dave’s Burning Nuts, and Ass Kickin’ Peanuts, waiting for me at home. I guess they figured if people like it in can, they’d like it in a jar, too.

    Oh, and the bull penis-swirled peanut butter story??! 😆 😆 You win for grossest story of the day!


  57. I have a question for Lois McMaster Bujold.

    Sorry if it’s already been asked; I skimmed the previous posts to see if it had and didn’t find anything similar, so here goes:

    What is your ideal writing environment? Like, do you need to be in a certain room of the house, have a certain ambiance or background noises? Do you listen to music, or write in silence? Does a certain time of day work better for you, or does it matter? Do you have to pound away at a keyboard, or need the tactile sensations of a pen dancing over paper?

    I know that for myself, I have to start as early in the morning as possible (or as soon after I wake up as I can manage), or I won’t get started at all, or if I do, the words don’t come as easily. The where doesn’t matter, but after several sessions in one place, I find that change can be a good stimulant to provoke more prose, but wherever I go I absolutely need to have music. Preferably of the movie soundtrack/score variety. It helps me to not only block out disturbances (that pesky phone!), but allows me to focus and get right into my world.

    And my iPod does, on occassion, score my project with unerring accuracy, which is creepy as all hell 🙂

  58. Hey Joe!

    What is Allie reading you ask? “The Church of Dead Girls” and “City of Saints and Madmen”. Amazon said Madmen was 704 (or was it 705?) pages long. I didn’t know about the MASSIVE appendix. 😳 Phew! I see now its under 340 pages. My bad.

    Allie says she is enjoying “The Church of Dead Girls”. Especially since the beginning starts with the murder of three girls, one being an extremely tall 14 year old. Sound familiar? 😀

    @Das: And notice how MY monster is pink and pretty much as adorable as can be? Plus there are green horns on its head. Coincidence? I THINK NOT! 😛

    Later Mallozzi-gators! 😉


    This comment has been proofed for rogue winkies!

  59. Just wondering, if the fans enjoy those epical space fights so much, why the lack of them?! You might complain and say that there’s plenty of ’em, but just look at BSG. Jawdropping!

  60. Ew at the peanut butter story, although it made me laugh.

    I’m afraid that’s all I can manage today, I find out whether I get into University tomorrow, and I’m too nervous for words.

  61. nanana said

    Just wondering, if the fans enjoy those epical space fights so much, why the lack of them?! You might complain and say that there’s plenty of ‘em, but just look at BSG. Jawdropping!

    One word. Budget . Considering that BSG is one of the most expansive show on TV with the full NBC/Universal Ad push. SGA puts out shows on a fraction of the BSG budget with almost no Ad support. BSG was almost axed after the pilot series because the suits .was shock by the cost. IMO, BSG series was shorten because the ratings don’t justified the production costs of additional seasons for the series.

    Is very expansive and time consuming for large scale space battles on episodic TV shows.

  62. Oh! Another question for Ms. Bujold (and for you, too, Joe, if you’d care to indulge us!):

    Do you have a favourite snack food and/or beverage that you indulge in while writing?

    I invested in popsicles last November for NaNoWriMo, which was the healthiest choice I could think of, though highly inconvenient, since it takes up one hand, which you really need for typing (unless you dictate?).

  63. @ Trish – 😆

    I’ve noticed that mine is a sort of…teal…color, which actually has significance for me. And it has a spring for a bottom…not quite sure of the significance of that, but maybe it has something to do with being a bit…flighty. 😛 However, it’s not holding a ‘Save the Wraith’ sign, nor does it display any sort of blatant sexism (unless you count its hourglass shape)…so…not a perfect match.

    So, Joe’s approving in the middle of the affternoon? And Bam Bam’s on Gateworld? What’s this? Nobody’s working today [including…me…:oops: ] ??


  64. Ooo, enjoy your Fuel meal tonight! And thanks for the pictures. David and Jewel look great dressed to the nines.

    Swords in space are fun, aren’t they? 😀

  65. This may sound like a bit of an odd question, but do you think that with the technology of the stargate universe, you could build a lightsaber?

  66. You know that episode of SG1 where they did that Farscape scene? The 200th episode? Would it not be fabulous to do a similar sort of sequence with SGA and Firefly? I mean, seriously, who doesn’t want to see Sheppard as the stalwart Captain Mal and McKay as the precocious Walsh? And Teyla in a Companion’s outfit?

    It could be an alternative universe generator thing. Like an ancient device that would let the viewer see and experience other universes. Then at the end of the sequence Rodney could ask Keller “So, which one do you like better?” Because isn’t that a bit of a staple question for Jewel, some sort of comparison between the two?

    Question for the mailbag: How often do you get ideas offered by fans for episodes and does it annoy or intrigue you? Obviously you can’t use the ideas, but do you sometimes wish you could? Is there any idea that’s crossed by your email or fan mailbox or in a convention setting that you thought, “You know, if I didn’t have this thing already set up that’d be a pretty spiffy plot…”

  67. p.s. E-Gads! So that’s what my monster looks like. I forget to sign into wordpress one time and I get the scare of my life. I think I might need an exorcism.

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