Kerry = So smug!
Kerry = So smug!

Kerry's creepy shrine.
Kerry's creepy shrine.

I’ve always been a bit of a betting man. Back in the day, I wagered on professional sports. The NFL was my game of choice and, every Tuesday, I’d start my research into that weekend’s match-ups, pouring through pages of stats – individual team histories and past performances, home vs. away, turf vs. grass, as double-digit favorites, as home underdogs, as road favorites following two straight wins in which they scored 30 points or more against teams with animal names – and, when all was said and done, I got it right, oh, roughly half the time. Despite what people tell you, pro football doesn’t lend itself to this kind of game analysis. A sixteen game schedule is not long enough to establish any sort of pattern and, really, who cares how the ‘76 Eagles did in Dallas? Nope, if you’re looking to make money betting on pro sports, stick to baseball. It’s a statistician’s dream – home and away, day and night, lefties and righties, grass and turf, streaks, team histories, pitcher histories – and they play enough games (162!) that there’s plenty of time for patterns to develop. The only problem is – well, given the choice, I’d rather watch the NFL.

Anyone who has ever bet on sports has that game to remember, the exhilarating high or crushing low in which either their team snatched victory from the jaws of defeat or, instead, snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. That game for me was actually a college football game in which I had the underdog (I believe it may have been West Virginia) getting 12 points. By “getting 12 points” that means that, if you take the underdog and you lose by less than 12 points, you still win the bet. With less than two minutes to go in the game, they were actually up by 1 point and I figured I had the game in the bag – until Notre Dame scored two touchdowns, including an interception return for a touchdown, to win the game by 13 points, cover the spread, and deal me a defeat so stunning that I ended up giving up sports wagering and giving professional writing a go.

So all this to say, I still enjoy a good sports wager, particularly when the playoffs come around. Now despite the fact that I’m Canadian and grew up in the hockey mecca that is Montreal, I never really followed the NHL. And my move to Vancouver has done nothing to spark a love for the game. This is in sharp contrast to the lovely Kerry McDowall over at Post-Production who is an avowed Vancouver Canuck fanatic. How fanatical? Well, she’s actually transformed a neighboring desk into a shrine for her favorite team. Loyal? You bet. Kinda creepy? Yeah, a little. Anyway, with the NHL playoffs approaching, I decided to tempt Kerry with a little wager pitting her beloved Vancouver Canucks against my hometown Montreal Canadians. Whoever’s team makes it the furthest into the playoffs will be declared the winner. The stake? Kerry informed me that if I lose, I’ll have to accompany her to a musical theater performance of her choice. She and Carl whiled away the late afternoon, gleefully cackling over the prospect of my sitting through Oklahoma or a local amateur production of Xanadu. I told her that if she loses, she’ll have to make me dinner (which I will, of course, photograph and then review for this blog) and then sit down to a screening of an anime movie of my choice (I’m leaning toward Ninja Scroll).

I know, I know. I seem to be at a disadvantage. Vancouver is a third seed in the Western Conference while Montreal sits in eighty place in the East. But if wagering on professional sports has taught me anything, it’s that when it comes to the playoffs – and especially the NHL playoffs – expect the unexpected! My only concern in having her cook for me if she loses is the prospect that she’ll be so embittered that I may develop a suspiciously coincidental “stomach flu“ shortly afterwards.

The Big Over Easy discussion –

Sylvia writes: “The end of the book was a nice tidy wrap much like the “Dragnet TV Detective” shows of the 50’s. Where each character is mentioned and what became of them.”

Answer: Now that you mention it, yes, it was very Dragnet. My favorite – “Sophie Muffet-Dumpty was written out of an early draft of this novel and does not appear.”

Sylvia also writes: “Very cool NCD document showing the breaking/fragmentation of Humpty complete with bullet in and out and possible drug injection portal.”

Answer: I thought the forensic aspects of the investigation were very well done, placing these CSI techniques in a nursery frame. I loved the fact that the post-mortem on Humpty’s albumin revealed he was suffering from salmonella, a painful condition that would flare up on occasion.

AnneTeldy writes: “. I’ve long been a Thursday Next fan and really enjoyed both The Big Over Easy and The Fourth Bear.”

Answer: As a fan of the Thursday Next books, how do you feel this series compares? Do you have a preference?

Caitylanna writes: “ When you’re growing up and adults are reading you the nursery rhymes, they only teach you the morals of the stories, but as you get older, you’re able to realize at how violent they actually are. This story makes me want to read the Grimm Brothers’ Fairy Tales even more. Am I the only one that walked away with that feeling?”

Answer: In fact, many of the nursery rhymes and fairy tales we heard as kids were sanitized versions of the originals. In the original Little Red Riding Hood, for intance, the wolf ends up eating both Red and her grandmother. The End.

