So far, so good on the script front. I hit the 15 page mark this afternoon. Things get very busy very quickly and there’s a hell of a lot happening in what’s shaping up to be a fairly robust first act. Tomorrow, I’ll go over what I’ve got so far, tweak and tighten, trim the page count and move on, hopefully closing out Act 1 before the 18 page mark and well ahead of schedule. Complicating matters for some of the one on one discussions is the fact that the preceding scripts are presently being written and certain cross-character developments are still in the process of solidifying and settling. Some of these conversations will have to be TBD until I’ve read the scripts for episodes #16 through #19 and, more importantly, everyone is on board with the directions of a few of these arcs.

I tried to wind down today by doing a little reading. It had the opposite effect. I’m working my way through Philip K. Dick’s Valis, easily his most inaccessible book so far. It’s sometimes hilarious, sometimes thought-provoking, but mostly altogether baffling. Anyone out there read it? And finished it? Would love to hear your thoughts.

Since we’re talking books, I’d like to remind everyone that August’s book of the month club discussion fast approaches so, if you haven’t already done so, pick up Elizabeth Moon’s The Speed of Dark and start reading.

From “Corporate life in early 21st-century America is even more ruthless than it was at the turn of the millennium. Lou Arrendale, well compensated for his remarkable pattern-recognition skills, enjoys his job and expects never to lose it. But he has a new boss, a man who thinks Lou and the others in his building are a liability. Lou and his coworkers are autistic. And the new boss is going to fire Lou and all his coworkers–unless they agree to undergo an experimental new procedure to “cure” them.”

It won the Nebula Award for Best Novel, an honor richly deserved. It’s one of my top 10 favorite SF books. If you’re looking for a wonderful, character-driven story, do yourself a favor and pick it up. Author Elizabeth Moon will be joining us to field questions about the novel and her many works, so don’t miss out. Discussion the week of August 3rd.

Tonight, I went out to dinner with Special Features Producer Ivon Bartok. He phoned me up last night, informed me his mom was in town, and asked me to join them for supper.

Ivon's mother enjoys the evening - until her son informs her she can't come visit the set.  She responded by grounding him.
Ivon's mother enjoys the evening - until her son informs her she can't come visit the set. She responded by grounding him.

“Wow,”marveled my wife. “He’s introducing you to his mother. It must be serious!”. For her part, Fondy wasn’t able to attend as she was off doing the Grouse Grind (trekking up one of Vancouver’s mini mountains). She set off this morning, whistle in tow. “What’s that for?”I asked. “To scare off bears?” “No, this is just in case I get lost,”she informed me. “So the search teams will know where to find me.” Ah. She left at 11:00 a.m. It’s about 8:30 p.m. now. How long do you figure I should wait before organizing the rescue party?

Suffice it to say that, given the choice, I’d prefer restaurant dining to mountain climbing. And so, tonight, we were at one of Ivon mother’s fave Vancouver eateries – Bristrot Bistro.

Ivon's sister and local radio show host Sarah Bartok says: "Listen to Virgin 95.3!" and "Pass the mach and cheese!".
Ivon’s sister and local radio show host Sarah Bartok says: “Listen to Virgin 95.3!” and “Pass the mach and cheese!”.

Also in attendance was Ivon’s lovely sister, Sarah, who hosts a radio show on 95.3 Virgin Radio Vancouver, Thursday mornings 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 pm. and Saturday mornings 8:00 a.m. to 1:00p.m. We talked Tokyo travel (Ivon sat this one out as he was the only one at the table who has never visited), show biz stories, and Ivon’s mother’s love for actor Robert Caryle (Alas, Ivon had to break the news to her – no unauthorized visitors allowed on set this season). It was a great meal and, best of all, I was able to keep to my new sensible eating plan, enjoying a refreshing ahi tuna salad to start and a savory halibut with tomato-lemon broth for my main. As difficult as it was, I resisted the urge to dive into the marvelous-looking duck confit mac and cheese but drew comfort from the knowledge that I‘d be back. Soon. Soon. Thanks to Ivon for picking treating and thereby securing himself future employment.

Ivon enjoys a traditional French after-dinner disquieting thought.
Ivon enjoys a traditional French after-dinner disquieting thought.

Today’s pics: The Destiny living quarters.