Caitlyanna writes: “My question to both Joe and Jasper Fforde is have you ever read the Grimm Brother Fairy Tales?”

Answer: Yep, I enjoyed them as a kid (a very gloomy kid). I also enjoyed Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Match Girl.. Doesn’t get much darker than that.

Airelle writes: “ It was hard for me to imagine Humpty as a lady’s man, but to each his own.”

Answer: It’s not uncommon to see attractive women with unattractive but charming guys, so I bought it. I imagine Humpty was quite the smooth talker.

Caitlyanna also writes: “ Ok, so I was just looking at the FAQ on that like you provided, Joe and one of the questions was “My book has no chapter 13. Why is this?” And Jasper responded with, “None of my books have a chapter 13.” So I looked in The Big Over Easy and sure enough it doesn’t. It’s listed in the index at the beginning of the book, but it’s not where the index says it should be. That’s hilarious.”

Answer: Hey, I didn’t even notice. For some reason 13 is considered a bad luck number in Western culture while, in Chinese culture, it’s the number 4. Many years ago here in Vancouver, a bank opened a branch with the purpose of serving the city’s burgeoning Chinese clientele. Unfortunately, the branch did little business. Why? Turns out no one did their homework. The branch was located on the building’s fourth floor.

Antisocial Butterflie writes: “It is very rare that my favorite character in a book is actually the main character. I love Jack Spratt.”

Answer: I liked him a lot as well for the very reasons you cited. His character was a refreshing change of pace from the heroes of much fiction: downtrodden yet big-hearted, level-headed, and infinitely patient.

Thornyrose01 writes: “Chymes, so wonderfully hateful.”

Answer: The scene in which he pops out from behind the two-way mirror to have his face-off with Jack was especially satisfying. Given the book’s over-the-top humor, I’m surprised how much I despised the character.

37 thoughts on “April 14, 2009: Home vs. Away, Grass vs. Turf, Me vs. Kerry, and Some Book Club Discussion

  1. Is it just me, or does there seem to be a trend in the women that work on Stargate… they all seem to be very attractive lol…

    Joe you have to put me out of my misery!!! No mailbox for ages!!!

    Dan

  2. Man, I’m sorry to tell you this but I’m afraid that the chances of Montreal making it out of the first round are very slim. While Vancouver is hitting their stride (most people I know have them going pretty far, a few even think they can break Canada’s cup drought. I think that they won’t make it out of the 2nd round) Montreal is struggling to keep above water. Not to mention that 8 or 9 of their players are in the last year of their contracts, and quite a few of them are perennial choke artists. I think that you’re going to have to face the harsh reality of that musical. 1 question though, what happens if they both lose in the same round in the same amount of games?

    -G

  3. I’m hard put to decide on who to cheer for in your little wager. Your losing and sitting through a musical seems to be a nice payback for your torturing us with teasers. But you’ve also provided us with many fine pictures, videos, reviews, and insights. Plus, you’re rooting for the underdog. And if you win, we get the pleasure of watching you torment Kerry with your indominable style. As far as the stomach flu thing. Just use Carl to provide you some feedback. Or if Kerry has a dog, make sure to have it around and feed it scraps. There are always methods to avoid poisoning, providing one is ruthless enough and the poisoner has any scruples at all.
    Thanks for giving me some reason to care about the NHL playoffs, and good luck on the bet.

  4. Hey Joe,

    4 is unlucky in Chinese superstition because the Chinese word for 4 sounds nearly the same as the word for death. My brother lives in a condo in an area with alot of Chinese, hence the lack of floors 4, 13, and 14.

    For the same reason, 8 is lucky for Chinese because the word for 8 sounds like the word for prosper.

    Jean

  5. Get set to watch a musical Joe. While I don’t see the Canucks got all that much further, the Habs without Markov are not going to beat the Bruins, they’ll be lucky if it takes more than 4 games.

    Go Canucks Go!

  6. Hey Joe.

    My guidance counsellor said that I should start planning on how I’m going to save money for when Im finished high school. But wow, I looked at prices for student housing in Vancouver……I think by the time I’m able to afford that I’ll be too old for school! Joe, where would you reccomend for a student to look for a place to stay in Vancouver??

    Or, hey, can I rent your basement? I could walk your dogs and do the dishes….

    Thanks Joe!

  7. You’d better hope that Vancouver loses in the first round. Because even if Montreal upsets Boston, they will lose in the second round to the Pittsburgh Penguins. I see a Penguins/San Jose Sharks Stanley Cup Finals.

  8. Joe,

    I love the full crew pics behind Kerry…wow, what a crowd! I see, from bottom to top, SG1, SGA, and…SGU?

    Just curious.

    And…sorry, I’m with Kerry on this one, go Canucks!

  9. AnneTeldy writes: “. I’ve long been a Thursday Next fan and really enjoyed both The Big Over Easy and The Fourth Bear.”

    Answer: As a fan of the Thursday Next books, how do you feel this series compares? Do you have a preference?

    Not fair making me think while I’m sick!

    I think, in general, most people would find the Nursery Crime books easier to get into due to nursery rhymes being common knowledge, making the references easier to follow.

    In the Thursday Next books, however, the humor and plot are dependent on the reader knowing the literary classics being referenced. (For example, if you’ve never read Wuthering Heights, you might not get the joke about all the characters being ordered into anger management. And the door-to-door Baconists could go over many a person’s head.) They are also more “broad spectrum” SF, incorporating sub-genera such as time travel, gene-splicing, and alternate history (the Crimean War is still being fought).

    Also, the Thursday Next novels are much more satiric, skewering everything from organized religion to corporate monopolies to sports (Croquet is the sport to watch) to advertising (Eat more toast!). While an advanced pre-teen could get most of the humor in the Nursery Crime series, it would take an exceptional twelve-year-old indeed to truly “get” the Thursday Next series. (Would they really understand “The Charge of the Light Armored Brigade”?)

    Which do I prefer? Whichever I’m reading! 😀 Though I must admit, a world where everyone reads and books are beloved is very, very attractive to me.

    Anne Teldy (still running a slight temp with redness around the infection site after seven days of IV Rocephin and oral Bactrim.)

  10. I am a sci-fi fan. That shrine is nothing compared to the ode to Star Wars that is in my basement. (And on my desk at work, too.)

    So Kerry is not so scary to me.

    However, the very fact that she would build a shrine should make you a little worried should she lose the bet….

  11. Yet again, I’m a bit late with my thoughts on “The Big Over Easy” but here I go. I actually enjoyed it. Reading it was like being on the “inside” of the joke and that was great! I guess if anyone didn’t know any nursery rhymes, they wouldn’t get this book. And I agree with you what you side at the end-alot of twists and turns. Still enjoyable. If I had a question for the author (beside why nursery rhymes? and which nursery rhyme was Jellyman modeled after?) I surely bet he has answered.

    Keep up the great work Joe!

  12. The Hollywood Reporter is saying that Amanda Tapping will guest star in SGU, is that true??

  13. Mr M

    You should make Kerry cook in A Canadiens Jersey if she loses.

    I seem to recall that in the 2002, 2004 & 2008 Canadien teams faces Boston and took every one of those series in the quarter finals. Of particular interest is the 2002 series. Boston was first and Montreal 8th, same as this year. Boston does not have a great NHL playoff record against Montreal in the recent years.

  14. OK, but even if you don’t title something as “4th”, or “13th”, it still exists. Thereby foiling the actual superstition.

    I mean, you go from 12th to 14th, the 14th is still actually the 13th floor. Unless, of course, they build the 13th floor & seal it tight & then the elevator just skips over it.

    I’m just saying….

  15. Ha ha Ninja Scroll, an anime the ladies are sure to love! Of course, I’m a lady and I liked it so…maybe she’ll dig it.

    I am so torn between the Habs and the Cannucks… I like curling better anyway.

  16. Hey Joe,

    Wow… you’ve put me, a Tampa resident and therefore Lightning fan (stop laughing, thank you) in a really weird position. Uh… here goes… Go Montreal! 😀 My apologies to Kerry. But the thought of seeing her cook you dinner plus getting the rundown on the blog are very intriguing.

    Although I feel as if I can’t lose here. The thought of Joe sitting thru Oklahoma makes me a bit giggly. 😆

    To all my fellow Americans: Unhappy Tax Day is upon us. Uncle Sam 😈 wants *MOST* of your money! I’m grumbling with the rest of ya…

    Trish

  17. Um, Ninja Scroll? I know the point is to rub it in if you win, but don’t you maybe just a little want her to actually enjoy and/or be drawn into anime? Ninja Scroll puts off some of my anime-minded friends as it, so I can only imagine poor Kerry squirming through it. Not that it’s *bad*, just that it’s, well, “intense”.

  18. Go Montréal Go 😉

    La fièvre des séries commencent à se faire sentir surtout avec l’arrivée du beau temps !

    Translation : The playoff fever is making his way as well as the good weather.

    Anyway best of luck with your bet !

    Vancouver vs Montréal for the cup ? (yeah we can dream)

  19. Would you consider bringing even one SGA character over to SGU for a guest shot?
    Just one?
    For us SGA fans?
    Please?

    also read about a singer performing 2 songs live on SGU? How did that come about?

  20. I get it now!
    This is all a terribly clever plot to get SG1 back on the air!
    You will need to kill off all the new people hired for SGU within the first season, leaving Jack, Sam, Daniel (ok, you need to bring Teal’c in soon) to carry on in heroic style!
    Yay!