Early design work for the crew quarters.
Early design work for the crew quarters.
Paint and treatment give the ship's walls that ancient weathered look.
Paint and treatment give the ship's walls that ancient weathered look.
Eventually, the room is dressed.  Note the Ancient espresso machine on the table.
Eventually, the room is dressed. Note the Ancient espresso machine on the table.
The gang from room service clean the place up.
The gang from room service clean the place up.

29 thoughts on “July 18, 2009: Script Progress! A Book of the Month Club Reminder! Dinner With Ivon! The Destiny Living Quarters!

  1. Nope. I assume she’s finished with the mountain climbing and moved on to dinner and/or dessert.

  2. Geez…I hope she’s okay. LOL…I’m probably more worried about her than you are!

    Ya know, I went into a store on the boardwalk today – all dog stuff. I don’t have a dog. Noooooo…instead I was looking at pug t-shirts and French bulldog mugs and stuff, until my husband scolded, ‘stop shopping for Mallozzi!’



  3. Dinner with Ivon and family sounds fun!

    I finally have my computer back (the family stole it because theirs broke; new one came yesterday)!!!

    While my computer was busy serving a higher purpose, I went to Polaris23 in Toronto and got to briefly meet Kate Hewlett and David Nykl (and to talk to David Hewlett for like a minute while I was getting his autograph). I was SOOOO excited! Pix are here if anyone’s interested:

  4. @ Joe
    ” I was able to keep to my new sensible eating plan, enjoying a refreshing ahi tuna salad to start and a savory halibut with tomato-lemon broth for my main.”
    Good boy! *pat-pat-pat* (Seriously, hope your new good habit is catching.) May you live long and prosper. Oh, and like, write forever. We won’t let you stop; we have to be fed daily. 😀

    Am liking the photos. Now they seem more futuristic, but still have the heavy industrial lok. I bet the lighting and photography in more than a few of the episodes will have a predominantly dark feel.

    @ all y’all 😉
    Even if you’ve never read a BOTM selection, you need to read The Speed of Dark. It grabs your attention, moves fast, gets you emotionally invested in the character, and sparks your own inner debate as you read. I never want to forget Lou Arrendale. He is that memorable.
    My family gets competitive over good books. Over the 4th of July weekend Mom snagged The Speed of Dark from me before I could read it. She thought it was a terrific book, wonderfully written, and loved the main character–and she is normally an action/suspense fan. I stole the book back the following weekend. My jaw dropped; my heart dropped; and then came the TWIST. All I can say for now is WOW….

    And you really have to read this book.

    Das/Deirdre, when you wrote last week about sometimes feeling “not normal,” and having to ward off anxiety about what other people think, I knew you need to read this book. And anyone else who feels that way at times. (Could be all of us.) That’s the way Lou Arrendale feels, but when you compare him to his off-kilter world, he *is* the normal one. Please, D, read this book? If you end up not liking it, you have permission to administer 20 lashes with spaghetti noodles. Sauce optional.

  5. P.S. D’oh! That would be…

    the set photos…still have an industrial look.

    Am spelling/typing impaired tonight! (Prolly too much rich Middle Eastern Pastry from the ME festival earlier. De-rish!)

    (I know, Joe. That was *so* not helping, right?)

    @ Anonymity ytimynona
    Thanks for the Polaris con photos of David Nykyl, David Hewlett, and Kate Hewlett. What a swell bunch of people. Man, I miss ’em….

  6. man I gotta feel for you with the urge to tuck into a duck confit. Could you perhaps eat reaaaaaaally sensibly and exercise like a demon for 6 days a week , then eat decadently for just one night? Bet you the weight will still come off. Lots of weights and cardio… then the duck confit.

  7. For the purposes of looking good, you should start putting together the search party in the morning. And once you find her, chastise Fondy for not carrying her cell phone with her. Even if she can’t get a signal to call for help, they should be able to use it to find her. On the plus side, it’s not likely a sudden blizzard has stranded her atop an oversized hill.
    The script thing sounds unusually tricky, given the issues involved with the episodes before the finale. Good luck on the project, and thanks for the latest batch of Destiny pics.

  8. Hey Jo!!!

    The private quarters and bedrooms are beautiful, I like this.

    But I disagree with you; It’s not a expresso machine on the table, but it is an Hookah, for me this place was an Ancients smoking room XD (the ancients are the right to glide too)

    My questions(same that the last subject):

    1)About differents design of corridors in July 16 topic.
    All design will be represented on Destiny, or you have chosen one among the four?

    2)Why the symbols of the destiny gate don’t represents constellations (same SGA or SG1)?

    3)there is a big debate on our forum about the oldness of the Destiny and his gate.
    When the destiny has been launched by the Ancients?
    Before or after the building of Milky Way gates?

    4)I have noticed, it is a lamp external to the gate (and connected to the ship) that encoding each symbols, and the destiny DHD are lot of functions (telemetry,diagnostics,…)
    What will be that for the gates and DHD located on the planetes? Can we see pictures or design?


  9. Climbing is a fantastic appetite stimulant. *considers a moment* – That comment is totally irrelevant, isn’t it? Well, anyway, eating out with Ivon, his mom, and his sis, sounds like a great way to pass an evening, and congrats to Ivon for being au courant on how to hang on to a plum job (silly you. I also chuckled over your caption about Ivon’s mom grounding him. But does she know that Nicholas Rush is not nearly as charming as, say, Hamish Macbeth? Seeing Carlyle in character for SGU really made the point of how much things can change from one role to the next.)

    Re. Valis, hubs, who is a more adventurous PKD fan than I am, made it to the end. For a normal guy, he’s a great fan of the obscure and highly metaphysical with a solid dose of alt-spirituality (if you’ll pardon the term; and I’m referring to lit, not his own beliefs). He concurs with your evaluation, though, and admits he only read through the very last word so that he could credit himself with having finished it. Actually, I’d worry if he claimed to understand all of it. — Haven’t told him yet that the Destiny’s CO has a name in common with him, plus an ultracool uniform. Otherwise, he’d be all over fighter-jet aerodynamics and other stuff he’s already too preoccupied with, imo. It would just continue what I’m sure is a fantasy of being a younger version of O’Neill.

    No big to anyone but me, but I printed out the pic from yesterday I was drooling over. It looks great, just as it does gracing my pc desktop. You guys have excellent artists.

  10. Bonjour Joseph!

    Vous allez bien? Moi trés bien, je me repose, je suis totalement plongé dans le Tour de France en ce moment.

    Merci pour ces photos =)

    Alalala je pense toujour que vous avez l’un des meilleurs métier de la planéte!!

    Bisou bisou
    A bientôt.

  11. maybe Fondy is playing hide & seek, Jinto style. by that I mean trapped somewhere.
    Have you done the grind Joe? because I doubt you would call it a “mini mountain” if you have! it’s pretty hard, I would compare it to having a baby or being shot. and on a hot day like today, its probably like getting shot while having a baby….i think, i’ve never had a baby or been shot.

    Who decided to call those “private quarters” when there is ladder going right through them?!?!

  12. room service… LOL

    I wonder what ‘Do Not Disturb’ looks like in Ancient.

  13. Hi Joe and the rest!

    Thanks for sharing all photos of the setdesigns. I think they look awsome! I’m an Atlantis fan who is really looking forward to Universe. I do have a question though:

    Will there be references to SG-1 and/or SGA amongst the characters of Universe (apart from the obvious gueststarring)? Like for example when in SGA ep Doppelganger talks about SG1 ep Cold Lazarus.


  14. Thanks for the Destiny pictures – very nice sets; rather dark with a sort of Steampunk vibe.

    You were very noble which your dietary choices while eating out. Keep up the good work.

    I’ve started reading “Speed of Dark”. My best friend’s son is autistic – I’ve known him since he born and he is in his mid twenties now. I’ll let you know how I feel about the book when I finish it.

    I hope you will let us all know that Fondy got home okay last night so we can stop worrying.

  15. Great pics, Mr. M. Do they have little robots that clean up their rooms for them? I’ve always wondered how they keep the ships so clean.


  16. I have to say I totally love the set designs and the colouration.

    I may have missed this from earlier blogs, but for the overall design, was this more of a directive from Rob & Brad as to what they were looking for? Or was it more of a collaborative approach with the production designer? (In terms of colour use, etc.)