  21. Hi Joe,
    Comments on The Big Over Easy: The most enjoyable book I’ve read in a long time! I usually read much more serious fare, but this book had me smiling throughout. I’m sure some were questioning my sanity as I was reading it with a goofy grin on my face while waiting in the doctor’s office! 🙂 I was recommending it to everyone in the office, as well as my friends.

    It was very clever. Made me want to reread my nursery rhyme and fairy tale books all over again to see what I was missing. Every time I came across a new character I tried to figure out where it came from. I’m sure I missed some of the references, but I enjoyed it none the less.

    It kept me on the edge of my wall, er seat, to the very end. Loved that Humpty was a rascal with a heart. Jack was a “regular Joe” with a purpose: do my job and do it right and then return home at night to a loving family. Mary was questionable at the beginning, having her own agenda, but stood by her partner in the end.

    I also liked the character’s follow-up after the book ended. Made me feel that it really happened and I was reading the “where are they now” segment. The acceptance of the nursery rhyme/mythology/fairy tale characters as regular citizens throughout the book was wonderful. Made it that much easier for me to accept them as well.

    Kudos to Jasper Fforde for a wonderful book! I borrowed this from the library, but enjoyed it so much I’m going to buy it and recommend/lend it to all my friends and family. I’m also going to pick up the rest of his books to add to my personal library.

    This book was hard to put down, Joe. Thanks for its placement on the BOTM Club!

    @ Annie from Fremantle: Thanks for the link to the videos. I spent way too much time viewing them, but had a ball doing so!

    About the NHL playoffs, all I have to say is “GO WINGS!”

    Patty O (proud Detroit Red Wings FAN!)

  22. Nursery Crime books are great! You guys have similar tastes as me, which prompts me to post this recommendation, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith (and Jane Austen of course).

    Tax day? For 2008 I got all the taxes I paid back, and then some. Maybe unemployment isn’t so bad. No, it is. I just wish I could say exactly on what I want my taxes spent.

    NHL: sorry, longtime Flyers fan here remembering rivalries, so gotta root for the Canucks. Montreal might’ve had a chance if they’d gotten their hands on my Lightning’s Vinny Lecavalier. If I have my way, they will never get that chance.
    DD

  23. Kerry has nothing on my friend at work who is the ultimate San Jose Sharks fan. Her shrine not only emcompasses her own desk, but spills over onto an unused desk in her cubicle. And at least she has a chance of happiness at the end of this season. Sorry, Kerry!

    Oops – the dog just hacked up not once, not twice, but three times in the space of 30 seconds. Gotta go!

  24. Hi Joe,
    I’m really not a sports person! Sorry!

    @Daniel
    No. It’s not just you. Mabye we should try to get casted as extras. And in between shoots we will set up a perch on those orange suspension things and spy on Kerry’s office. And then get fired.

    So a couple questions.

    1. Do you think the Atlantis movie will be released before or after the SG-1 movie is released?

    2. If i wanted to write to one of the actors what address should i send it to?

    3. What episode are you currently filming and how is it going?

    4. Is that a group picture of the Atlantis, SG-1, and Universe cast and crew to the left of the picture of Kerry?

    5. Are the uniforms in the second SGU trailer the Icarus Base Uniforms you said looked really cool, cause they look like the US army digital pattern uniform?

    6. There is a rumor circulating that the Icarus Base is on a moon(not earth’s, just another planets moon). Is that true?

    Sorry for so many questions but like Daniel said. We have not had a mailbag in ages!!!

    Thanks so much
    Major D. Davis

  25. Hi Mr Mallozzi

    Janelle Monae on SGU!!
    One of my favorite singer in my future favorite show!
    Carlo Rota in SGU !
    One of my favorite character of Little Mosque on the prairie in SGU!
    Unbelievable!! Today is an very good day!

  26. The most shocking thing in the hockey shrine is the ancient, tube-based iMac. I know times are tough, but that dinosaur is destroying my image of showbiz. Seriously, does it run anything besides a screen saver? 🙂

  27. Mika – Thanks for the amazing link. The Chandra satellite holds a special spot for me. The son of the creator of the satellite works at one of my clients. One of the loveliest people you will ever meet and it sounds like his Dad is exactly the same. Makes for great conversation over lunch!

  28. @Rose: Hopefully I’ll be correct and we’ll both be happy about an SGA movie… and we’ll look back on this and laugh and laugh. Uh, or maybe just breath a big sigh of relief. 🙂

    @Michelle: I’m sure that out-of-date iMac has that fabulous puzzle game. You know the one I mean. 😉 So it runs a screen saver and the puzzle game. For sure. 😆

  29. “Daniel Willis wrote: Is it just me, or does there seem to be a trend in the women that work on Stargate… they all seem to be very attractive lol…”

    Why do you think Joe works late onto the night 😉

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