    I love how it shows a different look than what we’ve been learning of the ancients on SG1 and Atlantis …

  17. OMG as one of my friends on Gate World said

    No wonder the Ancients/Ori always looked to have a stick up there *** have you seen those seats and beds omg how uncomfy do they look lol

    But overall nice set i like the espresso machine the best 😀 that would have kept the Ancients/Ori up all night during there late night projects 😀

    Well done to the roomservice and Painters lol nice job on the look 😀

    Well goodluck with SGU Joe hope everything goes to plan and goes well

    All be watching 😀

  18. Hey Joe, thanks for uploading more pics… cool quarters… good to be back!!! Thanks for being willing to send an email to Mr. Bill.!!!

    SO a couple questions.

    1. Have you seen any of the final Shiny VFX for SGU…. also how close is Air(first two parts) to being completed?

    2. How long till SGU has some cool shirts and merch, cause when I was at the bridge I saw some cool “sexy” LOL SGU shirts(the crew were wearing them, they were a black shirt with the SGU logo printed on them). I just wondered when it will hit shelves cause I would die to get one of them.

    Oh and Joe if you want to see some hilarious fan created(I think) shirts, check out this website.

    Here is my fav one… There is also a Got Wraith shirt.. I thought OF DAS THE MINUTE I saw that shirt… you have to get it Das.. it would be perfect.. LOL

    So what do you think of the Shirts?

    Thanks so much,
    Major D. Davis

  19. Espresso machine? Hookah? Pfeh, that’s a karaoke machine with built in holographic projector. Can’t wait to hear the Ancient top ten pop hits.

    Random creepy story brought on by the phobia talk: We slept on the floor in our tiny Japanese house, a futon on tatami is comfy. Put it away daily too. One night when MyLarry was not home, I woke up because my cat was pouncing on my feet. Was he killing my toes? I yelled at him to stop and began to shift my weight. I felt a tickle. A tickle on the top of my inner thigh! ACK! I leapt straight up in the air and hit the light cord on the way down. I stood in middle of the futon, pushing at the blankets. A long shiny black centipede came crawling out of the folds. Big sucker. Six inches or more. I grabbed my heavy wooden handmirror and began beating it. Damn thing would not die and scurried away into the night. Yeah, I went right back to sleep after that, hmmm? And I’m still not centipede phobic. You’d think I would be after that incident.

  20. I hope Fondy got home safely and had a nice time. Doing some walks around Vancouver is definitely on my list of activities when I head over there next year. Any suggestions of particularly interesting/gruelling/spectacular ones? I’m guessing Fondy would be the one to ask, but seeing as it’s your blog Joe…;)

    Thanks for the reminder about Speed of Dark. It’s sitting on my bookshelf waiting until I finish King’s Insomnia – one of the few of his works I haven’t read before now. Sounds like I’ll be getting another good dose of character-driven reading though, which is exactly what I want!


  21. Heya Joe,

    Why not come to Aus in October for Armageddon and spend some quality time with Amanda Tapping and the Big Guy Momoa. Looks like Mr McGillion will be coming and you can also catchup on old times with Michael Welch. Am I selling it for you?

    Hope Fondy is home!

  22. Ha! Cute ‘interview’ with Brian Michael Bendis and my new comic book guy, Lord Jermaine!

    I’ve only been using Acme Comics for three weeks now, but I am SO pleased with them already! In my first order, Jermaine included a beautiful hardcover Wolverine book, collecting several stories – for free – just for switching to him (and for my birthday back on the 7th). I’m not into birthdays, but it was sweet of him to do that for me, regardless. Really nice guy. 🙂


  23. Maggiemayday: Helluva place to find a very large centipede. Not that anywhere is a good place to get bitten, but geez . . . good thing that one wasn’t aggressive. I wonder if maybe they aren’t in general, since during three years in Hawaii, we really didn’t see very many.

    I’ll bet the Ancients’ music was like atonal chamber music, which I think is one huge experiment on the resilience (or lack thereof) of the nervous system. Maybe what caused serious conflict among them was when a groundbreaking type came up with “Achy Breaky Heart.”

    Joe, I’m hoping all turned out well last night for Fondy, and that like you suggested, she just went to get dinner. I doubt she has my problem of completely forgetting the time; but when you’re tired and hungry, etc.

  24. “Ancient Espresso Machine”? Left over from when Daniel was ascended?

    SPEED OF DARK is excellent.

    Looking forward to seeing you again in Vancouver next summer at LG/GateCon… Thanks for signing on again!

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